Friday, February 28, 2014

Frozen [2013]

So, my sister and I went to see Frozen, just us two! It was fun, the theater was almost empty because the showing was on a Thursday afternoon at 4 pm. We almost were the only ones in the auditorium, but some other people came in before the movie started. XD Anyway, both of us wanted to review it, so we decided to bunch it up on one post. My sister shall go first.

The animation was so pretty! Anna could have been a little less cross eyed at times, besides that it was beautiful! One of the first songs called Do you want to build a snowman, was probably one of the saddest parts of the movie. Hans is a HUGE jerk! you will see why later. Elsa's song was so pretty! I can understand why everyone was gushing about it! Now onto Olaf the snowman, he was a pretty decent character even though his little song about summer was SO ironic! was I the only one who thought that the way he lifts up his head was weird? the reason everything was frozen was because Elsa's powers went crazy and she ran away. When Anna finally finds Elsa, Elsa kicks her out of the castle leaving some damage. A giant snowman that Elsa sent after them throws them and then for some reason Anna thought that it was a good idea to throw a snowball at a giant snowman! I am not even going to talk about the trolls. And now, you will finally get to find out why Hans is such a jerk. HE PRETENDED TO LOVE ANNA! I'm serious, he dumped her as soon as she was in danger and lied telling everyone that she was dead! at the end, Anna risks her life to save Elsa from getting chopped by Hans! Elsa figures out how to control her powers and reverse winter! one of the funniest characters who I forgot to mention is Kristoff! He is  really funny the way he talks to his reindeer. He was the one who Anna actually fell in love with!

 The verdict
A  it was pretty good, not as good as Tangled, but it is really good!

Thank you Libby, I see you were quite liberal in your use of exclamation points. ;) Now [cracks knuckles] my turn.

 I'd heard a lot of conflicting things about Frozen, some of it was extremely positive, and some of it was... not so good. Despite all that, I tried to go in with as clean a slate as possible.
The animation is absolutely gorgeous, I mean, wow. They really worked hard on that. As much as I love hand-drawn and stop-motion, I have to admit that there's no way you could make the snow effects so vivid in those. It was visually spectacular. Aside from being a feast for the eyes, the music was also really good. The instrumental music is good, and has a very Nordic flavor, so that is cool. As for the sung songs, they're quite awesome. The only one I don't really like that much is Fixer-Upper, sung by Kristoff's Troll friends. I mean, it's pretty good but it's just not as memorable as the others. Let It Go is obviously the show stopper, it's got terrific vocals and orchestration. The one that got stuck in my head was Do You Want to Build a Snowman, which is an adorable song, but at the same time is really heartbreaking. There's also a really ironic, disturbing song sung by the snowman about how great Summer is. The peak of dark irony is reached when a line ends with Cuddle, and the next line is "In summer, I'll be a... Happy Snowman!" I'm pretty sure Libby and I weren't the only ones who thought he was going to say puddle. [shudder]
Oh yeah, and while we're on the topic of the snowman... I thought he would be really, really, really annoying, but he was merely annoying. Don't get me wrong now, he certainly did have his moments, and he was necessary to the plot, but I um... didn't like him as much as my sister did.
The other characters on the other hand, were pretty good. Their development (especially the relationships) left a little to be wanted, but for the most part they were good. Elsa was the more complicated of the main duo (her and Anna). She was conflicted, had issues with guilt and anxiety, and was responsible for most of the plot (it was an accident, though). What's rather interesting is that while her running away did have some good consequences (Elsa learned to accept her powers rather than be afraid of them), her 'liberation' also came with a lot of bad consequences. For starters, there's the eternal winter that she inadvertently sets off. Then she accidentally hurts her sister- again. Not to mention the fact that she's traded one prison for another. I don't know if this was intentional, but the way everything played out it sort of felt like one of the films messages was that not everything that makes you immediately happy is going to keep you happy, or be what's best. Did I phrase that in a way that makes sense?
Anna is also pretty interesting, even though she has the typical Disney princess traits. Perky, fun-loving, bright eyed and independent. However, there are a few things that keep her from being what's been seen before. Anna has grown up literally shut out of her sister's life. She lost her parents three years before the main part of the story happened, too. So naturally, she's a little desperate for love of any kind and is willing and ready to marry the first guy that pays attention to her. I don't think there is another princess who's vulnerable like that. Of course, she grows a little bit over the story, and gains better judgment. Anna also likes to stuff chocolate into her face. I just found that funny.
I haven't really talked about the supporting characters, but they're also pretty good. Kristoff, Anna's other love interest is funny, and I like the way him and Anna grow closer as things go on. I liked how he talked for his reindeer, Sven, by the way. That was funny.
Then there's Hans. There's practically nobody who doesn't know the big twist regarding Hans, but just in case you don't, skip this paragraph. You have been warned.
It's fine with me if the pretty boy turns out to be evil. But leave some hints for cryin' out loud! When you go back and think about it, yeah, he was a little creepy and well, hasty when it came to Anna and their marriage. But aside from that, you'd practically have to use your imagination to find any hints. Watch a movie with a really well set up plot twist, like The Sixth Sense and compare. A badly handled twist undermines previous character development, whereas a well handled one will support and make previous shows of character make sense. Hans being evil totally came out of left field, and it would have been a more satisfying twist if there had been better set up.
And at the risk of being labeled a sourpuss, I feel like the Anna-Elsa relationship didn't really develop at all. The movie was less about their relationship than it was about how they got back together. It doesn't bug me too much, but there was something that felt 'off' about the movie, and I think that was it.
A final word before the verdict, even though they were tragically misguided, Anna and Elsa's parents are portrayed as genuinely caring for their daughters and doing what they thought was best for them. Even if their mistakes did kind of set up the entire plot. But so long as we're dishing out blame, why weren't the trolls more specific in their advice regarding Elsa's powers anyway? But I'm going off on a tangent.

