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2017 in Review

You guys will all be pleased to know that I made my 2017 goal for movies as of Friday after watching the Circle and my 2017 goal for books with 11 hours to spare. There’s still a few 2017 posts for you to look forward to in the next few days though.

My goals for 2018 are a little less concrete than this year. Largely my goal in completing these lists was to broaden my horizons by reading books in genres and by authors I wouldn’t normally read. On those counts I feel I was successful. For 2018, I plan to check out some more books in genres that I discovered I enjoyed such as fantasy and sci-fi as well as finishing off some books from series that I started this year such as Aftermath (the Star Wars series). So far on my list is – The Dresden Files, some more Star Wars books, Game of Thrones (yes I’ve seen the series) and I’d love to check out more indie authors. I’ll still be posting movie reviews for anything I watch and possibly some TV reviews thrown in but I’m going to keep my focus on books so expect plenty of reviews.

My other exciting news is… That my first novella will be published in early 2018. I’m planning to get a newsletter up and running in the next week or so for anyone who is interested in taking a look at it (more details for you all in the next week or so about the newsletter and the novella)

In the mean time…

happy-new-year-2018-images-4

I’m off to enjoy some delicious punch (well first I’ll make punch then drink it) and I suggest you all do the same.

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Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Title: Hacksaw Ridgehacksaw_ridge_poster
Year: 2016
Director: Mel Gibson
Genre: Action/War
Category: #38 A movie about war

Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss during WWII, although the movie centers on Desmond Doss throughout his training as well as war experience it is primarily his actions at the Battle of Okinawa that have caused his fame.

Desmond desperately wanted to serve his country but didn’t want to kill people, in fact he refused to carry a rifle and was trained as a combat medic. Despite being the only one on the battlefront without a weapon he showed a great deal of courage saving many people (including some enemies) following their injuries in the war.

I’ve seen a few war movies including Gallipoli possibly a hundred times because Australian schools just love to make students watch it over and over again. I also somehow ended up watching Full Metal Jacket when I was about 10 or 11 (if you’re thinking that’s a good idea… don’t). There have been a few that I’ve loved and a few that I haven’t enjoyed much but this one I really loved. It’s such a great story and I loved that there was a chance to get to know the characters before they went off to war.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

Ghost World – Daniel Clowes

Title: Ghost World220px-ghost_world
Author: Daniel Clowes
Genre: Comic
Pages: 80
Category: 17. Read a book that was turned into a movie
Format: Paper

Okay, this is also a cult classic and was almost the movie I picked except I wanted to check out the comic first. So here we are. Comics are definitely not my favourite way to read but I do like to check one out every so often. I figured sneaking one in this year would plenty, especially since the book I picked up included the entire series as well as comments from Daniel Clowes.

Anyway, this comic so perfectly sums up what it’s like to finish high school and not really know what you’re going to do with your life. Particularly that first summer when you’ve just finished up with exams and you’re just kind of bumbling around town probably drinking and sleeping in. I spent most of my first summer out of school working in one of those shitty fast food jobs but I also had plenty of time to laze about and contemplate life. I think the experiences of these guys are pretty common. That person you were so close to in high school, you slowly have less and less in common with the, until you realise that you don’t really want to hang out with them anymore.

I had a bit of an issue with Enid to be honest because she just came across as so manipulative of Rebecca. She spends an awful lot of time particularly in the early comics deciding with she and Rebecca will do with their days. Honestly, if she was my friend I don’t know that I would want to hang out with her either.

This isn’t an uplifting read or anything like that and it leaves you feeling just a little bit melancholy when you’re done but if you haven’t checked it out it’s a pretty cool comic.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Poseidon (2006)

Title: Poseidon
Year: 2006
Director: Wolfgang Peterson
Genre: Action/Disaster
Category: #29 An apocalypse/dystopian film

As someone who grew up in a time where The Poseidon Adventure (1972) was played as the midday movie at least a few times every year, I was a bit hesitant to watch this. I loved The Poseidon Adventure, every time I noticed it was on I’d be watching it, I often saw only part of it and it’s honestly possible I never saw the whole thing beginning to end but anyway.

The basic premise of the 2006 version is the same – A passenger ship is hit by a rogue wave on New Year’s Eve and the ship flips upside down. The people left alive have to try and find a way out while wandering about in a topsy turvy world. Whilst not technically an apocalypse movie I was incredibly short on choices because it’s one of my favourite genres so I’ve pretty much seen them all. In the end I stuck with disaster movie since it’s often the same type of conventions.

Anyway. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. There wasn’t as much character progression as I’ve seen in some movies but it felt pretty right for the genre as a whole and well worth a watch even if you liked the original.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)

Title: Welcome to the Dollhouse200px-wdollhousemovieposter
Year: 1995
Director: Todd Solondz
Genre: Indie
Category: #21 A cult film

I chose this one for my cult movie largely because it stars Heather Matarazzo. I first saw Heather Matarazzo in the Princess Diaries where she was amazing as Anne Hathaway’s slightly dorky best friend. Honestly, her character there could easily have been the older version of this one.

