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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Trying to Go Up: An Explaination

June has been a terrible month to be inside my head.

I set off at the beginning of the month to bring my blog back into shape by doing a blog a day, but then I fell behind. I was set to fall back and do multiple posts a day if I had to.

Then I started feeling depressed.

Since I graduated from Georgia State, I’ve been applying for jobs left and right, but have gotten very little response. And that little response has been generated rejection letters. It’s been demoralizing to the point that for a couple of weeks, I stopped the job search entirely. I would sleep for hours, but wouldn’t want to get out of bed when I woke up. Because all that would be waiting for me were my computer, social networking, and another day of flipping channels. I’ve gone out and done things, but there have been nights that I would sit in my car for several minutes, trying to convince myself to go back upstairs to my place of residence.

I’m told at this point that I’m supposed to be an adult. That I have a million opportunities waiting out there for me. But what was I supposed to do when I go from higher education to a world of unemployment and Phineas and Ferb and Friends reruns to pass the time? I’ve been depressed over sexuality, divorce, death, and school before, but not over lack of employment and things to do.

So I’ve been in this rut. I haven’t wanted to write, though I have things to say. I haven’t wanted to search, though I know that I need to. I haven’t felt like myself, and it bothers me so much.

This week though, I’m starting to come to terms with it and trying to dig myself back out. I started officially on my Assistant Editor duties for Steampunk Chronicle, I’m now seriously planning for Dragon*Con after The Extraordinary Contraptions received confirmation that they’ll be there, and I saw Megan Jean and the KFB perform last night.

As for today, I watched Get Him To The Greek while I restarted my job application process, and picked up My Booky Wook by Russell Brand to fuel my Russell Brand situation as well as my love for memoirs from people with less-than-normal lives. Yeah, things have been less than ideal, but I know that I can’t be sad forever. I have to push myself though. I have to give myself reasons to get out of bed in the morning, even if it is just watching a movie while I search for work.

For that, I would like to formally apologize to my readers. I know what I promised for this month, but I let myself get in the way of it. I’ll start setting daily reminders for myself to write regularly here, sadness and depression be damned. If not for you, but for myself as well.

I mean, I can’t let the world catch me going down.

Pretty soon, I’ll be talking about Brave, Moonrise Kingdom, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Some other things as well, hopefully.

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Posted by on June 28, 2012 in Personal

 

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Nothing But A Good Time: Why I shamelessly love Rock of Ages

I make it no secret that I have a tendency to enjoy movies that critics hate. I mean, not everything, but some of my favorite movies are just absolute critical failures.

And Rock of Ages is no different.

I’m not going to lie. I expected it to be a bit of a critical failure. It’s a movie jukebox musical with 80s hair metal songs. This doesn’t exactly scream movie critic fodder. Even I was expecting to enjoy only parts of it with Tom Cruise playing over-the-top rock star Stacee Jaxx and not really being familiar with the two actors playing Sherrie and Drew.

What I didn’t expect was a completely ridiculous and fun movie about music, love, and following your dreams.

The first act of the film is a bit slow, but as soon as the bus carrying Sherrie Christian (played by Julianne Hough) away from Tulsa starts singing the chorus of ‘Sister Christian’, I knew I was going to love this movie. This realization was only made worse as soon as Russell Brand sauntered on screen as Bourbon Room manager Lonny Barnett singing Poison’s ‘Ain’t Nothing But A Good Time’.

Tom Cruise as a completely ridiculous and barely coherent frontman certainly didn’t help matters either. As soon as I saw him fall into his hot tub in his assless chaps and dragon codpiece, I knew I had to take back everything terrible I had said about him playing Jaxx before I even saw the movie. I think Cruise is realizing that he has a penchant for comedy, since this might be on the level of Les Grossman for me.

I think the magic of this movie is that everyone involved looks like they’re having a great time. They’re not going into this expecting to win a million awards, but because they know that this kind of production is going to be a ton of fun. I think Catherine Zeta-Jones is proof of this. This is the first musical she’s done since 2002’s Chicago, where she won the Academy Award for her performance as Velma Kelly. In her Daily Show interview, she talks about how she joined the cast because she knew it was going to be fun. Her performance as the uptight Patricia Whitmore shows that she’s having a great time, even more so when she’s singing Pat Benetar in the the middle of a church.

