The Imitation Game – Movie Review

I really like movies about real historic characters and events. The Imitation Game was really good. No wonder it was nominated for so many awards. I have no information about the accuracy of the story, but I found this idea very exciting.

For those of you who have no idea about the plot, this movie is about breaking the Enigma machine – a coding machine Germans used during the World War II and which was thought to be “unbreakable” because the code was changed every day at midnight. UK government assembled a special team of bright minds to decipher the messages and one of the team members is bright but weird and arrogant Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who finds a way to solve this problem. He lacks in social skills, but he figures out that the most important thing is to build  a machine, which could automatically break the code of  Enigma, if the settings would be known. It takes him a long time and a lot of failures before it is done, but this invention changed the course of history forever.

I really liked that this movie is focused on the human aspect of the events – how the relationships between people can change everything, how important it might be to have friends on your team, how hard it might be to have a bright mind and lack in social skills. I also love the fact that the female character Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) plays such a significant role in this story. She is still feminine and nice, but her ability to use her mind is amazing. Don’t forget, in those days no one took women seriously. I found the ending of this movie very sad and shocking – how can one person achieve so much and be humiliated so horribly despite of it. But I won’t go into much detail about it, so you can enjoy this movie without big spoilers.

The acting and the way this movie is filmed is very pleasing. I was not distracted from story by anything. The emotions seemed very real. I really like Benedict Cumberbatch and I find him to be a truly great actor. He shines in any role, even though he has a problem saying the word “penguin” correctly (but he probably has learned it by now). I like movies about World War II and this one will be along my favourites. Not all movies about war must have lots of battle scenes to become great. A bit of romance, a bit of sadness, and lots of thinking. This will be equally interesting to both male or female audiences. I rate it by 8 out of 10 – even though it had not much action or plot twists, I found it very interesting and emotionally pleasing.

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Life of Severus Snape

Some things are just too brilliant to keep for yourself. This is a very good chronological compilation of Severus Snape’s life from the movies.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I found it very touching.

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The Theory of Everything – Movie Review

The Theory of Everything is in cinemas (UK) and gives us a chance to have a look at the private life of Stephen Hawking and his first wife. It is both romantic and sad. This movie opens some emotional holes and shows how much being a true friend might mean. True love and devotion at its best.

The movie covers the years of life of Stephen Hawking, which he spent with his wife Jane, beginning with how they met during their student years, how Stephen started to develop the first symptoms of illness, how they got married, had kids and how they struggled along the way. As you might already know, Hawking hasn’t always been world-famous. He was a brilliant student, but it took him years to get recognised and achieve the status of a celebrity in the science world. His illness put many restrictions to what he could achieve, but with the help of his loving wife he was able to adapt to his situation. Jane suffered a lot, but she never abandoned Stephen, not even when things got incredibly hard. I admire her devotion and courage. Also, you can follow the progress of Hawking’s incredible ideas in the field of physics, which I found very exciting and it was the main reason why I wanted to see this movie in the first place.

The movie itself is beautifully made. It has some amazing moments that will make you smile or even shed a tier or two. The director James Marsh has done a very great job at making the emotions seem so real and close. I guess the best part is the amazing acting of Eddie Redmayne, I will honestly be surprised, if he won’t get a big award for this role (this year I would give him the Oscar). Every movement, every cringe, the way he sat in the wheelchair… I could really believe it was the real Hawking. This movie is a good choice for a romantic evening with your loved one, it shows the importance of little things in life. I rate this movie by 8 out of 10. I have seen documentaries about Stephen Hawking’s life, but this movie makes the story seem more real, at least to me. Let’s see how many awards it will get.

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Book Review

13206760Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. After reading Cinder (review here), I decided to continue reading these series as they are a bit different than most fairy tale remakes. It involves special race form Luna, and cyborgs, and spaceships – things I wouldn’t usually like but they come together nicely in these series.

Scarlet is the Little Red Riding Hood and she meets a wolf (not an actual wolf, he is a person), but is he all bad? Her grandmother is abducted and Scarlet goes on a quest to save her. Wolf comes along and  they develop a special connection. Also the story goes back to Cinder. She manages to escape the prison and has to hide. She finds an accomplice and later on meets Scarlet. I will not spoil the plot by going into more detail about it.

The second book was not as good in my personal opinion, even though it had more characters and action, I think it lacked in originality (the wolf pack was the only new interesting idea in this book). Also it involved too much cheesy romantic moments, which kind of reminded me of Twilight and not in the best way. I sincerely hope the next book will be better. I rate this book by 7 out of 10 because it was still interesting but it lacked the charm of the first book. Also, it seems to be too noble – real people don’t choose the common good above their own skin as much as they do in these series. It might be good if they did, but I don’t believe they would.

