Posted in Movie/TV Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW: Joker (2019)

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*Minor Spoilers here*

Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker. -IMDb

The never-ending battle between Batman and Joker is a good vs. evil scenario that will continue into pop culture history. We all know the story of Batman. Ten-year-old Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Thus the beginning of our epic hero begins.

However, what do we know about the Joker’s backstory? How did this man descent into such madness and psychopathy to cause great harm to Gotham City?

Throughout the Joker’s comic history, his origin story keeps changing. He has told so many origin stories that he doesn’t remember which one is the correct one. So this somewhat ambiguous backstory gave the writers of Joker the freedom to create their telling of Joker’s beginning.

I had heard early reviews that this movie was a different take on the Joker character. I am up for a unique story or a different way to tell an origin story. However, when I watched this movie, I had found a movie that I needed to chew and digest.

First off, Gotham City is experiencing not only a garbage man strike but a bad financial recession. In the comics, Gotham City has always been portrayed as the ghetto or where lower-income families live. I feel these circumstances extenuate how not only how Arthur feels, but how the lower-income citizens feel.

This film came under a lot of controversy for “glorifying gun violence”. To a certain extent, I can understand where those people are coming from. The Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting caused a ripple effect when it comes to movies and portraying violence. On the other hand, where the Deadpool movie was just pure chaos. I felt like the people Arthur, and then Joker, murdered were meaningful and had a reason behind each one.

Of course, this brings up the issue that comes with all violent acts, real or fictional, where mental health is the main factor. People use gun violence because it’s a tangible concept “I can see a gun, and I’ve seen gunfire”.

Whereas the idea of mental health isn’t tangible to most people who are either uneducated in the matter or choose to ignore mental illnesses. “I can’t physically see mental disorders” or “I don’t know anyone with mental illnesses” plague the evergoing argument.

Joker is about a man with mental disorders. Life keeps throwing him hard balls, and he loses his sanity after he lost his job and can no longer afford his medication. He gives up on trying to hide his disorders and trying to just be satisfied with the way the world is in Gotham City. He lets the madness consume him.

Overall, I really enjoyed Joker the psychological aspects of this and my love of the comics made this movie my favorite movie of 2019.

Check out my other movie reviews here!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler #1) by Nancy Mehl

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*No Major Spoilers*

Kaely Quinn’s talents as an FBI Behavior Analyst are impossible to ignore, no matter how unorthodox her methods. But when a reporter outs her as the daughter of an infamous serial killer, she’s demoted to field agent and transferred to St. Louis.

When the same reporter who ruined her career claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, the reporter’s ulterior motives bring his claim into question. But when a body is found that fits the poem’s predictions, the threat is undeniable, and the FBI sends Special Agent Noah Hunter to St. Louis.

Initially resentful of the assignment, Noah is surprised at how quickly his respect for Kaely grows, despite her oddities. But with a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else–including Kaely herself–is killed.

First off, I must mention that this is Christian fiction. Not very often do I find this genre intriguing enough for me to read. I felt this novel was a nice break from all of the sex and foul language that most modern novels have. It reminded me that a story doesn’t have to have sex and vulgarity just to make it interesting.

Kaely is a Christian herself, she discusses it with her new partner Noah. Even though this book discusses religion, I didn’t feel like the author was shoving it down my throat. Kaely believes, but she doesn’t pressure others to share her beliefs.

One interesting characteristic is that I diagnosed Kaely as having schizophrenia. As the novel progresses, she’s slowly starting to lose grip on her “technique”. I can’t wait to see how this aspect of her affects her in the novels to come!

This novel’s plot twist was amazing! The pool of reasonable suspects was large enough to keep me guessing until the big unveiling. Along with the plot twist, I felt the murderer’s motives were reasonable and I could understand his frustration and pain.

Mind Games reminded me of the story of the Happy Face Killer. He was a serial killer who is well known for not only his despicable crimes but also because his daughter is out in the media, doing interviews, building a support group for families of serial killers. She feels the need to put some good in the world despite who her father is.

I recommended this novel to my mom. If anyone would be interested in what my mom says about this novel, I might post her review/thoughts in an upcoming blog post.

I would recommend this novel for lovers of Christian FictionMystery, and those who are interested in reading novels about protagonists with mental health issues, low key romance, novels loosely based on true crime, and serial killers and their families.

Posted in Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Disarray​ by Jessie Cal

*No Spoilers*

*I received a copy of the novel from the author*

It’s been four months since Mia woke up with no memory—no recollection of any of the twenty-four years of her life. She doesn’t remember getting married, or even moving to the small town of Cooper Creek. But what bothers her the most is not knowing why she keeps having the same recurring nightmare about the Chinese tattoo on her ring finger.

When Mia discovers how to trigger back her memories, she’s taken aback by the fact that her past does not match her current life. When Mia experiences a trigger so intense that she has a seizure, she learns that any further triggers could cause permanent damage to her brain.

On the edge of her doubts, will she risk her mental stability to find out the truth about her past?

My first impression of this book was not the best, to be honest. I don’t like how one author strikes fire with a “new” literary technique, and soon everyone is basically writing the same story over and over again. The best example of this is what happened during the Twilight craze. I assumed this was going to be the same situation.

I will give the author credit for originality. An amnesiac waking up from a coma and finding an unfamiliar world around her and wanting to know her past. It’s a mystery to both the narrator and the reader. The narrator isn’t keeping any secrets from the reader and both are in search of the truth.

Now time for my negatives, which are not that bad. I was rooting for Mia when she started getting some of her memories back. She’s figuring things out! Yay! I thought to myself as I reached the halfway point.

Once I passed a major plot point, I felt like the author had to constantly throw “plot twists” and “things aren’t as they seem” cliche’s at me. It got to be exhausting to the point where I had to put down the book and gather my thoughts.

I don’t mind plot twists, but when they start happening too often I start to get annoyed and start screaming at the book to just stop with the crazy twists and turns.

Also, it’s difficult to surprise me with major twists and turns. However, this novel did throw a few surprises in a way that I didn’t see coming. Although through hints that are given through Mia’s flashbacks and her seizure, I figured the “main” plot twist.

Now, this doesn’t mean this novel isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. This was a good read the pros and cons considered. I’m going to recommend this to my mom and get her thoughts on this novel. Even though we read different genres, we do have some genres in common.

Overall, I found this novel to be an entertaining read. If you love stories full of mysteries and twists and turns, you should definitely check this novel out!

Buy Disarray by Jessie Cal HERE!

Posted in Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

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*No Spoilers*

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one.

This novel was recommended by a fellow bookworm in a book club I follow. I love mysteries, and mysteries involving returning home are the ones that seem to draw me in.

Similar to Bonfire by Krysten Ritter, Frankie returns to Oldcliffe to help find out what happened to her best friend Sophie. Skeletons long left in closets are soon released and bad memories attack those involved in Sophie’s world.

However, this book is also telling the story from Sophie’s point of view in diary form. Her side of the story gives light to Frankie and how she behaved when she was younger. It makes you feel more sympathetic towards Sophie rather than Frankie.

The twists and turns this thrilling novel has will leave you breathless. I was glued to this book, wanting to know what happened to Sophie. Even though all the twists and turns, my original theory turned out to be correct. Even though it took a while to reach that conclusion.

I would highly recommend this novel who are lovers of mysteries. This book is a perfect mystery novel. Thrill-seekers will enjoy this book as well. All in all, I’d give it 10/10!

Read my Book Club discussion questions!