annathepiper: (Alan YES!)
Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Ever since I heard that there was finally going to be a standalone Wonder Woman movie, I’ve been living in anticipation of seeing it. Last night, my household went to do so. Picoreview: goddamn, you guys, that was satisfying. ๐Ÿ˜€ I had a few quibbles with it, but they were minor quibbles at best. I teared up twice during the movie. Chris Pine is now certainly my favorite of the small sample set of versions of Steve Trevor I’ve seen. And most importantly, Gal Gadot was a complete delight to watch, from start to finish.

I shall also note for the record that even at our showing at the local iPic theater, we had two different women in full on cosplay, one as Wonder Woman and another as Supergirl. And I spotted a third woman wearing a Wondy tiara. Because we are a nerd town. It’s TRUE.

Spoilers lie beyond the veil that hides Themiscyra from the world of men! And I DO MEAN SPOILERS.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Blow This Thing (Blow This Thing)
Rogue One

Rogue One

I now get to say this twice in a row: that? That was a goddamned Star Wars movie.

Dara and I went to go see this thing in 3D IMAX today, and when the credits rolled, we took off our glasses and looked at each other. We’d both been crying. And we nodded knowingly to one another as we realized that, and came out of the theater talking about how we both had ALL THE FEELS.

Because yeah, even more than The Force Awakens (which, let me remind you, I quite adored), this movie grabbed hold of everything I loved from A New Hope and brought it roaring back to life.

Open the shield for transmission because I am about to broadcast SPOILERS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)
Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall

Dara, Paul, and I went and saw Captain America: Civil War last night, and I can say without reservation: gracious, that was satisfying.

Now, Cap’s name is in the title of this thing (and Dara opined that its title should have been Captain America: Why Don’t Any of You Fuckers Listen to Steve?, or perhaps Captain America: He’s Not Perfect, Except For His Abs). But really, this is way more of an Avengers movie. Though granted, it also has a huge focus on Cap. I mention this though because if you go in expecting this to have the same focus on Cap that the previous movies did, you might be a bit disappointed. But if you think of this more as an Avengers movie with a focus on Cap, it works way better. Particularly given how so much of this movie’s plot draws from the events in Age of Ultron.

But of course, it’s also drawing on events in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is not a good movie to come in cold to the MCU, is what I’m sayin’ here. If you haven’t seen either of those movies yet, this one will make way less sense.

I’ve seen a lot of enthusing about the new kid playing Spidey. Of whom I mostly have this to say: I’m having a hard time mustering much giveadamn for yet another iteration of Spidey, particularly when pulling him into the MCU delayed Captain Marvel. Marf. Though, even given my crankiness about that, I’ll cheerfully grant this kid was charming and fun. Yesterday I put up a post on Here Be Magic about why I love Supergirl, and one of the things I call out there is how DC’s doing such a lovely job bringing a tone of brightness and optimism to that show. This iteration of Spidey is helping do that for the MCU, I feel, and I can’t help but appreciate that.

Still, though, I think I would have been way more on board with another Spidey if this one had been Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker. Which is why, when it comes to the new faces introduced in this movie, I was way more excited by Black Panther. His character was amazing, and I am 100% ON BOARD with his forthcoming movie.

Before I get into spoiler discussion, here are some other reviews from sites I regularly follow, which I just doublechecked now that I’ve seen the movie myself. I’m pretty much ON BOARD with everything these links have to say, too. Particularly the parts about the biceps. ๐Ÿ˜€

Captain America: Civil War is the Emotional Pinnacle of Superhero Movies on Tor.com

Review: Captain America: Civil War Is Good (but Too Stuffed to be Great) on The Mary Sue

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

And now, for spoilers! ALL THE SPOILERS behind the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Blow This Thing (Blow This Thing)

Dara and I, accompanied by friends Mimi and Layna, have finally seen The Force Awakens.

YOU GUYS. That? That right there? That was a goddamned Star Wars film. And let me put this in perspective for you: do you all know the last time I would have walked out of a movie theater entirely emotionally satisfied with a Star Wars film? That would have been 1980–the year The Empire Strikes Back came out.