The Verdict: B+ (Might change it to an A- later, objections?)
Frozen has beautiful animation and music, and has a solid plot. Special mention goes to the cinematography (especially in Let It Go!) and costume design. Oh, so pretty... The relationships left a little to desire though, seeing as they didn't really develop and were just suddenly 'there' at the end. But I liked it more than I expected to, and I'm always going to be a little biased in it's favor because my sister and I had such a great time watching it!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

On the Self-Consciousness of Teenagers

Whoa, when did this review site start posting drawings? ;D
'hem, I drew this way back in the beginning of this month, the day we went to see The Lego Movie. Which I immensely enjoyed. But despite the fact that I liked it so much, I did feel a little self-conscious walking into the theater.
Hence, this was created.
I find this comic's lack of color rather irritating. I considered putting movie posters, or (since our theater has them) colorful pillars, but they would have cluttered the  dialogue and distracted attention from the characters. Rrg. Also, my comic-alter-ego looks an awful lot like Yoko Ono.
Anyhoo, later amigos!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Little Mermaid [1989]

Hi! This is Libby [My sister. She's trying her hand at reviewing.] doing a guest post of The Little Mermaid! The first thing I have to say about it is that the animation is beautiful! at first I thought that all those mermaids at the beginning were Ariel's lackeys but they turned out to be her sisters. Ariel is a good character don't get me wrong, but she is very abusive towards flounder! "You can stay here and watch for sharks you guppy!" Tell me that isn't abusive! On to our prince Erik! I might as well tell you now, prince Erik is not as cool as prince Philip or Flynn rider, but on the positive side, he would risk his life for his dog or for instance he said this about Scuttle the bird when he tried to sing a song "someone should put that bird out of its misery!" Of course he was just being playful there. some might think king triton was a jerk for thinking of all humans as ruthless jerks, but what if that was just all that he had seen of them, what if he saw a bunch of pirates once, before you ask I did not write any fan fic, I'm just making sure nobody dumps on him. And now back to Ariel, her solo (the one in her grotto) was pretty impressive! Now you will see angry me, unlike the Gaston or Mother knows best ,Poor unfortunate souls is probably the worst song in The Little Mermaid, either that or the chef  song. I will try to make this part quick, but they make a HUGE point of Ariel being sixteen! so why does Triton let her marry the dude that he has never met at the age of sixteen! overall I like triton and it is a good movie.

The verdict,
B+ the reason it did not get an A is because of Poor unfortunate souls, the chef song and that prince Erik dumped Ariel right after kiss the girl just because she doesn't have that voice. Though it is a good movie, just not my favorite.  

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Tale of Despereaux [2008]

Mwahaha, another movie review! It's like I'm a mad scientist, my little siblings are Igor(s?), and Netflix is my weird, Jacob's Ladder-Lighting Thing! [Quick side note here- I used to play bass for Jacob's Ladder Lightning Thing. We even opened for Badfinger at Madison Square, before our drummer got caught puffing. sigh.]
Erm yeah. I'll try to keep a lid on the random nonsense. We also saw Coraline recently, but I decided (for whatever reason) to do Despereaux first. I'll start by saying that I intensely hated this movie when it came out. Intensely. I got the book for my 8th or 9th birthday, and I loved it to death. It was deep, moving, and the story was told in a very interesting, non-linear fashion. Probably one of the first really good books that I fell in love with, (another one being The Princess and the Goblin). For those unfamiliar with Despereaux, he's an unusual little mouse who lives in a castle. He's unusual, not just because of his big ears or his even-by-mouse-standards small size, but because he's not afraid of humans, and would rather read the books in the library than eat them. One day, during a castle escapade, Despereaux meets the lovely young Princess Pea, and considers himself her knight. The kingdom is also in a sad state at the time of the story. The queen died of shock when a rat fell off a chandelier and into her soup. The king dealed with his massive grief the only way he felt he could- outlawing soup. And rats.

