Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Good Dinosaur, Just That

Anytime Disney and Pixar get together I usually think, "Instant Classic," but for whatever reason the previews for The Good Dinosaur were underwhelming. I wasn't dying to see it, I wasn't waiting for opening night to come so I could watch this new movie, like I was for other Disney films. But I knew I would see it eventually, on a night that I just wanted something simple to watch.

So on a Monday night I suggest it to my brother, and we head out. I thought there would be lots of families there for Family night, but we go anyway. We walk into the theater. There is one family there. One. Two parents. Two kids. And us. This doesn't bode well for the movie. We settle in. Previews start... And can I just say I laughed more at the preview for Zootopia than at anytime during the movie. (Like it was almost embarrassing at how much that preview tickled my funny bone... We couldn't tell if the family was laughing at the preview or at me. Sorry, not sorry. Those sloths killed me!)

Plot Summary (SPOILERS):

Arlo is the runt of his family. He wants to make his mark like the rest of his family does when they do a good job. But the problem is he is scared of everything, even the chickens he is in charge of feeding. (Seriously though Arlo, I am right there with you! Chickens are terrifying. I'm utterly scared of birds.)
Me waiting for chickens to move away from the door. Scary chickens. No I wasn't joking!

His dad tries to encourage him and gives him a new job of trapping and killing the critter that is eating all of their food storage. When Arlo can't bring himself to kill the cute little critter (human child) and lets him go, events follow that lead to the death of Arlo's father and then Arlo being swept away and lost. He survives with the help of the Spot (the human critter), meeting friends and foes along the way, and ultimately overcoming his fears and making his mark.

Arlo protected by Spot


Wasn't anything to holler about. Good, but not spectacular. This one is kind of fun.

Overall Thoughts:

Really I kept thinking, this seems a lot like Lion King... like a lot. I mean there was the death of his dad, a stampede, even a vision where his dad comes back to guide  him. So the plot didn't feel very original. What I did like was that it had a real western feel to it. Herbivores were farmers, and Carnivores were ranchers with herds of bison, and there are rustlers and everything. I liked that the T-rexes were not the bad guys and even galloped when they ran. I liked that Spot had doglike attributes. I did cry near the end... but I cry at tissue commercials, so that really isn't a measure of how great it is, but that I was invested enough. So the Good Dinosaur, was just that, Good. Not great.
I was far more attached to Spot than Arlo... 


Parent Guide:

If you have a gaggle of kids, you probably don't want to spend the $70 to see it, wait for it to come to video. Death of a parent (but it's Disney, I mean come on, what do you expect). Some potty humor. Death of some animals for food. Perilous situations.

AND here is the trailer for Zootopia that had me in fits... I'm a little ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Is This Really an Option?

Browsing around Netflix, I was in the mood for a RomCom, so I perused some of the holiday titles, when I started to notice a pattern. A Holiday Engagement, Holiday in Handcuffs... do you know what these two movies have in common? That the women in these movies have a guy pose as their love interest, boyfriend, or fiancé. And for whatever reason, these guys go along with it, pretending to care about these women, and of course being forced into emotionally intimate situations. All for the sake of their families leaving them alone about finding someone to spend their lives with, or to gain their approval. And you know what happens? These guys end up falling for these desperate women!!! Happily Ever After... Really? But then I thought of a new movie that just came out this year... Love the Coopers, and it looks like Olivia Wilde's character does a similar thing... Really?

I started thinking of other movies that have similar plot lines, but not just Christmas time themes. Here are some I came up with... The Wedding Date, One Small Hitch, The Proposal, Pretty Woman, Green Card. I am sure there are even more out there, but this makes me wonder, have people actually done this that it is such a common story plot?

Then I start thinking a little more... Has this strategy actually worked for people? Is this a sound dating strategy? I mean, I am the only single female in my family, I have reached the ripe age of 30, the subject of my dating life or lack thereof is mentioned at least once during each family get together, blind date setups are offered constantly, and my desperate-o-meter is on the rise, is this a strategy I should consider? Approach a man I find attractive and seems to have everything going for him and proposition him in pretending to be my boyfriend and eventually he will fall desperately in love with me? Essentially, the thinking is if someone pretends to do something long enough they will  develop those feelings... Interesting... so you are saying I could get anyone to fall in love with me as long as I get them to pretend that they are for long enough... Extremely interesting.

... Where is Tom Hiddleston?

... though I don't think I can afford his usual acting salary... stupid teacher salary!

Man, I love Hollywood logic. (Also why if I ever had an acting husband, "Sorry Honey, tell your agent you can only do action and horror films now.")

Though I don't think this is something I could actually pull off because I can't even approach a man to have a conversation with me, let alone ask him to pretend to love me.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Why I Love Daryl

Do you watch The Walking Dead? Do you have a favorite character? Do you have several? Are you like me and warn the show's writers and producers while you watch the episode that if they kill off So-and-So, that's it, you'll be done, and swear to hunt them down and force them to rewrite the episode???

