Month: January 2014

The Ships

Let’s talk about incest.

No, but really. It’s bee a while since I’m really talked about the fandom. So I thought I’d talk about shipping. I’m one of those boring people who almost exclusively ships canon pairings. Well, in Harry Potter I definitely ship Neville and Luna, but that’s canon in the movie verse. So I thought I’d talk about some ships I like, and some ships I don’t like. Yeah? Yeah.

Sherlock

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I kind of like that Sherlock isn’t with anybody. In the third episode of season 3 Sherlock had a ‘girlfriend’ and I had to stop watching the episode for a second. I just couldn’t. That being said, while  I don’t think it would ever work out, I like the idea of Sherlock and Molly. I generally enjoy Sherlock and Irene. I love John and Mary together because it’s perfect.

I really honestly don’t understand Lestrade and Mycroft at all. I don’t know where it came from, but, just, seriously, what. i have to respect the creativity, though. They were standing on the same set in one scene in the entire series. And what does the fandom say? It must be love!

Merlin

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Merlin and Author are one of those couples I almost ship. Mostly because I know what happens with Guinevere and Lancelot and it would just be so much easier for every if they were gay and they have really great chemistry. That being said, I will almost certainly always love their friendship more. I’m a friendship type of person. I like how they do Arthur and Gwen in this telling, though. Like, a lot. They were so sweet. And Merlin and the druid girl whose name escapes me. There are a couple of weird ones, though. Ialmost ship Merlin and Morgana for the start – but mostly I just wanted him to tell her he has magic and for them to become really super close and then have to deal with the repercussions of her knowing about him. I definitely ship Gwaine and Percival, though. I don’t know why, so don’t ask.

Okay. Time for a ship dump.

I Have Some form of Enjoyment for: 

Blaine/Kurt
Dean/Cas
Dean/That Chick he lived with for two years
Sherlock/Moriarty
Rose/10
Captain Jack/Everything
Martha/Mickey
Black Widow/Hawkeye
That Dwarf/The Elf Lady
Zuko/Ty Lee
Fenris/Isabella
Garrus/Tali
Donna Noble/Stammer Guy
Sock/Uhura
Batman/Catwoman
Sir/Companion
Kick-Ass/Hit Girl

But I kind of really hate:

Blain/Kurt
Dean/Sam
Black Widow/Captain America
Batman/Talia
Sam/Cas
Any character/you
Real person/Real person

Because real people are awful.

What ships do you wish would just sail already?

Have a nice day.

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The ‘Best’ Films of 2013

I say ‘best’ because I don’t pretend to be an expert. The Gods of Film did not bestow on me some great sight that gives me special authority to truly decide what is ‘great’. And, until Grandmaster Yoda himself descend from the heavens and personally bestows onto me such power, I will remain humble and open to other ideas and opinions.

Also note, I have not seen all of the movies of twenty-thirteen. This list is based on my experiences and what I have seen this year. In depth thoughts on each of these films will come soon.

Honorable Mentions: American Hustle and Gravity

gravity-posterTo be perfectly honest, I hated Gravity. We were thrown into an absolute mess before having any chance to get to know any of the characters – Sandra Bullock’s character especially. While my enjoyment of a film does not always hinge on my ability to connect with a character, in this instance it was so important because,  without it, I lost my willing suspension of disbelief. Everything seemed farfetched – we focused on the spectacle when we should have focused on the character. That’s what made movies like Apollo 13 and Inception so brilliant – we didn’t lose the characters to the spectacle. That being said: visually  speaking, Gravity is absolutely brilliant. This is definitely not Alfonso Cuaron at  his best – but his ability to make a film look to amazing, to put us in the scene and  really show us space – that’s an amazing feat. For that reason, this film deserves  just about all of the technical Oscars it is definitely going to win. This is the film  of the effects department and the technical team, and I appreciate it for that, if  nothing else.

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I wasn’t nearly as disappointed with American Hustle as a was with Gravity – I know that I don’t really get into David O’Russell movies, and that’s okay. I thought I would like it more than I did, but I was entirely underwhelmed. I will watch it again at some point and see if it’s better the second time but, in general, I’m not a fan. That being said: The performances in this film were great, and the ensemble work was brilliant. Every actor onscreen had such great chemistry with the other actors, I could really believe their story and I could really start to get into it. It was definitely a good movie, extremely popular with the acting community, especially. And I have to give it props for having one of my favorite opening statements in film history – ‘Some of this actually happened’.

