Film Reviews November 2016

I’ve seen a few films in the last month or so but once again, not as much as I should have done. These are the four that stood out the most to me.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Based in the Harry Potter universe, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is about a young wizard called Newt Scamander who visits New York on his way to Arizona accompanied by a mysterious suitcase full of magical creatures.

I love, love, loved this film. So much. As I said in a previous post, it’s been awhile since I’ve been sitting in the cinema watching a film and all the while thinking over and over, “this is amazing”.

You definitely don’t need to be a fan of Harry Potter to go and see this film. It’s a whole different story that just happens to be set in the same world as the famous franchise. It was interesting to see a wizarding world set in America but I’m really glad it was set in the past for some reason. I think just because so many films these days are set in places like New York etc. and I wanted to see something different. Being based in the 1920s, it was definitely different!

I’ll be interested to see where they take the story next as apparently there’s going to be about 4 other films after this one.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Moana

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This film isn’t out until Friday but I actually saw it last Saturday for a preview offered to Cineworld unlimited members. Topher was working but I went along with Claire and Steve. It’s about the daughter of a Hawaiian chief who saves the world with the help of a demigod (voiced by The Rock) and the dumbest chicken I’ve ever seen. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but lets just say that it’s almost a week later and I’m still singing the songs from it. Darn catchy.

As you know I’m a big Disney fan so I loved the film but I’m not sure how well someone who isn’t a fan would enjoy it. It’s not normally Steve’s kind of film but he said he was surprised to find that he really enjoyed it. So it’s definitely worth a try. There’s plenty of action and comedy in there and it’s nice to see a another film that empowers young girls. I’ll be dragging Topher along in the next week or so to see it.

4 and a half out of 5 stars

 

A Street Cat Named Bob

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Based on a true story and is also a book, A Street Cat Named Bob is about a busker, recovering drug addict called James who is befriended by a cat who ends up changing his life for the better. It’s definitely a feel good story.

I remember the book came out a few years ago and my mum read it. She tried to lend it to me but I didn’t like the sound of the title. It sounded like a cat going through a rough time and I didn’t like the idea of that. I kind of wished she actually explained what it was really about but oh well. I’m glad I didn’t read it back then as I would have seriously wanted a cat and it was 3 years later we got our babies!

I just wanted to go home and cuddle my cats all through watching this. Bob is such a sweetheart! Fun fact, the real Bob is actually in a few of the scenes playing himself!

4 and a half stars out of 5

 

Dr Strange

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I’m not usually a fan of Marvel movies but this one was an exception. I didn’t know the story at all before going and that was something I liked. It’s about a former neurosurgeon who is actually called Dr Strange. He goes on a journey to heal his hands that were injured in an accident and stumbles across a whole new world of mystic arts.

The film was certainly funnier than I expected it to be and there was plenty of action and story to back it up with. It’s one of those films that you could sit down with a variety of people and everyone would enjoy it. From the looks of things, it appears that there’s going to be a sequel to this or at least a collaboration with some of the Avengers so I’m not so sure if I’ll be watching those. But as a stand alone film I really enjoyed it.

4 out of 5 stars

 

What films have you seen recently?

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Film Reviews: September 2016

It was a surprisingly busy summer for Topher and I so we didn’t get to see as many films as we wanted – even with our Cineworld unlimited passes. But September was the month where we saw 4 films. Here are my reviews:

Kubo and The Two Strings

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This isn’t probably something I would have chosen to see but Topher was really excited to see it so I said we would fit it in. Funnily enough, the night before we were going to the cinema to see two films, we were given a huge recommendation for it from our friend Claire so we decided to see it the next day.

Stars like Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes & Charlize Theron, voice it and I’m really glad that I didn’t read much about it before going to see it. Everything was a surprise. I liked the story and it was nice to see something in the cinema that was original and not a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel.

So the only thing I’ll tell you is that the synopsis is “A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.” And leave it at that. Go see it.

I’d give it a 4 out of 5.

