countdown to endgame

countdown to endgame: captain marvel (2019)

Captain Marvel poster.jpg

This has been the longest break between Marvel movies. But we’re finally in the home stretch. We are SO CLOSE to Endgame. I’m going to put my thoughts under a cut because I might get spoilery. I’m not doing it intentionally but tread lightly.

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read: to all the boys i’ve loved before by jenny han

I watched the movie when it came out on Netflix last summer (review here) and really loved it. But I always want to read the book if I haven’t done so prior to watching.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

When Lara Jean Covey falls in love, she writes a letter to her beloved and keeps them in a hatbox in her closet. When the letters are sent out, she is thrown into a mess of a situation involving her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh, and her childhood crush, Peter Kavinsky.

It is as adorable as the film. As expected, I know. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I actually am not the biggest fan of first-person narration so hearing more of Lara Jean’s thoughts was a little irritating. I love that she’s the middle child and also doesn’t like driving (mentioned in my movie review) but her constant harping on Margot was depressing. I feel like she doesn’t think of herself as her own person and that’s sad. But what works is whenever Peter appears. I lit up reading about their fake relationship even though I knew everything! Also, can Josh just go away? He was annoying. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so I need to buy the sequels and hopefully read them before the next one hits Netflix.

movies, watch

watch: how to train your dragon: the hidden world

I’ve been blogging so long that I actually have reviews of all these movies on here. #dedication

How to Train Your Dragon 3 poster.png

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), now chief, continues to rescue dragons and bring them to Berk where they live peacefully with the humans. Unfortunately, the dragons have somewhat overrun Berk and he is determined to find the Hidden World, which is where dragons can live on their own safely. He is also dealing with evil dragon hunter, Grimmel the Grisley (F. Murray Abraham), who wants to kill Toothless.

I am so sad that this is the end of these beautiful movies. Every one of them has been such a joy and there really isn’t much weakness. It is one of the most solid trilogies I’ve ever seen. Each of these films have had different storylines but getting to this conclusion feels right.

It always goes back to the partnership of Hiccup and Toothless. That is the heart and soul of these films. Even with their respective love interests (Astrid, voiced by American Ferrera, and the Light Fury), these two really push the narrative forward. I’ve loved watching Hiccup go from constant screw-up to chief. He really came into his own and it was deserved! And Toothless is so adorable. I really want a dragon. I could go on and on about the cast and other characters. There is so much humor and it’s never dumb or only for children.

But what always takes my breath away is the animation. Everything is so beautiful. And even the character design this time, I thought they looked extremely lifelike. But the flying shots. The scene with Toothless and the Light Fury flying with John Powell’s gorgeous score, I was in absolute awe. And when Hiccup and Astrid find the Hidden World (even though it looked a little too much like Pandora from Avatar), just stunning. I can’t believe I didn’t know Roger Deakins worked on these films (as a visual consultant) but now that I do, I understand exactly how they managed to achieve those shots.

I will very much miss Berk, Toothless, and Hiccup but what a way to go out. Well done.

journey to episode ix, television

journey to episode ix: the clone wars 2×04-2×14

It’s been a while! This was a huge chunk of episodes and some life things prevented me from finishing them and getting this up sooner. As with previous blocks, some of the episodes are connected and there was only one episode that didn’t.

The first two episodes in this block (2×04 and 2×05) were about the Jedi believing Senator Clovis (Robin Atkin Downes) is working with the Separatists and ask Padme (Catherine Taber) to spy on him as they have a history. This displeases Anakin (Matt Lanter), obviously. Their relationship is such a mess but I did enjoy learning more about her past and she succeeded in her mission. From Clovis, they return to Geonosis to attack a droid factory. Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) was back (yay!) and Anakin was being bratty about Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor), typical. It was quite the battle and the older Jedi played Anakin and Ahsoka’s game of counting kills! It was cute.

Episodes 2×06-2×08 were also connected. Luminara (Olivia d’Abo) returned with her padawan, Barriss (Meredith Salenger)! The mission is to destroy a droid factory (when is it not?) and Anakin and Ahsoka are also there. Anakin can be a real jerk when talking to Ahsoka and it’s frustrating. Especially when you see other Jedi with their padawan, like Luminara! Anakin seemed to no longer trust Ahsoka which makes no sense to me. I still love seeing her with female Jedi and final point: Luminara reminds me of Emily Blunt. Anyone else see the resemblance?

Anyway, Luminara is captured in the next episode which is unfortunate as she is awesome. There are zombie creatures that are ugly and the episode was a bit like a horror movie. Obi-Wan comes to help and his sass is always appreciated. There were also a lot of bugs and I’m pretty squeamish about them so this episode was not my favorite.

The conclusion to this storyline involved more bugs that were brainwashing the clone troopers to kill the Jedi. The only good thing about the bugs was that Obi-Wan can now do research on them but I’m curious if the bugs are how the Sith manage to turn the clone troopers to their cause. Ahsoka and Barriss went on a little padawan mission and it was fun to see them together. But Obi-Wan is assuming that Ahsoka is becoming like Anakin and I can see some similarities but no. She would never go to the Dark Side. This was the first time I noticed “The Imperial March” cues when Anakin did something that he shouldn’t have as a Jedi. And he finishes the episode telling Ahsoka to let go of attachments *rolls eyes*.

Grievous (Matthew Wood) returns for the next two episodes. He captures Jedi Master Eeth Koth (Chris Edgerly) so Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Adi Gallia (Angelique Perrin) go and rescue him. Anakin is too predictable which causes some issues. I love watching Obi-Wan fight and he manages to completely call out how Grievous is being used but Grievous is in denial. It’s kind of sad, in my opinion. Grievous escapes (shocker) and is looking for transport on another planet, Saleucami. Obi-Wan and the clone troopers follow and then it becomes a clone-focused episode. However, I actually liked this one because it contained a clone who didn’t want to fight and abandoned his post. Fascinating!

Our one-off episode involves Ahsoka losing her lightsaber to a pickpocket. Why are there so many episodes about Ahsoka’s inexperience? She winds up teaming up with elder Jedi Tera Sinube (Gregory Baldwin), and I liked him a lot. But he added more guilt than necessary. Like she knows losing her saber is bad. We all know that.

The final three episodes of this block were possibly my favorite episodes of the show so far. Is it because they were Obi-Wan-focused? Is it because they introduced a female character who DEFINITELY has a romantic history with him? Is it because Jon Favreau was voicing a bad guy? Yes to all! Obi-Wan is sent to Mandalore (hmmm) to protect Duchess Satine (Anna Graves). There appears to be a terrorist group called Deathwatch, which is full of Mandalorian warriors that should have died out. Satine and Obi-Wan have some chemistry, which is fun. I did not trust the governor of Concordia, who was voiced by Favreau! So not surprised when it turned out he was evil but man, I loved his saber.

Satine then heads to Coruscant with Obi-Wan, Anakin, R2, and the clones but someone is trying to kill her. Satine and Obi-Wan continue to snipe at each other and it becomes quite obvious that they want each other. I kind of wish we had the option of getting more adult stories in this universe. And Satine is amazing! She drags the Jedi for getting involved in wars and wants nothing to do with them or the Republic. R2 is a little shit, love it. There were creepy robot spiders that attack. We got a Qui-Gonn reference. Anakin totally knows they have a history especially because Obi-Wan acts exactly like Anakin does when Padme is in trouble. Episode 2×13 might be my favorite episode and I now have a ship. I did not expect this at all.

On Coruscant, she is still being targeted and even framed for murder while Palpatine tries to have an army occupy Mandalore. He was very obvious this episode in his evilness. These episodes brought more to Obi-Wan’s character and I’m hoping the new book, Master & Apprentice has her in it.

Another block full of ups and downs but they definitely ended on a high for me. I honestly did not expect to meet someone from Obi-Wan’s past, let alone a potential love interest! Gah! I’m hoping to get on a better schedule with this as we’re nine months away from Episode IX (and still don’t have a title?) but I might not accomplish my goal this time. Oh well.

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read: the glass spare by lauren destefano

I tried to participate in OwlCrate’s OwlCrateAThon, which ran from February 9th to the 22nd. I’ve never done a readingathon before and I liked the criteria. It was to read three books total, your oldest OwlCrate book on your TBR, and the shortest OwlCrate book on your TBR. It’s to encourage people (like me) who receive the books but don’t immediately read them. Unfortunately, I was only able to read one book but it was my oldest so I feel less guilty! My very first OwlCrate came in November 2017 (review here!) and in it was The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano.

The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare, #1)

Wil Heidle is the only princess in the Northern Kingdom. She has three older brothers and is kept mostly hidden from the world so her father can use her as a spy. One night, she discovers she has the power to turn living things into gemstones and her world changes after a tragic accident.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I had heard some mixed things but I knew I would eventually read it. It’s got a confusing setting, like a mix between medieval but there’s also some crazy technology so that took some getting used to and the story is kind of typical YA fantasy. But the characters! I loved Wil so much and trying to figure out how she got this power was interesting. I also adored her relationship with two of her brothers, Owen and Gerdie. Gerdie is a precious angel and I definitely need more of him. She winds up meeting the prince of the Southern Kingdom in her travels, Loom, and he’s a decent YA love interest. There are sparks but his partner, Zay, may get in the way and you don’t want to mess with her. The ending felt a little abrupt but thankfully, there’s only one other book to hopefully close all the threads. I’m glad I read it.

television, watch

watch: miracle workers (tbs)

TBS’ new limited comedy series.

