Book Review – Poets, Artists, Lovers by Mira Tudor

Poets, Artists, LoversTitle: Poets, Artists, Lovers
Author: Mira Tudor
Pages: 255
Genre: Adult contemporary
CW: Fatphobia, cheating, lying, betrayal
Rating: 🌟.5

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“PAL is a fast-paced yet poignant character-driven novel riding waves of romanticism, drama, and wit in a manner reminiscent of David Nicholls’s books (One Day)—and set in the exciting world of several vibrant Romanian artists and musicians.

Henriette, an accomplished sculptor, seems to find more joy in her feminist-inspired work and her piano playing than in the people who care about her. Ela, a piano teacher turned book reviewer, hopes to discover the key to happiness and a more meaningful life through studying the workings of the mind and crafting poems about emotions she trusts will lead her to a better place. Joining them in beauty and blindness is Pamfil, a violinist who dabbles as a singer and lives mostly for the moment and his monthly parties. As they follow their passions, they find themselves on treacherous journeys to love and happiness, and are slow to figure out how to best tackle their predicaments. Fortunately, their lovers and friends are there to help . . . but then a newcomer complicates things.”

My Thoughts (Minor Spoilers):

I received money to purchase the book via Amazon from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Poets, Artists, Lovers follows the interconnecting lives of a group of friends and presents a snapshot of their messy relationships with one another, with their glamorous parties and their philosophical conversations.

Unfortunately I had a few issues with PAL but I’ll start with what I thought was handled well.

The story takes place in a colourfully-described Bucharest and the way the author illustrated the setting really brought it to life. The descriptions of food made my mouth water throughout. There was a relatively large cast of characters and I liked how they were all tied together in one way or another. I largely enjoyed the first 30% of PAL, despite its issues, but from there on I found myself a little disappointed with the story.

I found that PAL read more as a series of conversations than a cohesive story. It had a strong beginning but seemed to lose its way in the middle and, when it came to the end, I was quite shocked to turn the last page and realise it was finished. I kept wondering throughout what the purpose of some of the discussions were between the characters. Some seemed entirely irrelevant to both the plot and the development of characters. For example, there was an entire paragraph on the process of how to make coffee. Also, there were a few unnecessary details thrown in, too, such as how tall a mountain range in exact metres (with a conversion of feet) was. There were a few instances where the author would tell and not show. I think this was largely due to how fast-paced the plot was. The story moved on so quickly that we barely had a chance to understand how the characters were feeling.

Some of the characters were fleshed out with interesting internal plots driving them. They were heavily flawed and very unlikable. Personally, I’m not particularly fond of characters that lie and cheat and betray their other halves but that might be something you don’t mind reading about.

There were other characters, however, that seemed a little one-dimensional. The partners of Henriette and Ela felt like they existed purely to please them. It didn’t seem like they had their own agency and, even after discovering the affair, Henriette’s partner didn’t seem to mind as there were no arguments between them which seemed pretty unrealistic.

Furthermore, there was one character in particular that I absolutely despised. Four of the female characters were infatuated with him so you would think he’d be portrayed as someone very charming and swoon-worthy. Instead, he just came off as incredibly creepy and a borderline sexual predator considering he went for two separate sixteen-year-old girls when he was around a decade older. Particularly when the girl in question clearly feels deeply uncomfortable with him:

“Pamfil turned to face Maria and hugged her tightly. Maria froze again, as she had a habit of doing in Pamfil’s overpowering presence.”

I think the following paragraph sums his disgusting thought processes up pretty well:

“[He] just looked at Ela, at her modestly covered cleavage and the incipient pouches under her eyes. He used to love her breasts. Pear-shaped, pert, with bold nipples, beautiful in the halter tops and surplice necklines she used to favor when she fell for him. Now she hid them under a padded bra, which did nothing except divert attention, for a very short while, from the weight on her stomach.”

Speaking of weight, I’m not sure what happened, but the second half of PAL was obsessed with diet and weight. There were so many occasions that clearly amounted to some pretty bad fatphobia. Here are just a few examples – obviously, CW:

“I wouldn’t laugh if I were you. I think you have the body mass index of an overweight person.”

“Reducing calories is a mistake. If you need 2,500 calories, and you reduce your intake to 2,000 calories, your body will first use your fat reserves, and then it will start to use only 2,000 because it learns that you give it only that much. So you will stop losing weight.”

