Tag Archives: star rating

Groovy Movies: 1917 Edition

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Groovy Movies: 1917 Edition

Hi! I have always loved going to the movies. To me, there is nothing better than catching a flick on the big screen with your family, SO, or by yourself. And, other than everything, my favorite part of having a boyfriend is having someone to go on movie dates with! Johnny and I have fairly different tastes in movies. While we both never say no to a comedy or horror picture, he is a history buff and loves war movies while I am a huge fan of thrillers and foreign films.

This contrast works out nicely because it exposes us both to movies we might not have watched before. I have seen more than my fair share of war movies now, which was normally not my cup of tea. However, I find myself enjoying them despite the intense anxiety I feel throughout each one!

This past week, we went on a date to see 1917 thanks to a Fandango gift card from my brother and it was just fantastic. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video.

1917 tells the tale of two British Lance Corporals, Schofield and Blake, who must cross into enemy territory to deliver an urgent message during World War I. This message would call off an attack that would ultimately put the British soldiers into a trap by the Germans. If successful, the two corporals on a race against time could save up to 1,600 of their troops – including Blake’s brother.

From beginning to end, 1917 created a sense of tension that could be cut with a knife. It was filmed as one continuous shot, which really made you feel like you were on this quest with the soldiers. And, because it was one continuous shot, having a less tense “break” during the film was impossible. There was constant movement as the men pushed forward into enemy lines, which left me holding my breath for booby traps the entire time.

I liked how the plot of 1917 was simple. It was a journey set to the pace of a race and it made me so committed to the main characters because all I wanted was for them to make it safely. Running at just under two hours, I was exhausted by the end of the film from all of the emotional blows. Surprise attacks, devastating losses, and the potential for saving so many lives kept me on the edge of my seat bracing myself for the next metaphorical punch in the gut.

Not only was the film shot brilliantly (It almost made me feel like I was in a first person shooter game.), but the actors were sublime. I never once stopped rooting for Schofield and Blake and surprise cameos by Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch made the viewing even more exciting by putting familiar faces into the mix. No part was unimportant which made each scene powerful, especially when it showcased the brotherhood amongst the soldiers.

I would highly recommend 1917 and easily grant it the coveted ten out of ten stars. Because this film was more of a journey than intense battle sequences the whole time, it is sure to be a hit – even with those who don’t care for war movies. I absolutely loved it and the Golden Globe for Best Picture and Best Director don’t lie!

What were your thoughts on 1917? What is your favorite war movie? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDB

Groovy Movies: Doctor Sleep Edition

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Groovy Movies: Doctor Sleep Edition

Hi there! This past weekend, my sister, boyfriend, and I headed off to the movies to see Doctor Sleep, the sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining. We are all avid fans of Mr. King so we were definitely looking forward to an afternoon viewing of Doctor Sleep. I am not proud of this, but I never got around to reading the book. Believe you me, I’m just as ashamed of myself as all of you!

However, this allowed me to see the film with no preconceived notions of how it should be because I really didn’t know too much about it. This was a good and a bad thing so, without giving away any spoilers, let’s discuss:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Danny Torrence is all grown up, an alcoholic, and is still shining despite his efforts to stifle it through his addiction. And, can you blame him after his traumatizing stay at the Overlook Hotel as a child? But, what does it mean to shine, you might ask? Well, the shining is kind of like your intuition working on overdrive. You might be able to tell someone where they lost their watch. You could see people who have been dead for years. Or you can communicate with others telepathically. It all depends on the person who is shining.

To shine is an amazing gift and there are those who want to harvest in on that power by tracking down the shiner, killing them, and inhaling their “steam”, which is released through fear and pain. With this group of baddies on the prowl, the shining population is dwindling down leaving some with hardly any shine at all and a handful of mega powerful minds whose shine is impossible to dim.

Cue Danny Torrence and his new friend, Abra, a teenage girl who he meets through telepathic communication. The shine hunters are on to them but can they turn those chasing them into the prey? Watch Doctor Sleep and find out!

Okay, so let’s get to the good things about watching Doctor Sleep without reading the book. Let me start out by saying that this flick was close to three hours long, so not knowing anything about the story line helped keep my attention for most of the film. It made every new development exciting but, as with any long movie, I found myself wondering throughout the viewing just when the hell it would be over so I could go pee.

Had I known where the plot was going and would ultimately end up, maybe the jitters of mentally begging the movie to finish up would have gone away. I also wish that I had a better appreciation of who the characters were and where they were coming from. Don’t get me wrong, the cast was cool and the baddies were badass. But, I think I would have liked them all a bit more if I had a book description to compare them to.

