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Movie Review: Captain America July 29, 2011

Posted by Realitybypass in Movies.
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“He’s the star spangled man with a plan!!!”

Okay, so maybe not.

Bunneh and I went to see Captain America on Wednesday and, as my husband put it, We were “completely charmed.”  The setting was perfect, the story and plot worked beautifully, the romance was heartbreaking and the chemistry between the actors in various positions were perfect.  This was the Captain America I love.  A man who was patriotic and determined to do the right thing and defend others whether he was a scrawny 90 pound asthmatic or a buff butt kicking superhero.  He was a good man and became a better man not just because of a serum or a process, but by choice.  I love that.  I love what it represents for good people anywhere.

I could get into a lot of specific details as to why we loved it, but it boils down to all the right things coming together to create a movie that reminded us about things like courage and friendship and faith.  Not to mention Agent Carter, the love interest, kicks butt in her own right, so we had a couple who were balanced and yet put everything else in front of sex and even romance because they both knew this was war and what had to be priority.  We don’t see, or at least don’t hear about, nearly as many examples of such selflessness but it is poignant and powerful.

All in all go see this movie.  Even if you aren’t a comic book buff, go see it.  Of all the superhero movies I’ve seen in the last couple of years, this one is by far the most relatable to by both comic book fans and non fans.  And if you’re looking forward to The Avengers stay through the credits.  Otherwise, run before the lyrics to Star Spangled Man infest your brain.

Jana

Iron Man 2 Review May 18, 2010

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The last few weeks have been velly busy, so I missed the opening weekend for this flick, but managed to get out with the dear hubby last night.

My first impression would be that it was a fun film.  The visual effects and kabooms and fights were pretty much what I expected.  Fun, fierce and abundant.  There were some moments where the shaky cam high in the sky view made it hard to tell exactly WHAT was happening save for much butt kicking, mostly for goodness.  Generally though, it worked.  The nods to the fans come a little thick, but that’s kinda to be expected.

For me the plotting also worked, though there were places I would have liked to see a tighter edit.  Tony Stark continues to be what my husband refers to as the ADHD super hero.  It’s always about bigger, faster, shiny object of the moment, whether he’s looking for cars or new secretaries or something to hit.  This has a certain charm, but sometimes he makes me tired and I find him hard to believe.  This becomes a problem in the moments where we’re really supposed to buy into his character’s relationships with others.  Does he really love Pepper?  Is he really reconciled with the memory of his dad?  It’s hard to tell because he’s so flippant about everything.  I want to believe him, but there is always some hint of doubt.

The villains of the film worked for me and I was glad to see them tied together and then to Stark in a way that made sense.  Everyone had reasons for what they were doing, even if the responses were a bit over the top.  Can you really be a good superhero villain if you aren’t over the top?  At points Ivan was a little hard to understand, but in the not understanding I’m not sure I missed much.

Now to my biggest complaint about the movie…  Every woman in the film served the same purpose.  Eye candy.  None of the female characters were well developed or convincingly played.  I kept waiting for a moment where one of them would really connect and be powerful, but it didn’t happen.  Pepper got to gripe and fret.  Natalie got to look sexay and one combat sequence which was ruined by the distort effect which was applied to show how fast and scary she was.  Outside of the stereotype neither of them had depth or character or something which set them apart and it plagued the other characters as well.  On a surface level they all did the job they were there for, but I wanted the sense of more.

I know it’s a superhero movie.  I know there are tropes of the genre, but where is the depth?  Yes, I had fun.  No, I don’t regret going, but at the end of the day would I want to see it again or own the movie?  Meh.

“I am Iron Man.”

~J

Ahh…Love February 15, 2010

Posted by Realitybypass in Life, Movies, Musings, Romance.
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As most folks are aware this past weekend was Valentines Day, or as I prefer to think of it, Singles Awareness Appreciation Day (SAAD).  Even as a married person Valentines is not my favorite holiday.  Fortunately it’s not my husband’s favorite either, so we’re pretty equal in that.  He doesn’t like it because it’s a holiday where in men, even when they do all the right things, tend to take it in the chops and I just spent too many V-days alone or with girlfriends sharing in the frustration.  So…we’ve made the holiday our own.  Every year my sweetie and I exchange the same Valentine gift…windshield wipers.  It’s highly practical and also useful as the darn things should be changed about once a year anyway.  Then we reaffirm our love by ordering in food so no one has to cook or make a mess and watching TV together.  It ain’t fancy, but it’s love.

This year my sweetie added one little thing to the routine.  He painted my fingernails.  The act itself was adorable, but then he produced Mickey Mouse decals and put those on, all in prep for our upcoming trip to Disney World.

It ain’t traditional candy and roses, but it works for us.

How about you, gentle reader?  What non traditional things do you do to celebrate the relationships in your life?

Jana

Book Review: Zoot Suit and other plays October 27, 2009

Posted by kmcalear in Book Review, Literature, Movies.
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This is a book of three plays by Chicano playwright Luis Valdez that question the various media images of the Mexican American in American popular culture. The plays deal with the Bandido Mexicano in the American West, the image of the Pachuco during World War II and the images of Mexicans in movies and television. I thoroughly enjoyed all three plays, including the metatheatrical elements that divorce the play from the traditional “fourth wall” realism. The characters are aware they are roles in a drama, and speak directly with the audience or comment on the theatrical works themselves. Valdez also introduces other metatheater elements, such as the ‘invisible’ Pachuco advising Zoot Suit’s protragonist, a musical chorus that sings out the social context of the works, and the unique settings: from a juxtaposed Melodrama Stage and Realist jail cel, to a play set in a movie studio. While all of these plays would be best Seen rather than read, they’re enjoyable to read as well. The character interactions are rich, the dialogue is both tragic and comic, and this alternative perspective on the American Past is interesting for any reader without being exclusionary. Speaking a little Spanish is a plus, but not neccesary.

