movie reviews · Uncategorized

Mini Movie Reviews: Summer Movies

Wonder Woman | Directed by Patty Jenkins | Starring Gal Gadot, Chris Pine | B

It’s hard to live up to the expectation of being the most anticipated movie of the year. I can say that Wonder Woman both lived up to and disappointed those expectations. And I Image result for wonder woman movie posterthink in the movie’s essence, Jenkins really understood who Wonder Woman is at the core. She is someone who is a little naive and idealistic but ultimately resiliently caring and kind and that is who Wonder Woman has been since her inception in 1941. So even though the pacing was a little clunky and it falls into the same traps of typical superhero movies like a predictable and obvious villain and side characters that are not developed enough to be memorable, it still felt true to its heroine. What is slightly different is that Jenkins at least allows the development of small character moments both serious and humorous making sure that the small details about these characters are not slipping through. Just the small lines about babies and ice cream is enough to establish a baseline for the character. Of course, that allows the interactions between Wonder Woman and Steven Trevor to shine through and it was honestly where a lot of the humor came from. I do wish they had done a better job of establishing why Wonder Woman is the way she is. The way they portrayed her made it seem as if she was born like this; I wish they had showed some sort of catalyst. And I think sometimes she jumps a little too quickly to violence even though a big part of her character is showing mercy and kindness to all. Like any summer blockbuster, it’s not all about the characters, Wonder Woman revels in the dramatic and slow motion stylized action moments which is probably why the action sequences were some of the best parts of the entire movie. They felt adequately long and really built on each moment instead of being one long overdrawn battle sequence.  My forever favorite scene is when Wonder Woman walks into No Man’s Land to block the bullets and clear the way for the rest of the soldiers to come through. If anything else, Wonder Woman is inspirational precisely because, however cheesy it is, it is ultimately committed to its sincerity and that makes up for a lot of its flaws.

Everything, Everything | Directed by Stella Meghie | Starring Amandla Stenberg, Nick Robinson | C

Look, this is just not a good movie. Plain and simple. The entire movie felt like one long awkward conversation with excruciating pauses between dialogue and long, silent stares that last minutes too long. One of the biggest pitfalls of the movie is failing to establish aImage result for everything everything movie poster sense of chemistry and urgency. In a movie, if you are going to tell a romantic story about a couple, you must, must, must take the time to establish the individual characters first. I knew a lot about Maddy throughout but I don’t really know anything about Ollie. At all really. What are his dreams, his desires, his motivations, his fears? Without them, he has been spit out from the generic boyfriend machine. Even her mother who has a side role in the movie had better development than him. I wish I could see what the screenwriter of this movie was thinking because the dialogue felt so misplaced most of the time. Cheesy lines felt even cheesier than usual and serious lines were just plain hilarious. On top of that, they failed to establish a relationship between the two characters mostly due to the mediocre writing. So when climactic events occur, you can bet I did not feel a single thing and it’s not because I have a heart of stone this time. But more than that, there is no sense of real danger; I never thought for a second Maddy was in any danger of dying from SCID (and I haven’t read the book), and therefore, no real sense of loss and ultimately growth for these characters. I suppose if you’re in the right mood for a dramatic teen love story, I suppose you can watch this and have a good laugh but otherwise I recommend a hard pass.

Dunkirk | Directed by Christopher Nolan | Starring Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy | B

Dunkirk is the latest of Nolan’s impressive filmography so I expected nothing less than something stellar. I suppose maybe I am too used to blockbuster war movies (the last one I saw was Hacksaw Ridge) or other stylized ones in general. And while I appreciate the Image result for dunkirkcraft behind making this film, it was more apparent to me that the story lacked something. It starts off intriguing, a young soldier walking through a deserted neighborhood and for the first some 30 minutes after he almost barely speaks a word of dialogue. For the most part, this provides a sense of mystery, you don’t know this boy’s (I don’t think his name is ever mentioned) motivations, his desires, his fears. I suppose those things aren’t needed for a movie that is about, as Nolan states himself, survival. How he portrays the characters is at once it’s biggest strength but also it’s biggest weakness. Nolan flits between characters and their perspectives for a time before flitting back to another character. And even though I usually love that careful attention on small character moments, this time I wasn’t as satisfied with it. Usually in war films, there’s a period where the soldiers will reveal parts of their lives before they became a soldier and it turns into a point of emotional investment from the audience to the character but here we don’t get that. But even if we did not get the back story I would have at least wanted a better sense of motivation and desire. The characters just feel like faces in the crowd. And if Nolan wanted to portray survival, I think he only touched on surface level facets of survival that could have been explored deeper. There is no doubt that Nolan still knows how to craft a movie in his exact vision. The cinematography follows those frequent over the shoulder shots and careful time on small character moments. And of course, Hans Zimmer once again does an excellent of creating suspenseful and tension filled pieces to fill in the scenes. Maybe I wasn’t able to look too hard into the details. There’s also this sense of build up that continually builds up during the movie but there is no sense of that build up leading to anything significant or poignant at the end. Maybe that was the point, after all, in war, there is no discrimination and no time to focus on the individual, but if so, I think it could have been executed better.

