Archive for the 'Film' Category

What is Reality?

These last few days I have had an appropriate amount of domestic rural adventures, from driving in a thunderstorm to preventing a kitten from ripping my toes to shreds.  These things are all the little things that we often overlook as we let our lives consume us.  I am that person sometimes, too, but I work hard not to be.  I’ve had a few things on my mind, and seeing the film Inception last night keeps pushing thoughts about the little things forward more and more.

First, I’d like to talk about the movie.  I’m not going to go into too much depth because I don’t want to spoil it, but it does bring you to appreciate life and reality.  The things that are always there and the things that you can depend on.  The details.  For example, the movie itself- I’m sure a lot of people will be walking out of it thinking about the deeper meanings of it and how it is a reflection on the world and our perception of it, and so on and so forth.  I walked out of that movie thinking a few things.  One: “Holy crap, where did that thunderstorm come from?  Crap.  I have to drive in it.  And I left my windows down.  Craaaaap.” Two: “I don’t think I have a single bad thing to say about that film.  From the acting to the special effects to the plot… it was all really well done.” and Three: “What was the theme, anyway?  It’s supposed to be a deep thought movie like Momento, right?  So there must be a deeper theme….”

For those that are curious, I’ve decided that the theme was “what is reality?”  It’s kind of like The Matrix in that way.  Now, I’m sure there are others who derived a very different theme about it, and I would love to rationally discuss that theme (or those themes) as well.  But from my perception of the film, there were strong themes of “what is reality” and “what is dream” running through it.  And, in saying that, I don’t feel like I’m spoiling the film because dreams are a present theme in the commercials alone.

From the question “what is reality” we must ask ourselves… what is real?  What makes things believable?  For me, that is all the little things in the world.  The things that make our experiences our own.  We all may walk into a grocery store, but do you avoid walking through aisles packed with people (even if you desperately need something in that aisle) so you can stay out of peoples’ way?  Do you walk through the produce section and drool over all the berries and ultimately buy some, even though you know they’re out of season and they’ll be gone before you get home?  Do you hang out in the bakery for a few minutes just to smell the bread?  I do.  Things like that – little sights and smells and hopes and such – make the experience mine.

This week, I am going to try to stop and notice all the small things.  To stop and take a deep breath and appreciate the world as I run around.

Another thing that has inspired this thought process is a book I recently started reading.  It’s half for school, and half for research, since part of the reason I’m a History Major is to gather information about the world so I can use it in my writing.  The book is called Avengers of the New World by Laurent Dubois.  It tells the story of the Haitian Revolution and the world that led to it.  It’s for my Africans in the Colonial World class, basically a follow-up class to Atlantic History, which I took sophomore year.  Anyway.  I’m only 9o-pages into the book and there was a section all about culture and religion and the ways the Africans kept their customs alive in Saint-Dominique.  What do you do, when you’re lashed often for little to no reason, are not allowed to meet with other slaves… and even the free-coloureds kept having their rights lessened.  Heck, the thing that really annoys me is the “Liberty Tax” that white plantation owners had to pay when they freed a slave.  When you are in a position that most of the slaves (or any good person, really) where in, having their hands tied by the powerful few-and-far-between…the only thing you can do, once you’ve run out of options is to stop, see what there is for you in the world, and move forward.  Find the next path and renew yourself mentally, spiritually, and emotionally by the little things that have been driving you all along.

Today, a friend told me that whenever he hears “On The Dark Side” by John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, he thinks of me, because I’m the only other person he’s ever met whose heard of the band.  It was a little thing, but it made me smile and lifted my spirits after six, seven hours of consistent photocopying, binding, and wanting to hit machines with a crowbar.  Has there been any little things in the world today that gave you the strength to move forward?  What are the things that you rely on daily to keep you grounded in this mad world?

All’s Quiet on the Eastern Front

Sunset in Albany

The weekend is winding down to an end.  Out my window, I can see the golden clouds of Sunday’s sunset.  Still beautiful, touched by the magic in this world that all too often we forget exists.  It’s so easy to run about busy when we should stop every once and a while to look at the sky, trace leaves as they sit on the trees, and to pet the friendly dog that it pattering by.  These last few hours I have been breathing softly and still, living and relishing in this beautiful world and being grateful for the moments in my life that allow my to kick my shoes off and lean back and try to guess what shapes the clouds are taking.  What a wonderful weekend!

