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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Double Standard Modesty

Warning:You may not want anyone reading this over your shoulder.

One of the most prevalent and irritating double standards regarding nudity is the shirtless one:A man can go without a shirt and it's considered okay. But a woman must not appear in public without her nipples covered (unless she's a stripper).

This makes no sense to me. Nipples look the same no matter which gender we're talking about. What then makes a woman's obscene? This makes even less sense when you take breastfeeding into account. By declaring female breasts inappropriate, you're making it more difficult for us to feed our children.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Movie Review:Eragon

Premise:A young farm boy turned dragon rider has magic to learn and an evil army to defeat.

Cast:Edward Speleers as Eragon, Jeremy Irons as Brom, Rachel Weisz as the voice of Saphira, Sienna Guillory as Arya, Robert Carlyle as Durza, Garrett Hedlund as Murtagh, Djimon Hounsou as Ajihad, Caroline Chikezie as Nasuada, John Malkovich as Galbatorix, Chris Egan as Roran, Joss Stone as Angela


Director:Stefen Fangmeier


MPAA Rating:PG for fantasy violence, intense battle sequences, and some frightening scenes


Genres:Fantasy, adventure


Notes:Based on the book by Christopher Paolini. Images taken from IMP Awards and Rotten Tomatoes and belong to 20th Century Fox.


Pros:Good CGI. Creepy villain. A rather cute baby dragon.


Cons:Fans of the book will hate extensive changes. Poor dialogue. Uninspiring protagonist. Bad acting.



Imagine that you're hunting in the middle of the woods, just about to take the shot. Suddenly, this weird stone drops out of nowhere and scares off your prey. And it's not just a stone...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Album Review:Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer

Artist:Relient K

Songwriters:Matthew Thiessen, whoever wrote the Christmas songs we hear so often

Genres:Rock, pop-rock, holiday, punk

Notes:Album art taken from Amazon.

General Thoughts:Before December even gets here, you can find countless holiday-themed albums. Most of the tracks here are old classics. The band took a few and turned them into rock tracks, which depending on your taste, may spice them up or spoil them. The original songs are often calmer and more depressing.

This one is actually a re-release of the band's first Christmas album, Deck The Halls, Bruise Your Hand. The difference between the two are a few extra songs. If you already have the first one, just (legally) download the new tracks. If not, then pick this up because there are a few must-have songs here.

Overall, this is the kind of album you can listen to year after year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Movie Review:Elf


Premise:A human raised by elves goes to New York to spend Christmas with his biological father.

Cast:Will Ferrell as Buddy Elf, Bob Newhart as Papa Elf, James Caan as Walter Hobbs, Zooey Deschanel as Jovie, Ed Asner as Santa Claus, Mary Steenburgen as Emily Hobbs, Daniel Tay as Michael Hobbs, Fazion Love as the Gimbel's manager, Amy Sedaris as Deborah, Peter Dinklage as Miles Finch


Director:Jon Favreau


MPAA Rating:PG for some mild rude humor and language.


Genres:Comedy, children's, holiday


Notes:Images taken from Rotten Tomatoes and belong to Warner Brothers.


Pros:Sweet-hearted. Fun acting. It's funny.


Cons:Somewhat cheesy and saccharine




Feeling like a cotton-headed ninmuggins, Buddy the elf is told the truth. He is actually a human and his father lives in a magical place called New York. Unfortunately, Dad is also on the naughty list. Even so, he's going to have so much fun with Dad.

This movie is a lot like Buddy himself. It's silly and obsessed with sugar, but it's well-meaning and kind of sweet. I haven't seen many Will Ferrell movies, so I can't make comparisons. What I can say is he makes a great human-elf. And Zooey Deschanel does a fair softening snarky lady.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Movie Review:Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Premise:Scott Pilgrim must defeat his girlfriend's evil exes if he is to continue dating her.

