mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
 I'm pretty sure that I've only seen these three movies this month:
  1. Spider-man: Homecoming
  2. Dunkirk
  3. Valerian (& the city of 1000 planets, whatever)
(I even looked at Box Office Mojo's list to make sure I wasn't forgetting anything. I did go see Wonder Woman for a second time but I believe that would probably have been in June.) 

Valerian is the one I just got home from seeing so I'll talk about that first. And I waited awfully late to do this so I'll have to hope I remember to talk about the other two later.

So, we had done some negotiating and we were going to see Valerian last Saturday and Dunkirk last Sunday. Rob wasn't super-happy about putting Valerian first - I was afraid that Dunkirk would have sold out on Saturday, and as it turned out they had it in the smallest of their theaters when we went Sunday so I may have been right about that, go figure. But then I was feeling under the weather on Saturday - allergies, I guess - and I knew Rob wanted to go see the Planet of the Apes movie, so I said "go ahead and see that instead" and he did. So Valerian got put off until this week. Since its box office is said to be terrible I didn't figure it was safe to wait any longer, and anyway next week I'll probably want to go see The Dark Tower (unless the reviews are terrible enough to talk me out of it) and we'd have that problem all over again. And I'm glad we went.

(In case you somehow get this far without seeing the title: there's at least ONE BIG SPOILER below!)

I said to Rob on the way home that the first half of the movie had most of the pretty CGI and the second half had most of the plot. That's oversimplifying but the first half had most of the 1000 kind of aliens stuff and then it sort of settled down to the plot after that. It's not really a great movie overall, but it's pretty and it's funny and I enjoyed it. Col and I were talking before I left (because he had already seen it so he was trying to tell me stuff without being spoilery) and we talked about Valerian (the character, that is, the male lead) being a letdown and whether it was the fault of the actor or if it was something that came from the director - and having seen it now, I'm inclined towards the latter opinion. Mostly that's because I didn't like him at all in the first half of the movie and while it's not really fair to say I had a huge turnaround in how I felt about him, I definitely quit thinking "what an asshole" quite so much in the second half and I wasn't completely unhappy with the fact that he appeared to have gotten the girl at the end. (Or at least he was about to get laid.)

mellicious: (Wonder Woman)
I mentioned lately that I was a big fan of the late-60s Wonder Woman comics. In retrospect, they may not have been as wonderful (so to speak) as I remember, but there was just nothing else like that out there at that time. (I wish I still had my old comics, but I think they were falling to shreds anyway.) What I remember is that there was some stuff on "Paradise Island" - I don't think it got named Themy-whatever until later on - and then there was the plotline similar to the 70s TV show where Diana goes to America and calls herself Diana Prince and maybe loses her superpowers for a while? I'm not sure. I probably need to go back and read up on this in Wikipedia or something. In a way it was sort of a defanged, powerless version of Wonder Woman. (I started to say "emasculated" but well, no.) Even the 70s version had some powers. In any case, I remember those comics fondly, whether they actually deserved it or not.

And I've wanted to see some sort of female superhero in her own movie for ages. I was never sure about Joss Whedon's efforts to get a WW movie made - if I'm remembering this right Gal Gadot's name first surfaced some years ago in connection with the Whedon version, and I didn't know who the hell this Gal person was and honestly, much as I've always loved Joss Whedon, I never quite trusted him about that whole project. Maybe I was just waiting for the day when they'd actually entrust it to a woman. (I do have to admit that I couldn't have told you Patty Jenkins' name until recently, and actually I couldn't even have told you the name of that movie of hers that won Charlize Theron her Oscar - Monster, in case you don't remember either - even though I saw it in the theater at the time and really liked it.)

Well, so, amazingly it got made, directed by a woman (screenplay still by a man, mind you) - and it's pretty good. It's not perfect, by any means, but it's good. It has the same third-act problems that pretty much every superhero movie has, that whole Big Action Climax thing. They're all the same. (Write your own joke there.) Back to Joss - he pulled the third act thing off best, in the Avengers, and he did it by making it funny. Wonder Woman lost its sense of humor at the end, although at least it had one in the first place. Also I have to say that if Joss really is the person responsible for first suggesting Gal for this, well, he was right about that part, She is awesome. The best part of the movie is the middle, the No Man's Land part and the Belgian-village section that comes afterwards, although really like I liked almost all of it til it bogged down at the end.

And did anybody else notice that once they left Paradise Island, it was pretty much just as gray and dreary as any other DC movie? That's not really intended as a slam, because at least it was well-made gray-and-dreary, but I just thought that was sort of amusing and I hadn't seen anybody mention it at all.

I say I liked the whole movie up til the end, but actually we went to a 3D showing (just because it was at the time that we wanted to go) and I thought for a while that I was going to feel uncomfortable for the whole movie about the 3D, because the whole island section had this really weird look to it, where it looked like it was almost in 3D but then it wasn't. I felt like my eyes were trying to focus and refocus on it as it went in and out of 3D - does that make sense? Really I don't like 3D at all, but what happens most of the time I notice the 3D for about 5 minutes, if that, and then forget about it completely, for most movies. But in this movie, the whole island section seemed like really-badly-made 3D and then once they got off the island I forgot about it like I usually do. There was something about the way they shot the island part that looked really weird and almost ruined it for me. (But obviously it didn't, really, or I wouldn't have forgotten about it until 5 paragraphs in.) (The fact is, I don't like 3D and really I should stop paying extra for a "feature" that I don't even like and then depending on my brain's ability to ignore it.)

