Category Archives: movie review

Let’s Go To The Movies!

Ah, the most wonderful time of the year! Well, for most people, not necessarily for me, the constantly-overheated workaholic! Ha! But, I digress, I do enjoy walking outdoors, gardening, going to New Orleans (which is hilarious given my discomfort in heated environments), and, of course, the summer movies and TV shows! 

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man Tell No Tales and Wonder Woman have already premiered in theaters, so I’ve separated the trailers from the rest of the list:

Let me tell you, each of these movies were phenomenal in their own ways! I will admit I had some issues with Pirates, only, really, because they used Captain Jack as a comic relief instead of the eccentric hero he is. (You know, the line that’s drawn in the series: “Is Jack really lucky or really smart?”) BUT I completely, entirely, adore that they are continuing Will and Elizabeth’s story-line! I’m really hoping for a sixth installment!

Honestly, Guardians has been my most favorite thus far; I was thoroughly entertained and laughing throughout the movie! Especially at Drax! His straightforward phrases were perfectly timed and had me rolling in my chair!

Below are the movies I am looking forward to most this summer, with quick summaries as to why I’m looking forward to them. Of course, they’re not all the films premiering, but they are the ones that fit my taste and will have me first in line to catch a showing! Let me know in the comments which movies you’re looking forward to!

June 9 – The Mummy

I really am looking forward to this rendition, directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise. The movie follow Cruise’s character, Nick Morton, a soldier, who somehow unearths a female mummy named Ahmanet, who proceeds to stalk him. Honestly there are so many things to be excited about. Honestly, there are so many things for me to be excited about with this movie!

First, Tom Cruise. I will always admire him; he does his own stunts, which truly is a feat given that he’s in action movies! Second, Sofia Boutella as Ahmanet. Lordy I love her in the trailer! I know I’m going to love her in the movie! (I’m also intrigued to see how they treat the Egyptian goddess’s mythology; will it be fictionalize or close to the established legends?) And third, of course, I know Alex Kurtzman to be the writer for Transformers, Sleepy Hollow, the J.J. Abrams’s Star Treks, and The Amazing Spider-Man. This will be the first movie I’ve seen directed by him, so I’m looking forward to what he can do!

June 23 – Transformers: The Last Knight

Speaking of Transformers, I CANNOT EVEN EXPLAIN HOW MANY FEELS I HAVE ABOUT THIS MOVIE AND IT’S NOT EVEN OUT YET! 

Ok. Now that I have that off my chest.

Honestly, I already know I’m going to have so much anguish about this movie. In part due to a fanfiction series I’ve been writing about Optimus and his human mate and I’m already having plot bunnies with how tortured they’re both going to be about this. I’m also praying to God that they don’t kill Optimus again. Remember that sixth sense I talk about, being a writer and movie geek? Yeah. I have a bad feeling about this movie and our beloved Autobot leader.

Still excited to see it though! (It will have to be delayed since I’ll be in New Orleans the weekend it premieres! AGH!)

June 30 – Despicable Me 3

I will always, always, always be excited to see my little joyful yellow Minions and their boss, Gru, get into trouble! Bonus: apparently Gru has a brother and wants to go on an evil adventure with him and his family! However, being the romantic sap I am, I’m just thrilled about seeing Gru, the girls, and Lucy Wilde further their development!

And for the Minions to steal the show!

August 7 – Spider-Man: Homecoming

Ok, guys. Don’t hate me for saying this: Spider-Man: Homecoming is the movie I am least excited for on this list. *holds up hands* NOW WAIT! Just because I’ve said that, it doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see it! Please, I’m always running to the theater for the latest Marvel movie!

Honestly, I haven’t given Tom Holland as Spider-Man much thought. Frankly, my heart is still mourning Andrew Garfield and his sass, and it probably always will. But, if anything is to be learned from the trailers and Spidey’s moment in Captain America: Civil War, I feel like I’ll enjoy Holland very much.

