Friday, April 4, 2014

A Love Letter to the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Dear Marvel Studios, Disney, Kevin Feige, et al.,

I just got back from a viewing of Captain America: Winter Soldier and I would just like to take a moment to thank you for your devotion to good story telling.

You and I had a bumpy beginning. You selling the movie rights of pretty much all of your characters, and me not loving anything the individual studios put out. X-Men and X-2 weren't terrible, but my expectations of anything related to my favorite super hero team are going to be way too high. And I get that wasn't you. You had very little (if any) creative control, but I'm still sad you gave them up in the first place. You wouldn't have let Halle Berry play Storm and wear that ridiculous wig.

Come on. Ororo is way cooler than that.

But I'm getting off topic. Because I know that wasn't you.

You wised up about ten years ago. You were starting to get a lot of your characters back and you promptly made Iron Man.

Seriously, remember how freaking awesome that movie was? Now, I had been a big fan of all the Batman movies up to that point because I'm a big fan of Batman, but this was hands down my favorite super hero movie when I saw it. I like a little comedy in my movies.

We'll gloss over Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 because you were still getting your feet wet with the former, and the latter you made so quickly because you were not expecting its predecessor to be so wildly popular. But now you know, you don't start filming before the script is done, nor do you make the main character go through the exact same arc. Even Sam Rockwell can't save you from that.

But even then, you were concocting a plan. A plan to introduce more super heroes that no one knew (because those were the ones you had rights to) and build up to a movie that brought them all together. It was unheard of. People said it couldn't be done. But you gave the finger to all those nay-sayers and gave us two solid (well, at least one solid and one sufferer of a low budget) movies in Captain America and Thor. "What is to be next?" we all wondered.

No, in my opinion, this is when you really showed your colors.

You hired my very favorite Hollywood person to write and direct Avengers

It was a risk. You knew that. He had created one very successful show, one moderately successful show, and several unsuccessful shows ("success" meaning viewership and longevity. They were all great shows). As for film, he had directed exactly one fan-service movie at that point. That's all you had to go off of. That and his phenomenal writing and obsession with comic books. But from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Joss Whedon is a household name now and he finally has that blank check to make whatever he wants (after Phase Three is complete, anyway).  

In fact, he did such a good job that you put him in charge of Phases Two and Three in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as the writing and directing of Avengers 2 and 3

Phase 2 began with a bang from Iron Man 3, with Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier on its heels. 

But why stop there? You had successfully tied in four separate films with four huge characters. Why not turn to another medium in television? You decided to start planning series on Netfilx for characters like Jessica Jones and Daredevil, eventually making a Defenders miniseries, not to mention the Peggy Carter series for ABC, just because she is so awesome.  

And there was still more you could do! Thor is from another planet, why not bring other extra-terrestrials into the mix with Guardians of the Galaxy? And then tie those characters in with the Avengers and make Avengers 3 all about the Infinity Gauntlet?! 

I'm sure you'll kill off Iron Man at that point, but that won't be the end, will it? You'll replace him with someone like Black Panther (I'd prefer to see him sooner rather than later) and keep the members of the Avengers team changing as it does in the comics. Sure this will create a need to introduce a lot of characters, which require a lot of trilogies, but you've found a solution for that too, haven't you? One Marvel movie every quarter. Each season a new movie, forever tying in to the overall story. Just the way a comic book does. 

It's a beautiful formula. And, as my friend rightly points out, adding to this perfect storm is the huge success of female centric films like Hunger Games and Frozen right around the time you started toying with the idea of movies for characters like Black Widow and Captain Marvel. I think you've finally realized that there is a huge desire for female centric films among the movie going population and those movies won't be a big gamble as long as you pick a great creative team. 

And you're killing it in that department. 

With love and admiration (along with the hopes of continued success and lots of kick-ass ladies), 



Friday, February 21, 2014

The Most Anticipated Film of 2014

There are plenty of movies I am truly excited for this year. Winter Soldier, GodzillaGuardians of the GalaxyMockingjay... 

But nothing, not even watching badass ladies kicking butt on the big screen in at least three of those films, is getting me more excited than this:

Sorry for the quality of this video, but it really is the best promo/introduction to the show I could find. It's the Comic-Con promo for season 2 and just sums up the show so perfectly.

