Ruby 2

Little Update

I know I don't use this often.  I don't actually have the time to write reviews (much less anything) anymore.  But I try, and I still manage to write some things.

To those who care, you can keep track of me much more often by following my Tumblr.

But the other reason why I'm posting on here less is because LJ keeps changing the fucking Rich Text Editor and I can't do dick with it the way I want to anymore. (Seriously.  Like, I hit the backspace key and it backs me up to the fucking beginning of the sentence.  What is this shit?)

So here's the deal.  You can either follow my main blog where I post like everything I've ever written.

Or you can follow the individual links as I post them here.  I'm not going to try and transfer over what I write in Word anymore because LJ just can't handle it.

SO.

The latest two popular media related blog posts are as follows

In Defense of Emilie Autumn

...And on the Subject of EA

Thank you and have a wonderful day.
Ruby 2

Neverland Miniseries Review

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Don’t like?  Watch the miniseries first.

Why do I do this to myself?

Better question:  why do I or anyone else watch anything with the tagline “a Syfy original event”?



Exactly.  Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that when SciFi became Syfy, the already rather mediocre programming turned to absolute crap.  I watch only two things on this channel, and one of them is the only thing that gives Syfy any sort of ratings.  That is, I happen to be a fan of the WWE and I watch Friday Night Smackdown pretty much every Friday.  The only other thing I’ll watch on that channel is Haven because a) it’s right after Smackdown and b) its got Edge in it.  This is not me saying it’s a good show, just that I watch it.

I have liked some stuff on Syfy before, namely any miniseries they do (Kingdom Hospital comes to mind, and I really did wanna see Tin Man.)  So when they announced a miniseries prequel to Peter Pan aptly titled Neverland, I was down.

The idea of this miniseries is to tell us everything that happened before Wendy and her brothers came to Neverland.  It tells you how Peter and the Lost Boys got there, and why Hook is Hook.  Their idea is that this alchemist found a dimension that exists, paradoxally, at the edge and center of the universe.  Because of this, time stands still.  He creates these orbs that transport you to this dimension from our world.  The Native American Kaw tribe living there call it Neverland because you never age there.  Peter and his group of orphan boy thieves get there when they go to do a rob job with the man that looks after them (James “Jimmy” Hook.) When you hit the orbs, you get transported, and a lot of people have come across them during time.  Hook and most of the Lost Boys end up on a pirate ship run by a woman named Captain Elizabeth Bonny, while Peter ends up with the Kaw tribe.  He rescues the boys but Hook stays, becoming Bonny’s lover and helping her try to get the tree spirits’ mineral dust.

It’s…weird.  I mean, it tells the backstory in an interesting fashion but it’s not particularly good.  It’s hard to explain.  The alchemist worked for Queen Elizabeth I and wanted this world to be a Utopia for scientists to live.  But it’s never really explained why that didn’t happen.  There is only one orb that takes you back to Earth, and this guy knows where it is and uses it but doesn’t work toward his dream?  Also, if he worked for Queen Elizabeth, then how did the orb keep getting lost?  Pirates end up with it; Native American tribes end up with it.  If he can get back, how does he keep losing it and ending up with more and more people in his world?  Why doesn’t he just put them back?  I mean, it’s sort of explained that the displaced people wouldn’t know what to do in the world now that it’s changed so much but they don’t really explain….

They explain that he didn’t always have the Neverland to home orb.  He had to create that while in Neverland.  But it doesn’t give any sort of timeline.  Did he create it after the others had stumbled upon it?  Why didn’t he send them back as soon as he created it?  It’s never answered.

So, characters.

Peter and the Lost Boys are aptly cast.  Peter is smart and clever and spunky and the Lost Boys are suitably either young enough to look up to him as a caretaker or they’re his age and it’s a best friends/brothers sort of situation.  They make up a suitable family and none of them are too stupid to get on my nerves.