Added: I've been watching various videos about this, like I always do these days, and I did see somebody else say that something was off about the Theymiscira (sp?) sequence. But I don't know whether they saw it in 3D or not. Since so many people have seen this and I haven't seen more complaining than that, I assume the 2D version is fine.

Added (even later): I saw somewhere in the last couple of days that it was actually Zack Snyder who first wanted to cast Gal Gadot, not Whedon. And Patty Jenkins said that she didn't think it was a good idea at first, that she would have cast an American actress, probably, although obviously she was won over eventually.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
(Sorry, hopefully this is not completely incoherent - certainly it's totally parenthesis-riddled - but I already posted it by accident so I'm going with it as is!!)

The beginning credits of GotG2 are the best thing in the movie. Maybe my favorite movie credits ever, actually. (I'd have to think about that some more, though.)

And apparently there's a reason for that. I read somewhere - one of the umpteen things about this I've read, and I tried to find it again and had no luck with that - that James Gunn has been working on that credits sequence since the original GotG movie came out - three years ago. Maybe he should have worked that hard on the rest of the movie.

Not that it's bad, it's not. But that opening credits really captures the - whatever it is, magic, I guess! - that made the first movie so extraordinary. And the rest of the movie is brilliant off & on but not consistently, and there was a long stretch when they're on Ego's planet (which I guess is just Ego, but that sounds weird) where I was flat-out bored for a while. Anyway, I did like it (and it's been a couple of weeks ago now so I'm a bit fuzzy on the details) and I definitely want to see it again. (Rob doesn't seem to be quite as enthusiastic but he never wants to rewatch stuff as much as I do, that's pretty normal for us.)


We actually have not been to see anything together since then. I couldn't work up any enthusiasm for Alien Covenant so Rob finally went by himself. (He came back laughing, he seemed to think it was pretty ludicrous.) Certainly no Baywatch for us. I was going to mention the Joss Whedon news bit that I just saw - not only is he apparently directing a Batgirl movie but he is doing the reshoots for Justice League since Snyder is not available. (I was watching that Kevin Smith YouTube thing, here. But if you want to know what happened with Zack Snyder, google it, because they didn't talk about it and and it's depressing as hell so I'm not going to either.)

I'm sure we will go to Wonder Woman next week, since (even though actually reviews are still embargoed) the general consensus seems to be positive. I adored Wonder Woman as a kid - I'm talking about 60s comics, not the 70s TV series, although I watched that too. (It comes on METV or someplace and I've seen a couple of those recently - for 70s TV it doesn't hold up all that badly. Although it's still pretty ludicrious.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Let's just start right out with this: no, Beauty and the Beast didn't really need to be remade. I adored the old cartoon version. What I read about that was that Disney is apparently making tons of money overseas on all these live-action remakes of the old cartoons, so these movies aren't really being made for American audiences at all. It's the best explanation I've heard, anyway.

I guess this one was the first of those remakes I've seen - what else is there so far, just Cinderella and Jungle Book? but there was nothing else we wanted to see last weekend, and I thought if we were going to see it, seeing it while it's still in the big theater seemed like a good idea. Rob hadn't been dying to see it but he liked the old one too so he didn't gripe.

(My mother and I also went to see the Broadway-bound musical way back in 1993, I guess that was. See here. I know I saw it but it didn't make a big impact, to tell you the truth. The most famous person in it, at least then, was Tom Bosley, and I remember being slightly impressed by that part. And it had pretty impressive staging but that's really about all I remember.)

And I have to say that I liked the new movie more than I expected to. I didn't love love love it like I did the older one, but it was still pretty good. The love story works, and a lot of the changes worked at least reasonably well, and... it was pretty good. I do have a tendency to compare it to all those retellings I've read in the interim, like both of Robin McKinley's versions, in one of which the Beast does stay a Beast at the end. But I don't really feel like that would have worked here. This Beast wanted to be a boy again.

I ended up watching a bunch of interviews and stuff on YouTube when I got home, and a bunch of interviews with Dan Stevens (I didn't watch Downton Abbey so I didn't particularly know who he was) and the upshot of that was, that I watched the beginning of Legion - he stars in that also, in case you're not getting the connection there - and I liked it. So then I made Rob watch part of the first episode also, and I'm not sure if he saw enough of it to get hooked but I definitely did. It's interestingly trippy and not at all like what I'd think "Uncanny X-men" would be like even though that's what it's based on. (I haven't read any of those comics but I guess I would expect something more like Doctor Strange, to the extent that I'd thought about it at all.)

(But we also are still watching Daredevil Season 2 and Iron Fist, etc, so we are getting more and more backed up with the TV stuff, and now baseball season has started so there's another thing to compete for our time. So I don't know when we'll get around to that.)

mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Last year I did a pretty good job of keeping up with the movies I'd seen here on, and this year I keep forgetting, so let's see if I can remember what we've seen in the last 2-1/2 months. Not a whole lot until the last few weeks, really. We did see Hidden Figures, which was of course awesome. I think we saw Rogue One again at some point after New Year's. Oh, and we went to see Lego Batman, which was (like the other Lego movie) surprisingly good. And then Get Out and Logan on successive weeks, both of which were really good in their - very differing - ways. I'm not going to try to go into that too much.

