Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!

Feel free to leave any suggestions or comments regarding music, books, films, TV, theatre or culture related news...

My ratings:
❤️ = Loved it
😐 = It's okay
😝 = Hated it

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Top Ten: My Choices

Movies:
1- La cage dorée
2- Last Vegas
3- The Internship
4- Night Train to Lisbon
5- The Hangover Part III
6- I Give It a Year
7- Captain Phillips
8- Jobs
9- We're the Millers
10- Now You See Me

TV:
1- Vale Tudo
2- The Soup Investigates
3- The Tonight Show
4- The Big Bang Theory
5- Grey's Anatomy
6- Glee
7- Rizzoli & Isles
8- Learn Guitar with David Brent
9- Hello Ladies
10- Hello Ross!

Songs:
1- Tonto de Ti (Os Azeitonas)
2- Carry On (Fun.)
3- Just Give Me A Reason (Pink ft. Nate Ruess)
4- Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke ft. T.I. Pharrell)
5- Ray Dee Oh (Os Azeitonas)
6- Roar (Katy Perry)
7- All Of Me (John Legend)
8- Impossible (James Arthur)
9- Estás À Espera De Quê (João Pedro Pais)
10- Go Gentle (Robbie Williams)

Books:
1- Inferno (Dan Brown)
2- Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy (Helen Fielding)
3- The Power Trip (Jackie Collins)
4- The House of Silk (Anthony Horowitz)
5- Micro (Michael Crichton & Richard Preston)
6- Next of Kin (John Boyne)
7- Rachel's Holiday (Marian Keyes)
8- Sushi for Beginners (Marian Keyes)
9- Rush of Blood (Mark Billingham)
10- NYPD Red (James Patterson & Marshall Karp)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Xmas to all my friends, whether you've been good or bad!
And a Happy New Year! :) xx

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy (Helen Fielding)

What do you do when a girlfriend's 60th birthday party is the same day as your boyfriend's 30th?
Is it wrong to lie about your age when online dating?
Does the Dalai Lama actually tweet or is it his assistant?
Is technology now the fifth element? Or is that wood?
Is sleeping with someone after two dates and six weeks of texting the same as getting married after two meetings and six months of letter writing in Jane Austen's day?
Pondering these, and other modern dilemmas, Bridget Jones stumbles through the challenges of single-motherhood, tweeting, texting, and rediscovering her sexuality in what some people call the 'middle age'.
This is the long-awaited return of a much-loved character!

Quote:"Notice how he makes you feel. Somewhere amidst the list - ´horny´, 'taking stomach medicine due to anxiety' - there should be the word 'happy'"

My thoughts on this book: My first thought about 50-year-old Bridget going through motherhood was 'WTF???'
Then I decided to give it a go and something else disappointed me: 'Mark Darcy is dead?!? Dead?!?'
I still love the way Helen Fielding makes Bridget's voice, and there is pretty cool and up-to-date advice, but I hate the fact that Mark Darcy is dead! Was Colin Firth not available for a third movie...?
I would have related to Bridget Jones had she gotten a divorce instead... and I believe most of the readers would too...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Last Vegas (written by Dan Fogelman; directed by Jon Turteltaub)

Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam have been best friends since childhood. So when Billy, the group's sworn bachelor, finally proposes to his thirty-something girlfriend, the four head to Las Vegas with a plan to stop acting their age and relive their glory days. However, upon arriving, the four quickly realise that the decades have transformed Sin City and tested their friendship in ways they never imagined.

Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco, Michael Ealy, Joanna Gleason, Bre Blair, April Billingsley, Noah Harden, RJ Fattori, Aaron Bantum, Phillip Wampler, Olivia Stuck

Why I loved this film: This seemed like an older version of 'The Hangover'. Four lifelong friends reunite for the bachelor party/wedding of one of their elements - who is marrying a woman almost forty years his junior. There is also the fact that each of the men has some sort of hangup or hangups that will be sorted out during this weekend of debauchery.
But for a movie that does pretty much stick to a standard formula, Last Vegas receives a big boost from its decorated cast. Counting Mary Steenburger, who plays Diana the singer, there are seven Oscars among five actors. Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
Put De Niro, Freeman and Douglas in the same room and you have achieved Gold, whatever the storyline!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

About Time (Richard Curtis)

At the age of 21, Tim Lake discovers he can travel in time... The night after another unsatisfactory New Year party, Tim's father tells his son that the men in their family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim cannot change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life - so he decides to make his world a better place... by getting a girlfriend.

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Lydia Wilson, Lindsay Duncan, Richard Cordery, Joshua McGuire, Tom Hollander, Margot Robbie, Will Merrick, Harry Hadden-Paton

My thoughts on this film: I loved 'Love Actually'; I loved 'Notting Hill'; but I hated this movie!
It was a disappointing, tear-jerking mess. The start seemed promising, but that soon changed.
There was not much story except for the time-travel nonsense; and the whole 'you can't go back to before your baby was born or you will have a different baby' was just too much!
The movie did have its better moments, even genuinely comic ones, but they were not worth the remaining 90%.

Rachel's Holiday (Marian Keyes)


Meet Rachel Walsh. She has a pair of size 8 feet and such a fondness for recreational drugs that her family has come up with the cash for a spell in Cloisters - Dublin's answer to Betty Ford Clinic. She only agreed to go because she heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, gymnasiums, and rock stars - and it is about time she had a holiday!
But what Rachel does not count on are the toe-curling embarrassments heaped on her by family and group therapy, the absence of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll - and missing Luke, her ex.


Quote: "It's tremendously liberating when you don't fancy someone because you don't have to try and make them fancy you."

Why this book speaks to me: Besides Marian Keyes writing in her usual hilarious manner, this novel touched on the very serious topic of drug/alcohol addiction - making it interesting and most definitely entertaining. However, that is all I can say about this book. The topic has been discussed in many formats and it did not bring anything new to the table, the story was too long, and I did not enjoy the constant alternating between the past and present - it becomes a little annoying after a while and hard to keep up with the story. But, overall, as I said, it was entertaining and funny.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Captain Phillips (Richard Phillips, Stephan Talty, Billy Ray; Directed by: Paul Greengrass)



The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.


Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, Catherine Keener, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Chris Mulkey, Max Martini


Why I loved this film: I am not going to go into the political issues surrounding this story and whether it is true or not. I will be leaving that to the Americans. I just have to say that this was brilliantly made, with ten minutes of foreplay before getting into the 'real deal' - unsuitable for people with serious heart conditions!
Tom Hanks was the excellent actor we have become used to seeing on the big screen and never disappointed me at any stage - I foresee another Oscar in the near future -, but I was also stunned to find out that the 'Somali pirates' were not actors or even aspired to be actors, just regular guys hired for the movie. They were outstanding and I would not be surprised if Barkhadi Abdi was also nominated for an Oscar - I also foresee a career change in his future!
I went to see this movie out of curiosity, since 'Captain Phillips' was based on a true story, but it totally blew me away! Probably the best film made this year!

Monday, October 14, 2013

I give it a year (Dan Mazer)


In spite of their differences, writer Josh and ambitious Nat seem happy together since meeting at a party.
Josh is a dreamer while Nat is more pragmatic, but their chemistry is unbelievable. A dream wedding come true, although no one - family or friends - believes it will last. Josh's ex-girlfriend and Nat's attractive new client will make sure of that.

Starring: Rose Byrne, Anna Faris, Rafe Spall, Simon Baker, Minnie Driver, Jason Flemyng, Stephen Merchant, Olivia Colman

Why I loved this film: First of all, I have to highlight Stephen Merchant's show-stealing performance with his trademark cringe humour and very politically incorrect lines at the most inappropriate times. He was definitely my favourite character.
However, I did not understand how Australian Simon Baker came to play an American. His character owns a big factory in Britain and he would have been more believable with a British accent.
The supporting cast are solid, particularly Minnie Driver and Jason Flemyng as a married couple who hate each other.
Overall, I Give It a Year is a fun film to watch. There are enough jokes and twists to keep you laughing and interested all the way.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Diana (Stephen Jeffreys & Kate Snell; Directed by: Oliver Hirschbiegel)


During the last two years of her life, Princess Diana embarked on a secret love affair with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.



Starring: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Douglas Hodge, Geraldine James, Charles Edwards, Daniel Pirrie, Cas Anvar, Juliet Stevenson, Jonathan Kerrigan, Laurence Belcher, Harry Holland


My thoughts on this film: I was a true fan of Diana and felt devastated when she passed away; however, I really believed a movie would show some insights to her complicated lifestyle and death... Boy, was I wrong!
To begin with, Naomi Watts is a good actress and at times you could see that she was trying to look as similar as possible to Diana, but as they say in Portugal 'any similarity is pure coincidence'! Then again the film was boring and not based on a true story, since you cannot base a 'true story' on dialogues between a dead person and a Doctor who claims in a Mirror interview that 'Only myself and my closest friends knew what really went on in our relationship'.
Finally, no one knows what really went on with Diana and her love affairs except the one person who is no longer among us, so I would say to just Let Her Rest In Peace!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Girl Most Likely (written by: Michelle Morgan; directed by: Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini)

Imogene is a failed New York playwright awkwardly navigating the transition from Next Big Thing to Last Year's News. After both her career and relationship hit the skids, she is forced to make the humiliating move back home to New Jersey with her eccentric mother and younger brother. Adding further insult to injury, there is a strange man sleeping in her old bedroom and an even stranger man sleeping in her mother's bed.

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon, Darren Criss, Christopher Fitzgerald, June Diane Raphael, Natasha Lyonne, Bob Balaban, Sydney Lucas

Why I loved this film: It is one of the best comedies out there at the moment!
Unlike many others, 'Girl Most Likely' does not turn to gross-out humour for its laughs, but rather generates them from character, dialogue, timing, and visuals - which are very cleverly thought out.
This is also the first movie I have seen starring Darren Criss and - if I was ever in doubt - I am sure that this guy can do anything: he sings, he acts, he dances, he is funny, and he does all that in one single movie. Watch out Justin Timberlake!
I also loved Kristen Wiig and Annete Bening's dialogues. They were the funniest and most insightful.
A true laugh from beginning to end!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie)
Note: Shortest speech ever... Or 'best speech ever' in the words of Neil Patrick Harris!

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey & Tracey Wigfield (30 Rock)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Tony Hale (Veep)

Robin Wiliams pays tribute to Jonathan Winters (1925-2013): Actor known for his comic roles, among which are ten Grammy-nominated recordings. He died at the age of 87 of natural causes.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Note: Another very funny speech-performance, as always!

Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress in a Comedy Series: Melissa Leo (Louie) and Bob Newhart (The Big Bang Theory)

Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series: Gail Mancuso (Modern Family)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)

Rob Reiner pays tribute to Jean Stapleton (1923-2013): Actress better known for giving life to character Edith Bunker in 'All in the Family'.
Note: I watched this show years later and loved it! R.I.P.

Sir Elton John pays an emotional tribute to Liberace: Introduction by actors Michael Douglas and Matt Damon

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Laura Linney (The Big C)
Matt Damon: 'She's such a great actress that she couldn't even be bothered to show up'

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series: Henry Bromell (Homeland) - Henry passed away earlier this year. His award was accepted by his wife, Sarah Bromell.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad)

Jane Lynch pays an emotional tribute to Cory Monteith (1982-2013): Glee actor who passed away this summer from drug addiction. As Jane usually refers to him, 'a bright light'.

Neil Patrick Harris finally does the musical number everyone has been expecting 'in the middle of the show'

Outstanding Reality Competition Program: The Voice

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)
Note: About time too!

Don Cheadle pays tribute to the last 50 years by remembering the Kennedys and The Beatles: Carrie Underwood sings 'Yesterday'

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Claire Danes (Homeland)

Outstanding Guest Actor/Actress in a Drama Series: Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal) and Carrie Preston (The Good Wife)

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series: David Fincher (House of Cards)

Outstanding Writing in a Variety Series: The Colbert Report

Outstanding Directing in a Variety Series: Don Roy King (Saturday Night Live)

Michael J. Fox pays tribute to Gary David Goldberg (1944-2013): The creator of Family Ties.

Outstanding Choreography: Derek Hough (Dancing with the Stars)

Outstanding Variety Series: The Colbert Report

Edie Falco pays tribute to James Gandolfini (1961-2013): The Sopranos star.

Outstanding Writing in a Miniseries or Movie: Abi Morgan (The Hour)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: James Cromwell (American Horror Story)

In Memoriam

Outstanding Directing in a Miniseries or Movie: Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candelabra)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie: Ellen Burstyn (Political Animals)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra)
Note: Another hilarious speech

Outstanding Miniseries or Movie: Behind the Candelabra

Outstanding Comedy Series: Modern Family

Outstanding Drama Series: Breaking Bad

That is all for the 2013 Emmys!

