Category Archives: movies

Now Playing: Underworld

Before I get into Underworld, Zoe Winters needs your attention for just a minute. She’s have an Easter Egg hunt/event over at her blog. Not only is she giving away a Kindle Fire, but she’s got coupon codes up for all the stories in her Preternaturals series. This is a great time to snap up her work at low prices.

Okay, now on to my movie watching. I think I saw the first movie shortly after it came out on DVD. And I was kind ofmehabout it. Visually it was pretty awesome, and the story was good. It’s just that, for those of us who were glutted by paranormal romances involving the love/hate of vampires/werewolves, it wasn’t exactly earth-shatteringly novel. So chalk it up to the dreaded Vampire Ennui that I wasn’t super excited to see the subsequent movies.

the guy who knows stuff about things

A little while back, Andrew was doing a bit of gushing about Underworld 4 and did I see it yet. No, I still haven’t seen 2 & 3, and not sure I really remember 1. What??

Andrew said I should go back and watch them.

And when Andrew recommends something to me, I generally listen. Not just because I’m Fandrew #1, but because he’s generally right about things, especially about knowing what I’ll like.

So when I finished Fringe (loved Fringe, should talk about Fringe), I got Underworld and refreshed my memory on the first one. And I was like yeah, okay, that was pretty good, and if I didn’t like it so much before, it was because I was on vampire overload–

Ohhhh, you know what I just remembered? This was probably not too long after I read Laurell K. Hamilton’s BLUE MOON. And you know that whole Richard/Anita/skeezy vampire guy thing really made me mad. And then the series went…the way it went. I’m not even going to get into that today. But anyway, very much contributing to the Vampire Ennui.

So anyway, focus. Underworld 1. Watched it. Liked it. Moved on to Underworld 2.

And hey, yeah! Really liked that. See how smart Andrew is?

The parts of the plot of the first one that actually WERE novel to me get drawn out in the second one. While the first one seemed like a lot of visuals and action on top of a lot of vampire romance cliches, the second was much more the great visuals and action on top of an interesting plot and a nice romance.

I’ve got to watch 2 with my husband now, and I’ve got 3 here from Netflix as well. If we get through both of those soon, we might even be able to catch 4 while it’s still at the $2 theater. Here’s hoping. Because sometimes it feels like I’m the only person who hasn’t kept up with this series.

 

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#Movies: TiMER

When I recently posted about the movie IN TIME, a good friend tweeted me a recommendation for another movie, TiMER, in which a biotech implant counts down the time until you meet your soulmate.

This romantic comedy was pretty freakin’ adorable–an excellent date type movie. Emma Caulfield–Anya of Buffy fame–stars as Oona, a woman with a timer that just won’t kick in, as though maybe there’s just no one out there for her.

The tech requires a little explanation. I have to say I was a little lost for the first scene of the movie, after which they really get in and explain it. Basically people can choose to get these implants (you have to be at least 14), and if your soulmate also has an implant, as soon as yours is activated they sync up and start a countdown to night before you’ll meet. When the clock hits zero, you wake up the next day and, at some point, meet your true love, and both your timers start chiming to let you both know you’ve found the right person.

So while Oona’s out there trying to get more guys to get the TiMER, in hopes she’ll find one that makes her implant chime, her sister, Steph, has already got her answer. Her TiMER’s ticking and she’s not scheduled to meet her true love until she’s in her forties. So Steph’s living it up, helping guys with ticking implants sow their wild oats while Oona’s not interested in getting involved with anyone who’s not the right one.

On the surface, it’s just a cute movie. But the script does a really good job exploring the what-ifs of a world where true love is virtually guaranteed and divorce is becoming non-existent, but so is risk-taking and, to some extent, just falling in love.

This one’s available on Netflix instant play, so check it out when you get a chance.

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Yes, another teen movie

Last week I saw Easy A. I kind of loved this one. Some descriptions suggest that this is a twist on The Scarlet Letter, but I didn’t really see it. The book does play a small role in the plot, but it’s more of flavoring than anything else.

It all starts when Olive lies to get out of going camping with her friend’s family, fabricating a college boyfriend. The lie gets out of hand when the friend wants details about the date and jumps to the conclusion that Olive made it with fictional college guy. Which wouldn’t be such a big deal, if they hadn’t been overheard.

News of Olive’s sexual exploits begins to circulate, bringing her unexpected attention, popularity, and an even more unexpected request from a fellow student. This poor kid needs to be able to claim sleeping with Olive to avoid being on the receiving end of any more homosexual hate crime beat downs. Soft-hearted Olive agrees and the two mismatched virgins give a loud performance behind closed doors at a big party which is pretty damned amusing and cements the reputations of both.

