The Crimes of Grindelwald: A Review

I saw Crimes of Grindelwald recently, and overall gotta say, I enjoyed it for the most part. Many fans I know don’t, but keep in mind, if we want movies on the Maurauders, the Founders, or any others, these need to do well. If you set aside the “I don’t want to see this, meh” attitude there’s a lot to like.

The Good

-Visually Stunning

– A great plot. It gives real incite on how people, good people, get sucked into ideologies that in handset we portray as son evil. There is a subtle foil being played to World War Two, and it serves the movie well.

-Acting. The characters were fabulous as a general rule (I wish there had been more of Tina). The acting was stellar. Eddie Redmayne brings Newt to life in a beautiful way. He is shy, and has physical quirks that seem to come natural. He isn’t a hero type, and doesn’t magically become one. It’s how it should be.

Johnny Deppa must be mentioned because though he is problematic his acting cannot and should not be denied. He portrayed a type of villain I fear most and did so with a finesse only a veteran could bring. GG is a villain whose words make his world sound like a utopia. He can convince even the most stoic of his benevolent intents. Johnny Depp shows the conflicted nature as well as this silver tongue well.

To not speak of Jude Law would be wrong. Dumbledores screen time is limited, but man he made an impact. The self assured grin he wore, it was, for lack of better word, swagger. Dumbledore was confident and restrained. I want more.

To not mention the ladies would be wrong Zoe Kravitz acting chops continue to grow, though it a little reminiscent of her role in X men. I this this one can stand on its own though. She was the unlikely hero, with a tortured background. She carried undue guilt and didn’t know how to set it aside. The expressions Kravitz used to convey all this were beautiful. She has the line that breaks you heart, “You never met a monster you couldn’t love.” Yet, she didn’t milk it or overplay it.

Last, Allison Sudal, aka Queenie, who had such low billing it hurt. WOW. She blew it out of the water. She showed general emotion and turmoil. She was not flat, and showed both strength and weakness. She was the surprise I didn’t expect.

-Several good plot holes addressed

The Bad

Not enough Tina, or emotional range for Jacob (writers help him out)

-Flamel thrown in for no real reason

-Nagini backstory was started but not really fleshed our. Seemed kind of ransom. Maybe this will be sorted out later

– The circus felt random. Visually cool, but for no particular reason.

-Not enough French Wizardry Culture.

-I understand shifting the focus from Newt, but the lack of beasts, it makes him seem irrelevant.

The Questions: Spoiler Warning

I will fan riddle this out later, but for you to ponder

-Who is Credence?

-Who is Aurelis Dumbledore? Did he exist

-Was Queenie enchanted

-Why didn’t Jacob and Queenie immigrate to UK?

-Why did Dumbledore and Grindelwald make the promise they did? What type of magic is that?

-Who was with Corvus Lestrange when he died?

-Who is Letas half brother/ Yusuf Kama

-How does Nagini come to be with Voldemort in the future

-What does all of this mean for the fandom

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The Hunger Games

Few know of the real life Hunger Games that occur every October. They are done in private, and they are brutal. The victors (because in this version there are more than one) loudly tout their success, while the losers go forth in shame and panic as they try to find an alternative route.

Okay, that last line may have been a bit dramatic, but it is true. DragonCon is a huge conventions (think 80,000 people) that happens each year in Atlanta. It spans across several hotels and pours into the city streets.

The hotels directly involved in the convention include: Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hyatt Regency, Hilton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, and the Westin Peachtree Plaza. That list seems extensive but there are thousands every year who make sure of Hotel Indigo, The Omni, Air BnB, and various other downtown hotels. Each of the host hotels have their own quirks and awesomeness.

Marriott- The center of everything. It is sandwiched between the Hyatt and the Hilton, specifically useful when you think of the skywalks (sidewalk bridges between hotels above street level). This is also a major spot to watch for amazing cosplays, and the night life here is always huge. It is surprisingly quiet once you get up higher though. The pro is that you are in the center of everything, and if you are like me (managing anxiety and a few other things) the ability to go up to your for a short span without it becoming a huge out of the way ordeal is extremely valuable. The downside is that you are definitely sharing elevators with people who aren’t staying there. It can be annoying, but still one of the best elevator situations I’ve had at con.