I rarely have the opportunity to relax.  Even when I have time off, I have projects.  Some projects are self-inflicted.  Others are assigned.  One way or the other, even in my “free time,” I am occupied (or at least I am supposed to be) and so I spend my free time procrastinating and begging my overheating computer for another excuse to put off the inevitable.  But not this weekend.  When you’re separated from your resources, you have no choice but to sit back, relax, and be grateful.  On Friday, I saw Despicable Me and it made me smile from it’s cuteness and creativity.  The characters were round (unusually so for a children’s film) and it was a movie equally enjoyable for adults and children.  It was cool to see the threate filled with all ages- you don’t get that a lot.  And I also spent the last couple days at Bryan’s house.  No internet, no phone calls… I didn’t even bring a book (pure accident, I assure you.  I was frantically digging through my purse this morning, seeking Scarlet.)

It was really nice to have the house to ourselves.  Nowhere to go, nowhere to be… nobody demanding our attention (except a kitten, who was mostly a pleasure to play with anyway).  We were able to curl up, talk about whatever we wanted, do whatever we wanted.  Bryan made a scrumptious steak that was marinated for a week (yes, I know, it sounds like overkill, but if you had tasted it, you wouldn’t think so) and we started watching this really awful movie called “Vegas in Space”.  We got about five minutes in to this ridiculous, B-rated, 1980s (at the latest) sci-fi murder mystery before it stopped being funny and started being painful.  It was still a lot of fun, though.  And it’s nice to be able to escape and burrow away with someone who loves you even when you look like Medusa when you wake up in the morning.

The clouds in the eastern sky are bright pink now, and the neighbors on the lake are starting to shoot off fireworks.  I think it’s time for me to bury my head into my writing and lose the rest of my weekend to comfort.

If only every weekend could be so simple and welcoming.

Twi-hards and Pott-heads.

Luna Lovegood:  Half-Blood Prince Poster

With the movie of Eclipse fresh out of the oven, the time again comes when any level-headed, perfectly rational, life-treasuring human being pulls the covers over their eyes and hides from the rabid fans.  Or perhaps I’m a bit unfair.   You see, there are three kinds of Twilight fans.  Type One: Rabid, insane people who stalk Robert Pattinson and ask him to bite their children. These are the ones that call themselves “Twi-hard”.  Type Two: Those who argue for hours and hours over who’s better:  Jacob or Edward.  They will occasionally stop talking to their friends over the issue, but only for a few days, and not forever (for those who hate those of the opposite team forever and always, see “Type One”.)  Type Three: Those who read the books, appreciate them, go to the midnight premieres most of the time, and keep up with the news.  Certain types are, naturally, a little easier to abide by.  For me, I know only Twos and Threes.  I get to read about Ones in the newspaper and online, though.

What makes these young adult book series’ such a phenomenon?  Is it just because they are what they are:  book series’ for young adults whose hormones aren’t stable and therefore it’s not about the books- it’s about the hotness-scale of the characters?  Is it because the writing is the most brilliant thing this side of Mars?  Or is it all about telling a good story?  I think it’s a mixture of all three (of course, many Twilight fans will tell you it’s all about Edward).

I am biased:  I picked up Twilight once when I was a senior in high school and didn’t like the writing style, so I put it back down.  There are a lot of people who have done the same as me, but there are also those who can (and will) argue that Stephanie Meyer’s writing style is easy to read and superior to any other they know.  Hey, awesome.  I’m glad that it works for y’all.

I choose not to talk about my opinions of the characters, or Meyer’s plot (which seems entirely dependent on Bella procrastinating on picking either Edward or Jacob).  I’m not suicidal, see, so I will leave the story itself alone.  From what I have heard, however, the screenplay is fantastically close to the actual books (the Harry Potter directors could stand to learn something) and that is a nice relief to the fans.  However, the film cast and crew probably doesn’t want to be killed by rabid fans by being incompetent.

Is it worth our time and effort to throw ourselves into these fictional worlds?  I’m not just talking about the world of Twilight– goodness knows I’ve been waiting for my letter to Hogwarts for ten years, and there are many out there that would die for a chance to see Hobbiton or have tried to build their own lightsaber.  The real question isn’t whether it’s worth our time and effort, the real question is:  why do we do it?  No series outside of fantasy has as big of a following, as many obsessive fans.