 

Bridget Jones’s Baby

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After the terribleness that was Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, I will admit that I wasn’t expecting much from Bridget Jones’s Baby. Emma came with us to see Kubo and The Two Strings and was planning on leaving after but then found out she had a few hours to kill so decided to come along. It was definitely worth it because the three of us were howling with laughter the whole way through. Even Topher enjoyed it.

Of course it isn’t a Bridget Jones film if you’re not cringing but this was the right amount of cringe. Why do people spend whole films lying to each other btw? They would make things soooo much easier if they told the truth. But of course, you wouldn’t have the premise for a film would you?

This is also a 4 out of 5 for me.

 

The Magnificent Seven

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Another one that Topher wanted to see. I wasn’t too sure but I don’t actually mind action as long as it isn’t one of the many Marvel ones they insist on pumping out. So I happily went to watch it with Topher and our friends Claire and Steve. This was a remake but it was a good one. Topher owns the original so maybe I’ll give it a watch one of these days.

The synopsis reads, “Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.” I liked the idea and I really enjoyed the story and the characters. It had the right amount of action, heart and humour. A definite must see if you and your partner can’t agree on a film!

Another 4 out of 5

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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This is one that both Topher and I, and our friends Claire and Steve had been looking forward to for awhile so we booked tickets as soon as it came out.

“When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.”

It definitely didn’t disappoint. We’re big fantasy fans so there was plenty of intrigue along with action, humour and a little bit of love. It’s based on a book series so I’ll be interested to see if they release any more films.

This was a 5 out of 5 for me.

 

And on a side note, we saw a trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. So excited!

What have you seen in the cinema recently?

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My Favourite Board Games

Say hello to my nerdy board games side. For those who know me well will undoubtedly agree that I’m not much of a clubber these days. I’m much more at home, well, at home. My friends and I are more partial to nights in with good food, good conversation and a board game or 4. Over the course of our relationship, Topher and I have built up quite an extensive board game collection that I seriously need to find a new storage solution for!

Anyway, I thought since our board game collection is a bit more out of the ordinary (not that I don’t love a good game of Scrabble or Monopoly), I would share my favourites with you.

Ankh-Morpork*

Ankh-Morpork

Terry Pratchett fans will immediately know what the name of this game means. For those who aren’t, Ankh-Morpork is a city in Terry Pratchett’s fantasy book series called Discworld. Whether you’re a fan or not, this game is really fun – especially if you like logical games.

“This is a game where each player has a secret victory condition, usually relating to owning buildings in, or controlling, various areas of the city of Ankh-Morpork. During the game, players play cards from their hand to place control elements in the city, remove other players’ pieces, or otherwise manipulate the ownership of areas.”

My favourite part is finding out what your victory condition is. You spend the entire game trying to achieve it, while keeping a close eye on your other players to make sure they don’t achieve theirs first. The best one in my opinion is simply that you win when the cards run out – then you just have to bide your time!

Discworld fan or not, this game is always fun once you know the rules!

Snake Oil*

Snake Oil

Smooth talkers and anyone who works in the advertising industry will love this. Snake oil is a game where you basically have to sell something. You get a hand of cards with random words on them and each round someone acts as the customer. They draw a card with an occupation on it, e.g. Gangster, caveman, pirate etc. and you have to pick two words from your hand to name a product that you have to sell to them. They then pick which they like best.

Favourites have included:

Power Pizza to a gangster, “You send it to your enemies, they open the pizza box and POW! Machine guns inside shoot them!”

Grenade Cloak to a ninja, “I know ninja’s don’t usually wear cloaks but what better way to hide a load of grenades!”

Plus a bunch that I can’t even remember right now.

Marrying Mr. Darcy*

Marrying Mr. Darcy

This game always makes me laugh. Pride and Prejudice fans will love this. It’s a strategy card game where you are a female character from the novel and are working to improve yourself so you can attract one of the available suitors. Failure to do so and you will end up an old maid, ha ha. There’s usually a lot of giggling involved as you read the cards.