That's right, folks. Kristen Bell et al. are at it again.

This is one of my favorite scenes from the show and it just goes to show you how freaking awesome Veronica Mars is. Both the character and the show. 

So let me brief you on this little gem in case you haven't had the good fortune to come across one of my all time favorite TV shows. Veronica Mars is the story of the teenage girl I wanted to be. She's sarcastic, witty, harsh, lovable, and all sorts of crazy smart. High school student by day, private investigator by night. She solves all sorts of mysteries from dog napping to murders and it's freaking amazing. 

Veronica Mars was tragically cancelled before its time. Season three ended with her freshman year of college and season four was supposed to pick up with her several years later fresh out of Quantico. You can watch what they made here: 

and here: 

Sigh... what could have been. An FBI show with Veronica Mars? Who would say no to that?! (I'm looking at you, WB/CW/whatever it was in 2007)

Anyway, for years the stars and creators of the show wanted to do a movie and for years Warner Brother's turned them down. Finally, an agreement was reached. From what I understand, creator Rob Thomas took the idea to do a Kickstarter campaign to Warner Brother's because they wouldn't give him the money to make a movie. They told him if he raised the money, they would promote the film. The goal was $2 million and they raised that within the first day (aided by yours truly). Total came to about $5.7 million.

They filmed, they gave out t-shirts, then there was the first footage at Comic-Con. Being in geek Mecca was exciting enough, but to be there in Hall H with the rest of the cast... it was pure magic. 


And then they came out with an actual trailer. 

And then they listed where the movie would be shown. Only a select few AMC theaters were chosen, and the one AMC theater in Utah was on the list. Then there was a big mix up and the AMC theater wasn't showing the movie and a bunch of angry Utah fans (including yours truly) borderline trolled AMC's twitter and later that day I purchased my ticket. Don't underestimate the power of angry fans on twitter.

I am currently re-watching the series and I have about as many episodes left to watch as I have days left to watch them. If you haven't watched it yet, it's streaming on Amazon Prime or you can borrow the DVDs from me. I still don't have the third season because it wasn't my favorite, but I'll have to buy it now with a movie continuing the story so I'll have it for you shortly.

The anticipation is mounting. Will Veronica get back into the PI business? Will she dump the lovable and steady Piz for the passionate and unstable Logan? Will she realize that solving crimes is what she was meant to do and pursue a spot at Quantico and make my season four dreams come true?

Only three more weeks until I find out.

P.S. I never could get enough of Dick.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Movies to Watch for VD

I'm laughing like an idiot right now, by the way. That title is freaking hilarious.

Still laughing. One second...

Okay, I'm good.

So last year I saw a post on one of my favorite websites (The Mary Sue) that went through romanceless movies to watch on Valentine's Day. I thought, "what a fun idea!" I started writing my own post, then got bored because I realized how little I care about Valentine's Day. Yes, being in a relationship has recently made me a little more cheesy than I generally am, but I still don't care about the holiday. Don't hate it, don't love it, I just don't care.

But I wanted to write something this year for several reasons. First, it gave me a reason to make a venereal disease joke and those are almost always funny (unless you have VD, in which case I'm sorry for my poor taste and insensitivity). Second, I'm kind of celebrating the holiday this year (not with my long distance boyfriend, mind you) by ironically enjoying a heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's, unironically enjoying homemade heart shaped sugar cookies (because those are good in any shape), and watching a movie with my sister and brother in law, so I guess I'm in some kind of holiday spirit. And Third, I felt like it.

So here's my list of things to watch on Valentine's Day. All with some sort of love theme, cause why not? I limited it to TV shows and films that I own. I also took my own pictures because I just got an iPad and wanted an excuse to use it. Don't judge the quality of the pictures, because who takes actual photos with their iPad, and don't judge the carpet. I rent, it's surprisingly affordable, and I live by myself. I'm not going to begrudge an ugly carpet.


Because it's one of my favorite Jane Austen films. 


Because Jaye learns a number of lessons - at least two of them have to do with love.

Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

Because love isn't always pure, nor does it end with everyone still alive.

