Monthly Archives: June 2013

Man of Steel

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I’m gonna start this by saying I went to this movie under protest. I’m not a Superman fan, never have been. I’ve enjoyed the Christopher Reeves movies the same way I enjoy B rated sci-fi movies, they’re hokey and lame but that’s the fun of them. Also I can mock them in the comfort of my own home. As a kid I was raised in the D.C. universe (given the choice now I prefer Marvel) with shows like Superman the animated series, Batman the animates series, Justice League and it always felt as though you had to choose between Batman and Superman and my brother and I always picked Batman. Superman was always too white bread, too much of a goody two shoes it was annoying. He was the vanilla ice cream of superheroes and I’ve never liked vanilla. It wasn’t that Batman was darker, well he was but that’s not the point, it was that I could understand Batman/Bruce Wayne. His origin story made sense to me, I could see where he could come from and why he was who he was and accept it. I couldn’t understand Superman, I mean I get he’s an alien raised by humans in Kansas which I guess instills him with good wholesome (christian) values and then he’s a news reporter/ superhero in Metropolis but why? He has superhuman abilities but why is he a superhero? Because he can? Is it some random hobby he picked up, all the freaks are doing it and I have nothing better to do so I might as well save Metropolis? Then there’s the whole Clark Kent issue, the man’s personality is so earnest and sweet you talk to him for five minutes and you walk away with type II diabetes. My final sticking point was the glasses. Glasses? Really? That’s your disguise? Batman has a cowl and mask so no one recognizes him and all you do is take off your glasses and I’m supposed to believe no one recognizes you? If I take off my glasses and dress different from normal my friends aren’t going to wonder who I am, most of the guys probably won’t even realize that I’ve changed anything. Sorry, I got off topic venting about Superman but these were the feeling I had going in to see Man of Steel.

Sitting in the theater before the movie started all I could think was ‘oh goody another origin story reboot, and it’s my least favorite superhero. Yay.’ I’ve grown so tired of origin stories, lately the movie industry has been saturated with remakes, reboots, re-whatever and honestly it’s boring. I rarely get excited over movies anymore. When I see a remotely interesting movie trailer, instead of ‘I can’t wait to see this in theaters’ it’s ‘meh, I’ll wait till it comes out on dvd’. Then The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug trailer came on and I had a moment of squee, have you seen the trailer for that? So great! Then came Man of Steel and I have to say, I absolutely loved it.

There are many fans who are worried that because it was Christopher Nolan the movie would be too dark and gritty like the Dark Knight trilogy. Read these words and repeat after me: it’s not Dark Knight. Got it? Good. Yes, Man of Steel is darker than any Superman movie before it but think dark in the way Star Trek or the Avengers is dark, honestly I wouldn’t use the word dark with Man of Steel I consider it more heightened reality than dark and gritty. For the first time in my life I felt that I could understand Clark Kent, more than that (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I felt that I could LIKE Clark Kent. He felt like a real person, he wasn’t plain white bread anymore but an individual who had to deal with the same crap the rest of us did (bullying, growing up, feeling like a total freak, etc) with the added issue of hiding who he was so the black helicopters wouldn’t pick him up and take him to some government lab where he’s dissected for science. He was so…human. His honest, unassuming, almost vulnerable at times, nature was balanced by the rage, sorrow, and confusion that afflicts us all. And he had a good sense of humor, you don’t understand how important that is until a character doesn’t have it. Interestingly enough the whole movie I was actually hoping that he would succeed and usually I’m on the side of the bad guys in a Superman movie.

The graphics and aesthetic of this move were amazing. Krypton looked like something from Star Wars or John Carter, you get a good feel of the world and some of the culture before it’s completely annihilated and I gave bonus points for their counsel looking like they had raided the Time Lord Counsel’s closet. I really liked the flow of the movie as well, instead of the traditional straight line that the Superman movies usually take (meaning it starts with Krypton being destroyed, scenes from childhood, Daily Planet, bad guy fight scene, save Lois, save the day. Rinse, lather and repeat) his childhood is in flashbacks. There are a ton of cool fight scenes too, all the mindless violence and destruction an audience could ask for. I had some minor issues with the main bad guy but it was mostly that looking at him unnerved me because even though I knew it was an actor I kept feeling like he was cgi, maybe it was the costume. Made his head look like it didn’t go on that body.

