Assassin’s Creed

Assassin’s Creed

Rating: 1.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin, he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.

Review:

Going in I didn’t have very high expectations; I knew this movie was based in a popular game, so it would be mostly graphic-oriented.
I didn’t expect such a weak plot, though.

The fight scenes were okay. On quite a few occasions I could not tell what exactly hit the bad guys and there were a few acrobatics that seemed so fake, like running on clotheslines – it was so obvious the actors were being held by wires.

But even so, cool fighting scenes are just not enough.
The storyline is not linear and I felt there were no proper explanations to what was happening. It actually seemed that a huge chunk of the movie was edited out.
The characters were flat, I still don’t get how the artefact everyone is looking for is supposed to work, the side characters don’t add anything to the story and I am just at an utter loss as to how this got put together.

Michael Fassbender and Jeremy Irons are pretty much the only upside to the movie, even though they were so grossly underused.
So yes, you could say I am disappointed at it and I cannot recommend that you spend money on this.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Rating: 2.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Review:

I wonder if I am getting to old for this but the fact is I found this movie only so-so.

Eddie Redmayne was as good as he could be, considering what he was given. I could not relate to any of the characters.
Dan Fogler provided several humorous moments, although that seemed to be the single reason for him to be dragged along throughout the movie.

The special effects were terrific – I especially loved the scenes where we were first introduced to Newt’s creatures. Each was very different and that entire scene was very magical. However, it was just pretty stuff being dumped for the sake of dazzling the viewer.

There just did not seem to be much story to it, or what is there is underdeveloped and confusing.
Newt has these creatures and some have escaped so he needs to find them. Also, there is a bad guy wreaking havoc throughout Europe (no background whatsoever on the guy). And then there’s this weird disturbance distributing mayhem throughout New York.

The way these facts came together did not feel tremendously well done and there was just too much going on, with no clear thread uniting it. I feel like this movie can only be truly appreciated by people who read the book because I for one was very confused.

Unfortunately the movie did not interest me enough to want to watch the sequels and I cannot say I recommend it.

The Summer Goddess

Title: The Summer Goddess

Author: Joanne Hall

Genres: Adventure | Fantasy

Length: 464 pages | 5829 Locations

Source: Netgalley

Format: Mobi

Rating: 3/5

Premise:

Invaders from overseas turn Asta’s life upside down, along with her entire tribe.
As their leader, Asta will do anything in their power to rescue them, in a travel throughout the seas.

Review:

Summer Goddess is quite an adventure. We follow our main character throughout sea and land, with lots of secondary characters in between, and thorough descriptions.

For me personally it was not an easy book; since it was extremely descriptive, I felt my attention wandering much too often, and I prefer concepts to be more thoroughly explained than just be moved from one place to the next frequently. However, if you are a fan of this style and are able to fully dedicate yourself to the book, I believe you will be able to enjoy the experience, certainly much more than I did.

There were other things that threw me off. For one, I never really took to the main character. I felt she never questioned much and was just pushed from place to place. She is presented to us as a warrior and I never really saw that in her until towards the end. I saw intent, sure, but it felt like all bark and no bite. Whatever situations occurred where she could have proven herself, I felt she succeeded more out of luck than skill. That goes for everything, really. In a world full of so many dangers and ruthless people she always found someone to help her and it all just felt too lucky.

But what really bothered me was that she kept putting herself in danger despite her condition. Other practical matters nagged at me, like the fact she barely ate. The book does explain all that, especially towards the end, but it felt like an easy escape to the situation.

There was sex, violence and swearing, but for some reason I was never really shocked. Things did get especially exciting particularly towards the last 15% or so of the book and the ending was expected but I felt content.

Bottom line is I felt there was a lot going on, every place was described in detail, and I never really got a sense of the big picture or the interesting concepts the story did contain were not explored to my satisfaction.

Again, I am sure other people will love it, especially based on other reviews. If you want to get fully lost in an adventure full of beautiful descriptions, I do recommend this.

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Read from Oct 26th to Nov 4th, 2016

GR Review

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Rating: 3.75/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that stretches across time, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the danger deepens after he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

Review:

I read the book several months ago and there is a lot I no longer remember. However, I do recall a feeling that the movie did not transmit. Of course, a lot changed from the book, from Emma’s powers to Miss Peregrine being so young and chirpy to several other details, not to mention things that just sounded silly and without any purpose other than get the characters to do something or get the story to proceed in a certain manner. But mainly many things felt rushed. Some things were just plain dumped which could have worked well and in some instances did, in others it didn’t. Also, if there is one thing that makes me cringe it is insta-love.

Tim Burton created a new character only because he wanted to work with Samuel L. Jackson. This could have been a really good thing, if played right. However, the bad guys in the book were so much scarier. This dude had the potential to be terrifying and he only managed to do so in the first scenes when he didn’t spoke. Then he just came across as silly, at least to me.

Hey, it’s still a Tim Burton movie. Awesome CGI, sound effects, etc, etc. Lots of clichés as well. As usual, if you have not read the book you will enjoy it a lot more.

It was pretty good, not awesome. And I have the feeling the ending is going to ruin the next two books of the series for me which remain unread.

Bottom line, please read the book.