The Importance of Being Earnest

Because duh, Judi Dench!

Pushing Daisies

Because no one tells a good love story like Bryan Fuller and Jim Dale. 

Band of Brothers

Because what stronger bond is there than that formed in battle?

Midnight in Paris

Because even though I have pretty much no respect for Woody Allen as a person, I still like this movie.


Because it's pretty much the best love story ever.


Because the only bond stronger than a man and his dog is a man and his pig.

An Ideal Husband

Because Cate Blanchett is my lady crush. 

Parks and Recreation

Because Leslie Knope invented Galentine's Day.

Pacific Rim

Because not every love story is a romantic love story.


Because I don't care what Rotten Tomatoes says - this movie is hilarious and everyone should watch it.

French Kiss

Because no one can rock a mustache and still be hot like Kevin Kline. 


Because it's one of the funniest movies ever made.

Anything written by Shakespeare (yes, even Henry V)

Because he pretty much invented love.

The Elizabeth Gaskell Collection (Wives and Daughters, Cranford, and North and South)

Because Pride and Prejudice has nothing on these three (except when Darcy gets wet).


Because a love story between an inanimate object and its crew is a beautiful thing.

Jurassic Park

Because too much love for something (especially dinosaurs) can sometimes end badly.

The Cornetto Tilogy

Because it tells the tale of the three greatest bromances of all time.

Silver Linings Playbook

Because it normalizes mental illness and duh, Jennifer Lawrence.

Roman Holiday

Because love is sometimes short-lived.

While You Were Sleeping

Because these mashed potatoes are so creamy.

Best in Show

Because people really love their dogs. 


Because it really will change your life.


Because even though David Bowie has power over me, he has no power over Sarah.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Because we love watch rich people get conned out of their money.

Moonrise Kingdom

Because it's the best love story Wes Anderson has ever told. 

The Philadelphia Story

Because duh, Katherine Hepburn!

Sense and Sensibility

Because this isn't about anything but love.


Because I'm pretty sure this is the only remake I like better than the original.

About a Boy

Because Will really does have a heart and duh, Toni Colette!

Pillow Talk

Because anything with Doris Day and Rock Hudson is a good idea.

Pride and Prejudice

Because Elizabeth is pretty much the coolest Jane Austen character ever.

Anything with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

Because you like to think that it's a trilogy and they both suffer from chronic amnesia but they always find their way back to each other. 

Thoroughly Modern Millie

Because it's probably the greatest musical ever. 

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

Because you'll sit up 30 minutes into the movie and go, WTF?!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Because you don't need an excuse to ever watch this show.

Benny and Joon

Because I used to like Johnny Depp.

Seven Psychopaths

Because at the end of the day, it's just a love story about a man and his dog. 

The Red Curtain Trilogy

Because nothing Baz Luhrmann has done since has even come close to touching these three. 


Because it is the quintessential love story.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Movies of 2013

Remember how last year I wrote about all the movies I saw in 2012? No? Well, it's your lucky day because I'm doing it again for 2013!

Don't worry, I'll only list the movies I saw in the theater. That's only 32 (2 less than last year - I need to up my game!). I know the first few came out in 2012, but I didn't see them until 2013 so I'm still counting them.

1. Quartet

This was a delightful little movie. It combines two of my favorite things - music and Maggie Smith. Oh, three things because Michael Gambon is in it too. It's cute. These four were a singing quartet back in the day and they've all ended up in the same retirement home for musicians. One of the coolest things about this film is that most of the residents are actual musicians. Such a charming film. I think this is one that I'll own.

2. Django Unchained

Now, I thought I saw this soon after it came out, but I didn't list it in my 2012 post, so I guess I saw in early 2013. Loved, loved, loved it. I'll have to watch it next to Inglourious Basterds, but this might be my favorite Tarantino film. Another one I don't own yet, but I totally will.

3. Jack Reacher

I've never read any of the Jack Reacher novels, so I have nothing to compare this to, but I thought it was a fun action flick. With all the crazy stories about Tom Cruise I sometimes forget that I actually do like him as an action star. 

