glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Let's see if I can do this without spoilers.

SHORT VERSION: Good times! Fight scenes! Character development! Lots of characters--like, LOTS! Man, this franchise is getting crowded. Didn't feel as overstuffed as it could have though. Everyone has their role, and that's good. Oh, and for the record, I'm Team Captain America. Seeing the movie didn't change that.



Less short version. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (underworld)
Just got back! Trailer!



First things first: This is not a prequel. I thought it was a prequel. It starts prior to Snow White and the Huntsman, when Chris Hemsworth's character (who now has a name--it's Eric!) first gets taken by Queen Freya (Emily Blunt's Ice Queen is called Freya) to train in her army. But then it skips forward like 7 years and it's after Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron's Evil Queen from the first movie) has been defeated by Snow White (Kristen Stewart was not invited back), and supposedly everything is okay now. Until it isn't.

Really it's an expansion of the first movie, an opportunity to explore Eric's relationship with his first love, Sara (Jessica Chastain's definitely-not-inspired-by-Katniss ace archer), and how that all went down before Ravenna's minions picked him up in a tavern all depressed and mopey. It brings in new characters like Freya and Sara who are both a joy to watch, and whose characters arcs are more similar than they realize. The story is a basic quest adventure, with the quest object (the mirror) being the Sealed Evil In a Can variety, and I did enjoy seeing it come into play in the end. But I didn't love it as much as I wanted to. I have two main talking points here. Just two.

Spoilers here. )

*All GIFs via Giphy.
glitter_n_gore: (han solo)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, both the book by Brian Selznick and the movie (called simply Hugo) directed by Martin Scorcese, is about this kid who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. He keeps all the clocks in the station running, routinely pinches food from the shops to survive, and sometimes clockwork toys from the toy shop for parts. You see, he's trying to repair an automaton--a mechanical man who can write. The automaton is his last connection to his father, who died in a fire at the museum where he worked, and Hugo is sure that when he can get it working, the automaton will give him a message from his father.


Book Cover via GoodReads


Now, in order to get into the real meat of this story, I am going to have to spoil a mid-point plot twist--namely what Hugo actually finds when the automaton comes to life. I went into the movie completely cold and found myself spellbound, and I wouldn't want to rob anyone of that experience if you haven't seen / read it yet. So if you don't want to know any more, this is the place to stop reading.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (freddie lounds)
James Dashner's The Maze Runner series has four books, including the prequel that was published last, and movie adaptations for the first two, The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials. I've seen both, and while I certainly have a lot to say about both, for the purposes of keeping things relatively spoiler-free (and also not testing my blood pressure any more than absolutely necessary) I'm gonna stick with the first one.


Book cover via Goodreads


I don't like them.

Rather, I like the idea of this story, and I rather liked the movie by comparison--which is unusual, as I tend to like the book better than the movie--more than its execution. Certainly there have been worse things to happen to the YA Dystopia sub-genre in the wake of The Hunger Games, but this one bothers me for a very specific reason that I haven't seen in any other YA Dystopia so far.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (emma)
Have you heard of the Suck Fairy?

It's a wiley and sadistic little creature who visits all your favorite childhood movies, books, and TV shows, waves a wand, and POOF! Sucks all the magic and charm out of them. This is why when you revisit your favorite things from when you were a kid, you find yourself saying, "I used to think this was so cool, why does it suck now?" Because it's been visited by the Suck Fairy.

At least that was the explanation offered to me on the Internet awhile back. I forget which discussion brought this up. But actually, I'm experiencing sort of the opposite phenomenon now. What's the opposite of the Suck Fairy? A whimsical elf who visits things you didn't like that much on first encountering them, but then when you go back, you go, "Wow, I actually don't remember why I didn't care for this the first time, because it's actually awesome!" Any ideas? The Awesomeness Elf, perhaps?

Let's talk about The Mortal Instruments.


Book cover of City of Bones via Goodreads. Tangent: How gorgeous is that new boxed set? Wow. I'm glad I didn't buy the first editions, because now I can collect the prettier ones!


