SUNDAY RUNDOWN – THAT’S WHAT SHE READ

Batman, books, currently reading, Kiefer Sutherland, Lego, poetry, recently watched, Will Arnett

Yesterday marked the start of my holiday from work and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve needed some time off and am planning on making use of it whilst I can. Knowing me, though, this will actually entail me sleeping til noon every day and then wasting my days in front of Netflix. Hopefully, I’ll get some reading done and some actual stuff accomplished. I’m definitely planning on seeing The Ghost in the Shell later on this week. I’m not sure how I feel about it but have some faith in it. I feel pretty safe with Scarlett Johansson but the film hasn’t done well so far. I can’t tell if that’s because it is genuinely bad or because people are just boycotting because of the whitewashing outrcry. I understand why people are pissed, obviously. There is a problem with casting white actors in roles that should be filled with Asian actors and Hollywood continues to deny that that problem exists. However, I’ll give the film a chance because that’s what I do. And because my friend really wants to go and see it. No doubt you’ll see my thoughts on here very soon.

Just Finished
  • Little Black Classics
In order to shamelessly get my reading count up for March I ingested a few of these LBC. I got through The Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift, O frabjous day! by Lewis Carroll, and On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas De Quincey. They were all as fabulous as these books always are and I succeeded in making it seem as though I’d read more books this month than I would have done.

Currently Reading
  • The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion
Slowly getting on with this one and, quite frankly, I love it. At first I didn’t think that it was quite as engaging as The Rosie Project but I think I’m actually liking it more now. I realise that Adam Sharp is a bit of a cad but he is an understandable one. Everything he does seems realistic and is reminiscent of how normal people would act in those situations. It feels more representative of real life than The Rosie Project ever did. 
Recently Purchased
  • So Much Poetry
I got a bit excited yesterday and ordered a few books of poetry. I didn’t need to but I’m just in the mood for poetry right now. They are all contemporary poets who mostly deal with issues about love but that’s fine with me. I just need to get back into poetry. The works I bought are: Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics, the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace, and No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay.

Recently Watched
  • Lego Batman
I have to admit that I was excited to see this film and I wasn’t disappointed. Find out more in my review last Tuesday.

  • Batman and Robin
Re-watched this 90s classic, which is so often called the worst film ever made. Weirdly, my TBT review didn’t just consist of me criticising it. Want to find out more, check out my review.
  • Netflix binges: 24
I have to admit this week’s Netflix binge wasn’t actually a Netflix binge. I’ve gone back to my collection of 24 DVDs and have finished season 5 and started season 6 in the past few days. I love season 5 because of Martha Logan and Aaron Pierce. Fabulous. Of course, it presents sadness from the heartbreaking death of Edgar. I’ve never gotten over that one. However, season 6 is, perhaps, the worst series of the whole show. It’s so boring and everything gets bogged down in politics and the Bauer family drama. I don’t give a shit about his brother or sister-in-law. I just want him to fuck up more terrorists.

Tuesday’s Reviews – Lego Batman (2017)

animated, animation, Batman, Channing Tatum, DC, films, fucking beautiful, fucking funny, Lego, Ralph Fiennes, review, silly, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis

Let’s be honest, Batman has something of a chequered history when it comes to live action adaptations of the comic book character. Aside from the supremely cheese but colourful television show of the 1960s and the best forgotten Joel Schumacher films of the late 90s, the Dark Knight has provided something of a literal interpretation. The films created by Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan and, Zack Synder are all part of that super cool, edgy and moody brand of superhero film. Batman has long since shed the image of his cartoony caper when Adam West was the man behind the cowl and has transformed himself into an angsty longer who most probably listens to MCR and muttering about people just don’t “get him”. So, when Lego Batman, voiced by the supremely funny Will Arnett, became the breakout star of the 2014 The Lego Movie nobody was sure how his solo outing would fit within Batman’s canon. Especially cause, as we know from the past, comic book fans are massive dicks about this kind of thing. A colourful, family friendly and comedy filled story is hardly on a even playing field with the politically heavy and mature narratives on display in Nolan’s trilogy. After all, the sillier that Batman became the more his fans complain. I mean are we still not ready to admit that there is something so gleefully bad about Batman and Robin that we kind of don’t completely hate it? No? Okay then.


