Review: Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Midnight Sun

This review will contain minor spoilers.

I’ve mentioned this in a couple of my blog posts but I am a very recent Twilight fan – when two of my best friends entered self-isolation we decided to have movie nights on Netflix and we decided to re-watch the Twilight films. I hadn’t really enjoyed them when I was a teenager but watching them with my friends was hilarious. Since I’d enjoyed the movies I decided to give the books another go (I’d tried them when I was a teenager but I really couldn’t get into them) and was surprised that I managed to finish the series so quickly. So when it was announced ‘Midnight Sun’ was coming out I knew I’d have to give it a read.

For those unfamiliar with the premise of this book, it’s essentially just Twilight from Edward’s point of view. And it literally is just Twilight. Given the size of the book when it arrived I thought we’d have at least a couple of chapters of Edward before meeting Bella but it jumps straight into Bella’s first day and ends at the same point the first Twilight book ends. It’s literally the same book but so much longer.

Twilight gif

I’ll be honest, even though the books and films are obviously centred around Bella and Edward’s relationship I always found that the most boring aspect. The more interesting characters were definitely Charlie, Alice, Carlisle, Rosalie, Jasper etc. so I was kind of hoping we’d get more of an insight into Edward’s family and that we’d see more of their relationship – as we were obviously limited reading this from Bella’s point of view in the first one. If that’s also what you’re looking for from this book then I think you’ll be disappointed.

It wasn’t too bad at first, we got an insight into Alice and Edward’s relationship which I enjoyed and there were some scenes at home but then suddenly Edward spent all of his time keeping an eye (or as most of us would call it – ‘stalking’) Bella. Every conversation that Bella had with a secondary character in the first book was pretty much included in this one except with Edward listening we could also hear their thoughts but this wasn’t interesting enough… Their thoughts were one dimensional and we could’ve guessed what they were thinking from their actions anyway.

In Twilight there were plenty of scenes where Bella was away from Edward for the first half of the book but in Midnight Sun it was like Edward had to be with Bella 24/7. On those sunny days where he and his siblings couldn’t attend school he lingered nearby and watched her through other people’s eyes. He eavesdropped on Bella’s conversations with her father. When he was in a different class to her he wouldn’t pay attention to what was going on but would again, watch her through other people’s eyes. When he brought Bella home from Port Angeles he went and told Carlisle he was worried about leaving those men just lurking the streets so the two of them set off to deal with it only for Edward to fuck off when it gets interesting to go and watch Bella sleep!

Twilight gif 2

One interesting aspect was the insights into Edward’s past – back when it was just him and Carlisle and then the stories of Esme joining them, then Rosalie and so on. That’s what I would’ve liked the book to have spent more time focusing on instead of repeating almost every conversation that we’d already read in the original Twilight book. I also liked the insights into how Alice’s visions worked and the different possibilities she saw and how she worked with Edward.

I think the trouble is that back when Twilight released it probably was seen as romantic but in 2020 it just doesn’t work anymore… Meyer was obviously limited if she was going to tell the same story from someone else’s point of view but she really didn’t need to write Edward stalking Bella’s every move. Does this boy not have any hobbies? Granted, I’ve never been in love but I don’t think I’d be thrilled if the person I loved was listening in to all of my conversations and watching me sleep every night. And I’d hope that if I ever became that possessive of someone that my friends would give me a rightful slap around the face. His family just let him crack on with it and seemed to find it kind of endearing which was weird. Using the excuse that Bella was ‘fragile’ because she was human and therefore needed to be protected 24/7 just seemed a weak excuse. She’d survived seventeen years until she’d met Edward.

I also didn’t get the families disgust with the fact Bella was human – they all started out human? Rosalie dragged Emmett to Carlisle as a human so he could change him, she didn’t just shrug her shoulders and let him die. I don’t know, it just seemed weird considering Carlisle had turned four of them from humans and yet they were like ‘… but she’s human, ew’. SO WERE ALL OF YOU ONCE, I DON’T GET WHY IT’S SUCH A BIG DEAL?

I did enjoy reading the book from Edward’s point of view but it still felt very lacking. If Meyer wanted to tell a story from Edward’s point of view could it not have been before he met Bella? Or a continuation of Breaking Dawn? Literally anything other than a book we’ve already read because it just didn’t really work – the only books I’ve read that were ‘exactly the same’ but with a point of view switch are ‘Every Day’ and ‘Another Day’ by David Levithan but I felt those worked well because the main characters got on with other things whilst they were apart. Edward didn’t so we were just rereading a lot of stuff when we could’ve been getting new content.

Another thing – from the way it was described I thought it was going to be really dark. It felt like Meyer laid it on really thick that we were getting Edward’s deepest thoughts so it would be darker than the original Twilight but it really wasn’t. We knew most of his dark past from what he told Bella and the things that he’d omitted to tell her that we discovered in this book didn’t really leave a lasting impression.

Overall, I’m glad I read it and I guess I’m glad it was written but it definitely wasn’t without its flaws. I don’t think Twilight really works in 2020 – maybe she would’ve been better of rewriting the first one or something so that it was less problematic. It’s not a book I’ll be returning to in a hurry.

What I’ve Been Watching on Netflix & Disney+: Quarantine Edition

Netflix

During lockdown I’m sure streaming sites were used and downloaded more than ever. I wanted to share a few things I’ve been watching, feel free to leave any recommendations!

All the Twilight movies

Twilight

Before the country officially went into lockdown two of my best friends had to both enter self-isolation for two weeks – both on the same day. Becca saw a tweet about Netflix Party and to save her and Hirst from boredom we all decided to start having movie nights together. I thought it’d take us forever and a day to pick a movie but somehow we landed quite quickly on the first Twilight which was a good choice as for the next few movie nights we didn’t have to have the ‘which film should we watch’ conversation because we’d just watch the next film in the series.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of the films when I was a teenager even though I said I was because everyone else seemed to like it but I had so much fun watching them with my friends that I’ve ended up becoming a Twilight fan only ten years after everyone else. I even bought all the books and actually managed to read them for the first time – now I’m in the middle of ‘Midnight Sun’ (which is a lot longer than I thought it would be!) and I think I’m going to write a review on that. But yeah, I’m now low-key a Twilight fan years after the hype has died down.

The Simpsons

The Simpsons 2

I mentioned this in a previous blog post but I’ve been rewatching lots of episodes of The Simpsons on Disney+. The Simpsons always reminds me of my Dad because I never really used to watch it at home so I’d watch it at my Dad’s on a Friday night – it was about the only show we all used to enjoy as a family. I like watching it now because it’s a bit of light entertainment, I don’t have to think too hard and it’s just comforting. I was going through something causing me a lot of worry and pain during lockdown and The Simpsons was comforting and familiar.

Kiki’s Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service

Although I’m a big Studio Ghibli film I still hadn’t watched this film – I borrowed the DVD off Jess for about a year before she eventually politely asked for it back and I didn’t watch it once during that time. I was ecstatic when Netflix announced they were adding Studio Ghibli films and immediately added them all to my list but it took me a while to get round to watching one. First up was Kiki’s Delivery Service which I absolutely loved and wish I’d watched sooner, it could potentially be my new favourite Studio Ghibli film – although I’m not 100% sure it knocks My Neighbour Totoro from my top spot. I need to watch more Studio Ghibli films first because I still haven’t seen them all.

Brave

Brave

Although I enjoyed this film I’d only seen it once and that was at the cinema with Becca when it was first released so it had been a while. I’m so glad Disney started a streaming service I was having to buy their films on iTunes or YouTube every time I wanted to watch one because for some reason my laptop won’t play DVD’s (it’s very annoying). The film was just as good as I remembered it being, it’s a shame it’s such an underrated film because we’re hard pressed for princess films that don’t have any romance in (although Disney are getting better, I must admit) and I just really enjoyed it.

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde

My friend Becca raves about this film, she could probably write a ten page essay on it. When I went on my trip to Romania in January 2019 I asked for film recommendations to watch on the flight and of course Becca suggested this. So I started it but I couldn’t really get lost on it. I told Becca it hadn’t been my cup of tea and she was outraged. Then one night during lockdown me, Becca and Hirst decided to watch a chick flick and after realising I’d enjoyed Twilight more watching it with my friends I decided to give Legally Blonde another go.

I actually loved it – considering the year it’s made it has really good values. It was so nice to see that although she was pretty and cared about the way she looked Elle was also loyal, friendly and smart. Just everything about it was perfect; I’m not sure why I didn’t like it the first time. It’s definitely up there now in my list of top ten chick flicks – potentially even grabbing a spot in the top five!

The Umbrella Academy

The Umbrella Academy

I think I’ve mentioned this a couple of times but I find it so hard to get lost in shows these days if they’re too long. I thought I was enjoying ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ but I often found myself checking how much time I had left and when an episode was finished I was done, I didn’t want to watch another one. Becca and Jess watched The Umbrella Academy before me and said they were enjoying it and suddenly I hopped back on the My Chemical Romance bandwagon again so last year I watched season one and finished it within a matter of days. For the first time in ages whenever an episode finished I didn’t want to stop watching, I wanted to carry on.