In fact, I think the only cast member I really didn’t care for at the end of it was Hough, and that was more of an ambivalence towards her voice and the character of Sherrie. Yeah, her and Drew are cute, but something about their relationship seems so miniscule when Stacee Jaxx and Constance Sack (Malin Akerman, who I still haven’t forgiven for Watchmen) are having hilarious awkward pool table/condom machine breaking sex and Lonny and Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) are declaring their love for each other while singing REO Speedwagon. In fact, the only things about the film plot wise that really disappointed me were that Lonny and Dennis weren’t more couple-like after their declaration and that we really don’t know anything about Justice Charlier. C’mon people, it’s 2012. I want more than just gay kissing and Mary J. Blige just being there with her awesome voice!

Still, I’m glad that the cast wasn’t in a Mamma Mia! like situation where only half of the cast could actually sing. I didn’t hate that movie either, but Rock of Ages already comes out ahead in my book for having cast members that could actually perform. I know that there are frustrated fans of the original musical out there for all the changes and who believe that the cast in the movie isn’t as good, but let’s be honest. While most of what I’ve seen of the original musical is their hilarious performance at the Tonys (I’m a broke post-grad, I can’t afford to see musicals in theaters), it’s a well-known fact that not everything that works on stage translates to screen. From what I know of the musical, the changes actually make sense and come down from the book writer anyway. I reserve the right to change this opinion later, but for now, the movie can stay.

So can Diego Boneta, who is fantastic despite my ambivalence towards Drew, and performs the best fake boyband song since ‘Backdoor Lover’ by DuJour. And if you get that reference, you are automatically my new favorite person.

I imagine that it will be exiting theaters fairly quickly, but I suggest giving Rock of Ages a chance at some point. It’s a fun movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I think is something that we all need every now and again. Plus, some of the covers in the film are extremely well done. Who knew stripper shoes could be percussive!

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2012 in Film, Music

 

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Reverse Engineering the Alien Franchise

I’m a failure of a blogger. I said i was going to post 30 times this month, and I’m not even close. Still, I’ll find a way to catch up a little bit. I hope. Maybe.

Anyway, I said I was going to review Prometheus, but I’m not exactly sure where to start with it. The whole idea of Prometheus is that it’s a precursor to the Alien franchise. The problem was that before Prometheus, I had never seen any of the Alien movies. I was always too scared.

Now, I enjoyed Prometheus. It was a creepy and emotional sci-fi movie with a great cast and a lot of great action and effects. I enjoyed it enough that despite the fact I was scared, I went home and watched Alien for the first time with the lights off. However, watching Alien made me realize that there seemed to be a lot about Prometheus that I was missing because I wasn’t educated on the Alien franchise. That there were a lot of jokes and knowledge I didn’t know because I didn’t read the book before class.

Still, between Prometheus and Alien alone, there were a lot of parallels that filled in a few of the gaps. Shaw and Ripley are dedicated women who are the last ones standing up to the horrors from those ships. About what started Weyland-Yutani’s obsession with the xenomorphs.

The director’s cut of Aliens is next on my list when I find a way to watch it, but I’m hoping that going through these films will give me a better appreciation of Prometheus. 

Or maybe that will be the the second Prometheus film if it ever happens. Who knows?

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Film

 

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52 books in 52 weeks, part 2: Steampunk Benders and Paper Towns

So my weekend was a bit hectic. Between hosting Birdeatsbaby, going to the Red Bull Soapbox Race, and watching the Tonys, every moment of downtime between them was welcome. I’m currently trying to figure out a way to catch up, but for now, I’ll be back on schedule with the second part of my 52 in 52 review. This one has a lot of Graphic Novels, but also some Steampunk goodies. Starting with…

14.) Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti by Genevieve Valentine – This was a peculiar, but very interesting book. Set in a steampunk circus that’s surrounded by a bleak dystopia, the tale of the Circus Tresaulti is filled with plenty of contradictions and mystery. By the end of the novel, I’m not sure if anything was clearer than it was at the beginning, but it was an enjoyable ride nonetheless. It’s like the reader is one of the people who only briefly joins the circus. You enjoy your time there, but you’ll never truly know anyone who’s in it for life.