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Misc · Uncategorized

My Dreamcrate!

Loot Crate is a monthly subscription service that specializes in goodies for gamers and geeks. They put together a project where fans can talk about their dream crate or what they’d like if they could design their own box. This is a dreamcrate so everything is fair game but I decided to make it more realistic because it would be nice if nice things were affordable. So I decided to revolve my box around the theme of Wonder. I was thinking about Wonder Woman and how much I love the concept of wonder: of being excited about the world, of exploration and discovery and learning new things. I mean it is kind of what drew me to the character in the first place, how despite how much of the degradation and rot that she saw in the world through her long, immortal life, I still liked that she still found something in it worth saving. So here is what I would like in my box.

So of course to celebrate Wonder Woman and in the spirit of previous Lootcrate boxes, I obviously want the box to be decorated as Themyscira. I love the this concept of Paradise and the lush nature of the island.

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Themyscira from 2009 Animated Wonder Woman
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From the new movie Wonder Woman coming out in June 2017..Also wouldn’t it be awesome if movie tickets for Wonder Woman could be included?

I love art prints to hang up so I chose gorgeous watercolor print. It would be nice if it came with the frame too. I just think it would look awesome on any desk or wall.

Wonder Woman print, Wonder Woman watercolor print, Wonder Woman Poster, Superhero print, DC comics, Marvel print, wall art, Kids decor -519
Buy it here

But I also really enjoyed the Vintage pop art design on Etsy where a print of Wonder Woman is placed on a piece of newspaper page. Again, it would look really good framed.

Wonder Woman Print - Wonder Woman wall art - Vintage pop art  - Retro Super Hero Art - Dictionary print art
Buy it here

Moving on from Wonder Woman, what better represents the theme of wonder than the Star Trek franchise?

“Space… The final frontier… These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: To explore strange new worlds… To seek out new life; new civilisations… To boldly go where no one has gone before!”

I love this concept of exploration and discovery and the idea of camaraderie over conquest. I would love a decal of the USS Enterprise and the logo.

Star Trek Decal Vinyl Sticker, Starfleet decal, Trekkie, Decal for Vehicle, Laptop, Tablet
You can put this vinyl decal on your phone, car, laptop or tablet.

Speaking of new worlds, some of the best games I’ve played have dealt directly with this concept. I’ve never seen a plush before in a Lootcrate and honestly is there anything better than a Pokemon plush?? I like the pokeball plush a lot.

It’s big enough to cuddle; it’s a really good icebreaker, and it’s perfect for a low-key game of catch when you’re bored.

And moving back to the old school, I’ve always loved the fusion of Final Fantasy and Disney characters exploring different worlds in the Disney canon in Kingdom Hearts.

What better merch for Kingdom hearts than a keychain of Sora’s keyblade like this one.

I wanted to put in something from a not-so-big fandom even though the fandom is actually kind of big. Like Star Trek, Voltron: Legendary Defender deals with the idea of exploring new worlds in space but also this overarcing theme of an ensemble doing things together. As I’m watching the show, I also notice how much the characters learn a little bit from each culture and planet they visit.

Voltron: Legendary Defender Button Set - 5 Paladins of Voltron - Shiro, Lance, Pidge Gunderson, Hunk, Keith Pins
These pins are so adorable.

Also stickers because why not.

Voltron Sticker Sheets
Buy these adorable stickers here.

or even a shirt because that’s how much I love this show.

I also noticed that Lootcrate likes to include posters in their crate. Since my theme is all about Wonder, I thought a poster of Summoner’s Rift from League of Legends would be really fitting. LoL is not just about the strategy and tactics, it’s also about the awesome graphic and art design especially of the landscape itself. A decent-sized poster would probably help with strategizing as well.

Summoner’s Rift from LoL

So that is my Dreamcrate! Please feel free to post up your own Dreamcrate post. You have 100% creative license because it is a Dreamcrate obviously. Lootcrate will be highlighting some Dreamcrates throughout their social accounts.

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Uncategorized · wrap up

December 2016 Wrap Up (I read a lot!)

I definitely went crazy during December which was awesome. I read so much mostly thanks to the many graphic novels I read. I basically went on a graphic novel binge which helped bring my total books read last month to 14. I haven’t read 14 books in a month since 2015 so yay me. Without further ado, let’s get to the books.

First of all, the books..

