Review for “Luckiest Girl Alive”

Review for “Luckiest Girl Alive”

Synopsis:  A woman with a seemingly perfect life is carrying a few secrets…

Have you ever seen a movie or picked up a book about a perfect family?  They have everything–great job, great cars, lots of money, great spouse.  You know the deal.  But at least 98% of the time, you know that is nothing more than a well crafted lie.  But what makes a person want such an impossible thing?  Something like that can’t last forever.  That’s what our main character, Ani, learns in the pages of this book.  And it’s quite a journey..

 

This book has often been compared to “Gone Girl”.  And the 2 books do have a lot in common (though I’ve never really read “Gone Girl” the book).  They both feature unlikable, yet interesting female protagonists.  They both include non-linear storytelling.  And they both contain disturbing content.  But I didn’t “root” for Amy in the movie.  I kinda did root for Ani though in this book.  She went thru a lot of horrific things in high school, things nobody should go thru.  It explains why she is the way she is now at 28.  I may not have liked Ani very much, but I felt really bad for her as the story went on.  I almost stopped reading because that’s how shallow, mean and self-centered Ani was.  She was almost unbearable.  But I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.

 

The weird thing is the Ani character is the only one that is actually fleshed out.  The others are kind of 2-dimensional. I guess it’s understandable because this is Ani’s story.  It’s really about her trying to move on with her life.  And these people and things in her life–her friends, fiance, coworkers, career etc–are really just fixtures.  Props for holding up this perfect image Ani has spent her whole adult life crafting. The constant flashbacks between high school and current times were confusing and annoying at first.  But once again, they became less annoying and more important as the story progressed.  Plus, I really didn’t care much for the secondary characters in “Luckiest Girl Alive” apart from Mr. Larson.  He seemed to be the only decent person in the book.  And the only one who helped Ani.

 

I didn’t always understand the decisions Ani made.  I don’t wanna spoil anything, so you’ll have to read the book.   Plus, the ending felt a bit weird.  I don’t know how I feel about it.  I’ll probably read it again to be sure.

 

All in all, “Luckiest Girl Alive” is a good read.  If you’re okay with stories about unlikable people whom you can somewhat understand, then you should give this a try.  Be warned, it contains very adult material.  I’d give it a 7/10.  Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or other bookstores.

 

 

HTGAWM’s Midseason Finale: Craziness plus 100

There are no words to describe the mid-season finale of “How to Get Away with Murder”.  It was one of the best episodes I have ever seen on TV.  How are they going to top that?  After months of speculation, we finally found out who shot Annalise.  Here it is:

  1.  And to be honest, I was kinda disappointed to find out it was Wes who did it.  He was the killer last year.  I wanted it to be someone different, who you’d never suspect.  I would’ve preferred Laurel or Connor.  Or even Sinclair.  That would’ve been impossible though because she was already dead at this point.  I’d suspected that it would be one of the Keating 5.  What I didn’t expect was that Annalise would actually orchestrate her own shooting.  But then again, almost nothing Annalise did in this episode is typical of her.  The usually calm and composed lawyer is literally spinning out of control.  And I haven’t a slight clue how it’s going to play out in future episodes.

2.  Another shocking moment was the suicide of Asher’s father.  The last time we saw him, he had disowned Asher because he thought he was responsible for the potential end of his career.  Then we learn that someone leaked a news article about Papa Millstone’s misdeeds.  Of course, Asher was devastated by this.  And even more saddened by his father’s death.  To add more salt in this wound, it appears his mother has disowned him as well.  Part of me thinks that she didn’t really mean it.  She was just saying these things out of anger and grief.  Either way, she hurt Asher deeply.  And I felt very sorry for him.  Which is why I was glad that he killed Sinclair.  She said not so nice things about Papa Millstone.  The sickest thing about it was that she wasn’t lying.  He wasn’t a very good man.  But she picked a bad time to say those things, and she became roadkill.

3.  I must say I (almost) liked this new, take-charge Bonnie.  Is she still angry at Asher and Annalise?  Maybe so.  She was forced to put those things aside in order to help them.

4.  I honestly didn’t care much about the Hapstall in this episode.  It’s still unclear whether they killed their parents or not.  Or if Philip did it or helped.  But Catherine ran away after they found the gun in her studio.  That doesn’t look good.  But with this show, it could mean any number of things….

