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Somewhere in my closet, there’s a Zack Weber t-shirt beside a jacket made out of a blanket and a stack of painting clothes, still covered in silver spray paint from those Stuco lock ins.  And in front of that, there are sliding mirrors.  And then there’s the reflection of a bed room and an open window showing this big world…

I go back home on Friday, which I’m excited for.  Part of me just wants to go pick up my cat and snuggle.  Another wants to go take a walk down by the river and visit my work to talk about scheduling some time over winter holidays.  And another wants to cook a meal, start a fire, and turn on football in the living room.  But, even more than those, there’s something I’m really, really, really ready for:

Harry-freaking-Potter.

AHHHH!  It’s so close and yet so far away!  The new Harry Potter film comes out this Friday, but I’m waiting until Monday to see it with some friends since it got sold out here in Kirksville.  Never has a movie seemed so far away when it is really less than a week away.  So if I just don’t exist online from Friday until Monday, it’s because I’m trying to avoid what people are saying about Harry Potter.

Yes, I’m a six year old, plugging her ears.

But it could be worse; I could be a six year old with massive amounts of homework and reading, but that was more the past two weeks.  For this week, I only have to read a psychological text and write a ten page paper.  And while this may sound terrifying to some people, the task itself is very easy.  Now, I just have to make myself sit still for long enough to read the book and take notes.  And from there?  It’s easy.

There really haven’t been that many developments in my life this month.  It’s been time with friends and ink wash paintings and watching more and more brown leaves gather together outside of my windows.  If I had a camera, I’d show you pictures, but as it stands, I’m not getting a new camera until this holiday (a Nikon CoolPix, probably).  If you have any camera recommendations, feel free to leave me a comment.  Until next time, see you!

“Wouldn’t it be okay
if we took a little drink and we start to fly away?
All I really want is you and me here,
you and I.”

Playground Rocks, Zack Weber

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On Saturday afternoon, my friends and I got together to watch the new Alice in Wonderland movie, and since I love writing up reviews, I figured I’d share a little.  I will try my darnedest to stay away from spoilers.

Just to put it out there, I really enjoyed the film.  It was a nice mixture of creepy from our Tim Burton, and while the script was fairly basic and not the best thing in the world, it was also quite imaginatively built from Lewis Carroll’s works.  Also, I watched it in 3D, and it wins an award from me as the first 3D film to not have made me feel ill.  I went into the theatre telling my friends that I was going to, “Throw up all over the movie screen.”  And, I left the theatre feeling just as well as I had come in.  Quite an accomplishment.

I think a major reason for not feeling sick was that this 3D is not for gags.  It wasn’t like in The Final Destination where bolts and body pieces were being flung out at you.  This was subtle.  The 3D added depth and layers to the movie that would have otherwise gone unnoticed in a 2D film.  I felt as though it enhanced the movie rather than take away from it.  Though I didn’t see Avatar in 3D, I was told by friends that it was the similar type of 3D.  Thank goodness.  It gives me hope for the films coming out in the future that require wearing the glasses and getting all ready to see the depth (cue Toy Story 3).

I also give a major A+ to costume design.  Honestly, I wanted Alice’s wardrobe and probably over mentioned it to my friend Daniel throughout the entire film.  Each character had lovely, imaginative costumes, and I was particularly happy with the outfits worn by Alice in both castles, the Mad Hatter’s full costume, and the hair designs for the ladies during the 1800’s scenes.  Very nice, very imaginative, and very beautiful.

The sets were interesting as well.  Granted, almost all of them were green-screens, but I was still fairly happy.  I enjoyed the contrasts in colours used between the outfits and landscapes, not to mention the architecture work (or should I say imagination) going into the castles of the queens.  It was nice to see something moulded that way.

Acting was pretty good.  Mia Wasikowska did a great job with her first large roll, and Johnny Depp was funny as always with nervous ticks and characterisations.  I would have liked to see more character (and show time for that matter) from Anne Hathaway.  She never really got a chance to develop her character or show more personality.  Meanwhile, Helena Bonham Carter was enjoyable to watch, even if it’s basically the same character she’s always played (Oh, hi, Bellatrix).  The rest of the parts were also quite good, excluding Matt Lucas as Tweedledee and Tweedledum.  I have to admit that it didn’t flow nicely and didn’t seem goofy enough for the characters.  But, I can’t have everything.

