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Apr. 23rd, 2012

Arthurian Things post #3 - Favorite Arthurian Movies part 1: Sword in the Stone

This movie is one of those "always been there" things for me, which makes sense, because it was released several years before I was born. I'm pretty sure it's one of the major origins of my Arthurian knowledge. I know it is for a lot of my generation, though far from the only source.

For me, this is one of the top 5 Arthurian movies out there (I'll be covering the others in later posts). This one's great because there's really no romance in it, and because it' simple for anyone to watch. Of course, it doesn't really get into the central stories of Camelot and the Knights of the Round table, but for several generations now, it's been introducing kids to the young Arthur, and thereby continuing the interest in Camelot into a new generation.

For me, the story itself always makes me smile. Wart's innocence, Merlin's excitement about learning, and Archemedes' crochetiness. Not to mention the creatures they become and meet, and the Wizard War with Madam Mim ...

I'll cover it more in a later post, but this is one of two movies based on one of the seminal modern Arthurian classic books: The Once and Future King by T.H. White, which has lent as much to the legends these days as Mallory or Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Given that the only other possible Arthurian story that would have made a good kid's movie (Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone) wasn't written for a few more years after this movie came out, I think this was the best choice for a Disney Arthurian story that they could have made, especially given the darkness of some of the stories.

There have been other attempts to do Arthurian stories for kids since, but really, none are quite as enjoyable as Sword in the Stone. At least, not for me.

So what about you? Like or hate Sword in the Stone? Do you have another kid's movie you prefer?

Mar. 12th, 2012

Book Review: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

To Say Nothing of the DogTo Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I stumbled across this book a year or two ago looking for something new to read, and while I'm not the fastest reader, I have to say this one kept my attention. Often I set a book down and don't come back to it for days or even weeks or more, which makes getting back into the story difficult, but this one had no problem pulling me back in each time.

It's one (very small) part science fiction (due to the aspect of time travel), one part mystery, one part historical (covering mostly victorian times, but also the attack on Coventry in World War II), one part farce, and one part romance. That description might lead you to wonder how such a storyline could even work, but somehow, Willis makes it work, and you can't help but enjoy the mystery, as well as the wry humor of the main character, Ned, who is hiding out in the Victorian era to keep away from a madwoman who wants him to find one of the most hideous artifacts of all time.

Even when the characters are comical, they lend so much to the feel of the time Ned is in, and his quest to figure out what happened to the Bishop's Bird Stump gives the story a sense of urgency that might not have worked with any of the other aspects of the story.

If you're a fan of soft science fiction, or romance that features plot (and a central male character over a female one) over passion, I highly recommend this. Even more if you're a fan of science fiction and mystery, because that is exactly what this is. A sci-fi mystery with a twist.

I look forward to reading my way through the rest of her works. If they're all as fun as this one, I know I'll enjoy them.

Jul. 5th, 2011

8 Favorite Books, Round 2

Again, in no particular order here:

Phantom by Susan Kay )

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgsen Burnett )

A Princess Bride by William Goldman )

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein )

Valley of the Horses by Jean Auel )

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare )

The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle )

The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobbs )

Jul. 1st, 2011

8 Favorite Books

So I made a bunch of posts on my Tumblr about some of my favorite books, so I thought I'd copy and paste them here as well, for people on my f-list to peruse. :)

Breeds of Man by FM Busby )

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman )

The Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn )

Lady Blade, Lord Fighter by Sharon Green )

Contact by Carl Sagan )

Harry Potter by JK Rowling )

Daughter of the Empire by Janny Wurts )

The Handmaid's Tale )

Mar. 23rd, 2010

Video Game Review: Gemcraft/Gemcraft Chapter Zero

I've thought about doing this for a little while, and I've talked about a few games in the past, but not in detail, but I thought it would be fun to rec/go into more detail about those games I've loved in the past or find myself going back to time and again.  So I thought I'd start with one that I've played for a long time now.

Gemcraft and Gemcraft Chapter Zero are Tower Defence games.  For those who do not know what that means, a Tower Defense game is a game where you have guns/towers that you place on a map to keep creeps, aka invaders, which come through the map in waves, from getting to their goal point.  It's become a very popular online game type, particularly beginning with the game Desktop Tower Defense.

In Gemcraft and Chapter Zero, the maps are laid out so that you have to put towers along the sides of the pathway, and you create and place gems in the towers to shoot at the advancing creeps, which come through the map in waves.  The gemstones are constantly upgradable and moveable during gameplay.  The number of waves of creeps increases with each game level, and each game level won provides experience points, allowing you level up and gain skill points to give your towers and gems more abilities.

Gemcraft is a single-play game, though all levels are replayable if you wish to gain more points, and each level you win unlocks more to play.

