‘Camp X-Ray’

camp-x-ray-movie-poster (1)What is this movie about?

A young soldier escapes her suffocating small town by joining the military, only to find that she isn’t going for a tour of duty in Iraq as she hoped. Instead, she’s sent to Guantanamo. Met with hatred and abuse from the Muslim men in her charge, she forges an odd friendship with a young man who has been imprisoned at Gitmo for eight years.

Director: Peter Sattler
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Peyman Moaadi
Genre: Drama
Duration: 117 min

My rating: 5/5

What I thought of it?

I think the ‘cast’ part is enough explanation as to why I wanted to see this movie. Ever since I heard about Kristen being involved in this project, I have been following it from start to end, because it just sounded like such an interesting movie subject. Today, October 17th, IFC released the move on iTunes and Amazon Instant Movie and watching the movie was the first thing I did when I came home today. And I must say that even though my expectations were sky high, I’m still blown away by it.

The story is – as I had prediced – so good.  It’s mostly a drama movie, but there is so much more to it than just that. I had expected this story to be more political, but I’m glad that it focused more on the people involved, their relationships and humanity in general. On top of it all, there is just a little glint of humor in it, which gives you a little breather while watching. It’s once again a movie that’s not really for a maintstream audience, although I’m sure many people would enjoy it. There is a lot of talking, but that’s totally predictable as there isn’t much room for anything else in a setting like this. They are bound to the cell and the small space just outside the cell. Nonetheless, the movie never really bored me, which before watching the movie, I had expected. So that was a really pleasant surprise.

But what blew me away most, is Peyman and Kristen’s performance. Their chemistry is just so palpable and it’s just so heartbreaking to see them interact. Brilliant acting and great casting!

As for the visual effect; well there isn’t much to say about it as most of the movie takes place in the cells. But it’s still shot from so many angles and points of view, that it doesn’t bore. Although I must admit that the few scenes outside the cells sometimes feel like a breath of fresh air in between the “cell”-scenes.

So as a conclusion, I can only say that this is a must-have-seen-movie for anything who appreciates movies. It has a stong story, a great cast and a really important message. If you’re not convinced yet; let the trailer do it for you;

 

Until next time,

With love, Ellen

 

‘The Maze Runner’ movie

Happy that I had managed to finish ‘The Maze Runner’-bookseries in time for the movie to come out, I headed to the cinema for the Belgian avant-premiere of ‘The Maze Runner’. While the book series had disappointed me a bit starting from the second one, I kind of hoped that the movie would give me a positive look on the series again.

The Maze Runner_Poster

 

What is this movie about?

Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.

Director: Wes Ball
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Mystery
Duration: 113 min

My rating? 3/5

What I thought of it?

Sadly, this movie didn’t make me love the series again. While visually this picture was perfection, I can’t seem to understand why they’ve changed such fundamental things from the book in the on-screen adaption.

First of all, I must admit that I’m sort of disappointed in Dylan. To me, he was only a mediocre Thomas and I had expected more of him especially because look-wize, he seemed perfect. Also Kaya didn’t really impress me as Theresa. But then again, I didn’t like Theresa’s character in the book either so I guess that might also play a part. Luckily my favorite characters Newt and Minho have been cast beautifully, so for me; that was a win.

When I look at this series from the point of view of someone who hasn’t read the book, I can imagine that it looks really damn awesome. And it does. The visuals and the special effects in this movie are mind-blowing. I also loved the scenery and the maze specifically. In that department, I don’t have any complaints. A++++

But when it comes to the actually storyline, I can’t believe how many things they’ve changed. I get that they have to leave out many scenes in an on screen adaption, but to change something entirely; that just doesn’t sit well with me. Especially when I don’t see why it had to be changed.

So yeah, I’m disappointed. Especially because this book was my favorite in the series. I still have it a 3 star rating mainly because the visuals are just amazing. But apart from that; nah, I don’t think I’ll watch it again soon.

Until next time,

With love, Ellen

“Maybe Someday” – Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover is one of those books that immediately captured my interest with the summary alone. After the Maze Runner series, this seemed like exactly what I was looking for. Something really girly without monsters and scientific shit.

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What is this book about?