I do. I have three. Well four. Okay five.

First Glenn and Maggie, I think of them more as a unit. Glenn for his just plain niceness, he was a good guy before, his is good guy after, he is reasonable, loving, guy. And Maggie, well, because she makes Glenn happy and loves him like we all do. And they found each other after all of this garbage happened and they are the hope that life can continue on even amongst all the craziness.

Second is Carol. Now she is a character that I sometimes struggle with, especially some of her tactics! But at the same time, she is a person who suffered through abuse before the zombie apocalypse, and now through all the crap that is going on in the world she has grown into this really strong woman that is solution minded. She sees what needs to be done, and not matter what it is or the cost, she gets it done. Her whole bad-A-ness is pretty awesome. Symbolic that what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.

And along the same lines of Carol's bad-A-ness is Michonne. Oh my goodness, this chica. I want her on my apocalypse team as she sports a samurai sword and can take a walker's head off in one stroke. She is also solution minded, smart, but very compassionate and funny, and sticks to her moral code. She has more hope than the rest of the group that things might get better.

And then finally is Daryl. I LOVE DARYL the most.

No, it's not because he can rock the crossbow, though he does rock it. Better than anyone else in TV or movies.

 Not, it's not because he has this rugged biker vibe going on, even though, come on, it's attractive.

No, it's not because he has some pretty sweet arms, even though, oh man have you seen them???

No, it's not because he is an amazing tracker and can discern a person from a walker by the way a twig snaps in the woods.

No, none of those reasons, though great as they maybe, are why Daryl is my favorite.

Do you remember Daryl at the beginning of the series? He was almost the cliche hillbilly. Running his mouth in his ignorant arrogance. Didn't care about anyone expect his brother, who really only cared about himself. Shoot first and ask questions later. Trying to take advantage of other people, planning with his brother to rob the group they were with... Then collecting ears of walkers and wearing them as a necklace. It was really easy to not like him to begin with.

But then something happened. He decided to care about someone. Carol. And her daughter. When Sophie goes missing, he comforts Carol with a flower and spends his time looking for Sophie. And slowly he changes. He calms down, and becomes this steady, reliable person, trusted by the group, and pretty much second in command. And even when he finds his brother again, he just can't make himself abandon this group that has become his family. Rick calls Daryl his brother. And when Rick loses it completely, it's Daryl that is there for him. Daryl, who is now so rational, who is this still water that runs deep. And this season, you wouldn't even recognize him, because he is the one who is not only caring about his group, but wants to go out finding people to bring to the safe compound. He is the one who hopes to find good people out there still. He is the one whose judgement you can trust the most. He is the one who tries to help the strangers that captured and tied him up. He is the one who returned to those strangers to bring back the insulin they needed.

This is why I love Daryl, that when season after season we run into people who trying to survive have turned into the worst of monsters. Way more terrifying than the walkers. Here is a man that has gained more humanity and character in spite of the worst possible of circumstances. Daryl became a better man, when most are becoming animals. He gained more compassion, when most can't care in order to survive. When others crack, Daryl has forged a stronger person.

I LOVE DARYL!!!! So, writers...

                                                                                                                Figuratively of course.

Now... Daryl, go take a shower...

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Walk... It's a Movie

Ok, I've decided I know it's a really good movie when I want to write a blog post about it IMMEDIATELY!

The Walk! Guys, Gals! Have you heard of it? I remember the first preview I saw of it... I swear it was a year ago. Maybe not, but it was forever ago. And it was really simple.

And I feel like that was it. There wasn't really much hype accompanying it. Why? I don't know, but this definitely deserved more hype. At least for me.  And it's not just because I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt (even though I do, I really do).  It was a great story, told extremely well, terrific actors, with great effects, beautiful music, wit and charm.

Joseph with blue eyes! Weird!

Plot Summary:
This is the true story about how a Frenchman, Philippe Petit, has the dream of walking on his high wire between the World Trade Center Towers. He calls this walk The Coup, because people say it can't be done, he is crazy, it's impossible... oh! and it's illegal. His friends he call his accomplices in his Coup. The Towers aren't completed yet, so they have to sneak up to the roof at the end of the day, hang his wire in the cover of night, and Philippe has to do the walk at dawn. At least that is the plan.

This is shown in IMAX 3D, 3D, and standard D. I am sure it was incredible in 3D, but I chose to watch it standard definition for fear of getting... height sick? It was simple cinematography, but it was beautiful.

I didn't really notice the soundtrack until the end when he was walking. But, oh my, it was perfect for his walk. These are the two I loved!