4. Silver Linings Playbook

This was one of my favorite movies of the year even though it came out in 2012 too. I don't know why it took me so long to watch it. Maybe it was before I was truly in love with Jennifer Lawrence. Yes, I think it's weird that they picked two actors with a 15 year age difference to play love interests, but they both were phenomenal and Jennifer Lawrence can seem a lot older than she is when she wants to. Cause she's awesome. But what I loved about this movie was how it normalized mental illness. Everything about this movie was very well done.

5. Mama

I probably wouldn't have seen this if Guillermo del Toro's name wasn't attached. But it was, so I did. It was a decent creepy movie from what I remember. The ending was a little weird, but I often feel like horror movies don't end as well as they could have. If they hadn't shown Mama's face, I think that would have added to the quality, but oh well. What's truly creepy is the footage they used for Mama's inspiration. If I wasn't so lazy I'd find it for you.

6. Warm Bodies

Cute and funny. Although I'll have a hard time seeing Nicholas Hoult as anything but Marcus from About a Boy.

7. The Sapphires

My friend and I wen to the theater to see The Place Beyond the Pines and ended up seeing The Sapphires. I'm sure glad we did. This movie is so freaking good. I'm usually not a fan of the inspirational sports movies, but give me an inspirational music movie and I'll immediately love it. Even if it's not that good. This is not one of those "not that good" ones. Plus, Chris O'Dowd. You really can't go wrong with Chris O'Dowd.

8. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

If you haven't seen this movie yet, do yourself a favor and stay away from it. My friend and I saw it in the dollar theater and felt like we overpaid. And if you thought the 15 year difference in Silver Linings Playbook was hard to swallow, try the 22 year difference between Steve Carrell and Olivia Wilde.

9. Jurassic Park 3D

Let's just get this out of the way, the 3D was terrible. I'm usually not one for 3D generally, but post-conversion is always awful. There was one moment that was cool though, when the raptor jumps up and tries to get Lex as she's being pulled up through the ceiling. At least I think it's Lex. But this movie is worth it cause it's just that good. I remember when it came out. I was 6 and I remember begging my mom to let me see it. She wouldn't for obvious reasons, and I came back with the argument that by the time I was 13 and old enough to see it, it would be black and white. My mother then proceeded to laugh at me and tell me that movies don't turn black and white when they age. This was news to me.

Anyway, I didn't see Jurassic Park until a few years later (my mom didn't make me wait until I was actually 13) and of course I loved it, but I was always a little bummed that I never got to see it in the theater. Enter money making schemes and squeezing the movie going populace for every penny they've got. I was more than willing to give studio suits my money for this one and I was not disappointed.

10. Iron Man 3

A big step up from the second, not as good as the first. Ben Kingsley was of course fantastic. I didn't entirely love it and I don't feel the need to watch it again, but that also could be because I saw it twice opening night.

11. Star Trek Into Darkness

It's an entertaining enough film on the surface. As much as I love Benedict Cumberbatch, white washing Khan was a mistake. As was keeping his identity shrouded in secret. Then again, rebooting the best Star Trek film out there because you reset the universe and you can was the biggest mistake. I'm ready for some originality in my sci-fi again. I was also a giant non-fan of the famous and 100% pointless underwear shot and turning Uhura into a naggy, whiny girlfriend. Sigh... so much potential... 

12. The Great Gatsby

Very Baz Luhrmanny, but not in the Red Curtain Trilogy kind of way. I thought the music was fantastic, the movie itself wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. And I'm pretty much never a fan of Toby McGuire. The film itself leaned toward the forgettable side for me, but then again the book did too. I read it about ten years ago and of course I hated it because it was mandatory reading in high school. I always figured that if I read it again I'd love it, but maybe I just don't like the story. Eh, I'll still read it again to make sure. I probably won't watch it again though. 

13. Fast and Furious 6

I hadn't seen any of the Fast and Furious movies until this past year. Number 6 was about to come out and my friend started making plans for us to go see it. I told him I hadn't seen any of the others and I remember him being pretty surprised. I thought, why? What would possibly draw me to a movie like this? Well, turns out a whole lot of ridiculous fun. My friend had me watch the fifth one before we saw the sixth (it may have been the other way around) and I watched Tokyo Drift a few weeks after that. Still haven't seen one, two, or four, but I really did enjoy the ones that I saw. Especially five and six. It seems like they just keep getting better because they take themselves less and less seriously and I'm very much looking forward to number seven. Poor Paul Walker... 

