but you can see the positive effect familiarity has on filming

Don’t Leave Me Hanging

when they lean forward a fraction as if to kiss the other person, then realize they shouldn’t and pull back to stop themselves” from this prompt list by @andrastesass

Pairing: Peter Parker x Reader

Warnings: None. (okay maybe like 3 bad words)

Word Count: 1, 187

Summary: Reader gets a visit from friendly neighborhood hero and leaves him hanging.


A/N: SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING IS OUT!!! As you can probably tell I am high-key excited.


Originally posted by fyeahmarvel


You are at your locker, getting your books for your last class of the day when you feel an arm wrap around your waist from behind and a light kiss being pressed to your temple. You smile to yourself as you turn around in his arms to face your boyfriend, Peter Parker. You push up on your tip toes to give him a short but sweet kiss on his soft lips- short because there are a lot of people in the hallway and you are not one for PDA.

“I’ll see you after class?” You smile, excited that you’re finally going to go on a date after only seeing each other at school for the past few weeks. He stares at you blankly, not seeming to have the slightest clue to what you’re referring to. “For our date…”

“Oh shit…”

Keep reading

Epic Movie (Re)Watch #112 - The Prince of Egypt

Originally posted by dreamworksmoments

Spoilers Below

Have I seen it before: Yes

Did I like it then: Yes.

Do I remember it: Yes.

Did I see it in theaters: No.

Format: DVD

1) The head of Jeffrey Katzenberg, the head of Dreamworks animation at the time and one of the former big wigs at Disney, had been pitching an adaptation of Moses’ story from Exodus to Disney far before he started Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg. During an early meeting of Dreamworks Katzenberg recalls that Spielberg looked at him during the meeting and said, “You ought to do The Ten Commandments.”

2) I think the opening disclaimer is a nice touch.

“The motion picture you are about to see is an adaptation of the Exodus story. While artistic and historical license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Moses can be found in the book of Exodus.”

3) Music plays an incredibly important role in this film, mostly for setting its grand storytelling and dark tone. This is clearly apparent from the opening song “Deliver Us” which depicts the suffering of the Hebrew people in Egypt and also the hope of Moses.

Originally posted by holden-caulfieldlings

4) This film also does an excellent job of immediately establishing the brotherly relationship between Moses and Ramses. It’s fun and honest, which makes the following events all the more heartbreaking.

Originally posted by somehow-you-will

5) Val Kilmer is quite effective in the role of Moses, being able to provide a healthy balance of his youthful joviality and privilege early on and the wisdom that would come to define the character later.

6) This film has three noteworthy actors who have very little lines. The first two of these are Patrick Stewart as Pharaoh Seti and Helen Mirren as The Queen.

Originally posted by ofallingstar

Neither of them sing, so their lines are few and unfortunately Mirren feels wasted in the part (less of a comment on her acting, which is top notch as usual, and more from the lack of screen time). Stewart, however, gives Seti some depth. We see him as father and ruler, both roles where he cares about his people, but also murderer of Hebrew babies which gives him a sinister feel.

7) Moses could have been painted as a spoiled brat while acting as prince of Egypt, but he takes responsibility for his actions and mistakes while also trying to shield Ramses from some of their father’s heavy expectations.

8) Tzipporah is established as fierce as heck from the get go.

Originally posted by spypartygifs-blog

Kept as a foreign slave in her first scene, she still fights back with great vigor despite being in a room who don’t care if she dies by the hands of the pharaoh. Michelle Pfeiffer imparts some of the strength she brought to Catwoman into the part and it’s a wonderful take on the biblical figure.

9) Sandra Bullock may have more lines than Helen Mirren, Patrick Stewart, and (later) Danny Glover, but for some reason I’m always wanting more of her and her character Miriam by the time the film ends. I like what I see, I just wish there were more of her in the film (I think).

Originally posted by holden-caulfieldlings

10) For some reason I don’t feel the way about her brother Aaron, who is voiced wonderfully by Jeff Goldblum. That may be because we see Aaron develop from non-believer to believer over the course of the film (wheres Miriam is consistently good and believing in Moses) and Jeff Goldblum plays both the doubter and the supporter well.

Originally posted by radioactivelizzy

11) Continuing with the excellent music in this film, “All I Ever Wanted,” carries with it that sense of grandeur as well as the heartbreak of Moses denying his true heritage.

12) Moses’ nightmare is one of the most memorable non-musical sequences out of the film (not THE most memorable but one of them), and this is done both through the unique hieroglyphic art style and the lack of dialogue. It is true visual storytelling.

13) Remember how I said Tzipporah is fierce as heck? Well, that continues throughout the film when she decides to drop Moses into a well as a bit of payback for being a prince of Egypt (although she does help him out because he helped her escape the palace).

14) Danny Glover is the third actor who doesn’t have enough lines. He plays the role of Jethro, a character with about ten spoken lines (more or less) and then the rest of his role is in song. And Danny Glover doesn’t sing the song.

Originally posted by holden-caulfieldlings

In the little dialogue Glover does give though, he is able to establish Jethro as a man who’s heart is as big as his stature. I just wish we’d heard more of him.

15) I mentioned in The Road to El Dorado the effectiveness of using a song to cover large gaps of time. This film is no different, initial with Jethro’s song “Through Heavens Eyes.” It’s a rousing and hopeful number which talks of the Hebrew god and how we can only know our worth when trying to look through (one guess what I’m going to say next) heaven’s eyes. In that time we cover Moses learning what a free life is from these people, his growing humility, and his blossoming relationship with Tzipporah (and eventual marriage).

Originally posted by holden-caulfieldlings

16) The Burning Bush.

Val Kilmer provides the voice of god in this film, although that wasn’t the initial plan. Originally all the actors in the film were going to voice god at the same time, and were told to whisper so they wouldn’t overpower each other. When the time came to record Kilmer’s lines, they realized someone had to speak louder. It was a happy realization, as the filmmakers later noted that god usually speaks to us as the little voice in our own heads. And it parallels the Cecil B. Demille version of The Ten Commandments where it is said (although I don’t think confirmed) that Charlton Heston also provided the voice of god while also playing Moses.

17) Moses telling Tzipporah about his encounter with the burning bush is another fine example of how filmmaking is primarily a VISUAL medium. We don’t hear a word they saw to each other, but we see him talking and we see her reaction and we know EXACTLY what is happening.

Originally posted by quaslmodo

18) Ralph Fiennes performance as Ramses is at its best when Ramses becomes villainous and conceited. Hmm, Ralph Fiennes playing a villainous and conceited villain. Sounds familiar…

Originally posted by yerr-a-wizard-harry

19) Playing with the Big Boys is the only real villain song in this film.

Performed by the evil lackeys Hotep and Huy (who are voiced wonderfully by Steve Martin and Martin Short respectively), the song shows off just how dark things in the Egypt really are and how tricky these two “magicians” are. Martin and Short breathe wonderful life and evil fun into the song, and even recorded their dialogue together. And the scenes uses wonderful use of darkness and shadows to make us feel like Moses is in over his head. Which in a way, he is. But the film wouldn’t be interesting if things were easy for the protagonist.

20) The growing conflict between Moses and Ramses is heartbreaking and I give credit to all those involved in this film for that. The directors, the writers, the animators, Val Kilmer & Ralph Fiennes, everyone. We see them go from the best of friends to archenemies and neither of them wants to be in that position. But they are, and they each think they’re doing what is best for their people. It hurts a lot to watch.

21) “The Plagues” is also a great example of how this film condenses what could have been a massive chunk of time into a little two-and-a-half minute song.

It also does not make light of the plagues either. The plagues were horrible. True wrath of god type stuff that ruined people’s lives. And this song is an epic but dark representation of just what those were like while also developing the conflict between Moses and Ramses.

22) I’m not as familiar with my biblical readings as maybe I should be, but I like that this film depicts Moses reaching out to Ramses one last time before he releases the final plague. It is one final reminder that they are or, more appropriately, were brothers. And they almost seem to understand each other, to make peace. But they don’t. Meaning the final and most awful plague is released.

23) I don’t want to get into my own theological beliefs or philosophies, but I am always sickened about the death of the first borns of Egypt.

The scene is animated beautifully but the entire thing is heartbreaking. The idea of a god who will take away the lives of children just to get what he wants, even though he later claims that we are all his children, just never sits right with me. I just…it sickens me. That’s all I can say. It sickens me.

24) “When You Believe” is probably THE song from this film. It won the Oscar for best original song that year, beating out “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith. It is the perfect representation of the power of hope and belief which is the central theme of this film. Michelle Pfeiffer and Sally Dworsky (along with the film’s chorus) do an excellent job performing the song written by Stephen Schwartz, but the pop version performed by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey is just as good.

Originally posted by holden-caulfieldlings

25) I think the most memorable part of this film has to be the parting of the Red Seas. And it could just be for this image alone:

Originally posted by neverlandpixy

That is such a powerful image which really gets across the wonder of what we’re seeing. A representation of the scene which few if any adaptations of the Exodus story have ever lived up to and which I think only animation can bring to life so wonderfully.

26) After the Red Sea crashes down and Ramses is washed away, we see Moses looking off in the distance and hear Ramses screaming, “MOSES!” The filmmakers have suggested that this may be in Moses’ head and that Ramses might actually be dead. I like that idea. It shows Moses still has hope for his brother.

27) And since this is an adaptation of Exodus, of course it has to involve the Ten Commandments in some way. I’m just glad that it’s the last shot of the film. A nice way of ending the story.

It makes sense to end a family film there, as opposed to Moses finding his people worshipping a false idol (a golden cow, I think) and smashing the tablet before God destroys the idol and forces his people to wander the desert for 40 years to kill off the rebellious generation. Oh, and Moses didn’t get to go into the promised land.

(GIF originally posted by @rocktheholygrail)

What’s not family friendly about that?


The Prince of Egypt is a great animated film who’s popularity has unfortunately lost steam in recent years. It represents its story well without beating you over the head with the religion, the animation and music are gorgeous, and the voice acting is top notch (if a little wasted at times). I highly recommend you see it.

           CLAIRSENTIENCE/EMPATHIC (Intuitive Feeling)

                      MASTERPOST & HELPFUL INFO HERE <–

Clairsentience is also known as ’Clear Feeling’ or ’Clear Sensing’ and is very closely linked with the gift of Empathy (they’re both basically the same thing, which is why I’ve decided to group them together.)  See, Empathy and Clairsentience are within the same spectrum of gifts that are based on feeling/sensing the emotions and energies of the world around us. But, Clairsentience is a more intense version of Empathy which takes on a wider range of sensitivities. 

Where an Empath has the ability to sense and feel emotions of people, animals or objects, a Clairsentient person is able to do all of that as well as physically feel energy fields around them, including a person’s aura and voice. So while the two are similar and it is very likely that an Empath can develop a greater Clairsentient gift, it strongly relies on the drive and trust in an individual’s own intuition to tap into fully. We have to trust that what we are feeling is true and act accordingly; it’s so important to remember that we cannot take on and help everyone either. Sometimes the best we can do is protect our own energy, it’s not being selfish, it’s called being SAFE.