Friday, September 06, 2013

Jobs (Director: Joshua Michael Stern; Writer: Matt Whiteley)

The story of Steve Jobs' ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century.

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, Matthew Modine, J.K. Simmons, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Eldard, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Dunn, James Woods, Lenny Jacobson, David Denman, Abby Brammell, Annika Bertea, Amanda Crew

Why I loved this film: I was not acquainted with the tumultuous early years of the Apple founder, therefore this movie seemed very interesting to me. Beginning in 2001 with the unveiling of his masterpiece, the iPod, to rapturous applause, the clock is then set back thirty years to 1971, when Jobs was a student at Reed College, Portland.
The storytelling is pretty straightforward, covering the important events of his professional ups and downs but providing little details beyond what is already public knowledge. Jobs' crucial relationship with Wozniak is not very clear, not only because it omits how they met and their chemistry, but also because it barely explains why Woz quit Apple dissatisfied with the direction the company was heading and the person that Jobs had become; We see Jobs dumping his pregnant girlfriend and refusing to recognise his newly born daughter as his own early on, but are given little explanation on how and why he settles down and turns into a family man later. However, I found Ashton Kutcher's portrait of Steve Jobs quite surprising, one can tell Kutcher has put in a lot of effort into the role, emulating his character's awkwardly hunched posture as well as his voice and gestures, to some degree.
Other critics may not agree, but for someone who did not know the Man very well, this was a really interesting movie, which made me believe that if you put your mind to it and never give up, anything is possible. You cannot be too good or life will get you!

We're the Millers (Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, John Morris)

Directed by: Rawson Marshall Thurber
After being robbed, small-time pot dealer David is forced by his boss to go to Mexico to pick up a load of marijuana. In order to improve his odds of making it past the border, David asks the broke stripper Rose and two local teenagers to join him and pretend that they are on a family holiday.

Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly C. Quinn, Tomer Sisley

My thoughts on this film: This is not a gold mine of comedy by any means, but it did the job!
It made me laugh!
They really brought together a dysfunctional family and did it in a way that allowed for some suspension and disbelief.
The 'family' we see on screen is funny, in some ways disgusting, and in a few ways charming.
I loved the story, the characters, and found it quite original in comparison to modern comedy.

Monday, August 19, 2013

R.I.P. Lee Thompson Young


The actor who stars as Detective Barry Frost on Rizzoli & Isles was found today by his landlord after he failed to show up for work. The cause appears to be suicide from a self-inflicted gun wound. Young was 29. I am a big fan of the show and totally speechless. My thoughts go out to his friends and family! R.I.P.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Second Honeymoon (James Patterson & Howard Roughan)

When FBI agent John O'Hara receives a call from a man desperate for his help, little does he know his whole life will turn upside down. The man's son and daughter-in-law have been found murdered on their honeymoon in the Caribbean. He wants justice, and will pay O'Hara handsomely to hunt down the killer.

Quote: "We'd only just met. I could be cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for all he really knew."

My thoughts on this book: It is not just about the 'Second Honeymoon' serial killer; we also have the 'John O'Hara' serial killer on the loose...
I had mixed feelings about this novel; on the one hand, it was full of twists and turns, which was hard to put down, but something felt too much like his other novels. It was fun to read and I loved it, but somehow it does not go on the 'books that speak to me' list, there is a secret ingredient missing...

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

La cage dorée (Ruben Alves, Hugo Gélin, Jean-André Yerles)

Maria and José Ribeiro have been living in Paris for over 30 years. These Portuguese emigrants are loved by everyone in the neighbourhood, so when they finally get the chance to return to Portugal, no one wants them to leave.

Starring: Rita Blanco, Joaquim de Almeida, Roland Giraud, Chantal Lauby, Barbara Cabrita, Lannick Gautry, Maria Vieira, Jacqueline Corado, Jean-Pierre Martins, Alex Alves Pereira, Nicole Croisille, Pedro Miguel Pauleta

Why I loved this film: This is the typical emigrant movie. They have paid attention to every detail on Portuguese emigrants abroad, particularly in France: verbal tics, food they eat, and music they listen to.
Ruben Alves managed to depict this community with sincerity, accuracy and tenderness. Every character - main and supporting - is outstanding and perfectly played by all actors.
This is an overall enjoyable and hilarious movie. I was laughing all the way through and would not mind seeing it again.
The only downside is all the kids and the noise at the movies. I do not think this is a kids' film due to all the swearing, and if you are Portuguese and love our actors, please wait until they actually speak to start laughing out loud. Every time Maria Vieira opened her mouth people would start laughing straight away. She is funny but after a while it became annoying.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Rush of Blood (Mark Billingham)

Three couples meet around the pool on their Florida holiday and become fast friends. But on their last night, the teenage daughter of another holidaymaker goes missing, and her body is later found floating in the mangroves.
When the shocked couples return home, they remain in contact, and over the course of three increasingly fraught dinner parties they come to know one another better. But they do not always like what they find.
Then a second girl goes missing...


Quote: "... Whatever God you believe in, we all get tested in different ways."

Why this book speaks to me: This is brilliantly written with great pacing. There is never a dull moment. It does keep you guessing until the very last chapter. I thought I had figured out who did it by the second death but I was totally surprised and shocked by the outcome. However, I liked the way the book ended and it leaves you wandering whether there will be a follow up. Sometimes it reminded me of an Agatha Christie type of novel but more modern. Totally different from what you see on book shelves.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn)

Julian manages a Thai boxing club in Bangkok as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty. When Julian's brother murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang - the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer, then 'restores order' by chopping off the man's right hand. Julian's mother Crystal - the head of a powerful criminal organisation - arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and raise hell.

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam, Tom Burke

Why I hated this film: Considering that Nicolas Winding Refn also directed 'Drive', which I hated, I am beginning to see a resemblance. Maybe I will lay off his movies from now on. They are not my cup of tea.
I have never walked out of a movie, and this time even I felt like doing it. The only thing that kept me there was the money I had paid to watch it, I thought that I might as well stay to the end.
It took me a while to understand what was going on, but there were times when I felt completely lost and could not figure out the point of the story. Like in Drive, Ryan Gosling hardly ever speaks, but looks rather sad throughout the whole movie, staring point-blank at what is happening around him and having allucinations, which come up out of nowhere.
I also did not see the point of the cop singing in the middle of the story - maybe lack of subtitles in that part did not help much, since it was in Thai.
To top it all, I absolutely hated the extreme violence that seemed to play a main role throughout the entire film. Just not for me!