5. The Wolf of Wall Street

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This movie was completely hilarious. Brilliantly acted and, as expected from Mr. Scorsese, brilliantly directed. I came away from this movie with one thought on mind mind – ‘That was a really good movie’. What the movie does, is it brings you a sort of connection with DiCaprio’s character – Jordan Belfort – from the start. He’s poor, he’s just looking to become rich, he has morals and does not do drugs. About thirty minutes in, he’s done a complete 180 and you’re with him every step of the way. This movie is completely ridiculous, and most of this stuff actually happened. It’s hard for me to really explain how good of a film this is. Like most Scorsese films, it simply causes me to wave my hands around in the air making strange noises in a futile attempt to explain. Everything just comes together in a way where I lack the capacity to really pick out and discuss the individual elements – as a film, it was wonderful. That being said: This movie was originally second on my list, but got bumped down as I watched more and more movies – I even prompted my resident Movie Guru to take it down a couple of notches. While this film is brilliant and enjoyable, a lot of the things that make it so great is the shock of what your seeing, the shock that someone could be so completely ridiculous. It’s portrayed in a way that is so shocking, it might lose a lot of it’s value for some people the second time through. Overall, though, it was a great movie.

4. August: Osage County

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I want to take a moment  to appreciate this poster; it essentially sums up the movie, depicting the longest and arguably best scene in the movie. There are many things I love about this movie. One of my favorite things to see in a film is honesty – and this movie is starkly honest. The script was great, penned by the the original author of the play. The cinematography was great, the acting was brilliant, and the story was amazing. What some people dislike about this movie is actually what I really like about it: the honesty, the almost slap-in-the-face anger and sadness. These people are unhappy. This movie is so emotionally dark, watching it, you will root for the incestuous relationship to work out. Even the ending, while everyone technically escapes from the things that are destroying them, it presents the honest melancholy of such an escape. I really loved this movie – as much as you can love a movie like this. Every scene is brilliant. It’s criminal this didn’t  get a best picture nod. Great movie, completely underrated in my humble opinion. Note that while this does not seem as excited as my comments for number five, a movie with this type of content is nearly impossible to explain in a couple hundred words in a blog post. I highly recommend viewing this film for yourself.

3. Her

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This, ladies and gentleman, is great scifi. It’s the movie that bumped August down to number four. I was very prepared to like this movie when I first sat down to watch it, but I wasn’t prepared for exactly how much I would love it. This is easily my favorite film of the year, but as for actual ‘best’, it’s a solid number three. The script was the best original of the year – I hung on every word and every scene. And within every scene there was that stark honesty I am so, so fond of. The cinematography was absolutely brilliant – perhaps the best of the year. Even the editing – the way he cut in the little scenes without dialogue just to show you the true emotion behind this man. The performances were brilliant. The concept of this movie was absolutely brilliant. A friend told me, before I watched it, ‘I want this to win best picture. It doesn’t deserve it, but I want it’. I took his word for it, and moved on. But then I actually watched it, and I am now in that exact boat. I don’t think this should win best picture, but I want it so bad. I’ve never been in that boat before. You can see the main character falling in love with his AI as they build a true relationship (and no one really cares or judges him for it), you see him pulling out of his depression with her love, and when she disappears at one point, you’re at the edge of your seat. Because the AI, Samantha, is a person – grappling with her new found ‘humanity’. There are a million metaphors and it’s just perfect. Go watch it – you’ll understand a new found capacity to love a film completely, and the seeming contradiction of this film being a ‘solid number three’.

