Crimson Peak {film review}

crimson peak

[credit: imdb.com]

Quick Summary: A young woman, who had lost her mother at a young age, pursued her dreams of becoming an accomplished female writer. Under the guidance of her affluent and doting father, she tended to forgo the frivolous social gatherings to instead focus on her manuscript. However, everything changed when an English man carrying a title sweeps into her life to pitch an idea to her father. This strange man and his cold shouldered sister draw Edith into their world with, away from her home in America, to their strange red clay mansion upon Crimson Peak. Here, Edith learns about the ghosts of the past as well as her own inner drive.

I had really high hopes for this film, with it being directed by one of my favorites, Guillermo del Toro, and a cast of well known accomplished actors, I was rearing to go with the spooky and dark romance. Alas, I felt this film did not quite hit the mark, falling a bit short here and there.

For the main characters, Edith is the center of the story here, literally the center of the cover for the film. She meets many of the physical desired characteristics in the Victorian Era,  pale skin, light colored eyes, long flowing blonde hair, and a small frame. These also give a visual of how young, innocent, and naive she is with the contrast to the darker colors and physical attributes of the other major characters. Unlike most women in her age group she is less focused on finding a husband and more focused on finding her place in the world as a serious writer. Of course she dreams of finding love and happily ever after, however thus far not many have turned her head enough to consider, with the small possible exception of an old family friend. When Thomas crashes into her world, doting on her manuscript, talking about spirits and odd things as are her interests, she finds herself slowly falling for him. Her father is not the most happy about his as he doesn’t trust the Englishman and his sister.

Through events however, Edith ends up marrying Thomas and taken away to his crumbling home. There she is for the most part utterly alone with the exception of her husband, his sister, a few workers, and the strange dark spirits who seem to haunt her at night. She plays the part of trying to be a good doting wife, yet being considered rather young and sheltered, she doesn’t seem to notice the danger and oddities around her as soon as one may think they should. As a character is has some development, she shows her curiosity and fear rather well, and as the center of the story it mostly focuses on her. As a character I’m still unsure if she is likable, however you do here and there feel sympathy for her as she goes through what she does in the story. Near the end of the movie she has the most development and change of character.

Thomas is an Englishman with a business venture, his land that belongs to his family has a strange red clay and he is trying to find money to build a contraption that would help unearth this clay, that would put his family business back in the up and up. Quickly he takes an interest in Edith, she is intelligent, witty, and girlish. Through his own ways, he weds Edith and takes her to his home. In the beginning he is doting, thoughtful, and tends to her. However there is an oddity about him when she tries to get intimate or pushes for more information about his past or the mansion they now reside in. You can tell he cares for her, yet perhaps his aloofness is just because he is working so hard on getting his machine to work. With his dark hair, dark clothes, and dark housing, Edith seems a small light in a shadowed place, as if she doesn’t belong.

Without giving anything away plot-wise, I was really disappointed on how little we actually see of Thomas and his interactions with those around him. He didn’t develop that much as a character, and it was hard to feel much sympathy or really any emotion to him. Perhaps if the film was a little longer, or they had done things a bit differently, his character could have shown more depth and therefore had more of an impact on the story.

Lucille is Thomas’s older sister, who’s clothing and complexion match his own. From the start she is a bit standoffish, a bit cold shouldered, and often glowers disapproval at her younger brother and his choices. Again without giving anything away, surprisingly Lucille had the most character development and whom I felt the most emotion towards. Not only physically through facial expressions and body movement do we see her change, but you learn more about her in past and future than the other characters. I found her to be the most interesting out of the bunch. Sadly I can’t talk too much about her without giving away story, so you’ll just have to watch yourself and see if you have the same conclusion.