I was excited about Lego Batman and I could never understand the people I met who weren’t. The signs were all there that it could end up being magnificent. The Lego Movie was great, Will Arnett is always super funny and Lego leads to so many possibilities. Like all the other Lego video games I’ve played over the years, the Lego Batman one were full of in-jokes and silliness that made my heart leap. The only thing that could go wrong are the fans. As we’ve seen before, there are certain Batman fans out there that take their shit very seriously. They don’t like the idea of someone taking the caped crusader and making a mockery out of him. Which, when you think about it, is kind of silly considering what he’s put himself through over the years. He is an ageing billionaire who dresses up at night and plays with expensive toys in the streets of Gotham. If that doesn’t deserve even some gentle ribbing then I don’t know what does.

And Lego Batman is full of references to the character’s past. There are multiple references to the comics as well as each film adaptation and the, now, infamous television series. We see flashbacks to previous costumes and mentions of iconic moments. We are in no doubt that this is supposed to be the same characters who, as he points out himself, has aged remarkably well since his first appearance. There will be people who will fan this continual fan service annoying and will become irritated by the endless in-jokes and self-parody. I, however, have always been one of those people that loves it when these Easter Eggs appear.

Of course, none of this means that Lego Batman doesn’t know who it’s main audience is. There are plenty of jokes for the older members of the audience who remember where Batman has come from. However, it is, at its heart, is a children’s film. It is filled with the same sort of action and adventure that the first one offered and it hammers home its major theme with exuberant force. That moral being “it’s better to face things together than alone”. After all, Batman is the solo hero who never plays well with others and avoids significant relationships. There is a beautiful moment, after he has once again saved Gotham, where Bruce Wayne sits alone in his mansion eating Lobster and watching Jerry Maguire. He doesn’t celebrate with her super-friends but microwaves his dinner and reminisces about his dead parents. He’s sad, wounded but has too great an ego to realise it.

Until he finds himself unwillingly taking on partners. When Commissioner Jim Gordon retires at the start of the film his daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson) offers the masked vigilante a chance to work with the police instead of against them. He, unsurprisingly ignores this offer and, when his nemesis the Joker (Zach Galifianakis) hands himself and his evil colleagues over to the police, Batman, against Barbara’s better judgement, decides it is time to rid the world of Mr J once and for all. When sending him to the Phantom Zone only results in the escape of every famous villain of film, television and literature Batman must finally accept help to get things back to normal.

All the while Bruce must come to terms with his issues with family when he accidentally adopts an orphaned boy, Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). Alfred (Ralph Fiennes), his father figure and butler, thinks it will help him to accept the boy but Batman just uses him in the same way the Lego Star Wars games used young Anakin: to get into small spaces. The back and forth between Batman and Robin is fantastic and their relationship is a perfect melding of both sides of the coin. We have a sidekick who is straight out of the 60s TV show and a brooding hero that has more in common with Christian Bale than Adam West.

There are moments when Lego Batman loses its grip slightly and some jokes that just don’t land properly. There is an awful lot going on and a huge range of characters to contend with. A usual criticism of super hero movies is the final act when the big bad is suddenly joined by more big bads to up the tension. Here, we see every possible bad buy stepping forward to cause chaos and, whilst the end results is exciting as fuck, it proves to be a tricky thing to pull off. It doesn’t quite work on a visual basis and there are perhaps one too many irons in the fire. However, I feel as though it’s worth it for Eddie Izzard’s Lord Voldemort and Jermaine Clement’s Sauron. The final action piece is another of those moments that has so much fan-service to contend with that the story gets lost a little. It could have done with some refining.