This quote also relates back to what I was saying about the unnecessary details. I’m not sure how or why this speech was relevant to the plot.

“My mother says that young healthy women with strong willpower should make sure they’re slim, or else they send the message that they don’t have enough willpower, or that they’re not healthy.”

There were so many other examples interspersed throughout the narrative but what baffles me most is that there was no mention at all of weight in the first half and then it seemed as though there was a massive onslaught of attacks against fat people in the second half!

Moving onto the conversations shared between the characters, there were times when I had no idea what they were talking about. They shared a passion for music and made quite a few references that went over my head. If you’re not familiar with the topics they discuss, I can imagine you could feel a little out of the loop and, therefore, a little frustrated as there are no explanations to help guide you. At first I found these conversations interesting but I found them quite pretentious towards the end. And, again, I’m not entirely sure of the relevance of a lot of them to the overarching story.

The writing itself flowed very nicely. It was a very readable book with some beautiful descriptions at times, such as the following:

“[C]rystals of snow crunching under their feet like so many tiny jewels; the warp and weft of post-and-rail fences surrounding log cabins and haystacks; and the sunlight flaring through scattered fir trees, whipping the snow, making it look as if it were sprinkled with diamond dust.”

There was a little confusion, though, as the perspective would change without much of a warning and all of a sudden we would be in someone else’s head. It often felt quite jarring and pulled me out of the story.

Overall, Poets, Artists, Lovers had an interesting beginning but lacked a direction and purpose after the initial first few chapters. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this book as there are various issues that clearly need to be ironed out and the fatphobia made me feel deeply uncomfortable.
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January Wrap-Up | 2017

I’ve made a pretty great start so far this year, reading a total of 7 books and thoroughly enjoying most of them.

Ghostly Echoes

Ghostly Echoes – William Ritter – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

My absolute favourite instalment to the Jackaby series so far. It was so much darker than the previous two novels which I really, really loved. I had chills so many times throughout this book. I think it’s literally the first time I’ve ever been genuinely scared by a vampire whilst reading. They’re usually written as romantic interests these days but this one was very old school and terrifying.

I felt like this was a real character-defining addition to the series and put our much-loved characters in difficult, complex situations. The supernatural/mythological aspects to this instalment in particular are probably my favourite so far for reasons that are very spoilery! And the romance between Abigail and Charlie is just the cutest 😍 They’re one of my absolute favourite fictional couples. But what I love about this series is that the romance is very much a sub-plot and not much focus is given to it, which just makes me treasure the rare, adorable moments they share together even more!

Fun, compelling and character-driven – the perfect series for readers who like to have a lot of fun when they read.

the-whispering-skull

The Whispering Skull – Jonathan Stroud – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.75

Yep, so I’m addicted to this series already. I’m not sure how I managed to get so invested so quickly, but I am in deep. The mystery was a lot more complex than the first instalment of the series and somehow left me even more creeped out and on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t read the last 100 pages quick enough, I was that desperate to consume the story.

I did have to knock a .25 off however because I honestly cannot stand Lucy’s internal misogyny. It drives me up the wall. ‘Oh, look, a girl. I must hate her!’ And the fat-shaming of George also upsets me because I adore George. He’s easily my favourite character and the one I relate to the most what with all his nerdy tendencies for history and research. What’s annoying about these two things is that it’s just so necessary. The books would still be just as perfect without these rude, offensive aspects to them. But Lucy is a really judgmental person in general, so I’ll just try to ignore these things and attempt to see it as just a character flaw. A very big character flaw  #problematicfave

Creepy, suspenseful and tons of fun – the perfect series for those who enjoy a decent mystery with lots of ghostly goings-on.

the-young-elites

The Young Elites – Marie Lu – 🌟🌟🌟

For some reason, I thought this book would be a dystopian. So I was a tad surprised when I started reading and, to my delight, quickly realised it was a fantasy series. As you can see, I knew next to nothing before going into this book and I came out of it feeling pretty meh about it.

I really enjoyed some aspects to it like Adelina’s dark nature and her thirst for revenge. But that’s all she is – she didn’t have any other personality traits really apart from her constant whining. Adelina should have been the type of character I love but I just didn’t get on with her for some reason which prevented me from being fully absorbed in the story. Also the plot was pretty cliched too. I did really love the villain though. I thought he was perfectly terrifying yet understandable which made him all the more believable. I’ll probably still continue on with this series as I liked where the story was going for the last 10 or so pages and I care enough to see how it all wraps up. But I think I definitely prefer the idea of the novel rather than the execution.