I finished Season Two just as quickly when it dropped recently and I loved pretty much every second. I think I enjoyed this season more, it was nice seeing the siblings interact more with Vanya instead of excluding her from everything, I thought the storyline was really interesting and although I’d hated Luther with a passion in the first season (after THE particular episode I’d literally had to have a breather before watching the season finale because I was absolutely fuming) he grew on me and by the end of the season I didn’t actively dislike him… Although I do hope the Allison x Luther ship is dropped, they can’t say they’re not technically related because they just don’t know that. And they were raised as brother and sister. It’s not right.

The Umbrella Academy 2

I really don’t know how long I can wait for Season Three because that finale honestly blew my mind – I’d found it difficult watching the Season One finale and knowing I had to wait but this one feels even worse! Come on Netflix, get going!

The Promise

The Promise

After spending months inside trapped with my Mom and Step-Dad they finally went on holiday for the week so I decided to have a bit of a ‘Staycation’ and decided to have a movie day. Before they left I had a look on Netflix to see what movies they had and had a look in the horror section even though I doubted I’d want to watch a horror whilst they were away (I’m not fussed about watching horrors but going to bed knowing the house is empty apart from me does creep me out a bit). Most of the trailers for horror movies looked shit but this one looked promising (ayeee get it!).

The basic premise of the film is that in Thailand two teenagers make a suicide pact during the 1997 Asian finance crisis but after Ib shoots herself Boum becomes scared and runs away, failing to fulfil her side of the promise. Twenty years later Boum revisits the building with her daughter Bell and her past actions return to haunt them.

Whilst I did enjoy the film and it kept my attention throughout; it was way more depressing than scary. There were a few good jump scares but really it was just very dark. Still, it was interesting and it was a good way to kill a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Fighting with my Family

Fighting With My Family

I remember seeing this advertised at the cinema but I didn’t go because I wasn’t too keen on wrestling and I didn’t think it would be my type of movie. However, I’ve essentially fallen in love with Florence Pugh at this point and when I noticed that she starred in it I knew I’d have to watch it. So one bored Saturday evening I put it on and I was instantly hooked.

I’m kind of gutted I never watched it at the cinema because I loved it. Normally I end up checking my phone, checking how much time I have left etc. if I watch something at home but I was hooked with this film. My favourite thing about it is definitely that the blonde girls could’ve just been bitchy secondary characters that Paige had to ‘defeat’ but no, it was Paige who was the bad guy and she had to overcome her insecurities and judgement to find her place. I just loved pretty much everything about it, in fact it’s low-key made me want to go to a wrestling match but I have a feeling I’d stand out like a sore thumb if I did so!

Arrietty

Arrietty

Another Studio Ghibli film that I hadn’t watched before but instantly fell in love with. I don’t know it takes me so much motivation to watch films but I’ve had this on DVD for years but never watched it until another random Saturday night when I decided to finally give it a watch on Netflix.

I won’t lie, the accents threw me at first because I was watching the dubbed version and they were very British – I realised why when I noticed Tom Holland and Saoirse Ronan voiced the main characters. I’ll have to watch the subbed version one day but although it was a bit off-putting at first I soon got used to it and was fully absorbed in the story. It’s such a cute film, it’s a shame it took me so long to finally watch it because I loved it! I think it’d definitely be within my top five favourite Ghibli films.

Modern Family

Modern Family

A while ago I watched a couple of episodes of Modern Family for the same reason I watched The Simpsons I think – it was comforting, familiar and I just wanted to kill a bit of time. Then one Sunday I came back from the leisure centre and shortly after breakfast began to feel like shit. At first I just felt a bit sluggish so I chilled on the sofa but then it got so bad that I wasn’t sure if I was hungry or if I was gonna vomit. So I decided to just lounge on the sofa and watch something chill on Netflix. So I stuck Modern Family on again and now I’m hooked.

I’d watched every episode of the first few series but then stopped watching the later seasons – I’m on season seven so I have a lot of catching up to do but irritatingly Netflix only has the first seven seasons so I don’t know what to do once I’ve finished that. Am I gonna have to buy the other seasons or something? I need to know what happens even though I’ve seen a fair amount of spoilers on YouTube. But I still need to watch it for myself!

I’ve watched a lot more stuff stuck in quarantine but I think I’ll leave it here for now and maybe update ya’ll in a few more months – but as I said, please feel free to leave me some recommendations! Maybe you’ll recommend another show I’ll actually be able to get stuck into!

Review: Big Bones by Laura Dockrill

Big Bones

During lockdown I’ve come on leaps and bounds in my confidence – it’s not still 100% there yet but it’s definitely a lot better than it was as we entered 2020. I’ve become much more comfortable in my skin as a plus size girl so I decided I wanted to read more books about ‘fat’ characters – pre-lockdown I’d really enjoyed reading ‘No Big Deal’ by Bethan Rutter and ‘Jemima Small vs The Universe’ by Tamsin Winter so when I spotted ‘Big Bones’ I decided to give it a go.

For those unfamiliar with the book ‘Big Bones’ is about a girl named Bluebelle who is asked by a nurse to keep a food diary over the summer and her body positive journey.

After the first eighty or so pages I updated my Goodreads progress and asked ‘does this eventually actually have a plot?’ and I felt my heart sink when I realised I was only 20% of the way through the book. The first one hundred pages are dedicated to food and establishing the characters which was… Boring. I’m sorry but it was. I understand we were meant to be reading her food diary but it just really didn’t work for me, it shouldn’t have taken us so long to jump into the plot.

V Sleeping gif

Then there was Bluebelle herself who I just didn’t find particularly likeable. Dockrill tried hard to write her as a funny, kind girl but she just came across as a ‘I’m not like other girls’ type despite claiming that she was ‘team girl’. Yes, so ‘Team Girl’ that she was very judgemental about the girls working at the gym and for what… Because they asked her if she’d had her induction yet? Despite being ‘team girl’ Bluebelle only seems to have one female friend and seems to be constantly making snap judgements about other women. Also her younger sister Dove only has male friends and when Bluebelle suggests she makes friends with some girls (after Dove reveals she doesn’t think she has much in common with her friends after all) Dove says something like “The last thing I need is another girl to hang out with. You and Mum are total head-cases.” – what the fuck does that even mean? Her Dad was a bloody weirdo yet he wasn’t lumped in with every male ever. I guess there’s a cap on how many females you can hang around with? It just seemed like a weird thing to write?

Also I don’t know if Dockrill herself is/has ever been fat but Bluebelle really didn’t feel like an authentic plus size girl to me. Within the first few pages our main character is already ticking the usual plus size stereotypes – she hates exercise, she obsesses over food, she has an opinion on the perfect way to cook/eat almost every type of food going. And of course her skinny, exercise-loving little sister is a rubbish cook.

And also, why were all the mean characters female? Bluebelle works with three other colleagues, two male and one female and although she doesn’t love one of the males the only one she bitches about is the female one who yes, was a cow, but why? In my experience men are often worse than women, treating you with absolutely no respect if they don’t find you attractive. Okay the male characters weren’t saints but they weren’t horrible like the women either. It really didn’t give off a ‘Team Girl’ vibe that the author was definitely going for.

Mean Girls gif

Another thing I didn’t really get was the beef with her parents and why it was relevant. Potential spoiler alert but Bluebelle writes that her parents have an on and off relationship and throughout the book they are ‘off’ so they keep having raging arguments about random stuff and then at the end they get back together. Is that… Meant to be a happy ending? Presumably her Dad will move back in until they have their next argument and then her Mum will kick him out to begin the cycle again? I’m so glad my own parents divorced when I was a toddler instead of ‘staying together for the kids’ ‘cos that’s some bullshit. Okay, I get that presumably the parents didn’t get back together for Dove and Bluebelle but like… What kind of relationship is that? I’m not here for it.

If there was one part about the book that I enjoyed it was the romance element because I will admit that when Bluebelle wrote that she had a crush on her colleague Max I was ready for the book to turn into a Max-fest where Bluebelle obsessed over him page after page but although she described her crush and did write about him he wasn’t the centre of her universe. He was a maybe a bit ‘too’ nice and understanding to the point where it felt a bit unrealistic but after reading so many YA books that are centred around boring crushes this was a relief. Romance in YA novels often makes me cringe or want to throw my book across the room but not the case here.

I saw another reviewer on Goodreads say something like ‘this book is described as a hilarious comedy and at most it’s light-hearted’ which I have to agree with. The humour fell a bit flat for me, parts of it seemed quite childish which is fair enough as we have to remember our protagonist is only sixteen but still. Also, some parts were just gross – like the part where Bluebelle describes that she used to suck vinegar straight out of their little packets or the bit where Bluebelle’s best friend insists on eating the tuna straight out of the can when it got ran over by a car. It still makes me feel a bit queasy thinking about those passages.

Disgusting gif

Overall, although ‘Big Bones’ isn’t the worst book I’ve read this year by a long shot, I don’t think it’s a book I’ll be returning to. Bluebelle wasn’t very likeable and the book didn’t seem like an authentic plus size experience to me. Parts of it rang true but other parts of it were a bit exaggerated – or maybe that’s just not my experience as a plus size girl? I don’t know. But like I said, it’s not a book I’ll be returning to in a hurry or a book I’d recommend to any of my friends.

