rosa_cotton: (Shieldmaiden)
Finally saw The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies. Similar to when I first saw The Return of the King in theatres, I have mixed feelings about the movie.

SPOILERS GALORE AHEAD. You have been warned!!

Read more... )

I rate it four out of five stars. Can't wait for the extended edition.
rosa_cotton: (wonderstruck)
Hearted Peter Pan Live! so much. A wonderful, magical production. Thought Allison Williams was brilliant as Peter; lovely singing, great chemistry with the cast. From when the children wanted to go home to the very end, her performance was really touching and made me teary-eyed more than once. Surprisingly, Hook's crew stole the spotlight. They were fantastic, nearly seemed to have too much fun! Kelli O'Hara, Christian Borle, Christopher Walken, and Taylor Louderman were also standouts for me. Kudos to Nana. Michael and John were adorable.

My favorite parts were "Neverland," "Distant Melody," Hook's running gag, cake-in-the-face, "I Won't Grow Up," "Only Pretend," and Peter+Wendy.

My mom and I totally took part in #savetinkerbell, clapping and shouting, "I do believe in fairies!"

Closing with ranking my favorite Peter Pans:
*Jeremy Sumpter
*Allison Williams
*Mary Martin
*Kytle Walters
*Cathy Rigby

...Gah, now I have Peter Pan fever!!!!
rosa_cotton: (wonderstruck)
Didn't know about the new Toy Story That Time Forgot special until my brother alerted me to it five minutes before it came on TV. So hilarious!! Reptillus Maximus and Kitty were my favorites -- he was a little Shakespeare. And I am totally on board with the Maximus/Trixie ship!

Did anyone else catch it?
rosa_cotton: (found)
The most recent two NCIS episodes introduced the team of the potential NCIS: New Orleans spinoff. If it gets to green light to go ahead, I think I will be checking it out. The setting and dynamics of the characters (Lego fans, who would have guessed!) differentiate enough from NCIS and NCIS: LA. Both the storytelling and mystery were interesting and well done in my opinion. I'm curious to see how Brody continues to find her place on the team; I can see her having a brother-sister relationship with Lasalle. My absolute favorite of the new faces was Dr. Wade. ("Sort of the anti-Ducky to Ducky," my dad described her. I think he's right, and I like them both!) She's...I am already becoming a fan.

P.S. The episode before those two, "A Rock and a Hard Place," is one of my favorites so far this season. Tony was such a hoot. Then the end with Palmer, and I can't remember the last time my smile turned upside down so fast. *sob*
rosa_cotton: (unhappy dwalin)
Saw The Desolation of Smaug today as a late birthday present. ...And wow.

light spoilers below! )
rosa_cotton: (wait)
Saw The Hobbit this afternoon. It was pretty good! A few scattered thoughts...

Visually stunning, as to be expected.

Shore's score was lovely, blending old familiar themes with new ones.

Martin Freeman's Bilbo grew on me as the film progressed, and by the end I liked him very much.

Wish it had been possible to get to know all the dwarfs, and see more of their relationships with one another (yes, I know that wasn't the point of the film). I liked them all.

I still am unsure what I think of Peter Jackson trying to make The Hobbit be EPIC when the book is certainly not that, and of attempting to connect it so much with the LOTR when Tolkien did not seem to think that was necessary.

The whole sequence with Gollum was brilliant. Both Andy and Martin did some fine acting. Bilbo sparing Gollum was great moment. Gollum I think came out the best of all the many CGI moments.

Surprisingly, my favorite part of the film was the eagles.
rosa_cotton: (Happy)
Just finished Wendelin Van Draanen's Flipped. Wow. It is the first YA book I've read in years in which I did not have problems with: a) the characters really rubbed me the wrong way, b) the plot was way to predictable, c) vastly suspending my disbelief, or d) simply finding the book to be "okay." Impressive. And Flipped was very good. Never read a book in this he-said, she-said style before. A new favorite book. A new ship (Bryce/Juli, respectively). And I am longing to see the film.

Anyone else read or seen Flipped?
rosa_cotton: (Mirror mirror)


Summary: The viridian flame, a magical green power source, is located on Prince Alexander’s land. The elves protect the viridian flame and utilize it’s magical powers to hide from humans. The humans are amid of power struggle after the king’s death and Prince Alexander offers to marry the evil queen to unite their two kingdoms. That is, until Snow White returns from the convent and the mirror reports that Snow White is the fairest in the land. The evil queen sends the huntsman on a mission to kill the princess and he fails when the dragon like creatures protect her. The elves discover Snow White laying unconscious in the woods. They reluctantly nurse her back to health unaware of her status in the kingdom.

