Friday, May 27, 2016

Movie Review - Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rhys Ifans, Matt Lucas, Lindsay Duncan, Leo Bill, Alan Rickman, Geraldine James, and more.
Directed by: James Bobin Screenplay by: Linda Woolverton Based on books by: Lewis Carroll Cinematography by: Stuart Dryburgh Music by: Danny Elfman
Premise: Alice comes home from China to find that things are not as she left them. Stepping through the looking glass, she learns matters aren't any better on the other side. To help the Mad Hatter, she must go back in time and find out what happened to his family. Yet there's more danger in her mission than she realizes. A lot more. (Rated PG)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Mia Wasikowska reprises her role as the spunky Alice to good effect. She appears a lot more comfortable with her role than in the first film. Johnny Depp gets to explore some unexpected sides of the Mad Hatter. Leo Bill was fun as the extreme Hamish. Sacha Baron Cohen was fascinating, and fluid, as Time. Helena Bonham Carter was fun as always as chaotic Iracebeth.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: If you can manage it, try to see this one in 3D or IMAX if at all possible. The special effects will make it totally worth it. From the mad dash of the Wonder through shallow waters to the Chronos Orb eye popping voyage over the seas of time. Lots and lots of amazing sights await. 
Especially cool were the Grand Clock and the Chronos Orb itself. The Mad Hatters' transformations from his illness were lovely. Time was amazing! The actor moving here and there and the audience seeing the machinery sticking out from the back of his head. It truly looked like it was a piece of him. Fabulous!
The vegetable people and the clockwork people looked awesome. The upright fish people were also rather interesting.
And if you enjoy the neat, unfolding buildings in the beginning of Game of Thrones, you'll like the cute unfolding little tales during the credits.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I enjoyed this second film a lot better than the first. The plot seemed more solid and fascinating. Life on both sides of the looking glass showed different facets of the same problems.
Friendship and family were the main recurring themes. And like the first film, it hints at how a small thing can begin a chain of events that end in unforeseen and even tragic results. Bits of darkness, than in and of themselves don't seem like much, but can fester and grow until they are out of control.
They have some rather cute after moments that run through the credits, too. Like extra bits from after Alice's visit. 
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of tumbles, crashing, jumping. A few of the landings from both the Chronos Orb and Time's other machine looked like they hurt! :P
5) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The period costumes were very nice. And I loved the female captain uniforms. I also thought that Alice's oriental dress was gorgeous. The makeup work on the Mad Hatter was superb, especially as it kept changing. They even used the makeup for some subtext with regards to Iracebeth as well.
Conclusion: Alice Through The Looking Glass is a fun ride with lots of gorgeous special effects. Definitely put the Wonder in Wonderland. :)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 5/25/16

Morning all!
Yosemite Falls Under Moon Light by Ning Lin at - looks great! I am assuming the reflection is photo manipulation? I don't see a lake. But still very cool! You can see more of his work at his flickr account. :)
Mountain Monastery by David Lazar at - awesome view! He's got even more fascinating pictures from around the globe at his site. :)
Owens River Valley by Harry Lichtman at - loved the subdued pastels. Very soothing, no? His site has other pics with colors so vibrant they feel like a punch! :)
Sunrise Las ColinasSneaking in one of mine. Found a new vantage point where I can take pics without the window reflections. What do you think? :) Sunrise in Las Colinas.
Have an awesome day!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mind Sieve 5/23/16

Had a website server fail on Sunday. Still not sure if it was me or my host. Had some new pics from a new game to share too. :( Still can't do posts from work, so schedule is super tight. Let's see how far I get! :P

Fan Fun

Star Trek Beyond Official Trailer 2 - looks fun! *fingerscrossed*

New Star Trek show teaser coming from CBS. But it's only going to be on paid access. :( (1 episode on regular free CBS TV to work us up. Boo!)

ICKERMAN Official Trailer - the visuals look super awesome! 

Social Media/Author Platform

14 Tools for Bloggers by David Sawyer at the SocialMedia Examiner.

Writing Advice

Character Dead-Ends by John Adamus - great things to keep in mind when writing characters. The WHY is important!