Our Future Good

Title: Our Future Good

Author: T.J. Kirby

Narrator: Simon Vance

Genres: Adventure | Science Fiction

Format: Audiobook

Length: 2 hrs and 47 mins

Source: Audible | Giveaway

Rating: 2/5

Premise:

Joe and Mary just turned 18 and they have to choose what their project will be.
Mary wants to work on NutriSuits but Joe wants to pursue a dangerous journalist career. Mary and Joe want to be together so whose drive will prevail? And what will that decision entail?

Review:

I have to admit right off the bat that I was not a fan of the narration at first, as there were some words I simply could not understand, no matter how many times I re-winded – starting with the first couple ones. Even one of the main characters’ name sometimes sounded as Joe, others Joel and others still Jay. So the enunciation was definitely not the best. I can only imagine the narrator’s age must be quite advanced, I don’t know.
However, Vance did the voices fairly well and the cadence he payed to the narrative maintained me interested, much more so than the story.

You see, I felt the entire thing was an excuse to dump a lot of interesting sci-fi concepts that the author had. They were interspersed with political agendas that for the longest time were muted, as well as a pretty immature romance. Not the relationship itself per se, but the way it was portrayed. Much as everything else, it was perfect. She is the perfect girlfriend, he is the perfect, motivated, passionate driven boyfriend. Also, even though they are only 18 they act as a married couple in many ways and I never heard an explanation for that.
Even the temperature was perfect during the entire time. And then they move to another place and everything is perfect and the people are perfectly happy and giggling and argh. It was just frustrating.
And then there is all this talk about how items and humans evolved but, again, it felt dumped without purpose.

So in a nutshell, even though there were thought-provoking issues being raised in the story, they were rushed and almost passed unnoticed and I felt they were definitely not the focal point. There really wasn’t really much to go on, certainly not enough tension to keep me interested. Even the only plot twist, I saw it coming miles away. And while the sci-fi was interesting it ended up becoming quite boring as it all felt pointless.

Disclaimer: I won this audiobook in a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Listened to from Aug 22 to Aug 23, 2016
GR Review

Nerve

Nerve

Rating: 3.5/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
A high school senior finds herself immersed in an online game of truth or dare, where her every move starts to become manipulated by an anonymous community of “watchers.”

Review:

Nerve was an entertaining movie but it asked for a lot of suspension of disbelief.

The strength of the film is the possibility that all of this could happen, born out of the feeling of anonymity that virtual lives allow. It explores that power to the limit.

In this game called Nerve, there are players and there are watchers. Players have to accept challenges, or dares, which get progressively more difficult to fulfil, even life-threatening, but the reward is exponentially higher as well.
Winning the challenge is part of the game, the other is getting more followers. So all these people gather around following their favourite players both online and in real life, rooting for them.

There was so much I didn’t get about this game and how the movie progressed.

How are the dares chosen? Only towards the end do we get an inkling of an explanation – that they are voted by the majority. Ok but who creates them in the first place and out of so many thousands of people how many are necessary to get a dare through? Do they all vote? It seems like a somewhat long process given the speed at which they came up.

Who created the game? Who wires the money and how? Who decides if the challenge is passed or failed, since it is not always that obvious?

One of the challenges was for Ian to take Vee to the city. What if she had said no? Would he have lost? Was he supposed to take her by force?

Also one of the rules is that for the dare to count it must be filmed by the player’s phone. I got so confused because the scenes would be filmed as if the player was holding the camera when they were obviously not… The motorcycle challenge was the one where this showed most blatantly. There is no way either of them could have filmed that, or even a watcher, not from that angle.

The movie is so fast paced that probably folks won’t be thinking about most of these things but I couldn’t get them off my mind. It just did not seem plausible for such a concept to exist in this fashion. It needed to be much more polished.

Also, the ending was totally anticlimatic since those issues were never explained, particularly about who created the game and how it worked. And having kid hackers admonish the watchers and that’s it, game over, slap on the wrist and people simultaneously gain a conscience and the game is destroyed was beyond ridiculous for a resolution of such a story.

The main character’s evolution was a bit too dramatic. She is portrayed as a bookworm with little to no self-esteem, cannot even speak to a guy she likes, and we are presented with a knockout of an actress who I can never believe is any of those things. She shines so much more than her so called star friend.
Anyway, assuming she was all that, I get that Vee gets carried away by the entire thing and it is a journey of discovering herself but some things were really extreme and it just struck me as not believable. Then there were all the clichés about the friend who obviously likes her more than she does, the jealous friend, and so on.

With all these things that ticked me off, Nerve is still a fast-paced movie which makes you wonder about possibilities in today’s world and how things can so easily change in the blink of an eye and how everything we take for granted may vanish and especially that just because we are anonymous online it does not mean our words and actions do not count or have no power.

I had fun. I wish the concept had been developed better but I had fun.

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Rating: 3.75/5

Premise:

From IMDB:
Alice returns to the whimsical world of Wonderland and travels back in time to help the Mad Hatter.

Review:

This is not really related to the book the movie borrows its title from, but it was a fast-paced, entertaining adventure and I got a couple of good laughs through it.

It is very interesting to see the past of Alice in Wonderland’s characters..

Though some things didn’t make much sense (like how Alice changed to her last outfit and the ending – where did they get the funding to do that if they seem to be broke?), I have to say I mostly enjoyed it.

I would say the weak spot is the plot and all the running around felt pretty pointless at times and even bored me.
However, it is such a fast-paced and colourful that you don’t stop to think about it much.

The visual effects are stunning as usual and I felt taken a way but I do feel the characters had shone more and the plot had had a bit more depth and oomph.