Saturday, September 23, 2017

Owl Crate September Review

Hello, all!

So a few months ago, I started getting the Owl Crate subscription box, and I have to say I haven't been disappointed yet. I love the idea of getting a book delivered to my door every month and all the little extra bits that they give as well are always so fun to see.

This month's box was Mythical Creatures themed and I was just all about it. I've been obsessed with myths and legends ever since I was young, so I was definitely interested in what they were going to send. So, let's get to it!

The first thing I pulled out was this little tub of bath salts by The Soap Librarian called Son of Poseidon, based off the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. Greek mythology has always been my favorite, and I've been such a fan of the Percy Jackson books (and really all of Riordan's books) since they came out, so needless to say I was pretty pumped on getting something related to it. It has a really lovely bright blue color with dried up flower pieces inside, along with a nice calm, relaxing scent which isn't too overpowering so I'm excited to try this little baby out.

Next up was this cute little coin purse with dragons on it. Now, I'm one of those people who keep a crap ton of things in their bag each in their own little bag, so this is perfect for me. It's not terribly big, so you wouldn't really be able to fit larger items in it, but it's pretty dang adorable.

Sticking with the dragon theme, and quite possibly my favorite thing in the whole box, was this wooden bookmark with the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones and her three little (who aren't so little in the show anymore) dragon babies. The artwork is beautiful and the bookmark itself is really high quality, and I just love it.

You can't have a mythical creatures theme without having the Care of Magical Creatures professor himself, Mr. Rubeus Hagrid and his ol'pal Buckbeak. How freakin' cute is this sticker?! Harry Potter is forever my Number 1 and I'm so happy about this.

The last little extra in the box was this book sleeve created by Book Beau that has this lovely little unicorn/mermaid/flower/bird print on it, which for some reason reminds me of the '70s, but I think it's just the color scheme. I had never heard of this company before, and to be honest, when I read "book sleeve" all I could picture was those little stretchy fabrics everyone used to put over their textbooks in middle school, but this is way nicer than I pictured. I like the idea of putting a book into this so it doesn't get ruined in your bag or anywhere, so I'm a bit intrigued by this one.

Now onto this month's book!

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows is a story about a girl named Mira who is very well known in her kingdom not just for being the most beautiful, but because she was the namesake for a peace treaty which united the seven islands against their common foe. She's always been told that she's perfect and special, but she suffers from compulsive counting and crippling anxiety and has an affinity for dragons. Mira uncovers a massive secret about the treaty and is betrayed by those closest to her, and sentenced to the Pit which is the deadliest prison on the Fallen Isles. With a prison guard ready to kill her for the information she knows, Mira must learn to survive on her own and learn the truth about her home before everything collapses.

I'm really excited for this book. I love fantasy, I love dragons, and like many others, I also suffer from anxiety, so I'm super interested to see how this story will play out. Has anyone read it yet? If so, lemme know what you thought!

Friday, September 15, 2017

IT Review

Hello, all!

Last night I saw the new IT movie and I have to admit, it was actually a lot better than I thought it was going to be.

For any of those who aren’t familiar with the Stephen King novel, it’s a story about seven kids (known as the Losers Club) who are tormented by a being who preys on its victims by exploiting and feeding off their fears. In this case the being “It” usually takes on the form of a clown, in order to attract young children. The novel is told in two different time periods; the first takes place during 1957-1958 when the Losers are young kids and the second part jumps 27 years to 1984-1985 when they're adults.

Even though the film tweaks the year (it now starts in October 1988), the story still kicks off in Derry, Maine with the gruesome death of Bill’s younger brother, Georgie. While outside during a rainstorm, Georgie starts chasing a paper boat that Bill made him and it eventually gets washed down a storm drain. As he’s looking into the drain, he sees two glowing eyes and a man dressed as a clown introduces himself as “Pennywise the Dancing Clown.” The clown offers Georgie a balloon and as Georgie starts to leave Pennywise offers him his boat back and when he reaches for it, Pennywise severs his arm and drags him into the sewer.

Jump to eight months later in June 1989, Bill is still reeling from Georgie’s disappearance and believes that if Georgie was sucked down the storm drain then his body may have washed up in the wasteland called The Barrens. He recruits his friends Richie, Eddie and Stanley to help him check it out, but while they don’t find anything of Georgie, they do find a shoe that belongs to another missing girl from town. While this is going on, we also see the new kid in town Ben reading up on the history of Derry and discovers the town has been plagued by unexplained tragedies and missing children for centuries, each incident happening every 27 years. After experiencing a Pennywise-induced scare at the library, Ben flees and gets caught by the town menace, the mullet-having psycho Henry and his equally charming gang of miscreants. He’s able to get away, but not before Henry carves an “H” into his stomach, and he stumbles upon Bill and his group who rush to help him. While getting medical supplies to try and help Ben, the gang run into Beverly who helps them steal the items since they don’t have enough money, and they each go their separate ways with plans to meet up the next day. The following day, they find Henry and his goons tormenting a homeschooled boy named Mike, and intervene by throwing rocks at them. And thus, the Losers Club has its final member.