The first thing I read was:

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (4/5)

This was so cute and light and fluffy and just the type of book that is food for my romantic soul (I’m definitely not immune to the idea of a meet-cute in NYC and falling in love in a day). I felt like the chapters were too short for me to feel truly invested in the other perspectives besides Natasha’s and Daniel’s. I wanted more from those chapters considering they touched on such interesting topics regarding the parents and their lives . I also thought Natasha changed her mind really quickly for someone who was dead set on not falling in love but whatever. I thought the way she wrote Daniel’s perspective was so spot on, probably helped by the fact that the author herself is married to a Korean man. I flew through this book and read it in a day so it’s a good pick-me-up or for when you’re in a reading slump.


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George by Alex Gino (3/5)

I was so disappointed in this book. It is a book about a trans girl (Melissa) who is known as George to everyone else and wants to play the part of Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web) in her school play except everyone thinks she’s a boy. She wants to find a way to tell who she is to the people around her. For a book that is #ownvoices and written from a trans girl’s perspective, it surprisingly gives in to many of the gender stereotypes it intended to subvert. At one point in the novel, Melissa’s brother says this after Melissa comes out to him, “Oh that makes sense because you don’t make a very good boy” and I was thinking what does that even mean because up until that point, the author shows the reader Melissa does not make a good boy because she likes pink and doesn’t like violent video games…what a disappointment.


I have reviews for both of these in my memoir mash up

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Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George (4/5)

This reminded me of my young days reading 90’s/2000’s type fantasy. You know the ones, the traditional sword and sorcery with princesses and dragons and a very traditional good vs evil storyline. I completely adored the simple but entertaining worldbuilding. It’s a world you want to visit despite its problems. I really liked how the heroine finds strength in sewing that’s considered boring and normally devalued because of its feminine qualities. There’s some good action near the end, a really clean romance, and some really archetypal but entertaining characters. 

 

 


 

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Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (4/5)

This book was adorable and Anne is one of those characters that I would hate in real life. She’s so self-righteous and wayyy too talkative but I really liked reading about her. But you can’t really help but be charmed by her because she’s lived a difficult life before moving in with Marilla and Matthew and to see her be so optimistic in spite of the odds is just kind of inspiring. I completely love the way that she writes the relationship between Anne and Matthew and Marilla. The way LM Montgomery writes the charm of Green Gables and Anne’s frenetic dialogue is effortless and top-notch.


And the rest were graphic novels.. I went crazy on the graphic novels last month as you will see.

First I went on a Wonder Woman binge because she is awesome but apparently she is really hard to write because most of the ones I’ve read so far don’t give her enough justice.

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Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Love and Murder by Jodi Picoult (3/5)

I should have know this was going to disappoint when I saw that Jodi Picoult was writing it..I liked the beginning when Diana was talking about she can’t get used to the ways of humans when she is an immortal but the plot got too rushed near the end and lost any possibility for good character development. Also why does Steve Trevor keep being portrayed as a creepy womanizer. It’s weird. The art is fine although a bit too chaotic for me.

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Excerpt

 

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DC Bombshells Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett & Sauvage (3/5)

I said just last month that my favorite artwork ever in a graphic novel was Harrow County. Well I was wrong, this is my favorite. It’s just so beautifully matte and every character is so beautifully drawn. The content itself was ok although the premise itself seemed so promising. It’s an alternate WWII fought with by all DC superheroines and if women were on the front lines. I think it just focused on too many characters for me to feel any cohesiveness, although if I’m to be honest I only read it for Wonder Woman’s origin story. I never get tired of it. But if you’re looking for something that includes many of the DC comics women superheroes but a paper thin, confusing plot, this is for you.

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Artwork

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DC Comics Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Special #1 by various authors (3/5)

I’m still very angry about the fact that Wonder Woman was dropped as a UN ambassador because she was seen as only a sex symbol. Just read this collection of short stories and you can see that it is an insult to consider Wonder Woman just a sex symbol. It’s perfectly fine to be a sex symbol, in fact, most superheroes are. Just look at Batman’s muscles etc.  She is so much more than that. She stands for so much more. And this collection does just that. Some of the stories are a little simplified but there’s some gorgeous artwork that pays homage to who Wonder Woman is. I wish there was more.


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The Legend of Wonder Woman Vol. 1 by Renae De Liz (4/5)

This was the best wonder woman comic of the bunch because the story wasn’t rushed and it knew that it didn’t have to have page after page of action in order to keep the reader’s attention and her character was truly developed. It follows her journey before she left Paradise Island through her childhood and her teen years. I enjoyed learning how she really came to embody the characteristics Wonder Woman and why she is the way she is. The artwork is also pretty great.

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Excerpt

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Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughn

Paper girls Vol. 2 gives me so many answers from Vol. 1 but gives me just as many questions. But this volume is clearly better than Vol. 1 because the characters feel more distinct and there’s a lot more situations where the characters face their fears. I’m also excited about the ending because there’s so much potential for more epic plot lines and I really have no idea what’s going to happen next. This volume just felt way more cohesive so if you thought the first one was just ok, continue on! I think it was worth it.


