Updates! {a rambling}

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Hello beautiful people!

It’s been a while since I’ve just dropped a hello and updated what was going on the the blog and other projects. So here’s a little heads up for you all if you wanted to know.

The Blog

You may have noticed I have actually gotten a decent and regular posting schedule again. It’s every Monday, roughly around 10 AM (pst), which so far seems to be working out well. Alas I’d love to go back to posting twice a week, but with working full time M-F I only have a handful of free hours to also dedicate to my other projects and the rest of life. So for now it’ll stay on this schedule, with an occasional double weekly post if I have the time to do so! I know I’ve been doing a lot of game posts lately, so I’m hitting the library this week to try and find some novels to throw in here to for my book lovers.

Youtube

A few of you may have noticed a little post about a small video I posted on my Youtube Channel. In the past I’ve talked about doing a review channel to reach a different type of audience and to see if I can get more constructive feedback from viewers. I love this blog and community, but alas the feedback is almost non-existant which doesn’t help me grow and improve. Well it’s finally coming together! It took a lot longer than I would have liked to, but that’s no ones fault but my own. I kept waiting for ‘the right time’ and ‘the right equipment’ until finally I just jumped right in. At the moment, it only sports a few videos of short ‘Let’s Play’s’ of games on the PS4. Alas, my headset is not the best and therefore my speaking in those videos vs no speaking is about half and half. Next week I will have a new proper headset so that I can do these a lot better. Also starting next week (hopefully) I will begin filming reviews. What type of reviews? you may be asking? As much as I’d love to do visual reviews of all the genres I review on here, I decided it’s best to stick small and grow from there. So for now I’ll only be doing in depth reviews for games on the channel. I’ll also have a small section, much like I do here in Ramblings, for off base topics or breaking down my thoughts on related subjects. I’m still undecided if I shall continue to also do a full review or partial review on the Blog that then links to my Youtube channel, so we’ll have to see about that. I’ll still be posting once a week on the Blog though so don’t fret. I’ll just also be posting once a week on my channel (day of the week to be decided).

Writing

How long ago did I mention I was going to put together a short story collection and publish it? I can’t even remember at this point, it was shamefully that long ago! Well, again, I’ve kicked myself in the butt for not doing something about it because I was ‘waiting on better material’ and judging myself really hard on what I did have. Well no more! I actually have an editor for my short stores who will be working on them one at a time for me. She’s already working on one as we speak! Thus I’m finally putting this in the works, and when there is a significant update, such as I finished all rough drafts or moving on to the organizing of chapters, I’ll keep you posted! This will be an digital publishing only to begin with, but we’ll get to that more as it comes closer. I don’t have a schedule for this really, I just write in my few meager spare minutes at work and then at home in between things. This is on the lowest tier of my totem pole, but it’s still very important to me. No title for the book has been set yet either.

Other

Well there really isn’t much ‘other’ going on right now. I’m in the middle of moving, transferring to a new job, and trying to save up every penny I have to help purchase tools and support needed to further my creative projects. A big thank you to all you followers for sticking with me or just joining up! As always, please share your thoughts and opinions on any post that interests you! Have a quip about how to make the blog more user friendly, interesting, etc? Let me know that too! I’m always looking to grow and improve, and I can’t do that all alone. I need help from people like you who are interested in these topics to let me know if I should be doing something different or if I’m staying on the right track! If this Blog isn’t enough social media interaction with moi, then you can also find me at these other fabulous locations!

 

See you all in the next update, I have to finish writing the review for Monday!

~Jabberwocky Warrior

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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.

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!)

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.

The Giver – A Movie

I learned about this film pretty late on, and although it has some big names that I love, I’m a little nervous about the whole thing. Whenever you made adaptations to movies from books it’s always a gamble, especially for those who grew up on them. For example. Where the Wild Things Are was a story so many grew up with or read to their kids, and the movie was amazing. It followed the heart of the story so well, and the Wild Things were done visually amazing. PS. spoilers are possible ahead since I am going to compare the book to the movie. 

So with the Giver, from at least what I recall from the book, was based in a more simpler time. The movie seems to have some futuristic updates to it (perhaps to modernize and attract the youth of today?), with small changes such as injections instead of pills for example. I’m curious how much of it is going to be in black and white since for a major part of the book it was so. There also seems to be a larger romantic relationship going and more adversity in his efforts to realize his changes and when he tries to leave. I am also curious on how much they are going to stress the career choosing system with the youth since it was stressed with such importance in the book. A lot of wonder ifs and maybes to think about with this movie.

Obviously the two are not going to match up completely, futuristic updates aside, and I am excited to see Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. I am going to see it at some point and try not to have too many reservations (due to so many books, especially older ones, being done so terribly when put to film). I’m sure I’ll do a more thorough comparison between the book and movie. I’m just hoping my fears will be dashed away in a swap for amazement! Again much like Where the Wild Things Are. Seriously, if you haven’t seen it yet, you should go do so. It will bring out all the feelings. 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark (a movie review)

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A Del Toro movie always catches my attention! Plus I adore films that mix horror/thriller with folklore and fairy tales. Onward to the summary!

