Movie: Phoebe in Wonderland

Details about the movie at IMDB

I had to stop crying first to be able to write about this movie. At certain point I wasn’t able to stand it without tears.

Always when I am watching some movie, I am thinking about if it is worth writing about it on this blog or not. I think about how I feel about the movie, what I would write about, what rating I would give it etc. This movie caught my attention immediately. For first, I like Elle Fanning and her way of playing, and second, I read somewhere that the movie was about a girl with Tourette syndrome , which I read about in some magazine last week. That was kind of coincidence so I decided to watch the movie to see how such life looks like.

Basically the movie is about a little girl Phoebe who suddenly starts to act differently. At the beginning there are just small changes but in time they are getting more obvious and more often. Nor her nor her parents know what is happening. She starts doing and saying things that are improper and sometimes breaking rules, but she can’t help it and is confused. She also starts to run away from the real world, which is more and more stressful and alarming, to an imaginary world of fantasy, where the characters from the play Alice in Wonderland act and talk to her. The only place where she feels safe is in the school’s theater, where the kids are preparing a school play Alice in Wonderland, where she plays the main role of Alice, led by a drama teacher Miss Dodger.

 

 

The movie is showing the fight of Phoebe and people around her with the changes in her behavior and the different ways how they try to deal with it. Phoebe is trying to escape to the world of fantasy, the kids and her sister are angry with her, her parents are desperate, the principal is lost (it actually shows how inadequate people on important positions can be destructive)…only Miss Dodger is somehow able to make Phoebe calm and safe.

But what really made me cry was the moment when Phoebe found out what was happening with her and was explaining it to her classmates. I think it must be very hard for a kid admit that she is different and explain it to other kids. On the other side, they finally understood why she was doing those weird things and saying those weird words. Another thing is, if they decide to accept it and tolerate it or will use it as a apology for humiliation and mockery.

For me, the rating is 8/10

 

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Movie: Transcendence

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2209764/?ref_=nv_sr_1

This movie from 2014 attracted me when I saw Paul Bettany in the first scene followed by scene with Johny Depp. I never heard of that movie before and the theme sounded interesting to me. When I saw Morgan Freeman in the next scene, I decided to give the movie a chance despite the fact I was about to go to bed.

The beginning is pretty fast. You have no idea what’s going on, just people are dying. However, when it calms down a bit, the movie comes up with some very interesting ideas about the current world and all the new technologies the scientists come up with day by day.

It’s actually interesting to think about where are the borders between technology and humanity. Today, when it is being considered normal to use artificial hands, feet or any other part of the body (or at least transplanted organs ;)), and when robots are acting more and more like humans, it is just a matter of time when people will come up with artificial consciousness. And I bet many are working on it already.

I already saw few movies or episodes in sci-series on this theme so it was nothing new for me but I must say I did like this particular movie. I liked the story, the actors, the way the movie was made, etc. However, as it brought nothing new to me, in fact, the artificial consciousness became bad and was destroyed, a little bit of cliche, no?

My evaluation is 7/10.

Book: Joy Fielding – Now you see her

Here is the official description of the story from www.joyfielding.com :

When Marcy Taggart goes to Ireland after divorcing her husband of twenty-five years, a chance encounter catapults her entire life into turmoil. Years earlier, her daughter, Devon, disappeared in the icy waters of Georgian Bay after a canoeing accident, her body never recovered. But on a day trip to Cork, Marcy is certain she spots Devon walking down the street. When her daughter disappears into a crowd, Marcy begins a desperate search to find her — and to uncover the disturbing truth that might, in the end, be her only salvation. Exhilarating and engaging, this is Joy Fielding at her best — delivering a pulse-racing, tension-filled read.

I read this book right after the Someone is watching title and it felt like reading almost the same book just with different main characters and different tragedy behind. But the template was almost the same. Some woman who sent through some terrible tragedy and now is mentally broken and starts to act weird. Starts to trust someone who she barely knows and he/she turns out to be actually the bad guy behind the weird situations in the end.

In the previous book Bailey started to see the man who raped her in every man she met who physically looked like him and in this story Marcy saw her daughter in every girl which physically looked like her daughter. Bailey started to trust her helf-sister and Marcy trusts some waiter she meets in a restaurant.

I think the Someone is watching book was more boring and slow but at least the main character was not acting as much stupid as this one. While reading this book I had few times feelings that I might not be able to continue reading the story as it was stupid too much.

I mean, I can understand that sometimes when people go through tough times they might not act rationally but I think in this case the author went too far. And actually as I was reading these books one after the other, it was more than clear to me who would be the bad guy in the story so it was too predictable for my taste.

So, I am giving this book 5/10 the same rating I gave the previous book and I feel like I need to take pause from this author for some time to be able to read some book from her again.

