Sunday, June 28, 2015

Inside Out | Review

(spoiler-free review)

"After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions - Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness - conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school. (imdb)"

I admit that after seeing the trailer I was dubious of the idea of personified emotions seemingly controlling people, but just a few minutes in I was happily surprised by how much I liked the movie. 

The story is surprisingly deep as it shows how memories can affect us, but especially as it shows the roles our emotions play, particularly the power and importance of Sadness (
). The truth of the idea that you're lucky if you hurt because it proves you've still got a heart: you can still feel, is eloquently shown as Riley () goes through a tough change in her life and seemingly becomes dulled to all emotion. 


Content: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action. It's a very emotionally charged story (no pun intended), though some of its depth would probably go over younger kids' heads. The movie is very emotionally intense, earning its PG rating. But it's through this intensity that its story is told.

Presently rated 8.8/10 on IMDb and 98% by the critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Written and directed by  and , Disney-Pixar's Inside Out is clever, funny, and surprisingly touching. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

list no. ii

- favorite things lately -


Oh look, it's the Flash. I love this video.

The sun goes down
The stars come out
And all that counts
Is here and now
My universe will never be the same
I'm glad you came

'Cause in a sky full of stars I think I saw you.
'Cause you get lighter the more it gets dark
I'm going to give you my heart


The Flash - perfect
Jurassic World - really fun

...hold on to what you believe in the light 
When the darkness has robbed you of your sight. ~ Mumford and Sons

Faith, in the sense in which I am here using the word, 
is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, 
in spite of your changing moods. ~ C. S. Lewis

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, Frank Miller
The Illustrated A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking

What are your favorites lately? xx

Monday, June 08, 2015

Daredevil | Season One Review

 this review is spoiler-free 

In the aftermath of The Battle of New York (which occurred during The Avengers) a ten-block section of NYC called Hell's Kitchen is left in turmoil and experiences a high rise in illegal activities as crime lords make the most of its weakness in an attempt to rebuild Hell's Kitchen to their advantage. 

Matt Murdoch (), blinded at age nine in an accident which left him with otherwise super-humanly heightened senses, and Foggy Nelson () have been friends since law school and have now set up their own law firm. Through their first client, Karen Paige (), we begin to see the elaborate plans of the city's crime lords as Foggy and Matt work to take them down through the law and Karen makes her own investigations. But what Foggy doesn't know
is that his blind friend 
Matt doesn't just fight crime through the law. By night Matt uses his gifted senses to track and fight, "making life hard for bad men" (to paraphrase) in more physical terms.

Charlie Cox, Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson in Netflix's Daredevil TV series
These people I love. Matt, Karen, Ben, Foggy. via
Some random artistic details I appreciated were the episode names which were creative and symbolic, and also the show's opening credits. The show's coloring was interesting, most of the story takes place at night so the screen is often dark and just a few colors are used to emphasize subjects. Also, Matt's vigilante costume and mask is simple and perfect. I love that mask and how it's completely plain covering his eyes without any pretense of eye holes. 

The music is a mix of different styles and has a cool and sometimes exotic feel to it which I really liked. It was often almost non audible during certain scenes, intensifying the audience's ability to hear every sound, as Matt does. It reminded me of the Winter Soldier soundtrack in that way. Daredevil's theme is beautiful, and the song Beautiful Crime which plays during the series' trailer matches the story well:
when the sun sets we're both the same:
half in the shadows, half burned in flame...
- Beautiful Crime

There is quite a bit of humor throughout the series, which I hadn't been expecting. It keeps the story from getting too heavy and fits well. It doesn't take away from the show's more serious undertone, but is instead a natural part of the characters' relationships. The acting is great on all parts. The story is simple and each episode focuses on a different aspect of it as the plot moves towards its resolution. One of the subplots got a little boring, but other than that the plot was fine. Flashbacks are well done and effectively used.

Content: rated TV-MA (mature adult: "This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17"). Elements of kidnapping, drug and human trafficking are prevalent. Swearing and cursing is frequent (with words like s**t and d**n) and there are some sexual references (no nudity besides a woman's bare back). But the aspect that earns the show its rating is the violence. When watching this whenever I anticipated it was about to get extra violent I turned down the volume and switched my attention to something else until the bone-crunching, tearing, grinding (etc. etc.) noises calmed down. This is a violent show, more so than any other Marvel production I've seen, and the camera doesn't hide anything. It's bloody and brutal. But, as I read in another review and agree with, it's not gritty and dark for the sake of being gritty and dark. That doesn't make me like the fact that its violence is so explicit, but there is a definite difference between gritty and dark for their own sake and for the story's sake. 

The characters are well written, realistic and, sometimes surprisingly, likable. The development of the different relationships was well played out. Characters are a main draw factor in television and this show's characters are great. I love the characters and their different relationships were personal and touching. "For the record, this is the first time you've ever said I was right. I hate it." (Foggy to Matt) I loved the brother-sister feel of Karen's relationship with Matt and Foggy and how it slowly develops from there.

There were several times during conversations when I was afraid they would become cliched, but they never did, instead speeches stayed bluntly true to their characters. Daredevil's tagline is "the man without fear" and in this telling of his story we see that it's not that Matt is unafraid, it's that he chooses to not give in to the fear. Matt's thoughts and inward struggles about the responsibility of power and of being able to do things that most people aren't are well crafted in their telling. 

"I know you're afraid. But you can't give in to the fear." - Matt

There's a strong theme of morality which is developed through the show along with Matt’s alias name: Daredevil. Matt’s questions of right and wrong are told through conversations with his priest Father Lantom. It gives a whole other side to Matt and the overall story. I appreciated the way those conversations are written: Matt does most of the talking, Father Lantom mainly listening. It gives us an insight into Matt's beliefs, but poses his questions of morality rather than answering them and preaching to the audience.

Something I noticed as a difference between Matt and his main antagonist is how they respect people. Both have quotes directly speaking about it. I think they get their views from their dads; one dad told his son that anyone with the guts to enter a fighting ring deserves respect, and the other that if he wanted respect he would have to give it. Matt respects people only if he believes they've earned it, while his antagonist respects people to buy their respect for himself.

Daredevil by sean-izaakse
Daredevil by sean-izaakse | Some fanart is so beautiful.

Netflix's Daredevil was created by Drew Goddard and directed by Mark Steven Johnson, based on the Marvel comics of the same name. There are thirteen episodes, each 50 minutes long. As I've read, Daredevil will get a second season in 2016 as well as crossing over with other characters in a Defenders miniseries. For more reviews of Netflix's Daredevil: J and J Productions & How to Watch a Movie.

Daredevil is well written and acted. It's smart and funny and has a grittier edge than other Marvel shows. The characters are well developed, especially Matt and his struggles of right and wrong. I really enjoyed and love Daredevil and am looking forward to a second season. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the show if you've seen it or if you want to.