Hyatt- The Hyatt is a bit funny, almost mirage like at times. I know events happen there, but I can’t think of a single one I’ve ever gone to. I know I cross through it often, but I can’t think of a time I’ve spent a significant length of time there. The inside is gorgeous, and I will be honest I have never stayed there. It is a spot that you can see some good cosplay, but not to the Marriott level. Being that it is part of the skywalk set, it definitely has some solid nightlife. Veterans know this, but newbies here’s your heads up. It is nearly impossible to get in the Hyatt because they do Legacy vouchers. If you must stay here, your best bet is the look through the DragonCon rooms facebook group.

Hilton- This is the last of the big three as I think of them and this is the one I’d love to stay in. The Hilton doesn’t have the same look of grandeur as the Hyatt and the Marriott, however it does have one of my favorite spots at the whole con. The back part of the Hilton has a rooftop/patio type area. Many of the photo shoots happen here. There is music, bars, and food all right there. I love it because it is great people watching, a change to see fresh air, and it usually not too crowded. I went to quite a few panels there this past year. The trick is, Hilton does Legacy too. Or did. there is some confusion currently because there was a recent purchase of hotels. I believe it affects some of the other hotels. Anyway, I’d love to get in here, but it is a tough sale.

Sheraton- Many people love this one because it is where badge pick up is located. Its also been home to some of the great events in the last several years. I haven’t been to a single event there in 3 years of attending, despite being interested some.The pool parties for example. Most of the other hotels close theirs during the Con. There’s also the DragonCon Burlesque, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Why not attend? It is down the hill, and fairly far away from the rest of the conference. That isn’t enough to deter many though, because it has been a legacy up until this year and had no trouble staying booked.

Westin- I have stayed in the Westin multiple times and the thing is, its not that great. The view is awesome, but I had the worst experience out of any host hotel with staff, and elevators. There was very little I was interested in when we stayed there, though several of the movie rooms are there and their offerings this year (we didn’t stay there this year) seemed better than in previous years. They have the best view hands down, and what advantage they do have is being on the edge they have access to some of the restaurants downtown that are just far enough away the Con Crowd doesn’t make them impossible. Our favorite is right next door, Meehans. Also, this hotel is one of the easier ones to get into. They release blocks throughout the year, even relatively close to the con. Pretty nice.

 

So, in conclusion, I won the Hunger Games for a second year in a row. We will be staying at the Mariott again, though if I ever find a way to weasel into the Hilton, I’m on it. How I win the Hunger Game is a trademarked (not really) secret. May the odds be ever in your favor.

Christmas Come and Gone

Ok, so Dragon Con isn’t exactly Christmas, but it is pretty epic. This year was amazing. I wanted to share the awesome with you guys before getting back to the more specific (like entering a new fandom)

The great

-Felt less Crowded

-The Hilton brought their A Game

-I saw PETER CAPALDI and PEARL MACKEY live. Amazing

-Went to more small panels than in the past.

-Got the stay in a host hotel

A managed to cosplay some that wasn’t a fail

Less stress, less people, less crazy. Happy con to all!

A Little Help

As many of you know, I am a teacher, and what you may not know is that I work in a low income area with special needs students. I spent $500 this year so far on supplies alone. There are some things I really need for my students. Right now Donors Choose will match donations if you use the code RIPPLE, so please if you can help, it would mean so much

Click here to Help

HOW MANY DAYS?

Ok folks, DragonCon is closing in and I’m all like AHH. Even though I’ve known what cosplays I’m doing for months I am so behind. Yikes! I’m doing a Rey cosplay, via the Force Awakens, and I’m waiting on a few things to come in, but others I haven’t even thought of! The staff needs work, I don’t have the drape, I’m waiting on pants and a bag to come in, and I’m not sure what shirt I’ll wear.

Another I’m doing is copying my pokemon go avatar. I need a magikarp hat though, and my sewing skills have gone weak. Anyone out there want to take it?! Also, I hope to get a plush for the bag. That one is closer I guess.

Another day I have reserved for a nerdy shirt, finding Francis.

Last is one I haven’t even been able to figure out. I have a beautiful Venetian mask, it is glittery, blue and silver, and I can’t come up with anything to do with it. I want to do something, but I can’t come up with anything besides a pokemon, and I don’t want to do two from that fandom. Any ideas please comment! Pic below is similar to mine, but mine has no feathers

 

A Review: Antman and the Wasp

Warning, spoilers may be ahead. You have been warned.

antmanw

 

Confession of Bias: Antman is possibly my favorite. It’s hard to choose just one, but I like him a lot. So, the plot on this one is logical, and picks up where one would expect, after Civil War. It was a little convoluted at points (when there were 3 people chasing down the shrunken office while the FBI was chasing them all) but easy enough to follow.

Paul Rudd was solid, and his relationship with the actress playing his daughter was fairly good as well as the actress playing the Wasp. None of it was outstanding, or memorable, but it was enjoyable.

The overall point is that it was enjoyable to watch, but somewhat forgettable. There was a massive standout. The trio of Scott’s friend, Luis, Kurt, and Dave (Tip). In particular Michael Pena was awesome, and hilarious.

Its a fun movie, worth watching, but not quite the quality of say, Black Panther

A Review of Incredibles 2

Side bar before I get going as a reminder for me, I want to do a review for you guys of Movie Pass which I’ve been using. Also, if you didn’t already guess, this will contain spoilers so proceed with caution.

 

My initial though, before I even got to see the movie was a bit of disappointment because there was a big warning label on the movie about how it could trigger seizures in those with sensitivity strobe. I was concerned because I was thinking of all my friends and family who would have issues, and I didn’t want that.

Michael and I don’t have any issues though and I loved The Incredibles, but Michael was kind of lukewarm. Ok, so beginning to end. I loved that before the movie even started the had the actors saying thank you for the patience. It was a treat to see the stars and it was a bit of fun to have them poke fun at the fact that it had been 14 years since the originally.

 

The Good

The story was interesting for sure, though just a touch predictable at points. Overall it had some great themes. The girl power theme, of course the heavy dimensions of family drama, and the heroic themes of parenthood.

The characterizations were solid. Sometimes a touch stereotypical, but overall good. We saw added dimensions to Violet, Helen, and Bob.  The duality of Evelyn and Winston were fun too.

 

The Eh

Dash and Frozone stayed a little one note to my taste, but hopefully in the future we get more of them (Frozone is like my favorite). Also, I wanted more Edna. She is another of the ones I enjoy tremendously. I realize we can have them in everything, it wouldn’t make sense. What we did have Edna for had some real quality. Just more. Maybe a scene with E explaining to Violet why boys are pointless?

While I liked comparing Evelyn and Winston, Evelyn was too predictable. I figured out long before the movie reveal that she was the real mastermind. I think a strong friendship between her and Helen, which was hinted at, would have been more interested. TO keep her as part of the negative plot perhaps she could have started the Screenslaver plot but worked to try to stop it for real. Maybe the villain could have had to do with those opposed to legalization of heroes. I like a female villain, but in this case and with Evelyn’s role it was believable, but not as much fun.

The Underminer was never resolved. Also, and sorry in advance for the parents who will take offense because its not my intent, but the little boy behind who talked through the entire movie was unpleasant. As a teacher I understand that we have teach our kids in order for them to know how to behave in public spaces, that is reasonable. My annoyance stems from a few places. 1) I picked a 7pm on a Friday, so definitely late for a child of this age. I didn’t expect it to be childless, that would have been ridiculous. I was anticipating older children for a movie that didn’t let out until nearly 10. Often older children can manage better. 2) This child was talking loudly through previews (I don’t mind that) which would have been a perfect time for a quick reteach from mom about movie theater behavior, and she was too busy on her phone to do so. Dad said nothing. 3) It made the many other children (some of them younger than the one in question) look bad. Most of them were so well behaved, but this one was distracting not just me, but others around me and other kids got fussy every time that this kiddo talked out (loudly and repeatedly). I’m not trying to be ugly, because trust me I understand that parenting is hard to begin with, but it my humble opinion if you have a child who you know may struggle with a full movie, then a proactive approach needs to be taken. I actually taught a ‘how to go to the movies’ section in a social skills class. For a parent, I’d practice in advance with a movie night at home, and potentially start with a different movie. Many theaters I’ve seen have ‘Mom Friendly’ showings where the lights stay on, and a higher noise level is anticipated. Also, many have sensory friendly showings which also could be helpful teaching tools until a child is ready. If none of those options are good, then perhaps a matinee is a better option. Lastly, it none of that is a good idea, then at the point where the child had loudly called out 4 times (specifically, “Where’s the Underminer? They didn’t get him, they need to go back!”) within the first 20-30 minutes, parents needed to pull outside for a quick conference. I openly acknowledge I don’t know the whole situation, but as an outsider looking in, it appeared that beyond the occasional sshh these folks weren’t planning to do anything, and adults aside, it upset other kids too.

 

How Nerdy Are We?

So I am the primary writer on the blogs, but since it has been a bit since I have had both sites up and functioning correctly I figured I should reiterate some of our fandoms, aka things that make us so nerdy.

 

Cayla (that’s me) & Michael

Harry Potter

Lord of the Rings

Pokemon

The Princess Bride

Star Wars

MCU

Eragon

Doctor Who

Supernatural (We haven’t gotten to the end yet though)

Game of Thrones

True Blood

Percy Jackson (Michael hasn’t read Kane Chronicles, or Gods of Asgard, and I have still need to read trials of Apollo)

Total Drama Island

Handmaids Tale

Michael Only

Fall Out & other video games

A whole host of sci fi (he’s not with me to help me write it. I know he likes Dune, and Wheel of Time)

Cayla Only

The Labrynith

Disney (Michael likes this, has watched many, and has been to Diesney world but he hasn’t seen a few. You could still put him the category I suppose)

Pitch Perfect

 

And I’m sure I’m forgetting others. We like so many things. I know I posted a review of Solo the other day, don’t know how many of you out there are into that. Another thing on the forefront of my mind is a couple of cosplays.

We only really go to Dragon Con. There are other cons in the area (Momocon, Atlanta Comic Con) but we like the way Dragon Con is run, and it is over Labor Day weekend is a great thing for us. That con also has such a great variety that we can find many things we both like there.

So I’m working on two cosplays for that con, Rey and Team Valor Trainer. I decided on Rey because I got a BB8 Hero Droid for Christmas, which I love, and it will be fun to have it following me. For the other, I’m currently obsessed with pokemon go and it will be comfortable in Georgia’s sweltering heat.

 

 

 

 

Solo: Thoughts

Before I give my review of Solo, I need to point out my stance on the current atmosphere. So, I have noticed the Star Wars fandom has become somewhat toxic. The events that surrounded Kelly Marie Tran’s departure from instagram have proven that there are issues within this universe. There are so many within who grew up with Star Wars, and love it so much that they feel the need to try to control things, even though they have no real ability to do that. Instead they become massive internet trolls and cause harm to others. My problem with the current community is that I heard fans saying terrible things about the movie before it even came out. How can you give it a bad review without even reading it? Sure, everyone had concerns when the directors changed mid way through production, but you can’t pass judgement on something you’ve never seen. Understand that I reject all of this.

The review

I like to start with the positives and work my way through the the things that could have been better before passing and overall judgement. So the things that were great:

The writing: The concept of trust no one, the constant question of who was betraying who, and the overarching theme: What or Who can you really trust? Even perceptions were not off the table for the concept of things not always being what they seem. I realize there are many out who would disagree with this, but I thought the ever twisting question of what is was an an excellent choice to really highlight Han Solo’s character.

Acting. Some of the acting was just excellent. My particular favorites were Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke as Kira, and Woody Haralson as Beckett. The three of them created a solid ensemble. Of the three of them, I do have to say Donald Glover stole nearly every scene he was in. He was able to give this character depth, and swagger. Emilia Clarke was the weaker of the three. She was solid, and gave a performance that did the complicated character she was playing justice. There were some questions left unanswered about her character, and I feel there were moments she went a bit flat.

The nostalgia factor of our introduction to Chewie and Han’s partnership was awesome.

 

The Eh…

I feel for Alden Ehrenreich. I seriously do. Lets face it, as a fandom, myself included, we all would have rather had Harrison Ford and we all agreed to pretend he was age appropriate. No matter who had this character it would have been tough. This is not Alden’s first time leading a movie, and has some big names in the past he’s worked with (Francis Ford Coppola). He was exactly bad at the role, but the three actors I listed above were amazing, and if it wasn’t that level, it wouldn’t work. There was a missing element of devil may care. He had the arrogance, but he just didn’t have it.

Lady Proxima. We have no real background or anything to make us engaged in this. There was limited build up, and just some confusion. Star Wars does have a history of baddies with limited backstory and development. (think Boba Fett, Captain Phasma), but she didn’t have the wow factor they did.

The military mini plot with Han. It was boring.

 

Overall, despite those who wanted to hammer this, I’d say it fell in at a solid 7.5. It did service to the characters and story, but there was room for some improvement.