The Musical Theatre Tag

Theatre 2

Guess who’s back with a brand new tag? I’m seriously missing my theatre trips so please enjoy my rendition of ‘The Musical Theatre Tag’. I may change some of the questions slightly as I don’t just love musicals but we’ll see.

1. What was the first musical you ever saw?

Wicked

I can’t remember my first time at the theatre, in primary school we went to the theatre several times a year on school trips. The first musical I begged to see was ‘Wicked’ and my Mum took me to London for my 16th birthday and treated me to tickets for the show. I imagine that was my first proper musical and it was definitely my first West End experience.

2. What was your favourite musical growing up?

Hairspray

Although I’ve always loved the theatre I didn’t go much for leisure as a child or during my teenage years so I saw most musicals on DVD. If I had to guess I’d say ‘Hairspray’, I loved them from the first watch and loved all the songs.

3. Were you ever in a musical?

When I was a child yes. The first one I remember is when a drama teacher from a secondary school came to our primary to put on a play (the secondary school I ended up going to weirdly enough) and we put on a performance of ‘Oliver!’ This teacher was a bit weird because she added her own parts and also there wasn’t a script, we basically just improvised the whole thing. I was desperate for the part of Dodgess (she had a Dodger and a Dodgess lmao) but the part went to my friend and I was in chorus (I was so upset that she offered me a small speaking part and then the next week conveniently ‘forgot’ about it). In the end it didn’t matter because the guy playing Dodger did all the lines himself and left Dodgess with nothing anyway.

In secondary school I was also in ‘A Little Slice of Wicked/The Wizard of Oz’ by the same teacher who did ‘Oliver!’ so again there was no script and since she was merging ‘Wicked’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ it was really weird anyway. I tried out for a main part but again got banished to chorus. If I’m being honest the show was a bit crap anyway, she wasn’t the best director.

Our schools music teacher also put on a musical every year and her shows were known for being good which they were so I did ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ both times in chorus. Just never destined for a main part I suppose – but at least I was proud of these shows, they were genuinely good.

4. What was the first musical you saw on Broadway?

Anastasia

I’ve only been to New York once but I knew I couldn’t leave without seeing a Broadway show and luckily my Mum knows how much I love theatre so she quickly agreed and let me pick the show. In the end I settled on ‘Anastasia’ because I loved the film and it’s not a show that was available in the UK at the time (or now despite promises of coming to the UK at some point!)

‘Anastasia’ was the perfect choice and honestly I couldn’t have asked for a better first Broadway experience. We were given a box and boxes in the UK can be a bit of a miss as they obscure part of the stage but this was a more modern theatre so the view was perfect and the show itself was just amazing. I’d definitely love to see ‘Anastasia’ again one day – and return to New York!

5. If you could be any female character in any musical who would you be and why?

Six the Musical 2

I’d love to be in a production of ‘Six’ but I have no idea which Queen I’d prefer to be. I’m leaning towards Catherine of Aragon because I think my favourite song is ‘No Way’ but her song comes up first. Anne Boleyn has a fun song, I love Jane Seymour’s song and Catherine Parr ties it altogether so well. I would be happy to play any of them to be honest, if only I could sing!

6. Which male character?

Probably Seymour from ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ – it’s the one that comes immediately to mind.

7. Favourite musical song to sing in the shower?

I saw ‘Six’ right before lockdown so I’ve literally had that on repeat for the past two months and I do play it on my phone whilst I’m in the shower (much to my Mum’s annoyance). I love singing ‘Haus of Holbein’ probably the best and as already mentioned my favourite solo song is probably ‘No Way’ although I do love warbling ‘Heart of Stone’ as well. Pre-lockdown it was probably the iconic but obvious ‘Defying Gravity’ from Wicked.

8. Who is your favourite theatre actress?

If I’m being truthful the only theatre company I keep up with and love is ‘Mischief Theatre’ so my favourite theatre actress is probably Bryony Corrigan, she was so funny in ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ and I loved her improv ‘Mischief Movie Night’.

9. Actor?

Again, I only know the ‘Mischief Theatre’ actors so probably Henry Shields – when I saw ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ for the first time we had to leave the theatre due to a bomb scare and when I returned a few weeks later to watch it he wasn’t there and it was his understudy – Bryony wasn’t there either actually come to think of it. Their understudy’s did an amazing job but I still wanted to see them both in their roles so I went to watch it again at the end of February when they were both back and loved it all over again.

10. Favourite film adaptation of a musical?

I’m not keen on modern adaptations of stage musicals, like I’m not thrilled that they’re turning ‘Wicked’ into a film to be honest – although that may be some selfishness on my part because not everyone can afford to go to the theatre. However, my two picks would be ‘Annie’ or ‘Mamma Mia’. I’ve seen the stage version of ‘Annie’ twice and to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed – I absolutely love the film though having grown up with it.

The first time I saw ‘Mamma Mia’ on stage I wasn’t a big fan of the film but I went back after I fell in love with the film and now I love the stage version. I nearly didn’t go because I was absolutely exhausted and had nearly fallen asleep watching a matinee performance of a different show but I’m so glad I went, it was so energetic and it turned out to be the final night for a lot of the cast and it was an amazing experience. I’d watch that show again in a heartbeat.

11. What do you think is the most underrated musical?

Ever since I watched the Disney film and fell in love with it I’ve wanted to see ‘Into the Woods’ on stage. My friend Hirst treated me and Jess to tickets to ‘Into the Hoods’ which was really good but I’d still love to see a production of ‘Into the Woods’. The fact that it hasn’t toured or had a proper stage production in the UK for bloody ages makes it underrated.

12. Overrated musical?

Controversial but for me, personally, Les Misérables – I’ve never seen the stage version and also have no interest to. I watched the film with my Mum and although I love a handful of the songs I definitely think it went on forever. As I was interested to see how the stage version was done I borrowed a DVD of one of the recordings from my brother but I really didn’t like it. To me, it just seemed like a lot of standing still and singing which is fine but really not my cup of tea at all.

Les Miserables

13. What musical made you cry?

It’s not hard to make me cry, I nearly had a little weep during ‘Heart of Stone’ from Six but managed to keep it in. Although not a musical I’ve cried at ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ (Spoiler alert: At the part where Harry and his friends are watching his parents die – I think this moment is very emotional but when I watched it with Hirst she burst into helpless laughter because she thought the way Harry ‘wailed’ was funny. Typical, can’t take her anywhere). I sometimes cry during ‘Matilda’ when Miss Honey sings ‘My House’ and during ‘When I Grow Up’. I’m sure I’ve cried at tons of shows but I can’t remember them off the top of my head – I’m a massive cry-baby!

14. What musical made you laugh?

I’m more of an upbeat show lover so the majority of ones I watch make me laugh. Not a musical but anything by Mischief Theatre is guaranteed to make me laugh – I think the most I’ve laughed is ‘Mischief Movie Night’, I’d love to see them do some more improv in the future because I think that’s when they’re funniest. Similarly my favourite scenes in ‘Magic Goes Wrong’ were whenever the Mind Mangler was on, especially when he ‘predicted’ people’s jobs.

Magic Goes Wrong

I was also lucky enough to see a performance of ‘Beach Blanket Babylon’ in San Francisco before it finished and I thought that was hilarious, me and my Mum absolutely loved it. Definitely worth hanging around the theatre for over an hour in the hopes we’d get second-hand tickets.

Beach Blanket Babylon

15. Are there any musicals you saw and hated?

Again, controversial, but I bought a ticket for ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ when I was at university and really didn’t like it. I’m not overly keen when a musical is all singing and no talking and I found this one difficult to follow. I don’t know if all performances are subtitled or if this one was specifically but I found myself reading the subtitles more than I watched the show. The singing was beautiful but it’s not a show I’d watch again, it really wasn’t my cup of tea.

16. What musical do you want to see as a film?

The majority of my favourite musicals are already films or were films before they were shows. I’d really like it if Mischief Theatre released a film one day, I’m loving ‘The Goes Wrong Show’ at the moment so would leave a full film!

17. What musicals are you dying to see?

Book of Mormon

As mentioned, I’d love to see ‘Into the Woods’ on stage one day. I was meant to see ‘Friends – The Musical Parody’ in April but unfortunately it was cancelled due to COVID-19 – not even postponed so I won’t be seeing that. I wouldn’t mind watching ‘Book of Mormon’ one day.

I really hope the ‘Mean Girls’ musical comes to the UK one day, I’d have tickets for that within a heartbeat. I wanted to see it when I went to New York but my Mum hasn’t seen the film and I’m not sure if it was on? I’ve just googled and apparently it’s coming to the West End in Spring 2021 (not sure if it’ll be delayed due to COVID) and I am GETTING TICKETS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, I’m so excited.

Mean Girls

I’m also keen to see ‘Frozen’ which either just opened in the West End or was meant to open in the West End but got delayed. I’m due to go to Disneyland Paris in November (COVID permitting) and I’m going via the Eurotunnel so my plan was to watch ‘Frozen’ the night before I travel to get myself hyped for the trip but obviously we’ll have to see what happens now. I haven’t booked my ticket yet so we’ll see.

18. Any book or movie that you think should be turned into a musical?

Perhaps not a musical but I absolutely love horror theatre, I really enjoyed ‘The Woman in Black’, ‘The Exorcist’ and ‘Ghost Stories’ on stage so it’d be cool to see more horror films on stage (I’m pretty sure all of those I just listed were plays or books first but you know what I mean). I think ‘The Boy’ could be done well on stage or something like ‘The Conjuring’ which would be really creepy. Basically any horror movie turned into a stage show and I would be there.