In the beginning, you may find that it can be very challenging to understand, because sometimes you will feel things but, you don’t know where it’s coming from or why it’s coming to you. It can be strange at times because you may even feel physical sensations like tickling, goosebumps or weird pressure. Imagery and words DO have an effect on the body so, it may even help to cut back on some of the crazy shows and become more aware of how you speak. It’s important to understand that your words are spells and they should always be used wisely. You may even find now that you can’t watch gore-type movies for example, because they feel physical pain that you feel. Ugh, I know that now just thinking about the ORIGINAL Hostel movie (the LAST gore film I ever watched, legit) I can feel my stomach turn and I get a weird lumpy feeling in my throat. Never again, nope. 

Anyways, sometimes information or specific details will pop into your mind and they will have come out of the blue, literally from nowhere. You will generally feel the emotions and energy of people and the environment around you. The more you develop this gift, you will find that you will have a good sense of what someone is thinking. You might feel exactly what another person around you is feeling, their happiness, sadness and even aggression. You may feel just kind of heavy or off when you meet a new person who ends up being more narcissistic than anything. You may get anxious for no reason or feel random pent up emotions that suddenly burst out like a popped balloon without warning. But, most of all you will just be able to sense the presence of another being before you see them, you’ll just know when someone is having the best or the worst day of their life. Trusting your intuition will greatly help you to know whether you should put your energy and trust into a situation or a person. 

So, how do you know that it’s not ‘all in your head’? Well, we test it! Have you had experiences of overwhelming emotions or energy from people animals, or for just no freaking reason at all? Does it expand to objects and places too? Have you ever felt emotionally attached to someone, even at a distance and can easily call on them in dreams, random thoughts or flashes of insight? Maybe you have a pattern of people not understanding or saying that you are just being “too sensitive” or have a very “vivid imagination”. Are you able to understand energy by words and body language by easily picking up on small cues that others don’t? Perhaps you can sense the presence of spirits, or are aware of the strong energy that will suddenly surround you. Are you highly sensitive to your surroundings to the point where they can put a damper on your emotions or do large crowds make you physically feel ill and call for a serious recharge after? If any of these situations sound familiar, it’s very possible you are an Empath with the ability to tap into clairsentience on a deeper level.

A fun activity you could try is to ask a friend to show you a picture of somebody they know well (obviously make sure you don’t know the person too lol) and then look into the person’s eyes and focus on their energy. Ask yourself how they must have felt at the moment of the photo being taken? What this individual is like as a person? Would you trust the person? Is there anything else the person’s eyes are revealing or rather hiding? After a few minutes of gaining insight, check with your friend to see how accurate you were! Your first time you may only get basic feelings like a burst of positivity or negativity but, the more you practice, the more you will begin to feel, understand and see the opportunities that this beautiful gift has in store for you.

                               (video used in .Gif here)

*This concludes the ‘CLAIR’ posts. If you have missed any and want to read more, click the link at the top of this post. Have any areas you would like me to cover? Shoot me an ask for in-depth write-ups!

Quan Zhi Gao Shou

People are calling Quan Zhi Gao Shou the future of anime and superior to Japanese producer led animation but, my dudes, it’s just the same level yo.  Y’all focusing so much on the pretty fight scenes that you’re ignoring the massive budget and time cuts elsewhere: awkward 3d models for bg characters, NUMEROUS reused bits of animation within the fights, flipped animation, wide shots with FX and smoke to cover up what would otherwise have to be animated, good ol gainax mouth hiding, overuse of still shots for a quarter second longer than is appropriate, etc.  This does not make Quan Zhi Gao Shou inferior to Japanese anime; it’s just more of the same tricks with prettier snippets of fight animation backed by its obvious corporate backers. 

There’s a reason this is one of the few anime that can have an uncensored McDonald’s logo: they literally advertise McDonalds’ food, call it delicious in dialogue, and make shilling for McDonald’s a “desirable character” intro.  The plot has actually stopped to advertise McDonalds.  It’s being done very well and seems in character as it’s written, but you have to be blind to not realise that these corporate sponsorships (including from drink makers and other entertainment companies) are what’s allowing the level of animation you admire.  The cans that are left blank are cans that have ad space not yet paid for.  Yes, this is indeed the future of anime.  Just in a different way.
(yeah i know japanese anime has started doing this too)

However, Quan Zhi Gao Shou is doing one thing much better than anime I have watched recently: character writing.  You can still see the old tropes in it, but each character trope is softened by “reality,” thereby bringing it back closer to the realistic character depictions that started each trope way back in the day.  Do we have an MC who is an omnipotent pretentious ass? Hoo boy yes we do, but he’s shown on screen to have earned his skill as a 25 year old professional with 10 years of experience in his job instead of a miracle teenager.  Do we have a red haired tsundere who is sharp with the MC?  Yeah, but she’s sharp with him because he’s a pretentious ass, and she’s giving him a job and a place to stay so he could maybe show her a little more respect plus attention to her feelings.  None of which are romantic.  Do we have a kawaii quiet girl?  Indeed, but she’s not crushing on the MC at all and is driven by her own search for challenge in combat and life instead of being a wallflower.  Do we have an idiot brawler boy?  Yes and he is good and perfect and you will not bad mouth my son.  Do we have a girl next door type with long hair and a yamato nadeshiko grace?  Yes, there is a girl fitting that trope, in being the oldest female companion of the MC, but she’s a fellow professional who didn’t try to date him and whose skills he calls on with the shared bond of friendship and years fighting together.  Do we have a calm and calculating nemesis who has a power limiter on otherwise he’d be too awesome?  We have one, and he’s being fleshed out as a man who has sacrificed himself for his teammates, and he’s opposing the MC not for his own personal gain and glory, but to help his team and to rekindle his suppressed sense of battle style and joy in combat.  Do we have a god damn rookie hunter?  Yep, more than one, and one of them is in the middle of a redemption arc which is super rare for that character type.

Mmm, that character development.  Mmm, that main character who has finished puberty and has an adult life.  Mmm, that worldbuilding that allows so many little tropes and even advertising to be believable in context.  MMM, that lack of a harem thus allowing female characters to be humans.  This is what Japan needs to take a good long stare at.  Free yourself from tropes or break them.  Think hard about your worldbuilding so that you can explain each character’s actions without an asspull and so that the viewer is immersed without asking too many questions because you’ve already answered them.  Try not to do it with so much sideline coach babble and onscreen text explanations like Quan Zhi Gao Shou does, but we’ll start where we can.  I hate to be saying this, but even Quan Zhi Gao Shou’s in-character McDonalds advertisements enhance its world since they come in the context of quickly snagged unhealthy gamer fuel or corporate sponsorships aimed for by characters to supplement their income.  (sort of like tiger & bunny)

Back to ragging on Quan Zhi Gao Shou though: it suffers from an editing style common to many mainland Chinese films since 2005 or so, where characters speak very fast and the cuts move likewise.  This tapered off significantly after episode 6, allowing for more still shots (usually in order to save on animation though) but I can still feel this directorial influence.  It takes a little getting used to if you’re more acclimated to Japanese or Hong Kong editing, or even if you’re accustomed to the equally fast paced and jarring dialogue/cuts pace of American output which is yet different in exact style.  I’d say that fast American editing is influenced by actual film trailers and advertisements, whereas mainland Chinese editing is influenced by Hong Kong mo lei tau slapstick.  They’re both trying to pack a lot of content into small packages, but mo lei tau has always had more of a stream of consciousness feel to its joke pace which is carried into these new editing styles.  I’m not an editing expert, mind you; this is just me as a layman analysing.  Chinese fast editing makes me want to take a hold of a sleeve, carefully remove a hand from its copy of Maya, and gently say “please, calm down, your effects are pretty and I want to hear your story but I also want to rest in emotional moments to allow them to impact me.”  American fast editing makes me want to take a hold of a sleeve, body slam the editor, and shout “STOP IT. PUT THESE SHOTS IN ORDER.” while stealing their palette of film filters forevermore before the whip crack from Johnny Test can hurt me again.  (johnny test is a canadian show btw but it still suffers from horrible editing)

Also I’d prefer Quan Zhi Gao Shou dubbed into Cantonese because then I could more or less follow it without subtitles taking up too much of the screen.  My Mandarin is terrible.  (wow watch me ask for the moon right lol) Chinese is not a language; it’s a language family thx.  I’m aware that this Cantonese preference is 100% due to me growing up hearing it.  Humans tend to prefer the familiar and I guess I’m a scrub.  At least I’m not asking for it to be dubbed into Superior Harmonious Japanese Ohhhh like so many weirdos in the comments section do though… chill, y’all: it’s a Chinese anime so it’s going to be in Mandarin…i s2g…

So all in all, I give a positive rating to Quan Zhi Gao Shou!  It has me wanting to see the MC and his companions succeed.  None of the characters annoy me.  This is rare.  If you ragged on SAO or Familia Myth in the past, give Quan Zhi Gao Shou a try to see an MMO setting done in a mature manner and a modern context.  If you don’t like anime based on games, you’ll want to give Quan Zhi Gao Shou a pass though, as gaming knowledge and the pro e-games corporate world are integral to its plot.  But yeah: pleasantly surprised.

Kiss the Girl

Originally posted by peterparkerneverland

A/N: Hey! This is my first fanfic that I’ve ever posted, really, so I hope you guys like it! If you do, and you think of a prompt, please send it! Me and Katy need prompts! Anyways, so this fanfic is inspired by Disney’s The Little Mermaid “Kiss the Girl”, which I do not own, or have any other rights to other than I thought of this idea. Hope you like it!

AND FOR ALL MY DISNEY FANS PULL UP KISS THE GIRL ON YOUTUBE AND START IT WHEN THE ASTERISK APPEARS IN THE FIC. 


Just another normal day at the Avenger’s compound. Discounting, of course, that the Avengers were anything but normal to normal people. But, it was normal for you. You sat on the couch inside the living room, next to the kitchen, reading a book. It was trashy romance, but you hadn’t been able to find your Harry Potter books earlier, so you just went with this one. Nevertheless, it was the optimal place to read. You were right next to the kitchen, stocked full of your favorite snacks, courtesy of Steve, who was very fond of you. Also, if you got bored, there was a TV with an excellent wifi connection, and Netflix. But your favorite part of this particular seat is that you had a perfect view into your lab. Well, it had been yours, but then Bruce had been teaching you about gamma waves, you decided it would be a good idea to steal some of the beta ray emitters from his lab, and let’s just say, it got into the food, and you were grounded from your lab for a month. At the end of your unbearable punishment, Tony added a new lab for you, with all new gadgets and clean boxes. The clean boxes were Nat’s idea. She had a habit of pouncing on you while you were concentrated on something else. She called it a training technique. You called it lots and lots of acid burns. Yours had been a great lab, but it was Peter’s now. Your best friend, your crush of forever, never had had the feelings returned, must I continue? Right now, he was working on a stronger web formula. That morning, you had been helping him, but you’re not the most graceful person. Needless to say, the whole team had to help unplaster Peter from the wall multiple times until Bucky told you to take a break from testing the web shooters. You smiled at the memory unembarrassed. You can be a very good fighter; the adrenaline has a very good effect on your clumsiness. Outside the battlefield, however, you are known as possibly the droppiest, trippiest, unstablest person ever.

“Underoos, pay attention.” Tony laughed at Peter staring at you through the glass of the lab.

