War Horse

>> Saturday, December 31, 2011

War Horse
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of war violence.

War Horse is one of those movies that everyone talks about. But no one could tell me if it was "good" or not. Critics praise it, but I usually take what they say with a grain of salt. So I figured the only way to know about it was to see it.
To be honest, I expected it to fail, and to fail miserably.
I've never been so pleasantly surprised.
What I expected to be "Black Beauty goes to war" was far more than that.

I loved, loved, loved War Horse.

This movie put me through the wringer. Every emotion--love, anger, shock, fear, sorrow, and humour--were wrung out of me. (Am I ever so glad I brought tissues!)
The violence wasn't graphic, yet it really drove home the horrors of war. I've never gasped at a movie so much in my life. And yet, there were moments of light that sweetly and quietly showed how kindness can shine through the worst of conflicts.

The characters were fabulous. I loved the mother--she was rough around the edges and yet sturdy and loving. And the little French girl, Emilie, was one of my favorite parts of the movie.
And the cinematography--ah, the cinematography!--was breathtaking.
The story was fantastic and nerve-wracking. And the scene with the English and German soldiers will forever be one of my favorites ever seen on the big screen.

Some people have said, "There was too much war and not enough horse," and still others have said, "Too much horse and not enough war."
I thought it was very evenly balanced out. It portrayed how ugly war can be without being horrific, and it spoke against cruelty to animals without being overbearing or preachy.
I also enjoyed the first fifteen minutes spent on the Narracott's farm. There was some excellent conflict there as well (and the English countryside was gorgeous.)

I can just see you sitting there, raising your eyebrows and thinking, "It can't be that good."
See it.
Then we'll talk.

Because War Horse is a movie to counter with.

Favorite Line: "We need more wire cutters!"

Verdict: Go see it! (and once agin in theaters if you like.)
Grey Travel Rating: 4/5
Special Effects: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Acting: 4/5
Objectionable Content: A couple uses of the Ba-word, H-word and D-word.


Merry Christmas

>> Sunday, December 25, 2011

"Let Earth recieve
her King..."

Merry Christmas.
by Carl Bloch


Friggin' Hobbit Trailer!!!

>> Saturday, December 24, 2011

I almost had a heart attack when I heard Thorin singing "Far over Misty Mountains cold, To dungeons deep and caverns old..."

I think I speak for every Tolkien fan when I say,

And we have to wait for a year?


Tintin: An American's Review

>> Friday, December 23, 2011

Edit: After collecting my thoughts, I found an efficient way to describe my feelings accurately.
"Funny and entertaining with some emotion thrown in, but the pacing was off and there was no tension. It should have been an amazing movie--it had all the ingredients--but it just fell flat."
Also, why would it have been so horrible for the villain to win? I'm not sure.

The Adventures of Tintin
Rated PG for adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking.

Tintin has done very well in Europe, mostly because it's home turf for the beloved comic hero. The real question critics kept asking prior to its American release was, How will Americans like it?
Well, let me tell you.

I wouldn't call myself a fan, though I did read two of the books before seeing the film. My small knowledge of the Tintin universe allowed me to grin every time one of the characters said "Great snakes!" or "Blisterin' barnacles!"
But that was almost it.

The movie was really good. Lots of action (oh boy was there a lot of action) and the animation was astounding! I kept forgetting that it wasn't real. The plot was excellent and the characters 3-dimensional. I loved the Thom(p)sons, who were hysterical.
And I loved Haddock as well. In fact, most of the emotion in the movie centered around Haddock. (Also, is it wrong to think he was at his funniest when drunk?)
And even Snowy--the dog--was fantastic! All throughout the movie I kept thinking, "Goodness, I want this dog!" And I'm sure everyone else in the theater thought the same.

The most satisfying scenes in the movies happened near the end and at the end, mostly as they traveled Morocco. As a plus, the plot was quite unpredictable and I found myself wondering once or twice, "How are they going to get out of this?"

Another thing I liked was the scene where Haddock related the story of Red Rackham. Like I said, I was able to read "The Secret of the Unicorn" and the scene was exactly how I pictured it and more.
I also liked how they added Hergé (the author) into the beginning of the movie.

