The Blockbusters

I actually made good on a promise to myself this summer!

I swore going into June that I would go and see Spy and Jurassic WorldBecause if I didn’t – I would put it off till I was 90 and regret not seeing either film for years.

So I DID!

Spy was really great, far less slapstick then I had expected, but lots of fun.

Jurassic World was everything I wanted it to be. I got my fill of dinos eating people and plenty of nostalgia.

What surprised me about both of these movies was their ability to take a predictable scenario and revitalize it. No, they didn’t make it unpredictable – but they made the predictable fun to watch and reminded (me at least) of why certain tropes are over used. I wasn’t expecting anything more from Jurassic than a lot of dinos, a lot of CGI, some wisecracks amidst the blood and that’s ok – they delivered just what I wanted without the whole movie feeling pathetic and tired.

Also Melissa McCarthy – I adore her, she’s gorgeous and a force to be reckoned with.

Go see these films – laugh, cry, yell at the screen. You won’t regret it!

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So little time…..

I’m quite proud of all I’ve accomplished in the last several weeks.

I’ve applied and been accepted to ASU Online! One step closer to finishing a degree, still no clue what I’m going to do with it but it’s a start.

I watched the 1966 Academy Award winner A Man for All Seasons. Adapted from the Tony award winning play, it tells the story of Thomas More, whose silence over Henry VIII’s marriage to Anne Boleyn cost him his life.

It was an excellent film that was rather modern in it’s storytelling. It was a piece that reminded me more of The King’s Speech or The Imitation Game which both have far different tones than the previous winners ( i.e. The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Ben Hur). 

I both read and watched The Outsiders for the first time.

I adore the book. It’s dark and gritty and very real. It’s been very hard for me to finish books as of late, probably due to technology ADD, amongst other things; this book I finished in practically two days, I couldn’t put it down.

The movie wasn’t as satisfying as I had wished it to be, despite the amazing cast. Often the acting was a wee bit stiff and the directing a little over dramatic. The beauty of the story is its simplicity, and the drama hurt the film a bit. That being said, it was still fun to watch, especially since alllllll the greats are in it (Tom Cruise, the Karate Kid, Patrick Swayze….).

Speaking of Patrick Swayze – I also watched Ghost and Too Wong Fu Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. (me? On a Swayze kick?? Nooooo….)

Ghost is now on my list of favorite films ever.

I went into it thinking it was a lame-o chick flick – but alas! No! There’s more to it than just a beautiful relationship, there’s Whoopi Goldberg and scandal and theft! I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Allllsooo, the music was pretty bomb.

Too Wong Fu  is where I really learned that Patrick Swayze was more than just a pretty boy in tight pants. My roommate and I would watch scenes when it came on TV and I was amazed by his performance as Vida (I had no idea it was him till Jess pointed it out). SO of course I had to watch the whole thing and it’s a fun movie.

I’ve also managed to begin reading Slaughterhouse Five which I suspect is the beginning of a long love affair with Vonnegut. I think much like what I enjoyed with S.E. Hinton, he’s very honest and not as stiff as other writers (particularly the classical ones…..).

OH OHHHHH.

I also went on my first date this past Friday.

I suppose this officially puts me in the game…???

If I keep this up it will be a very productive year!

It’s Friday – Fridayyy

It’s Friday – the 13th! Guess what that meanssssss!!!!

I finally sat down and watched the original Friday the 13th. It’s honestly embarrassing how long it took me to watch considering how much I love horror, the classics in particular. It’s even more embarrassing that I saw the ’09 sequel (part? extension?) before I saw the original.

Thankfully the classic did not disappoint me as much as the ’09 one did. Sure, the acting was a little awkward at times (let’s not talk about those final fight scenes), the dialogue isn’t particularly solid and – considering I’m watching this in the 21st century – the effects weren’t exactly terrifying.

But that doesn’t mean there weren’t things to love.

Everybody died! Sometimes you just need a movie where everyone gets picked off. I am often mildly annoyed (alright, very annoyed) when the story is driven by those three idiots who’ve managed to survive (through no fault of their own) and perilously wander around without any sense (I’m looking at you ’09 reboot….).

Cheesy deaths sure, but decent ones nonetheless.

The music reminded me of Psycho. There was very little of it, but when there was music it was fast paced and panic-y.

Kevin Bacon is adorable. I don’t know why I haven’t binge watched more of his stuff – but I should.

