On Second Thought, Let's Not Go to Camelot...

>> Tuesday, March 29, 2011

picture by Gustave Doré
I love the legends of King Arthur. The only problem is that there aren't any good (or appropriate) movie adaptations.
What is this apparent fascination with making King Arthur movies that completely disregard the legend? Would it kill them to portray it accurately? I know there's creative license, but this is just ridiculous. It seems to be very out of hand.

Despite the many adaptations, there doesn't seem to be one I like. The most recent film replaced the magic  with Romans. And as for that new Camelot TV show...Well, I couldn't even get past the first five seconds of the trailer without cringing.
The only one I even vaguely approve of is BBC's Merlin. While it may not be the most correct version of the tale, it does not try to be an authority on all things Arthurian. And at least it foreshadows, something other adaptations can't boast of.

Merlin: So, come on, just for the sake of argument. If you had to [chose]: Arthur or Lancelot?
Gwen: But I don't have to and I never will.
Merlin: You are no fun, Gwen.

And it's not just movies. It's the general pop culture. Everyone knows Launcelot's name. But nobody knows who he is. And if I were to list off the names Ewaine, Percival, Gareth, Geraint, and Bedivere, chances are nobody would know what I was talking about.
It's frustrating.

I'm not saying I'm an expert on the Arthurian legends. I just wish someone would make a movie that didn't take an English legend and completely ignore everything about it.
But maybe that's just me.



>> Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters
by Lesley M. M. Blume

It's not easy being the daughter of a world-famous piano player. Lucy Englehart is constantly traveling, leaving her daughter to live in her shadow. Cornelia is lonely and virtually friendless, but  copes by escaping into books and using large words so she won't get pulled into a conversation.
It seems like no one understands her.
Until an elderly writer, Virginia Somerset, moves next door.
And Cornelia finds that the world is an exciting place after all.

I really enjoyed this book. Cornelia reminded me of myself at her age, and the way the author portrayed her slowly coming out of her shell was expertly done. The stories Virginia told were fantastic (particularily the one about India), but I couldn't wait to get back to Cornelia and see how this new tale would affect her life. This book was a celebration of travel, words, and stories in general. And the friendship she found in Virginia was truly magical.

The ending was rather poignant and sad, yet full of hope. It's how all endings should be.
I cried. And very few books make me do that.
But the overall tone of Cornelia was charming and heart-warming. This book welcomed me like an old friend the first time I opened it. It's like the book I've always been searching for, only I didn't know it.

It was a simple little tale, but even more beautiful for it's simplicity. I highly suggest you read it.

Objectionable Content: A few uses of the Lord's name in vain, but in French. There is mention of a man pinching a lady's bottom. A reporter calls Cornelia's famous dad a "playboy".

Related Reads:
The Mysterious Benedict Society-Trenton Lee Stewart
Nicholas-Rene Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempe
A Little Princess-Frances Hogsdon Burnett


The Best of Celtic Music

>> Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!
Let's celebrate with a bit of music, shall we?

A legendary band, and arguably Ireland's best traditional one.

Hayley Westenra
She has the most gorgeous voice I've ever heard.

Julie Fowlis
The only artist who sings in native Scottish Gaelic.

Natalie MacMaster
She does things with a fiddle I never thought possible.

Cherish the Ladies
A fantastic band full of the lovliest voices you'll ever hear.

The band that introduced me to Celtic music.

Loreena McKennitt
She sings/composes both World and Celtic music in
her stunning voice.

Even though she doesn't do Celtic music,
there's no denying that Enya is the absolute best
thing to ever come out of Ireland.


The Last Battle Quotes

>> Saturday, March 12, 2011

Picture by Elandain
"That I know not, Lord King," said the Centaur. "But I know there are liars on earth; there are none among the stars."

"Jewel," he said, "what lies before us? Horrible thoughts arise in my heart. If we had died before today we should have been happy."
"Yes," said Jewel. "We have lived too long. The worst thing in the world has come upon us." They stood like that for a minute or two and then went on.

"You are in the right, Sire. This is the end of all things. Let us go and give ourselves up."
"There is no need for both of us to go."
"If ever we loved one another, let me go with you now," said the Unicorn. "If you are dead and if Aslan is not Aslan, what life is left for me?"

That waking was about the worst moment he had ever had in his life.

"Oh hurrah!" said Jill. "Disguises! I love disguises."

