Est Ex Mortuis - On this day, May 15, 1909 James Mason was born, an English
actor…One of Hollywood’s biggest stars. His iconic films included ‘Odd Man Out’,
‘The Desert Fox’, ‘A Star Is Born’, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, ‘Lolita’, ‘North
by Northwest’, ‘Prisoner of Zenda’, ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’, ‘A
Touch of Larceny’, ‘Bigger Than Life’, ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Georgy Girl’, ‘The
Deadly Affair’, ‘Age of Consent’, ‘Heaven Can Wait’, ‘The Boys from Brazil’, ‘The
Verdict’, ‘Mandingo’, ‘Murder by Decree’ and ‘Salem’s Lot’…
Mike is lying in bed, somewhere in the haze between waking and sleeping, images of days past rolling through his mind. His bike, the overgrown oak tree that droops onto Cherry Street, the bold coloured candy at the General Store, the red brick face of school, the bright green of the chalkboard, the dark and shadowy hole that consumes it as someone screams.
Mike’s eyes shoot open just as he hears a faint knocking on his door.
“Mike?” It’s his sister’s voice, whispering in the darkness. The door creaks open and Nancy is standing there, her face dimly illuminated by the moonlight that washes in through the open curtains of his bedroom. Mike can see her features drawn into concern as he shimmies into a seated position, feeling the dampness of sweat under his shirt.
“Can’t sleep?” Nancy asks, taking a step inside his bedroom, her arms crossed over her chest as they usually are these days. Mike thinks she looks defensive, as if she’s constantly protecting herself from something.
“Not really,” he mutters, rubbing his eyes. That’s a lie. They both know Nancy’s the one that can never sleep. Mike finds rest every night only for it to be interrupted by vivid terrors. It’s why she visits him so often, drawn away from staring at the ceiling by the sound of her brother’s heavy breathing, whimpering, and the rustling of sheets.
“Want to read?” Nancy continues after a moment, considering him as she chews her bottom lip. Mike nods, reaching over and turning on the lamp that sits atop his bedside table, bathing the room in a pale glow. Nancy smiles and slips over to the small bookshelf in the far corner, her footfalls soft, soundless, on the carpet.
“20, 000 League Under the Sea or Journey to the Centre of the Earth?” Nancy asks over her shoulder, her fingers delicately running along the spines of old volumes. Mike remains quiet for a moment, thinking.
“A Wrinkle in Time,” he says finally. Nancy nods; if she thinks it’s an odd choice, she doesn’t let on.
“You know,” Nancy sighs, grabbing the book and settling in beside her brother, “I first read this because Barb recommended it to me.” There’s a wistful, almost nostalgic smile on her face.
“I know,” Mike sinks his head against Nancy’s shoulder, “And then you made me read it.”
“It’s good though,” Nancy smiles, opening the cover and steadying her breath—a good book, from a good friend.
“I think I’ll read it to El,” Mike says quietly, “When she comes home.”
This is a list of some book-related vocabulary… and some very famous books with their titles translated into Spanish.
Please note that some titles are different depending on translations or country… for instance “Sense and Sensibility” is translated a few different ways - Sensatez y sentimientos [“Common sense and Feelings”], Juicio y sentimiento [“Common sense / Judgement and Feelings”]… etc.
Also some books that are very famous works in Spanish I’m leaving out… just because the titles are already in Spanish.
(Useful for finding Spanish versions of books, I’m just saying)
el libro = book
la biblioteca = library
prestar un libro = to borrow a book
devolver un libro = to return a book
el lector, la lectora = reader
leer = to read
la lectura = a reading / a passage in a book / a reading task or assignment
la página = page
la cubierta = a book’s cover
el lomo = the spine of a book [in people or animals el lomo is “lower back” or “lumbar”… or “loin” if it’s pork/veal]
el forro / la chaqueta = a dust jacket
el cuento = short story
la historia = long story / epic [or “history” if that’s applicable]
el poema = poem
el periódico = newspaper
el diario = newspaper (daily)
la prensa, la Prensa = a press, the Press
el medio / los medios = a medium / the media
el / la poeta = poet
el escritor, la escritora = writer
el autor, la autora = author
el / la protagonista = protagonist
el / la antagonista = antagonist
el personaje = character (in a story)
el papel = role (in a story / play) [but also “paper”]
el arquetipo = archetype / stock-character
el argumento = plot (of a story)
la acción = action
el horror = horror
la novela = novel / romance novel
la novela romántico = romance novel
la novela rosa = sappy or tawdry romance novel [lit. “pink novel”]
la ciencia ficción = science fiction
la fantasía = fantasy
la ficción histórica = historical fiction
el drama = drama
la comedia = comedy
la biografía = biography
la autobiografía = autobiography
los clásicos = the classics
la filosofía = philosophy
no ficción = non-fiction
la poesía = poetry
los cuentos de hadas = fairy tales
la canción de cuna = nursery rhyme [lit. “cradle song”]
la nana = nursery rhyme [probably nana comes from cuna meaning “cradle”]
el título = title
Títulos de libros y obras famosos
Cenicienta = Cinderella [lit. ceniciento/a = “covered in ashes”]
Blancanieves = Snow White [lit. blanca “white” + nieves “snows”]
La Bella Durmiente = Sleeping Beauty
La bella y la bestia = Beauty and the Beast
Los tres cerditos = The Three Little Pigs
Ricitos de Oro y los tres osos = Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Juan y la mata de habas | Juan y la mata de frijoles | Juan y la mata de habichuelas = Jack and the Beanstalk [lit. “John and the beans”; also sometimes seen as Juan y las habichuelas mágicas “John and the magic beans”… it depends on the country]
La Caperucita Roja = Little Red Riding Hood
La Mamá Oca = Mother Goose
La Biblia = The Bible
El Corán = The Koran
La Torá = The Torah
El sutra del corazón = The Heart Sutra | El sutra del loto = The Lotus Sutra
El arte de la guerra = The Art of War
La letra escarlata = The Scarlet Letter
La casa de los siete tejados = The House of the Seven Gables
Mujercitas = Little Women
Lo que el viento se llevó = Gone with the Wind [lit. “what the wind took away”]
James y el melocotón gigante | James y el durazno gigante = James and the Giant Peach [Spain’s version, and Latin America’s version, respectively]
El viejo y el mar = The Old Man and the Sea
Fiesta = The Sun Also Rises [lit. “party / festival”]
Por quién doblan las campanas = For Whom the Bell Tolls [lit. “for whom the bells peal”… where doblar means “to fold” or “incline” literally]
Matadero cinco = Slaughterhouse-Five
Cuna de gato = Cat’s Cradle
¿Sueñan los androides con las ovejas eléctricas? = Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
El hombre en el castillo = The Man in the High Castle [lit. “the man in the castle”]
El libro de la selva | El libro de las tierras vírgenes = The Jungle Book [lit. “the jungle book”, and “the book of virgin lands”]
El zoo(lógico) de cristal = The Glass Menagerie [lit. “the zoo of glass”]
Un tranvía llamado deseo = A Streetcar Named Desire
La telaraña de Charlotte | La telaraña de Carlota = Charlotte’s Web
La máquina del tiempo = The Time Machine
Alguien voló sobre el nido del cuco | Atrapados sin salida = One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest [lit. “Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest”; and “Trapped with no exit”]
Guerra y paz = War and Peace
Los cuentos de Canterbury = The Canterbury Tales
La campana de cristal = The Bell Jar [lit. “the glass/crystal bell”]
El crisol = The Crucible
La cabaña del tío Tom = Uncle Tom’s Cabin
El fantasma de la ópera = The Phantom of the Opera
El corazón de las tinieblas = Heart of Darkness
Adiós a las armas = A Farewell to Arms
El rojo emblema del valor = The Red Badge of Courage
Sangre negra = Native Son [“black blood”; where los negros are “black people”, so it’s a double meaning in Spanish]
El color púrpura = The Color Purple
La feria de las vanidades = Vanity Fair [lit. “the fair of the vanities”]
El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha / Don Quijote = “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of la Mancha” / Don Quixote
Cien años de soledad = 100 Years of Solitude
El amor en los tiempos del cólera = Love in the Time of Cholera
La casa de los espíritus = The House of the Spirits
Como agua para chocolate = Like Water for Chocolate
La casa de Bernarda Alba = The House of Bernarda Alba
Orgullo y prejuicio = Pride and Prejudice
Historia de dos ciudades = Tale of Two Cities
Grandes esperanzas = Great Expectations
Canción de Navidad | Un cuento de Navidad | El cántico de Navidad = A Christmas Carol [lit. “Christmas song”, “Christmas story”, “The Christmas canticle / carol”]
Regalo de Reyes = Gift of the Magi [lit. “gift of the kings”; where los reyes magos are “the three magi” or… “mage kings” since they were astronomers]
El árbol que da | El árbol generoso = The Giving Tree [lit. “the tree that gives”, and “the generous tree”]
Matar un ruiseñor = To Kill a Mockingbird [lit. “to kill a nightingale”]
Las aventuras de Huckleberry Finn = The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
El extraño caso del doctor Jekyll y el señor Hyde = The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(Las aventuras de) Alicia en el país de maravillas = (The Adventures of) Alice in Wonderland [lit. “Alice in the land of marvels”]
A través del espejo y lo que Alicia encontró allí = Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
Cumbres Borrascosas = Wuthering Heights
Tarzán de los monos = Tarzan of the Apes [lit. “Tarzan of the monkeys”]
El jardín secreto = The Secret Garden
El guardián entre el centeno = Catcher in the Rye [lit. “the (goal)keeper among the rye”]
Los miserables = Les miserables [lit. “the miserable ones”; translated from French]
Nuestra Señora de París = The Hunchback of Notre Dame [lit. “Our Lady of Paris”; sometimes known as El jorobado de Notre Dame “the hunchback of Notre Dame”]
Las uvas de la ira = The Grapes of Wrath | Las viñas de la ira = The Grapes of Wrath [lit. “the grape vines / vineyards of wrath”]
Al este del Edén = East of Eden
La perla = The Pearl
De ratones y hombres = Of Mice and Men
Despertar de primavera = Spring Awakening
El amante de Lady Chatterley = Lady Chatterley’s Lover
El príncipe y el mendigo = The Prince and the Pauper [lit. “the prince and the beggar”]
El príncipe = The Prince
El alquimista = The Alchemist
Al faro = To the Lighthouse
Asesinato en el Orient Express = Murder on the Orient Express
Sé por qué el pájaro enjaulado canta = I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Forastero en tierra extraña = Stranger in a Strange Land
El halcón maltés = The Maltese Falcon
La leyenda de Sleepy Hollow / La leyenda del jinete sin cabeza = Legend of Sleepy Hollow / Legend of the Headless Horseman
Almas muertas = Dead Souls
La muerte de Arturo = Le Morte d'Arthur (The Death of [King] Arthur])
El profeta = The Prophet
La tempestad = The Tempest
Noche de Reyes | La duodécima noche = Twelfth Night [lit. “night of kings”, and “twelfth night”]
Otelo = Othello
Las alegres comadres de Windsor = The Merry Wives of Windsor [lit. “the happy close female friends of Windsor”]
Mucho ruido y pocas nueces = Much Ado About Nothing [lit. “a lot of noise and few nuts”]
La comedia de las equivocaciones = Comedy of Errors
Como gustéis = As You Like It
Julio César = Julius Caesar
A buen fin no hay mal principio = All’s Well that Ends Well [lit. “(when talking about) a good ending there is no bad beginning”]
El mercader de Venecia = The Merchant of Venice
El sueño de una noche de verano = A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Romeo y Julieta = Romeo and Juliet
La Odisea = The Odyssey
La Ilíada = The Iliad
La Eneida = The Aeneid
¿La Dama o el Tigre? = The Lady, or the Tiger?
El último mohicano = The Last of the Mohicans
El conde de Montecristo = The Count of Monte Cristo
El hombre en la máscara de hierro = The Man in the Iron Mask
Los tres mosqueteros = The Three Musketeers
Belleza Negra | Azabache = Black Beauty [lit. “black beauty”, and “jet-black”]
La isla del tesoro = Treasure Island
Parque Jurásico = Jurassic Park
El retrato de Dorian Gray = The Picture of Dorian Gray
Veinte mil leguas de viaje submarino = 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea [lit. “20,000 leagues of an underwater voyage”]
La vuelta al mundo en ochenta días = Around the World in 80 Days
Viaje al centro de la Tierra = Journey to the Centre of the Earth
Flores para Algernon = Flowers for Algernon
El maravilloso mago de Oz = The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Los hermanos Karamazov = The Brothers Karamazov
El proceso = The Trial
La metamorfosis = Metamorphosis
Crimen y castigo = Crime and Punishment
El sabueso de los Baskerville = The Hound of the Baskervilles
La naranja mecánica = A Clockwork Orange
El resplandor = The Shining
Eso = It
La feria de las tinieblas = Something Wicked This Way Comes [lit. “the fair / carnival of darkness”]
El cuervo = The Raven
El barril de amontillado = The Cask of Amontillado
El corazón delator = The Tell-Tale Heart [lit. “the snitch heart” / “the informant heart”]
La Máscara de la Muerte Roja = The Mask of the Red Death
Rebelión en la granja = Animal Farm [lit. “Rebellion on the farm(land)”]
El señor de las moscas = Lord of the Flies
Frankenstein o el moderno Prometeo = Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus
Persuasión = Persuasion
Casa de muñecas = A Doll’s House
Un mundo feliz = Brave New World [lit. “a happy world”]
Ana de las Tejas Verdes | Anne, de las Tejas Verdes = Anne of Green Gables
Assalamu alaykum Mariyah, please forgive me for my ignorance and stupidity but what is the religious significance of Palestine for us? May He takes there once it's liberated inshallah!!!
wa alaykumusalaam, its *Mariya
okay so the religious significance of Palestine in Islam:
- Masjid al-Aqsa was the first ever Qiblah in Islam
Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra) narrates, “We prayed along with the Prophet (saw) facing Al-Quds (Jerusalem) for 16 or 17 months. Then Allah ordered him saw) to turn his face towards the Ka’bah (in Makkah). [Sahih al-Bukhari]
- Bayt al Maqdis (Masjid al-Aqsa and Qubbatus Sakhra) was the centre of Rasulullah’s night journey and ascension into Jannah (Isra and Mi'raj)
- Masjid al-Aqsa was the second masjid built on the face of this Earth.
Abu Dharr said: “Once I asked Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) what was the first mosque established on the earth; he said “Al-Masjid Al-Haram.” Then I asked him: then, which mosque? He replied: “Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa.” I then asked him what was the time period between the establishment of the two mosques; and he said: “forty years.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
- The reward for Salaah prayed in Masjid al-Aqsa is 500 times greater than in any other masjid apart from Masjid al Haram and Masjid an Nabawi
“Prayers in Al-Masjid Al-Haram are equivalent to 100,000 Prayers, and Prayers in my Masjid (in Madinah) are equivalent to 1000 Prayers, and Prayers in Baitul-Maqdis are equivalent to 500 Prayers.” (Tabarani)
- Masjid al-Aqsa is mentioned in the Qur'aan 70 times. Here are two of the ayahs:
- Muslims are advised to travel to Palestine for the sole purpose of praying Salaah in Masjid al-Aqsa
“Do not set out on a journey except for three Mosques i.e. Al-Masjid-AI-Haram, the Mosque of Allah’s Apostle , and the Mosque of Al-Aqsa” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
- Dajjal will be killed by Isa
in Bab Lud (a small town in Palestine)
“Ibn Maryam (Jesus) will kill Al-Dajjal (the Anti-Christ) at the door of Ludd” [Ahmad, Jaami’ Tirmidhi]
- Palestine is known as the land of the Prophets as Rasulullah led all the Prophets in Salaah during the night journey. Also many Prophets lived in Palestine or came to Palestine at some point in their lives.
Zaid Ibn Thabit (ra) reports that the Prophet (saw) said, “How blessed is Al-Sham”! The Companions (ra) asked, “Why is that”? Rasulullah replied, “I see the Angels of Allah spreading their wings over Al-Sham”. Ibn Abbas (ra) added, “And the Prophets lived therein. There is not a single inch in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) where a Prophet has not prayed or an Angel not stood” [Jaami’ Tirmidhi]
migrated from Ur to Palestine and lived there for most of his life with Saarah, Ishaq and nephew Lut (the graves of Ibrahim
are in al-Khalil (Hebron)
raised his 12 sons in Palestine and Yusuf
was taken from here
was directed to come here from Egypt (Musa and his brother Haroon passed away before reaching Palestine)
عليه السلام’s son Sulayman
عليه السلام lived in Palestine
(Jeremiah) preached here
was the Imam of Masjid al-Aqsa and he made du'aa for a child in Aqsa at the age of 90 (he was granted Yahya
- Maryam عليها السلام stayed in the Aqsa compound and was given glad-tidings of Isa
Important figures and Palestine
Imam Shafi'i was born in Gaza
Ibn Hajar al Asqalani lived in Askalan
Ibn Qudamah al Maqdisi lived in Nablus
Musa ibn Nusaye lived in Hebron
Imam Ghazali taught in Masjid al-Aqsa and wrote one of his famous books near Aqsa (i think it may be Ihya Ulum uddin)
I pray Allah grants us the honour to visit Palestine again and again and that we are alive to see the country liberated inshallah.
Continuing and ending the first part, here are my TOP 10 favorite DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
#10. JUSTICE LEAGUE THE NEW FRONTIER
The first Justice League film, was an adaptation of the famous comic with the same name, and it turns out a great movie. With very simplistic designs and great animation, it’s set in the post-war 50s, and it focuses mainly on Martian Manhunter’s arrival on Earth and how he tries to blend in, passing as a detective but it also focuses more on Hal Jordan’s journey to becoming Green Lantern. While all this happens, there’s something called The Centre that is possessing and obsessing villains and regular people all over the world. The suspense of trying to found out what The Centre is and why it’s affecting everyone is what makes this movie great, but sadly, it can’t live up to it’s hype, and a giant island that produces dinosaurs from within isn’t exactly what I was expecting. What I can figure out is that it’s a movie about the Justice League, focusing on the heroes and how they reunite to work together, so the villain isn’t really that much important to the plot, cause they just need a threat to unite, but still, something more interesting would have made this movie even better. The opening scene is excellent, if you don’t get chills after watching a suicide in a first-person point of view… then your emotions are as dead as Mr. Freeze’s! Overall, a great movie with an excellent build up that dissapoints in the end. 7.5 out of 10.
#9. SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES
This movie was a lot of fun. A very simple plot, Luthor is the president so he declares Superman a public enemy and puts a billion dollar bounty on him. What follows is an hour of both heroes and villains alike trying to take Superman and Batman down, some wanting the billion dollars, some working for Luthor’s government. There’s not much more to it, it’s a simple movie, fast forward with a lot of action, great animation and featuring the talents of the classic voices of the DC Animated Universe… that makes it worth watching alone. Superman and Batman interacting is great, you can really tell they’re close friends and trust each other with their lives. People may complain about the muscled-up look most of the characters have in the movie, but it didn’t really bothered me, after all, if you are a superhero, you have to be in the best shape possible! What could have made this movie better, and it’s just a detail, but Luthor declares a public enemy to Superman alone, and Batman just tags along with him, so it takes the importance of the movie a little more towards Superman. I would have liked it more if Batman had been also thrown in as an accomplice or something like that, so they are all after him as much as they are after Superman. So basically, it’s a great, fun movie that doesn’t really do anything wrong, but doesn’t impress either. 7.5 out of 10.
#8. JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM
Very similar in spirit to Public Enemies, it has a simple plot: Vandal Savage provides villains of the Justice League with contingency plans made by Batman to kill the other members of the heroes. It would have worked much better as a twist if this hadn’t been revealed early on in the film description! That kinda ruined the moment, because it’s a great scene in the film, when Batman starts realizing that someone had used his contingency plans, so he rushes to help everybody. While I’ve already stated my dislike of Cyborg, he wasn’t bad in this film actually, he didn’t replace anybody, he was just the new guy helping out with cool tech, so I liked his character here, but you could tell, they were trying to slowly squeeze him into the Justice League movies as he apparently is getting very popular in the comics, like in the New 52… I could think of any other reason why replace great characters with Cyborg and Shazam into the league. But I won’t get into that again. The great voices return (Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, etc), so that alone makes it worth watching. Vandal Savage is a very interesting villain, so immortal as he is, it was obvious that the way he was going to loose would be kind of a cheat, that’s the only bad thing about the movie. A very fun, action packed movie, with great voice actors. 7,5 out of 10.