Watching Lego Batman is not the same as watching The Lego Movie. But it’s not supposed to be. This isn’t a sequel and it has dropped several of the themes that made the previous film so refreshing and original. It is, instead, a celebration of an iconic character using the same beautiful animation and propensity for fun that it’s predecessor was so loved for. This is a Batman film like we’ve not see before. In a sea of endless bleakness where Bruce Wayne is concerned, this film puts him back in the fun zone and shows us that superheroes don’t need to take themselves so seriously, Who else but Will Arnett could get away with rapping his way to victory? Not Christian Bale that’s for sure. Unlike everything we’ve been programmed to believe, Lego Batman shows us, once and for all, that silliness is best and being broody and dark is not the best way to achieve anything. Wouldn’t you rather microwave Lobster for four instead of one? This isn’t the Batman we know but he is the one we deserve. And, after the abysmal Batman vs Superman, he’s also the one we desperately need right now.

THAT’S WHAT SHE READ – SUNDAY RUNDOWN

book, books, currently reading, fucking awful, Harry Potter, Lego, thriller, YA

I had such great plans for today. I was going to write this early, get a head start on tomorrow’s post and watch something to review on Tuesday. By this point all I’ve done is tidy and rearrange my room. On the plus side, I’ve no longer got books stored on every inch of available floor space since I’ve taken over an unused bookcase. It does, however, mean I’ll be playing catch-up all week. We’re only in 2016’s second month and already my plan to sort my shit out is failing. I haven’t updated my blogging schedule in ages. At least I’m actually reading though. That makes shit easier. Although, I’m also still buying a fuck load so I still need to get quicker. Come on 2016. This is still THE year.

Recently Finished
  • The Widower by Fiona Barton
Finally finished this one and. have to say, it was as disappointing as I expected. To say that this was the new The Girl on the Train it a massive overstatement, and I say that as someone who really didn’t enjoy that book. The twist ending in Girl on the Train was shot but at least it existed. The Widower didn’t even try to be surprising. And the whole psychological thriller thing? The extent of the psychology on display was “women like kids y’all”. An dull and insipid novel that, at times, felt like it was written by a child. Not a fan.

Currently Reading
  • Things We Have In Common by Tasha Kavanagh (Kindle edition)
I swear this book has been following me around for months now. It’s fucking everywhere I turn. So I decided it was time to finally read it. Not sure how I feel about it so far but I’ve only read a tiny amount. I imagine it’ll be a slow burner.

Recently Purchased
  • This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp (Kindle edition)
Saw this on my Instagram feed and was obsessed with the idea. Taking place inside a school during a mass shooting. It sounds dark and sad but an incredibly interesting prospect. We all know how I feel about YA though so I’ll probably moan it’s not deep enough. I worry I’m getting to predictable.
  • The Buried Giant by: Kazuo Ishiguro (Kindle edition)
Bought this in hardback but found myself unable to get into it. I decided that, as I’ve been finding Kindle reading so easy, it was worth the small price to buy a second copy. I really want to make it through this because I love Ishiguro so I hope this helps. 
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
I loved the film adaptation of this book and was desperate to read the novel before I saw it. That, obviously didn’t happen, so I’ve been putting off getting the book until now. My friends have told me its really good and I’m interested to see how the idea works on paper.

  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Another impulse buy because it was cheap. It keeps popping up in my recommended section and I’ve heard non-stop good things about it. Of course, this is mostly from YA fans so I’m holding out judgement until I’ve read it. It’ll probably take a while to get to it though.
  • The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Why did I get this book? It was free. Amazon have an ongoing deal that if you do something Kindle related before Feb 26th then you get a free Kindle book. This was the best one for me out of the 6. I know nothing about it so we’ll see. 

Recently Played
  • Lego Harry Potter
I had this for DS years ago but thought the use of touchscreen was clumsy and didn’t make for comfortable play. I gave up really early on despite my unbreakable love for all of these games. So I finally got it for PS3 and I’m loving it so far. Casting spells is so much easier and the whole thing is less of a mind-fuck. It’s also making really nostalgic for the whole franchise. I have a sudden urge to read the first book and watch the first film again, which is something I haven’t felt in years. Maybe the old Harry Potter fan is still in me somewhere. 