14. Now You See Me

I thought this movie was fun. The love story between Mark Ruffalo and Melanie Laurent was not even a little bit believable, but it was entertaining other than that. And that twist at the end...

15. The Kings of Summer

This may be my pick for most understated movie of the year. I LOVED it so, so much. It was witty, charming, heartwarming... everything a coming of age film should be. This is another one that I will own and one that everyone should watch. 

16. This is the End

This is one of those movies that made me laugh till it hurt when I saw it, but I really didn't want to see it again. Not that I'd be against it, I just to have the desire. It's hilarious, but the type of hilarious you only watch once every few years. 

17. Man of Steel

Often when I see a movie in the theater, I love it. I don't over analyze, I leave my hangups at the door, and I thoroughly enjoy a movie. Then the further removed I become from that initial experience, the less I like it. Like The Hobbit. This was the case with Man of Steel. Coming out of the theater I had enjoyed it a lot. It was big, loud, and had two decently written (for the most part) women. I didn't even care that Superman killed General Zod cause I really never cared about Superman anyway so I didn't feel the betrayal some fans did. But then I thought about it and realized that this movie didn't make me care about Superman. I wasn't connected to him as a character. There were all sorts of fun plot holes and the property damage to Metropolis and Smallville was astounding. Probably worse than any Michael Bay movie. And then there was the product placement. Really, could you have been more obvious with the Sears and IHOP? It was distracting in the movie. That's how bad it was. I'm sure I'll watch it again. I won't hate it, I won't love it. It's a very meh movie to me. 

18. The Heat

This one was the opposite of Man of Steel. Upon my first viewing I thought, yeah, that was good. But the more I watch it the more I love it. I think I was expecting Bridesmaids caliber and I shouldn't have. Once I realized that I liked it a lot more. 

19. The Way Way Back

Sam Rockwell. Need I say more? 

20. Pacific Rim

Monsters and robots and aliens and giant walls and ocean fights and boats used as clubs and surprise swords and Idris Elba and Charlie Day and giant hand to hand combat and loud noises and neon blood and neon guts and a male/female relationship that doesn't end in romance and blue hair and inspirational speeches and mind syncing and Guillermo del Toro and- and- and... 

What's not to love? 

21. The Conjuring

Up until a couple of years ago I would tell you that I don't like horror movies. Any of them. They were either too bloody with the torture porn or not scary. Then I started watching good horror movies. It's still not my favorite genre, but I do like a good haunted house film. And this is a good haunted house film. Just the right amount of creepy, enough to make it a bad idea for me to go see it by myself...

22. The World's End

Also on the list for my favorite movie of the year and hands down the very best theater experience I have ever had. Mainly because I got to sit three seats away from Bill Paxton, four seats away from Simon Pegg, and kiddy corner from Nathan Fillion with a Q&A by Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, and Nick Frost after the movie (a tale I relate here along with many other fantastic experiences at my first San Diego Comic Con). Not to say this movie isn't fantastic in it's own right, because it is. It absolutely is. I'll have a Cornetto Trilogy marathon one of these days to see for sure, but this one might be my favorite. Or should I say, favourite? (Sara, I'm laughing at this while I picture you laughing at it too).

23. The Wolverine

I didn't see the first movie. While many of the X-Men are some of my favorite superheros, I don't do well with the movies that Fox has put out. This one wasn't too bad. It was pretty entertaining for the most part. Except the third act. It goes way down hill to the point of ridiculous.

24. Blue Jasmine 

I had no idea what this movie was about going into it. All I knew was it starred Cate Blanchett and was directed by Woody Allen and that was enough for me. To be honest, Cate Blanchett would have been enough for me. I was not disappointed. This was a fantastic movie and surprising too as far as the story and the subject matter. I loved watching her progress and regress and I just sat through it wondering what it would be like in the mind of someone with narcissistic personality disorder (cause even if Woody Allen didn't think specifically of that, she totally has it) who has a mental breakdown. It was so great.