August 28 – The Dark Tower

Now this movie I know virtually nothing about. I have The Dark Tower and am hoping to read the first novel, at least, before this premieres. But, first, it’s Stephen King. It’s one of King’s most beloved stories. (My uncle, a man of great taste, is super thrilled for this adaptation.) And, second, Idris Elba. Need I say more?


Again, let me know in the comments which summer movies you’re most excited for, whether they’re ones on this list or others! And don’t forget, fangirls and fanboys, about the Fear The Walking Dead season three premiere, tonight at 9PM on AMC!

Thank you, Moana! (You’re welcome)

DAMN IT–I have an ear worm in my head.

Personally, I blame Dustin Pari for this; he has been bopping around Twitter with pictures of Maui saying “You’re welcome.” Naturally, since I had yet to watch Moana, I decided to finally make time and view the acclaimed movie.

It. Did. Not. Disappoint!

And, now, as it happens with movies that you really, really love, I’m obsessed with how the movie was made and the Polynesian culture that weaved throughout the plot. (In fact, I purchased a Hawaiian legend book the other day at work.)

Legitimately, I have been singing “You’re Welcome” from Moana on repeat for a good week now. Darn you, Lin-Manuel Miranda and your catchy lyrics! I mean, I don’t know for sure who was responsible for the song–I know Lin, Mark Mancina, and Opetaia Foa’i all worked together on the Moana soundtrack and give them ALL the points–but “You’re Welcome” and “Shiny” both seem up Lin’s alley.

Also, I am in love with “We Know The Way.” There are so many beautiful feelings that swarm into me whenever I hear that song. It makes me dream of exploration, yes, but, also, the part inside me that appreciates spirituality, history, lineage, and respects nature adores it!

I especially get chills at the part of the song where they sing:

“We are explorers reading every sign.
We tell the stories of our elders in a never-ending chain.”

Here’s an official link to part of the song, so you can join me in the chills, whether you’ve see Moana or not (because even out of context it’s a gorgeous song):

I also give all the props to John Lasseter and the Moana creators; they wanted to respect the Polynesian culture and history, so they did a five year research excursion to talk with locals in the South Pacific. Bonus: they actually hired locals to fact check them, and even invited them back to Disney to approve the film.

This is how you make a movie!

Here’s an article in Vanity Fair that talks more about this story:
How Pacific Islanders Helped Disney’s Moana Find Its Way
(There’s also a documentary about this on Moana’s bonus features, which is where I learned of the development.)

In turn, Moana has, as excellently told stories do, inspired me in my own stories. (Note: I am not talking about plagiarism. I know I don’t have to say that, but I want to make that clear.) The rich mythology, scenery, and character development has made me reflect on my skills as a writer and given me the urge to match Moana’s quality in my own writing.

The same thing happened with American Gods and Anansi Boys, which I fell in love with about a month ago. (I talk about it in my post: “Current Status: In Love With American Gods.“)

Here’s the amazing thing about well-crafted stories: they make you want to be a better writer. They raise the bar of what you thought was possible, and set the target higher, causing you to push your development as a creator into different areas. Some of which you didn’t think needed worked on, but, after seeing another reach so far, you realized you needed to do better.

It’s not an ego-related thing. It’s not putting yourself down. It’s just looking at another story and saying: “Yes. I can do that. I can reach that level. I know I can.”

So, yet again, I have been inspired to push myself as an artist; to reach the quality that my heroes and role models have accomplished before me. It’s a simple strength exercise game.

I look forward to what comes from this!

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A Shack-Inspired Birthday Reflection

Ever since I saw The Shack this weekend, I haven’t been able to get its themes out of my head. Frankly, would I even want that? Nope. I think it’s great that the story sticks with me so much!

The Shack is a heartfelt story about a man, named Mack, who is lead back to life by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Literally, they appear in a shack in the woods and spend the weekend with him. Whether you’re Christian or not, it’s a good story that can reground the best of humanity within you: being good to one another, forgiving those who do wrong against you, and spreading love.

Every time I read–or now watch–The Shack, I feel like a child again.