And I can say this. Even having had a major plot point spoiled for me (and I am STILL cranky at the player on Dungeon Boss chat who blew that for me, grr), I was still full of the feels. And I have many, many thoughts on what I just witnessed, and I shall now share them with you all!

Needless to say, SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS OMG SO MANY SPOILERS YOUR FLEET CANNOT REPEL SPOILERS OF THIS MAGNITUDE AND DID I MENTION SPOILERS? If you’re coming over from one of the social media networks or from LJ or Dreamwidth to read this, I beg you: please stay right on angelahighland.com if you want to drop comments. Because there will be spoilers and I want to minimize their presence anywhere this post gets mirrored. If I see you drop a spoiler-related comment on any of my social media networks where this post goes up, I WILL DELETE THAT COMMENT. Do not make Han cranky!

Han says NO.

Han says NO.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding! Let’s get to it, shall we? And did I mention OMG SPOILERS?

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)
Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending

So Dara and I finally watched Jupiter Ascending, and, since fellow Here Be Magic author Joely Sue Burkhart has a review up today, I thought I’d talk about my own thoughts on the movie as well!

I gotta say, Dara and I both found this movie far more coherent than we were expecting, given the overall “THIS MOVIE IS SO TERRIBLE AND YOU SHOULD WATCH IT ANYWAY!” reactions we were seeing. If somebody has that reaction to a movie, what that says to me is, “this movie is a riffable MST3K fest”. ‘Cause y’know, Dara and I have a long history of loving us some crappy movies. So we went into this movie totally expecting to have to break out the booze while we made with the riffs.

And honestly? That’s not the movie we got. Neither of us felt the need to point and laugh at anything we saw, which was a pleasant surprise.

Dara mentioned to me that it totally played for her like a version of the Dune movie only with a female protagonist–and that in her view, people had been interpreting this movie as a “Chosen One” plot, when it’s not. It’s a “Hidden Princess” plot, which is not one we’ve seen much of in popular media the last several decades. So it’s kind of unsurprising that a lot of audiences aren’t entirely sure how to react to this plot.

Overall, we both found it perfectly easy to follow, and there were quite a few bits of it that I in fact actively liked. Jupiter’s father, to my surprise, was played by James d’Arcy; when I saw that, I was all “HEY that’s the guy who played Jarvis!” Which was great fun. I liked him as a character, and outright loved that his love of astronomy led him to want to name his daughter after the biggest planet in the solar system, because of that same sense of love and wonder.

And I loved that Jupiter’s family on her mother’s side had a lot of on-camera actual Russian dialogue.

And as a bit of worldbuilding-in-dialogue, I quite liked the concept of “when genes reappear in the exact same order, that’s reincarnation”. It was a single quick line, and rather deftly tossed out a tasty new way of looking at reincarnation that I hadn’t thought about before.

And okay yeah, Channing Tatum was pretty tasty as Caine, I’ll admit–as y’all might guess from my books, I’m rather a sucker for guys with pointed ears. But what I found most appealing about him? The flying boots. Because that? That was pretty awesome.

The three siblings contending for mastery of the Earth were all pretty over-the-top, sure. But given the interstellar society they’d set up, and given the plot reason they specifically set up for WHY they were considering the Earth as a resource, I was willing to buy that these were all reprehensible people in their own individual ways.

Sure, there were a bunch of silly contrivances in the plot, but nothing particularly sillier than anything else I’ve seen in SF movies over the years. All in all I filed this in the category of “Big Stupid Fun”, akin to Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy. Which is to say: kind of fluffy, but absolutely entertaining. Enough so that I’m considering buying my own copy to add to my library, ’cause yeah. I’d like to see this again.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Wrath of Gaz)
Imperator Furiosa

Imperator Furiosa

I’m someone who grew up in the 80’s–I graduated high school in 1987–and yet somehow managed to never see any of the first three Mad Max movies. My only real memory associated with any of them is Tina Turner’s Thunderdome song and the video that went with it, ’cause yeah, that song was pretty awesome.

This meant, though, that I came into Fury Road with pretty much no preconceptions of what to expect in a Mad Max movie, other than the buzz I’d seen all over The Mary Sue and Tor.com about it. It’s that buzz which sold me on having to see the movie, since if I hadn’t heard in advance how well it treated the female characters, I would have had no interest in seeing it. It helped, too, that my housemate Paul went ahead and saw it before Dara and I did, and reported to us that it was the most metal movie he’d ever seen and that he was absolutely ready to see it again with us. Likewise, another local friend of ours, userinfogfish, spoke very, very highly of it–and had gotten to the point of considering a fourth viewing.

So what did I think? Picoreview: gracious, there sure was a lot of driving in this movie! And shooting! And explosions! I didn’t find it quite the religious experience that the Mary Sue reviewer or the Tor.com reviewer did. And I do have to admit that I found the non-stop action a bit too wearying for my personal tastes, even though I could also see the cinematic artistry involved in portraying it.

But I was mostly there for the female characters, so all that was rather okay. And I was definitely quite satisfied with them–not only Furiosa, who was awesomeness incarnate, but also the escaping Wives and the Vuvalini. Of the Wives, I think my favorite is Capable. Not only because of her name, but ALSO because I just discovered that the actress who plays her, Riley Keough, is Elvis Presley’s granddaughter. ๐Ÿ˜€

Additional interesting commentary I found on the film:

And now, some spoiler-specific commentary of my own behind the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

My household finally saw Age of Ultron last night, along with our pal Jenny. Which means I can finally start paying attention to my various feeds again, since several of the sites I follow have been all AGE OF ULTRON AGE OF ULTRON AGE OF ULTRON. Several of the other people I follow, too.

Picoreview: I enjoyed it, although it didn’t hit me with quite the same hammerstrike of Awesome that was the first Avengers movie, or the sleekly plotted tightness of Winter Soldier. There were bits of it I have issues with, and in places it felt rushed and crowded. Overall, I’m thinking B+ territory.

The spoilers cannot lift the hammer and are therefore clearly not Worthy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

Dara and I went out last night with friends for her first viewing of Five Armies and my second one. My overall reaction to the movie remains pretty close to my initial one, i.e., I’m clocking it in at a B-.

I’m overall still pretty happy with the movies we got; as I said in my initial post, I’d rather spend time talking about what I love about these movies rather than lambasting Mr. Jackson for the movies he didn’t make. And with that in mind, I wanted to address a couple of things from Dara’s reactions that actually make me feel better about certain things I talked about in the first post.

Everyone to the gate for SPOILERS!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

I have seen Five Armies! All hail Paul who got invited to a private early showing courtesy of his brand new workplace, and since he was able to bring a guest, I came with him. So we just got home from seeing the movie!

First, the spoiler-free picoreview: if you didn’t like Unexpected Journey or Desolation of Smaug, you probably won’t like Five Armies either. But I for one enjoyed myself immensely, and as I told folks at work today, I was already a hundred percent on board with Jackson’s story. This movie didn’t do anything to shake me off of that.

Parts of the movie played kind of weirdly shakily to me. Parts were played out in ways I was not expecting at all. One side character was entirely unnecessary. But Mr. Freeman and Mr. Armitage were every bit as spectacular as expected, and all the parts that I expected to make me go *WAUGH* did in fact do so. My only regret is that we had to leave the theater before I could give a full proper listen to Mr. Boyd’s song over the closing credits. I will be making a point of listening to that properly on my second viewing.

Full commentary, with spoilers, is behind the fold (or over on angelahighland.com, if you’re seeing this on LJ or Dreamwidth). If you’re reading this on LJ or Dreamwidth, come on over to angelahighland.com’s master post to comment. Ditto if you clicked in from Facebook or Twitter or G+ or Tumblr–I ask that you leave spoiler commentary on this post in order to keep it away from folks who haven’t seen the movie yet.

(And one other thing: with all due respect, please don’t rant at me about how much you’re hating Jackson’s movies on my post. I don’t need to hear you ranting about how it should have been just one movie or two. I PARTICULARLY don’t need to hear it if you hate Tauriel and everything her character stands for.

