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Stars Earn Stripes – WFT?

August 13, 2012 1 comment

Hey everyone

 

It has been awhile since my last post, I guess nothing really got me interested topic wise for the blog.  I am working on some projects including The Bell Tower work and some other short stories.

 

Today I learned of a new series called Stars Earn Stripes.  Please see the details at NBC.

 

The cast of this new series includes Terry Crews, Nick Lachey and Eva Torres.

The idea is that eight celebrities will be stuck into real combat and get a taste of life in the military.

 

Go on, take a second to look over the details.  Done?  Ok *takes deep breath*

For those of you who think this is a good idea, ok.  But those who think this is a terrible idea feel free to read my rant below.

 

First.  To be in the military those soldiers go through basic training for several months.  They are trained before being on the field.  Why?  To make sure they can handle it.  Being in the armed forces is dangerous.  You not only have to look out for yourself but those around you.  There is gunfire, surprise attacks, digging latrines and many other aspects of life on the line.  On top of that, the living conditions are brutal.  There is a reason why not everyone who signs up can make it.  And this is not to discredit the celebrities.  But this is not a movie.  There is no prop gun.  This is real with no do overs and there is no going off set end of the day.  There are no assistants with sparkling water.

Second.  Having cameras in a real situation is a liability and an accident waiting to happen.  They will be a real distraction to real soldiers and it is impossible to be ‘real’ on camera.  None of those reality show stars is acting ‘real’ because it’s a show.  This will be 100 times worse because there is a huge opportunity to be hurt.

My boyfriend is in the military, Air Force National Guard to be exact.  His best friend just got sent to Afghanistan for a year.  During a training exercise, one of the guns misfired and clipped the friend.  He was very lucky he came out alright but it goes to show that even preparing to be sent over can be deadly.  My point is that even keeping the celebrities away from the main danger does not mean anything.  Unless they are in a happy bubble made of steel, there is no way to be real in this series.  And to send them into real battle is going to be a bad idea

Third.  This is my personal opinion but I feel like this is disrespectful towards the men and women who put their blood sweat and tears into protecting our country.  I love war movies and I love how hard movies try to make it real.  Saving Private Ryan gets me every time.  But this?  I feel it is a farce and downplaying the very real danger they face.  On top of that, who is expected to make sure this cast does not get killed?  Or is that the point, work them until they die or quit?

 

I would love to know what you all think, either good or bad.  I will watch the premier and give a follow up opinion but I am very concerned about the country and our ideas of entertainment.

Book Review – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey there.

While I try to figure out where I am trying to go with my blog, here is a lovely book review.

 

Normally I try not to read a book after it has gone all main stream, I like being a partial hipster and ‘discover’ a book before it has a Wikipedia page.  But some books are amazing and should be read no matter what.  The Millennium Series is such books.

Written by the late Stieg Larsson, his trilogy starts with the well-known ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and introduces us to Lisbeth Salander, Mikael Blomkvist and many other unforgettable characters.  The first book takes the world head on, and it rips away the friendly Sweden presented by IKEA and shows us a darker underworld.  It is not the true face of the world they live in, but it is a face.

As far as the movie goes, I only saw the American version and it was very dark.  Not as dark as the book but in terms of accuracy, it was as dead on.  At first I felt like Lisbeth was too weird to relate to.  As I read more, I realized I wished I could be more like her.  She is like a female Batman who is willing to take that last step over the edge to save more lives.  You know which one.  But she also remains true to herself and her convictions.  Also I would never want to be on her bad side.

The next book continues some time later in ‘The Girl Who Played with Fire’ where Lisbeth is accused of three murders.  To my annoyance and delight, the book follows everyone BUT Lisbeth so you have no idea what her reaction or even her guilt to the murders.  It was a great move on Larsson’s part and I wish he were alive to write more books about her.

Finally, in ‘The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest’ Lisbeth is on trial.  This book above all others is more of a conspiracy novel and it reads as such.  Is it still good?  I say so but now I want out go out and solve crimes.  There ought to be a warning label.  But the base plot revolves around how women are treated by men in Sweden.  To be honest, it is a bleak view of how many women are treated all over the world.  Does Lisbeth come out on top?  You will need to read yourself.  All I know is that her sense of justice in the world comes from her upbringing and in her shoes I don’t know if I could be half as good.

Another key plot is the matter of her sanity.  Without going into detail, I do feel she is not normal. She feels little or no fear through the series as a normal person does.  She sees a problem, finds a solution, and protects herself like a one woman army.  Is it dangerous?  Yes.  But she is not some weak little thing despite her outward appearance.

In terms of the book itself, I could go on and on about how great it was.  I will instead point out a few cons.  My biggest issue was the unreality of it.  Rather than pick a woman lead who the reader can relate to, I found someone I wished I could.  The ideal heroine.  Does she have relatable qualities?  Yes but they are the extreme in everything.  She is super small, very antisocial, genius smart, computer whiz full of calm rage against those who are wrong.  Its un real.  But amazing.