Hook is an interesting character at least.  He seems to have some real affection for these boys, especially Peter, but he’s greedy and he lets that get in the way of being a good guy.  He uses his role as their guardian to try to get them to help him on his quest which is as much about power and greed as it is about love and trying to help the woman he’s met that he’s feeling for.  He supposedly had an affair with Peter’s mother, and lost her to Peter’s father, which ends with him hating Peter’s father but promising to care for Peter to his mother.  He does a poor job of it though and when he reveals all this to Peter (along with the knowledge that the woman in the pocket watch he’s carrying is of his mother) Peter cuts off his hand that holds the watch and lets it be eaten by the giant crocodile.

Another point for Hook is that his Smee is played by Bob Hoskins, whom I fell in love with when I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  I love his acting.

Hook ends up taking the place of captain on the pirate ship because the original captain, Elizabeth Bonny, dies spectacularly.  Her big thing is that, stuck here in a world where her life is turned upside down and she can’t age, she finds this mineral dust that’s made by the tree spirits.  This dust allows you to fly but only for a little bit or you’ll burn up.  She wants more of the dust and to know the secret of it, but it’s protected from the pirates by the Kaw tribe.  Problem here is that you never really figure out why Bonny wants the dust so bad.  So she gets to fly, what’s the big deal?  I mean, if you know the Peter Pan story, then you know that you can fly in and out of Neverland if you do it right (second star to the right and straight on till morning.)  But Bonny doesn’t know this.  It’s not revealed that you can fly in and out of Neverland.  You have to assume that Peter somehow figures this out after the events of the series.  Since Bonny doesn’t know you could fly home, why does she want this ability so badly?  It’s never really revealed.

Tinker Bell does make an appearance.  She’s a tree spirit (read: fairies) who took a liking to the alchemist (he does have a name, it’s Professor Fludd, but he’s not really a character with much development and screen time.  He pretty much shows up to explain a weird dream sequence and to tell you about where Neverland is and what the orbs do.  Then he gets killed.)  She got involved during the making of the second orb (the one that takes you home) and she got all this “astral energy” that allows her to communicate telepathically.  She’s voiced by Keira Knightly which was my big selling point for this thing.  I love Keira, she’s an amazing actress and absolutely gorgeous.

The atmosphere is alright.  I never had “edge of your seat” moments but I also didn’t find anything to be too inappropriate (Serious moments that end up being funny and the  like.)  Visually it’s…alright.  It’s not stunning, not by a long shot.  But it is imaginative and you don’t have too many “OMG CGI stahp” moments (those times where it’s so fake it’s facepalm worthy.)  Costume and music are typical of a miniseries and don’t stand out to me in any way so I’d rate that as average.

Final Thoughts:  Okay, it’s not the greatest thing on Earth.  It’s a great premise but it’s not particularly well executed and there are some pretty big plotholes.  2.5/5 stars. 
Book

Books to (Attempt to) Read in 2013

In order by author last name.
With more than one work by same author, titles are listed alphabetically
Books with a sequel are numbered.
Series are listed by series title, not by individual books.

A

Sam Capra’s Last Stand by Jeff Abbott Mar. 4th
The Wit and Wisdom of Ted Kennedy by Bill Adler
A Death in the Family by James Agee
P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Have a Little Faith by Mitch Albom
Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Little Women Series by Louisa May Alcott
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
100 Bullets Series #7-13 by Brian Azzarello

B

Me & Lee: How I Came to Know, Love and Lose Lee Harvey Oswald by Judyth Vary Baker May 12th.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Oz Series by L. Frank Baum
Mad About Madeline: The Complete Tales by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Fudge Series by Judy Blume
Black Hawk Down by Mark Bowden
The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Series by Ann Brashares
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emilie Bronte
One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

C

The Princess Diaries Series by Meg Cabot
The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky May 14th
The Lost Children by Carolyn Cohagan
The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer
The Vampire’s Promise Series by Caroline B. Cooney
The Janie Johnson Series by Caroline B. Cooney
Ageing Disgracefully by Colin Cotterill
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Airframe by Michael Crichton
The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

D

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1) by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (2) by Roald Dahl
The Courtesan’s Daughter by Claudia Dain
Garfield’s Pet Force Series by Jim Davis
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

E

The Little Book by Selden Edwards
The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erikson

