The Internship (A movie review)

10 Jun

Hello Everypony!

Sorry that it’s been so long since I gathered my wits enough to write. Things have been a little wonky here in Equestria. It hasn’t necessarily been okie-dokie-lokey around these parts. But they’re getting easier. I won’t bore you with the details any further–let’s just dive right in to the review!

When I first saw the trailers for this movie, I thought to myself, they’re trying to recapture the magic of Wedding Crashers all over again–this is going to be a disaster. (So of course, I made a point to go see this. I couldn’t look away!) Yet, surprisingly enough, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn manage to recapture the fun chemistry they had in Wedding Crashers without killing the rest of the film.

The film opens with two salesmen, Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) pumping themselves up for what they hope will be a big sale. Unfortunately for them, it turns out their company has gone under and they’re the last ones to know. Defeated and in a rut, they go their separate ways and face their own woes, (divorce, foreclosure, begging off of family, working for jerks) which are essentially the stereotypical whole nine yards of cruddy things someone might have to deal with after losing their jobs.

Billy, desperate to find a job, stumbles across an opening for Interns at Google and immediately stakes out to find his partner, Nick. After a small scene involving Will Ferrel as a huge jerk of a boss, (a moment that feel weirdly unneeded.) Billy manages to convince Nick to go with him to California to apply for the internship in the hopes of obtaining a job with the internet giant.

Of course, hilarity ensues as the older gentlemen tackle the younger generation and the unfamiliar technological territory involved.

In general this movie was interesting to me, especially after having recently taken a course on Generational Diversity. For a moment or two, I was able to see how the generations above me might handle (or not handle) technology, and what the younger generation can teach them. Along the same thought; I also saw what the younger generation (including myself) might learn from the older generation that we seem to be lacking. (People skills for one. Optimism for another.)

All and all the movie was the sort that’s good for warm-fuzzies, big smiles and a happy aftermath of contentment. Sure, the characters sometimes feel very familiar–the Revenge of the Nerds might seem to meet with Sixteen Candles in there somewhere. (Especially when Yo Yo goes wild. You’ll see what I mean.)  Yet, the movie was pretty good about not leaving loose ends, and wrapping it all up with a nice bow in the end.

I give this a four out of five cupcakes scale! Dig into that sweetness and smile!

Never heard of it? Google it.

Poland, Boston, and the Human Spirit

23 Apr

Poland was mainly a blur of food, sleep deprivation, drinks, people, and brightly colored buildings.  Krakow is called the Magic City for a reason. There is something to it that as a tourist, I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The city at night, I would compare to even the bright lights of Paris.  Tourists and locals alike strolled the city into the pink hours of the morning, laughing and filling the air with vibrancy. The life there seems to have actual quality. But I found myself most impressed with the people I met on this journey.

The people of Poland have a hospitality all their own. People genuinely wanted to meet you, speak with you, and like their European cousins–feed you.  The people I met while in Krakow, returned my ability to communicate face-to-face. For so long, I’ve been attached to the computer screen or my cell phone and in the States it is not uncommon to sit across from someone while you’re out to dinner and have nearly no conversation. Instead, there is a wall of cellphones between you both as you take turns surfing the web on your smartphones and exchanging minimal conversation. In Krakow, I felt a sense of intelligence return to me that I had thought I had lost completely. As it turns out, it had never left–but had simply gone into hibernation and  needed to be woken up.  Conversation ranged from music, to politics, to sports (which I know nearly nothing about) to the more complex issue of languages and how they may or may not translate. I was alive. Krakow revived me.

In five days, I experienced more powerful moments in my life than I had in months. This was even more amplified by my visit to the concentration camps, Auschwitz and Birkenau on my last day in Poland. Though most people will flinch away from a difficult trip like this: I sought it out. More than ever, I feel that keeping the horrors of history alive so they are not repeated and so the lives lost in such an awful way are given their proper respect and recognition.