There’s also another aspect to this movie that really affected how I judged it. Henry Cavill. I’m usually not shallow, I find talent and intelligent hot over looks but have you seen him? He doesn’t need heat vision to burn me up with those steel-blue eyes. There is some serious fan service in this movie and for once it is in the girls favor. I might have zoned out a couple times hypnotized by those abs and eyes and hair….where was I? Right, lets just say this movie has something for everyone. Little bit of romance, ton of action and explosions, sci-fi goodness, and a man of steel who stole my heart. It’s a visually stunning movie and what I remember of the plot (the parts where Cavill wasn’t shirtless) was good. Man of Steel is a refreshing film in a tired genre.


Ender’s Game: The Fate of Humanity is Child’s Play

enders-gameThis book has been on my shelf a long time, one of those sci-fi staples that you tell yourself you’ll get around to reading and then you let it collect dust for a few years. In fact I had forgotten until recently that I even owned this book. It wasn’t until I was reorganizing my bookshelves that I noticed it and decided on a whim to read it and when I did I mentally kicked myself for leaving it unread on a shelf for so long. This book is a masterpiece. I’m always a bit trepidatious when it comes to those ‘if your a fan of -insert fandom here-‘ must reads. I think it’s partly because I don’t like being told what I “must read” if I’m a sci-fi or fantasy fan and also because if I do read one and I don’t like it I feel like it’s my fault and now I have to hand in my fan card. Luckily this was not the case with Ender’s Game.

The human race had been attacked by the Formics, an intelligent insectoid alien race more commonly and derogatorily known as “buggers”, we won the first and second invasions but barely and at great cost. To keep that from happening again the Battle School was made and now exceptionally bright children are selected and enrolled into the school to be trained as the next generation of soldiers, better, faster, smarter. Enter the main character Andrew “Ender” Wiggin a brilliant 6-year-old boy, a social outcast for being a Third (third child) in a world where the United States only permits families to have two children and you need to request government permission to have a third. Like all children Ender was monitored (some kind of chip I think in the back of the neck that lets the government see and hear what you do…creepy) and he was chosen to go to the Battle School. Ender was picked right off the bat as the best of the best and was deemed humanity’s last hope. While that’s all well and good for humanity but Ender is a child (yes an exceptional one but still…) and he is pushed to limits that grown men would have buckled under while still having the pure innocence that only children can have.

This book was amazing, the way it captures the essence of human nature is masterful. I easily shifted from one characters viewpoint to the other feeling the emotions they felt, every slight and injustice and then another characters voice would take over and I would see it from the opposite side. That’s what I love about this book, there really isn’t a bad guy. Usually in a book you see things from the perspective of one person or a few people but all of them on the same side. You sympathize with them, their viewpoints become yours and the enemy is nothing more than an evil (sometimes simple other times more complex) that stands against everything you do and must be stopped for the good of blah blah etc. Ender’s Game is more than that. Even the buggers a race that tried to wipe out the humans, something that most books would have left as an evil alien race who we either defeat or we die a heroic death, we see things from their side. How our cultural and racial differences lead to the near destruction of first one race and then the other.

Ender’s Game had me continually conflicted, the different viewpoints all right in their own way made my head spin. Like real life, I found myself confused and asking myself the question ‘Who am I to deem who’s evil?”. These people were just trying to live their lives, make the hard decisions that come with life doing the best they could while sticking to what they believed was right and for the good of others. Why do I, an impassive observer, get to label them as good or evil/ hero or villain?

I would recommend this book to anyone (I give it a five out of five stars) however I would offer a warning to those who would read it. DON’T try to power through this book. If there are any readers out there like me (the “just one more chapter, oh hey when did it become morning? Crap I gotta get to work and I haven’t slept” readers) please note that this book isn’t for the faint of heart. The writing style is easy to read and the subtle simplicity lures you into a false sense of security, so the emotions sneak up on you. I actually rage quit twice because I read for too long and it was too much for me, I would throw the book down and pace the room muttering to myself “people are just so….grrr! Why?! Why?!”. I needed time to digest what I had witnessed and come to terms with what I was feeling before I could pick up the poor abused book and continue the story.

I understand why Ender’s Game is considered a must-read for any Science Fiction fan. This unassuming little book holds up a mirror to humanity and strips away the white lies and illusions we allow ourselves on a day-to-day basis. I wasn’t told or led to feel a certain way but I would feel for each of the characters. The raw emotion I felt was difficult for me to understand, I would have to analyze why I was so angry at a certain character when I had felt sympathy for them only chapters before. The difference between a good book and a great book is that while both are entertaining a great book gets you to start thinking, asking questions that you normally wouldn’t ask yourself or others. Ender’s Game is one of the greats; it challenged me and I would spend hours contemplating the chapter I had read, piecing and re-piecing my viewpoint from what I had learned. At the end of Orson Scott Card’s 324 page book I sat in silence for a while absorbing everything I had just experienced. As my thoughts began to return to the real world it dawned on me that for the first time in a long time, even if only for a brief moment, I had regained a sense of wonder.

