Movie Review Monday: Jojo Rabbit

So we’re going to do this review a little different due to the manner of this film. If you have not heard of this film by Taika Waititi I will be extremely surprised. This movie has been followed by harsh criticism for its content and the belief that it makes light of the Holocaust. But, I’m going to dive in and tell you why you SHOULD watch Jojo Rabbit.

Jojo is a lonely German boy who discovers that his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his imaginary friend — Adolf Hitler — Jojo must confront his blind nationalism as World War II continues to rage on.

Google Description Result

Jojo is a Hitler youth during WWII and his greatest desire is to be Hitler’s right hand man, and he will stop at nothing to get there, or will he?

The reason that I believe this movie doesn’t deserve the harsh criticism it has received is that this movie is a strong satirical criticism of the way children were manipulated by propaganda during WWII. Taika Waititi plays Adolf himself and while his role is ‘comedic’, it’s far from funny and that’s easy to see.

I was very skeptical the first 10 minutes of this movie because it does feel like it’s making fun of WWII, but that quickly evolves into something bigger and more daunting. Waititi does a very good job of creating a funny and serious movie. You never laugh at the expense of Jewish lives lost, and really it’s a good hard look at the German people.

Waititi pokes fun at what the human mind can be trained to believe when it’s constantly preached to by government officials and when it’s plastered on every wall. This movie is a peek in at people’s ability to suspend disbelief and create a villain out of regular people. When it comes down to it, the Holocaust was just people killing people, but the Germans were brainwashed into believing that the Jewish people were monsters who laid eggs and could control minds. I just want to add that I am in no way dismissing German behavior during WWII, it’s just interesting to see how a race of people can make those leaps and bounds.

This movie also illustrates a huge group of victims who are rarely spoken about. German children, and I mean real children, like 10 and under, not teenagers. Kids are always huge victims when it comes to war, and not only did Germany destroy Jewish children’s lives, but their own children as well. Kids as young as the ones in Jojo Rabbit don’t have the capacity to understand what is going on, and I felt like it was a great point that doesn’t get covered.

Do I think it crosses a line? No, but I would definitely say that it rides that line very closely. Is it worth watching? Absolutely, you will laugh, and you will cry. I loved this movie and I’m not going to give it a star rating because I feel like it will cheapen this review and the situation surrounding this movie.

Have you seen Jojo Rabbit? Does it sound interesting? Let me know in the comments.

Show Review: The Man in the High Castle (2015) — R. Crunden’s Blog

I love reading TV show reviews because theres nothing worse than missing a good show or wasting time on a bad one. To find out if The Man in the High Castle (based on the book) is for you, check out R. Crunden’s Blog. -Sav

I put off watching The Man in the High Castle for ages. It’s based on the classic novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick and it stars Rufus Sewell, whom I love soooooooo much (if you haven’t seen The Pillars of the Earth or Cold Comfort Farm, hop to it!), but, being Jewish, […]

Show Review: The Man in the High Castle (2015) — R. Crunden’s Blog

Movie “Non-Review” Monday: Books Turning into Movies 2020

This Monday is going to be a little bit different. We are losing the review to talk about some upcoming movie adaptations that I am looking forward to. I have read one single book on this list, but I intend to read the ones that I haven’t either before or after I’ve seen the movies!

If I am being honest I’ve never read an Agatha Christie novel in my life, but I love mysteries of all kinds and Christie was a mystery aficionado.

“Death on the Nile is an upcoming American mystery thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh, with a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film is a follow-up to 2017’s Murder on the Orient Express and stars Branagh returning as Hercule Poirot, as well as Gal Gadot, Letitia Wright, Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Ali Fazal, Sophie Okonedo, Tom Bateman, Emma Mackey, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Saunders, and Russell Brand. The film is the third screen adaptation of Christie’s novel, following the 1978 film and a 2004 episode of the television series Agatha Christie’s Poirot. The plot follows Poirot, a world-renowned detective, who becomes involved in a love triangle gone murderously bad while on a vacation in Egypt.”

(Description from Wikipedia)

I love movies filmed in Egypt, the setting is just so beautiful and it reminds me of old school films. Egypt is very much an older venue for movies, according to my very unprofessional opinion, and modern movies don’t take advantage of Egypt’s beauty as much. I love the pyramids, and it’s a view I always welcome.

Also, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, and Russell Brand! Not everyone welcomes Brand the same way I do, and for me it will be nice to see his face on the screen again.

Death on the Nile is expected to release October 23rd.

This book was so popular when I worked at the bookstore, and, don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure it was an “Oregon Battle of the Books” book. Here is a description:

“The One and Only Ivan is an upcoming 2020 American fantasy film directed by Thea Sharrock, from a screenplay written by Mike White, and based on the children’s novel of the same name by K. A. Applegate. The film stars the voices of Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, Helen Mirren, Brooklynn Prince, Chaka Khan, Ron Funches, Phillipa Soo and White, with the human characters portrayed by Ramón Rodríguez, Ariana Greenblatt and Bryan Cranston.”