Fast-paced, enjoyable but pretty bog standard – perfect for people starting out with the fantasy genre who also crave a bit of darkness in their reading.

crimson-bound

Crimson Bound Rosamund Hodge – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

I was a huge fan of Cruel Beauty last year so I thought I’d pick up another of Hodge’s novels and I’m really glad that I did. Her writing is just so beautiful and atmospheric. I feel like it definitely won’t be to everyone’s tastes but I’ve just completely fallen in love with her style. It reminds me a little of Laini Taylor’s style of writing – lyrical and effortless. I adored the world in this too. It was imaginative, creepy and unique. And I adored Rachelle – she was the perfect blend of badass and vulnerability and she felt like a fully fleshed out, flawed character. The only thing I wasn’t so keen on was the pacing. The first 200 pages or so flowed well but it did have a bit of a dip towards the middle-end. But the intense ending more than made up for that.

Lyrical, romantic and just a little bit dark – perfect for readers who love strong, realistic female characters with a unique backdrop.

my-lady-jane

My Lady Jane Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows – 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

I was so pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed this one! The humour was so my cup of tea. It’s very rare that I find myself laughing out loud whilst reading a book but this had me full-on snorting, it was that funny. Particularly the Shakespeare quotes and the dynamics between Jane and her horse-husband, G, who were the cutest couple, by the way. This is absolutely the perfect kind of romance for me. Sweet, funny, subtle and built on mutual admiration and respect *swoons* The characters in general were wonderfully written. I could easily read much, much more about them. I was also thoroughly impressed by how seamless the story felt, given that it was written by three different authors. The pacing of the novel and the overall flow were spot on. Just the whole idea of it in general I found fascinating – it’s just so imaginative to take such a horrific part of history and turn it into this. I’m definitely going to pretend this is what really happened.

Sharp, witty and fun  – perfect for readers who want a little something different.

gathering-darkness

Gathering Darkness – Morgan Rhodes – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

It’s been a while since I was in this world but I found it just as addicting as the previous two in the series. There’s just something about Rhodes’ writing style that makes me inhale her books from start to finish. And her characters are just as compelling. Gathering Darkness was definitely my favourite from the series so far with all its revelations. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next ones and inhale those ones too!

Dark, gritty and jaw-dropping – perfect for readers who love twisty fantasy plots.

the-nowhere-emporium

The Nowhere Emporium – Morgan Rhodes Ross MacKenzie – 🌟🌟.75

I did have a fun time whilst reading this and I liked how it reminded me of a cross between Doctor Who and Harry Potter but the characters fell very flat for me and the characters are always the most important thing for my enjoyment of a novel. But it was definitely a fun ride and I thoroughly enjoyed the magical elements of it and the fact that the magic was wholly dependent upon a person’s imagination – that was pretty cool. The plot itself was pretty basic and underdeveloped and there was never a time when a plot point wasn’t completely obvious. I get that it’s a children’s book but I think younger readers are perfectly perceptive and intelligent enough to pick up on subtle hints without the author having to spoon feed the plot to them.

Magical, inventive but very simplistic – perfect for readers who fancy a bit of light, fun reading.


So that’s it for my wrap-up for this month! What was your favourite book that you read in January?

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Book Review – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

23766623Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Pages: 624
Genre: YA – Fantasy
Published by: Bloomsbury in May 2016
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis on Goodreads:

“Feyre is immortal. After rescuing her lover Tamlin from a wicked Faerie Queen, she returns to the Spring Court possessing the powers of the High Fae. But Feyre cannot forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people – nor the bargain she made with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

As Feyre is drawn ever deeper into Rhysand’s dark web of politics and passion, war is looming and an evil far greater than any queen threatens to destroy everything Feyre has fought for. She must confront her past, embrace her gifts and decide her fate. She must surrender her heart to heal a world torn in two.”

My Thoughts (Will contain SPOILERS – beware!):

Overall I really enjoyed this. It was a vast improvement from A Court of Thorns and Roses and it in no way suffered from second book syndrome. It built and expanded upon the first instalment and had some decent world-building and character development. That being said, I still found myself having one or two issues with the book. But I’ll start with the good.