Have a good one!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Movie Review - The Angry Birds Movie

The Angry Birds Movie

Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Sean Penn, Keegan-Michael Key, Kate McKinnon, and more.
Directed by: Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly Written by: Jon Vitti Music by: Heitor Pereira Art Direction by: Pete Oswald
Premise: An orphan and with unusually large eyebrows, Red has always had a hard time fitting in, all the kids making fun of him because he's different. As an adult, things have not gotten easier, his streaks of bad luck not helping to keep him from getting angry.  Then the pigs arrive. Red tries to tell the village that there's something not right about them, but the smooth talking Leonard has a rebuttal for everything. Do the pigs have an ulterior motive for coming to the island or is Red just being paranoid? (Rated PG)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Jason Sudeikis does a great job as the pragmatic and unlucky Red. Josh Gad is a blast as super fast Chuck. Danny McBride did a nice job as the awkward Bomb. Peter Dinklage as the Might Eagle was hoot. :) Bill Hader had way too much fun as Leonard. Maya Rudolph added a lot cute bits as Matilda. Sean Penn doesn't say much, but his character Terence brought some definite fun to the table.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Rovio Animation has taken the beloved little game of Angry Birds and made it into a fun film. The textures are nicely done, giving a different look and feel not only to make our feathered friends look fluffy, but even differentiating between the different feather types on their bodies. Nice work!
Bird Island and Piggy Island each have their own distinct look and feel. They even worked the loosey-goosey building style the pigs use in the different incarnations of the game on the pigs' city. 
This loosey-goosey style is also extended to their technology, which makes for a lot of fun. That they haven't blown themselves up before this point is amazing! :P
If you go see it in 3D, they have several cute gags they use the 3D on for good effect. :) And Terence is awesome. Speaking volumes with but a look. 
And they could not make the bird kids look any cuter! OMG! If they ever make plushies of the kids, I'm not going to be able to help myself. They are so CUTE!
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I have to give some definite praise to Jon Vitti for taking the premise of the Angry Birds game and actually building it out into a full plot for a movie. Thankfully animated films are expected to be 'fantasy' so that helped as well. Best not to look behind the curtain - as they say.
Red has anger issues, but he's come by them honestly. Though the island purports to only bring happiness, the adults tends to ignore things they don't like, and so poor Red was made fun of by his classmates for not knowing things and for looking different without anyone intervening on his behalf. Add his streaks of bad luck and I don't blame him for being angry. Several themes revolve around Red and friends - community, social blindness, suppressing feelings, individuality, and several others.
They make sure we know the birds in this universe do not fly - that only the Mighty Eagle can - and most think him but a myth. I found it quite amusing that the pigs are the ones who introduce them the idea of the slingshots. Their hubris was also their undoing.
Some of the characters and who they represent in the Angry Bird game universe are obvious, some less so. Half the fun is watching them do their thing. And the pigs are a riot! lol. 
Make sure to stay through part of the credits. Super cute scene with the triplets. :)
Conclusion: The Angry Birds Movie is a must for anyone who has ever enjoyed the Angry bird games. Prepare yourself for large dozes of cuteness, some crude humor, and fun.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Picture Kaleidoscope 5/18/16

Sorry about the lack of post last week. Normally work on that the morning off at work (before work time) but I tried to do a site backup and ever since then, I've been blocked. Need to talk to IT and see if I can get that fixed or just need to make sure to do the post early! (Easier said than done though! Whee!)

Did run into a new place people can exhibit photos and a great place to find stuff to share. Called Unsplash
Lovely shot by Joe Reed. Looks awesome screen wide. :)
Photo by Geoffrey Arduini - love the whole white out effect from the snow. He's got lots of other fun stuff to share on his flicker account. :)
Another of Geoffrey Arduini's pics. What a view! 
Pic from Dumbo, NY by Valor Kopeny - love how the buildings force you to focus on the lighter colored bridge. Nice! He does wedding and engagement photos as well. :)

Have a great one!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Mind Sieve 5/16/16

Feeling poorly so this will be a short one. Sorry ya'll!

A new Simon's Cat! Field Trip

The Jungle Book (Sarabande) from the Piano Guys. Really cool location! 

Assassin Creed Official Trailer 1 - looks awesome! Couldn't play the games because of the low refresh rate in the future room. :( Make me dizzier than spit. But loved the concept!

Have a great one!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 5/15/16

Final Fantasy XIV
Highbridge and Remembrance Day pics
Inclement weather - nicely detailed too!
Outside Highbridge. Love the cave entrance and cave windows!
The arches and tile work really spice up the place, no?
The true leader of Ul'dah during Remembrance Day. So cute!
Ul'dah's leader and her general
The Twins - they know a lot more than they tell. :P
More awesome tile work. The little windows are also fab!
Stage area in New Gridania
Cute waterfalls in New Gridania
Wasps and carnivorous plants. Eek!
Masked people in the middle of the forest - can't be good!
Hope you have a fabulous day!
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