Mini Horror Movie Reviews

I’ve been on a horror movie kick lately. As in, they’re the only kind of move I’ll watch these days.

I’ve watched The Visit four times. Not because it’s that good, but because I genuinely loved it so much that I keep forcing my loved ones to watch it – and joining them for the ride. The Village is my all-time favorite horror movie, and I have sadly not watched a whole lot more from M. Night Shyamalan (why on Earth not? I think it’s probably because I know nothing will ever be as good as The Village). I didn’t even know this was by him, though, when I first started watching it. It has kind of the elements I loved from The Village – the atmosphere is superb, and built awesomely, and it has a unique streak, all the while managing to keep the as-a-documentary style of shooting fresh. I also quite enjoyed the mix of the suspenseful with the comedy, and how it almost made fun of itself and the overly-used doco-style. It’s not perfect, and it’s not as good as the aforementioned masterpiece, but I highly enjoyed it (four times).

I watched The Babadook with a friend, right after we watched The Visit, and whilst looking up what horror movie to watch next we came across this one on countless “best horror movies” lists. So, naturally, we trusting creatures thought we were in for a good time. But, alas, we were wrong. This movie was terrible, and, most unforgivable for me, tried to pass off something old and seen-before as new and fresh. This movie is basically a demonic possession dressed up as something entirely new, the Babadook creature. The characters were idiots and annoying, and frankly, I would have murdered that little kid with my own bare hands if I had to spend 5 minutes with him. Nothing about this was good. Or very well done. The Babadook book was cool, though.

Since I was in a horror movie mood, I watched The Conjuring by myself the next night. Unfortunately my attention span has suffered greatly, and if I’m watching a movie alone it’s very unlikely that I can watch the whole thing straight through. So this movie was watched in bits and pieces, which probably hindered my enjoyment of it. It was an alright film for me, nothing great but nothing terrible either. A bit of a vanilla movie.

The Purge, however, was anything but. I had really low expectations for it, but I ended up loving it. I loved the concept, the idea was super fascinating and I love what they did with it. They didn’t just take that and run with it, they built it around a great bit of social commentary – certainly nothing unheard of, but it was done really well. I highly enjoyed this one, too, and I can’t wait to watch the sequel.

After that, we watched The Voices, which wasn’t quite a horror, and was actually, in big parts, a comedy. A combo that worked wonderfully. This was such a quirky film, so strange and peculiar and adorable. Kind of. There were some moments of pure gold in this. It isn’t, overall, the greatest movie ever made, but there is so much greatness in it. It’s hard to explain, but I’d suggest you watch it yourselves.

Then I returned to Mr. Shyamalan with Devil, a movie I’d watched parts of before, but never the whole thing. I was totally engrossed. I recognized so many cheap tricks in this film, and so many eye-rolling bits, but I was still 100% engaged. I was a little disappointed with the ending, it kind of cheapened the whole experience for me, but I still had fun with it.

And finally, last night I watched Nightmare on Elm Street with my parents. This was the 2010 remake, so I still want to watch the original (with Johnny Depp because Johnny Depp), but this wasn’t just a massive disappointment, it was a massive snooze fest. Most boring movie award. I actually annoying my parents by constantly cracking “jokes” because I was bored to death (haha, get it). Nothing about it worked for me, the acting was terrible, the writing was terrible, it wasn’t fun or scary – the only nod it gets from me is for a few of the special effects which I thought looked cool.

Are horror movies going downhill or is it me? Does anyone know of any unusual type of horror movies that bring something different to the table?

Summer + good things

I’m a little bit Instagram-obsessed.

This summer has been strange, and filled with not-so-great things, but this post is all about the good things. You know, like:

Drinking with friends.

 

And cool people who make my day.

 

Morning runs that let me enjoy gorgeous sunrises like this.

 

Getting to hang out with the adorable and silly kitties.

 

Yummy goods.