Fantasy has always been escapism.  It is true that young adults seem to pick it up more whole-heartedly (and no wonder- adults obsessing over fictional characters are judged much more heavily than teenagers), but there are people who come home after work and sink into an armchair with that tattered copy of Prisoner of Azkaban that they just finished last night, and they open it up to page one again…  “Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways…”  It certainly isn’t just the “geek” community who dives into the fandom.  It’s amazing that as everyone is wishing they could fly a tie-fighter instead of punching in data, we are escaping into our fantasy worlds and binding ourselves together as a community.

Oh yes.  I said it.  Twi-hards, you are equal to those wanna-be Jedi.  Pott-heads, you are equal to those who do not simply walk into Mordor.  So even though I do not like Twilight personally, I respect Stephanie Meyer just as much as I respect J.K. Rowling.  They are both gods, in their own right- weaving worlds of wonder for all of us to enjoy.  Whether it is Narnia, or Middle Earth, Tatooine, Forks, Hogwarts, Discworld, the Calla… I can go on.  We all exist in them in our imaginations to escape our world.  Fanfiction is the inner reaches of our souls trying to control those worlds we love.  Roleplaying gives us a chance to live in those worlds, even if only for a moment.

That said, I have a few confessions to make:

  • I dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi for Halloween when I was a senior in high school.
  • I own a time turner.
  • I have every single Harry Potter book, including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quiddich Through the Ages, and Tales of Beedle the Bard.
  • I own half of the New Jedi Order series.
  • I have read Attack of the Clones by R.A. Salvatore 5 times.
  • I own the special extended versions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • I am dressing up as Luna Lovegood (see image above) this Halloween.
  • I have read the Harry Potter series all the way through twice, and I have read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at least 10 times (I stopped counting).
  • I have music from A Very Potter Musical on my Zen.
  • I own the Lord of the Rings trivia game… and rock at it.
  • I learned proper English grammar by writing Harry Potter fanfiction.
  • I online-roleplayed in the Potterverse for two years (until there were no more decent forums).
  • I once spent a whole week pouring through my Harry Potter books to prove that Draco and Hermione were a more feasible couple than Draco and Harry, even though I don’t ship Draco/Hermione.
  • I own soundtracks to Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and a collectors edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
  • I’ve taken the online Harry Potter Sorting Tests enough to know that I don’t fit in one house, I’m split between two (Ravenclaw and Slytherin) but if I was actually at Hogwarts, I’d be sorted into Ravenclaw.
  • I have a toy lightsaber… and nobody else can touch it. *shifty eyes*
  • I own the videogames: Knights of the Old Republic, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Force Unleashed, Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers, Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  • I dominate at Harry Potter Scene It.
  • I go to every single Harry Potter premiere I can get to.
  • I went to 2am showings of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
  • I spend the entire time watching the Harry Potter movies pointing out all the discrepancies from the books.  Somehow, this amuses my friends.

That is all I can think of at the moment.  What about y’all – do you have a list of “guilty secrets” that ties you to your favourite fictional worlds?  A cardboard cut-out of Edward Cullen, perhaps?  Arwen’s pendant?  How many times have you walked into your closet, hoping you’d come out in Narnia?  I’d love to know about it!

Sheep Get Friday Mornings Off… AT PIGFARTS!

Order of the Phoenix Ticket

I absolutely, positively cannot sleep.  I have been sitting here on my bed since about quarter past midnight, and it is now quarter to two.  In the morning.  My phone alarm is going to go off in three hours, and I’ve not had a wink of sleep yet.  I’ve even stooped so low as to contemplate counting sheep, but I’m pretty sure they’d be at the cafe and unavailable for counting, or some other silliness.

Since I came to the conclusion that sleep wasn’t coming (at least not yet) I have sat at my computer and haphazardly photoshopped a background for this blog.  For anyone interested in the least, all you can really see is a neck, shoulders, and a necktie.  The necktie is of the Hogwarts variety and is in mixed colours of blue and green.  This represents my username: slytherclawchica.  When Harry Potter first came out, there were a slew of “what house are you in?” Quizilla quizzes.  I took many of them, and when combined and averaged, they told me I shot be cut in half and split into two different houses:  Slytherin and Ravenclaw.  Slytherin is for the devious and determined (unfortunately, these often end up to be evil.  But not always) and Ravenclaw is for those who seek knowledge.  It makes me a dangerously driven person, always seeking greater understanding and not afraid to impose my view on the world.

