Friday, April 21, 2017

Let's Talk: MST3K The Return

Hello, all!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’re probably aware of the fact that I love Mystery Science Theater 3000. There’s only one thing I love more than bad movies, and it’s making fun of bad movies. In fact, a few friends and I always get together to heckle bad movies a la the Satellite of Love gang; we call ourselves the B-Movie Crew. We even have patches. It’s pretty legit.

Anyways, around Thanksgiving time I heard that Netflix was planning a reboot of the show titled Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return, and I have to admit I was really excited and really nervous that the new episodes wouldn’t have the same feel as the ones I'm used to. So, there I was last week, anxiously sitting in front of my TV while the first new episode ‘Reptilicus’ started loading, and boy, was I happily surprised (and so so relieved.) There may be new baddies (I bow to you, Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt) and a new hapless guy (Jonah Ray) stuck with the ‘bots, but this was still my MST3K, it was still our MST3K.

Right off the bat, the jokes are just as clever and super-fast paced and had me laughing out loud. They somehow make it feel as if the show had never stopped, and that no time has passed between seasons, which is saying a lot since the show went off the air in 1999. It feels like a continuation, not a reboot. They had some nice nods to the original series, but that’s not to say they haven’t made some improvements either—for starters, the ‘bots have all new voices, Tom Servo can now fly (but only while in the theater), the doors leading up to the theater have gotten a nice shine up, and the new theme song is just as catchy and head-bobby as the old one. The only thing that slightly threw me was that I did feel at times the interaction/chemistry between Jonah, Crow and Tom was a little awkward, but I’m sure as the series progresses they’ll hit their stride and it’ll all fall nicely into place.

All in all, as far as reboots go, this is up there with the best. There’s no other way I can explain it except that it feels right, it feels natural. The vibe is the same, just with new terrible movies, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for the new series and where the Satellite of Love takes us next.

If you’re a fan of MST3K, or even if you’re just looking for some mindless sarcastic snarky wit, definitely check out the new episodes streaming on Netflix now!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Harry Potter in Concert

Hello, all!

So last weekend, I got to experience my one true love, Harry Potter, in a whole different way-- in concert. Basically, Radio City Music Hall was playing the entire first movie and the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra was playing the score live. It. Was. Amazing.

A few years ago I had seen Star Wars in Concert which was just a few snippets of each movie with an orchestra playing that scenes specific score, so I sort of knew what to expect, but this one was a whole other level.

Something about being able to experience Harry's first year at Hogwarts with the live music made it that much more magical. You were really able to feel the music in a way that's new and exciting; you feel the music build in happy moments and feel extra anxious in the darker ones. It really makes you appreciate just how amazing John Williams' score is. He's composed music for some of the greatest movies and his work is always top notch, but being in the same room as it, hearing it fill into every crevice around you, is really something else.

It was also super fun because before they started, the conductor told the crowd to be as interactive as possible. He wanted us to cheer for the characters we liked, boo the ones we didn't and act as if we were just regular students at Hogwarts, just part of the story, and it was so great.

At the end of the show, they announced plans of doing the rest of the series in this same way, so if you're a huge Harry Potter fan like me, definitely check it out here for more information about the shows!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Top Buffy Moments

Hello, all!

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of one of my favorite tv shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This show came out when I was 9 years old and completely blew my mind. It was truly a game changer for me. I was (and still am) one of those people who actually didn't mind how campy and so-bad-it's-good the movie was, but the tv show really brought a different side out of Buffy and I loved it.

Where the movie was a bit lighthearted and super cheesy (I mean, remember how the vamps died? Or how Buffy tracked them with her cramps?), the tv show ripped out your heart while simultaneously making a witty remark. Everything about the show is great, to the actors to the story lines, everything was just so well thought out.

Now, to honor the show that has been my companion for so long, I figured I'd pick a few of my favorite moments throughout the series. Let me just say- this was the hardest list I've ever tried to make. There's so much about this show that I loved, so I just tried to narrow it down to the very first few moments that popped into my head.