“Oh, uh s-sorry Mr.Stark. I was just a…” Peter stammered. You had twisted onto your stomach to read your book more comfortably, and was now biting your lips and running your fingers through your hair. Basically, you looked very nerdy, and to Peter, it was very cute.

“Why haven’t you asked her out yet?” Tony loved teasing him, but he had also caught a matchmaker obsession from Nat. He twirled from the microscope to face Peter, who was bright red, and stammering. Finally, he made out a sentence squirming under Tony’s impish grin.

“Well, she’s never… really liked me like that… and she’s my best friend… I’m also just prone to wrecking everything.”

“Actually, she wouldn’t shut up about how perfect you were around everyone until about last year, when you almost caught one of her little speeches about the perfect shade of your chocolate brown eyes.” Tony said, imitating a much younger and more naive you. “Plus, last time I checked, the only one who is constantly prone to breaking things around here is Y/N.” Peter was silent, his mouth hanging open. He had always thought his feelings about you were unreturned. Turns out, you’re both oblivious.

Tony had diverted his attention to his phone, and was sending out a special Avengers Assemble alert labeled ‘Operation Little Mermaid”. Mysteriously, you and Peter were absent from the alert’s recipients. Downstairs, Steve and Bucky stopped fighting. Bruce looked up from his laptop, and took his reading glasses off. Nat smiled and slowly got off her bed, swinging her hips as she walked out the door. Clint hurriedly said goodbye to his kids on Skype and promised he would call back in an hour. Wanda closed one of your Harry Potter books that she had been reading, and used her powers to move it back into it’s hiding spot. Sam turned off Netflix, and smiled that smile you know too well. Back upstairs, Peter still had no idea what was coming for him.

“Want some advice, kid?” Tony said, only half-managing to keep his tone and expression serious. Remotely, he changed the glass to one-sided. If you hadn’t been too deeply in your book, you would have noticed the glass had gone foggy, hiding your view of Peter and the rest of the lab. He, however, still had a stunningly clear view of you. The team filed in silently from the other lab door. Peter jumped when he saw them all there, and started getting very nervous.

*DISNEY NERDS OR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO HEAR THE MELODY, START YOUR MUSIC

“Move over. Move your big feathers. I can’t see anything!” Natasha poked Sam in the back. He still had his Falcon pack engaged, on purpose. Peter was too confused to say anything.

“Nothing’s happening!” Sam said all sing-songy.

“5 years of being best friends-” Clint started.

“And that boy ain’t puckered up once.” Bucky finished.

“Alright,” said Steve grinning wickedly. “This calls for some vocal, romantic stimulation. Stand back.” he started singing, croaking, really. Very off tune. Tony pushed him lightly back from the center of the lab.

“Oh, I’m surrounded by amateurs. You want something done, you’ve got to do it yourself.” He activated F.R.I.D.A.Y., who said very curtly, “Yes, Mr. Stark?”

“First, F.R.I.D.A.Y. , we’ve got to create… the mood. Percussion, strings, and winds please.” A very familiar Disney tune started playing on the lab stereo. Now, you loved Disney, and therefore, Peter had seen every princess movie at least 3 times. Notably, Ariel was your favorite, and Peter suddenly knew where this was heading.

“Mr. Stark, I really…” he started.

“Uh, no. Not accepting comments right now. And now, words.” Tony started singing, the other team members practically ripping at the seams trying to contain their giggles.

There, you see her

Sitting there across the way

She don’t got a lot to say, but there’s something about her

And you don’t know why, but you’re dying to try

You wanna… Kiss the Girl

Tony motioned to you outside, still sucked into your book. Steve and Bucky joined in for the next part, creating a beautiful 3-part harmony.

Yes, you want her

Look at her you know you do

Possibly, definitely she want you too

There is one way to ask her

And don’t say a word,

Not a single word about this to her

Or you’ll lose some pearls

They all pointed to their teeth, and mimed punching each other’s lights out. Tony turned to the rest of the group and said, “Sing with me now.”

Overall, it was very orchestrated, and looking back, Peter would often have laughing fits so hard he would start crying. Actually crying. The final verse came, and Peter felt courage blossoming an awful, embarrassing idea in his heart.

Now’s your moment

She’s floating in a book and won’t mind

Don’t worry, it’s a romance. We took all of her Harry Potter

She hasn’t said a word about liking you, and she won’t until you

Kiss the Girl

Shalalalalala don’t be scared we’re only filming it

At 5 different angles

Yeah, yeah

Shalalalalala don’t stop now

You feel scared? Too bad,

You better kiss the girl

Shalalala and if you hurt her

We’ll make that pain for you a mole times worse

Shalala you better do it now,

And remember please don’t mention this to her

She’ll blow the circuit board

They all started making very obnoxious kissy faces at Peter, and he knew he didn’t have a choice. What’s the worst that could happen?

He walked very confidently over to you, and waited until you looked at him. You sat up and faced him, the perfect position for a kiss.

“Hey, Peter! How’s that formul-” Peter grabbed your chin, and pulled it gently towards his face. Your heart was pumping, and you suddenly felt like fainting. “Peter, what’s going-” you tried, but his lips stopped any more words from slipping past yours. That trashy romance novel (that was on your bookshelf instead Harry Potters) fell forgotten on the floor, because, simply, this was so much better. He pulled away first, but you looked at him and smiled.

“Where did that come from?” you asked, breathless.

“I just got reminded that if I want a fairy tale, I have to Kiss the Girl.” he smiled dorkily. You love-birds started kissing again, but if Peter’s lab hadn’t been soundproof, you would’ve heard a sound resembling New York when the ball drops exactly at midnight.  

A REVIEW - King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword

Can I first just say how upset I am with all these movie critics who seem to have created this unified campaign to tear this film to shreds! It literally has a 28% on Rotten Tomatoes and while that website is becoming more and more of a joke, the optimistic part of me still believes that there are still some critical contributors with some common sense. But now I’m convinced they’re all just pretentious and spoiled and think movies set in these specific genres are trash if they aren’t like Game Of Thrones or Lord Of The Rings. So don’t believe the negative reviews from critics, their opinions no longer reflect the movie audience of today. That being said, let’s move on to the actual film itself.

There have been many iterations of the story of King Arthur, Excalibur, Knights of the Roundtable, and Camelot to last of lifetime. From movies to television series, this story has been recycled more times than a Batman franchise. However, if the story was going to be told again it needed a fresh new spin and that’s what we got from director Guy Ritchie. Now I’m not too familiar with Ritchie’s aesthetic as a filmmaker and his past work never really stood out to me. I’m sure I’m in a league of my own when I say that I tried watching Sherlock Holmes three times and fell asleep on every single sitting. That’s not to say it wasn’t a good film, it just didn’t keep my attention. But from what I saw from King Arthur, Ritchie definitely has a niche way of storytelling on film and it shows. There was one particular method – using quick cuts to explain a story while it’s happening – is a genius move but by the third time, it got a bit repetitive and lost it’s edge. Other than that, from beginning to end this film was a very enjoyable ride.

It’s obvious the story was changed a bit from the original tale we all have known but I feel like it worked and made the film that much more interesting. Charlie Hunnam was very believable as Arthur. Showing us his upbringing as a LIAR and A SCAMMER *cue Joanna Prada voice*, it was interesting to see his path from lowly peasant to accepting his birth right as heir to the throne and savior of the people. While not necessarily Oscar-worthy, Hunnam definitely shows that he can be more than just a redneck biker from his Sons of Anarchy role that most of the world know him from. Jude Law as Vortigern and Astrid Berges-Frisbey as The Mage were my main issues with this film. They both had very important roles but sometimes just made me roll my eyes at how mechanical and unconvincing they were in certain parts. The rest of the cast were good additions although weren’t given much backstory… mainly a result of the fact that most people seeing this movie know who they are already based on the story itself. 

But that is not what made this film so enjoyable. Visually the film is breathtaking. The set pieces, the effects, the music, the magical elements, the mystical creatures all played apart in pulling you into this world of fantasy. I won’t deny that there were moments that seemed similar to fantasy films like 300 or The Hobbit, but Guy Ritchie’s use of camera angles and slow motion made them feel original. 

The story was well paced and well written. The elements of comedy didn’t seem out of place at all. It actually made it feel more realistically. I don’t think the modern movie going audience wants to go see a film where the dialogue is written like poetry. While that type of storytelling is beautiful, we are living in a world where Iron Man and Optimus Prime dominate the box office so if you’re going to spend $175 million on a film the least you could do is not bore me with some long, shakespearean dialogue that’s more suited for broadway than an action packed fantasy film. 

Overall, King Arthur: Legend Of the Sword lives up to the hype of it’s marketing campaign. Its a fresh, innovative adaption on a classic tale we all know and love. It’s especially a cool interpretation to tell a story set in medieval times with a man like Guy Ritchie at the helm. Truly some of his best work. My hope is that the film does well overseas just so that the film studio can get a return on their investment and feel inspired to want to do a sequel. Apparently, this film was gonna set in motion five more sequels after it. Hopefully, the positive feedback from the general audience despite the negative feedback from critics will show that a sequel is well deserved.

8 our 10 stars for me. 

Go see this film. Like me, you will pleasantly surprised at how much you enjoy it!

Top Ten Films of 2014

Last year, I made my first video top ten (which you can see here), and while that was fun, as it so happens I’m a bit too busy right now to go through all the trouble of making a video at the moment. So here we are, back to the old way of doing things.

On an interesting side note, I found an unintentional theme in my list this year. Many of my films are in some way about the creation of art, as well as the price paid to be a great artist. Also, many of these movies could be seen as “coming-of-age” films. Once again I find myself astonished at how many great films came out in a single year (and I haven even seen all of them yet). So as usual, you can find my long list of “honorable mentions” at the end. 

Like always, this is just my personal top ten films of the year. Even if we share the same tastes, I guarantee you that my list would be different than yours. It’s just too subjective.

So starting at number ten and counting down… here we go!





10. Mr. Turner

As far as pure craftsmanship goes, “Mr. Turner” is perhaps the most well made film of the year. Mick Leigh is a master, and every shot is purposeful and completely stunning. The film itself looks like an old beautiful painting. Timothy Spall sinks deep into his role as J.M.W. Turner, and it’s probably his best performance to date. The deliberate pacing and lack of traditional structure might turn away some viewers, but “Mr. Turner” is nevertheless a great work of art, and a portrait of a fascinating man.



9. Frank

I knew very little about this film before seeing it, and I think that’s a good thing. From the opening scene, I instantly fell in love with this darkly funny film. At it’s core, there’s some rather deep subject mater, and yet “Frank” cleverly offsets this with some truly hilarious moments that keep the film entertaining throughout. Domhnall Gleeson is outstanding here, but of course, the real star of the show is Michael Fassbender, who gives an incredibly expressive performance despite the fact that we can’t see his face. I enjoyed nearly every moment of this picture, and it’s definitely one that you need to see.



8. Ida

Some films just belong in the Critrion Collection. Ida is one such film. It’s haunting and artful and features the best black and white photography I’ve seen in years. The sharpness and contrast of every shot is remarkable. The narrative is beautifully simplistic. In fact, the minimalistic nature of the film as a whole is part of what makes it so special. “Ida” is sparse, gorgeous, and masterful. Certainly one of the best foreign films of the year.