The only complaints I have about the film lie in the editing and writing.  There were times when things moved too quickly (like establishing plot points) or where the writing fell short of what was happening (escape scenes, et cetera).  And I was disappointed that Anne Hathaway’s part seemed so short.  But, all in all, still a pretty good film.  I would give it a 7 or 8 out of 10, which is a pretty good rating in my book.  (The only tens I’ve ever given were for Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Aladdin, and Moulin Rouge, if you are counting the IMDB ratings.)

So, go ahead and see it in 3D; it adds nicely to the film.  And enjoy yourself.  It’s not a film meant to replace your old Alice in Wonderland but to lie beside it.

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(Note: I just finally made this entry public after several months of letting it bubble as a private post.  Do with it what you will.)

I’m incredibly sickened by modern horror.  The film industry pushes boundaries, I realise, and this has lead to many great things.  Wizard of Oz pushed boundaries with its break into colour.  Sleeping Beauty pushed boundaries with its transformation from live action to cartoon in the hands of artists.  Lord of the Rings pushed boundaries with its computer generation.  But the technological boundary is different from the human mind.  Psychologically, we have boundaries, and if they are broken, what is left of us?

My house is watching a horror film right now called “Funny Games” or something to that effect, and I am sickened.  It deals with two guys who are going to kill a family for the fun of it, and they kidnap the son to make the mum take off her clothes and other such atrocities.

Yes, I realise that these kinds of things happen in real life.  And I realise that it can be put into film.  In fact, it being put into a film does not bother me.  What does bother me is that our society has had our boundaries so torn away that people find this entertaining.  Entertaining?

ENTERTAINING?

What the fuck is wrong with people?  Have we really had murder and violence and sex and gore thrown at us enough to completely desensitise us?  Well, yes; we have.  But at what point have our boundaries been broken that we’ve learned to enjoy watching this?  What the fuck is wrong when Saw can make six movies because people just love watching other people die so much?  How did we get to this point?  How can we hold so little regard for human life and laugh at someone literally being ripped limb from limb?

Do we not have sympathy any more?  We must not.  And empathy is out of the question; we lost that long ago.

I just don’t understand.  I watched all of five minutes of My Bloody Valentine before I made my friends shut it off so that we could watch something else.  Even though the gore was unrealistic, it didn’t matter.  The movie was purely a bunch of people dying.  Just, dying.  Being murdered.  And here, my friends sat around, laughing at the thought of people dying.

Maybe I was never desensitised to it all.  Maybe I kept myself in some kind of bubble.  Or maybe I just never wanted to be desensitised from it all, so I made sure to still feel the fear and pain.  Fear and pain from death, well, that’s human.  That’s why we have religion–to remove the fear from the pain.  But when there’s no fear because it’s humorous, then what happened to the soul?

That’s just it.  What is so damned funny about people dying?  Every day, I read the news.  Another 2000 dead from an earthquake here.  Another sixteen dead from a bombing there.  Another three killed by a train that fell off the tracks.  Another six murdered.  What the fuck makes that so funny?  You can tell me, “Oh, but Missi!  In the movies, it’s just a murder, and they usually deserve it.  It’s not like it’s real.”  So what that it’s not real?  What makes it any different from all of the people who do die every day?  If you laugh so damned much at the idea of death, why are you not laughing at those people who really are dying?  Is it because society tells you not to?  Or are you laughing inside?  Or do you just not care about them at all since you’ve given up your own conscience in order to be entertained?  What the fuck makes the idea so damned different between a movie and real life?

Not much.  That’s what.  People really do get murdered.  Tornadoes really do suck people up.  Bullets really do get in the spines of eight year-olds.  You laugh when it’s on a screen; you might as well be laughing at the real thing.

People aren’t living any more.  They’re just shells.  They sell all that they have in order to be entertained.  We’re laughing ourselves to death.  Neil Postman had it right when he said that we were “Amusing Ourselves to Death”.  He didn’t mean it quite in this way–his ideas were more Orwellian in nature–but it all leads to being empty and hollow.

And for how much do we sell our souls?

One dollar at Red Box.

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Avatar Review

Last night, my friends and I got together from our hectic lives at university to see the new Avatar film. And, let me tell you, I was thinking of all kinds of wonderful things to write about it the entire time that I watched it. For starters, it had a lot of your average film-plot, but it was laid out quite nicely. Not to mention that the cinematography was absolutely brilliant. So, here’s my lovely review of Avatar. I’ll shy away from any spoilers until the end, and they will be clearly labelled. No worries.

The thing I liked the most about it was that, even though it was filled with your character clichés, it wasn’t overly done. Yes, you had your chosen one, your rebel, your INTJ, your hard-core bad guy that just wouldn’t die, your weasel, your nerdy guy, and even your love-interest who gets mad half-way through. But, each were portrayed very nicely. So, I give a big thumbs up to all of the characters, especially to the character of Grace whom I found quite refreshing (not to mention that she was a red-headed INTJ. How can I not be happy?).

The dialogue in the film is a little off during the first ten minutes or so, but I feel like it gets a lot better from there.  It has to explain a lot of back story since it takes place in the future, and that’s understandable.  Once they get past that, though, things can get less corny by means of what’s said.  Also, if you’re a language buff, you may be very interested in the alien language used during the film.  It was completely crafted by the creators and a linguist, and it sounds very beautiful.  It may never become as great as the language used in Star Trek or anything, but you may see people become very interested in trying to learn phrases from the language.

That, or maybe you’ll  juts appreciate the accent of the aliens when they speak English.

I’ve heard a lot of negative things about the plot, and I’d just like to tell you that most of those complaints are completely unwarranted. Yes, the plot is recognisable. But there are only about seven plots in the world to use anyway, so that’s not suprising. And, yes, you could often tell what was going to happen, but it was never to the point where you could get angry just because you called that. I liked the plot just fine. A nice save-the-world mentality.

Not to mention that it was kind enough to include a moral: All humans are complete dumb-arses. I feel like that’s a general principle in most films, including those that try to act against that, but it was highlighted in this film on several occasions. The humans make the wrong decisions, forever and for always.  And you will not be rooting for the humans.  Unless you’re a business executive, and still, there’s room for shying away from the humans in this film.

Something I thought was interesting during Avatar, though, was how much it reminded me of Pocahontas. Hell, I even called the tribal leader Chief Powhatan in lack of a better name. But it had its Disney version Pocahontas vibes that I personally enjoyed. In fact, if you were to think about other films and how pieces of them compare to Avatar, here’s what I’d tell you: Imagine Pocahontas meets Chronicles of Narnia. Got that? Now add copious amounts of drugs. Now, mix in some Star Wars, mostly the fighting from the original three. Once you’ve shaken that up a bit, add some of the epic battle scenes and especially Aragorn’s epic speech from Lord of the Rings. Once you’ve got all of those mixed together, you get something vaguely like Avatar, but you’re still never going to get close to it. You see, no other film has quite compared to this, not only because of the Aliens, but also because of the complexities of the languages, cultures, and religion.

But again, major Pocahontas vibes. I thought they’d start singing ‘Colour of the Wind’ at some point.  Instead, our chosen one was just called an idiot.  Same, same, but different.

And the cinematography really was brilliant.  It wasn’t the type of brilliant to make you draw breath at the start of each scene, but it was very rewarding to just sit there and view the colours and clear dimensions.  Much of the world brought to life appear almost like fibre-optics, and the colours used in the lights are intense and beautifully created.  Many scenes are completely computer generated, but for once, you’ll nearly forget that and start thinking about where on Earth this was filmed… but it wasn’t.  The filming also had a nearly 3-D effect, but without making me feeling car-sick.  Thank goodness.

And, for everyone wondering about the computer generated characters (which basically make up half of the movie), it was brilliantly done.  I’d read a review somewhere that said the makers of the film weren’t interested in actually having it done until they saw that computer generated characters could hold their own.  Well, they had seen the character Gollum in Lord of the Rings, and supposedly that changed their minds.  But, let me tell you, Gollum doesn’t even come close to how nicely done these alien creatures (and alien animals, as well) were portrayed.  Finally, we have characters that can express emotions, be shown in full interaction with humans, and move around without it looking off.  When they cry, it looks legit.  Just to put that out there.

Now, Avatar isn’t my favourite film in the world (that spot is still reserved for Lord of the Rings), but I really don’t have too many complaints.  Some people may have called for more battle and more gore, but I was fine without it.  (As someone who spent more than half of Final Destination 4 either outside of the theatre or with her eyes closed, it was nice not to have to shy away from the screen.)

But, all in all, great film, and I highly recommend seeing it.  If you can get yourself to a theatre, do it, because it’s going to look much better from a fifty foot screen than from your home screen on DVD.  It was finally a film that was worth the ten dollars.

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