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The Arrival by Shaun Tan (3/5)

The Arrival is drawn entirely in shades of brown, black and white (almost like a silent movie) and no words. It’s sort of an extended metaphor for immigration and going to a new place. I seriously want some of the artwork framed on my wall. A lovely book but nothing exactly memorable content wise.

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Excerpt

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I Hate Fairyland Vol. 1 by Skottie Young (3/5)

This book was so full of debauchery and fun. Don’t go into this book looking for anything character-driven. The art is so tacky; it’s drawn with vivid combinations of colors that should never work together but somehow does. There’s so many fairytale tropes turned on its head. It sort of reminds me of animated show on cartoon network..but for adults and with adult humor. If you’re into that, I think it’s worth it.

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Excerpt (My picture)

Now I’m paranoid that I forgot a book but I don’t think I did..Anyways, let me know if you’ve read any of these. I know I was pretty brief on some of them but if you want more of my thoughts, just let me know =)

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Uncategorized · wrap up

November 2016 Wrap Up: Romance! Crime! Angst! Anna Kendrick!

I had a lot of plans for my November TBR and I got to only…1 of those. This is why I don’t do TBRs. There are two that I will have a mini review for in December so look out for those but the rest I’ll mention my thoughts here.

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‘Night Mother by Marsha Norman (2/5)

This month’s play selection was a little disappointing even though the premise sounded so interesting. It’s about a grown daughter who has decided to commit suicide so she goes over to her mother’s house to tell her this and to set things in order before she goes. At first, I thought the mother-daughter dynamics were really interesting especially with the mother knowing her daughter was going to commit suicide that night but as it progressed, it just became more generic and bland.There’s a backstory that is slowly revealed throughout but the characters were not engaging enough for me to really feel the need to know that backstory.


The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (4/5)

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“Fun” Storytime with Carolyn: To put a hold at my local library, I have to pay 25 cents. I put a hold for The Sympathizer and couldn’t read it until a few days before it was due and when it was due, I couldn’t renew it because someone else had put a hold on it..So I had to return it and put another hold on it because it’s so popular, it was the only way I could get it -_- so basically I put

a hold on it the first time for no reason. But enough of my first world-problems, the good part is that I really liked this book and I have a full review here.



The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson (3/5)

Jeannette Winterson is quite the name in literary fiction but I thought The Stone Gods was just ok. The best part of the book was her writing as it was probably some of the best writing I’ve read this year. It’s a literary scifi novel set far off into the future where Earth has been destroyed and we have moved to another planet. It follows a woman named Billie and she’s a reporter who meets a robot named Spike and it’s their love storyImage result for the stone gods essentially. But the book is more like 3 novellas packed into one because each section of the book follows a reincarnation of Billie and Spike and their subsequent love story. Her writing feels very modern but this book is also an ode to nature so the writing also feels ethereal and references old myths and legends. It’s a humorous satire on the damage, we as humans, do to our planet and the
same mistakes that we inevitably make over and over again. The scifi aspects with the plastic surgery and all were a little gimmicky to me and felt too obvious (if that makes sense) and sometimes it felt as if her writing was just jumping from one place to the next without any cohesiveness.


Smut by Karina Halle (3.75/5)

If you’ve been following my blog the past couple of months you’ll know that I’ve been looking for a light and fluffy romance read that I could actually finish from beginning to end. I was having no such luck because true to stereotype romance is so satImage result for smut karina halleurated with the same cliches and carbon copy characters just with different names. This month I finally found a cute NA romance read that wasn’t offensive and didn’t bore me to tears. It’s about a woman named Amanda who dreams of becoming a published author. She’s in the same writing class as Blake, the hot and (arrogant of course) guy who gets paired up with her for a project. And things go from there. I really appreciated the slow burn haters-to-lovers trope executed very well. I also appreciated the minimal description of the other person’s physical features. The story was adorable, the heroine actually has a professional goal and works for it (!), the side characters were all fun and quirky, there was no contrived drama for angst purposes, so many nerdy references, and of course, my favorite–witty banter between our two main characters. Love it.


So for these next few books, I’m going to have separate reviews for them in December but they were definitely my favorite reads of November.

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Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (audiobook) (4/5)

Signal to Noise by SIlvia Moreno-Garcia (4/5)


Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Doestoevsky (3/5)

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For some reason, I thought this classic was basically going to be a guy meditating in jail for the entire story. And I was totally off..so off..In terms of the story, I definitely liked the individual parts more than its sum. There are some really thought-provoking ideas in this like what makes a criminal or even if certain criminals have a right to commit crimes. The main character had such an interesting dichotomy. He wants to be a part of society but at the same time transcend society because he has such a disdain for it. Everyone else was pretty bland. The stream of consciousness is really well done.