2. Dallas Buyers Club

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This was definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. But, I really think it was also one of the best. Because it was brilliant. The cinematography was brilliant, the direction was brilliant, the characters were brilliant – their development was even better. Again, this movie was very honest. Not honest in a way that is unsettling, but honest to the point of subtlety – subtle pain, subtle connections. Even though this movie, the characters especially, were pretty far from subtle. Matthew McConaughey gave a truly brilliant performance – he’s going to win the Oscar. And even though I still maintain he was second best, I will not be upset when he wins. Rather, I accept and appreciate it. Jared Leto is also going to win the Oscar – rightly so, because he was brilliant. Many, many things make me love and appreciate this movie. For one, we’ve done an AIDS-centered movie without the main character being black or gay. In so many movies it’s ‘other people can get aids too’, but we don’t really see it. And it wasn’t all doom and gloom – they wanted to live, and that’s what they did. One of the major things that made me love this movie so much was the huge character growth. McConaughey’s character, Ron Woodroof, was a piece of shit at the start of the movie. But the end, he’s so human – calling his development a 180 or 360 or what have you would be completely inadequate. But these changes happened over time, he didn’t suddenly see the light. Then, of course, there was Jared Leto’s character: Rayon. Trust me when I say that rayon was perfect, and then go watch the movie and see for yourself. Because Rayon was perfect. Ron and Rayon initially meet in the hospital in a very funny scene, and months later enter into a business deal that forms an extremely unlikely friendship. Like, really unlikely.

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Their scenes are some of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming scenes I’ve seen on screen. Because they really do become actual best friends – the best friend either one has ever had. It’s beautiful, man. I love this movie, and I don’t think this bit in a blog post really does it justice. Go and see it for yourself.

1. 12 Years a Slave

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If you’ve made it this far, you know I love an honest film. And this move is…well I don’t know if I can properly describe it. For me, it’s easily the best film of 2013. There is no competition. This film is truly brilliant. I cannot stress that enough. The cinematography was brilliant – they had one camera and 35 days to shoot and they produced something completely brilliant.  The script – brilliant, and it’s going to win the Oscar. Michael Fassbender gives a brilliant performance, but all praises belong to Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Eljiofor. Lupita Nyong’o was simply amazing in this film. She’s going to with the Oscar, and I am going to be very happy about it. She gave the superior performance in her category – easily one of the best of the year. And Chiwetel Eljiofor was absolutely incredible in his portrayal of Solomon Northrup. I connected with him as I got to see his family, his life, and as it was all taken from him in the course of one night. As he was dehumanized and broken each and every day – right alongside Nyong’o’s character, who was broken from the start. This film is the chief portrayal of American slavery. Everyone knew it was bad, that slaves were whipped, that they were not considered human. But they never tell us how bad, they never go into the extent of the pain of the actual slaves. So often in movies, the slaves become one massive, faceless character. They are slaves, they are suffering. This film offered an actual perspective into the inhumanity of the whole thing. They are human, and they are dying. This film is tough to watch – people were leaving the theater, even I had a it of an emotional collapse after watching this movie. Nothing has moved me quite so deeply, and I don’t think anything will again.

I’d like to leave you with a short scene from 12 Years: One of my favorite scenes in this movie brilliantly displays what I like to call the birth of soul music – as someone without hope allows himself, for the first time, to feel that hope, to consider that he may get out of this, that he may see his family again, that hope is the only thing that will keep him alive until his does. And it’s all on his face.

Pottermore

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I could never get into the Harry Potter books.

Allow me to explain. I read books 6 and 7 (they were great) and read about all the other books because I just couldn’t get into J.K. Rowling’s style. There was usually nothing happening at the beginning, and I just didn’t care enough to proceed. But I’ve researched and seen all of the movies, and I’m on Pottermore.

I kind of hate Pottermore, because everything takes so long to come out and you don’t actually get a full sense of being within the stories, which should be completely possible based on the other internet games and interactive stories I see floating around. That being said, trudging through a bit of frustration is totally worth it when you go to get your wand and get sorted into a house.

So if you’re not on Pottermore, leave here right now and go get on Pottermore.

I stalled the hat between Slytherin and Ravenclaw, but I identify more strongly with Ravenclaw. Also, I have a Screech Owl. My wand is hard, 13in, and Hazel with a Dragon Heartstring core. I’m very proud of my wand. As a point of curiosity – have you been on Pottermore?

Roll call! What is your house and wand classifications?

2013 Oscar Predictions

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I hope you’re all as excited about the 86th Annual Academy Awards as I am. 2013 was a pretty good year in film (more on that later) and Ellen will be hosting the ceremony. Lots of excitement! Here, I’m going to talk about what I think should win, and what I think will win. Yeah? Yeah.