F

The Concubine’s Daughter by Pai Kit Fai
Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! by Fannie Flagg
The Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling
Beastly by Alex Flin Feb. 1st
Beastly: Lindy’s Diary by Alex Flinn
A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
Inkspell by Cornelia Funke

G

The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman
The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
Julie of the Wolves Series by Jean Craighead George
The Rizzoli & Isles Series by Tess Gerritsen
Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies
Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham
Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg
Dear America: The Winter of Red Snow by Kristiana Gregory
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
The Pelican Brief by John Grisham
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
A Little Girl is Dead by Harry Golden

H

Circle of the Moon (2) by Barbara Hambly
Sisters of the Raven (1) by Barbara Hambly
A Civil Action by Jonathan Harr
Twin Sisters (1) by Janice Harrell
Twin Terror (2) by Janice Harrell
The Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris
The Hannibal Series by Thomas Harris
The Clique Series by Lisi Harrison
Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten
Hoot by Carl Hiassen
Nature Girl by Carl Hiassen
Sick Puppy by Carl Hiassen
Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith
Daughter of Deceit by Victoria Holt
Snare of Serpents by Victoria Holt
The Iliad (1) by Homer
The Odyssey (2) by Homer
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hossini
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossini
The Bunnicula Series by Deborah and James Howe
Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Tattoos and the Women Who Wear Them edited by Karen L. Hudson
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

I

J

The Friday Night Knitting Club Series by Kate Jacobs
Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
The Adam Dalgliesh Mysteries Series by P.D. James
Reposessed by A.M. Jenkins
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
The Mammoth Book of Killer Women edited by Richard Glyn Jones

K

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Meowmophosis by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook
The Blood of Eden Series by Julie Kagawa
The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Caroyln Keene
Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally
The League Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
The Emily Windsnap Series by Liz Kessler
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Vampire Hunter D Series by Hideyuki Kikuchi
The Bachman Books by Stephen King
Misery by Stephen King
Thinner by Stephen King
Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Confessions of a Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The View from Saturday by E.L. Koingsburg
Strangers by Dean Koontz
The Odd Thomas Series by Dean Koontz
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

L

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
The Guardians of Ga’Hoole Series by Kathryn Lasky
True North by Kathryn Lasky
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Remedies by Kate Ledger
The Claidi Journals by Tanith Lee
Bizenghast Series by M. Alice LeGrow
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
The Time Quartet by Madeleine L’Engle
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Best Little Girl in the World by Steven Levenkron
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Stephen
Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Bourne Series by Robert Ludlum
Rx by Tracy Lynn

M

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli Feb 14th
The Wicked Years Series by Gregory Maguire
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Babysitter’s Club Series by Ann M. Martin
Babysitter’s Club Friends Forever by Ann M. Martin
The Babysitter’s Club Mysteries by Ann M. Martin
The Babysitter’s Club Super Specials by Ann M. Martin
Babysitter’s Little Sister by Ann M. Martin
Babysitter’s Little Sister Super Specials by Ann M. Martin
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Vegas Vampires Series by Erin McCarthy
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Angela’s Ashes (1) by Frank McCourt
‘Tis (2) by Frank McCourt
Always and Forever by Lurlene McDaniel
Angels Trilogy by Lurlene McDaniel
Don’t Die, My Love by Lurlene McDaniel
For Better, For Worse, Forever (2) by Lurlene McDaniel
Mother, Please Don’t Die by Lurlene McDaniel
One Last Wish Series by Lurlene McDaniel
Saving Jessica by Lurlene McDaniel
Six Months to Live by Lurlene McDaniel
Somewhere Between Life and Death by Lurlene McDaniel
Till Death Do Us Part (1) by Lurlene McDaniel
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann
Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead
The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
The Evil That Men Do by Stephen G. Michaud with Roy Hazelwood
The Tristan and Isolde Trilogy by Rosalind Miles
All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder by Frank Miller
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
Psychic Warrior by David Morehouse
Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

N

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Keys to the Kingdom Series by Garth Nix May 22nd (Book 3)

O

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brian
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

