SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

I’m not going to lie, this has been a terrible work week. The girl who is responsible for out rotas messed up everyone’s holiday so we’ve been pretty short staffed this week. As it’s the school holidays that means we’re extra busy so we’ve all been feeling the strain. It’s times like this when everyone starts to feel unappreciated and used. There’s a very bad atmosphere in the branch right now and it’s not a great place to be. It’s also meant that I’ve been super tired and not really in the mood for reading much this week. So I’ve barely got any further with my reading. And it doesn’t help that I’ve officially got 3 books on the go. Even though student me was more than capable of reading three books at once, it seems that 30 year old me is only just able to cope with one. But I really don’t see why I care so much. I think starting Instagram has made me more competitive about reading quickly but this also means I’m more likely to read badly. If I’m focusing on quantity rather than quality then I’m not giving each book my full attention. So I’m vowing to give up on yearly book quotas and just focus on getting better at the basic act of reading.

Currently Reading

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The only bit of reading I’ve done this week has been to get a few more chapters into this book. I’m reading my old university copy so it’s both lovely and cringe-worthy to read my old notes. Some of them of so silly that I’m a bit ashamed.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling
I’m gonna just say it. I hate The Chamber of Secrets. If I decide to get back to this then I might skip a few chapters until Harry and co are back at school. It’s just too boring at first.
  • The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet
It’s frustrating that I really want to finish this but that I need to focus on Sense and Sensibility. I’m going away for a few days next weekend so I’ll take this with me and see how it goes.

Recently Purchased 
  • Jane Austen Collection (Arcturus Classics) by Jane Austen

I couldn’t resist this hardcover boxset of Jane Austen novels when I found it pretty cheaply. I’m not exactly her biggest fan but these covers are to die for. You may have seen them grace my Instagram recently and I can promise you that you’ll be seeing them time and time again. 

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
I bought this book for three reasons: 
      1. I have an upcoming Instagram prompt that I need it for. 
      2. I really have wanted a copy of this for ages. 
      3. The new eau-de-nil covers for Penguin Modern Classics are just gorgeous. 
I mean, for a book with pictures of two murders on the front, this is one beautiful book. I’ve spent all day filling my virtual basket with more of the new green backed classics and watching the as the total racks up to an insane amount of money. I’ll probably just buy them sporadically instead of all in one go.

Recently Watched 
  • Netflix Binges: Futurama, Veep
I’m quite enjoying my subscription to Now TV. I miss Netflix, obviously, because their original content is pretty damn good for the most part. However, there are plenty of shows I’m finally getting the chance to rewatch or start from scratch. I’ve only seen the later seasons of Futurama once so I’m not as familiar with them but there are some great episodes that I’d forgotten about. I’m not as big a fan of the series of specials but season 7 onwards has some gems. Then there’s Veep which I’d never seen until now. I love it. It’s got everything great about the Thick of It but with Julia Louis-Dreyfus being awesome as an added bonus. I’ve also got my eye on Silicon Valley but have yet to start that binge.

  • Baby Driver
An ex-colleague and I have a standing arrangement to get together at least once a month to go to the cinema. She and I have pretty similar taste in films but she desperately wants to see Valerian. I managed to convince her that Edgar Wright’s new film was the better choice. Come back Tuesday to hear my thoughts.
  • Rough Night
Had been quietly tempted by this because of my love of Kate McKinnon. I should probably stop basing my film choices solely on my love for the actors involved. I reviewed this for my last Tuesday’s Review.

  • Very Bad Things
There have been plenty of comparisons between Rough Night and this 90s dark comedy. So I decided to revisit it to see what all the fuss was about and so I had something to talk about for TBT this week.
Tuesday’s Reviews – Rough Night (2017)

Tuesday’s Reviews – Rough Night (2017)

There’s a lot to be said for my love of Kate McKinnon. I was almost 100% sure that I didn’t want to ever watch Rough Night but every time I saw the trailer I couldn’t help but think “Kate McKinnon though…”. So I decided to just go with it. Best case scenario: it’d be the new Bridesmaids. Worst case scenario: well, I’ve seen both of the Sex and the City movie and it’s got to be better than that, right? Don’t even ask me how that happened but it did. When you’ve seen those films and Mama Mia it becomes really difficult to imagine a film that I can hate quite as much. With every second of SATC2, each cell in my body started to shrink into itself out of anger and embarrassment; embarrassment for the people who made it, the people who liked it and for me, for making the decision to watch it. The good thing about writing this blog over the years is that I have a different range for what is good and bad. It’s like studying novels of sensibility during my Masters degree. I suddenly found a new appreciation for all of the books I thought were rubbish because they all had something more than just countless stupid young women fainting at the slightest sound. Once again, provided nobody in Rough Night fainted in the arms of their creepy uncle/step father then this definitely wouldn’t be the worst story I’ve ever experienced. So that’s something.


