Movies I’ve Seen

I’ve been reading books and seeing a few movies in the past month or so. As always, I’m behind in talking about them because I never know how to talk about them (so much for trying to be a movie/book blogger, eh?) Anyway, I’m going to make an attempt to briefly talk about the movies I’ve seen below and maybe make a book talk later.

What I’ve Seen

Shadow in the Cloud features Chloe Grace Mortez and is set during WWII. She manages to get onto a warplane claiming she has a top secret mission. Along the way a dark force finds its way onto the plane in addition to Japanese warplanes and such. I didn’t like this film, as the story was poorly made and the music score was poorly mixed with the movie itself. If it left out the supernatural elements, this story could have been decently salvaged albeit with some fleshing out. Hollywood must have been desperate to create a movie since the pandemic if they were allowing this atrocity to come into existence.

The Marksman features Liam Neeson and it’s a typical Liam Neeson film. I’ve been watching a lot of his movies lately so now I’ve got a decent idea of what he usually plays in. A mom and her son are escaping the cartels and cross the border onto Neeson’s property and of course the cartels cross the border to hunt them both down. It’s up to Neeson to take the son to his family up in Chicago with these evil men on his tail. There was a particularly sad moment with the dog and the ending had a hopeful note in it, but if you’ve seen one Neeson movie, you’ve seen them all.

The Little Things was so promising as well, but I felt ripped off by the ending. Denzel Washington and Rami Malek are detectives on the hunt for a serial killer, who at the start is chasing down a woman in the middle of the night by a gas station. They narrow in on a weirdo man (Jared Leto) who likes following unsolved mysteries in the paper and true crime books. I’m not sure how people feel about endings being ruined even if the movie is bad, so I’m not going to say anything further, but believe me, this one was disappointing. I wanted things to be more resolved than what the movie did.

Raya and the Last Dragon is one of the new Disney movies and I found this one to be pretty good. 500 years ago, there had been dragons who protected the kingdom. An evil force came across the land, causing the dragons to sacrifice themselves for the humans. 500 years later, when the evil threatens to break apart the world again, it’s up to one girl, Raya, to find the last dragon to save the world. It had a good message, as Disney movies often do.

Mitchells vs. the Machines is a great family video about a girl heading off to college. Dad wants to make it into a road trip, only for the phone program to take over the world.

News of the World stars Tom Hanks after the American Civil War who goes from town to town telling the news. He takes charge of a young white girl who was raised by native Americans to take back to her extended family. Along the way they encounter many dangerous troubles and Hanks will do anything to keep her safe.

Other movies that I’ve watched (or re-watched after many years), that may not necessarily new:

  • Alita: Battle Angel
  • Everest
  • Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken
  • Taken 1-3
  • Skyfall
  • The Shallows
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • The Kid Who Would Be King

Movie times.

I’ve been watching quite a few movies lately. I never was a big movie viewer (though I enjoyed one now and then), but lately I found myself glued to the screen. It’s unfortunate that I’ve come to this interest when few movies are being released due to that lovely plague we all suffered through for more than a year now.

Of course, I’ve been in a movie slump as well at times, having stopped when the movie was just a dud or I didn’t have the patience to sit through a couple hours worth of people on a set saying words they’re not interested in.

Anyway, here are a few movies that I’ve seen recently:

1. The Marksman

I’ve been in a bit of a Liam Neeson binge and having this one in a long list of his movies made me a bit jaded as he’s basically playing the same character in a different story. In this one, Neeson plays a man living on the U.S./Mexican border. When a woman and son stumble onto his property escaping the wrath of the cartels, Neeson is compelled to take the boy to family in spite of men who will stop at nothing to bring him down.

I appreciated the ending ending in a satisfying way but again I’ve become jaded by the same old from an actor who has outplayed his character.

2. The Little Things

I didn’t like this one. Couple detectives trying to find a killer only leaving you with more questions than answers about who it is. Waste of a couple hours. We actually spent a good 30 minutes feeling ripped off by the ending.

3. Raya and the Last Dragon

I actually liked this one; Raya is a strong character and the message is heartwarming. If you liked Mulan, you’ll like this one.

4. Taken

This is one of Liam Neeson’s stronger movies, not to mention it’s believable in a scary way. What I “took” away from this movie: teenagers are scums and what happened to the daughter is what happens when you’re not careful in a strange place. I hope she learned her lesson.

5. The Mitchell’s vs. the Machine

Not a Disney movie but I enjoyed this movie about family and adventure and not to trust artificial intelligence devices.

6. The Martians

Lesson: don’t go to Mars. Find better cremates. Learn to be a botanist.

7. Instant Family

Great feel good movie about fostering and adopting and that family doesn’t necessarily mean you’re related by blood. Family is the people you choose.