P

Alex Cross Series by James Patterson
Witch and Wizard Series by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
The Cooper Kids Adventure Series by Frank Peretti
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The Circle Opens Series by Tamora Pierce
Final Friends Trilogy by Christopher Pike
The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman

Q

R

Emily the Strange Series by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker
The Mayfair Witches Series by Anne Rice
The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice
Light Before Day by Christopher Rice
Grandma’s Attic Series by Arleta Richardson
Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan
Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities by Alexandra Robbins
Suspect by Michael Robotham
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Empty Promises by Ann Rule
The End of the Dream by Ann Rule
A Fever in the Heart by Ann Rule
If You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule
The Lust Killer by Ann Rule
Possession by Ann Rule
Too Late to Say Goodbye by Ann Rule

S

Holes by Louis Sachar
Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger by Louis Sachar
Amy and Laura by Marilyn Sachs
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers by Harold Schechter and David Everitt
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Legends, Lies & Cherished Myths of World History by Richard Shenkman
Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
Dread Locks by Neal Shusterman
If I Did I by O.J. Simpso Feb. 4th
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
The Immortal Life of Herietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy by Maya Slater
Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The Oedipus Cycle by Sophocles
At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks
True Believer by Nicholas Sparks
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
The Starr Report by Kenneth W. Starr
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Boyfriend by R.L. Stine
Goosebumps by R.L. Stine
Fear Street Series by R.L. Stine
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

T

Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto
The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan
Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan
Vanity Fair by W.M. Thackeray
Hitler: The Pictoral Documentary of His Life by John Toland
The Lord of the Rings Series by J.R.R. Tolkien

U

The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike

V

W

Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends from Cleopatra to Princess Di by Kriss Waldherr
Stolen Innocence: My Story of Growing Up in a Polygamous Sect, Becoming a Teenage Bride and Breaking Free of Warren
Jeffs
by Elissa Wall with Lisa Pulitzer
The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
The War of the Roses by Alison Weir
The Dark Disciple Trilogy by Margaret Weis
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (1) by Rebecca Wells
Ya-Yas in Bloom (2) by Rebecca Wells
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Dear America: Voyage on the Great Titanic by Ellen Emerson White
The Chicago Fire Trilogy by Susan Wiggs
The Tudor Rose Trilogy by Susan Wiggs
The Occult: A History by Colin Wilson
The China Syndrome by Burton Wohl
John Dies at the End by David Wong
Slave Trade Trilogy by Susan Wright
The Pen Pals Series by Sharon Dennis Wyeth

X

Y

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Z

Gossip Girl Series by Cecily von Ziegesar
Gossip Girl: The Carlyles Series by Cecily von Ziegesa

Two

Books I Read in 2012

29 books read.
7,447 pages read (give or take a book.  My Goodreads keeps telling me that Cinderella has no pages in it.  -_-)

A

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbot
For One More Day by Mitch Albom
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
First Shot, Last Call (100 Bullets Series #1) by Brian Azzarello
Split Second Chance (100 Bullets Series #2) by Brian Azzarello
Hang Up on the Hang Low (100 Bullets Series #3) by Brian Azzarello
A Foregone Tomorrow (100 Bullets Series #4) by Brian Azzarello
The Counterfifth Detective (100 Bullets Series #5) by Brian Azzarello
Six Feet Under the Gun (100 Bullets Series #6) by Brian Azzarello

B

Cinderella by Titian Beresford
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton

C

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
Mockery of Justice by Cynthia L. Cooper & Sam Reese Sheppard
Next by Michael Crichton

D

E

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

F

G

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Still Alice by Lisa Genova
The Madness of Kings: Personal Trauma and the Fate of Nations by Vivian Green

H

I

J

K

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
DEAD(ish) by Naomi Kramer

L

M

The Limousine by N.T. Morley

N

Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom Series #1) by Garth Nix
Grim Tuesday (The Keys to the Kingdom Series #2) by Garth Nix

O

The Crow by James O’Barr

P

Q

R

S

Batman: Cacophony by Kevin Smith

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

Book

The Crow Graphic Novel Review

WARNING!  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Don’t like?  Read the book first.

