Category Archives: Video

Best 40 Minutes of Your Week

tashi-and-the-monkEvery once in a while, I stumble across something wonderful in the course of my classwork.  This time, it was a documentary from Pilgrim Films about a Buddhist monk who started a home for unwanted children.  Tashi and the Monk is filled with the sound of children laughing, playing, learning and healing.  I rejoiced in the happiness of 85 formerly unwanted and unloved children who found a family, a home, and a steadfast father figure who dedicates himself to making sure they have the childhood he never got.  Easily the best 40min you’ll spend this week.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. Did I mention Tashi and the Monk won an Emmy for Outstanding Short Documentary in 2016?

Advertisements

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!


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?


Jim Parsons on Sesame Street

It looks like Jim Parsons and I share a common fear….


Take A Deep Breath, The New Doctor Has Arrived

August 23, 2014 ushered in a new Doctor for the well-loved series, Doctor Who as Peter Capaldi takes over the role from Matt Smith.  Okay, as you know, I’m anti-spoilers here, so please email any spoiler-y comments or questions to me at ilovegeekology101@gmail.com.  There are a couple of spoilers for The Day of the Doctor and The Time of the Doctor (mostly discussing 11’s regeneration scene), but I’ll put a note before the paragraph with the big spoil-y pieces of information, and it is pretty far down, and in reality, unless you have completely avoided social media you already know about this stuff.

We knew going into this series that the new Doctor would be older and perhaps a little darker, and this first episode, Deep Breath, certainly enforces that.  The transitional episodes have been interesting ones.  My reaction to the new Doctor has always had a bit of the Doctor’s reaction when a regeneration redecorate the TARDIS, “I don’t like it.”  Of course, it didn’t take long until I adjusted to the new face and form and was ready to pick up my feet and run with the new guy.

I don’t think I could say that Who had become boring, but maybe a tad bit predictable.  Capaldi certainly has an opportunity to breathe new life into the series and take us in a direction we haven’t been since Eccleston revived things in 2005.

 

This time though, I didn’t feel the uncertainty of whether I would like the new Doctor, but then again, I think Capaldi’s doctor felt more like he was struggling through the memories of previous generations more than either Eccleston, Tennant or Smith.  They all had their moments of settling into their new faces and bodies, but the aspects of the Doctor’s personality they embodied were quick to shine through.  Capaldi’s Doctor takes longer to shrug off not just 11’s face and form but the others as well, and I think they’re playing up 11’s comment during his regeneration that he will never forget a moment of when the Doctor was me.  References to a lot of previous forms of the Doctor flowed through this first episode of Season 8, and I felt that 12 had to sort through who he had been to figure out who he is going to be.  He still has the wit and humor we expect from the Doctor, but there is an air of unpredictability and uncertainty after this first episode that hasn’t been there in a while.

Fans know that the circumstances of the regeneration play into who comes out the other side(look at Tennant’s comments to the meta-crisis doctor who went home with Rose), and 11’s focus at the end was remembering.  I have a sneaking suspicion that will impact 12’s doctor a lot. The lines on his face reflect the memories he tried so hard to hold onto when he regenerated, because a lot has happened.  Seriously, how old is the Doctor now?  Capaldi, as a fan of Doctor Who since childhood, has an opportunity to resurrect aspects of all the Doctors who’ve come before with this regeneration. We’ve already seen a bit of 10 & 11 for certain, and I’m not nearly as well versed in Classic Who to be certain about earlier Doctors.  Possibly a little 9 snuck his way in, but I’m not sure.  I know I saw a bit of Tom Baker’s 4th Doctor with the finger alongside his nose.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: SPOILERS FOR DAY OF THE DOCTOR AND TIME OF THE DOCTOR AHEAD

doctor-who season 8

11 began as the Doctor who wanted to forget, as revealed in The Day of the Doctor, but went into his regeneration as the Doctor who wants to remember.  That 50th anniversary episode exposed that insecure, wounded side of the Doctor, and events in that episode did quite a bit of healing.  Of course, in true Doctor Who fashion, some of those were ripped open, and began to heal again in The Time of the Doctor.  Really, he destroyed Gallifrey, he saved Gallifrey, the Time Lords nearly start another Time War to come back into the universe, but end up staying where they are and giving the Doctor another regeneration.  All because Clara tells them “if you love him, and you should, help him.”  However, he wasn’t there to hear this plea or recognize the gift was one of love, and that could be something that pops up later on.  Even for the stalwart Doctor this is a lot to take in.

Another thing that has been commented on is that this Doctor will be a little less empathetic, and it brings to mind Moffat and Gatiss’s other project, Sherlock.  Sherlock’s brain holds a lot of information, but he has to make room by “deleting” things.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what this Doctor has “deleted” in order to bring back all of these other memories. Somewhere, I got an idea that the Doctor read a book “Dealing with Humans 101” or something like that, and from what I’ve seen so far, it looks like maybe this is some of the information that has been pushed out or  to the side to make room for the memories of his previous regenerations.

This paves the way beautifully for what should be a whirlwind ride this season.  As anyone who has gotten caught up memory can attest, it can be a beautiful trip down memory lane when you’re remembering the good stuff, but life ain’t all good.  The Doctor’s life especially, hasn’t been, and the weight of those darker memories…well, I see a lot of ups and downs in our future, but that just comes along with being a Whovian.

What do you think?  Please send me your theories too! What impressions have you gotten of the new Doctor?

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Family

Candlewyck Cove ResortLast weekend, I joined my family at Grand Lake for our annual long weekend at the lake.  Every year we rent a house at Candlywyck Cove Resort (and a hotel room or two) and spend the weekend laughing, eating, swimming, fishing and playing dominos (and any other games we can come up with).  My dad and his brothers and sisters and their families (when they can) come in to just hang out and reconnect.  Most of the weekend we had about 15 people there, but on Saturday that jumped to around 25ish (I really didn’t count).  Let’s just say there were a lot of people.

Grand Lake has been a central meeting place for our family since I was a kid.  My grandparents retired there, and we would all gather at their house for every holiday (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Easter, Labor Day…you get the idea) and as many weekends as possible every summer.  Some of my best memories were built on that lake.  I learned how to fish, helped “teach” my cousin to swim, drove a boat for the first time, told stories, enjoyed the fruits of my grandparents’ gardens, learned checkers, became a baseball fan, watched my first soap opera, got my first black eye, and so much more.  When we were looking for a gathering place in later years, it seemed only natural to choose Grand Lake.

Yes, we put everybody in one house, voluntarily, for four days.  This is apparently unusual for families.  I had no idea.  Until I became an “adult” (however, my nephew’s friend questioned my “adult” status this weekend), I thought everyone’s family was like this.  There’s lots of laughing and good-natured ribbing, but rarely a “real” argument.  Our discussions this last weekend ranged from health care and financial planning to theories on how my dad and his brothers managed to cheat at Apples to Apples (We’re not competitive at all: Insert sarcasm font here).  These weekends have been influential in a lot of my major decisions.  When I was trying to decide whether or not to take a job in Chicago, I brought it to the family on one of these weekends.  This year, I even brought the short story I’m going to be submitting for publication for them to read.  (The general consensus is basically that I’m weird, and it must be the weird books, television and movies I like.  This is an acceptable and expected response.)

Some of my favorite moments this year included taking my nephew and his friend out on a paddle boat (apparently kids under 14 can’t go alone.  My nephew was horrified.)  The wind blew so hard the little boat moved backwards, no matter how hard they paddled, and they had to work hard for their trip around the cove.  However, there were no (major) crashes with docks, a couple of turtle sightings, a threat was made to eject someone from the boat (and an unsuccessful attempt), and a lot of laughter (also a request to turn in the boat 15 minutes early).  Paddle boating is tiring.

My cousin’s boyfriend and my uncle attempted to teach us how to play the card game, Pitch.  We learned how to play a game, but I’m not sure it was Pitch.  They kept remembering rules they’d forgotten as we were playing (they were threatened with their lives discouraged from implementing new rules halfway through the game).  However, I think I have it now…maybe…there are a lot of rules.  The most important thing to come out of the game was a nickname for our new “teacher”.  He now goes by Pickles. (It is funnier if you were there).

Everyone got involved in Apples to Apples, which was a treat since one of my aunts usually refuses to play because she says we’re “awful”…not awful, just competitive.  (Really!)  Only a few of us had played the game before, so we got to teach it to everyone else.  The Three Amigos (otherwise known as my dad and his brothers) blew everyone else out of the water…especially my dad.  This is what led to the cheating accusations, well the unexpected domination in the game and a vast and varied history of cheating at board games.  (Seriously, they even cheat at checkers!)

Also there was singing!  My dad only knows one song, and only part of that.  Have you ever seen the movie Paint Your Wagon?  It is an old western starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.  Until I saw this 1969 film, I had no idea that Eastwood could sing, and although it is Harvey Purcell who sings my dad’s song, They Call the Wind Mariah, it was this unsuspected side of Dirty Harry that stuck with me.

 

If I remember correctly, this was one of the first movies my parents went to when they started dating.  The first time I sat through this film, I made my parents promise me that I wouldn’t have to watch it again for 10 years. (I think I was 10.)  I did watch the movie again, and really enjoyed it. (What can I say, it’s no Star Wars but it is pretty good.).  Now, I’m willing to watch it whenever they want to.  I suppose, it is pretty sweet that my dad still sings a song from one of my parents first dates.

 

All of this to say, there really is nothing quite like family.  Next year’s lake trip can’t come soon enough.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

 


OK Go’s New Video: The Writing’s On the Wall

The first new video out by OK Go in years is visually stunning…the song’s pretty dang good too.  The video’s directors are doing a Reddit Ask Me Anything at 4:30 ET, so check it out!

‘Til next time,

Jessica