Friday, March 29, 2013

Eragon

The cast of Eragon
I want to say two things first. One, I have not read ANY of the Eragon books. So please forgive any mistakes, misinterpretations and such for those who have. Second, I usually watch a film twice to gather my thoughts and criticisms. I have not done this either for this film because the utter badness of this movie is clear after just one viewing at 6 AM after I failed in falling asleep again.
So, on we go!
Eragon is a film based on the popular book series of the same name. The series is well liked by it's fans and I am sure that a film was widely anticipated. With a cast like Jeremy Irons, Chris Egan, Rachel Weisz, and of course Robert Carlyle, it seems quite a bit of talent was put into it.
So where did they go wrong? Perhaps it was in the hiring of Peter Buchman, writer of Jurassic Park III. Really, guys? You got the writer who actually had to script the words 'the raptor broke his neck and moved on to his next target' (Yes, I'm paraphrasing, but that was a bullshit movie altogether!). And trust me that isn't the only problem.
So enough about the behind the scenes, what about the actual film??
We start on a narration about how dragon riders used to rule the land in peace before one of them became a power hungry dick and killed the rest. Now, this narration is my first problem. Yes, it is necessary for us to know about the land's past, but do we really need to hear from the narrator that a woman stole a stone and is running for her life? Do we need to hear that a boy is going out hunting? Isn't the rule of filming SHOW DON'T TELL???
Anyway, yes a young girl, Arya, played by Sienna Guillory, stole a stone from the king (How? We don't know? One would think the king would protect such a stone a bit more!) and is now running from the king's shade/sorcerer Durza (played by Robert Carlyle). He finds her and asks for the stone back, but she trasports it elsewhere. It seems Durza kills her for that.
The stone appears in front of our protagonist, Eragon, while he is hunting a deer. Suddenly said deer erupts into light and is pretty much transformed into the stone! That is some transportation spell! What if Eragon was talking to his girlfriend at the time? That would be the biggest cock block! "Yea, I was just about to totally bone my girlfriend.....but then she turned into a stone!"
Run, girl, run!
Eragon takes the stone and in the midst of his brother (okay, his uncle's son, but he lives with his uncle so it's close enough!) leaving town to avoid being drafted to the army and Durza questioning the not dead Arya for the location of the stone while the king questions him about finding the stone, it turns out the stone is an egg! It hatches into a small dragon before Eragon's eyes and he keeps it a secret as he takes care of it.
One night he overhears Brom (Jeremy Irons) talking about the days of the dragon riders and how one day they will return. Eragon wishes to hear more, but Brom, at first eager to piss off any of the king's men, is now scared to talk about it and sends Eragon off.
Eragon teaches his dragon to fly and she very quickly grows up from the size of a medium sized dog to a full dragon, big enough to carry Eragon. I'm not sure how or if this is explained in the book, but I found it ridiculous!
After this growth spurt the dragon can now speak to Eragon through a psychic link they have as she has chosen Eragon to be her rider. (At this moment I thought of another book I began reading a while back called The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey) The dragon is voiced by Rachael Weisz and is named Saphira. Not to bum out any of the fans of the books, but that is quite the imaginative name for a BLUE dragon!
So, anyone with know how of dragons can feel the birth of the dragon and now Durza is after the boy with a small army of magical golems. They attack the town Eragon is in and he and Brom run away. With the help of Saphira they begin to travel to Varden (the home of the rebels who fight against the king). On the way we find that dragon riders are also users of magic, able to control the elements to which they know the elvish name to.
Jeremy Irons, in another dragon movie, but now he's a good guy and not as entertaining!
They ride on and after another attack we learn that Brom used to be a dragon rider, but his dragon was killed. Apparently when dragons are killed the rider lives on, but if the rider is killed the dragon dies as well. Of the things wrong with this film so far, I liked the workings between dragon and rider.
One night on the ride Eragon has a dream, sent by Durza that the girl of his dreams (no, really, he's been having dreams about her) Arya is being held at a castle. Eager to prove himself he rides Saphira to the castle to rescue the girl who turns out to be a princess of the revolution. He does rescue her, even survives a bout with Durza, but Brom is killed.
They make it to Varden (leading Durza's soldiers to it!) and make ready for battle.
They fight the king's army and Durza. Durza creates a smoke-like dragon to battle Saphira and Eragon. Saphira is wounded, but Eragon is able to pierce Durza in the heart, killing him. (He turns to ash like a Buffy vampire dusting!)
Eragon wakes up, says goodbye to his girlfriend as she returns to her kingdom and flies off. The end.