So earlier this year I got the pleasure of finally reading the graphic novel The Crow.



A little background.  The Crow movie is one of the most popular cult films like ever.  Most of the goth stuff you see can be inspired by this movie.  This was Brandon Lee (son of the famous martial artist/actor Bruce Lee) in his last movie and he was brilliant.  It’s a classic.

It came from this graphic novel.  The basic plot is that a man, Eric, as he seeks revenge for the brutal rape and murder of his fiancee Shelly and his own paralysis and murder.  He is resurrected by a crow (and it’s never revealed where the crow comes from) who guides him on his quest.  The crow both helps and chastises him because he lives in the house he shared with Shelly and constantly relives memories of her, cutting himself as a relief of the emotional pain he feels.

It’s a pretty basic revenge story.  He easily hunts down the drug-addicted members of the gang that ruined his life, and he kills them brutally.  All except Funboy who agrees to pretty much commit suicide instead of being murdered by helping Eric out.

The only part of the plot that doesn’t seem to make as much sense (and one they fixed in the movie but I’ll discuss that in depth later) is Sherri.  She’s a street rat that Eric comes across whose mother is a drug-addicted loser.  He bonds pretty closely with her, they have nicknames and he gives her Shelly’s engagement ring.  But all this happens in what amounts to two encounters between the two.  I never understood why he would’ve bonded quite that closely with a stranger.  The problem doesn’t exist in the movie version.

Eric is not only a likable character but actually a relatable one.  Once you get the story on what happens to drive him to this, he becomes extremely relatable.  They do change the story a shade in the movie, but  the original story is that they go out to the beach and on the way home the car breaks down.  While they’re stranded, a car full of violent junkie gang members pulls up and when the couple refuses help, the gang gets angry.  They shoot Eric in the head, break into the car and pull shelly out and proceed to rape her and kill her in the middle of it.  Eric isn’t dead, just paralyzed and he watches them do this to her.  

You really feel his pain for having been ripped away from his love and made to watch this horrible act.  The crow appears to come to him in the beginning, telling him not to watch, but he does anyway which solidifies his rage.  The crow itself is a more interesting character than in the movie as we can actually hear it talk to Eric (while the movie skipped that piece of supernatural-ness.)  He’s a sarcastic bastard too but very useful.  The other supernatural thing in this book (which is a shade different in the movie) is that Eric can’t be killed, since he’s kinda already dead.

The plot is a little more than just killing too as you do get to see Eric emotionally move on from Shelly before he finishes his quest.  

Final Thoughts:  So if you can’t tell, I really do like this book.  It’s very well written, simple but not overly so and the atmosphere is great.  The art is striking but not cluttered; you can clearly see what’s going on but the art isn’t simplified.  It’s a relatable story, emotionally moving and intriguing despite the harshness of the topic.  It’s a five star book and I highly recommend everyone read it.

Movie

#37: X2: X-Men United

WARNING!  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
Don’t like?  Watch the movie first.

THIS IS THE LAST SERIES MOVIE I’LL DO OUT OF ORDER I SWEAR!



Yeah, ended up watching this when my (ex) boyfriend was pestering me to watch a movie with him.  But it couldn’t be something on the computer no.  It had to be a DVD so we could watch it on one of the old ass TVs.  Especially a DVD where we could watch it in the back in my dad’s bedroom because the bed is comfier than the couch so he could immediately pass out thus making the idea pointless.

I’m a little bitter.

This actually happens to be my favorite of the X-Men movie series.  At least, of the “original” trilogy.  I didn’t mind the Origins story much and I really kinda liked First Class.  But of the original three, this one stands out.  I’ll tell you why a little later.

This is the sequel to the first live-action X-Men movie.  Only, in this one, while Xavier and Magneto are still fighting against each other, they are also fighting a common enemy: one senator by the name William Stryker.  He has this plan to wipe out mutants.  Everyone has to band together to save the world.  

