Friday, 11 April 2014

'Divergent' Movie Review



I know I included Divergent in my list of highly anticipated movies last year, but after early reviews from both readers and non-readers turned out to be negative, my anticipation somewhat fizzled out.
Well, Divergent finally released in India today, so I went to watch the movie with incredibly low expectations.
Read on to find out whether the movie pulled off a Percy Jackson or a Catching Fire!

Here's the official plot summary, courtesy of IMDB:
In a world divided by factions based on virtues, Tris learns she's Divergent and won't fit in. When she discovers a plot to destroy Divergents, Tris and the mysterious Four must find out what makes Divergents dangerous before it's too late.

I quite liked the first three minutes of the movie. It started with a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline, mostly in ruins, with Tris, the protagonist, telling us the history of her city and giving us a brief description of all the factions - including her own, Abnegation (the selfless).

And it was all downhill from there.
From the countless coats of mascara on Tris and her mother's eyelashes (FABnegation, huh?) to some terrible acting by Ansel Elgort (who plays Tris' brother, Caleb); from the incomplete aptitude test to the drawn-out, boring Choosing ceremony...
Really, the movie was only about two and a half hours long, but to me it felt like an entire day had passed! Even when it came to some of my favourite scenes from the book, I found my mind wandering to far-off places and it took me a while to get back to the movie at hand.


However, I did enjoy some of the scenes involving the Dauntless (the brave): their introduction, the jumping in and out of trains, the welcoming of the initiates... but that was mostly because of the adrenaline-packed background music.
Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL's score was good, although adding those Ellie Goulding pop songs in the middle of an intense scene was a very bad idea. It took away from what little the scene was trying to offer.

Perhaps the director and his crew knew that the actors in this movie can't act to save their lives. Maybe that's why about eighty percent of the movie focused only on close-ups of their faces. Acting isn't just about expressions (which these actors lack), it's also about body language. Unfortunately there was no chance to judge their body language, because all that could be seen was their face and neck (and their makeup!).
I'd heard great things about Shailene Woodley (Tris) from critics and audiences alike. But I couldn't see what they were talking about. When thrown into a strange world within a simulation, Woodley didn't bat an eyelid. When her best friend's life was threatened, she was indifferent. Why?

As for Theo James (a.k.a Four)... well, he didn't look the part of the shy but strong Four, and he couldn't act the part, either. His character went straight from glaring at Tris to kissing her, without showing how he even fell for her in the first place.
Kate Winslet was wasted in the role of the main antagonist, Jeanine Mathews, head of Erudite (the intelligent). Ansel Elgort seemed to be channeling his inner Augustus Waters instead of playing Caleb Prior. You're in the wrong movie, pal!

Zoë Kravitz as Tris' best friend, Christina, was probably the only actor I liked. She was fun, fiesty and full of life. I guess she takes after her father, who played the role of Cinna in The Hunger Games.
Miles Teller as Peter was alright. He was supposed to be arrogant and funny, but I didn't laugh once.

Since this is an action movie, there was a lot of fighting and many scenes involved guns. But shaky cam was employed more than once during these scenes (probably so the movie could get a PG-13 rating) and the end result was not pretty.

There were several changes from the books, a major one being the ending. No spoilers, but I disliked it. It was illogical and ridden with plot holes. The book may not be a literary masterpiece, but at least its ending made sense!


In short, the movie was nothing more than bits and pieces of the book sewn together with a thread of illogical explanations and miserable acting skills.
I'm going to go with 1.5 stars out of 5 for Divergent.

Whether you're a book fan or a simple movie-goer, give this one a miss. Instead, use those two and a half hours to watch Queen or Catching Fire or any movie that won't bore you to death.
But if you're desperate to watch Divergent, take two and a half minutes and just watch the trailer instead. I can guarantee that it's much better than the actual film.

See you next time, Geeks!