19. What is your all-time favourite musical?

My favourite show/musical always changes and it’s usually dependent on the one I’ve seen most recently. So my favourite musical at the moment is ‘Six’ whilst my favourite show is ‘Magic Goes Wrong’. However I have a soft spot for ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and would really love to watch that again. And as mentioned in the question just gone I love horror theatre, my favourite probably being ‘The Woman in Black’ because I think it was very cleverly done.

So there we have it, there’s the Musical Theatre tag – feel free to link me to yours if you decide to complete it, I’d love to read your answers.

Brahms: The Boy 2 – Review

The Boy 2

This review will contain spoilers because boy do I have some thoughts about this film. It came out months ago but I just need to get this off my chest.

I wrote a review about the original film ‘The Boy’ here and I really enjoyed it. I’d seen the trailer on Facebook a few months before the film actually came out and was immediately hyped to see it. It looked interesting and although I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations I was happy to say that it did. Arguably my favourite thing about it was the plot twist.

For those unfamiliar with the original film a nanny named Greta moves into a large British house to look after a child only to discover the child is actually a doll. Through a series of unexplainable events Greta begins to think the doll is possessed by the spirit of Brahms, a child who passed away in a fire years ago. After her abusive ex-boyfriend breaks the doll it’s revealed that the doll was never possessed, the real Brahms (now an adult) has been living within the walls of the house and making it seem like the doll was alive.

The Boy

That’s a quick overview anyway.

What I enjoyed is that we have a number of creepy doll films and this was one of the most original and well thought out, compared to the likes of films like Annabelle and it was actually genuinely scary. A grown man pretending to be a child scuttling around the walls of an old abandoned house is 100% scarier than a small possessed doll.

When this trailer was released I was instantly worried because it looked like they’d gone back on everything the first film had shown us and I saw many other comments from equally worried people. The trailer made it look like a supernatural horror in which the doll genuinely was possessed but some people advised that the trailer for the original film had looked this way – maybe it was to mask the original plot twist for people who hadn’t seen the first film? I kept an open mind and went to see this film with my friends Becca and Jess a couple of days after it was released.

The Boy 2 still

Jesus. The only good thing I can say for it is that it was short. We went to the 6:45PM showing and we were out by 8:30PM. None of us enjoyed it or could find anything positive to say about the film. A lot of time with horror films we have quite differing opinions – for example Becca loved ‘Hereditary’ whereas Jess and I weren’t that keen. This film was unanimous – we all agreed it was dreadful.

It was like they took everything that I’d enjoyed about the first film and crapped on it. Brahms, the actual child/adult from the first film had supposedly been acting under the influence of the possessed doll which makes literally zero sense. The doll was made to look like the Heelshire’s ‘dead’ child and that was the reason he was called Brahms in the first place. To suddenly decide the doll actually dated back thousands of years before ‘The Boy’ even took place was a weird decision.

My main issue is that we’ve seen this film. A family suffer something traumatic together, decide to move somewhere secluded, child finds ‘possessed’ object, creepy things start to occur. My favourite thing about ‘The Boy’ was that it brought something different to the table whereas this took a decent plot and turned it into ‘Generic Horror Movie #58271’. There was nothing new, nothing interesting, it was a film I’ve seen 100 times before. Which for a standalone film would maybe be forgiven but for a sequel to a good film? Unacceptable. I’m shocked to see it’s written and directed by the same people – absolute sell-outs, clearly more interested with a profit for this movie rather than creating something decent.

The Boy 2 still 2

I read a couple of fan plots on iMDB that would’ve literally been a million times more interesting than this generic mess of a film so you’re honestly telling me that this was the best the professionals could come up with? It also sort of ruined the ending of ‘The Boy’ as in this it looks like Brahms has somehow survived and put the smashed doll back together to continue living alone in the house through the doll which was eerie and worked well. Whereas in ‘The Boy 2’ they’re like ‘nah he died, some creepy random old man found the little pieces of the doll and put him back together – and now he’s gonna spend the rest of the film uselessly hanging around, being a little bit creepy but overall not adding much to the plot.’

Parts of it also just made zero sense compared to the first film. The reason adult Brahms reveals himself is because Greta’s abusive ex-boyfriend smashed the doll which just went into pieces (as it would) whereas in this film the Dad smashes the doll to reveal some burnt up little, I don’t even know, demon I guess sitting inside the doll. I just… What was the point in that, huh? What did that even mean, what did that represent?

And then the ending. I’m gonna spoil it for you. The son chucks the doll into the fire, they all leave, go to a new house, it looks like they’ve had a happy ending and then the son gets up, puts the Brahms mask on and says “I think we’ll be happy here.” Does this mean Brahms won? Because throughout the film Brahms wanted the son to go to the mansion and to live with him there alone so I’m not… How did Brahms win? How is he with the son? It made literally zero sense and it wasn’t even scary. Big deal.

I genuinely don’t have a single good thing to say about ‘Brahms the Boy 2’. I will forever love the first film but this… I can’t accept this, it was just plain awful. I’ve never been so disappointed by a film in my entire life.

So overall, I definitely don’t recommend this film for anyone – if you enjoyed the first film you will hate this film, if you didn’t like the first film you will also hate this film, if you haven’t watched either films then definitely watch ‘The Boy’ ‘cos I really recommend it but don’t watch this. It’s an absolute disgrace, honestly.

20 Favourite 2019 Movies

Cineworld

2019 was a fairly good year for movies. Now that I have my Cineworld card back I managed to go and see a fair few – not all of the ones that I wanted to see but most of them! I decided to write a list of my top twenty that I managed to see this year. This is just my opinion and bear in mind I didn’t see every single release in 2019! But here were my top twenty picks.

20. Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

Midsommar Still 3

So… I wrote a pretty scathing review of this film here and I still stand by everything I said. The film was too long, too slow, didn’t keep enough of an atmosphere. Yet I can’t get this film out of my head and I’m actually vaguely irritated because I love the idea, I thought the acting was phenomenal it’s just that it let itself down (in my opinion). Although I sort of disliked it though I can’t stop reading theories about the film and I absolutely love that scene where they all dance to be the May Queen (no idea why, I just think it’s a great scene). I’ve also watched the majority of the deleted scenes. This film just managed to leave the biggest impact on me this year regardless of the fact that I didn’t like it so for that specific reason it’s made it onto the list.

19. Ma (Tate Taylor, 2019)

Film Title: Ma

I don’t think this film was in cinemas for long and the showings were all really awkward, like late night showings. I was staying in a hotel literally a minute walk from a cinema though whilst this was on so decided to go and see it – the trailer didn’t look ground-breaking or anything like that but everyone knows I like a good horror so I decided to give it a chance. As predicted it wasn’t anything to get excited about but it was an okay film. I wouldn’t be upset if anyone wanted to watch it but I also wouldn’t go out of my way to suggest it either.

18. What Men Want (Adam Shankman, 2019)

What Men Want

Apparently this is sort of a reverse on ‘What Women Want’ which was released in 2001 but I’ve never seen it so I can’t comment. I quite like a good chick flick so I decided to give this a go. Again, nothing ground-breaking but it had its funny moments, its heart-warming moments, its sad moments – everything that goes into a good chick flick.

17. Instant Family (Sean Anders, 2019)

Instant Family

I hadn’t really intended to go and see this film as although it looked okay I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy over it. However I was looking after my brother one morning and we both like going to the cinema and he likes anything aimed at children or anything funny so off we both went. And I ended up enjoying it more than I thought I would to be fair. I’m not sure how accurate of the fostering system the film is as it certainly wouldn’t work like that in the UK but it is still ultimately a comedy film and it worked well.

16. Toy Story 4 (Josh Cooley, 2019)

Toy Story 4

I absolutely love the Toy Story movies, they might even be my favourite Disney films. I think my favourite is Toy Story 3 even though unfortunately I’ve seen it one too many times – but arguably one of my favourite things about Toy Story 3 was the ending. The three films were solid and had the best possible ending. So why on earth did they make a fourth? I enjoyed it but definitely felt the story would’ve been better to end with three, I wasn’t keen on the ending of the fourth one. However it was still enjoyable and I liked some of the characters – I thought Forky would be really annoying but ended up liking him more than I thought and I liked Gabbie too. So I guess it was still a good film.

15. A Dog’s Journey (Gail Mancusco, 2019)

FILM-JOURNEY-REVIEW

I absolutely loved [first film] so when I saw there was a sequel I dragged my brother along to see it with me. This one was just as heart-warming as the first and I enjoyed it so much that when I spotted the book on my way back from San Francisco I decided to give it a read. The book is sadder and although I loved it I prefer the film because I’m a sucker for happy endings. I really enjoyed it, I need to re-watch both of these films.

14. Booksmart (Olivia Wilde, 2019)

Booksmart.jpg

I actually loved this film. An amazing chick flick with a good feminist twist that still managed to be super funny. The chemistry between Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein was incredible, I truly believed in their friendship! And it was nice to see some LGBT representation just for the sake of it rather than having that be the central point of the story. I’d definitely watch this film again as I just loved it!