15.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – My re-read took longer than I thought, but re-reading the book before and after the movie’s release gave me a better idea of what was changed in the film, and how the film stayed true to the book nonetheless. I need to start my reread of Catching Fire soon.

16.) Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America by Leslie Knope (The writers of Parks and Recreation) – If this book seemed massively entertaining in the episode ‘Born and Raised’, it’s because it is. A complete history of everyone’s favorite fictional and ridiculous Indiana town, Leslie’s book is just as hilarious and spirited as the town itself. Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America is an episode of Parks and Recreation set to paper, as evidenced by the huge smile on my face while reading it.

17.) Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise, Part 1 by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru – I don’t think I hate this book as much as some Avatar fans, but The Promise seems to be missing something that made the series so great. I like the set up for the reason Republic City will be built, and Sokka being grossed out by Aang and Katara is great. Will report back for Part 2 when I get it.

18.) Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Lost Adventures by Various Authors and Artists – The comics in here range in art and length, but provide wonderful little insights into what the Gaang is doing when we can’t see them. Gym coach Kyoshi might be my favorite though.

19-21.) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volumes 2-4 by Naoko Takeuchi – As I said in my previous post, reading these books is like visiting old friends in different dimensions. Everything is familiar, and I have vague memories of how they were before, but things are just different enough to differentiate it. At some point during Vol. 4 though, I realized I was approaching the end of what I knew. I was close to resolving the cliffhanger that’s been with me for almost 10 years.

22.) Paper Towns by John Green – I bought this book on a whim, and couldn’t stop reading it until I was done. I had previously read An Abundance of Katherines, but it was nowhere near as entertaining and wonderful as Paper Towns is. Even with the strange things happening to Quentin Jacobsen, the events of the book seem so realistic and are beautifully written. John Green has a gift, and I’m glad he’s sharing it with the world.

23.) Clementine by Cherie Priest – This is the least known entry into Cherie Priest’s Clockwork Century, but it’s probably my favorite. Telling the story of Captain Croggon Hainey on the chase for the Free Crow after the events of Boneshaker, it’s another Priest novel with two protagonists. The other being the tough-as-nails Maria Isabella Boyd, a former spy for the Confederate army. Boyd might be my favorite of all of Priest’s protagonists, and it’s so much fun to see two extremes like Boyd and Hainey work together. It makes me sad that this is the shortest of all of Priest’s novels in the Clockwork Century.

24.) I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! by Stuart Smalley (Al Franken) – I found this book completely by chance, but I’m glad I did. A daily affirmation book written by the hapless Saturday Night Live character, the book quickly turns from a daily affirmation book to a story of a broken man trying to make it through life. It’s very entertaining, and sometimes true to life.

25.) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 5 by Naoko Takeuchi – This is where I’m picking up where I originally left off. It’s as exciting as I thought, and I can’t wait for the Outer Senshi to appear in Volume 6.

26.) Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions by Neil Gaiman – It took me a long time to finally read this, but I’m glad I did. While it’s not a good collection overall as Fragile Things, it’s still plenty entertaining with stories such as ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’ and ‘We Can Get Them For You Wholesale’ within it’s pages. My favorite quote in the whole thing though had to be in the introduction about Alan Moore. “One day the good burghers and honest townsfolk of Northampton will burn Alan as a warlock, and it will be a great loss to the world.”

Next post will be my review of Prometheus, and how it falls parallel with Alien.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Books, Steampunk

 

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52 books in 52 weeks, Part 1: Comics, Languages, and Sailor V! Oh my!

After ending last week’s post, I realized what my topic for today is! Earlier this year, I signed up for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. My book reading last year was abysmal, and I wanted to improve upon that. So far, I’m halfway through my challenge, but I’m only going to cover the first 13 today! The next 13 will come either tomorrow or Saturday depending on when I want to do my review of Prometheus.

Anyway, here we go!

1.) The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi – A short illustrated fairy tale by the author of Persepolis. It’s a quick read, but Satrapi’s fairy tale about a young woman falling in love with a prince, and finding a way to bring him back to life after she accidentally kills him. It’s a lovely little tale with nice morals and lovely illustrations.