The world-building was wonderful. Maas is very good at making places and settings come to life. I love how she focused more on the histories and the lore and, to be honest, I found the world fascinating. I would happily pick up some short stories detailing different Fae Courts or maybe even a novella about the war that took place 500 years ago. I think that would be so interesting, to read about Rhys and his Inner Circle when they were still only young. And it’s quite rare that I find myself wanting to consume a fantasy world like that. Where I want to know absolutely everything. Maas has created an intensely compelling world that I could read and read and never get bored of. It felt like fantasy at its most convincing.

I also liked the kind of story it was. A story of self-discovery and growth. At the beginning of the novel, Feyre is suffering with PTSD and trying (and failing) to deal with the events that took place towards the end of ACOTAR. She’s so lost and lonely and doesn’t know how she fits into the world anymore (or if she even wants to). But over the course of the book, she grows and develops and is able to find her strength. And boy does she.

“I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.”

I loved the message of this instalment – I felt so empowered whilst reading it. And I felt very proud of Feyre. For going through what she did and coming out of it stronger than ever: she is a true survivor. I really wasn’t keen on Feyre in ACOTAR – she made very stupid decisions to say the least – but Feyre is wonderful here. Truly, a great heroine.

“The power did not belong to the High Lords. Not any longer. It belonged to me-as I belonged only to me, as my future was mine to decide, to forge.”

I also really liked how this book normalised outgrowing people when your needs and desires have changed. And the way Feyre handled these changing needs felt natural and human. She was very self-aware and would evaluate how she was feeling, how she was thinking quite often and I think this in itself shows how far she has come since ACOTAR, specifically how much she has matured and grown. Now she knows exactly who she is and what she stands for and is so driven that she will stop at nothing to fight for what she believes in.

“No one was my master—but I might be master of everything, if I wished. If I dared.”

Feyre’s relationship with Rhys was another high point of this sequel. I absolutely loved the dialogue between them. Their bickering and their flirtations had me snickering throughout. And the mutual love and respect they had for each other was admirable. They were very well equally matched and complimented each other nicely. Obviously, this in no way excuses Rhys’ behaviour in ACOTAR but I do understand the reasoning behind his actions. And he does start to redeem himself as he tries to help Feyre realise not only her potential, but that she is a strong woman and that she should bow to no man. Especially not to him.

“You are no one’s subject.”

“You might be my mate but you remain your own person. You decide your fate-your choices. Not me. You chose yesterday. You choose every day. Forever.”

Their relationship always felt very natural and I appreciated the pace of it. Nothing was rushed – it was a nice, slow build-up of hate turned to love. And it was done in the best of ways. Their banter was always very playful and a lot of fun. I think they’re very well suited and I’m glad that Feyre & Tamlin together is no longer a thing.

“I was a lonely, hopeless person and I might have fallen in love with the first thing that showed me a hint of kindness and safety. And I’m thinking maybe he knew that – maybe not actively, but maybe he wanted to be that person for someone. And maybe that worked for who I was before. Maybe it doesn’t work for who-what I am now.”

Speaking of, Tamlin drove me up the bleeding wall. I felt entirely indifferent towards him in ACOTAR but in this? What a possessive, self-righteous jerk. Clearly he had no respect for Feyre at all and I’m glad she managed to get out of that unhealthy situation quite soon-ish.

“A protector – that’s who he was, and would always be. What I had wanted when I was cold and hard and joyless; what I had needed to melt the ice of bitter years on the cusp of starvation.”

The new characters introduced in this instalment were all incredibly well-rounded, realistic characters with their own distinct personalities and backstories. It felt like a real crew banding together, rather than just Feyre and Rhys up against the world. They each had their own strengths and played well off each other. Their respect, love and loyalty for one another was lovely to read about. Azriel and Morrigan are my new faves.

Lastly, the writing in this book was so unbelievably good. I’ve always been a huge fan of Maas’ writing style and this book in no way disappoints.

“To the people who look at the stars and wish,” – “To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

And now for the not so good.

