Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Friend Movie Review: Iron Man 2 (2010)

Ten days away from Infinity War! But today we are talking Iron Man 2. It is a decent superhero movie, but my least favourite of the Phase 1 set.

Again, not sure this is needed, the movie is eight years old, however be advised there could be SPOILERS AHEAD. We will be discussing of scenes, quotes, plot points, and maybe even twists. With that out of the way on with the review...

The Good:
Susi: The effects were fun. It worked well and was entertaining
Stuart: I liked it, definitely liked it. I didn't like the rival/villain Justin Hammer (you're not suppose to) and they did a great job making him unlikable.
Brendan: I love the soundtrack and have owned it for years. I like it more from the first soundtrack even if there is nothing original. I liked the Russian villain, they humanized him; you understood his motivation. Also the villain's suit reveal was great.There was less visual jokes than the first; but what they had was fun. The script leaned on Iron Man's charisma and Dowey steals the show, again. Dowey makes this movie and is the backbone of the MCU.
Me: I found the relationship and social interactions the best part, for me the chemistry Potts and Dowey and equally the friendship between Rhodes and Stark makes the movie. And I agree with Stuart "The Hammer" was well created and played as an unlikable guy. I also enjoy the "gift" Howard Stark left for his son and even if the discovery was far-fetched it fun in the moment.

The Less Than Good:
Susi: Near the end it felt like it was just about the special effects, there was limited story.
Stuart: I liked the first one more. The character of Stark is less enjoyable this time around; he was more of a jerk, selfish, and arrogant. It almost feels like they undone his character progress from the first movie so that he could have a character arch in this one. I guess story wise, it is the praise and glory from being Iron Man going to his head. The last negative is the end story is the same as the first movie. It comes down to another man in the suit, it is just a rehashing the same battle.
Brendan: I don't care for revenge only for the sake of revenge as villain arch. They rehashed much of the good bits from first, doesn't make it a bad movie but there is not new themes or story really.
Me: It was a bland movie with all of the flaws my friends mentioned. It was made to start the summer blockbusters. People like familiar with a blend of new; but the leaning so heavily on what was good in the first Iron Man made this one forgettable. So forgettable I had forgotten much of what happened.

This Time Around:
Brendan: Feels more cliche than the other movies.
Me: As I said in the less than good, I found the movie forgettable the first time. I appreciated more of the movie this time around but it feels like a "people will pay to see Iron Man" more than "we have a great story to tell." Positive things I noticed was the details the creative teams have added to make all the MCU connected. Senator Stem who is against Iron Man in this movie is arrested as a Hydra agent in Civil War. Just one of the many "hey, I see what they did there" that I missed the first time watching.

Favourite Scene:
Susi: When Rhodey has just launched the "ex wife" weapon, which bounces off Vanko with no effect. Tony Stark says, "Hammer Tech?" And Rhodes looks down, dejected, "Yeah."
Stuart: Using a pipe wrench to aim a high tech laser in the midst of all the high tech gear options.
Brendan: The suits all dropping down into the garden looked cool
Me: Black Widow's fight scene. She takes all of the security force in the same time it takes Happy to subdue one. My second choice is when a child wearing an Iron Man mask raises his had to attack one of the robots (which is also targeting the kid because of the mask) and Iron Man blasts the robot looks at the kid and says "Nice work Kid"  -fan theories that I have heard are true is the kid was Peter Parker.

Favourite Line:
Susi: "We don't all run on batteries"
Stuart: After Senator Stern jabs Tony with a medal. "Oooh, sorry...funny how annoying a little prick can be, isn't it?"
Brendan: "Sir, I am going to have to ask you to exit the donut" Nick Fury
Me: Agent Coulson: Good luck. We need you.
Tony Stark: More than you know.
Agent Coulson: Not that much.