Saturday, 5 April 2014

'Just One of the Guys' by Kristan Higgins: A Book Review


Ah, Kristan Higgins! She's one of my favourite authors for sure, especially when it comes to romance and chick-lit novels.
This isn't one of her latest novels - she actually published this way back in 2008. But I only just got my hands on it because I never really wanted to read a book about a tall, strong woman who's just one of the guys. I assumed it'd be boring because I'm the complete opposite of the main character.

How wrong was I!

Let's take a look at the plot summary, shall we? (Thank you, Goodreads!)

"Being one of the guys isn't all it's cracked up to be... So when journalist Chastity O'Neill returns to her hometown, she decides it's time to start working on some of those feminine wiles. Two tiny problems: #1 - she's five feet eleven inches of rock-solid girl power, and #2 - she's cursed with four alpha male older brothers.

While doing a story on local heroes, she meets a hunky doctor and things start to look up. Now there's only one problem: Trevor Meade, her first love and the one man she's never quite gotten over - although he seems to have gotten over her just fine.

Yet the more time she spends with Dr. Perfect, the better Trevor looks. But even with the in-your-face competition, the irresistible Trevor just can't seem to see Chastity as anything more than just one of the guys...."




In some ways, I'm glad I didn't read this book earlier, because it made this experience so much better! The first time you read a book, it's... special. The anticipation, the knowledge that anything could happen in the next few pages - anything! Nothing beats reading a book for the first time.
And so I spent a lovely afternoon lounging on the living room couch, reading Just One of the Guys, a smile plastered on my face throughout. I laughed, sobbed a little and enjoyed myself as I dove headfirst into Chastity and Trevor's love story.

Oh, Chas and Trev! One part I always adore in Kristan's books - the back story. A few chapters into the book, we find out what happened the first time they got together, and why it ended. Somehow the back story always leaves me wanting more (in a good way), because it's that well-written!
The same goes for Chastity and Trevor. Their first love story is amazing. I was hooked on their romance the moment I finished reading that chapter.

Then again, most of the novel is focused on Chastity's relationship with the hunky doctor (see the plot summary above) and her friendship with Trevor. It's only towards the end that their friendship takes a new level.
I just wish we'd been given a more detailed explanation of how - and why - Trevor fell for her. 

Apart from the main plot, there are other stories told in the novel - about Chastity's firefighter brothers, the crumbling marriage of her parents, an evil coworker and a hacker planning to ruin Chastity's reputation.
I was satisfied with all except the hacker storyline. I was sort of expecting the unexpected, but the revelation at the end left me a little disappointed.


I thought I wouldn't relate to Chastity at all. I was right, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the story and liking her character. She's fierce, independent and extremely fit. Hey, I love being petite, but I wouldn't mind being a little more like Chas! :)

Kristan's writing is crisp, romantic and utterly hilarious. However, I don't have any quotes that I can claim as my favourites because I don't have my copy anymore, and I couldn't find any quotes online.
Instead, you can check out an excerpt from the novel on her website here.

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for this one.

To conclude, I loved Just One of the Guys! It's not on my list of top five Higgins novels, but I think it would come a close sixth. If you're a lover of love stories, be sure to check this one out.

I'm currently reading Kristan's newest book, Waiting on You. I will let you know how it turns out. Until then, keep reading, grinning and enjoying, Geeks.

Bye!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

'Find Me' by Romily Bernard: A Book Review

Hello!

Today I'm reviewing Find Me, the first in a young adult thriller series, revolving around the life of teenager hacker Wicket 'Wick' Tate and the events that unfold after the death of an old friend.
I had a lot of expectations for this book, but sadly, it did not satisfy me. Before getting into the review, let's look at the plot summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com:

A girl is dead…
A killer’s closing in…
And two little words are the only clue…
“Find Me”.


These are the words that Wick Tate finds in Tessa Wayne’s diary. And now Tessa has been found... dead. Does someone out there really expect Wick to uncover the truth about her death?
An expert computer hacker, Wick has the skills for the job, but with the threat of her ex-con dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around and new foster parents to keep happy, getting involved with a murder case is the last thing she wants to do. Until her little sister, Lily, is the next target.
Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker-girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare. And now she’s going to find this killer, no matter what it takes. 