And, of course, hanging out with lovely, amazing, beautiful humans:

🎉 #tonightandeverynight

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Thanks for sharing your family and your broccoli with me 🌟⚓️ #ahoy

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Some things stand the test of time #sistersatheart

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I hope your summers are going superbly, and that you’re all finding joy in the small things.

 

July Wrap-Up

Hi, give me the biggest coffee you have, please #coffee #bookstagram

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July was a strange reading month.

Heads up: this is going to be a long post.

I went on a Tor short story kick, reading 18 of those, in a row – also, can we talk about how absolutely stunning the artwork for those are? Besides those I also read a three-part novella and a short essay I want to briefly mention before we move on to the actual books I read this month (six).

So the first thing I read in July was precisely the aforementioned essay, “A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India” by William Dalrymple. This was a superbly interesting read, despite having been written three years ago. It’s very accessible and I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the area. I found it quite interesting how Dalrymple touches on China’s interest in Afghanistan and what that could possibly lead to, and reading it now, when China has lent them the first batch of military support.

Short-story wise I also read parts one, two, and three of Dean Koontz’s Odd Interlude, which is part of the Odd books. I found this to be kind of a parenthesis to the main story, so I don’t think you miss out by not reading it in the correct chronological order. As a massive Odd fan, it was such a breath of fresh air to get back to one of my all-time favorite characters. I’m really glad I saved this one, since now I am officially all out of Odd books.

As for the Tor short stories, I’m going to list them all but only talk about a few, since they are so many. And thus I read: Traumphysik by Monica Byrne, The Maiden Thief by Melissa Marr, All the Snake Handlers I Know Are Dead by Dennis Danvers, Burning Girls by Veronica Schanoes, The Weather by Caighlan Smith, Rag and Bone by Priya Sharma, Freedom is Space for the Spirit by Glen Hirshberg, The Hanging Game by Helen Marshall, Too Fond by Leanna Renee Hieber, Please Undo This Hurt by Seth Dickinson, As Good as New by Charlie Jane Anders, Swift, Brutal Retaliation by Meghan McCarron, The Girl in the High Tower by Gennifer Albin, Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss, Ponies by Kij Johnson, Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma, A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong, and The Language of Knives by Haralambi Markov.

Tor short stories are a wonder. I love them because they are mostly my favorite things in literature: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, fairytale retellings, unsettling and disturbing atmospheres – you know the kind. So when I started reading these I got a little bit addicted and couldn’t stop, and overall had a ton of fun with them. A few weren’t so great, but the general outlook was very positive. A note on The Girl in the High Tower – I wasn’t aware that it was part of a previously conceived world, that it was a short story that belonged to a series, and so I didn’t understand anything of what was going on and didn’t like it at all. That being said, even after I knew about it, I had zero interest in ever reading the series, it just didn’t work for me at all. The stories with fairytale-esque elements were especially fun for me to read, I adore fairytales. These are just so unique and fascinating! Ponies stayed with me, I read that entire story with my mouth just hanging open in shocked horror. I don’t think I can pick a favorite. If you guys are interested I’ll write a post just on my favorite Tor short stories (spoiler alert: my all time fav wasn’t read this month).

But moving on, the first book I finished this month was The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman.

Mood #coffee #bookstagram

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This book. I buddy-read this with a friend, and fortunately we both agreed and our feelings were very similar, although I think I got a bit more annoyed. To start with, I had an erroneous notion of what this was when I first got it. I though it would be a historical-political overview of the world in the twenty-first century, but instead I got a book on globalization. It should be noted also that this is a 2005 book, so it’s a bit outdated now (it has seen a few revisions, but I read the original and thus cannot provide an inside on whether certain gaps were addressed or not). It should also be noted that this gentleman has won three Pulitzer Prizes. I know not how such came to be, but Friedman is not exactly what I would call a good writer.

