Sunday, June 29, 2014

Your Pick

I have a lot of ideas in my head for posts. I've started most of them and almost finished some. If you'd like to pick which of these you would most like to see here [soonest], that would be grand. :)

movie reviews:
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The Amazing Spiderman
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
edit: Edge of Tomorrow

Loki & the Witch's Heart (story from Norse mythology) 
Of the Art of Memory/How to Build a Mind Palace
Neverland Never Lacked Wonderers
Notes; a definition

Please comment with your choice or choices. Thanks! 


Friday, June 20, 2014

Hamlet (2009) Review

Director: Gregory Doran
Rating: Parents Guide (IMDb)
Time: 180 min 
Stars: Patrick Stewart, David Tennant

I think I've mentioned on here before that I watch stuff while doing math. Well, I found this production of Hamlet on YouTube...and watched it twice while practicing meh algebra. I loved it.

Set in modern day and based word-for-word on Shakespeare’s work, the RSC's Hamlet (2009) tells the story of the young prince of Denmark, Hamlet, and of the happenings after the death of the king his father. Following the death of the king, Hamlet's mother speedily marries his father’s brother, Claudius, and Claudius is made king. Soon afterwards the castle guards report to Hamlet, telling him that they have seen his father’s ghost. So the movie begins. 

Patrick Stewart is just wonderful and plays a creepy, human, Claudius. David Tennant puts great spirit into his portrayal of Hamlet. I liked Horatio very much in this production. Here he feels like a sort of stable being in the background whom both Claudius and Hamlet count on; I liked him as Hamlet’s friend. His character never stood out to me before, but here it definitely did. 

Throughout the film the castle’s security cameras are used as the audience’s special view into the story; I thought it was a very neat idea, and well doneI didn't care for either Ophelia or Laertes in this version of Hamlet, but I didn't dislike them so much that it took anything away from the rest of the film. Overall, I enjoyed Hamlet very much. Somehow Tennant makes Hamlet's human aches and pains relatable. He makes you agonize with him, question, grieve. 

"Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?"

My rating: 3.4 stars out of 5

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Hamlet (2009) or which adaption of the play is your favorite. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Liebster Award

Rose, Natalie, and Jana nominated me for the Liebster Award. Thank you each very much! (They're very cool peps so you may want to go check out their blogs.)

The Rules (Though they're more like 'guidelines,' and they seem to have changed as this award gets older...I've merged the sets of rules that came with the different nominations.): 
Link to the blog that nominated you for the award. 
Answer the 11 questions given to you.
List 11 random facts about yourself.
Nominate some bloggers that have less than 200 followers.
Create 11 questions for the bloggers you've nominated.
Notify them that they've been nominated.

Rose's (The Golden Roadquestions:

1 An anonymous someone drops a note on your front porch saying that they will fund a trip to either England, an African Safari, Prince Edward Island, or Italy.  Which do you choose?  Why?
England. Because of its history; because it's cool. I'd love to go there...actually I've been making a list of all the particular places there that I'd like to go to. (Like the Rabbit Room in the Eagle & Child. Because that. would. be. so. cool.) :) It would be really cool to go to Africa sometime too. (Wouldn't it be awesome to climb a mountain in Africa, in the night, and then watch the sun rise while listening to Circle of Life?)

2 You're being forced to re-do your room.  What color do you paint it?
Actually, the walls are wood panel, so I can't paint them. Well, technically I could.  If I did, probably a light color, maybe blue, I love blue. It's a good color. Or a milky white. 

3 Do you have a particular song that you listen to often, but it never seems to get old?  If so, what is it?They're mainly instrumental. There's The Force Theme & Across the Stars (John Williams), Irene's Theme (David Arnold and Micheal Price), What Shall We Die For & At Wit's End (Hans Zimmer), etc. (You can tell I like movie soundtracks.) Also, possibly my favorite, Up is Down (Hans Zimmer). :)

4 Would you rather be lounging in the sun on the beach reading a good book or adventuring in the waves?

Hmm... *brain loading* What about just running down the beach, on and on, (preferably at night) with some good music?