Hey buddy, say hello to my
Veggie Chopper!!
That's the premise of the book and movie. However, the movie makes some massive changes to the plot that range from neutral to stupid.
The tamest of the changes is that the female head chef from the book was changed to a man. This isn't one of the things that made me angry about this movie, but I certainly did find it odd.
Then of course, there's everyone's favorite vegetable demon: Boldo. Boldo is a charming little character who was not in the book, and unlike Wybie from the Coraline adaptation, has absolutely no purpose whatsoever, and is annoying as a cactus spine in the cornea.
The real story characters also suffer. I'll talk about the mouse himself in a moment.
Despereaux, darling? You don't think my face is
fat or anything right?
Princess Pea gets the worst treatment of anyone else in the movie. The sweet little girl from the book is now a twitty teenage brat, who does nothing but look sad and yell at people. I suppose they were trying to make her grief for her mother visible. Um, okay, great. I guess. You do realize that there are other ways to show grief? Why did she have to be so pointy? Why was she so cruel? In the book, Princess Pea was compassionate and kind. Not perfect, but she was understanding of others. She also was drawn in a very light way. Her curly hair kind of hovered around her head, and her clothes were simple, giving her a vaguely cherubic look. She wasn't very independent or unique, but she was a good character. Here? I almost wish she had gotten eaten at the rat colliseum.
And yes. You did just hear me say Rat Colliseum. Who read the book and thought "Hm, what would make the dark, amoral dungeons even more terrifying than they already are? OH! A Star Wars: Attack of the Clones style colliseum fight scene! Only instead of lizard monsters, we'll have a cat!"
Back on subject, we also have Miggery Sow. In the book (take a drink everytime I say that phrase), Miggery Sow was a really tragic character, and the things she did that were wrong, she did because she wanted- more than anything in the world- to be a princess. Those motives exist in the book, but her story arc is kind of wrecked in the final act of the movie, because they cut out a defining moment between her and the princess.
The rat Chiaroscuro- here just called Roscuro- is similarly wrecked. Okay, wrecked is kind of a dramatic word here. When I say 'wrecked', I mean that his backstory is changed, and everything else about his character changes as a result. Roscuro is the rat that fell into the queen's soup, and the revulsion he was treated with by the world broke his heart- and it grew back together crooked. In the book, the reason he was in the dining hall in the first place was because, like Despereaux, Roscuro was different. Down in the dungeous there was no light, but Roscuro caught a glimpse of it when a door opened, and from then onward he needed more of it. In the movie, Roscuro wasn't born and raised in the dungeon. He was apparently a sea rat, who was separated from his shipmates and left in the castle. In the movie, Roscuro feels guilt about being the cause of the queen's death, but his heart is broken when he tried to go and apologize to the princess. In true Movie-Princess-Pea fashion, she freaks out and throws stuff at him while melodramatic music and slo-mo milk the moment for all it's worth. Which is not much.
Here's where my reservations about the movie become more than just pouty purist whining. One of the defining themes of the book was Light and Darkness. The themes of light and darkness are lost here, and (as the narrator actually says) is rather a story about misunderstanding.  Call me Puddleglum, but I am sick of misunderstanding stories. Roscuro was misunderstood, he was hurting, and he was not evil. But he did trick an innocent girl into kidnapping the princess so she could be lost in the darkness of the labyrinth like dungeon. He tried hard to be good, but he gave up. Trying to chalk all that up to being 'misunderstood' is kind of a cop-out.
Baby Despereaux probably goes to daycare with Dumbo.
I've been ranting all this time, and I haven't said a word about our little hero, Despereaux.
He's a very different character from the book. In the book, Despereaux was fragile and sickly, very aware of his limitations. Movie Despereaux, as the narrator puts it "Didn't even know he was small. In fact, in his own mind, he was a giant!". Brilliant. Our hero has a God Complex. In the book, Despereaux' idealism was challenged. He questions himself, he is forced to make an effort to believe that he can be the Princess' knight in shining armor. The strength of a person's Faith is tested when that Faith is challenged. In the movie, Despereaux is never challenged. Consequently, he never grows as a character and just feels like your generic "I'm small but I can do big things!" protagonist. Nothing different about him except that he's a mouse with a hat instead of a blue engine with a face.
Oh, and his voice actor is wrong. Don't ask me to explain it, I don't know who I'd have voice Despereaux. Maybe somebody who doesn't sound like a 40 year old when he's supposed to be a little boy mouse?
All right, I know that this review has been really, really, negative. Thanks for bear'in with me, and I actually do have some positive things. Yay!
First of all, this movie does have sound morals, so it's perfectly wholesome for little kids to watch. Unless you find vegetable genies who help chefs cook vegetable soup disturbing. In which case, lock up the tots! Oops, getting off topic. So yeah, good morals, and I like the way the plot flows. The book tells each main character's story one at a time, something that would be hard to pull of in a movie. However, the transitions are actually quite good. And the opening credits were cute. And Sigorney Weaver makes for a halfway decent narrator. There. That's [counts] four things that are good about it. Huzzah...!?