Friedman is repetitive. As in, Friedman is repetitive. If he takes a shinning to an expression, he will use it ad infinitum, until you want to smack him over the head with his own book. The expression “the world is flat” became a joke between my friend and I because he used it every other page, sometimes more. Mr. Friedman also has a rather large ego, in that, he thinks he came up with the cleverest idea the planet has ever seen (spoiler alert: it’s that the world is flat). He’s also very American. There is a whole section of this book that should’ve been titled: How To Keep America Number One. This is not a global overview of, well, anything. He speaks from an American perspective, and talks about some of the BRIC countries, and it doesn’t geographically go much further than that. I have enough to say about this book that I could do a full-length review (and might, if I feel so inclined), but the one good thing I have to say about it is that it made me think – not about what he wanted me to, or how he wanted me to, but he brought some ideas to the table that made me think of other things, and so on and so forth, and that was quite interesting.

After that joyride, I picked up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Currently #fridayreads #bookstagram

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If I was looking to get over a not-great read by picking something good, boy, did I go wrong. Frankenstein is the kind of book I think everyone would hate if it had been published in present times. The writing is a bit immature, you can tell Shelley was only 18 when she wrote it, and it’s full of so many things that I feel we wouldn’t forgive if it wasn’t for this being a classic with all the circumstances that surround it. It’s also a three-layered story, in which only one interested me, and the other two I found tremendously boring. Frankenstein (who isn’t even a doctor, by the way) is an atrocious character, and I couldn’t tell whether he was actually meant to be so or not. Overall I didn’t hate it, but I definitely didn’t enjoy it either, although I am glad to have read it.

After so much disappointment, I had to pick up something that was sure to be a hit, and so I finally read Rick Yancey’s The Last Star.

Excuse me while I fangirl #bookstagram #atlast

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Okay, I’ll admit it, I was scared too. The final installment to one of my all-time favorite trilogies – who wouldn’t be a bit nervous? But Yancey is a god, and he did not let me down. This trilogy is gold, and one of its greatest strengths, in my humble opinion, is the writing. It’s not so much the great plot or the great characters, but how Yancey weaves these elements into words. It’s not just a story about aliens invading – it’s a story about humanity, and what makes us human, what unites and divides us, everything. He works big questions into beautifully poetic sentences, and it packs one hell of a punch. I love the mind games this story plays, if you let it get under your skin (and it’s why, strangely enough, the second book, The Infinite Sea, is probably my favorite).

I know a lot of people were upset about how this ended, and I understand that – it is upsetting, it’s heartbreaking, and I bawled my eyeballs out. But it’s also so very right, in a way. I think part of the reason why I managed to accept this ending so well has to do with timing, and I feel like reading it now was a good call, because it tore me apart but I also felt very at peace it with and like that was just as I wanted it to be.

I’m just in awe of Yancey and I will forever read anything the man writes. And this trilogy will always hold a special place in my heart.

At this point in the month I went on my Tor short story journey, and then spent the weekend working at a sci-fi convention and was, naturally, filled with a sci-fi yearning that could only be fulfilled with space travel (because two full days of it were not enough). So I picked up the second volume of The First Formic War trilogy (Earth Afire), the prequel to the Ender’s Game books, these written not only by Orson Scott Card but also by Aaron Johnson – whom I’m blaming entirely for the disaster that is this trilogy. I love Orson Scott Card, and Ender’s Game was brilliant, but these are just awful. They’re just bad in every way, and in a general way that doesn’t even call for specifics. They’re entertaining enough, I guess, if you want to ignore how badly and lazily written they are, not to mention the sexism (especially in the first book). I’m finishing the trilogy purely because I’m pathologically incapable of leaving anything unfinished, but as of yet I don’t have the third book and I won’t be going out of my way to get it.

With that, I moved on to greener pastures – which is kind of a joke, considering next I read The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Park readings #fridayreads #bookstagram

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One of my besties is a massive Tolkien nerd, and had been pestering me constantly for ages on end to finally finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The only way to shut him up was to pick this up and read it. And I’m very sad to say I didn’t enjoy it as much as the previous two volumes.