Monday, July 22, 2013

R.I.P. Dennis Farina


Actor Dennis Farina died today in Scottsdale, Arizona after suffering a blood clot in his lung. He was 69.
Farina starred as Det. Joe Fontana on 'Law & Order' and more recently played Nick's father on 'New Girl'.
Before he became an actor, Dennis Farina was a cop with the Chicago Police Department from 1967 to 1985 and did not start acting until he was 37-years-old.
He is survived by three children, five grandchildren and wife, Marianne Cahill. R.I.P.

Micro (Michael Crichton & Richard Preston)

Three men are found dead in a locked Honolulu office. There is no sign of a struggle, but their bodies are covered in ultra-fine razor-sharp cuts.
Seven of America's top graduate students are invited to Hawaii by a pioneering microbiology company, which promises them access to the very latest scientific discoveries. But they are walking into a death trap.
Exposed to technology of unimaginable power, the group is thrown into Hawaii's rainforest. To survive, they must harness the destructive force of nature itself - and escape the company's trained killers who hunt them through the hostile wilderness...

Quote: "We think they look primitive, we think fewer legs is a sign of intelligence. Because we walk on two legs, we think it makes us smarter and better than an animal that walks on four or six legs."

Why this book speaks to me: I had tried to read other books by Michael Crichton following the success that was 'Jurassic Park' - such as 'Prey' - but I felt disappointed and had more or less given up on him; however, I decided to give the last novel he wrote before passing away in 2008 a chance, and found something much closer to Jurassic Park.
I do not understand how no one has had the idea to turn this into a movie.
I was constantly comparing it to Jurassic Park, since once they are in the micro-world, our scientists are forced to traverse a rainforest that is crawling with gigantic predators.
It would seem that the retreat of scientists to the laboratory is the general inspiration for the novel. In his introduction, Crichton criticises the scientific community for failing to do field work and relying on computer models. Regardless of his aims, Crichton's narrative is solid. The animals often appear quite spooky, the micro-sized tools that the scientists come up with to survive in the micro-world are pretty cool, and the pace is fast. In other words, he covered all the bases.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

R.I.P. Mel Smith




British comedian Mel Smith - from funny duo 'Smith & Jones' - has passed away after suffering a heart attack. He was 60-years-old.
Although Smith had apparently been ill for quite a while it is still a tragedy and great loss for British comedy! R.I.P.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Flypaper (Jon Lucas & Scott Moore; Director: Rob Minkoff)

Tripp walks into a bank to get some change and ends up as a hostage to two bank robber-teams, who decide to rob that bank on the same day. In an almost Sherlock Holmesian way he has to solve this Agatha Christie inspired mystery and win the girl's heart. But not everything is at it seems, and there are many twists and turns in this comedy.

Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Ashley Judd, Tim Blake Nelson, Mekhi Phifer, Matt Ryan, Jeffrey Tambor, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Curtis Armstrong, Rob Huebel, Adrian Martinez, Octavia Spencer

My thoughts on this film: To begin with, I do not understand why this took two years to reach Portugal, since it came out in America in 2011!
Otherwise, the story was original and hilarious! The 'LOL' kind!
The plot was witty with many twists and turns, and the ending caught me by surprise.
Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd made a great team, and I absolutely loved Peanut Butter and Jelly (you have to see the movie to know what I am talking about)!
It was overall fun to watch!

Private No. 1 Suspect (James Patterson & Maxine Paetro)

Since former US Marine Jack Morgan started Private, it has become the world's most successful detective agency. But when his former lover is found murdered in Jack's bed, Jack is instantly the number one suspect.
With his team stretched to breaking point and Jack fighting for his life, he finds himself strong-armed by the mob into recovering $30 million (approx. €23 million) in stolen pharmaceuticals, and Jack realises he is facing his most powerful enemies ever.


Quote: "I made a bad mistake, a backslide, that I deeply regret. But we were making our way back to each other after a long time apart. We were building on all of it, everything we know about each other. There is nothing we can't work out. You can't turn your back on love,..."

My thoughts on this book: I have read the entire 'Private' series, some are better, some are worse, it is a little hard to say which is the best. I enjoyed the start and ending of this novel; however, although I know this is mostly about a detective agency, I found there were too many murders to solve, which does not leave much time to focus on forensics, etc. I prefer those books that will lead you through a whole crime-solving deal towards finding the killer. This one focuses more on what happened and who did it with little in-between.
Overall, it was ok.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

R.I.P. Cory Monteith


The 31-year-old Glee star was found dead in a Vancouver hotel (Canada) after he failed to check out. There is no information as to the cause of death at this time although he had entered rehab in April for substance abuse.
I cannot express how saddened I feel right now. This came as a shock!
My condolences go out to his friends and family! R.I.P.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The hound of the Baskervilles (Arthur Conan Doyle)

Some blame the sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville on the legend of a fearsome and ghostly hound that is said to have haunted his Devonshire family for generations.
So when the services of famed detective Sherlock Holmes are engaged to ensure the safety of Baskerville heir Sir Henry - recently arrived from America - Dr Watson is surprised to find his friend dismissive of the matter. In fact, Watson is dispatched alone to accompany Sir Henry to Baskerville Hall in Devon while Holmes deals with another case.
Yet Watson finds the wild moors are a far cry from the orderly streets of London, and in the cold night a savage and bestial howl may be heard...

Quote: "One great grey bird, a gull or curlew, soared aloft in the blue haven. He and I seemed to be the only living things between the huge arch of the sky and the desert beneath it. The barren scene, the sense of loneliness, and the mystery and urgency of my task all struck a chill into my heart."

Why this book speaks to me: I am still a huge fan of old crime fiction. How I miss the days with no cell phones, where a simple detective had to guess their way out of situations.
I know this has been turned into TV series and movies, but nothing tops a good read leaving it all to the imagination...
There is everything here, the settings of Devonshire, terror, and suspense. What else could I ask for?

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Hysteria (Stephen Dyer, Jonah Lisa Dyer, Howard Gensler; directed by: Tanya Wexler)

The truth of how Mortimer Granville devised the invention of the first vibrator in the name of medical science.