This best-selling YA urban fantasy series by Cassandra Clare has six books in the main line-up, plus a spin-off prequel series called The Infernal Devices, and most recently a spin-off short story collection called The Bane Chronicles. Since the adaptations so far are focused on the first book, City of Bones, that's mainly what we're talking about today. I have been wanting to love this series since the first book came out. Last week, I finally got it.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
A couple weeks ago, the following trailer was released for the upcoming movie adaptation of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children:



Honestly? I think it looks fun. I'm a big fan of reigning Queen of the Goths, Eva Green, and was immediately excited when I heard she'd been cast as the enigmatic Miss Peregrine herself. Also, say what you will about Tim Burton--he knows his audience, and he still has the capacity to create some stunning visuals and memorable characters when he starts with a good story. And this is a good story.

Read more... )
glitter_n_gore: (mia)
Results of the BluRay experiment: Nope. Not surprised really, but I *had* to try.

Next, since I started this blog as a way to keep folks posted on my adventures in writing and trying to get published, let's get back to that for a minute. It's been a very productive year for me--I had two articles published in the actual paper last year, which was my first print publication ever; and earlier this year I sent in a manuscript to a publisher I've had my eye on for a while. I'm not done submitting--going through the most recent edition of Writers Market and a few other places to see how gets it next--but this one's my top choice. Fingers crossed!

That second adventure forced me to actually write and finish a synopsis for the first time ever, which was an accomplishment in itself. Here's the worksheet that helped me do that: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2012/04/17/how-to-write-a-1-page-synopsis/

I've seen dozens of different How To Synopsis type books, websites, workshops, etc., and this is the only one that's really helped. It's excellent, so definitely check it out if you're in Synopsis Hell and need some pointers.

So, here's what I'm working on now: Revising another project that's set in the same fictional universe as the one I submitted. Not a sequel, but a completely separate story with entirely different characters and a different target audience. Like the previous story, this one has been drafted to completion, perused by my trusted beta reader, and combed over with notes. So this is my (hopefully) final draft before I send it to a publisher/agency and cross more fingers on its behalf.

I want to share with you the method I've been using for my revisions lately, because I only just started doing things this way a few months ago, and it's been the most helpful, and the most likely to actually get me through to the last page. I'm sure you've heard this before, but every writer is different, and this might not necessarily work for you, but it's certainly working for me, and I'm excited about it.

What I do is take what I call the "Master" file of the manuscript--in this case, the Word file of the last one I revised back when I went over it with my beta's notes and mine. I keep that open in one window. In another window, I have a new document, which I name "Title_Draft X" based however many it is by that point. (For me, it's usually three or four.) I copy around 10 pages of text from the "Master" file (or a chapter's worth, depending on the chapter length), paste it into the "Draft X" file, and go over every line one more time. Sometimes I cut things out. Sometimes I add. Sometimes I move lines around or fluff up/trim down the descriptive paragraphs. But every time, I'm only dealing with those ten pages. Period. Then when I get to the end, I write [SEE PAGE X] at the bottom so I know where to pick up again in the "Master" file when I'm ready to do the next ten pages. Save, back up, repeat.

And that's it. I do that until I'm at the end of the manuscript. Sounds simple, right? It kind of is, and it kind of isn't. I do sometimes find a scene that will work better earlier in the story, and when I do I mark that spot with [INSERT SCENE FROM PAGE X], *or* I lift the whole scene from the text and plop it into Notepad until I'm done with those ten pages, and plop it back in when I'm done.

It sounds somewhat tedious. And it is. Revising is the least fun part of the writing process, especially for us pansters.* Because there's this bug in my brain that says, "But we've written it already. We know how this one ends. Let's play with the NEXT one instead." I write to find out how the story ends. If I know how it ends, I lose interest. So yeah, this part of it is tedious. But working on it in small chunks like this? I don't know, for some reason it just works.

