REVIEW: Sully (2016)

sully-movie-posterThe story of Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), an American pilot who, along with his crew, became a hero after being forced to land a plane on the Hudson River in order to save the 155 souls on board.

The way this story is told is different to what one might expect. The film makes you wait, for what can feel like an excruciating long time, to see the full sequence of the plane coming down onto the Hudson. There’s snippets of flashbacks throughout the film, complimenting what’s happening in the present as Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart) try and make sense of what happened, but you have to wait to the final act to see it all come together.

The sequence of the plane coming down is dynamic and thrilling and the special effects are top notch. The sequence, along with the whole film really, brings you that pleasure of seeing people being competent at their jobs and keeping their heads in a crisis. The aftermath of the water landing shows the best people have to offer with everyone pulling together and shows how regular tour boats came to the rescue.

Sully is an incredible true story and seeing the events in the air and learning about the hearings Sully and his co-pilot Jeff Skiles had to attend to prove they made the right decision is great. Director Clint Eastwood allows the true events to speak for themselves and manages to avoid most clichés often seen in autobiographical films. Sully is a polished film with a great performances and Tom Hanks is on fine form as always. 4/5.

REVIEW: A United Kingdom (2016)

a-united-kingdom-posterWhen Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), the heir to the throne of Botswana, falls in love with and marries Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a white woman from London it causes an international stir. Together they have to fight for their love and for Seretse’s right to be King of his country.

A film like A United Kingdom sinks or swims on its lead performers and their chemistry but luckily Pike and Oyelowo feel like such a believable couple. From the first moment they meet, you can believe they’re falling in love and their relationship grows stronger throughout the film as they each encounter bigotry from both their families.

Alistair Canning (Jack Davenport) and Rufus Lancaster (Tom Felton) are the British bureaucrats who have interests in Botswana and who rules it. They are the faces of British politics in A United Kingdom and are as smarmy and conniving as you’d expect them to be. They believe they know all and know better than the people of Botswana and it’s a pleasure to see them proven wrong.

Naledi Khama’s (Terry Pheto) relationship with her brother and her sister-in-law Ruth is an unexpected delight. Naledi is as against their marriage, and Ruth in particular, just like anyone else to begin with but as their story progresses, Naledi and Ruth learn to work together and gain an understanding of one another. Seeing female characters put aside their differences and work together is always a delight. They become strong allies and each use their power and status to try and do the best for the people of Botswana.

A United Kingdom is an incredible true story that really should be more common knowledge. Not only is it a wonderful love story about love conquering all, but it’s about politics and international relations and racial tensions in Britain and around the world. It is also a beautiful film and the cinematography of both London and Botswana is stunning. It is seriously a very nice-looking film, and the contrasts between England and Botswana work so well together but it never makes one inferior to the other.

A United Kingdom is a wonderful film with some brilliant performances. It might make such a true and powerful story more like a fairy tale but that almost adds to the romance. 4/5.

REVIEW: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

illuminaeIt’s the year 2375 and two mega-corporations are at war over a small, insignificant mining planet. Pity they didn’t warn the people living there. With enemy fire raining down, Ezra and Kady manage to make their escape on the evacuating fleet. But that’s just the beginning of their troubles. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the space ships, their ships protection is vulnerable and no one will say what is going on. As Kady hacks into the ships mainframe to try and find the truth it soon become clear that Ezra is the only one who can help her. The only problem is that they split up before the war started and she isn’t supposed to be talking to him.

Illuminae is very different from any book I’ve read before and that’s because of how it is written. It’s composed of instant message chats, surveillance footage summaries, interview transcripts, mission reports and more. Files look like they have been clipped into the book or have been printed off and stuck in. It’s really interesting and makes the book quick to read and adds a new spin on things.

It’s interesting how Kady, Ezra and other characters come across through what’s kind of like second-hand text. Kady is super smart and feisty and wants to know the truth about what’s going because both the good and the bad will affect her and her loved ones. Kady is also stubborn and believes she’s always right which does rub people, including Ezra. Ezra is almost the polar opposite of Kady and it’s difficult to imagine them as a couple (though opposites attract and all that I suppose), he follows the rules and doesn’t really question anything, especially when he’s conscripted into the military.

Illuminae is a super-fast read. That’s down to how it’s written, reading conversations through instant messages will always take less time than “proper prose” but also because it’s an action-packed book. It kicks off with a war and then there’s corporate espionage, military cover-ups and a deadly plague. It’s one thing after another that Kady and Ezra must work together to deal with and how they cope will test them and offer both funny and tense moments.

Illuminae is an exciting sci-fi book that has a lot of surprises and I can’t wait to read the sequel. 5/5.

REVIEW: #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso

girlboosThe first thing Sophia Amoruso sold online was a stolen book. Most of her teenage years she spent dumpster diving and hitchhiking. When she needed medical insurance she found a stable but easy job where she would mess around on the internet and found the world of eBay where she decided to sell vintage clothes. Eight years later she is the founder, CEO, and Creative Director of Nasty Gal, a $100 million plus online fashion retailer with more than 350 employees. #GirlBoss is not only about Sophia’s story and how she started and ran a successful business, but it’s about what it means to be successful and how anyone can succeed if they just take a look at themselves and work out what they want.

#GirlBoss was a really interesting book, mainly because Sophia’s teenage years were definitely unusual and she’s very honest about it. She did some reckless and illegal things that she doesn’t necessarily apologise for but she also doesn’t celebrate them either – it’s just what she did. It’s interesting to see how a business like Nasty Gal can grow from eBay to its own independent entity. Seeing how Sophia figures things out as she went along but always keeping the same core values and aims was encouraging.