All that was silenced: gloom and fear reigned over Narnia.

Anyway, one always feels better when one has made up one's mind.

This was very good sense but, at the moment, Jill hated Eustace for saying it. He was fond of being dreadfully matter-of-fact when other people got excited.

And then she understood the devilish cunning of the enemies' plan. By mixing a little truth with it they had made their lie far stronger.

"I feel in my bones," said Poggin, "that we shall all, one by one, pass through that dark door before morning. I can think of a hundred deaths I would rather have died."

And then the last battle of the last King of Narnia began.

"Youngsters, indeed!" said Jill. "I don't believe you two really are much older than we are here."
"Well if we aren't, we have been," said the Lady Polly.

"Your wonderful lion didn't come and help you, did he? Thought not. And now-even now-when you've been beaten and shoved into this black hole, just the same as the rest of us, you're still at your old game."

"I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now. The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this. Bree-hee-hee! Come further up, come further in!"

"The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."


Another Review

>> Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Eagle
Rated PG-13 for battle sequences and some disturbing images.

Maybe this isn't a fair review. After all, I did miss the first five minutes of it. Plus, this is my first "sword and sandal flick", so I don't really have anything to fall back on.
For me, it was a good movie. Just not quite good enough.

They seemed to be trying too hard to film it in a "unique" way that would make it stand out.
The camera would focus on a tree trunk, and then on another tree trunk, before it finally showed our heroes braving the wilderness.
And Marcus continued having flashbacks  showing him as a blonde, blue-eyed child that couldn't possibly grow up into a dark-haired, dark-eyed Channing Tatum.
But at least the filmmakers got the story across.

The acting wasn't excatly top-notch, but it wasn't horrendous either (except where Donald Sutherland's concerned). The actors really shone, however, when they were yelling or having some sort of internal conflict.
It was kind of hard to feel for the characters because they didn't have much depth. Of the entire cast, Esca was the easiest to feel for and relate to.

There was this scene that seemed to have no point but to show how weird ancient British ceremonies were. Also, the battles scenes weren't as edge-of-your-seat as I had hoped.
And there was a sort of corny "go on without me" scene that left Marcus hugging the eagle to his chest like a teddy bear.

That aside, there were quite a few things that made this movie worth it:
I really enjoyed the scenes where Esca was in the arena, and also his discussion with Marcus around the campfire.
The final battle could have been more, but that's okay. Though I did enjoy seeing Guern's small army of Britains dressed in Roman uniforms.
And when they returned the eagle, I was actually cheering them on. That scene alone left me leaving the theater in a good mood. Not to mention, the set and costumes were very historically accurate.

All things considered, I wouldn't mind seeing it again. And strangley enough, I enjoyed it far more than the latest Potter installment.
And that's saying something.

Verdict: Wait until the DVD comes out.
Grey Travel Rating: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Acting: 3/5
Objectionable Content: Some Britains are hardly dressed. Naked corpses hang from trees but nothing is shown. The chief mentions that the Romans have defiled thier daughters. One use of the P-word, A-word and D-word.


A Joy Forever

>> Saturday, March 5, 2011

I love following the blogs of artists, ecspecially those who worked on animated movies.
Here are some of my favorites.

Britteny Lee does things with paper I didn't even think possible.

Abigail Halpin has such whimsical, charming sketches.

Toby Shelton is a fantastic storyboard artist for animated movies.

Rachel Bennett's artistic abilities make me jealous. Very jealous.

Justin Gerard is a modern master. Not much else to say except that he's beyond awesome.


Glen Keane is a Disney mastermind and legend. If you haven't heard of him, then your education is sadly lacking.

David Derrick does storyboard, illustration and pretty much everything else.

Geneviève Godbout's beautiful artwork must cause the paper to blush with pride.
Goro Fujita does wonderful digital art with atmostphere.

Eren Blanquet Unten. What's not to love?

Jake Parker: his drawings are a celebration of creativity and imagination (dramatic, no?)

Nathan Fowkes seems to have created his own genre. If Rembrandt  was alive, he'd be even more jealous than I am.


I Am An Otter

You're an otter, mate! Another good friend of Redwall, you are a natural swimmer and a deadly fighter especially with a long bow or javellin. Camp Willow is your home, just as Redwall is your second home. You have a good heart and a strong sense of loyalty. You absolutely love Shrimp and Hotroot soup, living by the motto "Ain't nothing 'otter for an Otter!".

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