But it doesn’t end there, and soon Olive finds herself in the business of letting guys at school claim they’ve been with her in order to boost their popularity and to keep her well supplied in chain store gift cards. Of course, eventually, this all gets way of hand.

What I loved about this movie was the snarky wit. I loved the way they talked to each other and at each other. Olive was a great character with brains, a good heart, and a hilarious and clever family. Other bright spots were Thomas Haden Church (who just makes me happy for reasons I can’t really explain) as one of the teachers, and the cult-like group of religious students out to get Olive.

Mostly, this is just fun, especially if you’ve already got a thing for teen movies. Netflix said, “Our best guess for Susan: 4.5 stars.” I think we can conclude that Netflix pretty much knows me.

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Random Netflix I’ve Enjoyed Lately

Andrew said, “More babbling posts pleeze!”

As I’ve no ideas for anything this morning, it seems like a good time to make him regret that and do some more babbling. Today on stuff I’ve seen lately that didn’t suck.

Not a lot of reading going on around here, but I’ve watched some TV! I watched the second season of Castle, and am now desperately awaiting the third. If you haven’t seen it, this is a great show. Nathan Fillon (Firefly, Buffy, Dr. Horrible’s…, Blast from the Past, etc) plays Richard Castle, a mega-star mystery/thriller author. At the series’ outset, a bored Castle has killed off the main character of his bestselling series and is not admitting to being at a loss for what to write next. When he’s drawn into a homicide investigation because someone is copy-catting the crimes portrayed in his novels, Castle finds inspiration for a new character main character, Nikki Heat, in the person of NYPD Detective Kate Beckett.

The series is clever and fun, and to me it feels very much like reading JD Robb’s -In Death books. Kate is not the tortured character Eve is, although she does have a backstory. Castle is not 1/10th as slick–nor as wealthy–as Roark. But, to me, the way they work together, the way the sometimes unwanted civilian consultant seems to know a bit about everything, have connections everywhere, and loves to spread his money around, is definitely reminiscent of the early books in that series. And I dig that!

I think the series is a great bet for -In Death fans, writers, and Fillon fans. Fillon is just brilliant in this role. Writers will appreciate how he so often wants to take another look into a case that seems solved because, “That’s too easy. I wouldn’t have written it that way.”

Moving on, Kristen Lamb turned me on to Confession of a Shopaholic. This was a cute chick movie about a young woman with a serious impulse buying/credit card problem, and her sometimes zany adventures, managing to find time to browse and shop sales while dodging debt collectors. When she sort of accidentally lands a job at a finance magazine, writing a financial advice column, she’s a bit over her head. There’s a sweet romance with the magazine editor, lots of wacky antics, and somewhat moving descriptions of what a little shopping can do for the soul. Very amusing, a great movie for girls’ night or a girl’s night–just you and the ice cream, and probably especially appreciated by those who have had some problems in the impulse buying/financial responsibility department.

I put Batman: The Movie (1966) on for my daughter this week. She’s a huge Batman fan. We had a discussion about fav superheroes in the car recently. “Batman or Superman?” “Batman.” “Superman or Spiderman?” “Batman!” “Superfriends or X-Men?” “BATMAN!” So obviously it was past time for this introduction, to get our BAM POW ZAP on and watch some Adam West. I love the villains. They’re just awesome.

Toy Story 3. OMGBarbie&Ken!! Was that not the best Toy-Storyline evar? Ok, well, maybe just me, but I really enjoyed this movie and loved the Ken and Barbie stuff. Ok, you guys already know I’m a huge Barbie fan, so I don’t know why you’re looking at me like that.

That’s all I can think of just at the moment. I should probably end by saying that, since coming back to Netflix, I’ve felt they’re really bending over backward to not suck the way they used to. I’m really glad they made that decision.

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My Name Is Susan, I Love Barbie and her Movies

It’s Thursday and I have no topic. I used to enjoy doing Thursday Thirteen, so you’re getting one this week whether they’re still updating the site or not.

Now in my lifetime, Barbie’s had some trouble with her image. Not her self-image. While she tends to be a little ADD about what she’s going to be when she grows up (nothing wrong with that), I think she’s pretty cool with who she is.

But, you know, some people have had issues with her proportions, what they think she represents, etc., and while Mattel might seem to not look past the end of its nose when it comes to trends the adult segment of the doll collecting community, they really seem to have taken parental concerns to heart when developing Barbie’s animated, direct-to-video movies.