Cast:Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Ramona Flowers, Kieran Culkin as Wallace Wells, Ellen Wong as Knives Chau, Anna Kendrick as Stacey Pilgrim, Jason Schwartzman as Gideon Graves, Mark Webber as Stephen Stills, Alison Pill as Kim Pine, Johnny Simmons as Neil Nordegraf, Satya Bhabha as Matthew Patel, Chris Evans as Lucas Lee, Brie Larson as Envy Adams, Brandon Routh as Todd Ingram, Mae Whitman as Roxie Richter, Shota Saito and Keita Saito as the Katayanagi twins, Aubrey Plaze as Julie Powers

Director:Edgar Wright


MPAA Rating:PG-13 for stylized violence, sexual content, language, and drug references.


Notes:Based off the graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Poster taken from IMP Awards and belong to Universal.


Pros:A fun quirkiness. A couple of interesting characters.

Cons:Little character development. Hammy acting. Fights are rushed. Several subplots from the comics are left out.



Imagine if this girl you just went out with had some baggage. Baggage in the form of seven evil exes who will try to kill you until you defeat them all. Welcome to Scott's life, in a big screen adaption.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Initial Impression On Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Note:After watching the show for a while, I've felt more and more conflicted about this review. I have decided instead of deleting or editing it, I will leave it up as an initial impression and possibly post another review later.

Another note:My second review is now up.

Premise:Members of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division band together to investigate strange happenings.

Cast:Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons

Genres:Sci-fi, fantasy, action, drama

Notes:Takes place after the events of the Phase One Marvel films. Poster taken from Rotten Tomatoes and belongs to ABC.

Pros:A cool plane and technology. The third episode's BAM! Did you see that? ending. The Thor:The Dark World tie-in episodes.

Cons:Flat characters and storylines. Mediocre acting. Needs more super-powered people.



During the alien attack on New York, Agent Phil Coulson died in action... or did he? Meanwhile, Grant Ward, a highly trained agent who sticks close to protocol has been brought in. He often takes issue with non-agent Skye, a hacktivist who starts out as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s enemy. I've little doubt they'll end up a couple. Completing their team are Melinda May, who's annoyed about being brought out of retirement, and Fitz-Simmons, a pair of enthusiastic young scientists.

If you're expecting a lot of superpowers, don't hold your breath. A couple have shown up, but the focus seems to be mostly on dangerous and unusual technology. That's unfortunate, because the episodes centered on "gifted" individuals tend to be more interesting.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Movie Review:Daredevil

Premise:A blind vigilante seeks to bring down the city crime boss who put a hit on his girlfriend.

Cast:Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Jennifer Garner as Elektra Natchios, Michael Clarke Duncan as Kingpin, Colin Farrell as Bullseye, Derrick O'Connor as Father Everett, Scott Terra as young Matt Murdock, Jon Favreau as Franklin "Foggy" Nelson, Joe Pantoliano as Ben Urich, David Keith as Jack Murdock, Erick Avari as Nikolas Natchios

Director:Mark Steven Johnson

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.

Genres:Science fiction (emphasis on fiction), drama, action

Notes:There are two versions of the film; I'm reviewing the theatrical version here. I'm told the director's cut is better (it's also rated R). Images taken from Rotten Tomatoes.

Pros:Fair acting. Emotional moments that actually manage to be emotional. Bullseye.

Cons:Stretches your suspension of disbelief to ridiculous levels. The plot makes little sense. Bad costumes. Cheesy fight scenes.


After being blinded with toxic waste as a child, Matt Murdock's other senses hit superhuman levels. As an adult, he's a lawyer who occasionally breaks out the spandex to fight crime. And then he meets this beautiful woman who just might be a match for him (in more than one sense).

As I said above, this film will stretch your suspension of disbelief to an outrageous degree. I realize that most movies do, especially superhero films. But expecting me to find Matt's radar sight plausible is just a little too much. There are several factual errors as well.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Plot Devices I'm Sick Of

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about stuff I like and dislike seeing in my entertainment choices. Here are a few more things I wouldn't mind seeing less often.
                     

Bickering = Love
Made this myself.

Every couple fights at times. This one never stops. They eventually realize they yelled at each other so much because they were in love. Really though, who wants to be with someone you're constantly arguing with and just generally can't stand? At least find a guy you can be around without starting a fight every two minutes. Some would justify this by saying indifference, not hate, is the opposite of love. While they may have a point, others take it farther by suggesting if you hate someone, it means you actually care about them. Seriously? No. Just no.