This film is clocked at little under an hour and 45 minutes but it feels like so much less than that. I know that can be a blessing with a bad film, but not in this case. The story seems so rushed and the events happen one after another, faster than they should.
Isn't this a move in one of the Zelda games?
One example is the connection between Eragon and Saphira. It is built up throught the film, that the stronger Eragon gets, the more in tune he will be with his dragon. Okay, so he raises it, gets to know it better as it grows and that is how their bond is stronger, right? Nope, the dragon grows in thirty seconds when it learns to fly, who knew dragons were solar powered like Superman?? So they grow together through time as Eragon learns to fight for the rebellion before they are found by Durza or another army of the king? Nope, they get found as soon as Eragon shows up and he is put in armor and magically knows how to fight (yes, we saw him being taught by Brom ONCE and he sucked!). The connection is made just by Eragon saying it is and it just seems unlikely that suddenly they are one.
Now the other characters are good. Saphira has her own personality and quirks. She is strong, cautious and will protect Eragon with her life. Rachael Weisz is the perfect voice for her even though towards the end she is mostly doing grunts and cries much like one of the characters in a Mortal Combat game. I would also have liked to see more of Arya as well. There are a lot of characters in this series that deserved more time in the film.
Half of this film is character development and the other half is a long drawn out battle with a predictable ending.  I think this is the book that could have been divided to two or three movies like The Hobbit is now. The first could be more about Eragon's training, his acceptance of his new role as the savior of the land, and his gaining strength to be one with his dragon, getting ready for the fight.
How they did it here is rushed and forgettable.
So what about the reason I saw this film?
I have the ability to forget about an actors past and future works when I see them in something new (ex: I do not see John C. McGinley as Dr. Cox all the time), but I was able to see many similarities between Durza and Rumplestiltskin. They are both magic users with bad nails and long hair (though Durza's is longer and red while Rumple's is green-ish and a bit shorter).
There are two things I wish to talk about regarding Durza. The first is his makeup! For most of the film he looks pretty good. Red hair, a few markings on his face and claws dyed black, but when gearing up for the final battle he looks like a meth addict! He is pale and his teeth look like they are going to fall out of his head! I guess we could blame this on finally seeing him in full light, though. (Note: I did watch the film again and noticed that Durza's teeth are normal for most of the film)
See that sword? NEVER USED!
The other is the slight homosexual undertones that I noticed. Now, I don't usually see these! Maybe it's that I've grown up or maybe they were just that obvious. The first time I noticed is when Eragon comes to Durza's castle we see a bunch of boys being led in with no shirts on. The first thought through my head was 'Now, why would a powerful wizard who can make creatures with a thought need shirtless boys to do his work? Let's think!' The other time was towards then end of the film when Durza gives a speech to his army to gear them up for the battle (this is where he begins to look like the love child of a zombie and that mug shot of Gary Busey!) Durza tells his army "the boy is mine" and what is the next shot we get? Eragon shirtless washing up! I don't know maybe it's just me!
One other small thing I have with Durza is that he has a pretty bad ass sword that WE NEVER SEE HIM USE!! Yes, he sword fights a bit on his smoke cloud towards the end, but even then he summons a blade from thin air when there is a fine sword hanging at his side!! I found a character summary on him which states that he is skilled in sword fighting and that is something I wanted to see. Instead we get another dark wizard who uses little else but magic!
This is not to say that his performance is bad, but this just seems like an inbetween job that he needed for the paycheck. He spends the movies looking like crap and spouting seemingly unintelligible words, but he is just that good of an actor that he still gives it his all.
As a fashion designer I must mention the costumes in this movies, albeit briefly. The costumes look amazing and a lot of thought was put into them. The inspiration was defiantly dragon (a lot of metal scales used) and it looks great, keeping with tales of magic and knights while changing it a bit to be part of another world. One problem I have is this:
Check out this awesome costume:


Cool dress, right? Now Check this out:

That, ladies and gentleman (if you can't see it sorry for the crap pic) looks like a zipper to me! This costume was on it's way to a dress I wanted to make but this ruined the illusion for me that this was a film set in something similar to medieval times. You want to put a zipper in a dress to make it easier to put on? Fine, but hide it more or something. I have seen dresses in movies like this where I have asked "How do they get her in that?" because I do not see anything like a zipper or lacing in the back or sides. I'd rather be asking that question than see this! But that's just me!

Word of advice, skip the movie, read the book. I always say the book is better and in this case it is more true than most!

Oh! P.S, Making us believe one of the characters is dead when they aren't is ok once, maybe! NOT FIVE TIMES IN ONE MOVIE!!!
demotivational poster ERAGON

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A review of "Otto; or Up With Dead People"


NERD NOSTALGIA: A review of “Otto; or Up with Dead People”
By: A. Aleister Sirrat