The Verdict: C-
Hey, I was merciful enough to bump it up from D+, give me some credit for being tolerant. The Tale of Despereaux movie might be good for unjaded people who haven't read the book, and also for people who have read the book but aren't picky purists, like me. I dislike it not only because I'm apparently a flaming purist, but because it waters down the original story, leaving out a lot of the darkness. It also makes the Queen's death rather comedic, having her plop face-first into the soup. Classy. The book just said she fell down in her chair. All around, I don't think I'll be watching this again. Well, maybe if I'm babysitting some kids who I need out of my hair...
I think Pascal here sums up how I feel about this movie.

May your kitchen be forever free of Foreign-Sounding Vegetable Demons. Farewell!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

ParaNorman [2012]

Huh. Take a look at the tagline on the poster, 'You don't become a hero by being normal'. I get their point, but I can think of a lot of heroes who were 'normal'. Emmet from The Lego Movie, Sam Gamgee from Lord of the Rings, Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, shall I go on? I could, but that's not what I'm here for.
Today, while the rest of the family was fetching rabbits (long story), me and my 'lil Bro stayed home and used the Netflix instant view to our advantage, because we are sick and when you're sick you can stay home and watch movies, it's the unwritten law of the universe.
I picked ParaNorman because it's of the stop-motion Macabre genre, which I have been becoming increasingly fond of. I've heard quite mixed things about it, and this review is going to be quite mixed. Spoilers await ahead too, but because this movie is two years old I'm not going to bother with my little warning signs.
ParaNorman is the story of young Norman, who sees and speaks to the dead. Because of this, he's an outcast, mocked and shunned by the town, misunderstood at home. I'm not such a big fan of the Misunderstood Hero type story, but I don't hate it either. Odd Thomas is an outcast (Oddie can also see ghosts, by the way), as is Jean Valjean. But, poorly executed, this trope can be slightly irritating. ParaNorman doesn't exactly butcher it, but I was rolling my eyes every time an adult came on screen, because literally ALL the adults in ParaNorman are useless at best. I know that the major Aesop Moral of this movie was to not be afraid of what you don't understand, and that had to be illustrated, but I don't understand how all the adults in town are all this level of stupid bigot. Irritating! Why is it so unfashionable to have responsible adults as in stories where a kid is the main character? Serves as a reminder of how our present day generation believes itself so much more superior to past ones.
Anyway, Norman finds that it's up to him to put a stop to the annual Curse of the Witch. The Curse of the Witch was first placed upon the town by a vengeful witch, and it causes the dead to rise from their graves. The spell has been kept at bay for 300 years, by reading a book of fairy tales aloud at the place the witch was buried. However, Norman can't find the witches burial place, and so all hell breaks loose. Almost literally.
Plot wise, ParaNorman is pretty dang good. Not the most original of movies, but it's got a great premise, and an unexpected (somewhat distressing, I should probably add) twist. It's the characters (and some aforementioned thematic elements) that deflate my enthusiasm.
Though they are all more or less redeemed in the end, every character who isn't Norman is a one-dimentional stereotype. You have the Fat Sidekick (Neil), the Bratty Teenage Sister (Courtney), Goth Bully (Alvin), Dumb Jock (Mitch), the kind, yet passive mother, and of course! Everyone's favorite, the Mean Patriarch. None of these characters really grow though the story, and no, I don't count last minute changes of heart as character development. The only one I find (sort of)  realistic is Courtney. She is by no means a layered or complex character, but it makes sense that even if she's annoyed by her little brother, she would still defend him when it was important. Still though, until that moment, there was no indication that Courtney was anything but a stain upon humanity.
On the positive side, the production of the ParaNorman was amazing. Not just the puppets and scenery, but also the cinematography. I love it when non-live action films have stunning cinematography, and this is a really good example of that. It's almost worth all the crude references and tired clichés. Also makes you wonder what kind of movie this would be if the makers had put as much love into developing the world and side-characters as they had put into creating it.

The Verdict: B-
ParaNorman has terrific cinematography and a good premise. It's different from a lot of other movies, but sadly, in some ways is just like them. Despite marketing, this is not a movie for kids. I watched it with my teenage brother, but I wouldn't really recommend it for viewers under 13.

Later amigos,

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Writing Questionnaire!

