March 30, 2014

Haiku Revieu: Divergent


Divergent (***1/2)

Tris is not "normal"
Dystopian Chicago
Four has a nice back


POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. I was a huge fan of the first of Veronica Roth's Divergent series the first time I read it, but became less enamored of the world once I read Insurgent and Allegiant. Because of my disappointment in the books, I wasn't super excited about seeing this movie.

Both the book and the movie are set in a dystopian Chicago, long after humanity has made the rest of the world unlivable. The humans are split up into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Each has certain specific characteristic; Abnegations are selfless, Amitys are kind, Candors don't lie, Dauntlesses are fearless and Erudites are smart. When kids in the society reach a certain age, they go through a test that supposedly tells them which faction they'll belong in for the rest of their lives. Typically, kids get one faction. Tris Pryor, on the other hand, comes up as three, which makes her Divergent—and a danger to the security of her society. Tris, who was born into Abegnation, chooses Dauntless, where she meets Four and is thrust into a faction war that no one saw coming.

When I first read about the actors playing the main characters—Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four—I wasn't on board. Not because of their acting, which I've honestly not seen much of, but because of the seemingly huge divide between their ages. In the books, Tris and Four are teenagers, and only about two years apart. IRL, Shailene is 22 and Theo is 29. That's not a huge age difference, but Shailene just looks so much younger than Theo, to me at least. The two were surprisingly good in their roles, but the needed chemistry between the two just wasn't there.

The standout of the movie was, to me, the sets. The world Roth built in the books is a neat one, and the movie makers did a good job at bringing it to the screen. The adaptation of the story was a bit loose, too, but I haven't read the first book in a while, so that wasn't that bothersome. Besides, what YA-to-big screen adaptation is ever wholly faithful?

I'd recommend this movie to Divergent fans. If you've not read the books, I'm not sure you'll quite "get" all that's going on. But I could be wrong.

If you've seen it—having read the book first or not—I'd like to know what you think. Let me know in the comments?

March 27, 2014

Nerd News: Coulson's cellist, Hercules trailer, Kevin Bacon+Footloose and more

Vol. 5, Issue 11

Hey gang. It’s been a crazy week, and I haven’t been able to get online much, so apologies if I leave anything important out. As always, feel free to leave items of note in the comments, or email me.

In TV news this week:

Here are a few teasers:

24: Live Another Day


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Game of Thrones




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Mad Men


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Rosemary’s Baby


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March 23, 2014

Happy birthday to the Mister!

Today, my other half, my best friend, the man I love to the ends of the universe ... turns 30!

Happy birthday, darling!


March 20, 2014

Nerd News: Age of Ultron concept art, Big Bang evidence, Hiddles sings and more

Vol. 5, Issue 10

Hi friends! Another week, another batch of news of the nerdy variety. What’s happened lately?

In movie news:

Here are some trailers and clips:

The Amazing Spider-Man 2


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Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier


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The Giver


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Someone on the Internet has turned it black and white, which looks so much better and is much more in-keeping with the book.

Godzilla


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Maleficent


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The Maze Runner


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Peanuts


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March 18, 2014

Haiku Revieu: Veronica Mars


Veronica Mars (****3/4)

Neptune is a mess
Veronica and Logan
Old habits die hard


POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. And, warning, if you've never seen the show, you might know what I'm talking about.

As soon as I heard that Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell were starting a Kickstarter to bring Veronica Mars to the big screen, I was ready to throw my money at my computer. I am a huge fan of the sassy teen detective and her life in the 09er. The third season left us a little in the dark as to where Veronica was headed, but that tends to happen with TV series (especially ones with a quasi cult following), so I was so excited to find out what Veronica, Logan, Keith, Wallace, Mac, Weevil, Dick and all of the other Neptune kids had been up to since the show went off the air.

The movie takes place 10 years after high school graduation. Veronica is living in New York with college boyfriend, Piz, with whom she's recently reconnected. She's about to take the bar exam and is interviewing with a prestigious law firm when she gets a call from soulmate (LoVe forever!) Logan Echolls, who's once again involved in a murder case. Veronica heads back to Neptune to help Logan find a lawyer, but ends up staying way longer than expected to actually solve the case.

During her investigation, Veronica has run-ins with an amazing amount of old friends/acquaintances/nemesis. It's really amazing and awesome how many people came back for a role in the film. Apart from the main characters—Kristen Bell as Veronica, Jason Dohring as Logan, Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars, Chris Lowell as Piz, Percy Daggs III as Wallace, Tina Majorino as Mac, Ryan Hansen as Dick, Frances Capra as Weevil, I could go on—a lot of the actors with smaller roles in the TV show appeared as well. (I won't name them all so as to avoid spoilers, but there are a lot!) The entire cast fell right back into their roles and the decade between the last time they'd been together felt like it didn't even exist. And Dick's quips? Perfection.

The plot of the movie was like an extended version of an episode, which I liked. The mystery wasn't grandiose, but felt true to the feel of the series. I didn't see the killer coming, but then ... I might have been too concerned with how the Veronica/Logan dynamic was going to be resolved. I won't say too much, but I'm really happy with the resolution.

