Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast

If she is the one who’ll break the spell, you must finally learn to love…

Beauty and the Beast is the live action adaptation of 1990s animated classic. It stars Emma Watson as Belle, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Sir Ian McKellen and Dan Stevens as the Beast.

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A retelling of a story where a prince is transformed into a hideous monster where he must find someone who will truly love him in order to lift the curse that’s surrounds him and his castle.


The Good

One of the best things about the animated classic are it’s musicals, as cheesy and theatrical as they are they are fun to watch and to listen to. Glad to say it’s the same case in this live action remake. From the opening song to the grand ballroom dance sequence they got the musicals down and even adding new songs didn’t hinder this movie’s ability to deliver on that front.

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The cast is great however Ewan McGregor as Lumiere undeniably stole the show. He’s a lot of fun to watch, he’s incredibly charismatic and funny and it’s a delight every time he’s on screen.


The Bad

There’s very little complaints about this movie, the biggest is the movie is almost a shot by shot take on the original, there’s nothing groundbreaking about it and being a shot by shot remake kind of hurt this movie just a bit.


Rating

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Overall Beauty and the Beast is still a lot of fun, the musicals were great to watch. Emma Watson did a good job as Belle and the Beast though doesn’t have the feral animalistic features of the animated one is still good. The supporting casts were also good and even Luke Evans as Gaston is entertaining. The movie looks great overall from the custom design to the talking furniture, the movie manages to make you believe that Emma Watson is talking to a tea cup or a candelabrum. Highly recommended for families or lovers as a date movie.

Good Bad 3.8/5
  • Musical Set Pieces
  • Lumiere
  • Ballroom Dance Scene
  • Nothing New
  • Beast is not very Beasty
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Movie Review: Warcraft

I’ve lead thousands of warrior into battle, but I fear being a father. Does that make me a leader, or a coward

Warcraft is one of the year’s highly anticipated movies. As the films tackles head on it’s high expectations from the fans of the video games. Will this epic-fantasy be able to satisfy the fans and likewise appeal to the general audiences?

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The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people, and their home.


The Good

Easily one of the best aspects of the film is it’s visual effects. Every landscape in the movie, from the orc lands to Azeroth was visually stunning. We get to see the different parts of Azeroth and it’s high fantasy at it’s core with sharp rugged mountains, deep rocky valleys to lush forestry and architecturally impressive castles. The setting was done extremely well.

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An addition to the impressive visuals are the orcs themselves. They looked incredible on screen and every major orc is identifiable. The acting behind the CG costumes were also impressive as the orcs are given distinct emotions which allows us as the audience to empathize with the orc characters. Their part of the story is well written and very compelling.


The Bad

Though the orcs we’re a strong point of this movie, unfortunately it’s the opposite for the humans. Apart from the main character Anduin, played by Travis Fimmel, every main human character is dull and one-dimensional. From the King to the Queen to the guardian, played by Ben Foster, they were disappointingly uninteresting.

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The movie was unexpectedly heavy in drama and simply put it’s a dark movie. This of course did not resonate well on screen and did not blend in well with it’s colourful characters. For a two hour film, you do feel the length of the film and that’s never a good sign especially for a fantasy film.


Rating

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Overall Warcraft delivers with it’s amazing visuals and epic fight scenes but fails on the human’s side of the story. The writing was inconsistent as it is filled with great exciting parts but also filled with boring and dull expositions. For people who are fan of the games, they will undoubtedly enjoy this film but for people who hasn’t played any of the games or unfamiliar with the property they will have a harder time relating to this film and wouldn’t think much of it.

Good Bad 3/5
  • Impressive Visuals
  • Impressive Battle Sequences
  • Orc Story
  • Human Story / Human Characters
  • Inconsistent Writing
  • Too Dark

Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Someday, Locke Lamora… someday you’re going to f*** up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will s*** comets with glee. And I just hope I’m around to see it

I’ve heard a lot of praise heading into this book, there has been countless positive reviews and likewise on the top of many best of list. I was excited to read it and I kept expectations to a minimum. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I’ve read is a masterpiece.

Locke Lamora is an orphaned child in the City of Camorr. Without any guidance to follow he was left without a choice but to join the Thiefmaker’s guild on Shades Hill. However, having shown tremendous talent on thievery at an incredibly young age. The Thiefmaker himself could not handle Locke as he is sent to train under tutelage of The Eyeless Priest otherwise known as Father Chains. Along with other trainees, Locke and his peers grow up to be known as The Gentlemen Bastards.

There’s not much plot here as the story forms as we read through the book. We follow the story of Locke Lamora and his rise to being the smartest and most elusive thief in all of Camorr. His writing is magnetic, and we root for him. He’s written as an underdog, as a person of short stature compared to his peers, also not a very skilled fighter. But what he does have is his impressive wit and ability to plan clever schemes that most of the time work. That’s where his charisma comes in and it makes for a great protagonist.

There are also other characters here with strong personalities. Capa Barsavi is written as Camorr’s underground king and he is terrifying. Though not quite the villain of the book, however his intimidating presence makes his role very exciting. There’s also the Grey King who’s very mysterious and yet has an equally strong presence in the book. A lot of the characters are written incredibly well and they’re all very interesting.

The story is enthralling from start to finish, the first act being mainly a heist story which is cleverly written to the second and third act which becomes a revenge story that draws you in. The story pacing is perfect, as character backstory alternates with present day story and it flows well as the backstory provides insights to the upcoming chapters.

The only complaint and it’s incredibly minor, some of the dialogues are written with a certain accent and sometimes it makes it hard to comprehend what the characters are talking about. Though you will get used it, it may be problem for some and would cause them to lose interest in the story or the book itself.