 

Book: Joy Fielding – Someone is watching

Here is the official description of the story from www.joyfielding.com :

Deeply shaken after a brutal attack, Bailey Carpenter struggles to reclaim control over what had once seemed like a neatly-ordered life. Unable to face her job, her friends, or even the world outside her apartment, Bailey is trapped with her thoughts, replaying the attack in a desperate search for a detail that will help the police uncover the identity of her unknown assailant. Bailey sees her attacker in the face of every stranger, and is unable to trust anyone other than her half-sister, Claire, and Claire’s snarky teenage daughter Jade. To pass the time in her lonely apartment, Bailey plays with the binoculars she once used in her career as a private investigator, scanning the high-rise buildings around hers for entertainment. She quickly discovers a favorite source: a handsome, wealthy playboy in the apartment across the street. But as she watches him strut around his bedroom, she starts to wonder if he’s putting on a show – with her as his intended audience. Looking out the window late one night, she sees him looking tauntingly right back at her, binoculars in hand. Could it be the assailant she’s been so desperate to identify has been right there, watching her, the whole time? The police, exasperated after Bailey’s many paranoid false alarms, believe she’s crying wolf, and Claire tries to convince her she’s wrong. Doubting her own sanity, Bailey has only Jade left to turn to, and together the two hatch a dangerous plot to discover just what exactly is going on in the apartment across the way.

This book was nowhere close to Shadow Creek in quality. The story was pretty good at the beginning but then it terribly slowed down and it took most of the book to get the speed back. It feels like the author wanted to compensate the lack of the action in the story with the complicated relationships in the main character’s family and very long descriptions of her feelings and halucinations which vere very often repeating. It just felt like reading the same parts over and over and the story was moving forward just very slowly. In the end it started to be a bit more interesting but still…not better than 5/10 for me.

 

Book: Joy Fielding – Shadow Creek

Here is the official description of the story from www.joyfielding.com :

Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely traveling companions finds themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be-divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancée, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex and grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies.

What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated. She was half-expecting it to be the trip from hell, but what she never could have predicted was that this impromptu little excursion would become an all-out struggle for survival.

For me this was the best book I ever read from this author. My mom borrowed it to me so I could read it while staying in a hospital and I must say that I finished it in two days. It caught me from the beginning and despite I was able to guess some things, still I was really enjoying the story from the beginning to the end.

To be honest, I liked the story about Val and her dealing with Jennifer as it so much reminded me of my situation and dealing with my ex-husband’s new girlfriend. Val did not actully hate her, she was just dealing with her existence as good as she was able to. And in the end she found out that Jennifer is actually not as bas as she thought and they became some kind of friends.

I know many people don’t believe in this kind of realtionship and they believe that it is not correct if they don’t hate each other but I just know from my own experience that it possible is and moreover it is very nice.

Besides the story, the book is full of jokes, funny comments, thoughts, absurd situations and for me it just has everything I expect from a good book.

Thanks for this book! I definitely give it 8/10.

Movie: San Andreas

San Andreas on IMDB

I don’t like men with too big muscles. It looks so unnatural and sometimes also unhealthy to me, blah. But there are few exceptions. One of them is The Rock. Actually, he is probably not using this name anymore, now he is using his real name, Dwayne Johnson, but I first heard about him and saw him when my ex-husband was watching wrestling and that’s why he will always be The Rock for me. Anyway, I like him no matter what he calls himself.

Today I was feeling a bit blue and so I decided to watch some movie and what’s better for your bad mood than watching handsome men? Well, in fact one man only, but in his case it is more than enough.

So, the movie had really good beginning that made me laugh. A girl driving car and doing all the stupid things like reaching for something to the back seat, checking messages on her phone that most people were expecting to lead to a crashing scene. But it didn’t happen. She continued driving until she got accidentally hit by a rock falling from a collapsing hill. Ha ha, well done.

Other scene that made me laugh was, when the professor was having presentation about the earthquakes and then the camera turned to the students who were in dark and you could just see all those Apple signs shining on their laptops. Product placing is still popular.

Anyway, I don’t want to spoil everything, so overall the movie is about series of big earthquakes that strike in California. Raymond Gaines, chief of rescuers, is getting divorced with his wife Emma and they have a daughter called Blake. Blake happens to be in the center of one of the earthquakes and Ray and Emma are trying to save her and on the way they, of course, start solving their personal life, what and why went wrong, etc., just standard cliche.

