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Movie of the Week – Chicken Little

Well, I had very high hopes for this movie – though once I started seeing all the hype and it being called “The Best Comedy of the Year” I made sure to downgrade my expectations.

It is a very cute film, some way cool effects, even a message! But it wasn’t as funny as it could be. Worth seeing, but did not beat Madagascar, Ice Age, or The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. ***

Hunger Site

www.hungersite.com

I’ve been going to this site for years and clicking on the buttons as well as the associated non-profit organizations on the other tabs. For a few seconds of my time, each day, I’ve done a little thing that might turn out to mean big things to other people.

In this current time of strife and trouble, it’s good to know there are still ways to make a difference. While it is not a big thing, and a lot more can be done, it is something. A way to enable you and me to go out there and do something for others on a consistent basis.

Of course if you have more time or even money to give, by all means do so! But here is a simple way to contribute just a little toward your fellow man, fellow creatures, and planet. Why not go there and give as click? 🙂

Movie of the Week – DOOM

Based on the popular first person shooter game, I wasn’t too sure what to expect. But, having seen the previews and the fact they stuck in there scenes that put you in the same first person mode you get in the game, I had to check it out.

I was very glad I did! The movie was actually pretty good! Had likeable characters, good fx, wasn’t a scare fest, and best of all, had a plausible plot! Whoohoo!

The camera also did some incredible work on facial closeups. Plus the 5 minutes or so the movie goes into first person shooter mode was done at the perfect spot for it. Even better, it was funny! Hilarious scenes at a couple of spots as the shooter guns down the baddies.

A very nice homeage film! ***1/2!!

Musical – Wicked

At least once a year, I go with a friend to a musical. This years big musical was Wicked. Wicked is based on a book which takes an alternative view to the actual facts that worked events up to where you see them in the Wizard of OZ. (So I would not suggest you take young children to this only because it will change the way the look at the movie forever.)

The actresses and actors were totally awesome! The music score is pretty catchy as well. Totally adored the mechanized dragon they put at the top of the stage opening. Also the way they created magic effects, while simple, were very effective. Top of form were the two ladies playing Glenda and the Wicked Witch. They were marvellous! And Glenda has never been more blonde! lol.

The only thing I was not happy with was the piece of the plot that sets the Wicked Witch on her path (She’s not Wicked it’s just the PR portraying her that way). Supposedly the animals, which here talk and are as intelligent as the humans, are regressing. Their ability for speech stripped away. Yet aside from the weather witch, no one else seems to have powers, therefore how were the animals being stripped of theirs? While they point to OZ and his groupies being the culprits, it is never explained how they managed it since they don’t have magic (another reason Elthaba was going to be used, because she did have some.) But aside from this, they did try hard to make other things plausible and fit it to the time line of the original Wizard of OZ.

So overall, it was definitely worth seeing. If you get a chance. Check it out!

Movie of the Week – Just Like Heaven

This is an incredibly cute movie. The chemistry between the principals worked pretty well. A lot of cute funny bits. Some real nice situations, and the strings that attach them are like a revelation. ***1/2

Book Review — Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (Which is now an animated film by Miyazaki — for those not in the know he is Japan’s version of Walt Disney).

As with all her works, Howl’s is a quick read which draws you into the world almost immediately, and was a lot of fun. We follow the adventures of Sophie, the oldest of three, who is sure she will never amount to anything because everyone knows it is the youngest siblings who become rich or have adventures. Yet a chance meeting and a case of mistaken identity will find Sophie cursed and out in the world cavorting with dangerous witches and wizards.

The animated film closely follows most of the major components and the feel of the book and characters, but expect some deviations. I loved both!

Movie of the Week – Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were -Rabbit

This film has a short based on the characters of Madagascar — mainly those crazy adorable penguins! It is not to be missed. I thought my hubby was going to die he was laughing so hard. It is a Christmas piece and it is adorable and quite funny. Those penguins are a total hoot! lol!

Wallace and Gromit were also a lot of fun. There are more rabbit and vegetable jokes than you can possibly want and then some! Subtle subtext for the adults as well as a lot of cute things for the kids. Awesome claywork. A very fun movie! ***3/4!!

Movie of the Week – Lord of War

I was going into heavy movie withdrawal! With all the conventions and then the Cellulitis, it’s been a bit since I’ve been able to get myself to the theater! And what a movie to come back to! Whoop!

Lord of War with Nicolas Cage — This movie is totally fascinating and sometimes outright disturbing. It is a journey into the life of Yuri, narrated by him, and shows the audience how he got into the convoluted world of arms dealing and how it affected him, his family, his life. And boy is he good at it! In some ways that is the whole crux of the problem. He finds his calling.

This film is ripe with funny moments and disturbing images. Definitely not for children! Nicolas Cage does an outstanding job. As well as the rest of the cast.