5 You suddenly end up with two twin kittens.  One is a girl; one is a boy.  What do you name them?
I give them to my cat-loving friends and let them decide. Kittens are cute, and I know cats can be wonderful pets, but I'm a dog person.

6 You're organizing a get together with friends.  Would you choose a picnic or a movie night?
Both. Picnics in the summer are wonderful. Cold lemonade...and ants getting everywhere (but that never really matters) and laughing.

7 What is your pet peeve?
People reading over my shoulder, it makes me nervous or something. Haha.

8 Is there a new hobby you've been wanting to try out?
I want to learn computer coding. It's seems like it would be so cool to play with. Also photography. :)

9 If you could pick one instrument that you would (without any effort on your part) instantly master, which would you choose?
Violin. I'd love the be able to play Irene's Theme on it. And *yay* I've started taking lessons!

10 Would you like to be snowed inside for a week?
At the moment, no. I'd rather be rained in for a week (is that even a thing?). I'm getting a little tired of the cold and I'm missing rain. :)

11 Pick the closest book to you that you've read.  What is your favorite character in the book?
I'm at my dad's desk...hmm...Heroes of Asgard (A. & E. Keary) is on the bookshelf next to me, I like that book a lot. Favorite character? There's Odin, and Thor (of course), Frigga...I'll say Odin (as portrayed it that book). 

Natalie's (Living Life DifferentQuestions: 

1 What genre of music do you like? ( for example, rock, techno, pop, dance/club, hip-hop, rap, rock n roll, jazz)
Pop-opera, Jazz, Classical, Rock & Roll, Hip-hop, Pop...but I mostly listen to movie soundtracks. :)

2 Do you listen to Pandora?
I used to, now I use Grooveshark.

3 What is your favorite band?
I don't really know a band that I'd call favorite, but I like the Piano Guys, Imagine Dragons, One Direction, Alison Krauss and Union Station, etc. :)

4 Are you a fangirl?
I wouldn't call myself a fangirl, but I'm certainly a fan. And a girl. Hmm.

5 What style house do you prefer?
Style...hmm...I like the old English mansions, they're beautiful. I don't really know what that style would be called though, or a lot about house styles in general. I suppose I should try to change that. I like formal/fancy (but not too fancy or formal), not-too-crowded rooms with maps and mirrors and paintings and quotes on the walls and dark wood floors (not the yellowish kind of wood) and warm lights and high ceilings (except in bedrooms and those sorts of rooms). And ferns. And always tidy. :) I like the beach house style too, the blues and whites and simplicity. I love the beach.

6 Do you watch tv every night?
No, too many books to read and brownies to be made (and eaten) and things to be written and stuff to do. :)

7 Do you drink coffee?
I love to smell coffee as my sister drinks it, it smells...divine...but it usually doesn't taste like that when I drink it. I wish it did. Maybe someday - I used to not like dark chocolate either, but not any more. Definitely not anymore. ;)
8 Are you organized?
I find it kinda difficult to work in untidy places, so, yes, I'm organized.

9 How many hours a day do you spend on your school work?
Dawn till dusk.
Haha, no. But I'm home schooled so it can be like that sometimes.

10 How old are you?

11 What color is your refrigerator? (random question)

Jana's (Jana's Faith) questions. 
1. perfect day?
Just, you know, a day. I like the ones when I learn something cool and accomplish something worthwhile. When adventures happen or I get to travel somewhere new - those are good. When tea is made early in the morning.  I like the days that feel sparkly and good when I think about them afterwards.

2. favorite drink? 
Tea. Milk. Depends. Tea, though, definitely tea. 
3. best song?
I haven't the foggiest. :)

4. favorite blog(s)?
Well, I made a "links" page, so if you're interested it's over on the sidebar. But really, each blog is different from the rest and special in its own way - because of the person who writes it.

5. favoritest superhero & why?
Thor. Steven Rogers. But my backup answer is Iron Man. ;)  
6. earliest memory?
It's hard to say which of my early memories comes first, you know?

7. weirdest thing you've ever done?
I think I'll leave this unanswered. Thank you. *bows out quickly*

8. biggest fear?
Fear. Really though, I don't know. I'm only afraid of things beforehand and it's all in my head, and it's hard to measure the stuff in my head. 