On the side note, one thing bothers me – why does the Earth appears so weak and helpless against Luna? Even in the future, I believe, people on Earth would try to wipe all Lunars from the Moon as soon as any threat would become apparent. People would have come up with hundreds ideas on how to detect Lunars and neutralise their special abilities and powers.

Also, the political map of today’s Russia in the series doesn’t convince me a bit. I don’t believe Russia would be split up and have no political power. There hasn’t been a major war in the history of Earth involving Russia, which Russia wouldn’t win in one way or another. People with such creativity and tolerance to alcohol can’t be defeated, at least not with classic war strategy and logic. Besides, there are few nations as patriotic as they are and I can’t imagine a point at which half the country would joint the Eastern Commonwealth. Hopefully this will be explained in one of the books or at leas in a special edition. I do understand that this novel is meant for teenagers and doesn’t concentrate on the global political issues, but this part still bugs me (and it’s not because I am half Russian myself, but because even in the futuristic world the history would repeat itself again and again). Maybe someone has read more than I did and could explain this to me?

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Big Hero 6 – Movie Review

Big Hero 6 is an amazing animation for the whole family. It has robots, heroes and a villain. It is a movie about the true goodness and right choices. It is also a movie about painful loss that can be overcome by having great fiends and family.

Hiro and Tadashi are two brothers who are incredibly smart and good at creating robots. Tadashi is the older brother who wants to guide his brother to make the right choices in life. He introduces Hiro to his awesome friends and colleagues at the Robotics Lab, and he also shows him his biggest project  – Baymax. Baymax is a healer robot and he is amazing! Hiro decides that he also wants to join the robotics lab and creates a special project, but things go wrong after the presentation and a fire takes the life of his older brother. Only after some time and deep grief Hiro finds a new meaning in life when he meets Baymax again. And the adventure begins. Hiro has found that his project idea has been stolen and is used by a masked villain. He has to stop him and Baymax, with some minor upgrades, becomes an awesome sidekick.

I absolutely fell in love with Baymax, I hope that one day there will  be a real health-care robot who will take such good care of you. Hopefully they won’t become killer-robots. Baymax is so cool – he may not have a sense of humour or doesn’t understand expressions and sarcasm, but he learns fast. His naivety is so adorable and he looks like a giant marshmallow.  And the coolest thing – he acts like he’s drunk when on low battery. What’s not to like? Other characters are interesting and have very distinct personalities. I particularly like Fred – he will surprise you in so many ways. He’s probably on drugs, but it’s not shown in the movie, so your kid’s safe.

Animation is lovely and ideas for different robots could improve lives of people in the future. As most of the modern Disney’s animation, a lot of care has been put into details. It’s also probably full of “Easter-eggs” too. The music is OK, but don’t expect stunning “Let it go” phenomena. If you have a little bit of patience to wait until the end of the credits, you can see a bonus clip featuring Fred. I like the humour – it is very simple but made me giggle and probably will seem absolutely hilarious to younger children. Overall I rate Big Hero 6 by 9 out of 10. It has the right values, it’s suitable for any age and made me feel warm and fuzzy at some particularly cute moments.

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The Maze Runner – Movie Review

Finally had a chance to see the Maze Runner. I can’t say it will become one of the best movies in my personal top, but it is decently entertaining and has some interesting ideas. Unfortunately, there is not much to tell without spoiling the plot.

The movie starts with a young lad being delivered to the Glade – a centre of a big maze, where a lot of young male teenagers are trying to find their way out. He can’t remember anything about how he got there or what happened to him before. The others tell him about the Maze – it changes every night and no one who stayed in the Maze for a night ever came out. There are some guys who are called the Maze Runners. Their main function is to map the Maze and find the way out. Others are contributing to this small society by doing some work. Some of the boys have spent 3 years in the Glade but had no luck of getting out of the Maze. Everything will change now.

Some parts of the story seem very strange to me – how come no one has managed to catch a Griever before? In 3 years they should have figured out a way how to make weapons or get to the inside of the Glade by using the lift. Come on, if there is a lift, there must be a way to hack it. The boys don’t seem to be smart. It’s like boys in the Never Land – left alone and playing games all day. Is that what happens, if there are no girls around? And they seriously never thought that they are being watched 24/7? Surely, wiping their memories might have something to do with it, but still. Let one smart guy come in and he can make a bigger progress than they managed to achieve in 3 years. Also, I find it interesting, that the boys didn’t have any romantic relationships between them. 3 years without girls in a relatively closed environment is a long time, if you know what I mean.