That aside, there was one thing that it lacked. Actually, all the way home from the theater we puzzled over what it was. We felt something was missing. We finally realized that it was pacing. Though I was on the edge of my seat at one point, there was no real build-up of the tension. There were no slow, reflective moments to catch your breath before being launched into another action-packed scene. That's not to say that it was plotless or dull--far from it! The pacing was just off.

And I know that an intro isn't even technically part of the movie, but may I just say that it would have been nicer to see all those cool animations over cast-members names at the end of the movie? I had kinda hoped that we had left long, credit-filled intros in the 50's.

So--Tintin was a great, fun-filled adventure and, despite a few flaws, it was good watching.
Strangely, not something I'd rave about, but a good film nonetheless.
However, the ending hinted at a sequel and to be honest, when it comes out I'll definitely go see it.

Favorite Line:
Tintin: Mrs. Finch, a man has just been shot on our doorstep!
Mrs. Finch: Not again!

Verdict: Go see it if you can.
Grey Travel Rating: 3/5
Animation: 6/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Acting: 4/5
Objectionable Content: Haddock is drunk. A lot. Blood is shown briefly.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Quotes Part 1

>> Saturday, December 17, 2011

Picture by Nicole Gustafsson
"You behave yourself, got me?"
"I will if she does," said Harry through gritted teeth.

"She deserved it," Harry said, breathing very fast. "She deserved what she got. You keep away from me." He fumbled behind him for the latch on the door. "I'm going," Harry said. "I've had enough."

"What were you doin' down there?" said Stan, dropping his professional manner.
"Fell over," said Harry.
" 'Choo fall over for?" sniggered Stan.
"I didn't do it on purpose," said Harry, annoyed.

"It's this sweetshop," said Ron, a dreamy look coming over his face, "where they've got everything...Pepper Imps--they make you smoke at the mouth--and great fat Chocoballs full of strawberry mousse and clotted cream, and really excellent sugar quills, which you can suck in class and just look like you're thinking what to write next-"
"But Hogsmeade's a very interesting place, isn't it?" Hermione pressed on eagerly. "In Sites of Historical Sorcery it says the inn was the headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion, and the Shrieking Shack's supposed to be the most severely haunted building in Britain-"
"And massive sherbet balls that make you levitate a few inches off the ground while you're sucking them," said Ron, who was plainly not listening to a word Hermione was saying.

"If ever you have need of a noble heart and steely sinew, call upon Sir Cadogan!"
"Yeah, we'll call you," muttered Ron as the knight disappeared, "if we ever need someone mental."

"I'm afraid he won't be a teacher much longer," said Malfoy in a tone of mock sorrow. "Father's not happy about my injury-"
"Keep talking, Malfoy, and I'll give you a real injury," snarled Ron.

"I see," said Lupin thoughtfully. "Well, well...I'm impressed." He smiled slightly at the look of surprise on Harry's face. "That suggests that what you fear most of all is--fear. Very wise, Harry."

"That is the second time you have spoken out of turn, Miss Granger," said Snape coolly. "Five more points from Gryffindor for being an insufferable know-it-all."
Hermione went very red, put down her hand, and stared at the floor with her eyes full of tears.
It was a mark of how much the class loathed Snape that they were all glaring at him, because every one of them had called Hermione a know-it-all at least once, and Ron, who told Hermione she was a know-it-all at least twice a week, said loudly, "You asked us a question and she knows the answer! Why ask if you don't want to be told?"
The class knew instantly he'd gone too far. Snape advanced on Ron slowly, and the room held its breath. "Detention, Weasley," Snape said silkily, his face very close to Ron's. "And if I ever hear you criticize the way I teach a class again, you will be very sorry indeed."

"D'you know what I see and hear every time a dementor gets too near me?"
Ron and Hermione shook their heads, looking apprehensive.
"I can hear my mum screaming and pleading with Voldemort. And if you'd heard your mum screaming like that, just about to be killed, you wouldn't forget it in a hurry."


Cello Wars

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This is awesome.
My geek nerves are all a-tingling.

(Don't forget to check out The Piano Guys' more...er...serious videos.)


Amazing Books You've Never Heard Of But Should Most Definitely Read

>> Thursday, December 8, 2011

Title says all.

Regina Silsby's Secret War by Thomas J. Brodeur
On the eve of the American Revolution, a young girl comes up with her own plan to rid Boston of the British.