 

5.  While the Annalise mystery turned out to be a disappointment, the mystery about Wes and Annalise’s relationship made a surprising detour.  It turns out Wes’ real name is Christoph.  And Annalise has known him for most of–if not all of–his life.  The suicide of Wes’ mother may not have been a suicide.

6.  It’s still possible that Annalise is his birth mom.  Slim, but still possible.  But what if Annalise is the one who adopted Wes–or at least took care of him as a child at some point.  Or Wes is actually Sam’s child that he abandoned?   The new theory I have is that Annalise, Eve and Wes’ mom were all buddies.  And something tragic happened that night.  I still don’t peg Annalise as a killer, despite all the bad stuff she’s done.  But who knows?  I’m glad we get to see Eve again.  She’s always a joy to watch.

 

I don’t really see how the Keating 5 would want anything to do with Annalise anymore.  They should just turn themselves in.  Or drop out of school?  They turned a simple self-defense into a murder by disposing of Sam’s body.  How can they even stand to look at each other after everything? Will Annalise want revenge against Wes for shooting her?  The others for leaving her for dead?  Will they get revenge against her?  What about Annalise and Wes’ relationship? They have to be related.  Otherwise, it makes no sense that she would protect him so much.  What about Frank and Bonnie?  So many questions.  Surely, there will be answers to these questions and more next year.  I’m intrigued and impatiently waiting for episode 10 to happen.

Review for “Hot Girls Wanted”

Review for “Hot Girls Wanted”

Synopsis:  This is a documentary about young women trying to make it in the porn business…and the troubles that come with that.

Hey.  Ever wonder what happens in the porn industry?  This is a provocative, extremely interesting look into life of “professional amateurs or “Pro-Ams”.  Some of us are dreamers.  These girls certainly are.  But what happens when your dreams come true?  What happens when reality hits?  And what if you realize that your “dream life” isn’t at all what you thought it was?  Well, the young ladies in this marvelous documentary are about to find out.

 

The film follows 5 young women aged 18-21.  They are Rachel, Tressa, Jade, Karly and Michelle.  They’re brand new to the porn industry, living with their uncaring agent, Riley.  We see scenes of them working in the porn industry.  Photoshoots, sex scenes, sex toys galore.  But thankfully, it isn’t very graphic.  And there’s not a lot of nudity.  The docu focuses more on the girls themselves and the rollercoaster of emotions the young women go through.  I felt really sad for them a lot of the time.  Yes, they choose to be in porn.  But I strongly believe that they had no idea what they were getting into.  You would be disgusted if you saw what some people are actually into.  The statistics are pretty interesting.  Some of them aren’t so surprising, but most of them are.  The media clips in the beginning of the film are a nice touch.  Who stays, who goes?  The answers may surprise you.

I liked the girls so much, I was kinda sad that movie had to end.  But at the same, I’m glad it did.  The craziest part is that these are just normal girls trying to live the dream.  For the most part, Rachel, Tressa & co. want what most young people want–travel, money, excitement.  The movie focused a bit too much on Tressa, though.  I wish they spent more time on the others. And some of the content is pretty disturbing.   I think this movie could even keep young people from traveling down the wrong road.

 

I’d give “Hot Girls Wanted” a 8/10.  It’s on the streaming section of Netflix.

HTGAWM: Who Shot Annalise

HTGAWM:  Who Shot Annalise

The latest mystery in HTGAWM revolves around the leader of the K5 pack: Annalise Keating. She’s such a complex character that you never know if you love her or hate her. So you end up doing both. But most of the people around her seemed to hate her. Next week, we finally find out the truth.  So who do you think shot Annalise?

Right now, your guess is as good as mine? But let’s go over the cast of characters and motives.

The Keating 5 (minus Asher): They don’t like Annalise very much. They blame her for everything that’s wrong in their lives, even though they’re the ones who killed Sam and burned and chopped up his body. They live constant fear of getting thrown in jail, but are afraid to leave Annalise. If she’s dead, they’re free. Plus, in the flash forwards, Wes had a gun in his hands. Could he have done it?

Bonnie: She was the weak, quiet mouse for most of the series. And Annalise down-talked her every chance she got. Then Annalise betrayed Bonnie by revealing her childhood sexual abuse to Asher in order to win a case. During their vicious fight, she told Annalise, “I want you to die”. I never thought Bonnie would think, let alone say, something like that to Annalise. Now she has a motive to kill (again).