7. Only Lovers Left Alive

Vampires are cool, but Tom Hiddleston and Tida Swinton bring it to a whole new level. These old lovers have seen it all, and while they still appreciate art, science, and philosophy, they’ve grown tired and indifferent while mankind continues to make the same mistakes.  Jim Jarmusch’s film is a special kind of vampire story, because it may be the first one to really capture just how lonely, dangerous, and exhausting being immortal really is (or would be).  "Only Lovers Left Alive" has a deliberate pacing that glides slowly along with it’s characters. Along the way, we learn how they live and what they’ve grown to appreciate, and it’s all quiet fascinating. It’s my opinion that “Only Lovers Left Alive” ranks as one of the very best vampire films ever made. 



6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

A Wes Anderson film can always put a smile on my face. His last few films have been some of his best, and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is certainly no exception. This film is so beautifully stylized, and so hilariously funny, I find it hard to believe that there’s anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this film. The cast is fantastically entertaining (especially Ralph Fiennes), the colors are vibrant, the humor is clever, and the filmmaking is flawless.  When I saw “Moonrise Kingdom”, I said it might be Wes Anderson’s best film yet…. when I saw “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, I said the same thing.



5. The Duke of Burgundy

Captivating and visually arresting, Peter Strickland’s “The Duke of Burgundy” is one of the most compelling films I saw all year. It’s beautifully shot, colored, and textured with elegant pacing and precise direction - I really can’t say enough positive things about this film. It’s surreal and challenging while retaining a soft and gentle nuance of love and tenderness. “The Duke of Burgundy” certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found it extraordinary and deeply inspiring.



4. Boyhood

I know many cinephiles will probably place “Boyhood” as their number one film of the year, and I wouldn’t fault them for that. Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is one of the most innovative and uniquely profound films ever made. Shot over the course of 12 years, we literally watch Mason grow up before our eyes. It’s a remarkable experience unparalleled by any comparisons I could make. We owe it to Linklater for having the guts to push our medium forward in such a beautiful way. This will probably win Best Picture at the Oscars, and it’s easy to see why. 



3. Birdman: (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Simply one of my favorite cinematic experiences in a very long time. In the first scene, I made a mental note that we were in a long take, but to my wonder and astonishment, that long take never ended. There are, of course, cuts and interludes (this isn’t a “Russain Ark” situation) but the effect is very much that Alejandro Iñárritu’s film is one singular shot. It’s remarkable, but could be called nothing more than an impressive gimmick if the film itself wasn’t so strong. 

This is the best cast ensemble of the year, and the cinematography is gorgeous (made more impressive again by the long takes). But “Birdman” also has some interesting things to say about the creation of art, as well as the criticism that always accompanies it. It’s an intriguing film, and one with something to say. I loved every minute of it.



2. Vi är Bäst! 

Every year, there are films that just seem to come out of nowhere and surprise me. Before it was released, I knew nothing of “We Are the Best”, nor was I familiar with Lukas Moodysson’s previous work. However, this film was perhaps the most enjoyable film I saw all year.

If you know nothing of this film, it’s the director’s adaptation of his wife’s graphic novel “Never Goodnight” (by Coco Moodysson). It centers around three young teenage girls living in 1980s Stockholm who start a punk band - despite two of them not knowing how to play an instrument. While the band plays an important role in the film, some of the most interesting scenes are when the girls are simply hanging out. The performances from these three young ladies are perhaps the most natural I’ve ever witnessed from anyone their age. At times, it seems that they’re not even acting at all, as if the cameras just happened to be there to catch these authentic moments. These girls are so funny, enduring, and most importantly, real. This film understands what it really means to be a hardcore punk. And that is a rare thing. I really can’t say enough good things about “We are the Best”. You just need to see it.


And my number one film of the year is…



1. Whiplash

This is not the most ambitious film of 2014. It’s not a space epic. It wasn’t shot over twelve years. It doesn’t give the illusion of being one continuous shot. It’s not even by a famous director. Yet, “Whiplash” was the single most thrilling  piece of cinematic art I saw all year.  

“Whiplash” tells the story of a young ambitious drummer who dreams of being one of the great jazz musicians of our time. He soon finds himself under the mentorship of a cutthroat teacher who is willing to do whatever it takes to push his students to the limit. The film shows painful abuse and heartache, but then just when you think the film will find contentment in an obvious solution, it aggressively charges forward into the single most intense, passionate, raw, violent, and beautiful final scene of the year. A scene that made my heart race until it finally cut to black, and the credits rolled. Then, and only then, did I finally catch my breath. This film bleeds with a passion that’s visible in every aspect, from its photography, to its editing, to the stellar performances. Enough can’t be said about Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. They both give 100% to their roles, and it’s both beautiful and heartbreaking to watch.

I found “Whiplash” to be painfully relatable at times… and I’m sure that contributed to my fondness for the film itself. Nevertheless, I think everyone should see this amazing work of art. Damien Chazelle has crafted a challanging look at what it truly means to be a young artist with high ambitions. The road to greatness is filled with suffering, pain, loss, frustration, blood, sweat, and tears… and it seems the filmmakers here understand the price that is paid. 



So there you have it - My top ten films of 2014. Please let me know what your favorite films were! Now, some of you may have noticed that a certain favorite director of mine not on this list…. so please see my honorable mentions below.



Honorable Mentions 

.

Inherent Vice - I know! I know! I can’t believe it either. P.T. Anderson is my favorite director, and I do love this film…. it just didn’t move me like his other work as done in the past. “Inherent Vice” is great. I just like 10 other films more.

Gone Girl - Yet another one of my favorite directors. David Fincher is to the point where he really doesn’t make bad films anymore. The craftsmanship is just too good.

Calvary - This is a touching and somewhat heartbreaking portrait of a priest genuinely trying to live a good life. A thankless job to be sure. It’s bleak but Brandon Glesson gives a wonderfully tender performance.  

The Babadook - Rich with metaphor, this is easily one of the best horror films in years. Love it so much, and you really need to see it.

Under the Skin - Who could forget this surreal work of art from Jonathan Glazer? Scarlett Johansson does wonderful work here.

Jeune & Jolie - “Young & Beautiful” was an underrated French film from François Ozon. I really loved it a lot, though I might be in the minority.

Snowpiercer - Joon-ho Bong is a crazy good director, and “Snowpiercer” is a thrilling sci-fi action movie far more worthy of your time than most summer blockbusters. 

Top Five - Chris Rock made an excellent film with a deep Woody Allen influence. I really hope he will continue this style into future projects. 

Foxcatcher - A remarkable film. Bennett Miller is on a roll. There’s really nothing to complain about with this film. See it.

The One I Love - A fantastic little gem from Charlie McDowell. Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are great.

The Imitation Game - A very sharp screenplay, and a brilliant performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.

A Most Wanted Man - The last leading performance from my favorite actor. 

Guardians of the Galaxy - Finally, Marvel made their finest MCU film yet. It’s fun and fast and a really great watch. 

Unfortunately I did not get the chance to see “A Most Violent Year”, “Winter Sleep”, “Goodbye to Language 3D”, “Leviathan” and serval other foreign films. I’m sure they all could have made my list if I had seen them. 

Time to Play FUNNY GAMES by Nathaniel Thompson

Something a lot of moviegoers have to struggle with is deciding how they feel about a film that absolutely, positively doesn’t want to be loved. The term “feel bad movie” was even coined to describe films that are deliberately alienating, infuriating, depressing or even boring. Of course, everyone’s mileage will vary; for example, some people felt an elevated transcendence watching REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (‘00), while others hated it with every fiber of their being. There’s no right or wrong response here; it’s all part of the complicated and fascinating process of how we consume art.

For me, I can’t think of a director who gives me a tougher time than Michael Haneke. The German-born filmmaker has built his career out of regarding humanity like specimens under glass, including his audience. He finds a stimulus, gets a response and then finds a way to jab deeper to get a more intense reaction from his characters and his audience, often pushing them to the breaking point. Sometimes I love the results he gets from this approach, especially his post-2000 work like THE PIANO TEACHER (‘01), THE WHITE RIBBON (‘09) and AMOUR (‘12). Others leave me feeling annoyed or scratching my head, though that isn’t to say that a repeated viewing might not change things.

And then there’s FUNNY GAMES (‘97). Oh, FUNNY GAMES. Is it possible to greatly admire a film, find it fascinating and have it linger in your memory for years, and yet deeply resent it at the same time? If so, this one is at the top of the heap for me. Here Haneke takes aim at the way people watch and process violent entertainment, with an unspoken but very clear allusion to horror movies. The film feels like a reaction against films like HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER (‘86), STRAW DOGS (‘71) and LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (‘72) with its harrowing chronicle of a nice, normal nuclear family invaded and gradually torn apart by a couple of sadistic sickos in tennis clothes. Haneke has no interest in generating pulpy thrills here, but then again, the film’s predecessors had more on their mind as well than just torturing their characters. It’s the torture part, both physical and emotional, that Haneke is really examining here with his two villains addressing the camera directly and trying to implicate the viewer by questioning why they would watch something like this… and why they won’t do something to help the victims. It’s an interesting gambit, or a stunt if you want to view it that way, that clearly means to flatter the more critically-oriented people out there in the theater seats, but it also makes assumptions about genre cinema that become a huge problem if you’re more than passingly familiar with horror films.

I’ll try to avoid spoilers here for those who haven’t seen the film, but it’s difficult to discuss without at least hinting at two of the most infamous moments in this film. The first is a tragic, brutal event that occurs at the end of the second act, with Haneke’s camera lingering on the static aftermath in excruciatingly long detail, making Tarkovsky seem like a case of A.D.D. by comparison. My interpretation is that we’re supposed to be parsing out our feelings in what amounts to a very dark sort of meditation; as the characters try to process what’s happened with the camera refusing to move and the actors staying in the same spot, it turns into a Rorschach test where we’re meant to project our own responses onto the screen. It’s an interesting concept, but it also treads that fine line between artistic exploration and viewer exploitation as it essentially batters our emotions for a reaction; if you don’t respond like the event clearly wants you to, the effect can be distancing and somewhat distasteful. Then again, maybe that’s what he was going for. Haneke’s a tricky fellow sometimes. A similar tactic is used near the end of the notorious French horror film MARTYRS (‘08), which locks the camera down for a pitiless wide view of a central character being tortured at length, basically beating the viewer down as well until we’re pulverized enough to accept the truly daring and, for me at least, remarkable terrain the story treads into for its final stretch. If you tried to watch both films back to back, you might need to go into therapy for months just to get over it.

Then there’s the fact that the two psychopaths are all too aware that they’re in a film, repeatedly breaking the fourth wall and referencing things like genre conventions and running time. This hits a highpoint during an action at the climax that’s become something of a make or break moment for many viewers, a deliberate sabotaging of what the audience wants and expects done in the most sadistic way possible. (Hint: it involves a piece of TV equipment.) I’ve seen people actually give a middle finger to the film at this point, and with good reason. Whether this statement (or nose tweak, depending on your perspective) on how we root on violence under certain circumstances is a valid one is a tantalizing idea. However, if it’s supposed to be a scolding against people who watch violent horror and action films, that’s where things get sticky. Any sane viewer knows the difference between simulated and real violence; no one watching a slasher film or a shoot ‘em up wants real people to feel pain, let alone die, and the thrill of seeing a bad guy dispatched at the end of a story is something that goes back to the very dawn of storytelling. If this film deliberately sets itself up to be as naturalistic as possible and sets up its evildoers to be as reprehensible as possible, it’s pretty disingenuous to wag your finger at the viewer for wanting to see some payback.