Impractical Outfits for Heroines (This one isn't really a plot device, but who cares?) 
It's not exactly secret that most costumes for female action heroes are designed mainly to look good. The high heels, low necklines, and bared midriffs are evidence of that. If someone actually wore something like that in real life, she'd trip over her own feet and wind up with bad injuries. High time someone wear clothes that would actually work.

Instant Soulmates
This is the opposite of the argumentative pair above. In fairy tales and romantic comedies, two people will often fall madly in love overnight and then, after dealing with a witch (literal or not), live happily ever after. Because apparently, you can get to immediately know someone without being telepathic. This also happens fairly often in dramas and action movies.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:Iron Man

Image credit:Danny Choo's Flickr

Click here to see the review.


Let's face it; this is not the worst thing you've caught me doing.
-Not by a long shot.

  • Based on the dates given here and in Captain America, I'd guess Tony was born in the sixties or seventies. (Iron Man 3 confirmed this.)

    • Out of all the deleted scenes on the DVD, the only one I liked (i.e. the only one I might have included in the film) was called "Tony Comes Home." The rest were kind of lame.
                            
    Spoilers past here.

    Tuesday, November 05, 2013

    Movie Review:Iron Man

    Premise:After terrorists kidnap him and use his company's own weapons against him, irresponsible playboy billionaire Tony Stark builds a robotic suit.

    Cast:Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane, Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes, Paul Bettany as the voice of JARVIS, Shaun Toub as Ho Yinsen, Faran Tahir as Raza, Leslie Bibb as Christine Everhart, Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan


    Director:Jon Favreau


    MPAA Rating:PG-13 for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and brief suggestive content.


    Genres:Action, sci fi


    Notes:Images taken from IMP Awards and Rotten Tomatoes and belong to Marvel.


    Pros:A rather flawed yet still likable protagonist. Well-done action scenes. Looks good. Fair acting and characters. Good villain.


    Cons:Doesn't do all it could with the characters. Some dated pop culture references.


    Tony Stark couldn't have it better. He runs a successful weapons company, dates supermodels, owns an estate in Malibu and can afford just about anything. Things are just going great!

    (You know something bad's about to happen, don't you?)

    Sure enough, it seems some unsavory types would like a missile of their own. And Tony's just the guy they kidnap to build it. Shockingly, Stark's not too keen on letting them have one. But he still has material. And so, Iron Man is born.

    Saturday, November 02, 2013

    Important Things In Storytelling (To Me, At Least)

    Image credit:Rosenfeld Media's Flickr

    I managed to not post anything about Halloween this year. Oh, well. There's always next year. Anyways, we all have preferences when it comes to what we Watch Read And Play (WRAP). Here are some of mine.

    •  Good:Likeable characters. Can I feel sympathy for them? Do I want them to succeed in their goals? Would I care if they died (and not because I won't have to deal with them anymore)?
    • Bad:Annoying protagonist. Some heroes aren't so heroic, but I should still be able to like them most of time. Wanting to punch them is a bad sign. And if you're going to make him a jerk or an antihero, actually admit that he is one instead of pretending he's entirely justified.

      Tuesday, October 29, 2013

      Album Review:Fallen

      Artist:Evanescence

      Songwriters and composers:Ben Moody, Amy Lee, David Hodges, Rocky Gray, John LeCompt


      Genres:Rock, nu-metal, pop


      Notes:Album art taken from the official site.

      General thoughts:Having heard Evanescence was all about angsty rock (something I will never tire of), I decided to check it out. And sure enough, there is not a hopeful song to be found here. Soul-rending agony is the star, sung in Amy Lee's (mostly) good vocals.

      Three tracks are quieter and slower than the rest ("Helloand the two versions of "My Immortal"). Those are better when they don't immediately follow a louder song. The whole thing is emotional, kind of creepy (just look at the album art), and worth a listen.

      P.S. Before anyone mentions the whole Christian band controversy, I don't think Evanescence is one nor that they are anti-Christian.

