Merry late Christmas! Or Happy Holidays, whichever is appropriate for you. Hopefully, you all did some fun and exciting things on your days off like I did. Like, oh, I don't know...

SAW STAR WARS!!!!

That's what I did, anyways. It was the sixth time I'd gone to see it! If you're like my mom and sister were when I talked about my movie plans then you're probably wondering why I would go to Star Wars yet again. I'll answer you the same way I answered them, 'because it's fricking awesome'!

As you may have guessed, this post will be me giving a gushing review of the movie everyone has been waiting for for years, but I understand that not everyone has seen it yet. Whether you want to avoid the crowds, can't afford it yet, or are too cautious after the abominations known only as 'The Prequels', I understand and respect your decision to wait. Which is why this review will be spoiler free! This may be one of the hardest things I've had to do on this blog, but I'll give it my best shot!
The Force Awakens
Does it need a podracer?
The best thing about The Force Awakens was feeling like I was actually watching a Star Wars film. It was saturated with the same spirit and sense of adventure we got from the original trilogy and gave me all the feels in the nostalgia department. Star Wars movies are supposed to take you on the ride of your life and while it may not be quite up to par with the originals, the ride was still entertaining as hell!

The story itself was familiar and took elements from New Hope but threw in enough twists and new material to make it fresh and exciting! I'm not saying that it's scene for the scene the same as New Hope, by the way. The journey is fundamentally the same but the terrain has changed over the years. By the way, the original cast is back and seemed to give a damn!
han and leia
That's always good.
The characters are my favorite part of the new films, probably because I was so ecstatic that they finally got them right! A big part of what made the first Star Wars films so popular and lovable were the engaging characters like the underdog hero, 'Luke Skywalker', or the rogue/thief with a heart of gold, 'Han Solo'. They were relatable and fun to watch on screen and so are the new cast we are introduced to. Now while I liked these new characters, I also have a small nitpick about them. They weren't fleshed out enough for me. Maybe if they had more motivation to start their inevitable journey or were pushed harder? I just felt like I didn't know them as well as I knew Luke, Leia, Han or even C-3PO once the credits rolled in A New Hope. Once again, it's a small nitpick and the only problem I had with the film.

Lastly, the special effects both practical and digital were amazingly well-balanced in this installment. One of the many problem I had with 'The Prequels' was that everything looked too sterile or that the screen was crammed with too many things to look at. While TFA looks great there's also something raw about the shots that just scream original Star Wars and nothing is ever cluttered on screen. We're shown what we need to see, the characters and their drama and the battles from the POV of whomever we're rooting for.

Ho boy, it's taking almost all of my energy not to go into spoiler territory. I think I'll save that for later this week (Yep a part 2 will be coming soon!).

But really, you should go see The Force Awakens. There's a reason why it's broken blockbuster records across the globe, after all. The world of Star Wars is iconic and TFA is a film that goes above and beyond it's recent predecessors and breathes new life into the franchise! Who doesn't want to see a resurrection...with lightsabers!

Did you see it? How many times? 3D? IMAX? Love it? Hate it? Let me know below!

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Millions of fangirls are sharpening their fanfic skills for these two...
 
 
The Civil War and Infinity War is coming. If there's anything Marvel Studios has been trying to hit us over the head with the past few years, it's that statement of fact. So it makes sense to introduce the audience to all of the players, particularly every member of the 'soon'-to-be-complete Avengers team. The most recent addition in the movie verse is Ant-Man!

I'll admit right off the bat that I didn't follow his storyline too much, or Wasp's. Even when I was younger I couldn't take the idea of him seriously. Changing your size while retaining your normal strength is one thing, but controlling insects (while making sense being that size) is something else entirely. And kinda gave me the creeps.
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Ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew!
But I felt the nerd obligation to see the film in theaters so there I went. Honestly, the trailers did make me interested. It seemed like they would take the concept of Ant-Man as the standalone hero and make it work for a feature length film. The result? It was...meh.
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Logo via Marvel Studios

[SPOILERS AHEAD]

There wasn't anything particularly bad about it, but 'meh' is all I can really say about the whole thing. I honestly forgot that I had seen the movie a few hours after I got home, definitely not the norm when I usually go to see a Marvel film. I think that the main problem stems from a lack of creativity or spark of imagination in all of the wrong places.

