the cast and the plot and the lines and the humour

Criminally Underrated Cartoons I Strongly Recommend 

Clone High

description: Clones of historical figures attend high school together. A parody of teen drama’s, Clone High hits every trope and cliche and parodies them mercilessly. The comedy comes in both zany physical gags and dialogue dripping in self awareness. Every plot is a cliche taken up to eleven, hence surpassing the cliche and becoming something else entirely. The jokes range from intelligent to low-brow to absurd. I’m trying to recall an early Teletoon promo and I believe it went something like; “it’s about a girl who’s in love with a guy who’s in love with a girl who’s in love with a guy who hates the guy that loves to party.” Every character is broad, but it’s that type of show. 

strengths: Writing. This is one of those shows written for writers. Also, the voice acting. The cast is great and the line reads themselves can get really funny. 

weaknesses: The stylized art style may turn some people off. Also, if you hate love triangles to the point where you can’t even see them deconstructed and satirized, well…

where to watch: YouTube, DVD, Kisscartoon

F is for Family

description: This show follows the everyday lives of the Murphy’s, a lower middle class family living in the early 70′s. Frank is a Korean war veteran who gave up his dream of becoming an airline pilot to raise his son and quickly marry his girlfriend due to her unplanned pregnancy. The show is far more subtle compared to it’s predecessors such as the Simpsons or American Dad.  It’s more comparable to early seasons of Rosanne or Married With Children, in that it is the subversion of the family sitcom (or animated family sitcom in this case). The show has a slow, more realistic pace focusing on everyday aspects of life. Heavily character and relationship based. But don’t get the impression this show is quite. The arguments, for example are highly volatile and realistic. 

strengths: Writing, character, dialogue based humour, subtle but unpredictable stories.

weaknesses: The art style and animation are rather average and I find that gives people an inaccurate impression of what this show is going to be. Believe me, the writing far makes up for that. 

where to watch: Netflix, Kisscartoon

Duckman

description: Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man follows Eric Duckman, a put upon private investigator and recently widowed husband and father. Along with his dry-witted and multi-talented partner Cornfed they solve… Well, Cornfed solves them anyways. This relic of the early nineties is often described as “ahead of it’s time”, although I find it to be very much a product of it’s time with perhaps a little more freedom than the average network show. This description likely has to do with the fact that many of the issues satirized in Duckman are still relevant, if not more so, today. Duckman is a fast-paced, action/comedy/family bastardization of a sitcom. 

strengths: Writing, big time, in terms of humour and character. Duckman’s personality leaps off the screen and the comedy is quirky and strange enough to not feel stale, even after such a long time. I personally find the stylized art and fluid animation to be a large strength as well.

weaknesses: Some may find Duckman too reprehensible to sympathize with. The semi-regular pop culture references are also rather dated (though some may find this charming). Finally, the female characters, while well-written, tend to be under used.

where you can watch: YouTube, DVD, Shomi

Moral Orel

description: A stop-motion deconstruction of small town Christian America. The series follows Orel Puppington on his quest to be a good christian. Basically, the show plays on the idea of the towns populace seeming perfect at first glance, but slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) we see the facade slip. Season 1 mainly follows a simple episodic formula with very broad humour typical of Adult Swim (at least at the time). Season 2 is where the more realistic tone and character based plot sets in, season 1 sets it up however. By season 3 many consider the show “too good to succeed”.

strengths: Character, character, character! Character development is by far it’s biggest strength. The show also has a very cute art style which is not only visually appealing, but perfectly contrasts with dark subtexts. 

weaknesses: Season one’s humour may not be everyones cup of tea (though personally, I enjoy it). On the opposite of the spectrum, season 3 can get quite depressing. To the point where, although I enjoy the artistic value of the episodes, some can leave me emotionally drained due to the overall nihilism and bleakness of the world it creates.

where you can watch: DVD (season 1 and part of season 2 only), Kisscartoon

Venture Brothers

description: This action/adventure/sci-fi/comedy show started as a send-up Johnny Quest type shows of the 60′s and 70′s, though by the second season it really became less of a parody and more of an entry into the genre itself, only with copious effort and talent actually put into it. If you like character development, stories that unfold sporadically throughout seasons, weird unexpected characters being killed off and dialogue based humour this is the show for you. Venture Brothers is the type of show you have to watch a few times to get everything out of an episode. Rarely is anything spelled out to the audience, this is a show that loves subtext and referencing previous events without reminding you of it beforehand. 

strengths: Writing, character development, animation, continuity, character driven.

weaknesses: I honestly don’t know if I can list any. I guess season one is a little hokey, but I still like it. Though, the first few episodes don’t do a great job drawing the viewer in and I find most first time viewers don’t really start to enjoy the show until “Mid-Life Chrysalis” or “Eeny Meeny Miney Magic”. Also, don’t start with the pilot. It’s non-canon and it’ll probably just confuse you.

where you can watch: DVD, Kisscartoon, AdultSwim.com (when it’s airing, not sure if they host it inbetween because I can only access AS.ca here in Canada)

  • What she says: I'm fine.
  • What she means: Legend of the Seeker was a feminist friendly, underrated show with strong female characters and development, who were never damsels in distress, nor thrown into a love triangle for no reason. It had humour, romance, action, adventure, magic and originality, was fun and didn't take itself too seriously. The characters were likeable and the cast was talented. The set was aesthetic and depicted a gender equal society with interesting plot lines and removed all the controversial and unlikable parts of the book series. Why the fuck was it cancelled?
Thoughts on IT

(spoiler free unless you don’t want to know ANYTHING)

- I’m about to do what I disliked about other reviews, say who I thought was best in the film….sorry other cast members!

- Richie/Finn: Oh my god, Richie was fucking hilarious. I laughed so much, along with the whole theatre. He definitely stole the show, Finn is so talented. Its been a day and I’m still laughing at his lines when they come into my head. His sense of humour has become a lot less offensive and a hell of a lot funnier.  It feels like Richie had the most screen time and some of the other Losers suffered due to it, but I just can’t imagine cutting any of his scenes or lines

- Ben/Jeremy: I love Jeremy, but I didn’t expect to enjoy his performance as much as I did. He and Richie were my favourite losers in this film (even though Eddie and Mike were my favourite in the book) and I don’t understand why more reviews aren’t calling out Jeremy for an excellent performance like they are for Finn and Sophia. His introduction scene is probably one of my three favourite in the whole movie- another hilarious scene but it had such heart behind it and Jeremy was just brilliant, as was Sophia

- Bev/Sophia was also excellent. Bev is a really enjoyable character in this movie, she is a love interest and the film avoids making her a sexy lamp or a plot device by really adding to her character and giving her some strong individual scenes.  She’s definitely romanticized but she definitely is a lot more than a love interest. There is one scene with the whole ‘everyone is in love with Bev’ schtick but it was funny enough that I didn’t mind. I think the film also avoided the damsel in distress trope pretty well. Bev is a really interesting, well defined character and Sophia did a great job!

- I don’t have much to say about the others but they were all great! Great performances from all, they just didn’t stand out as much as those three

- I really enjoyed the Losers Club and their dynamic as a team and as a friendship. I wish we had gotten just a little more scenes like the swimming one, where they are just having fun (after all, they played games in between fighting IT in the novel) but it was pretty clear that the film was cramped for time…

- the film did feel at times like it was rushing through a checklist of scenes that it had to get through, to set up the plot or characters. The film lacked some stuff (particular losers suffered from a lack of screen time, see next point) Maybe this sounds odd considering IT has such a long runtime, but I got the impression they struggled with actually narrowing it down to that time. They definitely cut a few scenes, one pretty important one that was seen in multiple trailers (I was disappointed to see it go and I’m definitely not gonna be the only one). There was one sequence where it suddenly jumped to a different person nearby and I don’t know whether they cut a scene in between or edited it poorly but I still don’t know how they got there or what they were doing or where they actually were? It’s hard to explain without spoiling but yeah, that scene confused me

- Stan and Mike, particularly Mike, definitely didn’t get enough screen time. Stan probably had more actual screen time then Ben but Ben just felt more present, since he had more importance in the story and an important relationship with Bev. Stan was one of the original 4 losers but he had the least dialogue out of all of them and its a shame, Wyatt is really talented and I would have liked to have seen more. I can tell Stan was the victim of a few cut scenes. I also feel pretty sorry for poor Chosen as Mike, who was under-utilized and just…. joined the losers. There was no scene of him getting to know them, no bonding scene for the whole seven. He just joined the Losers and went with them to kill IT. He did have his own character arch, which I enjoyed but he still had the least screen time, which is unfortunate, especially considering how important he is in the sequel

- As for the horror, I wasn’t scared during the trailers and I wasn’t scared during the film (horror films just never feel real enough to genuinely scare me) The audience members did react to the film positively, to the jokes and to the scares. Personally, I thought the horror was a little lazy because (KIND OF SPOILER) nearly every scare was a jump-scare. It was effective but I guess I just expected more. My favourite scary scenes included the first group trip to Neibolt Trip (probably another one of my favourite overall scenes) and the projector scene

- As for the couples, I’m trying not to be biased here but I think people who exclusively ship Bill/Bev after the trailers might just be swayed by Benverly who have some brilliant scenes, their dynamic is great and I can think of one small, hilarious moment they shared which really stood out. They didn’t have any moments in the trailer but they had plenty in the film. A combination of the two really talented actors and a great dynamic made it the superior couple in my mind (then again, I always preferred it to Bill/Bev. To be fair, they had a good dynamic and Jaeden is obviously also very talented! I’m not a fan of the love triangle in media but I could stomach this one.

As for my other IT ship, Reddie did not disappoint. The banter that we saw in the MTV grey water scene was a gift that kept on giving. We also saw a couple moments which showed the genuine closeness between them (one adorable shot made me want to write a fluffy AU immediately, certain scenes in Neibolt Street made me feel very angsty). I don’t mean to overhype this, they definitely aren’t ‘canon’ and I don’t believe their scenes become so overt it nears queerbaiting, just a well written dynamic which is pretty damn shippable. Also Richie/Bill and Richie/Stan shippers will have some moments to enjoy!

- The movie strays from the book quite a lot, I personally didn’t mind but if you’re a book purist then prepare yourself

- I know I did mention a few negative things but overall I really enjoyed the film! I recommend it completely, I had a great time and I can’t wait for everyone else to see it

FILM (Bellamy Blake x Reader)

Request: Bellamy and reader request-where bellamy is a celebrity and reader is a soldier in the army and is asked to star in a film with him based on her experiences. They hate eachother at first but start to fall for eachother after their close time together. After the film ends she goes back into the army but gets injured after saving lincoln-her best friend- and bellamy takes care of her at his place and admits how they feel. -really long pls i love this concept x

A/N: I know this is extremely long but it’s worth it (i think) ily

  masterlist 


Usually you get along with people. You’re an outgoing, laid back, strong-willed woman who sees what she wants and goes and gets it. You served a long amount of year in the United States Army and if you wanted to, you could write millions of pages of your detailed experiences being a soldier. 

