Movie Review: Beauty and The Beast

Movie Review: Beauty and The Beast

Warning: I’m going to try and avoid too many spoilers, but there may be some.

This film follows the original very closely. You can hear many of your favorite lines (except the Baroque pun, which I was a little upset about) delivered slightly differently, and at times not in the same order or by the same characters. Which was to be expected because they are taking a master piece in attempts to give the audiences that grew up watching the film something fresh, and making it their own. Even some of the songs have different verses and choruses than what I was used to, but I enjoyed it because it kept me on my toes.

Emma-Watson-Belle-Dress-Beauty-Beast-2016-600x800One of the reasons I was so excited to see this movie was the fact that it was going to stay true to the style and time period of the original, which is set in late 18th century France. When you first see the Prince dancing in his ballroom the night that the Enchantress comes, the guests are in the Rococo/Marie Antoinette fashion. In fact, I was impressed that the makeup that the guests wore is very accurate to the makeup that the aristocrats would have worn during that time: big white powdered wigs, white powdered faces, red lips… It was a bit much, at first, but it is suppose to reflect the time period that this movie takes place.

Attitudes towards women were reflected as well. For example, in the scene where Belle is teaching a girl to read, many disapproving townspeople decide to put a stop to it. In the scene that follows, Gaston tells Belle that spinsters in the town eventually become beggars when their fathers die, but marrying him meant she would have financial security. BEAUTY AND THE BEASTBelle still refuses him. However, not everyone carried that negativity towards Belle (her father and the librarian). Not only did Emma Watson’s Belle like reading, she was inventive and headstrong. Belle knows what tools her father will need, before he knows it. When Gaston bombards her with marriage, she tells him no. When Beast demands that she join him for dinner, she says, “And I told you NO!” I’m not saying Page O’Hara’s version wasn’t brilliant, because she was. However, Watson’s was not sweet about it. She even blatantly tells Gaston she is not interested in ANY of the men in the town, and tells him he will not be joining her for dinner when he invites himself.

gallery-1478513336-belle-and-her-father-beauty-and-the-beastThe only critique I really have of this version of Belle is that I wish she had been more inventive. Maurice was more of an artist, who seemed to build trinkets for money. Which put a more romantic spin on him. I just wish she had done more than know what tools her father would need and built a washing machine.

Beast was more intelligent in this one. In the original, he just comes off as an angry, brooding character whose heart is warmed by Belle’s compassion. In the extended version, Belle finishes reading Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet to him. She tells him she wants him to read it to her and he says he can read “a little” and that it had been “so long”. However, in the live-action version, when she mentions Romeo and Juliet, he scoffs. He says he had an “expensive” education (he was a Prince) and that there were better things to read. Later, in the library she asks if he had read all the books and he responds, “Not all of them. Some of them are in Greek.” To me, this makes more sense than Beast being uneducated.

beautyandthebeast_relevant_cMany characters from the original had bigger parts in this version. For example, Maurice and Belle have a much closer father-daughter relationship than in the cartoon. Plumette, the feather duster, is much more involved than just the couple of times she’s seen flirting with Lumiere. The townspeople are also more involved in the film than just singing choruses for Gaston. Overall: if you want to swim in nostalgia, and be enchanted while you do so, then I suggest you see this movie. Of course, nothing will ever replace the original 1992 film for me, but this kept me entertained with the familiar songs, some new numbers, new and old characters, and new attitudes.

Overall: if you want to swim in nostalgia, and be enchanted while you do so, then I suggest you see this movie. Of course, nothing will ever replace the original 1992 film for me, but this kept me entertained with the familiar songs, some new numbers, new and old characters, and new attitudes.

Beauty and the Beast

Women’s March on Oklahoma (Part I)

On the 21st of January, cities around the world held large protests after the inauguration of the new President of the United States. Oklahoma City was among them. According to the report on KFOR.com, roughly 12,000 people (men, women, and children) attended the march last Saturday in front of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Many expressed they marched for equal pay, better and affordable education, healthcare, equal wages, against violence, racism, and against POTUS. According to NBC News, an estimated 3 million people marched globally.

This is the first part of photos from the Women’s March on Oklahoma (OKC). I’ll be sure to post more soon.

 

 

Mourning the Starman

Mourning the Starman

The first time I had ever heard of David Bowie was when I was in grade school. I had gotten the soundtrack to A Knight’s Tale, and the track was “Golden Years”. It was probably my favorite scene in the film at the time, and I played that CD to the point it was so scratched none of the songs would play. Around my freshman year, one of my friends made me sit and watch Labyrinth, which I instantly fell in love with. It wasn’t until I read Cheri Currie’s Neon Angel: A Memoir of a Runaway that I had actually stopped and listened to his musicShe wrote beautifully about how Bowie inspired her in her youth and through her adult life that it had compelled me to look him up. Once I clicked on “Space Odyssey” and “Diamond Dogs” I was hooked for life.