Rob had already seen Get Out once before he talked me into going. (He told me it was not a horror movie and so did other people; while I liked it, I came out of it and said "That was a freaking horror movie and I am disturbed." And I was, but I calmed down pretty fast.) Rob also saw Split twice, if I remember right. He really liked it too and he tried to get me to go and I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for that. He may have seen another horror movie or two but if so I've forgotten what.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
I'll get around to doing the last Music Advent post sometime this week, but one of the videos was "Careless Whisper" and that just makes me sad all over again about all these people dying this week. Then I looked at the phone earlier and there was a breaking news e-mail about Debbie Reynolds being rushed to the hospital, and so it was like, aaand here we go again.

It occurred to me that I didn't mention much about gifts in my last post. As I've said before, Rob and I are terribly pragmatic about gifts. We usually give each other some small surprises but we pretty much pick out the larger gifts so as not to waste money on stuff we don't want. (He gave me some nail things, for the surprise, and I bought him an Ohio State shirt that I had found on Amazon.) We got a couple of nice gifts from my cousins - a pair of those large stainless steel travel mugs (my cousin actually apologized because they were Sam's Club brand and not the name brand, and I said, "Honestly, I don't care at all about that, I like them") and a very pretty wreath that I can put out on my balcony. And my aunt gave us gift cards, as she nearly always does. I gave all the females who are old enough to wear makeup little gift bags full of sample stuff - everybody really seems to like those. I also gave some Star Wars stuff, which of course also goes over well. As for me, my big gifts were my planner - I like Erin Condren's and they are not exactly cheap - and I got a Kindle Fire when they were on sale on Cyber Monday. (I had a regular Kindle - in fact I' on my 3rd one, I think, but I'd never had the Fire.) (Rob wanted - and went and picked out for himself - a weight vest. To each his own.)

We went to see the Pixar movie Moana this afternoon - I knew it was supposed to be good, and it was - and on the way home we went down this street with a lot of big houses to look at the lights. In particular this one house has a gigantic oak tree in their yard that is completely covered in blue lights. Something about it is just mesmerizing, I love it. Also it always makes me happy when people still have the lights up the week after Christmas. There's something depressing about it when all of the decorations disappear on the 26th. (I do think it's fair game to take stuff down closer to New Year's because I know a lot of people have to go back to work right after the 1st. I don't insist they stay up until Epiphany or anything.)

We are watching one episode of Stranger Things a day. I figured out that this will get us finished on Sunday, just in time for Rob to go back to work on Monday. Some of the episodes have big cliffhangers, though, and sometimes it's really tempting to just keep going. But so far we haven't. (Episode... I mean "Chapter" 4 - they don't call them episodes - is called "The Body" so I think you've gotta say that's a direct Stephen King callout there. I also still think it's very reminiscent at times of early Spielberg - the thing where the lights kept going off and on reminded me a lot of Close Encounters - with a big heaping dose of X-Files and maybe even Twin Peaks. All of those are good things as far as I'm concerned.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (retro-style holiday lights)
Well, the junk first of all: If you went to movies a lot in the '80s, like we did, this is a stupendously easy quiz. (A 50-question quiz that 11% of people get 100% right can't be too difficult, after all.) (I did have to guess on a couple, but they don't even make guessing terribly hard. I am kinda the queen of the educated guess.)

We went to see Rogue One again (still love it) and ate lasagne and watched the first episode of Stranger Things. That was our Christmas Eve. Honestly, it beats most Christmas Eves cold, at least the ones of recent years. Tomorrow we have to do the family stuff. I've washed my hair and I need to do my nails and I'm sure I'll think of ten other highly-important things I have to do before bedtime. I can't much make myself care, though.

Stranger Things was pretty awesome, although more of you probably know much more about it than I do. (Does that sentence make any sense at all? I'm not sure, but I'm leaving it like that anyway.) We finished Jessica Jones yesterday (also awesome) and I told Rob that we could watch Stranger Things next if he wanted before we go on to Luke Cage. I don't know that Rob knew anything at all about it, but *I* knew that he would love Stranger Things, it's totally right up his alley. (Speaking of '80s.) It's very, um, early Steven Spielberg crossed with Stand By Me. Or something like that.

Col and I played Marvel Heroes for a while. He is playing Luke Cage and is surprised that he likes it. I liked Luke too (not to mention that he's stupendously hot in Jessica Jones, but I hadn't seen that yet when I was playing him) so I'm not too surprised. Oh, having seen Jessica Jones TV now, I realized suddenly what she's wearing in the game, the other day - it's the "Jewel" superhero outfit that Trish is seen in the series trying to get her to wear. She's been standing talking to Ben Urich in Avengers Tower since I've been playing, and I always wondered what the hell that was she was wearing. (I believe you can also play Jessica as a team-up but I haven't tried it; I'm pretty sure she's wearing something else in that incarnation. And Ben Urich in this game is a younger-looking white guy, in contrast to the older black guy who's in the first season of Daredevil. Reconciling all this now that I've watched half - exactly half - of the existing Marvel Netflix stuff is kind of weird.)

