Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost

I’m reviewing this more for nostalgic purposes than anything else.  I went over to my boyfriend’s house yesterday for Memorial Day and he has a ton of Scooby movies.  This was one of my favorites as a kid (behind Zombie Island and maybe one other one).

This was one I used to watch all the time because the bad guy was actually kinda real (depending on how you define that).  It wasn’t as real as Zombie Island, but Ben Ravencroft was pretty evil and he totally resurrected a nasty ghost.  That’s some heavy duty stuff.

Watching it back, I alternately wonder how Velma figured it out and how some of the clues could be that obvious and no one notice.  There was really no evidence that some of the people were involved in the scheme besides the fact that they acted a little odd.  So how did Velma do it?  We’ll never know.

I love the music in the one.  The Hex Girls are awesome.  I think that’s all that most people probably remember from it.  When I saw this one the shelf, I started mentally singing “Earth, Wind, Fire, and Air”, which was the last song they sang before the movie ended.  It’s funny, I hadn’t seen this movie in years (and I mean YEARS.  I had it on VHS and we don’t have it anymore, I don’t think) and I could still at the very least sing along with the choruses.  It was funny and slightly disturbing.  Apparently I knew it better than I thought I did.

The jokes in this, I was surprised, are still pretty fresh.  It’s been 12 years since it came out and they were still totally funny.  You have your “Scooby and Shaggy eat someone out of house and home” jokes that never get old, your more physical comedy, and those more timeless jokes.  For example, there’s one where Shaggy tries to melt the witch by throwing water on her a la Wizard of Oz.  It doesn’t matter how old you are, you probably know exactly what the reference is.  And that is what makes Scooby Doo so timeless.

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Due Date

“If there’s a hell, I’m already in it.”

*RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R*

Sorry, I keep watching all these rated R movies lately.  I’m going to go back to other movies soon, I swear.

So, I was kinda disappointed by this.  I like both of these actors (Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr.), so I was expecting good things, even though I heard this movie wasn’t as good as people were hoping.  Zach is pretty much the same character he was in The Hangover, only this time he was less of a psycho.  And Robert…well, it wasn’t his best role.  He was hot-headed and inconsistent.

The basis of this story (if you don’t know) is that Peter (Downey, Jr.) is trying to get to L.A. for the birth of his first child.  When a mix up with Ethan (Galifianakis) causes them both to get thrown on the no-fly list, Peter is forced to ride with Ethan across the country to get home in time.  Chaos ensues.

There was very little cause-and-effect with the crazy chaos stuff that happened.  It’s a little thing to complain about, but when there’s no cause-and-effect, the movie drags on.  Watch for that next time you watch a movie.  If Z happens because of X, you’re more engaged in the movie.

Also, some of the jokes were just for the shock factor.  They weren’t even funny, they just wanted to surprise you.  And there were some pointless plot twists, that never ended up twisting and never resulted in anything.  They were just to build up drama and then collapse.

It was an alright movie.  It had funny moments.  Unless you’re really interested in checking it out, I’d suggest just leaving it alone.

The Vespertine (Vespertine, #1)

First Lines: I woke in Oakhaven, entirely ruined.  The ballad notes of a quadrille lingered on my skin, remnants of a chaine anglaise danced only in slumber.  I heard a velvet voice against my cheek, and I burned in the dark and dreaming light of his eyes.

Normally, I wait a few hours to post this so I know I’m not reviewing while on that “finished-book high” and I’ll glowingly rate it as high as possible.  But it’s also true that I typically finish books just before I go to bed, so I just wait until the next morning to review it.  Since I finished this 40 minutes ago, I figured I’d just go for it.

Amelia van den Broek is a young girl from rural Maine.  She’s moving to Baltimore for the summer to live with a cousin and hopefully find a suitable husband.  But Amelia learns something amazing: at sunset, she can see the future.  There’s also an amazingly cute boy who, whenever he looks at her, seems to be peering straight into her soul.  When Amelia’s darker visions begin coming to pass, she begins to wonder if she’s the cause of them…

This is only Saundra Mitchell’s 2nd book (I’m fairly certain, but correct me if I’m wrong) and I just love her style.  There were times when I was reading that the rest of the world just fell away, which is the sign of a good book for me.  It’s also a good sign when I begin to mimic the characters’ smaller actions (biting lips, nodding heads, etc.).

I also thought the concept was pretty cool.  I was dying from accidental Supernatural-Withdrawal Syndrome, and this was like cookie dough ice cream on a hot day.  It was perfect.  Not only did I fully believe in Amelia’s supernatural world, but I also believed her world of 1889.  Gotta love a good supernatural historical fiction.

I’m definitely looking for the sequel to this…which doesn’t come out until Spring 2012.

The Hangover Part II

Bangkok has them now.

*RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R**RATED R*

I saw this last night with my own Wolfpack.  (Honestly, we call ourselves the “Wolfpack” because of the first movie.  But that’s a long story.)  I knew from reading interviews with the cast that when they read the script for the first time, they were shocked at how extreme this one was.  That should have been my tip-off that weirder stuff was going to happen, but it wasn’t.

Weird stuff happened in the first one, yes, but this went the extra 10 yards for “Insanity”.  I was completely shocked at the crap they got themselves into.  I’m still marveling over it.

It follows the same basic plot outline as the first one, except this is Stu’s wedding instead of Doug’s.  Stu’s fiance’s parents are from Thailand and they want the wedding there, which is how we get the Wolfpack out of the States.  While trying to have a beer by the bonfire (because they didn’t want a repeat of Vegas), they somehow end up with no memory of the past night and in a Bangkok hotel, searching for the friend they lost (and it’s not Doug this time).

I really do like these characters.  Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is a man-child with serious issues.  Phil (Bradley Cooper) tends to be the voice of reason of the group after they’ve screwed up, but rarely before that.  And Stu (Ed Helms) is completely neurotic and probably the closest we have to a normal character.  Plus, he’s a good singer, which make his songs funnier.

I want to reiterate that this movie is RATED R for a very good reason.  If the language wasn’t bad enough (they drop some kind of curse, usually an f-bomb, every couple minutes), there are some things you just don’t want to see.  Like full-frontal nudity.  So seriously.  It’s rated R for a reason.

Overall, I’d say that I like the first one better than this one.  I like this kind of humor (and the mystery around where their friend is), but this just pushed it a little too far for me.  Maybe if I saw it a few more times, I’d like it better.  But for now, I’m going to say the first one is the better of the two.

Stolen: A letter to my captor

First Lines: You saw me before I saw you.  In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time.  No one had ever looked at me like that before, with that kind of intensity.

This book has been sitting on my to-read shelf for years.  I liked the idea that a young girl was writing a letter to the man who kidnapped her.  I knew it would make for an interesting read.

16 year old Gemma was kidnapped from an airport by a man not a whole lot older than her named Ty.  He took her to the desert of Australia, where they could live forever in solitude, away from city life.  Gemma doesn’t know what life will be like now.  Will he kill her?  What does he want with her?  But she doesn’t want to give him what he wants: her heart.

Every time I’d get done with a section (because there are no chapter divisions in this story.  It’s a letter, after all), I’d end up telling someone how weird my book was, how creeped out I was by Ty’s behavior.  And yet I kept reading.  It had somehow crawled underneath my skin and gave me this nagging feeling that I had to see what happened next, even though the whole book made me uneasy.

The writing is excellent.  Books don’t just worm their way under my skin like that.  They don’t just make me uneasy because there’s a character that I believe to be pretty evil.  There has to be something about the writing that resonates with me and this book certainly did that.  There were vivid descriptions of the landscape that were really cool.  I’ve never been to Australia, but I could practically see everything that was described.

One of the best things about the writing was the subtleness of it.  My opinions on certain things changed as the story progressed, but I didn’t realize it until it was starkly compared to someone else’s at the end.  Then I was like, “Wait a hot second.  When did that happen?”  That is true art, that is.

I don’t want to spoil anything because that’s one of the most exciting things about this book.  I had no idea what was going to happen next.

Sleepless in Seattle

What if someone you never met, someone you never saw, someone you never knew was the only someone for you?

Wow.  I know there are tons of movies (especially from the late 80s and into the 90s) that are amazing that I’ve never seen.  This is one of them.    And ironically, they all seem to star Meg Ryan…

I’m finicky about which movies I want to watch.  If I hear a lot of raving reviews about one, it never lives up to my expectations (like Toy Story 3 and Tangled).  And I know my mom’s told me before that I would like this movie.  And since it was about to disappear off of Instant Netflix, I gave it a shot.

I loved it.  It’s such a cute story.  Sam (Tom Hanks) lost his wife to cancer and moves himself and his son Jonah to Seattle.  One Christmas Eve, Jonah calls a radio relationship psychologist to say that his dad needs a new wife.  On the other side of America, Annie (Meg Ryan) hears Sam’s story and becomes entrenched in it.  She’s never met him, but from what she hears on the radio, he’s a great match for her.  Too bad she’s engaged to another man…

I guess it’s based off An Affair to Remember (which did play heavily in the movie), but I’ve never seen it.  Now I really want to, although the ending has been completely blown for me.

I really enjoyed how it tinkered with the idea of fate, destiny, and signs.  How do you determine what’s actually a “sign” that something is meant to be and not just a coincidence?  Is there even a such thing as destiny?  (These are the kinds of things I will spend time thinking about.)

Anyway, it was a cute movie.  When a movie can get me to *squee* in the good parts, it’s a good movie.  It also doesn’t hurt that there was a very funny appearance by Victor Garber, who I absolutely adore.  He’s so cool.  I didn’t even know he was in this until I was watching the opening credits.

Victor Garber

Jonah, the adorable little boy

I had to include pictures of them.  I swear, the kid who plays Jonah looks familiar, but I can’t figure out how.  I IMDB’ed him, but I haven’t seen any of his other works.

Delirium (Delirium, #1)

First Lines: It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure.  Everyone else in my family has had the procedure already.  My older sister, Rachel, has been disease free for nine years now.

This has been high on my to-read list since I read Before I Fall and fell in love with the way Lauren Oliver writes and how imaginative her writing is.  I loved how different this premise seemed at the time (there are more books coming out now that are fairly close to this vein).

Lena is 17 years old and only a few months away from getting the Cure.  She can’t wait until she can no longer contract the disease called amor deliria nervosa, or “love”.  Then Lena meets Alex.  He’s Cured, so he can’t fall in love with her, but there’s something about him that makes her heart beat faster and butterflies erupt in her stomach.  The more time she spends around him, the more Lena begins to wonder whether the government is right about love being a deadly disease…

I truly love the idea of this book.  A cure for love?  How many of us would actually finally say “Enough is enough” and get this cure?  There are probably some who would, but most of us wouldn’t.  I’d love to know what exactly happened in that world to create that kind of society.

Still, there was something about it that didn’t quite sit right with me.  I think it’s because it was the set-up of a different world than the one we live in and I was constantly confused.  It’s to be expected when you read a dystopia, but it doesn’t make it any easier.

Good story, but it was just a little hard for me to understand at times.  I will definitely be reading the sequel to see what happens next.  I’m hooked.