I like that this movie has some fresh actors as the main characters. To be honest, I am tired of seeing the same faces in just about every YA/dystopian  movie out there. Some of the actors have previously been in supporting roles in other movies, some have been seen in popular TV series. I guess this is their chance to shine and show their talents. The special effects might be much more impressing on the big screen. I did like the way they made the monsters (Grievers) – they are part robots, part living creatures and they look like mutant scorpions. Very scary and deadly. The Maze itself looks quite impressive too. I can’t say that I was impressed with camera work. Soundtracks are not really interesting and I couldn’t say I would recognise any of them. I really love movies with impressive soundtracks. I guess they just couldn’t afford Danny Elfman (he is the genius behind some of the best soundtracks of all time) or a well recognisable pop-star. Overall I was quite entertained. I guess it is in the same category and level as Divergent movie, so I rate it by 7 out of 10. I will probably watch the next part but not on the big screen. Could recommend to people who like action movies and book adaptations. Was I tempted to read the books? Maybe, but I have some other books in my TBR pile that will definitely come first.

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler – Book Review


Yes Please was my first read book in 2015. I don’t know why I picked it, I guess I just needed a break from fantasy and fiction. This book was recommended by some people on Booktube and I decided to give it a try. I chose the audio book read by the author. It was a good choice as Amy Poehler is a comedy actress and she certainly knows how to work her voice to her advantage. Very pleasant.

This book is a collection of essays about life – fame, work, having babies, family and many other things. It is kind of a memoir but without a straight time line. It is full of humour and witty expressions, so if you are tired of depressing and heavy literature, this book might be just what the doctor ordered. I love the style of writing and most of the topics. Some essays were a bit boring for me, but they might be spot on for someone else. I particularly loved the chapter about pregnancy – a very spot-on topic for my age group when everybody starts having babies. I like the honesty and openness in this book – not all people are able to laugh at themselves and others without offending someone. This book has some wisdom and good advice. It is not the you-should-do-as-I-tell-you kind of advice, it is more like suggestions based on personal mistakes, embarrassment and experience. It touches some heavy subjects like disability and divorce, but it also talks about self-confidence and success.

I was not particularly familiar with Amy Poehler and had no clue who she is, but now I want to watch some of the old Saturday Night Live shows to see the scenes she is talking about. I am not a fan of autobiographies, but this one made me feel like meeting a good friend over a pint (no sober person would share such intimate details over a cuppa). Even though I can’t say it is the best book I read in a long time, I did enjoy it and would recommend it to other people. It is a pleasant easy read and could make someone’s day better. I rate it by 6/7 out of 10, I can’t really decide about the grade because I did not feel the connection with some chapters, but others I found very interesting. This could become a nice present for a person in a time of a mild crisis – seeing that other people can have a laugh at their problems might do some good.

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Into the Woods – Movie Review

Into the Woods was my first big movie disappointment of 2015. To be honest, I’m very glad I didn’t drag my husband to the cinema, he would not forgive me for some time. 2 hours of whining and absurd people (probably on magic mushrooms or beans) and not much sense in their actions. I haven’t read the book or seen the original play so my opinion will be based solely on the Disney’s movie.

There was so much I didn’t like about this movie, I just don’t know where to start.

The story is an absolute piece of dog poop. It has so many holes in the plot, that if it was a piece of cheese, there would be nothing to eat but the crust. I can’t tell much without spoiling, but the actions of characters in this movie are highly irrational – at many points I could not understand, if the characters really believes what they are saying? Everyone is so stupid and relies on the first thing someone tells them, like – Someone told me that my loved one is dead, I better believe them without even checking, if that’s true. I like fairy tales, but this mash-up didn’t quite work for me. I could give credit for sticking with some original parts of the scary original fairy tales (like pecking someone’s eyes out, or molesting your own body fro a chance to marry the prince), but it still didn’t do the trick for me.

It is a musical. I am not a particular fan of musicals, but I can watch them with great pleasure, if the story is right and the music is there to enhance the experience. Unfortunately, not in this case. The music sounded like a total rip-off from Sweeney Todd (I absolutely love this movie). At first I thought, maybe it’s the same composer, but NO, IMBD tells me it’s not. And the songs are really annoying. Into the Woods is a cheerful and idiotic tune that will stick in your mind and you won’t be able to get it out of your head for some time. Besides, the singing is not that good either. It was mediocre at best.