Also (still on the Marvel Heroes track) I spent some money on costumes last week and I now have the girl version of Thor and a couple of Christmas costumes (Daredevil and Squirrel Girl). I'm probably going to feel like I wasted my money on Christmas costumes later but I really like the female Thor. There are actually two female Thors; the other one is Jane Foster (who I think becomes Thor for a while in the comics?) but the one I'm using is the Earth X version, which I really know nothing at all about. She says something about Loki having tricked her into the new body (but she also says she kind of likes it.) Either I read somewhere or Col told me (I have no idea which) that this version, or maybe both versions, won't let anybody call her Lady Thor or anything like that; she's just Thor, still. That's about all I know about that, although I'm interested that they bothered to do two different female voices for Thor. He has a buttload of costumes, too (although not as many as Iron Man) - some of the male ones might have "enhanced" (aka different, rerecorded) voices, too, for all I know. I haven't paid much attention. But I tried playing regular Thor with the default costume and I stalled out about level 30-something. So I was hoping that the different take on Thor would propel me along, and it has - well, I'm still not all that far along in story progression but she hit level 60 tonight, so that's definitely an improvement. I'm not sure why it makes that much difference, exactly, but apparently it does.

OK, that's enough for tonight. I need to go do my nails. Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, or other holiday/nonholiday of your choice. Or Christmas Eve Gift, as my grandma used to say. (Family phrase of unknown origin; I think I end up explaining that one pretty much every year.)
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
Actually, I've been watching stuff on YouTube about Rogue One off and on all night, but the last thing I watched was about The Force Awakens, and it's awfully good.
https://youtu.be/nVZGUV77aRg
It's not a series I was aware of before, I may be watching the Fury Road one next.

I started this one last night and finished it tonight (and Rob watched a good bit of it with me, too) but I still can't believe I sat through the whole thing: an HOUR AND A HALF of Kevin Smith and some guy I've never seen before rhapsodizing about Rogue One (and in case you're not otherwise paying attention, this is WAY SPOILERIFIC).
https://youtu.be/uLljgEUPmRQ
(Obviously I've never seen that series before, either, or I would already know who this other dude is.)

I watched some other stuff: nail polish, more nail polish, music videos (which I won't link to til I get to the next Music Advent post, probably tomorrow), somebody obsessively breaking down the GotG vol.2 trailer, more Rogue One stuff. Way too much YouTube, clearly. Oh well, I'll get over it in a few days, I imagine.


Oh, and I forgot to say that we watched two more episodes of Jessica Jones, before all of this. (Hey, it wasn't on YouTube, at least!) I think we have three or four more hours of that left, I've lost track.
mellicious: "I'm bored. Episode 1 bored." (Buffy quote - bored)
(I'm starting here pretty spoiler free, if I get spoilery I'll put it under a jump.)

I'm sorry, I can't talk about anything else, because we saw Rogue One a few hours ago and it was pretty mindblowing. I'm not saying it's the best movie I've ever seen or anything, but damn, it's pretty good. I saw somebody trying to rank the Star Wars movies in order of quality, and while it's really way too too early to judge... well, let's put it this way. I, II, and III are at the bottom, certainly. I haven't seen them in years so ranking those is iffy. Mostly I just try to ignore them. After that you get to VI. Then IV and V are the top, and I waffle around about which is better, although basically it's just love of the original that makes me do that. I think Empire is pretty unequivocally the best, as a movie. And then the two latest installments are somewhere in between VI and IV. Much better than VI. In case Roman numerals are too confusing, let me do a seat-of-the-pants list.

This is starting with WORST, and the numbers are worst to best, not the chronological ones.
8. Attack of the Clones
7. The Phantom Menace
6. Revenge of the Sith
5. Return of the Jedi
4. The Force Awakens
3. Rogue One
2. A New Hope
1. The Empire Strikes Back

I don't know why I feel compelled to do this. I don't like that either; it makes more sense in my mind to do it in tiers: prequels, then (lesser but still better) Return of the Jedi, then (bigger jump in quality) The Force Awakens, then Rogue One almost approaching the quality of the first tier, which is A New Hope and Empire. But I don't know, I may feel differently about where Rogue One fits in later. We are already making plans to go see it again - I said, "Next week" and then I thought and said, "Oh, no, we can't, it's Christmas" because we do have plans... so we'll probably go again some time during the holiday week, after Christmas. Luckily Rob liked it a lot too.

Hmm, this may be where I should put the jump. I wouldn't recommend reading further if you haven't seen it.


Rob said it was better than The Force Awakens (which I reluctantly agree with, but bear in mind that I liked that movie a lot as well). I think he liked it more because Rogue One is really a war movie. I compared it at some point to The Dirty Dozen, beforehand, and, well, I was more right than I knew. It has a lot in common with that movie. (Movie and book, both, actually - I think I may have mentioned at some point in the past that I was allowed to read that book when I was twelve. I don't know what my mother was thinking, except that she was (a) used to my father's reading habits and (b) didn't realize how adult of a book it was.) It had sex, it had violence, and while I don't remember how many of the dozen survived, it wasn't many. I think it was maybe even less in the book than in the movie. But with that in mind, I was almost prepared for the death count of Rogue One. I thought they'd let a token few get out, though.

Somehow I didn't find that quite as wrenching as I might have. I did keep expecting some ship to swoop down, in that last scene with Jyn and Cassian, and magically ferry them out (again), because that's how most movies work. But I wasn't in tears, even, and I'm a person who cries pretty easily, so that's saying something. It just seemed... realistic.