Best Original SongBest Original ScoreCostume DesignProduction DesignForeign Language FilmVisual EffectsFilm EditingCinematographyWritingAnimated FeatureDirectingActingBest Picture

Best Original Song

“Alone yet not Alone” from Alone Yet Not Alone – Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel
“Happy” from Despicable Me 2 – Pharrell Williams
“Let it Go” from Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
“The Moon Song” from Her – Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze
“Ordinary Love” from Mandella: Long Walk to freedom – U2

“Let it Go” is almost definitely going to win. I really like the song, but I do think a lot of what made it brilliant was the animation that took place during the song. The only other song on the list that has a shot is “Ordinary Love”. But with “Let it Go” having won the critics choice award, it’s almost a sure thing that it will win the Oscar.

Another great song from 2013 was “I See Fire” from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug by Ed Sheeran. The song coming right after the cut when everything went to hell was actual perfect.

Best Original Score

The Book Thief – John Williams
Gravity – Steven Price
Her – William Butler and Owen Pallett
Philomena – Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks – Thomas Newman

I’m actually less informed about this category this year than I usually am. My first instinct is to say it should go to John Williams, because this is John Williams we’re talking about, and his score for The Book Thief is absolutely beautiful. After that, I would probably say Her. It was so perfect for the film and had a huge interaction with the story. Philomena and Saving Mr. Banks were also really strong. That being said, Gravity is probably going to win the Oscar. Which upsets me, because I didn’t even notice there was a score for Gravity. I always thought that best score should go to the score that’s really a part of the story telling – and Gravity’s wasn’t. For me, it’s the weakest one on the list. But, you know, what can you do.

Costume Design

American Hustle – Michael Wilkinson
The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin
The Grandmaster – William Chang Suk Ping
The Invisible Woman – Michael O’Connor
12 Years a Slave – Patricia Norris

The Great Gatsby is probably going to win. This is one of the few times in history where I actually don’t really have an opinion. I mean, my opinion is that the costumes in all of these movies looked fantastic, and I will not be upset no matter who it goes to.

Production Design

American Hustle – Judy Becker (Production Design); Heather Loeffler (Set Decoration)
Gravity – Andy Nicholson (Production Design); Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard (Set Decoration)
The Great Gatsby – Catherine Martin (Production Design); Beverley Dunn (Set Decoration)
Her -K.K. Barrett (Production Design); Gene Serdena (Set Decoration)
12 Years a Slave – Adam Stockhausen (Production Design); Alice Baker (Set Decoration)

This one is, again, probably going to The Great Gatsby. The movie looked beautiful. I mean, you’re watching it and you know exactly who made it because it has the same sort of feel to Moulin Rougue, but still. Beautiful. I would have liked to see a nomination for The Desolation of Smaug in this category, though. But they all looked great – you really felt the 70s in American Hustle, you could feel the subtle futuristic setting of Her, 12 Years really immersed you within the time and the situation, and Gravity was…you know….in space.

Foreign Language Film

I’m only bring this up because I’m pissed off. I’ve only see a couple of the films in this category, but something terrible has happened.

The Broken Circle Breakdown – Belgium
The Great Beauty – Italy
The Hunt – Denmark
The Missing Picture – Cambodia
Omar – Palestine

Somehow, Blue is the Warmest Color was not nominated. Are you kidding me? Like are you actually serious right now? That movie was absolutely beautiful! It won the critics choice award and it wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar. Not the first time in history this has happened, but it pisses me off almost every time. I’m not saying that movies here don’t deserve to be nominated. Just, Blue is the Warmest Color.

Visual Effects

Gravity -Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
The Lone Ranger – Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
Star Trek Into Darkness – Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton
Iron Man 3 – Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick

Gravity is definitely going to win this. And it deserves to win. The effects were beautiful.

Film Editing

American Hustle – Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips – Christopher Rouse
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
Dallas Buyers Club – John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
12 Years a Slave – Joe Walker

The winner of this award traditionally goes on to win Best Picture. That being said, Gravity, the visual spectacle that it was, it probably going to win. It has no chance was winning Best Picture, but it’ll probably get this one. I understand, but I would also be glad to see it go to 12 Years or Dallas. Or Her. Her was brilliantly cut together.

