Friday 20 February 2015

TV & Movies: Thoughts on Boyhood, American Sniper, Fortitude & More!

Here's a round up of some of my recently watched movies and TV shows.

Some were good, some not so good, and some were pleasantly surprising....

Read on for more.

Reason for Watching: I'm a Richard Linklater fan.

Before Sunrise is one of my all-time favourite movies, so basically anything that has Richard Linklater's name attached to it, I'm there. Also, I love the concept of Boyhood, which, as all the best things often are, is both genius and simple at the same time. In Boyhood, Linklater documents the life of a boy, Mason, over twelve years. Simple. The genius of it, is that this was filmed in 'real time' and so we see the boy, played by Ellar Coltrane, grow up before our eyes. I'm guessing that this was a surreal experience for Coltrane.

I liked Boyhood in parts, but I also found it a little underwhelming, and a lot drawn out. This is a lengthy movie. It contains a lot of strong performances, yes, but it's slow. I should mention that when it comes to movies, I am really, really difficult to please. The third installment in Linklater's 'Before' series, which everybody hailed as a 'masterpiece' and the best of the trilogy, well, it just left me sad and depressed. Like I said, really difficult to please.

Boyhood is definitely worth watching - and I understand why it's already won a whole lot of awards - it's different. And Hollywood, with all it's remakes, reboots and re-tweaks, needs different. And that's why I hope this movie, and its director, win big at the Oscars too.


Reason for Watching: Liked the Trailer.

Uh, yeah, so I liked the trailer, and that's about all I can say for this movie. American Sniper has a great trailer, but as for the rest, it was a miss for me.  I will say that I wasn't familiar with the story of Chris Kyle before watching this movie (I know that his story is well known in the US; not so much in Ireland) so I went into this one not really knowing what to expect. I guess this just wasn't my kind of movie, and I guess too that the people depicted in this movie are not my kind of people. At all. Case in point: Bradley Cooper as Kyle turns a gun on his wife (Sienna Miller) with the intention of turning her on. And, guess what, it works! Okaaaayyyy! Also, I'm not sure I can get over that fake plastic baby they used in this movie. Like, really?! Too funny!  Oh, and Bradley Cooper, who is Oscar nominated for this, MUMBLES his way through the majority of the movie. Like, I couldn't really understand a word he said. 

So, yeah, this was pretty much a total miss for me. American Sniper is breaking box office records all over the place, though, so I'm in the minority here. Or maybe all of those people just really liked that trailer too...


Reason for Watching: Loved the Book.

I'm one of these people who always thinks the book is better than the movie. I'm trying to think of  a movie adaptation that I thought was better than the book it was based on - there might be one or two - but right now I'm drawing a blank, so I'll move one. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is one of my all time fave's - love her writing and could not put that book down - and so, for me, this movie had a lot to live up to. It's not that I hated the movie version of Gone Girl at all - it's just that I love the book so much more. Gone Girl the movie looks good - it's very sleek and stylish-  and Rosamund Pike kills (ha!) in the role of Amy, but lost in movie translation is the (psychologically) thrilling aspect of the book that made it such a compulsive read. Gone Girl the movie is heavy on satire and watches like a black comedy rather than a thriller. 

Also, I spent the majority of the movie picking holes in it. Some of the scenes grossed me out. A few were implausible and far-fetched. I'd love to know what I would have made of this if I hadn't already read the book. I possibly would have enjoyed it more than I did in the end, but I guess I can't go back and un-read the book now...


Reason for Watching: YA Horror FTW!

Ouija has an IMDB rating of 4.4, which is way harsh. Also, unjustified. Ouija is what it is. It's a YA Horror movie that is a whole lot of fun, contains some good performances (Olivia Cooke in particular) and actually has something of a storyline and a couple good twists along the way too. I mean, what more could you ask for?  To put it in context, I enjoyed Ouija much more than American Sniper, and it's on a par for me with Gone Girl and Boyhood. How very highbrow of me, right?! Thing is, I love movies where an Ouija Board features as part of the scary. I would never ever ever mess with an Ouija Board. Those things freak me out! And okay, this movie does lose it's way a little at times, but it's a whole lot of fun too. One twist even managed to surprised me (Can't believe I fell for that!) 

Ouija may not win any awards, but it'll keep you entertained, and if you like movies such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Craft, then this is definitely one for you.

Good scary YA horror fun!



Reason for Watching: They said it was The Killing meets Twin Peaks. 
Also, Stanley Tucci.