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Bowie as The Goblin King in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth

A year ago today, I was in mourning in my room, blasting songs such as “Starman” and “Space Odyssey”. The death of the Thin White Duke was quite the ominous start to that dreadful year. Yet, there is a silver lining. Many people had begun to share their favorite David Bowie songs and moments; how Ziggy had touched their lives. My friends and I would drive around blasting Bowie songs; singing and turning up our favorite parts. Neil Gaiman shared his enchanting short story The Return of the Thin White Duke on his Facebook feed. Amanda Palmer collaborated with other artists and covered many of his songs. Fine Brothers Entertainment posted  Elders Reacting to David Bowie, and you could see how their eyes light up seeing him. Bowie’s passing has brought people together to share how his music, art, and fashion  made impacts in their lives and in their own works.

Bowie's Thin White Duke persona, smoking a Gitanes cigarette, 1976.
Photo by Andrew Kent, 1967

There have always been traces of David Bowie have been in my life, other than the soundtrack of A Knight’s Tale. One of the first shirts I bought from Hot Topic (back in the day) said Rebel Rebel on it. One Halloween, I dressed in black slacks, a white button up, and a black vest.My hair was slicked back and sprayed with cheap orange and red hair spray, and I had painted the famous red and blue lightning strike across my face. That’s right, I was a combination of Bowie’s personas. The last paper I wrote in college was entitled The Rhetoric of David Bowie. I had taken the task of trying to explain him in a 5-6 page essay. It was one of those papers where I had too much to say and not enough pages to say it in. I think one of the first songs that I played over and over again was “Lady Grinning Soul”. That was also the song that one of my friends said made her really stop and listen to him.

David Bowie was this artistic force that couldn’t be stopped. He was strange, odd, and beautiful all at once. To me, listening to Bowie is always like a spiritual experience, his music moves through you and stays with you forever. Even after his death, he echoes. Even in his last days, he was an artist. What I have taken from him is that we should always do what we love, and that it’s beautiful to be strange.

david-bowie
Photograph by Jimmy King, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review

I finally got a chance to go see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I decided to see it after the mass crowds had swarmed the theaters. Now, I’m going to refrain from putting in too many spoilers in this review, but I think most people have seen the film by now.

jynJyn Erso is a prisoner of the Empire. She is the daughter of Galen Erso, who just so happens to be the scientist behind the creation of the Death Star’s planet-destroying power. Years after her father is taken by the Empire, Jyn joins forces with Cassian Andor and K-2SO, a Rebel spy and a reprogrammed Imperial droid. Along the way, they befriend with Imwe and Malbus; a blind martial artist and his gun-wielding companion, who join them in the rogue mission to obtain the information from the Imperial base of Eadu.

 

The first thing I noticed about this film is it did not open with the traditional credits intro we normally get. I was expecting it, but later it made more sense not to put it since this is a side story, and not the main plot. We already know what has happened in Episodes I-III, and we know about the events that happen in Episodes IV-VI. This film nestles right in between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope. In fact, this story actually ends just moments before Princess Leia is captured by Darth Vader. I loved how this gave us more insight into the conflict between the Empire and the Rebellion. When the Rebellion was able to destroy the Death Star, it was a major turning point in the war between the two.

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Some fans have complained that Star Wars is about the Skywalkers. This is true, and I do not argue with that. However, how I can justify this story is that the Empire, the Sith, the Rebellion, and the Jedi are all key to the story of the Skywalker lineage. This story just simply expands on those key elements of the larger story. Plus, this film does actually feature two Skywalkers. Even if it is only for a brief time.

 

Which brings me to another aspect of the film that really helped me connect with it. It helped fill that nearly two decade gap that we get between Episode III and IV. We see the ruined city of Jedha, which was where the Jedi once resided rehost2f20162f122f202f6929688d-1a69-4671-8f33-5b02af51d4fe1before their downfall. The film, in my opinion, did capture the feel of Episode IV. They mention Obi Wan and the fact that he has been “in hiding” for several years.
The other way how it really helps the audience connect with the other Star Wars films is it brings back familiar faces such as Grand Moff Tarkin, Darth Vader, and a brief look at young Princess Leia. We also get the Rebel and Imperial fighter ships, the Deathstar, and both fleets. If you watch, you’ll catch that they actually recycle footage from Episodes IV-VI, which was pretty clever way to connect the two films to tie it into the others of the franchise.

Overall, the film was as I expected it to be. It not only gave you insight into the Star Wars universe, but I feel it was the film we needed for the end of 2016. It introduced new characters, and even revived the more familiar faces that we grew up watching. Rogue One was definitely worth the wait.