So, in no particular order, here we go!

Class Protector Speech: Everyone knows Sunnydale isn't the most ideal place to live, let alone go to school, so it's surprising they even have enough students for a prom, but it's totally worth it when it comes to the speech Jonathan gives on behalf of the student body honoring Buffy. During his speech, Jonathan tells Buffy that they all know that something is off about their town, but that Buffy is always around to make sure people survive (in fact, their graduating class has the lowest mortality rate in years) and presents her with a bejeweled umbrella. This moment always sticks out to me because throughout the series, we see Buffy second guess just how much of an impact she has, and sometimes doesn't believe anyone even notices, but this little act which was totally unexpected just goes to show how much she is appreciated and just how grateful people are for her.

Buffy vs Angelus: So, we all know Angel and Buffy were kinda cursed from the start- he's a vampire, she's a vampire slayer, buuuuuut he did have a soul so maybe it'd be ok? Say it with me, folks, NAAAAH. Angel's soul comes with some fine print that states if he ever experiences a moment of pure happiness, he would revert back to Angelus, his blood thirsty-torture happy alter ego. And guess what happens? He and Buffy sleep together, he's super happy, and sayonara soul. The episodes with Angelus are some of the most intense. He really shows no inkling of the man Buffy fell in love with and proves it by torturing her and the ones closest to her (I will never ever get over the death of Jenny.) The moment I always think of is in "Becoming, Part 2" when he has Buffy cornered and taunting her about how she's alone, no friends, no hope, and she ends up kicking his ass. This also leads me to the next moment...

Buffy kills Angel: Ugh, my heart. So as Buffy and Angelus are fighting, Willow is performing the spell to re-ensoul Angel, which just so happens to work right at the moment where Buffy has to kill the man she loves. I still can't hear, "Close your eyes" without getting goosebumps.

Anya's Speech in The Body: This entire episode is still hard for me to watch. The emotions each character goes through over the death of Buffy's mom is too much, it's so raw and real. Even though SMG's performance is beautiful in every way, it's Anya's speech that kills me most. Anya is newly mortal, just recently giving up her vengeance demon life in order to be with Xander, so this is really her first brush with how fragile life really is and her asking these simple, almost childish questions because she just doesn't understand is truly heartbreaking.

Hush/The Gentlemen: This is one of my favorite episodes of Buffy ever. It's really a testament to Joss Whedon's storytelling since there's only about 14 minutes of dialog in the entire episode. Also, the Gentlemen are some of the creepiest monsters on this, or any show, and they still creep me out so much.

(One of) Buffy's Deaths: It's no surprise being the Slayer, the Chosen One, has its downsides. One of which is, ya kinda die often. Buffy died a few times during the show, but this one always sticks out for the speech she gives right before sacrificing her life in order to save her sister Dawns. Dawn was a mystical being known as 'The Key' and her blood held magical properties to open portals between worlds. A goddess/hell demon named Glory tried to kill Dawn in order to gain this power, and Buffy quickly realizes that the portal wouldn't close until all of Dawn's blood was spent. She also realized that her and Dawn share the same blood--Summers blood. So, she sacrifices herself so that way Dawn can live, telling her to "Be brave. Live. For me." This moment showed just how much Buffy loves and would do anything for her family. Also, all the reactions of the Scooby Gang, and especially Spike, as they look upon Buffy's dead body is just gut wrenching.

Once More With Feeling: This is another one of my favorite episodes. Each musical number has everything you could want- you have rock ballads like "Rest in Peace", campy duets like "I'll Never Tell" and group numbers like "Walk Through the Fire." This was one of the episodes which aired after the Scooby Gang brought Buffy back from the dead, and hands down the best part of this episode comes from Buffy's confession during "Something to Sing About" that her friends ripped her out of Heaven. Just twist the stake in a little more, Joss.

