Friday, June 29, 2012

Movie Review - Brave


Starring: Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Sally Kinghorn, Eilidh Fraser, Peigi Barker, Steven Cree, Steve Purcell, and more.

Directed by: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and  Steve Purcell Story by: Brenda Chapman Screenplay by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, and Irene Mecchi Original Music by: Patrick Doyle

Premise: All of her life Merida has been trained by her mother the queen on how to be a proper princess. Yet Merida cares nothing about those things being happiest when she's out in the woods riding her horse and shooting arrows. So when the queen arranges for the sons of the king's three vassals to come compete for Merida's hand in marriage, Merida uses the word of the law to take matters into her own hands not thinking about the possible consequences. And when she uses a bit of magic to try to change things, matters only grow worse. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Kelly MacDonald was precious as the independent, free spirit Merida. As the queen, Emma Thompson was able to come across as both strict and loving. Julie Walters was a lot of fun as the Witch/Woodcarver. But it was Billy Connolly as Fergus, Merida's father, who put in a lot of the film's fun! While the two principals carried the weight of the problems between daughter and mother, it is all the side characters that make the film such a delight to watch.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Pixar always does marvelous work with their animations and their expertise shows in every frame of the film. With sweeping vistas or running views through the woods, we're immersed in Merida's world, one full of Celtic flavor and magic. I do not envy those placed in charge of animating Merida's flowing, curly hair!

The expressions of the characters are easy to read and mesh well with the voice actors's talents. Even better, they impart many feelings visually, especially from those characters who can't or don't speak.

Merida's three brothers are hilarious and so very cunning. Fergus and the lords are used to great effect for comedic relief.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The story doesn't turn out to be quite what you expect, so some surprises were in order. It is a personal tale, with personal stakes, not the kind which will have dire consequences to the world. Some viewers might be slightly disappointed in this, as the previews slant the expectations about the story to be more far reaching. But there's so much to love about the film, hopefully the lack of a world ending type plot won't detract from their enjoyment of it too much.

All the characters, even those in the periphery, were given great depth and viewers will get a sense of who they are very easily. Even the young suitors for Merida's hand get given hints of who they may one day become, of the potential still hiding inside each of them.

Conclusion: A fun film with something for everyone. It moves at a good pace and intermingled with a lot of fun or funny moments. Don't be surprised if you need a tissue at the end. And make sure to sit through the credits, as there is just a bit more for the audience at the very end. Definitely worth seeing.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Paying Full Price To See It Again)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mind Sieve 6/25/12

June has been so weird!!!!!!

Designing From Bones - Cannibalizing Fiction from Gene Lempp. Literally! Hee!

Les Miserables 2012 Trailer. Oh this is looking so good!

Killing Them Softly Trailer with Brad Pitt.

A totally cool marriage proposal - does raise the bar for guys everywhere. :P

An Ancient Civilization Upened By Climate Change from The New York Times. I'm surprised it took them this long to figure this out. The world has continually changed since its inception. Cool they have proof of what happened to the Indus though.

Rub Some Bacon On It from Rhett And Link - The answer to all our problems! Who knew? :P (This cracked me up!)

Warehouse 13 Season 4 Trailer - Booyah! Guilty pleasure anyone? Hee!

Wreck-It Ralph Preview. This is so going to send old time games into nostalgia land! Looks like it will be super fun.

An Author's Guide To Fan Fiction from Jami Gold. Covers a lot of info here, peeps. The stuff isn't the same when based on a book or short story than on a TV or movie. And the lines are getting even more blurred. Eek!

Interesting post from Robert Lee Brewer on What Is Branding All About Anyway?

What Editors Do from Elizabeth Burton over at She Writes Blog.

Self-Publishing And The Burden Of Proof from Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. Great discussion as usual!

Okay, battling health crap so this is it for this week. Next week might be a little bare, not sure yet, as there's surgery in my future, and I've no idea how I will be for a week or so after. Here's crossing fingers I'll get to share more stuff ASAP after the deed is done. :P Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Virtual Tourist - Star Wars The Old Republic 6/24/12

Health issues have really cut into my playing time, but still managed to get a few pics this week.

Imperial Spy at Alderaan

Some views from the taxi service. Mind went blank on how to remove the UI. Doh!

A broken lift goes to the small island. Wondering if there's another way to get to it. Hmmm.

Some less ostentatious housing on Alderaan. :P

Red energy screens? Yeah, it's gonna be trouble.

Love the holographic tables.

Flying fish taxi travel pics. Some awesome views!

I do so love the Alderaan mountain ranges.

Have a great day~!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Movie Review - Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Johnny Harris, Brian Gleeson, Vincent Regan, Noah Huntley, and more.

Directed by: Rupert Sanders Screenplay by: Evan Daugherty, John Lee Hancock, and Hossein Amini Screen Story by: Evan Daugherty Original Music by: James Newton Howard Cinematography by: Greig Fraser

Premise: After having been held captive for a decade, Snow White escapes the clutches of her step mother on the eve she was to be killed to give Ravenna eternal beauty and power. Escaping into the Dark Forest, she forces the queen to seek outside help in tracking her from the Huntsman. A broken man since he lost his wife, the Hunstman agrees to find Snow White after the queen promises she can bring back his beloved. Yet when he meets her, it comes to light that all is not as he'd been told. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: Charlize Theron made for a tasty evil queen. Her desperation to remain beautiful and shattered self worth were easy to see and made you empathize despite yourself. Chris Hemsworth also did a good job as the heartbroken Huntsman. Kristen Stewart also did well, despite the fact she was given little to work with. 