 

 

p.s. For those who don’t know this book is becoming a movie this year. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t lose too much in translation.


Hogwarts Alumna: Ravenclaw

Hogwarts Alumna: Ravenclaw

Ruched strapless dress
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Vivienne westwood
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Sparkly shoes
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Vintage jewelry
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The Wearable World of Harry Potter


Hogwarts Formal: Ravenclaw

Hogwarts Formal: Ravenclaw


A Few of My Favorite Things, Boys Edition

I’ve been thinking about doing a favorites list for a while, favorite movies, food, etc. I know majority of the internet couldn’t care less what some random fangirls favorites are but I will do one anyway (don’t worry it’s not this one…kinda) not to get approval from random people but more to find common ground with potential friends and because my brain panics when asked a direct question. Someone will ask me “Hey, what’s your favorite movie?” and my mind freaks out, goes blank and then comes back a minute later like ‘Movie? I’ve never seen a movie in my entire life. What are these movies of which you speak?’ and then wracks itself to think of a movie, any movie. Then once it finds a movie it’s like ‘ha! yes, a movie say that out loud quick they’re looking at you funny’ and pushes the speak function which makes me then say to the person “Dumb & Dumber”. Really brain? Really? That’s the first movie that pops into my head? I don’t even like that movie!  If I write a list then maybe my brain when asked that question will say “check your blog!” before it says something stupid and runs away to hide from the evil direct question. Hopefully I’ll have internet when they ask or I’m screwed.

You know how I said this kinda wasn’t a favorites list? Yeah well, I lied. This is totally a favorites list. Today I’m going to talk about the famous boys (well technically men) that I love dearly and why I love them. If you’re more sexually attracted to the female of the species you might want to sit this one out or stick around for a good laugh and to maybe take notes on their awesomeness. I have three categories  when it comes to men; ones I love and respect (the I want to be like them group), ones I love to pieces (the best friend group), and ones that, damn they’re sexy (the if they asked me to marry them today I would drop everything in my life and run to them group). I will probably write one post for each category. Lets start shall we?

Love and Respect aka The Role Models

BTW this isn’t in any particular order of favorites.

1. Sir Patrick Stewart

fa41ffa6e9ac779a4a75abeece417af9Isn’t he adorable? Most people know Patrick Stewart from his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation, I’m actually not much of a Trekkie/Trekker (I know shocker right?) but I have to say that Captain Jean-Luc Picard was kinda bad ass. Also, the dude was Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men he’s way up there in the hierarchy of the nerd kingdom. I wouldn’t say he’s the king of nerds (unless there can be more than one then he’s totally a king of nerds) but he’s gotta be like a duke or count of nerds. If I could only use one word to describe Patrick Stewart it would be, charming. Everything about Stewart is absolutely charming in every sense of the word. He has a delightful sense of humor that seeps into everything he does and gives his eyes that mischievous twinkle. My favorite roll for him was when he was in Robin Hood Men in Tights, but I’m a sucker for that movie anyway. His voice, one of the most recognizable voices in the world, is a spellbinding baritone with a to-die-for British accent (I don’t know what it is about British accents but everything about them is wonderful). However the thing that makes me respect him (besides his mad acting skills) is his activism. Anyone who was able to sit through my last post (props to you if you did because it was incredibly whiny) knows a little about Patrick Stewart’s activist activities. If you didn’t, let me shed some light. Growing up Patrick Stewart watched as his mother suffered under domestic violence. Today he works with the Ring the Bell campaign to speak out against violence against women. “The truth is that domestic violence and violence against women touch many of us. This violence is not a private matter. Behind closed doors it is shielded and hidden and it only intensifies. It is protected by silence – everyone’s silence. Violence against women is learned. Each of us must examine — and change — the ways in which our own behavior might contribute to, enable, ignore or excuse all such forms of violence. I promise to do so, and to invite other men and allies to do the same”- Patrick Stewart. All that plus his down-to-earth, humbleness and genuinely kind nature (haven’t met him but I’ve heard from friends that have), what’s not to love about Sir Patrick Stewart?