13. Shazam! (David Sandberg, 2019)

Shazam

I’m much more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan I won’t lie. But this film looked decent and I decided to give it a go. It was actually much better than I thought it would be, it was really funny, heart-warming and just generally a good film. I’d definitely watch it again and hopefully there’s a sequel in the works because I’d go and watch it in a heartbeat.

12. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (Rob Letterman, 2019)

Detective Pikachu

When I was a little kid I was absolutely obsessed with Pokémon but irritatingly I think members of my family but me to suppress my love for it because it was ‘for boys’. My brother was allowed to buy Pokémon cards but when I wanted to buy them with my own money I was told no. Still vaguely irritated by that now. Everyone freaked out when this trailer was released and the Pokémon did look a bit weird but it must’ve been difficult to bring them into a live action movie and keep them looking realistic. They did a better job than Sonic though, let’s be real. But yeah, the film was really good and I think I’d watch it again given the opportunity.

11. Happy Death Day 2U (Christopher Landon, 2019)

Happy Death Day 2U.jpg

I low-key enjoyed ‘Happy Death Day’ because like whilst it was ridiculous at least the filmmakers acknowledged it and rolled with it instead of trying to make it too serious (looking at you ‘The Bye Bye Man’). So I was keen to see the sequel. I won’t lie the film almost seemed like an excuse to justify the first one. In ‘Happy Death Day’ it’s never explained why Tree is stuck in a loop reliving the same day and it’s like they made a sequel to say ‘THIS IS HOW SO IT MAKES SENSE OKAY’. Regardless I still enjoyed it because like the first one it definitely didn’t take itself seriously and it was a lot of fun.

10. Escape Room (Adam Robitel, 2019)

Escape Room

I really can’t remember watching any trailers for this movie, it came out so early in 2019. I must’ve seen a trailer at some point and was probably instantly ready to watch it. Unfortunately I watched it just two days before I did my first ever escape room experience myself but you know, it was fine. I loved this film, I thought it was well-thought out and it had good pacing like I was on the edge of my seat for some scenes. My worst room was when the floor kept dropping like my heart was in my mouth for most of that. I loved this film!

9. IT: Chapter Two (Andres Muschietti, 2019)

IT Chapter Two

Although I enjoyed the first film I wouldn’t have said I ‘loved’ it. My friend Becca on the other hand absolutely loved the first film and insisted we had to see Chapter Two the night it was released so off me, her and Jess went to see it. And I actually loved it. We recently rewatched the first one and I see Becca’s point of view now because they are good films. I loved that they’re more realistic in terms of how people would react to being in such a situation and the mix of comedy and horror. It just works really well and I love it!

8. Aladdin (Guy Ritchie, 2019)

Aladdin

This is another Disney film I absolutely loved as a child (and still do love) so when they announced they were turning it into a live action I was nervous – especially when they released the first stills as Will Smith as the Genie because although I love Will Smith it definitely didn’t look good. To be fair to Will though he had some pretty big shoes to fill and he did a fantastic job, it was just the stills that had made it look a bit horrendous. I liked that they gave Jasmine more of a feminist storyline and also ‘Speechless’ is an amazing song. I’m so glad they did a good job with this film as I’d have been gutted if they hadn’t!

7. Little Women (Greta Gerwig, 2019)

Little Women

I’m never sure if films released at the very end of the year are 2019 releases or 2020 but considering I saw it in 2019 and it was released in that year I’m going to count it. From the moment I saw the trailer for this film I was excited to see it. I’d bought the book a few years previously but couldn’t get past the first few pages. I’m not sure I’m keen on classics but I’ve kept hold of the book in case I wanted to read it after watching the film and I think I might do. They got an amazing cast for this film like actually incredible and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d definitely be down to go and watch this film again.

6. Avengers: End Game (Anthony Russo & Joe Russo, 2019)

End Game

I was absolutely crushed by the ending of Infinity War and was low-key furious that I had to wait an entire year to see what happened but God it was worth the wait. There were aspects of the film that I wasn’t keen on but I still loved it. I watched it at midnight in 4DX with my sister Holly, my friend Emma and her boyfriend Alan and it was an amazing night. I was so happy to finally see this film and like I said, it was worth the wait!

5. Captain Marvel (Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, 2019)

Captain Marvel

Ya’ll are trashing this film ‘cos it’s a Marvel film about a woman, I don’t care how you try and defend it, this film was under scrutiny from the moment it was announced and some people were never gonna like it out of principle – but this film was way more interesting and thought out than any Iron Man film I’ve ever seen yet all I see is people moaning about it. It’s actually infuriating. This movie was a gem from start to finish, I love Carol to pieces and the plot was just so interesting! So many twists and turns! Please God give us a sequel because I need more Carol Denvers in my life.

4. Spider-Man: Far From Home (Jon Watts, 2019)

Spider Man

Obviously I wanted to see this film, I loved the first Spider-Man movie, I love Tom Holland, I love Peter Parker, of course I was going to watch it. For some reason, I can’t remember why I was a bit late to go and watch it like it had already been out for a couple of weeks and I saw people raving about this film wherever I went. Luckily it lived up to the hype because I loved it, it was so clever and that ENDING. I’m glad Sony and Marvel have worked things out because we need to see what happens next, I can’t stand not knowing. Give me the next Spider-Man film like now please.

3. Frozen 2 (Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck, 2019)

Frozen 2

Listen, fair play to the people that made the sequel because they could’ve released pretty much anything after Frozen’s success and everybody would’ve gone to watch it anyway. But instead they made a decent sequel with amazing songs (Into the Unknown? Iconic. Show Yourself? Incredible. The Next Right Things? Makes me cry.) and good character development. I’m sick of people trashing Frozen and saying there are other Disney movies with the same values – this one just happened to blow up and still has a good message about following your heart, about sisterhood, about friendship, about not trusting everyone you meet immediately etc. Stop whinging about it for crying out loud!

2. Us (Jordan Peele, 2019)

Us

I was SO hyped when the trailer for this dropped because it looked incredible and of course Jordan Peele absolutely delivered. So did Lupita Nyong’o like I’m sorry but where’s her Oscar for this performance? Absolutely incredible. This was an amazing horror that had me on the edge of my seat and creeped me out for ages. It’s not perfect because when me and my friends were discussing the plot there are a few holes but it’s still an incredible idea and was executed perfectly. The pacing was good, it didn’t go on and on and it was just really creepy! Definitely one of the best films of 2019 without a doubt.

1. Ready or Not (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, 2019)

Ready or Not

Like my top spot from 2018 I think this film made it to the top simply because it impressed me so much. I was looking forward to watching it because it looked good and I wanted to understand why they needed to hunt her down and kill her. When I saw it at the cinema I thought it was a little slow to get started but once it going it really got going. I thought this was another example of how someone would genuinely react to being stuck in this situation and they didn’t take themselves too seriously. The concept itself is ridiculous but the filmmakers acknowledged that and made the film accordingly. For those reasons alone it takes my top movie for 2019!

There we have it, my top twenty films from 2019. Feel free to leave your favourites in the comments or any that you think I missed!

Five Favourite Christmas Films

It's a Wonderful Life

Here it is – my favourite time of the year! Now to whack out the films that we all love but are socially unacceptable to watch for eleven months out of the year. I wanted to share a list of my five personal favourite Christmas films so here goes nothing!

5. The Grinch

Taylor Momsen And Jim Carrey In 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas'

To tell you the truth I only watched this for the first time a couple of years ago because my friends insisted we should watch it. I didn’t doubt that I’d like it but as a kid I mostly watched Christmas films with my parents and for some reason my Mum can’t stand Jim Carrey – so it was never watched in our house. So at one of our annual Christmas meet-ups my friends put this film on and as predicted I loved it.

It’s not a film I’ve sat down and watched by myself every year or anything but I will watch it this year and I do really enjoy it. I’ve always quite liked Jim Carrey; I’m not sure what my Mom’s personal vendetta against him is?

4. The Muppet’s Christmas Carol

The Muppets Christmas Carol

I’ve never been overly obsessed with the muppets to be honest; in fact as a kid they kind of scared me. I think it was because of this particular muppet:

Muppets Charles Dicken

He just honest to God really creeped me out, I think it was his nose? My older sister Big Holly would play this film as a kid and I sucked up my fear to watch it. Then I didn’t watch it for a few years until suddenly last year I really wanted to watch it. I bought it on iTunes and settled down to watch it, and actually ended up really enjoying it. My fear of that particular muppet is gone although he will never be my favourite.

I haven’t seen many other adaptations of the ‘Christmas Carol’, I watched the cartoon one with Jim Carrey with my brother one year – we were putting up his tree but I really wasn’t feeling well so I was like ‘we’re gonna take a break and watch a Christmas film’ so I put this on. And I won’t lie; I didn’t love it or anything. But the muppets version is really good so I watched it again this year. It’s worth it just for little Kermit Tiny Tim, what a cutie!

3. The Polar Express

The Polar Express

If you’d asked me as a kid I’d have said this was my favourite Christmas film. I used to watch it with my sister Jodie any time of year but then stopped watching it as much when I got older. I watched it again recently whilst my parents were away and thoroughly enjoyed it all over again. I forced my parents to watch it with me one Christmas Eve but my Mom wasn’t keen on it – “they’ve dragged the children out of their beds for this nightmare train journey, how is that Christmassy?”