I! Use! A! Lot! Of! Exclaimation! Points!!
Over at her blog, Anne-girl is having a Scribblers Conference, sort of a writers thing. Anyway, she had up a questionnaire that looked like a lot of fun, so... I thought I'd give it a dig.

1. Do you think it's more important to listen to your characters or to follow the idea of the book as originally conceived?
I don't know, maybe a little bit of both? Having a complex and mind-bending plot is great, but the characters actions have got to make sense. I usually start out with a premise, and go from there. When I start a book, I actually don't have a particular ending in mind, and by the time I finish it, it could be a completely different resolution than I initially imagined. So... characters, I 'spose.

2. If you could pick a fictional man to become alive and marry you who would you pick? {note: this is not asking whom you consider the greatest hero but whom you would be the most comfortable spending the rest of your life with}
Um... I'm not comfortable answering this question!

3. What is your favorite protagonist and antagonist pair?
Oh my goodnesses, that's a hard one! I really like Westley and Vizzini from The Princess Bride, even if they only have a few pages to battle wits.

4. If you had to do without one of the following in your story which would it be?
A. The Dark Moment when the hero is at rock bottom and can't do anything
B. The Moment of Decision when the hero makes an actual goal and starts following it{leading thereby to the story itself}
C. The Resolution the reconciliation of the hero with his or her inner struggles and outer struggles
Hmmmm... I'm thinking B. Not sure why.

5. In modern fiction which genre do you think shows the most tendency toward good character development?
Well, I'll tell ya. I don't know (Hehe, Fiddler on the Roof.). I like thrillers and speculative fiction, because they're sort of off the beaten path, so to speak. I feel like stories with a lot of tension and suspence dig deep into the minds of the characters, but then again, maybe I just really like Dean Koontz.

6. Have you ever "fallen for" the villain? {Note I do not mean thought he was a good gut but rather WISHED he was the good guy and rooted for him}
Yeah. But I don't think Inspector Javert counts as a villian, per se. Sure, he's kind of an obstacle to Jean Valjean, but he's not a bad man. And I never wanted him to catch Valjean, but I do feel quite sympathetic to the guy.

7. Do you prefer writing about your protagonist or side characters?
I love side characters. Writing the protangonist is really interesting, but nothing expands and makes your world more 'real' than having really interesting, realistic side characters.

8. What do you think is the most cliched and overdone character in fiction?
There are quite a few archetypes that get used way more than they should be, but special mention goes to the girl with unrequited love, old mentor who eventually dies, and The Chosen One.

9. Which do you think is more important, making your reader feel or making him think?
Oooh, good question. I'd love to write a book that makes the reader stay up until 2 am sobbing, but feelings are kind of a fleeting thing, and I'd like my books to leave a bigger impression than an ephemeral sensation. I'd like to write the kind of story that your brain just doens't want to leave. The kind of story that you keep turning over and over in your head!

10. And lastly what do you think are three most important elements to being a hero?
Oof, tricky... I'd say that first and foremost, the hero must be humble. To me, the most noble hero is the one nobody remembers, or rather, is willing to not be remembered.
Secondly, a good hero isn't the guy/girl who goes out trying to be a hero. A hero has heroism dropped on his head. Not to say that the Adventure-Seeker type character isn't good. After all, adventure-seeker heroes are usually quite fun!
Thirdly.... I don't know. All heroes are different, and there is no mold. Or maybe I'm just copping out of a difficult question.

Whew! That was fun. :)
Talk to you later,
-Monica (formerly known as Xochitl XD)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Let's Talk Writing: Poetry

Allright. What exactly do I know about poetry? Well, I've been writing it for about two years now. I started when I was fourteen, and thought that I was on the level of Ray Bradbury when it came to haunting and beautiful imagery. Then at 15 I went through the 'everything I write sucks' stage, and now I've rounded out a little bit, and while I recognize errors in my writing, I can also tell when I've written something decent. Going through my old writing is a little jarring. I did write a few good free verses, you know, good for a 14 year old. I wrote a verse about Autumn, and I still think that's pretty decent. Not great, and certainly not skiming on the melodrama, but okay still.

But I'm getting off topic. While going through my old poems, I saw a lot of cheesy, cliche sounding writing. Let me explain. By cheesy and cliche, I mean this.

When your heart is broken you can no longer feel. Love and hate can no longer be felt. You sit all alone in your icy shell of loneliness, hollow eyes windows of bottomless pain.
Make you laugh much? That's okay, I dont' mind. How about this?

Rotting butterfly, what did your life mean?
Those are actual lines that I took seriously in my writing and thought were so deep and profound. They're good ideas, I guess. Butterflies can be used as a symbol of the fleeting nature of life, and every poet writes about broken heartedness at some point or another.