25. 2 Guns

I suppose I'm too used to buddy cop comedies cause that's totally what I expected here. I don't know why. What kind of comedy will it be with Denzel Washington? I really didn't enjoy this one.

26. Elysium

This is one of those movies that I don't have much to say about. It was entertaining. Not great, but not bad. Probably won't watch it again.

27. Gravity

This, on the other hand, I can't say enough good things. God bless you, Alfonso Cuaron. Fun fact: Ryan's character was written as a woman, but the studio wanted to change her character to a man because they didn't think a female lead would make them money. Isn't sexism hilarious?

Sandra Bullock was fantastic  in this film and her ability to act so well while basically in a box surrounded by light and a camera 6 inches away from her face is extraordinary.

This movie was so great. Probably the most anxious I've felt in years. If you haven't seen in yet, fix that. To the studio who made it - please release this every couple of years in IMAX so I can watch it all the time and give you more money. To the studio who passed on it - stop being a dick.

28. Captain Phillips

I liked this movie a little less after I found out that the real Captain Phillips is kind of a douche bag, but I was really impressed with Barkhad Abdi's performance as Muse.

29. Thor: The Dark World

My next blog post might be about why I hate this poster.

I liked this one a lot more than the first. Still not my ideal superhero movie, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. I know some people gripe about them changing Jane Foster's profession, but I love it. And Sif needs her own movie. So does Heimdall. Loki doesn't though. Not because it wouldn't be a fantastic movie (cause it would), but because the Loki fandom does not need any more fuel added to their fire. I love Tom Hiddleston as much as the next sane person, but let's take a deep breath...

30. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I loved this move a lot. So much that I saw it three times in the theater. Okay, maybe three was a bit much, but it was the holidays and I saw it once on my own opening weekend (because I'm that person), once with my family, and once with my boyfriend's family (now, we haven't had that DTR yet, but we've been seeing each other for... maybe 5ish months now and I'm too lazy to say "the family of the guy I've been seeing for 5 months." I say this in the off chance he reads this and freaks out).

Anyway, Catching Fire. And yeah, I know I'm not italicizing any of these movie titles. Again, lazy. But this is yet again proof that a female lead can draw in big audiences and big money. Someday studios will realize that, but until then (and I do think it's going to take a long time, probably until we see more Kathleen Kennedeys higher up even than her) we'll have to deal with a movie like this once or twice a year and a plethora of testosterone filled, mindless action movies with sexy eye candy. I'll just keep watching movies like Hunger Games and Gravity.

31. Anchor Man 2

Very funny movie. Not as funny as the first, but still very funny. Also, I want more Christina Applegate in my life. It's a shame Up All Night got bad and everyone left.

32. American Hustle

This movie was so good. Clever, witty, fantastic cast, and thoroughly entertaining. It's amazing how well Jennifer Lawrence holds her own among some amazing and established actors. Now, I don't want to compare her to Judi Dench or Meryl Streep just yet, but if she keeps going this way, I will.

Welp, that's it. I only saw 32 movies in 2013 for an average of 2.6 a month. It's my 2014 resolution to break that record. You'd think that one movie a week wouldn't be hard, but there were months at a time that I didn't want to see anything, not even in the indie theater. Although I'm sure if I saw those movies I would have been entertained. I'll work on it.

33. Identity Thief

I forgot to include this one. I forgot about it because it was just that bad. I love Jason Bateman and I love Melissa McCarthy, but I hated this movie.

34. Much Ado About Nothing

Good grief, I suck. This movie did not suck but I still forgot to include it. I think the list of movies I was using to go off of kind of sucked. This was a fantastic adaptation of my favorite Shakespeare comedy. And I think it made up for the fact that Fred and Wesley never really got together a little :)

35. In a World

Okay, this is just getting out of hand. I loved this movie. In fact, I don't know why I don't own it yet. I'll fix that in just a second. I've been slowly discovering Lake Bell this year, and after this movie I decided she's one of my favorite people in Hollywood. The movie was great, had a lot of fantastic things to say, and it kept me laughing. I'm sure I cried a little too.

Okay, that's really it. And look! I broke my record from last year! Unless there were others I forgot about last year... reming me not to use Wikipedia when I do this for the 2014 films.