So, did Haneke’s experiment achieve anything in the long run? I still honestly don’t know. The shot-for-shot English remake with Naomi Watts from 2007 was fine, albeit completely unnecessary apart from the way it showed how much its shock value had diminished in the ensuing decade of home invasion and European extreme horror films. Haneke’s film was considered shocking and even dangerous when it opened, though now in the wake of some of his thematically related films (especially 2005’s CACHÉ, a significant entry in between his two versions of the story), it’s easier to assess as a key entry in his cinematic looks at how society can twist and distort what we think of as the secure family unit and normal behavior. The violence may not be quite as harrowing now, but the central thesis of this film is still an uncomfortable one. So all that said, this movie still makes me a bit angry. And that’s not only a good thing, but probably a necessary one.

Mother! Review

“You give, and you give, and you give. It’s just never enough.”

*Meaning of the film is discussed in the penultimate paragraph, potential spoilers*

While rebuilding the once fire-wrecked home of her husband, a woman’s peaceful life is thrown into turmoil as uninvited guests keep turning up at their house.

With a heavy dose of Rosemary’s Baby, and clear influences from Hitchcock’s thrillers, director Darren Aronofsky attempts to recall the paranoia and fear generated in these classic films while adding his own philosophical flourishes. From the opening shot, you can tell this will be a film with a driven perspective; the camera is always either focused on the protagonist Mother (Jennifer Lawrence), or what she would directly see. The audience will only experience events as she experiences them, with nothing more than her limited perspective, creating a real sense of vulnerability in the viewer. Yet there’s also something distinctly lacking in her character – a sense of depth that stops her from seeming like a fully-realised human – that prevents total emotional empathy with the lead. While this could be entirely intentional on Aronofsky’s part (with them being more concepts than they are characters), the distance between Mother and the audience may mean when the movie truly begins to devolve into madness, some viewers may be left behind.

Crafting a character who must remain sympathetic while simultaneously appearing aloof enough so as not to garner audience empathy seems a near impossible task. Yet Jennifer Lawrence delivers masterfully as the titular Mother. With much of the film’s success dependant on her ability to keep the audience invested, mother! was truly a standout performance for Lawrence. Javier Bardem also delivers a solid performance, as the dismissive and inscrutable Him. The contrast between the two is very striking, with the lines on Bardem’s face emphasised with shadow, while Lawrence’s face is often bathed in light.

The lighting and set design throughout, while simple, is highly effective. The film is set entirely in their home, which most other moviemakers would use as a tool to increase the feelings of claustrophobia. Yet never does the house feel like an enclosed space, with its open setting and preference to travelling camera movement as opposed to quick cuts. The camera will sweep along with Mother as she moves throughout the house, and while the scope of the action is limited to five main rooms, the movement helps to keep things feeling alive. The sound design is fantastic, and was one of my favourite things about the movie. Totally devoid of a soundtrack, the sounds of more mundane, living things are given far more emphasis. The noise of the wooden floors as people move is strangely captivating; the house is almost a character in its own right, as it’s given so much presence.

Yet despite the appeal of the set and sound design, this is far from a beautiful film. In fact, mother! is closer to a nightmare in some places (especially in the final segment of the film) as the madness escalates to a sickening crescendo. Aronofsky is a master of heightening the intensity; just as you believe there could be no further devolution in the plot, the film takes another shocking turn and completely floors your expectations. Some sequences are so fast-paced and unpredictable the movie almost starts to feel reminiscent of a panic attack, especially as you watch through the eyes of Mother. This is definitely not a film aiming for mass appeal; the confusion and disgust expressed by audiences in many of the initial screenings are completely understandable.

Instead, Aronofsky uses mother! as a vehicle to express a deeper meaning. Opinion on what exactly this deeper meaning is has been split, with some believing it to be a commentary on the destructive nature of fame, the treatment of women, or the power imbalances that can appear in relationships. However, my interpretation of the film is that it represents humanity’s selfish and irresponsible treatment of the environment. Mother represents Mother Earth, with her husband as God, and the guests as humankind. While she is able to deal with a few houseguests, and can generally self-heal when things become too much (as shown both through her fixing of the house, and the medicine she takes throughout the film), the overwhelming hordes of people prove too much for her to handle. Her husband is ever-forgiving of their selfish acts and violent ways, showing them only love, and revelling in their worship of him. She is forced to give all she has to those that don’t appreciate her (both her husband, who prefers the cult devotion of his followers to the loyalty of his wife, and the people, who abuse her hospitality and ignore all her requests), and ultimately pays the highest price for her unending love.

Mother! is a difficult film to watch, and one that will instantly lose the viewer who isn’t willing to commit fully to the experience. Yet the message it conveys – whichever you interpret that to be – is expressed so artistically and impactfully that the film is sure to consume you should you choose to let it. Flaws can be found in how the film chooses to present concepts over characters (in a world almost familiar and yet ever so slightly uncomfortably different), thereby creating a chasm between audience and screen. Regardless, mother! is sure to inspire endless talk over what the film means, how well it was expressed, and whether it was any good at all - and whether positive or negative is not an experience you should pass up.

4/5

AN ODE TO CANDICE PATTON

2014, the year that CW aired its pilot of The Flash; comic book adaption about the fastest man alive, Barry Allen (The Flash) played by loveable Grant Gustin. A forensic scientist’s life takes a turn into the fast line after a freak accident allows him to possess superhuman reflexes. Of course this was an exciting time for comic book fans everywhere but especially for women of colour. You’re probably thinking, how is a show about a white man who can real fast relevant to me, an independent beautiful woman of colour? Well, today we pay our respects to the striking Candice Patton, she isn’t dead, just severely underrated.

For those who aren’t familiar with the show, she plays reporter Iris West, the love interest of Barry Allen. Initially, her casting caused a lot of controversy because a black woman playing a canonically white character? In this economy? However, once the show started Candice Patton really proved that she was here to slay and funnily enough stay as the show is still running with its viewership higher than it’s other CW comic book adaptation brethren.

Growing up, I had always felt isolated when watching my favourite comic book films because there was a heavy emphasis on the white damsel in distress and I just couldn’t relate to such a character. As a young girl, I thought getting kissed in the rain by Spider-Man would be the greatest thing ever but seeing Candice Patton’s Iris West made me realise that I can strive for much more as a woman of colour. She plays the part of Barry Allen’s childhood sweetheart in unison with the role of a fearless reporter and manages to rise in a male driven show. Casting Candice Patton as Iris West is probably the smartest move CW has ever made, no shade just facts.

Nonetheless, Kirsten Dunst (Spider-man, 1999) and Kate Bosworth (Superman returns, 2006) have somewhat become a distant memory as Candice Patton paves the way for actresses of colour to find their way into the comic book adaptation world. Since 2014, we’ve seen a surge of women of colour filling roles that white women have played in the past and doing may I say a better job than them and it’s God damn poetic. In Spider-man homecoming (2014) not one but two of Peter Parker’s canonically caucasian love interests, Liz Allan and Mary-Jane Watson, are played by the beautiful Laura Harrier and Zendaya, two talented young black women. Making Homecoming one of the most diverse comic book movies I’ve ever seen, especially since Marvel have built ‘qwhite’ a reputation for themselves in the past. Now, we look forward to Black Panther gracing our screens in 2018. Progression has never been so colourful. On our favourite netfilx shows, our favourite sai weilding assassin previously played by Jennifer Garner, now the role of Elektra Natchios rightfully belongs to Cambodian, French actress, Elodie Young in Marvel’s Daredevil and recently Defenders. I wouldn’t be able to finish writing this article without mentioning Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple (Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Defenders) Dawson is of Peurto Rican, Afro cuban and Native American descent. Her character, Claire Temple also known as the night nurse, is somewhat the golden thread that ties the whole Netflix universe together. She shows us that sometimes heroes don’t have to be super to do what they do. Furthermore, in the DC cinematic universe, Kiersy Clemmons is set to play Iris West on the silver screen alongside Ezra Miller’s Flash. I, an avid comic book reader would love to continue seeing women of colour playing such iconic roles.

This really goes to show the positive effect of diversity in media today. Essentially, Candice Patton was the start of something important. TV is for everyone, thus we should have characters that appeal to the fast moving society that we live in and let me break the news to you, that society isn’t white. Without Candice Patton’s Iris West, we might not have had Zendaya’s MJ or Anna Diop’s Starfire. Therefore, we do not accept the slander of Candice Patton or Iris West in these walls because her character now stands for something greater than Barry Allen’s love interest. So, Candice, my Queen, you’ll never read this but I just wanted to thank you on behalf of young girls everywhere for making Iris West into an icon even though some people may not be aware of it yet. You’ve made history.

- Abida

It's All in the Eyes

I really feel as though the use of dilated versus narrow, contracted eyes is rather interesting and intentional within both the How to Train Your Dragon movies.

Overall it appears that the dragons’ eyes narrow when stressed, feeling threatened, or looking threatening.

Whereas when the dragons are relaxed, cute, and most positively emotionally relatable to audience members and human characters, their pupils are far wider.

This extends beyond Toothless, though he is the easiest example to provide. There is even one moment in HTTYD 1, when Hiccup throws his knife in the water with his foot, that in one second Toothless’ expression changes from threatening with contracted eyes to cute and eager with dilated eyes.

But let’s mention the other dragons, too. The Hideous Zippleback’s eyes are, in fact, actually very narrow throughout the entire first HTTYD film. The dragon is stressed during the Dragon Training procedures, essentially always in a panic mode. Barf and Belch’s pupils, however, are far, far more circular in general throughout HTTYD 2 when their life situation has improved.

The Scuttleclaw babies with their big, adorable bug eyes reflect this pattern, too.

I always found this an interesting choice being that research claims the sympathetic branch of the automatic nervous system dilates pupils during “fight or flight” responses. Perhaps we could say the dragons’ eye contracting still looks visually similar to peoples’ wide-eyed stares, even if narrowed pupils actually contradicts what I gather is the expected general physiological response. However, that bit of basic biology said, I still feel as though there are some very interesting effects that result based upon the dragons’ eyes widening or contracting.

The most noticeable example of dragons’ eyes narrowing or dilating would be the effects of the Bewilderbeast’s control in HTTYD 2 and the Red Death’s control in HTTYD 1.

Every single dragon’s eyes narrow to vertical slits once the alpha dragon takes control of them, regardless of the species.

There are several interesting implications alongside these narrowed eyes.

First, it makes the dragons look more “monstrous” and less “familiar” to a human audience. Our species’ pupils are round and never contract to such a thin sliver, so the result of suddenly narrowed eyes in the dragons appears more ominous, more unfamiliar, and consequently more eerie. Toothless with his sliver-thin eyes stalking Hiccup during “Stoick Saves Hiccup” is one of the scariest images you ever could imagine. What you once thought was simply a cute, endearing dragon suddenly appears a monster with those vertical slit eyes.