The last time I saw it before this year was when me and my friend Jess went to the cinema to see it remastered in 3D and I won’t lie, it was absolutely beautiful. I don’t entirely get the whole film like I don’t see the point of that ‘ghost’ on the train but I still love the whole thing. It also kind of annoys me that you only learn one kid’s name and nobody else has a name but I still love it. I love the idea that you can’t hear Santa’s bells unless you truly believe in him.

So yeah, it’s a cute film and I really enjoyed rewatching it this year!

2. The Snowman

The Snowman 2

I absolutely love this film and always make sure to watch it every Christmas. I like the Snow Dog one too but much prefer this one. I’ve been watching it since I was a kid and I don’t know, I just adore it – even if it does make me weep buckets! I like watching it by myself because then I can watch it and cry as much as I want to. I cry at the end which makes sense ‘cos the bloody Snowman melts and that makes sense but I also cry when they first start flying. I don’t know why. To be honest I have misty eyes throughout the whole thing anyway so it’s unsurprising.

I don’t think a year will go by where I don’t watch this film to be honest; I just love everything about it!

1. Home Alone/Home Alone Lost in New York

Home Alone Lost in New York

Okay I cheated a bit here because I genuinely couldn’t narrow it down to one of the films and I didn’t want two of the Home Alone films to take up two spots on the list (if that makes sense). I love both of these films equally although I have seen the first film more times. I watched the second one twice this year – once with my friends and then again by myself when I was wrapping everyone’s presents (immediately after watching the first one).

My Mum prefers the second one just because she’s obsessed with New York ever since she had the chance to visit a few years ago. I’ve always preferred the first one because it’s more of a classic but now I’m having a really hard time choosing between them. They’re both just so funny and really Christmassy – what I love about these films is that they didn’t have to be Christmas films but by making themselves so they’ve become absolute classics.

I don’t think a year has gone by where I haven’t watched at least one of these films and I don’t think that will ever change. It wouldn’t be Christmas without a Home Alone film!

So there we have it, my five (or technically six) favourite Christmas films! Feel free to leave a comment with yours.

Five Film Adaptations I Preferred to the Book

Harry Potter

It’s not often the film is better than the book. Take the Harry Potter series – every book is better than every film and that’s just a fact. However, there are some films where I’ve preferred their spin on it to the book itself. Here’s my list of five film adaptations I preferred to the book and why.

My Sisters Keeper (Nick Cassavetes, 2009)

My Sisters Keeper

This is probably the main one. We watched this in Science one year and I instantly loved the film. When I realised it was a book I bought it immediately and began reading. And it took me FOREVER but I did finally manage to finish it.

For those unfamiliar with the film/book, Anna was a designer baby born to save her sister Kate. Anna is asked to donate her kidney and starts legal proceedings for medical emancipation to her own body so that she doesn’t have to. That’s the basic gist anyway?

The first thing about the book was that I just didn’t particularly like it. I think if you’re gonna have a book that switches POVs then keep it to the minimum of characters, don’t give every main character their own POV. I didn’t give a damn about the backstory of the judge and the lawyer, their POVs were so boring and honestly a lot of the chapters just really dragged out. Maybe it’s because I was like fourteen when I read it but I don’t have the energy to even try and attempt to reread it now because I still think it would be dull.

My main issue is the ending – those that loved the book hate that the movie ending is different but I personally much preferred the movie ending as the one in the book weirdly seemed more ‘Hollywood’ whereas the movie ending seemed more realistic. SPOILER ALERT – in the film Kate dies whereas in the book once Anna is granted medical emancipation she dies in a car crash and her kidney ends up going to her sister anyway who lives for a few more years. Anna says something earlier on in the book about how you ‘shouldn’t lose your purpose for being born’ – I’M SORRY WHAT? How can anyone enjoy that? That’s honestly so ridiculous.

My Sisters Keeper 2

I know Jodi Piccoult hated the film for changing the ending and all the fans of the book did but I’m sorry, the filmmakers did the right thing. The book was all over the bloody place and the film saved it.

The Ritual (David Bruckner, 2017)

DSC01888.ARW

This is another one where I watched the film first and I won’t lie to you, the film wasn’t incredible or ground-breaking but it did kill a couple of hours. I’d enjoyed the film to an extent so I decided to pick up the book and give it a read. I did not finish that book.

The basic story is that a group of friends decide to go hiking in Sweden and to save time they decide to cross through a forest. In the forest there is something lurking ready to sacrifice them.

I’m pretty sure I got several chapters in and nothing particularly happened. Plus in the film it’s clear why the guys go to Sweden whereas in the book it’s sort of a bit like… Why are they there? Why did they pick to go hiking in Sweden when two out of four of them definitely aren’t up for a bit of hiking? If my best friends suggested a hiking trip to me I’d probably laugh in their faces.

I feel like I can’t make a fair comparison because I obviously didn’t finish the book so I can’t draw a lot of comparisons but I really wasn’t a fan of the writing and it was just impossible. I’m sorry!

It’s not a film I massively love but I do prefer it to the book.

Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)

Room

Okay I did not DISLIKE the book, I actually loved the book and would argue it’s one of my favourites. In this case the book actually did some more realistic and the film was much more the ‘Hollywood’ version of things but I think I still preferred the film.

The basic plot is that Jack lives with his Ma in ‘Room’. He was born in Room and him and his Ma have never been outside. They muddle by but after Jack’s fifth birthday Ma hatches a plan to escape Room. I haven’t done the plot justice but it’s beautiful – and I mean both the book and the film.

This is another one where I watched the film first, I went with my friend Jess and I don’t know why but it quickly became my favourite film. I do like a good weepy film and this one has several weepy moments and I just think it was brilliantly done. Congratulations to Brie Larson for winning that Oscar, it was definitely deserved and Jacob Trembley’s performance as Jack was also incredible.

Room 2

The end scene is the same in the book as it is in the film – Jack and Ma return to Room and say goodbye but the overall ending is different. In the film Ma returns from the hospital and it’s implied that she starts to get better as Jack and Ma continue to live with Grandma and Steppa. Whereas in the book Ma insists they move into their own place and although it’s difficult at first it’s implied that things do end as happily as they can. But I don’t know, I preferred the characters in the film – Grandma had much more patience with Jack in the film than she did in the book and although I know in my heart that the book definitely portrayed everything more realistically I prefer the film! I’m sorry!

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (Francis Lawrence, 2015)

Mockingjay

I think the thing with the Mockingjay book is that I didn’t quite ‘get’ it… The same could be said for ‘Catching Fire’ but at least they have another Hunger Games so actually no I enjoyed that one. I wasn’t quite following the Mockingjay book though.

I did finish it – my friend Becca very kindly lent it to me after I’d enjoyed the first two books and I read a couple of chapters each night but I can’t honestly say that I followed much of it. I don’t know why… A lot of these books I’m listing are books I read as a teenager so maybe I was just a bit dim but I feel like it all got a bit lost in translation for me.

I didn’t fully understand what had happened until I watched the film and then I actually understood some of Katniss’ decisions. For example when she shot President Coin instead of President Snow. Again though, this may be because I was quite young when I originally read the book whereas I was about twenty when the film came out. Maybe if I reread it now it would make much more sense. But overall, right now, I prefer the film.

The Maze Runner (Wes Ball, 2014)

The Maze Runner

I originally watched this film because Becca had read the books and was a fan so she dragged us all to the cinema, and we all ended up loving it. As I’d enjoyed the film so much I decided to give the book a stab and Oh My God.

To be honest it’s been a while since I attempted the book (and I didn’t finish it) so I can’t remember everything but first of all I remember it being written really weird. I don’t know, all the boys just talked like farmers and I wasn’t really feeling it so I pushed through but it got worse.

Thomas and Teresa could communicate with each other telepathically in the books – a decision I’m so glad they made to get rid of in the films because WHAT? Why? How does that make sense? I hadn’t been Teresa’s biggest fan in the films anyway but in the books she was so much worse and I just couldn’t get through it once Teresa had been introduced. I don’t think it’d matter if I picked the book up again now. I love the films but dear God, I can’t stand the books.

So there we have it, five film adaptations I preferred to the books. Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree, and what your favourite or worst book to film adaptations are!

Midsommar: Review by Hollie Bareham

Midsommar Poster

Just over a month ago I was at the cinema to watch a movie and the trailer for ‘Midsommar’ played during the previews. I was instantly excited – it looked interesting, scary and something a little different which is everything I look for in a horror movie. The fact that it was made by the people who made ‘Hereditary’ didn’t put me off. I didn’t hate ‘Hereditary’ it just wasn’t what I’d been hoping for.

For those who haven’t seen the trailer or heard of the film the basic plot is that Dani and her boyfriend Christian have a very strained relationship. Just as he’s working up the courage to end things a family tragedy occurs leaving him feeling like he should stay with her. When Dani discovers Christian and his friends are planning a trip to Sweden to attend a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival Christian guiltily invites her along with them. However the carefree holiday soon takes a dark turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that become increasingly disturbing.

The moment tickets dropped for this film I messaged my friends Becca and Jess asking if they wanted to go to the 8PM showing on the opening night. They’re both horror fans too so they were up for it and soon we were off. And Jesus wept, I was not prepared.