Starring: Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Pryce, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett, Ashley Jensen, Sheridan Smith

Why I loved this film: Set in the 19th century, it tells the interesting story of how Mortimer Granville created the first vibrator.
Due to a fine script and great cast this comedy manages to keep the laughs going throughout the entire movie. It also counts on the presence of Maggie Gyllenhaal, who gives an explosively vibrant portrayal of a woman who will not slot herself into the societal norms of her gender at this time period - leading us towards female rights.
Hysteria is certainly nothing to write home about, but it is a nice change from many of the current 'fight' movies around and it certainly surprised me!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Now you see me (Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin, Edward Ricourt; Director: Louis Leterrier)

An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank robberies during their performances.

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine

Why I loved this film: The movie was so much more enjoyable than I thought it would be from watching the trailers. It has a lot of wit, a clever plot, suspense, magic, humour, twists, and action. The casting was also great.

Overall, I was surprised at how good the story was. The ending is totally unexpected; and I also loved all the magic tricks, the way they blended into the plot and made you realise that sometimes 'the closer you look, the less you'll see'!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

R.I.P. Gary David Goldberg

Gary David Goldberg, the Emmy-winning creator of my two favourite shows ever - Family Ties and Spin City -, passed away last Sunday at the age of 68. He suffered from brain cancer.
The star of both shows, Michael J. Fox, honoured his mentor on Twitter: 'Thank you to all who sent condolences. Extraordinary friend, mentor & partner. Much of what I love he gave to me. Will miss him.'
I will add that the world has lost another great talent! May he rest in peace!

Monday, June 24, 2013

NYPD Red (James Patterson & Marshall Karp)

This is the elite team in New York's police department, handing the cases involving the most important and high-profile individuals in the city. It is Detective Zach Jordan's dream job, but he is about to step into a nightmare.
In the middle of a New York film festival, a maniac begins a very public and very brutal killing sprree targeting Hollywood's biggest stars.
Zach is asssigned a new partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald, who is also his ex-girlfriend. But they will need to put their history aside to have a chance of stopping this homicidal psychopath before he brings New York City to its knees.

Quote: "A lot of these people sleep around, but in show business, adultery isn't a motive for murder; it's a lifestyle."

My thoughts on this book: It has to be the worst James Patterson book I have read so far. I usually enjoy his stories, but this time I did not find anything new... same old, same old!
This is basically about some cops chasing a 'wannabe' who does not bring anything new to the table, even his methods are old.
It is good for passing time, but after a while even I became bored!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quartet (writer: Ronald Harwood; director: Dustin Hoffman)

At a home for retired musicians, the annual concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday is disrupted by the arrival of Jean, an eternal diva and the former wife of one of the residents.


Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly, Pauline Collins, Michael Gambon, Sheridan Smith, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Trevor Peacock, Ronnie Fox

My thoughts on this film: I was interested to see Dustin Hoffman's début as a director and it was not bad; the cast was remarkable, the story pretty interesting and there were a few funny lines; however, this was supposed to be a comedy!!! I grew up in England with British humour, and apart from a few lines at the beginning, I did not find this funny at all... Interesting... But by no means, funny!!!
The end was interesting, once again, because they showed pictures of the actors/singers at their prime, of the 'now and then' type. But I cannot add anything to the word 'interesting'!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Inferno (Dan Brown)

With the words 'Seek and ye shall find' in his head, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon awakes in a hospital bed with no recollection of where he is or how he got there. Nor can he explain the origin of the macabre object that is found hidden in his belongings.
A threat to his life will propel him and a young doctor, Sienna Brooks, into a breakneck chase across the city of Florence. Only Langdon's knowledge of the hidden passageways and ancient secrets that lie behind its historic facade can save them from the clutches of their unknown pursuers.
With only a few lines from Dante's dark and epic masterpiece 'Inferno' to guide them, they must decipher a sequence of codes buried deep within some of the most celebrated artefacts of the Renaissance - sculptures, paintings, buildings - to find the answers to a puzzle which may, or may not, help them save the world from a terrifying threat...

Quote: "It is physically impossible for the human mind to think of nothing. The soul craves emotion, and it will continue to seek fuel for that emotion - good or bad. Your problem is that you're giving it the wrong fuel."

Why this book speak to me: My first thought as soon as I started reading this was 'Oh, no! Not another Robert Langdon book! Here comes another movie sequel!'
The thing is, I have read all of Dan Brown's books, and as much as I loved 'The DaVinci Code', he has also written two completely different thrillers - 'Deception Point' and 'Digital Fortress' -, which depicted completely different matters, either Science-related or government-related. Therefore, as much as I love his books, I was expecting something totally different, with a different storyline, and different characters.
Now, Dan Brown is such a brilliant story-teller that as soon as I got into the story, I left those negative thoughts behind and just enjoyed another cultural composition mixed with suspense and breath-taking moments.
This time I learnt a little about Florence, Venice, and went up to Istanbul (even Paço de Arcos, in Portugal, made a very short appearance).
I also noticed and became more interested in Dante's works. You see, that is the fascination that Dan Brown holds for me - I always seem to learn something new that would not have gotten as much attention from me back in school.
This is, overall, a must-read!

The Internship (Vince Vaughn & Jared Stern)

Two salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital age find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment. - Directed by Shawn Levy

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, Rose Byrne, Aasif Mandvi, Max Minghella, Josh Brener, Dylan O'Brien, Tiya Sircar, Tobit Raphael, Josh Gad, Jessica Szohr, Eric André, Gary Anthony Williams, Will Ferrel

Why I loved this film: This will probably split movie goers, but I must say I am one of the fans! I totally loved 'The Internship' due to its witty writing; I loved the Google experience; it kept me laughing from beginning to end; and, although this is a comedy, it actually depicts the current unemployment issues. I have read a few negative reviews about this film, but I personally felt it was one of the best movies I have seen for quite a while. I even preferred it to 'The Hangover III'!
There was a remark about Biff from 'Back to the Future', which I found funny because as soon as the guy in question appeared I actually thought 'OMG, it's Biff!'
There were also many newcomers and some surprises.
Overall, I am giving this 5 stars!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Hangover Part III (Todd Phillips, Craig Mazin, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore)

In the aftermath of the death of Alan's father, the wolfpack decide to take Alan to get treated for his mental issues. But things start to go wrong on the way to the hospital as the wolfpack is assaulted and Doug is kidnapped. Now they must find Mr. Chow again and surrender him.