9. signature lotion/scent?
I'm not sure what that means. PG Tips tea?

10. best DQ blizzard?
I don't remember the last time I went to Dairy Queen, so I can't really say. But chocolate's always good. Oh, and oreo stuff is good. :)

11. best band in the world?
I think we may have done this one already. :)

Eleven Random Facts:
1 The bookmark in my journal is a picture of the Tardis.
2 I love the smells of dog kibble, strawberry jam, and wet pavement. 
3 My favorite doctor is Eleven.
4 Rain makes me feel content.
5 I'm trying to figure out what kind of camera to get (I want it for taking good quality videos as well as pictures). I'm looking at the DSLR Canons...any suggestions? :)
6 I think it would be really cool to take economics as a major in college. History + math + logic + those kinds of things = happy me. 
7 I've been doing a lot of math recently while watching OUAT and DW, it's funny because I actually do it faster and just as well as (it not better than) I do it without watching anything. That's now one of my favorite things to do; math + tea + cranberries + OUAT or DW = happy me. (I keep doing plus - plus - equals...I'll stop now.)
8 I'm a third of the way through reading The Poetic Edda and it's really cool. It's Norse mythology; I thought it was funny because the first line in which Thor is mentioned says "thewy Thor..." It sounds so funny in your mouth if you say it out loud. ;) 
9 I had to wake up at 3:15 a few mornings ago to go on an airplane. But I love flying. :)
10 Apparently Gotham is an old word for New York. *Information obtained from sister.* 
11 I love the Air & Space museum, and when it was in Captain America 2 I was just like "oh, I love that place *tears*." :) (I did actually. Hmm.)

My Questions:
1 How are you today? 
2 Who's a favorite fictional character of yours?
3 If you could go anywhere, where would you go and why?
4 You're on an island, doesn't matter what type, and there's a box. What's in the box?
5 What's a random word you like and how would you define it?
6 When and why did you start blogging and what do you like most about it? Why do you keep on blogging?
7 What's your favorite dessert?
8 Cute, cool, or neither? What style(s) do you like? 
9 What's something you're looking forward to doing or seeing or learning this summer? 
10 What's something that, for whatever reason, you personally find hard to do?
11 What kind of movies do you like best? Why? (Sci-fi, romance, drama, comedy, oldie-goldie, etc.) 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Maleficent Review

Director: Robert Stromberg
Rated: PG (For sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images. - MPAA)
Time: 97 min
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning
Soundtrack: James Newton Howard 

Maleficent, a retelling of Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty (1959), is a lot of fun and very enjoyable.Telling the story of the fairy Maleficent, the film focuses on her for its entire length, adding the princess Aurora as a central character as the story progresses and Maleficent’s character grows. I was a little afraid that Maleficent would be dismal and dark, or both, and was surprised and very happy to find that it is neither. I loved the imaginative Fair-Land and all its creatures. 

I liked the details given to Maleficent’s character and costume. I liked how Maleficent calls Aurora “Beastie.” I also love her costume: Her horns are cool and her wings gigantic and magnificent. The snake skin wrapped around her horns is beautiful. And black leather suits are seriously awesome. Elle Fanning is young, sweet, and pretty as Aurora, and I liked her very much. I also liked Maleficent’s raven.
There were a few places in the film where the character development felt slightly rushed and could have had more time spent on it, and some plot twists were told in a way that might be confusing. But overall those things didn't really detract from the movie. The very end wasn't quite satisfying to me, it didn't feel very finished. But that wasn't a big negative, as though the very end wasn't as important as the rest of the film, it wasn't the point of the story as much as Maleficent's character was. If some really great actors had been chosen for some of the side roles it would have added a lot to the movie. The only thing that bothered me were the three fairies, who I didn't care for.

Overall, Maleficent is very imaginative and lots of fun.  It contains awesome scenes of flying, cool fighting, and has a good resolution to its climax. And Maleficent herself is a great character.
(Spoilers) I loved that scene when Maleficent is like “Oh, look: little Beastie is about to fall off the cliff.” And the raven is afraid she will. She does, and you hear a scream. But then Maleficent saves her. And I love the part when Aurora as a little girl finds Maleficent and says “hello” and then hugs her and Maleficent is just like “Go. Away. I don’t like children.” And then picks Aurora up and Aurora is fascinated by Maleficent’s horns. (End of Spoilers)

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Have you seen Maleficent? Do you want to? How did you like it?