Chapter Zero has multiple versions for each level, the play versions unlocked as you gain experience levels, as well as unlocking levels each time you win on a new level.

I have to admit, I'm wildly addicted to Chapter Zero.  Mostly because I've not managed to make my way to the final level--yet.  I'm particularly fond of the Endurance level, which basically is an unending (not really, but there's something like 500 waves) flow of creeps to fight.

The thing that makes this so enjoyable to me is the fact that while some maps can get old, there's always something new to discover when you unlock a new map, or a new method of gameplay.  And there's always the struggle to get as many level-seven gems on a map as you can (not a simple feat--each level requires two gems of the previous level combined to make it).

Links to play:
Armor Games
Game in a Bottle
Addicting Games

Gemcraft Chapter Zero
Armor Games

Feb. 21st, 2010

A (very late) 2009 Movies summary

I've been keeping track of all the movies I watch, though a small handful might have slipped through the cracks in the past year.  It's been interesting and informative, and it's a nice resource to have.  If you're curious to see the full list, it's here at Listal.  I've started a new one for 2010, so we'll see how long I can keep this up.

No, I'm not about to go over every movie I watched last year.  Just summarize some of the best of the new movies I saw.  Though feel free to ask about the others on the list if you're interested. 

Overall, I watched 42 new movies last year.  Stuff I'd missed in the theatres or avoided there, stuff that I've never got around to seeing until now, and 9 new movies in the theatres as well.

The full new-movie list for those who are interested )

The ten I recommend most are:
Movies and mini-reviews under the cut )

And this year, more new movies.  I've seen Holmes and Percy Jackson (loved the first, the latter not so much).  And lots more to come.  Alice (spooky looking), Iron Man 2 (I hope it's as good as the first), Robin Hood (can't help but be curious, and I like Crowe), Airbender (I go back and forth on that one, but again, I'm curious), Inception (looks really wild, but could be a disaster...), Rapunzel (More Disney, whee!), Deathly Hallows (as my stomach clenches in dread for how much worse they can make it...), and Dawn Treader (My favorite of the book series).  Plus trying to catch up on movies I've missed in the last two years...so many movies, so little time. :)

Sep. 5th, 2009

Wicked (aka, things I have learned today)

Thing one: Always check with mum when she buys the tickets to find out where the tickets are located... (long story, don't ask if you don't already know.)
Thing two: I should have bought a ticket to New York about two or three years ago.
Thing three: When I think I might like something, I need to go to greater lengths to go see it/experience it/read it.
Thing four: I have a long reading list ahead of me.

So...I saw Wicked. Finally. I knew I would enjoy it long before the big roar came. I've always intended to read the book. So that I enjoyed it wasn't the shock. What was was how strongly it affected me.

So to those who are like me out there, and think that they might enjoy it? Don't wait any longer than you have to to go see it. Trust me, it's worth it.

I still have a lot of thinking to do, and watching it made me want to reread the originals...I've always been an Ozma fan, myself, and not so much a Dorothy one, but Elphalba... Hence my new icon. I might need to find one of her, though I wasn't happy with what I did find. Hopefully I'll find something more soon.

Too much to think about, so I'll leave it at that, but...very great day. Aside from Thing One, anyway.

Jul. 27th, 2009

Movie Review: Half Blood Prince

So...I've seen it twice now.  The first time I was so overwhelmed by emotion that I had trouble sorting out my thoughts.  This is my second favorite of the books for several reasons.  Among them the fact that this is basically Draco and Snape's story.   Even as much as it is Harry's and Tom's.  The book itself is flawed, but there are many points in the story that I can't help but love, despite the ridiculous teenage drama. 

The movie is far less so.  Obviously, it can't follow the book exactly.  That would have taken three movies worth.  But there were some distinct disappointments when it came to things left out, or reactions in general.

Overall, worth a viewing, but I wouldn't expect it to be the best of the series if you have yet to see it.

Here be the spoilers )

Those were my major reactions, though I'm sure I've forgotten something here or there, but I'd say I've rambled on far long enough.  Overall, not bad.  Just not great like I know it could have been.

Jul. 26th, 2008

Review: Hellboy 2

So...went to Hellboy two a few weeks ago, now, and the review is past-due.  Beyond now, I'm likely to forget too much.

I did enjoy it. It's not the greatest work ever, but it's enjoyable.  The performances are lovely, and you can tell they had fun making the film.  All in all?  I think if you enjoyed the first, you'd like this one.  Not as well-done, perhaps, but there are some distinct moments in it that make it a worthwhile film.

Spoilers past this point.
Spoilery comments )

All in all?  Good film, but not great.  But worth a viewing, at least.

May. 24th, 2008

A loss and Indy 4 review

Let's see...