The camps were  overwhelming. A sense of feeling watched or hunted pervaded Auschwitz. My friend who had joined me looked faint much of the time, if not downright sick to her stomach. Openly, she wept for the loss of life while I stoically paid my respects to the lives lost. The place gets under your skin in a way I’ve never experienced before. It felt alive.

Birkenau felt more sad than alive. Abandoned bunks lay in places that had been built to house horses and instead housed starving, sick and dying human beings. The remains of the destroyed crematoriums sat like craters in the landscape that may have been otherwise beautiful. Our guide pointed out a family of deer that grazed nearby as if to prove this point and stated, “See how life must go on?” There is a large stone memorial here which is littered with tiny stones as a sign of respect. I left these places with a whole new perspective on the problems in my life. My problems were nothing. I was not starving. I was not being torn from my family, or watching loved ones be gassed, shot or beaten to death. I was not wondering if I would see another day, or live beyond barbed wire fence. I was alive. And I would embrace that blessing with all that I had. I left the camp with a need to celebrate my being alive–if for nothing more than to live in the place of those who had never had the chance. And for the ones who survived and still managed to live (almost) normal lives. These places reflect not only the power of humanity’s cruelty–but of their spirit and will to survive.

The stranger part of visiting the camps was what it coincided with here in the states. I didn’t know it yet, but my city was under attack at the very moment I was touring these Death Camps. The Boston Marathon Bombings have been plastered on every news channel here in Massachusetts ever since it happened. I found out what happened in Boston, a day after it happened. In a panic I found myself reaching out to loved ones for assurance that they were alright.  The city of Boston came together as one in a way that makes me proud. Here, in today’s history I witnessed the power of the human spirit that I had sought out at the historical sites.  It is something that I never imagined would happen. Only this time, when terror struck we charged it head on. Stories continue to come out about every day people who became not-so-everyday Heroes. A dancer who lost her foot, continues to hope to dance again, a man who lost both sons to war–saved others who would have been lost in much the same way. I am alive again–and grateful, and amazed by the ever powerful presence in the past and now in the present of the strength of the human spirit. Just as when I exited the camps in Poland, I find myself constantly humming the tune from Fiddler on the Roof, “To life…to life…L’Chaim…”

Boston Strong

Poland Strong

Oz The Great and Powerful…Not so Much…

12 Mar

Hello everypony!

Thanks to the string of poor weather up this way, and various other obstacles I hadn’t been posting much because–well, frankly, I was being boring. Trapped inside due to inclement weather, work, and general laziness–I dove into video games instead of my usual novels or films.

Well–I hope you’re super, extra, excited tonight to know that I managed to drag myself out long enough to see Disney’s latest film, Oz The Great and Powerful, last night.

I went into this film with high hopes. It was hard not to–with the super-star line up that included, Mila Kunis, James Franco, and Scrubs Zack Braff. Surely, this was a combination for success? Not to mention that this movie was a prequel to my childhood favorite, The Wizard of Oz.  I had been very much looking forward to what I hoped would be a charming, witty and powerful prequel. But I was about to be mildly disappointed.

The film starts in black and white, an appreciated tip of the hat to the original Wizard of Oz, (which had also been the first movie ever in color!) and the audience is introduced right away to the main character: a con-artist Houdini wannabe called Oz (James Franco). It’s made obvious that Oz is a liar as well as a player who tricks beautiful young woman with his quick hand and silver tongue. Ultimately, that is the most exciting this character gets. The first twenty minutes or so are spent reflecting how much of a jerk Oz really is. His magic is fake, he’s mean to his only friend (Zack Braff) who he claims isn’t a friend at all–but a trained monkey and he’s been messing with the hearts of every woman he seems to meet. His playboy mannerisms get Oz into trouble with the carnival’s strongman, who attempts to chase down and crush the weaselly, Oz. Oz manages to escape in a hot air balloon–but soon regrets this decision as he is sucked into a spiraling tornado.