Because it just got personal.

When I first read this little blurb, I was psyched! There's nothing as exciting as murder! In books, I mean, not in real life. Add a teenage hacker into the mix and this could have been the recipe for a perfect YA murder mystery.


But... the book just fell apart.

I was hooked at the beginning. The start was great; the mystery thickened, the suspects were introduced, there was scope for a nice romance.... and then everything just fell flat around the middle.
I was actually so bored by the story (and annoyed by the romance) that I put this book aside and read other books instead.

Finally, once I cleared my head, I leapt back into Find Me. The suspense fizzled a little when I solved the mystery much before the ending. Also, the love story between Wick and what's-his-face (Griff, was it?) just didn't seem real. One minute she didn't know if she could trust him, and the next minute she was mad for him. Huh? I didn't like that boy one bit, although his nickname for her (Wicked) did make me smile a few times.

You should know that it was a little after midnight when I got to the ending. I might have figured out who the killer was, but didn't stop me from getting scared. The ending was quite intense and, thanks to the pitch-black darkness of the night, a little frightening, too.


But the beginning and ending couldn't make up for the slow middle, the blah romance, the one-dimensional characters and lack of character development. The writing didn't help much, either. It wasn't anything special.

I'm going to go with 2.5 stars out of 5 for Find Me.
If the author had saved the love story for the sequel (Remember Me, expected publication Sept 2014) and made the killer a little less obvious, this book could have been so much more....

However, I will still be reading the sequel, whose plot seems better, because I'm big on second chances. :)

Do I recommend this book? Well, if you're on a three-hour plane ride at night and bored out of your wits, then pick this one up.
But if you're looking for that special someone of Books... keep looking.

Did you like Find Me, or do you agree that it just couldn't pull you in? Let me know in the comments.
See you soon!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What's in My Fab Bag! (March 2014)

This month's Fab Bag is here!

Those of you who are following my blog know that I haven't been too pleased with my bags lately... this month, the curse continues. :(

The bag is floral this time... better than last time's print, but a little too PowerPuff Girls for my taste. Anyway, I received 3+1 items (plus an extra Thalgo Brightening fluid because last month's sample was too small).

Cute, but a little too floral.
Let's start with the review of all the products:

1) Natio Lavender and Rosemary Hand and Nail Cream (20 ml)
I guess my nails could use a little TLC!
Lavender and rosemary! I must admit, those words are magic to my ears.... but the scent isn't magic to my nose. It's good, but not great.
The product guarantees silky-soft hands and strong, healthy nails. My nails have been a little brittle after trying out the LA Splash nail polish (courtesy of my December Fab Bag), so I guess this cream will be of use to me. The sample size is good for a hand cream.

This product, I like. 

2) Flormar Loose Powder (#3, full size)
Not my skin tone... but the powder puff is so fluffy!
I'm sure this powder will be useful in the hot summer season, but... this isn't my skin tone! #3 is probably the first skin tone available in the Indian market, but #1 or #2 would have suited me.
I do have a compact whose puff needed replacement, so I will be using the Flormar powder puff to go with that compact. As for the powder... well, it could work once I fall prey to the inevitable suntan that comes ever summer!


This product, meh. 

3) Portico Verbena Hydrating Body Wash (50 ml, full size)
Potterheads: is it just me, or does this remind you of Felix Felicis?
A spa product! I'm actually not too disappointed with this one, because I love body washes. A soothing bath will work wonders in the summer. It smells great, too, though there's a citrus aroma to it. I've received citrus body washes too many times through Fab Bag. Please, there are other fruits out there. I'm tired of smelling like a lemon.

This product, I like.

4) Fashion Jewelry Pearl Drop Earrings (Bonus Product)
Not a fan of pearl drop earrings.
Pearls are great! I love pearls. My name means 'pearl'. But I'm not crazy about really long earrings like this pair. I like wearing studs or really short earrings because they don't get tangled in my hair. I don't think I'll be wearing these earrings, so that's a waste of a bonus product!
I wish we had received tiny samples of cream or cookies like last time. But life's not fair, is it?