By that I don’t mean I wasn’t prepared for the scares because really there weren’t many. The film was rated 18 and due to this it was a bit gorier than a 15 rated film would’ve been but in terms of things like jump scares there weren’t really any. Which would’ve been fine because I’m not really a massive fan of films that solely rely on jump scares to make themselves scary but other than the gross and gory scenes it wasn’t particularly scary.

In fact, I found parts of it absolutely hilarious and it wasn’t just me – Becca was weeing herself with laughter and there was one particular scene that had me and most of the audience in absolute tears because it was so bizarre. I won’t go into immense detail but there’s an extremely strange sex scene that I couldn’t for the life of me take seriously. I’m not sure if the director wanted us to laugh or what we were really meant to be feeling in that scene but I was genuinely crying, I couldn’t contain it.

Midsommar Still 2

The things I hadn’t liked about ‘Hereditary’ were that it was quite slow and that I just didn’t fully understand it at the end. I don’t necessarily like everything being wrapped up in a big bow but equally I don’t like feeling completely confused. For example, ‘Us’ was a confusing film but I still feel relatively satisfied with its ending. Unfortunately I think the negatives from ‘Hereditary’ were passed onto ‘Midsommar’.

The film was quite long, it was about two and a half hours and that’s mainly due to it being just so slow. It takes a good while for them to even reach the Swedish commune and takes longer still for anything creepy to begin happening. Then when the disturbing events did begin to occur I just feel like there was too long of a gap between each event to keep up the atmosphere. I wasn’t scared, I was just left waiting.

Then there was the confusion aspect. I just have a lot of questions. Maybe that was the point of the film, I don’t know, but I feel like a few things were thrown in and then not really explored making me wonder what the point was. I feel like the director was just going for shock value which like was definitely delivered, parts of it were quite… Odd, which is putting it mildly. But was there anything beyond that? I’m not sure there was.

Midsommar Still.png

Also this is probably quite nit-picky but I hate the over the top crying that occurs both in this film and in ‘Hereditary’. At the start of the film when the family tragedy occurs Dani cries whilst Christian comforts her and it’s so over-the-top that I don’t really believe it’s genuine. It was how Peter cried during ‘Hereditary’ and it just absolutely drove me up the wall. I know Dani was obviously very distraught but I’ve never heard anyone cry like that in real life and it makes me wonder why they keep putting this in the films as it just feels so out of place.

The rest of my review will contain spoilers so please stop reading if you don’t want to see them!

Some character deaths were just a bit annoying and almost too easy if that makes sense? For example Will Poulter’s character Mark was having dinner with his friends and the rest of the commune when a girl approaches him and says “Come, I will show you” and then… That’s it. He’s dead. We don’t see his death he’s just gone from the rest of the film. Of course we did see his face carved out and placed on top of somebody else but that’s the only indication we have that Mark did die. Similarly Simon and Connie, the British couple who decided to leave as they’re too disturbed to stay, they’re just sort of disposed of. I’m not saying every death had to be on screen but the fact Mark was led off by a Swedish girl and then didn’t go to bed that night or appear at breakfast the next day and his friends were just like ‘ayee I bet he’s having fun’ was just so stupid.

As mentioned, there were tons of things thrown in almost just for the sake of it. For example they have a deformed child (I think it was a child?) who they consider an oracle but there’s not much explanation as to why or what that was even about. This kid just paints pictures and the elders or whatever study them. Why? I don’t understand why.

To be honest I think I’d have enjoyed this movie more if it was shorter. So much of it just felt so unnecessary and like I said, the gaps between anything weird or spooky happening were just too long to keep me interested. I also just got the overall sense that they were like “yeah let’s do a weird folk festival movie” and decided to film it before they actually figured out what they were doing – if that makes any sense?

Midsommar Still 3

Overall I am glad I watched it as it was certainly something different. I’m unlikely to watch it again due to the length and how slow it is but some scenes were interesting and worth the watch. That sex scene alone was hilarious and I’d recommend watching that but scenes like the dance to become the May Queen were interesting as well. So I’d recommend watching it just once but be prepared for a long and slow ride.

Thoughts on This Year’s Love Island Contestants 2019

Love Island 2019

My Mom finally convinced me to start watching Love Island last year mid-way through the series so Love Island 2019 is the first series I’ve watched from start to finish. I’ve enjoyed this year’s version more than my Mom who kept moaning it wasn’t as interesting and I do agree with her on a few points.

First of all, if the show is starting to get dull, instead of creating drama can’t you show more of the funny moments that are shown in unseen bits or have more regular challenges? The whole drama with Anton and the shopkeeper was just really boring and plain stupid to be honest. Who cared?

Also I think this year lacked in opportunities for the public to vote out single people. It was interesting last year when there were three boys and three girls who were in the bottom three regardless of couple and I think it’s interesting for the islanders to see if one half of the couple is more popular than the other half.

Overall though it was enjoyable and I’m glad I watched it. As I did in last year’s post I’ll only be commenting on the people who left an actual impression on me as some people came and went way too quickly to particularly have an opinion on.

Anton

Love Island Anton

Let’s be real when Anton first walked in and gave his little speech about himself everyone was thinking the same thing. Here comes a massive ‘fuck boy’ who the public will vote out within a couple of days. He didn’t help his case when he coupled up with Amy and then immediately hit on Lucie straight after the coupling. This could may be forgiven but the boy had the first choice and chose Amy! I think he only survived the first dumping because he had more screen time than poor Callum who pretty much didn’t stand a chance.

Due to the amount of times he got pied and his infectious sense of humour and friendly attitude to the other islanders he quickly became more popular with the public, and with me. I think it says a lot that there were a lot of romantic couples yet him and Lucie, as a friend couple, were in the top three most popular couples one week. You couldn’t help feeling bad for him when he finally got with Elma only for her to be dumped not long later. At least he found Belle in the end, she seems like a lovely girl.

By the end of the show I really liked Anton and I’m glad he got to stay in as long as he did. He seems like a top guy.

Amber

Love Island Amber

Our 2019 winner! Like Anton she was another girl that after the first couple of episodes most people disliked, myself included. For the first couple of weeks I do think she was a bit childish and I didn’t like that on a show called ‘Love Island’ she was like “I’m gonna keep the boy I’m coupled up with guessing” but as Michael gradually got her out of her shell her popularity increased and I think everyone saw the real Amber.

She did go through quite a lot but to be fair I think she handled it quite well and maturely considering how she’d been in the first couple of weeks. It clearly paid off for her in the end as she’s gone home with Greg and £25,000!

Maura

Love Island Maura

My absolute favourite person in the villa which was funny as I couldn’t stand her at first. If a boy had come in and spoken about one of the girls in the way Maura spoke about Tommy it would have been world war three. After Tommy chose to couple up with Molly-Mae instead of her she became a lot more likeable and I LOVED the way she handled the Tom situation. Yes Queen, it is 2019 and girls can talk about sex as much as they damn want to without men expecting it from them!

I kept voting to keep her in, even when she coupled up with Curtis which I won’t lie I wasn’t thrilled about. I’m hoping she’ll be offered plenty of opportunities now that she’s left the villa because she was such a character and I’d love to see her in more programmes. Everyone’s hoping she gets invited to go on ‘I’m A Celebrity’ which I’ve never really watched but would do if she went on it.

Also, the iconic quotes this girl came out with. My favourites include ‘WHYAREYAASKINGHERTHAT’ and ‘YOU JUST SED ET!’.

I’m glad she made it to the final because she was just so funny that she rescued what had started off as a bit of a dull series. Go Maura!

Curtis

Love Island Curtis

He came in with a game plan on how to win and it showed very quickly. At first him coupling up with Amy seemed sweet and he came across as genuine but as the weeks went on it was very clear he’d picked Amy so that they could be Dani and Jack from last year. You could see that Amy’s irritation with Lucie, and her being annoyed that another couple went exclusive on the same day as them was getting on his nerves but he bit his tongue and made it up with her quickly in the belief that they were as popular with the public as they were in the villa.

Unfortunately Amy wasn’t as popular with the public as he’d hoped and when they weren’t in the top three couples I guess he began to wonder why because as soon as the girls from Casa Amore came in his head was quickly turned. Before this it was getting a bit obvious that his feelings for Amy probably weren’t genuine – like when he gave Arabella a ten in that snogging challenge because he ‘thought it was Amy’. Arabella is taller than Amy, don’t even give me that, he definitely knew.

After revealing the truth to Amy and her going home heartbroken he was quickly met with a decision on whether to go for Maura or Francesca. Francesca was still relatively new and nobody knew much about her, and I think he must’ve realised Maura was the more popular one so he decided to couple up with her. I don’t think any couple he was in was genuine and it was all a game plan from the start on how he could win the series.

I’m not sure how much I believe of his friendly nature to be honest and how much of it was for the cameras which is a shame as he seemed quite a funny guy. But I definitely don’t trust him at all.

Amy

©ITV

I feel bad for her now as I think her feelings for Curtis were genuine but I wasn’t sorry to see her go. Her bad attitude towards Lucie really got on my nerves and she just seemed extremely negative all the time, going off into a bad mood about the smallest of things. Who cares if Lucie and Joe decided to go exclusive on the same day as you? It’s not like she announced her engagement on your wedding day? Also she’d have been better off laughing off Curtis giving Arabella a ten in that snogging challenge but decided to turn it into a whole drama.