Really, plot-wise it’s not spectacular.  There are no real twists or turns that aren’t shown early on.  A lot of the coolness from these movies come from character stories.  At this point in the series, Jean Grey is losing her control on her telepathy and telekinesis.  We get the introduction of Nightcrawler and Lady Deathstrike.  We see Magneto’s freedom after the events from the first movie got him locked up.  We now know how Pyro got led to be on Magneto’s side.  We see the teenage romance of Rogue and Iceman.  Mainly, we get a lot of Wolverine’s history involving Mr. Stryker.  It’s these things that make the story more interesting.  

And there are some really good actors in it.  Hugh Jackman makes a damn fine Wolverine in my opinion.  He looks great for the part, he’s a great action star and he’s great at being a snarky bastard.  Patrick Stewart is the perfect Xavier and Ian McKellen makes a damn sophisticated Magneto.  I love Halle Berry as Storm but I wish she was a shade more badass.  Rebecca Romijn is a beautiful Mystique.  Alan Cumming makes a great Nightcrawler.  Anna Paquin owns my heart as Rogue (though I wish she was a bit bitchier of a Rogue.  At least her accent is a nice southern drawl that sounds good and isn’t that brackish in-your-face accent of the original cartoon version.)  

James Marsden is Cyclops and he’s a good Cyclops at this point in the story.  I have to say it this way (and use a whole new paragraph) because this is where I’m going to explain why X2 is the best X-Men movie.  It mostly has to do with him.  I love Cyclops as a character.  I first fell in love with his character at the tender age of like 5 or 6 when I was watching the original cartoon Saturday mornings with my dad (I think Gambit/Rogue was my first OTP.)  The first X-Men movie of the franchise is alright.  It’s not great, but it doesn’t suck either.  Kinda like the first Spider-Man movie of the first reboot trilogy (the ones with Toby Maguire.)  It’s a good movie, but only a few memorable moments.  Mostly memorable for the actors we saw cast in the various roles.  And then X-Men 3: The Last Stand came out.  This movie blows.  I can’t stand it, and one of the reasons why I can’t stand it is because of what they did to Cyclops. I didn’t exactly like the fact that they “killed” Jean Grey in the end of X2.  But I heard the third would have Phoenix so it sorta made sense to do something underwater instead of in space.  A bit of a change but okay, seems legit, right?  Well they went and turned Cyclops into the pussiest little bitch right afterwards.  All he does is sit and cry and mope about Jean right up until she comes back as Phoenix and kills him.  

What?  Yeah, that happened.  Movie-wise, I was glad they killed off the tattered remains of a character I adored and they fucked with.  Cannon-wise, what the fuck?  He’s supposed to be around to love Jean as Phoenix and to try and help Jean and Phoenix split apart (because the Phoenix isn’t supposed to be the messed up part of her psyche, it’s a separate entity that takes over her dying body.)  When Jean finally does die, Scott is supposed to move the fuck on and start shacking up with Emma Frost.  That’s what’s supposed to happen goddamnit.

Where was I?  Oh yeah back to the good movie.  

So yeah, mediocre plot made significantly better by decent writing and fantastic actors.  Add to that the fact that the atmosphere is just right (a nice blend of tension and action and drama) and the music is phenomenal and the costumes look good and the locations are nice... You end up having a fairly decent movie.  

Final Thoughts: I give it about a 4 out of 5 stars.  It’s my favorite movie of the franchise, and it’s a lot better than a lot of superhero movies out there, but it’s not cinema gold.  It can compete for the silver but it’ll probably end up taking bronze in the long run of film history.  

Movie

#36: Batman Returns

WARNING!  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Don’t like?  Watch the movie first.

Another movie I’m doing out of order in the series but there’s a reason for it this time.  Well, somewhat of a reason anyway.  

Y’see, for a while there, I didn’t have my own computer.  So, because of that, I a) wasn’t doing any reviews and b) wasn’t able to watch what I wanted, when I wanted to.  Christmas was coming and, while I like the holiday, I don’t fangirl over it and I definitely don’t like the typical Christmas specials and movies.  Usually, my go-to movie for Christmas is Die Hard (fuck you, it’s a fantastic Christmas movie.)  But again, no computer of my own.  Now, there are backup movies I’ll watch.  Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas...