The plot was one we've seen a million times and I don't feel that it fit well within the world of Ant-Man and the so-called genius scientist and technician our main characters are supposed to be. They show off Scott Lang's skills when he cracks Hank Pym's personal safe, but then try to make me believe that Pym baited Lang in the most convoluted way imaginable instead of simply contacting him directly. Pym could've hidden inside the house or even in the vault and asked Scott to help him right then and there instead of letting him just walk away with the suit. If Scott said 'no' to helping him then he could use one of his ants to plant something on him that he could say Scott stole. Then we'd still have the jailbreak scene, it would make for a cool introduction to the suit, and Lang can be guided how to use it the entire time by Pym. Solved! In the film there's no way Hank would know what would happen to his suit which is one of a kind and would be extremely dangerous if put in the wrong hands. What if Scott ended up selling it to get the money that he desperately needs? What if he never took the suit at all, being too disappointed at the lack of valuables? As for Scott, who would randomly put on a weird motorcycle suit and push buttons that could literally do anything WHILE you have the damned thing on?

Anyways, the rest of the film goes the way you'd expect it to, which isn't a good thing. After a training montage, Ant-Man gets ready for a heist, an idea which excited me as Marvel has never gone that route with a hero before. But the whole thing was underwhelming and asked me to care about things that they never bothered to make me care about in the first place. An ant that Scott named gets killed? Bummer. Scott and Hope get caught kissing? Oh well, good for them, I guess.

When it came to the acting department, Paul Rudd seemed to have a hard time finding his footing as a superhero the whole film. I think he's more than capable of pulling off a role like this and he did come close many times, but he wasn't given enough to work with in my opinion. Evangeline Lilly broke through the monotony a few times whenever she and Michael Douglas (playing her father Hank Pym) had scenes together and I genuinely liked how the two played their strained relationship. But in every other scene her character lacked, well, any character. Michael Douglas was by far the best actor of the ensemble. Being the veteran that he is that's not too surprising, though.

The villain, Yellowjacket (aka Darren Cross), was by far one of the weakest I've seen so far in the Marvel 'verse. His only reason for being the bad guy is because he's gone insane. Not from some traumatizing event caused by the hero (Yeah, Hank snubbed him but it never felt like it effected him to THAT degree) but because of some particle thing that happens just from being around the technology that made the Ant-Man suit. So why hasn't Hank Pym or his daughter gone insane? They've undoubtedly been around that technology far longer than he has! I'm pretty sure a line is said in passing somewhere where they say that he was already a bit crazy but that's a really weak premise to base any bad guy on. I'd get it if Cross's evil plan was more focused on destroying Hank Pym but from the very beginning he's more focused on making these suits weaponized so they can sell them to the military and of course Hydra as we learn later. He didn't even look particular villainous or intimidating, though throughout the movie I felt like he belonged in the wrong comic book franchise.
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I will defeat you Superman! Oh-I mean Ant-Man!
The best part of the film had to be the fight scenes. With such a specific power I was hoping they would get creative with the choreography and do something different from what we're used to seeing and they always delivered.

But...that's it.

Ultimately, Ant-Man didn't have any real soul to it. It lost it's main voice as soon as Edgar Wright was out of the project and the script got three more writers working on it. Too many voices for any project means the end result will be a muddled mess and that's exactly what happened to Ant-Man. My hope is that Ant-Man will finally find his place amongst the rest of the Avengers in future movies, very much like how well the Hulk has been working in the Avengers franchise despite the lackluster films he'd been featured in before.

What did you think of the film? Am I missing something? Tell me in the comments below.
 