Quick Summary: A quiet and reclusive young girl names Sally flies to Rhode Island to be with her father and his new girlfriend. Instead of living in his home, the three temporarily settle into a 19th century home that Alex (father) and Kim (girlfriend) have been restoring. Upset with the move and her fathers new relationship, Sally spends her time drawing and exploring. She discovers a hidden room beneath the home that had been sealed away since the previous owner disappeared many years before. Sally now hears strange voices telling her they want to be her friend, but there is something sinister about them. With the adults busy on the house, Sally must try and convince them of her new discovery and face her fears in the dark.

I wouldn’t peg this film as scary but more along the lines of creepy, which is still a good place to be. Sally is the main focus for most of the movie, and the young lady Baliee Madison does a god job of portraying and interesting kid. Sally is a tough little cookie, venturing into the dark and unknown because of curiosity. However, you are easily reminded that she is still a child when she becomes frightened and calls out for her father. She is the most believable character in the whole movie. You hold your breath when she looks under the bed, feel sympathy when her father ignores her woes, and it makes one wonder what they would have done as 10 year olds.

The father in this story is a little clichéd in my opinion. He has been estranged from his daughter so he doesn’t quite know how to connect with her nor comfort her at times. When she brings about her concerns he brushes her off, his business ventures more important, choosing curt words and medication instead. I felt little sympathy for him when things begin to go downhill, he was acting as an irresponsible and too distant parent not putting his kids needs first. Really, a hotel room could have solved a lot of problems. In a way he is good for tension and plot pushing.

Kim, the girlfriend, is put in a difficult spot. She loves Alex, and is seen as a stranger to Sally, but she wants to befriend the girl. She seems to have more paternal instincts and reactions then Alex through most of the film. I found her character a little boring, but that may be all me due to the fact that Katie Holmes isn’t a favored actress of mine. The struggle of letting Alex parent vs taking matters into her own hands makes for interesting story line plus helps shed light on the situation. She is one of the few who actually listen to Sally when she speaks.

The CGI in the movie seemed…a little overdone? There was just something about it that I didn’t quite like though I can’t place my finger on it. They were interesting and creepy looking, yet I felt they did a better mood setting and tension when it was a hear and not see thing. There actual concept though I enjoyed. (I am purposely not sharing too many details on it so to not give anything away.)

Overall I had a fun time watching this, getting the creeps, guessing what would happen next, and enjoying the dark folklore portrayed.

7.5\10

After the Dark (a movie review)

[credit: Rotten Tomatoes]

[credit: Rotten Tomatoes]

Quick Summary: Set in an international school in Jakarta Indonesia during the final class for philosophy, the teacher decides to test his students with a challenging thought experiment. The twenty students must put themselves in the aftermath of a nuclear blast, the bombs just beginning to drop. Luckily there is a bunker with food, air, and supplies for one year. Unluckily there is only enough for ten people, the other eleven (teacher included in the experiment) must be doomed to death. Each student is randomly assigned a career: organic farmer, housekeeper, carpenter, opera singer, etc. Three different scenarios are played out during the duration of the class, the students having to choose who lives and who dies in this hypothetical apocalypse.

 

During the film we are transported between the reality of the classroom and the projection of the project that the students are discussion with their teacher. It is very beautiful with the scenery, the bunker itself, and the transitions between the two. The students are a realistic mix of people: there are those who find the experiment disturbing, some jump in with gusto, and each has their own opinion on how the selection process should happen. Through the film some students are shown more then others, either due to their roles being chosen to be saved or because of conflict of morals or interests through the scenarios. Though only a couple of them actually seem to get some depth, so sadly you don’t really get an emotional connection with any of them through the film. The teacher himself seems to enjoy pushing his students into this difficult thought experiment, challenging them, questioning them, as a normal philosophy teacher should. He seems like a normal teacher until the experiment goes on longer and all the sudden he seems more like an evil nemesis then trying to actually help the students through this project.

Jumping back a bit, the choices the students have to make in and out of the bunker are thought provoking. If you had one of the more favorable attributes, who would you choose to go forth to death? If you had a questionable job, how would you fight to save yourself-or would you even try given who was around you? How do gender balances make a play for reproduction, how would the personalities be able to handle each other inside together for a whole year? Good things that make you want to watch the film to see if your own choices go along with the classroom. The first play through is mostly about survival, while the second focuses more on rebuilding the human race through babies, and the third…well I will get to that in a moment. So in the first two, very different choices are made, especially since the second go around you learn one more fact about each persons ‘character’ that could change who dies and who lives.

So the third section, it sort of takes a sudden turn and all the philosophy that had been playing out kind of gets lost under building and sometimes sudden emotion and underlying games. The teacher throughout the movie seems to put himself in a high role of importance and set differently from the other characters. It comes off as narcissistic and unneeded. Sometimes he comes off as cliche as his role as a teacher, though his actual acting is really good. I personally became frustrated at the end of the film because I felt like it changed its own role and went in a very different direction then what we had been sharing thus far. The end seemed a bit jumbled, stretched, and mishmashed together. A lot of the underlying messages and tensions are finally revealed (though not too surprising), and then it just sort of seems to drag on for a bit until finally ending. After a little over two hours given to this film, I felt like the rug was pulled out a bit at the end.

I digress, the first two parts of the film are really worth watching if you like thinking of that type of situation, and if you don’t mind it pulling away from the philosophical stand point the film had been doing in the end to be more emotional (etc), then you may enjoy it in its entirety.  Though none of the acting (with the exception of a select few) are really all that great, the students reactions are interesting, the locations of the apocalypse are beautiful, and it makes one think.

Overall rating 3/5.