Asher: In order to save Asher and her friend Jill, Annalise agreed to sell out Asher’s corrupt judge father. Then the C.J.F. disowned Asher, cutting him out of the will and his life. What if Asher finds out about it in the coming episodes? If he does, he has motive to kill. He certainly has reasons to get rid of Sinclair.

Nate: He had an affair with Annalise last season.  Then she framed him for Sam’s murder in order to protect her “kids”. He blames her for his wife Nia’s death as well.  There’s motive.

Sinclair:  The woman has been on a mission since we met her earlier this season.  It seems like she’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen–even kill.   Plus, we don’t what happened first.  Maybe Annalise got shot first and then she was thrown over the roof.  Who knows?

Frank:  Annalise was pretty hard on Frank this week.  He was really hurt.  Maybe she really bruised his male ego.  Plus that hospital scene still kinda bothers me.

Catherine:  Until today, I didn’t believe she had anything to do with her parents’ death.  Now it really looks like she did kill her parents.  And she doesn’t seem to trust Annalise and the K5.  Motive?

Caleb:  I think Catherine’s guilty right now, but Caleb’s not.  But with HTGAWM, who knows?

Annalise:  She is a master manipulator, the ultimate fixer.  She would do anything to protect her kids. She actually does care for them in her own way.  Would she go this far?

What do you think?  Theories?

Review for “Boogie Nights”

Review for “Boogie Nights”

Cast: Mark Wahlberg as Eddie/Dirk, Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner, Julianne Moore as Amber Waves, Heather Graham as Rollergirl, Don Cheadle as Buck

Synopsis: The story of a young man who becomes a huge porn star.

Someone once described “Boogie Nights” as a “family film”. At first, I was perplexed. This definitely isn’t a movie you bring your kids to see unless they’re grown or close to it. But as it went on, it actually start making sense. Yes, of course there’s porn and a lot of sex in here. And other adult material. But it really is a film about family. Some people find it in the strangest ways, not in the traditional way. Hence, the tale of “Boogie Nights”.

It’s hard to find any bad performances in “Boogie Nights”. Mark Wahlberg was incredible as Dirk Diggler. You love him, hate him and everything in between. But you want him to succeed, don’t you?  Kinda. The stand outs, in my opinion, are Julianne Moore and Burt Reynolds. They go thru their struggles, both personally and professionally. Yet both try very hard to keep their ‘family’ afloat. You feel very privileged to be ‘visitors’ in their home. Don Cheadle’s role wasn’t as big, but he did a great job too. So did William H. Macy.

The best part of “Boogie Nights” is that you feel like you’ve gone thru a time machine.  This film takes place in the 1970s and 80s. It really feels like you are there.  Those of you who were born before then will definitely remember.  It’s a character itself.  Thank Paul Thomas Anderson for that.  For the movie direction and the screenplay.

This is a very interesting movie, but not exactly pleasant.  Behind all the craziness lays a good message.  Give it a try.  On Google Play, Netflix and Amazon.  7.5/10.

Review for “Americans in Bed”

Review for “Americans in Bed”

Cast: A documentary about 10 couples–their loves, lives, sex, intimacy and everything in between.

I’ve decided to try something a little different this time.  I was looking for a new movie to review for the week.  And I stumbled across this adorable little docu called “Americans in Bed”.  I’ve always loved films like these, where you have real people talking about real stuff.  And the best part is it’s never boring, not for a second.  It kinda gives you hope that you will find your true love someday.

I loved how honest and comfortable these people were.  They must’ve really trusted the director, Phillipa Robertson.  I liked the different love stories–how they started and how they work out.   The first couple interviewed, Joey and Patty was probably my favorite.  Their banter was cute and natural.  It should be, they’ve been married for at least 12 years.  The argument between Randy and Julie was a bit too real.  But I guess that’s okay.  We are talking about real couples after all.  And real couples fight from time to time.  Helen and Red–the elderly couple–made me understand what most people want–someone to grow old and be happy with.  Linda & Margie called each other soulmates.  But I don’t know if you’re incomplete without someone.  You can be complete on your own.  It’s just about finding someone who will complement your madness.  I think they found that.

Of course, I didn’t like every couple.  There was a couple who started out as an affair, and he continued to cheat even after they were together.  Another man cheated on his wife, and she took him back.  Neither man seemed to feel any remorse.  But I still melted a bit when they were affectionate with each other.

All in all, this was good viewing.  Watch it on HBOGo.  If not, buy a copy of the DVD on Amazon.   8.5/10.