A few weeks later, after each kid has had a terrifying run in with Pennywise, they all start to realize something is going on in town and they’re the only ones who are able to stop it. Thanks to all the information Ben dug up, they’re able to determine It uses the sewers around town to move about and that the epicenter of everything is, of course, an old busted down house with a well in the basement. So, the gang go there to confront It and in the process Eddie breaks his arm, but Beverly is able to hurt It by impaling it through the head, forcing it to retreat. This incident causes a rift between the group and they all go their separate ways. However, the group is forced back together on a rescue mission after Pennywise abducts Beverly. The boys go down the well in search of Beverly and find her floating (cue Pennywise/Georgie screaming “You'll float too!”) in a catatonic state in It’s lair, but she is brought back after being kissed by Ben. It, assuming the form of Georgie, tries to trick Bill but fails and Bill shoots him in the head. This leads to It attacking the whole gang, eventually taking Bill hostage offering freedom for the rest as long as they leave Bill with him. After some wise cracking by Ritchie (“Welcome to the Losers Club, asshole!”), the gang frees Bill and begin to beat the ever lovin’ crud outta Pennywise. Despite It trying to use the groups fears against them, Pennywise is ultimately wounded and cornered by the Losers. Bill tells Pennywise that they know It needs their fears to survive, but now they’re starving it by making It afraid of them. Knowing he’s defeated and holds no power over the kids anymore, Pennywise escapes into a deep pit. After It leaves, Bill finds Georgie’s tattered raincoat and breaks down as he finally comes to terms with what happened to his little brother. A month later, Beverly recounts what she can remember from her time being catatonic, and tells them she saw them all fighting It again but this time as adults. The Losers then make a blood pact to return to Derry in 27 years if It returns and destroy the creature for good. 

All in all, I was impressed with the film. I thought it had a really nice balance of horror and humor and the kids absolutely made the movie. All the kids crushed it, they were all just so good. Especially Finn Wolfhard, he was perfect as Ritchie and had me laughing pretty much every time he opened his mouth. I don’t know if anyone can top Tim Curry in anything, but Bill Skarsgard does a top notch job as Pennywise and he somehow made Goofy’s hot dog dance something I will never be able to look at the same way ever again. I can’t wait for the next for the next chapter to come out.

Has anything seen it? What’d you think? Lemme know!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Top 5: Batman: The Animated Series Episodes

Hello, all!

Earlier in the week, one of my favorite cartoons from when I was younger turned 25. That's right, folks, Batman: The Animated Series is now old enough to rent a car.

Now, I may get flack for this, but I've always thought that out of all the comic related animated shows in the 90s, B: TAS was far superior. Yeah, X-Men was good and TMNT was fun, but to me, nothing compared to Batman. The animation itself is still some of the best around, the art-deco noir style really meshed well with the theme of the Dark Knight. Bruce Timm is just a genius. Even though it was a cartoon, it was still a pretty mature portrayal of the story and Kevin Conroy just knocks it outta the park as Bruce Wayne.

So in honor of the Dark Knight, here are five of my favorite episodes from the series. Enjoy!

1. Joker's Favor: This episode really goes to show how one tiny moment can ruin your whole life. It also showcases just how sadistic the Joker can be. While driving, the Joker gets cut off by just your run of the mill average guy named Charlie Collins, which then leads into a pretty dangerous cat and mouse car chase and the Joker eventually lets Charlie off as long as he promises to do a favor for him which the Joker can cash in on whenever he wants. The episode jumps two years and we see Charlie has a whole new life, new name, lives in a new town but not even that can stop the Joker from tracking him down and redeeming his favor, basically pushing poor Charlie to his psychological limits. This episode also introduces Harley Quinn for the first time, and everyone knows she's my favorite Batman character.

2. Almost Got 'Im: This episode always reminded me of those paintings that were in every home in the 90s of the dogs playing Poker at a card table. Except in this case, in lieu of dogs it was a who's who of Batman's Rogue gallery. As Joker, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Two-Face and Killer Croc play cards, they all try to one up each other on who has the best story about the time they almost got one over on the Bat. It's weirdly touching to see them all reminiscing like some crazy little family and it sort of makes you realize that none of them would be here if it wasn't for Batman.

3. Harley and Ivy: Like ice cream and sprinkles, peanut butter and chocolate, Harley and Poison Ivy just go together. After getting ditched by the Joker, Harley joins up with her BFF and set out to become Gotham's Queens of Crime. It was a fun episode if nothing else and pretty much help lay the groundwork for Gotham City Sirens, and definitely goes to show that a bunch of girls kicking ass is just what everyone needs to see.