2.) Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Before there was Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’Malley created Raleigh, the teenage protagonist of Lost At Sea. While the art isn’t as refined or dynamic as it was in the Scott Pilgrim series, Lost At Sea was a surprisingly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be introverted and depressed at that age. While I never ended up on an accidental road trip the way she does in this book, reading about Raleigh was a lot like reading about myself at that age. O’Malley has always been good at writing women, and Lost At Sea just proves it.

3&4.) Codename: Sailor V, Volumes 1 and 2 by Naoko Takeuchi – Ahhh, the long fabled prequel to Sailor Moon. Something that was never read by most Americans until Kodansha acquired the rights for re-translation and publication in the US. As a Sailor Moon fan, reading about Minako’s adventures before she was a fully realized Senshi was a treat indeed. It was a bit surprising to me though, because Sailor V tends to read more like a loving parody of the magical girl genre than an actual prequel to the biggest magical girl manga of all time. Still, Sailor V made me love Minako more, and made me glad that Takeuchi’s work is available to us again.

5.) Habibi by Craig Thompson – I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never read Thompson’s debut novel Blankets. I’ve always seen the thick tome on the shelf of comic shops and graphic novel sections, but I never thought to pick it up. So going into Habibi, I was not aware of how lush Thompson’s work actually is. A tale of love between two children sold into slavery, this beautifully illustrated tale tells a story of religion, math, writing, and language as we read the story of Dodola and Zam. This book was a labor of love, and it shows on every page.

6.) Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff – Man, this book was weird. It starts with a woman charged with murder claiming that she’s an assassin, but by the end, it’s just a confusing combination of twists that left me staring at my iPad and flipping pages back and forth. I’m not sure if I hated it or loved it.

7.) Freerunners by Joseph Chandler Cain – I’ve pretty much said everything I needed to say about this book. It’s flawed, but still fun.

8.) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 1 by Naoko Takeuchi – Reading the Kodansha edition of this book was like visiting an old friend from another dimension. I know that it’s pretty much the same thing I read when I was 12, but something about her is slightly different. Like I said with Sailor V, it’s nice to have these new editions in the US.

9.) Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid by Lemony Snicket – This book is a quick read, but it’s full of wonderful snark and truth that only the creator of A Series of Unfortunate Events can provide.

10.) The Beejum Book by Alice O’Howell – I read this children’s book on the urging of my friend Thaddea, who is so named for the main character of this book. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it as much as Thaddea did, but I’m happy to be wrong here. A wonderful children’s book, it’s a great book that combines imagination, real life lessons, religion, and psychology into a way that translates for children of any age. It makes me sad that this book isn’t really in print anymore.

11.) Shakespeare’s Sonnets by William Shakespeare – Having an e-reader to read these classic sonnets on is magical. My copy in iBooks is covered with a digital purple highlighter that has all my favorite lines and poems. Oh Will, you wordsmith you.

12.) Oracle of Shadows and Light Guidebook by Lucy Cavendish – This was a small book that accompanied a wonderful oracle deck illustrated by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. Sometimes, Cavendish seems very new age-y, but the deck and her explanations of how we work makes so much sense to me. It doesn’t hurt that Becket-Griffith’s paintings are so very lovely.

13.) In The Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent – This is an immensely entertaining book. While it is a non-fiction story about invented languages, linguistics PhD Okrent manages to explain the nature of language and the people who invent them in a way that all of us can explain. The beginning of the book may be a bit hard to get through, but the language that she’s dealing with is pretty hard to get through too. In the pages of this book, she really makes these languages shine, and the people who create them sympathetic. It’s not just a guidebook. It’s a story for the underdogs.

Tomorrow will either be more books, or Prometheus. Also, if you’re in Atlanta tomorrow night, you should come see The Extraordinary Contraptions perform with Birdeatsbaby! See you then!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Books

 

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Assessing 15 years of alien scum, pie, and saving the universe with the Men In Black

Welcome to day two of the blogathon! First off, here’s the video of me talking about The Hunger Games on 11Alive news. I really hope I represented the fandom well, and that we’ll know if it’s coming to Georgia soon.

Now to our main topic of the day.