 
So, it would appear that Dinosaurs > The Avengers. Let's talk about that. (As always: Be warned, here there be spoilers!)
Jurassic Park logo
Cue the John Williams music.
When I was a kid I loved, loved, loved, dinosaurs! Heck, I still love dinosaurs, though I'm really just an overgrown kid, so no surprises there. The very first Jurassic Park movie came out when this love that I harbored was in full bloom, and it instantly became one of my favorite films of all time! It was a movie about a fricking theme park filled with actual, real, live dinosaurs that escape and wreak havoc. Who wouldn't love that!? Plus, it introduced visual effects that blew the audience away at the time. When I watched Jurassic Park for the first time in theaters (I kind of snuck in with my older cousin, sorry, Mom) my kid mind exploded, because I was instantly transported to Isla Nublar where ancient reptilian creatures roam.
jurassicpark
Thanks, George Lucas.
The movie was a huge hit, and became the highest-grossing film worldwide until Titanic was released four years later. Evidently, I wasn't the only kid to be engrossed, and the kid in every adult simply couldn't resist. Nothing seems to have changed as once again, the infamous park has taken the number one spot in box office records beating BOTH Avengers films.
avengers v jurassic park
The world is just a bunch of excitable kids, isn't it? That would explain a lot, actually...
As is the case whenever anything is popular in Hollywood, a sequel has to be made. And the Jurassic Park franchise got to have two before 'Jurassic World', The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park 3. Both films (IMO) were terrible. The second one became too stupid and preachy while the third was filled with the most incredibly moronic characters I'd ever seen. So when I heard about the newest addition to the franchise I was initially skeptical. My thoughts were that if the sequels failed to bring anything new or interesting to the table than why would Jurassic World be any different? Then I saw the trailer...
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And this guy...
Right away I had a good feeling. I was already seeing things I'd never seen before and never realized I'd wanted to see. My mind was made up right there that I'd see the new film and give it a chance. This was what I thought of it.
Earlier, I mentioned that the first Jurassic Park movie managed to actually transport me to the theme park and that I was completely engrossed. Jurassic World did the same. The park they show you is so similar to real theme parks (Think Disneyland or Sea World) but with the awesome inclusion of Dinosaurs. There is a petting zoo filled with baby dinosaurs (some of which kids can ride), a sea life show where the audience gets splashed, an attraction where you can go canoeing with dinosaurs bathing next to you, etc. You even see characters pass a Starbucks and Pandora shop! If a park like this actually existed, the movie shows you exactly what it would be like. And that adds to the 'realism'.
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Oh, why can't this be a real thing!!??
We're also introduced to some new concepts about dinosaur behavior when we meet Chris Pratts' character who is the resident Velociraptor Trainer. Yes, you heard me right. His character trains the deadly killing machines from the first movies by using dead rats and a 'clicker' that's normally used on dogs. This idea, while borderline ludicrous and dangerous, is still incredibly fascinating and watching his character with them in any scene is absolutely captivating. That's the films major strength. It has amazing and unique ideas and knows exactly how to make them entertaining for the audience. It's visually breathtaking and will leave you entranced until the credits roll! All of this being said, it has some problems.
PictureFor instance, this guy never takes his shirt off. :-(
If you're looking for the layered and multi-faceted characters from the first Jurassic Park, stop right now. You're not going to find them. Every single main character is a 'broad stroke' character, meaning that they have one trait they're known for and nothing else. Yes, we see some development with the director of operations (Bryce Dallas Howard) going from cold, business driven aunt to kickass "I'm-gonna-sick-a-T-Rex-on-you-to-save-my-nephews" aunt, but not much else can be said. The nephews may as well be called 'wide-eyed, younger genius brother' and 'teenaged angsty older brother'. At one point the movie gives us a scene where the younger one reveals that their parents are getting a divorce, visually upsetting both kids, and then we never hear about it again. In fact the boys go right back to going on rides and smiling and laughing like nothing is wrong.

The villains are of course interested in making dinosaurs into weapons now that they see you can train them, which is a nice change from 'let's steal them for our own park', but when your villain is a clear cut douche bag from the beginning and tries to reason with a velociraptor by talking to it, there's no way I'll be taking them seriously. And I would bet all of my life's savings that Chris Pratt took his role because his character speaks in nothing but trailer speak and one-liners. That and his character has a scene where he rides a motorcycle next to velociraptors.