Rating:
Susi: 3.8 suits out of 5
Stuart: 3.5 eclectic whips out of 5
Brendan: 3.0 needless mini guns out of 5
Me: 2.9 new elements out of 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% (that's 3/25 out of 5)

Fun Fact: When Tony Stark asks Natalie Rushman if she actually speaks Latin, she responds with the phrase "Fallaces sunt rerum species", a quote from Lucio Anneo Seneca meaning, "The appearances of things are deceptive".  Thanks again to the IMDb trivia page.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Friend Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk (2008)

We are 11 sleeps away from Avengers: Infinity War, technically 12 till the official release date; we've got tickets to see it on Thursday the 26th. This week the re-watching crew make a calculated decision. We knew with only two weekends left there was no way our schedules would allow us to watch all 12 movies in Phase 2 and 3. We have narrowed down the essentials for best appreciating Infinity War.

Those reviews will be up later; today's movie is The Incredible Hulk. I've always loved the Edward Norton Hulk; I think because I had such a strong dislike to the 2003 Hulk (which I might need to give another chance). The Incredible Hulk (2008( seems like the forgotten story of Phase One, I suspect that it is because of the cast change from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo. Everyone else got a trilogy. At least he gets a movie (poor Black Widow and Hawkeye).

Again, not sure this is needed, the movie is ten years old, however be advised there could be SPOILERS AHEAD. We will be discussing of scenes, quotes, plot points, and maybe even twists. With that out of the way on with the review...


The Good:
Susi: I was entertained. It was fun. I liked that Hulk used his power for good.
Stuart: Same, we really don't over think the movies we watch. They are for entertainment. It was enjoyable. I did like that he was controlling his powers at the end.
Brendan: I liked Betty Ross. The CGI was good for 2008. A lot of good one liners.
Me: I love that the MCU is international, I made the comment in the Ultron movie review. The rewatch is reminding me that there has always been international scenes and story threads. New York has often been the center of comics (because the original writers and artists were from New York). The MCU has been expanding beyond the city, the Eastern Coast, and the States. Hulk's beginning in Brazil is a perfect. I also love the chase through the mountain-side-tin-roof city. That earned big stars for me. I also love Norton as an actor and think he makes a great Hulk. This was more serious than Iron Man but still had humor. There are funny moments and great action.

I really liked the nods to earlier Hulks: there is the security guard (Lou Ferrigo) who voiced the Hulk in the TV show,  Bill Bixty who was also in the Hulk TV show has a cameo of a television playing a clip from another show he was on, Stanley the Pizza Owner was played by Paul Soles who was the voice of the Hulk in the animated series, and my favourite was the nod to the comics with Betty Ross offering to buy Banner big stretchy purple pants. While I'd want Banner to get the girl, I like the conclusion with him learning to control his anger. I also enjoyed Tim Roth as a villain; seeing him made me miss Lie To Me.

The Less Than Good:
Susi: There was one scene that we needed to cover our young son's eyes.
Stuart: The military's ability to track the drink to Banner in Brazil seemed far fetched. The university computer technology seemed ancient and yet compatible with a modern USB, seemed odd even for the 2008.
Brendan: First, the only character with personality was Betty Ross, everyone else were 2D and as a result meant I didn't care what happened to any of them. Second, I don't care for the serious Marvel movies. It just doesn't work for me. Serious movies should be thought provoking and Marvel always misses the mark. With the material given I don't they can, the superhero movie genre isn't conducive for a serious story. The attempt at serious doesn't feel like Marvel. They are at their best when they are funny and light. (I disagree, serious is possible and I found it a quality I liked about this movie. But he's right that if you are not expecting serious it is off putting and that could be a reason there hasn't been other Hulk movies).
Me: I agree with Stuart about the drink. That seems...forced. There were actions on the part of the General and Blonsky (Roth) that felt forced or unrealistic. Actions that wouldn't be true for a normal person in the situation but were needed so that plot could continue. I also found aspects of the betrayal of Blonsky poorly foreshadowed. It was hard not to see that he would become the big baddie but I felt the leap to killing someone under his command an odd twist. I wanted more hints he was responding the the treatment poorly or was becoming addicted. (Brendan disagreed with me).

