Dalton’s Time Shift Trilogy Gets Fantastic With The Black Tempest.

TBT-Cover-683x1024Hey Readers,

You may recall last year that I did a review of author Ryan Dalton’s debut novel The Year of Lightning, which also happens to be the first of his Time Shift trilogy. Well, yours truly has had an early chance to read book two, The Black Tempest, and things get fantastic.

If you read my previous review, I was hesitant to read The Year of Lightning, considering it’s Young Adult fiction, a genre I swore off after Twilight and Hunger Games. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say up front that I was equally hesitant to begin reading The Black Tempest, considering it’s a sequel.

Despite several sequels not living up to my expectations over the years, I haven’t sworn off sequels. I’ve just become wary of them, as few live up to the expectations I have. However,  plenty of authors have had good sequels, and now I can say that Ryan Dalton is one of them. Continue reading “Dalton’s Time Shift Trilogy Gets Fantastic With The Black Tempest.” »

Was Logan Just For Fans?

loganHey Readers,

While the blog has been a bit overtaken by Disney posts in the last week I want to take a moment to talk about a different beauty and a different beast… Logan. Yep, the movie all about Wolverine when he’s old. I watched it this past weekend, and while I don’t have a lot of complaints, it left me wanting more.

I wonder if I’d feel that way if I were just a casual viewer, instead of a fangirl and comic reader with more background and high expectations.

 

Warning, spoilers below! Continue reading “Was Logan Just For Fans?” »

Beauty and the Beast (2017) Spoiler-Filled Feelings Dump

batb1A few days ago I re-watched the animated Beauty and the Beast, and now I’ve seen the new movie twice, as well as listened to the soundtrack an embarrassing number of times. My last post was my spoiler-free first impressions after seeing the movie at an early screening. Now that it’s out, this review is basically a spoiler-filled feelings dump. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet and you care about spoilers, turn back now. I’m not really sure how to organize this, so I’m just going to list stuff and talk about it. Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast (2017) Spoiler-Filled Feelings Dump” »

Catching Beth Cato at the Tucson Festival of Books and thoughts on Breath of Earth

IMG_20170312_1550525Hi Readers,

This post falls hard into that category of being long overdue, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to post it! In 2015, at Phoenix Comicon, I had the chance to meet and speak with steampunk author Beth Cato. Then, in 2016 , back at the con,  we had a chance to revisit her Clockwork Dagger duology, and to discuss one of her latest books, Breath of Earth, which came out in August 2016. Finally, after half a year of teaching, I caught Beth again at the Tucson Festival of Books to tell her how much I loved Breath of Earth, not just for its awesome steampunk setting, but also for its incredibly empowering characters.  Continue reading “Catching Beth Cato at the Tucson Festival of Books and thoughts on Breath of Earth” »

Beauty and the Beast (2017): Spoiler-Free First Impressions

batb06bWhen Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991, I was five years old. It’s my favorite Disney animated movie, and Belle has been my favorite Disney princess for basically my whole life. About two years ago, when I heard that Disney was making a live action version, I was both excited and nervous. It was extremely important to me that it do justice to the original, even if it could never quite measure up to it.

I saw the new Beauty and the Beast on March 6th, eleven days before its official release, at a special screening at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX in Hollywood. My expectations were high, but I was still completely blown away by how good it was. All of the worries I had were completely unfounded. The movie is as close to perfect as I could have ever hoped for. I teared up throughout the movie, not because it was sad, but because I was so happy about how amazing and beautiful it was. It did justice to the original, and then some. Continue reading “Beauty and the Beast (2017): Spoiler-Free First Impressions” »

Modern Thoughts on Disney’s Classic Beauty and the Beast

BeautybeastdisneyHey Readers,

While I’ve got a forthcoming review of the new live action Beauty and the Beast; I couldn’t help think about all that’s been said about the animated classic, particularly in regards to the feminist outlook that Belle was a poor role-model for girls and young women. Now here is one of several articles written based on studies of this film over the years and the message that some say it sends to young girls, regarding the normalization of abuse. I on the other hand have a much different look at the movie.