And, especially now in my life, it’s a message I need reiterated to me.

I have found myself, especially in the past, in seemingly hurricane-like chaotic years, not focusing on love–or trusting in God–as much as I really should’ve been doing. Since Choy, my beloved feline companion died, events have transpired that have shaken me. Frankly, they’ve taken me, unwillingly, a bit away from focusing on God. My belief in him has still been strong, of course. It always will be. However, I realize in hindsight that I was going through the motions of living a strong faith; specifically, I focused on my worries rather than putting my trust in Him. It’s amazing how we can get lost in our own battles, and our fears of the future, and forget to put our trust in God–to trust things will work out the best way they should.

Truly, it’s hard to put your trust in something you can’t see. And that’s the theme of The Shack: God is always with you, his love will guide you, just let him show you the way. (Or, for those who prefer, let “her” show you the way.)

This year, as my birthday approached, I’ve been feeling more emotional as of late. Last year, I spent my special day at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, watching my father go in for melanoma surgery. Mom and I left my dad late that night, after we knew he was safe, settled and the surgery was successful. On the way home, we stopped at Olive Garden and I blew out a candle in an apple crisp dessert.

A simple, small, somewhat melancholic birthday that fell right in place with the rest of 2016.

But it’s not that specific day itself that makes me bittersweet about my birthday, it’s how the year went after dad’s surgery. That landmark moment seemed to catapult my family and I into a variety of stunning developments that grew me into a stronger Katie today. In part, I wish that some things didn’t happen; mom’s brain bleed last April, for example. But, for the most part, I’m happy for how much I’ve grown out of my shell. For example, I’ve found a hidden talent in bookkeeping that I could hone to subsidize my writing career and support my family.

All in all, even if my birthday feels a tad bittersweet, I still remain stubbornly optimistic to see the good that this new birth year brings.

I fervently aim to finish my book and get it out to agents by the time I go to New Orleans, but I am also, now, looking forward to pursuing this bookkeeping career. (If I’m being honest, I wasn’t entirely set on it until now.) I’m excited for Dan, the boyfriend, and I to get engaged and set our combined goals in motion. And I aim, with God’s help, to let my life–and the lives of those around me–be as little stressed as possible. (Especially after the taxes are completed! Hah!)

I impart this wisdom to all of you: hope is never gone, love never leaves, God never deserts you, unless you let it go yourself. As the infamous Dustin Pari says: “#NeverGiveUp!” 


For more birthday reflections and ramblings, check out my companion Youtube video, and, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, subscribe to my channel and blog!

Media Mondays 17: Go, Ladies, GO!

Here’s a quick introduction, first, since I haven’t posted a Media Mondays video here on my blog before now.

What is Media Mondays?  Simple! It’s a series of Youtube vids where we can all join together and geek out about movies, TV, and pop culture! Bonus: I also put in weekly questions to stimulate discussions!

Check out the playlist here!

Without further ado, here’s Media Mondays 17:

Happy Media Mondays, fans! This past week’s media theme seemed to be all about women empowerment: Daenerys becoming Khalessi, Kate defending Castle, Jemma setting aside her emotions to save Fitz, and Amara being the big bad she truly is! What are your favorite strong female moments in your TV/movies?

This week’s Q: Do you think Chuck will survive in Supernatural? WHAT ARE YOUR FINALE PREDICTIONS?

Upcoming finales:
Tuesday: The Night Manager, 10P (ET) on AMC
Wednesday: Supernatural!! 9P (ET) on The CW

Movie premieres:
X-Men: Apocalypse
Alice Through the Looking Glass

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Well, jeez. Apparently my 2016 theme is the apocalypse and post-apocalyptic survival. Last month the focus was The Walking Dead. This month, four days in, I’ve finally watched Mad Max: Fury Road and The 5th Wave. (While, yeah. I’m frankly just waiting for TWD to return.) Both movies were good. However, I really enjoyed The 5th Wave.

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Short summary of The 5th Wave (via Google search):

“The human race stands on the brink of extinction as a series of alien attacks decimate the planet, causing earthquakes, tsunamis and disease. Separated from her family, Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) will do whatever it takes to reunite with her brother Sam. Fate leads her to form an alliance with Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a mysterious young man who may be her last hope. Forced to trust each other, Cassie and Evan fight for survival during the fifth assault from the invaders.”

With a quick glance at the Rotten Tomatoes score of the movie (Critics: 16%, Audience: 48%), I actually don’t get it. The plot was decent: it had a good pace and the logic made sense. The movie wasn’t horribly predictable either. Maybe there were a few cliches, but, hey, cliches are going to happen in some form, in every story. You can’t avoid them. The acting was phenomenal, the movie had it’s tense moments, and the book itself (I read the first couple pages via Kindle tonight) is very well written… a lot better than other YA novels that are getting screen time.

One of the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes blames the lack of interest in The 5th Wave on the over-saturation of the YA market right now. While I do recognize that a lot of ads, TV shows, movies, and books seem to target the young adult market, I don’t think that’s 100% the reason why people aren’t as interested in The 5th Wave. I honestly was half-and-half about seeing the movie because, simply, aliens have been done–over, and over, and over again. Since the 1950s when The Day the Earth Stood Still and War of the Worlds classics released, Earth has had their imaginations looking upwards.

Storytellers of varying eras have thrown every alien, post-apocalyptic conspiracy at their audiences. Remember how I talked about cliches? Well alien horror movies could, arguably, be a subclause of trope themselves. Just like zombies, haunted houses, romantic encounters, and murder mysteries.

It’s our job as storytellers to come up with new ways of telling a familiar story. And Rick Yancey has done it with his series.

For example, the concept itself of “Waves” is very intriguing. Like, yes. They’ve been seen before. However, these attacks haven’t been seen together (as far as I know: I haven’t viewed every apocalyptic story). At the very least, the thought of multiple attacks from a group of Beings hell-bent on destroying our species is enough to get the adrenaline going.

I definitely do suggest checking out The 5th Wave. I’m not sure that I’ll go out and get the novels right away, mainly because I have so many books to catch up on and I’m stubborn. But when viewing the trailer, my “Movie Geek Sixth Sense” tingled. It’s a great ride.

Check out The 5th Wave trailer:

Honestly, I think I’ll keep on this pattern and watch The Road next. Maybe. I’ve heard it’s good though. This is all a secret way to bide time until The Walking Dead comes on V-day. Hah!

What apocalyptic stories do you friends suggest? Comment below!

Have a great week, friends and fans! I’ll see you on Friday with the next installment to my Transformers series!

2015 Favorites; 2016 Resolutions

Lord almighty! I cannot believe 2016 is upon us already! Honestly, 2015 was a bit of a challenge for me. I’m happy for the lessons I’ve learned this year, but I would be lying if I wasn’t excited for 2016. I hope for me and my family that it is a good year; it seems the recent years have been a bit of a challenge for us. I’m also looking forward to finally accomplishing some goals in 2016, but more on that later.

First, a bit of fun. Below, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite movies, music, books, and TV shows of 2015. Not all of them were released in 2015, but I encountered them this year.

Here we go!

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Favorite movie: (A TIE!) Jurassic World and No Escape.

2015 was a year of nostalgia: Star Wars launched a new trilogy, The Hunger Games ended, and Jurassic Park’s reboot, for me, started it all. I was never a huge fan of dinosaurs and Jurassic Park wasn’t a series I was entirely devoted to until recently. Frankly, I was more loyal to the classic adventures I grew up with (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond). However, to pay tribute to the great Steven Spielberg, I decided to go to the reboot.

I. Was. Not. Disappointed!

What especially caught my attention was Chris Pratt’s devotion to his Indiana-Jones-like-dinosaur-trainer: a character who was full of heart but a total “badass” (as one of the nephews put it).

Whether you’re a Jurassic Park fan or not, I strongly encourage you to see Jurassic World. The plot is well done, the action is gripping, and the nostalgia is purely palpable.

Speaking of badass movies, No Escape was probably my most favorite film of 2015. When I first watched the trailers, I thought I’d pass on the movie. However, what got me into the theaters was Owen Wilson; it was a first to see him in a serious, action-packed role (vs a comedy like Zoolander) and I wanted to see how well he did. I will tell you: he did not disappoint in the least!

Furthermore, No Escape brings up an issue that not everyone thinks about: monopoly in a third-world country. The cause of the uprising in the unnamed South-East Asia country is, put plainly, a first-world country taking control of their resources. Owen Wilson is unknowingly a part of this takeover and he puts his family in the center of it.

No Escape is certainly action-packed and very violent, as an uprising would be. The pace of the plot is wonderful: fast enough to keep the heart pounding, but it slows down at the appropriate points when Owen Wilson discovers exactly what his employers have been up to. I definitely suggest seeing it.


 

Favorite song: Lost Stars, sung by Adam Levine.

Lost Stars is an original song found in the movie Begin Again with Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. It was nominated in the 2015 Academy Awards for Best Original Song, which was well deserved (however, it did lose to Glory). The lyrics of the song are poetic and entirely soul-felt. I doubt there is a person in the world who wouldn’t identify with the story it weaves.

The chorus alone gives me chills as the song builds in its ballad:

“And God, tell us the reason youth is wasted on the young.
It’s hunting season and the lambs are on the run,
Searching for meaning.
But are we all lost stars trying to light up the dark?”

 

Another astounding thing: this song stands apart. It complements Begin Again, but it’s a song you can put your own meaning, your own story to. It’s universal.


 

Favorite book: Welcome to Night Vale

Oh, Night Vale. Ever since I started listening to the famous podcast, around two years ago, my love for Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s “quiet desert community” has grown. I was SO FLIPPING EXCITED to delve into their novel that expanded beyond Cecil’s narration. What’s even better is how the podcast mentions the events of the novel here and there, only being blunt about its existence in the novel excerpt clip above. (I think a few episodes ago Cecil mentioned “that King City fiasco.”)

God, Night Vale will always be one of my most favorite works of creation EVER. AND THEY’RE COMING OUT WITH THREE BOOKS NEXT YEAR!! AHH!

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*cough* Anyways–


 

Favorite TV shows: Supernatural and Expedition Unknown
Ok. Yes. I couldn’t let the new year begin without mentioned my TWO MOST FAVORITE TV SHOWS!! (Seriously. Go check out my Tumblr: Supernatural is almost all I reblog; and I’m always fangirling over Josh Gates in my various social platforms.)

Supernatural has, and always will be, my top favorite show. There’s a reason why it’s currently airing season 11. For most people, it has to do with the brotherly relationship between Sam and Dean Winchester. However, while I do love the Winchester brothers, they aren’t my favorite characters. Castiel, Gabriel, Lucifer, and Balthazar are. In short, I love how they weave known mythology into the show and put twists on it. Especially ever since season 4, I’ve absolutely adored the angel mythology. Supernatural is the only medium that writes angels the way I believe they should be written (except for the “angels are dicks” thing, because, let’s face it: they aren’t).

I’ve especially loved how season 11 is feeling a lot like season 5. They’re focusing on Biblical mythology again and are bringing back well-loved characters for cameos (Lucifer just appeared in the most recent episode: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” EEK!)

My second favorite TV show has to be Expedition Unknown. I’m a legend junkie with a passion for traveling and exploring cultures. However, I do like where I live… and I don’t want to travel nearly as much as Josh Gates does. Frankly, two-five trips a year will do me good.

But I love seeing what new adventures Josh Gates gets himself into. From searching for Amelia Earhart’s remains to investigating the True Cross of Christ, Josh Gates is always bringing new things to talk about on his show. He brings us along as he rock climbs, scuba dives, and crawls through caves.

In May this year, I met him for the second time and it’s only made me more adamant to watch his show. He is kind-hearted, brave, a joker, and so passionate about his job. Literally, it’s like he’s our Universe’s Indiana Jones.