*For those not in the know: "Pansters" are writers who start at the beginning and just write until they finish the story. As opposed to writing an outline and working from that. Outlining kills the creativity DEAD for me, every single time. I'm never doing it again.
glitter_n_gore: (gerard)
Hi all! Two pieces of news:

1) I've decided to commit to writing at least one blog post every week, in order to stay motivated and in touch and stuff. We'll be going with Tuesday until further notice. Wish me luck!

2) I have a new laptop computer! You saw the FaceBook post, you know her name already. But she doesn't come with DVD-playing software, so I downloaded VLC, which is super-easy to use and much better than the Windows Media player I was using for Lenny. (The now-dead former Lenovo, may he rest in pieces.)

However. It also gives me this screen when I start it up:


[Screenshot of VLC "Open Media" menu, with option to play BluRay disc circled w/ accompanying text saying "SRSLY???"]*


Sooooooo, I dunno if this means I can actually PLAY a BluRay disc on this computer, because I thought you needed, y'know, special hardware for that, never mind software. On the other hand, this is a program that I got online, which by definition means it should be able to accommodate most, if not all, computers you introduce to it.

I need to test this.

Not getting my hopes up, but I grabbed a BluRay copy of a movie I've already seen (the 2015 version of Cinderella) from the library yesterday to check it out.

Results pending--stay tuned!

*Another thing I've decided to start doing: captioning/describing all images posted on the blog. This is why.
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Damn, this was a good year to be a movie geek. Star Wars! The Avengers! Mad Max! Ex Machina! Crimson Peak! STAR WARS!! I saw a lot of movies in the theater, some of them twice, and I still haven't finished going through the back list. But what was it like for horror fans? Specifically, those of the female persuasion?

The Visit - $65.2 million
Insidious: Chapter 3 - $52.2 million
(Poltergeist - $47.4 million)
(Krampus - $42.7 million)
Unfriended - 32.5 million
Crimson Peak - $31.1 million
(Sinister 2 - 27.7 million)
(The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death - $26.5 million)
The Lazarus Effect - $25.8 million
Ex Machina - $25.4 million
(Honorable Mention: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension - $18.3 million)

That's a LOT of movies. Like I said, it was a good year. However you feel about M. Night Shyamalan, or remakes of classics like Poltergeist, or the unflinching cynicism of Christmastime horror-comedies like Krampus, chances are there was something for you to see and love this year no matter what. That's kind of a big deal. Having options is a big deal. Seeing so many movies catering to so many different sensibilities is a big deal. The comparative lack of presence from people of color in this list, regardless of the other good things I just mentioned--also a big deal. Again, there's a reason I decided to do this looking specifically at box office numbers, rather than what I personally thought was the best.

But let's be honest here: this recap is mostly gonna be me gushing about Crimson Peak.


via Tumblr


Read more. )
glitter_n_gore: (stoker)
Happy Leap Day! *phew* Still February. So, I had to get a new computer and lost all my stats so I had to look up these numbers again. I also saw more in theaters this month than I was anticipating, and that helped fill the space nicely I think, but also filled in a lot of blogging time I was expecting to use for other things. So yeah, the wrap-up post for 2015 is gonna get squished into next month. Sorry about that!

Annabelle - $84.3 million
(The Purge: Anarchy - $72 million)
Ouija - $50.9 million
(Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - $32.5 million)
Oculus - $27.7 million
(Honorable Mention: As Above/So Below - $21.3 million)


The horror universe is Jason Blum's oyster right now. 4 of the 6 movies on this list are Blumhouse productions. If that doesn't convince you he's dominating the genre, I don't know what will. However, even discounting the massive turnout of Blumhouse pictures on this list, there is one that is conspicuous by it's very absence: Jennifer Kent's The Babadook.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (mia)
One of the reasons I love watching horror movies, especially in the theater, is that everyone is riveted to the screen. In my experience at least, horror audiences contain the fewest texters, chatterboxes, and rustlings of various foodstuffs. If there is talking, it's of the, "Don't go in there!" variety, or everyone scream-laughing at the jump scares.

But this is the first time I've been in an audience that was utterly silent by the time the credits rolled.


No, really. Do NOT go in there.


Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (abbie mills)
Coming in a touch later than planned, because my lappy crashed and I needed to pick up a new one. Luckily I backed up my work. Go me!

Way back in 2014, I happened to pick 2013's year-end box office numbers to look at the results. That turned into this post, and eventually this ten year retrospective. So finally talking about this year in depth feels like coming full circle. Huzzah!

2013:
The Conjuring - $137.4 million
Insidious: Chapter 2 - $83.6 million
Mama - $71.6 million
The Purge - $64.5 million
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - $55.7 million
Evil Dead - $54.2 million
Carrie - $35.3 million
(Texas Chainsaw - $34.3 million)
Honorable Mention: You're Next - $18.5 million

Beyond my personal connection to it, something else makes this year stand out: None of those monster franchise machines. For the first time IN TEN YEARS there is nothing at the box office from Twilight, Underworld, Resident Evil OR Paranormal Activity. Savor it, kids, because that will not happen again.

Read more. . . )

Hang in there, we're almost done! Next time: 2014.
glitter_n_gore: (heather mason)
Back again, with another retrospective! Today, I'm doing 2012, and it's getting both same-old, same-old, and kind of interesting. There's a reinvention of the wheel happening here, both with old franchises getting a fresh spin in Prometheus; and tired tropes getting a new and unexpected twist with Cabin in the Woods. Also, all four of those box-office breaking franchise machines had something in the queue this year, one with an ending that's become infamous and kind of amazing.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 - $287.7 million
Prometheus - $126.5 million
(Underworld: Awakening - $62.3 million)
Paranormal Activity 4 - $53.9 million
(The Devil Inside - $53.3 million)
The Possession - $49.1 million
(Resident Evil: Retribution - $42.3 million)
The Cabin in the Woods - $42.1 million
The House at the End of the Street - $31.6 million
Honorable mention: Silent Hill: Revelation - $17.5 million

For the record, the high-grossing horror movie this year was actually World War Z. Sometimes, I just don't understand people.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (freddie lounds)
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains."

So begins the second adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith's collection of monsterifications of period pieces. The first, of course, was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which ironically was actually written after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and more an original alternate history type thing than a retelling of an existing work of literature. But today, I'm talking about the movie.


Via Giphy


Now, I was extremely skeptical when I first heard this was happening. I had no interest in the book, or any of the copy-cat retellings that followed, such as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, but . . . I don't know, somehow the trailer started to pique my interest. After the fourth or fifth time I watched it, and started to do a headcount of how many cool genre actors were a part of it--Charles Dance! Matt Smith! Lena Headey!--I decided I couldn't miss this one.

It didn't disappoint.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (orphan black)
And we're back!! It's time for another Women In Horror Month. The official channel is here, and you should definitely keep an eye on their Twitter feed as well. Other people you should follow because they're just plain awesome: The Graveyard Shift Sisters and The Horror Honeys, my new very favorite blogs, and they are truly the best resources for all things horror on the 'net. Great, great stuff.

So! Recap of this project I've been doing: This is a box office retrospective. I'm talking about which horror movies starring female leads were the most successful over the past ten years, with "successful" defined as anything that grossed $25 million or higher domestically. I was originally going with $30 million as my arbitrary cut-off point, but I think that changed halfway through the retrospective last time, so I'll just stick with this until we're done. If I haven't seen the movie and/or can't tell from the trailers and marketing whether it actually has a female lead, the title is in (parentheses). Last year, I covered years 2005 through 2010. Follow this tag to catch up on those posts if you want.

Let's do this!