This product, I dislike. 

The total worth of this month's bag is approximately Rs. 1,610. It's much more than what I paid, but lately I've come to realise that...


To conclude, while I like this month's haul better than last time's, I can't help but think that Fab Bag has changed a lot since its Vellvette era.... personally, I don't think the name-changing worked in their favour!

If you've received your Fab Bags already, let me know what products you were sent! Do you like them, love them or hate them? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time, beauty Geeks! :)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

'Queen' Movie Review



Today I'm going to talk about Queen, a movie I went to see about a week ago when I desperately needed a break from exams.
Well, before I start the review, let me just say it: Queen is such a great movie. If you haven't seen it already, go watch it now!
(Actually, finish reading this review. Then you can go.)

After being dumped by her fiancé just two days before her wedding, small-town girl Rani (Kangana Ranaut) sets out on her exotic honeymoon - alone. Hilarity ensues when she travels to Paris and Amsterdam and makes new friends, lives with three men, experiences freedom for the first time and most importantly, falls in love - with herself!

Here's the trailer:


This movie... oh, there's no better way to spend two and a half hours than to watch this film. This isn't one of those big-budget corny Bollywood films that we're all sick of. No, this is a small-budget film with a heart-warming message and a plain but beautiful heroine. Truly, Queen belongs to Kangana Ranaut. She portrays her character so realistically, it's difficult to understand where Rani stops and where Kangana begins. From makeup to clothing to body language, she is amazing as the shy Dilli girl.

Rani's look is au naturel to the extent that you can actually spot a pimple on her face during one scene in the movie!

But the rest of the cast are applaudable, too. Lisa Haydon's character Vijaylaxmi's French accent seems almost effortless; the actors playing Taka, Tim and Oleksander (Rani's roommates) breathe life into their characters, making them so loveable I could hug them all. And I'm not a hugger.
Rajkummar Rao, as Rani's fiancé Vijay, makes you want to punch his character with all your strength. Really, really hard. 


The movie really hits its stride in the second half. The first half is enjoyable, but Rani's real character development happens during the second half, in Amsterdam. Not only does the story move forward after interval, the cinematography brings a ray of sunshine into Rani's life. While in Paris she is gloomy and dismal; in Amsterdam she finds her silver lining.

Some scenes that I really loved: the mehndi ceremony and the song and dance; Rani's encounter with the thief, the 'Hungama' sequence, and going shopping with Vijaylaxmi in Paris; meeting her male roommates, the cooking contest, 'Indians best hain', and the whole lead-up to the ending in Amsterdam.

No spoilers, but the ending does not follow the typical Bollywood recipe. Steering towards the road-not-taken, Queen ends on a positive note - but it's a realistic one at that. You'll laugh, smile and cry from the moment you step into Rani's life, and you're guaranteed to leave the theatre with a wide grin on your face.


I'm going to go with 4.5 stars out of 5 for Queen. 

Please, go ahead and check out this movie. It's definitely the best film I've seen this year - and the best Bollywood film I've seen in a long time.
Still in theatres, Queen is doing very well at the box office. So be sure to book your tickets in advance to get the best seats!

If you've already seen Queen, tell me which scenes you loved - and which scenes, if any, you didn't care for.

Until next time, Geeks! 

Friday, 21 March 2014

It's My Birthday!!!!

Because saying it once in the title of this post isn't enough, I'll say it again.



Indeed, friends. This Geekie Chick turns eighteen years old today. And my blog, coincidentally, turns fifty posts old! :)

And now that I'm eighteen, here's a list of things that I can legally do:

1) Buy alcohol in Goa (and in London! And in many other places!)
2) Get a driver's licence
3) Get a voter's ID card
4) Watch an adult film in theatres (though I probably won't)
5) Go to jail for committing a crime
6) Buy property
7) Get married (but I definitely won't, at least not for another ten years)
8) Travel to a foreign country without any adults
9) Give the DELF exam as an adult



There's a lot more I could add to the list, but I can't think of anything else right now.

