Movie Review: Monsters vs. Aliens (2009)

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Monsters vs Aliens (2009)

So I stayed away from this movie for a long, long time, because I thought it had something to do with Monsters Inc and I rather liked that movie, and I wasn’t prepared to let something ruin the sweetness at the time.

Turns out, I needn’t have bothered. Monsters vs Aliens has nothing to do with Monsters Inc. But there are monsters (though I use the term incredibly loosely; they’re kind of adorkable) and aliens (…subjective) and they are definitely fighting over something.

The main character is a young bride who didn’t even make it to her wedding night before things go terrible in her relationship; the party gets crashed in the first handful of minutes in the movie, and her reactions are kind of awesome and absolutely something I would probably do in the situation.

The movie has a little bit of adult humor for those of us who aren’t tiny anymore, while still keeping itself light-hearted and innocent enough for those who are. There are morals, too (morals!) which is something I always like to see touched on. “Don’t change yourself for another,” “You’re good as you are,” “It’s fine being different,” are all very good morals, and there are some other, more subtle ones that harken back to days of old and are a little out of my skill to articulate. Alas.

On the technical side, the graphics and screenplay were pretty impressive, and I really do approve of whoever the scriptwriter was for this. They did a good job. I’m going to have to look up who the voice-actors are too (because, although  I link you to the imdb page, I only read enough of it to confirm it was for the correct movie) because I’m desperately hopeful those people got a bunch of work, after.

Ah, Bob.

–Natasha

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Why Game Dads Matter

This was a powerful article, and I feel the great need to share it through my blog and let the content get read. I too am super excited to see parents in videogames, and see the love for their children that drive them; diverse games are coming a long way from “do you want fantasy or sci-fi?” and that’s important.

One day, I’ll get the original Nier and indulge in it.

I Need Diverse Games

Bayek from AC:Origins – Image courtesy of Tauriq Moosa, Assassins Creed is property of Ubisoft Montreal

By Tauriq Moosa

Male power fantasies have long focused on bulking up men, whether physically, or intellectually, and using their powers to defeat their enemies. Whether it’s a Stallone or a McClane, a Sherlock or a Dr House, portrayals of men in media has focused on providing them seeming immunity, due to some extraordinary quality primarily designed to defeat obstructions before them. Physicality provides immunity from death (Terminator, Conan, Die Hard) and intellect from consequences (Dr House MD, Sherlock, etc.).

Video games too have long had such no-necked, muscle men as heroes –who progressed primarily through defeating their enemies. But, after the horrific year that was 2017, I was delighted to see more games embrace alternatives to masculinity where progress wasn’t dependent on conquering.

In Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the lead character Bayek is…

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Movie Review: Bright (2017)

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Bright (2017)

Listen, I have great love for all Will Smith buddycop movies. I will watch all of them given the chance. I also have an epic love for fantasy. Combine the pair? Bright wasn’t something I was going to miss.

This movie covers a lot of topics in a short amount of time, and originally, back hearing about it, I thought it was a series. Which would have been awesome on all levels. Alas, that was not to be. Moving on.

Let’s cover issues of racism, speciesism, issues of classism. Let’s cover how the real world doesn’t always match fairytales. How sometimes, you have to tell a lie to cover the truth– because even though the truth is the right thing, no one would believe you. How you have to do the right thing because without the lie, people get hurt. How you have to do the right thing even though it’s hard. How your actions effect people around you; a drop in the water makes a ripple, and that comes back to you, eventually.

How to hold onto your dreams. No matter what.

There are problems in the world. There are sides taken. But sometimes– you have to pick a side, but you don’t have to cast aside who you are for it.

These characters are top-notch and well-developed, with enough realism and eagerness to match up with the world at large. You can really get buried in it. And I would absolutely love about thirty hours in the world of Bright, exploring everything that it is and can be.

I don’t have that, unfortunately. But I do have Bright, and I’m glad I got it. If you’ve Netflix, maybe give it a peek.

–Natasha

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Movie Review: Logan (2017)

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Logan (2017)

I have to admit, when I first heard that Hugh Jackman was preparing to pass the Wolverine mantel on, I was not prepared to hear there was going to be one more Wolverine movie featuring him. I was not prepared for this movie in any way. If I had been, maybe the train bearing that mountain of feels might have missed me, but probably not.

Man, I still can’t talk about this film properly without trying to gush spoilers, so I best make this short and sweet: Logan is about Logan, obviously. Dealing with being remarkably human, in a world where the X-men no longer exist. Dealing with issues people deal with every day, and things I’ve always wanted to know how mutants would handle.

I love everything about it. Even the parts that made me cry. Especially the parts that made me cry. You might like it too, but remember: there are parts that may make you cry.

–Natasha

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Movie Review: Moana (2016)

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Moana (2016)

I cannot help but feel like I’ve already written something about Moana, that I’ve gushed about it somewhere…

But I can’t find it, so clearly I must do it again.