#7. BATMAN YEAR ONE
An adaptation of one of Batman’s most famous stories, being as great as it is by itself, kinda disappointed me. Still, it’s good enough to earn the #7 spot. Being one of the few (or maybe the only one) stories that I had actually read a bunch of times before the release of the movie, I was really excited. So when the movie is an extremely faithful adaptation, following the story page by page, dialogue by dialogue, and the comic you’re adapting, it’s one of the most acclaimed comics of all time, how can you go wrong? Well, for me, it lacked a little bit of soul, of heart. It felt sometimes like if they were doing it in automatic mode. Mainly this could be due to Ben McKenzie’s dull performance of Batman, in what was probably my least favorite Batman voice. He felt bored, dull, not interested at all. It didn’t feel like it was really Batman. Curiously enough, he’s going to play James Gordon in the upcoming series Gotham. Talking about Gordon, he steals the show here. Bryan Cranston pulls a great, very human Gordon and makes the story focus on him. While I loved the comic, when I was reading it and imagining it as a movie (I do that with every comic I read) I thought that it might not work very well as a movie. Because it doesn’t feel like one movie, but more like events that go through the year… and that’s kinda what it is supposed to be, so it’s just a weird feel that the film gives. I also think the climax scene was very anti-Batman, he isn’t even in his suit, it’s clear daylight… that was one of my main thoughts while reading the comic and thinking about an animated movie. Still, it is an awesome story, with great action, awesome scenes, moments, character designs and animation, and it’s as good as a Year One adaptation could be. 8 out of 10.
#6. SUPERMAN VS THE ELITE
I really liked this movie. While I think most people didn’t, I really enjoyed it. Most people hated Superman’s design, but well, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t have a problem with it either, I just loved the simple animation look this movie has. But most importantly, what makes this movie so good is the moral debate that is featured. Should criminals be killed or not? By the time I watched this movie, the same topic was in the air were I lived, since most people grew tired of not feeling safe and whenever they’d catch a robber, they’d beat him up, going to such extremes that in 1 case, the robber died. So it’s a topic very present in the actual world, and it was very well represented through the film. While the villains weren’t that interesting, and the dragon-lady sexual innuendoes were a bit annoying, they served their purpose, to give the people a definitive answer to crime. And that is so interesting! The villain here is not trying to kill everyone or conquer the universe, he’s putting an end to crime. How about that! Sadly, they had to turn The Elite into a lame villain because they were actually proving a point, so they became evil because Superman punched Manchester Black. It was kind of a bad escape to have an evil villain and a good Superman, but it ended up helping to make a great scene with an ‘evil’ Superman. Great film. 8.5 out of 10.
#5. GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS
This is a very underrated movie. I didn’t have much knowledge about the Green Lantern Corps, except for the most famous characters (Kilowog, etc) so maybe that helped the fact that I loved learning about characters that were new for me, and the stories itself are all of them very good, some better than others. The ones I liked the most were 'The first lantern’, 'Kilowog’ and specially 'Mogo Doesn’t Socialize’. Since I had never heard of Mogo, I was just as desperate as Bolphunga to find out where the heck was Mogo hiding, and the twist just blew my mind! I loved it, specially because it had a very different feel to the other segments, the backgrounds of the Mogo planet seemed different, and it reminded me of the movie 'Heavy Metal’. The Abin Sur segment was great too, dealing with prophecies and destiny, and the 'Laira’ segment was probably the one I didn’t really cared for, but it wasn’t bad either. The final battle with Krona was just a simple action scene to end the movie and give the film a sense of unity, but it’s nothing special as the segments are what shine here. I was pleasantly surprised with this one, and it remains one of my favorites. 8.5 out of 10.
#4. BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD
While I think this is an excellent movie, I think it is a little overrated. It’s by all means a Batman movie, Gotham City looks spectacular, the characters and locations chosen for the movie are perfect, voice actors, animation, character designs, it all works. Black Mask was a personal favorite character of mine, he is great in the movie, and is the perfect example of a good use of the PG 13 rating, it doesn’t feel forced just because he can curse he curses, no, it feels natural to his character, that’s the mistake some movies on this line are doing, they do stuff just because they have PG-13 rating (Harley and Deadshot sex scene? What purpose was that for? How did that improved the film?) instead of doing stuff that is natural to the characters and the story and that is PG-13 material, this movie and The New Frontier are good examples of this. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say. The voice actors were overall great, Bruce Greenwood does an excellent Batman that feels natural and right from the start. He was so good that they called him to play Batman on Young Justice. While John DiMaggio did a good Joker, I can’t help to feel like it’s Bender talking, so I didn’t like it that much. The other thing I didn’t like was how all the movie was played out like a mystery movie of finding out who is under the red hood, when it’s made pretty much obvious since the opening scene and all other references made during the movie. They didn’t even tried to distract us with something else, like they did with Andrea’s father in Mask Of The Phantasm and Jordan Pryce in Return of The Joker. So if it was obvious from the beggining, I’m not sure I would have played this one as a mystery, because, while Bruce gets the shock of his life when Jason’s and Red Hood’s blood samples match, I doubt anyone else felt that way watching the movie. I also didn’t like the ending, it left me hanging there thinking, 'so what happened?’. Still, it’s a classic Batman movie, it’s all a Batman movie should be. 9 out of 10.