It makes his penitent sad-puppy sorrowful eyes in the next scene really grab your heart.

Next, the pattern of contracted eyes really sets up some fascinating symbolic instances.

When pupils narrow, less light is brought in. Thus, Toothless is not “seeing” as much when the Bewilderbeast takes control of him. Toothless’ eyes contract, and suddenly he’s blinded to the friendship he and Hiccup used to share. His vision is compromised in the same way his actions are; he no longer either figuratively or literally sees Hiccup as he used to, but instead sees but an indistinct, poorly colored blur. Actual sight of Hiccup and mental recognition of their friendship is gone.

Then Toothless’ eyes contract and dilate in the “Toothless Found” scene. When he recognizes Hiccup and sees his best friend as the young man he loves, his eyes widen - a physiological response that does indeed allow in better light and thus improve his vision here.

And then just watch the reflections.

When Toothless’ eyes are narrowed, they are too thin to reflect anything in the pupil. We see nothing but a mindless dragon controlled by another. Nothing comes in; all is shut out.

However, when Toothless’ eyes dilate, you can see Hiccup reflecting in his pupils. It almost looks as though Hiccup is right there inside Toothless’ eyes. Which he is, in a way. When Toothless is out of the Bewilderbeast’s control, Hiccup is right there, reflected in his eyes, someone whose soul reflects his own! When Toothless’ eyes widen, his gaze and attention is all about his inseparable best friend.

It is such a beautiful symbolism. Hiccup truly is the center of Toothless’ vision here. They really do mean that much to each other. They really do reflect one another.

It’s all in the eyes.

Rocky Horror Picture Show: Liberating Queerness and Gender

Here’s the paper I wrote for my English class examining RHPS. I quoted @vraik and wish I had done a better job in that department because they had so much raw material to work with but I had a lousy word restriction. Enjoy my trash! I apologize for the readmore not working?


The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Liberating Queerness and Gender

    While The Rocky Horror Picture Show is perceived by many as a gross cinematic circus of depravity, far more of its audience has used the themes of the absurd film to find liberation in queerness. Recently remade for daytime family television, The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) is an outstanding piece of queer media, with its characters blurring the lines of sex and gender in ways many consider abhorrent. The erstwhile flop takes its audience, young and old alike, on a wild ride set to mimic the best and worst elements of B-movie horror and science fiction, all while bringing together entirely new and upsetting ideas of gender, sexuality, and villainy. The film is presented to the audience through the narration of The Criminologist (Charles Grey), who recounts the story of the recently engaged, straight-laced protagonists Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon). On their way to visit their old professor, Dr. Scott (Jonathan Adams), their car dies and they seek shelter at the nearby decrepit castle. There, they meet Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry) and get sucked into a series of flamboyant hijinks, laid out for us through sexually charged, provocative musical numbers. Along with Dr. Frank’s adonis creation, Rocky (Peter Hinwood), the creepy cast of Frank’s henchmen, Columbia (Nell Campbell), Eddie (Meat Loaf), Magenta (Patricia Quinn), and Riff Raff (Richard O’Brien) carry out other subtle, sinister plots that slowly reveal themselves as the movie unfolds. Originally a stage play by Richard O’Brien, Rocky Horror was adapted for the screen by O’Brien with the help of Jim Sharma, who then went on to direct this outstanding movie. This cast is of vaudevillian personality, all the better to introduce some pretty heavy (yet thrilling) ideas of queerness.

    O’Brien and Sharma’s Dr. Frank-N-Furter displays a casual disregard for the gender binary long before the words to describe such a person existed. While it’s hard to argue that a film from 1975 would still accurately represent any subsection of culture, Rocky Horror’s themes of gender conformity are uniquely timeless. In his introductory song, Frank describes himself as “a sweet transvestite from Transexual Transylvania!” Looking at his character, many would and have assumed that Frank, in his seductive corset, fishnets, and bright red lipstick, is a crossdresser or drag queen. This reality is that Frank isn’t portrayed with a sex gender or identity. In Midnight S/excess, Gaylyn Studlar criticizes Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s character, arguing that “in spite of his feminine attire and ‘swishy’ ways, Frank remains a transvestite figure with whom males can safely identify without endangering the power base of their prescribed masculinity.” However, Studlar’s interpretation of Frank becomes clearly reductive when she goes on to say “tranvestitism is the simple act of one gender donning the traditional apparel of the opposite gender.” Many of the characters wear a mixture of “male” and “female” clothes, but Frank is the only main character described as a transvestite. By Studler’s logic, they should all be called transvestites, as should any woman who has ever worn pants! Merriam-Webster dictionary gives a better definition, describing a transvestite as “typically a male who adopts the dress and often behavior typical of the opposite sex especially for purposes of emotional or sexual gratification.” Frank-N-Furter is not portrayed this way. While his clothes certainly do represent more feminine elements, they are never shown to be what drives Frank’s behavior. It could be argued that Dr. Frank-N-Furter is a drag queen, “a homosexual man who dresses as a woman especially for comic or theatrical effect” (Mirriam-Webster), but Frank’s relations with the other characters quickly prove him to be bisexual rather than gay. We do see Frank’s masculinity in his name and pronouns, but his dress and behavior waiver repeatedly between the masculine and feminine.

    In addition to Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s complete disregard for gender norms, many of the characters are sex positive and showcase diverse sexuality. This is the main reason Rocky Horror has held up as a cult film. When reviewing Rocky Horror’s recent remake for The MarySue, Vrai Kaiser highlights the importance of alternative sexuality, saying “Well, Fox. You did it. And by ‘it,’ I mean you scrubbed and sanded one of the flagship pieces of alternative queer media until it was 87% heterosexual.” They call back to a very valid and important element of the original 1975 flick; queer sexuality. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, we see Frank trying to entice Janet and then Brad into sex with him. Frank at first tries to trick either character by pretending to be their partner, but he is quickly discovered. We would expect his true identity would get him kicked out, but both characters agree to have sex with Frank. This is especially shocking, given that Brad and Janet are our “straight” characters. They’re saving intimacy for their marriage, acting ashamed at states of undress, and are the most resistant characters to the sexually charged, genderfluid world presented by Dr. Frank. For Brad and Janet both, sex with Frank-N-Furter is a queer experience, as both of them are engaging with someone well outside their previously expressed sexuality. This has the same effect for them as Rocky Horror does for audiences. As Bill Henkin says in The “Rocky Horror Picture Show” Book, “of course, we’re all Brads and Janets when we see Rocky Horror for the first time.” He’s referring to the sense of release or liberation audiences from previously held ideas of sexuality. Like Vrai Kaiser almost certainly felt when they first saw the antics of the cast of Rocky Horror, audiences find comfort in the characters and allow themselves to let go of social norms that might restrain them.

    Rocky Horror is heralded for its absurdity, but the absurd is exactly how the film highlights ways to be queer. Even though the environment is so cartoonishly unrealistic, the contrast separates queerness from depravity and makes it accessible. Many don’t see Frank-N-Furter’s actions as liberating, choosing instead to see all the characters as defiled by Frank’s sexuality and gender. Henkin makes this very point, but he rather contradicts it when he says that Janet “takes her defilement with such enthusiasm.” He’s right, Janet is enthusiastic as she has sex with Dr. Frank. This same exuberance is seen again when she has sex with Rocky while singing “I wanna feel dirty!” She’s not defiled in any way, she’s liberating herself through her sexual choices, and that iconic song, “touch-a touch-a tough-a touch me,” is her literally begging to feel those same excited, pleasurable feelings. It sounds so dirty, but audience members familiar with feelings of restraint brought on by social pressures identify with her song, and find the movie a safe space to feel liberated just like Janet. Henkin hits this idea spot on, writing “along the way he [Frank] reminds us of our possibilities and leads us in the movie’s anthem, exhorting us, “Don’t dream it – be it.” For his willingness to live out his own dreams, we love him. And it is for Frank, more than any other character, that we return to the theater again and again to see and, in our hopeful way, to be.” Frank-N-Furter serves as a sort of queer guide for Brad and Janet, but also the audience, showing alternative ways of expressing gender and sexuality.

    Every instance of Rocky Horror feels absolutely absurd, sharply contrasting the normal 60s-style clothes and car of Brad, Janet, and Dr. Scott. Some of our characters are aliens, Frank’s party guests are all dressed in ways almost as absurd as his own corset and fishnets, emotions and drama are amped up. All of this shows in Brad and Janet’s total discomfort, and many critics share this sense of disgust. Henkin puts it best when he says “Critics who have been horrified by some of the movie’s absurdities have been inclined to see its thematic perversion as horrible too. But there are lots of people who have found these perversions – at least as presented here – to be entertaining, and who do not require stringent coherence between theory and form in order to enjoy a laff. These are the people for whom Rocky Horror was made, and this is the audience the film has found.” Here, Henkin is distinguishing between what we see that is clearly absurd and elements of the plot that seem downright deprived. Visually, the film is crazy, showing us outrageous costumes, lustful songs, and simply sexual choreography. This, as Henkin points out, is different from the thematic perversion. Frank-N-Furter makes Rocky just to have sex with him. When he finds out his past fling, Columbia, wants to leave his service for his ex lover Eddie, he murders the depraved biker and serves him up as dinner. Frank even kidnaps and dresses up all of the straight characters for a dramatic final scene. When his unruly behavior is called out by Magenta and Riff Raff, his alien compatriots, he prefers to die than give up his crazy ways and go home. There is nothing realistic about these elements of the movie, but they are distinctly different from gender and sexuality. Studler also makes this point, referencing a quote from Freud as she argues that Rocky Horror “…proves that ‘this same disposition to perversions of every kind is a general and fundamental human characteristic.’” Brad and Janet already feel some of that “depravity” but don’t act on it until the ridiculous environment provided by Dr. Frank-N-Furter allows them to feel safe while expressing themselves. Though she is critical of the film, even Studlar highlights this, saying “Brad and Janet can only express desire in the confines of conventional marriage in caricatured ways that rhyme. Their gendered positions are fixed, and they mindlessly act out roles that ultimately block connection and fulfillment. Once Brad and Janet enter the world of Frank N. Furter, the rest of the film is spent dismantling traditional, non-erotic notions of marriage and male/female coupling in general.”

    Throughout the movie, Frank-N-Furter serves as a sort of guide through the world of queer, sexual liberation. He breaks gender roles, destroys stereotypes of sexuality, and unlocks the “hidden potential” in Brad and Janet by showing them sex positivity. The sexual awakening of Brad and Janet isn’t inherently bad or villainous, and that message has resonated with audience for over 40 years, and probably will continue to do so in the decades to come.

Word Count: 1731

Works Cited:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Jim Sharma. Tim Curry, Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Charles Grey, Meat Loaf. Twentieth Century Fox, 1975. Film.

Kaiser, Vrai. “The Rocky Horror Remake Is Bafflingly Straight.” Review of Rocky Horror Picture Show: Lets Do the Time Warp Again, Kenny Ortega. TheMarySue.com. The MarySue, 21 October, 2016. Web. 29 October, 2016.

Studlar, Gaylyn. “Midnight S/excess.” Journal of Popular Film & Television. Volume 17. Spring (1989): pg. 2-14. Print. 27 October, 2016.