(Description from Wikipedia)

I love Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, and Danny DeVito, so I have really high hopes for this adaptation. It seems like a well received and loved book, so I’m just hoping they do it justice for the fans.

The One and Only Ivan will begin streaming on Disney+ August 21st.

I’ve never heard of this book and I had no idea the movie was coming out, but I read a little bit about it and it sounds interesting.

“A man suddenly realizes visions he has been having are actually memories from his past.”

“Infinite is an upcoming American science fiction action film directed by Antoine Fuqua, produced by Rafi Crohn, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Antoine Fuqua, Mark Huffam, Stephen Levinson, Mark Wahlberg, Mark Vahradian and John Zaozirny, with a screenplay written by John Lee Hancock and Ian Shorr. The film’s cast is scheduled to include Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O’Brien, Sophie Cookson, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Jason Mantzoukas, Rupert Friend, Toby Jones and Chiwetel Ejiofor, with Wahlberg producing the film.”

(Ridiculously terrible descriptions from Wikipedia)

The description from Wikipedia makes this movie sound like the least interesting thing that I’ve ever read so here’s the description of the actual book.

“Haunted by memories of two past lives, a troubled young man stumbles upon a centuries-old secret society of similar individuals and dares to join their ranks.”

Discovered in an antique store in Rome at the turn of the millennium, The Reincarnationist Papers offers a tantalizing glimpse into the Cognomina, a secret society of people who possess total recall of their past lives.
Evan Michaels struggles with being different, with having the complete memories of two other people who lived sequentially before him. He fights loneliness and believes his ‘condition’ is unique until he meets Poppy. She recognizes his struggle because she has the same ‘condition’, except that she is much older, remembering back seven consecutive lives. But there is something else she must share with Evan – she is a member of a secret society of others like them. They are, in effect, near immortals – compiling experiences and skills over lifetimes into near superhuman abilities that they have used to drive history toward their own agenda on a longer timeline.
Through Poppy, Evan is invited into the Cognomina but he must decide if he can face their tests before entering this new mysterious society as their equal.”

(Better description from Amazon)

So, yes, the book description is far better than the movie description which worries me. I feel like this adaptation is already off to a bad start, especially because it was supposed to release this month but has been delayed to May 2021. But, it has Mark Wahlberg so I’m crossing my fingers.

Okay, I’m late to the party with this one. It released in June on Disney+ and I managed to miss it. Oops, hopefully that isn’t telling of the quality. Here’s a description.

“Artemis Fowl (known in certain territories as Artemis Fowl: The Secret World[3]) is a 2020 American science fantasy adventure film based on the 2001 novel of the same name by Irish author Eoin Colfer. It is directed by Kenneth Branagh, from a screenplay co-written by Conor McPherson and Hamish McColl. The film stars Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie, Colin Farrell, and Judi Dench. It details the adventures of Artemis Fowl II, a 12-year-old Irish prodigy who teams up with his faithful servant, a dwarf, and a fairy in order to rescue his father, Artemis Fowl I, who has been kidnapped by another fairy looking to reclaim an item the Fowl family has stolen.”

(Description from Wikipedia)

I tried to read Artemis Fowl when I was a kid and I wasn’t into it. It’s one of those books I’ve though of picking up many times since then, and I just haven’t. But, maybe if the movie is good I’ll pick the first book up. I’ll make a deal right now. I’ll watch the movie, review it a week from today, and if I like it I’ll grab the first book.


“Despite second thoughts about their relationship, a young woman takes a road trip with her new boyfriend to his family farm. Trapped at the farm during a snowstorm with Jake’s mother and father, the young woman begins to question the nature of everything she knew or understood about her boyfriend, herself, and the world.” -Netflix

So I read this book on a recommendation from a coworker when I first started working at the bookstore. I don’t know the words to express the crazy psychological ride this book took me on, and it’s not very long. According to Wikipedia it is 224 pages long, and I read it in one sitting because I just couldn’t put it down. I’m going to have to read it again, it was a wild ride.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things is expected to release via Netflix on September 4th.

I had a professor in college who raved about this book, The movie is titled The Turning. Here’s a description.

“The Turning is a 2020 American horror film directed by Floria Sigismondi and written by Carey W. Hayes and Chad Hayes. It is a modern, gynocentric adaptation of the 1898 ghost story The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The film stars Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Brooklynn Prince, and Joely Richardson, and follows a young governess in 1994 who is hired to watch over two children after their parents’ deaths.

The film first entered development in March 2016 and was described as a passion project for Steven Spielberg, who executive produced, wanting to be involved in a horror film again. The adaptation went through two phases of production: first as Haunted with Juan Carlos Fresnadillo attached as director, then as The Turning with Sigismondi. Filming took place at Killruddery House, County Wicklow, Ireland from February through April 2018.”