 


Graphic Novels

Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman Vol. 2 by various authors and artists (3.5/5)

Image result for Sensation Comics: Wonder Woman Vol. 2So I’m completely obsessed with Wonder Woman now. I recently watched the 2009 animated movie which I have some mixed thoughts about it but that’s gonna be for my movie wrap up. This comic is different from other comics I’ve read because it is essentially a bunch of short stories about Wonder Woman (flash fiction if you will) each by a different author and artist. I really like that because if you don’t like the art or the story, it will only last for a few pages. As with any medium like this, you’re gonna get some you like and some you don’t but overall I thought this was a really good introduction to Wonder Woman and what she stands for. I particularly enjoyed Noelle Stevenson’s story.

 


Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Cook (3/5)

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This is my favorite graphic novel in terms of artstyle. It is drawn using watercolor and the colors are blended in a sort of mosaic fashion that just blends so well. But it has this “scritch-scratch” that stil has those crisp lines that I really like. I can’t describe it!! I’m not an art person! What is art!! Anyways, the story was only ok. It’s a light horror story about a girl who is believed to be a witch reincarnated. I felt like the story lacked a strong plot and moved too quickly for me to become invested in the characters.

 

 
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I have a lot of books I want to get to before the end of the year (ah!!) so hopefully December reading is just as good or better than November’s. December is also exciting because I’m reconstructing my blog!! So if you see a lot of changes in terms of look, you’ll know why. I’ll keep you updated! Otherwise, let me know what books you read in November and what your reading plans are for this last stretch of 2016!

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Trailer Reaction · Uncategorized

Trailer Reactions #3: New Adaptations [Updated 11/17/2016]

My literal thought process before deciding to make this post:

Omgg, the Beauty and the Beast trailer is out today!! I must watch now!! 

Dang it, I have no wifi or data. I can’t watch it right now…oh well.

[Thinking] Some cool trailers have come out recently….

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Why don’t I make a trailer reactions post??? And here we are..

Beauty and the Beast

Omigod I’ve been anticipating this trailer ever since I saw the teaser trailer a few months ago and I was so excited to watch it. The first thing I notice is that the soundtrack is absolutely gooorrrgeous. I hope they continue using the piano/violin theme all the way throughout the movie. The second thing I notice is that this movie is basically going to be an exact replica of the Disney movie from 1991 including plot like the scene with her and the wolves and Beast coming to save her and the scene where her papa being thrown into the cage and Belle finding him.

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It also looks as though they’re going to adopt the same personality traits that the Disney characters had, from her incompetent, bumbling father to sleazy Gaston to the supportive anthropomorphic objects in Beast’s castle. That kind of disappoints me in a way because there aren’t going to be any surprises. I feel that if they had tried to adapt the original Beauty and the Beast short story, they would have such a fresh and original twist on it. I can only hope that they develop Belle’s character way more thImage result for beauty and the beast 2017 posteran they did in the
Disney movie and I hope she’s not reverted to just someone who fixes the Beast and reads books. But I also suppose that most people don’t care that it’s going to copy the Disney
version because it’s just fun seeing the story again in another format. I thought I would really love seeing Emma Watson as Belle but somehow I’m just not feeling her throughout this trailer. I think it’s because she gives me sooo many Hermione Granger vibes and I can’t really separate the two characters. She looks as though she came straight from between Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire movies. Also, she’s back with a British accent and Beauty and the Beast is suppose to be French but that’s a minor complaint. Another minor complaint I have is that the faces of the inanimate objects like Mrs. Potts feels kind of off to me.. I’m still excited to watch this. The set design looks so detailed and antique, there’s a really good chance that they’re going to recreate the Disney songs, and hopefully it brings something new to the table.

A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV)

I really loved these books as a kid and I thought that I would feel indifferent to a Netflix reboot after the somewhat “meh” movie. However, after seeing this trailer, I am sooo pumped. The kids look so adorable! The girl that plays Violet looks almost exactly like the Violet from the movie version. I really like the look of Count Olaf’s house in the beginning. I also absolutely adore the dark comedic tone that it’s taking because this series was dark but it was also funny and very eccentric and this trailer perfectly captures that in my opinion.

So apparently the official trailer for the series was released today (11/17/16), a day after I posted this -_- so I thought I would just update this. I really like the line where Klaus says he knows what perished means LOL. I have a feeling he’s going to be my favorite. The coloring scheme is a lot darker than I expected; there is literally no light anywhere. I also really like the humor throughout; it seems very fitting to the series. It’s very cheeky and literal.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I didn’t know this was based on a popular scifi comic series in ’70’s/80’s but after seeing the trailer, I’m so eager to check it out. There’s something about big-budget scifi operas that excite me. I’m also liking the combination of scifi and romance. The acting doesn’t seem all that good and I’m not sure what the story is going to look like.If anything, this movie has good CGI and cool creatures and fun action so we’ll see when the reviews come in if it’s worth it.

Wonder Woman (official trailer)

I don’t think anyone has any idea how excited I am for this movie. And this new trailer just makes me a million times more excited than when I watched the comic con trailer which by the way, was really good on its own. I’m in love with the shot where Diana is jumping off the cliff and completely adore the design of Paradise Island. Gal Gadot really, really comes off as Wonder Woman to me especially in that badass costume she’s in. And the scene where she deflects the bullets off with the Bracelets of Submission literally sent chills down my spine what with the epic music and the slow motion.