Believe me, The Hobbit is a critical, formative part of my childhood, too. And I get the feeling of betrayal if a screen adaptation of a movie actively breaks part of your childhood for you. But I don’t subscribe to that myself. My childhood is not broken because Jackson’s movies don’t line up with the story in my head when I read the book. Because look, people, we still have the book. Tolkien’s immortal words are not damaged or erased from history because Jackson chose to implement a different version of the story. The original still exists and we can read it as often as we like.

I’m not saying these movies are perfect, and I certainly don’t think they quite measure up to The Lord of the Rings movies. But I do actively enjoy them. Ranting at me about how much you hate them will only make us both sad. For all the flaws I find in this trilogy, I do still actively love it, and I much prefer to celebrate what I love about the movies we got rather than wasting my time ranting about the movies we didn’t get. I will acknowledge their flaws, yes, but I will also take great pleasure in the things I love about them.

If the second movie actively pissed you off, just save yourself time and trouble and don’t go see the third one. Nobody needs to hit themselves over the head with a hammer like that. Hitting yourself over the head with a hammer hurts. So don’t do that, okay? Okay.)

And now at last: to the gates! For SPOILERS!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

I have finally acquired a copy of the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and am delighted to report that as with the EE for An Unexpected Journey, I very much enjoyed the EE cut of movie #2! Which is not terribly surprising, given that I very much loved the theatrical cut. (And as a general reminder, I am indeed on Team Tauriel.)

Details behind the fold! Send the burglar in for spoilers! (And for reference, TheOneRing.net has an excellent breakdown of the specific new footage, right over here.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Dara and I went to go see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night, since we’d seen the first of this set of movies not terribly long ago and liked it well enough that we wanted to see this one now that it’s out. Survey says: good story, although in some ways I actually liked Rise better, just because this one hit a few predictable notes. Overall though I still quite liked it.

Spoilers are climbing into the tower behind the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Dara and I went to go see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes last night, since we’d seen the first of this set of movies not terribly long ago and liked it well enough that we wanted to see this one now that it’s out. Survey says: good story, although in some ways I actually liked Rise better, just because this one hit a few predictable notes. Overall though I still quite liked it.

Spoilers are climbing into the tower behind the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Dara and I were a bit late to seeing this movie; we know it’s been out for weeks now. But we finally got a chance to see it before it vanished from the theaters, and I’m pleased we did. Overall picoreview: pretty good, though I have a bit of a hard time going above that, mostly because both Dara and I wish there would have been more substance to the script.

(ETA: Dara in particular lays down an excellent argument about symmetry–about failing to show us King Stefan sufficiently justifying his evil actions, and Maleficent justifying her good ones. Go see what she has to say, too!)

Overall, though, holy crap Angelina Jolie rocked the hell out of the role. And the costume and wardrobe and makeup people should get an Oscar alone just for the work they did on her eyes, her facial structure, the horns, and the cheekbones. Also, WINGS. Because I mean DAMN.

I’ve been asked if this film is kid-friendly, and I’ll say here what I said on Facebook: that I do have the caveat of not being a parent, and not regularly interacting with children, so I’m not exactly in a position to be the best judge of that. That said, I’d suspect that there’s some intensity here that might be a bit much for younger children, particularly in the violent climax of the story, as well as overall rather adult plot themes. Older children may fare better, but that could depend on the kid.

Spoilers behind the wall of thorns!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

Dara and I were a bit late to seeing this movie; we know it’s been out for weeks now. But we finally got a chance to see it before it vanished from the theaters, and I’m pleased we did. Overall picoreview: pretty good, though I have a bit of a hard time going above that, mostly because both Dara and I wish there would have been more substance to the script.

(ETA: Dara in particular lays down an excellent argument about symmetry–about failing to show us King Stefan sufficiently justifying his evil actions, and Maleficent justifying her good ones. Go see what she has to say, too!)

Overall, though, holy crap Angelina Jolie rocked the hell out of the role. And the costume and wardrobe and makeup people should get an Oscar alone just for the work they did on her eyes, her facial structure, the horns, and the cheekbones. Also, WINGS. Because I mean DAMN.