Let’s start with: I was not expecting such an epic Disney princess to emerge last year, which is silly of me, because aren’t all Disney’s princesses epic? (Even the ones who aren’t considered official princesses! Moana is the chieftain’s daughter, after all.)

Moana of Motonui has been chosen by the Ocean to play a very special part in Disney’s film: the Hero. She’s not waiting for a hero to come find her and rescue her, and Moana (the movie) isn’t about that at all. Moana is about Moana rescuing herself. Well, rescuing everyone else– and rescuing herself by proxy. About growing up, and doing the right thing even though the right thing is hard. About being stubborn, and sticking to your guns, and believing in yourself.

So much of this movie is about believing in yourself.

Born the chief’s only child, Moana stands to inherit leadership of her tribe. He’s been training her for that role her whole life. There’s just one little problem: she’d really rather… not stay on land for it. She doesn’t want to. She tries really hard not to not want to, but she doesn’t want to. It works about as well as expected. Which goes over about as well as anybody could have thought it would. Because nobody goes beyond the cove, and nobody truly leaves the island.

The whole thing is set in Ancient Polynesia, and I’m no expert in the culture, the location, the mythology– but I understand the people who crafted the movie and plot went out of their way to learn those things from the people immersed in them. I know that they also collected local talent for the voice acting, which boosts it to an A+ for me.

One of the interesting things was the music. There’s at least one entire song that never got translated to English, which gives the whole thing very much a more realistic feel to it, and I was very proud of that fact. All too often I feel that I’m not invested enough in things, but that one song being beyond me– I don’t know the words, but the words didn’t matter. I didn’t have to know the lyrics to get drawn up in it.

Also “You’re Welcome” is going to haunt me for years.

–Natasha

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Movie Review: The Last Starfighter (1984)

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The Last Starfighter (1984)

Sometimes you have to shake the dust off the good ol’ times. You  have to look at your childhood and say, yes, this one.

The Last Starfighter is one of those. I don’t remember the first time I saw this; I was young, impressionable, and enthralled with space movies. It was probably around the first time I saw the Star Wars films, come to think of it, which, uh, wow, that was a time ago. Star Wars is a different post, eventually, when I get around to it.

In the meantime, this film is over thirty years old, and managed to age pretty remarkably well. Okay, sure, the digital graphics are pretty outdated, but it was made thirty years ago, you have to give it a pass. The storyline, though, the character design, the plot? None of it comes off as cheesy, none of it is badly written. The costumes are solid, props are well made, and, well, I just love it, okay? There’s not a lot of I can tell you without absolutely gushing about this movie.

It doesn’t matter that it’s old. It was well done. And if you can get over the fact that some computer-generated graphics are a little jarring after we’ve been spoiled by new-age things so long, I heartily recommend it to you.

It’s not Star Wars. But then, nothing can be Star Wars. The Last Starfighter is just what it says on the tin, and nothing else.

–Natasha

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NaNoWriMo: Fri 24th, 2017

NaNoWriMo

And with Thanksgiving, NaNoWriMo is quickly coming to a close. But that doesn’t mean your journey is necessarily finished, and my saying that doesn’t mean it has to continue. Whether your book is finished or just not working out for you doesn’t actually matter in relation to the month; NaNoWriMo might be nearly over, but the gathering we’ve all had this month is likely going to stick around, even if you’ve never said a word to your fellow authors.

Why? Because it’s going to come next year, too, and that’s even ignoring the Camps and various dedicated groups and communities determined to see the brotherhood continue.

What is NaNoWriMo? It’s our permission to write a bunch of extremely messy words without feeling guilty. (It’s a push to buy a teeshirt once a year, if I’m being honest.) It’s a nightmare of typos and awful one-liners and shoddy characterization while we mine for the gems that are hidden inside. It’s practice, and the outline of a book, or several books. It’s seeing how high you can get your words per minute on a solid ratio of letters versus whoops, hit the wrong key. It’s using the wrong their when you want there.

Other artistic groups have their own thing. Musicians have the RPM Challenge in February, and artists have all sorts of pursuits from DrawMo in November to National Art Making Month (NaArMaMo) in August, as well as Sketchember, Inktober (which I participated in this year, and should eventually post) and others. Cover artists often do the 30/30 with us in November, making a different cover for a different book ever day. I’m sure there are times set aside for flower arrangers, seamstresses, people who work in architecture, photographers.

Each one of these brings together like-minded people who may never say one word to each other. The conversation isn’t as important as the community, of knowing you are not alone. And if your book is done at the end of NaNo, or if it isn’t, you’re still not alone.

We were here. We will still be here. We’re not going anywhere.

NaNo might be over, but we’re writers. And every one of us knows, the writing never stops.

–Natasha

Wordcount: 36,162/50,000

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