Monthly Archives: April 2016

Stories & Symbols

oriflamm

I’m a big fan of stories.  Aren’t we all? One of my classes called on us to create a symbol for a story.  We got to choose from a list of about 30 or so stories, all of which were well-known (to me at least).  As usual, my issue stemmed from having too many favorites.  I never can pick just one. I spent three days creating Mad Hatter top hats for Alice in Wonderland before realizing, they were just hats. Beautiful hats, but no one would have any idea which story I referenced when they looked at them.  Technically, I fulfilled the requirement of the assignment, but not the spirit of it.

I did the assignment again.  Yep, that’s right.  I did it again.  Now, I can’t claim my symbol is an oriflamme, but maybe the story it represents does?

RobinHood6

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Don’t Get Too Excited, Oh Who’re We Kidding

Sherlock Season 4 is filming! I know, I know.  You’ve seen Setlock pictures online.  You’ve seen Gatiss teasing us. (Did you expect him to resist?)

Now, I don’t have cable anymore, BBC doesn’t have a streaming service, and I’m not willing to wait until long after the internet has spoiled all the good stuff before I watch it.  I must discover a way to watch it as soon as it is released.  Fortunately, I have some time to figure this one out.  Fortunately?  Who am I kidding.  The Christmas Special just whetted or appetites.  I need more Sherlock!

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Hooked by Dragons…Again

game-of-thronesDid you ever want dragons to be real?  Just a little?  I did…well, do, mostly.  Practicality aside, it would be really great.  I’ve watched three seasons of Game of Thrones in like a week, mostly because of dragons.  Ridiculous, I know.  It’s made for an intense background as I worked on photo projects for class (which turned out really well, and I promise to share later).  Okay, I knew it was good.  I mean, I’d read the first two books on my Nook before I realized I do much better with paper novels than with e-books.  However, I quickly became addicted.

Really, I liked it just fine until the dragons.  A little to rapey for my taste though. (Seriously, can we go an entire season without someone getting raped or castrated?)  However, once the dragons hatched, it hooked me.

I’ve always had a soft spot for dragons.  I read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series voraciously when I was young, and they’ve lived in my imagination ever since.  There’ve been other movies and television shows with good dragons, but none came near enough to what I imagined those dragons of Pern might be like.  So far, Game of Thrones fits.  Now, I’m mid fourth season, and they could ruin it all yet. (if they do, I’m not sure I want to know, to be honest).

I’ve survived losing all my initially favorite characters.  Despised characters who became new favorites, and then died.  Other unfavored characters are now cautiously enjoyed with an eye to Martin’s tendency to use murder to further his plot.  (Not a bad move, but a painful one.)  What will this get me?  Caught up.

I don’t think I’ll like being caught up.  I’ll have to wait for a new show once a week.  That will be rather painful.  On the other hand, my house will be cleaner, and I’ll make more art.  Hmmm…

Despite all the rape, murder and pillaging, this is a stunning production. Gorgeous sweeping landscapes, intricate well-detailed costumes, rich swelling music, and characters that are complex, interesting, and disturbingly prone to murder, lies, and sundry other sins.  That’s what makes them so fascinating.  Now excuse me, there’s a trial by combat coming up I need to watch.  For you, you get to watch the season 6 trailer.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Doctor Strange Teaser Trailer, Finally!

Did you catch the Doctor Strange teaser trailer yet?  Well then, please allow me to share it with you.

Not only is it a new release from Marvel, and they’ve been on a roll with their movies.  (Okay, I haven’t seen Ant Man, but that’s more of a time constraint issue than a lack of desire.)

The cast looks great.  Of course, I love Benedict Cumberbatch (shocking, I know) and he’s reunited with Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years A Slave.   Mads Mikkelson creeped me out in Hannibal.  The happy list grows with Rachel McAdams from Sherlock Holmes and Midnight in Paris, Tilda Swinton from Constantine, Only Lovers Left Alive, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the list of impressive actors just keeps going.

I’ve actually read a few of the comic books. (Wow, I realized the only other comic book movie I’d read any of the books before the movie was Deadpool.  Times, they are a-changing.)  I like the story line for Doctor Strange, and the only thing holding me back from reading more has been a lack of free time to drive to Mammoth Comics. They introduced me to Doctor Strange in the first place.  (It is only 15 minutes from my house, but work & homework overflow!)

I want to love this movie.  I really do.  The story, the cast, even Marvel’s track record all make me want to be jumping with joy over this film.  Something about this teaser makes me nervous for the movie though.  I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but it is there.

What do you think?  Did you get the same vibe?  Am I imagining things?  Lack of sleep could totally be messing with my mind.  Let me know if my mental acuity has been compromised by too many nights with too little sleep.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. The sleep thing may actually be a factor since I just second guessed myself about the definition of acuity.  I actually looked it up…in a dictionary…when I’m on a laptop with the whole internet at my disposal.  Maybe I should be afraid.  Anyway, off to work I go!


Budding Photographer

You know what’s fun?  Taking pictures.  I love taking photographs.  My best friend would argue that I already knew this (or at least she did).  I did take a few hundred photos during our trip to Ireland, after all.  However, I’m discovering a big difference between the pictures I took before where I found a great view I wanted to keep, but I didn’t have a few very basic skills to translate that into a good or even a decent photograph.  Usually, it ended in disappointment.  Now, with a little very basic knowledge, I’m turning out much better photos.  More often than not, that cool thing I see actually emerges from my camera the way I imagined it would.

Last week was my first real experience with this.  My current class is Concepts in Photography, and I’m very fortunate in that Full Sail decided that a Sony a6000 should be included as part of our tuition package this year.  One of my first assignment, designed to get us familiar with our cameras, was to take 34 photos showing  different features and concepts.  I promise I won’t bore you with all of them, but I will share a few of my favorites.

I’m new to exploring photographers. My new favorite this week is Trey Ratcliff. You can check out his website Stuck In Customs to see what’s up with the fascination. Do you have any favorite photos or photographers?

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


Suicide Squad Reshoots?

Suicide SquadI just read an article…okay, I read several articles about Suicide Squad heading in for reshoots to add levity to the movie.  According to the articles, the trailer featuring Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody contains every joke in the movie.

I’ve read everything from these reshoots being a knee-jerk reaction to the dismay of audiences at the darkness of Batman vs. Superman (although what did they expect when the good guys battle it out?) to a response to the overwhelming positive reaction to the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer.

Either way, this raises a couple of concerns, because while they are undeniable evil-doers, Harley Quinn and Joker, in particular, offer the opportunity for some great banter and black humor.  You know, the kind you’re almost embarrassed you laughed at. Also, did you not have faith in the movie you produced when you produced it?

I’ve been looking forward to this film since the first announcement, and now…now, there’s a bit of trepidation.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m seeing this movie opening weekend (barring crazy school/work/life situations). I’m just a little worried about the product I’m buying into now.

What do you think?  Smart move?  Lack of faith?  This is what the comments section is for.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


The Dark Knight vs. The Man of Steel

Batman vs SupermanI went to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice this week.  Although I’d heard lots of condemnation for the movie, I couldn’t resist the pull of the world’s two most famous superheroes on the big screen together.  Even if you have never read a comic book or seen a superhero movie, there’s a slightly better than average chance  you’ve at least heard of these two heavy-weights (one day I will have my sarcasm font!).  Is The Bat vs. Supes an Oscar award kind of venture?  No!  Who expects it to be?  That doesn’t mean it isn’t an entertaining trip to the theater.  Let’s set some reasonable expectations here.

This is not a happy go lucky film.  The title should give something of that away.  You have two good guys, superheroes no less, battling it out.  Did you think they were fighting over a broken GI Joe? (Wow, did I just date myself there.)  This movie throws what you conventionally think about the black and white world of the heroes in to nothing but shades of grey.  What happens if you look at the actions of each of these guys from the outside without the special privilege of inside information given to readers, movie-goers and television watchers through the decades?  Innocent die and mass destruction follows them like the stray animal your parents warned you about feeding because it wouldn’t go away.  As insiders into their stories and their worlds we know that while they are the front-man, the memorable face (or silhouette) of these tragedies, they don’t start them.  They’re there trying to prevent a bigger tragedy from befalling their city or the world.  The average citizen isn’t always privy to that information, and therefore neither is the opposition in this film.

At least that’s what I have to assume, because one of the big failings of this film, in my eyes, is the lack of effective set up for the conflict.  Half the movie is spent on backstory and build up with very little substance for the conflict or its resolution actually being conveyed to the audience.  They threw some tarnish on the uniforms of the two most recognizable superheroes in the world, tossed in a little backstory and asked us to believe that is enough to justify the conflict.  Did anyone out there NOT know that Bruce Wayne watched his parents get murdered when he was a kid? Could we not have replaced that little piece of the pie, nicely done though it was, with something that was a little more relevant to this story? (Unless you’re asking me to believe that the whole resolution of this conflict hinges on that two second scene.  When you watch it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

They tried to cram in an entire movie’s worth of setup for this conflict into the first half of Batman vs. Superman, and frankly, it came across as a little weak.  It isn’t like there isn’t enough story material to have added something else for each of these characters in between their last franchise film and this one to start feeding audiences hints of what’s to come.  It felt like they’d ditched all their previous efforts to build a successful franchise and started from scratch here, and there are some pretty big holes.

The second half of the film I really liked a lot.  The introduction of Wonder Woman into this cinematic universe was pretty much perfect, and although I’ve heard a lot of complaint about shoving too many characters down our throats too quickly as a set up for the announced Justice League movies.  It is as well done as I could have asked for, and it was believable in the context in which it was presented.

Could it have been better if they’d spread it out over several movies and formats the way Marvel has done?  Maybe, but DC isn’t Marvel.  This has actually come up in discussion quite a bit since I’ve seen the movie (which is impressive because that was on FRIDAY).  Is DC trying to create for itself a universe that spans television, movies, comic books, etc. the way Marvel has?  Well, who wouldn’t want their organization to be a wildly successful money-making machine of epic proportions?

They’re taking their own path to get there. Are choices such as not retaining a continuity of actors from the small screen to the large going to help them? (I’m looking at Barry Allen here)  Who knows?  It is hard not to compare the two houses who’ve given the world our favorite fictional heroes.  I’m trying to take each project on its own merits and see where the rest falls out.

‘Til next time,
Jessica

P.S. Everybody has an opinion about this one.  Tell me what you think?