      Saturday, October 26, 2013

      Artistic Disagreement 2

      All right, all right. I know I've already talked about this, but it bothers me enough to say some more. Why are people so sensitive about other people not liking the same entertainment?  If you haven't seen Awesome Movie X or if you disliked Great Film Y (or liked Unpopular Flick Z), you're an idiot with horrible tastes, or so some would have you believe.

      Whatever happened to "To each their own?"

      Believe it or not, opinions on movies, music, etc. are subjective. There is no "correct" opinion. Not everyone is going to think that Recent Superhero Film sucked or Rock Hit of the Week was any good. Acting like they should is pointless.

      Image credit:stillphototheater's deviantART
      You look like this when you do that.

      There are trillions upon trillions of movies, TV programs, internet videos, books, games, blogs, pictures, comics, and songs out there. More are being made as you read this. I (along with everyone else) simply don't have enough time to watch, read, play, or listen to them all. And I (along with everyone else) don't really want to, either. It's silly to hate someone for that.

      Saturday, October 19, 2013

      Decay and Mortality


      Original


      Everyone dies.

      This is a fact of life. And "everyone" includes you. But you already knew that.

      Something you may not have realized is how close you come to dying every day. Think about it. Do you know how many germs (some dangerous) are on every surface you touch? How many your immune system is fighting off every day? How about the number of reckless drivers you risk running into on your way home? Have you thought about what would happen if you tripped or fainted on a hard surface? What if the roof above you isn't stable? How do you know there isn't a serial killer hoping to make you his next victim? Are you sure that meal you're eating isn't poisoned or spoiled?

      Decay and Mortality


      Original


      Everyone dies.

      This is a fact of life. And "everyone" includes you. But you already knew that.

      Something you may not have realized is how close you come to dying every day. Think about it. Do you know how many germs (some dangerous) are on every surface you touch? How many your immune system is fighting off every day? How about the number of reckless drivers you risk running into on your way home? Have you thought about what would happen if you tripped or fainted on a hard surface? What if the roof above you isn't stable? How do you know there isn't a serial killer hoping to make you his next victim? Are you sure that meal you're eating isn't poisoned or spoiled?

      Tuesday, October 15, 2013

      Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia on Batman:Arkham Asylum

      This was a little hard, since much of what I thought up would work better when I get around to reviewing the sequel. Oh, and the quotes here are from Joker except where noted otherwise. (I can't help it; he got the good ones.) Click here to read my review.



      Come on, boys, he's just one man. One man dressed like a lunatic and armed to the teeth. (laughter) Go get him!
      -The Joker really isn't helpful when Batman is about to knock you out cold.


      • Victor Zsasz appears as an enemy in several challenge maps.


      Joker:Note to self:Need to order more henchmen. Good ones this time.
      -Ya think?


      • A few statues of Quincy Sharp have plaques that say "Sanity fighting the madness." Yeah, right.

      Saturday, October 12, 2013

      Game Review for Batman:Arkham Asylum

      Premise:The Joker breaks out of Arkham Asylum and takes over the island, leaving Batman to fight the escapees.

      Cast:Kevin Conroy as Batman and Thomas Wayne, Mark Hamil as the Joker, Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn, Wally Wingert as the Riddler, Kimberly Brooks as Oracle, Danny Jacobs as Victor Zsasz, Steven Blum as Killer Croc, Dino Andrade as Scarecrow, Tasia Valenza as Poison Ivy and Martha Wayne, Tom Kane as Commissioner James Gordon and Quincy Sharp, Fred Tatasciore as Bane, Cree Summer as Dr. Penelope Young, Duane R. Shepard Sr. as Aaron Cash


      Available On:Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC


      ESRB Rating:T for alcohol and tobacco references, blood, mild language, suggestive themes, and violence


      Genres:Action-adventure, stealth, beat-em-up


      Notes:I played the Game of the Year Edition. Images taken from GameSpot and belong to Warner Brothers.


      Pros:Gameplay is a lot of fun. Great voice acting for the most part. A story that doesn't suck. Good graphics. Plenty of cool stuff to unlock. You'll want to play it more than once.