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

Genre: Romance, Drama, Chicklit 
Pages
: 367
Released: March 2014

My rating: 4/5

What I thought of it:

I really enjoyed this book, and not only because the story was really intense and to some extend realistic, but also because there are a few twists in the book that aren’t mentioned in the summary that make this story so much more interesting. I won’t mention those because I don’t want to spoil your reading experience if you ever want to read this book as well. I loved being surprised by those twists. But it might make this review a bit confusing. I guess if you are confused by the end of this, I can only say that if you like the summary, give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.

First of all, I have to mention that I completely fell in love with Ridge. He’s such a sweet young man with a heart of gold. The situation he’s in, is just heartbreaking and the way he handles everything made me fall in love with him more and more with each page I turned. I had more trouble following Sydney, but at least she didn’t annoy me, which seems to be something I’m experiencing more and more with main characters. (I must be reading the wrong books…) And then Tori and Hunter; I just want to make them suffer for being total asses. I don’t know who I hate more. Tori for breaking some serious girl code or Hunter for fucking cheating on his amazing girl. Equally worse, I think.

I’ve already mentioned that I really liked the storyline. It’s total chick-material, but I love how the author built thing up and even though I was obviously rooting for Ridge and Sydney, there were also moments where I got Ridge’s point of view. Either way, I loved it aand while I get that some people might not get Ridge, but I can totally imagine the situation he’s in and just how hard it must be.

As for the writing style of this book; I really liked it. It read really fluently and I just couldn’t put the book down. Only more towards the end, I was kind of losing interest, hence the reason I only gave this book a 4 star score. But generally, I really enjoyed this book.

So if you like a romance story with some drama, this is exactly the type of book for you.

Until next time,

With love, Ellen

Disneyland Paris

On a spur of the moment, my friends and I decided to go on a weekend trip to Disneyland in Paris. A local coach company (Herman & Vandamme, Menen) organised one the first weekend of October, and the minute we read about it in their folder, we were convinced. Only one day later, the trip was booked and the countdown to October could begin.

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I had never travelled by coach before – except with school – so at first I was very reluctant to give them the reigns. Those who know me, know that I like to have control over the situation, especialy when travelling. The thing that bothered me most were that we had to leave the park before it actually closed, and that I couldn’t control when we would arrive at the park. That could of course be arranged by taking a cab to and from the park every time, but then what’s the use of going by coach, right? Especially since our hotel was about 15 kilometers away from the park and the fare would be a lot, we decided to give in and adapt to the hours of the coach company.

The hotel we stayed at one night was the Novotel Collegien. It’s a really nice hotel – with a rain shower! – but I wasn’t really impressed by their kitchen. We had dinner there on Saturday evening because we had to leave the park at 8pm already, and I had a simple spaghetti bolognaise. It was one of the least good spaghettis I had in my life, I think. And we were also in France, so prices for a 33cl coca cola went up to 4 euros. So yeah, disappointment. Other than that it’s a really nice hotel.

The first day, we arrived at the park around 9:30pm, half an hour before the actual opening time. That isn’t a bad idea at all, considering that it’s still a sort of long walk from the parking lot to the entrance. By the time we were through bag security and through ticket control, it was a little past 10. On Saturday, we had planned to visit the Disneyland Park and on Sunday, we were going to explore the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Instead of just writing storywize what we did, I’ll just list the attractions and stuff we’ve done in three categories for each park, and of course, I’ll give a little explanation as to why they belong in that category. This way, it’ll be more clarifying, I think.

DISNEYLAND PARK 

Must do attractions:

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast: It’s just so much fun to compete against your friends in this really fun laser shooting game. We were “lucky” that the attraction had a technical problem when we were on it, so we could shoot continuously, to get our score really high!
  • Space Mountain: Mission 2: Because if you haven’t done the space mountain, you haven’t lived. It’s the one big thrill rollercoasters you must have done, especially because in my opinion this is one of the most known attractions in Disneyland. I remembered there to be more lights during the ride, but nonetheless, it’s still a really cool rollercoaster.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: This is just one of those typical rollercoasters which you just can’t miss. It’s not one of the best rollercoasters, but it’s still pretty fun.
  • Big Thunder Mountain: A really cool, fast rollercoaster that takes you to the mountain island. So much fun!
  • The Parade: There is nothing more Disney than the Disney parade. We saw three parades. Two Halloween ones – because it was already halloween season duh- ; the Villains parade and the actual Halloween parade which both aren’t that spectacular, but it’s just so much fun. But you just can’t go to Disney without seeing the main Disney parade with all your favorite Disney characters. When we were there, the parade took place at 5:30pm, and we were at the parcours at 5pm, which is a definite must if you want to have nice places and actually see something of the parade.
  • Just walk around the park: Take some time to actually walk through all parts of the park and enjoy the decorations and beautiful buildings. This is definitely one of the most beautiful amusement parks, and when we were there, they really did a good job with the Halloween decorations. Totally awesome!