Rating issues: There’s harsh language, racial and sexual references

If you want to see Zoot Suit in it’s entirety, Youtube has it available.

Movie Musings: The Librarian August 17, 2009

Posted by kmcalear in Fantasy, Movies, Musings.
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Happy Monday!

Jana is right, we really should keep up more with this blog. There are days though I feel like I don’t have all that much to say about me. Not to mention, I’ve been so busy grading tests, essays and working my 3 part time jobs that it’s been hard to find time to sit down and watch anything straight through or finish anything I’m reading. I’m currently in the middle of a couple books and will talk on them soon, but I have managed to watch a couple movies from Netflix.

I rented The Librarian: Quest for the Sphere  because I often like cheezy adventure movies. Unfortunately the Cheese factor on this one was very high and the “Ability to Act” factor was very low. It’s designed to be a spoof/tongue-in-cheek and so it has some genuinely funny moments, but for the most part it’s far fetched to the point of unbelieveability and the character interactions simply leave the series wanting. I wouldn’t reccomend it.

Transformers: Crude and Fallen June 30, 2009

Posted by Realitybypass in Critiquing, Movies.
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After several weeks of insanity it seems like we’re pretty much getting back into the swing of things, so that means returning to our lovely fans in cyberspace. YAY.

Last night I went and saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I walked out of the theater in a huff and sudden understanding of why the movie is getting around a 21% on the tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes. Now, before anyone points fingers to say that I just don’t understand know that I am a big fan of the Transformers. I very much enjoyed the first movie. I watched the animated cartoon. I read comic books. I’ve seen the animated movie and I had the toys! I ever wrote Transformers fanfic, and if that doesn’t make me a fangirl I’m not sure what does. So trust me when I say I WANTED this to rock. I wanted this to be as good as Star Trek was, as the first one was…and I was sorely disappointed.

My points of contention:

1: Potty humor. I did not go to this movie to see dogs and tiny robots humping each other and people’s legs. I did not need to see the thong worn by a less than attractive man. I did not need the ‘twins’ gangster thing at all. I did not need the robot testicle jokes. and on and on. Most of the movie was full of things a 15 year old boy finds funny. Maybe they thought that was the target audience.

2: Unnecessary and unconvincing love plot. The Sam/Mikela moments didn’t work for me. I didn’t believe the chemistry, lack there of, or the motivations. Flat flat flat and TOO much movie time spent on it. It’s a Transformers movie, not a romantic comedy.

3: No character development and too many new characters. So many new bots got introduced that you didn’t even mourn them when they got blown up because no great loss. At times it was difficult to tell who was beating on who, and as a fangirl I can usually tell you by name who’s doing what. And the characters were not well connected. Big things happen, things which should be emotionally powerful happen and everyone stands there woodenly and goes…erm…oh… The friendships and connection just wasn’t there. Characters were mock ups, without any significant punch. Even Optimus lacked in these ways, though I think he was the closest to having it together.

4: Shaky cam. Who decided that making you want to barf was a good way to shoot a movie? Please direct me at them so I can hurt them.

5: Weird plotting in both subject and pace. There were at least two fairly decent plots in this movie, neither of which was fully played out and the climax was very anticlimatic. Couple of things go boom in about 30 seconds and the whole plot is solved. Sheesh.

The few things I liked:

1: The soundtrack. Some really nice orchestral themes here, particularly for Optimus Prime.

2: Peter Cullen voicing Optimus Prime. That’s a voice from my childhood and it just wouldn’t be right without him.

3: The early fight scenes. There were a couple of really good ones early on. The last one was just a mash of explosions and insanity.

4: Jetfire. He brought back old memories and even though he wasn’t the Jetfire I remember, he had the closest thing to a personality on the screen.

5: Megatron and StarScream snark. Hah…grumping at each other again.

So there you have it. I won’t own this one. I don’t wanna see it again, and unless the next one is highly cleaned up and given purpose…I won’t see it either.

Jana

To Boldly Go… May 12, 2009

Posted by Realitybypass in Critiquing, Movies.
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So I was one of the rabid fans who went to the preshowings of Star Trek on Thursday. I am not ashamed of this. We were the geeky couple who were second in line and even skipped dinner to make sure we were there early. This lead to mass popcorn consumption but that’s a post for another blog.

Anyway…in a phrase I loved the movie. From the sets, to casting, to special effects, to writing…I loooved this movie. It was a movie that paid homage to where it had come from, but still blazed paths into completely new territory and set things up so that the franchise is given new life.

As a writer I’m impressed by the message of Star Trek and the pacing. The pacing ran well between character moments, action, drama, romance and humor. It never let you go or had you glancing at your watch. The plot was kept simple so that the focus could be on this new crew and how they come together and why. Each of the lead characters had a moment to shine and to show why they are important to the crew and the beginnings of why they will become more and more important to each other. The message was one of hope, friendship, family and love and how people react to loss. For some they become the villains and others the heroes. Everyone has a reason for doing what they do.

Six days later I’m still pondering this film. The story, the fan service and the links to the past… I need to see it again, but if you haven’t gone I encourage it. Even if you aren’t a Trekker or a big fan of the original this is a show worth seeing and it’s not so seeped in its own mythology that you won’t be able to follow along.

It’s one heck of a ride.

Jana