I expected Tarkin to show up, partly because he was in that book that I was talking about yesterday. Half of the stuff I thought was tedious in that book was Krennic and Tarkin vying for the emperor's favor. (Although it was clear that Krennic had to ultimately lose, because you don't see him on the Death Star in A New Hope, after all.) They did a good job with Tarkin; bringing a dead man back to life isn't an easy thing. I've heard people say it took them out of the movie but I thought it seemed entirely appropriate. I had more problems with the surprise Leia appearance at the end - it seemed like not as much care was taken with that brief shot, maybe. I don't know. I was excited to see the way it all fit right in with the beginning of the "next" movie, certainly.


We saw little boys on the way out arguing vociferously over plot points. I think the next generation of fans is all taken care of. I was thinking that Lucasfilm and then Disney did a genius thing with the animated shows - even some not-so-young kids were raised on Clone Wars, and more recently on Rebels. That's why this franchise (it might be more approprate to call it an empire) isn't in much danger of generational dying-out as seems to be happening with the Star Trek franchise these days.
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (yoda)
It's Christmas, as far as I'm concerned. We're even having Chinese food afterwards.

(We work til 9:30 on Friday so that left a tight window to go to any movie then. We just got the tickets for 7:00 Saturday instead.)

I don't think I mentioned that I actually read the Rogue One "prequel" book that came out a month or so ago. It's called Catalyst. It's not a great book but it was pretty interesting. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody but rabid Star Wars fans, really. It's the backstory of Jyn's childhood and how her father - who wasn't at all interested in weapons design - got roped into the Death Star project. It has a lot of back and forth between Galen, her father, and Orson Krennic, who's trying to get a weapon built for the Death Star. Kind of the most interesting part was a lot of detail thrown in here and there about the building of the Death Star. It took them years and years to build it (which is logical but I've never heard anybody say so before) - they started out with a flat circle and built from there, and the early part all had to be done by robots since there was no air. That was honestly the part I liked the best, not all the bickering and politics between Galen and Lyra (Jyn's mother) and Krennic and Tarkin. I'll be interested to see how much of that backstory made it into the movie.


Added after seeing the movie: having read the book did help me understand why Krennic pretty clearly went into the confrontation at the beginning of the movie planning to shoot Lyra unless she shut up and came quietly. He blamed her for - well, basically he was trying to pull the wool over Galen's eyes about what he (Krennic) was trying to do with Galen's research, and she kept making Galen wake up and see. And she masterminded the getaway scheme that resulted in them escaping the Empire (temporarily) and taking up farming.


I went and looked and Rogue One made $29 million on Thursday night previews, which is not surprising, really.

I watched "The Force Awakens" just now, since I am so firmly in Star Wars mode. Oh, and also I put on my Star Wars nail polish - which I actually forgot about last year. It's called These Are Not The Droids You're Looking For. I was already wearing dark-blue polish so it goes really well over that.

Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy quote - death star)
Some movie and movie-related(-ish) stuff, starting with the Rogue One tickets. I'm excited about this and apparently so is Rob - at least, when the trailer came on for it the other day, he looked over at me and said, "Next week?" "Next week, yeah," I said. I didn't buy the tickets a month ahead like I did with The Force Awakens, but we've got them now and I'm excited. This is Christmas, to me. They did de-embargo the reviews today, apparently, because it went from "no reviews" last night on Rotten Tomatoes to 83% today, so yay. If it'd been 30% like Suicide Squad I would probably have gone anyway, but I'm glad it's not.

I know I've talked about this several times, but the movie theater we go to is a bit atypical (or maybe it just seems that way to me). It's Premiere Cinemas, a small chain. They own theaters in Texas and a few other places around the South. They started in this area, I think, because they used to just have a handful of theaters, including the one in my hometown, which I notice is not listed any more (so that probably means they sold it somewhere along the line). They've built some theaters from scratch in places that were "underserved" for movies (including Galveston, which for quite a few years didn't have a movie theater at all) and in our general area they also have the "dollar theater," which is on the freeway right next to the big Cinemark. We go to the dollar one a good bit (I forget, I think the tickets are actually about $2 except on certain weekdays that are cheaper) but mostly for first-run movies, we go to the one that's in the next town over from us. I started to say it's a small-town theater, but that's actually not true - in fact it's in one of those fast-growing suburbs that's coming up on 100,000 residents or so. Still, it's like a small-town theater: it's in a strip center, it's hardly ever terribly crowded like the Cinemark is, and it's cheaper. Even for things like The Force Awakens, we did have to stand and wait for a few minutes for that one, but nothing like the chaos I've experienced at other theaters. So I'm expecting to get into Rogue One without much trouble, too. It's about equidistant for us to go to the Cinemark or to go in the opposite direction to the Premiere, but the only time we go to the Cinemark these days is if we want to see something that's not showing at Premiere. (The Cinemark has 18 screens to this particular Premiere location's six.)

I've been playing Squirrel Girl in Marvel Heroes and I was amused to see a Squirrel Girl reference in today's Questionable Content. I wasn't sure I would like playing SG but I do. For one thing, there are a few heroes that I can't play because the things they say (each character has a limited number of these and so you end up hearing them a lot) annoy me so much I can't stand it. (The #1 example there is Invisible Woman, who's basically a nagging mother, in a really obnoxious way.) But Squirrel Girl's comments still just seem funny to me, where IW's are clearly intended to be funny but are actually funny maybe once, and then not at all after that. Squirrel Girl is also massively overpowered, as befits somebody who's supposed to have beaten both Doctor Doom and Thanos, and that also makes her pretty fun. Plus, y'know, massed squirrel attacks are just sort of inherently funny, and I'm surprised at how much I continue to think so even after a couple of weeks of it.