The movie reminds me of the 2012 movie. Divorced parents, catastrophe, trying to survive, bad new boyfriend of the ex-wife, etc. But anyway, I didn’t expect much from the movie (except lots of muscles which I got) and so I was enjoying it even with the outrageous scene. I was pretty surprised by the actress Alexandra Daddario who playd Blake. She was really sexy…I would be definitely attracted to her if I was a man 😉

The only thing that ruined the end of the movie was when Ben brought her the two necklaces which he claimed that he found ion the boat (but she had it on her neck when was being rescued) and also the huge american flag across the Golden gate bridge…c’mon guys do you really have to put that flag to the end of all movies you make?

Anyway, for me the movie was 5/10.

Book: Richard K. Morgan -Altered Carbon

This book was very interesting for me. The more that I was reading it in a hospital 😀 It is sci-fi and the story is set in the future where human personalities can be stored digitally for example after death, as an punishment etc. The personality can be then downloaded either to the same body or even to different one.

So when people die, their memories are stored and they can be downloaded to a new body (unless their cortical stack in the spine is directly damaged). The problem is that they have to go through the whole ageing process every time because updating the body to the actual age is too expensive and only very wealthy ones can afford, they keep clones of their bodies. The wealthy ones can even afford having their memories in a remote storage and they can be updated regularly. Which means that even if their stack is directly damaged or destroyed, their memories can be still downloaded from the remote storage.

One of these wealthy people is Laurens Bancroft who commits suicide an a way that his stack was destroyed. Despite his memories are downloaded back to one of his clones, he doesn’t remember the last 48 hours as that is the last time his memories were updated. He is convinced that it was not his suicide but that he was murdered.

Therefore he hires Takeshi Kovacs to investigate what exactly happened. Kovacs is former military member (Envoy) who has special training and abilities and is downloaded to a body of a policeman Elias Ryker who is currently arrested. This fact causes him several complications especially while working with a cop Kristin Ortega who was going out with Ryker before he was arrested.

The story is very complicated but sometimes easily predictable. It is also full of technical and medical explanations which sometimes were too much to follow for me. Anyway, despite these little flies in the ointment the book is very catchy, full of very interesting ideas and I liked it a lot. I give it 8/10.

 

 

Movie: When a man loves a woman

When a man loves a woman on IMDB

Today I watched the movie again after many years. And I cried. A lot. Basically the story is about a woman Alice Green who seems to have everything – loving husband Michael, two beautiful little daughters Jess and Casey, good job, name it…but in fact she is an alcoholic and the movie is about her fight with this addiction and her return to normal life.

The story is very strong and the movie is full of very emotional moments especially when the kids are involved. And the emotions are being supported not only by excellent performance of Meg Ryan, Andy Garcia and Tina Majorino but also by awesome music like the soundtrack from Percy Sledge or the Everybody hurts song from REM.

For me the movie was even stronger as it made me compare her life to mine in some way because alcoholism is also illness and there were several thoughts that the main character had which I had as well in the past and I realized that she was dealing with so many similar situations as I was or still am sometimes.

Even though this movie is more than 20 years old, it is just awesome and for me it has rating 11/10.

Book: David Gaider – Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne

One thing is really good on spending time in a hospital where they don’t have free internet: lots of time for reading books. One of the latest I read there was Dragon Age. When I was reading it, it felt very similar to reading books from Tolkien. There were even dwarfs and elves (not hobbits though).

The story is pretty easy – It is about country of Ferelden occupied by the neighbouring Orlesian Empire in the lead with Meghren and his fellow mage Severan. Moira, the queen of the rebels, is killed and her son Maric escapes and is saved by two men and brought to a camp of Fereldan outlaws where they don’t know who he is. When they find out, it is already late and the camp is attacked by the Orlesian soldiers looking for him. Led by Loghain, one of the rebels, he manages to escape. They become friends and Loghain helps Maric to travel to his allies and later even to lead army of rebels against the invading soldiers.

There is also love involved where Maric is engaged to beautiful Rowan but Loghain also fells in love with her and also beautiful Elf Katriel who was supposed to kill Maric but fell in love with him instead. The story ends with priestess Ailis telling Maric and Rowan’s son stories about the war and fall of Meghren.

I liked the book a lot and can’t wait to read the second one. The whole story is very well written – all areas, characters, situations and emotions described in a way that the reader feels like actually being there. From my point of view, one of the books really worth reading. I give it 9/10.

Movie: Love actually

Love actually on IMDB

This movie is one of my favorites. Almost always when I watch it, it makes me cry because it is full of various emotions – love, pain, hope, disappointment, etc. The story is happening around Christmas and is actually mix of several different stories where the main characters are somehow connected to each other.

I mostly watch it when I am sad because this movie is somehow able to comfort me and improve my mood. And at the end they say…”Love actually is all around…” which brings a lot of hope to my life.

I love this movie and so I cannot give it other rating than 10/10.