Long ago, when I was a little thing in this dimension, I was scared of anything monster-like. Aliens, ghosts, creatures in the night, what have you. It was a bad time for me to be easily scared. I still jump a little at some things, but I’m nowhere near as scared as I used to be. I think this tide started to turn with the first and second Men In Black movies. Yes, the giant bugs and the vine monsters were scary, but it helped knowing that there were endlessly cool people behind the scenes with big technology ready to save the universe at a moment’s notice. Those first two movies were some of my favorites for a while, and made me fear the scary things a little less. There was even a Halloween where I donned my own black suit and shades.

Over the years, I liked the second one a little less, but I still found comfort in the series. I even saw the recently released Men In Black 3 twice during opening weekend. I enjoyed it immensely, but I know that there were parts of it that didn’t quite compare to the rest of the series I loved. So not too long after, I posted a list of personal rankings to my tumblr to suss out how different elements of the series measured up to me. Now here, for your reading pleasure, is the more fleshed out version of the list. Spoilers for the 3rd film are sprinkled within, and yes, this is just an assessment of the movies. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the animated series, and I never read the comic books.

Let’s start with…

Overall Movies

  1. Men In Black – You can’t mess with the original. Even after 15 years, everything in this film proves to be funny even after multiple viewings. Just like Ghostbusters before it, everything in this movie came together in the right way to create a wonderful monster-busting comedy.
  2. Men In Black 3 – After the second film, I was a little worried about what this one was going to be like. While the movie wasn’t quite as good as the original, the film’s time travel plot managed to breathe new life into the franchise while bringing back some of the first film’s humor. Not to mention Josh Brolin’s brilliant impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones as a young Agent K.
  3. Men In Black II – Talk about your wasted potential. While I don’t hate this film, it’s easy to see the cracks in the franchise with this one. Will Smith as J was not meant to be a straight man, and a good villain was wasted on a plot that really only tried to show why being an MIB agent secretly sucks.

The Ladies

Each Men In Black film has had a female character alongside our intrepid duo of J and K. They were love interests, of course, but they sometimes had a bit more to show for it.

  1. Dr. Laurel Weaver/Agent L (Linda Fiorentino, Men In Black) – It will probably kill me forever that Linda Fiorentino didn’t return for future films. Dr. Weaver/Agent L was a super interesting character. She was sarcastic and clever, and she didn’t take no for an answer. I would have loved to see her and J’s dynamic while K was retired.
  2. Agent O (Emma Thompson/Alice Eve, Men In Black 3) – I sort of wish the reverse of L for O. I wish we had seen her throughout the whole franchise. I would have loved to see O from the beginning. What qualified her to take over for Zed, her dynamic with K after they had ended their relationship, and how she would have treated all of the bizarreness that comes with the job. I really credit this to Thompson’s hilariously worn down performance as well as Alice Eve’s adorable innocence as the same character. If there will be a fourth movie, I look forward to seeing more of Agent O.
  3. Laura Vasquez (Rosario Dawson, Men In Black II) – It pains me to rank Rosario so low on this list since I’ve been in love with her since the days of Josie and the Pussycats. However, it just KILLED me that she was reduced down to being the love interest of plot convenience. Dammit, if Rosario Dawson is going to play a Psychic Alien Princess, at least give me better foreshadowing or better powers beside making it rain when she’s sad. SHE’S ROSARIO DAWSON. SHE’S WORTH IT.

Best Villain

Well, for every Earth saving hero, you need a formidable villain. And the MIB franchise has had a few.

  1. Serleena (Laura Flynn Boyle, Men In Black II) – Serleena is exactly what I mean about the wasted potential about the second movie. She was a cool and creepy villain. Seemingly indestructible, could look and sound like anyone, not afraid to use sex appeal to get what she wanted, and millions of slimy tentacles that could crush you at any second. Serleena deserved a better plot than chasing a love interest of plot convenience. I might be the only Serleena fan, but that’s because I know she was a lot more fearsome than what the movie gave her.
  2. Edgar The Bug (Vincent D’Onofrio, Men In Black) – I don’t know what else to say about Edgar besides the fact I still have nightmares about him and his grossness. He’s still my standard for gross monsters. You can’t be as disgusting as Edgar The Bug? Sorry, you just fail at making my skin crawl.
  3. Boris The Animal (Jemaine Clement, Men In Black 3) – Yeah, Boris is fearsome and gross, but so what? On the second view, I found it hard to fall into the same suspense with Boris the way I fear Serleena or Edgar. Sorry Jemaine, but Bret McKenzie really did get the better deal with writing for The Muppets.