After managing to survive his encounter with mother nature, Oz crash-lands in–well…OZ. This is also where the movie becomes vibrantly colored. (So much so that it made me cross-eyed. A word of warning–I don’t recommend this in 3D or in IMAX.) After what felt like an overly-drawn-out panning scene that takes in the multi-colored nature around him, Oz meets his very first witch, Theodora (Mila Kunis). She claims she saw him fall from the sky, and starts babbling about a prophesy, convinced that the con-man, Oz is meant to save their world as a great and powerful wizard. Taken with Theodora’s beauty, Oz goes along with her assumption, wooing the unsuspecting witch as she leads him to the Emerald City. On the way to the city, Oz saves the life of an animated winged monkey in a bell-hop suit called Finley (Zack Braff’s voice) who vows to serve Oz as thanks.  Finley soon regrets this vow as Oz reveals that he is not the prophesized king, wizard and savior of their land–but is in fact just a con-man and Oz swears him to secrecy.

Once at the Emerald City, the audience is introduced to Theodora’s sister, Evenora(Rachel Weisz) who immediately reveals herself as the villain. (But not the main one. Spoilers!) Wanting to keep the throne for herself, Evenora sends Oz off on a journey to prove himself and kill the “wicked witch”. Overwhelmed by greed, Oz agrees and sets off without a word to Theodora. Later, Evenora leads her sister to believe that Oz had woo’d her as well, making Theodora hate him.

While on this journey, Oz comes across a village that had once been made of giant porcelain tea-pots. (Yeah, it felt really random and pointless to me too.)  Hearing someone crying, Oz and Finley discover a little china girl with busted legs. Oz helps her and somehow she manages to stick around for the rest of the film. (haha) The three head onward to face who they believe to be the wicked witch. Of course, this is not the case, and they end up meeting a young, Glinda the good witch.

Glinda makes the group realize who the real villains are, just in time for the group to be chased by angry flying baboons who have multiple annoying 3D jump-scares for you to enjoy. (or not.) Glinda helps them escape with her magic bubble, and takes then to munchkinland where she convinces Oz to lead her “army” against the true wicked witch.

At heart this is the whole plot of the film (leaving out the ending of course.) and I was honestly disappointed. The 3D graphics are beautiful but overwhelming, and occasionally overdone. The plot is overly predictable. And the most believeable characters in the whole film were the two animated ones: Finley and the little China Girl.

As my boyfriend pointed out, Sam Raimi is a hit or miss director. This style worked for Alice in Wonderland–but not so much for Oz as it felt too familiar and over-the-top. I would have liked to see more diversity in the “Quadling” people possibly along the same lines as Wicked where they’re frog-people. The plot was tolerable, but didn’t contain many surprises that I felt were good additions to the film. All in all, I could have saved myself the money and waited for this one to come out on DVD.

I give this a two out of five cupcake score. Not so great or powerful.

 

May contain Goodness

Oz–the not so great or powerful

 

“R” you in love with Warm Bodies? A book and movie review

8 Feb

“I am dead, but it’s not so bad. I’ve learned to live with it.”

And I was hooked. This is the first line of Isaac Marion’s novel, Warm Bodies, and right away I felt that I had connected with his main character–who just so happens to be a mildly clear-thinking, witty, brain-eating zombie. If I had to sum up this story: it’s a romance–with zombies. Marion’s novel stuck with me as he narrates a story above life, love and survival from the eyes of someone who is already dead. (well…sort of. )

The lead character, who goes by only the letter R as he has forgotten the rest of his name, is a zombie. He explains right away that the living dead can’t remember their names, their past lives or what it was like to be alive anymore–they only keep going, unable to communicate, trapped within rotting bodies.

This brilliant novel struck a chord with me–and it is obvious from the movie that it struck the filmmakers in the same way–in regard to the lack of human interaction and communication in the present. R poses questions to himself and to the reader as he faces his inner self in various conflicts–like eating people, for example. Although R knows that he has to eat people to survive, he doesn’t like to hurt people. He has inner conflict about it. I suppose that is partly why he was susceptible in the first place to falling for one of the living.

After eating the brain of a boy named, Perry, R finds himself hopelessly enamored with a girl named, Julie. The only problem is that she is alive. Torn between his nature and his newly discovered feelings, R seeks to protect the terrified Julie, and after camouflaging her scent in his dead blood so the other zombies won’t smell her, he takes her back to his home in the airport. Julie is understandably terrified at first, but soon R shows that he is becoming something bigger than he once once. Speech begins to return to him in blurbs at first, hunger for flesh and brains ebbs and his attachment to Julie grows.

I have always been a fan of the unusual point of view narrations–but so far, Warm Bodies takes the cake as one of my favorites. R’s narrative is an exciting combination of poetry, philosophy and gore. I quickly grew attached to the lead character and found myself rooting for him as he fights to change and as Julie rallies with him to find a “cure” to the zombie “plague”. All the while they each face their own version of zombies, both actual and physical as the actual humans within the story begin losing what made them such and emotionally slowly decays.

The film Warm Bodies, does a pretty fair job of picking up on R’s sense of humor–though I would have liked if it retained more of his inner narrative than was given. However, it was impressive how much emotion I felt came across from the actor who played R, Nicholas Holt,despite his lack of much facial expression or vocal cues.

Perhaps it was because I read the book that I felt that the actress who played Julie, Teresa Palmer, seemed to show less emotion than Holt, who was the actual zombie. She didn’t seem nearly as charismatic or lively as she is depicted in the novel: however, the film’s version of Julie has a grittier, older feel–and for a moment or two it feels like the movie version of The Hunger Games. (Which perhaps was the point?)

What I applaud the film most for is the horrific visual of the Boneys, skeleton-like zombies who within the novel are the leaders of the Zombie “hives”. They were truly grotesque in movements and presentations. They even made me jump.

Though, I wish that the film has stuck with the ending given to Julie’s father, General Grigio. It better reflected the comparison between current humanity and zombies, and though grim, I felt was more suitable. But alas, Hollywood loves their happy endings!

I rate the novel a 7 out of 10 on the restless writer scale, and the movie a four out of five cupcakes.

All and all, both the film and novel are worthwhile time-passers for this winter. And for those who love romance and also zombies–these are to die for. (Or perhaps to live!)

This Pony is going to Poland!

4 Feb

Hello Everypony!

So, for a while there, I must admit that I was in kind of a slump. After finally finding myself a permanent position as an editorial assistant; my life consisted of a flurry of learning and attempting to put my best hoof forward at Baltimare. Not to mention there’s obvious tension between Trixie and myself, which is waning now thankfully as I feel myself growing more confident and able to push back when needed.

Still, I had found myself stuck mentally at the office and couldn’t seem to wriggle myself back into writing, or reading or doing any of the things that I usually enjoy. Daily, I face the daunting task of fixing grammatical catastrophes (as best as I can) prior to publication on my daily deadline. (Try saying that then times fast!) So by the time I got back home, all I wanted to do was crash into my bed.

I soon found myself stuck in a rut of the same old daily routine. I felt myself growing less and less enthusiastic about things that I usually would be thrilled about. At parties, I had even begun finding myself surrounded by people but feeling completely and utterly alone. I knew I had to do something to spice things back up.

So I’ve decided to take myself on a trip.

I had debated this trip: worried over it. Would I have enough money? Could I still pay my bills? Could I manage to get the time off from work to do it?

But my mother, the wonderful and amazing woman that she is, put all of my worries to rest.

“You’re always talking about moving out, and you’ve been paying your bills really well–why not do it before you move? Once you move, you’ll regret it if you haven’t gone.”

And I realized she was right. So, in I jumped.

Everypony–the restless writer is heading to Poland!  (Krakow to be specific.) I leave in April, and I managed to get a really great deal on airfdaire. It’s been at least three years since my last trip abroad, and I will never forget it. I hope this trip to see one of my best friends and a very old city will be just as unforgettable.