This movie is a bit like every other coming of age movie you’ll see in that we get to see her figuring out what’s important to her. The big difference here is that instead of getting drunk, and having harmless fun, Dawn is a much darker character. The kind you might find shooting up a high school for instance.

I absolutely understand how this became a cult classic but honestly, I think the storyline could really have done with some work. It just didn’t feel very cohesive and it’s probably not something I’ll be heading out to recommend to my friends.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

Title: Two Nights28165010
Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Crime
Pages: 336
Category: 26. Read a book published under one of the Big 6 publishing houses
Format: Paper

If you’ve been with me since the start of this blog then you will know that I absolutely love Kathy Reichs’ books. I’ve read every Temperance Brennan book there is and kept going with those long after I stopped watching the Bones TV show. Two Nights is a standalone (possibly series?) that focusses on a new protagonist though, Sunday Night.

Rather than focussing on the forensic side of the investigation as she does with Brennan, Two Nights focusses on a more hands on investigation with Night acting more as a private investigator who used to be a cop.

I definitely still prefer the Temperance Brennan books over this one but I did still enjoy it because I do like Kathy Reichs’ writing style. If you’ve checked out any of her other books then this is also worth your time.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Florence Foster Jenkins

Title: Florence Foster Jenkinsmv5bmja0mzc4mjmxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodiwntqxode-_v1_uy1200_cr9506301200_al_
Year: 2016
Director: Stephen Frears
Genre: Historical
Category: #27 A film starring Meryl Streep

Okay, so I’ve watched a lot of Meryl Streep but this is one I hadn’t bothered to check out because I didn’t love the idea of it very much. But it was quite funny in places and very well put together. It’s the true story of Florence Foster Jenkins who was known for her truly terrible singing abilities.

Florence has an unusual relationship with her husband (played by Hugh Grant) and also quite a lot of money. We get to see her succeeding in her singing career despite not being able to sing at all.

Honestly, I would’ve been much happier rewatching Mamma Mia or the Devil Wears Prada but I decided to pick new movies for all of my choices so here we are. Meryl Streep is someone who often stars in hilarious movies like Mamma Mia but just as often appears playing real people such as Julia Childs. Much like Julia this movie is well worth a watch but probably won’t make it to my top five Meryl Streep movies.

Rating: 3/5 stars

Baywatch (2017)

Title: Baywatchbaywatch_poster
Year: 2017
Director: Seth Gordon
Genre: Action
Category: #36 A movie with a rotten tomato score of less than 20%

I didn’t need to watch this movie to know that it would be some combination of awful and ridiculous and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you either. But it was.

This one follows on from the original TV show but now it’s The Rock who runs the beach. Welcome Zac Efron who’s an Olympic swimmer with a bad reputation and a sense of entitlement. Cue drugs showing up on the beach and the Baywatch folks getting caught up in a mystery that really should be left to the cops. Add in a healthy dose of character growth and a lot of gratuitous shots of male and female bodies in swimsuits and you’ve got Baywatch.

Honestly though, it had a pretty coherent plot which is more than I can say for a bunch of things I’ve seen this year so it gets some points for that and the acting was okay. The plot was certainly a bit predictable in places and there was nothing particularly amazing about it. But honestly, if all you want from your movie is a distraction from your real life and some pretty men/women to look at then this is a great choice.

Rating: 3/5 stars

 

Sundays on Squire’s Isle – Geonn Cannon

Title: Sunday’s on Squire’s Isle106fcd5439e914d6e7566272036b5e53_large
Author: Geonn Cannon
Genre: LGBT
Wordcount: 30,430
Category: 16. Read an unknown book, with no more than 100 ratings on any one website
Format: Ebook

I know there’s those of you who just love your ebooks but I honestly prefer to be able to feel the weight of a book in my hands which is why I either buy my physical books or head to the library. It’s only indie authors that I’ll ever read in eformat. At which time I either borrow my fiancee’s Kobo or end up reading through Kindle or Kobo apps on my phone. I used my phone to read this one reading a little here and there until I finished it.

I really wanted to enjoy this book because it was a great concept. Honestly, I think it would make a much better book if everything was expanded out a little more. Rather than a series of slightly connected short stories we actually got a chance to see the characters progressing more in their lives and goals. The thing that really made it hard for me with this book was that all of the characters sounded kind of the same and I dind’t have much interest in the stories because of it.

You can check this book out for free on Smashwords and honestly, I would encourage all of you to check out books on sites like Smashwords or to give new indie authors a shot because many of them are putting out truly amazing books and deserve our support. I’d love to see more indie books getting recognition so I’ll be placing my focus more on indie books next year than what I have this year (though there will still be plenty of traditionally published books since I’ve got a huge to read list going).

Rating: 3/5 stars

Bourne Identity (2002)

Title: Bourne Identitya1qealxws3l-_ri_
Year: 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Genre: Action
Category: #16 The first film in a series

Again, I’ve seen parts of this series (not even sure which movie) but never the whole thing. And I remembered the part that I’d seen being quite interesting so I figured I’d check out the whole thing.

I didn’t mind this movie but I also didn’t think it was anything to rave about. Maybe it’s because it’s fifteen years old now and hasn’t aged well. Maybe it’s just not my cup of tea. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be checking out the rest of the movies in the series.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars