Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Finally made the call...GhostBusters!

That's right. I finally had the opportunity to see the newest Ghostbusters film. I'll start by saying that I am a fan of the original movies. I remember watching both of them very fondly. I was also there when they released the first one just recently in the theatres. I wanted to see it on the big screen and enjoyed every minute of it. Going to see the "reboot", I tried not to have any preconceived notions as to what to expect. I will admit since it took so long, I did hear people's view on who was the funniest and how the movie dealt with the all female cast.

My impression: I really enjoyed it. I'm very glad that the movie was not an adaptation of the earlier films. It just took the idea of a group of scientific friends who believe in ghosts who wound up chasing ghosts and saving New York City and ran with it. I really appreciated that. A buddy movie should be a buddy movie whether it is an all male or female cast. Comedy is comedy no matter who you are. (There was a bit of a thrill at watching Chris Hemsworth in the role of a male blonde bimbo). His comedic timing was quite impressive and makes me hope that someone will take another leap and cast him in another comedic role where he can have a bit more fun.

Although I have heard criticism that some of the performances were over the top, and that the movie missed the chance to make a statement for Feminism, I think that is a bit much for a summer film.. Was it fun? yes. Did I laugh? Yes. Did I jump? YEs. Did it remind me why I liked the first ones? YES. Did it make me want to be a Ghostbuster? Heck, YEAH! Those gadgets were just toooo AWESOME!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mr. Gene Wilder, Thanks for encouraging my imagination!

Well, the Entertainment world was dealt another blow yesterday with the passing of the award-winning actor, Gene Wilder. I believe, it is safe to say that Gene Wilder has touched about every American living today in some respect or another. His body of work is vast and varied. From musicals, buddy flicks, comedies, and murder mysteries, you could always count on being enthralled with his performance no matter the material, genre, or medium.

There are a lot of performances of Gene Wilder that I will cherish for my lifetime. What I find truly amazing about my memories of this great talent is that they aren't just about the performances. When I look back, I realize that I have been learning about this craft (entertaining) from Gene Wilder every single time that I sat down and watched him. He taught me the "usual" lessons of a great actor: timing, listening, being present in the moment, and how to deliver a line among many other courses. However, I was also learning about nuances and details. How the change in expression can take an actor's intention to a whole new heighten level. How, if you care about your character, the audience will too. None of his performances lacked thought or purpose; therefore, they rang true every time. He was able to reach audience with his sincerity in everything that he did.

Being a natural introvert, there are very few people in this world I feel I would go out of my way to introduce myself to if the opportunity arose. Gene Wilder would have been one of those people. I feel sure that we would have had things to say and I would have left the conversation a better person, and a better artist than I had been before it began. While I'm sad that that opportunity will never come, I am confident that I will keep learn from Gene Wilder every time I watch a performance of his or listen to one of the many conversations on his career and acting that he has left us. For that, I will always be eternally grateful.

Thank you, Mr Wilder. You have inspired me beyond words.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Storyteller's Ode: Kubo and the Two Strings

There weren't a lot of movies for me to get excited about this summer. However, when I saw the trailer for Kubo and The Two Strings, I knew that my summer movie going would end on a high note.

On a side note, I was able to enjoy the Laika experience here at Universal Studios Hollywood before the movie came out so I was super excited to see how all of the advances in 3D printing and other technology have pushed stop motion animation even further than Coraline and The Box Trolls. I'm really glad I got the chance to go and see this mastery is used to make these amazing movies. 
(see some exhibits pictures below taken by me with permission)

As I watched the film, the first thing that really stuck me was how perfectly matched the story was to the art form. The type of magic that Kubo and his mother were able to wield with the help of a few pieces of origami paper just came to life through the animation beautifully. The style was fluid, graceful and mesmerizing. For animation, as with other art forms or special effects, the details are where the success lies. For Kubo and the Two Strings, from the characters' facial lines to the threads of the strings for Kubo's shamisen, there is no visual detail that is lacking. 

What really draws me to this movie, however, is the story. I feel it is a really a story about the power of stories as memories, and inspiration. Stories help us hold onto our past, remember where we came from and why we are who we are. They also inspire us to reach beyond the past to a something more. To go further then we imagine to achieve feats that, although they may seem impossible, are just more challenging. Kubo's strength as a storyteller not only fuels his own new path to the future; it inspires those around him to reach for more in their own lives. This is the power of a story.

I'm really glad I was able to see both the exhibit and the movie. I hope you venture out to listen to Kubo's tale and "Pay careful attention to everything you see and hear. No matter how unusual it may seem."

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

There are just some stories I CANNOT WAIT to see come to life. There can be many reasons for this: the production value, the actors involved, the story itself, the source material (books, manga, anime, folktales, songs, etc.), the original storyteller or the new one. Either way, the passion of my Leo nature comes out as my excitement builds. I want to share these stories with you.

First up is the South Korean Drama, Scarlet Heart: Ryeo.

Here is a short preview. Stay tuned for the longer version at the end of my post.

There are a few things from the above list that have lead me to this production. I am a fan of several of the actors and actresses involved in the portrayal of the story. I am also a fan of sweeping historic epics and this will definitely hit the bill. At the heart of it all, though, is the story.

This is the third adaptation of the this particular story. The first adaptation, or I should say a loose imagining, is the 2011 series, Palace. Now, this is how I was first introduced to the concept of a modern women returning to the past and being stuck in a battle for a throne and eventually her love. This production, however, is a lot less politically minded. There is a happy ending as well as a bit more humor involved. Luo Qingchuan uses her 21st Century smarts very effectively in this series and it leads to a bit more of an enjoyable watching experience, if you are looking for something a bit more on the lighter side. However, there is a beheading or two because well, it's the times, right?

The second adaption, Scarlet Heart was on Hunan Broadcasting System (HBS) in China beginning in September 2011. It's original source is the Chinese novel "Bu Bu Jing Xin" by Tong Hua about a modern woman who travels back in time. This particular production is beautiful to behold, but the tragedies that befall Zhang Xiao are just too much for this hopeless romantic. She is often put aside by those who are meant to cherish her for worldly gains that come to isolate them and magnify their own weaknesses. There seems to be an attempt made to rectify Zhang Xiao ill fate in Scarlet Heart 2, but I cannot verify this as yet. I'm still trying to find the last half of the series in English subtitles.

While I can't review this new production yet, I can tell you I have been waiting ALL SUMMER for August 29th. I'll be ready to stream the first episode and will die waiting for the next one to be released. I'll be sure to update my post once the series is over with a couple of thoughts. Until then, this Leo is gonna wait with baited breathe to see the opening credits of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo.

Here is the longer preview I promised.

Hello Again!

Greetings all. It has been awhile. I've been away on a journey of sorts over the years. There are a lot of new interests I now call mine that have made things a lot more interesting.

I hope that by starting this blog again and introducing you to a few new favorites as well as my old standbys that get me through the ups and downs, you will get to see some interesting new books, films, and other fun stories.

I've always really loved stories. I've found that there isn't any part of a story that I don't enjoy. Now, there are genres that I don't have an affinity for, i.e. westerns, war, or horror. However, whether they are filmworthy as stories is never in question. You see, stories can do so much, but at their most simple, they touch your lives.

To that aim, fellow travelers, let's continue on this journey in search of the stories that will touch our lives in ways unimaginable. I can promise you stops in England, South Korea, India, Canada, Japan, France and China, and who knows, we may even spend some time in the States.

Here we go.....