It was beautiful. I also really like the comedy in these trailers. They just feel appropriate to the characters and I, for one, am excited to see Etta and Diana interact. In the original comics, there was a lot of fatshaming of Etta and other sexist problems that I hope this movie can remedy. I also completely adore the scene when Wonder Woman deflects the bullets off of Steve Trevor played by Chris Pine (who by the way is also completely adorable) which as I found is a gender reversal of the Superman movie where he is deflecting bullets off Lois Lane in an alleyway. My heart is melting. I sincerely hope that DC can make this a movie that’s both loved by fans and movie critics alike because even though Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad made a ton of money; it still floundered compared to recent Marvel movies like Civil War. They also generated a lot of disappointment so I really hope that Wonder Woman can bring them up. She is so important as a comic book character but also I hope will pave the way to other female led, big-budget superhero films just like one movie paved the way for all these male superhero films that saturate the market right now.This movie looks epic and I am so ready.

What are your thoughts on these recent trailers of adaptations? Which one are you most excited for?

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Book Discussion · Misc · Uncategorized

Discussion: The D-word, Diversity

There seems to be some rekindling of this issue in recent weeks. And I used to think it was obvious why we needed diversity. We want to see ourselves represented in the media and because our world does not consist of just white cisgendered males. But lately I’ve been seeing this trend where when someone reads a book or watches something with a diverse cImage result for star trek uhura zoe saldanaharacter, the character is somehow endlessly praised just for being “diverse”. But diversity comes with a lot of stipulations than just simply inserting a “diverse” character. Take, for example,
Uhura (Zoe Saldana) from the new reboot Star Trek who is the only recurring woman of color in this series. In every single interview, Zoe is lauded for being a woman of color and being a role model to little black girls as if the color of her skin is her only merit never mind the fact that she might be a good actress or anything. But the sad thing is even though we have come many, many years from the original Star Trek when seeing a black woman on screen was revolutionary, we haven’t come that far. She does not have much to do in these movies other than being the obligated “badass” woman.

Image result for peggy carterAnd that’s kind of my problem with the way diversity is being interpreted now. It seeks to alienate and make that story the only story. In Captain America, Peggy Carter is really the only important female character in the entire movie. So people see her as a beacon of feminism and badassery even though she doesn’t even have that much to do in the movie. And the only thing we see when we see her is that she’s a woman and she’s here to represent all womankind whereas there are numerous male characters in the movie that are defined by their traits and not be seen as just a man. So Carter has to be everything. She has to be strong, intelligent, fierce, vulnerable, and feminine. The dangers of a single story as feminist and literary writer Chimamanda Agozi Adichie would say.

I also use to say that diversity is important because we have to be inclusive of other types of people in all different walks of life but in our daily lives, we may be inclusive but we also practice segregation. On school campuses, there are things like Chinese Student Association or VSA or Asian Peer Mentors that may not technically exclude other people but subconsciously does. We seek diversity but we also seek community among people that are similar to us so that we feel less alone.

 

And then there is also of course the continuing trend of using diversity as a sort of moral weapon. I watched Bre Fauchuex’s video on her problem with diversity. She had a lot ofImage result for empire of storms points that I don’t agree with but she does make a good point about others. She mentions that people have been attacking authors like Victoria Schwab for not including people of color in her books. I’ve been seeing this around as well on Tumblr and Twitter where people were accusing Sarah J Maas of not including queer characters and people of color in her books which I don’t really understand because Sarah J Maas is not the first nor the last author to not include “diverse” people in her books and yet I don’t see people hating on Brandon Sanderson for not being diverse in his books. But I think it should be noted that the meer fact that we are attacking authors on this issue is because we need more diversity and more accurate diversity in the first place but I think we should address the issue differently rather than sending hate.

Nevertheless I do still believe in diversity wholeheartedly but I want to advise using the word more effectively and meaningfully.

*Some questions I pondered while making this post but didn’t know how to discuss:

If diversity is supposed to represent the real world, how realistic is it suppose to be? How much diversity is “realistic”?

Why do we not criticize literature from China, Japan, Senegal for not being diverse, for not featuring people of other ethnicities and races but we do with American or Western literature?

So we keep talking about diversity but can we do? What can we do to do better? To be active in applying diversity? Here are my suggestions that I try to personally apply.  

  1. Consume diversely, but more importantly, wisely.

Don’t just read a book featuring an Muslim American for #diversathon and say “hey, I read a book featuring a Muslim protagonist”, pat yourself on the shoulder for being a moral person, and then be done. Don’t treat it as a checklist and learn something from it. Does the author have anything to say about the culture that’s different? What is a cultural value that’s different than others? From your own? Is it even making a statement? Or is it just a protagonist that just so happens to be x, y, and z (because we definitely need those too)? Don’t be like that person that says I read To Kill a Mockingbird and say I cannot be a racist.