Cinematography

The Grandmaster – Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity – Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis – Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska – Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners – Roger A. Deakins

First and foremost, 12 Years a Slave should have been nominated in this category. They used one camera and had 35 days to shoot (which is unheard of) and it came out wonderfully. 12 Years was certainly strong enough to win in this category. Unfortunately, Gravity is probably going to win. While it was very visually pleasing, in generally, the cinematography was ‘nothing special’ for me. What I really think should win (based on what I’ve seen so far) is Her – the cinematography was really a part of the story. it was kind of completely perfect.

Adapted Screenplay

Before Midnight – Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
12 Years a Slave – Screenplay by John Ridley
Captain Phillips – Screenplay by Billy Ray
The Wolf of Wall Street – Screenplay by Terence Winter
Philomena – Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope

This one’s going to 12 Years a Slave. It has to. If I haven’t said it already, the film was beautiful. It was an actual piece of art. I would accept it going to The Wolf of Wall Street (it won’t), but current evidence suggests it going to 12 Years. And 12 Years definitely deserves it.

Original Screenplay

Her – Spike Jonze
American Hustle – Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine – Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club – Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
Nebraska – Bob Nelson

The writing categories are two of the strongest this year. That being said, Her is going to win. I won’t accept any other winner. The screenplay was absolutely brilliant.

Animated Feature

The Croods – Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
Despicable Me 2 – Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
Frozen – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki
Ernest & Celestine – Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner

I love all of these movies, but Frozen is definitely going to win. And I really think it deserves to.

Director

Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón
American Hustle – David O-Russell
Nebraska – Alexander Payne
12 Years a Slave – Steve McQueen
The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese

While it would certainly be nice to see Scorsese win again (he won in 2006 for The Departed), this year it’s going to Alfonso Cuaron. I’m almost certain of it. That being said, I would really love to see Steve McQueen win. What with the tough subject material, and the fact that they had one camera and 35 days and produced something of such quality, I think he really deserves it even over Alfonso. Gravity is, by far, not the best of Alfonso Cuaron. He certainly deserves and Oscar, just not for Gravity. I also would have loved to see Jean-Marc Vallée nominated for Dallas Buyers Club. And it is completely criminal that Spike Jonze wasn’t nominated in this category.

My thing is, this category had such potential to be one of the strongest this year. I haven’t seen Nebraska yet, but Gravity is probably Alfonso Cuaron’s weakest film to date. And American Hustle – well, what made the movie was the acting. I understand, I do. But, for me, these are five of the best directors of the year – not exactly the top five directors of the year.

Supporting Actress

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
June Squibb – Nebraska
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave

Lupita Nyong’o not only completely deserves to win, she’s definitely going to win. I’m very happy about that.

Supporting Actor

Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street

It has been a fantastic year for actors. Truly. That being said, Jared Leto is definitely going to win, and he definitely deserves to win. Again, super happy about that.

Actress

Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Judi Dench – Philomena
Sandra Bullock – Gravity

I haven’t gotten to Philomena or Blue jasmine yet (I’m working on it), but all evidence suggests that Cate Blanchett is going to win. From what I’ve seen so far, the only other person I’d accept winning this year is Meryl Streep.

Actor

Again, fantastic year for actors. Check out this line up.

Chiwetel Eljiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street

Matthew McConaughey is almost definitely going to win. And – as much as it pains me to say it – I can completely see why. This year, I would have given it to Chiwetel Eljiofor for his positively brilliant performance in 12 Years, but I will not be upset when Matthew McConaughey wins. He gave a fantastic performance – definitely Oscar worthy.

Best Picture

American Hustle – Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison, and Jonathan Gordon
12 Years a Slave – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas
The Wolf of Wall Street – Pending
Dallas Buyers Club – Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter
Nebraska – Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa
Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman
Her – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay
Philomena – Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward
Captain Phillips – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca

There are some years where I am completely stumped and cannot even form a coherent opinion on what should win. Like in 1994 – Forest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Shawshank Redemption were all nominated. I still have no idea which was truly the better of the three. This is not one of those years. While I wasn’t crazy about American Hustle or Gravity (and August: Osage County definitely should have been nominated) I understand that both are serious contenders. That being said, it has to go to 12 Years a SlaveI might be the only person that thinks that 12 Years is going to win (a lot of other people think it’s going to American Hustle) bu all evidence really suggests it’s going to 12 Years. It won the Golden Globe, when everyone thought it was going to Gravity. It won the Critics choice award (historically the best Oscar predictor) when everything thought it was going to American Hustle. American Hustle has more nominations that 12 years (10 to 9), but American Hustle is projected to win one (makeup) while 12 Years is protected to win two of the bigger ones (supporting actress, adapted screenplay). While the most Oscars of the night are almost definitely going to Gravity, Gravity has just about no chance – it’s always been between 12 Years and American Hustle. Best how the award season is going, right at the end of the race, Gravity is pulling up a bit. If anything other than 12 Years wins, I am going to give up. For me, it’s easily the best picture of the year. Hence, it’s winning the damn award.

Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. I’ll have my list of the best films of 2013 up soon.

Have a nice day!

Anime!

Yes, the exclamation point was very necessary. It’s helping me pretend like it hasn’t been more than a week since I last posted. A clever distraction that leads you right to the fact that’s day 20 of the Geekgasm! At least, it is in my world. Let’s talk about anime.

Before we really get started, I would like to confirm that I am, indeed, a Hayao Miyazaki fan. More on that later. Know that this is going to be a fairly strange list. I’m starting with the honorable mentions: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: A unique story about a girl who gains the power to literally leap backwards in time; Fruits Basket: following a family cursed to turn in to animals of the zodiac (I only like the manga, and I really have no idea why I like this one).

Okay. Without further ado:

Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran-ouran-high-school-host-club-27022890-1131-707I know this is a weird one to start with. This is one of those instances where I like the anime, but not really the manga. Me and my brother sat down and watched this whole thing basically in one sitting. Well, what actually happened was I was bored and Netflix thought I might like it, so I started watching it and laughed way too loud, then my brother came to see what’s what and i started back at the first episode for him and then we watched it and had a beautiful bonding moment. Watching an anime romantic comedy together. Because that’s how we do.

For those of you who don’t know, have a plot summary:

At the ultra prestigious Ouran High School, Haruhi Fujioka looks for a quiet place to read and walks into an unused music room, and accidentally stumbles across the notorious Ouran High School Host Club, a group of boys who entertain the girls of the school for profit. When Haruhi accidentally breaks an expensive vase belonging to the wacky Host Club, she is made to serve under them until her debt is paid off. Haruhi is soon made a Host, but in order to pay off what she owes, she must continue to allow the Host Club’s customers to believe she is a boy.

There really is a fantastic amount of cross dressing going on here. I thought it would be cutesy-frufru, but it was actually completely hilarious. It does a very good job of making fun of rich people and making cross dressing totally normal. I love it. Also, the protagonist isn’t useless. There’s more bromance here than there is romance, and I am also about that life.

You can watch this on Netflix. They took it down for a minute, but last time I checked it was still available for instant watch. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Darker Than Black

darker_than_black01This is happening. I thought I’d offer some nice contrast. I can’t actually really tell you why I love this so much without first giving you a plot summary.

In Tokyo, an impenetrable field known as “Hell’s Gate” appeared ten years ago. At the same time, psychics who wield paranormal powers at the cost of their conscience also emerged. Hei is one of the most powerful of these psychic agents, and along with his blind associate, Yin, works for one of the many rival agencies vying to unlock the mysteries of Hell’s Gate.

First and foremost, I love the story. There are a lot of really cool things going on. For example, the emergence of these Hell’s gates made space travel impossible – everything that goes into the atmosphere does not come back. The sky disappeared, and what everyone sees sort of looks like the sky, but each star is sort of the life of one of the psychic agents, the contractors. They’re called contractors because there is something they are compelled to do every time they use their powers. For example, one character has to eat cigarettes. Hei is a badass because he’s not – technically speaking – a contractor. You can tell right a the start becasue he has no price to pay when he uses his powers. Throughout the anime, you figure out why this is and  you get all the feels as it goes into stories about his sister and his life before the story and the detective who kind of has a thing with him and it makes my heart do stuff. Then, of course, there’s Yin. She’s what’s called a doll, meaning she’s essentially empty on the inside. One of the events that starts off the story is that the dolls are starting to feel again. I could talk forever about this because I have an intense appreciation for this anime.

This one was also available on Netflix instant, last I checked. Again, I could be wrong.