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha, Ken Jeong, John Goodman, Melissa McCarthy, Jeffrey Tambor, Heather Graham, Mike Epps

Why I loved this film: I loved the first movie but the second was a bit of a disappointment, so I was a little curious and scared about the third one.
Well, the 'epic finale' was not as epic or quite a finale, if you ask me, I believe there will be a fourth movie; all the elements remain therein.
However, in terms of comedy, all the great actors turned up and it was a laugh from beginning to end. The writers managed to make up for the second 'Hangover' being a disappointment; although, I must warn you that if you are looking for an interesting story then this is not the movie to watch, 'The Hangover' is all about stupid jokes and crazy moments (and Bradley Cooper...) but that is what makes it so much fun! Who cares about the story when there is a decapitated giraffe on the road?
Also make sure to watch at least one of the previous 'Hangover' movies, since there are a few references to those.
Now, let us wait for 'Hangover 4'!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to lose a guy in 10 days (Michele Alexander, Jeannie Long, Kristen Buckley, Brian Regan, Burr Steers)

As directed by Donald Petrie, Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in ten days. Andie Anderson covers the 'How To' column for 'Composure' magazine and is assigned to write an article on 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 days'.

Starring: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Kathryn Hahn, Annie Parisse, Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, Michael Michele, Shalom Harlow, Robert Klein, Bebe Neuwirth

My thoughts on this film: To say this is generally predictable is to state the obvious. It is a familiar comedy to viewers of old movies.
The writing was occasionally witty, often funny, and sometimes it actually reached hilarious moments without being completely silly.
It makes you think about mistakes women and men make in relationships and how to deal with them without going into a real insight of universal truths.
This is one to watch for a good time!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Paulette (Laurie Aubanel, Jérôme Enrico, Bianca Olsen, Cyril Rambour)

Paulette lives alone in a social neighbourhood on a tiny allowance, barely making it to the end of the month. One evening, she becomes aware of strange deals taking place nearby. That is when Paulette decides to become a hashish dealer, and - once used to baking cakes - this old lady will now find original ways to start a brand new career...

Starring: Bernadette Lafont, Carmen Maura, Dominique Lavanant, Françoise Bertin, André Penvern, Ismaël Dramé, Jean-Baptiste Anoumon, Axelle Laffont, Paco Boublard

My thoughts on this film: The story is not 'out of this world', but it is hilarious and a good way to spend a stress-free evening filled with laughs!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sushi for Beginners (Marian Keyes)

Hot-shot magazine editor Lisa Edwards' career is destined for high-rise New York when suddenly she is diverted to low-rise Dublin.
But what can she do about it?
Ashling Kennedy - Lisa's super-organised assistant - worries about everything from her lack of waist to the lack of men in her life. She is even anxious about a little bit of raw fish...
Clodagh Kelly is Ashling's best friend and has her prince, her beautiful kids and a lovely house - everything in fact that Ashling ever wanted. She should be - yet, she is not - happy.
Three women on the verge of happiness and even closer to complete breakdown. Which way will they fall?

Quote: "This pain has changed me, she admitted. This pain that is not going to go away for a very long time has made me a nicer person. Even if I don't want to be, she acknowledged wryly. Even if I consider it a fate worse than death, I am softer, kinder, better."

My thoughts on this book: For starters, I see myself in many instances - and not only for the fact that this is mainly directed at thirty-somethings -, such as the fact that nothing about Ashling's life is, or has ever been, remotely perfect. She has low self-esteem and is going through some very rough times. In the author's words, Ashling has 'loser star quality'- not to forget her disgust regarding raw fish -, but the cherry on top of the cake is when she finds a man and finally starts believing in happiness, her so-called best friend steals him away.
I also see myself in workaholic Lisa and her fear of love and growing up. Will I ever grow out of it? Only the future will tell...
The story was very realistic, but the ending did not seem as realistic to me. Somehow, I was left a little disappointed, since it produced the happy ending that is known to every romantic story.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Big Wedding (Justin Zackham, Jean-Stéphane Bron, Karine Sudan)

A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding.

Starring: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Diane Keaton, Amanda Seyfried, Topher Grace, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Ben Barnes, Christine Ebersole, David Rasche, Patricia Rae, Ana Ayora, Kyle Bornheimer

Why I loved this film: First of all, what a cast! All the greatest in one movie! What more can we expect?
Robin Williams is the best drunken Catholic priest I have seen so far!
However, this is another romantic comedy, nothing new there... but it is still hilarious! No doubt about it!
I found myself laughing from beginning to end, although, be aware, most jokes are sexually-based. You take in the Catholic ideal that you should not have sex before marriage, but if you do, do not wear a condom; you meet people who have too much sex as well as virgins; and you meet divorced and married couples who cheat on each other.
All these come together within one big laugh assisted by the right amount of drama. A good choice for a fun night at the movies!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

R.I.P. Chris Kelly


Chris Kelly - a.k.a. Mac Daddy - from 90's rap duo Kriss Kross was pronounced dead earlier today from a suspected drug overdose. He was 34.
Kriss Kross were known for dressing backwards as well as their most famous single 'Jump'.
I was not a fan but I remember seeing them live at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, in the UK, back in 1992.

Here is a video someone else posted of that event:

Monday, April 29, 2013

Next of Kin (John Boyne)

It is 1936 and London is abuzz with gossip about the affair between Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson. But the King is not the only member of the aristocracy with a hard decision to make. Owen Montignac - the handsome and charismatic descendent of a wealthy land-owning family - is anxiously awaiting the reading of his late uncle's will. For Owen has run up huge gambling debts and casino boss Nicholas Delfy has given him a choice: find £50 000 by Christmas - or find yourself six feet under.
So when Owen discovers that he has been cut out of the will in favour of his beautiful cousin Stella, it is time to prove how cunning he can be... And Owen is nothing if not inventive - even a royal crisis can provide the means for profit. And for murder...

Quote: "I think it's generally only those who don't have a title who hold them in contempt".

Why this book speaks to me: John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and is the award-winning author of sixteen novels published in over forty languages.
The reason why I love Mr. Boyne's books is that he writes fiction based on a world of true events, whether it is WWII or an actual murder that took place a long time ago (refer to Crippen). In this case, John Boyne takes us to early 20th century England dealing with the death penalty, displaying actual trials - which was the most interesting part for me -, and royal scandals.
Murder and vengeance play a major role in this story showing us how great minds think and may get away with anything while 'not so great minds' are bound to fall. I cannot add much, since there is an unexpected twist of events towards the end, but it is worth reading.
One of the best novels yet!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Promised Land (John Krasinski & Matt Damon)

In this movie, directed by Gus Van Sant, a salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.