All the dwarves were played by normal height actors shrunk to size. And while I love Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, and several of the other actors portraying the dwarves, after having seen the available talent of diminutive men as shown in "Mirror Mirror", "Special Unit 2", and "Game of Thrones", it seemed odd for the film makers to have used special effects to create the shorter men rather than pull from the awesome pool of talent already out there.

 2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: While the special effects were top rate, it proved hard not to be a little disappointed as most of the major ones had already been given away in the previews or proved to be drug induced hallucinations rather than the real thing. It also didn't help matters that the edit on the previews created certain false expectations in plot and number of special effects, which did not materialize. 

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: The story of Snow White has been done many times, so it's not like viewers don't know what to expect. I must give credit in that it was nice to see them delve deeper into Ravenna and what brought her to be as she was, and that a lot of detail and thought was given to the Huntsman as well, with a twist to the original, but the character of Snow White had no real detail or flavor whatsoever. 

Worse, Ravenna's brother, Finn, exhibited all the worst traits his sister loathed in men and exercised them. As long as the two were together, I found it very difficult to believe she would not have discovered his predilections and corrected them through magical surgery or other means.

One last sad point with the plot was that though there were excellent actors involved, the film lacked life. There was no spark to the story, making the whole come across as bland fare. The chosen previews in no way helped this, as they showed most of the effects used and led viewers into making false assumptions with regards to some of the combat scenes and the majority of the Dark Forest.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: Excellent spanning shots were doled throughout the film. Many of the shots allowed even comparisons by viewers of the state of things pre and post Ravenna, which made for great contrast and encapsulated how dark everyone's lives had become. 

6) Costuming/Makeup - Thumbs Up: Make sure to take a close look at all of Ravenna's dresses, especially the ones after she takes over everything - the one with a full collar of bleached crow skulls was especially impressive. Unless you looked closely, you wouldn't even realize what it was made from. Kudos for the work on all her clothes.

For Snow White, while I loved the puffed sleeves giving subtle homage to the Disney version, the rest of her main costume made no sense whatsoever, which truly distracted from the film. Here you have an eighteen year old who has been imprisoned in a tower and never let out for ten years, yet she has a dress on as well as thick pants and strong leather boots? It is implied they might have been gifts from Finn, but a lech would not have given a young girl clothes to hide her femininity from his view, especially as he liked to watch her while she slept. Unfortunately, since all the other characters and costumes were so well done, it made this inconsistency stick out even more.

Conclusion: I wanted to love this film, but despite the good acting and great visuals, it left me feeling flat and strangely dissatisfied. The previews, I feel, did the movie a great disservice and raised expectations or created assumptions that the film did not actually deliver on, prepping the viewer for unexpected disappointments. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better For Matinee.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Picture Kaleidoscope 6/20/12

Happy Wednesday!

Sometimes Texas just has some awe inspiring skies!

Caught red handed! Serenity and her kitty litter crack habit. You can see the traces of guilt on her mouth and nose. For shame!

No idea when or why this was, but looked kinda cool, so here it is! lol.

Neat sculpture in the building where I got a CT scan. My insides feel just about the way too. :P

If H R Giger Were A Pastry Chef, His Cakes Might Look Something Like This - from iO9. Sculptures by Scott Hove. Funky but cool looking cakes, no?

Pulp Fiction Photos Using Book Covers from PetaPixel. Photos from artistThomas Allen. Cool!

Opportunity's Selfie from NASA. Cool long view of Mars terrain. 

May the rest of your week be awesome!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mind Sieve 6/18/12

Been sick all week, starting this later than normal, and still having issues sitting at the computer for long periods, so let's see how far I get. Bwahahahahahaha!

Spiffy article and video from EW.Com PopWatch on 'Batman: Arkham City' - interviews with Kevin Conroy (Best Batman voice ever!), Mark Hamill (Best Joker voice ever!), and Stana Katic as Talia al Ghul.

From Clever Movies - Tom Cruise To Lead "The Magnificient Seven" Remake. This could be fun.

The Guild: I'm The One That's Cool - music video. Geek is the new Cool! Watch till the very end, will crack you up! 

Face To Face by Weird Al Yakovic - Interview with Patrick Stewart at ComicCon. Watch for the doubled headed baby in the background. Heh.

New Images from Les Miserables from Total Film. Russel Crow, Hugh Jackman - I am there!

4 Ways To Immediately Improve Your Book Marketing Efforts from Jane Friedman. Good points here!

And her follow up post called Yes, E-mail Still Works For Book Marketing.

Pinterest For Novelists: Can Pinterest Inspire Your Writing? guest post by Laura Harrington at Women's Fiction Writing blog.

From Rachelle Gardner - What Does A Publishing Contract Cover? Nice info to have!

25 Things To Know About Writing The First Chapter Of Your Novel from Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. Great stuff as always!

Get Thee To An Editor! 7 Reasons You Need One by Sarah Baughman from the Write It Sideways blog. Word!

All About Advances from Rachelle Gardner. Good info!

Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Virtual Tourist - Star Wars The Old Republic 6/17/12

Life has been chaotic lately. Whee!

Alderaan pics from the Empire's side.

Cultivated plants

I saw that log and was so sure it led to something. No, really! But it didn't. Pooh.

Killick left overs. Not something to make you look forward to entering the cave beyond. 

Spooky cave system taken over by the Killiks.

Killik nests with Imperials in armor stuck to the walls. Ick. 

Ulgo Defenses and ships

The Ulgo Family banner

This poor bot was in sad shape. Vengeful little bugger though.

That's as far as I got. Heh. Have a great Father's Day!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...