8. Greenland

An everyday family trying to survive in the moments before an asteroid attack. Realistic and scary.

9. In the Heart of the Sea

Mobs Dick was real y”all and he was much worse than the book.

10. I Am Legend

Zombie vampires and a dude with a savior complex… scary at times. I was sad for dog.

There is as much much more, but I only shared the ones I personally hadn’t seen before. What are you all watching?

The Rapid Fire Book Tag

Lately I’ve been browsing Pinterest and found this little book tag. It sounded interesting so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

(On a side note, how often do you use Pinterest? I can forget about it for months then get in daily finding good stuff.)

1. Ebook or physical book?

Physical. I can concentrate better than on my phone or iPad. I’d like to get a simple ereader one day, you know like a paperwhite or a simple touch that looks like a page instead of a computer screen. That’d be awesome.

2. Paperback or hardback?

Both. Paperback for reading/carrying around. Hardback for collection (preferably.)

3. Online or in-store shopping?

In-store, because I like to browse. Online you kinda have to know what you’re shopping for.

4. Trilogies or series?

Trilogy, because they’re shorter and I don’t have the patience for long series anymore.

5. Heroes or villains?

Heroes.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Never Let Me Go, because I still think about it sometimes.

7. Recommend an underrated book.

The Serafina series. It gets a high rating on Goodreads but it seems few people know absolutely it. Go read them, awesome new-ish children’s series.

8. The last baby you finished?

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.

9. The last baby you bought?

Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day

10. Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

Piece of paper…usually have a bookmark around.

11. Used books: yes or no?

Yes as long as they’re gently used.

12. Top 3 favorite genres?

Realistic, historical, fantasy. Young adult isn’t a genre people, it’s a target audience (annoys me when they say YA is a genre), but I do read some books intended for young adults.

13. Borrow or buy?

Both.

14. Characters or plot?

Both depends on what I can focus on. Preferably both in one book.

15. Long or short books?

Short-ish.

16. Long or short chapters?

Short usually

17. Name the first 3 books you can think of.

Harry Potter, American Dirt, My Dark Vanessa

18. Books that make you laugh or cry?

Don’t do either much but Beyond the Point made me want to cry so much. A remarkable book.

19. Our world or fictional world?

Ours.

20. Audiobooks: yes or no?

I want to say yes but I never finished one all the way through.

21. Ever judge a book by its cover?

Well yeah, it happens even though you’re not supposed to.

22. Book to movie or book to tv adaptations?

Tv has been popular but it depends on how long the book is.

23. Movie or tv show you preferred to the book?

Jurassic Park and The Book Thief.

24. Stand alone or series?

Stand alone these days.

Ex Machina

  • Title: Ex Machina
  • Director: Alex Garland
  • Cast: Domhnall Gleason, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac

Summary:

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.

(from Google)

Thoughts:

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a heavy fan of science fiction; too often, it’s films rely too heavily on the spectacle of its technology and machinery and less on the character development to propel and balance its ideas. Ex Machina, however is a masterful look at artificial intelligence and man’s attempts to control it to devastating effects.

I can’t say that I truly understand the movie; after all, I’ve seen it but once and am still awake trying to process its ideas.

Caleb and Nathan are at the central characters of this story, along with Ava, the A.I. robot. Each man seeks to prove whether or not Ava can embody human awareness and consciousness. However, this is where their similarities end. Nathan seems to believe that Ava is only acting upon what she has been programmed to do, a talking robot to do his bidding and nothing more. Caleb understands her hardware but seems to lean into the nurture believe; that with training Ava can think and act for herself.

Little do they know that they are both right and wrong with devastating consequences. Nathan realizes that what he has created is autonomous and will use her programming to get what she wants: freedom. Caleb realizes to his loss that technology can be used against him if he forgets that it really is just technology that needs to be reigned in. If that makes sense.

It kind of makes me think of our relationship with technology. It’s fast paced and more advanced than some of us can ever truly grasp and if we start dappling in it without understanding or appreciating it for what it is, then the technology will take the upper hand and defeat us.

I don’t know if I’ve truly understood what I watched; it’s beautiful and disturbing all at once. I was impressed with Ava and was initially charmed by her, almost sorry for her. But something didn’t feel right as it went in until it was revealed as to why I was so disturbed. Ava has been learning from her humans and manipulating them until she was able to get who she wanted and that to be is scary. Can our technology become this advanced in real life so that we don’t know the difference between humans and A.I.? It’s disturbing to think about and I’m not sure I want to long enough to find out.

Work at home.

Yesterday was a lazy day for me. I was able to get some house chores done including getting the kitchen straightened out. It looks so open and nice now that we don’t have a countertop microwave anymore and I can move some bulky items into the corner where it used to be. I even swept the floors and washed a couple blankets that somehow got covered in dog hair. Dog hair seems to permeate every corner of my house no matter how hard I try. I love my dog with the depths of my soul but I’m just not used to a dog who sheds constantly. It’s worth it in the end as he’s so loving and protective. I can’t be upset with him for long.