(Description from Wikipedia)

Okay, so I’m late to this party too, which makes me uneasy. I’m watching this when I get home from work. I was excited because Finn Wolfhard is in it, and the professor who loved it was one of my most respected professors. But, I’ve heard zero buzz about this movie. Maybe, I’m just out of the loop. We shall see, I’ll review this one too.

Well that wraps up what I’m currently looking forward to, and also what I have already missed. Tune back in and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to review these movies, and maybe do a side by side comparison with the books.

Have I missed anything important? What are you looking forward to? Let me know in the comments.

Movie Review Monday: The Invisible Man

This updated version of the classic by H.G. Well is sure to give you nightmares! Let’s take a deeper look at what makes this movie so scary.

The Invisible Man is a 2020 science fiction horror film written and directed by Leigh Whannell. It follows a woman who believes she is being stalked by her abusive and wealthy boyfriend even after his apparent suicide.[3] She ultimately deduces that he has acquired the ability to become invisible.[4] The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. It is an international co-production of the United States and Australia.

(Description from Wikipedia)

When I first saw that The Invisible Man was being turned into an updated film I kind of scoffed. I thought to myself, how could this be scary? Well, my skepticism was quickly quelled, because this movie is freaky. The acting is great and the plot had me on the edge of my seat.

I think what makes this film most frightening is that the relationship between Cecelia and Adrian is so authentic for an abusive relationship. On top of that you throw in Adrian having super genius intelligence, and the potential for him to haunt her from “beyond the grave”. This movie was scary on multiple different levels of the horror spectrum. There are scenes that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Adrian is what we could call the poster child for an abusive partner. He isolated Cecelia by controlling everything from what she ate, wore, said, and eventually thought. Every aspect of her life was under surveillance and had every red flag you could imagine. Setting up this relationship set the tone and increased the seriousness of the situation. I love when a horror movie has real life problems mixed in with the “paranormal” or “abnormal” circumstances, because it gives people something to relate to.

Elisabeth Moss puts on an A+ performance in this movie. I didn’t expect anything less based on her performance in The Handmaid’s Tale, but you never know. She definitely brought her A game, she makes the emotions come to life and her fear is genuine on screen. Elisabeth has an emotive face and she was by far the correct choice for the leading lady of this movie. I will say that the rest of the acting is about average. Not very many well known actors/actresses are featured but they did put on a pretty good performance.

I was frustrated in some parts because I feel like Cecelia could’ve done more to prove her innocence. Adrian does everything he can to make Cecelia look insane and to get her family/friends to turn on her. She finds all kinds of proof but I feel like she doesn’t fight her case hard enough. I also understand that she had forces gaslighting her every step of the way, and that is painfully real. But, for as strong as she is and outspoken, I feel like there was more she could’ve said or done. Also she goes to places that would obviously have cameras to prove her innocence but no one bothers to check and see what happened. It felt like a big plot hole.

This movie will make you fall in love with Cecelia. She has the kind of human resilience that you would expect from a strong willed person. She has every attribute to make you love her, but she is also flawed. She struggles with existence post-abuse and her life is far from fixed. The script and directing of this movie did a fabulous job of creating a protagonist you just want to root for.


I give The Invisible Man 4/5 stars!

If you’d like to rent a copy follow this link! It’s only 2.99 USD right now!

Have you seen The Invisible Man? Or have you read the original from H.G. Wells? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Movie Review Monday: Hereditary

This movie was so surreal and in parts had a reminiscent feeling of The Shining, but in the end lost me.

Hereditary is a 2018 American supernatural horror tragedy film written and directed by Ari Aster, in his feature film directorial debut. It stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and Gabriel Byrne as a family haunted by a mysterious presence after the death of their secretive grandmother.

(Description from Wikipedia)

This movie made my skin absolutely crawl, and the tone was completely unsettling. I haven’t felt this kind of fear since the first time I watched The Shining. It just this feeling of unease that never dissipates, and intensifies with every passing minute. Even with all of the adjectives I just used I feel like I haven’t accurately described the feeling it left me with. It’s just a genuinely scary feeling.

I’d read a spoiler for this movie so I knew about the big disturbing point that happens, but it didn’t make it any easier to watch. The movie is driven with such intensity and finality that it was nauseating. It’s hard to watch someone die in such a realistic way, and for it to be so graphic was painful. The response from this death I’m referring to feel so real, especially the response of the brother. The actor does a fantastic job of portraying an absolutely traumatized and guilty person that’s grieving. Every moment the camera is on him it feels real, and it is terrifying.

