Category Archives: Europe

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: KING ARTHUR LEGEND OF THE SWORD (Early Review!!! Comes out May 12th)

Imagine that the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes movies and Zack Snyder’s 300 fucked and had a baby. That baby would be KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD.  Now depending if you liked either of those films or not is going to tell whether you like this movie or not. If you hated both of them, stay away. If you liked one of them, you might enjoy this. If you thought both were pretty cool, then you’ll think this is cool too. As for my opinion? I’m option three. I really like the first 300 and both Sherlock Holmes movies (prefer the underrated superior second film) and so I really liked this.

Granted, this is no masterpiece and this won’t win any awards, but damn it if I didn’t really enjoy myself. And all of it is probably due to director Guy Ritchie. Guy Ritchie could’ve just shot this straight, making something akin to the horrible Snow White and the Huntsman films. Those films are just journey’s that go from beginning to end with no stylistic presence, straightly told, often boring, waiting for the next action scene to happen. Well in this film, Guy Ritchie puts all that shit, throws it in a blender, adds his own ingredients, takes it out, bakes it, chops it up some more, fries it, and then serves it on a platter to his audience.

If you still don’t get it, let me give you an example. Even the fucking scenes with dialogue and explanations are editing and cut fast and furiously, with Ritchie’s stylistic taste for rapid succeeding shots and dialogue to make something that would ultimately be pointless and boring, into something light, funny, entertaining, yet dazzle your eyes with it’s complexity. We get an awesome montage at the beginning of the film showing Arthur growing up, with cool music and fast beats that any other director would shoot slow, steady, and ultimately end up as a snore fest of 10 to 15 minutes. The montage scene is about 3 minutes, frantic, and shows the audience everything they need to know while keeping them intrigued.

The actions scenes where Arthur has to go out and prove himself/do something to further his journey are insane too. Instead of giving explanations of what he must do and then do it, (which would take almost half the movies run time), he splices the explanation with Arthur already doing what he needs to do, at an energetic pace to keep the plot and run time moving instead of slowing anything down. Because this movie does not slow down, at all. It is in your face and gives audience what they deserve: a very decent, yet another retelling of the Arthur and Excalibur legend.

Remember that boring shit one with Clive Owen and Keira Knightly? Yeah, we don’t get that here. That movie was too down to earth. Here we get giant city flattening elephants, mage’s with wicked powers, 300 slo-mo sword fights and bad-assery, cool chase scenes and half way decent special effects. Any director would take forever with Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone (probably would be at the halfway mark in a movie if anyone else did it), but Ritchie gets that shit out of the way 20 minutes in. I think he even winks at the audience as Arthur is waiting in line to pull the sword, gets tired of waiting, and cuts everyone else in line just to get it over with.

And remember by earlier review for Charlie Hunnam’s The Lost City of Z and how fantastic of an actor he was in that? Well he is awesome in this too and wishes he does stuff like this more often. Jude Law is a pretty decent bad guy but I wish I got a little bit more of him in this. The supporting cast is good too even though they are limited in what they have story wise.

But yes, this is the best King Arthur adaptation since Disney’s The Sword and the Stone. No doubt in my opinionated mind. For two hours I was up in my seat, eyes glued to the screen, not expecting to get a cool frantic tale like this…was really expecting something slow and boring. But this, this is anything but boring. Guy Ritchie knows how to make an entertaining film. He knows that the audience can go to sleep at the snap of the fingers, but he knows to be right in front of you with a bullhorn the entire runtime, just to make sure you are paying attention.

Letters to Juliet

91hiY1hCU5L._SL1500_

Country Set in: Italy

Summary: When aspiring magazine writer Sophia Marcus and would-be resaturanteur Victor fly from New York to Italy for a vacation, the stage seems set for some much-needed romance in their relationship – especially since their destination is the city of Verona, home of the star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Romeo & Juliet fame. But Victor is far more interested in finding suppliers for his future restaurant than in wooing Sophia, who ends up getting a vicarious romantic fix from an unlikely source; she jions a group of volunteers who respond to letters that pour into Verona from around the world – letters to Juliet seeking advice about love. One such letter that Sophia responds to dates back to 1951 and came from one Claire Smith, an Englishwoman who fell in love with a young Italian man in her youth but let the opportunity slip away. To Sophia’s surprise, her letter inspires Claire, now a grandmother, to travel to Verona in search of her long-lost love – accompanied by her grandson Charlie. With Victor wrapped up in his culinary quest, Sophia, Charlie and Claire scour the beautiful Italian countryside in search of Claire’s long-lost love. In the process, romance blossoms in unexpected ways, eventually facing Sophia with the very advice she wrote in her letter to Claire. Will she find the courage to seize love or – like Claire – spend a lifetime regretting the road not taken?

Lately there are a few countries I am obsessing over. China, France, England and Italy. I am hoping to spend two weeks in Naples next year (fingers crossed my eye surgery goes according to plan) so I am finding myself trying to get my hands on any movie or book that I can to get myself in the mood to visit.  Lucky for me there is a lot of books and movies set in Italy.  So clearly I am not the only one that lusts over this beautiful destination.

I decided to go ahead and re-watch Letters to Juliet and believe me I was not disappointed. I am not the warm fuzzy romantic type but I would be a liar if I didn’t say this story didn’t give me the warm fuzzies.  If I ever make it to Verona, I am going to have to do the whole Romeo and Juliet thing, who cares if those two were morons it is a tragic love story, and a firm reminder that hey even if you love life sucks, it could be worse ;:

Anyway I digress, there is just something to be said about finding your long lost love after 50 years.  It is a story that makes headlines often and there is a reason for it.  It shows that love conquers all even time.