Also, he head jumps.  This is more of an editing issue, and it is unfortunate that he died before any of the books were published.  This is most evident in book three when you get a head view of multiple people in a scene.  It’s annoying but does not really detract from the story and the majority or readers would not notice.  But if you write, that is certainly something to be on the watch for.

My last con is that the book is slow at first.  There were many chapters where I wanted to skim over the dates and facts that were part of the history.  There were more than a few sections that could have been deleted.  At around 800 pages for each book, the word count is a little too high and could have done with some cutting.  I think part of why this was not done is because these books are the last ones he (the author) ever wrote.  Every word is precious and it is something to remember.  At one point he felt it was important.  And we all know that any time we need to cut something out there is a little whimper from our manuscripts.

 

Please read these books.  They are amazing in their own way.

Saturday at the Movies – Snow White and the Huntsman

Hey everyone!

Looks like I am a little late to the party where everyone is sharing a review of Snow White.  I am also finding a lot of people liked it.  Which makes me wonder, have I turned into a sheep as well?  Cause I sorta kinda loved it…

Before I start, let me apologize to my best friend Mira.  I had promised her we would make fun of the movie in the safety of my home, complete with throwing popcorn at the screen and hoping the cat did not eat it all.

****WARNING: Spoilers Ahead****

For a review with no spoils feel free to check out Tameri Etherton and her review of the movie.  Jillian Dodd also ranked the movie and had me laughing so check it out.

 

Much to my surprise, I liked the movie.  It was nothing like I expected and honestly I did not mind spending 2 hours in a dark theater.  Also I was feeling all the beards (not literally, but damn they are sexy) and Charlize Theron is amazing.

So where to start?

Cast

Charlize Theron                                Ravenna (Evil Queen)
Kristen Stewart                                 Snow White
Chris Hemsworth                             Eric (Huntsman)
Sam Spruell                                        Finn (Queen’s Brother)

Movies Depicted
300
Princess Monenoke
Green Arrow
Chronicals of Narnia
Joan of Arc

Read more…

Show Review – Feelings for Characters

Good morning,

I knew it was going to be one of those days.  I actually yelled at my coffee maker to brew faster.  I am a self-admitting addict to caffeine.  The most I can go is a couple days with no coffee.  Even then I will drink tea.

The thing is, this whole week has been that kind of week.  The one where you have a million things to do but have no motivation to do it.  My educated guess is that I am slowly becoming a zombie.

Speaking of zombies and Halloween-esq creatures, has anyone watch American Horror story?  It is this new show on FX from the creators of Nip/Tuck.  Comes on after 10 PM and it is soooo weird.

Basically, this family is having trouble with some internal issues.  Rather than deal with them, the whole family moves across the country to the ‘murder house’ and every episode features a murder in the beginning.  We are talking graphic and disturbing images with creepy as heck imagery.  It gets the point across.

Characters
The husband, Ben, cheats on his wife Vivianne after she suffers a horrible miscarriage.  Right away you dislike him.  It does not get better.  His behavior gets worse and while he has an impressive body he is mentally and emotionally crippled.  This guy is seriously messed up and easily manipulated.  Which I guess since the mental and physical do not match that is a cool gimmick used by the creators.  Aside from that, the dude cries too much.  But he is not an antagonist, not in the really malicious way.  His inner demons are pretty much at work destroying him.

Vivianne the wife.  I see her as weak.  She takes the cheater back.  She allows him to take care of her so she does not need to work.  She insisted on moving to a new state to escape her past without really dealing with it.  She is constantly a strong victim in that she will get herself into trouble and then stubbornly try to fix her situation.  She has some success.

The daughter is Violet, who of the group is the teenage daughter and the most realistic person on the show.  She portrays typical teenage behavior in addition to being the strongest personality.  She accepts there are un-pleasantries in her life and is often berating her parents on their behavior.  Awesome start.  Also the actress is from NJ =D

We also have the creepy neighbor, the dead maid who switches between old and young, the burned man, the disturbed boy and various other characters who are simply plot devices.

Structure
Each episode features a murder followed by the present day residents being affected by the murder.  Awesome?  Not really because there is no flow.  Each episode has little connection to the previous one.  Granted this is only the 3rd episode but still.  I prefer more connection.

Any way, maybe more on this later but for now?  Lame show.  Too much cliche.

Categories: Review

Mistborn Review

Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn: The Final Empire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Good morning. 

Last night I finished reading the Mistborn Trilogy.  For those who do not know it, the author is some random guy named Brandon Sanderson.  You know, the one finishing Wheel of Time?  Yea, that guy.  I had no idea who he was.  But I looked up his site.  And the man has a way with words that blows me away.

 

My sister first told me about Mistborn.  For awhile I did not read them because I have other books to go over but eventually I began.  The books blew me away and last night I cried like a little girl at the ending.  Maybe it was because of watching Titanic, maybe because I had a weird day at work but the end of the last book left me in tears.  It was that good.

 

Basically, a girl who is nobody discovers she has special powers.  In a world that is dying will she be able to save it not from men but from a God intent on destroying everything?

 

So.  I am giving scores from 1 to 5 in the following areas.

 

World building – 4.  Sanderson creates a landscape that is nothing like Earth, but you can still see yourself there.   Not exactly alien but not the world we know.

 

Characters – 5.  I have never cried over a character before, but each time a character died or prevailed I felt an emotional reaction.  There were several laugh out loud moments.  But the bad guys… Imagine a tall creature coming towards you.  He can almost see through your soul because instead of eyes, there are huge metal spikes.  And he cannot be stopped.  Or even the Koloss, blue creatures up to 12 feet tall with skin tearing and blood dripping and there is an army of blood frenzied creatures.  Or an immortal God King who can supress all your hope at a better life.

 

Consistancy – 5.  Many authors spend time on little details that are unique but do not serve a purpose.  There are plot holes and it happens.  The mind of a writer is not always logical as it takes a huge amount of imagination the rest of the world envies.  But even the tiniest detail, the smallest habit becomes a huge plot point.  Sanderson used every tool he had made and even a seasoned reader like me had multiple “WTF” Moments.  Genius I tell you.

Protagonist – 4.  Vin is strong, beautiful and ruthless.  She fights to survive and to protect those she loves.  Trained as an assasin and a nobelwoman she is deadly but commpassionate.  She is like every female protagonist in one.

Antagonist – 5.  How do you fight a God?  How do you kill one?  How do you keep hope when he is everywhere and can influence almost everyone?  How do you make him fear you?

 

Read the books if you have not already.  Sanderson is incredibly talented and he will influence readers and writers alike for years to come.

Related articles

Group Read: Mistborn – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson (reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com)

Mistborn: Birthright (jonrmoss.wordpress.com)

Mistborn fantasy novels becoming Birthright game, due out Fall 2013 (joystiq.com)

Mistborn: The Hero of Ages, Review (kevinjjmurray.wordpress.com)

Mistborn: Birthright is Coming in 2013 (tor.com)

Movie Review – Apollo 18: Our Fear of Unknown

Crescent Moon

Image by lrargerich via Flickr

Good Morning everyone.

So the other night I watched Apollo 18.  I had no idea what it was about and had never heard of it till my boyfriend introduced me to it.  The only thing I knew was this was supposed to be along the lines of Blair Witch ProjectDocumentary style conspiracy film.  Not bad even though it is not usually something I like to watch.

 

 *The rest of this post contains spoilers*

The movie starts slow.  Three guys are on a secret mission to the moon.  Each gets interviewd and they are saying how they think the trip will go. 

They make it to the moon.  Let me just say that watching a rocket launch is a great show of power.  The energy required to launch a ship that size into space is amazing.  But yes, the three men are chilling in space.  Two of the men have to go to the surface for samples while the third guy remains in orbit.  This is where it gets creepy. 

While on the surface the guys discover a spacecraft that is NOT supposed to be there.  They know something is up.  Then they discover the body of a man in a frozen crater.  It is the missing Russian pilot and something bad happened.    

The guys are getting ready to leave when something goes wrong.  The communications malfunction and one guy must go outside to investigate.  Suddenly the outside guy starts screaming.  Once inside, he discovers a cut on his chest and a rock that somehow got lodged under the skin.  The injured man slowly gets blood poisoning and starts to go mad. 

Both men are stuck with no com and cannot get home without it.  Finally both men opt to use the Russian space craft that was abandoned.  On the way the sick man gets pulled into the crater.  Here you see what the monsters are… flashes of legs and bodies. 

The surviving guy gets someone to answer on the radio and is told due to his contamination he won’t come home.  He has to die away from his family on a frozen moon.  He says no and gets into orbit but at the last minute the sample space rocks turn into the space spiders.  The surface craft crashes into the orbiting main ship and all die.  

The cover up is that each man died in training and was never recovered.

********

Overall I did not like the movie.  It was just too slow and I got bored by the time there was any action. 

The good thing about this movie is the play on fear.  When we are small we fear the dark.  We fear the noise that goes bump in the night.  We fear being alone.  We fear dying alone.  We hate spiders and rats and dirty creatures.  We fear being misled and lied to.  We fear being helpless. 

This movie plays on all these fears.  It takes each one and piles it on another.  Each man dies alone in the dark.  He cannot see his family, his boss lies to him and his friends are screaming for help and he cannot do anything.  This movie is based on primitive fears combined with advanced technology and the disturbing truth that no matter how advanced as a people we become, in the end we are just one small speck on the planet.  We are nothing and the best we can hope for is that our children will remember us.  

It is sad and lonely and scary because all those fears you hide away as an adult come rushing back.  You don’t want to see spiders in your dreams.  You don’t want to see nothing in the dark.  You don’t want to wake up alone.  

I think this movie would especially affect a family where one is in protective services (cop, army, SWAT) because maybe there is that one mission and the loved one does not come home.  You fear and worry and hope and in the end, when hope is just in your reach, it comes crashing down. 

I for one was happy to have my two cats and boyfriend around cause I did NOT want to fall asleep.  A slasher movie would be fine, even a creepy creatures movie.  But playing on my fears is like hitting below the belt.  We already know it will hurt; it is just a matter of how much pain (fear) can you inflict before I turn the movie off.

What movies/ books really affect you?  What do you think about bumps in the night?