Film: Battleship – “It’s too late to eat a burrito. Too much complex carbs”

I’d heard many many people say that ‘Battleship’ was awful, that it was one of the worst films ever. So when it was on Film Four I had to tape it, but it took a little bit of time to be in a receptive mood for something reputed to be dire.

The first forty-five minutes weren’t actually that bad, it introduced characters who were likeable enough, established their links to each other and their motivations, then started the action.

Taylor Kitsch did his normal slightly rebellious outsider thing – whilst looking like he was wearing too much eyeliner as he does in everything else. Because he looks like this is every film he has ever done I am starting to wonder if he is actually wearing eyeliner or if he has naturally very distinctive lashes. Either way he certainly wasn’t believably related to Alexander Skargård (Eric from ‘TrueBlood’), not even by one parent.

battleship poster

Rihanna wasn’t that much worse than any other disposable female character in a mainstream Hollywood action film, most of those roles are so under-defined and poorly written that having an acting ability is a waste anyway.

The premise is pretty weak, but we are talking about a film that is based on a board game, a couple of military ships end up trapped in a bubble with a couple of alien ships who outgun them.

It was really interesting seeing a mainstream film show the downside of wars in the form of those who had sustained injuries that had resulted in amputation, the short scene in the military hospital / rehabilitation clinic warmed to me the film in a big way.

battleship

(U.S. Army Col. Gregory Gadson is THE reason to watch ‘Battleship’)

Unfortunately this is a side plot to Taylor’s fluttering eyelashes and things went downhill rapidly on the main plotline; the aliens looked silly and the explanation for their not instantly blowing up all the human ships was scarcely plausible.

Personally I was hoping that Eric would be unleashed and the film would deteriorate into a vampiric bloodbath – needless to say I was horribly disappointed.

The end of the film is silly, but it really wasn’t much sillier than the rest of it and it was just like watching an extended version of the trailer – in fact just watch the trailer.

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2015 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film: Sabotage – “The only thing anyone in law enforcement has is their credibility. It’s like virginity. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever”

I delayed watching ‘Sabotage’ until I’d mostly forgotten the disappointment that was ‘Escape Plan’, but it transpired not to matter as ‘Sabotage’ was definitely its own film.

The synopsis was “Members of an elite DEA task force find themselves being taken down one by one after they rob a drug cartel safe house.” The trailers made it look high action and it had Arnold Schwarzengger in – I was expecting an action film with lots of guns.

The start had lots of guns, a very unnecessarily messy toilet and a massive plot hole that haunts the entire premise of the film. It then has a lull whilst the ramifications of the opening scenes played out – without giving too much away it was entertaining seeing Arnie displaying the same barely contained hostility and distain for middle management that most office staff are, at least fleetingly, familiar with.

sabotage arnie

(Photo from IMDB)

Then the film then wanders into a slightly dull mystery story with the occasional act of violence. It doesn’t manage to be a thriller and at least part of that is due to the characters – none of the characters in ‘Sabotage’ were likeable to the extent that their gory and untimely demises didn’t invoke an audience reaction.

The dialogue is a combination of clichés and forgettable mumblings, which allows Joe Manganiello – aka Alcide Herveaux from ‘True Blood’, to scene steal simply due to his height and his impressive muscle mass.

Even the sound track isn’t quite right, it was too electronic in climatic scenes when something a little more metal would have felt more natural.

Overall it is one of those films where you begrudge the time spent watching it and you do wonder what redeeming features the cast saw in it when they signed their lives away.

sabotage poster (Photo from IMDB)

Spoiler – I really didn’t understand Arnie’s character’s methodology; from the motivation point yes your family were tortured and killed, with the drug dealers sending you videos of proceedings and body parts. So you want revenge and steal the money to grease the wheels to get it. But why hang around after the money has gone? Why not leave your team out to dry – it’s not like you are sharing the money with them and by hanging around the bloodbath that follows is all your fault.