I loved all the shots putting you in the eye of Mrs. Voorhees. The anticipation of what was coming kept me interested.

The cheesy, happy music at the end is priceless.

I can see why it’s a classic but please excuse me, I must now go watch the other 11.

It’s an Imitiation Game Alright

It’s Oscar season and I have  been binge watching as many of the Oscar nominated films as I can.

To be honest – most of them are pretty disappointing. Should that come as a surprise? No. Does it still disappoint me? Yes.

The Imitation Game is the exact premise of The King’s Speech (and basically every historical film ever produced) with a different cast of characters.

Boyhood is being lauded for its format – a 12 year project is quite impressive, however that doesn’t make it a great film (that was 3 hours of my life I can never get back – I’d rather watch the Friday the 13th remake – twice).

Birdman  was the most relevant film I’ve seen thus far, and by far the most creative and artistic. Sure there were moments where I scratched my head a bit, but it was far more enjoyable and thought provoking then the others.

No one is talking about The Judge which was a truly great ensemble and a touching story. One of the few films I’ve seen this year that didn’t feel like a walking cliché (and yes I know Robert Duvall got a nom for the film but does any one else feel that it was sort of obligatory?).

Guardians of the Galaxy – yes, it’s about a bunch of petty villains that save the universe in space but does that make it any less of a great film? Just because a film doesn’t take itself seriously (or happens to have a racoon with a bazooka and a talking tree) shouldn’t mean it gets passed over for other less innovative films.

Apparently Captain America was a great film (no I haven’t seen it yet don’t judge me), as well as The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. 

Now, I’m not saying that I want to see every decent movie that is released make it on the nomination list – but I would like to see a little more variety. Every year it’s always the two or three dramatic historical events and then a couple experimental pieces.What’s the matter with comedy? A movie that we don’t have to take seriously or think critically about?

ORRR or let’s get crazy and throw in an animated film – whhaaatttt. I mean, when was the last time an animated film was nominated for Best Picture? (I looked and it was for Toy Story 3). Both The Lego Movie and How to Train Your Dragon 2 were well received this year, and they aren’t even Disney films.

Why don’t we even rephrase that question and ask – when was the last time an animated film was looked upon as a film and not merely children’s entertainment?

In case you were wondering – the last genre film to be nominated and win Best Picture was LOTR: Return of the King. Though to be fair there are far less decent genre films than there are animated ones (I’m looking at you Hobbit). 

Let’s make some changes people! Art itself is not discriminatory – so why should we in turn discriminate against its different forms?

 

Random News – Just for Fun

In case you hadn’t heard….

Supernatural has been renewed for it’s 11th season. ELEVEN. 

Not only is this exciting for me as a fan, but it’s incredible to see a genre show with limited viewership get this far.

I keep hearing ‘that show is still on the air!?!’ followed by gaping jaws of disbelief. It’s been ten years and yes, it’s still on. And the best part? It’s still relevant. The show is about the boys again, and the current story lines are deeply personal and weighty (I was going to include a joke about how you can’t really relate to the Mark of Cain here, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it because it actually is very real and symbolic – someday I’ll write a whole novel about that).

So say what you will, I get that some people are annoyed about it but that’s the way it goes. I for one am ecstatic – deal.

That being said – Jane the Virgin was also renewed which isn’t surprising considering their Golden Globe win. To be fair, I haven’t seen any of the show, so I don’t really have any just reason to be as angry as I am. But it’s aggravating to see other shows with talent get passed up, especially for the CW. Let’s be real, there isn’t much there that is worth awarding (save for a certain show I could mention about a pair of brothers who hunt evil……ok and Whose Line – duh)

Lea Michelle and now Nick Jonas have joined Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens for the coming year. This terrifies me because I cannot stand Lea Michelle (I tried, I watched some of Glee and I tried)  and last I checked Nick couldn’t act for beans. Though I suppose in retrospect – Ryan Murphy is pretty hit and miss to begin with so we’ll see how that goes.

New photos from the set of Sherlock have emerged (I say new but it’s been, like a week). You can view the new and interesting costumes here. There are a slew of reasons why our Sherlock and Watson look like they’ve joined Guy Ritchie’s adventures and none of them make any sort of sense within the logic of the show. I’m doing my very very best to hold out my thoughts till the special airs, but I’m already massively annoyed with Steven Moffat as it is.