THAT’S WHAT SHE READ – SUNDAY RUNDOWN

book haul, books, currently reading, Game of Thrones, Lego
This week I’ve been on holiday from work. It was my intention to relax before the Christmas rush really starts and buy any remaining presents I needed. The reading side of my plans hasn’t gone awfully well but I’ve done almost nailed the present side of things. I have to admit that I’ve probably bought more for myself than other people. You’ll get a small glimpse into this further down the page. I’m so fucking selfish that as soon as I spend time looking for other people I find at least three things I “really need”. I’ve also bought about 5 different Christmas party dresses (four of which went back) and a shitload of make-up that will eventually go to waste. Considering Christmas is one of my favourite times of year it doesn’t half show me how terrible I am at life.

Currently Reading
  • Hotels of North America by Rick Moody

Another book I read about online and couldn’t wait to order. It’s a book that sounds fucking weird but is so engrossing that I’m sure I’ll recommend it to everyone. Hotels of North America is the story of hotel reviewer Reginald E Morse as told by his postings to RateYourLodgings.com. When Reginald goes missing it is his reviews that give a real insight into the man and why he suddenly vanished. Moody’s novel is almost impossible to put down and expertly blurs the lines between reality and fiction. Read it now. I urge you.

  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

See last week.


Recently Purchased

  • Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

This is one of the books from this year that I really wanted to read. It’s one of those books that you can’t get away from online and my interest was immediately piqued. This debut from American poet Essbaum has pretty much received unanimous praise. Following the story of a young American housewife who turns to adultery to escape the boredom of her suburban life in Zurich. The novel has the potential to really get under the character’s skin and sounds fucking amazing. Can’t wait to start it.

  • A Bad Character by Deepti Kapoor

I have no idea where I first discovered this gem but as soon as I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it. When a young woman escapes her arranged marriage and runs away with her boyfriend, we are introduced to an intense and new version of the city of Dehli. As someone who has accidentally found herself stuck in a mostly white male dominated reading list, A Bad Character is the book I’ve been searching for. I can’t fucking wait. 

  • Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

Another book I’ve had on my Wishlist for fucking ages but never got around to buying until now. It’s a short but seemingly incredibly powerful tale. It sounds fucking perfect to me. Nikki is our teenage protagonist who must go down increasingly dark and dangerous paths to reconnect with her father. This probably isn’t for the faint-hearted but I’ve never been accused of that.

  • The Zone of Inerest by Martin Amis 

I’ve wanted to read this long before it came out this Summer. Martin Amis has written a novel to ask important questions about mankind and how we deal with out true selves. It’s going to be dark, clever and witty. It’s a fucking shame it got overlooked for the Man Booker… probably. I’ll tell you for sure when I’ve finished it.

  • The Verdict by Nick Stone (Kindle Edition)

Another purchase I only made because it was cheap. Although I may have read about it somewhere. It’s a run-of-the-mill legal thriller. I can’t imagine it’ll wow me but it’ll certainly keep me busy on the cold Winter nights. 

  • Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

I must admit that I didn’t mean to buy this. I was at a Christmas market the other day after a few too many steins. In a drunken haze I got a bit too far into the festive spirit and bought a copy. I love Terry Pratchett and am slowly rebuying the books I loved when I was younger. Maybe not all the things you buy when you’re pissed are a bad thing?

  • The Official A Game of Thrones Colouring Book
I don’t think it’s ever been a good idea to leave me alone in a bookshop. I can’t stop myself buying something. As we’re beginning to see, it’s a even worse idea to leave me drunk in charge of a iPhone. Having Amazon just a tipsy click away is only a bad thing. This book is beautiful but, as I’ve already established, I’m probably not going to colour it in. 

Recently Watched

So I love all Lego videogames regardless but the newest trailer for this has just made my heart fucking sing. Unlike Lego Marvel Superheroes, these games closely follow the film releases. It looks fucking awesome. Add to that the open world side of things and this could possibly be my favourite Lego game ever. Even beating the original Lego Star Wars… the one that started my love affair with the whole series. 