Do I have a problem with long movies? Absolutely not. I could watch the Lord Of The Rings on repeat for days. But, I do have a problem when movies are long and they don’t necessarily have to be. For example, a healthy half hour could have easily been shaved off of Doctor Sleep and the movie would have still been good, if not better. The beginning and ending were exciting but the middle was so drawn out that it made me wish that the grand finale would just hurry up and finish.

My sister happened to read Doctor Sleep and commented that the beginning and ending were very true to the book but it strayed hard in the middle. I can’t comment on this but just going off of what she said, the movie rendition could definitely have been shortened.

I am still happy that I saw the movie in theaters and I had a fun outing with my favorite people but it wasn’t the best film that I’ve seen, by far. In fact, the more I think about it the less I like it. But, it was still good by my standards and I will rate it with a six out of ten stars.

What were your thoughts on Doctor Sleep if you have seen it? What is your favorite Stephen King book or movie? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDB

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway Edition

Helloooo everyone! I recently just finished the fifth book out right now by Ruth Ware called The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. I, for the most part, have had a very positive experience with this author. Though there were a few books like The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark Dark Wood that I wasn’t wild about, I highly enjoyed The Turn Of The Key and The Lying Game. Unfortunately, The Death Of Mrs. Westaway was a big miss for me with the grand reveal so, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Death Of Mrs. Westaway revolves around twenty-one year old Harriet AKA Hal, a tarot card reader who runs a small stand on Brighton Pier. She inherited the shop from her mother after she was killed in a car accident and needed to take up shop immediately to try to make ends meet. Young, broke, orphaned (she doesn’t know who her father is), and owing money to a dangerous loan shark Hal is in way over her head when bills pile up, her stand is lacking customers in the winter season, and the threats from the man she owes to turns dangerous.

Hal feels the need to escape and she can do that if she can swing fooling an entire family into believing she’s related to them. When she receives a letter in the mail claiming that she is the recipient of a substantial inheritance from the deceased Mrs. Westaway, it seems almost too good to be true – especially considering that she believed her grandparents to be dead. Despite committing a major act of fraud, Hal has nothing left to lose and everything to gain and heads to the funeral with the claim that she is the daughter of the deceased woman’s daughter, Maud.

At the funeral, Hal encounters the three brothers of her “mother” and, though lots of questions are raised, she is supposedly in with a family that she seemingly has no connection to. Or so she thinks. Because when she discovers her real mother in a photo of the siblings at their elaborate Victorian manor, everything she thinks she knows about herself and her mother becomes flipped. Does this family know who her father is? What is Hal’s mother’s relation to them? Is she a rightful heir to the inheritance after all? Read the book and find out!

I am not sure how to feel about The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. I actually loved it until the grand reveal and, although I saw it coming, I was disappointed with the outcome. I genuinely can’t say anything more than that without giving it completely away. But, what I will say, is that I did enjoy a solid ninety percent of the book. It was well written, suspenseful, downright sinister at times, and I liked almost all of the characters.

I appreciated Hal’s bravery throughout the novel and I liked that she didn’t back down to find the answers that directly pertained to her. She was able to play herself off as the mousy long lost niece and all the while she was making plans and using her intuition to solve the mystery of her own life. She was a heroine that I rooted for the entire time and I wish that the grand reveal did her more justice.

All in all, I’m going to rate this book with a six out of ten. I did not hate it but it was certainly not my favorite Ruth Ware novel by any means. I feel like I ended my reading journey with her on a sour note and am looking forward to a new book by her so that redemption can possibly happen.

What are you reading right now? How did you feel about The Death Of Mrs. Westaway if you read it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Groovy Movies: Joker Edition

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Groovy Movies: Joker Edition

Hello, hello! My dad and I have been looking forward to seeing Joker and spent an afternoon together bearing witness to the amazing spectacle created by Joaquin Phoenix. The buzz on this flick has been strong, especially with talk already of Phoenix bagging Best Actor at the Academy Awards and an eight minute standing ovation at a Venice film festival. Within mere seconds, I understood that the hype was real, because Phoenix’s performance was one of the best I’ve seen in years. Take a look at the trailer and, without giving spoilers away, let’s discuss

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Arthur Fleck, AKA the Joker – a villain that everyone loves to hate and was famously portrayed by the late Heath Ledger was gifted with a two hour film showing just how exactly he came to be. From the lack of care from his delusional mother, severe abuse at the hands of her boyfriend, and a penchant for uncontrollable fits of laughter, no one can say that the Joker had it easy.

And, now, as a middle aged man with a love for vaudeville trying to make his way in the hardened Gotham City as a hired clown and stand up comic, things seem far from hopeful for Arthur Fleck. Mentally unstable, down on his luck, and making the claim that he never felt like he “existed”, Joker explores the transition from man to villain. Showcasing every beating, disappointment, and uncovered truths from the lies he’s been fed his whole life, Fleck begins a dangerous downward spiral into a life of crime amidst a city devoured by darkness and political unrest.

What follows? Pure and total anarchy, just as the newly formed Joker likes it.

This movie was absolutely haunting to me. Joaquin Phoenix, who lost fifty pounds to play this role, was an emaciated skeleton of a man, which made his screeching high pitched laugh even more unsettling. Blatantly placing his violent behaviors on his mental illnesses was also a disturbing one and it begs the question of if this movie is a “safe” one to be viewed by the general public. Is it a popcorn flick that tells a backstory of one of the most well known villains in history? Or, could it be viewed as a manifesto for the bullied and scared to make a stand – especially in the current political state we are in as we speak.

Regardless of your views on the issue, there is no denying that it was a well made film with a stellar performance by Phoenix. The imagery of streets filled with garbage, rain pelting down, and a man in painted face and a suit is one that I will not be forgetting any time soon.

Joker took its sweet time building up and by the final action packed scenes, the tension was ready to be cut with a knife. This resulted in a simply delicious viewing experience of seeing all of the dominoes that were so carefully placed throughout the film begin to topple to form the big picture. My dad and I left the theater feeling nothing short of shook up. And, honestly, there were some scenes that were genuinely hard to watch. But, I think that was the whole point of Joker and every tense, gut wrenching moment was a testament to that.

Not for the faint of heart but a damn good flick, I’m giving Joker a prestigious ten out of ten stars. Love it or hate it, Joker is going to be talked about, analyzed, and either applauded or frowned upon for years to come. Joaquin Phoenix gave an iconic performance and I’m already ready to watch it again.

What were your thoughts on Joker? Who is your favorite comic book villain? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDB

Groovy Movies: Aladdin Edition

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Groovy Movies: Aladdin Edition

Helloooo everyone! I can’t say that I am a HUGE Disney fan but it’s not like I don’t enjoy the movies, either. It has been an exciting time in the movie world because live action remakes of Disney classics are the new trend. Unfortunately, I wasn’t overly impressed with Beauty And The Beast or The Lion King’s remake. However, I absolutely LOVED the live action Aladdin, despite its poor reviews. So, take a look at the toe tapping trailer and let’s discuss:

^^^ And, as always, I have no rights to this video!

Normally, a Disney film isn’t my first choice to play after a day at work but, I’m not going to lie, I was looking forward to watching Aladdin. Last Christmas, I had the absolute pleasure of being able to see the Broadway rendition of Aladdin at Playhouse Square with my family and I felt like the 2019 film was a wonderful blend of the Broadway show and the original cartoon. Spending the evening watching the movie gave me a new appreciation for the music and artistry that went into the iconic original and it was such a beautiful, modern nod to its predecessor.

The costumes, scenery, and *most* of the characters were divine but Will Smith as the genie completely made the film for me. He was utterly brilliant and I think Robin Williams would be proud of the performance that was so inspired by his own but with a fresh, new spin on it.”You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me” reminded me so much of the Broadway performance that I really enjoyed and Will Smith’s fabulous flamboyance kept me in stitches the whole time.

I thought Jafar and Jasmine were also exceptionally strong characters and were cast well. But, I wasn’t too crazy about the choice for Aladdin. Had he not been acting alongside such powerful cast mates he would have totally sizzled out and he was outshined the entire movie. He was just too meek and mild and, although he was the title character, he didn’t stand out in anyway shape or form. But, because the rest of the film was so spot on, a poor casting choice for the lead was just a blip on my radar.

What I loved the most about Aladdin was the big picture that was created in every scene. The glorious palaces, the bustling market of Agrahbah, and the vast deserts all seemed so real that I felt like I was right there, too. The magnificent choices in color, costumes, and oh yeah – the fantastic musical numbers just seemed like the cherry on top of what was already splendid. Saying that Aladdin was visually stimulating is a severe understatement and the beauty of the rapidly changing scenery in “A Whole New World” moved me to tears.

If you’re a die hard Disney fan, I think you’ll love this movie. And, if you’re like me, who isn’t the most avid Disney fan – you are still going to love this movie. Aladdin was a fast moving tale of being true to yourself, unexpected girl power, and that everything is a little bit better with your friends by your side… magic powers or no! I rate this movie with a nine out of ten and I highly recommend it!