Overall The Lies of Locke Lamora, is an epic fantasy worthy of it’s achievements. Scott Lynch has created a world filled with suspense, excitement and intrigue not to mention clever humor and extremely likable characters. The protagonists are charismatic and the antagonists are villainous but both sides have an interesting story to tell and it’s a story worth reading. Easily one of the best books I’ve read.

Rating: 5/5

Book Review: Replay by Ken Grimwood

“All life includes loss. It’s taken me many, many years to learn to deal with that, and I don’t expect I’ll ever be fully resigned to it. But that doesn’t mean we have to turn away from the world, or stop striving for the best that we can do and be. We owe that much to ourselves, at least, and we deserve whatever measure of good may come of it.”

-Replay, Ken Grimwood

Jeff Winston was 43 years old when he felt something his heart, he’s stunned and just like that he died of heart attack, in the year of 1988. Suddenly he awoke in his college dorm room at Emory, the year was 1963 and once again Jeff Winston was 18 years old.

Replay started off strong, right off the bat, our protagonist died and woke up 25 years earlier in his 18 year old body. Straight away there’s intrigue, I wanted to know how and why as well as follow Jeff’s bizarre story. There was a feeling of anticipation within me, it felt like I’m about to embark on an amazing sci-fi/fantasy journey with Replay. Unfortunately the sci-fi/fantasy aspect of Replay is underwhelming. It was during the beginning of the third act where I realized that Replay is more of a Romantic novel. That said, the romance was written very well, overwhelming on certain parts but if I’m going to give the book a credit it would be hitting the romance aspect right out the park.

With this being underwhelming on the fantasy/sci-fi part, the book also suffers on some aspects. There was a part of the first act where, there was absolutely nothing going on despite the strong early chapters. The pacing could have been a lot better and with the lack of sci-fi elements the book needed a quicker pace. Another complaint is our protagonist, Jeff Winston himself, he lacked the charisma to make me root for him. Compared to his counter parts or other characters he was the least person I cared about. His character was so bland where, there were parts where women went with him mainly because he’s got money.

That said, he was smart with several of his decisions. Any smart person would do what he had done when he woke up back in 1963. He was placing bets on winning teams, investing and buying stocks on start up companies who’re eventually going to become successful. There were a lot “yes that’s exactly what I would do” moments. Though unlikable as a character at least he was smart. Also a great part of the book was Jeff’s female love interest. She was written incredibly well she was the complete opposite of Jeff in terms of likability and she’s oozing with charisma. With her around Jeff sometimes becomes an afterthought and that’s how strongly she was written.

Overall the book is a great romantic story, just don’t expect it to be heavy on the sci-fi/fantasy aspect because waking up in a younger version of yourself is as good as it gets in terms of fantasy. It wasn’t what I was expecting but in the end I was OK with it. If there’s one lesson to take about the book, it is to remember major sports win or derby wins because you will never know. Highly recommended to people who are into romance-fantasy novels but for hardcore sci-fi/fantasy fans, this won’t be for you.

Rating: 3.5/5

Book Review: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Dark Tower series is indubitably one of the most popular book series to be produced. With such an impressive achievement on the series. I had high expectations. That said, I was not impressed by this book. I was not disappointed but rather it did nothing to make me look forward to the latter books.

The Gunslinger revolves around the story of Roland Deschain (The Gunslinger). The book tells incredible details about his past likewise it also tells of his pursuit of a mysterious person he calls “The Man in Black”. Upon his travels, The Gunslinger encounters people, villages whom The man in black have also visited. As Roland gather clues, for his pursuit, he realizes that The Man in Black had done disturbing changes to the lives of the people he visited, which without a doubt would also bring significant changes to his.

Reading this book, I can’t help and feel like it’s a roller coaster ride. There are exciting and exhilarating moments such as his visit to the Town of Tull and his fight with Cort, but on the other hand there are moments that just drags on. The dialogue can be quite difficult to understand especially with the overwhelming amount of metaphors that are used. There are times where I personally can’t tell if I’m reading a dialogue or a narration. The themes present in this book are truly fascinating, for it deals with possessions, different dimensions, religious contexts and much more. With all that mashed into one book it still proves to be an enjoyable and a sufficient read to readers who love the fantasy genre.

Book Review: Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks

Wards of Faerie is one of those books that may captivate you looking at it’s cover. If you’re a big fan of the fantasy genre and you saw this at a book store. Without a doubt it will get your attention. However an awesome cover does not usually mean an awesome book. Thus the saying “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”.

Wards of Faerie starts of in a promising way. Showing you an old diary entries about a romantic story between two lovers. Of course as most cliches go, there were complications in their relationships and simply put the girl’s parents forbids her from seeing the boy. In retaliation the boy stole five out of six Elfstones and ran away. However he left a note that says she can use the last Elfstone to find him. Fast forward to the current setting of the book, An elf named Aphenglow discovers these entries and used it to help find the five remaining Elfstones.

That itself should tell you more about this book than it needed to. You’ve got the different races, forbidden romance, and a quest that can immensely affect each and everyone in the world of the book. It is a very generic set up for a fantasy and unfortunately you probably have seen this in earlier books or even in video games. Yes a party is needed for the quest and yes the bad guys are also looking for the said Elfstones. There are not that many aspects in this book that is unique. The story is predictable and the characters mostly one dimensional. There are some that may get your attention here and there and the action sequences are well written. However even that does not save the book from it’s dull premise.

To conclude, it will be liked for people who don’t mind a good fantasy book. The world is very Tolkien like, with elves, orcs, humans, dwarves and of course dragon. That said, it is very generic and people who are looking for a more enthralling form of fantasy would most likely not see it here.