Starring: Matt Damon, Hal Holbrook, Frances McDormand, Titus Welliver, Lexi Cowan, Tim Guinee, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Krasinski, Scoot McNairy

Why I loved this film: This time we have the writing-directing-acting trio from 'Good Will Hunting' with John Krasinski filling in for Ben Affleck.
The movie combines a big bad natural gas corporation, sales pitching, and environmental elements all rolled into one.
For those of us who are not that familiar with all the related environmental hazards, the storyline spends enough time explaining this in an easy to understand way, as well as exploring how far these companies will go for money.
Matt Damon once again manages to deliver a believable performance with many dramatic, funny, and romantic lines helped by a more laid-back yet serious John Krasinski - in the end it becomes a little difficult to decide who to feel sorry for out of the two of them.
As always the outcome includes a romantic scenario, but not much will be written on that as not to spoil the story.
Overall, I found it very interesting and bound to start many discussions on the subject.

Djibouti (Elmore Leonard)

Dara Barr, documentary film-maker, is at the top of her game. She has covered neo-Nazis and post-Katrina New Orleans, but now she is looking for an even bigger challenge.
So Dara and her right-hand man, Xavier, head to Djibouti - in the Horn of Africa - to tackle modern-day pirates. But they soon find a whole lot more than they bargained for and quickly learn that almost no one in Djibouti is what they seem.
A mob of colourful characters patrols the seas, including a pirate chief with a taste for fine cars and an Oxford-educated sheikh with scams of his own. And then there is the gun-toting Texan billionaire Billy Wynn, and James Russell - an American al-Qaeda convert who wants to blow up something big. As hijacked tankers line up like floating bombs, Dara and Xavier know it is time for a showdown...

Quote: "You were yourself, always you every minute. Different than other women."

My thoughts on this book: Storywise, I found it pretty interesting. You have al-Qaeda and pirates combined with fictional characters played in movies, such as Jack D. Ripper - played by Sterling Hayden in 'Dr. Strangelove' -, and actor mentions, as is the case with Morgan Freeman, Naomi Watts, and Will Smith. Add this to crime fiction and murders; you have an outstanding result.
However, there are times when it becomes a little confusing due to the timespan between the actual events and video editing by Dara and Xavier.

Monday, April 08, 2013

R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher


The former British prime minister has passed away at the age of 87 after suffering a stroke.
Lady Thatcher was Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 and the first woman to hold the role.
At the time I was not old enough to give Politics much thought but I remember her as someone who was a big part of my childhood years and a great inspiration to women.
My thoughts go out to the Thatcher family at this time.
May she rest in peace!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Night Train to Lisbon (Pascal Mercier, Greg Latter, Ulrich Herrmann)

Directed by Bille August, an ageing Swiss professor quits his job after a chance encounter with a Portuguese woman and travels to Lisbon in the hope of discovering the fate of Amadeu de Prado, a doctor and poet who fought against Portuguese dictator Antonio de Oliveira Salazar.

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Mélanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Tom Courtenay, August Diehl, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin, Nicolau Breyner, Charlotte Rampling, Helena Afonso, Beatriz Batarda, Sarah Bühlmann, Marco D'Almeida, João Lagarto, Joaquim Leitão, Adriano Luz, Ana Lúcia Palminha, José Wallenstein

My thoughts on this film: I read the book by Pascal Mercier and - with much respect to the author - I found it boring. The story is good, but the way it was written... just not my cup of tea. Therefore, when I went too see the movie, I was expecting to be bored out of my mind and had a wonderful surprise.
The story is a little slow, there is not much action, but I found it interesting in terms of History. This deals with a very important part of Portuguese History, the Portuguese dictatorship of Oliveira Salazar, and uses a fictional Portuguese author to lead us deeply into our past.
I also found it weird that people older than me were so shocked at a scene where the PIDE (Portuguese police at the time) were beating a man's hands. I was not even born then and I know they did much worse things! Maybe a little History lesson would help!
On another chapter, it was fun to see some very famous Portuguese actors and actresses in this film speaking in English, especially Nicolau Breyner (Mr. Silva) - I was very surprised to hear his English accent!
In terms of Jeremy Irons, I always thought he was a very good, meticulous actor, and he proved just that. Mr. Irons was actually the only foreigner who managed to pronounce the Portuguese names correctly.
On a bad note, I did not enjoy the beginning and ending very much; they seemed unnecessary to the script, as well as unfinished.
Overall, I have the feeling that only Portuguese people will enjoy this movie, but it is still worth seeing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The House of Silk (Anthony Horowitz)

It is November 1890 and London is gripped by a merciless winter. Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are enjoying tea by the fire when an agitated gentleman arrives unannounced at 221B Baker Street. He begs Holmes for help telling the unnerving story of a scar-faced man with piercing eyes who has stalked him in recent weeks.
Intrigued, Holmes and Watson find themselves swiftly drawn into a series of puzzling and sinister events, stretching from the gas-lit streets of London to the criminal underworld of Boston and the mysterious 'House of Silk'...


Quote: "If I were a philosophical frame of mind I might wonder to what extent any one of us is in control of our own destiny, or if indeed we can ever predict the far-reaching consequences of actions which, at the time, may seem entirely trivial."

Why this book speaks to me: It is yet another case of not being able to put a book down once I started reading it. 'The House of Silk' was so well written, with every aspect, every character, every movement extremely well described... everything was in place. I felt like I was there, or better yet, as Anthony Horowitz writes in the end 'only Sherlock Holmes has the power to bring me back to my childhood'. And for all Sherlock Holmes fans, like me, do not be put off. Mr. Horowitz was approached by the Doyle Estate to write this book, and being a fan himself, he remained true to the original stories depicting Holmes. I was not at all disappointed by how it turned out, but rather surprised in a very good way!
The story itself reminded me of recent events in Portugal, something that made the news, but I will not say more as not to spoil the ending...
I cannot, however, end this post without declaring my love for a type of crime fiction from an Era with no mobile phones, no internet, no DNA. I am talking about the 19th century. The only thing detectives had to work on were their brain - which they must put to good use - and premonitions.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Side Effects (Directed by: Steven Soderbergh; Written by: Scott Z. Burns)

A young woman's world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects.