Best Cameos

The Men In Black movies are chockfull of jokes about the aliens that walk among us. Basically, every celebrity you love is one. Mick Jagger breeds with Earth women, and Lady GaGa isn’t really Stefani Germanotta. Still, there have been great moments where these celebrities show up in the films.

  1. Bill Hader as Andy Warhol/Agent W in Men In Black 3 – When I heard that Bill Hader was playing Andy Warhol, I sort of expected the Alien twist. I mean, isn’t that the joke the franchise has set us up for over the years. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Warhol turns out to be an exasperated MIB agent himself. This unforgettable cameo perfectly mixes Hader’s excellent celebrity impressions and his ability to be completely ridiculous on a moment’s notice.
  2. Michael Jackson as “Agent M” in Men In Black II – This is a brief moment in the second film, but it’s pure brilliance. Again, there are the implications that the King of Pop is an alien, which would explain his eccentricities in the MIB universe. However, we see that he’s working alongside MIB to become an agent. I secretly hope that Zed recruited him after the events of the movie.
  3. Patrick Warburton and Will Arnett as Agents T and AA in Men In Black II and Men In Black 3 – While these were two different actors in two different movies, they essentially served the same role: the partner that was never supposed to be. Still, for however briefly they’re in the film, Warburton and Arnett shine with the kinds of humor they have been known for.

If you’re wondering why I didn’t rank David Cross, it’s because I consider him to be a character on his own in the universe of Men In Black. I’m sad he didn’t return for a 3rd cameo. Men In Black 3 could have used more David Cross and Frank the Pug.

Finally, it’s time to address the final cherry on top of this franchise: the ending theme. Something that’s quite controversial to a few. Me included.

Best Song

  1. ‘Black Suits Comin’ (Nod Ya Head)’ – For all the flaws of the second movie, it really had the best single. Will Smith may not be able to pull off Jay-Z level of braggadocio, but he really manages to create a fun song that perfectly describes both J and the MIB. I don’t even know what the hell he even means by “nod ya head,” but I don’t care. This is pure poppy hip-hop goodness.
  2. ‘Men In Black’ – If I had ever had to explain what the Men In Black franchise was in 4 minutes or less, I would use this 90s-tastic single from the first movie. Will Smith, I love you and your happy rapping so…
  3. ‘Back In Time’ – …Until you relinquished the single for MIB3 to Pitbull of all rappers. It barely has anything to do with the movie besides the hook and occasionally mentioning some things from the franchise. DISHONOR ON YOUR COW, SIR. DISHONOR ON YOUR COW.

Well, I feel like that’s all I have to say about the Men In Black for now. Except maybe my massive feelings for Griffin and how he would be bros with The Doctor, but other than that, that’s all I have to say today. Come back tomorrow when I talk about… well, I don’t know yet, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. See you then!

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Film, Music

 

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Of Fairest and Fate: A Look at Snow White and The Huntsman

Welcome to the first official day of the June Blogathon! Before I begin, I just want to announce that tomorrow morning, I’ll be featured on a piece on 11Alive Atlanta about The Hunger Games: Catching Fire! It’ll be brief, but I’m looking forward to seeing the final product! And if you’re not in Atlanta, don’t worry, it’ll be online afterwards and I’ll link to it then!

Today is not about The Hunger Games though. Today, I’m talking about the latest adaptation of the fairy tale of Snow White, Snow White and the Huntsman. While it may not be getting the best reviews ever, I did enjoy the film immensely and believe that it’s a lot better than critics are giving it credit for. Spoilers under the picture, as usual.

I’ll admit, for the first act, I was a bit unsettled due to the pacing. Something about it was just a bit off, and didn’t leave a lot of room to breathe until we were deep into the Dark Forest. Still, this is were we’re introduced to Queen Ravenna, the antagonist played by a deliciously over-the-top Charlize Theron. While there were points where her portrayal of the Evil Queen drifted into cartoon-y territory, she still managed to be a formidable opponent. A nasty queen who only fears her own mortality. Even with the cartoon-ness and her creepy brother, I managed to enjoy her turn as the over-the-top villain. Not to mention that the dresses she wears throughout the movie are Pure Colleen Atwood Deliciousness. Especially the one with the crown of bones and the collar of skulls from when she calls in the Huntsman.