If we should be looking at a person’s character instead of the color of their skin, or their gender or whatever as fantasy author Robin Hobb says, then why not be diverse? The very fact that we need a diversathon is a little annoying to me personally because it’s just a week-long event. Shouldn’t we be reading diversely all the time?

2. Forgive and critique.

Nobody thinks they’re being ignorant until they are told they are. But we should not be afraid to learn from them. And if you are a consumer, the one critiquing these works, you will only anger and alienate people if you bash them and make them even less likely to listen to you. Do not make an attack on ignorance an attack on the person. We all have our ingrained prejudices that we cannot undo; we can only strive to do better. Today, everyone is afraid of offending someone and that’s because we are so quick to judge and hate. Instead forgive and critique.

3. Do not make one person the sole representative of their race/gender/sexual orientation etc.

Image result for wonder woman gal gadotWhy can Wonder Woman only be a role model to little girls? Why is Lupita Nyongo only a role model to black girls? Nobody’s story should represent the entirety of a peoples’ experience because that leads to generalization and stereotypes. In fact, this is the reason why we still have work to do in terms of diversity. We have a plethora of amazing male superheroes and not so amazing male superheroes but we only have one Muslim superheroine (Ms. Marvel). Some readers have said that her parents are stereotypes of Muslim tradition, others disagree but if we had more Muslim superheroes

4. And the most important to me, seek out media that is different from your own viewpoint and be aware.

If you’re not a Christian, read Christian fiction even if you might not agree. If you are or even if you’re not Asian, watch Fresh off the Boat. If you’re not black, watch Black-ish. And so on and so forth. Because we want diversity so we can see our stories represented, but we want other people to know how dangerous a single story can be, that we are more than our stereotypes and that we should not generalized.

Image result for fresh off the boatImage result for blackish

It’s the reason why Muslim Americans are now being segregated out of restaurants because of the pure fact that they are believed to be terrorists. Generalization at its finest. If we take the time to appreciate other people’s stories that are maybe vastly different than our own, maybe we realize that our differences are only the fact that we are afraid of what we don’t know. And maybe then, the argument of “writing what you know” can be obsolete.

I read some lovely posts on diversity this week that say things so much more eloquently than I do and that inspired me to write this post:

Marlon James (author of A History of Seven Killings): ‘Why I’m (Almost) Done Talking About Diversity’

CW over @ReadThinkPonder: My Problem With the World Diverse and Misrepresentation vs. No Representation

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Misc · Trailer Reaction · Uncategorized

Reading Update + SDCC 2016 Trailer Reactions

Another year has gone by and I still haven’t gone to SDCC :'(..I need a job stat..

Anyways, I apologize for the lack of bookish posts lately. This isn’t totally a book blog but I know I haven’t been posting a lot about books lately. Part of the reason is because I’m in the middle of reading two longass books that require a lot of time and attention. Those books are A History of Seven Killings by Marlon James which won the Man Booker Prize last year and Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray.

They are both more than 600 pages so it’s gonna take me some time to read.  I’m also almost finished reading Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose which is about exactly what the title says and just starting a romance called Nuts by Alice Clayton, both of which I’m enjoying a lot.

So that’s how  my reading is going so onto the trailers. As you may or may not know, San Diego Comic Con took place this week and it’s been trailer heaven in here. I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of the biggest trailers. I’m forewarning you though, I have seen most of these trailers before this post. I’m just reacting to them again because a lot of them were that good..so without further ado..

Sherlock Season 4 Teaser

  • For the record, I don’t like that they chose the plot twist of Moriarity not being dead.
  • WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR HAIR JAWN WATSON; you’re not part of the mafia
  • hmm, cars and guns; I didn’t know this was fast and furious 8
  • “Get out of my house, you reptile” DAMN MRS HUDSON LOL

It seems like Sherlock Season 4 is going to steer away from more of the mystery focus and move more into the thriller territory. Season 3 definitely was not as good as Seasons 1 and 2 so I guess I’ll tune in and see if season 4 can be better.

Star Trek Discovery TV Teaser

  • That’s impressive CGI for a TV show
  • I was hoping to get a look at some of the people but ok..
  • Wow coming out Jan 2017, that’s closer than I thought
  • I hate teasers; they don’t show anything

Bottom line: I love Star Trek so I’ll watch it.

The Defenders Teaser

  • ok some pieces of paper..
  • Ok where is Jessica Jones??? Luke Cage??
  • Why do I even bother watching teasers.