It’s nice if you have some time

  • Captain EO: I doubted a long time whether I would put it in this category of the one above. Captain EO is a 3D movie from the eighties starring Michael Jackson. I really enjoyed this show because it was just so amazing to see what they already could do thirty years ago. And it’s also really cool to check out Michael’s moves. Nonetheless, the introduction before the actual “movie” was just a bit too long and started boring me, which is why eventually I dropped it under this category.
  • Star Tours: This attraction is basically a flight simulation that turns and shakes you around. It’s a nice attraction, but it wasn’t ‘wow’ to me.
  • Le Pays des Contes de Fées: This is really nice quiet boat tour along some miniture Disney movie scenes. I remembered there to be more places, so I was kind of disappointed. It’s still a nice way to just enjoy a more quiet side of the park.

Do not recommend

  • Casey’s Corner’s famous hotdog: We went to have one of those famous hotdogs with cheese and onions because my friends are following a blogger called Masha who said it was delicious. But apparantly our idea of delicious was entirely different from hers, because neither of us really liked the hotdog. It even upset my stomach for the rest of the day which wasn’t really ideal with the fact that we were in an amusement park.
  • La Cabane des Robinson: I climbed this three because I was hoping once on the top it would offer me a nice view of the park, but no. I could only see fake leaves. The actual Robinson things that were made in the three weren’t that bad, but to me, it felt like a waste of time and I wish they had made it into some viewing point as well.

And of course; some pics (which I do recommend; to take pics ;D)

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WALT DISNEY STUDIOS PARK

Must do attractions:

  • Rock’n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith: Best. Rollercoaster. EVER! When I went to Disney eight years ago, this was already my favorite attraction of Disney and this trip only confirmed it. If you love rollercoasters, you’re going to love this fast ride to the beat of the music. It’s the best.
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: This is a definite must-do. It’s like a free-fall attraction but so much better, because it immediately pulls you up again so the feeling in your stomach is really awesome. It’s not very heavy and the drop isn’t that big, but it’s just really cool. And when you’re all the way up, you have a view over the entire park, which is really, really beautiful.
  • Meet Mickey: In a few different places in the park, you can have a shot at meeting Mickey. We passed one of those places by accident, but I just couldn’t stop myself from queuing for a picture. It’s Mickey Mouse, you know!

It’s nice if you have some time:

  • Armageddon: Special Effects: In this attraction, you’re starring in an extra scene of the film Armageddon. They’re using special effects with fire, wind and water, which is really cool. Unfortunately, the introduction was too long. And you’ll walk out surrounded by crying people because parents are stupid enough to bring their children into an atrraction that clearly notifies that it might be scary for the little ones.
  • Studio Tram Tour, behind the magic: This tour shows you different filmsets and props, and also lets you attend the “shooting” of special effects of an action movie. It’s really nice to see, but in my opinion, the waiting queue was just a little too long in comparison to what the attraction only offers.

Do not recommend:

  • Disney Blockbuster Café: This is the place where we had our lunch on Sunday, and the food wasn’t tasty at all and still cost a lot of money. I had a chicken wrap and it tasted like a carton box. So I definitely don’t recommend this place. Unfortunatelly you don’t have a lot of other options in this park, because the other restaurant are even more expensive or you’d have to make a reservation…

Lastly, I also want to mention Crush’s Coaster. We queued over an hour for that attraction because it looked like a lot of fun. But luck wasn’t on our side because right before we were going to board the attraction they had to close it down entirely because someone had had what seemed like a heartattack. I was very sad that we weren’t able to do this attraction, especially because I hadn’t done it before and we had queued for an hour. But up until today, I still wonder how that woman is doing. I really hope she’s okay.