Whenever there’s a party, you roll a dice to see how you did. I once ended up eating all the cake and making a complete fool of myself. You can also be cunning and steal beauty and wit points from your rivals. There are lots of little nods to the book in the game and for those who haven’t read it, it does seem a bit ridiculous at times, but in a funny way. It’s especially funny playing it with boys.

Elevenses*

Elevenses

I’ve only played this game once so far but it was really fun. It’s so random. Elevenses is a card game in which respectable 1920s socialites strive to serve the finest morning teas! Oh yes, we’re so rock and roll. Like the game above, it’s really funny when played with boys. You all have the same cards (which have different elements of a morning tea spread) that have different actions on them, but the goal is to get your cards all out first through luck and strategy.

Links with * are affiliate links. 

Highly Recommended

  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Flux – any deck
  • Uno
  • Rummikub
  • Pictionary
  • Articulate

Do you play board games? What are your favourites?

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Girl, Missing – Book Review

Girl, Missing is a story of an adopted fourteen-year-old girl who realises that she may have been kidnapped as a baby. This book originally came out in 2006 so I received the 10-year anniversary edition. Though I believe that I am slightly older than the target audience (young adults), I still enjoyed the story. I’m quite interested in the subject of adoption and this was a tale that was different to what I have read before.

In the note from the author at the beginning of the book, the author mentions that they considered modernising the book to appeal to the youth of today – changing the texting to something more contemporary. Personally, I’m really glad that this version stuck to the original edition. It was a nice piece of nostalgia for me since “text speak” was my generation (I definitely no longer type that fast!) and I think it’s good for teens of the following generations to see what life was like before the days of smart phones.

The story itself surprised me. I was expecting the storyline to go in one direction and that would be it but the place I thought the book would have originally ended, was where the plot took a very interesting turn. I definitely enjoyed the last third of the book the most! The majority of the chapters ended in cliffhangers, which made me consume the book in a couple of days. The characters were interesting, relatable and there was never a dull moment.

Though there were times when my 28-year-old self would speak up and say, “this totally wouldn’t happen” in places, my fourteen-year-old self would tell her to shut it. I’m glad I kept reading because it turned out pretty interesting without giving anything away, and there were plenty of twists that I wasn’t expecting. I would absolutely be interested in reading one of her thrillers for adults.

And finally, I will completely admit that I am one to judge a book by it’s cover and this anniversary edition completely passed the test. It’s so pretty!

I would give Girl, Missing a 3 and a half out of 5 stars.

 

*I was sent this book to review, however as usual, all opinions are my own.

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Films I’m looking forward to in 2016

Since Topher and I got our Cineworld unlimited tickets, I’ve been so excited to see all the films. That’s right, all of the films. It’s been years since I’ve had money to regularly attend the cinema so I feel spoiled for choice now. So here are my top films I’m looking forward to this year.

Girl on a Train

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Trailer

After stumbling across the trailer on Youtube, I wasn’t too surprised to find that this bestseller is being turned into a film. I really enjoyed the book but was disappointed to find that yet another British book is being turned American when it arrives on the big screen. The funniest part about it is that the lead is British Emily Blunt, though luckily it appears that she gets to keep her accent. I’ll reserve judgment though and I look forward to seeing it.

 

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

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Trailer

Say anything to do with Harry Potter and I’m there. I’m not sure what to expect from this but I’m looking forward to finding out. The trailer looks amazing!

 

Finding Dory

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Trailer

How many years have Pixar been promising this film? I loved Finding Nemo and can’t wait to find out Dory’s back-story.

 

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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Trailer

Mike and Dave are brothers who cause trouble wherever they go. It’s their sister’s wedding and their parents insist that they find respectable wedding dates. So the boys turn to the Internet. Hilarity ensues… I’m not usually drawn to this kind of film but after watching the trailer I found myself laughing and I’ll definitely be giving this a watch.

 

And for 2017…

Beauty and the Beast

Trailer

I haven’t been following the behind the scenes gossip but after seeing the sneak peek last week, this is on my must list for next year. As soon as the music kicked in I got excited. I always loved the music from the original so am really happy it’s being used. I can’t wait!

 

What films are you looking forward to seeing this year?

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