And then I haven't mentioned that we went to see Dr Strange again last weekend. It was my third time and Rob's second - I think that he liked it better the second time because he knew what to expect. As I think I discussed previously - yup - Marvel Heroes taught me plenty of background on the doctor - and the Wand of Watoomb and the Mindless Ones and other assorted Strange trivia - so that was never an issue for me. I still enjoyed the heck out of it, myself. (Rob is kind of hard to read, even for me, sometimes, have you figured that out?)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Potter - sit down)
I did a quiz! Online quizzes seem like an artifact of the old Livejournal days, to me. This one is about "secondary" Harry Potter characters - apparently everybody other than Harry, Ron, Herminone, Voldemort and Dumbledore are secondary, in somebody-or-other's opinion (even Snape!) - but anyway, this thing has something like 84 questions and I got 94%. I couldn't remember which one was Crabbe and which one was Goyle, and the rest of them I missed were pretty much the really minor characters, the ones that stayed in the background, mostly some of the most minor adults. (I've read the books more times than I've seen the movies, so it's putting the faces with the names that I tripped up on. The spelling of the names is not a problem for me.)

Anyway, that reminded me that I meant to come back and talk about Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them, because I don't think I said anything about it other than that we'd been twice and that (obviously) we liked it. I'll try not to be spoilery, because the main thing I wanted to say was that if you haven't seen it you really ought to. I read somewhere that while its first weekend wasn't spectacular, it's holding on really well and it's going to end up making more money than they first thought - it has "good legs" as they say. And that tells you that the word of mouth is good. I guess the #1 thing that I liked about it were the CGI animals, because they are gorgeous, but the rest of it is awfully good too. I have never been a huge fan of Eddie Redmayne's, but he is really good in this as well, as is, well, everybody else. Other than Redmayne and Colin Farrell and the (cough) surprise guest (which I won't spoil) at the end - and, well, Jon Voight, but that's also practically a cameo - mostly this is a cast of relative unknowns. They're people who have been around, yes, but aren't really super-famous. -- Anyway, everything else I can think of to say seems to veer into spoiler territory, and to avoid that, I better just stop here.

Regarding the title of this entry, the "Wizarding World" thing seems to be what they're pushing as an overall name for the two series, since "Harry Potter" doesn't exactly work any more. (Before this I had only heard it as the name of that theme-park thing in Orlando.)


Holidailies - blue
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (HP - Phoenix)
I was going to write something about "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them" - which we saw twice, once the weekend before Thanksgiving and again on Thanksgiving Day - but I can't figure out what to say past "I liked it a lot and so did Rob." This may have more to do with my state of body/mind right now - I feel kinda like crap, honestly - than with anything having to do with the movie. Obviously I'm going to have to come back to that topic later.

Man, I hope I'm not getting sick.

Well, here, I'll throw you a couple of random holiday-related pictures. I found a paper-chain kit at Target last week, in the $1 section, so I bought three of them. They came color-themed so I bought one of each in red, green, and gold, and I alternated them when I put them together. It's not something it ever occurred to me that I needed a kit for before, but now that I have paper-chains draped all across the living room, I think they're pretty brilliant. It was just pre-cut strips of paper and some stickers to hold them together with.
paperchainkit.jpg
It doesn't say how long of a chain you're meant to get, but with three kits' worth, it wraps most of the way around two sides of the living room. I estimated I have something like 18 feet of chain, altogether. Here's part of it:
paperchains.jpg
I just taped it up and so far it's holding fine. I think it's kind of awesome, really.

(I'm all into creative use of tape, lately. Late one night I used most of a roll of flashy purple mylar tape decorating the edge of my computer monitor, and you can also part of see the results of that in this picture.)

Thus far the only outside decoration I've put up is my big silver wreath on the balcony door. I'm sure I'll get around to doing some more of that later.

Holidailies - blue
Holidailies
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (fangirl squee)
omg, they gave LJ entries a like button? That's just wrong.

Rob was out of town two weeks ago when Doctor Strange started. I hadn't been to a movie by myself in ages but I bestirred myself for this one. As I've mentioned (probably several times), I've been playing Marvel Heroes for... coming up on six months now, I think, so I'm all into that stuff. I'm not a fanatical Benedict Cumberbatch fan but I do like him, and he's definitely a good actor. And I adore Chiwetel Ejiofor (although I had to look up how to spell his name but not how to spell "Cumberbatch" - go figure). I was a bit uneasy about the whitewashing issues but I do like Tilda Swinton a lot, too, and I do pretty much buy the argument that this movie was gonna have some issues related to race no matter how they cast it, just due to the way it was written 50 years or so ago.

So I went, and I pretty much loved it. (Surprise!) Not unreservedly, because when do I ever love anything completely without reservations? I'm pretty good at seeing at least some of the flaws in most things, no matter how much I love them. This movie is pretty much the same old Marvel stuff, as far as the plot is concerned, and those amazing cityscapes certainly do owe a lot to Inception, and, well, I'm sure I could think of more if I worked at it, but you get the idea. It has flaws, plenty of them. But still, it's a good movie. And especially since I had been playing that damn game and I knew a lot of the lingo in advance, the magic stuff was really fascinating. And the effects were gorgeous, even the Inception ones. Especially the Inception ones, really.