Krakow, Poland

 

 

 

 

Les Miserables will make you miserable! (But in a feel-good kind of way)

15 Jan

I wasn’t exactly sure of the plot of Les Miserables, but I understood what the title meant: “The Miserables.” So, one thing was certain; I wasn’t signing myself up for a family comedy.

Even so, I was convinced that I had to see it. After all, it’s a musical, and I haven’t yet met a musical that I haven’t liked.And I had always wanted to see the play. So, as the lights dimmed and the music drummed up, along with a surge of sea-sounds and booming baritone voices, I felt a thrilled chill dance along my vertebrae.That chill was only the start of what felt like an enveloping experience at the movie theaters.

If one has never seen Les Miserables, it is a mildly difficult thing to try to explain in mere words the emotional force that the music seems to contain. (But I will do what I can!) Les Miserables is a musical emotional force. It starts and ends with a heavy orchestral hand that leaves you slightly a-gape. Les Miserables is more like an opera than a musical, as there is little to no spoken dialogue and nearly all of the major plot is in song, which could have been a huge drawback if the singing wasn’t generally well done. (With an exception of Russell Crowe, who plays the chaotic good cop, Javert, who comes to an end that I believe should come to all poor singers.)

Each scene is loaded with a raw humanity: a prisoner who has hardened his heart, a priest who opens it again, a mother who does anything she can to support her child alone, a child abandoned and found again, a man rebuilt, learning to love, be loved and let go, a young man finding his place in the world and learning loss. Saying that this movie is heavy, hardly covers the plunge into problems that Les Miserables rockets its audience through. This film is not for the faint of heart. (I recommend stocking up on extra napkins at the concession stand if you don’t have tissues on hand.)

Les Miseables opens with the main character, Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), working as a slave in a shipyard. The prisoners are waist deep in seawater as they struggle to bring a wounded ship to port. Manacled at the neck and hands, they sing a powerful baritone rendition of, “Look down”. Here the audience is also introduced to the main villain, Jevert (Russell Crowe) who seems to particularly loves to break Valjean. Valjean, having filled his prison sentence, is handed his papers to be free, but they mark his as a “dangerous man”. Once free of the prison, Valjean is still treated like a criminal and finds himself unable to find a job or shelter. Instead, he finds himself sleeping on a doorstep. Luckily, a kindly priest discovers him there and takes him in for the night. Desparate, Valjean steals away the Church’s silver in the night and runs off before they wake–but is immediately caught and brought back before the priest by the police. But the priest proclaims Valjean innocent and the police are forced to let him free. Valjean then makes a point to turn his life around and the movie follows his story.

There are of course multiple branches, time frames and points of views throughout the film. The character Fontaine (Ann Hathaway) is introduced next as a factory worker who is separate to support her child, and ends up selling her teeth, her hair and her body to male strangers. Her story is a tragic one, but her daughter Cosette(Amanda Seyfried) is more fortunate as Valjean takes her in as his own daughter and raises her under his new alias.

Yet, Javert soon discovers him and realizes that he is the former thief who skipped parole and seeks to recapture him. The story leads the audience through the brutal French revolution, introducing yet another character, Marius (Eddie Redmayne) who falls for the lovely Cosette.

Though the story is full of absolute misery, death, and despair–it has such a powerful beauty that though you might be a little boogery by the end you feel a sense of revitalization. Small flecks of humor lighten the otherwise heavy atmosphere throughout the film, and the tiny glimmers of love throughout the otherwise dark film seem large and luminous in comparison.

All and all, I would see this film again and found myself humming “I dream a dream” all the way out of the theater. Les Miserables brings humanity back to film and I give it four cupcakes out of five.

Les Miserables

2012 in Review and Thanks

5 Jan

Hi Everypony and Crimestoppers!

 

I know it’s been some time since I last made a post, as the end of the year has been chaos for me. But I would like to take a moment to thank all of my readers (loyal and not so loyal) for taking the time to read this blog.  My new years resolution consists this year of having more posts, more adventures and more snarky comments to fill this page with! I hope you join me for my upcoming adventures in the new year!

 

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.