Have any of you been watching Fortitude on Sky Atlantic? I had high hopes for this show which referenced The Killing and Twin Peaks among its inspirations, but three episodes in, I'm thinking of giving up on this. Three episodes is usually enough for me to know whether or not I'll like a show (I ditched The Americans after two - did I make a mistake with that one? The 80's setting didn't work for me), and while on paper this should work for me, so far it's just not. Apart from the murder, nothing much has happened in this show at all - it's very, very, slow moving (although it looks good!) - and while I know there's a lot going on underneath the surface in Fortitude, it time they made some of this stuff happen, you know what I mean? Because so far, this is so boring.

I should point out that I'm not adverse so slow-moving shows (I love the US version of The Killing which was slow moving at times and I'm a huge fan of Twin Peaks which went round in circles and off on tangents all of the time) but with those shows, I was totally invested in the characters. I haven't clicked with any of the characters in Fortitude yet. I may stick with it for one more episode before I give up, but so far this one is definitely not living up to expectations (or all the hype that Sky piled upon it!) 


Have you seen any of these movies or shows?

I'd love to know your thoughts!


  1. ChristinaBookAddict20 February 2015 at 02:21

    I have no desire to see American Sniper, so I am glad to hear it didn't live up to your expectations. I feel like I am the only person though who doesn't want to see it. I normally love Bradley Cooper, but I just can't imagine him in this role and the plastic baby has got to go! I saw the Gone Girl movie a few weeks ago and I thought it was pretty good, but nowhere near as good as the book. I thought Rosamund was pretty great in it! Fortitude sounds intriguing. I am sorry you may ditch it.(BTW, I also ditched The Americans after two/three episodes and I love Keri Russell!!) I am completely into Mr. Selfridge right now and I want to get caught up on How To Get Away With Murder. Are you still watching it?

  2. Thanks for your great reviews! The only one of these I've seen is Gone
    Girl, and I think I enjoyed it more than you. Usually movie adaptations
    of books are such a miss, and I think this one did pretty well overall.
    Though the book is definitely way better. It was such a unique
    reading experience. And I also have no interest in American Sniper. So
    many people have been raving about it, but I think I'd side with you:
    that lifestyle and those people don't really speak to me, so I'm not
    interested in watching a two hour movie about them.

  3. Ha! That is funny - we had the same reaction to The Americans. Sometimes these shows seem (on paper) that they would really work for me, but then they just fall flat. I'm still watching & enjoying HTGAWM - it's not my fave but I am invested - you need to get caught up!

  4. I was probably a little harsh on the movie version of Gone Girl just because I enjoyed the book so much! Still think the book was so much better, though. I want to read Dark Places soon because there's a movie of that one coming out soon too - with Charlize Theron (I pictured her as Amy when I read Gone Girl, funnily enough!) Yeah, American Sniper was just not for me. If I had known more about the story before I watched, maybe I would have figured that out for myself - but the Chris Kyle story is not so well known in this part of the world. My brother enjoyed the movie, though.

  5. I watched Gone Girl recently and quite enjoyed it. Gone Girl was one of my favourite reads a few years back, I actually stayed up really late finishing it off as I was totally hooked, but lately I seem to be enjoyed the movie adaptations just as much as the books, otherwise normally I'm super picky! Talking about shows, have you been watching Scandal lately? Super crazy right now! :O

  6. I have been watching Scandal. I'm all up to date! That show just gets crazier by the second!

  7. Fortitude...I don't know what to make of it...I just don't get the point of it yet, I don't know if I'm trying to think that there's something more to the story and I'm missing it completely. It's intriguing but I don't know why. I saw American Sniper and enjoyed it because I knew going in what it was about and the controversy about its rather uber-patriotic overtones and the whole "savages" outlook on the war so I let that wash over me. The ending was sad because of how he came through the trauma and worked out his issues for that to happen especially since it was based on a true story but it was a bit too heavy on the propaganda!
    Gone Girl, I really enjoyed both the book and the movie, I just love crazy effed up stories LOL

  8. I love these kinds of posts you do even though I am woefully out of the loop (and always having to wait until dvd release to see movies). recently saw Gone Girl on dvd and thought it was entertaining enough but the more you thought about it, the more the whole thing just completely didnt add up :)

    At the moment I am about to start on Broadchurch S2 and excited for that! But other than that my TV viewing it tragically non-existent... Nomes

  9. I kind of abandoned Fortitude without meaning to - as in I've missed the last two episodes and I don't know if I can be bothered to catch up. I had such high hopes too, but, you know, there are just so many shows to watch and I don't know if even Stanley Tucci (who I LOVE) can save this for me!

  10. Ha! Yeah, Gone Girl the movie had mucho plot holes!

    Broadchurch S2 just finished here - it got off to a bit of a shaky start, but I enjoyed it overall. Great acting! S3 has already been announced!


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