For one moment back in 2011 it seemed as though the world was finally ready to accept that women deserved to be given the chance to be a outrageously funny as men. As though everyone else was as sick of seeing the guys from films like The Hangover get into drunken capers and were as desperate to let the ladies have a go. Unfortunately, the change never really happened and the path towards gender equality in terms of comedy films has been a slow and painful one. It’s not as if people haven’t tried. Hell, Paul Feig is and Melissa McCarthy are trying desperately to make the raunchy female lead comedy land. It hasn’t quite worked in the way we wanted. Look at the internet’s reaction to a female only Ghostbusters for fuck’s sake. Clearly, that glass ceiling is still as thick as ever.

But that doesn’t mean Hollywood isn’t willing to give these types of films as chance when they arise. The latest is Rough Night from the writers of Broad City and boasts a great cast of female talent. It is also, in its basic form, like a female reworking of the 1998 Jon Favreau film Very Bad Things with a slight hint of The Hangover. A while ago I read a comment on the internet, probably YouTube, that was basically an outcry from some guy about remaking Very Bad Things with women. Now I can just about get that people were worried about Ghostbusters because it’s such a classic. But Very Bad Things? Nobody is worrying about that reputation being ruined. I mean it’s not exactly gone down in cinematic history. Who’s thinking “oh, I vividly remember watching Very Bad Things for the first time and don’t want my important memories to be destroyed”? Yeah, no one.

But, as it happens, Rough Night actually builds on the Very Bad Things legacy by being forgettably bad. The film is set around one night on the bachelorette party of wannabe Senator Jess (Scarlett Johansson). It is being planned by her college roommate Alice (Jillian Bell) who is feeling neglected by her old friend. Joining the pair are their fellow college friends, Blair (Zoë Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer), who are battling with their messy romantic past as well as problems in their current lives. A random element turns up in the shape of a woman Jess befriended during a year studying in Australia. Pippa (Kate McKinnon) is a bit of a weirdo and instantly puts Alice’s nose out of joint by appearing to be much closer to the bride-to-be. After a night of cocaine, drinking and choreographed dance routines, the group return to the house they’ve rented to carry on the fun. Blair orders Jess a stripper but, a ridiculous accident, causes his untimely death. The ladies are then left with a body on their hands.

From the outset, Rough Night is desperate to prove that these women are ready to party and there is no underlying sense of judgement going on. The women are all allowed to enjoy their night out without the audience getting the feeling that it’s wrong. It also helps that the characters naturally fit together on screen. Their attempts at typical lad banter feels more natural than it does in a lot of these types of films. Rough Night isn’t a terrible film and there are plenty of funny moments. However, most of these moments are the smaller, throwaway gags that get lost in the mess. The rest of that mess is catered to specific criteria set about for commercial purposes. There is the generic slapstick silliness from the trailer and the cringey attempts to bring big laughs to all the idiots that are rushing out to see this film. It’s mostly just a big miss and the best moments are brushed aside for supposedly “guaranteed” laughs.

Rough Night isn’t the worst movie of this type around and, thanks mostly to the cast, manages to create some positive and memorable moments. However, it is a film that is clearly at odds with itself. It is written by clever writers who know how to bring the humour out of weirdness and stars actors willing to get a bit freaky. However, it ends up playing too close to the stereotypical humour of these R rated comedies. It’s a bit too big and brash to really work completely. Everyone is working overtime to make it come together but it’s a runaway train of outrageous comedy. As the narrative moves forward and more insane subplots keep popping up it just gets out of hand. Rough Night is trying so hard to be The Hangover that it’s forgotten the heart that made Bridesmaids so appealing. It’s so annoying in it’s desperation to appeal to everyone that is forgets to be funny or sweet. Although, there are some positives to take away. Most notably the relationship between Blair and Frankie, which is played out more naturally than most same-sex romances you see on screen anymore. This film could have been good had it focused a bit more on emotions and character than on trying to compete with the guys.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

You may have noticed that I missed my weekly TBT review this week. That’s because this week I’ve been suffering from a deadly plague. Or the flu… same thing. Since Tuesday I’ve been feeling moments away from death so I haven’t really been up for anything other than moaning and lying down. I even watched fucking Van Wilder for the post, which was a terrible experience and it ended up being for nothing. I just wasn’t up to writing the post so I decided, this one time, that I would skip it. I’ve just not had the energy to do anything this week and, because we’ve been short staffed for months, I’ve been forced to keep working. So I’m not getting any better. It means I haven’t really been doing anything when I get home though. Reading is a think of the past. This is probably a pointless post but I want to try and get back on track. So, sorry for the last of exciting news. Next week I’ll be better or, at least, make something up for you.

Currently Reading

  • No reading this week. Too ill.   