“I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” 

c82c1bbfb0cfdb1c12bb8dd381090786f06dc67d1Unfortunately, it was announced that Carrie Fisher died due to a heart attack she had on a plane a few days ago. I actually had ordered my tickets minutes before I read the news on Tuesday, and was deeply saddened. Not only was she Leia Organa, but she was a witty comedian and a beautiful writer. Recently she published The Princess Diarist where she revealed after 30 years that she did in fact have an affair with Harrison Ford on the set of the original Star Wars film. But being Leia isn’t the only way I will remember Carrie. I will remember the way she addressed people criticizing her for aging and returning to the screen as the beloved character. I will remember how funny she was in her interviews, and how she seemed to be at peace with who she was. One quote of hers that I found that really stuck out to me was:

“There is no point at which you can say, ‘Well, I’m successful now. I might as well take a nap.’ “

Hopefully for 2017, I will read and review her new memoir and be sure to write a review on it. It saddens me that it took me this long to realize that she was a writer.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Dir. Gareth Edwards. Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Mads Mikkelsen. Images from Google Images. 

When I met Rufio in 2014

Alright, so tonight I am writing about an experience I had on Novemeber 1, 2014.

On Halloween night, I had been out to a house party in Oklahoma City with a friend of mine. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had any time or money for the costume that I wanted (a doll). At the time, I was on the only transporting team for a hospital, and we ended up being out until 10 pm (my friend lived over an hour away and I had to run home to get dressed and ready for the drive). I was just having a genuinely upsetting Halloween. I had decided to settle on just wearing a black dress. I didn’t necessarily look witchy, so I couldn’t claim a witch… I didn’t have a chance to put any sort of makeup on. So, I was just myself… but in heels and a black dress.

At the party, I had over heard someone mention they had been to the anime convention in Bricktown earlier that day. It’s called Izumicon. I had been a few years ago with my sister and her friends, and had even convinced a couple of my friends to go with me another year. That first year I went, I met Rikki Simons (voice of Gir from Invader Zim), a few years later, my friend Christine and I met Vic Mignogna (voice of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist), and many others. However, this year, when I looked at the guests line up, the first one that I noticed was Dante Basco.

Dante Basco was the voice of Zuko in The Last Airbender series and Jake Long in Disney Channel’s American Dragon series. However, where I knew him from was from his role as Rufio in Hook (1991).

When I was a kid, I had that movie on VHS (old school, yo), and I wore it out. I played it several times a day. I could quote the movie from start to finish. I even had a huge pink bunny that normally ended up with his ears tied together and I pretended that was Rufio (yes, a huge pink bunny) while I jumped on the bed and off dressers to pretend I was flying while he and Peter Pan fought Hook. That movie was a huge part of my childhood. So, needless to say, when I saw he was on the guest lineup I knew what I would be doing with my November 1st.

I woke up the next day on my friend’s couch. I cleaned myself up as best as possible in her bathroom, gathered my things, and locked her door. I was already running a little late – because I wanted to be there early for the line. I knew there would be a line.

Parking in Bricktown was maddening. I ended up parking several blocks away and I put enough change in the parking meter to be there for at least 4 hours. When I finally made it to the doors, I was greeted with the familiar site of people in cosplay. I bought my ticket from a girl dressed in a cute white Lolita dress and blonde curls, and went to the restroom to make sure I looked alright. I still felt like I was a hot mess from the night before, but I worked with what I had.

When I got back down to the the doors, a small line had formed. I was the 9th person in line and I was 45 minutes from seeing one of my childhood heroes. Not too shabby. As I sat in the line, I had wished I had a copy of Hook for him to sign, but I figured they’d have something in there. If all else failed, I had my Izumicon pamphlet. While waiting, I was invited to play my first ever game of Cards Against Humanity. When I’m alone, I’m pretty shy about interacting with other people… but this game sounded so fun I couldn’t resist. Now I have my own deck.

Anyways, our game ended and they opened the doors. As I walked through, I kept thinking Man, just keep cool. You’re shy, but how many times do you get to meet Dante Basco? HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU GET TO MEET RUFIO? They started to divide the line as we approached the tables – I stepped to the side and realized that most of the people in front were going to see both guests at the panel… I ended up being the second person in line to meet him.

I watched as he walked in front of the crowd with his phone – taking a video. I couldn’t believe it. I hardly paid attention to the girl in front of me while she got a poster signed and a picture taken. Mostly, I was thinking, When you walk up there, don’t fall on your face because this is exactly one of those moments where you would probably find a way to do that.

Then, my turn.

I walked up while he sat at the table, and shook his hand. I was so nervous, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to talk. He asked my name, and I told him. I purchased a Rufio poster for him to sign. As he signed, I blurted out, “You got me into a lot of trouble as a kid.” He laughed asking how and I told him about being a kid and playing the tape hundreds of times, about jumping on beds and furniture playing and pretending to be fighting along side him and Peter Pan. He was extremely polite and kind. He asked what I did, I told him that I am a writer. I know I wasn’t there for a while, but we talked about writing. I hadn’t realized that he wrote poetry. I even talked about how the whole story of Peter Pan inspired the setting for a story I wrote and placed 3rd in a statewide contest in high school – and that was the beginning of me realizing I loved telling stories. I told him I had been published twice, and had just finished college.

I even worked up some courage and asked for a picture with him. When you’re a kid and you know a person on television is older than you, you normally see that person as being taller… because everyone else is taller than you. When he stood, we was only a few inches taller than me. It made the kid in me realize how much I had actually grown up (even though that same kid was also trying to keep its composer because I was standing next to Rufio). Somehow, I had even discussed how the story of Peter Pan also influenced my decision to adopt when I am ready to start a family.

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When he stood he told me he liked my necklace, and in the picture my face is still red from blushing. I shook his hand again, he told me to “keep lookin’ out for those Lost Kids” and smiled.

When I got out, I called my mom and dad. The visit to Izumicon was a spontaneous thing, so when I told them both that I had met Dante Basco, they thought I was joking and talking about someone in costume. My Halloween may have been disappointing, but the next day made up for it.

I still have the Rufio poster he signed for me, I framed it immediately so that it wouldn’t get damaged on the ride home. A full year later, I still tell people I met him and share the experience. I checked into some of his Youtube videos and read some of his poetry. Despite being an English major, I rarely got into poetry (I sure as hell can’t write any), but I definitely am a fan of his.

I wasn’t just meeting a celebrity, I met a fellow writer. It kind of gave me inspiration and motivation to keep on writing. At the time that I met him, I was feeling a little depressed because I wasn’t happy at my job and I hadn’t had a thing to write about since I graduated college in May. It was just a cherry on top of the whole experience to learn he loves writing too. Most people I do meet hate writing and don’t read much at all.

So, anyways. If I could meet him again, I would tell him thank you for the motivation to keep my chin up. It was a highlight in 2014 for me.

Here is the video from Dante Basco’s Youtube Channel.

Halloween Playlist

Even though I’m sure everyone and their dog has created a Halloween Playlist by now (I’m assuming), I am going to post a list of songs that I really like that I’m currently enjoying to get me in the mood for Halloween. By the way, I plan on being Han Solo. I feel like that is pretty fitting for this year since the new Star Wars movie comes out in December. Though I always have a backup idea in case at the last minute I can’t pull it off… and this year… costume number two is Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers. I think I could totally pull her off.

Anyways, are some songs from my playlist for Halloween. It’s made up of some classics, and maybe future classics.

“I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

“Season of the Witch” by Donovan

“Ghost N Stuff” by deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire

“Howl” by Florence and the Machine

“Into the Woods/The Witch” by Danny Elfman

“The Wolf” by Fever Ray

“Spellbound” by Siouxsie and The Banshees

“Celestial Crown” by The Sword

“I Want To Tear You Apart” by She Wants Revenge

“Feral Love” by Chelsea Wolfe

Bland First Post

It’s been a month since I’ve created this blog, and I think I’m a bit overdue for a first post. Mostly, I hate introduction posts because it’s such an awkward thing to do. You’re trying to set yourself up, while at the same time trying not to be cliche. It’s a bit stressful in itself.

At the beginning of the summer, I moved from a city (town… it seems more fitting) with a population of around 17,000 people to a much larger city with a population of 57,000. Of course, both numbers come from the 2013 surveys, so I’m not sure how close everything is now that it’s 2015. The point is, I went from a small city, to a much larger one.

Since I like writing I decided to start this blog to keep myself busy, and to show to potential employers if I ever apply for a writing position. I mostly write prose, so keeping a blog for social media could be easy. Obviously, not as easy as I thought it would be because it took me a whole month to come up with a first post.

Here I will be writing a few posts a week. I will post anything from DIYs, recipes, playlists, events, and maybe random adventures I tend to go on. I will probably also write reviews over places, books, and movies. Since I’ve moved to a different location, I would like to try new and different things. Also, just to let all my readers (if I eventually get any) know, I have a standard poodle named Alex and you will see a lot of her. Normally, I take her wherever I go and end up taking more pictures of her than of anything else. I know, I’m like that crazy cat lady… but with a dog.

AlexAug22015

It will be safe for all to assume all the pictures I post on here will be my own. I will do my best to correctly cite pictures (and references) if I barrow any from other sites.

I know this was sort of a bland first post, but just stay with me. Maybe next time I will post my October Playlist.