All of the actors, not just the one playing the brother, put on terrific performances. The little sister was such a lingering force that I couldn’t stop thinking about. She does this tongue clicking thing in the movie that gave me the creeps. I can’t hear anyone click their tongue without imagining her. The parents were so well portrayed and they exhibited opposite ends of the grieving spectrum, it was a beautiful balance and excellent contrast for a film. The parents grieving in two completely different ways did a lot for the tension, on top of all the other scary things happening around them. The tension built and never stopped building.

That’s sort of what’s wrong with the ending. The tension built and built but there really wasn’t a release. Just more questions. Not to mention it felt almost like the story flipped over at the end and gave us a more stereotypical ending. I was expecting something a little more unique, but it wasn’t delivered. Up until the end the movie is a 5 star film, but the ending really hurt how I felt about it. It was a cop out.


With all things considered this movie is still a 4/5 stars.

If you’d like to experience the unease for yourself, follow this link to purchase a copy for yourself. I will get a portion of the profit at no extra cost to you.

Movie Review Monday: Desperados

While predictable, this movie made me belly laugh in a way that I really needed. Take a step back from the mundanity of quarantine to enjoy a genuinely good rom-com.

A panicked young woman, with her reluctant friends in tow, rushes to Mexico to try and delete a ranting email she sent to her new boyfriend.

(Description from IMDb)

While that description from IMDb is incredibly underwhelming this movie is not. I feel like it is an excellent entry for the rom-com world and isn’t the basic shell that a lot of romances turn out to be.

When you hear rom-com you expect it to cover two bases, romance and comedy. But, Desperados does so much more than that. Part of the reason this movie is so funny is because it’s relatable.

Wesley is quickly approaching the years beyond child bearing and she is desperate to fall in love and move on with her life, if that means convincing someone to love her by pretending to be someone else, she will. I feel like this is is a sentiment many can relate to, and it makes her antics funnier and cringier because you can understand her actions. She’s a person you can put yourself in the shoes of.

On top of that, her supporting cast is phenomenal. They’re funny, and they each have their own relatable adult issues. We also see the consequences of throwing your friends to the wayside, because Wesley will stop at nothing to save her phony relationship.

I bring all of this up because I really want to highlight how hard this movie tries to mix in heartfelt reality with the hilarity of adult dating. Everyone has probably felt desperate in a relationship or even a friendship, you’ve likely said or done something and tried your hardest to undo it. That’s why this movie won my heart. I can totally be that psycho girlfriend who texts 15 times to find out my boyfriend is napping, and wish that I could sneakily delete my crazy rant.

This movie is definitely predictable though. While it’s the good kind of predictable, you can still see the ending coming a mile away. I loved it, and I loved the route it took, but I would’ve appreciated a bigger variation in this movie from the standard.

I give Desperados 4/5 stars. You can find this movie on Netflix right now! Go watch it and come back to let me know what you think.

Movie Review Monday: Child’s Play

Welcome to uncanny hell. The new Chucky movie is just that, a travel to the darkest and most disturbing cranny in the uncanny valley.

After moving to a new city, young Andy Barclay receives a special present from his mother — a seemingly innocent Buddi doll that becomes his best friend. When the doll suddenly takes on a life of its own, Andy unites with other neighborhood children to stop the sinister toy from wreaking bloody havoc.

(Description from Google results)

With Mark Hamill casted for the role of Chucky I had high hopes for the reboot of this sinister doll.

Mark Hamill is an all around fantastic actor, but he’s a standout voice actor. I will say that he is the best part of this movie. Hamill can be such a creep and it worked well for the murderous doll.

I hated Chucky as a child, the scary little dude gave me nightmares and I couldn’t stand him. I didn’t even want to watch this movie, my boyfriend did, but I have to talk about how strange the experience was.

The CGI used in this movie creates a trip into the uncanny valley that I’ll never forget. Chucky is scary, but not because what he does is scary. He’s scary because his facial expressions look like lumped up play doh that keeps blobbing across a head shaped sphere. It wasn’t the type of scary I imagine they were going for, it’s more of a strange body horror than a good hack and slash film. It was so strange I’m having a hard time explaining just what he looked like. I’ll try and find a gif.

What is that gross lumpiness they added to his face. How did we end up with the monstrosity above when we started with this scary dude?

Honestly this image gave me horrible nightmares as a child and I got creeped out saving it for this post. Gonna go delete it now.

I guess my main point is that the new Chucky is scary in all the wrong ways. He feels less like a doll and more like a CGI disaster.

I will say that modernizing Chucky’s interface into a doll ran by an app was a unique and welcome choice. They ingrain Chucky into social media and make him an almost omniscient monster. I loved that because it was relatable in the age of Siri and Alexa. A+ for the modern idea integration.

This movie also leaned way too hard on the campy nature of the old Chucky movies. They tried to emulate old school horror movies too much, and instead of capturing what made them scary, captured how ridiculous some of the horror movie tropes are. The over the top deaths could have been way less cheesy and the gore was like that scene in Friday the 13th with the blood geyser, it was just outlandish.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I give Child’s Play 2/5 stars. It was just too campy and it missed the mark on key horror movie elements.