Awakening Potential Slayers: During the last season, Buffy and the gang were up against the ultimate Big Bad, the First Evil. While maybe not being the most physically threatening of all the monsters the Scoobies were up against, the First was no joke. It destroyed the Watcher's Council, unleashed an army of ancient vampires and hunted down any potential Slayers. This is where it tripped up. When Buffy finds this out, she along with Willow, choose to awaken all the Slayers-in-waiting in the world. Every girl who held the potential to be a Slayer, was a Slayer. It was with the help of these Slayers that Buffy and the gang were able to defeat the First. This also played out more in the comics which followed the end of the tv series, which you should definitely check out if you're a fan.

There are so many other moments I could go on and on about. Like, Buffy telling the Master he has "fruit punch mouth", to when Buffy and Faith switched bodies, to Tara's death and Dark Willow, to Spike's whole transformation from just another vamp to sacrificing his life to help Buffy win against the First, each season had it's own memorable iconic moments. BtVS is one of those shows that will never go out of style. It has a little something for everyone and has a way of bringing people together. I even have friends who I haven't really spoken with in years, but we'll always send each other Buffy related things. Buffy really helped teach me about girl power and how to stand up for what you believe in, to not take any crap from anyone, and to not let anyone make you feel weak for being a girl and for that I am forever grateful.

What are some of your favorite BtVS moments? Lemme know!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Let's Talk: Darth Maul 01

Hello, all!

It's a lovely day out, and what better to talk about on a lovely day than comics. I have to admit, I've been pretty behind on my comics lately, but one that I've really been looking forward to is the new Darth Maul comic series from Marvel.

The series, which just came out on February 1st, takes place before the events in The Phantom Menace and explores how Darth Maul came to be. Maul, who is studying under the Sith Lord Darth Sidious, is not allowed to engage any Jedi, so he instead spends his time taking out crime lords. While tracking down one such crime lord, he crosses paths with a Jedi padawan named Eldra Kaitis, and Maul decides to try his hand against her, despite Sidious' commands. The series is set to follow along with Maul as he's tempted more and more by the Dark side and even how he was almost swayed from it.

Storyline aside, the artwork and layout of the series so far is also really great. I believe the series is only set to be about 5 issues, so that means it'll no doubt be chock full of action and a deeper look into the Zabrak warrior. Marvel have been doing some bomb Star Wars comic series, so I knew that this one was going to be no different. And who doesn't love Darth Maul? Sith or not, he's badass, and I for one am so excited to see how this series unfolds.

Has anyone checked the series out? Lemme know!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Top 5: Famous Love Letter Quotes

Hello, all!

I bought a book a few years ago from the bargain section at Barnes & Noble that was entirely comprised of love letters written by famous people, called The World's Greatest Love Letters. I read it all in one sitting because I was completely sucked into it. I've always loved history, and I'm also pretty nosy, so this was right up my alley. It's a nice mix of old and new, ranging from letters written by Mary, Queen of Scots to Edgar Allan Poe to John Keats. It's also broken down into sections, everything from Playful Love to Long-Distance Love, to Bad Love and Unrequited Love. The book has something for everyone who is a sap at heart.

It also had me searching out other love letters from famous people, so here are just a few of my favorite excerpts to sweeten up your Valentine's cards:

1. John Keats to Fanny Brawne: "For myself, I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days-- three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain."

2. Johnny Cash to June Carter-Cash: "The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don't go out there and sing them anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout."

3. Vladimir Nabokov to Vera: "I need you, my fairy tale. Because you are the only person I can talk with about the shade of a cloud, about the song of a thought-- and about how, when I went out to work today and looked a tall sunflower in the face, it smiled at me with all its seeds."

4. James Joyce to Nora Barnacle Joyce: "My darling, I suppose that compared with your splendid generous love for me my love for you looks very poor and thread-bare. But it is the best I can give you, my own dear sweetheart. Take it, my love, save me and shelter me."

5. Juliette Drouet to Victor Hugo: "I love you because I love you. Because it would be impossible for me not to love you. I love you without question, without calculation, without reason good or bad, faithfully, with all my heart and soul, and every facility. Believe it, for it is true. If you cannot believe, I being at your side, I will make a drastic effort to force you to do so."