Henkin, Bill. “The ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Book.” Contemporary Literary Criticism. Volume 17. April (1981): pg. 325-328. Print. 27 October, 2016.

Andrew Lincoln - Critical Condition

Close to the start of your relationship with Andrew, you got into a bad car accident that left you in critical condition and the doctors told Andrew that you might not make it. Andrew never left your side during the time that you were in the hospital, he was so scared that he was going to lose you. A year later, the two of you are still together and are still going strong. You have to film your death scene in The Walking Dead and it gets really emotional even after the cameras have stopped rolling, it’s really hard on the both of you to film this scene.

Andrew x Reader

Requested by Anon

Warnings: Angst, blood, death, mentions of a car accident

A/N: The scene is in italics and your character’s name is Alex since it’s the only gender neutral name I could think of.

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My Thoughts on Reylo being Endgame

Many opinions have been flying around about the potential love interests for Rey after only ten days of the film’s release, with a large portion of the community leaning (unsurprisingly) to the darkside in the form of the Kylo Ren and Rey pairing. Many of the arguments against the pairing have already been posted (Incest, abuse…etc.) but I will be focusing primarily on why there is a good chance they may be the main love story of the next three episodes.

As many people have pointed out, there is a lot of evidence pointing towards Finn and Rey becoming a couple. They meet on Jakku in the midst of a huge action scene, they have a chemistry and connection that allows them to escape the First Order via the Millennium Falcon, Finn constantly trying to impress her and the obvious emotional reactions each of them have when either is knocked out and/or kidnapped. And all of this evidence would solidly place the two in a position where their relationship could evolve into a romance, but there is one factor that has to be considered;

This is a JJ Abrams production, and if there is one thing JJ Abrams hates above all else in a film, it is predictability. Rey and Finn are too predictable, and that is exactly what Mr. Abrams wants you to think, it’s a misdirection. This isn’t the first time he has used a tactic like this, it is seen in majority of his work (*cough cough Lost) but I will mainly be focusing on examples from Abram’s other major project, Star Trek and how some of the elements seen in those films may be utilized in Star Wars *Spoilers for Star Trek and Star Wars  ahead*  

One thing everyone can agree on at this point is that JJ is a ballsy guy. In the 2009 Star Trek film, a Romulan ship called the Nerada travels through a wormhole in space in order to kill commander Spock, the Vulcan they think is responsible for destroying their entire homeworld.But they arrive about 30 years too early. In the process,  they actually destroy the U.S.S Kelvin, which kills Captain Kirk (the main character of Star Trek’s) father, which results in an alternate timeline being formed. This is a very smart move on good ol’ JJ’s part because it gives him free reign to change everything in the original story without actually having to mess with the original canon because it is not the same universe anymore. The destruction of the Kelvin has huge repercussions on the rest of the story, resulting in Kirk growing up abused by his uncle, his mother depressed and estranged from him, which overall effects his personality and outlook on the world. He is angrier, darker, and far more rebellious and carefree than the original Kirk. Besides the personality changes, an alternate timeline means that fans and people who are familiar with the Star Trek story are unable to predict where the storyline is heading. It becomes a “surprise.”

Originally posted by beam-me-up-broadway

A Film Theory episode came out recently about Luke going to the darkside, and explored in depth why JJ would be willing to go down that road, but in sum, JJ’s philosophy on films is that the story, characters, and conclusion should be a “mystery box” that is eventually revealed to the audience but it constantly leaves them guessing up until the very end. He even cites the original Star Wars as an example, explaining how the opening shots of Leia (who we know nothing about) gives R2D2 a drive telling him to find Obi-wan Kenobi (Who we’ve never seen) while the motives, goals and conflicts of any character, faction or group remains hidden, prompting several questions that aren’t answered right away.

It is with that principle in mind that Abrams was able to destroy Spock’s home planet with the 6 billion Vulcans on it, endangering his species as well as killing his human mother Amanda, a prominent character in the original show and movies without anyone seeing it coming. it came out of left field, and was a shock that fans couldn’t really complain about because of the fact that it was an alternate dimension. But Abrams used this “shock value” concept again in TFA by having Kylo Ren kill his father, something Luke was unable to do in the original trilogy. It is heartbreaking because it is unexpected, and the audience has very little time to process the event because Han immediately falls into the depths of Starkiller base without saying a proper goodbye.

Why is any of this important? Because it gives us insight into JJ’s character. Like I said he’s  a ballsy director, and this is not only seen in the unexpected character deaths and destruction of planets throughout his films, but in romance as well.

In the first Star Trek movie JJ directed, it is revealed pretty early on that Kirk has a thing for Uhura. They meet in a bar, he asks her for her name which she only tells him her last name (Uhura) they banter a lot with Kirk making many flirtatious comments that the audience assumes she will reciprocate in time, and she even walks in on him having sex with her roommate at the academy. The formula of their interactions, the types of language and imagery used that is most commonly seen in the romance trope gives the audience the impression that the two will end up together.

Originally posted by startrekmovies

But this is not the case.

In one jaw-dropping scene that paralyzed the most devoted of Trekkies, Uhura passionately kisses Spock before he beams down to the planet below, and he reciprocates in kind, murmuring her first name, “Nyota” as Kirk watches on with the same amount of confusion as everyone in the theater.

Originally posted by naoki-sensei

Uhura wasn’t turning down Kirk’s attempts at wooing her because she was playing hard-to-get, but because she already had a boyfriend. Holy. Crap.

Spock and Uhura? who would have thought? No one, because they barely had any interactions in the show that insinuated an attraction beyond that of being acquaintances. It is far more likely, far more predictable,  to assume that Uhura would fall for the charming bad-boy Kirk instead of the emotionally void (but sometimes violent) Spock who would most likely believe a relationship between co-workers to be “illogical”. But that’s why JJ did it, because literally no one would see it coming.

Once again, there are many parallels in TFA that we can already see forming that are reminiscent of certain JJ-isms from other films. Finn and Rey meet, and they seem absolutely perfect for each other, following the whole boy meets girl, boy likes girl, girl gets taken away, boy tries to get her back, boy and girl overcome obstacle, boy gets hurt,  boy and girl return home. Girl then goes on epic quest and leaves the boy she cares for behind.  it is not exactly a damsel in distress story, but  the audience naturally believes that the next progression for the two will be love. The story is structured in such a way that it is impossible to believe anything else can happen.

Haha. Nice try, this is Abrams we’re talking about, and as demonstrated by Star Trek that means they are doomed to stay in the friendzone or something far worse.

So who would fit the bill then? If Star Wars is a cycle doomed to repeat itself with each new trilogy possessing at least one love story, then exactly who can appeal to JJ’s “mystery box” philosophy?

The answer is Kylo Ren.

You see, JJ’s choices may seem shocking and strange, but they never are outside the realm of possibility. The reason why Spock and Uhura end up together is because Kirk joined Starfleet way after the original Kirk did, meaning they hadn’t formed a friendship that may have influenced the original characters to not even consider a romantic relationship with each other. In TFA Rey and Ren have already demonstrated that they have a connection via the force, and whatever Rey’s past may be (a mystery box) it is somehow related to Kylo Ren. You may argue that Rey possessing Skywalker blood is the answer, which would make Ren and Rey cousins but I am not really convinced that is true.

Yes, it was a shock when Darth Vader revealed that Luke was his son in the original trilogy, but that in itself has become predictable. “I am Your Father” has been used in pop culture so frequently that it is redundant and clearly something JJ has considered. If Rey really is Luke’s daughter than her past is revealed and it no longer captures the type of mind-blowing power Darth Vader and Luke’s moment had. With JJ, you cannot trust what may seem obvious to you, because there is always a twist. (See Cumberbatch’s reveal of “I am Khan” in Star Trek: Into Darkness)

What does this mean then? Well, a relationship between Ren and Rey remain in the realm of possibility and her origins do not result in the same incest-infused confusion that left a generation flabbergasted and a little grossed out. It becomes a tension-fuelled, emotionally gripping tale of two people from opposite sides of a war (the fight scene when the earth literally splits them apart was a little on the nose there, Abrams) who are struggling with the Light and Dark that exists inside of them, each trying to purge that little  bit of remaining light/dark within them to become pure. However, as the war trudges on and each becomes stronger with their training ( Ren with Snoke and Rey with Luke) the weird pull they have towards each other will also grow stronger. Rey has already proven she is stronger than Ren, and her influence over him will most likely penetrate deeper than any other character. Compassion seems to be the key in Star Wars and as noted in the novel, Ren has already shown to have compassion for Rey. Darth Vader is one of those strange characters that went to the dark side for love and returned to the light for love when he saved Luke, redeeming himself with his dying breath.  So who’s to say that Ren, a man who literally wants to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps would not return to the light for love, falling for a girl whose powers exceed his own and whose influence will leave a lasting impression?

So, even though a relationship between them seems impossible as they have totally different personalities and motives, is it really that hard to believe?  It’s hard-pressed to say at the moment, But when it comes to JJ, anything can be fair game.

Originally posted by in-the-land-of-gods-and-monsters


So don’t lose hope Reylo shippers! you guys may be on to something after all!

You’ve Only Just Arrived - Part 1 (extended)

So awhile back I wrote a little blurb of an imagine involving meeting Tom Hiddleston. I’ve written a few more since then, but that one … I sort of got sucked into the scenario, so what started as less than a page turned into now… 15 pages. It has grown ever more complicated, which just shows that my brain doesn’t know when to stop, ever.

So this is the original... 

And then the monster that I’ve created is what follows… [I do apologize for the length as well as the formatting as it was written elsewhere and then transferred over. You’ll know what I’m referring to when you get to it.]


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25 Days of Klaroline + Royalty

This drabble is dedicated to my awesome ‘princess’ Nik @princess-of-the-worlds Your kindness, talent and generosity knows no bounds and we are all lucky to have you in our Klaroline family.

A Royal Affair

A prince, an actress and the Cannes Film Festival.

Intercontinental Carlton - Cannes, France

“And why is it so important that I meet him?” Caroline drawled, looking at her publicist questioningly.

They were currently eating breakfast in her hotel suite and going through her press schedule for the coming days of the festival. Her latest movie was making its debut and to say its premiere was important was an understatement. Film critics could be savage at the best of times and given she’d strayed from her usual romantic comedy genre to take on an action role was only making her more nervous.

“What part of Prince and second in line to the British throne did you not understand?” She shot back, rolling her eyes for added effect.

“And?”

“He’s hot.”

“And?”

“Oh for the love of god woman, he’s royalty for heaven’s sake.”

“Just because he has a fancy title and wears a crown that doesn’t mean I have to meet him, Kat. We are at Cannes, he could meet at least another hundred actresses who’d love to stroke his royal ego.”

“He doesn’t want to meet any other actresses, he wants to meet you, Caroline,” she huffed. “Why are you being such a diva about this? I swear you’re doing this just to frustrate me, Forbes. ”

“You can talk about being frustrating,” she groaned. Caroline and Katherine had known each other since they were five years old and they’d been bickering with each other ever since. Surprisingly though their relationship worked well because Katherine wasn’t one to hold back when she thought Caroline was being difficult, like now.

“Stop changing the subject,” she growled. “Your new movie needs all the publicity it can get and meeting with the Prince of England will certainly help with that.”