#3. JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS
This was as close as we ever got to see the DC Animated Universe return. It was originally going to be a return to it, filling the gaps between Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, and it was going to be called 'Justice League: Worlds Collide’. Ultimately, that idea was turned down, yet the movie saw the light in a way that removed any links to the original series, for example, having Hal Jordan as Green Lantern instead of John Stewart. Still, if you use your imagination, it does work as a tie in to JLU, having the original members accepting to add new members, the invisible jet, etc. Alternate universes and stories are always fun, and this movie was no exception. Featuring a rouge Justice League called the Crime Syndicate and a heroic Lex Luthor, that world and ours collide for a very interesting movie. The amount of cameos is so high that you have to pause the movie if you want to catch them all, but the best ones are probably Harley Quinn re imagined as The Jester’s monkey pet, and Deathstroke as the president of the United States. While mid-way through the movie it has been just a fun adventure with not really any superb moments, there comes James Woods and his chilling performance as Owlman. He completly steals the show by tricking the Crime Syndicate into doing his own agenda, which is a very dark one: destroy all existence. The logic behind this action is actually very interesting, with the logic that in every decision, 2 universes are created for each one of them, so by destroying the original Earth (parallel Earths are created from this one), all reality will follow. The climatic Batman vs Owlman fight is amazing, a little dark maybe that because of Batman, 2 people died, that was very dark! It’s an excellent movie and one of DC’s very finest. 9.5 out of 10.
#2. JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX
Well, this one was as dark as it can get. Probably an attempt to make a solo Flash movie, DC seems to be overly cautious when dealing characters that are not Batman or Superman. So they label it as a Justice League film, but with a focus on one of the members. A similar thing will be done on the next movie to be released, 'Throne Of Atlantis’, which will focus on Aquaman. So this film again is about an alternate universe, but this one is even worse than the Crime Syndicate one. The world is about to be destroyed because of a war between the Amazons and the Atlanteans, Batman is now Thomas Wayne, and he’s much more violent than the Batman we all know. All this because Flash went back in time to save his mother from murder. Actually, we weren’t supposed to know that before watching the film. But again, the movie description included that detail, so we all knew that before watching the film, so it’s another twist ruined, because you watch the movie and Flash just assumes it was Zoom who changed all reality, and he finally realizes it’s his own fault for going back in time to save his mother, in what is supposed to be an epic reveal in the movie… we all knew it before even the film started. So, not the movie’s fault, but the people who gave it away’s fault. Besides that detail, this movie is epic, the twists on the characters are great, I specially liked the Superman twist, it was dark, scary and emotional. Batman was really badass and his relationship with Barry was great. Again, the amount of cameos is huge and you have to keep an eye for them: Lex Luthor, Deathstroke, Abin Sur, Aqualad, Black Manta, Captain Atom, Etrigan, and the list goes on and on. Cyborg was handled well for the movie and I think he was a nice addition to the movie, it worked here. Pretty much an epic movie with epic characters and moments, very dark, very violent but not for the sake of it, it just had to be that way, and it works perfectly. 9,5 out of 10.
#1. BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
I don’t think it’s a surprise that this one’s #1. Adapting the famous comic book, this one has an edge over the rest of them that makes the story more epic: It’s done in 2 parts, so you get a 150 minute movie instead of a 75 minute movie. This worked extremely well, because it was not rushed, they took every moment of the comic and adapted it 'nice and easy’ I’d say, without having to worry that much about running time. If the movie would be just one 75 minute movie, it would probably suffer a lot of cuts, the Two-Face subplot would be cut, probably Batman would have fought the mutant leader just once…. it wouldn’t have worked. Luckily, I can’t praise high enough the decision to make this a 2 part movie. Part 1 takes it’s time to reintroduce Batman, his first fight against the mutant leader and in the climax, the final fight and win, with an awesome cliffhanger teasing the Joker. Part 2 couldn’t come any sooner. Part 2 was even better, because of course, it’s the climatic end to an actual single story, so it’s only natural Part 2 would be more intense. One of the best scenes in animation takes place in the Batman Vs Joker ultimate fight. In one of the darkest moments, and with a lot of suspense, The Joker murders countless people and it’s one of the most chilling moments of the movie, with Batman being so pissed that he attemps to kill him. With now Gordon retired, Ellen Yindel is the Commissioner and she doesn’t accept Batman’s ways. So we have another element that it’s now almost a classic on Batman movies: Batman being chased by the police. One of the best moments is when Yindel yells at Batman 'Stop, you son of a b–’ and he just throws a punch at her, not really trying to actually hurt her, but in a 'I’m sick of you, stop bothering me’ kind of way. Peter Weller is an excellent old time Batman, I loved his performance, this movie was 100% accurate with castings and everyone did a stellar job. David Selby was a perfect Gordon, Ariel Winter did a fantastic take on Carrie Kelly/Robin, Michael Emerson maybe sounded a little weird for me at first as The Joker, but you’re into Part 2 five minutes and it just blows you away how chilling his performance is. I also specially loved Michael Jackson as Alfred, one of the best since Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Mark Valley also did a great job as Superman. Superman. The climax of the movie is one of the most famous comic book moments of all time, Batman Vs. Superman. In an epic battle that divides fans all around the world, Batman had all the help he could get in order to fight Superman, which he could beat once and for all in another epic moment. Watching this movie (or reading the comic , of course) one realizes how much this influenced The Dark Knight Rises, and for the best. I think I don’t need to list any more reasons why this movie is excellent and is up there with Mask of The Phantasm and Return of The Joker in the top batman animated movies. Just go and watch it, if you haven’t, you’re missing out on something huge. 10 out of 10.