2011:

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 - $276.9 million
Paranormal Activity 3 - $104 million
(Contagion - $75.6 million)
(Scream 4 - $38.1 million)
Red Riding Hood - $37.7 million
(The Roommate - $37.3 million)
Honorable mention: Don't Be Afraid of the Dark - $24 million

About split down the middle this year in terms of remakes/sequels versus original stories--not bad, all things considered. As I mentioned last time, the horror franchise machine that doesn't include Saw has been dominated by four particular franchises, all starring women: Resident Evil, Twilight, Underworld and Paranormal Activity. There is something from at least one of them almost every single year. This time, I'm gonna look at the original stories in the mix.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (emma)
So guys! There's a new Star Wars movie coming out. As you may have noticed, I'm neglecting this blog badly. Ahem. But the reason is I've been running three--count 'em, three--separate review marathon series elseweb, and had to let something go. Anyway, we're approaching game time for The Force Awakens (yes, I have my tickets already OF COURSE), and I recently realized I have seen more movies this year than I have collectively in the past five--half of them in theaters. Why is that? Are movies especially awesome this year for some reason? Is there more big-budget, explodey-things fare that demands to be seen on the big screen? Have I found a larger number of real-life people who aren't my mom to go to movies with, instead of waiting for the DVD like I usually do?

A bit of all those things, but what I want to talk about today is this: Today's heroes are a little different from the heroes I grew up with. They're more flawed, more relateable, and more diverse. Funny thing, because most of the people playing heroes onscreen right now? Grew up at the exact same time I did.

Disclaimer:
I'm going to allow SPOILERS for The Force Awakens and all other films mentioned in the comments, and I won't be marking them because that tag is freaking impossible. But there will be none in the post itself.

Read more. . . )
glitter_n_gore: (louis)
Since I did a similar thing last year for Pride Month *just* before running out of time, I'm counting down my Top Whatever Queer-Friendly Movies/TV Shows.

Also like last year, I'm narrowing this down a touch to reflect the sort of things I actually watch. Matter of fact, when I started thinking about this I actually had to scale it back some. I'm choosing to see that as a good sign. Here are my parameters:

A) Visual media with canonically LGBT+ characters, as opposed to that awful, pandery bullshit known as queerbaiting. So no Supernatural, BBC Sherlock or Hannibal*. This tends to happen a lot with geek-centric shows trying to catch fans of SFF and Horror.

B) Completely fictional stories, as opposed to ones based on real-life events, which disqualifies Milk, The Normal Heart and The Imitation Game. (Although I highly recommend all three.)

C) Things I've actually watched and enjoyed, which disqualifies Lost Girl, The Legend of Korra and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but they are all on my list.

*I do enjoy Hannibal, but the only canon gay character we've seen so far is Margot, and she wound up in a hetero sex scene. So no, I'm not including it for *this* Top Whatever list.

First, an honorable mention:

The Dreamers
This is one of only two NC-17 movies I've watched multiple times (the other is the original Evil Dead, obviously), and one of VERY few romances I've actually enjoyed. It reminds me a lot of Before Sunrise--it has the same casual pacing and naturalist dialogue, only with lots more nudity. I got the impression very quickly that Michael Pitt's character, Matthew, is bisexual, but I've seen arguments made that Matthew is only romantically involved with Eva Green's character, Isabelle. You could read it that way, since all the "romance" between Matthew and Theo is implied, never shown, but I disagree. The book this was based on had a polyamorous triad as the central relationship, and was very much present in the original script. That said, it's ambiguous enough that you could go either way here.


(20th Century Fox)

I just realized two of my choices here include Eva Green. Interesting.

Moar! )

That'll have to do for this year. At least it's still June. Happy Pride Month, everyone!

*throws rainbow confetti*
glitter_n_gore: (jean gray)
Because one retrospective at a time just isn't enough, I'm also taking a look at the Disney Princess movies. ALL the Disney Princess movies, in chronological order, over an undisclosed period of time. I've also started posting reviews for some of the Star Wars books over at the library, so the first of those is here. I want this journal to be more active and do at least two or three posts a month. I know that's not super-active, but I'm learning.

Anyway!

The reason I'm doing the Disney Princess thing is I want to take a closer look at some of the criticisms and assumptions I've seen floating around out there about what sort of fantasy role models and heroes we have for young girls. So the obvious choice is to look at the fantasy role models I had as a young girl, and what they look like to me now that I'm older. My main questions/talking points are: Who is the main character and what values do they embody? & Is romance/marriage the driving plot or the goal?