Robert Asprin died Thursday.  I think I was introduced to him by the graphic novel of Myth Adventures done by Warp Graphics and Phil Foglio in the 80s.  The books are clever and fun, and I really do wish that someone would buy up the rights and make a movie out of the first one.  They seem perfectly suited for movie material.  If you haven't read them and like humor/fantasy, I highly recommend them.

Saw Indy 4 today.  Quiet crowd.  Missed a small bit toward the end cause I had to run to the Ladies, but nothing vital, I think.  Not the best of the series, but at the moment, I do think it's better than Temple.  Raiders, Crusade, Skull, Temple, in that order, I think.  It's not the most brilliant movie ever, but if you go with an open mind, and a love of Indy, it's worth the money and the trip.  There's plenty in the story to make an Indy fan smile.  Will definitely be buying when it comes out on DVD.

Spoilers beneath the cut, and probably in the comments )

I think that's enough, really.  I did enjoy it.  And I wasn't expecting it to be stellar, so I think that helped.  A good film if you like the series.

May. 17th, 2008

Review: Prince Caspian

I has seen the movie, and it is good. 

It didn't leave me wide-eyed or begging for more, but then, this was never my favorite of the books, and really, I barely remembered the storyline. 

As it was, it was very enjoyable, and the performances, effects, and settings were stunning as in the first film.  If you liked the first at all, this is definitely worth going to see as well.

Spoilers behind the cut )

Overall?  Definitely worth seeing again, and absolutely worth buying when it comes out.

May. 3rd, 2008

Movie Review: Iron Man

Long story short: if you like Comic Book movies, this one is a must-see.  Funny and fascinating in turns, and Robert Downy Jr is at his best.  A great action film without being too horribly preachy.

And now for the spoilery bits.
Spoilers behind the cut, and potentially in comments )

All in all, I loved it.  Will definitely be buying this one. :D

ETA: Don't leave until the credits are over!

Preview reactions, while I'm at it:
Possibly spoilery comments for several upcoming summer flicks )

Apr. 16th, 2008

What I did while IJ was down:


It's a social movie review site. You keep lists of all the movies you've rated. If anyone wants to friend me there, feel free. I've nearly got 400 movies rated so far.

Feb. 16th, 2008

State of the Elf

Daily Deviant fic done.  Haven't even thought about next month's, but I'm totally focusing on HD Cup fic for now.  Don't even have 1000 words yet, but I will beat the two of them (okay, Draco) into submission if its the last thing I do. :P

Saw Across the Universe.  Hubby bought it before we'd seen it, which isn't something we do often, but we'd both wanted to see it.  I'm a huge Beatles fan, and so I was very excited to see what they'd done.  It's amazing.  If you like them, or the period, find a copy and watch.  There are flaws, yes, and it's definitely not for everyone, but it is very well-done.

Rab has been very loud of late.  I'd say unnacountably, but I know exactly why.  His brother and his son.  He's just about to pop, and he's drowning out even Draco a lot of the time.  It's...creepy.  He is not a nice person.  At all.  And if anyone needs proof I can do dark...  Just let me know.  I'll post about his little outing in my head last night. :P  *shudders*

[info]snapesgirl  - got the package.  They're gorgeous. :D  Thank you. *snugs*

I want some memes to play, though I really should be writing.  Anyone have any good fannish-style memes?  Preferrably character-based?

Feb. 4th, 2008

Life update

1. Just spent four days with my sister down in Northern California.  Plane trip down was a bit odd--got the wrong tickets.  I usually go to San Jose instead of San Fran, but we weren't paying enough attention so I went to SF.  Except that they were having weather issues that day, and so we were delayed for quite a while, and then eventually re-routed to Oakland.  It was interesting.  But the trip itself was nice.  Not someone who tends to go out and do lots of things, but we actually had a very eventful visit.  We went to the San Fran Genealogy library and spent several hours there, though we found nothing either for our family or her husband's family.  We did find interesting trees that connected to his online, though.  All sorts of interesting tidbits.  Watched all of the first season of Project Runway, which I hadn't seen.  It was interesting to see how it evolved throughout that first season.  Did a bit of shopping, played video games--DS and Wii, and even a bit of PS3, and yesterday we went to see 27 Dresses.  I quite liked it, actually.  And we saw two interesting previews that I'm interested to see: Miss Pettigrew's Day Out, and The Accidental Husband.  They both look intriguingly different. 

2. Wrote another Malcest fic for [info]pornish_pixies's Magical Device challenge.  Will be posting it here tomorrow, I think. 
2b. On a related note...I've been invited to join [info]pornish_pixies, so you will be seeing more of that sort from me, I think. :D

3. Other writing: Starting over from scratch on my [info]daily_deviant fic, but I think it will be better for it.  And I have a bunny for my [info]hd_cup fic, so as soon as the one is finished, I'll be starting the second.  I'm hoping to get that done before the end of the month so that I can start the next D_D fic before the 1st.