     I’d like to dedicate this film review to my former college roommates, Grant.  In the two years we shared a dorm room we had a lot of good times.  Sometimes he would even join in our movie nights, but the one question he’d always ask me about the film we were watching was: “is there any gay sex in it?” To which I always would reply no.  However this week I have decided to review something with that specific subject matter.  I recently saw this film for the first time, and I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  With a story that’s so bizarre and characters that are just as bizarre I found it almost impossible to not enjoy this film.       
The film I’m talking about is “Otto; or Up with Dead People” and even though it’s a German film, it was filmed entirely in English...very poorly spoken English.  So the film is actually a film within a film (SPOILERS!).  The film has two main perspectives. One perspective is that of our main character, a young Zombie boy named Otto.  Otto is a zombie—well at least he claims he is—and his story focuses on him and the difficulties he has being a zombie in society.  The other perspective in the film is told through the ideas of a Goth Film Director known as Medea.  Medea is in the middle of her Magnus Opus film about the Gay Zombie Revolution entitled “Up with the Dead”.  She recruits Otto to be an actor in his film because she admires his dedication to the zombie role.  But is Otto really a hardcore LARPER or he’s an actual zombie?                           
Zombie Maybe?
    Part of the fun of this film is we never really discover whether or not Otto is a Zombie or whether he just pretends to be one.  The film gives you evidence that could support either.  Otto dresses like a zombie, walks like a zombie, and even eats dead animals that he finds in the road in order to survive.  He doesn’t bathe and he never sleeps (at least we never see him sleep).  There’s a part in the film where he follows two men to a gay club called “Flesh” because he thinks they’re both zombies, but they’re not; it’s just zombie-themed night at the club.  Outside the club he meets a man who invites him back to his apartment where the two have sex.  The next morning we see Otto sitting up in the man’s bed and there is blood EVERYWHERE.  We are left to believe that Otto killed the other man during their sexual encounter. That is until he sits up in his bed and tells Otto that he’s “kinky” and asks to see him again.  So that’s one thing would suggest that Otto is a real zombie.   
    Another interesting part of Otto’s character is he can’t remember anything before becoming a zombie.  As the film progresses we see Otto begin to remember some faded memories of an ex-boyfriend (who he meets up with towards the end of the film).  Otto’s ex-boyfriend talks to him about how sad he was when Otto’s parents sent him off to a mental hospital, and how he’s not the same person anymore. What he says does make sense though because according to the ex, Otto used to be a vegetarian and like to read when they were together, and Otto tells him that he doesn’t do any of the things he used to like to do anymore, which I think could constitute that maybe Otto is suffering from some severe depression and pretends to be a zombie as an outlet.  I personally think that Otto is a real zombie, but I don’t want to spend much more time explaining why.        
Quite the interesting bunch of characters
Another interesting character in the film is Medea.  Medea is a very pretentious filmmaker who recruits Otto for her film on the Gay zombie revolution.  She doesn’t believe Otto is really zombie, but cannot prove that he isn’t.  Medea is also gay, and has a girlfriend named Hella Bent.  Whenever Hella appears on screen she’s always in black & white and her dialogue is always muted.  She appears as a silent movie character in the film.  She is the only character that appears this way in the film and it’s never explained why she is like this, and you know what, I like it!  Her character is really hard to explain—you’d really have to see the film to get a better understanding—but yeah Hella is such a cool and creative character that I can’t help but love her.  She seems so out of place and it’s never explained why and she’s just so awesome.    
Quite The Contrast of Colors
    This film does a number of good things and bad things.  I’ll explain the good things first.  One thing I like about the film is its use of contrasting colors.  Some scenes are entirely done in black and white and other scenes use bright and vivid colors.  It wasn’t until the last half-hour of the film that I realized that whenever something was show in black & white was because it was part of the movie Medea was making, “Up with Dead People”.  Whenever a scene is filmed in color it’s the real world/real time.  Another interesting use of the color is that Otto only sees in pink.  It’s not explained why, but he just sees everything in the color pink, and again I have no problem whatsoever that this has no explanation. I just feel it adds to the curiousness and the mystery of the film.   
Some thing’s I don’t like about this film are the sound.  Most of the background noise isn’t music but rather radio static.  Again, no rhyme or reason, it just appears throughout the film and I will admit it does get annoying at points.  Most of the actors are German and they all sound like they’re reading they’re English lines off of cue cards in the film and they all sound terribly and unprofessional.  I can forgive Jey Crisfar, the actor who played Otto, because he’s supposed to be a zombie, so it would make sense that his speech is kind of slow or drawn out, but as for the rest of the cast it’s a real distraction.  The acting was by far the worst part of this film.  I think it should have been filmed either entirely in German with English subtitles added to the bottom, or the film company should have hired actors who can speak English professionally.                  
So what?  Are we supposed to be phased by this???
    Now we get to the big deal of the film; the gay sex scenes.  There are four scenes depicting gay sex in the film (two of them were used for Medea’s film), and you know what it wasn’t all that hard to sit through.  The last 15 minutes of the film are mostly men-on-men.  There’s an orgy scene that was a part of Medea’s film, and that was immediately followed by a scene of Otto having sex with Medea’s brother, so it was a little overwhelming at the end, but not unbearable.  If you feel comfortable enough with your sexuality, then you can make it through this film.  I mean, just think of all those topless scenes and scenes of girl-on-girl your wife or girlfriend had to sit through in all those bad 1970’s Horror films that you made her watch.      
Director Bruce Labruce
    This is one film that I did not expect to like, but you know what I more than enjoyed this film.  This film is creative, it’s unique, it’s bizarre, and I think it’s a fantastic film.  It is a film that most people (homophobic bigots excluded) will enjoy.  I must applaud the films writer/director Bruce LaBruce for making a truly phenomenal and enjoyable film.  The film has its faults, but in my eyes the good out ways the bad by a ton, and you know what I think everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) should at least try to see this film at least once.  For those who don’t regret it you will be rewarded with a film that is both ludicrous and creative. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Unloved

And the winner for least words spoken in a single film is.....?

This one is going to be short. The Unloved is a film that Carlyle was in about a young girl who leaves her abusive father to be sent to a foster home where things are not much better.
One thing I want to say is that Carlyle is mesmerizing in this! He is not in it much, but the second he is on screen I just said 'he is going to beat the crap out of his kid!' Something about the atmosphere and they way he carries himself just made if obvious.
Another thing is that this movie is a huge slap in the face.