If you’d like to watch this hard to look at, gorey, nightmare for yourself follow this link to rent, and I’ll get a portion of the profit at no extra cost to you.

Movie Review Monday: SCOOB!

Prepare to be disappointed in the worst way, because SCOOB! is a huge letdown.

With hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever — a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global dog-pocalypse, the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone could have imagined.

(Description from IMDb)

I usually wouldn’t review something that I didn’t finish, but I must warn you about this movie. This is not the mystery solving gang we all love, it’s something new and nearly unrecognizable. If this is the ScoobyDoo for the next generation I don’t want to be involved.

We will start with the fact that before the movie was even made they didn’t even tell Mathew Lillard that he’d been replaced as Shaggy. This left a sour taste in my mouth from the beginning, and my only hope was that the replacement would be a good Shaggy. He wasn’t. He sounded atrocious, and like he was trying to do a really bad Shaggy impersonation. Scooby was the only character that sounded like himself, the rest of the gang sounded strange.

They also unnecessarily changed the origin story of how Shaggy met Scooby. To me it was weird and you’d expect them to throw in tidbits here and there for older fans, but honestly there was only one part that made me feel nostalgic.

They redid the old intro for Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! And I loved it, but that’s where the nostalgia and enjoyment stopped. The movie opens up with the gang wanting to take on higher profile cases and their representative is going to be Simon Cowell, but Simon Cowell doesn’t like Shaggy and Scooby and wants them gone. What kind of nonsensical beginning is that? Why Simon Cowell? It’s totally random and makes zero sense.

I was actually really excited to watch this when I heard that Mark Wahlberg was going to play Blue Falcon, but the movie was so terrible I didn’t even make it to the parts with Blue Falcon. I was so disappointed I couldn’t even watch it.

This movie was a complete fail. It gets 1/5 stars.

Have you watched SCOOB!? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Movie Review Monday: Seoul Station

You’ve probably heard of the movie Train To Busan, but have you heard of the animated sequel Seoul Station? It’s just as good and deserves far more recognition.

Taking place in and around Seoul station, a young runaway woman must try to survive in a world that sees her as disposable. The story revolves around two main characters: Suk-gyu, a father who searches for his runaway daughter (Hye-sun), who he finds is alive and currently a prostitute. Just as he is about to be reunited with her, a zombie epidemic breaks out in Seoul.

(Description from Wikipedia)

I watched this movie because I loved Train To Busan, you can read what that’s about here, and because I thought the idea of an animated prequel for a live action movie was an interesting idea.

I was skeptical that an animated prequel could bring the same punch that the live action did, but I was unnecessarily worried.

I loved that they were able to hold onto that scariness. It kept me in the edge of my seat and oftentimes scenes were hard to watch but impossible to look away from. They kept that momentum from Train To Busan and it made the perfect connection between the two. One thing that this series of movies is doing well is making nightmare inducing zombies. They are freaking scary!

I wasn’t sure if Seoul Station was a full length movie, it definitely is and it deserves its runtime. A lot of American adults shy away from animated films, especially animated films with subtitles, but this one deserves an audience. It’s not kiddish, AT ALL, and it feels just as believable as a live action film. I watched it yesterday and I’ve already recommended it to multiple people, because it deserves it.

One thing I didn’t enjoy was the characters. It’s weird to say that I loved a movie so much even though the characters were weaker in some ways than I like. Pretty much all of the characters are horrible people or have zero survival instinct. As a zombie fan that was so irritating. It’s hard to root for people when they are so terrible, but it works in favor for some characters and it doesn’t for others. It was weird to hope that some of the characters I didn’t like survived. It made me angry but was also interesting because it was different. There’s no real hero in this story.

I will say that the ending is so satisfying. It takes a turn then ends in a spectacular fashion. I was a little blown away, not because it’s entirely unique, but because it was so well done. You expect these kinds of movies to end a certain way and when they don’t it’s like a punch in the gut. In this case the gut punch is a good one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I give Seoul Station 4/5 stars. It’s a great movie and I definitely recommend.

You can purchase a copy at this link and I will get a portion of the proceeds at no extra cost to you.

Have you seen Seoul Station? Or Train To Busan? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Movie Review Monday: Contagion

This is the most realistic representation of a pandemic that I have ever seen. This movie is what it would be like if we multiplied the intensity of COVID-19 by at least three (unprofessional opinion).

*I’m going to stop right here and let anyone who is freaked out about the virus leave before I say any more. I’d also like to say watching and reading these kinds of things help me cope with the outbreak, and I’m not trying to be insensitive, and I apologize if this review offends anyone*

Contagion follows the rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast-moving epidemic grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself. At the same time, ordinary people struggle to survive in a society coming apart.