This Time Around:
Brendan: I only remembered the bottle scene from the first time around, the movie bored me. Seeing it this time I understand why I wasn't captivated by it at the time.
Watching the thunderstorm scene made me think, "huh, so the animosity between Thor and Hulk had its roots in this moment."
Me: I still really enjoy the movie but some of the shine has worn off for me. There are other MCU movies I like better now. Also I really appreciate Brendan's thunderstorm-Thor observation (I wonder if that was intentional)

Favourite Scene:
Susi: As a former lab rat, I appreciated Bruce Banner bribing the lab rats with pizza for access to the computers.
Stuart: Mr. Blue kicking the computer and cursing the students
Brendan: The almost sex scene that Bruce Banner ended quickly because of the heart monitor.
Me: The chase in Brazil

Favourite Line:
Susi:
Betty Ross: [Betty and Bruce need to get across town in New York City] The subway is probably quickest.
Bruce Banner: Me in a metal tube, deep underground with hundreds of people in the most aggressive city in the world?
Betty Ross: Right. Let's get a cab.
Stuart: "Hulk Smash"
Brendan: "Where does she find these guys" -The General/Dad
Me: In Portuguese "You don't want to see me...hungry" -Bruce Banner

Rating:
Susi: 3.7 Gamma saturated blood samples out of 5
Stuart: 3.5 Hulk Smashes out of 5
Brendan: 2.5 enlarged spiky vertebrae out of 5
Me: 3.5 bottles of Pingo Doce out of 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%  (that's 3.1 tomatoes out of 5)

Fun Fact: This is the only Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One film, in which Nick Fury does not appear. However, his name appears in the opening credit montage at the 2:46 mark (on a S.H.I.E.L.D. page, with the text Nick Fury, Shield Command, Code RED, New York, NY 060564). -I realize I am a geek who enjoys reading the trivia pages on IMDb.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Friend Movie Review: Iron Man (2008)

I've been introducing my friends all things geeky from board games and Doctor Who to comics and especially the MCU. It has been so much fun sharing things I love with Suzi and Stuart. They are very kind and let me geek-out.

In February we watched Civil War in preparation of Black Panther. Then in early March we watched Winter Soldier (because Mum and I started watching first season of Agents of Shield and we were about to watch Turn, Turn, Turn). After that it was requested that we start at the beginning. They were enjoying the stories but found the out-of-order timey-whimey-ness of our watching confusing.

It was not hard to agree. We started with Iron Man a few nights later. Bonus everyone agreed to doing movie reviews. We finished Phase One this weekend and only have 12 more movies before Avengers: Infinity War...totally doable!

The movie is ten years old, so I'm not sure this is necessary, be advised there could be SPOILERS AHEAD. We will be discussing of scenes, quotes, plot points, and maybe even twists. With that out of the way on with the review...

The Good:
Susi: I normally don't think this deeply about a movie. I either like it or I don't however I will try. I was surprised by the baddie and yet the hints were there when in hindsight. The special effects were cool and hold up ten years later.
Stuart: It was funny and had good character arch.
Brendan: Robert Downey Jr. is the best part of the movie. You believe everything that happens with the story arch and character development. Beyond those success there is a lot to love. There was a lot great comedy especially visual comedy (ie boy dropping ice cream when seeing Iron Man). The humour was so well done and I find it has been missing in the recent Marvel movies. The jump cuts (ie "we can't call it a training exercise" followed by "it was a training exercise") and editing made the movie that much better.
Me: I forgot how good this movie is. There is great comedy gold, character development, and an interesting origin. I kept saying with each new scene "I forgot how much I love this movie" and I agree with everything my friends said also I do love Gwyneth Paltrow in this movie. She and Downey work well together.

The Less Than Good:
Susi: I wished I had looked up the rating before hand, there were two scenes I would have rather my son not to see. That's not the movie's fault. For the movie, the captors quality of English seemed far fetch.
Stuart: The making of the iron suit under the nose of their captors seemed unbelievable that they wouldn't have picked up of the project sooner.
Brendan: Other that AC/DC the music was lack luster. The time skip (back in time) after the intro didn't seem necessary and maybe even lessened the impact of the ambush. The other issue is really just a minor grip was the villain's actions after being found out. For an intelligent business man it would have made more scene for him to run away with the suit and hide. But they needed the big battle.
Me: I have no problem being critical, but I don't have anything to be critical about, the three points my friends said are true but I didn't think about them till they mentioned them.