You meet new people all the time, always smiling and shaking hands while engaging in small talk about your various accomplishments as a woman in a position of power. So yeah, you get along with people. Usually

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Emmerdale Storyliners Instagram Q&A - 17/11/17

PSA: if a question is missing, I assume it’s because the user deleted their comment before I could get to it - but I got as much as I could and all of the storyliners responses are below, at least)


ETA: The Team

Sophie: Story Producer, (favourite character: Cain)

Jess: Storyliner, (favourite character: Charity)

Keiron: Storyliner, (favourite characters: Robron)

Joe: Snr Storyliner, (favourite character: Ross)

Liv: Trainee Storyliner, (favourite character: Moira)


Q: Since storylines are mapped out 5 months out, how common if at all is it to change direction on a storyline based on editorial decisions, viewer feedback, or other factors?
emmerdale We often have a long term goal for a story but as it grows organically it often take different twists and turns as the story evolves. - Sophie (Story Producer) 💁‍♀️

Question Missing 
emmerdale Eva who? - Denise (Storyliner) 🙊

Q: Only show I watch!! So…love interest for Pearl??? Tracey pregnant with twins??? New tattoo for Gabby???
emmerdale Wow, those are some episode tags 😂! - Liv (Trainee Storyliner) 🐳

Q: As a viewer from the states I’m used to soaps doing flashbacks. However, I love how you’ve done them. So where did you get the idea to incorporate more flashbacks this year?
emmerdale Iain, the Series Producer loves them! We like to push boundaries as it’s not often done this side of the pond! - Denise (Storyliner) 🙈

Q: I’d love to know how you get into storylining as a job ☺️
emmerdale I’ve always had an interest in telling stories so I went to a workshop (held a couple of times a year) through ITV’s Career path schemes. Check out the ITV website for more details! - Liv (Trainee Storyliner) 🐳

Question Missing 
emmerdale A typical is anything but typical! We work to write 24 episodes over 4 weeks. It starts with conference where we listen to pitches from the writers, then we come back to the office and expand on those ideas to fill every scene of the episodes. We usually take a story or two each and go away and write them 🙂 - Kieron (Storyliner) 💙

Q: I love Lydia. Was there always a plan to involve her in more stories after her first little story with Jimmy or was it the reception she got that brought her back. And what will she do with this inheritance?
We had a lot of fun story lining for Lydia! We felt she was a character we didn’t have at the time and she brings a lot of humour. She’s great with Sam, too! #RIPcockatooSteve - Sophie (Story Producer) 💁‍♀️

Q: Will Harriet be a big part of isaacs life?
emmerdale As the vicar in the Village she plays a part in everyone’s life. As for Cain…who knows! - Sophie (Story Producer) 💁‍♀️

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I just finished reading A Feast for Crows…

And I’m just going to pen down my thought like I’ve done for all the previous books. I’m a loyal show fan and for the first three books, I leaned more towards the show but this is where I switch my loyalty to the books. Season 1 was a very perfect adaptation of AGOT, I had mixed feeling between ACOK & S02 and S03&04 were hands down better than ASOS but they still only enhanced the books staying faithful to the story. S05 is when the books and the show take two very different turns and honestly, I preferred the books for the AFFC story lines. 

I heard so many bad things about this book and the only reason I can really see is… A feast for crows and A Dance with Dragons unfold during the same timeline, after ASOS but thy are separated by geographical locations and AFFC is missing fan favourites like Jon, Dany & Tyrion. And I guess the book fans couldn’t handle the delay. Other than that, the quality of writing, world building, dialogue, scene and action are top notch and George’s best so far in the series. This is the kind of book that even people who look down upon & despise Sci-fi & fantasy would appreciate. Honestly, this is quality literature…well written & perfectly paced. If this level of literary quality is the reason behind George’s delay, then I want him to take his time finishing the series, I would gladly wait. AFFC covers the story arcs for Cersei, Jamie, Brienne, Arya, Sansa, Sam, Iron Islands & Dorne subplot and here are my thoughts in the order of how much I enjoyed each plot. 

Dorne

In the books, the central conflict is between Prince Doran and his daughter Arianne Martell, the heir to Dorne and her idea of starting war to avenge her family is to crown Marcella Queen because by Dornish law, elder daughter has more claim than younger son. It’s the only Kingdom with gender equality and they want the Lannisters to be torn by a political conflict with both Tomenn and Marcella crowned. They literally wanted to wage war on patriarchy, not kill a little girl! 

Arianne is convinced that her father is a pacifist/scared of Lannisters & wants to give her birthright to her younger brother and is too much of a coward to avenge Elia & Oberyn’s deaths but in the end Doran reveals that he’s playing the long game. Dorne has a small army and so he arranged for Arianne to marry Viserys and now that he’s dead, he’s sending her brother to Dany, to bring bring ‘Fire & Blood’ to Lannisters. The Sandsnakes have a very small appearance but even then they turned out to be such well written and three dimensional characters with all the Sandsnakes being so different & unique. These characters are so effeminate and embody more traits associated with female strength than male, it’s uncanny that the show twisted the mysterious, powerful and feminist Dorne narrative completely to turn it into a shallow pointless mess. 

Ellaria didn’t even have a scene in this book, I’ll never understand why the Princess & heir of Dorne was replaced by her and the show creators wrote her the way they did. Her motivations and actions seemed really dumb, crazy & ooc to me even when I was just a show viewer. I think instead of giving her a haircut and changing her entire character, they could have just casted Arienne and gone with the book plot…. Her introduction was even very HBO like hot & steamy, unlike all the times the show had to spice the books up. I’ll never understand why they settled for Wallmart when they had Chanel right in front of them?

Seriously if there’s ever an asoiaf movie based in Dorne with Targaryens & dragons(maybe the conquest? or first marriage alliance?), I will absolutely lose my shit, these are my two favourite houses! 

Cersei - Highgarden conflict 

Until ASOS, Cersei was a pretty likable character and when I once mentioned that I don’t like Catelyn because of how cold & judgemental she is and I might even like Cersei more than her, I was warned that it’ll all change in AFFC. But holy mother of god! Cersei POV chapters are just so interesting, dark & so damn funny…No other POV character has made me laugh this much. There’s so much dark humour in how she views the world. And the internal conflict of the character? She loves her son but wants him to be an obedient puppet at all times. She asks a lot of good feminist questions but there’s so much misogyny in her, even when it comes to her twisted reasons for sexually experimenting with a woman. It’s impossible to not sympathise with her after her recollections of her controlling father, her abusive/rapey husband and the prophesy that plagues her but she is also wants to be Tywin 2.0 & is such a chaos loving tyrant who doesn’t want to hear any opposing views. Also it was nice to see her as Queen Reagent instead of the show version of power loss as Queen mother and mother-in-law/daughter-in-law drama. So it starts with her waking up to find out that Tywin is dead…grief, paranoia, newfound power as Reagent, rift with Jamie…that’s what gets the story going…

High Sparrow : Also Show!Cersei’s homophobic and dumb plan to raise the High Sparrow to power & arm extremists to crucify a Loras for being gay, was that monstrous irredeemable thing which made me lose all sympathy for her suffering. Thankfully in AFFC, it’s only adultery allegation on Margaery which backfires pretty quickly. Over the last few books they have developed the state of the common people after the raping, raiding, war, plunder & even harm to septs and their people, so the influx of sparrows and religious extremists in King’s Landing during trying times made a lot of sense. It also makes sense that the Queen Reagent can’t just choose a High Septon, that there’s an election process in place which allowed the High Sparrow to rise to power.  

Also he manipulated her to militarise very cleverly: Denying to bless Tomenn, telling her of how unsafe the realm is for common people & how they need knights to defend roads/streets and when Cersei gets to “Why don’t you guys do it yourself?” does he bring up the fact that it was outlawed and even forgives the crown’s debt of a million gold dragons (which Cersei anyway had no intention to pay) in return. Also Cersei’s insecurity of Margaery, paranoia about Highgarden’s involvement in Joffery & Tywin’s death and nightmares of Maggy’s prophesy lay believable groundwork for her crazy plan. 

Highgarden Conflict : It’s handled pretty well why both Margaery & Cersei are left defenceless. Cersei sends her uncle & Jamie away on pretty bad terms and surrounds herself with incompetent advisers & King’s guards in order to be an all powerful Tyrant. Problem? There’s no one to bail her out when she’s imprisoned by High Sparrow at the end of the book. Margaery’s dad is sent to lay siege at Storm’s end, Olenna leaves after wedding and only Loras remains. But when Cersei decides to lay seige on Dragonstone while Stannis is chilling at the Wall with all their naval strength and Euron Greyjoy’s ships attack the coastal areas of the Reach in the mean time. Cersei’s refusal to help , using Dragonstone as an excuse, was good conflict with Tyrells.  Loras volunteers to take Dragonstone and free the naval forces to help the Reach. The poor guy ends up badly injured at Dragonstone.

Originally posted by artcuse

Margaery’s framing for adultery was done pretty well too. She’s the best character, in terms of knowing how to navigate patriarchy from within with gentle effeminate intelligence. It’s well established that she’s an outdoor person who can’t stay in the castle for long & loves horse riding. It’s also made clear that highborn girls are known to lose their maidenheads (hymens) to horse riding. So Cersei’s coercion & torture of “witnesses” to tell her what she wants to hear, that basically Margery is banging every man she talks to was kind of funny because it’s mostly projection & Cersei actually has to sleep with the knight in exchange for the fake confession to High Sparrow that he’s slept with Margery. Like after a good whipping the guy just tells them the truth, which is also hilarious because most of Cersei’s “proof” was torture and coercion induced lies. And the funniest thing is, she visits the sept just to convince High Sparrow to not let anyone other than the incompetent members of King’s Guard to defend the Queen if she asks for trial by combat as per the law and that’s what gets her captured and hinders her own ability to use zombie mountain as her own champion. Overall, her story in this book is an excellent read and extremely entertaining! 

Also Cersei’s childhood crush on Rhaegar and her fanart of her riding a dragon behind Rhaegar was the funniest Cersei flashback. 

Samwell - Jon Conflict 

This one confused me the most because it starts with Jon in the first chapter. You don’t know Jon’s thoughts or motivations, its Samell POV which starts with Gilly running away from Jon’s office in tears and for some weird reason, Jon wants Sam to leave for Ciadel with Gilly, Maester Aemon and Mance Rayder’s baby, leaving Gilly’s behind because Maester Aemon & Mance’s baby are at risk due to Melisandre’s talk of King’s blood sacrifice. Sam doesn’t know about the baby swap but he gets awfully triggered at the thought of becoming a maester because as a child when he mentioned he wants to his dad chained him up in a dungeon for days to fulfil his desire to earn a chain (Maester’s chain). 

Jon’s cold and commanding behaviour during Sam’s PTSD episode, Sam’s discovery of the baby swap after Gilly keeps crying on the ship for half the book & Maester Aemon’s extremely heartbreaking death during the journey, which Sam also blames on Jon since Sam warned travel would lead to death at that age…It all reeks of writer’s tricks for building a misunderstood villain narrative, all it lacked was kicking a puppy, seriously! Why Jon didn’t have a POV chapter but made this kind of cameo, I have no idea of the plot purpose..to create a rift between Sam & Jon? I love Book!Jon for being smarter, more cunning & a bit less goody two shoes than Show!Jon but I wonder if the purpose is to make him darker?

Though his trip to the Citadel is not as useless & shitty as it was on the show, there are two awesome discoveries Sam makes : 

They assumed the Promised Prince’s gender : During their trip Maester Aemon hears story of the rebirth of dragons, it’s really sad to read how badly he wants to go to Dany & hates that his body is betraying him, as he’s dying. Since this is the gist of it,“ When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt to wake dragons out of stone,” Maester Aemon says something very insightful to Sam before dying.  

“No one ever looked for a girl,” he said. “It was a prince that was promised, not a princess. Rhaegar, I thought … the smoke was from the fire that devoured Summerhall on the day of his birth, the salt from the tears shed for those who died. He shared my belief when he was young, but later he became persuaded that it was his own son who fulfilled the prophecy, for a comet had been seen above King’s Landing on the night Aegon was conceived, and Rhaegar was certain the bleeding star had to be a comet. What fools we were, who thought ourselves so wise! The error crept in from the translation. Dragons are neither male nor female, Barth saw the truth of that, but now one and now the other, as changeable as flame. The language misled us all for a thousand years. Daenerys is the one, born amidst salt and smoke. The dragons prove it.” Just talking of her seemed to make him stronger. “I must go to her. I must. Would that I was even ten years younger.”

The real dragon slayers of Westeros : At Citadel, a rogue Maester of sorts lets Sam in on a very Illuminati level secret

“Who do you think killed all the dragons the last time around? Gallant dragonslayers armed with swords?” He spat. “The world the Citadel is building has no place in it for sorcery or prophecy or glass candles, much less for dragons. Ask yourself why Aemon Targaryen was allowed to waste his life upon the Wall, when by rights he should have been raised to archmaester. His blood was why. He could not be trusted. No more than I can.”

Arya - Reaching Bravos 

I really loved her little internship at the House of Undying, Bravos is mysterious, intriguing and really amazing to explore through Arya’s eyes. Her internship their so far is not at all abusive or terrible as it seemed on the show. No one has raised a hand at her. Her psychological change is as fascinating to experience as it is in every book but weirdly her murdering the Night’s Watch deserter who Jon sent with Sam to sing songs about the watch & recruit people but he ditches them when they change ships at Braavos to make a career as a singer was very cold and disturbing. Her killing Meryn Trant, a paedophile who wronged her family, made some sense no matter how cold and disturbing that death scene was but Book!Arya’s murder of the Night’s Watch deserter kind of made her blindness punishment in the end seem justified. A bit harsh but it felt more like an intervention…

Jamie 

I never thought I’ll be invested in Jamie as a character, much like I never anticipated how much I would love Cersei’s POV but here I am… It starts at an intriguing mix of Jamie’s guilt at his contribution to his father’s death by freeing Tyrion, his struggle with his lost hand even though he makes a habit of bitch slapping people with his gold hand later and his lack of self worth for his Lord Commander of the King’s Guard appointment as he reads the book recording the accomplishments of King’s Guards before him and his own lack of accomplishments in comparison.  He starts drifting away from Cersei  politically/romantically thanks to his newfound moral compass, desire to be more honourable and Tyrion’s last words, “You poor stupid blind crippled fool. Must I spell every little thing out for you? Very well. Cersei is a lying whore, she’s been fucking Lancel and Osmund Kettleblack and probably Moon Boy for all I know,” which keep coming back to him. Also as far as romance is concerned, throughout the book he keeps pining over Brienne, if there’s an angsty love story in this book…it’s this one!  

“He was grateful when the bath was deep enough to conceal his arousal. As he lowered himself into the steaming water, he recalled another bath, the one he’d shared with Brienne.”

Red Ronnet raised his lantern. “I wished to see where the bear danced with the maiden not-so-fair.” His beard shone in the light as if it were afire. Jaime could smell wine on his breath. “Is it true the wench fought naked?”
“Naked? No.” He wondered how that wrinkle had been added to the story. “The Mummers put her in a pink silk gown and shoved a tourney sword into her hand. The Goat wanted her death to be amuthing. Elsewise …”
“… the sight of Brienne naked might have made the bear flee in terror.” Connington laughed.
Jaime did not. “You speak as if you know the lady.”
“I was betrothed to her.”  
That took him by surprise. Brienne had never mentioned a betrothal. “Her father made a match for her …” 

“How is it that you did not wed?” Jaime asked him.
“Why, I went to Tarth and saw her. I had six years on her, yet the wench could look me in the eye. She was a sow in silk, though most sows have bigger teats. When she tried to talk she almost choked on her own tongue. I gave her a rose and told her it was all that she would ever have from me.” Connington glanced into the pit. “The bear was less hairy than that freak, I’ll—”Jaime’s golden hand cracked him across the mouth so hard the other knight went stumbling down the steps. His lantern fell and smashed, and the oil spread out, burning. “You are speaking of a highborn lady, ser. Call her by her name. Call her Brienne.”Connington edged away from the spreading flames on his hands and knees. “Brienne. If it please my lord.” He spat a glob of blood at Jaime’s foot. “Brienne the Beauty.”

In the second half, he leaves to lay siege on Riverrun, after taking too many pit stops on the way, which seemed more like a quest for honour.  It’s kind of poetic that he was laying siege on Riverrun when Robb tricked him, drew him out to whispering woods and took him captive and this time he returned to do the same, only this time he finds a captive Edmure Tully, the Lord of Riverrun in the very same spot and Jamie manages to talk him into going in & surrendering his castle by using Edmure’s weakness for the safety of his people (and maybe by threatening to murder a baby lol. He’s not a saint already, lol). I liked that Edmure let his uncle, the Blackfish escape before he opened the gates to Lannisters. 

But it ends at a pretty strong place, where Cersei sends him a letter pleading to return and be her champion & rescue her from the sparrows, and Jamie just straight up says NO and burns the letter

Brienne

Brienne’s side quest to find Sansa might be a bit slow but it’s really insightful in terms of understanding her journey, my favourite childhood memory being her master-at-arms’s golden advise to little Brienne, “Men will always underestimate you, he said, and their pride will make them want to vanquish you quickly, lest it be said that a woman tried them sorely. Let them spend their strength in furious attacks, whilst you conserve your own. Wait and watch, girl, wait and watch.”

In an interesting turn of events, her quest to find the Stark sisters comes to an end when she’s captured by the brotherhood without banners which is being led by zombie Catelyn Stark aka Lady Stoneheart, who was brought back to life after being dead for three days by Beric sacrificing himself to give her the kiss of life and well Catelyn came back even colder and more judgemental… So considering that the Bolton man says “Jamie Lannister sends his regard,” at the red wedding and the fact the Brienne is hunting for Sansa & Arya carrying a Lannister sword with a Lion pommel and a royal document signed by Tomenn, they jump to the worst conclusion…

“M’lady,” said the big man. “Here she is.”
“Aye,” added the one-eyed man. “The Kingslayer’s whore.”
She flinched. “Why would you call me that?”
“If I had a silver stag for every time you said his name, I’d be as rich as your friends the Lannisters.”
“That was only … you do not understand …”
“Don’t we, though?” The big man laughed. “I think we might. There’s a stink of lion about you, lady.”

Then they give her the most heartbrekingly angsty choice!     

“All she asks from you is Jaime Lannister.”
Jaime. The name was a knife, twisting in her belly. “Lady Catelyn, I … you do not understand, Jaime … he saved me from being raped when the Bloody Mummers took us, and later he came back for me, he leapt into the bear pit empty-handed … I swear to you, he is not the man he was. He sent me after Sansa to keep her safe, he could not have had a part in the Red Wedding.”
Lady Catelyn’s fingers dug deep into her throat, and the words came rattling out, choked and broken, a stream as cold as ice. The northman said, “She says that you must choose. Take the sword and slay the Kingslayer, or be hanged for a betrayer. The sword or the noose, she says. Choose, she says. Choose.”
Brienne remembered her dream, waiting in her father’s hall for the boy she was to marry. In the dream she had bitten off her tongue. My mouth was full of blood. She took a ragged breath and said, “I will not make that choice.”
There was a long silence. Then Lady Stoneheart spoke again. This time Brienne understood her words. There were only two. “Hang them,” she croaked.

Like this ship will be the death of me! seriously! This angst is so beautiful, I wish they resurrected Catelyn for this scene alone.

Sansa at Vale 

Until Sansa was in the King’s Landing storyline, I would often get bored and stop reading during her POV chapters. Her interactions with Cersei would evoke interest in me, otherwise only thing her character made me feel was sympathy, whenever she feel hurt. Sansa’s inner monologues while building a Winterfell replica snow castle at Eyrie was the first time I felt a connection to her character’s standalone scene. The last Sansa chapter of ASOS really was my favourite Sansa chapter

But in this book, she has three chapters of her in Eyrie after Lysa’s death and it’s just so damn weird, weird to the point of being quite interesting and a bit funny in a fucked up way? Littlefinger quite literally wants her to call him daddy, gives her a big room and his dead wife’s dresses & jewellery in a very sugar daddy way, asks for kisses and pulls her in his lap in the creepiest ways, wants to teach her “the game of thrones” and they have the most dysfunctional family like dynamic with Robin as their annoying child whom they usually keep drugged even though the drug has a risk of killing him. It ends with Littlefinger pulling Sansa into his lap and telling her that that he has arranged her marriage with a someone who will be the heir to Eyrie when Robin dies. But seriously, it’s some Lolita level of weirdness! 

Iron Islands

Personally, I don’t like Iron Islands or Greyjoys… my least favourite house and kingdom. It starts with an annoyingly religious guy wanting to have a King’s Moot after Euron’s return & Balon’s death which Euron wins and becomes “King” of the those depressing rocks, it was still hard for me to care about it in the books. There is another brother named Victorian who has a badass ship attack prate moment…

But Euron’s super rapey and disturbing attack on the coastal regions of Reach following that attack killed the buzz pretty quickly but at least his contribution to the conflict between the Crown & Highgarden made them a bit more relevant than they are on the show. I heard that Euron is really cool in the books but so far other than a few trinkets, sidekick wizards from Essos who did literally nothing cool & boastful yet disappointing tiny pirate tales, he’s still as unbearably annoying & irrelevant as he is on the show. Also he loves to sell people into slavery and wants to marry Dany *eye roll* but he sends his brother Victorian to fetch Dany for him. Sadly Victorian, who beat his ex to death, thinks he’ll keep Dany for himself. Also Yara’s the only likeable thing about this story line but weirdly even she felt kinda meh for some weird reason. I tried really hard to care about these guys but other than Victorian’s badass pirate attack moment & Euron’s attack on Yara’s ship in 7x02, the only emotion this storyline evokes in me is… Why? Why do you even exist? This was the only storyline in the book I found boring! 


But seriously, after reading this book, I’m obsessed with Dorne and I have a newfound love for Cersei’s character. I can’t believe I got to A Dance with Dragons this soon…Oh I’m so damn excited for it! It’s as big as ASOS which had to be adapted into 2 seasons, mostly about my favourites, so much story that the show chopped off, the improvement in George’s already brilliant writing to look forward to and Jonerys treasure to find… I’m psyched!  Sorry was the long rant, I just had too many thoughts about this book that I just had to get out of my system. I’m off to bury my nose in ADWD now to find more stuff to rant nerd out about here…

ASOIAF is Not Shakespearean II: Marlowe and Martin

As a follow-up to my discussion on ASOIAF not being Shakespearean and my discussion with @shakespeareofthrones over here, I want to make a follow-up entry. 

In my post, I argued that if there is a Shakespeare play that resembles ASOIAF than it’s Measure for Measure, which is an ensemble – a play without any real main characters. And that made me think of an even more ASOIAF-esque precursor. And that would be Edward II by Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare’s great precursor and greatest inspiration.


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anonymous asked:

Can I make a headcanon request...? If so, here's the request: Character's favorite movie styles, for the following characters: Adrien/Chat, Marinette/LB, Nathaneal, Nino, Alya, Chloe, and Lila/Volpina! Thanks :D

I haven’t watched the new season yet or the episodes which feature Lila/Volpina (I’m so far behind rip XD, so I don’t know a lot about her)

Adrien/Cat Noir:

  • He is all about horror and thriller movies. They don’t really scare him all that much and he enjoys the suspense.Although he doesn’t like paranormal based horror movies. He much prefers the classics
  • He also doesn’t mind watching classic romance movies like the Titanic or the Notebook.
  • He is all about the classics

Marinette/Ladybug:

  • She doesn’t really have a preferred movie genre and is willing to give any movie that catches her eye a try.
  • But she absolutely hates horror and paranormal/supernatural movies. She wouldn’t be able to sleep a wink that night if she did watch one. And she’d be pretty much hiding her face in the chest/shoulders of the person  Adrien next to her 
  • Avid Disney fan

Alya:

  • Bae pretty much loves all movie genres. Horror? Yeah, bring it on!! Comedy? She’s always down for a good laugh. Romance? Perhaps, if it’s got a good plot and cast. Thriller? Oh yeah baby!!
  • Also likes to watch a lot of sci-fi and fantasy movies :)
  • Loves to watch Disney movies too. Her favourites are The Lion King, Robin Hood, Toy Story and Monster Inc.

Nathanael:

  • Actually loves to watch romance movies. Especially the ones with good emotional scenes and drama. He gets so engrossed with the film and the characters.
  • Also likes to watch documentaries about art or nature/animals. They intrigue and fascinate him quite a bit, especially David Attenborough styled documentaries.
  • Some of his fave movies are;

Nino:

  • Hella into comedy without a doubt!! Loves 21/22 Jump Street, Big Momma’s House, etc. And it doesn’t matter how many times he watches them, they never get old.
  • Action and adventure movies are his second favourite. He loves the Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider movies. Action/adventure movies are right up his alley. Fast and the Furious is high up on his list
  • He’s the type of person to quote most of the lines the whole script

Chloe:

  • Hardcore into trash TV and reality shows, like Keeping up with the Kardashians, Say yes to the Dress, The Bachelor/Bachelorette and shit like that.
  • Likes romance movies that have drama, emotional scenes, sappy moments as well as a bit of humour - a good balance.
  • Her fave romance movies include - Love Rosie, Me before You, Love Actually and Amelie
  • Love herself some good drama movies too like Mean Girls, Bride Wars, etc. Pretty much watches movies and tv shows that have character much like her.
(No Spoilers) Wonder woman: A fresh new take on superhero movies

Very rarely does one experience a film of this genre with a perfectly balanced screen play, cast and director whilst staying true to the character. Wonder woman set off as a promising start in the big screen when she first appeared in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice fully clad in her battle armor and with her battle music.

Believers and non-believers alike started to rally to her cause and praised the actress Gal Gadot as the ‘Hugh Jackman’ of the DC Movie Universe. All over the world people started to see Wonder woman not only as the “girl” of the Justice League, but one of the cornerstones of the DC Universe.

Staying true to the hype, Wonder woman’s movie debut was impressive, astonishing, well-loved and well-reviewed amongst all platforms. Director Patty Jenkins and crew not only succeeded in creating a masterpiece that other superhero films should look up to, but also managed to stay true to a beloved character and told her story in fantastic style.

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MY ZOOPHOBIA TV SHOW PITCH!  ENTITLED, “SAFE HAVEN”.

SORRY GUYS!

IT’S NOT ZOOTOPIA, IT’S ZOOPHOBIA!

If you guys don’t know what Zoophobia is, here is the overall plot of it.

This is coming from tvtropes.com,

“Zoophobia is a fantasy/humour webcomic by Vivienne Medrano about a neurotic young woman named Cameron who, when desperate for a job, winds up being unexpectedly thrust into Safe Haven, a fantastic world full of incredible beasts, unimaginable beings and zany characters. She receives a job as a guidance counselor at the Zoo-Phoenix Academy, where she faces head-on with a colorful cast of talking animals and strange creatures. Unfortunately, Cameron has quite the terrible case of zoophobia and is ultimately terrified by the very students and staff she must work with.”

Sounds very interesting, it is. 

But, yours truly, is gonna give you guys a pitch. 

You can also look up this comic online for more information about it.

And you can go to tvtropes.com and search that up for more details on the plot and characters, 


I DO NOT OWN OR CREATED ZOOPHOBIA. 

IT IS CREATED BY THE TRULY TALENTED @vivziepop.

THIS IS JUST AN IDEA I HAVE FOR WHAT COULD MAKE ZOOPHOBIA A GREAT TELEVISION SERIES.

THIS IS AN ADAPTATION, THERE WILL BE SOME CHANGES! 

ANYWAY GUYS, LET’S BEGIN!

But first, since this is gonna be put to television, I thought of a good cable network that could distribute the show.

And that distributor is… Comedy Central.

I think this is a good distributor, because this is coming from the network that brought us South Park!

And if you guys think about it, Zoophobia and South Park have big similarities.

1. The two shows take place at a huge school where all of the characters. South Park Elementary and Zoo-Phoenix Academy (Academy ranges from 18 year old’s to mid 20′s. So it’s like high school and college rolled into one school.)

2. Characters often swear in the two shows.

3. The most over the top shit happens in the two shows!

4. Follows the daily lives of the main characters throughout the shows.

5. The two are very funny and humorous.

And maybe Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, can write the episodes. Because they know how to balance both comedy and emotional moments, very well.

NOW LETS GET ON WITH THE PITCH!


I CAN ONLY COME UP WITH ONE VERY SPECIFIED STORYLINE AND AN IDEA FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST THREE SEASONS! <3

And this would be a rebootquel (reboot and sequel)

Reboot because when get introduced to this immersive world and get to know the characters. 

But a sequel because we have a few new characters to know and this would be taking place in current times. 

After the last issue of the web comic. 

And I would like for each season to have 15 episodes, to balance everything going on,

So here’s my pitch,


So we are introduced to a new character named Connor.

He’s in his early 20′s, just finished up community college, and is in need for a transfer to a bigger school.

But Conner is different from Cameron.

While Cameron has a fear with animals, gets a little crazy sometimes, and also nervous.

Conner is like that, wanting to help others also. But he loves animals, he does philanthropy work for lots of charities, very confident, and never backs down from a fight. And he loves to help people, so when he gets the same job that Cameron has, which is a guidance counselor, he is very happy with that. 

So his introduction is like Cameron’s, going on a plane to the school, and freaks out dead on arrival. 

Also, gets to hang out with the animals and creatures.

But the theme is about FINDING OUT WHO YOU ARE.

At a young age, he lost his parents in a tragic car accident, so he is lonesome.

He starts connecting with everyone and knows that everyone he meets, are similar to him in a way.

Never judge a book by its cover.

So for one specified story line with Conner making friends, a new character is introduced. 

It’s a female student, and her name is… Jay Burndell. 

But she likes to be called JayJay.

She’s the new girl in school.

She is also finished with community college and transferred to this academy. 

Coincidences everywhere!!!

She loves fashion, very energetic, loves to go to parties and night clubs.

She is also very smart, her GPA is very good, and is so nice to everyone.

So of course, it seems that someone has caught Conner’s attention.

Yes, I want the two to have romance.

I am a hopeless romantic.

BUT!

I don’t want to rush it, so I would rather build the two up as very close friends.

And as the first few episodes continue, we get to see Conner getting to know Cameron, her friends, and Jay.

It’s all about life, relationships, choices, etc.

And I like that theme, it’s like a little bit of everything. 

But within the tenth episode, Conner discovers something shocking.

But, lets set this discovery up.

Safe Haven is a world unlike Earth.

It’s a world inhabited by animals and creatures, that speaks English. 

There’s this event that happens during the first half of the school year.

And this is my take on the whole story.

Since everyone except for Conner and Cameron are animals, there are some who are shapeshifters. Shapeshifters are when humans transform into a specific type of animal or creature. So for the first half, the shapeshifters have to transform to there animal form for the whole first semester. THEY CANNOT CHANGE TO THEIR HUMAN FORM. AND FOR ANIMALS THAT ONLY TRANSFORM DURING A SPECIFIC TIME OF DAY, LIKE A WEREWOLF, HAVE TO STAY IN THEIR ANIMAL FORM. REASON BEING IS TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT IT IS LIKE TO BE IN THEIR ANIMAL FORM. THE THEME OF SELF IMPORTANCE AND DISCOVERY.

So then finds out during that episode that Jay is… A werewolf. 

Once Conner finds out, Jay is scared for him or anyone to see her like this.

She doesn’t like the way she looks, saying she looks like a monster, and inside a beast’s body.

And it’s at this point in the show when the theme really starts kicking in.

Conner is then confessing that he thinks that she looks beautiful no matter what, and that you should always love yourself whether you’re a human or an animal.

It’s on the inside what counts.

The self importance and loving who you are theme of the show.

And they became best friends for the rest of the season, leading up to romance in the second season.

They always defend each other whenever anyone starts to pick on one of them.

And it’s really cool as a theme, where everyone has each other’s backs, and helping one another.

While also having a theme of discovery and loving yourself.


And that my friends, is my season one pitch!

Maybe season 2 can have a huge battle with the students and other monsters, since some animals at the academy have a unique set of skills.

That’s it!

Like and reblog with your thoughts.

Thank you guys so much.

That is my take.


@thebronyphilospher @ktrk5 @darktooth111 @kestamaria @flowers-and-crossbows @fanboyofallthingsfandom @staringatdaisies @haru-android @wilde-hopps-shippers @star-hoodie @equinox-vixen @omg-zootropolis @pace2n9tmaker @nerdalicos @nrbnation @nicolaswildes @nicholas-p-wilde @vivziepop @gooseworxmusic

The Jungle Book Review

Note: Considering how old and well known this story is, I figured putting out a spoiler warning is pretty useless. Nevertheless, I don’t go into detail about plot points specific to this particular adaptation, so this review is spoiler free!

“Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky,
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die. As the creeper that girdles the tree trunk, the law runneth forward and back; For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack” -
The Law of the Jungle, by Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling’s original 1894 magnum opus is truly one of Literature’s greatest works. Drawing upon his experiences growing up and working in Colonial India, Kipling created a vivid series of stories about the Indian Jungle that enraptured generations of readers. A masterful wordsmith, he created a Jungle that was both terrifyingly dangerous and intoxicatingly inviting. He populated this world with anthropomorphic animals in order to teach children lessons in respect and morality, with memorable characters like Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan, Raksha, Kaa and of course, Mowgli, the Man-Cub. Like many, I fondly remember having it read to me as a child, and to this day it’s one of my all-time favourite books. 

And also like many, I loved Disney’s animated 1967 take on the original story. It was an almost completely different beast from the original story, but it was a wonderful movie that, while lacking much of a plot, was nevertheless charming with it’s humour and its songs, and holds a special place in the hearts of millions of children and those like me who are children at heart. 

And now here we are, almost half a century on from Disney’s initial animated effort, and once again, after some slightly less than memorable live action remakes in the 90s, the Mouse House has unleashed upon the world yet another. But this one delivers. Guys, this one meets the hype. It’s freaking phenomenal. 

With game-changing, spectacular, photorealistic CGI and an impeccably picked cast, Jon Favreau delivers a marvelous adaptation of The Jungle Book for this generation - one that pays homage to it’s animated predecessor, draws thematic inspiration from its source material, all the while creating a compelling narrative of it’s own accord - which could very well be the definitive adaptation of Kipling’s timeless tale. 

There were numerous ways they could’ve screwed this one up. This film is the latest in a long line of live action remakes that Disney is recently producing of it’s animated classics. Some have been better than others. Maleficent, for example, despite a stellar performance from Angelina Jolie, was so obsessed with putting a contemporary spin on a well-known antagonist, and rewriting events in order to make the titular villain more sympathetic, that it was utterly devoid of the original Sleeping Beauty’s charm. The outrageous amount of CGI didn’t help matters either, and it ended up looking like a fake mess. Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland remake, meanwhile had issues with a meandering plot. Last year’s Cinderella, however, was a breath of fresh air. In deciding to make a faithful adaptation of the animated classic, Kenneth Branagh’s movie was received well by both critics and audiences.  

It’s thus that adapting the Jungle Book posed a tricky situation for Jon Favreau, and screenwriter Justin Marks. Had this movie been overly faithful to the 1967 animation, modern audiences would probably scoff at it. However nostalgically people remember talking animals singing about the Bare Necessities of life, a whimsical, live action musical with a lack of threat probably wouldn’t cut it. Too faithful to Kipling’s original text, and it would be considered too “dark and gritty” (as is all the rage today in Hollywood) for the typical Disney demographic. It would also probably lose the trademark Disney charm that people so fondly remember the original with. So what did they do? They combined the best of both worlds, of course, to great success. While setting a new bar for the standards of CGI in movies today. 

As charming as the 1967 version was, it had a very basic plot and lacked a good deal of narrative heft. As befitting the works of Walt Disney, it was very child-friendly, which it ought to have been. But as a result, stakes were significantly lowered. Shere Khan ran away from fire after being distracted by those Beatles vultures. Again, very cute and child friendly - which isn’t to say Favreau’s version isn’t for kids, because it certainly is. Show this to any child and I bet they’d be totally enraptured by what’s unfolding on-screen. But Justin Marks, using themes from Kipling’s novels, lends a great deal of gravitas to the screenplay, and gives more depth to characters like Shere Khan and make them genuinely evil. There’s nothing particularly horrifying, but certain sequences may have especially young children, under 10 perhaps, holding their parents hands. It’s totally fine though - using more “mature” themes allows the audience to feel a real sense of danger, as well as a more clear, concise, and centralized journey for Mowgli to undertake from the start of the film to the end, especially in comparison to the animated movie. The wolf mantra heard repetitively throughout the movie is taken from one of Kipling’s original poems from the books, and allows to solidify the movie’s messages of the strength in both individuality as well as companionship. 

Marks’ screenplay at different times changes the tonality of the movie from a humorous comedy, heartfelt emotional drama, to a thrilling revenge story, with the lush jungle as a backdrop. But remarkably, just like Kipling’s original story, these shifts in tonality don’t seem jarring at all. Scenes and sequences move smoothly from one to the other, and even the songs (the film includes “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na be Like You” from the original - it would be sacrilegious if they didn’t).  which some people found to feel a little odd from the rest of the movie - I thought were spontaneous and added beautifully to the film. 

The CGI in this movie, truly, is breathtaking, and arguably the best in any movie I’ve ever seen. It’s ridiculous to believe that every tree, every leaf, every drop of water, every strand of hair on the animals’ body, was created on a computer. “Location shooting” wasn’t the vast Jungles of India. It was a studio in LA. It’s clear to see how painstaking the process must have been to the animators, but their hard work definitely paid off. I don’t think we’ve seen such a leap in CGI technology since Avatar in 2009 or Life of Pi in 2012. At times it definitely felt like I was watching a nature documentary, as opposed to a fictional fantasy story. There are even some shots where water would splash upon the camera lens, adding a great depth of depth and immersion to the cinematic experience. 

The cast was, as I previously mentioned, was impeccably picked. Ben Kingsley is wonderful as the stern but loving fatherly Bagheera, complete with his RP accent. Bill Murray is just perfect as the laid back and easy-going Baloo. There’s not many people who could’ve held a candle to Phil Harris and his original version of the “Bare Necessities”, but Murray rendition is just as brilliant. His role as Baloo is probably his best work in ages. Likewise is Christopher Walken’s King Louie, now a Gigantopithecus ape, since Louis Prima’s orangutan wasn’t native to India. And his cover of “I Wan’na Be Like You” is just perfect. His voice and accent fit the song so well. Lupita Nyong’o brings a warmth and motherly love to Raksha, and the seductive, dulcet tones of Scarlett Johansson’s Kaa really give you chills. As for the antagonist, the great Shere Khan, Idris Elba brings a menacing East London-accented gravitas to the iconic tiger. He’s a genuinely terrifying villain, and his interplay with Mowgli and delivery of lines has to be commended. There’s absolutely nothing to complain about the voice talent on display here. 

Which brings us to basically our only human character in the film, Neel Sethi’s Mowgli. This kid is just brilliant. He portrays Mowgli with just the right amount of naivete, enthusiasm, humor, heart, bravery, and cuteness. We watch or read the Jungle Book through the eyes of a child, and Neel is the perfect audience surrogate, reacting like we would with a child’s amazement and wonder at the extraordinary events happening around him. On the rare occasions that his delivery of lines may slip up, or his eyes are looking in another direction it’s important to keep in mind that he was a) only 10 years old during filming, and b) a kid with hardly any acting experience acting not along with other humans, but literally nothing but green screen and boxes and tennis balls. It’s extraordinary how he managed to carry the whole film by himself, and you can’t help but think that if they cast the wrong kid, the entire movie would’ve probably fallen flat on it’s face. There are seasoned adult actors who act in front of a green screen and come off as utterly wooden and lifeless. Neel knocked it out of the park. An incredibly talented young man, who I’m sure has great things ahead for him. 

I was initially hesitant about the idea of a live action remake of the Jungle Book, but safe to say I was more than satisfied with this film. It’s one of those rare movies that I can seriously find no serious fault with. If anything, I only wish we could see those Beatles tribute band Vultures in live action. Apparently Favreau even planned for Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to appear as cameos, but sadly the scheduling didn’t work out. 

But the movie as a whole was spectacular - fantastic voice talent, brilliant photorealistic CGI, and a heartfelt, emotional narrative at it’s core. It’s a wonderful story for families, and is just 2 hours full of pure escapism. A massive well done to all the cast and crew. 

Rating: 5/5

All thoughts turn now to Andy Serkis and WB’s completely separate adaptation, Jungle Book, now since delayed from next October to October 2018. Set to be closer to the spirit of Kipling’s novel even more than this one, it’s hard not to get excited with talent such as Serkis, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Benedict Cumberbatch behind it. There’s also a sequel planned for this one, with the same creative talent returning, so it’s all the more reason to get excited, especially with the wealth of Kipling’s original stories left to adapt. But those are still a long way away, and for now, we can rest content with what I believe to be the most definitive adaptation of Kipling’s text. A masterpiece.  

418-421: “The Friends' Whereabouts – The Science of Weather and the Mechanical Island”; “An Island of Giant Birds and a Pink Paradise!”; “Bridging the Islands and Vicious Vegetations!” and “A Princess Negativity and the King of Demons!”

The Hype Intensifies…

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Date ~Koi to wa Donna Mono Kashira~ ended perfectly and with style, reminding me once again why I fell in love with Japanese dramas all those years ago! 

Writer for the series, Kosawa Ryota, is the man behind some of the most successful franchises of Japanese TV and cinema such as Sanchoume no Yuuhi movies, Legal High, Aibou and Suzuki-sensei. Nobody knew what kind of romantic comedy can be expected from him but what everyone was sure is that it would be a great show, and it was! It has a cleverly crafted plot with speedy pace and witty dialogues, lots of rememberable lines (expression Koutou Yuumin - “educated idler” but basically NEET - became popular again xD), quirky humour and achingly sweet romance. Not to mention the endearing leads who were acted most perfectly by Hasegawa Hiroki and Anne and the charming supporting cast (even second leads were nice!).

People thought that Hasegawa/Anne pairing wasn’t fitting for usually trendy romantic gekku, then they believed that the drama was going to be a parody of all the romcom cliches but Kosawa deceived everyone by bringing the most romantic ending to this masterpiece of a drama.

[Spoilers?] Who needs a cheesy confession scene when you have that crying “Merry her, please!” Who needs hollywood style kissing scene when you have that apple eating scene? Who needs birth secrets when you have that fateful ticket scene?

If you like Legal High or Sanchoume no Yuuhi, or Kudou Kankurou dramas (especially Manhattan Love Story) you will totally love Date!

Kamen Rider Gaim – Episode 46 Review

One year ago, I was pretty sure I was done with Kamen Rider.

After struggling through Fourze and having dropped Wizard after fourteen meandering episodes, I had little faith that I would ever be able to enjoy the series again. Fourze lacked the gravitas to ground its sense of humour, and the first quarter of Wizard was shrill and empty, with an obnoxious cast of characters and a complete lack of plot or interesting mystery.

Both of these followed OOO, a series I hold dear for so many reasons. The story is straightforward and ultimately satisfying, comfortably avoiding the pitfalls of convolution that so many of its predecessors fell prey to. The relationship between Eiji and Ankh is both complex and endearing, and remains untouched as the best character dynamic I’ve seen in Kamen Rider. The suit designs, derided as awkward and un-Rider-like at first, ended up becoming fan favourites, and are still perhaps the best manifestation of Toei’s vision of an item-swapping Rider.

None of this is to place the blame on Fourze or Wizard themselves, the former of which is hugely well-regarded and the latter of which … is regarded as a thing that happened. It was more about myself having perhaps grown tired of the two-episode arcs, of the increasingly unhinged and slapstick attempts at humour, at the decreased focus on plots that develop as a slow burn over many episodes.

So when I heard about Gaim, which at the time of its announcement, was best described as breakdancing teenagers who play Pokémon in the streets of a corporate-owned city, only to transform into samurai-fruit-bug-men, the concept seemed difficult to swallow, at best. Even knowing that the prolific Gen Urobuchi — whose work on Puella Magi Madoka Magica I enjoyed — was at the helm was not enough to convince me. I waited a few weeks after it started airing to pick it up, being relatively unimpressed with the first episode. I trudged forward regardless.

Somewhere around episode 4, when Kouta faces Takatora in the forest of Helheim and is utterly shell-shocked by the powers involved, Gaim’s fascinating machinations began to reveal themselves. I was sucked in, and haven’t wanted to leave since.

And now, the penultimate episode — and for all intents and purposes, the finale — of the show that revived my love of Kamen Rider has come and gone. The merits of Gaim as a complete work will be argued (as they should be), but it’s inarguable that Gaim’s journey, relative to most Kamen Rider entries, has an incredible scope that repeatedly transforms its world into new, unrecognizable forms. And while the journey is definitely the most important thing, it can all be undone if the destination is a garbage dump instead of the fireworks factory you’d hoped for.

And let’s be honest: in Kamen Rider, it’s very rarely ever the fireworks factory.

Thankfully, we’re in the midst of a pretty explosive moment already, as the final battle between Kouta and Kaito is reaching its climax. Kaito’s ideology has been a sore point for a lot of people who don’t understand how Kaito went from wanting to be strong in order to oppress others to hating that very same type of person. But this is completely consistent with Kaito’s worldview; he resents the world that has forced him to seek out power in order to avoid being trampled. None of this is to imply that his belief system is rational; it’s pretty pathological, but none of us should expect moderatism from the big bad of a tokusatsu epic.

Back in episode 20, when Kaito learns the truth of Helheim’s flora and falls in line with Ryouma’s party at Yggdrasil, he stakes out his rationale for letting Helheim consume the world:

A world inundated in lies and deceit deserves destruction! Those who have forgotten how to fight don’t deserve to live.

It seems clear to me now that those who are weak and those who have forgotten how to fight are not the same group of people. Kaito is referring to “those who trust only their strength and trample the weak;” the complacent, privileged sectors of society with the power to oppress. The weak are used to fighting for everything that they have. This is a struggle that Kaito identifies with and now, drunk on the power that he has been seeking for so long, his anger only lets him see a single path forward: to destroy it all, and replace it with something new.

This is, of course, something Kouta can both sympathize with but ultimately reject; his entire journey has been fighting against the iron rule that demands sacrifice in the name of hope. His fight with Kaito is one of my favourite fights in Kamen Rider; the CGI effects are used sparingly, with the focus being on the sheer struggle of it all. It’s unfortunate, then, that the momentum of the fight severely suffers by not only being split across two episodes, but having the opening sequence interrupt it. If any two-parter begged for a seamless director’s cut, it’s this one.

While Kaito handily overpowers Kouta for the majority of the fight, Kaito is undone when Kouta uses his own incredible strength against him, breaking his sword in half and using the end to stab through his body. This scene is handled about as well as it could be — there are no flashy finishers, no grandstanding, no sense of triumph. Kouta screams as he pierces the flesh of someone he considered to be his friend. In the previous episode, Kaito said, “I have nothing left to protect or lose, so I cannot be defeated.” Kouta’s last-ditch effort and his perseverance were enabled by the desire to protect something.

And as Kaito finally acknowledges Kouta’s strength, he dies in his arms. This all happens about as fast as it would seem from my writing about it, and this quick pace continues through the first half of the finale, leaving almost no space for mourning or for reflecting on its events. While Gaim’s rapid developments have often been one of its high points, the finale is exactly where it’s OK to take your time. I should’ve been crying my eyes out at Kaito’s death, but I wasn’t.

Perhaps there are other factors at blame for that, though. While I think Kaito’s actions have been completely in line with his character, I also think that the build-up to this could’ve been handled better. And perhaps nowhere is that more evident than the relationship between Kaito and Mai.

There are tons of scenes in Gaim that indicate a seismic shift in the relationship between Kaito and Mai, but it never really comes to fruition. Kaito’s relationship with Mai the person seems to come to an abrupt end as soon as she becomes Mai, the fruit bestower. While I think it’s absurd to berate a program for not matching the inflated expectations of its viewers, when you explicitly set up those expectations yourself, you’re asking for trouble.

The problems with Mai continue to an anti-climax in this episode, as she’s basically told that now that Kaito’s dead, she can go back to Kouta and give him the fruit, or whatever. Mai makes no meaningful choices on her own, nor does she ever have the opportunity to do so. She says nothing insightful or of interest — her major dialogue of the episode is reminding us that Kaito is in pain because of how the world forces the weak to be strong, mere moments after he says the exact same thing. No shit.

One interesting touch is the fact that the Fruit of Knowledge seems to literally bestow knowledge, rather than simply being a mythological throwaway reference. Having bitten it, Kouta is aware of all the cosmos, and finds a new world where he and Mai can build humanity’s next stage, rather than destroying the Earth to do so. Both Kouta and Mai seem like entirely different people than before they were blessed by the fruit. While it’s a competent enough ending, there is nothing heroic and triumphant about it. The fact that any of this even makes sense is enough to put it into the upper-echelons of Kamen Rider conclusions, but it’s still fairly anti-climactic.

What’s fascinating is that, for a show that roots a lot of motifs in Japanese traditionalism — and kabuki theatre in particular — there is precedent for such a rapid denouement. Known as jo-ha-kyū, it’s a type of structure that dictates things begin very slowly, accelerate and reach their climax, and then end swiftly. Heaven forgive me for referencing Wikipedia, but:

Zeami, in his work “Sandō“ (The Three Paths), originally described a five-part (five dan) Noh play as the ideal form. It begins slowly and auspiciously in the first part (jo), building up the drama and tension in the second, third, and fourth parts (ha), with the greatest climax in the third dan, and rapidly concluding with a return to peace and auspiciousness in the fifth dan (kyū).

It’s impossible to not draw parallels with Gaim’s overall narrative structure. Of course, it’s difficult to emulate this exactly over the span of roughly fifteen hours of programming, but they seem to have taken a fair shake at it. The show is actually broken into five acts (source):

  • Episodes 1 - 11: Beat Riders vs. Invess
  • Episodes 12 - 23: Beat Riders vs. Yggdrasill
  • Episodes 24 - 32: Beat Riders + Yggdrasill vs. Overlords
  • Episodes 33 - 41: Armored Riders vs. Overlords
  • Episodes 42 - 47: Kouta vs. Kaito

And while the drama does pick up rather early in the first act, its implications are fairly unclear, and Kouta interprets the power he has received as a fairly auspicious one until his clash with Takatora in episode 4. In addition to that, I would argue that the greatest climax of the show occurs not at the end, but during the third and fourth acts. None of this means that anyone should like the ending simply because of its traditionalist structure; it simply provides a potential answer to why things are structured this way.

But jo-ha-kyū sets no precedent for fatalism, an uncomfortably-recurring theme for many viewers. Unlike in Madoka Magica, where Madoka essentially becomes a God and rewrites the universe to suit her desires, Kouta’s solution is very localized — he manages to avert Earth’s cataclysmic fate, but Helheim is free to move onto the next world and compel evolution via destruction. (Though it isn’t clear how this happens — since Kouta took the forest of Helheim with him, will Cracks open between his new world and Helheim’s new target? Or is that process now broken entirely, and Helheim has found a new method?)

The idea that Kouta should fight Helheim is misguided, though (never mind that Helheim has no physical form that can be fought). At this point, Helheim has no reason to lie about anything, so I believe it when it says that its just the “medium in which fate operates,” and that the world’s destruction is inevitable. Helheim is the incarnation of the apathetic universe that surrounds us, a reminder that no matter what we do, we sometimes cannot avoid facing the most dire circumstances. But what we can do is make the best of the trials that face us, as Kouta and Mai do during Gaim’s conclusion. Helheim repeating the cycle anew in a new world may be a somewhat cynical ending, but it’s at least an honest one.

Urobuchi is known for cynicism, and while I do enjoy the somewhat grimmer slant that Gaim has taken, it would’ve been unfortunate for this to rot the core of what is ultimately a franchise about heroism and compassion. So it was with great relief that the second half of the ending dashed my fears.

The sympathetic portrayal of Mitsuzane — which, crucially, does not forgive the horrible things he has done, as the show goes out of its way to point out — has been ramping up ever since he accepted the Hell Fruit Lock Seed in episode 42. That portrayal reaches a climax in this episode, with Zack’s impassioned speech inviting him back to dance with them and keep the memories of Kouta, Mai and Kaito alive being, for me, the emotional high-point of the episode. And, as if making me feel sorrow and empathy for someone I would’ve wished death on a few months ago wasn’t enough, Gaim moves on to do the unthinkable:

It brings Takatora back, and it doesn’t feel cheap.

Despite knowing to never believe someone in Kamen Rider is dead if you don’t see the body, I had felt pretty certain about Takatora not coming back. Much like every other “certain prediction” I’ve had about Gaim, it was dashed thoroughly, because I hadn’t accounted for the scenario of Mitsuzane needing him for support. Any revival of Takatora, I felt, would be tacky fan-pandering, as he had no role left to serve after having let Mitsuzane run amok. Takatora surviving — albeit with severe brain damage — may seem implausible, but crucially, it provides a chance of salvation to a character who desperately needs it, and prevents Gaim’s finale from descending entirely into a cynical fatalism.

Of course, the thought of Mitsuzane having to look after his brother’s vegetated body is certainly more tragic than Takatora being deceased. As Mitsuzane enters the room, he replaces the flowers by Takatora’s bedside, something he’s clearly been doing for some time. With the fury of the apocalypse now cleared from Mitsuzane’s psyche, he can now see, in plain sight, the atrocity that he’s committed.

This scenario also thankfully rehumanizes Kouta, as he appears inside Takatora’s mind to ask him if he’s willing to return to the world and support Mitsuzane. The combination of kindness and passion that made up the best part of Kouta’s character was seemingly erased once he bit the fruit; to see him here, as his usual self, doing what he does best, is the perfect send-off for the character.

And much like Mitsuzane, Kouta reminds us that Takatora is also a person who needs redemption after having buckled under the weight of the oncoming threat of Helheim. But people can change. Fate is not, as it often seems, set in stone. Sure, there are parameters that we are forced to exist in, threats that we must face; but how we react to those things is our own choice. Both Mitsuzane and Takatora chose to make the wrong decisions. But crucially, Kouta is offering them both a chance to make the right ones. While the Golden Fruit cannot revive the dead, its power is otherwise near-limitless.

Takatora’s smile is the best ending that I could have hoped for.

While Gaim made many regrettable missteps in the lead-up to its finale — particularly with regards to Yoko and Mai, as I’ve covered extensively — I believe that the show has stuck its landing overall. While the next episode is the truly final one, it’s not written by Urobuchi, and has tie-ins with the summer movie. It’s a victory lap, essentially.

But this episode is everything that Gaim needs to close its story. It offers not the guarantee of Mitsuzane’s healing, but the possibility of it. It offers forgiveness, not a grand act of redemption. I don’t want nor need to know the specifics of how Mitsuzane and Takatora move forward.

Hope is enough. And Kouta, having been a beacon of hope for so long, has given it to them.

Re-read: Union: The Wedding of Luke and Mara by Michael A. Stackpole 

Trade paperback cover art by Terese Nielsen 

OMG, this comic is trash. 

Complete and utter TRASH! Like, glorious, insane, cheesy, melodramatic, ridiculous, over the top, cringe worthy, slushy, amazing, hilarious trash! I honestly still can’t believe it actually exists. 

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The Most Exciting Movies of 2016

2016 promises to be another fantastic year for movie lovers of all ages. 