There’s not one of these that I wouldn’t encourage my daughter to watch, and they’re among my favorites to watch with her. Sorry, no links or pics today. The post itself took an awful long time, and I’m quite behind now. Thanks for coming.

13 Barbie movies, in no particular order:

1. Nutcracker– This is a charming retelling of the ballet story. I’m certainly not a dance expert, but it seems like the animators spent time watching live performers, and the dance sequences are really lovely. Barbie, as Clara, is fabulously proactive in this movie. Drawn into the Nutcracker’s world, and his battle to free the people of Parthenia from the Mouse King, Barbie not only fights at his side, but really leads the way with plenty of bravery and cleverness. The supporting characters are amusing, without being over the top annoying to this adult, and, with a bit of a sweet, romantic thread, this movie is satisfying every time I watch it.

2. Rapunzel– As Rapunzel, Barbie takes on the role of an artist who has been forced into the role of servant to a very angry and unpleasant woman with magical powers. When Barbie finds a charmed magical item that might be a clue to her own past, she finds that she is able to paint her way out of her prison, and explore the world outside of it. She becomes torn between two worlds, the witch’s castle where her animal friends remain, and a life of freedom beyond the walls where an attractive stranger waits for her. Again, Barbie’s no damsel in distress in this tale. She’s always the one taking action, and making brave decisions based on things like loyalty and affection.

3. Swan Lake– In another ballet retelling, Barbie, as Odette, is the somewhat quiet daughter of the town baker. When she tries to help a unicorn, she finds herself drawn into the plight of the residents of a magical forest, who are being put upon by the evil sorcerer, Rothbart. For her interference, Rothbart changes her into a swan. The part-time bird thing isn’t the only problem when a handsome prince enters the forest and falls for Odette. The main problem is the obligation she feels to free her friends from Rothbart’s power. Another movie in which the character makes brave choices, based on loyalty, and love conquers all in the end.

4. Princess and the Pauper– A nice movie with two staring roles, Princess Annaliese, and Erika, a look-alike in the village who was indentured to a mean dressmaker by her impoverished parents. When the princess is kidnapped, in an attempt to thwart a marriage that will save the financial future of the kingdom, a palace insider convinces Erika to take the princess’s place at court while he investigates, though this is risky for them both. Meanwhile, Princess Annaliese won’t be kept without a fight, and sets about becoming a self-rescuing princess. Two courageous heroines in this one, but the show is really stolen by an over-the-top fabulous villain. He’s got an awesome, self-congratulatory soundtrack, and is an excellent character. The gag reel on during the credits is very good, too.

5. Diamond Castle– This one’s not as much a romance (though there are these twin they meet in a bar…), but a friend tale. Which, you know me, is merely ok. Barbie and Theresa star as two friends who share everything, including the adventure of a lifetime. In order to protect (I think it was) the power of music, a young woman hides herself inside a magic mirror. Our heroines must protect the mirror and their new friend, and defeat a powerful sorceress.

6. Fairytopia– Barbie is Elina, a fairy born without wings. When an evil witch, Laverna, creates a plague, it affects everyone but Elina. Suddenly, this outcast finds herself the only one capable trying to get help for her settlement. As she’s drawn deeper into the story, she becomes the key player in defeating Laverna and restoring their benevolent ruler to power.

7. Mermaidia– In the sequel to Fairlytopia, Elina teams up with a mermaid to rescue the mer-prince from her nemesis, Laverna, who is trying to get him to reveal the location of an immunity berry which she believes will allow her to escape her prison. Again, Barbie comes through, putting up with a lot from her jealous, mermaid partner, and making a touching sacrifice for the mer-people.

8. Magic of the Rainbow– This is another Fairytopia movie. Elina gets chosen to go to a school to learn fairy magic. She seems to have some “new kid” challenges, she screws up and frees Laverna, but she makes it all right in the end.

9. Island Princess– This is another sweet, romantic movie in which Ro, a girl who grew up on an island with no other humans after a shipwreck, is found by an explorer prince and taken back with him to his kingdom. Upon their arrival, the prince discovers his parents’ matchmaking plans for him. What they don’t know is that the girl’s mamma has a grudge against the royal family, a lust for power, and a plot. In saving the day, Ro also discovers her own identity. The songs in this movie can really get into your head, and the duet between Ro and her prince is particularly sweet.

10. A Christmas Carol– In this retelling of the classic, Barbie plays the part of Scrooge. Only a pretty one who is a selfish diva of the theater. Cratchet’s role is played by a childhood friend who is now her costumer, and the function of Tiny Tim is served by a group of orphans, to whom the friend devotes her time and money. It’s very different from the other Barbie movies, but is still a nice, and different take on A Christmas Carol.