Recently Purchased
  • Pocket Penguins
I bought two more for my collection this week and they are beautiful. They are: Monkey by Wi Ch’eng-en and Lust, Caution by Eileen Chang. It’s all part of my ongoing quest to diversify my bookshelf after I started to worry I was too focused on Western writers. I like to think I am open to writers of other cultures but I still only stick to the big names. I’m starting with the Pocket Penguins to help me ease my way into a more varied literary life. 
Recently Watched
  • Office Christmas Party
Saw this way after Christmas. It’s safe to say I wasn’t impressed. Read why here
  • National Lampoon’s Van Wilder
Watched this for the unwritten TBT post this week. It’s so hard, considering my love of Ryan Reynolds, to go back to his early days when he was starring in shitty films like this/ It’s so cringey and childish comedy. If it can even be called that. Most of the jokes fall flat and it’s just embarrassing. Especially when certain members of the cast have gone on to bigger and better things. I sort of wish they hadn’t ever done this shit. 
Tuesday’s Reviews: Office Christmas Party (2016)

Tuesday’s Reviews: Office Christmas Party (2016)

As we’re now well into the month of January 2017, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the time for watching Christmas films is over. You’d be correct but I’ve had a weird desire to see this film for ages now. I say weird because my expectations for the film were microscopic. It looked abysmal and, let’s be honest, Jason Bateman isn’t exactly known for his superb film choices. However, my insane love of Kate McKinnon meant that I really wanted to give it a chance. After all, doesn’t she guarantee that, even if the whole thing is baf, that she’ll provide adequate comedy to make anything passable? Well I certainly hope so. Considering I’m potentially drenching myself in bad luck by watching this after the twelve days of Christmas is up.  Imagine if it’s bad and Santa doesn’t bring me any gifts next year. Sheesh!

Office Christmas Party seems like it should be a super simple film: a childish boss organises a Christmas party at work that gets wildly out of hand. However, thanks to the seemingly endless number of writers, this film becomes unnecessarily bloated and full of needless characters. Especially when you consider that, at it’s most basic level, it is a comedy about a staff Christmas party that gets wildly out of hand. I mean it was hardly crying out for subtext or depth. Just some typical workplace comedy utilising the cast of great comic talents and enviable improvisational skills. Instead we have a film in which the titular Christmas party is actually less important to the plot than almost everything else happening on screen. If anything that’s just an after thought.

The main narrative of Office Christmas Party involves ambitious CEO Carol (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to shut down her brother, Clay’s (TJ Miller), branch of their recently deceased father’s tech company. She will only give the branch a reprieve if Clay can land a high profile account. So Clay teams up with his friend, CTO Josh (Jason Bateman) and the head of tech Tracey (Olivia Munn) to encourage the account manager Walter (Courtney B. Vance) to agree to a partnership. Apparently the only way to make this happen is to throw a massive Christmas party that Walter never really seems keen to attend.

So there we have the central theme running through this travesty of a Christmas comedy. In addition to that is Josh’s impending divorce and attraction to Tracey; new single mum Allison (Vanessa Bayer) dipping her toe back into the dating pool; the head of HR ary (Kate McKinnon) and her desire to not cause offence to anyone in the world ever: and the desperate attempts of Nate (Karan Sori) to not lose face in a lie about a hot girlfriend by hiring an escort. And even that isn’t the end of the plot points on display but if I try and name all of them here it’ll waste too much time and space.

The problem with Office Christmas Party is that it tries too hard to be funny. There are so many failed attempts to be funny that the random times in which it happens just don’t seem as great. I mean if you throw enough darts at a dartboard then at least one of them is bound to hit something big, right? There were too many voices being heard when this film was being written and it shows. It is bogged down by the huge cast of characters and the number of storylines that it’s meant to tie up before the credits role. It means that none of them feel satisfactory. It’s all kind of cliched and obvious but nothing memorable. Even the great improvisers like Kate McKinnon aren’t really given much room to work and are wasted in terrible roles. I even felt sorry for Vanessa Bayer, my least favourite SNL current cast member, for being underused here.

Office Christmas Party is so keen to create whimsy, fun, and Christmas cheer that it fails to manage any of them. Everything is forced instead of feeling natural and the jokes are so clearly signposted that the eventual punchline is more of a comfort than a joy. This is just a lazily written film that takes any potential it had and throws it out of the window. It’s cheap and easy comedy that adds a few emotional plots in for good measure. The central love story and brother/sister relationship are lacking in real sentimentality and seem to exist only for the traditional Christmas spirit ending. I knew that this film was going to be terrible before I watched it but even I was surprised by how bad it was. Never has is been so obvious that ideas were lacking. Well, what else explains the need to throw every possible scenario onto one screen? If I do get bad luck this year then it’s clear that Office Christmas Party wasn’t worth it..

