Archive for Media Monday

Media Monday: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Star Trek Into Darkness Poster

Image belongs to Paramount

Title: Star Trek Into Darkness
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: J.J. Abrams
Studio: Paramount
Genre: Science Fiction
Summary: [from IMDB]

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

Warning: I am not even going to try to stay spoiler free for this one so if you haven’t seen it STOP READING! Read more »

Media Monday: Bridget Jones’s Diary

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Bridget Jones's Diary Poster

Image belongs to Miramax Films

Title: Bridget Jones’s Diary
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Sharon Maguire
Studio: Miramax Films
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Summary: [from IMDB]

A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.

My Review:

I know, I’m a terrible girl. Somehow I have missed seeing most of the major “girl films” (I flat out refuse to see The Notebook mostly because I know it’ll make me cry). But, last week I needed some light-hearted fun, and when she found out I hadn’t seen this one, she wouldn’t let me go until I promised I would! And, you know, I’m glad I did, even if it is a fluffy RomCom.

There were a lot of things I didn’t realize about Bridget Jones’s Diary. For one thing, I only found out recently that it’s a remake of Pride and Prejudice. Despite only one similar name (“Darcy”) it’s very obvious that’s what is going on. While I love that type of story, in this case I’m a little disappointed in the portrayal of “Lizzie” – in the original Lizzie seems like a thinker, a woman who reads books, makes her own decisions and doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. Bridget, on the other hand, is mainly just shown as bumbling and indecisive, and is fairly desperate to get almost any man who will have her. Lizzie is kind of a role model for me, despite her flaws, whereas the most I can say for Bridget is she makes me laugh.

I also didn’t realize A) that it was British and B) that it was quite that profane. If I’d known about A I probably would not have been quite so surprised about B, but after a while I got used to it and it didn’t spoil the movie in the least. I’d just say that maybe this isn’t the one to watch with your kids.

So, overall, I’d say it’s a good movie. It fits perfectly into its genre, despite the differences from the original Pride and Prejudice, and it definitely made me want to check out the book. If you’re one of the few people who like RomComs and have not seen this one, then what are you waiting for?

Media Monday: Coraline

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Coraline Poster

Image belongs to Focus Features

Title: Coraline
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Henry Selick
Studio: Focus Features
Genre: Childrens
Summary: [from IMDB]

An adventurous girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister secrets.

My Review:

Don’t you just hate it when a movie doesn’t live up to your expectations?<!–more–>

Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors from high school – I read just about anything he wrote and several of his works hold places on my “favorites” list. While Coraline never quite made it that high, I was really excited for the movie. The only other movie adaptation of one of Gaiman’s works that I’d seen was Stardust and it is an all time favorite movie of mine – even though the book isn’t at the top of my Gaiman favorites. So, I was incredibly excited to see what they did with Coraline, hoping it would turn out just as well.

Unfortunately… it didn’t. I don’t know if it’s just because I hyped it up in my head or what, but I went in expecting “AMAZING” and got “pretty typical” instead. It has a decent storyline with a good lesson, but it didn’t inspire me to watch it over and over again. Maybe I am growing out of kids movies!

That’s not to say the movie was terrible. I thought the animation was pretty good, and some of the characters were pretty unusual and imaginative. As a kid I probably would have found it terrifying – but compared to the book I wasn’t scared at all! Basically, this movie is great for kids, but otherwise, watcher beware!

Media Monday: John Carter

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John Carter Poster

Image belongs to Disney

Title: John Carter
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Andrew Stanton
Studio: Disney
Genre: Genre
Summary: [from IMDB]

Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.

My Review:

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about this one at first. It had the potential to be really awesome or really awful. While it didn’t make my top 10 favorites list, it certainly wasn’t awful either!

The most interesting part of this film, for me, was the protagonist. John Carter fought on the South side in the Civil War and now that the war is over, he has become a criminal. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone, so long as he gets his money. It’s a risky move to feature a main character from anything other than the winning side, but they managed to pull it off – though admittedly they only pull it off by kind of sweeping it under the rug. I would have enjoyed a more in depth exploration of his background, but as it’s Disney I’m impressed that they left it in at all.

I also really liked the idea of the Therns. I think they were Disney-fied a bit for this film, because of their support of the villain(s) – heaven forbid Disney portray a complex villain! That said the way it explained them intrigued me. They’re supposedly overseers to the ends of worlds, “impartial” (HA!) supporting first one side, then another with no real care for which side is “right.” I’m actually really interested in reading the novels just to learn more about them.

That said, there were a few things that had me a little… surprised. Like, a society advanced enough to have flying ships but most of them still use swords when fighting? And honestly, if we’re being picky, John Carter is just a retelling of Stargate only with less of the EPIC. The Reader’s Digest condensed version if you will.

Simplified isn’t necessarily bad though – this is the perfect movie for a family night with all ages!