First of all, the sex scenes. Oh God, they were terrible. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading a well-written steamy scene from time to time and I liked the dangerously flirty scenes between Rhys and Feyre. Right up until the last 200 pages that is. Maas can definitely write a swoon-worthy scene and I think her strengths lie in writing about the subtlety of the romance – the back and forth between the characters, the lingering eyes, the tension and the obvious attraction, etc. But when sex was added to the mix, that’s when I started to feel second-hand embarrassment on behalf of the characters involved. They’re just so weird. And really overly-dramatic and unrealistic. I mean, has anyone ever thought the following during a sexual encounter:

“We were a song that had been sung from the very first ember of light in the world.”

Barf. I mean I actually burst out laughing when I read that. Your bodies mushing together isn’t a freaking song Feyre, it’s just sex. Please stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.

What I will say though is that it is definitely nice to see sex explored so openly in a YA (NA?) novel. And Maas definitely doesn’t hold back on any of the extremely vivid (ew) detail. But, that being said, if you’re not 100% sure you can write a good sex scene, here’s a tip: don’t write one. Or several in this case. I’m sure there will be a lot of readers that will enjoy these scenes though and won’t find any problems with them. So it’s definitely a personal tastes thing here. It just wasn’t my cup of tea. At all.

The other thing that kind of bugged me was how, at times, the book felt a little too contrived. I already knew roughly what was going to happen before I’d even started reading it: Rhysand and Feyre would somehow end up together and Rhys would turn out to not be such a bastard after all. I mean, who didn’t see that one coming? We all knew. But I guess I’m just nitpicking now 😂

Overall, a top-notch sequel that prides itself on character development and world-building. A compelling story of self-discovery and strength with a twisty turny plot and gorgeous writing. Very eagerly anticipating the final instalment of the trilogy! Stark Reviews Logo

Book Review – The Wolf In the Attic by Paul Kearney

cover84395-mediumTitle: The Wolf In the Attic
Author: Paul Kearney
Pages: 320
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Published by: Rebellion/Solaris – 10th May 2016
Rating: 🌟🌟.5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

“1920s Oxford: home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien… and Anna Francis, a young Greek refugee looking to escape the grim reality of her new life. The night they cross paths, none suspect the fantastic world at work around them.

Anna Francis lives in a tall old house with her father and her doll Penelope. She is a refugee, a piece of flotsam washed up in England by the tides of the Great War and the chaos that trailed in its wake. Once upon a time, she had a mother and a brother, and they all lived together in the most beautiful city in the world, by the shores of Homer’s wine-dark sea.

But that is all gone now, and only to her doll does she ever speak of it, because her father cannot bear to hear. She sits in the shadows of the tall house and watches the rain on the windows, creating worlds for herself to fill out the loneliness. The house becomes her own little kingdom, an island full of dreams and half-forgotten memories. And then one winter day, she finds an interloper in the topmost, dustiest attic of the house. A boy named Luca with yellow eyes, who is as alone in the world as she is.

That day, she’ll lose everything in her life, and find the only real friend she may ever know.”

My Thoughts:

I received a copy via Net Galley in return for an honest review.

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, the writing was absolutely gorgeous. On the other, I found the plot very lacking and I kept losing interest throughout.

There were definitely parts of The Wolf in the Attic that I enjoyed more than others. I absolutely flew by the first half of it. This was where the writing was at its strongest and we were learning about Anna’s day-to-day life, spending a great deal of time in her head and I think this worked really well.

Anna was an exceptionally interesting character. You couldn’t help but feel for her and wish her the best. She was a very lonely girl with a wild imagination (a ‘dragonfly’ mind) and was incredibly perceptive and clever. She was also a self-proclaimed ‘adventuress’ (my kind of girl). She was curious about everything and one of the bravest characters I’ve ever read about. All these traits combined made her a terribly endearing character, one that I won’t be quick to forget.

I loved her character development, too. By the end of the novel, she had been through quite a bit and her strength can be seen by the following quote:

“It is not much of a life, all things considered, but it is my own, and I am beholden to no-one for it, not anymore. I owe the world nothing, and whatever the world gave me it has taken away again.”

I think the thing I appreciated most about TWITA was Anna’s unique view of the world and the way she understood the things happening around her. Below are some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“I have seen worse things than ghosts, and if one were to appear to me, I should have so many questions to ask of it that it would have no time to groan and moan and shake its chains.”

“It must be terrible to be old, when you love someone who died young. They never change in your mind, and every day you see yourself grow away from that person you were when you loved and knew them. Until you are more of a shadow than they are, and the girl you were is altogether gone, more dead even than the young man on the battlefield.”