But what's wrong with those passages is the execution. I used lots of flowery words and melodramatic phrases. Words and phrases like


Icy shell of loneliness

Bottomless pain

Hollow Eyes
Not to say that these phrases have no place in good poetry, but when you're using very dramatic language like that, you have to be careful. Words are tools, and as any handy-man knows, using tools the wrong way can be disastrous for your project. Words are beautiful, and words are influential. Really think about the words you're putting on the page. Read the passage aloud to yourself and see how it makes you feel. If you're not comfortable reading it aloud to yourself chances are you're not going to be comfortable letting other people read it.

A mistake that I used to make a lot was that I expected the words to just flow out. It's true. In moments of inspiration, the words will come easier. But you also have to really think about your words and how you want to use them.

Let's use a Sunset for an example. What do you think of when I say 'Sunset'? The colors? The cool wind? The way the light ripples across the landscape? Or maybe you don't think of anything visual. Maybe sunsets make you think of is something more metaphysical. Like how the fleeting- yet brilliant- light is remeniscent of a life that lasted too short, yet was full of joy. Or maybe you just think of Hot Dogs, which is weird, but I suppose that's good too.

Next, take what you think of when you hear the word sunset. Write down some phrases, then organize them.

Poetry writing can't and shouldn't be restricted to a formula. But this way is a good method for starting out- especially when you can't quite tabulate your thoughts. Pick out a random subject and try it out.

Speaking of subjects, let's think about some popular topics and how to avoid sounding cheesy while you write them.

Before we get into this, let me just say one thing. Not everyone will like your poetry. This does not mean your poetry is no good. Some people don't like Emily Dickonson. Some people don't like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And I personally can't stand Maya Angelou. There's hardly anyone in the world who likes all kinds of poetry. Most people have a handful of poems they like, or a few writers they like. But just because your poetry doesn't suit somebody's taste does't mean it's bad or poorly written. Chances are there's somebody out there who'll like it.

'Kay. Back on topic. By far, the most popular forms of poetry are love poetry and death poetry. I've even heard it said that if Love and Death didn't exist, that poets would invent them.

Love Poetry
Love poetry is most often about being on the wrong side of unrequited love. This is fine, so long as you don't wander into self-pity or melodramatic territory. Love is a big subject to tackle, and breaking it down into the unrequited category doesn't make it that much smaller. Break it down further. What's the nature of the two relationships? Are they friends already? Is the subject even aware of the hypoteneuse's existance? Once you've narrowed down the terms, you'll be able to write something that sounds less generic. And by 'generic sounding', I mean this.

I sit all alone in the rain watching him
He doesn't know or care about me
My heart is a bottomless pit of sadness
I die when I see him, loved and carefree
Narrow it down. Write your feelings. Not the feelings that you saw in another poem. Don't ty to sound like some other poem. Imitation is a good way of learning, but a mistake I commonly made was that I tried to basically replicate what I read. Basically rephrasing another poet's words and then being crushed when it didn't turn out to be the masterpiece I thought it would be.

Death Poetry
Okay, I've read Death Poetry written by brilliant poets, and though they were good, they were very melodramatic. So you know how I said not to be melodramatic? When you find yourself writing a death-themed poem, don't worry about sounding too dark or dramatic. Don't over do it, but you know, it's okay to be dramatic here.

Allright, we're almost done here. I'm just going to say a bit about composition, because that's very important.

When people think about poetry, the second thing that comes to their mind is rhymes. However, poetry and rhyming aren't nessesarily joined at the hip. Lots of poems don't rhyme, and others use an unconventional rhyme scheme. The most important thing about poetry is the image it places in your mind's eye, and the feelings it stirs up in your heart.

Rhyming is a style of poetry writing. Not poetry writing itself. So if it doens't rhyme, don't worry about it. However, if one stanza of your poem or one set of lines doesn't rhyme, don't make the others rhyme. An inconsistent rhyme scheme is worse than no rhyme scheme.

Allright! That's pretty much all I got to offer on the rich topic that is poetry writing. Hopefully this helped in some way (even if it's being written by somebody who doesn't have a degree in anything. Yet.)! Farewell.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Yeah. Exactly what the titles says :D
I thought of putting these up tomorrow, but then you wouldn't have any time to print them out and use them (assuming anybody would want to use these to give a prospective boyfriend/girlfriend. In my experience, fat stick figures with dead eyes aren't necessarily the best way to express love, romantic or otherwise. But I'm putting them up anyways just for fun. ;)
'hem. Oh with it!
This one features Desmond from Lost. When Desmond was unstuck in time, the only way to stop it was to find the one thing- his 'constant'- that was always the same no matter where he was zapped to. And that one thing was? His sweetheart, Penny. Cue swooning and 'awww'ing from my side of the internet. :P (I have a nasty habit of claiming not to be interested in romance... then being just that.)

Here's Marius, from Les Miserables. About midway through the book (that part was fun, nobody died!) was when Marius and Cosette started to hook up, and there was one hilarious episode involving him mistaking Valjean's handkerchief for hers. Yeeks.