And Batman Returns.  I happen to have that one on DVD (I got the 4 movie special pack with both Tim Burton Batman movies and the two terrible Joel Schumaker errors.)  So I sat my dad down to watch it with me.

This is the second of the Batman movies that Tim Burton directed.  And unlike the old 60’s TV shows, Burton made Batman dark and more for adults than kids.  This movie revolves around Batman defending Gotham from both the Penguin and Catwoman.  Really, you don’t need much more of a plot than that.  Penguin is highly deranged, having spent most of his life in Gotham’s sewers and when he emerges, a corporate baddy tries to make him into a politician.  When that fails, he tries to take over Gotham the old-fashioned way.  The corporate guy also has a hand in making Catwoman, as he’s the guy that kills Selina Kyle so she can be brought back to life by the cats.  Up to Batman to stop everything.  

What really makes it more than the plot is the near-perfect casting.  Michael Keaton is Batman.  Many people still claim him as the best Batman (although Christian Bale is amazing in Nolan’s epic trilogy.)  He has the charming, playboy demeanor of Bruce Wayne just right, but he can definitely get angsty enough to be Batman and have you understand his motivations.  

Danny DeVito plays Penguin.  The makeup team has to be given a huge applause for making the Penguin the ugliest looking baddy I’ve seen in a while.  I mean, Penguin is supposed to be a little nauseating, as he’s supposed to be a human with penguin-like features.  But this makeup team made those features much more pronounced.  Danny DeVito also does a good job with the character.  He has depth, he has motivations and he certainly has insecurities.  DeVito does a good job of letting you see these in the character and to also see the way he tries to make up for it, tries to act human and be exactly what he isn’t.

Michelle Pfeiffer makes one of the best Catwoman I have ever seen.  I mean, I know the older generation has a fondness for Julie Newmar, and Anne Hathaway did a fantastic job in Nolan’s latest movie, but Michelle is near-perfect.  She’s like the perfect amount of sexy and crazy.  Catwoman’s traditional origins are more like that of Nolan’s trilogy.  She’s just a misguided, sexy woman who turns to crime to support herself.  Tim Burton gave her a backstory that was more...interesting.  Burton’s origin is that she was killed by an employer and the cats she loved brought her back to life.  She gets cat-like reflexes, etc and nine lives.  But because being brought back from the dead by cats can fuck with you, this Catwoman goes on a crazy revenge spree, which both annoys and entices Batman.  (Okay, I may have a little idolization of Catwoman going on.)  Michelle Pfeiffer was probably the best to play this kind of Catwoman, next to maybe Helena Bonham Carter (but she wasn’t Mrs. Burton then and therefore was not on his movie roster.)  She is totally sexy (even in her older age, by the way) and when she wants to be evil or crazy, her sexy factor is upped.  It’s easy to typecast her into these kind of roles, because she’s fantastic at it.  

Last but not least, the cast includes Christopher Walken as the criminal mastermind of the story.  He’s the one behind the Penguin and is also the one that kills Selena Kyle.  His whole plan is to build this power plant that will actually drain Gotham of electricity and put it under his sole control.  It would help if Bruce Wayne would just go along with the idea but he won’t so Walken’s character (his name is Max Shreck but you’ll only be able to think of him as Christopher Walken anyway because....that’s Christopher Walken!) hatches this whole “Penguin as mayor/frame Batman” thing so he can get his power plant.  Needless to say it doesn’t go so well for him.  

So it’s a stellar cast, and it’s a very not-typical Batman movie for the time.  Up until Burton did Batman, all you really had were the cheesy 1960’s TV show and stuff like it.  It was aimed at fun.  Burton made Batman okay for grown-ups to like.  So the movie is dark and creepy but not in a horror movie fashion.  It totally screams Tim Burton to anyone that watches his movies.  Meanwhile, it’s set during Christmas time so it’s also very bright and cheerful, which actually makes everything seem kinda creepier.  Imagine a Batman/Nightmare Before Christmas crossover and you pretty much have Batman Returns for atmosphere.  Aaaaand Danny Elfman scores it so you have a....It’s hard to describe.  It’s like Nightmare Before Christmas music but not with the same catchy sing-a-long lyrics.  You can tell the movie atmosphere/soundtrack are a Burton/Elfman collaboration.  You’ll kinda recognize it immediately.  