“All lives reach a point in their years where there is only sorrow to be had, and the joy has all been given or taken away. Grief is the price we pay for having loved.”

“The strange thing about grief – how for a while it backs away, and you think it had become a part and parcel of the makeup of your life. It becomes a kind of aimless pain, unfocused, just another toothache. But every now and then it will lunge out of the shadows and grab you by the throat. And there is no way of knowing when that will happen.”

Some of these quotes completely surprised me. I had to stop reading for a while just to let the words really sink in and find their place in my mind. The quotes I’ve mentioned about grief were particularly relatable and when I had read them I immediately thought: Yes. That is exactly what that feels like. The writing, I felt, was pretty powerful and meaningful.

But then there’s the plot. I wasn’t really expecting the direction TWITA went in but, in this case, I don’t think that was a particularly good thing. I’m not sure what the point of this book was. And I don’t mean that in a rude way. I just think that TWITA tried to be too many things and, as a result, didn’t particularly excel at any one of those things, plot-wise. It easily could have been just a historical fiction novel about a young girl finding her place in the world. And I would have loved that, considering how much I enjoyed reading from Anna’s perspective.

The second half of the book especially mainly focuses around the fantastical aspects and I just felt like these elements were so out of place in relation to the rest of the story. Especially since so much of the first half focused on Anna’s day-to-day life. It felt a tad disconnected and I wasn’t sure what the real story was meant to be. It was as though Kearney thought: This book needs some fantasy, let’s chuck some in! It felt rushed, the fantasy world-building wasn’t developed enough (at all) and I felt as though these elements, more than anything, hindered the story, rather than added to it.

So, all in all, a bit of a disappointing read… sort of. The plot just wasn’t there and no amount of pretty writing could have made up for that fact. Even if it was really, really, very pretty. I’d still be keen to see what Kearney will write next though and I’ll definitely have to keep my eyes peeled for it. Perhaps I’ll get on better with his next beautifully-written story.Stark Reviews Logo

 

Films for Review – March 2016

I had a really good month for films in March, seeing three newly-released films, crossing two more off my film bucket list and re-watching a couple of my favourites, too. So, all in all, a pretty successful month!

heart divider

New Releases:

Hail,_Caesar!_Teaser_posterTitle: Hail Ceaser
Genre: Mystery/Drama
Length: 106 minutes
Studios: Working Title Films/Mike Zoss Productions
Rating: 7.2/10

Synopsis from IMDb:
“A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.”

My Thoughts:
I found myself really enjoying this film. Essentially, it came across as a love letter to the golden-age of film. Although there is a main plot to follow in the film, it’s more of a character driven story (and we all know how I love those!)

The costumes and the set and design were dazzlingly gorgeous. And the humour was very on point – it was a subtle kind of humour that left you thinking, ‘oh, that’s awfully clever.’

For me, Channing Tatum by far gave the best performance. During the musical scene, I couldn’t stop myself from snickering throughout.

I would say, however, that this film is definitely not for everyone (my Dad couldn’t help ripping it to shreds after seeing it). But I would still say it was worth a watch and I’d probably say it was a film for true film-lovers.

Batman_v_Superman_posterTitle: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Genre: Fantasy/Science-Fiction
Length: 151 minutes
Studios: DC Entertainment/RatPac Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual Films
Rating: 5.8/10

Synopsis from IMDb:
“Fearing that the actions of Superman are left unchecked, Batman takes on the Man of Steel, while the world wrestles with what kind of a hero it really needs.”

My Thoughts:

Ah, this film. To be fair, my expectations weren’t all that high in the first place, so I couldn’t be too disappointed. And yet, I still was.

First of all, the film was unnecessarily long and drawn out and I felt as though it never really got going. Everything was building up to the big fight between the two ‘heroes’ and too quickly/simply was their feud resolved (in a wholly unrealistic way, might I add).

The character development was a little off for me, too. Superman was bland and boring. Batman was the epitome of an angry boy with his toys trope. I liked Gadot’s interpretation of Wonder Woman but we definitely didn’t see enough of her throughout the film. She was pretty awesome in the end fight though and I can’t wait to see what they do with her character in her origin film, coming out late next year.