This Time Around:
Brendan: I understand why my dad didn't let me watch it when I was 8.
Me: I love rewatching. It was so enjoyable. There were things I remembered clearly like Tony's captivity and other things I had forgotten like making all the reporters sit-down. I also forgot Terrence Howard was the original Rhodey. I did not look up the reason for the change, I'm sure the internet knows. I think I would have enjoy him as War Machine.

Favourite Scene:
Susi: The "useless" robot spraying Tony  with the extinguisher during tests after he'd crashes but was not on fire.
Stuart: When Iron Man returns home after his first flight. It is a great moment of success and then he cuts engines and falls through the multiple floors and crashed on the car followed up by the robot spraying him with the extinguisher (again).
Brendan: Stark's missile demonstration with the hats flying off and Tony standing with his arms open.
Me: Everything they have said is so good, what to chose, what to chose. Okay, during the press briefing at the end when Tony announces that he is Iron Man.

Favourite Line:
Susi: Christine Everheart (reporter): After all these years, Tony still has you picking up the dry cleaning.
Pepper Potts: I do anything and everything Mr. Stark requires. Including occasionally taking out the trash. Will that be all?
Stuart: Tony to his Dummy Robotic Hand "You're going to be sent to the university"
Brendan: Tony to the Dummy tracing him with a fire extinguisher "I feel like I am going to spontaneously catch on fire"
Me: Agent Coulson: I'm Agent Phil Coulson with the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.
Pepper Potts: That's quite a mouthful.
Agent Coulson: I know. We're working on it.
 (then later)
Pepper Potts: Agent Coulson, I just wanted to say thank you very much for all of your help.
Agent Coulson: That's what we do. You'll be hearing from us.
Pepper Potts: From the Strategic Homeland...
Agent Coulson: Just call us S.H.I.E.L.D.

Also because the robot hand is awesome, as Tony lies dying, the dummy hands him the Mark I arc reactor and Tony says: Good boy...

Rating:
Susi: 4.5 suits out of 5
Stuart: 4 arch reactors out of 5
Brendan: 4.5 dead rebel soldiers out of 5
Me: 4.6 robot arms out of 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% (that's 3.9 tomatoes out of 5)

P.S. We got our Infinity War tickets today!

Monday, March 26, 2018

36 While 36: March Update

Time is running out. The end of the 36 While 36 is a month away. I have 31 days to complete a handful of challenges.

By my count I have two challenges still to start and six still in progress. I celebrate that has been the most successful birthday-challenge yet. There is even a chance for a 100% completion, which I have never met.

Yet with my goal so close I fear failure. A friend pointed out today that I will have to complete two challenges a week if I want to succeed. That seems too much especially with Easter this weekend. I need to make a plan and a checklist. It might still be possible.

The Key
plain text = not started
green text = started
purple text = completed

The List
1) Choose a 2018 Word
    My 2018 word is peace.
2) Make a 40 Before 40 List
    Here is the whole 40 Before 40 list
3) Send/give Christmas Cards (36 minimum)
    I have nine cards left to give to make my self-imposed 36 card minimum.
4) Marry Someone
     Done; on September 2nd. Congratulations Chris and Becca Gilbert! (Sorry to those who thought it might be a hint at progress in my own relationship status. I am still as single as ever).