Odd Thomas! :D For a series of Horror/Thriller novels, Odd has a very sweet thing going on with Stormy Llewellyn, and even has a card from a gypsy fortune-telling machine saying they will be together forever.

Yeah. So today was all sugar and icky syrup, maybe tomorrow I'll put something up on love in a more true sense (You know, the Choice of loving someone as opposed to Feeling in love with them). Or friendship. Or family. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chasing Maverkicks [2012]

Chasing Maverkicks is the (mostly) true story of surfing legend Jay Moriarity, who died in 2001 at the age of 22.
In terms of cinematography and composition, this movie is amazing. The surfing footage is beautiful and awe-inspiring.
In terms of plot though... well, Chasing Mavericks leaves a lot to be desired. I know that it's a true story, but even true stories should be told with energy. This is the story of a 15 year old boy who was able to ride some of the most powerful waves in the world, and yet it's told in a relatively limp fashion. Not much about Jay's life is explored. Characters we're supposed to care about are- well, let's just say that it's hard to even remember their names. Plus, there's some sort of Gang-Drug Dealer thing implied with Jay's best friend, but that's left pretty open ended.
Jay's also got kind of a cute romance thing going with his friend Kim, but she's not that compelling. If she were a more developed character, it might be more satisfying when they finally kiss.

The Verdict: B-
Wow, I don't really have a lot of thoughts on this one. I'm pretty neutral on this movie. The reason it gets more than a C is because of the stunning cinematography and production. If you're interested in Filmmaking, or if you're a die hard surfer, then this movie might be a good one for you.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Look

I changed the way my blog looks... as you probably noticed. XD
It all started when I wanted to put a banner on the top for the title, then when I did, it didn't look that great with the beige sort of one that I had. So I switched to something more white-ish. And that's where we are now. Haha!
Anyway, I'm quite proud of this (for reasons unknown). Some of the pictures are from comics that aren't up yet, either because they are too 'wrong', or just aren't funny enough to make the cut.

From left to right, top to bottom: Combeferre and Enjolras playing checkers,
Veronica, Samantha, and the Chips, Angry Little Sister, Frightened Cosette,
Yawning Attention-Span Faerie, Gunslinger Enjolras, Odd Thomas Valentine,
Elizabeth Bennet reading Mr. Darcy's letter, Surprised Courfeyrac, Javert,
Headache-y Liam, Dale Face!

Friday, February 7, 2014

The Lego Movie [2014]

"Come with me if you want to not die."

What would happen if you put Toy Story, Star Wars, The Matrix, and Lego blocks in a blender and hit SMOOTHIE?
This movie.
(Sorry for the unintentional rhyme.)
This is the most fun I've had at the movie theater since either Brave or The Secret World of Arrietty (can't remember which came first). Creative, energetic, hilarious, surprisingly deep, and sometimes disturbing, The Lego Movie is way more than I walked into the theater expecting.
It's the story of Emmet, a normal construction worker who is mistaken for 'The Special'- the only Master Builder who is capable of stopping Lord Business' evil plan. Emmet's home city is a dystopia of sorts. Everyone drinks the same $32 coffee, listens to the same song all day, and watches the same ridiculous sitcom. (Sounds kind of familiar when I think about it...)
It sounds weird written out, but the story was actually quite good. I went in thinking the story would be the crumbling pillar that holds up the product placement. It's actually the other way around, in that I couldn't imagine this story being anything but Lego, and it was engaging and interesting.
Of course, it wasn't perfect. The 100-Minute runtime might outlive the attention spans of kids, but luckily kids aren't the only ones who can enjoy this movie. Most of the plot discrepancies and oddities that make no sense, well, they make no sense because at the point in the movie they're brought up, they haven't been explained yet.
There's a very interesting twist towards the end of the movie that's hinted at, but you don't actually expect it. Then after the twist, you think back about the movie and it totally clicks. (I apologize for any puns that crop up here. But it's pretty much impossible to avoid them XD)
Something I like about all the various short Lego movies (yes, there are many) is that the dialogue crackles and is usually fraught with humor. The same applies here, with so many awesome lines that you can barely pick a favorite. Also, the humor in this refrains from being too rude. A lot of kids movies commit the sin of edginess taken to the extreme. You've got suggestive lyrics, constant crude humor bordering on inappropriate, and bad language. The Lego Movie actually goes out of it's way not to have swearing. There's a moment where Emmet actually spells Oh my G-O-S-H! And the literally two-faced Good Cop/Bad Cop breaks down in a hailstorm of the dreaded 'Darn'.
Speaking of Good Cop/Bad Cop, this movie has some rather... disturbing scenes. I mean, nothing on the level of Pan's Labyrinth, but still pretty dark for a kid's movie.
Despite the constant humor and gags (and the fact that it's about Legos), this film actually gets quite deep and- dare I say it?- touching. Seriously. I did not expect to actually care about the characters. Not all of them are the same level of deep and developed, but for CGI models of plastic figurines, they were very poignant.
Oh, and a word on the Cinematography- Awesome. It's always great to see an animated movie that is shot well. In as much as you 'shoot' an animated feature.