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Fictional Characters I’d Invite to Christmas Dinner

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Fictional Characters I’d Invite to Christmas Dinner

It’s so close to Christmas it’s unreal. In 10 days it’ll be Christmas Eve. I think I’ve just about got my presents all sorted but who really knows. I’m not a fan of last minute shopping but I tend to need little stocking fillers as I go through the month. Still, I’m mostly there. As it’s a time of celebration I’m adding a few additional posts this month. Each year I’ve released a Christmas top 10: My Essential Christmas films and My Least Favourite Christmas films. So I’m planning on keeping them as festive as possible but I’m likely to run out of ideas by next week. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I decided to delve into the world of fantasy dinner party and decide who I’d invite to my ultimate Christmas celebration.
Ten: Brienne of Tarth

My main reasoning for including Brienne on this list is simply because it’s kind of a habit to include her on all of fictional character based lists. It’s no secret that she’s my favourite character in both the book and the show. It’s also no secret that I adore Gwendoline Christie. If Brienne came to my Christmas dinner then I’d spend most of the time just starring at her the way Torumund did at Castle Black.

Nine: Belle

Now I’m not talking about the Belle from the upcoming, unnecessary live action Beauty and the Beast as played by the annoying Emma Watson. Nor am I talking about the Belle on the show I’ve tried so hard to enjoy Once Upon a Time. No, I’m talking classic, animated Belle. She’s always been my favourite Disney princess because she loves books as much as I do. There’s nothing I enjoy more than talking about books and it’s something I don’t really get to do too often. So, I’d love nothing more than sitting in a post-Turkey daze and discussing my favourite novels with Belle. Unlike friends, she might appreciate the Romantic era fiction that I recommend to her. Of course, being so fucking cynical, I’d find her hopeless romantic thing quite annoying but it would be something we could happily debate on.

Eight: Holtzmann

Another of my latest character obsessions. Jillian Holtzmann is the greatest thing to come out of the Ghostbusters reboot and Kate McKinnon is such a fantastic performer. I’d love the chance to meet the Holtz but worry that she would make dinner a little awkward. Not that I don’t love awkward moments but, as a perfect host, I’d have to think about my guests. Still, I love her so she’s coming.

 Seven: Rob Fleming (High Fidelity)

High Fidelity is one of my favourite books and films. I love it. You may remember Rob was featured on my list of Top 5 Fictional Husbands. As such, I’d love to invite Rob to my Christmas dinner. I mean we both a predilection for making Top 5/10 lists so we could definitely turn it into an amusing dinner table game. He’d also know the best tunes to play before, during, and after dinner to keep us all in the party mood.

 Six: Leslie Knope

Re-watching Parks and Rec recently gave me an all new appreciation of Leslie Knope and what a great person she is. She champions women, loves her friends, and won’t back down in an argument. She’s the kind of person I pretend to be but much nicer and much more successful. I’d love to sit next to her at Christmas dinner because, not only would we have a great in-depth discussion about all things, I think she’d share my childish love of the holiday.

Five: Thor

Thor is my favourite superhero. I love all of the Norse mythology and his Shakespearean qualities. He’s so dramatic and literal about everything. I have to admit it would be kind of cool to have him at my Christmas dinner just so I could say there was a real-life God there. Kinda cool, no? Plus, the arms are always a plus. He also seems that he’d be fun to have at a party. Asgardians are basically Vikings and they were kind of up for a good time. Also, how great an after dinner game would it be to try and lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir? You’ve had all the turkey so now let’s find out whose worthy.

Four: Buddy the Elf

I don’t know about you guys but I always feel that Christmas Day is kind of let down after the endless weeks of lead up. I’m not saying I’ve ever had a terrible Christmas Day but we’re always just so exhausted we end up eating and lounging for the entire day. What we really need is an injection of Christmas spirit. And who has the largest supply of that round here? Buddy’s love for the holiday is contagious and he’d have no trouble getting everyone up around the piano for a sing song. With Buddy at your house, every Christmas can be like the ones you see in every American sitcom’s Christmas special. Plus, you know, the candy.

Three: Tyrion Lannister

Despite everything the Bible tries to tell us, Christmas is basically about excess and over-indulgence. It’s about spending too much money, stuffing your face, drinking too much, and basically letting go. Who embraces these ideas more than anyone? Yes, the self-titled “God of tits and wine”. To re-appropriate Ke$ha for a second, the party don’t start til he walks in.

Two: Newt Scamander

Not only would the addition of Newt to the party mean guaranteed Eddie Redmayne but it would also mean some fantastic stories. Newt has travelled all over the wizarding world and met some of the most amazing creatures. He’d be able to fill the time with so many exciting tales. There’s always a boring lull on Christmas Day when you’re eaten too much but there’s a few hours before Doctor Who is on. Newt would be the perfect person to fill the silence. Hell, if we’re lucky he might even get his Niffler out… which, as I’m writing it down, definitely sounds like a euphemism you might come across in the wizard world. Hey, Newt, how’s about you let my play with your Niffler.

One: Sookie St. James

This is the second time this month that Sookie has been in the number 1 spot of my top 10 list. Maybe she’ll be the new Brienne? Anyway, I think Sookie would be a great person to invite to dinner. Not only would she definitely bring something scrumptious to eat but she’s just such lovely human being. Why would you want to spend this holiday with people who were anything but nice? My only doubt would be the fact that she would clearly be silently judging everything that was being cooked for her. It would take about five seconds of her being in the house before she was “fixing” everything that was being made in the kitchen. Still, what a meal we’d get in the end.

