Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle—Fun Fluff With Heart

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle movie poster
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a stand-alone sequel to the original Jumanji movie. It follows five kids after they get sucked into a video game that that used to be a board game. Once there, they must conquer obstacles and survive to return home.

1—The Beginning

In the beginning—1996—the board game Jumanji was found on the beach and taken home to a kid who says “who plays board games anymore?” and goes back to his video game. So in the middle of the night the game changes itself into a game cartridge. The hapless kid puts it in his console and is never seen again. Continue reading “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle—Fun Fluff With Heart”

Get Smart (2008 movie)—Many Kinds of Humor

Get Smart
Get Smart

Get Smart is a movie based on the ‘60s parody sitcom tv series of the same name. The movie follows Maxwell Smart, the best analyst in the US government secret agency CONTROL. When the identities of CONTROL’s secret agents are leaked by a mole, Max finally gets his dreamed for promotion to agent.

1—The Humor

As stated above, there are many kinds of humor in Get Smart. Slapstick, situational, puns and wordplay, etc. But it’s all character driven. I liked most of it, but as with all humor, your mileage may vary. Max—played adeptly by Steve Carell—is at the heart of much of the humor, as befits the main character, and some of my favorite moments come from his outspoken candor and self-honesty. But everyone else gets their moments too. Continue reading “Get Smart (2008 movie)—Many Kinds of Humor”

The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic

The Hitman's Bodyguard
The Hitman’s Bodyguard

The Hitman’s Bodyguard, directed by Patrick Hughes, stars Samuel L. Jackson as the hitman and Ryan Reynolds as the bodyguard. Michael Bryce (Reynold’s character) is contacted by his ex-girlfriend, Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel, after a mission to transport a witness goes horribly wrong. She asks Michael to protect hitman Kincaid and take him to The Hague so he can testify against a genocidal dictator. It’s more fun that it sounds.

1—Great Chemistry

The chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds is great. Kincaid has tried to kill Reynolds in the past but that’s quickly set aside for the mission. Rather, uptight, has-a-plan-for-everything Bryce and…I wouldn’t call Kincaid laid-back, precisely. More that he just goes with the flow of life while ending the lives of others. Anyway, they spark off each other and bicker throughout the whole movie. It’s great. Continue reading “The Hitman’s Bodyguard—Unexpectedly Romantic”

Overly Sarcastic Productions—History, Myths, and All Kinds of Good Stuff

Overly Sarcastic Productions
Overly Sarcastic Productions

Overly Sarcastic Productions is a simply animated Youtube channel hosted by Red and Blue, who recap classic literature—like the Iliad and Beowulf and Paradise Lost—Shakespeare, legends and myths, and history in an informative and amusing way.

1—Trope Talks!

The first playlist I went through is Red’s Trope Talks! These are videos where Red talks tropes. Though she references Tvtropes.org on occasion, I don’t believe she’s affiliated with them. One of my favorite of these videos is Red’s take on Romantic Subplots—I totally agree with all her points. She also talks beginnings, Evil Empires, Paragons, the Five Man Band, and the Power of Friendship, to name a few. As of this writing, there are twenty-two videos in the Trope Talks! playlist. I plan to watch them all again when I get through the rest of Red and Blue’s videos, which currently number about two hundred. Continue reading “Overly Sarcastic Productions—History, Myths, and All Kinds of Good Stuff”

Supernatural—After Ten Seasons, I’ve Had Enough

Supernatural
Supernatural

Supernatural is a paranormal horror tv series that follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they travel around America hunting monsters and demons. The bloody, beating heart of the show is the close but tortured relationship between the brothers.

1—In the Beginning

Supernatural begins with two deaths—that of Sam and Dean’s mom many years ago, and with Sam’s girlfriend in the present. Both end up pinned to a ceiling and catching fire. This should give you a good indication of if you can handle this show’s level of gore and violence. From there, the boys head off to find their father, who recently disappeared, and discover a demonic conspiracy. Continue reading “Supernatural—After Ten Seasons, I’ve Had Enough”

The Spawn of Lilith—Being a Stuntwoman in Hollywood is Hell

The Spawn of Lilith by Dana Fredsti book cover
The Spawn of Lilith by Dana Fredsti

The Spawn of Lilith, by Dana Fredsti, is an urban fantasy mostly told from the first person perspective of Lee Striga, stuntwoman extraordinaire. The only fully human member of the Katz Stunt Crew, Lee, after taking a near-lethal fall and gaining a fear of high-falls—the Katz crew’s speciality—is looking for some independent work.

1—Fighting for a Living

Most of the book is spent with Lee as she works her day job. Despite being surrounded by supernatural people, most of Lee’s days are down to earth—taking her turn on beer runs for the Crew, getting up early to beat traffic to her new job, going out with friends for a few drinks. But that day job is also fascinating—fight scenes galore (Lee’s speciality), behind-the-scenes gossip and insight, and did I mention the fight scenes? Ms. Fredsti describes well all that goes into making an on-screen fight happen. And the real fight at the end of the book isn’t bad either. Continue reading “The Spawn of Lilith—Being a Stuntwoman in Hollywood is Hell”

The Phantom of the Opera (2004)—Spectacular

The Phantom of the Opera 2004 movie poster
The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera is about just what the title says it is, the man haunting the Opera Populaire  in Paris, in 1870. Erik, the titular Phantom, lives beneath the Opera House and grooms the young Christine Daae to be a diva soprano—and does a few acts of sabotage to further her career. Enter Christine’s childhood friend, Raoul, the Viscount de Chagny, and you’ve also got a love triangle. But really, it’s all about the music.

1—The Music of the Night

I adore the music of The Phantom of the Opera, and the actors and singers in the movie do the pieces justice. You really must hear the music to get a proper scope of it. It’s all emotion, from quiet moments to ebulliently large. I like that kind of over the top drama in my music. Continue reading “The Phantom of the Opera (2004)—Spectacular”

The Lost Boys—My Favorite Vampire Movie

The Lost Boys movie poster
The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys is about Michael, Sam, and their mother Lucy as they move in with their grandfather in Santa Carla, the “murder capital of world” as is says in spray paint on the back of the town’s entry billboard, and finds themselves the target of a nest of vampires.

1—Horror and Humor

The Lost Boys has the perfect balance of horror and humor so that neither overwhelms the other. The pacing is good, a slow build interspersed with people being pulled up screaming into the night sky. The showdown between the pairs of brothers (Sam and Michael joined by the vampire hunting Frog brothers) and the vampires is satisfying, while the very end of the movie is both unexpected and and the perfect ending note. Continue reading “The Lost Boys—My Favorite Vampire Movie”

Kung Fu Panda—Legendary Legends of Legendariness

Kung Fu Panda movie poster

Kung Fu Panda is the computer animated story of Po, a panda in an ancient China peopled by talking anthropomorphic animals, after he accidentally gets chosen to be the legendary Dragon Warrior, destined to stop the infamous Tai Lung.

1—Animation

Kung Fu Panda utilizes two styles of animation, a hand-drawn sequence for Po’s dream in the beginning, and a computer animated style for the rest of the movie. The textures in the movie are great, especially since most of the characters are covered in fur. The landscape is lush and beautiful, and the buildings feel real. Even the water and mist feel real. And the movement of the characters feels real and yet fantastic, which suits a movie that homages the wuxia genre. Continue reading “Kung Fu Panda—Legendary Legends of Legendariness”

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”