4. Two-Face: Harvey Dent's whole progression into Two-Face and all his madness has been told over and over throughout the years and by various different artists, but I don't think anyone does it better than Bruce Timm. When I think of Two-Face, the first thing that pops into my head is his portrayal on B:TAS. It's so iconic. And I love how the show broke down his story into two different episodes, a very Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vibe. Tommy Lee Jones, eat ya heart out.

5. Heart of Ice: Now, I'm sure when you think of Mr. Freeze, the first thing that comes to your mind is Arnold Schwarzenegger making ice puns, but this brought a whole new facet to the frosty character. Here you saw Victor Fries as a pitiful man who had no choice but to turn to a life of crime in order to save his terminally ill wife. His actions eventually lead to not only the death of his wife, but leaves him unable to exist outside sub-zero temperatures. It almost makes you feel sad for the character, and it really goes to show how ahead of the game B:TAS was, especially for being a kids show.

There were so many other great episodes throughout the series, I had such a hard time choosing only 5. What were some of your favorite episodes? Lemme know!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Jim Henson Exhibition

Hello, all!

So, yesterday I went to probably one of the best museum exhibits I've ever seen: the Jim Henson Exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image, and it was ahhhmazing.

Ever since I was young, the Muppets have been a huge part of my life. Whether I was happy, sad, sick, or just needed to throw a film on, it was always the Muppets. Still to this day nothing makes me happier than a Muppets movie. I watch The Muppets Christmas Carol pretty much every day during the holiday season, can quote along with Muppet Treasure Island, and nothing puts me in a better mood quicker than The Muppets Show theme song. Basically, if it has to do with the Muppets/Jim Henson, I'm sold.

A friend of mine had posted about this exhibition and I knew I just had to go see it. Aside from everyone's favorites like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Big Bird and the like, there were also puppets from Fraggle Rock and animatronics from The Dark Crystal, as well as costumes from Labyrinth and loads of behind the scenes scripts and designs showcasing how Jim Henson and company brought everything to life.

All the details that went in to not only the Muppets themselves, but in the costuming and sets were amazing to see, and all the pictures and videos lining the walls were such a nice touch and it was lovely to see just how much joy all the performers had while doing their job. It didn't even look like they were working, they just were having fun.

If anyone's in the New York area and are fans of the Muppets, this is one exhibit you have to see. It's currently on going at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens-- you can get all the information on their website here. They also have an arcade and old TV/film camera exhibits as well as some really cool movie props on display as well!

And now without an further ado, here are some pictures from the exhibit. Enjoy!



Friday, July 28, 2017

Ash vs The Army of Darkness #1 Review

Hello, all!

So I think by now everyone pretty much knows that I'm a huge fan of The Evil Dead series. Ash Williams has been though a lot: he watched his friends die, then he watched his girlfriend die and had to cut off his own demon-possessed hand, and then he got transported back to medieval times, but all that's nothing compared to what he's up to now-- teaching World History to a bunch of "hormonal maniacs", aka high schoolers, in Dynamite Comics' Ash vs. The Army of Darkness series.

The basic storyline is that Ash has taken a substitute teaching job at a high school in hopes of getting to the bottom of some Deadite activity that's been brewing. The majority of the first issue takes place as Ash is overseeing detention with a whole group of the typical high school stereotypes (ya know, the popular kids, goth girl, etc) or as Ash so fondly calls it "Breakfast Club with the undead." I love the whole interaction between Ash and the kids because you can tell that he's only cool in his own mind and everyone else finds him pretty lame, and I think that's a pretty accurate depiction of his personality. Oh, and if you're wondering if the comic is staying true to the campy/gore factor of the films/tv show, you'll be happy to know that Ash has to defeat a Deadite frog that ribbits out its desire to rip out your soul. Oh. Yeah.

I know the series just started, but I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorite. It's just so freakin' good. Chris Sims and Chad Bowers' writing feels like it's lifted right out of the films, it's so quintessentially Ash that I even heard Bruce Campbell's voice in my head as I read it. The artwork by Mauro Vargas also fits really well and goes along great with the feel of the story so far (side note: major thumbs up for capturing Bruce Campbell's famous chin.)

You can tell that this series has been made by fans of The Evil Dead and who respect the campiness of the series. The story also started and finished with little flashes to what seems to be a government agency who are searching for any activity that's out of the norm that could lead them to the TPO (The Promised One), which of course looks just like Ash, so I'm interested to see where the story goes from here. Other than the storyline, the artwork is fun and stands out, and the writing has all the sass and swagger you'd expect from Ash Williams. I just have 5 words for this series: Hail to the King, baby.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Top 5: Game of Thrones Deaths

Hello, all!

In honor of Game of Thrones starting up again tomorrow, I decided to dedicate this Top 5 to just a few of the memorable deaths on the show. If you've read the books or watched the show, you'll know there's no shortage of deaths so this was a big hard to narrow down, so I just went with the first ones that popped into my head.

Here we go!

1. Ygritte: Ah, young love in Westeros just never ends well. Yeah, Jon Snow was going against all of his Night's Watch vows by being with her, but they were just so precious. And to have her get taken out by that little turd Olly was not ok.

I just couldn't even bring myself to use the gif of his death

2. Oberyn Martell: I'm still having nightmares about this one. I mean, the Mountain just squashed his head like an overripe melon. *shudders* The worst part about this one is the Red Viper had the upper hand in the fight, he could've won and taken out the behemoth but no, he had to show boat and lost his head for it.

3. Shireen Baratheon: George RR Martin is known for killing a LOT of his characters, but Shireen was just an innocent child who was fed to the flames in order to "help" her father gain power. Melisandre may have brought back Jon Snow from the dead (or did she? There's some pretty convincing fan theories about her part in that) but I can't forgive her for this one.

4. Tommen Baratheon: Now, I'll admit-- I'm not a huge fan of Cersei or her spawn, when Joffrey finally kicked the bucket I cheered louder than anyone, but Tommen's death was just so unexpected.  He was just caught in the middle of his mother's crazy plans and watched as she blew up half the kingdom (including his wife. RIP Margaery, you deserved better) with wildfire as he looked on from the windows of his chambers. I actually gasped watching him remove his crown and step from the ledge.

5. Hodor: I'll never be able to hear the words "Hold the door!" without a pang in my heart. Just, no.

Honorable Mentions:

-Ned Stark
-The Red Wedding
-Khal Drogo

Why you gotta do me like that, George?

What are some of your picks? Lemme know!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Owl Crate June Box Review

Hello, all!

I love a good subscription box. It all started with a 3-month subscription to Loot Crate I had gotten as a gift, and progressed into a faithful member of the Marvel Collector Corp, but now I've got a new one to add to the list-- Owl Crate.

I know, I know. I'm super late to the party, but holy cow is this a great subscription box! I had heard some people talk about the service before, but I never really paid much attention or looked into it until I saw their booth at Book Con and the line to get to it was almost wrapped around an entire aisle. As a self-admitted book worm, I'm a little embarrassed it took me this long to hop on the bandwagon.

Like many other subscription boxes, each box has its own theme which the items inside correspond to, but unlike other boxes I've seen this one gives you the option of only buying that month's box which I loved. I didn't want to purchase a whole subscription just in case I ended up not liking what was sent, so just buying the June box was such a great way to test it out. Luckily, I ended up loving everything that was sent and I already purchased next month's box as well!

So, let's get into the box itself, the theme of it was "Make It Out Alive" and came with 7 really fun items:

The first item I saw when I opened it was a Divergent inspired bath bomb made by Fizzy Fairy Apothecary. According to the little card that breaks down all the items, each bath bomb has a charm inside that sorts you into one of the factions. I can't wait to try this, I've only recently gotten into the bath bomb craze, so I'm excited to see if I'm Divergent or not.

The next thing was an iron on patch from Laserbrain Patch Co. based on the novel The Giver by Lois Lowry. Which I'm pretty sure everyone had to read at school at some point in their lives.

Next, I pulled out a magnet with a lovely quote from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I actually have never read this book, but I may have to pick it up now.

And it wouldn't be a "Make it out alive" box without something zombie related, and this sleeping mask was so great. I definitely think it was my favorite thing in the box.

A great survival series was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. Feyre was such a fierce character who was cunning and did anything to stay alive, and the whole series has quickly become one of my favorites, so this book mark was ace. Plus, who doesn't love a book mark?

Now, getting onto the books themselves. Since this was my first box, I'm not sure if you always get two books or just one, so I was impressed by that alone. Both sound really interesting and I can't wait to start them.

The first one is called New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson and it's an edge of your seat, fast paced story about a girl named Phoenix trying to survive in a ruthless dystopian city.

The other is called The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson which is about a group of revolutionaries called The Wolfpack who've taken over the world and hold both people and resources hostage. A girl named Eden knows a way to get to the small bit of neutral land that's left, called Sanctuary Island, and she'll do whatever it takes to get there. Only, once she and her friends make it there, one of them goes missing in the night and suddenly the island feels more deadly than the brutal world they left behind.

Overall, I'm super happy with this box. Everything inside was high quality and well worth the price, which is very reasonable considering the amount of items you get (and definitely cheaper than other subscription services I've seen.) I can't wait to see what next month brings!

Has anyone ever gotten an Owl Crate box before? Or any other subscription box? Lemme know what you thought!