The past year of my life was great, as I've already mentioned in my New Year's Eve post. But going from seventeen to eighteen is huge! I'm now officially older than Archie & the Gang and practically every young adult character there ever was, because they're always either sixteen or seventeen but never eighteen.

And even though I didn't exactly have the best 20th of March, thanks to my Maths board exam, I know that 21st March - and all the days after that - are going to be great.
So here's to new-adult life, to happiness, to college, to the future of Geekie Chic, and the future of my life.


PS: Tons of reviews coming up soon, folks! From the wonderful movie that is Queen to tons of books like Panic, Find Me, My Life After Now and Unsouled - so I'll see you all soon. :)

Friday, 7 March 2014

'An Abundance of Katherines' by John Green: A Book Review


I finished reading this book about a week ago, but I couldn't get around to writing the review until now. But worry not, the details of this book are still fresh in my mind!

This is the second John Green book that I've read, and I'm starting to understand that he has a 'type' when it comes to his protagonists - he likes them philosophical and, well, geeky.

But I'll get to that later.
First, here's the plot summary, courtesy of www.goodreads.com!

"Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself."


Yes, you read that right. This story is about a boy, Colin, recently dumped by the nineteenth Katherine he has dated. Nineteenth!

That makes me wonder: is the name Katherine that common? Is it the American equivalent of Aditi/Sanjana/Rahul/Rohan? Because I know at least five people each with those names!

Anyway, Colin doesn't fall for these women by accident. No, for him to love a woman, she has to be named Katherine. Not Kathy, not Erin, not even Katrina. It has to be Katherine, or no dice.
Throughout the novel, we're introduced to all nineteen girls as Colin recounts to himself the story of his life. This was definitely the high point of the book. I love flashbacks, romance and comedy - and the Katherine scenes have all three.

So to recover from the aforementioned breakup, Colin sets off on an awesome road-trip with his broken heart, a talent for anagramming, and his best friend, Hassan.

(I've always wanted to have a road trip! So much fun!)

Hassan. While I definitely liked Hassan more than Colin - who, let's face it, is too whiny for my taste - he still didn't make much of an impact on me. Same goes for Lindsey, a girl they meet and befriend while on the road. Unlike TFIOS, where I really liked the characters (although I still feel Augustus 'Mr. So-Called Perfect' Waters is overrated), the characters in this story didn't do anything for me.
In typical John Green fashion, Colin and Hassan are extremely intelligent, not popular, and act superior to other teens. Just like Colin, John Green, too, has a type. And I'm not sick of reading about such characters, but... I wouldn't mind a little variety!

I was actually enjoying this book up until the halfway point, when it started to drag and jumped to a different subplot altogether, one that I didn't care for.

Anyway, John Green writes very well. Here are my favourite quotes from this book:

Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.

You don't remember what happened. What you remember becomes what happened.

"Even if it's a dumb story, telling it changes other people just the slightest little bit, just as living the story changes me. An infinitesimal change. And that infinitesimal change ripples outward - ever smaller but everlasting. I will get forgotten, but the stories will last. And so we all matter - maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.”

“I figured something out," he said aloud. "The future is unpredictable."
Hassan said, "Sometimes the kafir likes to say massively obvious things in a really profound voice.” 

To summarise: I liked the writing, the anagramming, the footnotes, the few French/German dialogues, the Dumper/Dumpee theory, the comedy, and the Katherine moments.
I didn't care much for Colin, Hassan or Lindsey, the other subplots and the ending.


I'm going to go with 3 stars out of 5 for An Abundance of Katherines.
It's not a bad read, but not a great one, either.

If you're a fan of John Green, let me know which book of his you like best. What did you think of AAK? Also, be sure to read my TFIOS review here, if you haven't already!

The next post is going to be Geekie Chic's 50th post!! I really can't believe it. :O
Anyway, until next time. Bye! :)