TBT – The Lego Movie (2014)

animation, CGI, Channing Tatum, Chris Pratt, Lego, review, TBT, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell

No matter how old I get, I will always love Lego. So much so, that when my family asked what I wanted for my birthday today it took all of my self-control to say anything other than Lego. I have a secret supply to bring out when I’m bored, I’ve been known to obsessively play every Lego video game that’s ever been created and have wasted more hours than I’d care to admit dreamily going through the Lego website wishing I could afford it all. So yeah, I fucking love Lego. However, when I first watched The Lego Movie last year I wasn’t that impressed. Yes, it was funny and really well made and I had that fucking song stuck in my head for months afterwards… I just thought something was missing. So, when I discovered the DVD on offer with free Vitruvius minifig I felt I owed it to myself to give it another try.

The Lego Movieis the creation of duo Phil Lord and Christopher Miller who have started to garner the reputation as people who can create fucking amazing films out of questionable building blocks. They found great success with their animated feature Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the surprisingly clever and fucking funny reboot of 21 Jump Street. If anyone was going to create a film out of a much-loved childhood staple that wasn’t as brain meltingly awful as Battleships then these were the guys to ask.
There was always the question of how they were going to tackle the storyline of a film about plastic bricks and, on the surface, The Lego Movie seems fairly boring and clichéd. Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt) is your average Joe who happily goes about his day living within the rules. Working in construction, Emmet literally follows life’s instruction manual. His life is repetitive and unexciting until he finds the prophesied ‘piece of resistance’.
As it turns out, the mystical Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman) had a vision that a chosen one would find the piece and stop the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) from destroying the world. Once the piece is within his possession, Emmet finds himself battling against the straight-laced despot and being aided by a renegade group of Master Builders, visionaries who prefer to rip up the fucking rule book and live outside the box.
Thanks to Lego’s recent film and comic book themed sets, the race of Master Builders is punctuated with all too familiar faces, including Superman (Channing Tatum), Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) and Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders). Of all of the supporting characters though, it is Lego Batman (Will Arnett) who reigns supreme and has, unsurprisingly to all involved, has gained his very own spin-off film.
The Lego Movieis undoubtedly a riotous affair. The characters dip throughout the multi-dimensional world appearing in worlds that are all too familiar to fans of the titular toy. The most action takes place using the Pirate sets, the Wild West and Space but the film is littered with references to the less recognisable, like Fabuland and Galidor. The detail of the film is breathtaking and there is an abundance of sight gags and in-jokes for the true aficionado.
For a film that is basically just one massive advertisement for Lego, The Lego Moviecertainly doesn’t feel like one long product placement. It has respect for its subject matter and treats it with the correct sense of fun. The plot isn’t exactly the most inspiring despite the fact that the duo do everything they can to invert the tired ‘chosen one’ narrative. However, if we’re honest that’s pretty much what Lego itself is. A collection of bricks that, on their own, are fairly dull bits of plastic that are fucking devastating to stand on. Lego is all about imagination and its potential is infinite.
So yes, the script may not always hit every single target but neither does everything you make out of Lego. The visual gags are incredible and the sheer energy behind every scene is non-stop. It’ll leave you breathless and on the edge of your seat. Although this is a bit of a double-edged sword and there is a moment during the middle where things get a little too chaotic; almost as if you allowed your child to drink a butt-load of coffee and let him loose on a large quantity of blocks. The writers just seem to let their imagination go a little too crazy and there are too many random ideas to keep control of.
Thankfully, you can trust the pair to eventually reign it in and get proceedings back on track. I wasn’t sure about the ending after my first viewing but second time around I found it fucking heart-warming. I think I was initially disappointed at such a convoluted way of explaining all the events but, actually, the ending is the perfect way to tie up all the loose ends.

Of course, The Lego Movie is something that you shouldn’t really put too much thought into I suppose. Like the bricks themselves, it’s all about having fun and being silly. Lord and Miller have written a slightly insane, witty, clever and strangely sassy film that will delight children and adults alike. The animation is stunning and makes standard CGI look like stop-motion. So much thought has gone into the look of this film from the blink and you’ll miss em sight gags and the scratched, scuffed pre-loved feel the blocks and characters all have. Add to that a flawless voice cast with impeccable timing and you have something I feel fucking stupid to have been disappointed in. Hey, I can’t be perfect all the time.