SPOILERS!!! (highlight to see)





The ending is not a happy one. Throughout the film I was hoping that the child would be able to live with her mother and live happily, but her mother turns out to be an irresponsible bitch who 'just can't' do it!




It is a giant hand that whips you across the head and says 'THIS IS REALITY!! Deal with it!"

That said, it is a film that was meant to tell the story of a child in foster care and how it is not the best of environments  Better than an abusive family, yes, but still not good. It is a wake up call for the system and I'm not even sure if it worked.
It has an artsy feel with what I am sure a spoken word count of less than 500 words. The film is shown through the eyes of a child and there is not a lot of talking, maybe because some people, including me, thought it was not needed.
I'd say skip is but it has such a strong message that it is worth a look, but only if you are not already depressed about something.

28 Weeks Later

See the eyes, remember that!
I recently finished watching 28 Weeks Later after renting it from Amazon. I had heard of it from a friend and while vampires remain my favorite fiendish creature of the night zombies to have a place in my heart, but from what I heard about the 28 films their 'zombies' run. I am one of those fans who do not think that zombies should run. I think it was Simon Pegg (another LIST actor) who said (and I'm paraphrasing) that zombies are the embodiment of death and disease. Sure you could take one down, but soon they are everywhere, shambling behind you, then in front, until soon you are overwhelmed by them and either turned or killed....or both. I like that analogy and hold to it, which is what made me weary when I saw the creatures in 28 Weeks Later.
A friend of mine voiced that the first film 28 Days Later was not a good film (I may watch it just to answer a few questions I have), but he loved it's sequel and I got a chance to see it due to Robert Carlyle's starring role in it.
The film is the second in the series (apologies for being vague or wrong as I have said I haven't seen the first) where some kind of virus known as the 'rage' virus takes hold of Britain and in 28 days it kills most and puts others into hiding. This is 28 weeks later, where the creatures known as 'the infected' have died out and the US army has come in to help rebuild.
The doomed lovers
The film opens with Don (Carlyle) and his wife staying alive in a cottage owned by an old couple along with them and two others. They all sit down to eat dinner when a young boy knocks on their door, begging to be let in. Don lets him in and soon after a horde of infected attack, causing Don to close the door on his wife and run away, leaving her behind.
28 weeks after the virus was released there is a colony called District 1 where Don waits for his children to return from a school trip to Spain (apparently the virus was only in the UK, which I was glad it wasn't the US who were the cause of the apocalypse this time!). They return to him and have a joyous reunion as Don reveals that he has all access to the facility due to him being basically a glorified janitor.
The children miss their home, though and sneak out of the quarantine zone to get a few things from home (I will note that the daughter, Tammy, mostly gets shoes). The boy, Andy, goes upstairs to find his mother, still alive and not one of the infected....mostly.
Back in D1 she is scrubbed off and inspected. It is found that she is infected, but not showing symptoms due to a genetic immunity. The head doctor and the Commander argue about killing her as she is the possible cure for everyone and a carrier (she can infect others through blood of saliva) at the same time.
Just as the Commander heads up to kill her, Don goes to her, using his pass to get through any door. Of course no one is guarding the cure/carrier while her husband and she have a reunion.......and share one last kiss.
Does anyone else want these contacts??
Don quickly succumbs to the virus and becomes a mindless rage machine (the transformation is mostly beating the crap out of yourself with walls and windows which Carlyle did so well he got splitting headaches behind the scenes) and kills his wife. He continues on, biting many other people and releasing the virus again. A Code Red is issued and D1 is shut down while the inhabitants are locked in quarantine areas (which look like dark parking garages). The doctor, Scarlet, finds the kids and takes them, thinking that one of them may have the same immunity as their mother. Andy is separated from them and placed in a Q-zone. Of course this is the one his father breaks into (really those doors aren't thicker? One...just one of these things breaks in with a few bangs to the door! Yes, he didn't even have enough brains left to use his key card, just busts in! And of course everyone is outside looking for infected while no armed soldiers are in the Q-zones!) Like fish in a barrel Don bites a lot more people, spreading the virus. Andy gets away and finds Scarlet and Tammy.
Hawkeye tried guns first! Before budget cuts caused him to go more simple!
They are joined by Doyle, a sniper who almost killed Andy when the order to kill anyone on the street was given played by Jeremy Renner and a few others. They find out that the whole place is going to be burned to the ground by an airstrike. They move their way out of the blast zone. They escape that and walk to where a friend of Doyle was bringing a helicopter. The pilot does not want to lift out five people, though and after killing the infected in one of the coolest ways possible, tells Doyle to make it to a stadium where he will pick him up. Long story short, only the kids make it and they are lifted out of Britain all together.
Eat helicopter blades bitches!
Okay, we may not have started the virus, but the US are not the brightest in this film. The ARMY has a shit hold on the zone that is so bad, two kids were able to get away, they believe that the virus is dead just because reports showed that the last infected died months ago, before they even showed up! Then when they find a new survivor they want to kill her, despite being a possible cure and DON'T EVEN GUARD HER!!! This causes the virus to be released and their plan is to lock people up like sardines in a can with no protection so the infected can multiply and then for those who do escape get killed when it is too hard to differentiate between infected and human! Bombing the place was good, but they still missed a few and then THEY get out to hunt down any one who was lucky enough to escape (like our heros)!
Hi dad! Oh, shit!!!
Another thing I need to bitch about is Carlyle's character. Him as the human loving father is great as the chemistry between him and the kids is evident and his performance is very emotional especially when speaking about his wife (both about her death and reuniting with her). The problem I have is his infected character! They guy is SUPER-DEADMAN!!! This guy evades the US Army (okay given that they are idiots not a huge feat) busts through a door to a Q-Zone, survives the nuking of the place and hunts his kids like a freaking bloodhound until the end of the film! (He find the Zone his sone is in, appears later in the streets, I think he is seen in the field with the helicopter at some point, and finds them AGAIN in the Underground!).
Now, this is not a bash on Carlyle's performance. I love seeing him go nuts and it is a really fun looking job to play a crazed, blood soaked, biting creature for a few months, but every single time it seemed he was dead I just knew he wasn't. I kept saying 'you don't make a guy like this infected if you were going to kill him before the end!' and I was right. I loved it, it just seemed implausible. (I know implausible events in a horror movie, shocker, right?)
Two kids against the world
Aside from those issues the film is good with a few interesting scares and, while not zombies, an interesting creature that is pretty scary. The virus works fast and only takes a moment to take over. One bite and your parents could start wanting YOU for dinner!