While I have never studied business, nor been interested in attempting to start my own business, I could still follow the smatterings of technical jargon throughout the book. It also helped that while #GirlBoss is about a very successful business woman, it is also mainly about how to become a successful person in any career path you might choose, or in life in general. There’s interview tips and what not to include in a cover letter but there’s also tips on how to save money and how to feel more confident in yourself through your clothes. So, things to help in the world of work and in day to day life.

#GirlBoss is a funny and informative read that really makes you want to try hard in all you do. 4/5.

REVIEW: Twinsters (2015)

twinsters-movie-posterSamantha had grown up in America and always knew she was adopted but what she didn’t know that she could have a twin. That is until she was contacted by Anaïs, a French girl living in London. Together they go on an incredible journey to find out if they really are twin sisters who were separated at birth.

Twinsters is a fascinating and well-made documentary. While the story is mostly told from Samantha Futerman’s point of view as she’s the one who is first contacted by Anaïs Bordier with the idea they might be twins, you still get the time to see what Anaïs thinks about the whole experience and learn more about her life before finding Sam via the internet. You also get short interviews from Sam and Anaïs’s friends and family’s as they too learn that their daughter or friend might have a biological relative in a different country.

That’s one of the incredible things about Twinsters, is that these two young women who live continents apart found each other through social media. They talked for hours at a time on Skype and Facebook messaged each other nearly every day for months before they ever met face to face. It proves how the internet can be used for good to connect people around the world.

Sam is an engaging storyteller as she and Anaïs get into contact with the adoption agencies they went through as babies in South Korea, to try and look into their records more closely. Twinsters is not only the story of Sam and Anaïs finding each other, but of them discovering their heritage in Korea and where they came from.

Twinsters is such a heart-warming and incredible true story. It’s all about love and family and the friends and connections we all make. One of the great things about Twinsters is that it doesn’t judge on what family is better, biological or adopted, and how Sam and Anaïs learn about each other’s families and decide to what extent they want to be a part of them. Twinsters is film that makes you laugh and cry tears of happiness as these two young women get to know each other and decide how much they want to be in each other’s lives. 5/5.

My Tome Topple Readathon TBR

This readathon is created and co-hosted by ThoughtsonTomes from November 18th till December 1st and the aim of it is to read those huge intimidating books that are over 500 pages long that have been sitting on your shelves for ages.

There’s a few challenges you can try and complete which are below but really the main thing is to read some long books.

The challenges:
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel
3. Read a tome that’s part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome (use goodreads and twitter to find buddies!)
5. Read an adult novel

I took part in the (I believe) first Tome Topple Readathon in June and it gave me the push to finally read American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Since then I haven’t really read any more of my big books so this is another chance to read another of my 500+ page books that have been on my shelves for ages.

I like having some choice when it comes readathon’s so here’s the books I’ll maybe be reading in the latter half of this month. There’s two books that I’d really like to read during Tome Topple and those are A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab which has 511 pages and is an adult novel that’s also a part of a series and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff which has 599 pages and would also fit the part of a series challenge. Naturally if I read both of them I’ll have completed the read more than one tome challenge. I didn’t think I had a graphic novel that’s over 500 pages but turns out Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and others has 528 pages (according to Amazon) so that is definitely on my TBR and will help break up all the many pages I hope to read.

tometoppletbr

As I’m prone to changing my mind when it comes to readathons I’ll also have a couple of other tomes on standby in case I can’t get into Illuminae or A Gathering of Shadows for whatever reason. Those books are The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which has 531 pages, and fits the adult novel challenge and the tome that’s a part of a series challenge, Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance by Oliver Bowden which has 516 pages, fits the part of a series challenge and I think it’s considered an adult novel, and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson which has 517 pages, it doesn’t fit any challenge but it has been sitting on my shelves for almost six months and seems like a fun, easy read.

I haven’t said anything about buddy reading yet that’s because while I don’t know anyone who is taking part in #TomeTopple and who are reading the books on my TBR, there’s a Goodreads group where you can discuss popular books so I’ll be checking that out over the weekend to see if anyone else is going to be reading some of my tomes.

Theoretically I should be able to complete all the challenges but like with the first Tome Topple Readathon I’ll be happy if I read one big book.

I’ll probably be tweeting about my progress @ElenaM52 and you can find out more about the readathon and all the co-hosts here. Good luck to all those who are taking part!

TOP TEN TUESDAY: The Ten Movies I Can Watch Over and Over Again

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week is a movie freebie so you can write about whatever you like, top ten all time favorite movies, top ten foreign films, top ten rom-coms, whatever! I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about the films I can watch over and over again and no matter how many times I watch it I never get bored.

lord of the rings elenasquareeyesThe Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001, 2002, 2003)
So while obviously The Lord of the Rings is actually three film I count the trilogy as one since it is one big story. Every December, as close to Christmas Eve as I can get it, I rewatch the entire trilogy in a day. It’s a little tradition I’ve been doing for over ten years and I can’t wait till it’s December and I can watch Lord of the Rings.

 

The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001)the mummy elenasquareeyes
I count these two as one film too because they follow so well from one another – plus there’s no third film. These films feature one of my favourite fictional couples and my favourite fictional family ever! The O’Connell-Carnahan’s with Ardeth Bey are just the best! The Mummy and The Mummy Returns are so much fun and full of adventure and I could never get bored of watching them.

legally blonde elenasquareeyesLegally Blonde (2001)
Elle Woods is a feminist icon and so is Legally Blonde. Whenever I see Legally Blonde is on TV I always end up watching it, I can quote so many lines and I adore the soundtrack. Elle Woods makes me want to work harder and to be the best I can be and I love getting that feeling every time I rewatch this film.  (more…)