Also wearing a white hat at the end of the film doesn’t make you the good guy, everyone in this film is grey at best – very much including the female homicide detective.

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2015 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

TV VS Book: TrueBlood – “We are forming an elite spiritual army.”

I’m rereading everything I own as part of the mad dash to have less stuff to move house with and finding a surprising number of books that I don’t feel the need to keep. This is surprising, despite knowing that I am fussy about what books I really like, and I think is largely due to my Weltanschauung changed after the events of last year.

Weltanschauung can be simplistically translated from the German to mean “world view” but the real meaning is closer to “wide world perception” – a mixture of ideals, experiences and beliefs that act as a framework for how we view the world and react to it.

Wiki tells me that Michael Lind says “a worldview is a more or less coherent understanding of the nature of reality, which permits its holders to interpret new information in light of their preconceptions. Clashes among worldviews cannot be ended by a simple appeal to facts. Even if rival sides agree on the facts, people may disagree on conclusions because of their different premises.”

This allows people to see the same film but have very different reactions to it, to see one news article and understand it in a drastically different way, or to read the same book and have massively differing opinions on it. Because my world view has changed I feel differently about certain things and am reading into things differently.

Starting honestly, I read ‘Dead Ever After’ as soon as it came out and I hated it, the writing style was awful and the ending felt like it came out of the blue. I was aware that I’d felt that book 8 onwards had seemed poorer quality and that book 11 onwards had been a struggle for me to care about.

It was actually this feeling of annoyance combined with a desire to know the ending of the series that prompted me to start this blog, I wanted somewhere to scribble down spoilers and endings in order to remember why I hadn’t kept certain books and why some series I’d just walked away from before they ended.

So it made sense that at some point I would have to reread the entire set of The Southern Vampire Mysteries, aka the Sookie Stackhouse series, aka TrueBlood.

I have seen all of the TV adaptation and due to the noticeable differences between the two things I deliberately avoided rereading the books until after that was all over and I’d had some time for the memory of it to fade. However when I reread the books the series kept popping into the front of my mind.

Sookie is a waitress in a fictional town in northwestern Louisiana. She is also a telepath and over the course of the 13 books finds herself increasingly involved in supernatural hi-jinks. The TV show doesn’t really skimp on the amount of supernatural hi-jinks but thankfully doesn’t scrape the barrel by bothering with the dodgy “devil” plotline

At the start of the series the only supernaturals who are public (aka out of the coffin) are vampires. But werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, fae and similar all exist and we encounter them as the books progresses. The TV show is pretty faithful in following this.

It is a first person narrated series and I will say now that this isn’t an issue for me – I know some people who detest it as a style. It was interesting to see the TV show wasn’t all about Sookie and actually wandered off to develop other characters in ways beyond the book.

I do have a tiny little issue with having references to things that only occur in short stories that are spread over a number of other books – according to wiki there are 18 short stories that relate to this series which are all separately sold, which seems a bit cheeky to me. I’ve read seven out of the 18 and don’t feel the need to read anymore.

In terms of the plots to the first five books (please note there will be spoilers):

Dead Until Dark’ – we meet Sookie, Sookie meets Bill Compton – a vampire. Sookie and Bill start dating. Sookie’s brother Jason shags anything that moves so when women start turning up dead he has slept with all of them and looks rather guilty. But it’s actually his friend Rene who is killing women that he deems to be vampire sluts. Rene kills Sookie’s grandmother, who had raised Jason and Sookie after their parents were swept away by flood waters.

Whilst trying to solve the murders Sookie goes to a vampire bar called Fantasia and meets the Vampire’s area sheriff Eric Northman.

Blood and sex are pretty much the same button for vampires.

Living Dead in Dallas’ – Sookie and Bill squabble, Sookie gets attacked by a maenad and Eric is primarily responsible for saving her. Eric asks for a favour, Sookie ends up infiltrating the Fellowship of the Sun Church – they don’t like vampires very much. Sookie meets werecreatures.