ABC just announced they’re ordering a crime-thriller from Shonda Rimes – it looks to be headed by solely females which I find fantastic. It’s also been pointed out that ABC is one of the most diverse networks on television. It’s just a pity that all of the shows are so formulaic and bland.

ALSO – big news of the day! Emma Watson has just been officially announced to play Belle in Disney’s new live-action Beauty and the Beast. It’s been a rumor for quite some time now and it’s nice to know it’s official. I should be wary – as we didn’t need a live-action anything. However I adore Emma Watson and Beauty and the Beast will forever be one of my favorite stories. And it’s Disney. I may just weep tears of joy until it’s release.

In case ya’ll are interested in more news like this – follow me on Twitter! I make valid attempts to retweet all the interesting industry news for those who care like I do. I like fun facts and staying in the loop!

Also – Happy Monday everyone – I’m proud of you for making it through the day!

 

 

 

PSA: Asylums are still creepy

I finally finished American Horror Story: Asylum.

It took me a truly embarrassing amount of time, though this season is far more squeamish than the last. It just wasn’t something that was easy to watch in a pitch black house at 1 am.

My favorite part of this show is the cast – not only their character work but their work together as an ensemble. Zachary Quinto literally made me squirm(he’s terrifying and you can’t convince me otherwise) and Jessica Lange creates a character that is so well-rounded.

The story takes place in an insane asylum(the title didn’t give that away at all) in the early 1960s. Not only does the season explore the obvious terror factor in an asylum(old psychiatric practices are akin to Saw, so it’s the perfect playground for a horror show) but they also address the misogynistic society of the time. Women were degraded and tortured for ‘their own good’. Men, in this case Doctor Arden, the Monsignor and Doctor Threadson, use their ‘psychiatry’ or their ‘sanity’ to silence women who’ve found out the  horrific truth about them.

An interesting theme was the contrast of absolute darkness attracted to absolute purity. Doctor Arden’s Nazi background and complete apathy for humanity countered his obsession/love for the nun Mary Eunice. I also appreciated the culmination of Kit and Sister Jude’s stories.

Truth be told, this season gave me quite a bit of paranoia and anxiety, in the best way possible. Thought provoking, chilling, and terrifying. Absolutely what you want out of horror television.

Long overdue

It was obligatory. I’d seen the first Hobbit movie and most of the second one, so naturally I went to see the final film.

Those midnight treks are fun, regardless of the film (or it’s predecessors). There is a mutual excitement that the audience shares with each other in anticipation of the epic that awaits(generally speaking, I don’t know anyone who goes to midnight showings for Rom-Coms).

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies picks up exactly where The Desolation of Smaug left off. Dragon goes to Laketown to destroy basically all of it, aside from a remarkable amount of people, whilst the dwarves do nothing. The dwarves now have their mountain and all of it’s riches, and of course the surviving people of Laketown and Thranduil, king of Jerk-wood, want a piece of what is left. Meanwhile Thorin (King Dwarf in case you didn’t know) has the ‘dragon sickness’, basically meaning he’s become obsessed with his long sought for wealth.

Add all that together and what do you get? A two hour long battle scene over a bunch of gold. Oh, and the orcs – two armies of them, because what’s a battle in Middle Earth without the Dark Lord trying to take over.

It was a far more entertaining two hours than the last two films. Mostly because I have always been a hardcore Legolas fangirl and he definitely got his time to shine. It’s also more fun to see people get decapitated for two hours than to watch them trek through New Zealand for the same amount of time.

Two of my big disappointments were A) the special effects – there were far too many. Not long into the film I decided I was watching a video game and not a live-action movie. This is the same beef I had with the last two films and it angers me because we came to expect so much out of Peter Jackson’s work (really though…why the fake orcs…WHYYY) B) sound mixing – sound editing? whoever is involved with adding the music and dialogue in. The dialogue felt so fake, everything was loud and hyper-stereo, I didn’t believe that the actors were actually speaking during the scene (adding to the whole ‘video game’ feel) The music felt constantly stifled, I often wanted it to soar with the battle but it didn’t. It just sort of sat beneath the ice that Thorin was fighting. C) the love triangle. It was pointless. Neither the film or the story needed it (though I appreciated Legolas’ part in it – he’s such a great elf **dreamy sigh**).