The biggest factor was, once again, timing. I think I read this at the wrong time. I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t have fun, and, worst of all, I completely disconnected from the characters. I don’t know what happened, but for the most part I didn’t care one bit about what happened to anyone and was just anxious to finish the book. The first half of it was especially hard for me to read, I was just so completely detached from it all I wouldn’t have minded if a meteor had struck and killed everyone instantly. The second half of the book was better because we got to hang out with Sam, my favorite character and, in my opinion, the actual hero of LOTR. It was a lot more fun for me to see Sam and Frodo’s journey than to read about the battle scenes. Frodo annoyed me for a big part of the narrative, and it wasn’t until the very end that I started to like him a little more.

Although I know it wasn’t the book’s fault, I can’t say I enjoyed it too much. I want to give the whole trilogy a reread a few years from now, and hopefully I will feel differently then, but this time around it was just an alright book.

To finalize, I read Roald Dahl’s The Twits. Having highly enjoyed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I expected great things from Dahl. And this book, although really fun and clever, didn’t exactly pack the punch I wanted it to. Maybe it was just me who expected something different from it. I still really enjoyed reading it, and definitely want to read the rest of his books. However, this book is anti-beards and I’m very fully pro-beards, so.

Anyway, these are all the things I read this month, I think it was a positive one overall. Let me know if you’ve read any of these and your thoughts on them. Hopefully August will be even better!

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed Me A Fully Loaded Gift Card

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish and this week we’re talking about our wishlists and the top ten books we’d run out to buy if we were magically handed the funds for such (also, someone should totally make this a reality for all of us book lovers). There are so many books that it will be really hard to narrow it down to ten, but let’s give it a go.

  1. The Godfather by Mario Puzo – A friend of mine and I are going to be reading this whole trilogy, but first we need to get our hands on the first volume.
  2. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – I’ve been wanting to read Murakami for ages, but I came across some quotes from this particular book (trilogy, but I’d be buying the bind-up edition, of course) that has me convinced this is the book that will completely break my heart. So obviously I’m dying to get my hands on it.
  3. Jihadismo Global – Das Palavras aos Actos by Felipe Manuel Pathé Duarte – This is a Portuguese book written by a fascinating man I had the chance to meet and hear him talk about precisely one of his areas of expertise, jihadism. I was hooked immediately, and as soon as I knew he had written this book I wanted to read it. He’s brilliant, and I’d like to follow him around just to hear him speak (like a creepy stalker).
  4. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire is one of my all-time favorite series and I want more and more and more of  the Seven Kingdoms.
  5. the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace – Manda is one of the loveliest people ever, and from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of this, an amazing writer as well. I can’t wait to get to have the full experience of this gorgeous poetry collection.
  6. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert – I love Gilbert, and I know she’s going  to fill me with inspiration once more.
  7. The Confusion & The System of the World by Neal Stephenson – Okay, I know this is cheating, but these two are part of a trilogy so I’m counting them both here. Stephenson is my king, and I have the first volume of this waiting to be read, but I refuse to do it until I have all the books.
  8. Politics Among Nations by  Hans J. Morgenthau – If money was not a concern at all, I’d get the book that is currently on sale on bookdepository for 112€.
  9. Cimarronin: The Complete Graphic Novel by Neal Stephenson and a whole bunch of other people no one cares about – Stephenson was involved, I want. Plus, it’s been ages since I’ve read a graphic novel.
  10. The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley – I’m in the mood for dark and creepy things, and this one just looks amazing, and with exactly the right atmosphere. Plus, the cover is gorgeous!

This is a right-now list that I had a really hard time putting together. Ask me again in ten minutes and a few of these will have changed because I’ll have a slightly higher desire to read something else. With infinite resources I’d just buy every single Neal Stephenson book. One can dream.

Does your top-priority list shift constantly?