I’ve been asked if this film is kid-friendly, and I’ll say here what I said on Facebook: that I do have the caveat of not being a parent, and not regularly interacting with children, so I’m not exactly in a position to be the best judge of that. That said, I’d suspect that there’s some intensity here that might be a bit much for younger children, particularly in the violent climax of the story, as well as overall rather adult plot themes. Older children may fare better, but that could depend on the kid.

Spoilers behind the wall of thorns!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

Picoreview: I found this movie quite charming over all, and a worthy successor to the first one. I had only a couple of quibbles with it, which I’ll go into in detail behind the fold.

I reference a few other links in this post, so look out for those!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

Picoreview: I found this movie quite charming over all, and a worthy successor to the first one. I had only a couple of quibbles with it, which I’ll go into in detail behind the fold.

I reference a few other links in this post, so look out for those!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan YES!)

Gracious, that was highly satisfying!

I’ve heard rumors that in Germany the trailers for this movie have been playing it up as a Black Widow movie that just happens to also include Captain America. I’m really rather okay with that, because goddamn, Black Widow laid down her awesome all over this plot. Which is not to say that the Cap and Nick Fury weren’t also awesome–because they were.

And I gotta admit, although I bailed on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after episode 6, I’m intrigued enough by what this movie did to the overall universe that I’m thinking I’ll have to get caught up on the story. Five or six different people have already told me that GOD YES YOU NEED TO GET CAUGHT UP. So I’ll see what I can do about that.

Spoilers behind the fold!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

One of the things I just got for my birthday was the Blu-Ray of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Edition, which I saved until tonight to watch–because one does not simply commit to a three-hour Peter Jackson epic on a school night! So we watched it tonight, and lo, it was lovely.

There are, according to Wikipedia, 13 extra minutes of footage in this version. And for the most part, I think almost every minute actually helped the movie considerably. Dara and I are in agreement that they improved the pacing of the film by providing a better balance between the battle bits and the slower bits. And I was particularly pleased to see some extra detail in the prelude that sets up the backstory between Thranduil and the dwarves.

There are additional songs, which I mostly liked as giving a bigger tie to the book, with one notable exception. And by and large, I did quite like the extra footage in Rivendell.

Details behind the fold! Mind where you’re digging for spoilers!

ETA: Here’s Dara’s commentary as well!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

One of the things I just got for my birthday was the Blu-Ray of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Edition, which I saved until tonight to watch–because one does not simply commit to a three-hour Peter Jackson epic on a school night! So we watched it tonight, and lo, it was lovely.

There are, according to Wikipedia, 13 extra minutes of footage in this version. And for the most part, I think almost every minute actually helped the movie considerably. Dara and I are in agreement that they improved the pacing of the film by providing a better balance between the battle bits and the slower bits. And I was particularly pleased to see some extra detail in the prelude that sets up the backstory between Thranduil and the dwarves.

There are additional songs, which I mostly liked as giving a bigger tie to the book, with one notable exception. And by and large, I did quite like the extra footage in Rivendell.

Details behind the fold! Mind where you’re digging for spoilers!

ETA: Here’s Dara’s commentary as well!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (A Star Shines)

Let’s get this right on the record: I loved this movie, and in fact, I loved it more than the first one.

Picoreview: Overall a tighter experience than the first one, without the need to do all the setup, and there was much less superfluous action. There’s a lot more changes to the core Hobbit storyline that yeah, diehard purists will definitely object to–I’ve already heard and read a lot of those objections. With wry apologies to the purists, I don’t share those objections. Every one of the changes totally worked for me in the context of the story Jackson’s telling in this movie, so I have no qualms about them whatsoever.

Which means that yes, as I pretty much expected would be the case, I am ABSOLUTELY a Tauriel fangirl.

Overall my expectations, set by the first movie, were in the B- range. I was so delighted by so much of what I saw in this second installment that I gotta bump up its grade to a B+, though!

So let’s get into the deets, shall we? Shining starlight-colored spoilers behind the cut!

Above-cut ETA: Dara has her review post up now right over here, in which she brings up the point about Tolkien’s work as a mythos, and myths getting changed and reinterpreted. And which she also points out very correctly that representation does matter, and that’s a big big plus for having Tauriel in the movie.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

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