I love Harry Potter.  Not the character, the series.  I think I’m going to sit here and be happy about my geekiness for a moment.  You know, I had the greatest conversation for about two-and-a-half minutes today about the Harry Potter world.  It made me happy.  Then it ended, because we jumped topics.  I could seriously talk about Harry Potter (the series, not the character) forever.  For. Ev. Er.  You can time me.

But I’m not going to.  I think I should go to bed, really, and count sheep.  Even if I have to row myself to Le Cafe du Soliel in Paris (I made that up) to find them.  Then I’ll buy them croissants.  And it will be marvellous.

I think I may talk about Harry Potter tomorrow.  Egats, so many options.  Although technically when I say tomorrow, I mean today, but I refuse to acknowledge that today is actually tomorrow until I’ve had a wink of sleeo between the two.

Oh yeah.  And the “pigfarts” thing in the title is a reference to “A Very Potter Musical”.  I am feeling much too silly to go look it up right now so I can post the links, but if you dare consider yourself a Potter fan, you will scurry off immediately and YouTube it.  Oh yes.  YouTube is a verb now.

The picture of my Order of the Phoenix Ticket makes me happy.  Caitlyn and I searched for a “premiere” of the movie, because we had gone to almost all of the others together.  So we found a midnight somewhere, and we went there and got in line at 9pm.  For a midnight movie.  It was awesome.  Not as awesome as the midnight premiere of Philosopher’s Stone, or the Attack of the Clones or Revenge of the Sith 2am premieres, but it was still cool.

Iamsuchageek.  I should go to bed now.

Goodnight, world!  Wherever you are, I hope the skies are filled with stars and your dreams are sweet.

To Infinity, and Beyond!

“When it all ends I’ll have old Buzz Lightyear to keep me company – For infinity and beyond.” ~ Tom Hanks as Woody in Toy Story 2.

Last night, I went with old friends to see Toy Story 3 at the drive-in.  I had such high expectations for the film: it scored incredibly high on Rotten Tomatoes and even some friends of mine who are extremely judgmental about movies came back from seeing it absolutely blown away.  Second sequel nothing, I was determined that the film was going to knock me right off my feet.

Guess what?  It did.  The Washington Post states Pixar as “a studio that can do no wrong” and I’m inclined to agree… at least mostly.  The only Pixar film that I wasn’t fond of was A Bug’s Life, and there was nothing wrong with it- I just didn’t like it.

There may be some minor spoilers to follow, so read at your own risk.  I’ll be careful not to ruin any bog plot twists for those who haven’t seen the movie, and are planning to.

It’s so amazing that fifteen years after the launch of Toy Story, Disney and Pixar have wrangled the entire original cast back together for not the first sequel, but the second.  The only notable exception to this is Jim Varney, who died barely a year after the release of Toy Story 2.  For those of you not familiar with actors’ names, Jim Varney voiced Slinky Dog.  Delightfully, in the third movie, Slink’s voice was wonderfully replicated by Blake Clark.  In fact, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think it was the same person.

There is so much that I can say about this movie; so many praises I can give it, but I’m going to limit it to some of my favorite aspects.  It’s really hard for me to write about this objectively, because I am very much still a child at heart and I love Disney movies- especially Disney Pixar.

  • There was the potential in the Barbie/Ken relationship to go cheesy and predictable… but it didn’t.  At first, there are all the typical, wonderful cheesy moments that make us giggle and roll our eyes, but there’s depth there that I didn’t expect, at the least, and it was so exciting to see it.
  • The last five minutes of the movie are absolutely heart-wrenching for anyone with a soul, who ever had toys, and who ever has been a kid, or has kids of their own.
  • We meet a new character:  Bonnie.  She’s very sweet, and more than anything, reminds me of myself when I was young.  There’s a brief scene when she’s cuddled in bed with all of her toys, so many that there’s barely room for her.  That was definitely me as a child.
  • The commercials do not even begin to explain the movie.  Believe me, Sunnyside is not-so-sunny.  I love Pixar commercials because they never do the movies justice.  I’m always so much more delighted after seeing the film.
  • I really loved this one part in the movie, and if I say what part, it will be a huge spoiler, but it includes a lack of redemption and garbage and I totally thought it was going to be all over.  It is so, so hard not to spoil this, but it’s the biggest twist in the film.  Let’s just say, the biggest twist was brilliant.
  • It was a perfect ending.  Very much a passing-of-the-torch ending from Andy to Bonnie, but I don’t think we can expect a Toy Story 4.  It’s sad in a way, knowing that these old friends (animated or not) who have been with us most our lives are going to be leaving us forever… except remaining in memory.  I was five-years-old (maybe six) when the first Toy Story came out, and I remember seeing it in theatres.
  • Pixar movies are for more than entertainment.  They tell a story, teach a lesson.  The Toy Story movies have always been about loyalty and friendship.  You get to see a new level in Toy Story 3 between Andy and his mother, and it’s touching.