11. 12 Dancing Princesses– I’ve always been sure they did this one so that they could make more dolls to sell. It worked. My mom got all of them for my daughter that year. This is a very pretty movie with a bit of ballet, a scheming relative with an evil pet monkey, and a very nice romance between Barbie and the attractive young man who makes the pretty shoes. A theme in this movie is the smallest of them, the one who feels like she can never measure up, being the one to save the day.

12. Three Musketeers– When I think of this one, I think grrrrl power. It’s pretty blatant, but fun. Barbie wants to be a Musketeer, like her father, and so travels to castle to seek her fortune. Where of course they won’t have her. But she knows they’re something going on, so she gets a job in the palace where she hooks up with three other girls, who each have their own ass-kicking skill and Musketeer aspirations. They are secretly trained by a palace insider to foil an attack by traitorous Musketeers, which they do with girly flair to a modern soundtrack. Yes, there’s a lot of girly silly in this movie, but loosen up and enjoy it.

13. Pegasus– I think I’ve probably put my two favorites at beginning and end. In the Magic of the Pegasus, Barbie is Anika, an overprotected princess with a love of ice skating. The crazy of the king and queen seem somewhat more justified when she disobeys them, and an evil sorcerer (yeah, yeah, I know, but call it a genre thing) finds her and demands she marry him. When she refuses, he turns everyone to stone and tells her she has three days to change her mind. She’s rescued from immediate harm by a flying horse and sent on a quest to create a mythical Wand of Light, the only thing that might break the spell. On the way she meets Aiden, a hot guy in the forest with his own somewhat tortured backstory. Aiden doesn’t want to have anything to do with the silly girl, except that he can’t help being drawn to her for qualities like her brains and bravery. Very nice romance in this, and a good equality between the h/h. Good gag reel, too.

Have you seen any of these? Tell me which ones you’ve enjoyed.

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Proof of a Benevolent Universe

…brought to you by Twitter.

If you’ve read Hush Money, you’ve probably gotten the idea that Joss and I are a little wary of the Universe. There’s an order to things, which should probably not be messed with, and we get nervous when the Laws of the Universe are violated, even if the violation is something “too good” that’s happening to us. You get the idea.

I love the movie Fire with Fire starring Virginia Madsen and Craig Sheffer. Like love obsessively. I can’t watch it without marveling anew at how perfectly it’s put together. Yesterday I realized that Some Kind of Wonderful, another 80s fav, which also features Craig Sheffer, is available via Netflix instant play and by mail. And thinking about that made me ask the following:

And then there was an answer…

Hope that was fun for you, too.

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WOTM Update: Everything’s Going to be All Right

OMG, how much do you love the end of “Bed of Roses”?  I mean, we’ve had this whole Dark Period thing, and she comes to him all vulnerable and remorseful with her little bouquet of flowers and stuff.  She says what she has to say, and she turns to go.  And then she stops and she says: This is the part where you’re supposed to tell me to wait.  Yeah, you say wait, don’t go.  And then you forgive me for being stupid and the last person to figure out what everyone else already knew (or whatever she says), and then you put your arms around me and we know everything’s going to be all right.

And he’s all: I guess I’m not familiar with the procedure.

Guh.  Did you die a little right then?

And so she’s going to leave (hang on, getting a tissue ’cause just thinking about it–with the teariness) and he’s all: Wait, don’t go.

And then with the– you know–and he says everything’s going to be all right.

I’m sorry.  I’m just a mess now.  Did I have a point?  Update.  Right.

No new writing to report on today, as I’ve been all crazy with the family stuff this weekend.  But because this last part of the story being a big fuzzy puffball in my head has been making me not want to work, tonight I sat down and started writing about all the stuff I need to cover.  It was good to write it all down, and some things came clearer to me as I did it.  Still, I have tons of unanswered questions for myself (and Kettle– sucks to be her), but I did determine that the approximate amount of stuff I have yet to cover should fit within the approximate amount of words I planned to write.  If that makes any sense.  More clearly, I think I’m really going to end up between 90K-100K, and not with 80K or 120K, and that makes me happy.

Let me tell you that as I’m working my way into the last third and now, perhaps, the last quarter of the story, I am constantly reminding myself that this is the first draft.  If I need to change stuff later, that’s all right.  If I have to add something in this last part to make it convincing and that means I have to go back and add it in bits throughout the manuscript, that’s all right.

Everything’s going to be all right.

I know I always sound stressed out and neurotic to you guys.  Mostly that’s just because I am.

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