I got some downtime in the afternoon so I got onto Hulu and watched The Fellowship of the Ring from start to finish. It’s been years since I watched it and I love it just as much as the first time and all the times before. It’s just so masterfully done, a perfect adaptation from book to screen. In interviews, actors and production crew all talk about the amazing experience they had, how close they became with each other, and wishing it would go on forever; you can tell in the movies as there’s just a close bond there. It makes me wish for such an experience myself. It’s a rare, once in a lifetime experience.

Christmas is in just a few days as of this writing. I’m excited for it, as it’s our first Christmas together as a married couple. I want it to be special, you know? I think it will be. I feel like we’ve always been together and that’s a good thing. It means we’re perfect together.

Some people are happy for the year to be over. I had a good year in spite of everything. Experience is relative and mine has been a good one. Of course the outside influences hindered some of our plans but it couldn’t change everything.

The Holidays and Writing Challenges

Apparently a couple bloggers I follow are doing blogmas this December. I’ve heard of vlogmas but not blogmas. For those in the dark, you either blog or vlog for the month of December. I don’t know how you come up with the topics but people seem to enjoy it. I haven’t read too many blog posts lately so I feel a little behind the times. It feels like a second round of tortured NanoWriMo to me.

I started my yearly read of The Christmas Box trilogy and successfully read the first two books in a little over 2 days. Now I’m on the third one. Which is my least favorite of the three and not because it’s the final book, bout because it has the weakest story of the three. The first three were quaint and fills me with warmth and hope for the holidays. The last one just deprives me of Christmas joy. It might have been the point but perhaps not intentionally. That’s just my opinion.

I’ve been Christmas shopping but I feel like I haven’t got enough, especially my mom. She never tells me what she wants so I always end up getting her some Christmas candy and a magazine or something. It’s so hard to decide what she’d truly enjoy. My dog’s going to be spoiled of course. He’s always spoiled.

For movies, we watched A Christmas Story, my favorite Christmas story ever. It’s kind of dumb but it’s so sweet I’ve got to keep watching it.

Hallotober Tag 2020

Well, there are a bunch of rules about this tag, but since I’m stealing the tag from someone without having been tagged, I’m just going to answer the questions as I see fit. There is one rule where you have to changed question #13 to one of your own and answer it. I may or may not do that…I just might answer the same question that the other person posted.

  1. Haunted houses/trails: a good time or not for you?
    I’ve only been to one once or twice and that’s been a LONG time ago. I’d like to go again to refresh my memory, but it might be scary.
  2. What’s your favorite thing about October?
    Nothing really…not a fall person. I do like to watch scary movies or read a scary story during this time. And my favorite youtubers are doing scary stories at this time so that’s great!
  3. Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?
    Not really. I like to carve pumpkins and watch a scary movie on the night of Halloween. But since high school, it hasn’t been fun since I can’t dress up and get candy.
  4. What’s your favorite horror movie?
    The Ring or The Mothman Prophecies. Or The Conjuring. They truly spooked me.
  5. Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume?
    Cozy night in watching movies. I don’t like going to parties.
  6. Which has been your favorite costume to date?
    I was Jack Sparrow once. And Frodo Baggins. That was cool. I don’t think I could top those. Last year my now husband and I were a monkey and a banana. That is the best since we were together.
  7. Bobbing for apples of pin the hat on the witch?
    Never bobbed for apples so I’d go with the pin the hat on the witch.
  8. How do you celebrate Halloween?
    I think I answered this one? I stay home and watch a movie.
  9. What’s your least favorite horror?
    One with a lot of body horror. Preferably one with spooks and the blood is minimal or it’s suggested offscreen. Like old fashioned horror.
  10. Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory?
    My neighbors around the corner cooked hot dogs for people and had apple cider. That was awesome.
  11. What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
    Seeing little kids dressed up. My street growing up until recently never got many kids and it looks like my new street doesn’t either since they’re mostly older kids or there’s none whatsoever. Plus we’re in the country so what the heck.
  12. Scary costume or silly costume?
    Doesn’t matter really. I don’t like the overly sexualized ones though. Like sexy nurses or whatever.
  13. What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
    The ones with chocolate.

I didn’t change question #13, oh well. If you want to tag yourself and have a go at it, I’d love to see your responses!

A Little Bit of This

Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

I’ve fallen out of the habit of writing.

Again.

It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s just that sometimes I just don’t. The reasons are either because I don’t feel like it or I don’t have anything to say. Lately it’s because I hadn’t felt like it. And that’s a hard thing to admit. Why? Because you’re not supposed to admit that sort of thing. You always want to write, you just can’t because of obligations that keep you busy or family or travel or lack of ideas. Not because you don’t feel like it.