However, even as the wretched Queen Ravenna, we get brief glimpses into her background. Despite her evilness, she still has a background of a girl who was taken from her home when she was young and has used her powers and her femininity to get back at the world that she believes has done her wrong. It’s an interesting take on the motivations of the Evil Queen, and what happens when that power is put in jeopardy by fate.

What of our heroine? What of the dear Snow White? I know that there will be many out there who will judge Kristen Stewart’s performance based on her previous life as Bella Swan and her tendency to be rather straight faced. However, I didn’t see a dull performance here. While Stewart may be a bit more reserved, I still saw a determined princess who was ready to restore her kingdom and escape the grasp of Ravenna. While she was not an expert at everything she was doing, she was still courageous, which is what her kingdom and her people needed. She cares for her people in many ways, and she’s able to motivate them into battle.

I know that many people have made snarky comments about the movie trying to convince us that Kristen Stewart is “fairer” than Charlize Theron. While I will admit that Charlize is more attractive, I don’t think being “of fairest blood” was necessarily about looks. Ravenna is gorgeous and she has used her femininity to gain power and subvert the rule of men. Snow White’s power is more about inner beauty. Her presence is purity and magic, and brings hope to the people living under the darkness of Ravenna. Here, it’s less about who’s hotter and more about who has more power. It’s said multiple times that Snow White can either be Ravenna’s downfall or salvation, and that’s all because of the power she carries. Not because of her beauty.

On that point of the fairest, I loved the dichotomies that were happening in this film. It wasn’t just light vs. dark. It was very emphasized that Ravenna and Snow White are bound in fate. They are two sides of the same coin. They both attract people to them with their power, and have to use their armies to fight for the kingdom and their lives. It’s made even more obvious with the Queen’s ravens, and Snow’s magpies.

Not everyone is going to see this movie for the ladies though. Some will be going for the large Australian man playing The Huntsman. Which I can’t really fault them for. Chris Hemsworth is actually pretty great in this. Sure, he’s got a strange Irish brogue that’s mixed in with his Australian accent, and most my thoughts towards The Huntsman throughout the film were “THOR, YOU ARE DRUNK!” Other than that, The Huntsman was an interesting balance to Snow White. He’s a man that’s become so jaded towards Ravenna’s reign that it’s hard for him to see how Snow White is affecting the things around him. Even then, it becomes hard for him to admit what kind of effect she has on him until she’s dead. He’s a damaged man, and not even Snow White can heal him all the way. But knowing her can make his pain easier, and to me, that’s realistic.

Of course, not everyone is going to be happy with the power of friendship. In the film, there’s a bit of a maybe love triangle happening between Snow White, The Huntsman, and Prince William (played by Sam Claflin). Despite the childhood relationship between Snow and William, it’s the Huntsman’s kiss that brings Snow White back from death. Each have their own appeal to the audience, with William being a noble archer who sneaks into Finn’s ranks to find the Princess, and The Huntsman being Chris Hemsworth. Still, by the end of the movie, she’s not with either of them as she becomes the rightful queen of the land. Which I loved. I kind of secretly hoped that she remains unmarried through her reign and gets with both of them behind the scenes, but I’m sure any possible sequel to this film will ruin that dream. The fact that a major Hollywood movie with a love triangle that’s unresolved even came out, though, is a huge deal for me.

Issues aside, Snow White and the Huntsman is a fun summer fantasy film. It includes awesome leading ladies and a great supporting cast in both the citizens of the realm and the queen’s men. This is especially true for the scene stealing dwarves that include British greats like Ian McShane and Nick Frost. The scenery and costumes are lush, and it never shies away from the fantasy element of this story. My favorite moment of this was definitely the fairy sanctuary, which felt like a Hayao Miyazaki movie come to life. It’s only true fault is cutting Matt Berry out of the film, but that’s only the tipping point for me to buy this film on DVD when it comes out.

Come back tomorrow for day two, where I go over the Men In Black films.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Film

 

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