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Soooooo COOL!
I'm not going to be too harsh on the plot of the movie being about the incredibly poor decision to make a dinosaur hybrid that will scare their patrons more, because the entire idea of cloning any dinosaur is a pretty poor idea. But still, using cuttlefish DNA? A fish I know about ONLY because of its' ability to blend into surroundings? Really?

While you might think that this would take you out of the movie and ruin the entire film, it strangely doesn't. There's a tongue in cheek tone throughout the film and I couldn't help but wonder if the cliches were intentional. Plus the film never takes itself too seriously, there's no underlying message about animal cruelty or man vs. nature, it's a fun and exciting romp in a dinosaur park and nothing more!

Personally, I think nothing else is really needed.

If there's going to be another installment, I'd like to see the same director and writer(s) work on it. Just think of what else they could cook up and imagine for us! I only ask that they try to make their characters more complicated and less cliched. Then you'd have a classic to last throughout the years, much like the one that started it all.
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Again!
What did you think of the movie? Comment below to let me know!
 
 
(Slight Spoilers Ahead)

AVENGERS!!!!! AGE OF ULTRON!!!1! SQUEEE!!!!

Okay, I'm done. Actually, no I'm not, it was awesome!
Avengers Assembled
Pictured Above: Awesomeness.
Do I really need to review this movie for you? From what I've heard, everyone seems to agree that it was great. Now, I wouldn't say it's better than the first, but in my opinion, it's pretty much equal to the first. Even though it does have a different feel from its predecessor.

How, you ask? Well, hold on to your butts, folks, here comes one of my weird analogies. The first Avengers film feels like going to an amusement park for the first time. Your senses are overwhelmed, there's delicious food, fun games and attractions, and of course a ton of different rides but you can only do so much in just 2 hours. It's still fun, and you loved the experience, but there's so much more you want to explore and experience. The second time you go to the park you have a plan of action, you're still entertained, but you have a set goal and purpose this time to get more out of time you'll spend there. That's Age of Ultron.

At this point, we're familiar with the members of the Avengers, how they work together, and how the overall story could pan out, but now with AOU, we have a new threat, new characters, and a sense of an overarching plan of action revolving around a certain piece of handwear.
infinity gauntlent
Hence the earlier fangirl 'squee'.
APU isn't a darker film necessarily, but it does want to get down to business and show you its plan. Nothing wrong with that, as someone who knows what the plans are for the next few installments, I'm pumped! And you all should be too! In fact, read the comics first so you can properly anticipate the amount of awe-inspiring goodness coming to theaters the rest of this decade! Seriously.
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So much goodness....
I'll admit that I've been in superhero frenzy lately (surprise, surprise) and have done my best to feed the hunger with all things Marvel and Avengers. While I can't afford to go to the theater and watch it for the 22nd time, I can placate myself with looking at forums online, reading other blogs like my own, and watching any and all behind-the-scenes coverage of Avengers or interviews with the cast and crew.

Ever since the first film I've slowly yet surely developed a huge amount of respect for Scarlett Johansson and Joss Whedon (Whom I already respected, so he's pretty much a god to me now) for their clever feminist agenda. If you've spent enough time on geek social media you may already be aware of the many times where ScarJo has reacted beautifully to sexist questions and responses regarding her character, Black Widow.

While the guys get the questions about their own geekiness, deep characterization and stunts, Scarlett has to answer questions about her outfits and her diet and exercise regimen. This is incredibly unfortunate because female superheroes can be, and are, just as intriguing, and powerful as their male counterparts, oftentimes more so. I'd love to hear Scarlett talk about Natasha Romanoff's past, what her part in the group is, or what drives her to turn away from what she was trained to do and save the world.

With all this being said, you may remember a piece I wrote around Valentines' Day where I attempted to create a 'Romantic Period Piece' story where the gender roles were reversed (CLICK HERE TO READ IT). I took all the conventions and typical stereotypes of both men and women in period romance and turned it on its head to give everyone an idea of just how entertaining, and innovative a story revolving a female lead who doesn't need to rely on males could be. One problem with this in a 'Period Piece' is that chauvinism was the norm back then. You can't really make a story like the one I wrote for Hollywood because it simply would NOT have happened!

However, this is a new age where us girls have the opportunity to be our own person, and enjoy the freedoms of the male gender (for the most part). So, I'm going to write another story where the female takes the lead. Seeing as nobody seems to want to make a proper Wonder Woman movie or a standalone film about Black Widow's past, I'm going to try and make do with what I know of the Superhero-verse and make up my own female superhero story. Hope you enjoy!

Rachel Moore is a soft-spoken nursing student who could fit perfectly into the category of 'nerd,' complete with thick-rimmed glasses. She wants to be a nurse because she wants to help people, and make a difference. But while in school, she's surprised to learn how cutthroat the world of healthcare has become as of late due to the rising demand of healthcare professionals, and literally thousands trying to get into the profession. Despite her knowledge, skill, and genuine heart for the work, she's often overlooked, and undermined by her peers. The only one that is actually nice to her is Scott Mallory. He's popular amongst the class, intelligent, kind, and absolutely gorgeous! But he's already got a bitch of a girlfriend, and there's no way Rachel could ever attract the attention of a guy like that.

One night the class is called into an actual emergency room to observe, and if absolutely needed, help the staff. Everything is calm until a bunch of patients are brought in from a mysterious accident. It's all hands on deck, and Rachel does what she can to help, but gets lost in the frenzy, and silently wonders if she made the right career choice. Is she really cut out to be a nurse? She can't even help herself! How can she expect to help other people?

That's when she notices an older looking gentleman with a blood all over his face and chest, waiting to be helped amongst the chaos. He was obviously brought in with the others, but he was standing upright and mumbling darkly to himself, so the nursing students either ignored him, or actively tried to stay away from him. Even though the man gives her a weird vibe, she goes to him ready to give him any kind of care she can provide. As she begins to work on him, he thanks her, then yanks her hand and places something into her palm. He tells her to keep it hidden, and safe “within herself” then he stops breathing.

She gets some of the actual doctors to see him but it's too late. He's gone. She feels the thing he put into her hand but only sees a strange rash in the shape of a diamond on her palm. Maybe she only imagined him giving her something...She doesn't tell anyone about their interaction.

That night she goes home and has some weird dreams. A deep voice saying something about her destiny, ancient warriors, and a dark diamond-shaped stone kept showing up. The next morning she wakes up feeling strangely energized despite the dreams making her toss and turn. She puts on her glasses out of habit, but realizes that she doesn't need them. In fact, she can see perfectly! When changing her clothes, she notices that she suddenly has abs and spends a good 5 minutes flexing her now incredibly toned arms. This is really strange. Actually, this should be impossible.

As she goes about her day, she realizes that she can see things a good mile away, perfectly hear a conversation happening on the opposite side of the noisy lunch hall, and grab a fly that was bugging her out of the air between two fingers. Unable to concentrate, she pretends to be sick, and goes home early to figure out what exactly is happening to her. When she hops into an elevator, she hears a familiar voice call for her to hold it and is elated to find out that it's Scott. She's so excited by Scott's appearance and smile that she fails to realize that she made finger indents on the elevator door where she grabbed it.

She tries to look up her 'symptoms' at home, but the search yields no medical results, and there isn't anything in her medical textbooks either. It isn't until she adds the strange diamond mark on her palm as a symptom that she gets the result she never expected. She finds lore and legends about a 'jet stone' being passed from one person to the next since before recorded history. This diamond-shaped stone would supposedly gives its owner super human abilities as well as beef up the strengths they already had. She goes back to the hospital where the man had died to try and find out who he was, but there are no records of him being there despite other nurses and doctors remembering him. At a dead end, she spends the next few days getting used to her new found powers and wondering if she'll be rid of them.

Then while Rachel sits on the city bus, a car comes out of nowhere, and causes the bus to crash and rollover. She opens her eyes, and realizes she is completely unscratched but notices that others were not so lucky. Without thinking, she pulls heavy debris off of other passengers, and carries two or three out of the vehicle at a time. She even lifts the bus off of a pinned passenger. She makes sure to check everyone of course, and finds that while many people have some pretty extensive injuries, whenever she touches them, they get slightly better. Bruises disappear, cuts and scrapes vanish, their bleeding slows down, and those with head damage become more lucid. She leaves the scene quickly, afraid that there will be too many questions from police.

She realizes that her newfound powers have given her the ability to do what she's wanted all along, to help others and make a difference! So she embraces it, and dons a black hoodie, jeans, and sneakers along with a cheap, black masquerade mask. At first, she thinks she might be out of her element as she wanders the streets, and back alleys of her city until she hears commotion in a parking lot. When she investigates, she sees Scott Mallory himself being threatened at gunpoint by two thugs who want his wallet and car. She goes into action, and while she is awkward at first, she's fast enough to dodge the shots they fire and strong enough to knock them unconscious with a bit of fighting.

Scott is beside himself and instantly enraptured by his rescuer. She asks him if he's alright (which he is) and turns to leave but he has to ask, “Who are you?” She isn't going to tell him, obviously, so instead she says, “I'm the one who's going to heal this city.” and disappears into the shadows. Thinking back on it she thinks that the line sounded kind of corny, but it'll do for now.
Yeah! Just get a taste! Go ahead, Hollywood, make your move!
 
 
I had planned on avoiding the multiplex this weekend in an attempt to steer clear of the wine-drunk moms (including my own, Jackie) that were being roped-in [wink, wink] by let's face it, sub-par "Twilight" fan fiction.
Drunk Moms
Woooo! I love wine!
But after missing the bus, due to working a bit later than expected, I decided to kill some time on President's Day afternoon by taking in Hollywood's counter programing "Kingsmen: The Secret Service." Based on the trailer, I thought I'd give it a shot, as it advertised many things I like: proper English gentlemen, spies, and Colin Firth. Also, pugs.
kingsmen pug
I'm gonna need pugs... lots of pugs.
I never got around to reading the comic on which this film was based, nor am I fan of comic super scribe Mark Millar's other adaptations "Wanted" and "Kick Ass," or his actual comics for that matter. Truthfully, I find his non-Marvel Ultimate stuff to be a bit too crass for crass sake, much like the writing of Garth Ennis. For the record, Millar's work on "Ultimate Spiderman" and "Ultimate Fantastic Four" is great though, and I highly recommend it if you haven't read any of it. Anyway, armed with a stack of theater gift cards from this past Christmas, I figured I had nothing to lose so I bought a ticket for "Kingsmen."
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If you're not familiar with this film, here's a synopsis:
Gary "Eggsy" Unwin (Taron Egerton), whose late father secretly worked for a spy organization, lives in a South London housing estate and seems headed for a life behind bars. However, dapper agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) recognizes potential in the youth and recruits him to be a trainee in the secret service. Meanwhile, villainous Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) launches a diabolical plan to solve the problem of climate change via a worldwide killing spree.
PictureEggsy.
Now I really won't spoil it for you as it's still fresh, but I found this film to be really good entry in the realm of comic book adaptations.  It was still vulgar and bloody violent, but it was smoothed out by the lead character Eggsy's attempt to transform from a street rat into a proper gentleman ala "My Fair Lady."  Plus all the well-dressed man candy helped me overlook the giant story flaws. There are also a few fun cameos, including a Jedi other than Mr. Samuel L. Windu. The action is solid, the dialogue is witty and funny, and the world felt like it had a rich history, including a connection to King Arthur and his knights of the round table. If anything, I think director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class) stuck a little too close to the source material as the film felt a little too comic booky.

Honestly, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed this film and recommend it, but the quality of the film wasn't the only thing I was surprised by. On the silver screen sea of good looking, Savile Row suited, well-groomed British men, I was awestruck by the film's deadly damsel, Gazelle as played by Sofia Boutella.