It always floors me when people walk out of a Marvel movie before the credits. Actually about 90% of them stayed until the Thor bit, after the main credits (is that what you call them? the ones that would be at the beginning except they're at the end) but after that about 90% of the people who were still there, got up. I had already checked on my phone and I knew there was more at the very end, but it's always a very small group that stays. Of course I was in Pearland, and Pearland is weird, but still. I don't know if they don't know or don't care or just have to get the kids to the restroom, but most everybody left.

Well, anyway, so then during the next week Rob came back. Rob and one of his brothers talked about going to see the movie in Ohio, but Rob had gotten up at something godawful like 3:30am or maybe it was earlier - I've already forgotten - and spent most of the day travelling, and he said he just didn't have the energy to stay up any longer by that time, and you can't blame him for that. And I wasn't really unhappy about that because I really wanted to go again anyway, and since Rob hadn't seen it, that gave me an excuse, and so last weekend we went again. And I really enjoyed it, in a different way from the first time. To tell you the truth I'm not sure how much Rob loved it. He didn't hate it but he didn't have much to say about it - probably partly because I was talking too much and he's too polite to talk over me while I told him about relics and stuff.

I always watch different things the second time I see a movie, but they vary. Sometimes I get really involved in the music on repeat viewings, but I didn't really get as far as paying much attention to that here. I remember that I was watching the way they had Strange's hair turn gray at the temples over the course of the movie. And I was paying extra attention to the names of the relics and the spells and all that stuff. Anyway, it was definitely still fun. I wonder if I can talk Rob into going again in a few weeks?

The theater was still pretty full on the second week, but still, 90% or so of the audience was gone after the Thor sequence in the credits. People are just weird.


I think we're going to see Fantastic Beasts thingamajig tomorrow. Rob always liked the Harry Potter movies so I didn't have to talk him into that. I'm kind of excited for that one, too, really.


Oh, and Holidailies registration is open, yay. (No worrying about whether it's happening this year, they'd already updated the site by the time I got around to checking. So expect a lot of the usual babble in December.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (Frank - zombie)
Let's get the controversial part over with - yes, we did go see Suicide Squad for a second time, and dammit, we enjoyed it too. I don't know why I like this movie that everybody else (particularly the critics) hates, but I do. Question: Do you think some of the hate for this movie has to do with (a) people's feelings about Leto and/or (b) the size of the Joker's role? I feel like that Joker-related feelings of some sort must seriously factor into it. People don't like Leto or don't think he should've been the Joker, or else they wanted to see more Joker and are upset that his role was so small. I actually had read a bunch of stuff about this movie along about the time that first trailer came out, and one of the subjects discussed there was how likely it was that the Joker's role was not as big as people seemed to think. So I was sort of prepared for his role to possibly be smaller, and also - I hate to say it but it's true - I'm not a Joker fan to the degree that a lot of people seem to be. So I really didn't mind a bit that he was a minor-ish character.

Anyway.

Re Kubo: it's awesome. Go see it immediately while it's still to be found in the theaters.

(I'm sure I would have more to say about this subject but it's very late and I'm exhausted and maybe some other time.)
mellicious: Retro Houston Astros logo (Astros - retro)
I forgot I hadn't talked about Suicide Squad. I had started writing a longer entry, but the paragraph below is as far as I got and it'll do for a quick review.

I went into Suicide Squad with really low expectations. The reviews are bad; they talk about a noisy, plotless, messy, violent movie. But Rob wanted to see it anyway, and so did I, really. I was interested in it and I was curious to see if it was really as bad as they said it was. And honestly, for me, it was not that bad. It's certainly not a great movie, but it's not the absolutely terrible one that the reviews led me to expect. Your mileage may vary of course. It was messy, violent and noisy, yes, but it did have a plot. It was an extremely simple plot but it was there. (Note that Rob liked the movie pretty well, overall, but he thought the beginning was boring - they go through the main baddies character-by-character. I was not bored by that part, for whatever reason. Added: I read somewhere that the structure of the beginning was a last-minute change done after early screenings.)

(Note: if you haven't seen Civil War and you still intend to, there are some fairly vague spoilers below. You have been warned.)

So that was a week ago. This weekend, Captain America: Civil War finally showed up at the cheap theater (it's coming out on dvd in september, I read) so we went to see that again. We had seen it back when it first came out in early May, and I knew I didn't remember the plot terribly well. I was especially aware of that because I've been playing Marvel Heroes all summer (I started at the end of May) and it reminded me of the things I didn't remember very well all the time. It may be a much better movie overall than Suicide Squad, but it's still a 21st-century comic-book action movie, and it has things in common with it - it's noisy and violent, too, if not quite so messy and certainly not plotless. If anything it had a little too much plot, which is why I was having so much trouble remembering it all. And its heroes may not be anti-heroes, exactly, but they are mostly very fallible, just the same - Tony, the former arms magnate, set against Bucky, who did many, many bad things over the years but was never the one in control of what he was doing - and between them is Cap, who's normally the infallible one. (To me the really devastating part of Civil War is Bucky saying, "I remember everything.")

MCU canon may be that Bucky remembers everything, but the Marvel Heroes game can pick and choose between years and years of comic-book canon and various retcons, and Bucky (who's officially called Winter Soldier in the game) says specifically that he doesn't remember everything, there. But he apparently has Hydra out of his head and is operating on his own terms. I've played a lot but not all of the Avengers - I have both Cap and Iron Man, but they aren't really that much fun to play. (Cap is a great team-up for all the ranged characters, though, so I use him a lot for that.) The Avenger I've played the most is Hawkeye, actually - not because I love Jeremy Renner so much but just because an unlock dropped for him early on and I found I liked playing him. I've played WS a lot and also Scarlet Witch, and lately I've been playing Black Widow, too. (The various heroes - there are 58 of them currently, something like that - have little remarks they say when certain other heroes walk by. Bucky said something to Natasha that sounded like they'd once been an item, and sure enough, I looked it up and yes, they were.)