I was expecting much better acting skills. I was not impressed. It felt like amateur theatre play rather than a movie with decent and well known actors. Besides, Johnny Depp was there for only 3/4 minutes (let me remind you, the movie is 2 hours long), I feel so betrayed and disappointed.

On the bright side – visually this movie is quite spectacular, I won’t say it was not pleasant just because I didn’t like the rest of it. Turning out the sound and just watching the beautiful camera work, special effects and the amazing costumes would make me feel better about this movie. The colours are very nice – the contrasts of dark and bright, red and blue… Love it.

Overall I can’t give this movie mother than 5 out of 10. It was not good! Everything felt too cheesy and fake to me. Please, don’t bring children under the age of 10 to this movie, it’s too dark, depressing and violent for the younger audience. Some kids might even get nightmares after watching it. Disney is trying to get back to the roots of the fairy tales, but so far it seems that they are closer to the roots of all evil.

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The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Review

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is the funniest, wittiest and most ridiculous movie I have seen in a really long time. Describing it shortly – it’s like Swedish Forest Gump, only instead of running you get explosions. After watching the movie I definitely wanted to read the book by Swedish author Jonas Jonasson.

The story starts with Allan being put in the home for elderly people, he is 100 years old and had a very interesting life, which is revealed piece by piece during the movie. He decides that the home for elderly people is not for him and so he climbs out of the window and his new adventures begin. I won’t spoil the story, but it involves mobsters, a large sum of money, random strangers becoming friends, people getting killed by accident, an elephant, and some unbelievable historic events. To be honest, I knew this story was supposed to be great, but I couldn’t even imagine that it will be so full of random and amazing nonsense, that comes together so perfectly.

This is a Swedish movie and as such it has some specific charm – it is quite simply made and concentrates on the story rather than special effects. I love European movies as they have more soul than the Hollywood spectacular interpretations. The movie is mostly in Swedish but there are some parts in other languages. It is very entertaining and full of dark humour. It’s completely different form the American situation comedies. Some jokes could be considered quite offensive, but I guess life is never kind to everybody in the same way. I like the small details like the places and the way of life in Sweden – I lived in Sweden for 6 months and enjoyed it very much, and this movie has the same feeling of living in remote places I felt while I lived there and travelled around the country. I felt connected to the characters and absolutely loved the “making history” moments. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone, who likes dark humour and bizarre situations. I rate this movie by 9 out of 10 for the warm feeling and really making me laugh.

After watching the movie I got the audio book and it was just as good. I can say that the movie and the book go along very well. Even though not all adventures are included in the movie, some parts are made a bit different to make more sense in the shorter version. In book Allan has even more adventures and quite a happily ever after with someone special. I rate the book by 10 out of 10 because it is very well written and can work as sort of a crash course in history of the last 100 years.

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell – Book Review


 The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell is fantastic! It was part of my Christmas gift prom my husband and I absolutely love it. It is gorgeous and just flicking through it makes me happy.

I love Neil Gaiman’s writing and Chris Riddell is my favourite illustrator. They have perfect collaboration on creating something amazing. I already have their editions of The Graveyard Book and Coraline, but this book is a masterpiece of aesthetic pleasure. The cover has no writing on it, just a picture of the Sleeping Beauty, but the semi-transparent dust cover has the thorns and the credits on it. Unfortunately, I discovered that my pet ferret Loki poured a full glass of water on  my dust cover and it got ruined. I tried to save it, but it will never be the same again. Nonetheless, the illustrations are made in just three colours – black, white and gold. Every detail, every wrinkle, every facial expression looks great. Pictures complement the writing in the best possible way.

I am a fan of Neil Gaiman and love the way he can tell a story. This book is his version of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty coming together in one story. It is not exactly like the we heard before. The story has a twist and a girl-kissing-girl moment (not conventional, but also not as naughty as you might think). Neil Gaiman is a great story teller and even though this book is only 68 pages short, he manages to put a lot of events, character and emotions in it. I find it a true quality mark of an excellent writer, as some can’t achieve this much even in 500 pages. Fairy tale is a hard genre for writers but Gaiman masters it gracefully.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes beautiful art and fairy tales. It is a great gift and could be given to people who don’t have the patience to read long books. I rate it by 10 out of 10 as it made me very happy and I will definitely flick through it every time I move the books on my bookshelf.

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