Ad for Rick Wakeman, Journey To the Centre of the Earth! This is actually one of the bigger albums of the 70s: over 15 million copies sold! Just as a comparison, the Fleetwood Mac album (the one with “Rhiannon” and “Landslide”) sold 5 million copies. Houses of the Holy sold 11 million copies – so yes, bigger than Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin for a while there.
A prog landmark that’s also among the handful of best live prog albums ever.
Monday, January 6th. Or better know to some people as Sherlock Holmes’ Birthday.
It wasn’t like they were going to forget, no matter how much Sherlock tried to deny he liked it: ‘Such a trivial thing, to celebrate the day one was born. Really, I’m not that self centered. Everyone is born.’
This comment was always met with a roll of the recipient’s eyes.
However, the fact that Sherlock wouldn’t - and he wouldn’t - stop asking about what his friends were doing on that particular Monday was almost solid proof that he wanted people to acknowledge that he had, in fact, been born.
So, Greg, Molly, John and Mary (Mrs. Hudson and even Wiggins had chipped in too) worked together to give Sherlock a lovely birthday. It would be small, just a surprise (if they could keep it a surprise) party, that he would return to after John had taken him out on a case that same day.
Monday 6th January
They were all shuffling around, John had just texted Greg to say that they were 5 minutes away and that he didn’t think he suspected anything.
They were each positioned around the living room, each with a party popper.
There had been an argument about the need of party poppers, however, Mary had settled it.
Molly’s present for Sherlock was packed away in her rucksack. She initially hadn’t a clue of what to buy him. That was until a couple of weeks ago last Thursday. It had been a very insightful conversation:
“Sherlock?” She asked, blowing on her to-hot-to-drink tea, “What do you like to do other than this?” Her hand gestured over the body he was analyzing with a fierce scrutiny.
He looked up to her and his furrowed eyebrows relaxed.
“Well, a lot of things, actually.” He announced, straightening up.
“Yes…What like?” Molly urged.
“Well…I mean, I like to read. Did you know I can read at a rate of-” He sat on a lab stool, staring to ramble off in his usual way which Molly knew he did when he wasn’t familiar with something. Molly quickly interjected:
“Yes Sherlock, It probably is very fast. I believe you. But, tell me, what sort of books do you like?”
“I like to read some factual stuff, the more philosophical kind, I think you could probably understand why the books made up purely of facts alone would bore me,”
“Yes, yes, I could imagine why.” Molly assured, taking a sip of her tea but still keeping her eye on Sherlock.
“But I think I like reading classic and adventure novels most of all. They’re my favourite. Always have been.” Sherlock wandered off, thinking about how he used to sit in his garden completely engrossed by different adventure novels that his mum would take him to buy every month at the local bookstore in town. His favourite being Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. he had read that book about 45 times by the time he was 10.
After several minutes of silence, Molly piped up again:
“Oh.” Sherlock was bought out of his little ponder.“Ah…yes…and Bees.” He finalised, turning back to the body, busying himself.
“Bees?” Molly asked, confused.
“Yes, well, I grew up in the country and My father kept beehives. We used to make our own honey and, as a child, I was fascinated with them; the way they carried their pollen, the different jobs within the hive, how we humans depended on such small creatures.”
“Wow.” Molly hadn’t realised she had spoken until it was too late.
“What?” He asked, confused as to why she sounded so fascinated. They were only bees.
“Oh, never mind, I just…I just…didn’t think that you would…you know…”
“Care about a little thing like that?” He finished, raising an eyebrow, but also staring at her intensely.
So after Molly finished work, she decided to take a trip to her favourite bookstore in search for some adventure books and, hopefully, a book about beekeeping.
That had been when a neat little thought popped into her head.
What if she could give Sherlock bees?