(Description from Rotten Tomatoes)

This review is going to be in the lens of comparison to COVID-19 because I feel like the best way to review this movie is as a contrast to real life. I will say that the similarities are very shocking and this movie left me on the edge of my seat.

The movie opens with this amazing sequence showing how many surfaces infected people touch, and the amount of people they come into contact with. This was the best way to open this movie because that is exactly how a pandemic starts. You don’t realize how much of the world around you you share with other people, complete strangers. Most people don’t realize that you touch your face between 2-3,000 times a day. Contagion points that out in the beginning and creates a very realistic scenario. With these facts, the movie also shows the populations of the places where the infection is spreading, and that alone gives you an idea of the dangers of a pandemic.

The first real world scenario that hit me was a demonstration of the potentially unsanitary conditions of a fish market. It was announced in my home county just 2 days ago that a local fish market has experienced an outbreak and we went from around 20 cases to over 160. We are currently in phase 1 of re-opening and I’m hoping with this insane outbreak we will slide back into full quarantine. It is so real and scary, we were doing so well, but a tiny mistake can cause a huge impact.

I’d like to add that the acting in this movie is phenomenal. Gwyneth Paltrow does such a fantastic job of being patient zero, and her end is so paralyzing. She creates a moment of horror that I can’t explain with words. As always Matt Damon does an amazing job too, he is the perfect illustration of a frightened parent going through extreme loss.

I think the most important message of this movie is the struggle of health professionals. They are at high risk of getting sick, they have to battle local government, and they have to communicate with all other infected communities. I could never work in the medical field, and I can’t imagine what they’re going through with COVID-19. There is also the fact that the CDC has to combat homeopathic advocates that are pushing product for money. This is shown through a battle with a blogger with a huge following who claims that there is a cure but the government is hiding it. If you look around you will find someone doing that today. It’s a hard thing to fight and unfortunately a lot of good people fall for it. I thought it was great for this movie to make a point of that.

I know this review has been a lot of doom and gloom, so I’d like to touch on a few areas of positivity. We get to see the lengths that doctors and health advocates will go to to help those in need. This can sometimes shed a bad light on them, but they are still trying to do the best for those around them. It gives doctors a heart and face instead of just a title. It’s a humanizing movie.

Contagion also sheds light on changing family dynamics, and how sometimes tragedy can bring people together. We as humans have a tendency to make the best of every situation, because what other choice do we have? The specific situation I’m referring to in this movie is when the dad (Matt Damon) throws his daughter a quarantine prom. That scene reminded me of life today. People are having social distanced or e-graduations, birthdays, and weddings. It’s a scary but beautiful time to be alive, because humans are human, and we’ll do anything to create happiness.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Contagion is easily a 5 star movie, but don’t take my opinion, watch it yourself.

You can rent Contagion here, I will get a portion of the proceeds at no extra cost to you.

Would you watch a pandemic movie in a pandemic? Have you seen Contagion? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Movie Review Monday: Doctor Sleep

Doctor Sleep is the continuation of Danny Torrance’s story 40 years after the terrifying events of Stephen King’s The Shining. Still irrevocably scarred by the trauma he endured as a child at the Overlook, Dan Torrance has fought to find some semblance of peace. But that peace is shattered when he encounters Abra, a courageous teenager with her own powerful extrasensory gift, known as the “shine.” Instinctively recognizing that Dan shares her power, Abra has sought him out, desperate for his help against the merciless Rose the Hat and her followers, The True Knot, who feed off the shine of innocents in their quest for immortality.

Forming an unlikely alliance, Dan and Abra engage in a brutal life-or-death battle with Rose. Abra’s innocence and fearless embrace of her shine compel Dan to call upon his own powers as never before-at once facing his fears and reawakening the ghosts of the past.

(Description from Rotten Tomatoes)

First of all, The Shining is my all-time favorite horror movie. It has an artistic quality that you don’t see anymore, and Doctor Sleep is a lot different than The Shining. I don’t think another horror movie will quite capture that feeling again. So, while this is a continuation it feels like a different genre of horror movie.

Doctor Sleep takes on a whole different idea than being trapped in a hotel with spirits, it’s about Danny and how he is able to shine, like many others. I like how this movie takes on the world instead of one location, it expands the Stephen King universe and gives it a place of its own. It’s a very ambitious film and it does a good job.

The acting is also phenomenal for the most part. The only actor I thought wasn’t good was the child actor they brought in to play young Danny Torrence, his acting was cheesy. But, the rest of the child actors were amazing. They picked Ewan McGregor to play grown-up Danny, and he did an awesome job. The new characters came to life and fit in to the Stephen King universe easily.

They kept with the theme of being more freaky than outright terrifying. What I mean by that is they focused more on the human aspect with flickers of the spirits haunting them. A lot of scary movies rely on the ghosts or monster to be scary, but the scariest creatures in this movie are Rose and her gang, who are arguably human. Don’t get me wrong there are definitely freaky ghosts, they just don’t require them to be as scary as you’d expect.