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time-you will never watch a Disney movie the same way again
As promised, my first review regarding Robert Carlyle is the show that made me a fan!Now, my knowledge of the show is scattered and here's why:
I started watching the show as the second season was getting started. This was the first time I was home to watch it. I'd been at school when it premiered and I did not even keep tabs on the shows I did watch while I was in college, let alone a new one. But I had heard about it. I saw the pictures online and admired the take on fairy tales and the costumes! As a fashion/costume designer I can appreciate the effort it went into to create such outfits while also portraying the character! Perhaps I'll do another review based solely on that. Anyway, I was watching season 2 while catching up on season one on Netflix. This makes my recollection of the events a bit scattered. Due to this awkward way of viewing on my part, and the fact that season two is ongoing, this review will focus on season one.
The story of Once Upon a Time is that all the fairy tale characters you know: Snow White, Pinocchio, Red Riding Hood, of course Rumplestiltskin and many more all live in the same world, just different kingdoms. So, when all joined to celebrate Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming's (Josh Dallas) marriage, Snow's step-mother, the evil queen (Lana Parrilla) appears and threatens to release the curse to end all curses, to end the happy endings and rip all the happiness from the fairy tale creatures.
The characters' two sides
When she does this they are transported to a town in our world, a world without magic. The town is called Storybrooke and the queen believes she has won. There is something coming, though.
Before the curse was cast Snow White became pregnant with a child, one who was of great importance. It was told that she would come on her 28th birthday and break the curse. So Snow and Charming sent her to our world using a magic wardrobe (Narnia, anyone??) before the curse took hold.
That child grew up to be Emma Swan (played by House's Jennifer Morrison), a cynical bounty hunter with a rough history of foster care and run in with the law. Now, ten years ago she had a child of her own, but given that she was in jail at the time she gave it up for adoption. So her son finds her and leads her back to Storybrooke where he has been living as the Mayor's adoptive son. This would be fine if the mayor wasn't the evil queen and one of the few who remember everyone's previous life. The boy's name is Henry and he received a book from his teacher Mary Margret (Snow White) which tells the story of the fairy tale characters and the curse. Henry is am imaginative young boy who comes to believe that the curse is real and it is up to Emma to save Storybrooke and bring back the happy endings.

Season one opens with Emma on the hunt for a fugitive. After she brings him in, Henry knocks on her door. He has run away from home and won't leave unless Emma takes him back. She does so and wants to stay to make sure that Henry is okay. His mother Mayor Mills does not like this, afraid that Emma will both break her curse and take Henry from her. For the duration of the show it is a battle between them and it can all be traced back to their mutual love for Henry. Regina feels he is rightfully hers and Emma feels the same. Emma promises Henry she'll always do the right thing, and Regina's ways are more sinister.
The series is filled with bouncing between Storybrooke and fairy tale world. Each peek into the past lives of these characters pertains to something happening in our world.
Belle and Rumple during The Deal
For example, my favorite episode is Skin Deep. This is a take on Beauty and the Beast.
Belle is the daughter of a king who is caught up in the Ogre wars which every kingdom seems to be fighting. Rumplestiltskin is called in to save the kingdom, but in return he wants Belle. In Storybrooke Mr. Gold (Rumplestiltskin) is robbed and Emma (as the sheriff) is worried he may go after the thief himself. It is revealed that a cup was stolen from Gold, a chipped cup. This reminds him of his time with Belle in fairy tale land (yes he remembers as well) and how they fell in love. Yes, Rumplestiltskin is the beast and in this telling Belle falls in love with him and tries to break his curse by kissing him and making him a man again. Rumple thinks this is a trick brought on by the evil queen who is after his power and turns her away, with nothing more than a chipped cup to remember her.
In Storybrooke Gold goes after the thief who turns out to be Belle's father from the past. Gold is angry at him for he believes that Belle's father locked her up for loving him and that this led to her death. As Gold beats Belle's father for something he does not remember, Emma comes to arrest him.
It is revealed that the Mayor has the cup and she uses it to find out that Gold remembers the past. Also, she was the one who told Rumple about Belle's death and she lied. She has Belle locked up in a secret room in the hospital.
The two story lines interact with each other and both give insite to the two worlds we see. As we know more about fairy tale land, we can see the similarities in Storybrooke. These are still the same characters, they just don't know who they really are.
This interaction between the worlds makes things interesting, like when things cool down a bit in one world we are taken to another where things are still happening. This drives the story forward and gives the writers a lot to work with.
So you have two worlds, over 20 characters (over 40 if you count fairy tale and real world characters separate) and tons of stories at your disposal. What can go wrong?

EW. Emma Swan - once-upon-a-time Photo
Are you going to stab yourself so Henry can save the day?
Well if I am honest it's Emma. She is my least favorite character and she is the star of the series. Throughout season one she comes to town, stays to make sure his mother isn't really evil, humors her son by telling him she'll help with the curse and even though she sees things that would convince anyone else she is stubborn in believing that the curse isn't real and most of the people in town are nuts! She has three and a half people telling her that it's real and it takes her son almost dying to get her to wake the hell up! Thenshehastoslayadragon!
So she has her issues, but her son is awesome! Henry is a kind and gentle boy, but when he gets to it he can be a badass! He runs away from home, gets Emma to Storybrooke, works so hard to convince her that the curse is real and then eats a poison apple to save her! Of the light side, Henry is my fave!
But, I think it's a bit of an issue when everyone's favorite character is THE BAD GUY!
Rumplestiltskin- proof you can be attracted to, and creeped out by someone at the same time!
Yes, let's talk about Rumple! Rumplestiltskin begins as a lowly spinner of straw raising his son Baelfire. When his son is almost taken to fight in the Ogre wars he tries to run, but fails. He hears about a powerful magic user known as The Dark One. This is an all powerful being who can be controlled by anyone with a magical dagger. Rumple takes the dagger and uses it to slay the Dark One, absorbing his power. Rumple soon becomes consumed by the power and Baelfire sees he is losing his father behind the creature he is becoming. Baelfire tries to take him and his father to 'a land without magic', but Rumple cannot leave his power behind and loses Baelfire in the portal. From there he works both sides, making deals with everyone including Snow White and Prince Charming to get what he wants. He is eventually imprisoned and seems to know a lot more than anyone else. He knows about the curse and about the role Emma has in it, almost as if he can see the future (ohwaithecan!).
Carlyle is a talented actor who plays the dual roles superbly! From the impish Rumplestiltskin to the cunning Mr. Gold, you can see a glint in his eye that lets you know that he is both trustworthy and cunning. Make a deal with him and you may regret it, but he won't back out on a deal. His dual roles, as with everyone else makes him a very interesting character and a joy to watch.
The show as a whole, though, is great, if you can't already tell. The mass amounts of material the writers have shows (I'm pretty sure they made a deal with Disney to use these characters) and is used to great extent and to it's full potential. A lot of talented people are involved in this and it is worth checking out.
Once Upon a Time-What happened after happily ever after? A whole lot of shit went down!


Saturday, March 23, 2013

THE LIST Actor #1

I first noticed this kick's actor when I saw him portray a character who was dying on the show Once Upon a Time. I started watching this show in it's second season and while doing that I caught up on season one on Netflix. This actor plays Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold in the show and is a very talented actor.
His name is Robert Carlyle. Don't recognize the name? Here he is:
He is most known for his work on Once Upon a Time as the fiendish Rumplestiltskin, the magical imp who makes deals all throughout fairy tale land and could be blamed for most of the bad stuff that happens, but more on that later.
This actor was born in Scotland in 1961 (I don't care I just looked it up) Since catching the acting bug after reading Arthur Miller's The Crucible he has performed in many films and television including Stargate Universe, The Full Monty, 28 Weeks Later, The World is Not Enough, and Trainspotting.
I will be reviewing most of these films in the coming weeks. Anyone have any good sites where I can find some of these films (other than Amazon, Hulu or Netflix) please mention them in the comments.
The first review will be..................................Once Upon a Time!

And from there we'll see what I can find!

Stay Tuned!

ACTOR REVIEWS!!

Hi guys, the Corseted Critic here! I want to tell you just what I will be doing on this blog (mostly). I am a huge fan of films, but my tastes run more on the recent movies (say, last 50 years or so) and some of them are pretty good. I do have one thing that drives my mind to see certain films over others and that is a list...THE LIST.
This is a list of 20 or so actors of whom I am a fan of. Now, when I say 'fan' I mean of their work. They are talented actors who have a large resume of both good and bad films, and good and bad performances. Most of them have quite the range and are well known, but there are a few that not many people know about. I will watch anything and everything that these people are in. From single episodes to full seasons of shows, I will find everything I can to satisfy my need to know more about their characters.
I say characters because I do not constanly mark where they are in the world. I do not care how old they are, how many children they have or even if they are married. Sure, yes I do dream of meeting them, but it isn't the goal. The goal is, if I do meet them, to have a conversation about a film that they possibly thought no one had seen, to make an impression. And if I never meet them...Well, they play such great characters that I try to embed some of what they portray into my life, personality or work. For example: one of the actors is John C. McGinley. This man played Dr. Cox on Scrubs and loads of other things you have possibly seen but did not notice he was in. So when I was going through (what I like to call) my McGinley 'kick' I created a coat based off his lab coat in Scrubs, and finished a script of a film based on him and his son. Yes I know I said I don't care about their personal life, but if you look him up, you are bound to find quite a bit on his son as well, it's unavoidable.
I suppose the simple explination is that these are men who INSPIRE me. Sure they make more money than I do and it is more likely than not that we will not cross paths, but I really can't help it. I don't know what makes my mind go on these 'kicks' and quite frankly I don't want to know! It gives me something to do and inspiration for whatever I am doing whether it be writing, designing or even sometimes painting! These people make me feel like nothing is impossible and I am encouraged to believe it.
So why am I telling you all this? Well, my reviews on this blog will be based on my kicks. Whatever actor I am watching at the time will be the one I will base my reviews on. In about thirty seconds I will post another blog telling you who is up next!