Click here for more reviews.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review


(spoiler-free review)
Director(s): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Rating: PG-13
Time: 136 min
Stars: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Redford
Soundtrack by: Henry Jackman 

As The Winter Soldier follows both Captain America: The First Avenger and Avengers: Assemble it's very well written, being both a complete story on its own and also a satisfying follow up to those prior to it. The plot is well paced, it's a two and half hour movie but never feels long, or rushed. The Winter Soldier is a complete story and lacks nothing. It's one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. It’s fantastic.

The music fits well throughout the movie. It's grinding, heart pumping, echoing. I like it when composers are skilled at silence as well as sound, it's the case here as the theater goes dead silent at exactly the right times, perfectly amplifying and expressing of emotions. The Winter Soldier's theme (here) suits him perfectly.

gif Captain America Marvel bucky barnes Sebastian Stan The Winter Soldier Captain America The Winter Soldier
The cinematography and choreography were absolutely beautiful. I loved the fight scenes, especially the ones between the Winter Soldier and Cap. I'd never enjoyed fight scenes in a movie before, but these were skillfully and beautifully done.  

In The First Avenger and Avengers Steve didn’t feel quite right, as though the writers didn't know or understand exactly who he was, but that’s not the case in The Winter Soldier. Here he's a strong, well-written character, portrayed excellently. Chris Evens embodies the role of Steve Rogers perfectly. 

Natasha/Black Widow was awesome. It was great to learn more about her character: how far she's willing to go in order to do what she knows to be right. Also her and Steve's relationship was great and their joking was hilarious. Tasha multitasks well.

The Winter Soldier himself makes a threatening and brutal villain. But there's something different about a man who's trying to understand what he's fighting and one who doesn't care at all, and the mentality of trying to understand has an honesty about it in that it tries to recognize what it sees must be good. And the Winter Soldier has that honesty. 


In the title "Captain America", I think America is meant not only as a geographical location but also as an idea, a symbol of what America means. The film asks a lot of thought provoking questions and there're a lot of thematic elements (to borrow a phrase from James). One question was whether any person or organization has the authority to justly intrude upon one natural right of a person to insure or protect another natural right. Whether anyone has the authority to intrude on someone's freedom in order insure their security, whether it's possible to intrude on one natural right without intruding on them all. It reminded me of a scene in Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll's sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In the Looking-Glass world everything happens backwards. In an attempt to explain this concept to Alice, the White Queen tells her about the king's messenger: "He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all." 

The falcon was a great character and I enjoyed him a lot. For fear of giving away spoilers there isn't much more I can say about him, but he's a cool guy and has a great sense of humor. "I made breakfast...if you guys need that kind of thing."

Don’t forget to watch until the credits stop rolling, some things are worth the wait. For more reviews of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, check these out: How to Watch a Movie, and J and J Productions

  my rating: 5/5

How did you like The Winter Soldier? 

Click here for more reviews.

Monday, June 02, 2014

In May

Galileo's Journal, Jeanne K. Pettenati
Along Came Galileo, Jeanne Bendick
The Seabees of World War II, Commander Edmund L. Castillo, USN
The Vikings, Elizabeth Janeway 

Doctor Who - I've now watched every DW episode there is of the newer seasons and some of the classics as well. Celery. My favorite Doctor is Eleven. How 'bout you?

Mom's Night Out  - It was very funny. I think I could've enjoyed it more than I did though if I'd let myself...or maybe I just prefer some things over comedy.

Once Upon A Time - I love season three. I love that they're in Neverland. I love watching them while I do math and drink tea. It's just nice.

Hamlet (2009) - Patrick Stewart is Claudius and David Tennant is Hamlet and I love it.

*Father of the Bride (1991) - It's so funny and dear.

Maleficent - There were some things that could have been better but it was very enjoyable, and there were so many awesome moments. Angelina Jolie is cool.

*Books/movies I've read/watched before.
† Landmark Book

What books and movies did you enjoy especially in May?