Well, I haven’t felt like it recently and thus I’ve fallen out of the habit and thus my ideas dried up. Because to be truthful, if you don’t force yourself to write daily or in some regularly fashion, then you’re writing ideas are going to dry up. This has been proven to me before. When I was in college, I took a class where we had to tap into our creativity. We used The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron to open ourselves up to our creative outlet (whatever that creativity might be.) One of the tools that Cameron used was to write three pages a day every day for 10 weeks. In those 10 weeks, I found myself dreaming more and having more ideas to write or photograph or whatever. I just felt more in tune with myself.

I…don’t do that anymore. Blogging, journaling or otherwise. I could never write three pages a day like that again, but it’s still important to do something, even if it’s to comment on the weather or the movies being watched.

Anyway.

Yesterday I finished watching The Ring and then listened to a docu-film about Charles Manson while I did chores. You know that weirdo who started a cult in the middle of the desert of California and killed Sharon Tate in order to start Helter Skelter or whatever it was that he was doing? Yeah…that dude was waaaay off base. And that’s an understatement, am I right? Since it’s October, I always feel obligated to watch darker films. Since high school, my dad and I watched a horror movie on Halloween. I still continue the obligation even though he’s no longer with us because it keeps me close to my dad. My handsome man doesn’t like scary movies, so I try to watch them when he’s not around so he doesn’t get spooked. But even then I don’t watch them as much as I used to. Different priorities and obligations now, I suppose.

A few weeks ago, I read The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It’s a good book, set in Alaska and focusing on an extremely dysfunctional family. Dad’s suffering from PTSD from being a POW in Vietnam, therefore he beats mom up and tries to prepare daughter for the apocalypse and all that stuff. Well, Dad has beef with the guy down the road and it gets to the point where he even forbids daughter from seeing the son of said guy. It’s a tough one to get through, but I enjoyed the book. The ending seems too neat and tidy after everything that happened in the book, but it somehow works.

Now I’m trying to read Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. It’s…okay, I suppose. It’s better written than Twilight but it’s so hard to focus on the plot. I know what’s going to happen, so I’m not really interested in reading through it again. So I keep dropping it to read other books. Like, right now I’m reading Blue Jacket by Allan W. Eckert. Apparently, this book is a bit problematic now, because I guess Blue Jacket was never a white man, he was an Indian from birth and there’s been some mixed up documents that stated otherwise and thus the author used those to write his story. It’s an enjoyable read, but now that I’m older and know better, it’s a little slow. It’d be nice to know more about the real Blue Jacket.

Until next time, my friends. I hope I’m more interesting for you all in the next one!

Books I’d Love to See Turned Into Movies

It seems like most books these days are being turned into movies. As soon as it gets published, you see a trailer for its upcoming movie. There are, however, little gems of books that have been overlooked that would make a wonderful film adaptations. The following are books that I’d love to see be adapted to the big screen.

  1. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  2. the Serafina series by Robert Beatty
  3. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  4. You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley
  5. Beyond the Point by Claire Gibson
  6. My Sister’s Keeper by Robert Dugoni
  7. Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (be a t.v. series like Game of Thrones)
  8. The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe
  9. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  10. The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

I’m sure a couple of these will become movies eventually, particularly Where the Crawdads Sing, but others need to be pitched to Hollywood so that I can see how it’s interpreted visually.

Movie: Anaconda (Some Thoughts)

Google Images

I watched Anaconda for the first time last night.

That had to be the dumbest movie on the face of the planet.

If you’ve never seen it, here’s a brief summary:

A film crew goes down to the Amazon rain forest only to be captured by an evil snake hunter who wants to use them and their boat to find the infamous and elusive anaconda. And of course, this is supposed to be a horror movie, so not only does the crew have to survive the snake hunter, they also have to survive the snake attacks. Because for some reason, this anaconda is wicked fast and can zero in on you even when you move to hide and attack you.

I mean, really? Haha.

The snake was obviously fake. I don’t know if it was completely digitized or if they made a fake model as well, but it was a 90’s film creation to be sure.

There were big name actors in this as well: Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson, Join Voigt. Even though a couple of them (if not all) are good actors, their performances were very stiff and laughable.

Apparently a lot of movie enthusiasts love this movie despite knowing it’s obvious flaws. I suppose if someone watched it when it first came out, then it could be a sense of nostalgia for the viewer. But having seen this in 2020, all I saw was the goofiness of it all. I haven’t seen any mention of it being remade in the near future, but knowing Hollywood, I’m sure they’re going to give it a go at some point. I can only hope the animations and acting will improve since then.

Has anyone seen this movie and what are your thoughts on it?