5) Be a NaNoWriMo Rebel
     With only four days left of NaNoWriMo I count this as completed. I have participated this year in the writing contest as a rebel regardless of if I cross the 50k word goal or not.
6) Memorize Philippians 4:4-9
    I know the passage! I had it down solid in November. I will need to practice more.
7) Finish Reading New Testament
    I have 10 books left to read
8) Draw Regularly (12 drawings)
    You can find the new art most Wednesdays
 9) Write Down My Children's Stories
    I've written out 3 of the 4 stories
10) A Day of Silence
    I think this was one the last two lists, I finally completed the challenge last week. It was a day I needed. I've already made plans to have another retreat in a few months.
11) Cosplay a New Character
Petronella Osgood and Zygone Osgood
Or is that Zygone Osgood and Petronella Osgood?
I will never tell!
12) Make a video
    There is a plan to make a video. We keep postponing. Soon....  
The next 18 challenges were all related to my NS this past summer. You can find links to the trip and all the challenges here.
13) Hug all of my people
14) Brunch with The Brunch Club
15) Attend the Wednesday Games Group Games Night
16) Picture with a giant lobster
17) Watch the sunrise over the Bay of Fundy
18) Swim in the Atlantic Ocean
19) Eat Lobster
20) Eat Muscles
21) Eat Scott Skins
22) Eat Chicken Curry Fries
23) Eat at the Korean Place
24) Eat at the Naked Crepe
25) Visit the Look-Off
26) Visit The Wolfville Farmer Market
27) Visit Halls Harbour
28) Visit Port George
29) Visit Luneburg
30) Visit Mahone Bay
31) Let go of stuff (#23)
    More needs to go but it is happening
32) Exercise (#34)
    I've been mostly faithful to regular weigh training and walking. Next year's goal will be to add in cardio.
33) Keep Food Journal (#35)
    This has been one of the most helpful habits.
34) Make a life time bucket list (#4)
35) Volunteer (#15)
    I helped ring bells this Christmas
36) TBA

It doesn't look too bad.

Let the birthday countdown begin.

Friday, January 26, 2018

36 While 36: January Update

Only 90 days till my birthday. That also means only 90 days to complete the remaining 36 While 36 challenges. The last update was in November and the standing were:
  • 23 Completed
  • 7 Started
  • 6 Unstarted
Hopefully progress has been made. Let's find out

The Key
plain text = not started
green text = started
purple text = completed

1) Choose a 2018 Word
     My word is still in process. I'm leading a "My One Word" small group at my church only the weather has been against us and we've had to reschedule. I hope to have settled on a word by February 10th.
2) Make a 40 Before 40 List
    Here is the whole 40 Before 40 list
3) Send/give Christmas Cards (36 minimum)
    All the cards were made, nine were given. I have this plan to send the rest next week.
4) Marry Someone
     Done; on September 2nd. Congratulations Chris and Becca Gilbert! (Sorry to those who thought it might be a hint at progress in my own relationship status. I am still as single as ever).

5) Be a NaNoWriMo Rebel
     With only four days left of NaNoWriMo I count this as completed. I have participated this year in the writing contest as a rebel regardless of if I cross the 50k word goal or not.
6) Memorize Philippians 4:4-9
    I know the passage! I had it down solid in November. I will need to practice more.

Second (or Third+) Chances
7) Finish Reading New Testament
    I have 10 books left to read
8) Draw Regularly (12 drawings)
    You can find the new art most Wednesdays
 9) Write Down My Children's Stories
    I've written out 3 of the 4 stories
10) A Day of Silence
11) Cosplay a New Character
Petronella Osgood and Zygone Osgood
Or is that Zygone Osgood and Petronella Osgood?
I will never tell!
12) Make a video
    There is a plan to make a video. We keep postponing. Soon....  

Eighteen Items off the NS Trip List

There have already been many post about each of these challenges. You can find links to the NS trip and all the challenges here.
13) Hug all of my people
14) Brunch with The Brunch Club
15) Attend the Wednesday Games Group Games Night
16) Picture with a giant lobster
17) Watch the sunrise over the Bay of Fundy
18) Swim in the Atlantic Ocean
19) Eat Lobster
20) Eat Muscles
21) Eat Scott Skins
22) Eat Chicken Curry Fries
23) Eat at the Korean Place
24) Eat at the Naked Crepe
25) Visit the Look-Off
26) Visit The Wolfville Farmer Market
27) Visit Halls Harbour
28) Visit Port George
29) Visit Luneburg
30) Visit Mahone Bay

Six Items off the 40 Before 40 List
31) Let go of stuff (#23)
    A friend has helped start. I think we'll be continuing the process in January.
32) Exercise (#34)
    I've been working out regularly in tandem with my the keeping a food journal goal. There have been skipped days for both over the holiday. I am actually finding January hard to keep things going.
33) Keep Food Journal (#35)
    I'm on day 74.
34) Make a life time bucket list (#4)
35) Volunteer (#15)
    I helped ring bells this Christmas
36) TBA

The new stats are:
  • 26 Completed (an addition of three)
  • 7 Started
  • 3 Unstarted
I am quiet happy. This might be the first year I complete the whole list. Did I make the list too easy? I didn't think so, I am still very surprised by how much has already been accomplished.