But Eisenberg’s performance, for me, was hilarious. Hilariously bad, that is. I think he tried to give a performance somewhat reminiscent of that of Heath Ledger’s Joker. But for that to work he would have needed to be somewhat intimidating. And the way he delivered his lines was just plain cringy and awkward at best.

There were a few good lines in the film though, such as the following:

Lois Lane: You’re psychotic.
Lex Luther: That’s a three-syllable word for any thought too big for little minds.

And I adored the score. I mean, it was Hans Zimmer, so obviously I was going to love that.

I’m still going to watch other DC films coming out soon (Suicide Squad) but, honestly, this film was just plain bad.

ZootopiaTitle: Zootropolis
Genre: Action/Adventure
Length: 108 minutes
Studios: Walt Disney Pictures
Rating: 9.2/10

Synopsis from IMDb:
“In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.”

My Thoughts:
I absolutely adored this film. And I was quite surprised by how much I like this actually. I can’t say I had terribly high expectations going into it for some reason and I was completely blown away by it.

I never cease to be amazed at the level of imagination that always goes into making a Disney story-world. And the world of Zootropolis was in no way an exception to this. The world was unbelievably clever. As was the dialogue and the interactions between the characters. Not to mention, it was incredibly funny, too. The characters themselves felt real and complex and very relatable and I found myself rooting for them all the way through.

The overall message of the film was great, too. That you needn’t be defined by your appearances or by what society expects of you and the boxes it places you in. You can be whoever/whatever you want.

By far, Zootropolis was my favourite film of the month. I came out of the cinema and, straightaway, I wanted to watch it again. I see a lot of potential for sequels or perhaps even a television series in the future.

Film Bucket List:

220px-Snow_White_and_the_Huntsman_PosterTitle: Snow White and the Huntsman
Genre: Fairy-tale retelling/Fantasy
Length: 127 minutes
Studios: Roth Films, Universal Pictures in 2012
Rating: 6.8/10

Synopsis from IMDb:
“In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.”

My Thoughts:
After having recently seen the trailer for the upcoming sequel in the franchise and being quite excited by it, I decided I should probably catch up with the series and watch the first instalment. And I have to say, it wasn’t too great. Definitely wasn’t terrible. But, really not that great.

Undoubtedly, the one thing that kept my eyes glued to the screen in some scenes had to be Charlize Theron’s portrayal of Queen Ravenna. To put it simply: she was magnificent. I could really feel her evil – her callousness, her unpredictability, her anger – in every expression, in every single word. Her performance gave me the shivers. But I couldn’t look away; she was incredibly mesmerising. And her backstory created the perfect amount of sympathy for her character. It made me feel quite conflicted. So, as you can imagine, I am definitely looking forward to the sequel to see Theron reprise her role.

But, the rest of the elements of the film were just… okay. Nothing too special going on at all. Yes, I did enjoy the dark and gritty spin on the Snow White fairy-tale and the feel of the film was certainly aesthetically pleasing. But, I found the plot to be quite repetitive, predictable and, at times, even a little cringy.

Having said all this though, I am still very much anticipating the sequel.

The_Princess_and_the_Frog_posterTitle: The Princess and the Frog
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Length: 97 minutes
Studios: Walt Disney Productions
Rating: 6.2/10

Synopsis from IMDb:
“A waitress, desperate to fulfill her dreams as a restaurant owner, is set on a journey to turn a frog prince back into a human being, but she has to face the same problem after she kisses him.”

My Thoughts:
After realising this was one of the few classic Disney films I hadn’t seen, I sought quickly to remedy that. And, although I’m glad that I did, this film didn’t really do much for me.

What I did love, however, was the backdrop of the film. The era and the New Orleans setting, combined with the jazz-style music kept me very intrigued.

I also greatly appreciated the representation in this film. Disney has a bad habit of white-washing a lot of its characters so it was so wonderful to see POC taking the lead for this film. And Tiana is a really important role model for young girls – she has a lot of ambition and she never lets herself be side-stepped from her dreams. Tiana advocates for hard work even when others laugh in her face or tell her it would never be possible. I enjoyed the message of the film in general.

I didn’t really dislike anything in particular about the film, it just didn’t stand out for me at all. The songs were nice (albeit quite forgettable). Whilst I didn’t dislike any of the characters, I didn’t find myself emotionally connected to any of them either. Basically, this film was just… nice. Definitely wouldn’t watch it again though.

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