5 Reasons why Belle from "Beauty & the Beast" is the Most Boss Disney Princess


Nerd Nostalgia: 5 Reasons Why Belle from “Beauty and the Best” is the Most Boss Disney Princess
By: Brian Cotnoir

Okay, I know that this is totally unexpected from me; especially if you know what kind of movies I watch/review.  Even though I still haven’t seen it (yet), I keep hearing many people saying Merida in one of Disney’s latest films, “Brave”, is the first “Independent” Disney Princess who challenges the norms of a typical Disney Princess, but I definitely think there’s one Disney character who fits the roll of a “Independent” character and she appeared long before, Merida.  I of course am talking about Belle from Disney’s “Beauty & the Beast”.  “Beauty and the Beast” is not only one of Disney’s best animated films, but is also one of the Best Animated Films of All-Time.  Hell it got nominated for the “Best Picture” Oscar in 1991.  That’s pretty rare for an animated film to get a nomination for Best Picture.  And it rightfully deserved to be nominated, because it was a great take on a classic fairytale, it had Original Music written by Alan Menken & Howard Ashman, and features probably Disney’s most Boss Princess ever, and I’ve got 5 reasons why (listed in no particular order).

1.)    She’s Independent/Teaches Others Independence

Belle gonna do what ever she damn wants
Belle is the first Disney heroine we see to break the stereotype being a damsel who feels trapped.  She’s not a Royal like Ariel, Jasmine, Aurora, and Pocahontas (technically).  She’s not mistreated by her family like Cinderella, and she’s not a ditz like Snow White.  She’s an independent.  She comes from a loving home and has a father who cares deeply about her.  She knows deep down that she’s not like most women in France, and she’s fine with it.  She doesn’t mind being different, and that she doesn’t always follow the social norms.  She even actually encourages the people around her to try new things, and to be intellectually curious.  Seriously, she’s a real positive role model for most people (especially young girls).  She’s also strong.  She has to deal with many difficult issues: Her father is held captive (First by the Beast) and then by an Asylum caretaker, and almost dies.  She has to remain a prisoner of the Beast in order to save him, and not to mention she is constantly being pursued by the biggest narcissist in France.  Yet, somehow against all odds, she perseveres.  Yes, there are times she is frightened and even sheds a few tears, but they are not tears of despair and hopelessness, they are tears of determination and love.  Her love for her father pushes her to overcome many difficult obstacles, and she even get’s rewarded for her perseverance, but we’ll get to that later.

2.)    She’s Already Happy with her own life

Such a Happy Family
The second reason why Belle is the Most Boss Disney Princess is that she is already happy with her life.  Belle does fall to the typical Disney Princess Story Arch of singing a song about “wanting more in life”, but Belle’s song is not about waiting for Prince Charming, like Snow White and Ariel, Belle sings about positive things like wanting to explore the world and see the place she’s read about.  As I mentioned before she comes from a loving home, and the village she lives in also seems to be friendly as well...well almost everyone; Gaston and his pet dwarf seem to be a couple of tools.

3.)    She constantly seeks knowledge and likes to explore

Belle is also intelligent.  Early on we see her talk (and sing) about how much of a book worm she is.  She’s always reading, which can translate out to she’s always learning.  She’s not this na├»ve, uneducated woman who needs to be told or taught everything in life; she likes to figure things out for herself.  This is kind of continuation of why/how Belle is an Independent.  To me it seems like if she can’t actually go out and see the world herself, then she can at least learn as much as she can about it.  She is not ignorant or oblivious she is intelligent and constantly seeking knowledge.  How can you not like her for being like this?



4.)    She’s Not Afraid of Other’s Who Are different

Belle aint scared'a no Beast
Okay, so Belle is put in a very difficult situation.  Her father is being held prisoner by the Beast who definitely is more animal like then human at first encounter.  Not to mention she lives in a house with dozens of inanimate objects that can somehow talk and move around.  You know what that is pretty creepy.  Pee Wee’s Play House is a terrifying enough place, now imagine having to spend all your time in a dark Gothic Castle with a Beast and dozens of talking objects that could be watching you at any moment.  Belle is of course frightened at first, but once she sees that most of the objects that live there are very friendly and harmless she begins to see the positive things of the palace.  She even learns not to fear the Beast at times to.  There’s a scene where he screams at her as she tries to take care of one of his wounds, and she fires right back at him telling him he doesn’t need to be so rude and angry at her for trying to help him.  It really shows that Belle hardly ever judges a book by its cover—Pun TOTALLY intended.