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 fictional characters I’d want in my zombie apocalypse squad

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 fictional characters I’d want in my zombie apocalypse squad

These Top 10 Wednesdays really sneak up on me so I’m always caught off guard. I don’t know why I’m so shit at remembering considering it happens at the start of every new month. I try and spend the month thinking about the next one but still feel unprepared when the day finally arrives. This month I wanted to celebrate the upcoming ghoulish celebrations by making it Halloween themed but my proposed Top 10 Alternative Halloween films list just didn’t happen. So I’ve decided to keep that for closer to the day and have instead decided to delve into a topic that is fairly controversial for me. I think I’ve made it clear that I’m fucking bored by zombies these days but, at a time like this. you can’t really get away from the little buggers. So it begs the question, if the day ever comes when the undead decide to fight back who do I really want by my side? What I’m essentially doing is creating the cast list for my ultimate dream zombie apocalypse movie. And I know what you’re thinking, why not just find 10 characters who have survived zombie apocalypses? Well, that would be both boring and not as much fun. So, I’ve avoided that wherever possible. It’s going to be great. But probably not. You know who these things go.


Ten: Gillian Holtzmann

 A bit of a weird one I must admit because she’s mostly prepped for dealing with ghosts. However, look back at her fucking awesome gun sequence in Ghostbusters and you’ll see she’s pretty handy with firearms. She could easily change her targets if need be. Plus, you need people who are gonna be fun if you’re the last remaining humans on Earth. I mean I love Andrew Lincoln so much but Rick Grimes is so fucking miserable and annoying. I’d have given him up to the Walkers many seasons ago. Holtzmann would put the “ha” in zombie ha-pocalypse. Also, you need more than death in a zombie movie. The sexual tension between me and the Holtz would be palpable. Or, more likely, entirely in my head and making everyone else uncomfortable. But you know, subplot.

Nine: Rupert Giles

I know, I know. Why would you pick someone from the Buffyverse and not pick Buffy herself? Well, think about it. Buffy is great, undoubtedly, but you have to spend every day with these people. Every day. Look at Buffy in season 5 and beyond. She moans… a lot. That would be super annoying after a while. Yes, she’s the chosen one but why does she have to be so holier than thou about it? Yes, Giles may have a propensity for getting bashed on the head every time he tries to fight someone, at least he knows a fuckload about the forces of evil. Surely if there’s anyone that could find a way to end the zombie plight then it’d be Giles. Besides, every zombie film has that one person who always falls into a zombie trap and needs rescuing. If I don’t provide that person then it would end up being me.

Eight: Minerva McGonagall

 Minerva is old, make no mistake, but she’s a badass motherfucker and I want her on my team. Just look at her in Deathly Hallows, she’s a queen. She faces off against Snape, holds her own in the Battle of Hogwarts and says two of the best lines in the final two films. Minerva is a powerful witch that, when Dumbledore was alive, was always overlooked. She’s amazing. Plus, you know, Maggie Smith. 

 Seven: Sherlock

In all honesty I wasn’t sure about including Sherlock on the list. He’s hardly an action hero who would be able to stand up to the zombies. However, he is the kind of guy who could help with strategy. He’d know how to keep people safe and where to get the supplies we need. He’d be the one that would wind everyone up but would ultimately save everyone’s life. Brawn isn’t everything you know. Zombies shouldn’t be the only ones looking for braaaaaains.

 Six: Obi Wan

 There were a lot of people from Star Wars that I could have chosen to be part of my dream team but there were more that I knew wouldn’t work: Luke and Yoda would be far too annoying; Chewie would no doubt growl loudly enough to alert a horde to our presence; Darth Vader would definitely kill you given the chance; Anakin is annoying as fuck; and Mace Windu was clearly shit as shown in his fucking stupid death. It essentially came down to Leia, Han and Obi Wan. I chose Obi Wan because I’m a bigger fan of Ewan McGregor’s face than I am Carrie Fisher and Han Solo without Chewie just didn’t seem right. Besides, he was a pretty big deal during the Clone Wars so General Kenobi would be a fine edition to the team.

Five: Ellen Ripley

Ripley is often considered to be the greatest female character of all time and it’s easy to see why. She’s an amazing character who has lived through enough alien encounters to make it obvious that she’d survive this. Ripley is exactly the kind of person you need around when things get tough and it doesn’t seem as though she’d be too annoying to be around. If anything I think she’d be my sassy, cynical soulmate. We’d be BFFs in no time. I’m positive.

Four: John McClane

Earlier this year I was asked in an interview “which fictional character would you most identify with?” As I’d watched Die Hard a couple of days before I could only think of this guy but I think it’s a pretty good answer. John McClane is the kind of guy I’d want to be around in a crisis. Now I’m not talking about Die Hard 4 era John McClane. I’m talking 80s god John McClane. The guy who single-handedly took down a whole gang of German thieves. Imagine what he could do in a zombie apocalypse? I mean he’s a man who doesn’t mind being dirty, he thinks on his feet, and he’s handy with the weapons. Exactly the kind of man who’d get you through a zombie infestation.