One of the things I loved the most, and Guillermo del Toro always does well, is the color and symbolism of them in film. The contrast of lightness palettes in Edith vs the Sharpe siblings, using the red clay in various ways to symbolize a variety of things, they way the had it set mostly in winter for great contrast and meaning of the isolation and coldness that Edith is experiencing emotionally and spiritually. These I liked very much. The spirits looked rather well done also, it was an interesting take on what an upset spirit may look like and why. When it comes to things that you see with the naked eye, he has always been really good at this. Including the characters themselves, such as hair up vs hair down in a particular scene, the types of clothing they wear (oh man those poof Victorian sleeves slay me!), as well as the well done lighting. These things really set the mood and tone of the film.

Overall, the film was…ok. It went through events much faster than I expected, the movie as a whole seeming rather quick. I found it a bit too easy to figure out all the dark mysteries and going ons, though maybe being mysterious wasn’t the point the film makers were going for. The characters were interesting,  as was the concept, however the whole time I kept feeling like I was waiting for more. It was still an enjoyable movie, though I didn’t find it scary there were a few unsettling parts truth be told, and the acting was done really well for as little character development they were given. I probably wouldn’t watch it again, but it is an interesting dark tale with some really nice visuals.

Rating: 6.5/10.

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Re: ZERO- Starting Life in Another World {anime review}

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Quick Summary: Subaru is a high school student who is a bit on the NEET side. When venturing out to the convenience store for quick bites, his world smoothly and suddenly changes. Somehow he is pulled to another world. Unlike most people he is not upset or frightened, but excited at being a ‘hero’ and delving into anime and gaming cliches. Quickly however, Subaru finds out a darker side of his presence in this new world, and through meeting strange magickal people, he hopes to come to understand the mysteries surrounding his abilities as well as protect his new found comrades.

Overall I do like this anime, even though it can be a bit predictable and cliche at times.
As for the characters, Subaru can be a wee bit sexist at points, but his enthusiasm and nerdiness makes up for it. It’s interesting how through the show he has no real concerns about going home. He is living make an otaku’s fantasy: going to a magick realm and gaining powers. His overly excitable and loud personality are balanced fairly well with some more serious undertones of painful things he is forced to experience.

The love interest is a bit of the standard stock, a little awkward, overly sweet, too trusting. However, I do like that there is no rushed romance or instant falling in love. Most of the time she regards Subaru as a friend while a smaller portion is her figuring out blushy feelings here and there.

The rest of the supporting cast, thus far, are mostly cutesy females of varying roles. They have their own personalities and are individually developed enough that each stands out. The few males characters so far are extreme versions of character traits. An example of this is the overly flamboyant Lord.

The storyline moves along at a good pace, explaining things here and there as Subaru learns them, mixing mystery, action, and comedy. It doesn’t jump around so much you lose track of what is going on or the characters come off as flat. Currently the ending of the first major story plot has yet to be returned to and is still on a cliff hanger. The second plot feels like it is nearing it’s end and will hopefully tie back in to the characters that we haven’t seen for a while now. Due to the nature of Subaru’s power the plots can be stretched out without feeling like fillers or slowing down too mich you lose interest. It does get a bit predictable with events and character interactions, but it feels almost nostalgic or easy going this way.

The art style is very pretty, Subaru’s design is different than most male protagonists, especially in the eyes. Though going with what feels like a popular trend, a lot of the non human characters have eyes with symbols or markings instead of the normal pupil. It’s a bit odd but it doesn’t pull from the character too much. Most major characters have a bit of a color theme which is kind of nice and can be used in plot as foreshadowing or subtext. The main female is silver, the Paladin type male is red, the weird librarian is pink. There are a couple repeat colors, however those characters have yet to be in the same story plot at the same time. When it comes to violence I feel it is tastefully done. Not overly gorey for shock and awe, but dramatic enough to show the gravity of the current situation.

Overall it’s a cute show that plays to common tropes you can laugh about, especially if you’re particularly anime-nerdy. At times Subaru feels a bit over powered in skills and abilities, yet I can see the choice for it as again, it’s a NEET fantasy. The mysteries aren’t overly convoluted and there is a bit of character development. Hopefully that will be a continuing trend.

Rating: 8/10

Adulting is Eating My Time

I put out a fancy new schedule, jotted down my posting line up, got sick for 2 weeks, and doubled up on work. Pretty much lame adult excuses for not blogging.