There's just so much canon - what, 75 years or so of it now? I have to look pretty much everything up that's not in the movies, too, because I never read the comic books. I did read comic books some when I was a kid (I was big on Wonder Woman) but I didn't keep up with it once I was a teenager. My game-playing partner Columbine is constantly surprised about how little I know. Wonder Woman is DC, of course, so I never read Marvel superhero comics AT ALL. I didn't know that Bucky was originally a teenage sidekick (I just learned that one from Wikipedia last night, in fact) or that Magik was Colossus' sister (and I only knew who Colossus was because of Deadpool) and... well, I could go on but you get the idea. I really know virtually nothing that isn't in the movies. So this has been a crash-course in the Marvel (Comics) Universe for me - I've been piling up all these little factoids. The first time I saw Civil War, I didn't know that the prison out in the ocean was called The Raft or that Black Panther's guards are called Doras, and now I can pull all these bits and pieces of info out of my head. But there's still a ton I don't know and I'm certainly not going to go back and read 75 years of Marvel comics. You could look at it that I'm a middle-aged lady and nobody really expects middle-aged ladies to know anything about comic books, but on the other hand I'm not the usual middle-aged lady, either. It bothers me more than it really should, this massive ignorance. I guess I'm used to having a lot more geek cred than I have here.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (ST - slash)
I actually have seen three movies that I haven't talked about, but one was Deadpool (at the dollar theater) for the second time. It holds up really well - I still thought it was hilarious.

Then we saw Finding Dory (also at the Dollar Theater) - it was really good and funny and I'm glad we went to see it. Maybe not quite as good as the first movie but surprisingly close. Funny thing: I had just put that RunPee app on my phone and I sat there during the credits and checked to see if we actually needed to stay til the end (Me: "It's not a Marvel movie, so we don't need to stay" - but it turned out we did). There is a very funny bit at the very end that's a callback to Finding Nemo. It's brief, but it was worth sitting there to see. And obviously RunPee is worth it just for that feature.

Star Trek Beyond was really good, too. I have enjoyed all the Star Trek movies ever, quite honestly, even a couple that I was rolling my eyes at even at the time (Star Trek V, I'm looking at you) but really most of them are at least "not bad." (Rob and I actually had a conversation the other day about how the first Star Trek movie isn't really as bad as its reputation, and I haven't seen it in a long time, so I can't be sure what I'd think now, but I know that then we really loved it. I stood in line with friends to see it and we collectively thought it was pretty awesome back in 1979.) So what it comes down to is, I'm a big fan and furthermore I'm old enough to remember it from the first time through, even though I was six when it started and didn't understand too much. I thought it was awesome back then too. I think Star Trek is in danger of becoming something only us "old" people care that much about - which I guess is why they gave it to the guy from the Furious movies to direct. I'm not sure it helped with the age range of the audience, but he did fine. I had seen it described as being like a two-hour Original Series episode, and I think that's a reasonable way to describe it. It's not great art but it's enjoyable.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy quote (Giles) - earth is doomed)
I said I wasn't going to see it, and then we caved and went to see it at the cheap movie. This was actually several weeks ago, so I've already forgotten a lot of detail, but... it was better than I expected, I have to admit. It was... quirkier... than I expected. It was odd, in a sort of interesting way. I don't have a better way to explain it than that, especially not weeks out. Henry Cavill is pretty but seemingly not a terribly good actor. Affleck is broody, as expected. Wonder Woman was really the best part. But honestly, I wasn't bored until the big finish, which went on way too long, but still, for a movie as long as it is, that's an unexpected plus.

(I shoulda written this ages ago, when I remembered the details better. I've been busy playing Marvel Heroes and Rift, though.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (buffy quote - action figures)
So, non-spoilery: it's really, really good. If you're at all interested in things Marvel you should definitely go see it.

Note that once again I have gone a whole month without seeing a movie - there was just nothing interesting out there. (I skipped Batman v. Superman - did I already say this? - because it sounded dull & depressing and I'm not much of a Superman fan anyway. I might see it eventually.)

Possible spoilers under the jump, though.
Read more... )
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (baseball - Kissimmee)
The Star Wars movie (I never think to call it "The Force Awakens" unless I've had time to consider the words before they come out of my mouth) is showing at the two-dollar theater near us, and I'd been dropping hints that I'd like to see it again, so we went this afternoon. Rob didn't seem to be as gung-ho to see it again as I was, but I think he enjoyed it anyway. We hadn't seen it since sometime during the Christmas holidays, so three months ago, or very near it. I had forgotten a lot of it, as far as the details and how the set-pieces fit together and such - and I think I caught a number of details that escaped me earlier, too. I enjoyed it a lot, but then I knew I would.

There just haven't been a whole lot of movies we were dying to see. I would have been more interested in "Batman vs Superman" if the reviews were better, but the trailers looked grim and gray, and going from the reviews that's about what you got. I just couldn't work up any enthusiasm for it. (Apparently that didn't stop it from making a ton of money just the same.)

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