Three: Brienne of Tarth

 I realise that there are very few lists on this blog that don’t contain Brienne of Tarth now but there’s a reason for that. The woman is a fucking badass. She’s handy with a sword, fucking huge, and just really awesome. I’d love to be stuck with her at the end of days. She’d protect me and help me get things off high shelves. I mean she fought a bear and lived for fuck’s sake. Why wouldn’t you want her around. And I’m pretty sure Podrick would just follow her around anyway and, as we know, I a fan of the Brienne-Pod friendship. It would add some much needed sentiment to my Z-movie.
  
Two: Jack Bauer

So I’ve saved the best til last. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Jack Bauer is handy in a crisis and knows how to stick to a deadline. If there’s anything we learnt from the 9 seasons of 24 it’s that Jack Bauer can turn anything into a weapon which would be incredibly handy given it’s the end of the world and supplies would probably be limited. The guy’s got skills. He’s also incredibly attractive so it only increases my chances for romance in my zombie movie. You know how it is: I nearly get eaten by zombies, Jack Bauer saves me, he proceeds to shout abuse and threats at me and, obviously, one thing leads to another. This shit writes itself.

One: Groot

Fun fact: the game I’ve played most on Steam is Plants vs Zombies. I used to play is as I was writing my essays so it would be open for hours on end whether I played it or not. As such I’ve managed to get 190 hours of play recorded on my account. This means I know a fair bit about zombies by now. If there’s one thing I know it’s that they don’t fair well against plants. Therefore, the best man to destroy them is a massive fucking tree. Not only was he the greatest thing in Guardians of the Galaxy but he would surely have the power to stop zombies making their way across your garden. He is Groot. I am Groot. We are Groot.

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

I’m running so late with this because I promised to help out my brother-in-law with an essay he’s got to hand in. I’ve supposedly been proofreading it since Friday but I’ve really only just got round to it. This weekend has been rough so I’ve just put it off. So I’m rushing to get this out but I’ve not really done a great deal this week. I promise you aren’t missing out on much.


Currently Reading
  • End of Watch by Stephen King

I’ve read a bit more but I’m still not convinced it’s worth my time. Especially as the pile of deserving books is getting larger by the day. I’ll be fair and give it another week just to be sure.

Recently Purchased

  • His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
A book from the Man Booker 2016 Longlist that had a blurb so awesome I couldn’t help but buy it. A brutal murder has taken place in the Highlands in the 1860s and a young man has been arrested. The book, set out as a memoir, tells us that he is guilty but we must wait to discover what drove him to commit the act. It sounds fucking brilliant. Obviously, if I had unlimited time and money then I’d have bought the entire Longlist but I’m trying to limit myself to the ones I can’t live without. I decided this was the best place to start. 
  • Spider-Gwen Vol 1 by Jason Latour
When I was still wasting an insane amount of money on postage getting my weekly comic book order shipped to my house I fell in love with Spider Gwen. She’s awesome. However, I got a little behind with my reading when I stopped the comic books. So why not get every issue I  probably already own in one handy dandy book?
  • Batgirl Vol 1 by Cameron Stewart
Likewise, Batgirl. I love her. To be honest, this mainly comes down to her sense of style. It’s because of her that I’ve desperately seeking a cheap pair of yellow Dr Marten boots. I don’t think I have any physical copies of Batgirl so I decided it was time to track down the collection. I’ll get them all eventually. After all, I’m always willing to read a few good comics and if it means picking up a few fashion tips then it’s all the better.  
  • Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin (Blind Date Book Company)
To be honest, this really isn’t the kind of book that I’d have bought for myself. The coverart is pure chick-lit and the premise is too trashy thriller even for me. It’s the usual kind of guff, survivor of a serial killer suspects that the man she helped imprisoned is not the man who tried to kill her. Noting too exciting. Still, I found myself in possession of this novel when I took a chance on the Blind Date Book Company. I picked out this mystery book based on three simple words and ended up with this. I’m sure it will be a decent enough read but this was more about the experience of getting a surprise book int he post. it was fun and an experience I’m keen to repeat. 

  • Hostage by Robert Crais (Blind Date Book Company)
The second book in my Blind Date Book Company haul and another book I’d never have picked myself. That’s the fun though, right? This is another crime thriller about a frontline negotiator who is haunted by his dead family. After taking a job in a sleepy town, the police chief finds himself in the midst of a Mafia stronghold. Sounds like a mindless kind of thing that’ll keep me entertained enough. 