Friday, January 20, 2017

5 Fandom Friday: Movies I'm Excited for This Year

Hello, all!

I haven't done a 5FF in a while, and with so many great movies coming out this year, I just couldn't pass this one up.

Let's get right into it!

1. Logan - March 3rd: I love Hugh Jackman. I love Wolverine. I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. All the trailers and behind the scenes pictures I've seen of Logan have looked amazing so far. It's got that old time-y Western take on the Old Man Logan comics, and it's going to introduce Weapon X, Laura Kinney, who also happens to kill it in the All New Wolverine comic run. There's also a decrepit looking Professor X and plenty of skulls for Logan's claws to settle in. All in all, it looks like the perfect ending to Jackman's fantastic run as Wolverine. (I'm still keeping my fingers crossed he'll show up in a Deadpool movie, though.)

2. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers - March 24th: This is definitely not the Power Rangers I grew up with and I am here for it. This one takes the campy-ness of the 90s version and flips it on its head. It looks dark and gritty, and Elizabeth Banks' Rita Repulsa looks insane. One thing is for sure, this is a looooong way from Ivan Ooze and the Angel Grove I'm used to.

3. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 - May 5th: There's only 2 words for why I cannot wait for this movie: BABY. GROOT.

4. Wonder Woman - June 2nd: It's not secret that Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was the saving grace for Batman v Superman, and I'm so excited to finally get to see one of my favorite characters in her own film. I grew up with Wonder Woman, like many girls, I looked up to her and I'm super pumped to think how many little girls will now look up to her and realize not everything has to be a boys club. Not to mention, the trailer looks pretty ace so far, and I love that Etta Candy is gonna be in it cause she was always one of my favorites from the comics.

5. Star Wars, Episode VIII - December 15th: Like this is a surprise to anyone. The fact that there's going to be a new Star Wars movie pretty much every year makes me the happiest person ever. This one, however, is going to be so bittersweet since it'll be the last time we get to see Carrie Fisher's iconic Princess/General Leia in action. I'm really interested to see where the story goes from here and how everything's going to play out. I neeeeed to finally find out if any of my hunches about Rey's parentage or who Snoke really is, is actually right or not. Oh, and I also read an article that on the island with Luke are "puffin-like creatures" and I just can't wait to see what a puffin would look like in the Star Wars universe, cause I bet it'll be amazing.

What are some movies you're looking forward to? Lemme know!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Let's Talk: BBC Stardust Radio Drama

Hello, all and happy 2017!

Neil Gaiman's Stardust is one movie that I can watch over and over again and not get sick of. The movie perfectly brings to life the journey of a lovelorn boy named Tristan from a little English town called Wall, tasked with crossing the border into the magical land of Stormhold to retrieve a fallen star in order to prove his love for the fair Victoria. When he finally reaches the crash site, he's shocked to find out that it wasn't a meteorite that fell, but an actual woman named Yvaine. While Tristan is trying to get a not so enthused Yvaine back to Wall, they also have to dodge a witch who's pursuing Yvaine with the intent of cutting out and eating her heart so she can be young and beautiful again, and a group of ruthless princes seeking the gem she wears that would make them king.

Along the way, Tristan and Yvaine grow to care for and depend on one another, and Tristan, who has always felt a bit out of place in stuffy old Wall, feels right at home in this land of magic and amongst the stars.

Over the holidays, BBC Radio produced a radio drama of Stardust featuring Matthew Beard as Tristan and Sophie Rundle as Yvaine. They had previously done a bang up job bringing another Gaiman story, Neverwhere, to life back in 2013 and no surprise that this one was just as wonderful. It's such a nice throw back to when families used to crowd around their radio sets, listening to the latest tales of the day. It's a whole different aspect of imagination, hearing the story just flow over you in such a way.

The two part special is now available for streaming on the BBC Radio site (here), but unfortunately, it does expire at the end of the month (Part 1 on Jan. 23 and Part 2 on Jan. 24), so if you're a fan of the novel or the movie or just a fan of Neil Gaiman, definitely check it out!