Entertainment Review – The Best of Me


When someone mentions Nicholas Sparks a few things come to mind, like people getting caught in a storm, disapproving parents, beautiful water scenic views and attractive Caucasian actors playing lead.  The new film ‘The Best of Me’ was nothing short of all the typical Sparks elements brought to life for romance enthusiasts.

The Best of Me is directed by Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day, 1996) and stars James Marsden, Michelle Monaghan, Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato.  The story begins with Dawson Cole (Marsden) who is 39, alone and miraculously survives a tragic incident. A few days later, Dawson receives a phone call that a friend has passed away which leads to him returning to his hometown. Amanda also gets the call and they are forced to come together to say goodbye to an old friend, while faced with their unresolved feelings of the past.


The length of film felt a little too long but covered basically all the important details within the storyline from young lovers to the background story of the two leads. In comparison to the novel, Marsden doesn’t actually fit Dawson’s character profile but was chosen after Paul Walker passed away. Gerald McRaney played Tuck brilliantly, he was a crabby old man but behind his built up walls is a person seeking company after losing his own love. McRaney was able to bring the character to life just as I imagined he would be like. The interactions between and young Dawson were touching, and quite funny in some parts of the film. In one scene, during an altercation between Dawson and his father, Tuck pulls out his gun to protect Dawson and then offered for the young man to move into his home.


The best part of the film was definitely casting, Marsden displayed a tough exterior while also expressing pain and his adorable affections for Amanda. Although, the real star was Michelle Monaghan who doesn’t get enough credit for her acting abilities. Monaghan played the older version of Amanda and throughout some of those dramatic scenes, Monaghan really stepped up her game. Let’s just say, Monaghan had to cry a fair bit and she was believable. There’s nothing worse than watching a movie with an actor who can’t make you feel their emotions and if you’re anything like me, probably cry along with them.

Rising star, Liana Liberato was cute and reflected young Amanda’s vibrant, fun personality she had before life changed her. While our former Home And Away actor, Luke Bracey was charming in that serious, quiet manly-kind-of -way.  There was obvious chemistry between both the young and older couple due to casting being chosen wisely, unlike 2013’s Safe Haven and 2010’s The Last Song with Miley Cyrus.


No Nicholas Sparks film has yet been able to completely live up to the standards of The Notebook which is now a romance classic. However, The Best of Me is a bittersweet tale that’s heartfelt and despite the trailer showing it off as the next The Notebook. It’s a different take on young lovers being torn apart because of their own complicated circumstances and 20 years later, they remind each other what the real purpose in life is. It’s about finding someone who brings out the best in you.

It usually only goes one way, you either love the film adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels or they irritate you. If you’re searching for a decent chick flick or you just feel the need to cry, then watch The Best of Me. It’s filled with kissing in the rain, romantic gestures, letter writing and shirtless gardening. I mean… if you enjoy that kind of stuff.

The Best of Me is showing in cinemas now.


Entertainment Review- Gone Girl

Gone Girl is the critically acclaimed film directed by David Fincher known for The Social Network, Se7en and The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. Also based on the popular novel with the same name by Gillian Flynn, who wrote the screenplay. Gone Girl is a thrilling murder mystery, covering issues such as financial pressures on marriage, infidelity, dishonesty and the role of the media. The film stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry.

The story begins like any other tale of love, Nick Dunne (Affleck) meets a smart and interesting woman named Amy (Pike). They share a first kiss in a sugar storm and the rest was history. However, on their 5th wedding anniversary Nick comes home to a empty house and a missing wife.

The overall plot is original unlike any film I’ve ever seen. Flynn’s story messes with your head and makes you question characters. What really happened to the beautiful, Amazing Amy? The plot is non-linear, instead it’s divided showing both Nick and Amy’s perspective of the events that occur throughout their marriage and after the disappearance. The media was the first to accuse Nick and scrutinize his actions. This is something we all probably have witnessed, the media portrays people in certain ways and sometimes we just accept what we’re told. For Nick, he has to prove his innocence with the help of his twin sister, Margo (played by Carrie Coon) and his fancy new lawyer Tanner Bolt (Perry).


Ben Affleck did a great job portraying Nick Dunne, he was the charming and struggling writer who clearly hit the jackpot when he married millionaire Amy. Nick also had a dark side that Affleck had issue playing, he had his own secrets that soon were uncovered by the police department and the media. Although, the scene stealer goes to Rosamund Pike for her portrayal of Affleck’s wife in the film. Pike demonstrated how complex the human mind can be when dealing with problems and easy it is to get caught in the drama of it all. I’d have to say some scenes haunted me after I left the cinema because I continued to think about Amy and extents she went to. Pike was creepy, she would smile at inappropriate times and she lied constantly to get what she wanted, basically a sociopath.

Fincher was able to reflect the sex, violence and suspense from the novel. There were a few minor elements missing including a satisfying ending instead the film left me on the edge of my seat wanting more. The film also lacked context such as covering Amy’s background more and supporting characters like Desi Collings’s (Neil Patrick Harris) role in Amy’s life was only briefly touched on.

Gone Girl most likely won’t be winning any Academy Awards but it sure was a twisted journey that was highly entertaining. It was disturbing, tense and explored marriage in a refreshing manner. If you want to know why everyone is talking about Gone Girl then I recommend you go see it and find out why.

Originally posted on Novastream.

14 Ways To Improve Your Online Dating Profile Photo

My latest post on Dating With A Twist:

When scanning through people’s online profiles, photos can say a lot about someone. That’s why it’s important you choose wisely!

Here’s 14 ways to improve your photos and hopefully snatch up more dates:

1. This is key to any profile: ALWAYS have at least one image of yourself. Some people find profiles with no images, can be misleading or fake.

2. Don’t be a show off. No one needs to see your new car or see your selfie at the gym.

3. Share a photo from a recent holiday or trip. It demonstrates that you like to travel and be adventurous.

4. Choose your background wisely and keep it simple.

5. Don’t take photos from an high angle unless you want to show off your cleavage but just in general, high angle shots can look awkward at times.

6. Although, it’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, cuddling up to a animal in a photo can sometimes work.

7. If you are trying to find someone to date, having several images of yourself surrounded by women does not benefit you in anyway. Yes, the girls may be sisters or friends but we don’t know that. Women see it and can just assume you’re a bit of a ladies man (This works both ways).

8. Always provide a recent photo, not one from two years ago.

9. Smile to reflect a positive vibe!

10. Have your photos show different aspects of your life from social activities, family to work. This allows people on your profile to know that you are family orientated and caring. You also have a job you enjoy and in your free time, you like to have fun.

11. Don’t just put one photo up and it’d be a group shot, then expect people to know which one you are.

12. Avoid silly photos such as inappropriate gestures and drunken stolen moments. It doesn’t scream future partner material if you’re looking for anything serious.

13. Avoid using bad photo filters and instead pay attention to lighting.

14. Be yourself.

The list above is based on my own observations of online dating profiles. If you have any of your own tips please add them in the comment box!