He’s my role model… and I don’t think I’ll ever stop watching Expedition Unknown.


So that’s my list of 2015 favorites. Honestly, my head is kind of buzzing right now from the processing overload! But my Goodbye to 2015 post isn’t complete until I divulge in my 2016 resolutions. After all, it’s traditional to have goals for the new year, not to mention a good thing to do to keep procrastination at bay.

My plans for 2016 remain the same as they have for the past few years:

  1. Lose 50 pounds; feel healthy and capable of anything!
  2. Finish my first novel and get it put out into the world.

However, I do have goals for my social media profiles: I would like to keep to a schedule. Update my blog weekly, my Youtube videos every two weeks, and post to my Facebook page daily. Especially concerning the content of this blog, I would love to write more reviews; consider this 2015 recap the beginning of said reviews!

So, have a Happy New Year duckies. Say a generous thanks to 2015 and grasp 2016 by the hand — it’s almost here!

 

 

 

 

Writing Updates, Crimson Peak — HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

First off, let me say, I have been listening to “Valse Sur Une Berceuse Anglaise” ON FREAKING REPEAT since I saw Crimson Peak last Monday. The music plays in the background as Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) woos Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) into demonstrating the Viennese waltz. The following ensues:

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Yes. A highly romantic scene, a dance between two meant-to-be lovers, spouses caught in a horrible plot.

(THEY ARE MEANT TO BE. I WILL ACCEPT NO OTHER ANSWERS. FIGHT ME.)

Honestly, if Thomas Sharpe and Edith Cushing had been in a Jane Austen novel–especially if Tom Hiddleston played a male love interest–GODI think feminine hormones would take over the world and kill us all. Seriously. Go check Tumblr right now. I guarentee within the first page you’ll find someone gushing over Tom.

(I’m one of them.)

I swear, I SWEAR I was over gushing over Tom Hiddleston. And then the Victorian Gothic Romance fangirl in me reared her head. Doomed, I say! Doomed!

Others are making a big deal of the sex scene in Crimson Peak. Me? The waltz was my downfall.

“There are two kinds of people” as Tumblr likes to say.

Speaking of big deals, I found out that they announced Museum of Words last Friday when I was sick. I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t win. I was hoping I would, but I didn’t expect it, like I do with most things. It was a slim shot for anyone, at best. 35,000 stories were entered; the chances were slim at best for anyone. Furthermore, I think most contests look for literature-type, “real world” submissions anymore (unless they specifically look for fantasy, sci-fi, or speculative fiction). My style is more in line with pop culture. A fangirl through and through.

Honestly, I read the submission that won. Brava. She definitely deserved it, I will say that.

As JackSepticEye says in GTA V with Markiplier, Bob, and Wade, “I ain’t even mad, bro.”

(Maybe a little disheartened, but not mad.)

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Anyways, so here’s the hopeful optimist in me coming out. I have a theory: maybe I’m not winning contests or getting selected for journal submissions because my “big win” is going to be Angel’s novel being published. Maybe, just maybe, God is saving that moment, a “winning” moment, for when I will truly enjoy it. Isn’t that how he always works? Gives us what we need, not what we want?

I have confidence that you guys and gals will enjoy Angel’s story. And I’m excited for you to read it. Personally, I’m just happy the Museum of Words loss didn’t cripple me like I feared it would.

I also think Crimson Peak had excellent timing. Due to my obsession with the waltz (yes, obsession), I’ve been distracted in a moment where, in another time, I would’ve been depressed for longer. Points for you, God. Points for you. Funny how that all works out.

Bonus: I’m excited for you all to see my first Writing Updates video over on YouTube! I talk about my plans going into this next week regarding my writing. I’m definitely expected Writing Updates to be an ongoing thing, through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and beyond. After all, people keep asking me how my writing’s going. Why not check out my videos for a more in-depth answer?

Hope you guys and gals have a happy and safe HALLOWEEN!! (Still have no idea what I’m dressing as. Instagram will surely reveal my decision!)

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