Club Dead’ – Bill goes missing after lying to Sookie about where he is. Eric suspects Bill’s maker Lorena might be involved, so sends Sookie to investigate Mississippi accompanies by a werewolf whose father owes Eric, the werewolf is called Alcide and this book is the most charitable portrayal of him – his later appearances are not overly flattering. Alcide has a violent ex-girlfriend called Debbie Pelt.

Elvis is a vampire. Bill rapes Sookie after he is tortured and deprived of blood. Eric saves the day repeatedly. Sookie dumps Bills.

Dead to the World’ – Sookie is driving home from work and finds a naked Eric running along the road, he seems to have lost his memory and Pam suggest that he stays with Sookie for a little while – at least until the witch coven responsible are dealt with.

Despite her brother Jason having gone missing Sookie has sex with Eric. Jason transpires to have been kidnapped and turned into a werepanther.

Alcide had the poor judgement to be date Debbie again and she decides to kill Sookie, she fails, Sookie kills her and Eric hides her body.

Dead as a Doornail’ – the shifters and were-beasties come out of the closet. Not everyone is happy, some get shot. Sookie’s fairy godmother Claudine has to work overtime.

After some contrived and silly circumstances Sookie is effectively blackmailed into telling Eric what happened during his stay with her.

Despite having waited sometime after watching the show I am remembering how much better certain aspects of the show were – for example in the show Eric and Pam were fantastic in a way that the book only alludes to.

I do need to crack on with reading the other books, but I was surprised that ‘Dead to the World’ wasn’t as good as I remembered and was handled more entertainingly by the TV show.

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2014 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book: Charlaine Harris’ ‘The Sookie Stackhouse Companion’ – “And also know that I am not a hooker. That was a long, long time ago.”

It’s funny when a TV show becomes more popular than the books, if I say “Southern Vampire Mysteries” I tend to get a lot of blank looks, “Sookie Stockhouse” gets a better response or “Trueblood” is recognised by most people even if the sheer amount of bonking in the first episode put them off actually watching it.

There were a total of thirteen books before the series ended having tied everything up neatly in ‘Dead Ever After’ – well tied up apart from the final cash-in book which listed the characters in alphabetical order and included a couple of sentences on their fate after ‘Dead Ever After’. There were numerous short stories included in random anthology books, there was even a book guide to the universe called ‘The Sookie Stackhouse Companion’.

The Sookie Stackhouse Companion

(Book cover)

This companion was published before the final two books in the series (‘Deadlocked’ and ‘Dead Ever After’) and contains a rather dull short story about Sam taking Sookie to his brother’s wedding, there are some dodgy recipes and some fluff/recap/interpretations of the wider universe.

Personally I thought the writing noticeably declined in the final two to the extent that it very easy to not care who Sookie finally ended up shagging – although she’d pretty much jumped in the sack with every male character that she wasn’t related to prior to making a final decision.

‘Dead Ever After’ did apparently upset a few people by pairing Sookie up with someone – spoilers from here-on out.

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(Poster for a season of ‘TrueBlood’)

That someone was Sam, who had always been around Sookie and had been supportive as friend and a boss, but hadn’t really seemed a major source of passion. Logically Sookie couldn’t be with a normal human due to the mindreading thing, she wasn’t going to agree to being turned into a vampire so she couldn’t sensibly have a happy ending with any of the vampires in the book. She’d also ‘test-driven’ most of the non-vampire super-naturals in the books and, as my grandmother could have said, “why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”

However picking Sam did seem a bit like settling until I reread the Companion’s recap of the first eleven books where Sam is the one constant in Sookie’s life, the one who doesn’t betray her and has almost as bad a taste in partners as she does.

So the Companion book has a use, it meant that ‘Dead Ever After’ makes perfect sense – apart from the bloody awful writing, Sookie’s out-of-the-blue hated of all things Vampire and her random craving for babies.

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2014 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content