MiracleWorkers.png

God (Steve Buscemi) has decided to destroy the Earth. But some of his angels, including Craig (Daniel Radcliffe) and Eliza (Geraldine Viswanathan), make a bet to achieve an impossible miracle in order to stop his plan: make two people fall in love.

It’s really cute! I’m kind of sad that it’s a limited series though I get the premise could be hard to manage (though The Good Place does it, hmmm…). Buscemi as God is the most brilliant casting as of late and Radcliffe is so good as an awkward angel who finds joy in mundane tasks. Viswanathan is magnificent and hopefully this is a breakout for her. She’s so earnest and adorable!

I can’t wait to see how they get those two people to fall in love! But mostly, Buscemi as depressed God is also going to be a blast to watch.

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read: the calculating stars by mary robinette kowal

I know I talk about Sword & Laser constantly but I really am glad that I found this book club almost seven years ago. The amount of sci-fi I’ve gotten into is insane and it’s all thanks to them.

The Calculating Stars cover image

In 1952, a meteor strikes Earth and decimates the entire Eastern seaboard. Elma York and her husband, Nathaniel, survive and become members of the International Aerospace Coalition as a mathematician and engineer, respectively. They are both instrumental in trying to get the space program up and running so that the people of Earth can make their way to the moon before the planet because uninhabitable. Elma hopes to break a few barriers along the way as well, namely becoming an astronaut herself.

I loved this book. Loved it so much. From the first page, I was hooked. I don’t think I’ve read that much alternate history but it’s definitely a fun genre to imagine how things could be different from any type of event. I immediately connected to Elma and it grew more and more throughout the book when she described her anxiety. She is so smart but still struggles and it’s not only from sexism, but rather conditioning to be a good little Southern girl. It was also rad that she was a pilot and also had a husband to support her through everything. Their relationship was one of the best things about the book. It was such a strong partnership (though one plot point constantly made me worry that she wouldn’t actually achieve her dream).

After Hidden Figures, I wanted to read more stories from that era in time and this was perfect. Kowal did tons of research and while the events don’t take place, women were training to be astronauts and got to work in this field but history doesn’t mention them. Another great thing about this book was discussing the differences in opportunity due to race. Elma kept forgetting about her privilege but instead of shrugging her shoulders, she worked even harder to get recognition for the women in her life that were not white. I also really, really enjoy space stories, even if a majority of this book takes place on Earth.

I will be raving about this book to everyone who will listen for the time being. I cannot wait to get my hands on the second one.

movies, watch

watch: cold war (2018)

It’s a blind spot on my end but I very rarely watch foreign films. I struggle because reading subtitles takes me away from the visuals or if I decide to watch with dubbing, sometimes I find the voices annoying. I’m trying to be better which led me to Cold War.

I had been hearing such great things about this film and it even got a surprise nomination for Pawel Pakilikowski as Best Director at the Oscars! I was hoping it would hit theatres again to boost support for that and was surprised but to see it had a runtime of 88 minutes. That is unheard of but also made me happy when it finally did return to one of my local theatres!

Cold War (2018 film).jpg

After World War II, Wiktor Warski (Tomasz Kot) is working as an arranger for musicians traveling through communist countries. He and one of the singers, Zuzanna Lichon (Joanna Kulig), begin a relationship that grows beyond the limits of their lives in Poland.

It is an absolutely stunning but ultimately heartbreaking movie. A lot is packed into the runtime but it always focuses on Wiktor and Zula. And music, so much music. Music is its own character in this. The beginning focused on rural country songs that Wiktor manages to elevate through his arrangements and they are beautiful.

It’s shot in black and white but Pakilikowski’s use of light and shadows is masterful. There were tons of breathtaking shots and it also gave me a better look to what life was like in these countries. And how hard it was to escape. There are so many different levels to this film. But the relationship between the two is the strongest thread and when they’re apart, it hurts you. Kot and Kulig makes you feel everything, especially Kulig. She is magnetic. You can’t take your eyes off her and her voice is gorgeous.

I’m very glad I was able to get to see this film before the Oscars and I think everyone should try to seek it out as well.

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read: a room of one’s own by virginia woolf

I am always trying to read more classics. This one was a bit of a surprise.

The only Virginia Woolf I’ve read was Mrs. Dalloway and I thought it was beautifully written. I had always heard A Room Of One’s Own was special and assumed it was fiction. Turns out I was very wrong.

A Room of One's Own

This is a literary criticism about why there aren’t many female writers. It’s incredibly researched and it’s the type of criticism I have always wished I could write. She posits that it’s due to lack of money and their own space. It was fascinating and I nodded throughout a majority of it.

I will always struggle with reviewing nonfiction, I apologize. I was blown away by this essay as it was unexpected but ultimately, very wise and true. I wonder what she would have to say now with the overabundance of female writers.