2016 has it all - new ‘Star Wars’ AND ‘Star Trek’ movies, huge superhero crossovers ‘Batman v Superman’ and ‘Captain America: Civil War’, British comedies ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘David Brent: Life On The Road’, epic fantasy adventures ‘Fantastic Beasts’, ‘Warcraft’, and ‘Jungle Book’ all coming before the year is out. Here’s the 50 movies we’re most excited about seeing in 2016.

The Danish Girl - 1 January

The buzz is that Eddie Redmayne could scoop his second Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Lili Elbe, one of the first people to go through sex reassignment surgery, and with his ‘Les Miserables’ director Tom Hooper at the helm we wouldn’t bet against it.

Joy - 1 January

Jennifer Lawrence teams up with her ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘American Hustle’ director David O Russell for the third time to play real entrepreneur Joy Magano. Ostensibly it’s a biopic of the inventor of the Miracle Mop, but the caliber of the talent involved including Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper in supporting roles suggests it’ll be much, much more than the sum of its parts.

The Hateful Eight - 8 January

Tarantino could direct an adaptation of the phone book and we’d probably still get excited about it, but this chilly Western set in a stagecoach stopover during a blizzard looks like ‘Reservoir Dogs’ with cowboys. This can only be a good thing right? Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, and Tim Roth star.

Creed - 15 January

Sylvester Stallone is back as aging pugilist Rocky Balboa, but this time he’s coaching Adonis Creed, the son of his former rival Apollo Creed. Starring Michael B Jordan and directed by Ryan Coogler, this ‘Rocky’ spin-off is already being tipped for Oscar glory, with Stallone himself likely to get a Best Supporting Actor nod.

The Revenant - 15 January

From the Oscar-winning director of ‘Birdman’ comes this tale of revenge and survival. Leonardo DiCaprio plays real-life frontiersman Hugh Glass who, after being mauled by a bear, treks 200 miles to take revenge on Tom Hardy’s John Fitzgerald, the man who left him for dead.

Room - 15 January

Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s Man Booker Prize-nominated novel has already been a hit on the festival circuit, and Brie Larson is being tipped for Oscar glory for her role as a young woman who must bring up her son in the worst situation imaginable. The less you know about the plot, the better.

The Big Short - 22 January

Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, this stellar comedy drama from the director of ‘Anchorman’ aims to make you laugh – and think – about the financial chaos that led to the global credit crunch in 2007.

Deadpool - 4 February

Comic book fans have waited for years to see if this solo ‘Deadpool’ movie can wash away the bad taste left by the character’s massively misjudged ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ cameo. An 18-rating and a hilarious first trailer suggest this could be the ‘Deadpool’ movie we’ve always wanted.

Dad’s Army - 5 February

Don’t panic, but the movie version of the classic BBC sitcom actually looks like it could be fun. Surely Toby Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy et al wouldn’t have signed up if the script wasn’t decent… would they?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - 12 February

Yes, you read that right, it’s another adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel of manners but with one rather crucial difference – it’s got zombies in it, and lots of them. The Bennet sisters have more to worry about that just finding a suitor, they have to fight off legions of the undead too.

Zoolander 2 - 12 February

The teaser for ‘Zoolander 2’ became the most viewed comedy trailer of all time in 2015, so it’s fair to say folks are excited by the return of Ben Stiller’s gormless model Derek Zoolander. Owen Wilson’s Hansel and Will Ferrell’s Mugatu also return, alongside a plethora of A-list cameos - including Benedict Cumberbatch, Justin Bieber and Kanye West.

Grimsby - 26 February

Sacha Baron Cohen returns to cinemas, and this time he’s taking the mick out of northern football hooligans. He plays slob Norman ‘Nobby’ Grimsby, rather implausibly the brother of Mark Strong’s super secret agent Sebastian. The plot sees them teaming up to save the world, but the fun here will be in the filthy, un-PC humour (check out the trailer if you don’t believe us).

Hail, Caesar! - 26 February

Genius directing brothers the Coens have made a comedy set in 1950s Hollywood. George Clooney is a matinee idol star who is kidnapped during the production of a Roman epic by a mysterious group called ‘The future’. Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum are just a few of the big names fleshing out a ridiculously strong cast. We’re looking forward to this.

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - 11 March

As with seemingly all film franchises these days, the final book from the Divergent series - Allegiant - has been split into two parts for the cinema. Lionsgate bigwigs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger promise that the book “is ideally suited to two strong and fulfilling movies”. This is part 1, with the follow-up ‘Ascending’ arriving in 2017.

High-Rise - 18 March

Ace British director Ben Wheatley (’Kill List’, ‘Sightseers’) helms this star-studded adaptation of JG Ballard’s 1975 science fiction classic. Tom Hiddleston is the young doctor who moves into a strictly hierarchical tower block. What one critic describes as “orgiastic mayhem on a silver platter” ensues.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice - 25 March

This follow-up to 2013’s Superman adventure ‘Man Of Steel’ adds fellow DC characters Batman (now played by Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman and Aquaman to the mix. Warner Bros. see this as competition to Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, with Wonder Woman and Aquaman spin-offs already planned. Dark and intense, this should be one of the top grossing films of the year.

Zootropolis - 25 March

Known as ‘Zootopia’ in the US, this is one of Disney’s big animation hopefuls for the year. Set in an “animal metropolis”, it follows a police officer rabbit and a con-artist fox trying to solve the case of a missing otter. If that doesn’t sound fantastic enough already, the trailer also featured a hilarious comedy sloth.

Eddie The Eagle - 1 April

English sporting hero Eddie ‘The Eagle’ finally gets his own movie, and bizarrely its from the same team that bought us ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’, with ‘Kingsman’ star Taron Egerton playing Eddie and director Matthew Vaughn on producing duties. Even better, Hugh Jackman and Christopher Walken are in the film, which has been described by the real Eddie as “90 per cent made up”.

The Jungle Book - 15 April

This version of the Rudyard Kipling classic is not to be confused with a rival ‘Jungle Book’ project directed by Andy Serkis that is coming out in 2017. ‘Iron Man’ director Jon Favreau helms this live-action/CGI hybrid, and the voice cast is amazing – Idris Elba is Shere Khan and Bill Murray is Baloo!

The Huntsman: Winter’s War - 22 April

This follow-up to the surprisingly successful ‘Snow White the Huntsman’ is missing Kristen Stewart’s Snow White, quite possibly because she had an affair with the director last time out (he’s also been axed).  Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron do return though, alongside new recruits Emily Blunt, who plays The Ice Queen and Jessica Chastain’s leather-clad warrior.

Captain America: Civil War - 29 April

Avenger will be pitted against Avenger, as the superhero team take sides in The Cap's third big screen tentpole movie. With collateral damage from their world saving antics now too much to ignore, the government plans regulation of the super folk. On Iron Man’s side, those for it, and on Captain America’s side, those against it. 

The Angry Birds Movie - 13 May

The game that had the planet obsessing about hurling birds at pigs makes its move to the big screen, and with an all-star cast talking us through how those birds got so very cross. On board are Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon and Keegan-Michael Key. That's some big talent right there.

X-Men: Apocalypse - 19 May

The hotly-anticipated follow-up to ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ sees Bryan Singer once more in the directorial hot seat, and a new, all-powerful villain threatening mankind. 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Oscar Isaac will be Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant of all, seeking to establish a new world order.

Alice Through The Looking Glass - 27 May

'Alice In Wonderland’ was a $1 billion-busting hit for director Tim Burton. No pressure, of course, but all eyes will be on the sequel, with Mia Wasikowska returning as Alice opposite Johnny Depp’s madcap Mad Hatter. Sacha Baron Cohen joins the cast as Time, a half-clock, half-human, with Anne Hathaway returning as the White Queen, and Stephen Fry once more as the Cheshire Cat.

The Free State of Jones - 27 May

Matthew McConaughey has taken his foot off the gas since the breathless 'McConaissance’, so this is his first substantial project since 2014’s 'Interstellar’. And it is most substantial indeed. This American Civil War era drama will see him playing Newton Knight, a poor Mississippi farmer who leads a group of anti-slavery Confederate deserters against their former comrades. 

The Nice Guys - 3 June

This period actioner (the 70s, to be precise) from action don Shane Black – scribe of 'Lethal Weapon’ and director of 'Iron Man 3’ and 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ – sees Russell Crowe’s LA detective buddying up with Ryan Gosling’s rookie cop to investigate the suicide of a fading porn star. And if Black knows anything, it’s buddy movies. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - 3 June

Michael Bay struck box office gold producing the first reboot at the TMNT series (based on the classic comic books) and so we’re going again. No word on plot yet, but the heroes in an half shell will be taking on a new threat, with Megan Fox returning as April O'Neil and Brian Tee as The Shredder. Expect appearances from classic villains Bebop and Rocksteady.

Warcraft: The Beginning - 3 June

The long-in-gestation movie adaptation of the 'World of Warcraft’ gaming universe will be the first time that 'Moon’s visionary director Duncan Jones has had a sturdy budget to get his teeth into, as humans prepare to battle the fierce race of orc warriors in the land of Azeroth. With Jones’ eye for detail, this should be immense.

The Conjuring 2 - 17 June

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga return as the Warrens in James Wan’s horror sequel. The paranormal investigating couple travel to 1970s England to study the real-life case of the Enfield Poltergeist. The excellent Frances O'Connor plays haunted single mum Peggy Hodgson, while peerless stage actor Simon McBurney (above left) is real-life investigator Maurice Grosse, who looked into the actual case in 1977.

Independence Day: Resurgence - 24 June

After a gap of 20 years, the sequel to 'Independence Day’ will arrive in 2016, and will be set 20 years after the action of the first movie. Will Smith is absent, but Jeff Goldblum is back, among those having rebuilt the Earth’s defences with tech from the alien invaders. They’ll soon discover a second wave of aliens are en route, after picking up a distress signal sent before their predecessor’s destruction.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie - 1 July

Fashionistas Patsy and Eddie make their long-awaited movie debut in this big screen version of Jennifer Saunders’ hit BBC sitcom. The film, written by Saunders, will see the pair ensconced in the south of France after they get embroiled in a PR disaster. Expect lots of celebrity cameos.

Tarzan - 8 July

David Yates’ first film since 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’ will bring Edgar Rice Burroughs’ legend back to the big screen in a story set AFTER the events of the famous book. Alexander Skarsgård stars as the big man alongside Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.

Ghostbusters - 15 July

Undoubtedly this reboot will be among the most talked about movies of 2016. The new, all-female line-up of paranormal investigators brings together a top notch cast including Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy with 'Bridesmaids’ director Paul Feig at the helm. Does 'Ghostbusters’ need rebooting? Probably not, but if it has to be, this is the right approach.  

La La Land - 15 July

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling team up with Damien Chazelle, the writer and director of 'Whiplash’. Wait, you need more reason to be excited? Okay, it’s a musical comedy drama about a blossoming romance between Gosling’s jazz pianist and Stone’s aspiring actress.  

The BFG - 22 July

Steven Spielberg brings Roald Dahl’s famous story to life with the legendary Mark Rylance as the big friendly giant himself. The impressive cast also includes Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader and Jermaine Clement. Youngster Ruby Barnhill plays Sophie.