Or hell, maybe it was the beautiful Tuscan back ground.  Yeah, lets go with that.

The overall ratings on this movie were poor but I enjoyed it, and I think anyone that wants to see the beautiful Italian backdrop without getting on plane will enjoy this romantic comedy.

Plus the guy that plays Charlie is a cuties, and Amanda is so freaking cute.  I really hope I get the chance to meet her someday.

What Italian movie should I watch next?

My First Murder by Leena Lehtolainen

MFMurder

Country Set In: Finland
My Rating: 3.5 maybe 4. Torn over this one.

Summary: Twenty-three-year-old law student Maria Kallio is recruited for a temporary position at the Helsinki police department. Sweet-faced but tough and hot-tempered, Maria faces pushback from her new squad – so when a young playboy is murdered at his family’s summer villa, the new detective is out to prove herself.
Found floating facedown at the water’s edge after a night of partying, Tommi Pelatonen appears to have been murdered by one of his closest friends – but why? As Maria discovers, bitter passion and jealousy seethe under the placid surface of the group’s privileged, carefree lifestyle. As Maria uncovers the victim’s unsavory secrets, motives for all seven suspects come to light. Now it’s up to her to untangle the clues before the killer strikes again.

The first book in Leena Lehtolainen’s international bestselling Nordic crime series starring Detective Maria Kallio, My First Murder serves up murder with a slice of life in the Finnish upper crust.

Let me first say this was a good book, very good but slow at times, which is what kept it from being great.  I read the book in one sitting and I did find the book enjoyable, I can’t place what I didn’t like about the book.

I will read the next book though because the author does have a flair with words that will suck you in to this story.

The plot:  The whodunit is not easily solved, which I enjoyed.  I love when a story keeps me guessing almost to the very end, I figured it out about five pages before the “big reveal”.  This book had plenty of twist and turns that will keep any reader interested until the very end.

The Characters” Quickly developed, I found the main character believable but maybe slightly young for everything she has accomplished.   Then again maybe that is a Finnish thing?

Overall I liked this story a lot and I will continue to read the series, plus let’s be honest how cool is it to read a book based in Finland?

Recommended for those who want a quick mystery read that will transport them to Helsinki.

Sleeping with Paris by Juliette Sobanet

download

Purchase Link: Sleeping with Paris (A Paris Romance Book 1)
Country Set in : France
My Rating: 5 stars

Summary:  Charlotte Summers is a sassy, young French teacher two days away from moving to Paris. Love of her life by her side, for those romantic kisses walking along the Seine? Check. Dream of studying at the prestigious Sorbonne University? Admission granted. But when she discovers her fiancé’s online dating profile and has a little chat with the busty red-head he’s been sleeping with on the side, she gives up on committed relationships and decides to navigate Paris on her own. Flings with no strings in the City of Light—mais oui!

Determined to stop other women from finding themselves in her shoes, Charlotte creates an anonymous blog on how to date like a man in the City of Love—that is, how to jump from bed to bed without ever falling in love. But, with a slew of Parisian men beating down her door, a hot new neighbor who feeds her chocolate in bed, and an appearance by her ex-fiancé, she isn’t so sure she can keep her promise to remain commitment-free. When Charlotte agrees to write an article for a popular women’s magazine about her Parisian dating adventures—or disasters, rather—will she risk losing the one man who’s swept her off her feet and her dream job in one fell swoop?

First I want to note that I listened to this book while I was working and it made me laugh a lot. I am surrounded by dudes and I kept thinking if these boys only knew…

The Plot: Pretty much Charlotte is scorned by an scumbag ex that cheated on her and decided that she was going to keep moving with her life and move to Paris. She starts a blog about dating like a man and tells everyone about it. As a blogger I loved this idea her posts made me laugh, especially with her rules and stories. This book made a very busy work day move that much faster. I completely enjoyed the fast pace of this story.

Charlotte– I loved Charlotte and found her very believable and wishing I had a friend like her, she was very light hearted and her emotions felt very real. She was just devastated by a man and I found the aftermath of her emotions believable. I found her situations believable.  I know plenty of woman that have had a long term relationship end and then find themselves in impossible situations that they had no clue how it happened.  I felt the author wrote amazing and believable characters that were not over the top.  Which is was great.

Luc: At first this man frustrated me, but he quickly grew on me and I can see why woman refer to him as their book boyfriend.

Overall I must admit this book is making me wonder if French men rank up their with Italian men. I know plenty of Italians (they are fun and flirty) but don’t know many French men, but if this book has any relevance well… maybe it is time to pack a bad and roll to Paris?

Places mentioned that will give you wanderlust:

Sorbonne University

download (1)
Photo Credit: CrossRoads2012.org

 

Now, I went to college. I very small college in Huntsville Texas, I loved that campus. I enjoyed the early morning (and sometimes late night) walks on campus, the fall leaves the weather…. but wow this college is beautiful and I am really starting to realize how much I missed out when it comes to college.

French men.

Photo Credit: ????
Photo Credit: ????

The big part of this book is about dating French men, so I thought it would be hilarious to type French Men Image and click “I am feeling lucky”  and this man popped up.  Maybe this girl is on to something here…. thinking about packing up and moving to France like Charlotte? Here is a great dating guide from Girls Guide to Paris.

Boulevard Saint-Germaine

SONY DSC
Photo Credit: Commons.wikmedia.org

 

I have seen photos of this before and now I know it has a name, and it makes me want to seek it out and have drinks just like the main character.