Overall Thoughts and Feelings:
I loved the story line, and how it is narrated through out. I love that during his walk, being afraid of heights myself, I was perfectly anxious and yet exhilarated. I didn't realize I was holding my breath until the credits rolled. I also loved the brief tribute to the Twin Towers at the end.

This movie is really about following your dreams. Philippe has a dream, and he is relentless in following his dream. (Cue "I have a Dream" from Tangled) He is unwaveringly optimistic and confident. There are two moments where he doubts his dream. My favorite is when he sees the Twin Towers for the first time. He climbs the stairs to the top. He balances on the beam hanging just a little off the roof and staring at that massive void separating the two towers, then looking down says, "I let myself whisper it. I whisper it so the demons won't hear, 'It's impossible!'... But I will do it anyway." I LOVE THIS LINE!!! His tenacity! How many dreamers have felt this way? It's Impossible. But then they do it anyway!  Did J.K. Rowling feel this way? Walt Disney? Neil Armstrong? Beethoven? I am utterly fascinated by the real life dreamers who overcome their "It's impossible," I admire their determination, will power, heart, and spirit. And that is what I felt this movie was really about. I will definitely own this movie someday. Go see it!

Here is a trailer with a little bit more.

And in case I over hyped it... it was awful... Go see it! ;)

Parental Warning:
There are naked bums. And some mild language. (At least that I noticed, but it is PG)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Discovering New Music: Active Child

I love discovering new music! I do! I will sit on my uncomfortable stoop in front of Spotify clicking on song after song for hours without realizing it. I also love when TV or movies harmonize the feelings they are trying to portray with the perfect song. Music can make or break a film for me. Music, it has an incredible power.

SO in my first ever edition of Discovering New Music, I give you Active Child.

As Spotify states, "Active Child is the electronic-meets-choral project of musician Pat Grossi." I first heard Active Child while binge watching one of my guilty pleasures, Reign. Reign does an amazing job of coupling a period show with contemporary music. I LOVE the songs that are featured on the show! I have discovered so many new artists from this show, and I am sure I will talk about more of them later! Anyway, Active Child! The song that was featured on Reign was Johnny Belinda... here have a listen.

Beautifully haunting. It has such an ominous feeling to it, but is still so melodic. It's perfect for a nice somber mood. I love it.

I naturally began to listen to his other songs. And I came across this song!!!

Do you recognize it? AHH!!! I did! Change the voice to a female one... accompanied by Abnegation, a choosing ceremony, and Tris! This song was on the Divergent soundtrack! (I told you, I have a thing for soundtracks!) Ellie Goulding does a cover of Active Child's Hanging On for Divergent to transition from Tris's kitchen to the Choosing Ceremony. AHHH! I love music!

Here is Ellie Goulding's version.

Which one do you like better? I love them both! DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE!!!!

So there is a little sampling of Active Child. I love his style, it's not mainstream, which is great for you hipsters out there, but it's beautiful.

Here is one from his new album Mercy. (He kind of sounds like Sam Smith here to me...)

Do you have any new to me music you'd like to share?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Fantastic Four?

It's a Thursday night, I got nothing to do, so I decide to go see Fantastic Four. With a large popcorn and drink in hand, I march into the theater with my independent "I don't need to go the movies with someone because I am sensationally single" swagger (which is really just how I walk normally). The previews are already rolling, and I am the fifth person into the theater. Really? Only five people are here, didn't this just come out? Oh, the foreboding!

Plot Summary:
Previews done, movie starts. Oh look it's Reed and Ben as kids! They are adorable! And as a 5th grader, genius Reed has, in his garage, sent a toy car into an alternate dimension! How smart is he?!

Some years later, Reed gets recruited by some brainy university, were there aren't really any classes and he becomes number one scientist on his experiment to send and retrieve organic matter into this alternate dimension. After some tests, four of them decided it is their turn to make the auspicious journey. And something goes terribly awry! SHOCKING!!!! They get special powers, have to learn to control them... yada, yada, yada... bad guy appears, gotta take him down.

Overall Thoughts and Feelings: 
This movie was Fantastically Okay. Predictable storyline aside, there just wasn't anything really fantastic about it. Which, with all the advertising, is completely underwhelming! And what with Marvel doing amazing Avengers and quite enjoyable Antman, I expected more from this movie. The actors were okay, character development was underdeveloped. The main conflict, it's climax, and resolution happen in what feels like the last 10-15 minutes. It was utterly blasé. I didn't really care about the characters like I should, I was uninspired by their pep talks to each other... just so meh.

And the best actor of the main group, Jamie Bell, wasn't really in it! He was The Thing... Come on People! Why don't you actually use the best actor you recruited?

I only noticed it at one point in time, but after looking up that particular song on Spotify, it really doesn't last long. Though the end credits song is quite good. Maybe it was a celebration of the conclusion of such inadequacy? (Was that mean? Well, write a better movie...)

