Fangirl Friday-12/5

This week I’m fangirling over something old, something new, something Marvel, and something Ru!

1. Something Marvel: 75 Years from Pulp to Pop

I found this little featurette after watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D one night on Hulu and was hooked. I find the story of the Marvel greats Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko as interesting as the characters they created. If you like comics even a little bit I would say it is totally worth watching this 40 minute special. Also, it includes a pretty awesome clip from Agent Carter that already has me shipping Peggy (aka the brilliant Hayley Atwell) and Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy). (Although obviously PEGGY AND CAP FIVE-EVER.)

Also, just read that the Russo brothers and Joe Johnson will all be directing episodes of Agent Carter so I’m pretty excited. Especially since I know that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D winter finale will probably end with some large cliffhanger that will undoubtedly drive me crazy/leave me heartbroken.

2. Something Marvel Part 2

This week the company I am working for expanded into a new building. In front of that building there are parking spots labeled with names like “Joss Whedon” and “Kevin Feige” (among others). TRY TELLING ME TO BE CALM ABOUT THIS I DARE YOU. Needless to say when I walk to the new building I always go through the parking lot extra slowly. Side note: Joss drives a prius. Because he’s perfect.

3. Something New: ‘Bond 24′ Announcement

The ‘Bond 24′ announcement gave us some new actors (Léa Seydoux! Andrew Scott!), a title (Spectre), an awesome poster, and a sweet new Aston Martin(the DB 10), but the thing I was most excited about was to see that Interstellar‘s cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema has been added to the crew. While I love love LOVE Roger Deakins’ work in Skyfall, I am really into Hoytema’s bold and beautiful style and I’m excited to see what else he can do.

4. Something Ru: Ru Paul’s Drag Race season 7 

Casting rumors for the 7th season of Drag Race were out in full force yesterday with social media clues hinting at the queens who will potentially be on the upcoming season. I am especially excited to watch my first season of RPDR because I can finally #ruveal that I worked on it! I can easily say it was one of the most fun productions I have been a part of.

Binoculars Cant Wait animated GIF

Honorable Mentions

  • My obsession with Serial is growing stronger (having to wait a week really did me in) as is my confusion over who/what to believe. I find it so unsettling that I am drawn into these very real events in the lives of these very real people and that there may not be (and probably won’t be) an answer at the end of it all. I’m just waiting for the announcement of Serial: The Movie.
  • Something Old: I watched You’ve Got Mail for the first time over the holiday weekend and I couldn’t stop smiling. Everything from the performances to the love story to the writing was perfect.

Amy Please

I apologize for having missed two Fangirl Fridays in a row. That’s what happens when you work three different live shows with 12+ hour days in the span of a little over a week and then there’s a holiday. But enough excuses.

It is not Friday, but there is something, or should I say someone, I am fangirling over.

Her name is Amy Poehler.

Amy Poehler Dancing animated GIF

I blame my sister. (All good things in my life are usually her fault.) She’s not a big TV watcher, especially not compared to me (but then again who is) and she told me, “You HAVE to watch Parks and Rec it is one of my favorite shows of all time.” Coming from her, that is a pretty strong endorsement. I resisted for awhile, but after finishing 30 Rock there was a large void of truly funny television in my life. So begrudgingly I started Parks and Rec the same week I started Breaking Bad for something light to watch in between the heavy BB episodes. I never made it past Breaking Bad season 2 episode 2 because along the way something happened. I became completely obsessed. Parks and Rec has become more than a show to me; through spending time with watching this weird cast of characters I have learned about myself along the way.

The greatest lessons have come from the Pawnee Goddess herself, Leslie Knope. She has taught me that friendship comes above all things (second only to waffles), that is important to stand up for what you believe in even and especially if it is unpopular, and that there is no such thing as caring too much. Ann Perkins has taught me that the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Ben taught me that sometimes the geeks do get the girl and that life is too short to be an accountant. April Ludgate has taught me that it’s okay to hate people as long as you make an exception for that one special person. Andy Dwyer taught me to have fun and go with the flow. Tom taught me to “treat yo self.” Christ taught me about positivity, Ron hard work, Jerry/Gary about being happy with whatever life throws at you.

These people have become my friends. Like Stars Hollow, CT and Dillon, TX before it, Pawnee, Indiana is a place where I have been lucky enough to spend some time. Shows like P & R are rare. Shows that manage to be laugh out loud funny, but also have a heart. Shows that make you truly care about the characters. It was in season 3  episode 9 with Andy and April’s wedding when I became completely hooked. I remember thinking, “There’s no going back now.” I sobbed when Leslie decide to run for office and her friends volunteered to plan her campaign. I cheered when Tom’s Bistro had a successful opening and he proved Dr. Saperstein wrong. I “aww-ed” at Ron and his new baby rebuilding the 3rd floor. I laughed out loud over pretty much anything involving Jerry/Gary or Eagleton or Ben and Lil Sebastian.

I wish I had watched Parks and Rec as it aired if only to see the way the characters grew and changed over the seasons, but binging was pretty rewarding as it was. As I neared the end of season 6 I almost stopped watching completely because I just didn’t want it to be over. There is one more season left and I am both excited, curious, and terribly sad. I am going to miss this small, weird town full of people I have come to know and love.

Leslie Knope is one of my favorite characters/heroes/role models. I can’t stress this enough. Despite all the crazy sitcom-ey things that happen to her, she seems so real. She is frequently wrong, she is passionate beyond belief, she is organized and has strong opinions and loves her life. Obviously Leslie and Amy have a lot in common or at least that’s what I’m getting from the chapters I have been listening to in the audiobook version of Yes Please, her memoir. Amy Poehler is unapologetic. She is loud and opinionated and funny.

Reading Yes Please could not have come at a better time in my life. It says everything I need to hear as a 20 something still trying to figure it all out and find my way. She gets it. I mean she really gets it. Especially about being young and female.

I get worried for young girls sometimes; I want them to feel that they can be sassy and full and weird and geeky and smart and independent. And not so withered and shriveled.

Amy is all of those things. She knows and talks all about ignoring the voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough and surrounding yourself with people who are passionate and talented. Following your dreams takes hard work and blood and sweat and tears. Lots of tears. These are all things I’ve come to know well, but it’s nice to hear it from someone I admire. I’m not finished with Yes Please yet, but its already made me laugh and cry so much it’s almost dangerous to listen to while driving. 

So thank you, Amy. Thank you for this amazing television show with one final season and thank you for teaching me that it’s okay to be the smart girl at the party and that looking silly can be powerful and that the best way to change the world is by being yourself. You’re a woman worth fangirling over.

Final Thoughts

  • I haven’t gotten to the chapter in Yes Please about Parks and Rec yet, but I can’t wait.
  • If I thought I was ruined for life by fictional characters before, Ben Wyatt is a whole other level the likes of which I have never experienced before. BRB FOREVER LOOKING FOR MY BEN.

Fangirl Friday-11/14

I’m having some feels this week.

1. THIS.

1.5. AND THIS

 Original gif here.

 

(Both from the Doctor Who season 8 finale that was equal parts awesome and devastating.)

2. Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Trilogy is becoming an HBO series

Apparently this news was released back in June and for some reason I am just finding out about it now. Atwood is one of my favorite science fiction/fantasy writers and the Maddaddam Trilogy was fantastic, especially Oryx and Crake. Can I be the first to suggest Dane DeHaan to play Crake?

3. The Hollywood Film Awards

Airing on television for the first time this year and “officially kicking off award season,” the HFAs will have attendees such as Robert Downey Jr., Chris Pratt, Ben Affleck, Keira Knightley, Shailene Woodley,  Christoph Waltz, Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Eddie Redmayne. I’ll have to keep my fangirl-ness in check though because I’ll be working the show! (Although if I find myself anywhere near RDJ all bets are off.)

Catch them tonight on CBS at 8 pm ET.

Honorable Mentions:

  • I didn’t see Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week or A LOT more fangirling would probably have gone on.
  • The ‘Blank Space‘ music video is kind of perfect and I’m not embarrassed by my basicness.

To Infinity and Beyond: ‘Interstellar’ Review

There was a moment as I was walking into the theater this afternoon where I started to get worried. I haven’t been this excited to see a film in a long time and I thought, “What if it doesn’t live up to my anticipation? It can’t possibly be as good as I think it’s going to be.” I had no reason to fear. Interstellar blew me away. It was better and bigger and grander and more ambitious than I possibly could have imagined and I loved every second of it. It was one of those films that left me in awe with a smile of pure joy on my face. In the hazy post movie glow it is easy to call this one of my favorite films by Christopher Nolan just because of the pure spectacle of it all.

First there are the visuals. This is where inevitably Interstellar will be compared with last year’s Gravity. Except you cannot compare the two. Gravity doesn’t even come close. Whereas last year I didn’t think anything would thrill and excite me visually as much as that film did, Interstellar did all that and then some. I can say without a doubt that is one of the most visually appealing films I have ever seen to the point where I was gasping aloud at some parts. Hoyte Van Hoytema is a master with a camera and it is his cinematography combined with the incredible special effects that really make this film. See it on as big of a screen as you can, you won’t be disappointed.

Warning:

Okay, time to get into the good stuff.

Interstellar is by no means a perfect movie, but it is a perfect movie-going experience. I have already seen people complaining about the Plot Holes and Implausibilities and I find myself ready to take up arms in defense of Nolan. I believe in a science fiction world where the rules are set up by the creators of said world and you just go with them. This is not to say I do not look at films critically, but I also don’t go into them nitpicking every small mistake. I admire people like Nolan who have the sheer audacity and brain capacity to make a movie this complex and keep even a little of it straight.

Do I have a lot of questions? Sure, but I also feel like the film set up everything we needed to know and let us go from there. I like a movie where I can figure out what is going to happen before it happens, but that still manages to surprise me at the same time. The premise of the film starts out fairly simple: the world is running out of food because of dust storms and crop blight. It comes off as vaguely “Be careful this can happen to us/climate change-ey” and under another director it would be much more heavy handed, but with Nolan this was never about saving the Earth. This film is about the next great adventure and that is space. We need to find another planet to save the human race and that is where Matthew Mcconaughey and co. come in.

We don’t get much background on Mcconaughey’s Cooper other than that he was a NASA pilot and is now a farmer who really hates his job. What he does love are his children, Tom and Murph, played in her younger version by Mackenzie Foy and her older version by Jessica Chastain. Murph could have just been there as the character to make us care, to show us that the personal stakes are high for Cooper, but she is so much more. Her connection with her father is one of the driving forces of the film and as many a girl can tell you there are very few things in this world like a girl’s bond with her father. Foy plays an important part because she makes us invested in their relationship early on. Her anguish at Cooper leaving and later Cooper’s explanation for why he didn’t really tell her why are heartbreaking. Chastain rounds out the part as a woman recovering from abandonment by becoming a more than capable scientist. Before we even saw Chastain on screen there was no doubt in my mind who intelligent, curious Murph would grow up to be.

And that is the most heartbreaking part: Murph grows up while her dad is off on a failed mission to find an habitable planet. To Cooper, Brand (Anne Hathaway), and Doyle (Wes Bentley) it has been mere hours, but on Earth it has been TWENTY THREE years. As the astronauts watch the transmissions from Earth and we see the changes in the characters lives and physical appearances many a sniffle could be heard throughout the audience. (Confession: mine was one of them.) This movie is science fiction with a cost. These people are not exploring for the sake of adventure, they are leaving their entire world behind to save it without knowing if that is even possible.

Matthew Mcconaughey sells this especially well. Cooper undeniably has a thirst for adventure, a desire for something more, but he is also painfully aware of what he is leaving behind. Mcconaughey as the skilled and semi-cocky pilot seems natural, but it is in the quiet moments where he shows Cooper’s emotional side that he really shines. He is also not a perfect character. He abandons his children with the slightest opportunity and disregards the opinions of his fellow astronauts essentially compromising the mission (although without all that we wouldn’t have a movie).

Anne Hathaway is good as Dr. Brand, but I felt something lacking in her performance. Her character was an interesting one in that she was allowed to be both scientific and emotional, but she also lacked depth. I felt more could have been made to compare her relationship with her father (Michael Caine) and Cooper and Murph. I cared about Professor Brand because he is Michael Caine and really little else. Although I did find myself as devastated and shocked as the characters when it was revealed that Professor Brand didn’t really believe in Plan A and had tricked them all along.

While Interstellar works on a large scale with it’s superb effects and loud crashing score, it were these small, human moments that really made the film. The characters and their motivations. The constant setbacks and disappointments. The species will to live. And underneath all of that the sense of adventure, the desire to know what else is out there. There wasn’t struggle to understand the science because I took it with a heavy dose of fiction. Also, I found it hard to worry about the physics inside a black hole when I was busy wondering if the characters were going to make it home or solve the equation or get off of Hoth Dr. Mann’s planet alive.

But the real reason I loved Interstellar was the pure escapism. There was a point where I found myself genuinely shocked to see the other seats around me. For a moment I had been completely transported away from a theater in Los Angeles, California to a the unfathomable depths of space. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Rating:

No Milk Needed

Final Thoughts

  • I don’t think Nolan will win Best Director for this film. I do hope/think it will pick up awards for sound, cinematography, and editing.
  • I don’t know if it was just my theater, but the music was LOUD. So loud that it drowned out a lot of the talking.
  • I have so many questions about Plan B: Would the new species of humans be taught/raised or would they just be sent to the new planet to live on their own? Would they be taught about Earth and the old humans? What would they think about it all? Would they learn anything or would we just mess up this next new Earth?
  • Once I realized Doyle was Wes Bentley I couldn’t take him seriously because I just kept picturing him with his Seneca Crane beard.
  • Everyone seemed to love the robots. I thought they were alright and very weirdly shaped.
  • What Clooney got himself sent into space and now everyone wants in? I see what you’re doing Matt Damon.

Favorite quotes:

  • “The world doesn’t need any more engineers. We didn’t run out of planes and television sets. We ran out of food.” (This one just stuck with me throughout the whole film.)
  • “Do not go gentle into that good night; Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”-Dylan Thomas

UPDATE: I just watched the trailer for the first time and boy am I glad I avoided it. Some of my favorite/most jaw dropping scenes were in it so I’m glad I got to see them on the big screen for the first time.

Fangirl Friday-11/7/14

Welcome to yet another new blog section where I talk about the things that have me fangirling this week. (Let’s be real, there are always a lot of things that fit this category.)

1. Interstellar 

the office animated GIF

I feel like I have been waiting for this film forever and its finally here! I have successfully avoided all trailers, reviews, and (most) reaction tweets so I am going into this film blind-just how I like going into Chris Nolan films. Also, living in L.A. gives me plenty of options of how I want to see it, meaning I have to decide if I want to splurge and go for IMAX or the bright, bold 70 mm. I’m seeing it on Saturday at noon because I don’t want to go after work; I need to be fully awake and mentally prepared.

2. The Doctor Who season 8 finale 

There is a question that goes: If you had to choose between only watching TV for the rest of your life or only watching movies what would you do?

johnny depp animated GIF

The answer for me is always movies, but then there’s this little show called Doctor Who that makes me hesitate just a little. Not see any of the Doctor’s adventures meeting new aliens and traveling to different worlds and learning about what it means to be human all at the same time? It would be a hard decision, especially since this season has been so incredibly good, probably my favorite since the David Tennant days. Capaldi has brought new life into this show (ha-ha) and I really appreciate how this Doctor is both darker, funnier, and more alien than his predecessors. I can’t wait to see what happens in the second part of the finale even if it does mean there will be no new episodes until the Christmas special. (Especially since I REALLY didn’t see that twist from part 1…unlike everyone else apparently.)

3. The Into the Woods trailer

I am so hype for this film it is not even funny. Sadly I have never seen Into the Woods on Broadway, but I did watch a filmed version of the stage play for my creative writing class (to inspire us to write our own fairytales) and I was instantly hooked by the twisted, yet familiar story. I cannot wait to drag my family to see it on Christmas Day. I don’t know why I’m surprised that Meryl Streep has the voice of an angel because she’s Meryl-Freakin-Streep. Also, hearing the first snippets of  “Prologue: Into the Woods” was even better than I thought. This will definitely be a soundtrack I buy as a CD and play in my car on repeat.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Star Wars Episode VII got a title: The Force Awakens. I don’t consider myself a SW fangirl, but I did enjoy all of the joke related tweets that followed suggesting The Force needs coffee.
  • Toy Story 4 is a thing now. I didn’t love Toy Story 3 as much as everyone else, but I did think it was a perfect ending to the trilogy. However, like many people on twitter pointed out, with Disney/Pixar now owning Marvel and Star Wars could add for some interesting crossovers. (Plus it’s hard not to be excited about a new Pixar film in general.)

The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance: ‘Birdman’ Review

Rarely does a film leave me speechless. When a film ends, I want to talk about it; I can only think of Black Swan as the other film that left me in a trance as the credits rolled. And now I can add Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) to that list. Going into it I knew nothing, not even the premise which I am only going to talk about in the vaguest of terms here because it is a rare gift these days to be able to walk into a film knowing nothing and it a gift I want to share. (The unexpected virtue of ignorance indeed.) Besides I feel like I could write about the plot of Birdman and you still wouldn’t know what it is really about. 

What I can talk about are the performances. I am going to admit something terrible here: I have only seen Michael Keaton in 2 films: Jackie Brown and Jack Frost. Yes, the movie about the snowman that comes to life. Yes it makes me cry.Even without seeing him in hardly any other films I know that this is a career changing performance. He is incredible.  When Keaton is on screen he demands attention despite the rich and complex set around him. And the set is brilliant, there is so much to look at that at some points I was physically moving my head to get a better look at the screen. But I would always come back to watching Keaton. He plays Riggan with such a powerful intensity that it is hard to look away-and you don’t want to. This man is damaged, a product of his environment and the times we live in. Rarely are we taken away from Riggan’s perspective, but the brief moments when the story shifts only serves to make his absence more noticeable.

The only actor potentially on par with Keaton in this film is Edward Norton. I have not been this in love with him since Fight Club (minus the fact that I have still yet to see American History X). This time he gets to be Tyler Durden, he is the swaggering, confident male to Keaton’s fragile, frantic one  He explodes on the screen, making his presence felt even as Keaton demands attention. Some of the best scenes in Birdman are the ones of he and Keaton acting together, both in a film sense and in the play within a play sense. They have incredible chemistry, building off of each others’ energies and Norton brings each scene to its edge before it comes crashing down.

The performance that surprised me the most though was Emma Stone. I like Emma Stone the person more than Emma Stone the actress because I don’t think she has been spectacular in anything I have seen her in previously. Birdman changed all that. She more than holds her own with the two male leads and creates some great moments with both actors. She is able to capture both a vulnerability and intensity as Sam, Keaton’s daughter. Out of all the characters in the film I found myself feeling the most pathos towards her. Riggan may be struggling to hold on, but it is Sam-and the other females around him- who have reaped the consequences. Also, another shout out has to go to Zach Galifianakis whose performance is so understated I didn’t recognize until halfway through the film.

That is the magic of Birdman, it is a completely immersive film experience. I didn’t notice the long takes until my friend pointed it out to me, but once you notice it, the long cannot be unseen. You find yourself in a precarious balance of paying attention to the story, following the sweeping movements of the camera as it darts around the St. James theater, and then waiting to see where the cut is so you you can start all over again. This film does that in numerous ways: it pulls you in only to abruptly remind you that you are watching a film that has some pretty fantastical elements despite its reality.

The music helps in that way too. Antonio Sanchez’s pounding, rhythmic percussive score is the beat that keeps the film going. As the camera glides through scenes following characters’ movements, the score adds a sense of urgency, a pace. It tells us the stakes of the scene without telling us how to feel. Also, there are some truly magical moments that bring the score into the film itself using one of my favorite cinematic techniques (and making me laugh out loud with joy). Very few scores have ever sounded or even felt like this one.

I loved everything about Birdman, but mostly how it feels so different from anything I’ve ever seen before. Every frame was a masterpiece. Also, many films might take place in New York City, but rarely has a film captured the feeling of what it means to live and work and find your way there. Go see it, there’s really nothing more I can say.

Rating:

 No Milk Needed

Final Words (with some mini spoilers)

  • I love how this film mentions/makes fun of pop culture. One of my favorite scenes has to be close to the beginning when they’re looking for replacement actors and they mention people who are all tied up in big franchises including Michael Fassbender, Woody Harrelson, and Jeremy Renner (“that guy from The Hurt Locker”…”They put him in a cape too?”).
  • Loved the way they tied in the play within a play and how you knew what was going to happen a moment before it did.
  • This film is great (duh you just read my review about how much I liked it), but I don’t think it will get much love come awards season time unless they’re technical awards. It’s just too weird for The Academy. Remember, they voted for The King’s Speech over The Social Network (Yes, I’m still not over it).

Favorite Quotes:

  • Mike: Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige.

(Okay so there are so many quotes I loved in Birdman, I wish I wrote them all down because I can’t find some of the best ones online.)

TidBritt: ‘Age of Ultron’ Teaser Trailer or Being Excited About Things

I am sure there will be some point in my life when talk of a comic book film does not excite me. I  just don’t see that happening any time soon. When the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked online today I was ecstatic. While I took twitter to express my glee, others bashed “yet another superhero film” full of “generic robots and fight scenes.”

Sure, you are allowed to not like the Marvel films. Do I think they’re cinematic masterpieces? No. (Although I would make a strong case for The Winter Soldier.) Do I dress up and go to the midnight premiere for each one? Absolutely. Why? Because I am an unashamed fangirl. I like getting excited about things and the fact that things have the ability to excite me. Just think: we live in a world with not one, but TWO competing comic book universes BOTH with movies AND television shows (great TV shows by the way). Isn’t it amazing?

All good things end. That’s just the way it works. I am going to continue being excited for the Marvel movies while they still manage to make me squee.

P.S. I’m not going to post the trailer link because it was leaked and you can find it everywhere else online.