Recently Watched
  • Sisters
Kind of wanted to see this when it came out. Really wanted to see it when I found of Kate McKinnon was in it. Now regret being so excited. See my Tuesday review for more details.
  • Step Brothers
TBT really is just my chance to watch one of my favourite films once a week. This week was no different as I continue my TBT Will Ferrell retrospective
Tuesday’s Reviews – Finding Dory (2016)

Tuesday’s Reviews – Finding Dory (2016)

Pixar have established themselves as the greatest animation studio in Hollywood right now. They are beloved by critics and audiences alike but they have never been able to harness they talent to become consistent. One moment they release a showstopping film like Inside Out and the next they’re offering the forgettable Good Dinosaur. For every Toy Story 3 there is a Brave to follow. Pixar have managed to create some of the greatest animated films of all time but they have also been responsible for some truly shitty ones. Plus, they don’t really have a great track record with sequels. They constantly churn out follow-ups to their big films but they have generally had trouble meeting the expectations set by the first. There is the odd occasion in which the second film will be better , Toy Story 2, but for every success there is a Cars 2. So the announcement back in 2012 that there would be a sequel to the fucking awesome Finding Nemo it was a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, we all wanted to see what was happening to our favourite characters yet we didn’t want our love of the original to be put in jeopardy thanks to an underwhelming sequel. I guess that fear is the main reason it took me so bloody long to get round to seeing it.


It’s been 13 years since Finding Nemo came out. Every time I hear that I have to take a second to collect my thoughts and stop freaking the fuck out. It’s been so long and I think it’s safe to say that nobody expected there to be a sequel at this point. I doubt many people actually really wanted one. The story was a great one that came to a satisfying conclusion. We didn’t need anymore and, if people were craving more from Nemo, Dory and Marlin, then they could just rewatch the animated classic. However, as of 2012, director Andrew Stanton decided that Dory’s story hadn’t finished so he wrote Finding Dory. A sequel that owes enough to it’s predecessor whilst being a separate film in its own right. A film that was created to be enjoyed by those who have watched and rewatched the first film but still accessible to those youngsters meeting our fishy friends for the first time.

The film delves into Dory’s (Ellen DeGeneres) past from the off where we see her much younger self struggling with her short-term memory problems with the help of her living parents (Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton). As well all know from the first film, that happiness is short lived as Dory manages to lose her family and end up wandering the sea with no idea of where she came from. Until she bumps into a frantic clownfish searching for his lost son. Cut to a year after the events of Finding Nemo where Dory has settled into family life with her new friends. Everything is going swimmingly until she begins to remember snippets from her past. Forcing the trio to go on an international adventure to find her parents.

The journey takes the trio to California and the Marine Life Institute. Dory is captured by some marine biologists and sent to Institute’s quarantine area. There she meets her new travelling buddy Hank (Ed O’Neill), a gruff octopus who is trying to prevent his release back into the ocean. The two work their way around the park to get Dory to the home she once knew with the help of the quirky residents. Meanwhile, Nemo (Hayden Rolence) and Marlin (Albert Brooks) make their own way into the park and attempt to reconvene with Dory. To be honest, the narrative is essentially a rewrite of the first one where the three main characters are kept apart for as long as possible before being dramatically reunited in an emotional climax. Still, that is forgivable because of the extra elements necessary to allow a character with memory loss to head the film. There is an added element of mystery embedded in the plot as we discover who Dory is as she does. We end up compiling an image of her past with every flashback before we finally find out the whole sad story. It’s like fucking Memento for kids.

After all, Finding Dory is a terribly sad tale. We see a lost and lonely fish desperately try and get back to the family whilst being held-back by a condition that has hindered her life since childhood. We see as she finally gains the confidence to see past her difficulties and make her own way. It’s a weird but lovely take on how life with a disability doesn’t have to hold you back and you can be strong enough to overcome everything. Even more than the first film, Finding Dory is a sentimental, thought-provoking and emotional film. It will create just as many tears as it will laughs and that’s what makes it so great. It is a very human film hidden in a beautiful under-sea world.

We all know that Pixar are on comfortable ground when it comes to the animation side of things and it cannot be denied that the film is visually stunning. However, they are also able to create incredible characters. Every single character added to the returning faces are spectacular. The stand-out, of course, it Ed O’Neill’s Hank. A character who not only epitomises the studio’s animation prowess (I cannot get over that scene where the octopus is introduced) but their talent for writing very real and lovable characters. Hank may be crabby but, through his narrative journey, it is impossible not to fall in love with him. His fellow inmates of the MLI are equally as wonderful. My personal favourites are, of course, Ty Burrell as a beluga whale who has lost faith in his echolocation abilities and Kaitlin Olson as a near-sighted whale shark.

Finding Dory is a film that may lack in originality but is overflowing with enough charm, heart and silliness to prove that it doesn’t matter. It may not be the sequel we needed but it is the ideal one. People will constantly argue about which of the films is better but really it doesn’t matter. It is overflowing with memorable characters that you will love forever. Plus, those fucking otters are OTTERLY adorable.