2. Steven Moffat

One is the embodiment of pure evil...the other is a Dalek

One is the embodiment of pure evil…the other is a Dalek

I don’t think love is the right word when it comes to Steven Moffat, I have such mixed feelings about the man. Can you say you love someone if you curse their name on a daily basis? Yes? OK, then I do love Moffat in that whole there’s-a-thin-line-between-love-and-hate-and-I’ve-got-a-foot-on-either-side-of-the-line kind of way. I know that he’s not responsible for every little thing that happens on Doctor Who but I know that he takes pleasure in making our lives miserable so I’m blaming him for all Doctor Who feels. Hell I blame him for bad things that happen in real life. Moffat to me is an evil deity who feeds off the sorrow and feels of others, you have to worship him and respect his awful power (and I do have a lot of respect for the man/demon/thing) but that doesn’t mean you have to have fluffy bunny feelings toward him. Still you’ve got to love and respect his (and everyone else who writes on Doctor Who) mastery of storytelling. That fact he (they) can interweave seemingly random events and then make them click at just the right moment so that the entire audience has to go rewatch the entire season to figure out how the hell they missed that, shows the unbelievable amount of skill that he has. I didn’t even know brains could work that way.  So love? Eh, maybe. If I ever met Moffat I would probably slap him silly and then hug him. Respect? Yes, definitely. He challenges viewers and changes the way they think (though it ruins mainstream shows in the process because they become too predictable). Maybe he sold his soul to the devil or something because his knowledge of pacing, story, character building, exposition, etc. is a little too good at times. Though if he did sell his soul and isn’t an evil god himself I need to get a hold of him and find out the name of that demon. Totally would sell my soul for that kind of talent.

3. Joss Whedon

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I’m not going to say I saved the best for last, they’re all the best, but Joss Whedon has a special place in my heart. Buffy was my first fandom, it was the first show that I watched weekly (before dvr, meaning I had to catch it on time and watch it… with commercials *gasp!*) and couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I was pretty young when Buffy started, lets see it started in 1997 so I was around 7-8 years old. I was fascinated by the show, I loved the witty dialog and the story they told me, it sucked me in and I became a lifelong Whedon fan. I have come to expect a certain degree of quality from a Joss Whedon show, and he has never disappointed me. I went from Buffy to Angel (mmm Angel) to Firefly to Dollhouse and while each of them have varying degrees of love (I have favorites) the point is that I love all of them. Since I was exposed to his shows at such a young age they have become part of my makeup, they affected my values, my sense of humor, how I problem solve, the type of guys I’m into (nerds, sarcastic, intelligent, British), the type of girls I’m into (Eliza Dushku was the first girl I had a crush on), etc. etc. It’s just a part of who I am now, I don’t sit around and think ‘what would Willow do?’ but if i took the time to analyze myself a small unconscious part probably did ask that question before I made my decision. I know by heart all the songs from Once More With Feeling and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I’ve seen Serenity at least 10 times. If Joss Whedon comes out with a movie or show, you can bet I’m going to watch it. Here’s a conversation my dad and I had right after Cabin in the Woods came out.

Dad: You should go see it its really good

Me: I don’t know I’m not really in to horror movies

Dad: It’s not a horror movie, well it is but it isn’t

Me: …

Dad: Joss Whedon wrote it.

Me: I’ll go see it.

I don’t mean to gush about Whedon but he is a very important person in my life and I’ve never even met, talked to, or written to the guy. He has a way of picking the perfect actors and he knows the right moment of lightening the mood with a witty, dry, sarcastic remark/joke. I’m not even going to get started on the Avengers I already did a review on it. His shows and movies are the perfect blend of action, sorrow, sarcasm, humor, and fear. He raises the bar constantly and even though he makes me incredibly sad sometimes (I actually start freaking out if characters in his shows are happy for more than five minutes, Wash, Anya, Tara. I’m just saying man brings the pain) the Whedonverse is still one of my happy places, right up there with Hogwarts.

Honorable Mention for Amazing Skill and/or Storytelling:

Hayao Miyazaki: Best Children’s Stories, Best Subliminal Morals (strong women, pro-environment, inner strength, etc), God of Anime

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Peter Jackson: Best Making a Movie Correctly (taking time, making things by hand, not all CGI, true love of what you’re making), Head Tolkien Nerd.

Peter Jackson Hobbit Movie (2)

Guillermo Del Toro: Most Unique Way of Thinking, Best Completely Twisted Mind, Pure Imagination

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