This is definitely a movie that all Veronica Mars fans should see. And if you're not a fan yet, you should watch all three seasons and the mini-pilot for the fourth season that never was and then watch the movie. You won't be disappointed.

(Want to discuss more? Spoilers are allowed in the comments!)

March 17, 2014

My wishes for you this St. Patrick's Day

In general, Irish people often have a lot to say. Coming from an Irish-American family, you can trust that I speak from experience. The Irish are also a loving people, and have many blessings and proverbs to express this. What better day than today to share some of them with you?

(via: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

March 13, 2014

Nerd News: Internet turns 25, Sin City 2 trailer, Wes Anderson bingo and more

Vol. 5, Issue 9

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of … Nerd News!

Thanks to all of you who voted for Roswell in Round One of Teen TV Madness (because I know all of you did). Round Two is up, and Roswell is now up against The Vampire Diaries. I have no doubt that TVD will win this, but you know there will be at least one vote for alien royalty over eternally hot and angsty vampires coming from this general direction.

But I digress.

In TV news:

Here are some teasers:

24: Live Another Day


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Fargo






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Game of Thrones


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Mad Men


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Orphan Black


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March 12, 2014

Haiku Revieu: Coriolanus


Coriolanus (****)

Mycroft and Loki
Roman soldiers are brutal
Hiddles does Shakespeare


This past Sunday, my mom and I had a mother-daughter trip to "the theatre" to watch a National Theatre Live broadcast of Coriolanus. Although the production isn't a movie in the typical sense, we did watch it in a movie theater, so it totally counts to do a Haiku Revieu on it.

Coriolanus is a Shakespeare play about a Roman soldier who returns from war and tries to be a politician, with disastrous results. It's a tragedy, and it's brutal. I've never read the actual play, but the brilliance of Shakespeare's plays is that they can be understood pretty well, even if you don't quite understand all of the dialogue.

I will admit, the main reason I wanted to see Coriolanus was because Tom Hiddleston played the lead role. And, unsurprisingly, he was so good. He's such a passionate actor, and he obviously has a true dedication for doing The Bard proud. Also in the production: Mark Gatiss (Mycroft from Sherlock, writer of many an awesome episode of Doctor Who) and Alfie Enoch (Dean Thomas from Harry Potter) and quite a few other very good actors who I, sadly, didn't recognize. Everyone in the cast did a great job, but the woman who played Virgilia, Coriolanus' wife (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) was a little overly dramatic for an already dramatic play.

The set stood out almost as a character of its own. The Donmar Warehouse is a converted banana storage warehouse in the West End of London. The set was very basic—chairs, a ladder and a painted brick wall upon which graffiti was lit. It added to the gritty starkness of the play's theme. The music was really well done, too. All in all, a fabulous production.

I've never seen a National Theatre Live broadcast before, but we had a wonderful time. I really hope I'm able to see more of them in the future. (And if they also have Hiddles in them, I wouldn't mind one bit.)

March 08, 2014

Take Your Action Figure to Work Day

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you probably saw my pictures yesterday of a certain Steve Rogers (in full Captain America regalia) hanging out around my office. Yesterday was Take Your Action Figure to Work Day, and Steve and I had a lot of fun.


That's Wes' sandwich in the background of the third shot; we met today for a "business" lunch.

I was invited to take part in Take Your Action Figure To Work Day (shortened to #actionfigureworkday on social media) by a coworker friend. The event was created by a guy on Facebook who I don't know, but I certainly admire for his efforts to bring a little fun into people's lives. According to this article, the whole idea stemmed from a comment on a comic book group. Regardless, this is probably the most fun I've had at work in weeks. (It's the little things!)

I really hope this becomes a yearly event.

March 06, 2014

Nerd News: Arrow teaser, Mondo Disney art, 2 min. of Veronica Mars and more

Vol. 5, Issue 8

Hey, friends! Welcome to another edition of all the nerdy news that’s fit to “print.” Before we being today, I have to sneak in a shameless plug for Teen TV Madness, a March Madness bracket/voting contest we’re running over at Forever Young Adult. Round One started Sunday, and voting continues through Saturday. Definitely check it out! (And vote for Roswell in the Luke’s Diner bracket.)

In movie news:

Here are some trailers, a featurette and a musical number:

300: Rise of an Empire


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Six more 300 2 clips can be found here.

Annie


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The BoxTrolls


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Captain America: The Winter Soldier


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Jupiter Ascending


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Muppets Most Wanted


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Transformers: Age of Extinction


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Here's a delete scene from Thor: The Dark World:


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And the first two minutes of Veronica Mars are also available to view:


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March 04, 2014

obsessed.: Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar speech


I didn't watch the Oscars, nor have I seen 12 Years a Slave, but catching up on the Internet yesterday led me to Lupita's speech.

 

I totally got choked up. (And no, not just because Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict did, too.) What an amazing woman. I see big things in her future.

March 01, 2014

March is a good month for fighting demons ... and pie.

Cheers for the third month of 2014!

(If you'd like to download this page of the 2014 Man Calendar for personal use, just click on the image and it'll open in a new window. You can then right/control click and save it. Each page should print at 6"x9".)