Also, as I said before, great props go to the makeup team for this and the costume design was pretty awesome.  They gave a great range of umbrella weapons to Penguin and although he was uglier than the comic book, he was also very close to the comic book in terms of costume.  The Catwoman one is absolutely amazing because it looks like a homemade costume without being a bad costume.  There are more tailored looking Catwoman costumes out there that suck and this one is totally sexy while being totally hand-crafted.  Also, we thank the Gods that there are no bat-nipples in this costume.  

Final Thoughts:  If you can’t tell, I like this movie.  I actually think I like it better than the first Burton Batman movie.  So I really think this movie deserves a whole 5 stars for the amazing cast, director, atmosphere and music composition.  

Movie

#35 The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader Review

WARNING!  MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Don’t like?  Watch the movie first.



I don’t usually like to review movies in a series like this, especially ones that are based on a book.  My prefered way to do it is to read the books, in order, then watch the movies that correspond with each book right after and do a comparison.  Now, I’ve read the whole Narnia series.  I’ve read them several times over and I own a whole box set.  
Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth book and one of my absolute faves of the series.  So I was excited when 1) they decided to do the whole Narnia series as movies, rather than just the most popular one and 2) that they actually made and released this movie.  I didn’t get to see it in theaters but when it showed up on my On Demand, I definitely took the first chance I got to see it.  

For those that don’t know, Voyage of the Dawn Treader is about the two youngest Pevensie children, Edmund and Lucy, getting sucked into Narnia with their cousin Eustance and going on a voyage aboard one of Prince Caspian’s boats, named Dawn Treader.  The real meat of the book is watching how, in the adventures, Eustance goes from being the spoiled rotten absolute brat that he is to someone worth liking.  He at first doesn’t believe his cousins or believe that any of what he’s seeing is real, and he acts like a real jerk.  But slowly he realizes that this is real and he stops being a twat and begins acting like a better, more honorable person.  

The main adventure is that these three are helping Caspian try to find the seven lost Lords of Narnia that his usurper of an uncle banished.  There’s another plotline following this that wasn’t in the book that concerns this mysterious green mist and how to banish it.  I also don’t remember the ending of the book being quite the same as the one in the movie, but it’s been awhile since I’ve read that book so I might be mistaken on that.  

The characters, or most of them, are ones that we’ve met before and we know we love.  Edmund can be stubborn and stupid but he’s generally honorable now and good-hearted and a valiant king, etc.  Lucy is, as always, adorable and beyond kind but we get a little bit of a different look at her here. The movie reveals a shade more of her flaws, mostly her wish to be more like her older sister, Susan.  Caspian is admirable and valiant, especially on this quest to rescue the lords his uncle banished and left to die.  Reepicheep is undeniably the coolest character ever.

The real character of note here is Eustance.  His development is essential not only to the plot of the story (he ends up being a real help to Caspian and the Pevensies) but to the last two books of the series in general.  He really illustrates the effect Narnia can have on a person.  He’s incredibly annoying and has the most stunning bad attitude at first.  But his selfishness gets him into a lot of trouble and he has consequences to face (which he’s never had before because his parents let him run wild) and in suffering those consequences, he changes into a decent person.

It’s a great, adventurous atmosphere, with a fantastic soundtrack and the setting and world that we get are breathtakingly beautiful.  I believe they even did the “getting to Narnia through the painting” scene wonderfully well.  Only problem I had was that they introduced a fear element to the movie that I honestly didn’t like much.  But it was a small flaw in an otherwise really good movie.  

Final Thoughts:  I’m only giving this a 4.5 out of 5 because I didn’t like what they added to the story that I know but other than that it’s a really good movie.  Great for kids because of all the adventuring and there are dragons and lots of great stuff for kids.  Even a talking mouse!  Adults will enjoy it too, especially if they were fans of the books.  The movies appear to be trying to stay close to cannon and it shows.