Since this is the first post in the retrospective, I'm starting at the beginning.

Q: What's black and white and red all over?

A: Snow White. Also Goth chicks. Surprisingly, these two things aren't unrelated.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first of the Disney Princesses, and the first feature-length animated film ever made. This isn't one of the movies I watched over and over as a kid, and the parts I remembered before rewatching it mostly involved the Queen and how frighteningly relentless she is. I'm glad the live action reboot didn't forget that, and managed to make the Queen even more awesome. Snow White, on the other hand, is both the least interesting character and the most fascinating archetype of all the Princesses. Today, I'm focusing on how we went from this:



To this:



I want...my prince to come. )

Next time: Cinderella (1950)
glitter_n_gore: (leia)
Episode IV: From Farm Boy to Rebel Fighter (A New Hope)

Hey guys! As I mentioned before, I'm doing the Ernist Rister order for this rewatch. Since it's numbered weird, I'll list "Part X" in the title to indicate where I am in the rewatch, list the "episode" number in a sub-heading, and do a wrap-up summary of "The Story So Far" each time to keep from getting lost. There will be Unmarked Spoilers all over the place, so tread carefully if you're one of the few people who hasn't seen these movies.

I'm also rereading the novelizations of all six movies, in the same order, at the same time. I've read them before except for The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars, so what I'm hoping is I'll be able to share more background stuff that wasn't in the movies, comment on how things change when they're added back in with the re-edits of the original trilogy, and how it affects the characters' journeys. For this entry, I'm gonna focus on our establishing character moments by looking specifically at two of them: Luke Skywalker and Han Solo.

Yes, I'm watching the re-edits this time, because I have Points to make regarding story structure, pacing, and character development. Also, I cheated and watched the theatrical version of A New Hope beforehand. Oops. But what's interesting about that is, since it's been almost twenty years since I watched the director's cuts of any of these movies, I'm looking at it sort of fresh. There was a lot that I'd forgotten about the re-edits and exactly how things changed, and while it's extremely disorienting the first time you see it--rather like someone has invaded all your childhood memories and rearranged the furniture when you weren't looking--it's actually not that bad. Well, not this one anyway.

Let's do this!


(Image taken from Giphy.)


The Story So Far:
Young Luke Skywalker, after stumbling across a mysterious plea for help from the beautiful Princess Leia, gets tangled up in the Rebellion against the Empire. In the process, he loses his only family--his aunt and uncle, who raised him--but befriends Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, space pirate Han Solo and his co-pilot Chewbacca, and the captured Leia . . . only to discover Leia can pretty much rescue herself. Because she's awesome. He witnesses Kenobi's murder by Darth Vader, the Sith Lord who also killed his father (or so he's been told), and joins the Rebellion. Finally, after the rest of his strike team is killed or incapacitated, he (with Han's help) destroys the Death Star battle station and is welcomed back as a hero. Vader, however, survives.

Meet Your Heroes... )

(Cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] rhoda_rants.)
glitter_n_gore: (han solo)
So hey, look at that, it's not March anymore! And it's DEFINITELY not February anymore. What happened? I'll tell you: I didn't finish my retrospective. Surprise! I'll tell you what else though: I kinda felt like I was biting off more than I could chew, trying to cover ten years in that time span. So I'm going to leave the Box Office Retrospective at 2010 for now, and come back with the next five years for the next Women In Horror / Women's History Month in 2016. Sound good? Good.

That in mind, I'd like to return to my Film of the Book series soon, since I finally got a chance to see Gone Girl and it's every bit as brilliant as you've heard. I also saw both The Maze Runner and Seventh Son, which were varying degrees of ridiculous and try-too-hard, but surprisingly enjoyable despite--or perhaps because of--those things. I'll expand on that later.

But first, I need to talk about something more important to me than box office numbers, badass women in horror movies, or even vampires.

I need to talk about Star Wars.

Read more... )

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