The Stone Goddess by Minfong Ho
When the Khmer Rouge takes over Cambodia, Nakri and her family are split apart. When they finally regroup, they  head to America, where they must not only learn to adapt, but overcome the scars of their past.

Lady of Ch'iao Kuo by Laurence Yep
Set in diary format, it tells the story of a princess thought to be a "savage" by the Chinese and thought to be "Half Chinese" by her own people. Not only must she find a place to belong, but on top of that she must rid the land of a barbaric tribe bent on domination.

Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
A poignant tale of the Holocaust, set in free verse.

Kavik the Wolf Dog by Walt Morey
When Kavik is taken from the master he loves, he sets out on a treacherous, thrilling journey across an arctic landscape.

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett
During WWI, two French sisters find a blind English soldier in the woods, who every day tells them a story...

The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall
Muggles lives a peaceful life in the land of Minnipins, until she and others are exiled for being different. But an old enemy of the Minnipins is returning and the motley group of outcasts have a choice: Should they warn the people who exiled them? And even if they do, will anyone believe them?

Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes
When Joe is transported to the war-torn world of Asphodel, he sets out on a journey to find his sister and ends up saving Asphodel from a terrible fate.

The Wainscott Weasel by Tor Seidler
A charming tale of a one-eyed weasel who saves the beautiful fish he loves from a terrible fate.

The Hounds of the Mórrígan by Pat O'Shea
Pidge and his little sister Brigit live a normal life in Ireland--until he finds the book. Now it's up to him and his sister to go on a whirlwind journey through Tír na nÓg to stop the evil Mórrígan from taking over the world.

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Princess Una has given her heart away, and only those who truly love her can save her. A stirring, refreshing Fantasy novel about love and loss, and the choice between darkness and light.

The Kingdom and the Crown by Gerald N. Lund
Set in the time of Christ's ministry, a family is torn by those who believe in his words and those who don't. And Simeon, leader of a rebel band against Rome, is caught right in the middle of it.
Of course, saying that this epic, three-volume series is only about that is understatement. There's love and loss and it really opens up the New Testament in a clear, un-sacreligious way.
From the acclaimed author of The Work and the Glory.

Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M. M. Blume
Cornelia lives a life hidden under her mother's famous shadow. No one seems to understand her. Until Virginia Somerset, and old lady with a taste for travel, moves next door.
The Word Eater by Mary Amato
A girl struggling in a new school finds a worm that--when he eats a word--can make anything disappear. But this new-found power has more consequences than she ever dreamed possible. A fun, imaginative story.

The Road to There: Mapmakers and Their Stories by Val Ross
A historical book, but a fascinating one! All about the mapmakers of old, and their travels and pains to map the world.

The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
The story of a 16-year-old German boy who defied Hitler's government to make the truth known. A powerful tale.

The Book of Lies by James Moloney
Honestly, the most unpredictable book I've ever read.
A boy wakes up at a home for foundlings, but has no memory of his past--or his name. When a mysterious girl tells him that the truth of his past can be found in a wizard's Book of Lies, he sets out of find it. Of course, the truth is more complicated than it seems. And lies seem to be everywhere.

Titanic: The Long Night by Diane Hoh
A wonderful, well-crafted novel about how the lives of many different characters are entwined in one, famous night.
Nicholas by René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé 
The hilarious adventures of a French school-boy.



>> Saturday, December 3, 2011

I was awarded the LOTR Award by The Director!

Now, I must answer the following questions:

1-Who is your favorite LOTR character and why?
Aragorn. Because he's awesome, brave, loyal, and generally heroic.

Sam is also one of my favorites. He's loyal and brave and really underestimated. "Frodo wouldn't have gotten far without Sam..."

2-If you were in Middle Earth, what species would you be?
A hobbit. I'm short, I like good food, and I'm generally barefoot 24/7.

3-If you were in Middle Earth, where would you be from?
Either the Shire or Erodas.

4-If you were with the fellowship in Lothlorien, what gift would you have wanted from Galadriel?
How about a writing utensil that makes me automatically inspired whenever I write with it?

5-Which language out of Middle Earth would you want to learn?
Black Speech!
Haha, just kidding.
I'd like to learn either Elvish or Rohirric. Even Khuzdul would be great to learn.

I award these fellow LOTR-Lovers:
Marian at All That is Gold
Kirthi at Pages
Gwyn at A Celtic Cowgirl
Margaret W. at Artisan of the Shire


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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