Honestly I’m going to watch this for Jessica Jones :3

 

Doctor Strange Teaser Trailer

  • So another white guy superhero movie; we definitely don’t have enough of that..
  • Damn, Benedict Cumberbatch looking good in a suit..
  • This looks a lot like inception
  • I AM DEATH AND PAIN
  • BUILDINGS ARE FALLING AND RESHAPING IS THIS INCEPTION 2??
  • I like Rachel McAdams
  • LOL omg that ending!!! “What is this, my monitor?” “The WiFi password” “We’re not savages”

It looks interesting enough and more psychologically based than other superhero movies..I’ll probably watch it..

The Exorcist

  • creepy atmosphere
  • Creepy demon trying to take over her daughter, that’s from the book
  • wow the daughter is older than in the book..
  • wow a ladder randomly falling down, sooo scary

From what I’ve seen, they’re definitely going to change a loooottt of things from the book. Honestly, right now, it looks like a thriller with horror elements than straight up horror. I hope it doesn’t rely on the pervertedness (that’s not a word is it) of its premise to shock viewers (American Horror Story) and is more of a classic horror remake.

American Gods

 

  • I honestly don’t know what’s happening
  • the main char has special powers?
  • his wife just died apparently
  • Ok, he’s hitting a hammer on a cow..rude
  • someone just punched a guy and now there’s a lot of blood coming from his mouth

Ok so that just happened. You can probably tell I haven’t read the book. And to be honest, I don’t know if I am. I’m not sure if Neil Gaiman is an author for me. I liked his books, Neverwhere and Stardust, but I didn’t love them. It looks there’s going to be a bit of magical realism thrown in because it’s Neil Gaiman but I don’t know what to think of it.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer 2

  • ooh the beginning music sounds like the Harry Potter theme song
  • oooh, new characters although they are mostly white guys, oh and one black lady
  • Man, Eddie Redmayne is such a cutie even with his hair like that
  • LOL “why do I have to wear this” “because your skull is susceptible to breakage under immense force ” HIS EXPRESSION AFTER..hilarious
  • ooh an enormous white bird; I feel like the creatures in here are going to be stunning
  • ooo, alternate version of HP theme song again
  • “I wanna be a wizard” Truer words were never spoken

I’m actually excited for this movie. I think the trailers do a good job with portraying what you’re gonna see when you watch it. An action-packed, fun movie that expands on the HP universe.

Wonder Woman

  • Um confession time: I’ve watch this trailer more than 5 times already and I’m not sorry
  • the beginning is so Little Mermaid-esque
  • “You’re a man” “Yeah, do I not look like one?” LOL
  • You probably crashed the Enterprise and landed here didn’t you Kirk?
  • Epic music
  • how do people not see the sword on the back of her dress???
  • “I was brought to life by Zeus” pause “Oh, that’s neat” LOL, his lines are gold
  • Badass Amazons, hey this movie might actually pass the Bechdel test???what??? Is this 2016???
  • Omigoodness, I think I’d die if Chris Pine looked at me like that; his eyes are so beautiful
  • omggg, her costume!!!!!!! HER SHIELD
  • damn, that throw. You go, girl
  • that whip
    • damn, Gal Gadot looks sooo good, like look at her muscles, that stance
  • what a badass
  • omggg, those fight scenes…There’s a lot of slow motion
  • I like her theme song
  • “I’m Etta Candy, I’m Steve Trevor’s secretary” “What is a secretary?” “I go where he tells me to go and do what he tells me to do.” “Well, where I’m from, that’s called slavery” “Oh, I like her, I really do” “Fantastic, after you, ladies” LOL

I admit my knowledge of Wonder Woman is sparse at best but I’m mostly so excited because this is the first female-led superhero blockbuster film of this caliber made. And it’s about time. Like this means a lot just as when Katniss made her debut on the big screen. We so rarely see girls as leads for blockbuster action movies (you know, the ones that everyone sees and the ones that makes lots of money). I’m just so excited and I know trailers don’t mean shit but this one looks good so I have hope. I also hope this will set a trend for more female-led superhero movies. So the movie seems to be romantic and epic like the historic epic films but have the grittiness of Batman: The Dark Knight. It also reminds me a little of Captain America because of the historical aspects(if I recall they both take place during WWII). It also has humor which is always appreciated, like all the lines from Steve Trevor are so funny. And I’m so interested to see a male love interest as the secondary character in a superhero movie and seeing the dynamics. He is going to be the Pepper Potts, the Peggy Carter, the Gwen Stacy, the Mary Jane, the Carol Ferris, the Jane and countless other female love interests that have graced our movie screens in the past decade. And as much as I love them, I was always very disappointed in their lack of a significant role in the movies; more often than not being reduced to just being a love interest. I’m not saying that I want Steve Trevor to be reduced to just a love interest but I’m really interested in seeing the dynamics between a woman superhero and an average male love interest instead of the man superhero and the average female love interest because we rarely ever, ever have that. I’m so excited.

What upcoming movies are you excited to see? Have you seen any of these trailers? I’ve also seen the trailers for Justice League, Suicide Squad, and Kong: Skull Island if you want to discuss those! Let me know what you think =)