In the early beginning of the film, they do this wonderful sequence where the audience is placed on the point of view of the birth of a bullet and then follows it through the factory, out being shipped, and then its final use.

I would definitely rate this one a must see! ****!!!

Character Motivation vs Writer Direction

Just recently I was reading a book a friend lent me and told me I just had to read. What was funny was how he told me the first 3 books were great, but the ones after weren’t worth it. Didn’t sound like something I would want to get into, yet since he went to the trouble to bring me one of them, I thought “why not?”.

Within the first few pages I hit something that just about made me think there was no point in reading it, regardless of the good prose and likeable characters — clash of character vs writer’s plot direction. In this particular book, a man who lives in a non-magic land and is very well acquainted with nature, comes across a plant. He cuts the plant, and it hits him with a thorn. When he tries to remove the thorn, the thorn embeds itself deeper into his hand. He has no knife, so does what he can, but the darn thorn acts unnaturally and evades his attempts by totally disappearing into his flesh. He mucks with it for another moment, and then for all intents and purposes, shrugs his shoulder since he can’t do anything about it and goes on. Now, hold the phone! Anyone in their right mind who had a thorn dig itself into their hand and saw it do it would be screaming bloody murder and trying to get themselves to the nearest doctor. (I would!) Yet this man forgets all about it, except for noticing occasionally how the hand turns red and hurts (like that shouldn’t be sending panic signals), and goes on his way getting into the meat of the adventure.

In my opinion, there was a definite clash in what the writer wanted to set up as a later problem, and the believability of what the character did about it. Personally, I would have fallen for this if the guy panicked a little, did try to go home to get help, and on the way got distracted at least for a short while, by other events going on around him. So this clash could have been averted or minimized, but the author was too intent on his plot and not his people.

As a writer, a lot of times you will try to stick to a mental road map of where the story needs to go. But you have to absolutely stay true to the motivations and characteristics of the characters you are portraying or you will be doing the whole novel/story and your readers a huge disservice. Listen to what the characters tell you, even if it’s not part of the map! If you just have to have something happen in the story, but it clashes with your character’s motivation/personality find a way to shift the situation so they will do what you want, or ditch it. Don’t force it!

Here’s an example: An old saying is that Tonto (The Lone Ranger’s Sidekick) never goes into town. “Tonto no go to town.” But in order for your plot to progress you need him in town because only in this way will he meet the beauty from Boston and fall in love. So what do you do? You can’t just suddenly have Tonto say he wants to go to town. That’s totally against his usual motivation/personality. (Town is a dangerous place for Indians. Ripe with trouble.) But if he absolutely needs to be in town, then arrange the consequences, which with his personality, will make him go to town. For Tonto, this is easy. If the Lone Ranger went to town and was not heard from in too long and he knew things were dangerous to begin with, he would go to town to look for his friend. If he received a message that the Lone Ranger was in trouble, this would also drive him to go to town–his need to be there for his friend overruling his bad feelings about going to town. And all of it still keeping him in character and you still getting to where you want to go.

Know your character’s personalities and motivations, don’t let the planned plot shut them out. The more believable and reasonable you can make the choices they make due to the factors you’ve thrown at them, the more fun the story will be.

Cellulitis

I got to learn a new word not long after the Labor Day weekend. It was Cellulitis. Cellulitis is a skin infection — considered a serious condition. Seems you can pick it up from a bug bad, a shaving nick, a small cut, just about anything. And boy you will notice it when you have it! After I got back from DragonCon, I was having a lot of problems with my right leg, but just assumed it was due to all the walking. Then I actually looked at it and noticed that it was swollen from the knee to my toes! The back of my leg felt like a concrete block.

Tried to make a doctor’s appointment (by this point I am thinking I might have a blood clot) and the soonest they can see me is Friday. Well by Friday morning my leg is hurting so bad, and I am getting so paranoid, that after one last attempt to see if I can get an earlier appointment, I drag myself off to the emergency room.

The doc instantly have them do a full sonogram of my leg to look for blood clots. They also take some blood. The doc, when he makes it back to me, tells me I am clear on the blood clots, then shows me a section of my leg that looks irritated. This is where he tells me about the Cellulitis. Then I get a double whammy antibiotic IV put on my arm for the next hour. I get two antibiotic prescriptions and told to get off my feet. If by a couple of days the rash seems to be spreading, I am to come back and admit myself into the hospital! Eeek!

Luckily for me, the prescriptions kicked in well enough. Not that you could rightly tell. Seems the symptoms will stay with you through most of the antibiotic attack. Only on the 6th day have I seen a decent amount of the swelling go away. Though my leg still hurts like the dickens to walk around on.

Kinda scary the number of simple things that can just totally kick you out of regular life. 🙂