As I said, I do feel bad for her and she definitely didn’t deserve to get used by Curtis the way that she did but she didn’t do herself any favours with her attitude in the villa. The way she was with Lucie honestly bordered on bullying and I’m surprised the other girls were so quick to defend her all the time when Lucie hadn’t done anything wrong? So what if she fancied a moment to herself or preferred hanging around with the boys, it’s not like she was sla*ging off the other girls every twenty seconds the way Amy was about her?

I think Amy has handled herself well since leaving the villa and is definitely setting herself up for a good career but yeah, didn’t particularly like her very much when she was in the villa.

Lucie

Love Island Lucie

At the start Lucie was one of my favourites, she was really pretty, seemed like a genuinely nice girl and I just quite liked her. I thought she was a bit foolish to couple up with Joe but I’ll get to that later I guess.

The only thing I disliked was when later on she suddenly decided that she did like Tommy. Especially when she left and there were headlines saying she was going to wait for him on the outside. She had her chance with him and she chose not to go there, it’s her own fault and after he gently let her down she should’ve let it go. I can’t believe she didn’t speak to Molly-Mae about it first but at least she was honest when Molly-Mae questioned her like I’ll give her that.

Overall I did like her but I think she went home at the right time before she embarrassed herself in the villa any further.

Joe

Love Island Joe

When Joe first came in I would’ve probably said him and Michael were the best looking. Most guys that go into Love Island have the big muscle bodies with short buzz-cut hair whereas I’m a girl who prefers guys with longer or thicker hair so Joe was my type. And then oh God he turned out to be a massive creep.

Okay I know the show is probably manipulated to make situations look worse than they are but Jesus. Tommy decided to couple up with Lucie, affectively taking her away from Joe, and she decided to remain loyal to Joe by sleeping by herself and not flirting with Tommy even though they were in a couple. He then said he ‘couldn’t trust her’ even though she’d done nothing to make herself less trustworthy. To then go off and start flirting with Amber when he’s just told Lucie she’s not allowed to flirt with Tommy was pathetic and disrespectful not just to Lucie but to Amber as well.

Lucie chose to couple back up with him but remained good friends with Tommy and I actually remember thinking ‘oh fair play that he’s not freaking out about their friendship, that’s decent’ but then of course, he did freak out about it. Lucie literally chose him out of him and Tommy, he had no reason to be jealous but he told her to back off and start hanging out with the girls again. This annoyed me enough but when another islander asked what Lucie had said he twisted her words and made it out that she’d said something different to what she’d actually said. Also whenever Lucie cried he was like “don’t cry, you’re way too pretty to cry” – ew, what?

I was relieved when he got dumped from the island because he was just such a creep throughout the entire thing. He can try and defend his actions but I’m not having it. Everyone crying “We should apologise to Joe!” when Lucie did try and hit on Tommy in the end can shut the hell up too. Joe was a creep. End of story.

Anna

Love Island Anna

I won’t lie to you, was never a huge Anna fan but at least she did liven it up a bit. That screaming match between her and Jordan when she found out he liked India was interesting, let’s all be real, and she was very loyal to her friends I can’t fault that. I just felt like though as the one of the oldest girls in the villa she was also one of the most immature and sometimes it did get a bit boring. For example when Jordan didn’t want to tell her the whole truth about what Anton had done in the shop and she went into a sulk – girl last time he told you something you swore you wouldn’t tell then went straight to Maura and half told her anyway. Of course he’s not gonna be keen to tell you everything.

Despite me not particularly liking her I was on her side for the Jordan and Anna argument as the boy had literally asked her to be his girlfriend 48 hours beforehand and was now hitting on another girl right in front of her. And like Jordan it’s fine if you’ve changed your mind but at least have the guts to be honest when she confronts you about it instead of lying to her face.

To tell you the truth I think Anna making it as far as she did was a miracle, purely based on whenever it was time to vote someone out there was always someone who had had less screen time that nobody wanted to vote for, or someone who was slightly more disliked. Also she was clearly popular with the other islanders because if it was down to the islander vote they never chose her to leave.

I don’t doubt that Anna would be a good friend, like she’d have your back 100% and wouldn’t let anyone treat you like shit but yeah, I definitely thought she could’ve handled a lot of situations in the villa better.

Molly-Mae

Love Island Molly-Mae

I won’t lie to you, I didn’t particularly want Tommy and Molly-Mae to win. Not out of spite for either of them, because I liked them both, it was just after Dani and Jack’s obvious win from last year it felt a bit boring and I wanted it to be spiced up a bit more. A bit unfair on Tommy and Molly-Mae but last year’s final was boring, the winners had been cemented about six weeks before it actually happened.

I don’t understand all these ‘Money-Mae’ memes and they’re actually getting a bit pathetic when Molly-Mae didn’t do anything wrong. I think there were a few moments where Tommy did get on her nerves a bit but like they were together all day every day for absolutely weeks and although the boys lovely God he’d get on my nerves if I knew him in real-life too. Everyone has ‘leave me alone’ or ‘Jesus Christ’ moments, it doesn’t mean her feelings weren’t genuine or that she disliked him.

Also considering she was one of the youngest girls she handled a lot of moments with maturity. Maura literally tried to steal the boy she liked and she never said a bad word about her, became friends with her when it had all calmed down and even listened to Maura moaning about Elma trying to steal her man without pointing out the irony in the situation. She was lovely and clearly got on well with everyone in the villa. A lot of people said she tried to drag down the couples that were a ‘threat’ to her and Tommy but I didn’t see that? Okay, she had doubts about Anton and Belle? Anton made it quite clear a while ago that he didn’t like Molly-Mae and his blazing row with Belle did genuinely look like the end of their coupling for a while. She didn’t owe them any loyalty.

Overall I did like Molly-Mae and although it’s probably disappointing for her and Tommy that they didn’t win I think they have a chance now to prove that they were genuine. We’ll see how it goes though!

Danny

Love Island Danny.png

Okay, I wasn’t Yewande’s biggest fan but during the time he was between her and Arabella I did hope he would pick Yewande. Obviously he didn’t and like that’s fine, do what you want but God…

I think my main issue is that when Tommy was between Molly-Mae and Maura he didn’t b*tch about them to each other whereas when Danny was between Yewande and Arabella all him and Arabella talked about was Yewande, basically picking apart all her flaws. It was pathetic.

To be honest until the drama with Arabella I couldn’t understand why everyone was so keen on him. My Mom said ‘it’s because he’s tall’ but like, no offence, he just seemed a bit boring? Sure he was definitely relatively good-looking but there wasn’t much else going on. I was glad when he left, I didn’t like him.

Jourdan

Love Island Jourdan

Running around between Joanna, Amy and Amber spreading gossip like wildfire but neglecting to tell Anna that she slept with Jordan on her first night in the villa when Anna was choosing between him and Ovie? Absolute snake.

Tommy

Love Island Tommy

He seemed like a nice lad but his general inability to do pretty much anything did wind me up a bit. That ‘starter’ he served Maura was just plain embarrassing and when the lads were told to go food shopping and he revealed he’d never been before, I mean… The man didn’t even know how to make a cup of tea. I’m just stressed and confused that he’s managed to make it through life this far. At least he was nice to everyone, he was kind to Lucie when he had to let her down, he told Molly-Mae the truth about the conversation as soon as it happened and reassured her, never said a bad word against Maura after he chose Molly-Mae over her. So yeah, although he needs to wise up a bit he did seem nice.

Michael

Love Island Michael

I wasn’t initially too annoyed that he’d chosen to couple up with Joanna because I do feel like a lot of arguments between him and Amber were handled poorly by her. Everyone compared the situation to the Josh, Kaz and Georgia situation last year but everyone seemed to conveniently forget that Josh and Kaz were definitely a better match than Josh and Georgia? I decided to give Michael the benefit of the doubt and see how it went.

Unfortunately he didn’t handle the situation very well. Let’s be real, Amber had been slightly childish before going into Casa Amore but when she got back I think she handled it quite well. Okay, calling Joanna a ‘dead ting’ wasn’t the best start but of course she was gonna be annoyed. It didn’t stop Michael from screaming ‘CHALDISH’ at her if she dared to express that the situation had upset her.

He chose not to leave with Joanna which like is fine but then to start hitting on Amber again? My Mom reckons the producers asked him to but he should’ve left rather than embarrassing himself like that. Also I’m sorry but Joanna are you seriously going back to Michael after he embarrassed you on national TV? Raise your standards.

It’s a shame because him and Amber definitely would’ve won but no, he decided to go off with the first girl who slightly turned his head. Whoops!

Ovie

Love Island Ovie.png

Absolute legend. There’s not much else to say is there really? He just came in, chilled out and found a girl in his own time. You can’t help but love Ovie. When he went over and took India away from the argument Jordan and Anna were having I think everyone across the nation swooned, let’s be real. What a lad!

I think that’s it really for the contestants I had an opinion on this year? If I missed anybody out it’s probably either because I liked them but didn’t love them or they didn’t get enough screen time to be particularly interesting. So there we go! Let me know your thoughts on this years series.