Starring: Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Polly Draper, Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Costabile, Mamie Gummer

Why I loved this film: First of all, it is not exactly what I would call a 'thriller' - more like 'suspense' fiction; then again, I cannot talk much about this movie without giving the story away so I will only say WOW! 'Side Effects' is better than it seems with a very unexpected twist.

Monday, March 04, 2013

The Love Killers (Jackie Collins)


Beth, Lara, and Rio - three exotic women with a common cause and vengeance in their hearts. They are out to avenge a murder and they will go to any lengths.
Their targets are the heirs of the Bassalino crime family.
Their weapon is sex.
The result is a bloodbath of sexual mayhem through the lethal corridors of organised crime.
Three beautiful women set out to prove that when it comes to revenge, the female is far, far deadlier than the male!



Quote: "The man who comes to you with his dick hanging out may want to make it with you, but does he want to work next to you? Does he want to see you get paid the same money for the same job he's doing? Hey - what about the guy in the street who undresses you with his eyes... Is he your equal, baby? Well? WELL?"

My thoughts on this book: On the one hand, it starts in an exciting manner with an unexpected ending; however, there comes a time when this is nothing but a bloodbath.
Overall, it is a fun book to read. With a lot of Girl Power!

Saturday, March 02, 2013

This is 40 (Judd Apatow)

A look at the lives of Pete and Debbie on their 40th birthday.

Starring: Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Maude Apatow, Iris Apatow, Jason Segel, Megan Fox, John Lithgow, Tatum O'Neal, Ava Sambora, Melissa McCarthy, Billie Joe Armstrong, Ryan Adams

Why I loved this film: Judd Apatow is known for laughs and this is no different. There is not much essence storywise, but you are promised a non-stop laughing fit from beginning to end.
I would call it 'ridiculously crazy', but that is what makes this so much fun to watch!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars



Hosted by: Seth Macfarlane

Actor in a supporting role: Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Animated Short Film: Paperman

Animated Feature Film: Brave

Cinematography: Life of Pi

Visual Effects: Life of Pi

Costume Design: Anna Karenina

Makeup and Hairstyling: Les Misérables

-> James Bond tribute featuring Shirley Bassey

Live Action Short Film: Curfew

Documentary Short Subject: Inocente

Documentary Feature: Searching for Sugar Man

Foreign Language Film: Amour

-> Tribute to Musicals with Catherine Zeta Jones (Chicago); Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls); the cast of Les Misérables

Sound Mixing: Les Misérables

Sound Editing: Zero Dark Thirty; Skyfall (an unusual situation where there is a tie)

Actress in a supporting role: Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Film Editing: Argo

-> Adele singing 'Skyfall'

Production Design: Lincoln

-> In memoriam: Tribute to those who left us with the final note by Barbara Streisand

Original Score: Life of Pi

-> Nora Jones singing 'Everybody needs a best friend' from Ted

Original Song: Skyfall

Adapted Screenplay: Argo

Original Screenplay: Django Unchained

Directing: Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

Actress in a leading role: Jennifer Lawrence

Actor in a leading role: Daniel Day Lewis (the first actor to win three 'Best Actor' category awards)

-> A surprise appearance by Michelle Obama

Best Picture: Argo

-> The End with a spectacular number 'To the Losers'!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hitchcock (John J. McLaughlin & Stephen Rebello)

Directed by Sacha Gervasi, this tells the story of Alfred Hitchcock and his wife, Alma, who are at the top of their creative game as film-makers amid disquieting insinuations about it being time to retire. To recapture his youth's artistic daring, Alfred decides his next film will adapt the lurid horror novel, Psycho, over everyone's misgivings. Unfortunately, as Alfred self-finances this film, Alma finally loses patience with his roving eye and controlling habits with the leading actresses. When an ambitious friend lures her to collaborate on a work of their own, the resulting marital tension haunts Hitchcock's dreams.

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Danny Huston, Toni Collette, Jessica Biel, James D'Arcy, Kurtwood Smith, Ralph Macchio

Why I loved this film: Not being a Hitchcock fan because I did not know much about the film-maker to consider myself a fan, I have come to respect the 'man' and the 'genius'. I do not know how accurate this is, yet 'unrecognisable' Anthony Hopkins does a remarkable job. I love it when an actor makes you forget they are acting, and that is exactly what Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren do. There could be no better choices for these characters!
The movie itself is also really good with some pretty creepy aspects, but then this is the story of how 'Psycho' was made. Although it is not exactly a biography of Hitchcock, this is a movie not to be missed!

Friday, February 08, 2013

The Power Trip (Jackie Collins)


A Russian billionaire and his state-of-the-art yacht, a beautiful and sexy supermodel, and five dynamic, powerful, and famous couples are invited on the maiden voyage: a senator and his lovely but unhappy wife; a very attractive movie star and his needy ex-waitress girlfriend; a famous black footballer and his trophy wife; a male Latin singing sensation and his English boyfriend; and a maverick writer with his Asian journalist female friend.
Could this be the trip of a lifetime? Or a trip from hell?


Quote: "The deserted island was a magical place. A glorious oasis in the middle of the sea. Pristine white sands, crystal-clear blue water, pockets of unusual rock formations, lush greenery and groves of palm trees heading inland."

My thoughts on this book: I was a big Jackie Collins fan because I used to love the glamour of Hollywood combined with suspense that jumped out of her books. However, this one was a trip from hell for me.
A 517-page story which only becomes exciting on the 400th page, and yet not as extraordinary as I had hoped.
The only 'up' was the beautiful scenery described therein, otherwise I was just bored hoping to finish the book as soon as possible.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Sessions (Ben Lewin)

This is the true story of Mark O'Brien, a polio victim who decides at the age of 38 that he no longer wishes to be a virgin. We follow the fascinating relationship which evolves between Cheryl Cohen-Greene - a professional sex surrogate - and Mark as she takes him on his journey to manhood.


Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Rhea Perlman, Robin Weigert, Rusty Schwimmer, Jarrod Bailey


Why I loved this film: This is a truly brave performance where John Hawkes and Helen Hunt take us on a journey of self-discovery, combining professionalism, playfulness, sensuality, and compassion in a series of sessions that require full nudity.
It is not just about the sex, but rather the human touch, finding oneself through others, with humour in the mix - that is where William H. Macy comes in.
A definite Oscar-worth movie in every way, bound to let your emotions run wild!