Oh and I’m also sad that I didn’t get to check out the newest attraction of Ratatouille. The waiting queue was over two hours and that was just a little too much for me. On top of that, there were no fast passes available anymore before the time we had to be back at the bus, so no Ratatouille for us.

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GENERAL TIPS 

  • If you have a top attraction that you want to do, but you don’t feel like waiting really long to get on it; make it one of the first things on your list for the day. In the morning, it’s a lot calmer in the park than in the afternoon. (We got really lucky with the Rock’n’Rollercoaster, and only had to wait 5 minutes around 10am because it’s situated really deep into the park and people usually tend to do the closest things first.)
  • Use the fast passes. With a fast pass, you can get quicker on a ride, and all you have to do is swipe your entrance ticket in a machine and it will give you a ticket with a time on it on which you can come back to the attraction and get quicker access. You still have to wait fifteen minutes sometimes, but that’s definitely a lot better than the hour and a half you sometimes have to brave.
  • Bring your own sandwishes if possible. Food in the park is really expensive, and we didn’t really have any nice experiences with it. Also bring your own waterbottles and don’t throw them out once they’re empty. There are water fountains in the park where you can drink from, so you can just fill your bottle up again once it’s empty. That way you don’t have to spend 3 euros on a bottle of water or soda.
  • If there is a new attraction, go there first thing in the morning or get a fast pass. If not, you’ll end up like us; really disappointed that we weren’t able to do the Ratatouille attraction.

Anyway, that’s it, I guess. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything, and that you’ve all got some tips out of this.

As for the organisation with which I went to Disney; While at first I was very scared about not having control about every aspect of my trip, I don’t regret going to Disneyland with this coach company. It’s just so easy that you don’t have to worry about anything. And the bus driver was also the nicest man. He was so eager to provide us with information etc.

But I’m fairly sure that next time I’ll just go on my own by train – because the station is right at the entrance of the park – and just stay at a hotel in the park for the extra hours you get in the park.

Nonetheless, I had a really really lovely weekend and I’m sure I’ll go back one way just to relive the magic once more.

Until next time,

With love, Ellen

‘The Death Cure’ – James Dashner

After the minor disappointment that was ‘The Scorch Trials’, I wasn’t all that excited to start the last book in the Maze Runner series by James Dashner. It was only because I was still looking for so many answers and still a bit curious that I picked it up so quickly after finishing the previous book.

Warning: This post might contain spoilers for those who haven’t read ‘The Maze Runner’ and ‘The Scorch Trials’ yet. Proceed at your own risk. ;)

The_Death_Cure

 

What is this book about?

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

My rating? 1,5/5

What I thought of it?

This book might have ruined the series for me. I haven’t had to force myself this much to finish a book for as long as I can remember. I wanted the answers, but it seemed endless.

I still love the idea of ‘The Maze Runner’ and the general idea of the ‘Flare’ and the search for a cure, but did they have to stretch this series so long? Now that I’ve finished ‘The Death Cure’, I can’t even figure out why ‘The Scorch Trials’ is even a book. It hardly contributes to the story. I feel like they could have made this into one book and it still would have given you the same amount of information.

Not that you actually get any information, it seems. Even now that I’ve read the supposedly last book in the series, I’m still completely in the dark about certain things. Definitely not how I expected this series to end.

Throughout all these books, I also couldn’t help myself from noticing that most of the chapters end with Thomas either falling asleep or passing out. It was getting annoying. And I still don’t like Thomas very much and Theresa even more. I still don’t get why her character even existed. Or that Brenda girl. They were both so interchangable and totally irrelevant in my opinion. The only characters that made this book somewhat interesting where Minho and Newt. Forever my favorites.

So yeah, I’m really disappointed because I had expected so much to be cleared out in this book, and it just didn’t happen. I know there is a prequel (The Kill Order), but I feel like you shouldn’t refer to a prequel to get answers. The end of a series should be the end and a prequel might just give you a little bit more information about irrelevant things. But maybe that’s just me…

Nonetheless, I still bought tickets to go see the movie tomorrow evening. I still liked the first book so I really want to give the movie a chance as well. But as for the rest of the series; I wouldn’t exactly call it a “piece of klunk” but it’s close enough. I wanted answers GODDAMNIT!

Until next time,

With love, Ellen