The article above links to a video at the bottom of this post, and it’s worth a watch, even if I disagree with it. Because if I can put it bluntly, I don’t think the movie sends what the video calls a “dangerous message”. Continue reading “Modern Thoughts on Disney’s Classic Beauty and the Beast” »

All My Thoughts After Arrival

arrival-filming-locations-poster-e1485131647103Hey Readers,

With the Oscars only a few days away it seemed like a good time to offer up some thoughts on one of 2016’s films, that’s nominated for Best Picture, Arrival. Now a lot of people seemed to have mixed (and some confused) feelings after watching Arrival, but I’m definitely in the minority of viewers who thoroughly enjoyed it. Warning, spoilers below.

Now I typically try and leave my posts spoiler free, but considering the level of confusion some viewers had, and the level of layers to the plot, I just don’t know a way of doing this without explaining more than I’d rather. Some may say that I’ve made the wrong choice by giving away unwanted information, but after watching the movie it’s clear that sometimes the “wrong choice” by someone else’s definition is still the best, or right choice to make. Additionally, the following is in no particular order, I’ll just refer to it as non-linear blogging.

arrival-1391_1

Alright, if you’re reading past this point, spoilers are essentially in your predestined future.

In Arrival the setting is modern day, or so we think. But in reality it’s all a flashback with flashforwards (clearly the LOST fan in me is what loved this movie so much), and they’re interspersed in ways that by the end of the film, it really doesn’t matter if we’re looking at the past, present or future. And it didn’t really matter that there were aliens, or time travel, or a character with the ability to see bits of the future. What mattered is how well the story was told.

arrival.0Amy Addams’ character was one that I immediately related to, despite not being a communication expert, or a mother. It was probably because watching her explain how challenging it can be to break down a simple message like “What is your purpose?” felt fantastically similar to how I’ve explained to others how teaching is not just about giving information, it’s making sure that information is understood, and now that I teach children with communication challenges it felt like she was speaking my language when she described needing not just verbal communication, but pictures, words and examples.

Communication was at the heart of the film. It seems like such an easy concept, especially when the main characters (unless you count the aliens) all speak the same language. And yet, natural misunderstanding and conflicting objectives all move the plot forward (or backward… considering the focus on non-linear time)

Daughter-500Speaking of non-linear time, it’s impossible to talk about Arrival without talking about Dr. Banks’ daughter Hannah. It’s beautiful to think about all the ways that people can come together and become parents (even without you know… temporary alien invasions). Now, what was “the wrong choice” that she refers to when speaking with her daughter Hannah?

For me, it was clear that because she was responding to her daughter’s question about why her father (Ian) left, that the “wrong choice” was telling Ian that their daughter would die of incurable disease, and he would have rather been left in the dark. Others have speculated that the “wrong choice” was to have Hannah at all, knowing that she would die. Either way, the film was far more about the human condition than about aliens.

400px-Arrival_103In terms of overall plot, the disappointing or “wrong” choices that we observe the government officials making (such as refusing to communicate, or automatically assuming that an earth-ending attack was inevitable) serve to make viewers think about not only our current geopolitical climate, but our own assumptions and knee-jerk reactions to things. After all, there are actually few choices that are made (such as ceasing communication when you think a competitor has un-shared and dangerous knowledge) that I would consider unreasonable, even if I disagreed with them.

In terms of character development, viewers are asked to question not only what constitutes as a wrong choice, but the reasons why they’re made. If we would make the same choices, even if we know the outcome. Personally, I don’t know the answer, but I love movies that make people think, rather than just watch.

arrival-amy-adamsFinally, a lot of viewers drew comparisons to 2014’s Interstellar (another movie I loved), and the obvious connections would be that they’re both high stakes sci-fi with non-linear or paradoxical timelines. But I think what both of them had, that matters even more, is the human side of things.

arrival-still-590x245I loved that Arrival had the best pieces of sci-fi without losing the story in the scenery.

Sure the effects were realistic and I have no complaints about them, but too many movies focus on the big screen experience and forget the emotional experience.maxresdefault

Arrival had it all. Whether that “all” is enough for a Best Picture win this weekend remains to be seen… unless you can see the future. If you can, don’t tell me who wins I’d rather be surprised.

What were your thoughts about the movie?

Let us know in the comments.