Part of it was well was a period of being disheartened. I was thinking of just dropping blogging because I felt I wasn’t doing a good enough job. Did people even care? What if my writing is awful and boring? So on and so forth. I was deep in the blues. My husband rallied behind me though and convinced me to go on. Writing does make me happy. I do like putting my thoughts out there. Even if no one comments or looks at it, well at least I was doing something. So I really have no more lame excuses not to post, and just need to suck it up to wake up early and blog.  So there you have it. No more excuses. Even if no one reads it shouldn’t matter, because writing anything makes me happy.

On that note one of my BFF’s is making me do NaNoWriMo this year. I’ve never finished but maybe I can beat last years 7,000 word count. If anything it’ll be a fun little blog update to do through November!

Ok I’m done whining now and throwing my feelings out on the net! Back to my boring job and planning out my actual-real-happening blog posts.

Thanks all~

The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio (a movie review)

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Quick Summary: Evelyn Ryan is a mother of ten children living in Defiance, Ohio in the 1950’s. It was a time where mothers stayed home to care for the family, dinner on the table ready for when the husband came home, and jingle after jingle on the television offering prizes for your contribution. Married to a man who means well but spend his paycheck on alcohol before bills, Evelyn uses her wit and skills to keep the family going by winning various contests from TV ads and magazine clippings. Back in the day when you actually had to write something clever instead of being a random chance winner, Evelyn uses it to express her creativity and lack of freedom at home. When times get rougher then normal she must try to keep her family together, her home intact, and always with a smile on her face.

So this movie was a little more serious than I was expecting, but nonetheless I enjoyed it quite a bit. Based off a true story written by a daughter of Evelyn, this film shows how one woman keeps it together through good and bad. Being at home with the ten kids, not knowing how to drive, and having strict finances, the mother doesn’t get to express herself with others or have time to be creative. The contests, which range from winning twenty dollars to an entire car, have helped keep the family afloat for years. Using her writing skills and upbeat attitude, it seems like there isn’t a contest she couldn’t win.

Going deeper, the film shows the up and downs of the family relationships and well as social norms for the time. An example being Kelly her husband. He once had dreams and plans, but due to a car accident wasn’t able to realize them. Battling with depression and alcoholism, he wants to support his family yet is unable to due to his shortcomings. This brings on financial hardship since he is the sole working person in the family.We often see the strain that he has with himself, with his children, and with his wife. The two address themselves as Mother and Father, no pet names, no first names. It feels almost sterile in a way. Evelyn seems to almost be living in a world of her own, going through the motions, trying to take care of the whole family the best way she can, always looking on the lighter side of life.

It is a story of a woman’s struggles in her marriage, in society, and in family. Yet with the right jingle and entry contest, she can make it another day.

(I fear I may have rambled a bit with this review. It has been a while since I’ve done one, my skill are rusty!)

Rosemary & Thyme (BBC Tv Series)

[credit: amazon.com]

[credit: amazon.com]

Quick Summary: Rosemary Boxer is a plant pathologist for a University who also has a passion for gardening. Laura Thyme is an ex constable who retired and enjoys gardening at home which she got from her farming childhood. Meeting by chance to due the sudden death of Laura’s friend while Rosemary is working on the property, the two come together to solve the shady results of the mans passing. Becoming quick friends through the shared love of gardening (as well as Laura’s divorce and Rosemary’s sacking from the University) the two women start their own horticultural business. They tend to the gardens of many, as well as solving murders along the way.

So the summary isn’t all the best I know but it is a bit difficult to describe the show without giving away details of episodes! I happened across this by change while browsing Netflix for something new and different. I often forget how much I love British television, and this only shows that truth.

Both women have wonderful and diverse personalities, and I love the fact that they’re older independent women as well. They actually look and act like real people instead of too beautiful and too dramatic. Rosemary is the more fiery of the two women. Never married or had children, her life has been about her work with some relationships on the side, and she has no problem stating this. For her marriage and children are for some but not all, and she has no regrets about her choice in the matter while still leaving a possibility open for love still. This helped her get her Doctorate in college with a vast amount of knowledge of all types of plants, soils, and arbors. Often she mentions the Latin name with other side facts like medicinal purposes or how it’s edible only in certain safe ways. I would have to say she is a bit more hot headed of the two and is more likely to barge in and ask direct questions. Laura was married, now divorced, with two grown children. Often she pulls on knowledge and skills from her days in the Constable like memorizing license plates easily or how to work with detectives on cases without rising suspicion. Her farming childhood also has helped with such things as tools or gardening tricks that schooled Rosemary hadn’t ever come across. Laura is a bit more on the planning and cautious side, perhaps due to her former job and raising kids. I only mentioned children and family for both women, not because they’re super focused on it or important, but they come into play off and on with each side like Laura’s son who is in the Force.

Both women have quick wits, wonderful senses of humor, and the wisdom and appreciation for things that can only come with age. They don’t go out of their way to find murders and incidents, they just have the poor luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When it does come up they can’t let it go, through morals of wanting to find the bad person, curiosity as to what and why, and in certain occasions because they can’t finish their landscaping till it’s solved which means no pay!

Even though you know something is going to pop up with each episode, it doesn’t feel boring or cut and paste. They often travel all over England and sometimes to other countries, dealing with various types of people from a boarding school to a historical agricultural sight. You meet former friends and colleagues who help them along the way, a bit of romance here and there, as well as each of the women growing and dealing with what life has thrown at them.

I once heard it referenced as “Murder She Wrote with Gardening and British Accents”. I never really watched MSW, but I know enough to see why they’d make the comparison. Like mysteries? Quirky humor? Gardening? BBC? Then I’d give this a shot. Sadly it only has 3 seasons and looks as if it may have had more planned but fell through. I was able to watch it in full on Netflix, but unsure of how long it will be on there.

rating: 9/10

Hanging Tree: Meaning behind the Song

Recently I went to see the newest installment of The Hunger Games movie, and there was a hauntingly beautiful song that Katniss sings (Ms. Lawrence did an amazing job at it). I was shocked to see how quickly covers of this song went up on Youtube shortly after the films release. I must admit, I haven’t read the last two books in the series, by the time I had found out about it the first movie was about to release and my library has a huge hold list on them. So this made me curious as to where the song came from and what it means. Did it come from the book or was this invented for the big screen? My search to the internet commenced! Then rewarded rather quickly with a well written and in depth article by The Vulture. They have a video of the song from the movie for those who are curious for the original version.

For those who don’t want to read the full article, I’ll put a little summary here. For those who have not read the books or seen the movies, there is a slight possibility of spoilers in the above link and this summary here: forewarning.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where they strung up a man they say murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where the dead man called out for his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of rope, side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree.

At first this sounds like a man who was to meet his love by the tree where people are hung for crimes, to which it eludes he was hung there and wants his love to run away. Through the song, the hung man asks his love if she is still coming to the tree, as if too see him. To say goodbye? Alas, the last verse throws a dark reason for his wanting the lover to come to the tree. ‘wear a necklace of rose, side by side with me.’ This entails that he wants her to come to the tree so that they may both be together, side by side, hanging.  In the verse before that ‘Where I told you to run, so we’d both be free.’ Now doesn’t sound like they were to meet to run away together, but instead as a current tense of running to the tree so they can be free of the world through death. Had his lover been there at midnight, perhaps she would also be hanging beside the man, yet since she was not there he calls out for them to come to the tree.

A twisted love song indeed! It has a lot of meaning standing on its own, yet to the characters Katniss and Peeta is holds so much more. I won’t give anymore away in case those reading this wish to see the film or watch the movie. For you who were curious though, I hope this was helpful!

The Maze Runner (Film) Review

[credit: wikipedia.com]

[credit: wikipedia.com]

I am doing this review as a stand alone film and not in comparison to the book. Later on I will do a book vs movie comparison however so keep an eye out!