Star Trek Beyond - 22 July

The crew of the USS Enterprise returns to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary by exploring strange new worlds and battling Idris Elba’s villain. With no JJ Abrams, 'Fast and Furious 6’ director Justin Lin is on board to work from the script written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg.

Finding Dory - 29 July

Thirteen years after the classic original, Pixar follows up Nemo’s adventure with a new story focusing on Ellen DeGeneres’s forgetful fish Dory as she tries to reunite with her parents - played by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy. All together now, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just…  

Bourne 5 - 29 July

Paul Greengrass and Matt Damon reunite to bring Jason Bourne back six years after the original trilogy came to a riveting close. Damon reunites with Julia Stiles, but otherwise there are only new faces here, including Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel.

Suicide Squad - 5 August

'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ has the Dark Knight and Man of Steel going face to face, but 'Suicide Squad’ is undoubtedly the more interesting of Warner Bros’ two superhero offerings next year. A rag-tag group of incarcerated villains are forced to partake in deadly black ops missions. Margot Robbie and Will Smith star with Jared Leto set to steal the show as The Joker.

Pete’s Dragon - 12 August

This unlikeliest of remakes is a live-action and animation hybrid from Disney about a young orphan boy finding sanctuary from his abusive adoptive parents with the help of a pet dragon. Bryce Dallas Howard, Karl Urban and Wes Bentley star.

David Brent: Life on the Road - 19 August

He’s back, and he’s bigger – and probably more cringe-worthy – than ever before. Ricky Gervais takes a break from his day job insulting Hollywood celebrities and reprises the role which made him famous, as the anti-hero of TV’s ‘The Office’ pursues his dream of rock stardom. 

Bridget Jones’ Baby - 16 September 

Twelve years on from her last performance as Helen Fielding’s much-loved character, Renée Zellwegger returns for a third go-around as Bridget Jones. Unlike the previous two films, this one’s an original story not based on an existing novel. Colin Firth also returns as Mark Darcy. 

The Magnificent Seven - 23 September

Look away now if you automatically hate all remakes. Otherwise, get excited, as director Antoine Fuqua assembles an eye-catching cast for a new take on the classic western. Replacing the likes of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and Yul Brynner we have Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and more.

Inferno - 14 October

Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard team up once again on a follow-up to ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and ‘Angels and Demons.’ This time around, Dan Brown’s academic adventurer Robert Langdon finds himself in Florence suffering memory loss; unsurprisingly, a lot of twists and turns ensue. Felicity Jones and Ben Foster co-star.

Doctor Strange - 28 October

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get a whole lot more mystical, as Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role of the Sorceror Supreme in an origin story, exploring how the brilliant New York surgeon learns magic after losing the use of his hands. Scott Derrickson directs, whilst Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejifor and Mads Mikkelsen co-star.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - 18 November

Return to the world of Harry Potter, albeit 70 years before Harry was even born, as the wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) inadvertently sparks a crisis in 1920s New York when some magical creatures escape from his suitcase. Long-standing Potter director David Yates returns, and JK Rowling makes her debut as screenwriter.

Moana - 2 December

For Disney’s 56th animated film, directorial duo Ron Clements and John Musker (‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Aladdin’) bring us their first all-CG feature, following the sea-loving title character on an epic adventure alongside demi-god Maui voiced by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who’ll also be singing as it’s a musical.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - 16 December

The first official big screen ‘Star Wars’ spin-off, ‘Rogue One’ is an anthology movie set before the events of ‘Episode IV: A New Hope’ which will show just how those stolen Death Star plans got to R2-D2 in the first place. ‘Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards directs; cast includes Felcity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelson.

Passengers - 23 December

Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence combine their star power in a sci-fi romantic epic. When a malfunction on board a deep space passenger ship accidentally awakens Pratt decades from the vessel’s destination, his desperation and loneliness drive him to awaken Lawrence too. Morten Tyldum (‘The Imitation Game’) directs. 

Assassin’s Creed - 26 December

A video game movie might not seem the likeliest place for the people who made a ‘Macbeth’ movie to reunite but that’s what’s happening. Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel have teamed up again on this long-awaited adaptation of the popular series from Ubisoft. 

So I missed everyone blogging about Reasons to Watch WOY yesterday, but you can bet your boots I still made this post a day late.

  1. I first fell for this show because of the animation. I’ve always been fond of Mccraken’s work but honestly this was above and beyond even his usual stuff- from character design to backgrounds to the fluid movements. There’s this whole episode that’s literally a royal banquet for animation aficionados that remains one of the best things I have ever seen on television.
  2. The mixture of nostalgia and novelty hit me like a titanium brick. There is so much of the television shows I grew up with ranging from the 70s to the 90s. Obviously a lot of cartoons, especially Looney Tunes, He-Man and The Masters of the Universe, Johnny Quest, and (surprise,surprise) The Powerpuff Girls. Also things like Monty Python, The Three Stooges, the 600000 bad science fiction movies I’ve seen since birth both with and without MST3K thrown into the mix, and Doctor Who (both the old and the new.) Also a huge shoutout to somehow being able to compete with what remains two of my favorite films of all time, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Lego Movie. And even with all these influences and parallels (and let me tell you such an amalgamation would have been fine on its own) it still manages to be entirely unique and like nothing I’ve ever seen before or will see again.
  3. It has that goodwilled goofiness and slapstick that isn’t gross or cruel but still over the top (and to be honest, hilarious.) The humour is, of course, for kids, but it’s so well-paced and cracking and clever that even being conscious that I’m probably being immature it’s the greatest. Just- taking a break from kids shows trying way too hard to be edgy and cool and relatable, and making something that feels genuine (and so wonderfully SILLY.)
  4. Which leads me to talk more about the mcfreaking WRITING on this thing. I’m usually ridiculously picky and snobbish over writing- and tend to like it bone-dry, sarcastic, and witty. Wander Over Yonder’s writing doesn’t really work that way- but like Looney Tunes it’s got this absolutely biting, cracking type of humour that hits hard and fast but at times incredibly gently. There are morals, there are consequences, things are often plainly laid out but at the same time ridiculously fun to analyze (there’s always room for it.)
  5. And of course the writing wouldn’t work without the voice acting. This cast brings me life and they’re so intent and serious about making this show what it needs to be. Just- oh my god.
  6. I won’t say much about the characters or episode plots because this would literally turn into a college-level thesis (this is what happens when you’re autistic and have a special interest in cartoons and television as an adult folks.) I’ll just say that not a single character is two-dimensional (pun intended) or boring in any way, and the episodes are consistently weird and wonderful.
  7. I WILL talk about series one vs series two development because WoW. Series one is Saturday Morning Heaven- it’s very relaxed while still being engaging and you expect every episode to end with ‘tune in next week for another exciting episode of-’ (which doesn’t end up mattering because you’ll just speed through like 10 of them in one sitting.) Series two gets a bit heavier both emotionally and plot-wise. Not hugely focused in like Steven Universe or Gravity Falls, but there’s now an overlying arc that is just fantastic and that you have got to see for yourself. Which brings me to the propaganda portion of this post. Series three was meant to be the final series and was all planned out, but Disney cancelled it because they are a no-fun-allowed-corporate-greed-monster. Disney is now getting bombarded with pleading and there is a petition in need of signing that is not too far away from its goal. Shoot a guy a solid favour and sign on the dotted line, yeah?

Anyway this show means a whole hell of a lot to me, some reasons for which I can’t even go into here and now. If you took the time to read all this I’m impressed- go forth and watch and talk to me about it when you get back. Stay hoopy.

Originally posted by rustyblust

“Neither you or I can hold back time,” the Earl of Grantham told head butler Carson near the start of the first episode of the new series of Downton Abbey. His words carried a double meaning – ostensibly he was talking about the terminal decline of the stately homes of England, but wheeling just as inexorably into view is the demise of the most successful UK drama for a decade. This new series is also Downton’s last.

The year is 1925, 12 months before the General Strike when the TUC tried to force Stanley Baldwin’s government to prevent wage reductions and a state of emergency was declared. At the outset, very little seemed to have changed as the household set out on a beautifully shot hunt. Only Lady Mary’s insistence on no longer riding side-saddle hinted that change was afoot.

Yet it wasn’t long before we learned of belt tightening. The Abbey was having to make do with one hall boy and two housemaids; tenant farmers were in danger of losing their land and the cottage hospital was threatened with being gobbled up by the city general. Whether Downton gets turned into a country house hotel or a conference centre or, heavens forbid, a location for successful costume dramas remains to be seen.

As ever with Julian Fellowes’s script, we were treated to a potpourri of plot-lines, some more dramatic than others. Blackmail and an unsolved murder jostled alongside conjugal rights and female emancipation. In the past, this could feel like you were over-indulging on a selection box but here the light and shade was managed to great effect. Small scenes were imbued with charming snippets of dialogue. Take Lady Edith’s tentative steps into London literary life. “I met Virginia Woolf in this room,” she told Cousin Rosamund. “And Lytton Strachey. Although he didn’t stay very long.”

One noticeable element was how the cast had upped their game. Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith seem to have perfected the art of making the script sound like it was written by Oscar Wilde. I shivered myself when the Dowager Countess asked the do-gooding Isobel, “Does it ever get cold on the moral high ground?”

Meanwhile, Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan added humour and poignancy to the “Remains of the Day”-style romance between Carter and Mrs Hughes. But it was Lesley Nicol who stole the show. In the past, Mrs Patmore has been under-used, merely a sharp-tongued harpy who scolded Daisy when she burned the croquettes de viande. But here she showed a twinkly maturity as she became a confidante to housekeeper Hughes when she voiced her fears for life outside the regimented confines of Downton.

This conversation between Patmore and Hughes was one of many instances in the episode that was freighted with a sense of the future. A way of life will soon change forever and those who have lived it will miss it, for all its faults. And so will we.

(x)

 Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind: a film review by Molly Scanlon

Directed by Michel Gondry, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ is undeniably a beautiful film and one of my all-time favourites. With regards to cinematography it is exquisite, with Gondry creating scenes that are perfectly lit and framed, making the aesthetic as interesting as the plot line. In one scene, clever cinematic trickery make the actors appear child-sized, something I had not yet seen. Alongside Tarantino’s 'Pulp Fiction’ and Richard Ayoade’s 'Submarine’, 'Eternal Sunshine’ was one of the films which got me interested IN film.

 The story itself is well-paced and unique; I for one was engrossed, having never experienced a film like this one. It revolves around Joel (Jim Carrey), who chooses to have his memory erased after finding out his recent ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has done the same. 'Eternal Sunshine’ incorporates light humour but also evokes emotion and provokes ethical discussion; can someone really just choose to erase someone? And what effects does a decision like that have?

 Each cast member pushes themselves and executes their roles perfectly. I consider the role of Joel to be an example of Carrey’s best acting and was taken aback by Winslet’s portrayal of Clementine, having never seen the mesmerising actress in such a role before. Talent also includes Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood and Tom Wilkinson, all of whom also succeed in making 'Eternal Sunshine’ a film which practically forces emotional investment in the characters and their stories.

I wholeheartedly recommend 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ to any film buff or amateur who hasn’t seen it before. And to those who have: here’s your reminder to go and watch it again.

 TDT Rating: 9.5/10