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.

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

image

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

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

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.

Blog Update & Explanation~

Hello fellow Bloggers, Readers, and everyone else. I know it’s been quite a while since I have last posted anything of real substance. I feel bad about that since I really do enjoy this blog and doing what I do. However, things go crazy really, really fast. I have been without a job for sometime now because I had left a previous one that had been slowly sucking out my soul and any sort of humanity left within me. Recently, I have acquired a new job (finally) and though it is not my ideal job I am happy to be bringing in the green. This new job however requires a lot of physical demands with lifting, pushing, and what not of 55 lbs or more. Thus, my general routine has been: Wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, pass out, rinse & repeat. On my days off I sleep and clean my house. However: I am FINALLY getting used to the physical demands of my job! I’m not so exhausted and sore everyday now, it just took some time to get used to. This means that I finally am getting the mental energy back to do some blog posts. I have a whole list of things I have wanted to post about, I just would rather get sleep than post so that I don’t accidentally hurt someone at work, harhar.

Anyways, I know a few of my more recent posts have been apologetic and full of excuses, but I assure you I haven’t vanished or forgotten this wonderful blog of mine! Like a lot of times, real life outside of my gaming, watching, and reading time takes over and this has to be put on hold.

To those who I owe book reviews too, I assure you those will get posted either on here and/or my Goodreads.com account!

For some last words, again apologies, I hope you haven’t given up on me or forgotten this Jabberwocky Lady. Like the Phoenix I shall return from the fiery ashes of my laborious job and being posting anew! Though my posting schedule will be different since my time is now much more limited. More on that to come! As well as film, game, and book reviews!

Till then (which shall be soon), please keep your patience with this little blogger~

The Quest : A Competitive Fantasy Reality Show

[sent to me via Twitter from actor: Marcello De Nardo]

[sent to me via Twitter from actor: Marcello De Nardo]

If any of you follow me on Twitter [@JabberwockyLady] you may have noticed that I went a little crazy with this show called The Quest. It airs on ABC, though I first discovered it by accident while on my Hulu Plus. I am now totally hooked, and sadly since I have no cable I have to wait for it to hit the internet. With the exception of my current situation where I’m house sitting for a cable enabled person-muaha.

*Ahem* anyways, I shall put down a brief description of the show, and then gush fangirl all over it afterwards.

Quick Summary: Twelve ‘Paladins’ have been selected to leave their ‘world’ behind and enter a new one-full of magick, dragons, mayhem, and challenges. Everealm is a land in trouble, an evil force is making its way slowly to the Queen’s castle, and these warriors of different backgrounds are chosen to defend it. However, only one is the True Hero. Each is given a piece of a magickal staff, which when made whole is used to defeat the Evil. These Paladins are trained in combat, their physical and mental skills tested. After each test, the bottom three must face another challenge against each other. The two who don’t pass must then wait for their comrades to choose who is to stay and who is to vanish away from  the realm. Friendships are made, battles are tested, and many enchanting people are met along the way. Welcome to- The Quest.

Okay, not a bad snipped I came up with eh? What they had on Hulu didn’t give it justice in my opinion, so I spiced up my own. So, in reality-survival style TV, twelve people were selected and sent to participate. They wear Paladin garb, sleep in a castle, and run into mythical monsters like Ogres. Actual Ogres. See, the creators of the show wanted it to be like you really went into a magickal realm (how many of you have had this fantasy?) in which it had to be saved. The castle is a real castle. A lot of the weapons are real as well. And the makeup/costuming/props are fantastic. One of the exec producers of Lord of the Rings and The Amazing Race came together to put this amazing thing out. A lot of time and work is there, and every character is acted out as such. I’ve never seen the actors break character and the Paladins get sucked into it as if it were real.

So each episode the story progresses a little, you meet new characters, learn more about old ones, and challenges are set. Such as horse riding, grappling, and weapons use, and puzzle solving. Sometimes there is more than one challenge in which they all must first work together to get to the next goal, where it is every Paladin for themselves. Each Paladin is unique and inevitably everyone gets a favorite or two. Same goes for the main ‘characters’ in the castle. The Grand Vizier is someone you don’t know if you should love & trust or love & distrust. He’s snarky, sneaky, but seems loyal. Than you have the sweet and helpful Crio, vassal of the Queen and the one the Paladins first met. The Queen herself who is regal and is one of the few who puts full faith in the Paladins. Also their battle trainer, head guard of the castle Sir Ansgar who yells and pushes the Paladins, but it’s for their own good. It is hard not to get sucked into this world, rooting and gasping as twists and turns unfold.

I’m not going to lie, if it gets a Season Two, I’m putting in an audition tape, because this is larping/Pathfinder/fantasy book induced day dreaming come true! Even if I was first to go, it would be worth it to sleep in a real castle and experience such a unique experience.

So, in conclusion, it stands on its own as a reality TV show. No, it’s not perfect, and some of it is pretty standard as far as elimination rounds and sometimes way too uneven odds against one another.  Despite this however, the plot, costumes, actors, etc make it all worth it to watch. Often if you are on Twitter, they do live tweeting (eastern time mostly) as the show is happening to share their thoughts and respond to fans. Not going to lie, I do follow a few Paladins, actors, and creators of the show. Can’t help it, they are actually pretty funny and thoughtful in responses. 

So pull out your arrows and shields my friends, and get ready for a pretty fun night of watching. I could go on and on, but you can just see all that on my Twitter feed harhar~