What were your thoughts on the new Aladdin? What has been your favorite Disney movie remake? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: IMDb

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

Howdy! I recently finished another Ruth Ware novel called The Lying Game and have read The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood by her this summer, too. I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed with either of those books but The Lying Game was a great read and I am happy that I chose to give Ware one more try before calling it quits and finding another author to read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Lying Game revolves around new mother, Isa, and her three best girlfriends from high school, Kate, Thea (Whose name I’m still not sure how to pronounce!), and Fatima. At their boarding school, the girls reveled in what they called “The Lying Game” and would keep a scoreboard to record the points from the tall tales that they would spin based on the quality and if people actually believed them. The game was supposed to be all in good fun and the rules were simple, including “never lie to your friends” and “know when to stop the lie”.

The girls spent one year at the boarding school together, which came to an abrupt halt when they were asked to leave quietly in the wakes of a possible scandal that directly involved them. And, although it’s a rarity that they talk now as they are all in their thirties, when a friend texts the three words of “I need you” the now women drop their responsibilities immediately and flock to the one in distress.

So, when Kate sends Isa the call to action, she packs up her belongings with her six month old daughter in tow and makes the journey to her, near the old boarding school. The text was indeed an urgent one because once the ladies arrive to Kate’s, it is revealed that a human bone was found in the sea – a result of their “game” being taken too far. With a police investigation nipping at their heals, the once best friends have to come up with a plan and unravel the truth behind their lies before an arrest is made. Were they murderers? Covering something up? Or just plain stupid? Read the book and find out!

I absolutely adored The Lying Game and devoured it in a matter of days. It was so refreshing to read a book with a tangible plot and told from the perspective of someone with a sound mind. Because, let’s be honest, the unstable narrator shtick has been hopelessly drawn out. The Lying Game was filled with twists and turns that actually seemed plausible and I really had no idea what the end result was going to be.

It was interesting to see how a mistake that happened in their teenage years has haunted each woman in the almost two decades since it happened. Each one dealt with the trauma in a different way and it made for fascinating characters with realistic flaws and personalities. The Lying Game was a wild ride and I am now ready to tuck into another Ruth Ware novel ASAFP!

And, now for the star rating…. I award The Lying Game with an eight out of ten. The plot was riveting, the characters were all likeable in their own ways, and I genuinely enjoyed myself while reading it. Highly recommend.

Has anyone read The Lying Game? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

Salutations! In the newest edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing the mystery thriller, The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This author might sound a bit familiar to you, as I just recently reviewed another one of her books, In A Dark, Dark Wood. And, similarly to it, The Woman In Cabin 10 is another one that revolves around an unreliable narrator. Let’s discuss, without giving any spoilers away!

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Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine is your classic “can we trust everything she sees” narrator. Following the usual formula of a heavy drinker while on medication, sleep deprived, as well as recently traumatized by a break in, Lo is… well, at a low point. Ba dum chhhhh. Anyways, very shortly after the break in happened, Lo sets sail aboard a luxury “cruise ship” that’s more like a yacht as a fill in for her boss on maternity leave.

The Aurora is welcoming a select few in the travel industry to board for a week, sailing around Norway, to get the hype built for their launch. The surroundings are swanky and the guests are even more posh – ranging from photographers to heiresses as well as journalists and models. This is a big break for Lo and, while she should be networking her little butt off, she ends up investigating a murder that she only heard, instead.

Enter The Woman In Cabin 10, a cabin that was supposed to be empty.  Lo spoke with the tenant one time after knocking on her door to borrow a tube of mascara and didn’t see her again that night at dinner. A dinner that she ended up getting WASTED at, by the way. So, who’s to say that what she saw was accurate when she claimed she saw a bloody smear on the glass divider on her balcony once she was back in her room? Or heard a huge splash that sounded like a body falling overboard?

The whodoneit begins, as Lo questions all of the staff with the help of the head of security and prying into just what the guests were up to after the dinner party. No one has seen the woman who she saw in the cabin and absolutely no one is ruled out as a suspect. Filled with red herrings and hidden intentions, will the murder get solved or remain a mystery at sea? Read The Woman In Cabin Ten to find out!

I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of In A Dark, Dark Wood and wasn’t expecting much better from The Woman In Cabin 10. But, I ended up enjoying it a fair amount. If I’m being honest, I am SO. Freaking. Sick. of the unreliable narrator angle. However, this murder mystery set at sea was too dishy and fun to not be a total page turner. The grand reveal at the end was also one that I wasn’t expecting at all and, normally, I am very quick to solve it on my own.

While I couldn’t stand any of the characters from In A Dark, Dark Wood, I quite liked the cast of players in this one. They all held my interest because all of their personalities were so different and it made for a fun reading experience to watch and study their interactions with each other. The finger pointing and guessing games between them kept me on my feet till the very end.

I didn’t love The Woman In Cabin 10 by any means but, I finished it in three days so that has to count for something, right? I’m going to give it a six out of ten rating and would recommend it for a quick summer read, if nothing else.

Who else has read The Woman In Cabin 10? What did you think about it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah