Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

MOVIE REVIEW: Joker (2019)

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*Minor Spoilers here*

Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker. -IMDb

The never-ending battle between Batman and Joker is a good vs. evil scenario that will continue into pop culture history. We all know the story of Batman. Ten-year-old Bruce Wayne witnesses the murder of his parents, Thomas and Martha Wayne. Thus the beginning of our epic hero begins.

However, what do we know about the Joker’s backstory? How did this man descent into such madness and psychopathy to cause great harm to Gotham City?

Throughout the Joker’s comic history, his origin story keeps changing. He has told so many origin stories that he doesn’t remember which one is the correct one. So this somewhat ambiguous backstory gave the writers of Joker the freedom to create their telling of Joker’s beginning.

I had heard early reviews that this movie was a different take on the Joker character. I am up for a unique story or a different way to tell an origin story. However, when I watched this movie, I had found a movie that I needed to chew and digest.

First off, Gotham City is experiencing not only a garbage man strike but a bad financial recession. In the comics, Gotham City has always been portrayed as the ghetto or where lower-income families live. I feel these circumstances extenuate how not only how Arthur feels, but how the lower-income citizens feel.

This film came under a lot of controversy for “glorifying gun violence”. To a certain extent, I can understand where those people are coming from. The Aurora, Colorado movie theatre shooting caused a ripple effect when it comes to movies and portraying violence. On the other hand, where the Deadpool movie was just pure chaos. I felt like the people Arthur, and then Joker, murdered were meaningful and had a reason behind each one.

Of course, this brings up the issue that comes with all violent acts, real or fictional, where mental health is the main factor. People use gun violence because it’s a tangible concept “I can see a gun, and I’ve seen gunfire”.

Whereas the idea of mental health isn’t tangible to most people who are either uneducated in the matter or choose to ignore mental illnesses. “I can’t physically see mental disorders” or “I don’t know anyone with mental illnesses” plague the evergoing argument.

Joker is about a man with mental disorders. Life keeps throwing him hard balls, and he loses his sanity after he lost his job and can no longer afford his medication. He gives up on trying to hide his disorders and trying to just be satisfied with the way the world is in Gotham City. He lets the madness consume him.

Overall, I really enjoyed Joker the psychological aspects of this and my love of the comics made this movie my favorite movie of 2019.

Check out my other movie reviews here!

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Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

DISCUSSION: My Thoughts on Doctor Who: Past, Revival, and Current Re-Generation

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Ever since I started this blog, I feel compelled to share my love of Doctor Who, however, I feel I’m constantly repeating myself when I’m reviewing a Doctor Who novel or audiobook. So I have finally gathered up my thoughts on Doctor Who in its entirety to share with you.

How I discovered Doctor Who

Back long, long ago, my ex-boyfriend told me his brother was watching Doctor Who on Netflix. It took me a couple of tries to watch the pilot episode of season 1 of the “reboot/current” series. But once I got past how the monsters were mannequins (hello another irrational fear) I binged the rest of the series.

Now that Doctor Who isn’t on any of the streaming services anymore, I missed 3 seasons of the show. It was Peter Capaldi’s run of the lovable Doctor. I feel like I didn’t miss too much since I follow the memes and humor on the Internet. As well as the fury about the writers changing things (thank goodness most of those were only temporary), and the downfall of the writing quality overall.

Classic Doctor Who

There is so much more of Doctor Who than anyone can keep up with. The show started in the ’60s and they had no idea how huge this small, low budget show would become. Thanks to the Internet, the reboot took off. With the addition of David Tennant and Matt Smith, the show would remain in the mainstream for years to come.

I love Classic Doctor Who and all of its cheesiness. I only just started watching Tom Baker’s Doctor before the streaming services stopped showing Doctor Who. There is so much left to watch, read, listen, and enjoy from this long-lasting franchise.

I like to watch my shows in chronological order, so I started with the man who started it all, William Hartnell’s Doctor. He was a grumpy, yet lovable grampa by the time Mr. Hartnell had to end his reign as the Doctor due to health issues.

Next is Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. I feel this incarnation of the Doctor has a lot of “missing” episodes/stories. I do own one of the DVDs of one of the lost stories, so some parts are filmed, and some parts are animated. Mr. Troughton’s Doctor is the one I know the least about personality-wise. He often refers to his “500-year journal” since his regeneration caused him some amnesia. One of his more popular companions is Jamie, a young man from 18th century Scotland. Even though a lot of what the Doctor does and talks about is beyond Jamie’s understanding, Jamie still enjoys the adventures and travels through time and space.

Jon Pertwee, the Third Doctor in the classic series is one of my absolute favorites. One of my favorite quotes from him is

“Courage isn’ a matter of not being frightened, you know. It’s being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway.”

I’ve seen similar quotes to this, but this one struck a chord with me because when I first heard it I was going through a tough time and it helped me realize not every choice is an easy one, and no matter what you still have to make a choice.

Doctor Who Reboot

I have two main favorite doctors in the reboot/current series so far. Right now those favorites are the 9th and 10th Doctors played by Christopher Eccelston and David Tennant respectively. What I really enjoyed about these Doctors was their personalities, Mr. Eccelston and his sarcasm that he brought to the character was charming. Even though his stint on the show wasn’t long, he is still my Doctor. Mr. Tennant has a great sense of humor and adorable quirkiness. You can see his love for the franchise throughout his run. These two doctors were probably the most unique and interesting Doctors I’ve seen so far.

The Future of Doctor Who:

Right now as far as the current Doctor, Jodie Wittaker is a good actress, especially for the mediocre writing she’s been given, now that’s not to say that the current writing is very poor, but it leaves a lot to be desired. My favorite episode from the 11th season is The Demons of Punjab. The plot is:

The Doctor and her friends arrive in the Punjab, India, in 1947, as the country is being torn apart; while Yaz attempts to discover her grandmother’s hidden history, the Doctor discovers demons haunting the land.

This is my favorite episode because the story was interesting, the writing was better, and the cinemaphotography was gorgeous and made 1947 India a place to visit.

Going forward I’d like to see better writing and better use of the companions in each episode, for example, a companion getting tired and The Doctor brings them back to Earth for a break. Also, three companions seems a bit much for an hour-long TV Show.

Side note: My fiance thinks the audio mixing needs a bit of work, you can’t really understand much of what’s being said without a high-end audio system. Gotta make it work on All systems, ya know? -Alex Dickson (Fiance who loves his woman so very much he will surprise her on her birthday with something special, now with what, he doesn’t know yet, but he’ll figure something out.)

Read My Reviews of Doctor Who Novels and Audio Dramas HERE not all of these I realize are not Doctor Who directly, but other novels that remind me of the show.

 

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My Thoughts So Far on Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?

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Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? focuses on the Mystery Inc. gang as they solve bigger mysteries while also encountering many memorable celebrities, just like in The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Guest stars that have been announced for the show include Chris Paul, Sia, Halsey, Ricky Gervais, Kenan Thompson, Wanda Sykes, Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Mark Hamill, along with fictional characters such as Steve Urkel, Batman, Sherlock Holmes, the Flash and Wonder Woman.

I grew up watching Scooby-Doo as many of my long-time readers know. This show has inspired my love of paranormal, horror, and mystery. One of the more memorable Scooby-Doo series was The Scooby-Doo Show where celebrities of the times would guest star and help Scooby and the gang solve a mystery.

The more memorable ones for me are the episodes where celebrities like The Globe Trotters, Don Knotts, and Batman helped out with a mystery while adding a fresh breath of comic relief. A lot of people on the Internet has been wanting this idea of celebrity crossover with Scooby-Doo to be brought back. Well, they have responded with Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?. The first season isn’t over just yet, but I feel like I’ve watched enough to be comfortable giving my thoughts and feelings.

My excitement for this series following the abomination of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! was palpable. I have been DVR’ing every episode and I’ve been more or less enjoying them so far. The art style is reminiscent of What’s New Scooby-Doo? which is the series I grew up on more or less. I don’t remember a time of my life where Scooby and the crew haven’t been there.

As with all shows, each episode is a hit or miss. Not all famous people can act. Voice acting also isn’t as easy as it looks. My favorite episode so far is “Peebles’ Pet Shop of Terrible Terror” where Wanda Sykes guest stars. Most of the guest stars are more for the older generation and adults.

The reason why I liked this episode so far out of the four I’ve seen so far, is because I felt like the writing was good. I have my nitpicks with the episode, but they’re just subtle observations I’ve made. I felt like Scooby being good friends with Wanda was believable and adorable. I also liked how the writers use their friendship to show how much Scooby loves his best friend Shaggy. It felt like good character development and even though the story wasn’t the best, I still had fun watching this.

I would totally check it out if you’re a Scooby-Doo fan yourself!

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

REVIEW: Scooby-Doo Pirates Ahoy!

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The Mystery, Inc. gang are caught in the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle, while vacationing on a creepy eerie cruise, with ghost, pirates, and monsters.

This direct to DVD movie was based on the What’s New Scooby Doo era. I grew up on all of the variations of Scooby Doo. I recently revisited this movie, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on Scooby-Doo Pirates Ahoy! 

Overall, I enjoy this movie. It’s not my favorite, but it’s not terrible. I think the fascination with pirates is something that we will always enjoy.

I thought the motives for the bad guys were weak. I won’t spoil what their motives were, but let’s just say that I felt the writers cared more about wreaking havoc to other ships rather than developing motives for the villains.

I love the music they made for this movie, that is something that will always keep me watching this movie in particular. The chase scenes with the pirates were comical and funny. The music made me feel like I was ready to join a pirate crew and have some fun.

Overall, I enjoy this movie even though it’s not my favorite, this doesn’t mean it’s my least favorite. I think it’s a fun watch for people of all ages, especially for those who love pirates, adventure, and Scooby-Doo!

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

My Latest Netflix Binge: Rilakkuma and Kaoru

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If you are looking for a relaxed, adorable anime look no further! Rilakkuma and Kaoru is a Japanese animation about two adorable stuffed bears and a little baby bird.

The official summary goes like this:

Her life might be a little mundane, but Kaoru gets to go home to Rilakkuma, her endearingly lazy roommate who happens to be a fuzzy toy bear. -Netfix

I know it’s not much to go on, but trust me you will be getting all the cute feelings from how the characters interact with each other. I’m not familiar with the famous Japanese pop icon Rilakkuma, so I called him “Big Brown Bear” and the other bear “Vanilla Bear”.

From Wikipedia:

Rilakkuma’s name is a combination of リラックス rirakkusu, a Japanese transliteration of the English word “relax”, and クマ(熊)kuma, the Japanese word for “bear”. He is a soft, toy-like bear whose interests are mostly limited to sleeping and eating, although these traits are portrayed positively, with fans and consumers encouraged to, at least sometimes, emulate Rilakkuma as sort of cure or treatment for stress.

Now enough backstory and explaining. Let’s get into what I liked, and what I didn’t like about Rilakkuma and Kaoru!

I loved all of the characters, the bears, Kaoru, and even the neighbor kid who brings a child-like perspective to the bears’ lives. There’s funny moments, heartwarming ones, and there’s at least one episode everyone can relate with.

My favorite episode is the Rainy Season. It’s Typhoon season in Tokyo, and even though Kaoru has a difficult trip to her little office job, it’s not as crazy as what’s going on in the bears’ apartment! Hilarity ensues and it’s a good reminder on not to do too much lazing about.

Another thing I loved about the show is how each episode ends with an inspirational quote. They’re always positive, and I found it was a nice way to end an episode. It was kind of like a “what did we learn today?” kind of ending.

There really wasn’t anything major I had an issue with, mostly just nitpicks and minor things that don’t affect my overall feeling for the show.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this anime, it held my attention, and it gave me a good laugh and heartwarming feelings. I hope Netflix will invest in a second season! I will be looking forward to a new adventure with these loveable characters.

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My Bookshelf

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My mom recently gave me a bookshelf, and my fiance and I put it together and placed it in my room, I quickly started filling the shelves with the books I’ve collected over the past couple of years since I moved in with my fiance.

Some of these books I’ve read, most I haven’t yet. And yes, I still own the whole Twilight Saga. I’m not ashamed to say that at the time even though I found it to be dumb and immature, I still enjoyed the series. I was in middle school, cut me some slack.

The little figure on my shelf is a Pokemon that McDonald’s had in their Happy Meals at the time, and so I got this one. Reshiram is a legendary Pokemon from the Black and White games. It is said that when Reshiram’s tail flares, the heat energy moves the atmosphere and changes the world’s weather.

I just wanted to share what my physical bookshelf has on it. Its shelves are ever growing crowded as I keep finding books that I want to add to my collection.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Meg (2018)

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*No Spoilers*

I have been looking forward to this movie for a while. I was finally able to borrow it from my local library and watched it this past Monday.

The plot is your basic shark/monster story. Something attacks an underwater submarine, and the sole survivor is laughed at by everyone. Only to find out several years later, an exploration pod makes the first trip into the famous Mariana Trench, and things go haywire fast.

Only one man, Jonas, played by Jason Statham, can save the day. Can he save everyone? Or will he repeat history and become another sole survivor?

This movie is loosely based on the novel The Meg by Steve Alten. I read the novel in 2012, and I still remember the novel fairly well. The only problem I had with the novel itself was I didn’t understand the machinery involved with the dive.

The thought of a shark larger and more deadlier than the Great White shark sparks the imagination and the fear of adventuring into the deep end of the swimming pool. The Megladon shark was a real organism that lived in prehistoric times. It killed mainly whales and other, smaller sharks.

They went extinct when the ice age occurred and a combination of drastic temperature change in the ocean, and the whales changing their diet caused the Megladon to become extinct due to lack of food.

Unlike most monster movies, the characters aren’t stereotypes or cardboard characters. I felt like I could relate to the main group of characters. It was refreshing to see this change.

I’m not sure how accurate the movie really is, but sometimes it’s better to have fun than to critique a monster movie. Megladons are no longer around, but that doesn’t stop the mind to imagine and fantasize about a world where these prehistoric monsters did exist.

I will definitely be adding this to my “favorite movies” list. If you would like to hear my opinions on some of the movies I watch, let me down in the comments section below!

Here’s a video from PBS discussing the Megladons in more detail!