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Sofia Boutella as Gazelle. Cheers.
In the film, Gazelle is the evil henchman of billionaire bad boy Valentine as played by Samuel L. Jackson. She's a fierce, fast-moving, assassin with legs made of blades. As cool as this film femme fatale was at giving our heroes a run for their money, I was more entranced by the actress playing her. She just had a presence on screen that captured my attention. I was trying to think in my head if I had ever seen her before in another film, but I was stumped
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Insert: Mother F&%!
After the movie, I went home and looked her up online. It turns out that "Kingsmen" is her first Hollywood film and most of her previous work is French Cinema. I think she did really well in the role and pulled off the action scenes with grace and authenticity. I think she would have made an excellent Wonder Woman and I hope she gets a chance to play another comic book character again soon.
With the slew of super hero movies set from all studios until 2099, and the call for more women in tights, I'm sure she'll get a chance to suit up again soon.
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Anyone thinking what I'm thinking?
If not, maybe once my friend Tiffany sees the film, she can write me some quality Gazelle fan fiction.

I just ordered the trade paperback of "Kingsmen: The Secret Service" on Amazon, you can too here:

You can find out more about the book on Amazon. Use either link.
 
 
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The turd -- I mean, THIRD part of The Hobbit trilogy has finally been released.  Hooray! (<----Sarcastic). I have avoided the series thus far, as I heard how they completely messed with the mythology of the book. 

So this week, when AMC theaters offered a "The Hobbit" marathon, I figured I'd indulge, and get them all done at the same time. I prefer to rip off the Band-Aid quickly, rather then a slow peel.

I'll skip over the first two parts as they have been out for one/two years, respectively. As I credits rolled for the last one, I seriously thought Peter Jackson must have lost his gosh darn mind.

This movie is a non-stop action piece that is on par with a Michael Bay production.  The only time it slows down is when anyone is moping. There is no real story arc to this one as it has the dubious duty to wrap up all the subplots. Which unsatisfyingly all end up in a battle, fight, or death. When all the blood has split and smoke has cleared, there are a few scant scenes of love and friendship and redemption. But it is treated like an inconvenience. This disappointed me, as the friendship theme is the entire point of the book, IMO.
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60 year younger Legolas is super buff. I guess he had a hard time finding protein in the wild.
Also, Legolas is not a Super Mario brother. He's not even in the book! Seriously. He's like a Jedi in an Iron Man suit in this movie.  I like Legolas as much as the next fangirl, but come on.

The problem with these films is that they do not stand alone like "The Lord of the Rings" films.  Each of those films has a set of stakes, goals and strong structure.  "The Hobbit" films just feel like one long movie, arbitrarily broken into three parts. "The Hobbit," kind of works, when you sit down and ingest nine-hours of it at once. But who has time to do that? I like that I can watch a single LOTR film after Thanksgiving dinner and feel satisfied. This 'random cutting point to make multiple parts' is a growing trend with movies as we've seen in the "Twilight," "Harry Potter," and "Hunger Games" movies, and now it seems, "The Hobbit" has followed suit. 

Technically, the films are nice. I saw it at an IMAX theater in the HFR. The (HFR) helps to brighten the image on screen so more detail can be seen. The special effects are well done and the sound mix was nice.  Peter Jackson is good at making you feel you are in the world. I just wish had spent more time on the script.

In conclusion, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," is like eating a big bowl of candy. It's good for a while, but later, leaves you feeling sick and full of regret. The film is pretty to look at, and makes you feel like you are in Middle-Earth, but when the lights come up, your asking yourself, 'what was the point?'

In a few years I may see this series as a guilty pleasure that I watch in bed while battling a winter cold, but for now I'll prefer to take in my holiday season with a far more superior "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Although, "The Hobbit" series did not live up to my expectations, I find myself a bit blue as I write this as "The Battle of the Five Armies" marks the end of Middle Earth though Peter Jackson's vision. I admire him greatly for delivering us fans a mostly true interpretation of Mr. Tolkien's world and the love and care Peter Jackson has for the world it visible in every frame from "Fellowship" to "Battle." Kudos Mr. Jackson, now go make one of those Star Wars movies for us.


The Phoebe Quality Rating:
[  ] The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
[x] Snow White and the Huntsman
[  ] Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
[  ] Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
[  ] The Princess Bride

If you need to brush up on your Tolkien, refresh yourself with this fun video.