“He just seems so arrogant, not to mention a complete womaniser,” she said, taking a sip of her orange juice and placing it back on the table. “Apparently he sleeps with a new woman each week.”

“As a celebrity and someone who has incorrect stories written about her all the time, I’m surprised you of all people are quoting the tabloids,” she drawled. “He is known to be very charming and did I mention hot?”

“Are you talking about me again, Kitty Kat?” Enzo asked, sauntering into the dining room.

“Who gave him a key?” She asked turning to Caroline accusingly.

“Well, he is my manager, Katherine.”

“More like a stray dog nobody wants,” she muttered, just as he swiped a croissant from her plate and took a big bite. “Hey! Get your own food, mister.”

“Now that’s not a very nice way to speak to such a charming and hot fellow,” he mumbled, his mouth still full of buttery, breaded goodness. “Come on admit it, you’ve always had a thing for me.”

“Not if we were the last two people on this planet, you buffoon,” she barked.

“Stop it children,” Caroline chided noticing Katherine’s death stare she was shooting in his direction. “Am I going to have to separate you two again like that time in Madrid, New York oh and who could forget at the Dorchester in London?”

“He started it,” Katherine accused.

“How very mature of you,” he joked, sticking out his tongue.

“Before he rudely interrupted we were talking about your meeting with Prince Niklaus tomorrow.”

“Oh and what has our Care Bear done to warrant an audience with British royalty?” Enzo asked. “Hang on don’t tell me, I think I know. Prince Niklaus has always had a thing for gorgeous blondes.”

“See, what did I tell you?”

“It’s okay Caroline, I promise I’m not trying to pimp you out,” she scoffed, giving Enzo another dirty look. “All I ask is an hour, there’s a cocktail function on his family’s yacht so you won’t be the only one there.”

“I love a good cocktail party on a yacht,” Enzo sighed.

“Who said you were invited?”

“Me,” Caroline insisted. “If you’re making me go, I sure as hell want a chaperone in case the Prince decides to get a little handsy.” Caroline busied herself at the table purposely ignoring the triumphant look Enzo was sending Katherine’s way.

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Olicity: Fight to Live

melsanfo said: Prompt: Since its very possible that Felicity will be badly hurt on 4x09 can you make a fic where she’s at deaths door and it’s Moira who keeps her film crossing over? Maybe even gives her approval on Olicity and tells Felicity to fight? Thanks!

There’s a touch of a hand against her hair that makes her feel like she’s a kid again. It’s warm, it’s soothing, the hands are far too soft to be a man’s, and her first thought is that this is the touch of her mother. She leans into it as the fog clears, moves closer into the touch that is assuring yet unfamiliar, because this hand has the touch of metal against it, too many rings that is certainly not her mother’s touch.

It’s not her mother. So who’s touching her?

She blinks her eyes open, and as she does there’s a rush of sound, and the sight of Oliver’s hunched form buried into the side of her bed. This is a hospital room, she’s in the hospital, and the flood of memory comes to her - the engagement, the limo, the bullets, oh, the bullets, and the pain.

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On Hamlet

Yesterday (26/08/15) I was lucky enough to see BC’s Hamlet. Here are my impressions (PRODUCTION SPOILERS AHEAD)

The venue: the building itself is huge, quite unappealing, the theatre looks bigger on pictures, seats are comfy with quite a bit of leg space. You can get quite a good view of the stage from most of the places (although as being short sighted I would have had problems in the upper circle and the gallery, also circle left side might have had problem with seeing the action happening on the gallery of the set). I was sitting circle right side second row (BB5), it was a very good seat – shame I didn’t go the night before, I would’ve had a perfect view of what actually happened in row4, hahaa. I didn’t have time to discover the stage door action unfortunately, I would have loved to say hi to SDGM aka Richard.

The audience: It was full house. I’ve seen a good mix here, from young to old, male, female, all very well behaved, you couldn’t hear a pin drop during the play.  Haven’t seen any well-known faces.

The program booklet: I splashed out on the 2nd edition, very nice, I think it was worth it. Cirque Du Soleil’s was around £13, so it is not the most expensive.

The set: one of the heroes of the production as we heard and I do agree. It looked stunning, impressive, evocative, atmospheric, dark, film-like, a landscape that mirrors the troubles brewing in the country, the family, within Hamlet himself.  There’s a lot of dragging set pieces in and out, that was sometimes a bit distracting. The space is big, it is difficult to command, sometimes drowning the actors, and the inner drama of the characters (not BC’s ;)

The lighting: similar to set – atmospheric, moody, nicely complements the set.

The music: similar to the set - very atmospheric, dark, chilling even, suits the set well and the action. Nature Boy is still part of the production, it is opening the play as Hamlet is looking through the family album. This song is key in LT’s interpretation, I think and a nice touch – since one of the play’s recurring theme is questioning what’s natural and unnatural (death, murder, suicide, politics, incest) and Hamlet perceived as a boy immature in some way, not yet ready for the throne, but has intelligence and is insightful as young person. How interesting that you have to be a mature actor in your 30s with enough life experience to capture both child-like and mature qualities to play the role of an apparent teenager? Very interesting. But more on that when talking about BC.

The costumes: varied, modern, timeless, mixed with the hint of vintage (Gertrude that is) and a bit of crazy. I personally liked the variety, I like my Shakespeare OTT, especially BC’s toy soldier outfit, the jacket saying ‘King’ at the back.  Costumes might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I haven’t seen one unified theme to it, therefore it might appear chaotic.

The choreography: hate to disappoint, but the YMCA dance number with confetti we all wanted to see, is not in it, :) the scenes are nicely choreographed though, especially the a fencing scene in the end and a really cool slow-mo scene as Hamlet kill Laertes.

The actors/Characters: BC’s Hamlet is charismatic, physical, powerful, intense,conflicted, flawed, child-like, comical, self-absorbed, intelligent, sensitive, vulnerable, introspective and it is brilliant how he is playing with his set of acting skills, depending on which quality of the character he wants you to see more. It seems he has unbelievable amount of energy and brings it up from very deep which than explodes in an amazing performance. Let’s hope he won’t crash and burn because of that. His Hamlet for me is easy to relate to. He delivers his lines in a way that it doesn’t sound too Shakespearean, more like normal, everyday speech, which is especially helpful if you’re a foreigner like me trying to understand the text. BC’s voice filled the venue easily even when whispering, he commanded that big space that is the Barbican stage. Absolute highlight of his performance is the 'to be or not to be’ soliloquy, beautiful and touching. I think the depth of his performance was definitely affected by everything that happened to him last year, hence it had a darker edge. Also, he is funny, as some people mentioned it before, he really should do more comedy.

BC’s powerful and passionate performance towers over the rest of the cast. I have to say I  agree with some of the critics that all the other cast seems a bit weak compared to him. Ciaran Hinds as Claudius – and I can’t believe when I’m saying this – despite being a giant actor with presence started out weak, until the end of the first half when he had an mighty moment as rubble and dirt exploded on the stage signifying the fall of his tyranny. He eventually got stronger towards the end.  Anastasia Hill’s Gertrude I’ve found quite weak, her and Claudius did not have much chemistry, same with her and Hamlet too (the hinting of Oedipal complex was completely left out of this one which I didn’t mind at all) Kobna’s Laertes was quite strong, Jim Norton’s Polonius, so was Leo Bill’s Horatio. Sian Brook’s Ophelia was strong, especially the moment when with a troubled mind she exits stage– one of the most touching moments of the play that stays with you. Also, Karl Johnson deserves to be talked about – he plays the Ghost and the Gravedigger – his scenes are such a delight to watch!

The play: now forgive me if my impressions will sound a bit clumsy, but I’m no theatre/literary critic, so I can only base my opinion on my instincts. I am a person who is very open to different interpretations, I still would have loved to see the version that opens with the soliloquy. Liberties were being taken with the structure and apparently the text too (I am not familiar with all the details here, I don’t know the play that well to spot text changes) but as a whole, it made sense. It looked like they tried to approach it in a film-like way with quite fast paced cutting and lot of visual effects (costume, set, props, lighting, etc) and music which put together can result in memorable moments that linger in the mind after leaving the theatre. However some might think the abundance of visuals might drown the text, message and performances.  As a film fan I didn’t mind being bombarded with different ideas and visuals, I like my Shakespeare well, not subtle, I enjoy taking in as much as I can, take home the experience and unwrap, discover details later. On the other hand some of the action falls flat in the midst of fast pace, like the play within a play scene (we can’t see Claudius’ reaction because the audience sits with their backs to us), Gertrude’s and Polonius’ death are quickly over and done with.
I think this interpretation will work really well in the NT Live broadcast because people will be able to see the details better (for instance I couldn’t see what was happening with the Native American Headdress, because is was blocked out by a lot of movement and props on stage).

The hype: over-hyping a production is never a good idea because it might disappoint in the end. Raising everyone’s expectations super high early on can lead to some of  the lukewarm reviews we have seen. And lets face it, I think critics slightly revel in picking such a production apart. Although they seem to be positive about BC, they are less favourable to the rest of the cast, LT and other aspects of the play. All the mess surrounding BC, the fans, breaking the review embargo definitely got people talking and that’s good for them. However the importance of the talent and skill of BC, all the other cast and creatives that worked on the play has just shrunk under the weight of the media hype and exposure.This is not right.

All in all I still can say, I very much enjoyed the live experience and I will watch the NT Live broadcast too. We all should remember that this is just one interpretation of Hamlet, LT’’s and BC’s baby, there is no right or wrong way of doing it. It is definitely appealing to the audience who made this production a sell-out success. It is decent and good enough to create a healthy conversation, which is good, isn’t it? I think it is a pity to dismiss it as juvenile or dismal when there are so much to discover in it.  Is this the theatre production of the century? No. Worth the hype? No, I think nothing really is. Did the production want to be a bit too big and cool and fell short a bit in in the end? Yes. Is it a decent production with flaws? Yes.  Is it worth watching? Absolutely!

Oh, as an addition on BC’s look: In the past year BC’s look change a bit. Up until the GQ Awards  '14 he looked his healthy self. Then he dropped quite a bit of weight around shooting RIII., it got better again and then there was fuckery and Sherlock and he started to look worse and worse, till June '15. I think he looks better compared to that infamous picture at the court house with JR, but to me he still doesn’t look good at all. I’ve seen him last June at one of the JR gigs, he looked perfectly fine, smaller built than I thought, but healthy. Yesterday I found him very thin – thin legs, no chest, muscular but thin and veiny arms, there’s no fat on this guy. He is not as thin as Leo Bill for instance, but compared to himself, he is definitely not looking good. His face I think is the most strikingly thin, and sunken. I was looking back at the Sherlock pictures, even if he slimmed down for those there was a certain softness to his face that’s gone now. You have seen it in the after party pictures, there is a lot of volume loss there around the chin, forehead and cheeks. This is a different kind of thinness – not healthy looking. God knows why that is. Even his smile was a little bit strange in the end when they bowed, it is hard to put my finger on it…it was quick, shy, not confident. I just wanted you to know how I’ve seen it without wanting to create extra drama. Hopefully he will have the energy to get healthy, eat some more and cut unnecessary stress *cough* - we all suspect what that is.