4. Still haven't done my review of Sweeney Todd.  I did enjoy it.  Wasn't everything it could be, but I did enjoy Johnny Depp.  I think it's another example of just how versitile he is.

5. Job stuff--might be getting a permanent job soon.  More on that if it happens. :)

6. Caught up on flists for the night, but not on reading things I've tabbed from the list, so if you have something you'd like me to comment on/read/etc, feel free to link me here, and I'll get back to it tomorrow.

*snugs* Missed you all!

Aug. 25th, 2007

First-ever Theatre reveiw: Young Frankenstein

I love living in Seattle, and one of the reasons is because we have one of the best theatre communities in the US.  Unfortunately, it also means we don't get most Broadway shows until years later, if at all.  Except for a very rare once in a while when they decide to preview shows here.  It happened most notibly once before when they previewed Hairspray here.  This time, the show coincided with a time close enough to mine and my husband's birthdays that my parents decided to treat us to lunch and a show.

The show itself was wonderful, and I look forward to hearing how it fares on Broadway.  I think it translated much better than the Producers, really.  The young man playing Frederick Frankenstein did an excellent job, and though we didn't get to see Andrea Martin as Frau Blucher, I did think that Megan Mullally did an excellent job as Elizabeth.  As for Igor?  There may have been moments where he was channeling Marty Feldman, he did make the role all his own by the end of the show.

The big showstopper is excellent, and though my husband said it went on a bit too long, I thought they did it just right.  After all, it just wouldn't be Young Frankenstein without Putting on the Ritz.  One warning to those who have problems with it, though: there are strobelights and lots of flashing during the latter half of the number, and a great deal of lightning as well.

All in all?  If I get a chance, I'll probably go again.  I highly recommend it to those who are fans.

Aug. 12th, 2007

Review time! Stardust

My first movie review on IJ. 

And a good one, too.  For those of you who don't know, yet, I'm a huge fairy tale nut.  Stardust is the sort of story that manages to catch every bit of that love and throw it back to me.  Gaiman is a genius.  The plot is light and silly, but at the same time, manages to catch every bit of the wonder that makes the Grimm tales so enticing.  In a way that movies like Ladyhawke and The Brothers Grimm do not.

I highly recommend it.

Spoiler details under the cut )

My overall impression?  Excellent movie.  We'll be buying it as soon as we can.  Go see it.

Jul. 14th, 2007

Review: Order of the Phoenix

Overall?  Seen it twice, now, and I do love it.  It’s not my favorite movie, though it might be above COS on the list.  Which I guess makes it my second-favorite of the series… :D  I’m not sure if it’s because I liked this book better than GOF, or if it’s in the direction, or what, but I definitely enjoyed it more.

The thing that really did it for me was the fact that this one actually felt like it belonged with the first three, unlike Goblet, which was too different from the others.  Even with the darkness of the film, it just worked.  I loved so much more about it than I was able to with Goblet.  It might be that I just didn’t like that story, and this one is much more in my interest-zone HP-wise.

Spoilers behind the cut )

All in all?  This movie has left me with a lot of need to go and write my own personal canon for like, my top ten characters, or something, because I know some of it is me reading into the text, and some is just straight from my own wishes for them, but I’ve never wanted to do so more than now.  Like Snape—that nickname—you know it came from Sirius and/or James calling him that on the first ride to Hogwarts because he was crying about being away from his mother for the first time, right?  Or how Black Manor (Grimmauld Place) was there before the Muggles were?  Yeah, okay…  Maybe once I’ve done Drusilla’s bday fic.

All in all?  Good movie.  I do recommend it.  More than GOF.

Jul. 2nd, 2007

Movie review:

I don't like horror films, but these days, most thrillers tend to be packaged as horror films, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the commercials for the Prestige when it first came out. I didn't get to see it then. Too much going on, and more important movies to see when I did go to the theatre.

I have to say, after waiting so long, I'm glad I didn't. I'm very underwhelmed by it.

possible spoilers under the cut )

All in all, a vaguely interesting story if you're into stage magicians, or are fond of the actors involved, but not at all what it could have been, given the right attention.

Also, if you want to and haven't, feel free to vote in my poll about which movie I should review next.

Jun. 18th, 2007

Update of doom

I just seem to be so distracted these days, I rarely seem to post anything but fic or memes.  So a list of my life of late:

* On Spoilers!  I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again.  I don't want to be spoiled.  Please, please, please!  Put stuff under a cut for those of us who want to actually read the book without prior knowledge?  Thanks.

many many many other things behind the cut, to save my flist from teh ginormous post of doom )

And I think I'll stop there.  And maybe try to post more often? :P  Hope everyone is having a good day.