      Cons:Once you've beaten the game, their isn't much to do. Challenge maps don't tell you which medals you've earned. A little of the voice acting is poor. Frustrating boss battles.




       So you've just taken Joker back to Arkham. Again. And now he's escaping for, what, the third time this week? But this time, he's taking over the island, letting everybody loose, and now Batman (who else?) has to stop them.

      Saturday, September 28, 2013

      What I've Done Lately

      1. Wrote this so I'll have something to publish.
      2. Found out none of my posts have allowed comments. I've since fixed that.
      3. Watched a lot of YouTube videos. Actually, I got an account. But no channel. (Update:I have one now.)
      4. Ate lunch at Red Lobster. In case you were wondering, it was garlic shrimp.
      5. Watched the pilot for Agents of S.H.E.L.D. I may add a review of the show later. (Update:That review has been published.)
      6. Made a lot of not-yet-ready-to-publish reviews. I'm still working on them, and trying to figure out what's fair use versus what could be considered a copyright violation.
      7. Decided to use Facebook less often every day. I still have to go on at least once a day for the games I play.
      8. Listened to Skillet and Evanescence. A few other artists made it in there, too.
      9. Reverted one of my published posts to a draft because I didn't like how it was showing up.
      10. Unreverted it when I figured out how to put it back the way I wanted it.

      Saturday, September 21, 2013

      Reasons I Never Want to Be a Celebrity

      Ah, stardom.

      • No privacy:Your failing marriage? All over every gossip magazine and website there is. Your address? Easily Google-able. Your coffee run? Busy being photographed. Heck, there are probably people going through your garbage (and selling it on eBay).
      • Fickle fanbases:Yesterday, they were singing your praises. Today, they're insulting you. And thanks to the aforementioned lack of privacy, they can get rather personal.
      • Bad relationships:When was the last time you heard about a celebrity wedding that lasted longer than a couple years, if that? Every romantic relationship you form seems to just fall apart. And then we have....
      • Obsessed fans:I'm referring to the ones that can also be called stalkers. These are the people who know every detail they can find about you, follow you home, have boards (physical or digital) full of your pictures, and send death threats to your girlfriend.

      Saturday, September 14, 2013

      How to Tell If a Band is a Christian Band

      There are lots of artists with lyrics that make you wonder whether or not they care about Jesus. And many say they don't want to be put in a box by calling themselves a Christian band. Here's some help.

      1. Are the band members Christian? If the answer is no, you can just stop reading now.
      2. Do they market to Christians? There are several bands that don't want to be labelled "Christian", but don't have a problem marketing their music to that demographic. If they don't do this at all, then there's a good reason for the lack of a label.

      Saturday, August 31, 2013

      Why Are People Nastier On The Internet?

      Here are some theories I've come up with. (Note:I do not claim to be an expert.)

      • The anonymity:What would you do if nobody could tell who you were? Many people seem to answer that by acting like jerks. If I meet you in real life, I can guess your age, gender, mood, height, location, etc. Online, I have no proof, just your word. And since you could be anyone, anywhere, all I can do is shoot back a sarcastic reply.
      • They're talking to just a screen:At least, that's how many seem to act. Some think it's because you feel less empathy when you can't see the person. It might also have something to do with the fact that you can't punch someone in an email.

      Saturday, August 17, 2013

      Artistic Disagreement 1

      Edited 10/15/2016 to censor ableist langauge.
       
      Here's something that has been bugging me recently. When I read reviews for movies or music or whatever else, there's someone who says something to the effect of  "whoever likes this is a m*ron" or "if you don't like this, then I don't want to know you."

      So what you're saying is if someone disagrees with your opinion on this, they're wrong and what's more, they're st*pid. Why? We aren't talking about some big religious or moral issue. In real life, would you really end a friendship because they didn't happen to like your favorite movie?

      I admit I do have some problems with this. When I see dislikes on YouTube for a song I enjoy, I have to remind myself those people have a right to not love this. Because sooner or later, I'll end up being the one who decides I'd rather hear something else.