Media Monday: Adventures of Tintin

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Adventures of Tintin Poster

Image belongs to Paramount

Title: Adventures of Tintin
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Steven Spielberg
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Genre: Children’s movies
Summary: [from IMDB]

Intrepid reporter Tintin and Captain Haddock set off on a treasure hunt for a sunken ship commanded by Haddock’s ancestor.

My Review:

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I’m getting a little too old for animated movies.

The first thing that attracted me to The Adventures of Tintin was the fact that Steven Moffat was writing. I generally like his writing after all, and it sounded like the kind of movie I would like anyway (who doesn’t like a quest for missing treasure, right?)

Unfortunately soon after the movie started my analytical brain kicked in and, well, that was that. What are the odds that someone ransacking an apartment wouldn’t notice the very thing they were looking for, even after moving what it was under?! I thought. More than once I rolled my eyes at the stupidity of the characters – even the ones that weren’t supposed to be stupid!

Now that I think about it, probably what was wrong was I figured out the mystery way before I was supposed to. Usually I beat them to the punch, but only by a little. I almost never guess before they give us any clues. So, since my brain wasn’t occupied with trying to figure out the mystery, it went to picking holes in the plot instead.

But the thing that irritated me most was Captain Haddock. I’m not usually a prude, but I really didn’t like that he “needed” alcohol to tell his story (even if they made a point of mostly sobering him up before he could remember it). Plus, I just couldn’t suspend disbelief enough to believe in him as a character.

That all makes it sound like it’s a terrible move – it’s not I swear! It just wasn’t made for my age group, so it makes sense that I didn’t like it much. Even so, I don’t think I’d recommend this one to anyone.

Media Monday: Going Postal

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Going Postal Poster

Image belongs to All3Media International

Title: Going Postal
Media Type: Mini-series
Director: Jon Jones
Studio: All3Media
Genre: Fantasy Satire
Summary: [from IMDB]

A con artist is conned into taking the job as Postmaster General in the Ankh-Morpork Post Office.

My Review:

It’s always difficult watching a filmic representation of your favorite books, especially if it’s not a particularly well known adaptation. There is just SO MUCH that could go wrong, and when you love book, it hurts to see that. Needless to say, I started Going Postal with some major trepidation, but by the end, I liked it! What a relief!

I have to admit, it was a pretty rocky start. While they got Moist, Miss Dearheart and Reacher Gilt spot on, nearly everyone else they got majorly “wrong” – I’d always imagined Vetinari as a Wonka-esque Johnny Depp (without so much crazy… okay with a different kind of crazy) and since WHEN is Angua goth?! And BLONDE! She was just weird! But since they were fairly minor characters, eventually I got over it and started really enjoying the show.

The thing that really carried the show was Moist von Lipwig. Not only did he look the part, he was incredibly believable. I really bought the swindler part of his character. The actor was very good at portraying that split second indecision that came from once being a dishonest man. At the same time he was so incredibly endearing that I couldn’t help but want him to win in the end.

And of course, no leading man is complete without his leading lady (though don’t let her hear you say that). Miss Dear heart was the perfect mix of sassy and sweet. She was prickly because she had to be and they got her prim but edgy look just right.

There may be no such thing as a “perfect” book-to-screen adaptation, but this is as close a translation of Pratchett’s work as I’ve ever seen. Well worth the time to any fan!

Media Monday Audiobook: Starclimber

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Starclimber Cover

Title: Starclimber (Matt Cruse #3)
Media Type: Audiobook
Author: Kenneth Oppel
Studio: Fullcast Audio
Genre: Sci-fi
Summary: [from GoodReads]

“Mr. Cruse, how high would you like to fly?”

A smile soared across my face.

“As high as I possibly can.”

Pilot-in-training Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries, expert on high-altitude life-forms, are invited aboard the Starclimber, a vessel that literally climbs its way into the cosmos. Before they even set foot aboard the ship, catastrophe strikes:

Kate announces she is engaged—and not to Matt.

Despite this bombshell, Matt and Kate embark on their journey into space, but soon the ship is surrounded by strange and unsettling life-forms, and the crew is forced to combat devastating mechanical failure. For Matt, Kate, and the entire crew of the Starclimber, what began as an exciting race to the stars has now turned into a battle to save their lives.

My Review:

This was a really interesting experience for me. I picked Starclimber up looking for something to keep me company on a 4 hour drive over a weekend, without realizing it’s actually the third in a series. OOPS! I listened to the majority of it before looking on GoodReads and noticed it was actually part of a series I’d been meaning to read anyway. Oh well!

The nice thing is that I really didn’t notice. Sure there were a few references to things I didn’t understand, but that happens in books, so I just passed it off as something they would explain later. The characters were all well introduced and fleshed out, and the storyline grabbed me and drew me in immediately. I liked the tension between Matt and his girlfriend Kate, caused by their difference in social class. And I especially loved the steampunk-ish flair. Who would have thought of a spaceship climbing a cable attached to an orbiting rocket?! Probably it’s impossible, but the story was so well crafted that I believed every second of it.