It was a fun time though and not particularly a waste of money. Will I be surprised when it gets near nothing at the awards shows? No, and I’m sorry in advance to the people who will be legitimately sad that it doesn’t. The awards like to think they have some sort of standard **she remarked dubiously**.

 

The World Today

I – unfortunately – have fallen prey to Facebook’s new ‘trending’ initiative. Every day, I scroll through the news articles that everyone else in the world has deemed worthy enough to crowd my Facebook page. Sometimes they’re informative, often entertaining, and far more frequently they inspire me to write. (well, no, they inspire me to debate but as I have no one to listen I shall write instead)

Debate of the last several days? Breaking Bad and toys. Here is one official run-down if you haven’t already read about it.

Apparently a mother in Florida thought that the Breaking Bad action figures that are sold by Toys ‘R Us were inappropriate for children. Which is probably a fair assessment. Of course she did what every good mother does and created a petition to have the toys removed from the store, after which Toys ‘R Us complied with the 8,500 demands and pulled the toys indefinitely. Thanks to the wonders of social media we can hear directly from the stars of the show how they feel about that. Aaron Paul had his comebacks on Twitter, see them in this article.

Aaron Paul argues that the figures aren’t any worse of an influence than violent video games or Barbie dolls, and I have several things to say on that front. Last I checked the security on every video game was pretty high (because hello they’re all $70, not only are they in a special section but they are all tripled wrapped in those security boxes and you can’t even leave the section till you’ve bought it) This is all video games, E rating doesn’t get an exception. Last I checked any way, technology and society have changed drastically from when I shopped at Toys ‘R Us. (or any of my family) Bottom line? They aren’t handing out violent video games to every four year old that wanders into the store.

Barbie dolls get a bad rap. I mean really, the discussion these days is that she sets an unrealistic body image for girls. (as opposed to any of those other weird-ass looking girl toys, Bratz I’m looking at you) Someone on tumblr (I’m sorry I wish I knew who you were) made a valid point, that Barbie never was about body image or beauty (sure she is pretty, and sure we get to dress her up and that’s all great) but Barbie went on to be anything she wanted to! Princess, queen, lawyer, mom – I’m currently looking at President Barbies (yes Barbies – one from 2012 and one from 1992 folks).

On the flip side, I get that we live in a free country and that maybe a toy (regardless of whether or not it comes with plastic toy meth and cash) should be allowed to be sold in stores like Toys ‘R Us. It was also pointed out that these figures are sold in the ‘adult’ section of the store, which I can’t argue with too much.

So should such a controversial action figure be sold in a store that is specifically for children’s toys? I don’t know of too many adults my age or older who will go out of their way to go to Toys ‘R Us unless it’s the holidays and the other stores are out of a DVD or game. I could be wrong but Toys ‘R Us is hardly the go to place for collectibles. So is it really that big a deal whether the figures are sold or not?

Aaron Paul and moms in Florida want you to think so. It’s the principal of the thing, obviously.

 

 

 

 

Relevant Post #1

I know this is a little late, and you’ll find that when it comes to contemporary pop culture I am usually late, so I apologize in advance.

Two days ago I finished the first season of American Horror Story. Considering the premise of the show it’s embarrassing that it took me this long to watch it. I love the horror genre, especially ghost stories, and I really should have picked up on this sooner. That being said, I’m now working my way through season two and I am rather excited for season four.

Not enough circus tales are taken seriously in the horror genre.

Anyway, the main plot is fairly typical of a horror movie; a family, the Harmons, move into an old house in Los Angeles, hoping for a new start. Of course the house they’ve chosen is the mother load of haunted houses, and of course they have no idea.

I really enjoyed the fact that no part of the show ever felt really cliche. Sure there were plenty “Don’t do that! Don’t go there! Just leave already!” moments, but we all secretly love those don’t we?

The cast is incredibly solid, Even Peters was fantastic as Tate. He’s grown quite a bit from his Phil of the Future days. Jessica Lange (DUH) was divine and I would have loved more of Sarah Paulson’s character (though clearly I will get that in season 2).

My favorite part of the show was the pay off. The beginning of every episode answered questions from the previous episodes, and satisfyingly tied up all the loose ends. The story structure is unique and refreshing and you don’t ever feel bored.

I have yet to see too many shows that can do that, usually because they have longer seasons with slower pacing. I appreciated it though, and I hope more shows emulate that.

I’ve started the second season and have been informed that I will enjoy it much more than the first, I’ll keep ya’ll posted. =]