She knew she couldn’t really give him a load of bees, however, after a lot of internet searching, she adopted him a beehive in his home county of the Sussex Downs, a couple of days after she got the gift pack and a certificate - Molly slipped the certificate in between the pages of an ancient looking beekeeping book she had managed to find at the bookstore. She also bought old editions of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Hobbit and Treasure Island. All little boy’s books, she remarked, however, the idea of a little version of Sherlock, sat, reading similar books and being absolutely enthralled was too much and so she just had to buy them and see if they would turn him back to 9 years old again.
They could all hear him coming up the stairs and when John opened the door they all burst out:
Party poppers popped and streams of coloured paper covered the sitting room.
He was trying so desperately to cover up how much he loved this surprise.
As the bangers stopped, Sherlock quietly muttered:
Before everyone came rushing towards him with hugs and presents and well wishings. All except Molly, she stayed back and simply smiled at him.
She decided she would give her present without the company of others. Not sure that he would want other people to see his softer side. She understood now that she was the only one to know about his nightmares - yes, Sherlock Holmes had nightmares - his younger, more troubled days, the days when he was ‘dead’ and now she knew about his hobbies. It was a strange relationship they had.
An hour later
Wiggins and Greg were already drunk and John and Mrs Hudson were tipsy. The party atmosphere was definitely in swing.
While it was loud and everyone was chatting, this was when Molly decided to make her move. She just needed to get him away for a couple of seconds and then he could re-enter with a nice, new present.
She walked up behind him - he was talking to John and ‘Billy’ - and tapped him light;y on the shoulder,
“Sherlock could I talk to you for a second? Outside?”
“Of course.” He answered her, putting down his champagne glass.
Wiggins wolf-whistled as they stepped out onto the landing.
“I need to give you your present.” Molly explained, shuffling around in the rucksack.
“Why out here?” he quizzed as he waited, looking at Molly who seemed to be fumbling around an awful lot.
She finally found what she had been looking for and answered him:
“I didn’t think you’d want the others to see it.”
“I don’t know, I guess it’s sort of more personal to you.”
She handed him the five packages, wrapped in brown paper with string.
“Sorry about the wrapping it’s a bit-” she commented, worrying herself.
“-No, it’s fine really.” Sherlock took the wrapping off the first book. “Oh.” He remarked, looking at the used and abused cover of an oh-so-familiar children’s novel.
“Oh god, you hate it don’t you.” she squirmed, “I thought it was a bit risky. I’m sorry. I can take them back and give you money instead. I-” She had noticed his face which looked neither happy nor angry. She knew Sherlock was good at hiding his emotions, however, she just had a gut feeling he didn’t like it. She hid her pink cheeks under her hands.
However, Sherlock quickly interrupted her worried thoughts by prising her hands away from her face and smiling.
“Molly. Please stop worrying. I love it.”
“Yes. I do. This was - no, is - my favourite book. I used to read it on our lawn, or in my father’s chair in the winter, when I was a child. My copy was never as beautiful as this though. Thank you.”
Sherlock leaned in and kissed her cheek slowly and as he pulled away she told him:
“There are more Sherlock!” and pointed excitedly at the others in his hands.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer elicited an interested noise from him and he told her how he never got to read this as a child, but Mycroft had a copy but would not let him even breathe on it. A Journey to the Center of the Earth made Sherlock regale her in how he had found a rabbit hole while he was walking the dog one day and tried to enter the centre of the earth through it, but eventually got stuck and Mycroft came looking for him a couple of hours later. The Hobbit was a book both Molly and Sherlock had read many times, however it never got old and they said that they would try and read it together again at some point.
As Sherlock opened the Beekeeping book, the small certificate fell to the floor.
On picking it up he gasped:
“Of course I remembered you idiot. I’m not going to forget that you like to look after bees.” She giggled, trying to find the gift pack she had gotten on sponsoring a beehive.
As she gave the small collection of things to him, she saw how perfectly excited he looked.
“You know you really didn’t have to buy me anything Molly.” He added, looking up to her after finally finishing flicking through all the beekeeping guides.
“Of course I did. It’s your birthday, everyone needs something on their birthday, even if they are Sherlock Holmes.”
“Molly you really should be getting the present. Your too good sometimes. So patient.” He sighed defeatedly, pilling the presents up in his arms.
Molly couldn’t help but pull him into a hug and return his earlier kiss on the cheek.
“Happy Birthday Sherlock Holmes.”
40 years later
“I’m worried about those bees Molly.” Sherlock moaned for the umpteenth time as his wife came and sat down beside him in her chair next to the fire.
“Sherlock, they’ll be fine. The people at the apiary know just what to do.” She squeezed his hand, knowing from 30 years experience that whenever there was a particularly cold winter - and I mean when wasn’t there - he wanted his bees to be safe and sound. She thought that given half the chance, he would move them in here with them. That certainly wouldn’t work, not with the dog.
“But-” he protested before Molly cut him off.
“Sherlock, we’ve owned those bees for 40 years, admittedly they aren’t the same ones we started out with, but we’ve kept the hive healthy, I mean we even moved down here for gods sake, just so you could spend more time looking after them; and you have. Lots of new baby bees were born and not a single one has died from any of those 40 winters. Not one. So, please stop worrying and enjoy your god damn birthday.”
He had been shut up by Molly once again and he squeezed her hand back before he took out his reading book and Molly took out hers.