I also thought that the reading was very well done. I hadn’t listened to a full cast audiobook yet, and I have to say it was a much better experience than some audiobooks I’ve listened to. It was very easy to tell the difference between each of the characters, because they were all voiced by different people. There were a few with difficult-to-understand accents, but after a while I got used to them and was able to follow the story well enough that it didn’t much matter if I missed something.

All in all, I would say that this audiobook made for a very entertaining car trip – I was certainly in a much better mood than I should have been after a bunch of completely stopped traffic on the way there!

Media Monday: Stargate

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Stargate Poster

Image belongs to Centropolis Films

Title: Stargate
Media Type: Feature Film
Director: Roland Emmerich
Studio: Centropolis films
Genre: Sci-fi
Summary: [from IMDB]

An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.

My Review:

Hoo boy, am I on a sci-fi kick right now! I got this one out mostly because I want to watch the TV series eventually (Robert Carlyle!) and because I felt like a bad sci-fi nut for not having seen it. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! For a 90’s film this one’s pretty good! Read more »

Media Monday: North & South

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North & South Poster

Image belongs to BBC

Title: North & South
Media Type: Miniseries
Director: Brian Percival
Studio: BBC
Genre: Historical
Summary: [from IMDB]

North and South is a four part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s love story of Margaret Hale, a middle class southerner who is forced to move to the northern town of Milton.

My Review

This is one of those things that I knew I really should watch because a lot of people seem to like it (I heard all about “THE TRAIN SCENE! WAH!”) and because I was fairly likely to enjoy it. While I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as some people, it was definitely worth watching, even if just to see Richard Armitage without a beard!

One of the big things I really liked about this one was the time period it portrayed. A lot of the historical dramas are more during the “Jane Austen” time period, all light and frothy with pretty dresses and beautiful balls. North & South is definitely NOT that. Set in Milton, for the most part, it is right smack in the middle of the industrial revolution. Mr. Thornton is the owner of a cotton factory, and we get to see the harsher side of that life. Times are hard, there are workers striking, and not all of the characters live to the end. But all of that hardship somehow made the romance all the more poignant – something beautiful in the midst of all that hardship.

That said, I did question the romance a little. It seemed like Mr. Thornton spent very little time around Margaret over the space of a few months, and then suddenly he was in love with her? Since when? He sees her for a few minutes before his lessons, they exchange pleasantries on the streets, etc. but he hardly knows her well enough to believe he’s in love! Of course, that can mostly be chalked up to my modern sensibilities, and whether I believe in the romance or not, it is adorable.

Bottom line: I’d recommend it! But mostly to fans of period dramas, not necessarily to everyone.

Media Monday: Alice

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Alice Poster

Image belongs to SyFy

Title: Alice (Syfy)

Media Type: TV Miniseries

Released: 2009

Director: Nick Willing

Genre: Drama / Fantasy

Summary: [from IMDB] (unavailable)

Kristilyn’s Review


So, Anne is pure evil. Every few days I get a recommendation of some sort from her for a TV show I should watch, or a movie to rent, or a book to read. BUT after falling madly and deeply in love with Doctor Who (one of her awesome recommendations), I have learned to trust Anne with ALL things she urges me to dive into.


Alice was one of those things and, oh my gosh, what a ride that was! I absolutely love retellings of classics, from Grimm fairytales to classic novels, and have been a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland for years. I’m sad to say that I’ve never actually read the Lewis Carroll original, but I’ve seen enough movies to know what’s going on.


Really, Alice in Wonderland is one of those stories that is so crazy and strange, that any retelling of it will be equally crazy and strange, if not more so. I mean, falling through a rabbit hole, a mad hatter, a Cheshire cat, the Queen of Hearts – it’s all so imaginative that in order to make a movie out of it, or in this case, a miniseries, the writers better have a darn good knack for the weird.


I was a little worried when I popped this movie into my player, seeing that it was 240 minutes long – I was certain that at some point I would be bored and ready for it to end, but it was such fun to watch! I loved how modern it was, that it wasn’t the same old little girl falling through the rabbit hole kind of story, but a grown woman following her boyfriend who looked to be kidnapped through a mirror to another world.


And oh, that world! The whole place just looked fantastic on the screen and I couldn’t tear my eyes away! The colours were magnificent and the story moved at quite a quick pace that by the time I knew it, the movie was already over. I was sad because I didn’t want it to end!


Of course, I can’t write a review about the movie without mentioning some of the actors. Catarina Scorsone was brilliant as a grown up Alice. She had the perfect look for the role and even the outfit to boot! Kathy Bates was unrecognizable as the Queen of Hearts – well, I knew it was Kathy Bates, but the whole time I was watching, I couldn’t believe what an amazing actress she was! And then … <insert swoony sigh here> … there’s Andrew Lee-Potts, or Hatter (a.k.a. the MAD hatter in the original story). A special place in my heart is reserved for him because he stole it right from the get-go.  He was charming and quirky and I couldn’t help but smile whenever he was on screen!


I laughed, I swooned, and when it was all over I wanted to watch it again. There’s adventure, fantasy, and romance – surely something for everyone! Big thanks to Anne for the wonderful recommendation!


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