For the regular readers, thank you for your patience during my posting absence. I normally am whipped after a month of posting everyday. This year I also some health issues that wiped me out. They are now under control and my regular-sporadic posting will resume. I took my family to see Paddington 2 tonight. Maybe I'll do a movie review of it soon. I still want to write a review for Jumanji 2 and there is also a Star War that could be written. We shall see.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Thankful Thursday #227

I am thankful...

1) ...for Christmas!
2) ...for posted packages
3) ...for Christmas lights
4) ...for winter hats, and scarves, and mittens
5) ...for found CDs, it has been an ABBA week
6) ...for late night chats
7) ...and for movie nights

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Day 19: Tuesday Tutorial Weeping Angel Tree Topper

Time seems to be a little more wibby-wobby timey-wimey today. I wrote most of this last Tuesday on the actually 19th but it didn't get uploaded till today on the Second Day of Christmas also Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas

Since I started the Whovian Christmas Special Countdown in 2014, I have wanted to made a weeping angle tree topper. The inspiration and first tutorial I found was The Creative Crossings from 2010. That was how I had planned to make my angel until I found Candy Girl's blog Wibbly-Wobbly Timey-Wimey Stuff and Nonsense, where she creates a Weeping Angel with a different technique. It is her work that my attempt/tutorial is based on.

Supplies:
  • A tree topper angel
  • Stone spray paint. I used Natural Stone by Krylon
  • Scissors
  • Thread (needed to sew up the dress
  • Drop cloth/newspaper and a space to spray paint
Step 1: Research and Gathering Supplies
I read both of the linked tutorials before I started. It helped me plan out my own project and know what I would need. My Whovian tree is small and fits on my dresser. I knew I'd want a smaller angel then most stores...nine shops later I found the angel I used at Michaels. Actually that was the first place I looked and thought it was over priced. I then visited every store I could think of only to go back to Michaels.

 
I also started with Natural Stone in Charcoal, at the time that was the only option. Right before I was going to paint I decided see if I could return the can for a different colour (at a different Michaels). This time there was a larger selection. I was torn between limestone and granite. Depending on the reference material both could have worked but I ultimately decided upon the granite.

Step 2: Preparing the Angel
My angel had ribbons, embellishments, and that troublesome open flap.
 
With some work I was able to cut off the ribbons, Christmas bits, and the extra glue stuck to her hands. I then tried to close the opening of the dress. It worked but left a noticeable seam that bothers me.

Step 3: Set Up Painting Area
I had access to a great drop cloth and a work room I could use for a few days. Ventilation in important. Also, read the instructions on your can of spray paint for any specific directions and drying times.

Step 4: Paint and Wait and Repeat
Using the can's recommended sweeping motion to avoid drips I applied the first coat and let it sit 20 minutes. I probably should have waited 24 hours.
 
The second coat applied better. The wings, head, and hands which took the paint best and the velvet skit was a pain. I think that was to be expected.
 


Step 4: Position the Hands
I did this step before paint the third coat.

The third coat was applied just before I went to bed Monday. It probably needs another coat or two...maybe even primer or gesso before another coat. I don't like how the fabric looks with the paint. However, I really wanted the angel up for Tuesday so I could finish the tutorial. I might revisit the options this summer.

Step 5: Place Your Weeping Angel
Once the paint is completely dry, I waited 24 hours, it is time for your Weeping Angel to be placed on top of your tree.
Then sit back and enjoy who Whovian Christmas tree.

The BBC's official  Doctor Who 2017 Adventure Calendar
Countdown Till Christmas Special Airs: 6 sleeps
Countdown Till This Whovian (probably) sees the Christmas Special: 8 sleeps
Yesterday's Countdown Post: Day 18: Top Ten Moffat Monsters
Episodes Watched: ... Last Christmas, The Husbands of River Song, and The Return of Doctor Mysterio