I will say that this movie is painfully long. I understand that it’s so they can wrap up all the lose ends and make it feel complete, but they definitely could have accomplished that with a shorter run-time. It feels like you’re creeping along when you should be running in some places. It loses its momentum here and there but it was still an interesting movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I give Doctor Sleep 4/5 stars. It’s not the same as The Shining but it’s a pretty good sequel.

Looking to rent Doctor Sleep? Follow this link and I will get a portion of the profits with no extra cost to you.

Movie Review Monday: 3 Life Changing Movies

I mean life changing in a few different ways. These are movies that mean something to me and had some kind of impact on me, from a visually stunning experience to an emotional response. Here they are:

Schindler’s List

Based on a true story, Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List stars Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, a German businessman in Poland who sees an opportunity to make money from the Nazis’ rise to power. He starts a company to make cookware and utensils, using flattery and bribes to win military contracts, and brings in accountant and financier Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley) to help run the factory.

By staffing his plant with Jews who’ve been herded into Krakow’s ghetto by Nazi troops, Schindler has a dependable unpaid labor force. For Stern, a job in a war-related plant could mean survival for himself and the other Jews working for Schindler. However, in 1942, all of Krakow’s Jews are assigned to the Plaszow Forced Labor Camp, overseen by Commandant Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes), an embittered alcoholic who occasionally shoots prisoners from his balcony. Schindler arranges to continue using Polish Jews in his plant, but, as he sees what is happening to his employees, he begins to develop a conscience. He realizes that his factory (now refitted to manufacture ammunition) is the only thing preventing his staff from being shipped to the death camps. Soon Schindler demands more workers and starts bribing Nazi leaders to keep Jews on his employee lists and out of the camps. By the time Germany falls to the allies, Schindler has lost his entire fortune — and saved 1,100 people from likely death. Schindler’s List was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won seven, including Best Picture and a long-coveted Best Director for Spielberg, and it quickly gained praise as one of the finest American movies about the Holocaust. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Description from Rotten Tomatoes

I watched this movie for a class that I took and it is one of the most visually stunning movies I have ever seen. The use of red against the black & white, was a clever way to convey importance. It will also break your heart.

Aside from the visual aspect of this movie, it is such an emotional rollercoaster. I have a great respect for what the Jewish people went through in WWII, and I’ve found it important to learn about in my life. Spielberg took some liberties when it came to Schindler’s life, he made him more sentimental then he probably was, but Liam Nelson played the part written so well that it’s forgivable.

You will never see another movie like this one. It’s an absolute must watch.

Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King

The final battle for Middle-earth begins. Frodo and Sam, led by Gollum, continue their dangerous mission toward the fires of Mount Doom in order to destroy the One Ring.

Description from Rotten Tomatoes

Lord of The Rings made me fall in love with fantasy, and this movie is one that hits me hard.

Aragorn (Viggo Mortenson) gives this stunning speech, and his character has finally made it full circle. He goes from a Lone Ranger to a king, and it is an incredible character to witness. The speech still sends shivers down my spine.

Not only that, but we get to see Frodo and Sam’s arrival to Mt. Doom. This movie is the emotional climax to the trilogy and it is built so well by the director Peter Jackson. This is the top dog of fantasy movies and it’s only fitting that the finale is such a beautiful and heartfelt movie. I could watch this movie over and over, in fact, I do.

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) is no ordinary archeologist. When we first see him, he is somewhere in the Peruvian jungle in 1936, running a booby-trapped gauntlet (complete with an over-sized rolling boulder) to fetch a solid-gold idol. He loses this artifact to his chief rival, a French archeologist named Belloq (Paul Freeman), who then prepares to kill our hero. In the first of many serial-like escapes, Indy eludes Belloq by hopping into a convenient plane.

So, then: is Indiana Jones afraid of anything? Yes, snakes. The next time we see Jones, he’s a soft-spoken, bespectacled professor. He is then summoned from his ivy-covered environs by Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott) to find the long-lost Ark of the Covenant. The Nazis, it seems, are already searching for the Ark, which the mystical-minded Hitler hopes to use to make his stormtroopers invincible. But to find the Ark, Indy must first secure a medallion kept under the protection of Indy’s old friend Abner Ravenwood, whose daughter, Marion (Karen Allen), evidently has a “history” with Jones. Whatever their personal differences, Indy and Marion become partners in one action-packed adventure after another, ranging from wandering the snake pits of the Well of Souls to surviving the pyrotechnic unearthing of the sacred Ark. A joint project of Hollywood prodigies George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, with a script co-written by Lawrence Kasdan and Philip Kaufman, among others, Raiders of the Lost Ark is not so much a movie as a 115-minute thrill ride. Costing 22 million dollars (nearly three times the original estimate), Raiders of the Lost Ark reaped 200 million dollars during its first run. It was followed by Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1985) and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), as well as a short-lived TV-series “prequel.” ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Description from Rotten Tomatoes

Indiana Jones is one of the greatest adventure movies of all time. I was obsessed with these movies as a child and wanted to be Indy. Harrison Ford is one of my favorite actors and this is his greatest role. He really shines as Indiana Jones.