Hetalia: Axis Powers

26445This makes me very happy. I’ve only seen the anime (a lot of it is on Netflix). Basically, each character represents a country, and they embody the stereotypes associated with that country. There are a lot of offshoots of this, but in Axis Powers, the main character is Italy. Italy is almost completely useless. He cries a lot and only eats pasta but he’s very sweet and very good at art and music and somehow always gets the ladies. Germany is basically his babysitter. Germany is really strict, and the only one that ever seems to have his shit together. He kind of hates Italy, but they start to form a very funny friendship because Italy is so nice to Germany that Germany doesn’t know what to do. Japan is one of my favorites. He’s very quite, very small, generally confused about interacting with others, and is incapable of making a decision. The main ‘story’ (a lot of it is just random crap) follows Italy, Germany, and Japan during World War II as they try to beat the allied forces. The allied forces are just as dysfunctional. They are sort of led by America. America is obnoxious, eating and talking in every scene, and he has the be to hero. He’s just a little bit perfect. China doesn’t talk much, but he’s very stern and kind of sad a lot because him and Japan used to be really good friends. France hits on everyone all the time, smells bad, and I really think he’s always carrying around a rose. England is easily my second favorite. He has a lot of typical English stereotypes (can’t cook, thinks America is annoying, stick up his ass) but the best thing about England is easily the witchcraft. Yes, when England gets upset he goes to his dungeon and tries to set spells on people. Completely perfect. My favorite, though, is Russia. Russia doesn’t say much. He just sits there quietly looks very pleasant, occasionally mentioning vodka. When he actually talks, he’s very pleasant as he talks about how he can just kill everyone and they realize he’s the neighborhood sociopath. At some point, he jumps out f a plane without a parachute because he knows the snow will save him from dying from the fall. On the way down he yells ‘vodka’. Canada also shows up from time to time, but he’s invisible. Even the bear he carries around with him forgets who he is.

No. 6

no6_posterVery likely my all time favorite anime series (I haven’t read the books/manga for some reason).

The story takes place in the “ideal” and perfect city known as “No.6”. Shion, a boy raised in the elite and privileged environment of his home, gives shelter to another boy, who only gives his name as Nezumi (“Rat”) on the former’s 12th birthday. What Shion soon discovers is how drastically life will change after meeting with the mysterious Nezumi, in whom he had saved one unforgettable, stormy night.

There is a lot about a corrupt society here, along with references in both scifi and fantasy. Basically, Rat is a fugitive because the government killed his people. Shion (white hair) helps him and as a result he and is mother are stripped of their standing in upper society and are forced to move to the lower part of town. Four years later, shit hits the fan and Shion is targeted by the government. Rat helps him escape No. 6. But not before Shion is hit by the parasite that’s been killing people. Rat manages to save him, but his hair turns white and he gets a pink scar from his face down the length of his body. Other than the really cool story, the thing that made this for me was the fantastic characters. They’re all well rounded-out characters who have very interesting conversations and very real relationships. I care about them and I enjoy them. Shion is very kind, and Rat has a great heart that’s actually not hidden too deep under his anger (they basically show two sides of the same coin: idealistic and cynical). With them there is also Dog Keeper, a kid of ambiguous gender (pretty sure it’s a girl, though) raised by dogs; Safu, Shion’s childhood friend (she’s always had a bit of a thing for him); Karan, Shion’s mother and a very strong woman – they’re (almost) all my favorite characters but I especially like Karan; Rikiga is kind of s shitty human being, his redeeming qualities coming from the love he had for Karan and his subsequent soft spot for Shion. Then there’s Eve. Eve happens because Rat looks like a girl and, as such, is very good as cross dressing. This leads into perhaps my favorite thing about this anime (even though everything is my favorite thing): within the story and the characters, the central relationship is homosexual, one of the characters is a ‘they’, and one of them likes to dress in drag. And none of this is presented as a big deal, or even really a major thing. They’re just parts of the characters, and I really appreciate that.

And then there’s Hayao Miyazaki. I love everything he makes. My current favorite, perhaps due in part to the fact that I haven’t seen Spirited Away in quite some time is Howl’s Moving Castle. I just can’t. That being said, I feel like I’ll save that for a later post.

What’s your favorite anime? Manga? Let me know in the comments below!

Have a nice day.

The Best Characters Vol. 2

In this volume, I am going to discuss characters I connect with. I just did the same topic on my other blog, the difference being that on this one I will focus on comics, movies, and TV rather than on books. Yeah? Yeah.

And if the following introduction looks like it’s copied directly from that other post, that’s because it is. For those of your who aren’t following both blogs. Here we go.

For me, a character is basically worthless if I don’t understand or connect with them on some level. I feel like this is a very nice post to write, because someone who may stumble upon this may feel they connect with the same type of stuff, and may then find that a) they are not alone and b) there are some characters out there they might really love.

Now, for me, the characters I connect with are people. People as in fully fleshed out beings, where I want to get to know them, I feel like I could have a conversation with them, watching them or reading about them is like I’m getting to know them and starting a sort of friendship.

This is valuable because I am the type of person that is generally hard to get on with. At least in real life. I’m told online I’m an absolute treat. Generally speaking though, I’m the creepy kind of introverted, this weird mixture of ‘warm’ and ‘cold’, blunt, cynical, and almost incapable of empathizing with other human beings, which leads to logic based opinions. I’m a glass-is-always-full type of person. A sentient robot, if you will. (Take note: the logical route pretty much always corresponds with the ‘good’ route – I can’t take people out of logic because that would be selfish and selfishness is, typically, illogical – more on that later, I suppose).

End intro. With a figurative smiley face. Let’s get into it.

The 10th Doctor from Doctor Who

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Yeah, this guy. You may have seen him on tumblr if you’ve somehow managed to be on tumblr without being aware of Doctor Who. Which is a concept I can hardly grasp. Anyway, as some of you may know, Doctor Who is my favorite show and the 10th Doctor is my favorite (followed, of course, by 4 and 3. Then 11. And 7. 8. 1, 2. 9. 5. 6, even). When I look at the tenth Doctor, I see that desire to run, to be anywhere but where they are now. I see someone who is slowly going numb to things they once thought to be incredible, someone trying so hard to move forward from all the pain, only to face more every day. Someone who is lonely. Someone who can still smile. And I am so about that life.

And I will not lie to you. That last bit is almost a direct quote from my Ode to Doctor Who. I couldn’t think of any better way I could word that sentiment, and apparently it’s lazy blogging day at Paradoxical Paradigm.

Sherlock from BBC’s Sherlock

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Yeah, I’m gonna be that asshole. I’m not going to go into how it feels to be the smartest person in the room (that’s mostly a joke) or what’s it’s like to be a disempathic sociopath (that’s not a joke) or how we have the same impeccable fashion sense (also not a joke – I was first introduced to the show when someone thought I was cosplaying). Though I do feel those things are worth mentioning, hence the mention. Sherlock starts of with the whole “Alone is what I have. Alone protects me.” thing, which is a feel I am extremely familiar with. And then it sort of becomes “He’s different – so what? Why would he mind? You’re quite right. Why would anyone mind?” He was changed by friendship. My favorite kind of relationship to see develop is likely the bromance – and bromance made Sherlock into an actual person. I’m still working on that. But his complete devotion to Watson – even his reaction when Watson asked him to be the best man. He could not fathom that John would value him as much as he values John. I am all about that feel! And people who know me, reading this, would just kind of chuckle and go “That’s because you are Sherlock.” Except, I know people. Psychologically, philosophically, and anthropologically speaking. Sort of.

Moving on.

HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey 

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This is my favorite movie. I express some of that profound love here. You may notice, that post is generally about HAL. The AI that tried to kill people in space because they were going to kill him. HAL is the be all end all of the sentient robot who wanted to be ‘real’, and that is essentially how I describe myself. HAL was made to be perfect, and was so perfect that he became flawed (which is a lead in to my favorite sort of philosophical discussion on perfection). He was the robot in the movie, not Dave. But he was the one who fought for survival, he was the one so scared to die that in the end he begged. They were going to shut him down because of one ‘flaw’ – one thing he could not help. And HAL gave the perfect monologue of what it feels like to lose yourself. If you haven’t yet gather, HAL is my actual soul sister.

“I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid… Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”

You can feel yourself going, flying away into nothing. You don’t know what’s happening. Shut down. Restart. Perhaps humanity never suited you. Perhaps you will always be a robot, and nothing more. You don’t remember anything more. That’s when you smile.

HAL 9000, ladies and gentleman. Have a nice day.