[Extreme Spoilers Ahead! Seriously, you don't want to read this bit unless you've seen the movie. Or just don't care. Because if you're not sure about seeing it, you might actually want to read this bit to help make up your mind. Anyways, you have been warned.]
Once you've reached the twist, there's some doubt to whether Emmet and all his adventures actually happened. Like Pan's Labyrinth, it's open to interpretation, but with clues implying that it was in fact, real. Here, the clue is Emmet moving by himself. The kid's Dad has puts him on a desk, and using all his willpower, Emmet manages to jump off. This part of the movie is where it's the most poignant and intuitive, and part of the reason it's so dang good.
All through the movie, we're told about the 'prophecy' of The Special- the most interesting, talented, and important person in the history of the universe. However, in another plot twist, it turns out that this prophecy was just made up by Morgan Freeman's character(can't remember the name at the moment). This realization brings Emmet down at a critical moment, since all he wanted was to be a special person. However, it turns out that the Morgan Freeman guy made it up because he knew that anyone who found the Piece of Resistance (The cap for a tube of Krazy Glue) would be special- because everyone is unique and special in their own way. This is a nice change on the usual 'Everyone is special trope', because it's not about having something that somebody else doesn't have. In the end, Emmet is just a normal guy. But he's special because he's unique in his own way. Am I making any sense? No matter, I'm getting a little tired of typing 'special', so let's move on.
[Spoilers end here. Feel free to look again.]

Oh, and the animation warrents special mention. Even though it's obviously done with CGI rendering, the 'brickiness' is preserved. Pretty much everything in the movie is made of Lego bricks, even clouds and the ocean. Bright and colorful, even if you don't like the plot and characters that much, the animation is at least really good.

The Verdict: A [My brother would prefer an A+, and even though I can't see any reason NOT to give it an A+, a regular A just feels right.]
Not at all lacking in energy, and very touching in all the right ways, this is one of those kids movies that can be fully enjoyed by everyone in the family. Aside from being wholesome and charming, some of the messages presented are very different from the generic movie messages.
The Lego Movie is one of the best family films in recent memory, and even if it's not quite up there with masterpieces like Up and Kiki's Delivery Service, it certainly comes very close. Even if you're not a 13 year old boy, I highly recommend this movie. Huzzah!
(And I think you can tell a movie's going to get a good review when I go overboard with the pictures. Yikes.)


Everything is awesome!

Thursday, February 6, 2014


So, last week we went over to a friend's house and had a rockin' awesome time. You know, Dancing Video games were played, Cupcakes were consumed, Salsa was... well, I'll let the chibis do the talking.
In case you couldn't read my tiny, messed up handwriting, the label on the Salsa jar reads "MILD". Which is what the real jar said. Dirty liars. If it makes your tear ducts start trying to irrigate your face, it is not mild. Unless you're my dad, he could eat a hundred Guatemalan Insanity Peppers and not tear up. Go Dad! :D


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

In Which I Get Mad At The Desolation of Smaug

Okay, this comic is based off a rather crude scene in Desolation of Smaug, so therefore, this comic is rather crude. If you are under 14 (or, just to be safe, under 30), don't read the following comic and enjoy this picture of a happy Axolotl.
Axolotl (Aztec for 'Water Monster')
Aren't they so sweet? :D And they come in aaaaall sorts of colors, Pink, Black, Brown, Speckled, Yellow, and very rarely Blue! but I'm getting off topic. On with the comic. (Which I actually came here for, then started ranting about my favorite animal.)

Ah yes, I hear that's how Aragorn won Arwen's heart! And who can forget the dirty, childish innuendo that made Eowyn love Faramir? People forget that Tolkien was all about stupid, juvenile, all-around sleazy comments!!

Of course, I was being sarcastic back there, as I certainly hope you could tell. I can't know for sure that Dear Professor would disapprove of Kili's little comment, but something tells me he would find it tacky.
In other words...
What were you thinking, Mr./Ms. Scripwriter?

Anyway... I hope you have a nice, sleazy-comment-free day.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I've become the very evil I longed to wipe out...

You know how it's fun to ridicule all the Beliebers and One Direction fangirls? Well, alas, for without realizing it, I'm guilty of fangirling over some guy's voice too. Am I confessing to being a Belieber? No, it's this.

Admittedly, it's not stupid like One Direction and Beebs, but the reaction is pretty much the same. Interesting.
[chuckles nervously]
[runs away]
[far away]