Quick Summary: Waking up in a metal lift with nothing of his memory except his name, Thomas finds himself appearing in The Glade. Surrounding him upon his arrival to the woodland surrounded valley are other teen boys teasing and taunting his arrival. Quickly he learns that they have all been trapped there, each with only their name in memory, with one large obstacle to understand and defeat. The Maze. Every changing and always dangerous the boys have spent quite a long time trying to learn its secrets-and now Thomas will join them in hopes of escape. However, shortly after his arrival things began to change that will alter the way the boys think and act towards each other and The Maze.

This is based off a trilogy book series, which is set in a dystopian style setting filled with teenagers who must defeat deadly odds to win their freedom. This sounds pretty familiar with a lot of other YA dystopian themed films (based off novels). However don’t let this deter you.

The beginning setup is an all male society with teen of varying ages. It reminded me a bit of Lord of the Flies at first, except that over time these young men have actually learned to live in peace with each other for the most part. They have rules, a structure, and everyone has jobs based on their skills and personalities. With each new member they add on to their strengths in hopes of finding out the secrets of the Maze that will eventually let them escape The Glade which is their home.

You have a few standard character archetypes with some not so used ones mixed in, which is a nice change. There is the leader who is firm but fair, the outspoken brutish one who likes to act like an Alpha, the sweet younger one who everyone dotes over, and the new member who is different than all the rest. As for the actors they chose to fill these roles, I was actually happily surprised. There are a few who have short roles in the first film that will be extended in the second, so I won’t comment on those since we never really get to see the act too much. For those you do get to see though, happy thoughts.

Thomas is played by Dylan O’Brien (who had a major role in Teen Wolf a TV series), and I thought the way he used facial expressions and body language suited the character really well since he goes through so much emotion and events in such a short time. Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Newt, the second in command, and though not as much on screen as I would have liked he did display the thoughtful and mature role of Newt that was needed. Which makes sense because he did a great job in Game of Thrones. Gully is played by Will Poulter, who has to portray the brutish type character who is protective and also wary of Thomas who acts so differently than everyone else.You want to be mad at him, but you can also see his side of things. Big change from his role of Eustace in Narnia! Ki Hong Lee is Minho and has a very strong personality on screen. His character doesn’t show too much emotional complexity in his face, but his actions speak much more louder than words. Than you have Aml Ameen who plays Alby, the leader of the entire Glade. His character is rather complex and plays many roles to the multiple boys under his care. I very much enjoyed watching this actor portray a character who has practically the weight of their world on his shoulders as he tries to protect and guide everyone.

Only thing I really liked about the film was the way it was filmed. It seemed almost…natural or ‘raw’ in a sense of the film styles. There wasn’t too much in the way of flashy effects or over done explosions, if they were needed it was tasteful and made sense. They do a lot of close ups on characters faces or tight shots of group scenes, which really draws you in on how he/they are feeling at the time of whatever is happening. It almost gives it a first person perspective at times, especially when Thomas is alone and having introspection moments. When CGI or special graphics were needed, they flowed very easily into the story and the scene. They didn’t detract attention from the situation or the main story line, as they’re supposed to.

One thing that may surprise some people is this is actually a bit of a violent film. During the film Thomas is told that there are things in the Maze that will kill a person. We see this happen more than a few times. While the blood isn’t over done, you do see some people meet their untimely end, which is always a bit difficult when they are representing young people. It is needed however to get the severity and level of danger that these young men are facing in this harrowing plight of theirs. it does have a spot of humor spilled in there too so don’t worry about it being all high strung drama! After all, children are very good at finding ways to have fun even in unhappy situations. As a side note: I think of of my favorite parts about this is the lack of a very obvious love triangle! So over the dystopian love triangle!

The pacing of the whole story is overall pretty good. There are a few points where I felt like it dragged on a bit too much or went a little quickly, but for the most part it smoothed together very well and made it feel like it packed a lot into the 113 minute long film without it feeling over-packed. The ending of the film felt a bit disjointed from the rest of it, but in my opinion it’s always a bit hard to have a smooth ending when there is another film to follow. For the most part it was ok though.

Overall score: 8/10.