Spanish Buzz.

I can go into silly amounts of detail, like saying specific lines and such things, but what really made the movie come together was… everything.  The development of the characters, both new and old.  Toy Story 3 wasn’t a happy-go-lucky movie.  It wasn’t a sad movie either.  All in all, it was sweet, touching, and made me feel like a jerk for having all my old stuffed animals in storage in the basement.  I may just go home and dig out my Jessie doll.

Pixar has done it again.

Also:  For a little bit of fun, check out this page to see the Easter Eggs and shout outs thrown in the movie.  They’re a lot of fun!

Absolutely Mad

A still from the Syfy miniseries, Alice.

“Look, I’ll do the flying.  All you have to do is hold on.  Look at me.  I wouldn’t let you do this if I didn’t think you’d be okay.” ~ Andrew-Lee Potts as the Hatter in Alice.

So I had time to kill this afternoon before my internship, which naturally means that I wandered into the DVD section at Wal-Mart and happened upon something I probably shouldn’t have purchased, but did anyway. It’s pretty much what I do when I’m bored and have at least $5 in my bank account that is unaccounted for. Yes, I know it’s a bad habit. But I may as well stock up now while I have the chance, eh?

I’m a little silly in the fact that I will never buy movies I’ve never seen, because I don’t want to get stuck with an investment that falls apart.  But I spotted upon the Syfy mini-series Alice for $15, and I had heard from people who have similar tastes to mine that it was good.  So, since it was considerably inexpensive for a mini-series, I picked it up.  So glad I did.

The first thing I thought of when I started it was that the style and the colors were very much like Tin Man and The Tenth Kingdom.  Now, of course, I understand why- Tin Man was also a Syfy channel mini-series (hey, what do you want, I don’t have cable television).  Having become a fan of the Alice in Wonderland franchise in the last few years (yes, before the Carter-Depp-Burton extravaganza, which, by the way, I enjoyed), I was curious and plopped down on my couch immediately to watch it.

At first, I wasn’t incredibly impressed.  Having a brunette Alice was a twist already (she is always, always, always blonde.  … Always) and now she’s also a black belt in karate?  Um.  Yeah.  Well, non-traditional, at any rate.  I don’t want to insert any spoilers, for those interested in seeing it, but haven’t yet.  But it definitely picked up from there.  And I was about to be incredibly disappointed in the ending, but, I wasn’t.  I was in the middle of texting Bryan “So, Alice was pretty good, but the ending was kind of a let down” when it twisted around again from the traditional take that endings like that have.  Again, I don’t want to give away spoilers, so I’ll say no more.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s the sap in me.

Currently, I’m not sure I liked the mini-series because it was well-done, or because I got to ogle at Andrew-Lee Potts.  I have never even heard of this actor before, but the second he came on screen, I fell in love with him.  He was a main character, but didn’t get top billing because he’s not that famous (yet).  Tim Curry is famous, he got top billing, he was in the thing for fifteen seconds. Bah humbug to all that. Anyways. Andrew-Lee Potts. He played the Hatter, and again, not sure if I’m biased because I think my heart melted into a puddle in my chest, but he seemed to do a pretty good job acting.

Scratch that.  They all did a pretty good job.  And I really liked the King of Hearts.  A lot. Such a different take on the character. There was a line, after the Queen of Hearts ordered “off with his head” and walked out of the room, he said “bring him back. By tomorrow she’ll have forgotten she killed him.” Which was funny, but also served a lot to say about both characters. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

It was definitely a great new twist on a fairytale that is becoming as old as time.  Worth seeing for any fan of the Alice in Wonderland franchise, and for any proper fantasy fan.  If you like things like Tin Man, or even Firefly, Alice is right up your alley.

In other news, I don’t know how frequent future posts are going to be because I am temporarily moving in with someone with significantly comfier beds and a shower with a better hot water heater than mine. I will be living the good life, oh yes. Be jealous.

Hatter, from Syfy's mini-series, Alice.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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