5.)    She wants to do more with her life other get married!

You, sir, are a tool!
Seriously, Disney what is your deal with trying to convince young girls that the solution to all of your problems is marrying a prince?  Do you know how many lonely women there are in the world because you’ve encouraged them to wait for their “prince charming” to come to them?  Let’s look at the Disney Princess Track Record, shall we: Snow Whites motivation: Marry a Prince.  Aurora had to be rescued by a Prince.  Cinderella same thing, but Belle is different from all of them.  She is pursued by Gaston, the handsome, macho Adonis of the village, who is lusted after by every woman in the village...except Belle! Belle seems to be the only one who sees Gaston for what he is: an arrogant, egotistical, self-centered, maniacal bastard.  Gaston lusts after Belle and wants her to marry him.  Belle shows no interest in Gaston (independent thinking).  
And just like that the "Beast" is out of the Friend Zone :p
Even later on when she starts to have feelings for the Beast, she didn’t decide she liked him right away. She had to live with him and get to know him, and once she was able to see past his outside appearance and love him for who he is on the inside, and in the end she gets rewarded.  Belle is awesome because it’s not until the very end of the film where expresses any interest in being married.  Snow White & Cinderella spout out their intentions in the first lines of the opening song, but Belle remained true to herself, deciding to remain an independent until she met her true prince charming.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Bands to Help you Celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Style

So it's that time of the year again; St. Patrick's Day.  Break out the Corn Beef & Cabbage, pour a nice pint of Guinness with your friends.  Dawn your greenest apparel and your lucky Tweed Cap and tell the ladies "Kiss me I'm Irish".  One thing that can help make our break your St. Patty's day is the Music;  So I have listed some of the Best Irish & Celtic Punk Bands to help you celebrate your St. Patty's Day in Style!

1.) The Pogues

Shane MacGowan of the Pogues.
How can you not fall in love with that smile?
Well of course, the Pogues were the Original Celtic Punk Band.  The band was fronted by the Ugliest Gent you'd ever laid eyes on, Shane MacGowan, but beneath that hideous Irish Mug, and pasts the bottles of Whiskey layed the heart of a true Poet and and songwriter.  MacGowan and the Pogues had moderate success in the U.S., but nonetheless were the first official Celtic Punk Band.  Not only did the write and perform their own songs but they also covered a number of old Irish folk songs such as "The Irish Rover", "The Rocky Road to Dublin", and "Dirty Old Town".  In fact the bands original name was "Pogue Mahone" and it was derived form the Old Gaelic Saying that translates out to "Kiss my Arse".  Look of you're going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with some good music then you need to have at least one song by the Pogues on your play list.  I reccomend tracks like "If I should fall from grace with God", "Sally MacLeanne", "Boys from County Hell, "Sunny Side of the Street and "Dirty Old Town".



2.) The Dropkick Murphy's

I went to College in the Boston-Metro Area, so one thing you have to learn to do is Love the Celtic Punk Legends The Dropkick Murphy's.  Known Most famously for their song "Shipping up to Boston" which was featured in the Martin Scorsese film "The Departed", the Dropkick Murphy's represents the old town charm of Boston, and has other great songs such as "Kiss me I'm Sh!tfaced".  Just give them a listen.


3.) Flogging Molly

      This band is a perfect fusion of the Old Irish Folk Songs and California Punk Rock.  I'd recommend tracks like "Drunken Lullabies", "Us of Lesser Gods",  "Devil on the Dance Floor' and "Rebels of the Sacred Heart".


4.)  Flatfoot 56

      This Chicago Celtic Punk Band is Ideal for any young fan of Punk Rock.  Flatfoot 56 features some great tracks to mosh to and fierce bag pipes.  Check out tracks like "Brotherhood" and "Warriors" to see the awesomeness and seriously dig the sound that is Flatfoot 56.


5.)  Black 47

      Are you an radical Irish Sympathizer.  Do you have  relative who served as a soldier in the I.R.A.?  Do you hate those British Bastards and dream of Free Belfast and a free Ireland.  Well then my friends the politically honest lyrics of the Black 47 are perfect for your.  The bands name was actually inspired by the great Irish Potato Famine of 1847, that resulted in the deaths of thousands.  Black 47 had a track called "The Big Fella" that was featured in an episode of Season 3 of the hit TV show "Sons of Anarchy".  Check it out it's really good.  (0:52 is where the song really starts to rock out)





Sunday, March 10, 2013

Greetings from The Film Junkie

Hey there all, I'm the Film Junkie, but don't let my name fool you.  Not only will I be talking about Films on This Blog, but I am also looking forward to publishing some Music Reviews too.  I also manage my own personal blog where I post a different review each Thursday called "Confessions of a Film Junkie".  If anyone's interested you can click the link at the bottom of this Post to check out some of my work.  I'm very excited about being a part of Asylum for Nerds and I can't wait to see what's in store for the future.

                                                            Confessions of a Film Junkie

Welcome!!!


My friends and I decided to do this blog together to see what we can do! We will collaborate on some and work separately on others, but we will post a lot of things on here. Reviews mostly. Music, movies, tv, comics, books and maybe even some theater! We are nerds and we are proud! Share your views in the comments and welcome to the Asylum!!