Tuesday’s Reviews – Ghostbusters (2016)

Tuesday’s Reviews – Ghostbusters (2016)

It’s fair to say that the Ghostbusters reboot has had a lot to contend with before its release this month. As you may remember from way back in March I have been defending this film from people who dismissed it immediately. I wanted to see this film from the minute I saw the first trailer. It looked fun and I wasn’t melodramatic enough to believe that it was going to destroy the original just by existing. Although I can’t exactly describe what I was expecting to feel when I left the cinema but I certainly didn’t expect to end up having to question my sexuality solely thanks to Kate McKinnon. I mean I knew I loved the character from the trailers alone but that action sequence got me a little more hot and bothered than I would have thought. Holtzman is my everything at the moment. But getting away from my new found love/obsession for a moment, because it’s the healthy thing to do, I have to be honest that I didn’t come out of the film as happy as I assured the doubters that I would be.

Ghostbusters is not exactly a carbon copy of the 1984 original but the plot does owe a great deal to its predecessor. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is an uptight physics professor at Columbia University. Her track to tenure is put into jeopardy when an embarrassing book about the paranormal that she co-authored in her youth resurfaces on Amazon. She gets in contact with her old friend, Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy), to get the book removed before her bosses see it. Ultimately, both women lose their jobs in education, along with Abby’s co-worker Gillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon). but they quickly find themselves involved in a real-life ghost hunt at a nearby haunted mansion. Erin is left having to admit that ghosts are real and the three women set-up shop above a Chinese takeaway. 
After another ghost sighting in the Subway, they are joined by subway worker and New York history buff Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). Whilst undertaking their research into the ghostly goings on in the city, the foursome decide that they should also use their knowledge to protect the citizens from the growing number of apparitions that are terrorising their lives. Of course, the group eventually realise that the increased activity is down to a bigger plot to unleash the dead on the world to crate havoc. Despite being branded as fakes, only the Ghostbusters can save the day and stop the end of the world. 
So, yeah, it’s a pretty familiar plot with a few modern and gender updates. I’m going to be honest, there was plenty that I liked about the film and there are jokes a plenty here. I mean the gags come thick and fast but that’s mainly because the narrative is so unimaginative. The villain of the piece barely registers here and, despite the fact a connection is attempted between him and our heroic team, he is never explored in any real detail. The whole end of the world thing is just a bit of a throw away here. With so much riding on this reboot, it deserved a better plot and a more in-depth villain. 
Although, that’s not to say that I hated everything about the plot. I think this film, more than the original (boy, is that a risky thing to say), properly introduces us the world of ghost-hunting. I enjoyed the scenes where Holtzmann introduced the team to their various proton-weaponry and helped them test it. Ultimately, these scenes were let down by shitty editing but it was certainly something I would have loved more of. Although, that might just be because it would have guaranteed more Holtzmann. Still, the plot is so reminiscent of the original that it carries the weight of that film on it’s already laden shoulders. 
Which is the major problem I find with the film. I realise that as a reboot of such a beloved film Paul Feig and co. wanted to show their respect to it. However, there is too much of a connection with the original Ghostbusters that you just couldn’t escape the feeling that you might as well watch that instead. The cameos and in-jokes, whilst fun in a certain way, just felt cheap and cheesy in the long run. They didn’t always work and I would have preferred the film without them. 
Still, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I enjoyed the film and am keen to see it again. A lot of the cringey jokes from the trailers seemed to work in their original context and the four female leads work really well together. I think all characters need more development but there is an undeniable group chemistry that works well on screen. From my completely unbiased view (ahem), it is McKinnon who steals the show as the whacky and hilarious Holtzmann but Leslie Jones’ Patty is nowhere near as annoying and redundant as the trailers suggested. I would have loved more for McCarthy and Wiig, who seem destined to forever be stuck playing the same characters but in different outfits. However, there is definite potential there. 
The women are all funny and have a great sense of comic timing, which is good because the film is jam packed with jokes. Not all of them work completely but there is enough to keep everyone happy. I mean Andy Garcia’s Jaws mayor joke may just be one of the funniest things I have ever heard. So, if only for that, it’s worth a watch. The problem is, the film feels rushed and unfinished. It suffered from an identity crisis whilst it tried to cater to the kid crowd and still pleasing the, now grown-up, fans of the original. The script isn’t always very tight, the editing seems choppy in a lot of places and the CGI is much more Haunted Mansion than it should be. Even though I wanted to admit to loving this film I can’t deny that it’s not perfect. To be honest, it really should have been considering who was making it. 
However, I’m still an optimist at heart and I have to say that it’s got something about. It’s charming and silly. There is plenty of potential there for future films. Something which I definitely would like to see happen. Much like the American Office only really got watchable after it stopped trying to copy the English version, I think this reboot will really get off the ground when it gets out from the original’s shadow. No offence to Parks and Rec writer, Katie Dippold, but get a better writer in there and have a think about what tone is needed and we could be onto a winner. Ghostbusters wasn’t a good enough film to destroy the backlash the trailer received online but it was almost there. 
This film didn’t necessarily back-up my many arguments with coworkers about how good it looked. What it did, was show me how good it could be if it got the chance. It also told me that that there’s very little Kate McKinnon could ask me to do that I would say no to. I’m fucking hooked.