Parental Warning:
Mild swearing, explosions, and a finger is given.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dear Sara B. Larson

Dear Sara B. Larson,

Did you know it is Utah Book Month? I did! But only because my sister Suey keeps me informed of such things. On my recent visit to Utah she, my niece, and I went to hunt for a certain read-a-long Utah book. After several visits to different book stores we had no such luck in finding that certain book. I know, isn't it such a disappointment when that happens! But this left the three of us standing in the BYU bookstore staring dejectedly at the YA section, when I said, "Well, find me a different Utah book to read." I opened myself up for what came next. Suey and niece immediately started pulling down books and thrusting them into my arms. With the pile getting high and my arms getting tired, there was no way I could fit all of these books in my carryon, so the agonizing deliberation began. I weeded out ones that didn't catch my fancy, and kept only those they guaranteed I would LOVE. And your DEFY made it into the final four!

The only thing I knew about your book was what the little employee blurb said, "It's like Mulan. But with magic. And not in China." Okay, I like Mulan. I like magic. And coolness can happen outside of China. So that night, as I traveled north on the Front Runner, trying to avoid eye contact with other passengers, I pretended to be enthralled in a book... and I picked yours. I didn't have to pretend long, that is for sure! (Now to give context to what I am about to say, I need to inform you, I am not a fast reader. Nope, it usually takes me weeks to finish a book. The only book I have ever finished in one day is The Hunger Games.) I devoured your story in less than two days!!! Every chance I had, I was tucked into a corner, turning pages as fast as I could! UGH, I loved your book!!!

So now I am going to gush about it...

Oh man, I love a girl that kicks butt!!! I do! And Alexa can kick everyone's trash! It's awesome! She is right up there with Katniss and Tris! Maybe even better because she has to hide who she truly is, and not trust anyone with her secret.

I love Rylan and Damian so equally it's not even funny! Ugh! and your descriptions of them... Dreamy! And they both respect her, and both are so sweet! And Damian!!! Oh but Rylan!!!! ... And the awesome tent awkwardness!!!! I feel like I can't go on with out giving away spoilers... but the romantic tension! Well Done!

I thoroughly enjoyed devouring this book! Thank you for writing it! IGNITE is already on it's way to me. But then I will have to wait for ENDURE! OH, CRUEL REALITY!!! :)

May your creative juices continue to flow so that I may lap them up from the comfort of my couch! (Is that weird?)



P.S. After gushing about your book, my dance teammate from college informed me she was your roommate! Small world!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Man From U.N.C.L.E.... A Review

It's a SPY movie! I love a good spy movie. Nothing like the gizmos and gadgets, the furtive glances, the legal naughtiness, and spyrific action. Why yes, it had everything you want a spy movie to have. The  flirtatious fun of the sixties style, the mystery of knowing you don't have all the information, and better than a Bond film, we have two hunky dudes to drool over appreciate. 

Let's be honest, a big reason I went to see The Man From U.N.C.L.E was because of this guy!

I know, he IS dishy! Henry Cavill is not my most favorite actor, but I think that this film lent itself to him performing a bit better. But you can't go wrong with Henry in a three piece suit at any point in time!

What I didn't anticipate was liking Armie Hammer (What a name!) a whole lot more than I have in both Mirror, Mirror and Lone Ranger. Don't get me wrong he was adorable in Mirror, Mirror and well, Lone Ranger I don't really remember... (but I do love the soundtrack). But I definitely noticed him in this movie! BOY, is tall!!!!  And with his Newsie hat, and fake Russian accent he comes across as strongly handsome. With some pretty eyes. *Swoon*

Plot Summary: 
It's in the 60's, Cold War. CIA agent and KGB agent are forced to work together to find a missing German atomic bomb engineer before he is forced to make an atomic bomb for another country. They use said engineer's daughter to help find him after rescuing her from East Germany. They, of course, don't have all the information they need, and, of course, don't trust each other, and, of course, try to out spy each other.

Cinematography Notes:
I loved the split screens and views during the action parts. I also enjoyed the surreptitious angles.

Yup, GREAT JOB Daniel Pemberton! I noticed it! It was SPYTACULAR! It definitely gives the correct ambiance for a spy movie. It was sixty-ish, it was spyish and I throughly enjoyed it! Listening to it on Spotify right now for the appropriate inspiration.

Overall Thoughts and Feelings:
I liked it better than Bond. It was witty and made me laugh. It's what you expect from a spy movie, only a bit more fun. I give it 1.5 thumbs, or if you don't like maimed phalanges, 4 out of 5 stars.

Because I am having technical difficulties, I am linking it here.

Parental Warning:

Several sexual references, and a quite unnecessary profile of a naked woman. For more details, check IMDB parent guide.