First of all, this movie is iconic. This is the one with the rolling boulder scene that everybody knows, and it introduces us to Indy, and it is a worthy introduction. Raiders of the Lost Ark is the birth place for any kind of treasure hunting media, from the video game Uncharted to Tomb Raider, they all draw inspiration from this crazy Spielberg/Lucas hybrid.

There will never be anything quite as cool as a whip toting professor who beats up Nazi’s and uncovers treasure on his free time.

These are three of my favorite movies, do we have any in common? What are your favorites and why? Let me know in the comments.

Movie Review Monday: Movies Based on Books that I haven’t Read

I love watching movies based on books, but there are quite a few movies that I’ve seen where I haven’t read the books. Here are a few.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Something is out there . . . 

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.

(Book description from Amazon)

This movie was epic! I watched it while pregnant and I will admit that was a bit of a mistake because it made me anxious and nauseous. I do actually own this book and read the first couple chapters. The book and movie have obvious differences, but it seems like each separate entity will be good on their own.

The Ritual by Adam Nevill

When four old University friends set off into the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle, they aim to briefly escape the problems of their lives and reconnect with one another. But when Luke, the only man still single and living a precarious existence, finds he has little left in common with his well-heeled friends, tensions rise. With limited experience between them, a shortcut meant to ease their hike turns into a nightmare scenario that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry, and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, Luke figures things couldn’t possibly get any worse. But then they stumble across an old habitation. Ancient artefacts decorate the walls and there are bones scattered upon the dry floors. The residue of old rites and pagan sacrifice for something that still exists in the forest. Something responsible for the bestial presence that follows their every step. As the four friends stagger in the direction of salvation, they learn that death doesn’t come easy among these ancient trees . . .

(Book description from Amazon)

I stumbled upon The Ritual thanks to Netflix. This movie is terrifying and has a very unexpected twist at the end. The book is currently on my Amazon wishlist, and I added Nevill’s book The Reddening to my kindle thanks to kindle unlimited. If the novel of The Ritual is anything like the movie it will be a great read.

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

When Dr. Louis Creed takes a new job and moves his family to the idyllic rural town of Ludlow, Maine, this new beginning seems too good to be true. Despite Ludlow’s tranquility, an undercurrent of danger exists here. Those trucks on the road outside the Creed’s beautiful old home travel by just a little too quickly, for one thing…as is evidenced by the makeshift graveyard in the nearby woods where generations of children have buried their beloved pets. Then there are the warnings to Louis both real and from the depths of his nightmares that he should not venture beyond the borders of this little graveyard where another burial ground lures with seductive promises and ungodly temptations. A blood-chilling truth is hidden there—one more terrifying than death itself, and hideously more powerful. As Louis is about to discover for himself sometimes , dead is better

(Book description from Amazon)

I have seen both movie versions of Pet Sematary but I have never read the book. I actually prefer the second version of the movie even though the cat playing Church in the first movie is far superior. It’s interesting because I consider Church one of my favorite literary pets, but I’ve never read the book he stars in.

The Meg by Steve Alten

Seven years ago, and seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Dr. Jonas Taylor encountered something that changed the course of his life. Once a Navy deep-sea submersible pilot, now a marine paleontologist, Taylor is convinced that a remnant population of Carcharodon megalodon–prehistoric sharks growing up to 70 feet long, that subsisted on whales–lurks at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. When offered the opportunity to return to those crushing depths in search of the Megs, Taylor leaps at the chance… but the quest for scientific knowledge (and personal vindication) becomes a desperate fight for survival, when the most vicious predator that the earth has ever known is freed to once-again hunt the surface.

(Book description from Amazon)

Honestly, I thought this movie was going to be so stupid and I had no idea it was based on a book, but I’m a sucker for Jason Stathem. So obviously I had to watch it. It was surprisingly fun to watch. I don’t know if I’ll ever pick up the book but it was interesting to learn that there is a book.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price.

Until something goes wrong. . . .

In Jurassic Park, Michael Crichton taps all his mesmerizing talent and scientific brilliance to create his most electrifying technothriller.

(Book description from Amazon)

You’re probably thinking, how have you not read Jurassic Park? To be frank, I have no idea. You’d think loving books, loving the movies, and working at a bookstore would have motivated me to pick it up, but I haven’t. It’s on my TBR though.

Are there any books that you’ve seen the movie adaptation of, but haven’t read the books? Let me know in the comments.