Forest of a Thousand Lanterns—Beautifully Reimagined Fairytale

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao book cover
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, the first in the Rise of the Empress series, is Snow White retold as the rise of the Wicked Queen—or, rather, the Empress—to the throne of Feng Lu. It’s a world of Dragon Lords, scheming courtiers, and one young woman determined to rule it all.


Xifeng starts out a troubled young woman abused by her aunt who promises her a great destiny. Xifeng’s aunt, Guma, is a sorceress and a seamstress, sewing silks by day and reading the cards for Xifeng by night. It’s blood magic, as all the magic of their family is. Continue reading “Forest of a Thousand Lanterns—Beautifully Reimagined Fairytale”

Inside Out—Growing in Emotional Complexity

Inside Out movie poster
Inside Out

Inside out is a computer animated kid’s movie about the lives of the primary emotions living inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl named Riley as she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.

1—Things Go Wrong

Things start going wrong when Sadness starts inadvertently effecting emotions, causing them to turn from happy to sad. This culminates in a sad core memory forming and Joy freaking out and taking it out of the system. The fight over this in turn causes all the core memories to get lost into longterm memory, along with Joy and Sadness. Continue reading “Inside Out—Growing in Emotional Complexity”

Black Panther—Powerhouse Movie

Black Panther movie poster

Black Panther is a super hero film that follows T’Challa as he becomes king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced but severely secretive nation, and fights for his throne and with himself over what it means to be king.


Every frame of Black Panther is gorgeous, from the set designs to the costumes, to the special effects. And the fight scenes, can’t forget the fight scenes. The architecture of Wakanda in particular is stunning—you don’t see Afrofuturism much in Hollywood films. The underground scenes are nice too. But I think my favorite thing is all the shades of red of the Dora Milaje. The music is just perfect too. Continue reading “Black Panther—Powerhouse Movie”

The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale

The Shape of Water movie poster

The Shape of Water is the story of Elisa, a mute woman who works as a cleaning woman in a top secret facility. One day they bring a fish monster into the lab, and Elisa falls in love. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.

Warning: full frontal nudity, female.

1—Once Upon A Time

Where to start talking about The Shape of Water? It’s a slow simmer, rather than an action-packed romp, but the pacing is just perfect for what it is. I was never bored. The imagery is beautiful, starting with an underwater apartment scene. We meet Elisa and get to know her routine—wake up, masturbate, cook eggs, go to work. And then her routine is disrupted by a scream and a man coming out of a room bleeding from the stumps of his fingers. Continue reading “The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie poster
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. It follows Henry Turner as he truest break his father’s curse by enlisting Jack Sparrow and Carina Smyth to find the Trident of Poseidon.


The special effects were spectacular, of course, and the soundtrack is great and follows the music of the rest of the series pretty closely. The tone, creepy and adventurous, is pitch perfect Pirates of the Caribbean. Continue reading “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable”