Wednesday, July 24, 2013

LucyRavenscar - Crochet Creatures: Fantasy Amigurumi - Elves

These little guys are so freakin' awesome! I really need to contact the designer and get her hobbit pattern figured out. It's better than ripping it out halfway because something doesn't quite work. I wondered when she would branch into LOTR territory. She's made me such a happy woman!

LucyRavenscar - Crochet Creatures: Fantasy Amigurumi - Elves: You may have seen from my previous post that I'm working on a series of Fantasy amigurumi characters. I've already designed a patter...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Percy Jackson - Sea of Monsters trailer

I do believe Nathan Fillion will be the BEST thing in this movie! Way to go Hermes!!!

And, yeah, I thought Grover had been captured by a Cyclopes while he was on a quest to find Pan. But, hey, who needs Rick Riordan's original storyline, right?

A Tale of Friendships & Fear

It's totally weird that I'm getting page views from something called "The Tao of Badass." Not that I'm complaining, but really? I appreciate the views, but I'd much rather the people who would actually enjoy reading what I write find my blog instead of having it thrust upon them as an ad.

Anyhoo, in the same continuation as last night, I had lunch with my 68-year-old friend today. She's my volunteer for the library on Tuesday mornings, helping me process incoming holds, so we usually have lunch together afterwards. This time we packed lunch, one of my sweetest coworkers was also in the breakroom, so we all had lunch together, talking the Kindle Fire and the Royal Family's new baby (I'm full to the brim with news on Kate), and it was fun.

You, or rather I, really miss out on a lot by being afraid to connect with people because they might die. It's probably the worst thing in the world for someone with my personality type to be afraid to care. ISFJ's are genetically geered towards caring so when we try to turn it off, it's like our happiness shrinks. I'm so much nicer in general when I'm not worried about getting too close to someone. I suppose it doesn't help that I made friends with the library's security guard only to have an all-out war ensue between him and the bosses. It got ugly real fast and I heard complaints from both sides. It was hard because I really like both sides. So, he's gone now and I feel like I gave my friendship to someone who didn't deserve it, or used me falsely. It's a feeling of abandonment. I'm the same way when people move to another city or state or if they get a new job.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Very Supernatural Moment

Sam and Dean on Christmas

In a world of superficiality, why do I find profound meaning in Supernatural? I gave up watching that show in the 4th season. I was good with the demons and the ghosts, all of the baddies Sam and Dean had to fight, but not so good with the false representation of God and angels they added to the plot in the 4th season. So it’s been what, three years, four since I stopped watching? On a whim, I bought a couple of my favorite episodes from Amazon, just so I’d have them if the mood ever strikes.

Watching A Very Supernatural Christmas from the 3rd season was like a trip back in time. It’s always been one of the show’s best episodes, if not the best, at least of the seasons I’ve watched. A little thing like impending death makes Dean sentimental. I’d forgotten how . . . peaceful he was in the 3rd season, even while knowing that he only “supposedly” had a few months to live. He wants Christmas, wants to mend bridges and build memories, especially with Sam. He’s the big brother and the father figure.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


Visiting my BFF for a few days always results in my learning something new. Take, for example, the following:
  1. Sam Neill is adorable . . . even when running from deadly dinosaurs. A fact discovered while marathoning all THREE of the Jurassic Park films. My first time ever.
  2. Attached to example #1, if your BFF has a semi-psychotic cat, said cat will wait until the opportune moment of the dinosaur movie to leap at your neck and send you flying across the sofa.
  3. Antlers on the top of a truck (seen whilst driving around town today) and angel wings on the back of a hoodie (spotted on a motorcycle gal as I headed home yesterday) have a totally new meaning since watching a few episodes of Hannibal for the first time. Just . . . trust me, don’t ask.
  4. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is far funnier than I ever imagined, and my crush on Jeremy Renner spiked through the roof.
  5. It is possible to go the entire three day visit without mentioning Frank Langella (a record for us, I think).
  6. Everything is made better with chocolate fondue and a 2 liter of Dr Pepper.
  7. But above all, BFFs make the world go round.
I have lots of friends, but only one best friend outside my family unit. And when we have the opportunity to get together, it’s always a blast. We talk about everything from politics to nail polish and, I don’t know about her, but I go home with a contented feeling, knowing we’ve spent time together and uplifted one another as not only sisterchicks, but also sisters in Christ.

So, when you get a chance, go give your BFF a hug. Because they’re awesome!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Lone Ranger (2013)

Some movies are brilliant, some movies should never have been made, and some fall in the middle. The Lone Ranger is one of those "middling" movies of dubious success and popularity. Whenever Tonto stepped on screen, which was a lot, my brain instantly jumped to Captain Jack Sparrow. Not good. I fear Johnny may be losing his ability to play anything other than the pirate rogue who stole our hearts in the early 2000s. He can no longer separate himself from Captain Jack and it shows in his acting. Which, unfortunately, is probably why the movie is bombing at the box office.

On the whole, it's a fun film. But, even more so than Pirates, it has needless innuendo that should make parents think twice about bringing their children. To say nothing of the violence. The villain? Well, let's just say that he likes to eat, yes EAT, the hearts of his enemies. Gross!! Isn't one Hannibal Lecter enough? The body count is also horrendous, literally off the charts. An entire tribe of American Indians is slaughtered in a scene near the end, pushing the movie out of the appropriate range for families with little ones. And you thought those superhero movies were bad with the death toll!

Helena Bonham Carter is probably the best thing in this movie, which says a lot since I rolled my eyes when I first heard she was going to be acting with Johnny Depp . . . AGAIN. Armie Hammer performs admirably as the Lone Ranger, but his character stems from pacifistic roots. He doesn't like to use a gun, and he doesn't like to kill people. I'm sorry, but you can't be a western hero without doing both. Another watered down western hero of modern Hollywood standards. This is why that wretched prequel to Bonanza failed, because they made Ben Cartwright a pacifist.

And Johnny Depp. Oh, Johnny, how I love you, but it's time to stop now. Maybe his movies would be more popular if he just let audiences see who he really is instead of this Sparrow facade. I'd like to see the real Johnny Depp. I saw him once, all those years ago in 21 Jumpstreet and Benny & Joon, but not since. I miss him.

While the humor is entertaining, I'm not sure it's worth the violence, and the last time I checked the movie is called The Lone Ranger, not Tonto. Yet, Johnny is undeniably the star with the biggest role. Poor Armie, totally side-swiped by a scene stealer. Still, I went, I saw, I conquered, and my final thought is that I like it, but I'm not sure how many people are western fans in today's society. I happen to be one, but I'm sure I'm in the minority.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Poitier: A Patch of Blue (1965)

Selina and Gordon sharing a moment of tenderness

Even today interracial couples get the curious eye from folk who need to keep their noses out of it. But in 1965, tensions could erupt at the drop of a hat if a white girl liked a black boy. Such is the story of A Patch of Blue except this time the white girl is blind and from the wrong side of the tracks, and the black boy is highly educated and on his way up the business ladder.  When Gordon Ralfe (Sidney Poitier) meets blind Selina (pronounced Slina by her family) in the park, stringing beads for extra income, he is intrigued by her. On a whim, he purchases a pair of sunglasses to hide the gentle scarring around Selina’s eyes (he’s the first one to pronounce her name as SeLIna). And so begins the kindest relationship Selina has ever known.

Her mother, Rose Ann (Shelley Winters), is a brutish woman who works Selina to the bone, and whips her with a rag if she is late preparing supper or cleaning the laundry. Selina’s grandfather, called Ole Pa, is little better because, although he cares about Selina, he is a terrible drunk and, while not as mean as Rose Ann, he’s disgusting in his drunken state. It’s only natural that Selina would fall in love with Gordon, a man who not only shows her kindness, but teaches her how to be self-reliant, how to reach the pay phone near her house if she needs him, how to count steps across the intersection, what sounds are called, etc. And she does not realize he is black, at least not until the end, and even then, it doesn’t matter, and why should it?

If the movie were made today, I think Poitier’s character would have been the main character. As it is, Selina, played by innocent Elizabeth Hartman, is the lead, almost as if they were afraid to give Poitier too much screen time. I would have loved for the film to have been from his perspective because, even as it is, the audience senses his frustration with Selina’s situation. I would have liked to see him away from her in more scenes, considering, contemplating, see his home life, why he is torn about his emotions regarding Selina. There’s a little bit of this, but not enough. Still, they did the best they could with the era available to them, and the intimate kiss shared between Selina and Gordon is intensely sweet and ground-breaking.

A Patch of Blue is a hard movie to watch, but is listed in my top twenty movies of all time anyway. Selina is much abused and what’s more, she’s content in it. This is what makes the ending all the more poignant. The director, Guy Green, admits in the commentary that they left the ending deliberately ambiguous, but with a tinge of hope that everything was going to turn out all right. That is the most irritating aspect of classic film, those endings that aren’t really an ending, with everything neatly wrapped up with a bow. I love having no loose ends, but that’s not the way classic cinema rolls.

As for Poitier, this is one of his forgotten films, and I can’t figure out why. Sure, he’s not playing Mr. Tibbs, the character for which he is most remembered, but he masterfully tackles the role of Gordon Ralfe, taking an already likable character and making him transcend race. Gordon’s guilt over his feelings for Selina is touching and accurate for the era. What’s even more beautiful is the scene where she tells him she knows he’s black, and thinks he’s beautiful anyway, her hands on his cheeks, smiling up at him. And the look in his eyes, such tenderness, such love. Poitier is at his best in this film and even though he is not the lead, he is the leading man. He is the patch of blue in her life, the one color Selina can remember before acid stole her sight at the age of five.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Oooooh, look what ABC is doing this fall! I never cared for Once Upon a Time, but this looks fantastic!

Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing (2012)

Within 15 minutes of the film starting, I already had my hands clasped under my chin in rapture, stars glittering in my eyes. I don't always like modern retellings of Shakespeare's plays, almost never, in fact, which is why I never saw a local production of Romeo & Juliet set in the 40s. Say what? So, I wasn't sure if Whedon would impress me or not. I mean, he filmed this in 12 days. Twelve!? How is that even possible!? Yet, my friends, possible it is, and the results of Whedon's impulsive filming session is the BEST version of Much Ado About Nothing that I have ever seen!

All right, I admit, having Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof play Beatrice and Benedick got my little Buffy and Angel fangirling going. I always did ship Wesley and Fred together, sooooooooo cute! But, more than that, the acting was phenomenal! I'm not the type to praise bad acting, even if I like the actor. I call a spade a spade, but the entire cast of characters was perfect, spot on. I hated to have those stupid credits roll at the end because it meant I had to actually go to work, and couldn't sit down for a 2nd viewing!

Anyone who is, like me, a Whedon and a Shakespeare fan is going to fall head over heels in love with this movie. I mean, Nathan Fillion, THE NATHAN FILLION, was cast as Dogberry for crying out loud, dialogue slip-ups and everything! To say nothing of Firefly's Simon (Sean Maher) sooooo beating Keanu Reeves as Don John. Keanu butchered, literally butchered, that role, and Sean made it his own, flawlessly! And of course, for those fans of the Marvel superhero universe, it was an extra bonus casting Clark Gregg (best known as Coulson from the Marvel franchise) as Leonato, father to the secondary, and sadly wronged, heroine. I mean, I was almost drooling, the casting was so perfect!

And then, oh and then, the glories of the dialogue! Much Ado is not an understated play, oh no. No, no! This play is ripe with hilarity and slapstick humor, just waiting, desperate for someone to do it justice, and someone finally did: JOSS WHEDON! I love you, man! Watching Alexis Denisof diving behind bushes in a desperate attempt to eavesdrop on a conversation he was meant to hear was priceless! Watching Amy Acker trip and literally fly down a set of stairs because she overheard (again, meant to overhear!) her cousin say how Benedick held Beatrice in unrequited love, so PERFECT! The entire audience, once the shock wore off that this was the first genuinely funny movie to hit theaters in at least a decade, laughed so hard we were nearly hysterical! Albeit there were only 20 or so people in this little indie theater, but oh well!

What is wrong with society!? They should request, nay DEMAND, that Much Ado be given a wider release, to the major theaters especially! This is the first movie that really, truly showcases Joss' talent. I wish that he would film more like Much Ado, putting so much of his heart into it, and just having fun, getting together with friends who happen to be actors, and making a movie. 2013 is half over, and Much Ado About Nothing is by FAR my favorite movie so far. The Hobbit may push it down to 2nd place, but they've got their work cut out for them!

Jack Reacher (2012)

I don’t like bullies. And neither does former soldier Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). So when a sniper who once went a little crazy on a mission and killed an entire group of people is once again guilty of a similar offence, Reacher works to fulfill his promise that he would track down James Barr and make sure justice is served. As it happens, though, maybe, just maybe, Barr isn’t the guilty party. Reacher works together with defense attorney Helen (Rosamund Pike) to track down the truth.

All right, so I didn’t give Jack Reacher my fullest attention. I was knitting a new pair of socks, come on! But when I did look up at the screen, I liked what I saw. Except for one thing; Reacher is like Jack Bauer in how ruthlessly he deals out physical violence. Sometimes he prefers to maim his victims, especially at the end, instead of merely putting them out of their misery. I’d rather be shot than have my fingers broken any day of the week! He gets results, yes, but at what cost?

Reacher himself admits that all he wants is to be left alone, but I have a feeling he’s going to find himself constantly embroiled in turmoil. There wouldn’t be a series of books by Lee Child starring Reacher as the main event if he were to simply lead a quiet, unassuming life.

Still, I don’t get the fuss from book fans. I know that Tom Cruise is short. So what? With the film angles this director used for him, you would almost never know it! Jack Reacher felt tall to me, certainly not the 5’7” that Tom Cruise suffers through! So, the movie magic worked, transforming Cruise into an actor at least 6 feet tall. Rosamund Pike (an actress I adore) was a great match for him as the sharp-witted lawyer who knows her own mind, but still gives him the benefit of the doubt. And of course, his suspicions are almost all totally right on. Plus, as a long-time lover of Robert Duvall, it was fun having him in a bit part. A way to make the audience perk up and smile, especially since he literally saved Reacher’s ass a time or two!

If anything, the movie made me curious about the books. And depending on how much swearing Lee Child utilizes in his books, I might consider giving them a read. Maybe someday when my focus is more strongly attuned, I’ll give Jack Reacher another look-see. Reacher really is the defender of the weak, even as the end of the movie testifies when he once again steps into a volatile situation to rescue someone. I like that about him. It’s kind of a warm, fuzzy, Captain America feeling, despite his tendency to overt violence on the guilty.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sidney Poitier: Hollywood's Classic Leading Man for July

Poitier receiving his Oscar for Lilies of the Field
 I love this man. He broke with convention by being the first black man to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1963. His raging success in Lilies of the Field (1963) paved the way for several other successful ventures including the popular In the Heat of the Night (1967) and its sequel They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970) as well as the controversial Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) where he's part of an interracial couple.

But, much more than his success, I love Poitier because he bucked the system. He is attractive to everyone. He isn't black or white or any color in between. He's a man, and a very handsome one, and one that first drew my attention when he stopped to build a chapel for a convent of German nuns in Lilies of the Field. Poitier won my heart then with his compassion towards these nuns and the way he taught them to sing that old spiritual "Amen!"

Comfortable in his own skin, he forced others to be comfortable with it too. Poitier did his best to defy racial stereotypes in films, and for the most part, he succeeded. Although I would have loved to see him in Othello, I don't blame him for turning down the role since they only wanted him for the color of his skin.

So, prepare to walk with me down the pathways of Sidney Poitier's filmography. These are later films, perhaps not strictly classics, but then I consider anything older than 1984 (my birth year) to be a part of classic cinema. I hope you grow to love him as much as I do!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Brando: Last Post for June (sadly posted on July 2nd)

All right, all right, all right, so I wasn't quite as organized as I'd hoped for this first go-around! I'll do better in the future. Cross my heart!

Sooooooooo, instead of long individual posts for Brando's movies, I'll squeeze three movies into a single post.

This post contains: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), On the Waterfront (1954), and Guys and Dolls (1955).

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