Thursday, June 30, 2016

Deadpool

 

Deadpool, is the story of Wade Wilson, a mercenary with cancer who is given the option to be cured as well as getting superhuman powers, but is tricked into becoming a slave. Although he is able to escape with his powers, he is horribly deformed and thus seeks revenge.
Not knowing a lot about the comics or lore of Deadpool I was not sure what to expect, but I am gladly able to say that it is now one of, if not the best superhero film I know; the comedy is funny, the action is cool, the romance is sweet (kinda) and the story is well written and entertaining.
One of the best attributes of the movie, is just how well they followed the comics and character. Unlike other superhero movies, trying to create it's own unique story and character, making a distinction between the movie version and the comic version, Deadpool got it right and used all it's resources properly.
A problem that I had with the film, was that the villain wasn't too interesting. Almost like Kylo Ren, in the Force Awakens, he just didn't feel very threatening. We saw what he could do, we saw how strong or smart or evil he was, but it just didn't really matter, not to say Ed Skrein did a poor job playing the part, the character was just boring.
The rating for the movie was perfect, although not all superhero movies should be completely violent, Deadpool should be, the violence and gore was just enough to be funny at times and intimidating at others. 
As well as being one of my favorite superhero films, it is also my favorite Ryan Reynolds film, granted that's not saying much, but in this case he was born to play Deadpool, his constant jabbering, references and fourth wall breaking make for a great character, who Reynolds really brought to life.

9 out of 10

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Money for Nothing

 
Money for Nothing. Lester Carmody is a man who despite most peoples thoughts is almost completely broke, because of this he tries to steal his own family heirlooms so that he may receive the insurance.
The premise for the book isn't all that spectacular but, combined with the characters and their progression, the story takes a step up, having most scenes filled with individuals who all have their own attributes, like Chimps' changing mustache or Johns' wanting to crush a particularly happy worm. With characters such as these the book never gets dull and will always find a way to amuse you.
 In many movies and books there has been a joke about after hearing something stupid the person is now dumber, well with this book it's the exact opposite, the way Wodehouse uses the English language is excellent, having it change to suit the characters better, or using slang to make a sentence a little funnier or sometimes easier, to read. It's almost pure genius.
Money for Nothing didn't really bring any mystery into the scene, having it all laid out clearly for the reader, but that doesn't seem to matter when you're reading it because it's not actually a mystery book and everything else that the story offers is always there ready to make the experience just that bit better. 
Like all of the other Wodehouse books I have read, in every chapter there is always something to make me chuckle,Wodehouse was and still is one of, if not the finest and funniest Novelists we have.

9 out of 10.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens



Star Wars: The Force Awakens starts, as all the Star Wars episodes do, with giant yellow text and a spaceship flying over the screen and then, a battle, showing straight away that this movie looks amazing.  Though there were a few scenes that didn’t look quite right, mostly explosions, but that can be forgiven seeing as how the rest of it looked almost flawless, especially when it was combined with the magnificent soundtrack.
In the movie there were many little things which do not make a lot of sense:  how does everyone (except for Finn) immediately understand BB-8 and all the other ’droids and Chewbacca; why did not Kylo Ren at least try to deflect the laser that hit him in the hip; why are all the stormtroopers still bad shots; and why do people bleed when shot by lasers but not when they are sliced by a lightsaber?
Director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan (and original screenwriter Michael Arndt) introduce some humor into the movie by means, for example, of the stormtroopers and their faceless, bumbling appearance.  I am not a fan of the new armor, or the lightsaber cross guard, but I did not mind the humor, though at times it did feel a little forced.
Another problem with the movie, which may be fixed in the next one in the series, is that there is no major threat there is Starkiller “Deathstar Nº 3” base but that just does not feel as evil and scary as it should; other than that are Kylo Ren and “The Supreme Being” but, ultimately, Ren is a whiny wimp and we have no proof that “The Supreme Being” poses any danger either.
Finally, in terms of the story, it is nothing new; in fact, it is basically the same movie as the original Star Wars.  So, if you want to watch the original Star Wars, but with more advanced CGI and action though with less feeling and true amazement, then this is definitely for you.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is better then all the Star Wars prequels but worse then the three originals: 7 out of 10.
  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

What is the moral of The Great Siege?

The Great Siege, written by Ernle Bradford, is about one of the most famous sieges of all time: Malta 1565.
Primarily: Preparations. After Djerba, the Turks made a strategic error in not attacking immediately for while the Spanish fleet lay in ruins, Spain was rebuilding her forces. By early 1565, Grand Master La Valette’s  spies had informed him that the the Turks planned to invade any day now, and he ordered to repair Fort Saint Angelo, Fort Saint Michael, and Fort Saint Elmo. Before the appearance of the Turks, The Grand Master La Valette ordered all the crops to be harvested, so that the enemy had no local food supplies, the knights also poisoned all the wells with bitter herbs and dead animals. Grand Master La Valette had also correctly calculated that the Turks would try to capture Fort St Elmo so the Grand Master sent reinforcements.
Second: The soldiers. The differences between the armies is very easy to see, while the knights and their soldiers did not have much in the ways of comfort, the Turks had luxury in comparison but, that lead them to be lazier, unprepared and just oblivious to how difficult the battle would be. The knights knowledge of simple chemistry, use of the rapier and faith was enough to give them an edge; even though the Ottoman empire had just taken Fort St. Elmo, La Valette ordered for the feast of St. John the baptist to continue, raising the morale of the knights, and lowering that of the Turks’. As a response the Turks sent in on the tide the decapitated bodies of their brother knights nailed to crosses, La Valette, furious, sent a message back; he ordered all Turkish prisoners to be beheaded, with the heads stuffed into cannons and fired upon the Turks now occupying fort St. Elmo.  
Third: The knights were protected by the best forts of the era. The carefully thought out layers and defences, and the weapon systems were the best of the time. In the age of gunpowder forts had to be able to withstand cannon fire; made from stone and reinforced with earth, the walls were sometimes up to fifty feet thick. The forts were made in a sort-of star shape with bastions on the points, creating crossfire kill-zones and allowing supporting fire to the other bastions.
Finally: As the Ottoman Turks lose thousands upon thousands of men they decide to take a new approach by tunneling under the wall and blowing it up. Finally they were able to enter the last fort and victory seemed certain, but then La Valette himself, a seventy year old man, grabbed a pike, a small helmet, a couple of his closest friends and charged; seeing this, his men followed. Even when a grenade went off right next to his leg he refused to fall back, not until the enemy were out of the fort and in a ditch over the hill.
Never in history has there been a greater example of tactical brilliance, faith and courage then what was seen at Malta. The moral of the siege, keep faith, but plan anyway.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Is Northanger Abbey a Gothic Novel?

Northanger Abbey shares many traits with common Gothic novels, but can it really be called one itself?
Catherine Morland, a seventeen year old girl who is described as “almost pretty” is invited by the Allens, her wealthier neighbors in Fullerton, to accompany them to visit the town of Bath and partake in the winter season of balls.  During her stay in Bath she becomes corrupted by Gothic novels, starts thinking in Gothic manners and tries to behave like a real Gothic heroine.  Then she receives an invitation from the Tilneys to stay with them in Northanger Abbey.  Completely wrapped up in thoughts of mysterious and frightening stories she has to learn that Northanger Abbey cannot fulfill her forced up expectations.  She realizes that Gothic novels are fictional and unreal and, therefore, she progresses towards maturity.
At first this tale seems to be a domestic story with several domestic characters.  But all these characters are unlike characters we know from Gothic novels, and then a small Gothic-like adventure, wherein Catherine suspects the General of murder, is inserted into the novel.
In contrast to a real Gothic heroine there is nothing remarkable about Catherine.  Her birth is no mystery, her father is “a very respectable man, and he had never been handsome.”  Her mother did not die after Catherine’s birth but had six more children.  Catherine herself—during her childhood—was neither a very beautiful appearance:  “She had a thin awkward figure, a sallow skin without colour, dark lank hair, and strong features.”  Nor did she behave like a girl—she was fond of all boys’ plays—or could show any kind of intelligence:  “She never could learn or understand anything before she was taught, and sometimes not even then, for she was often inattentive, and occasionally stupid.”
Northanger Abbey also plays around with many of the basic elements that make up a Gothic novel:  the action takes place in and around an old castle; an atmosphere of mystery and suspense; a woman in distress; and many elements of romance.
In Northanger Abbey the main character, Catherine Morland, is the exact opposite of the Gothic heroine; she is ugly and boring.  Catherine also finds herself in situations that are completely normal, but she believes are truly supernatural.  In these ways, Austen did make a Gothic novel only with all the details reversed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Hobbit






The Hobbit
As a big fan of Tolkien I was very excited to hear that The Hobbit was going to be made into a movie, my excitement was misplaced.
"An Unexpected Journey" begins with Bilbo Baggins looking at some old maps and thinking about when he was younger, where Gandalf the Grey sought him to share in an adventure. That night (Still in Bilbos' memory) Bilbo gets a knock at the door and is in much surprise when behind it is a dwarf, who then introduces himself and comes in. Then, over a period of time that could have easily been cut down to save a few more minuets, we meet the rest of the dwarves in the company. Once all the dwarves have arrived and had dinner Gandalf pulls out a map of the Lonely Mountain and they discuss the plan and Bilbo's contract as a burglar. The next morning they set out and its pretty much just; walk, run, saved by elves, walk, captured, run, climb trees, ride Eagles and done.
"The Desolation of Smaug" starts with the dwarves and Bilbo walking in the forest and then cross into the giant spider part of the forest where they start getting disorientated and relies they have been walking in circles, they then get attacked by giant spiders. Eventually they are saved by elves and taken as prisoners where they then escape turning a peaceful barrel ride down a stream into a awkward battle with no use of the laws of physics and bad CGI. The dwarves then meet Bard, talk to the Master of Lake town, and get everyone excited about killing the dragon, but instead they just run around with the dragon again doing impossible things and then the dragon is angry and goes to destroy Lake town.
"The Battle of the Five Armys" After the dwarves were able to get Smaug out of the mountain he then decides to go destroy Lake town and is then defeated by Bard in a scene that was actually a pretty good length, if it were in a movie that doesn't go for three hours but it is and it feels amazingly too short. Since Smaug destroyed most of Lake town all the citizens had to leave and Bard goes to the dwarves to ask for his peoples share in the gold, but Thorin was corrupted by the dragon sickness and refused to give it to them. Soon the elves arrive and pledge war but instead of suddenly charging on thirteen dwarves and one hobbit they wait until dawn witch is just enough time for the other dwarven army to arrive, and the the orcs. Almost an hour of fighting with many cringe worthy and reused moments later thousands are dead including three dwarves from the original thirteen and Bilbo goes finally gets to go home although he has a lot less gold then what his share should look like.
As a fan of the book the disappointment started with the trailer; all the orcs look more like uraki, in the final battle their must be more people than there was in all three "Lord of the Rings" and the song "Over the misty mountains cold" was meant to be jolly because they were celebrating what they were going to do, and they used only two verses witch makes the song confusing instead of explanatory.
All through the movies there are constant problems with the CGI, the acting and the story, the main problem with the story though is that Peter Jackson decided to change Tolkiens' story by, introducing knew characters, having fights were there shouldn't be and just making it so long. If "The Hobbit" had been one movie it would have been much better because there wouldn't be time for the stupid stuff, there would just be scenes essential to the story, no half done fight scenes and some amazing landscape. To be honest it's clear that the book is better but in terms of graphics, the laws of physics and peoples attention span the 1977 movie "The Hobbit" is better.
The saddest thing is that Martin Freeman played Bilbo pretty well, but no one will ever notice cause the rest of the movies are just so bad.

All three movies as one, 4 out of 10.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

“Is Fanny Price a Weakling?”

Fanny Price is the heroine in Jane Austen’s 1814 novel Mansfield Park. Austen describes Fanny Price as “extremely timid and shy, shrinking from notice”, and repeatedly reminds us that Fanny is indeed that.
Primarily, Fanny Price is not a weakling. Although many times she gave in to the cruelty of Mrs. Norris’s bullying, and it was made quite clear that she was far from the most able-bodied woman but, she was very able-minded; having a more than satisfactory amount of knowledge and a good sense of morals, proving this when she was the only one who stood up and questioned the law for the right of others and the hope for equality in the destruction of slavery: 
Did not you hear me ask him about the slave trade last night?”
“I did – and was in hopes the question would be followed up by others.”
“And I longed to do it – but there was such a dead silence!”
Second, Fanny isn't influenced by money or power. People often take very little notice of Fanny: 
"But where is Fanny? Is she gone to bed?" "No, not that I know of," replied Mrs. Norris; "she was here a moment ago." 
Usually just expecting her to do what she is told but instead Fanny chooses a poor life at Mansfield over marriage to a weak and untrustworthy man. She knows the life she is choosing will be tough but, she is standing up for herself and doing what she wants to, rather then being intimidated into an unwanted life.
 Third; Fanny is morally strong. All through the story she was helping the others, whether it was helping her aunt stitch, or reading to Tom while he was ill, but only after Maria and Mr Crawford eloped did Sir Thomas finally realizes the error of his ways, trying to make his daughters 'good' but only making them good mannered, when he then sees that Fanny is the truly 'good' spirit he had so hoped his daughters to be, from the start Fanny was the purest of them all.
 Finally, she is one of the few Jane Austen heroines who is truly brave, brave in enduring all she had to suffer when removed from her home and family, brave in knowing her own mind, acting or not acting on it as necessary, never wavering from her beliefs and opinions, she truly is no weakling.