I stumbled over Grimm's Snow White (2012) a month ago. A direct to DVD release , it is a low budget film by The Asylum. And it glaringly shows at times: worst CGI I've ever seen; confusing plot; the queen's "army" is about 30 men, and the war is very low-key; the final confrontation between her and Snow felt very anti-climatic; Snow White was pretty but didn't develop much as a character. On the other hand the costumes and music were impressive, some of the outdoor locations were beautiful, and Prince Alexander had it BAD for Snow. When I first saw the trailer, it came across as something SyFy may have done in their string of re-imaginings of classic fantasies since it has dragons, magical elves, and a blond-haired Snow White (thought she could pass as an Alice); only SyFy would have made a more interesting film, I think.



Under a month a to go. Based on articles and this latest TV spot, maybe my wild hunch isn't so far off the mark...
rosa_cotton: (Space Between)
Finally(!!!) viewed the latest series of Inspector Lewis while on break. (Had been meaning to catch up with him and Hathaway since the new series aired on PBS back in October or November.) Was up until after 1 in the morning watching, and what a pleasure it was! Despite looking a tad older, and contemplating retirement, Lewis and Hathaway were in brilliant form. I grinned like mad during the first episode when Hathaway tracked Lewis down at the grocer’s due to a case, and Lewis sensed he wasn’t there for shopping. Yes! The great duo was back…how much they had been missed. Great dynamic between them, surrounded by a great supporting cast in their fellow colleges and suspects. Oxford again was a breathtaking backdrop to the various investigations. And having each episode being 90 minutes was wonderful, allowing time for development in the plot and characters. Hathaway almost stole the series in my opinion, with his playing matchmaker in one instance and, when Lewis was considering retiring, claiming he would go too – “Who else understands me?” Aw! Hope we’ll get one more season.

After three or four semesters of hearing about the “It Book” in my library classes – which included the professor showing the trailer for the movie in class – I broke down to see what all the fuss was about with Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. It has been a week since I finished it, it continues to whirl in my brain, and I am still unsure exactly what I think of it. This reading was not really my cup of tea, me not being a fan of books with lots of violence. And while the violence in the Hunger Games was not all-up-in-your-face-specific-to-the-last-detail, it was very disturbing, especially with the fighters being 12 to 18-year-olds. …Very hard to get through. I did like Katniss, how she fought the Capitol so hard in little ways, showing she was a pawn who did not agree with them. Peeta never caught my interest; nor was I fan of the “fake” romance between him and Katniss. (By the end of the trilogy I’m guessing it is no longer fake and poor Gale (who I liked most of the characters) is left all alone and brokenhearted, right?) Overall an interesting story.
rosa_cotton: (Default)
*The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights -- I wish Steinbeck had been able to finish this. A fascinating book on the Arthurian legends. What has stayed with me the most from this reading was a comment Merlin made at one point to the effect that having knowledge of the future in no way changes it. What is the come to pass will happen. Quite a different idea from the all the books and TV that feature warnings about the future and people attempting, somehow succeeding in changing it to...a better one?

*Ivanhoe -- Confession: I so secretly wished Ivanhoe chose Rebecca in the end. If he hadn't been so loyal to Lady Rowena, and didn't dislike her being a Jew, I could see it happening, or at least resulting in a real love triangle. Bad Sir Walter for teasing me so with Rebecca's secret love for Ivanhoe, her nursing him, his defending her in that climaxing dual! *hits head on desk* In some ways, Rowena, Ivanhoe, and Rebecca reminded me of another annoyingly-not-fully-developed-triangle: Arwen, Aragorn, and Eowyn from LOTR, respectively. Aragorn loves Arwen who (like Rowena) does not appear much in the story. Eowyn loves Aragorn. Aragorn does not love her though. Argh! I actually thought Rebecca was very similar to Eowyn in some ways.

*Pearl in the Sand -- this is the fourth historical novel I've read about Rahab the prostitute from the Bible. The author wrote Rahab as being scarred and broken by her past. She did not believe herself worthy of being loved, and did not know how to be a wife to her husband. It was an unexpected yet believable portrayal. A wonderful story about unconditional love.

*Evelina -- I can see how Burney's novel served as inspiration for Austen's Northanger Abbey and the sweet, naive Catherine Morland. Narrated in letters, Evelina, a young country girl, experiences high and low society in London for the first time with all its assembles, theaters, vulgar relations, fops, and potential suitors. Evelina is pretty, artless, inexperienced, and a simpleton. Her letters read much like a 21st Century young girl's diary. ("Oh! I went to a party and had a blast. So-and-so asked me to dance, but I wish my crush had asked me. Went shopping on the town. Why do my relatives have to be SOOOO embarrassing?!?! I like him, does he like me?") There were times Evelina got on my nerves, though I gave her full marks for having such a good memory when it came to conversations. Yet in the end I couldn't help liking her, and enjoyed the (of course) inevitable happy ending.
rosa_cotton: (Watching)
I've viewed a lot of films lately and decided to share my thoughts on some of them. :)

Čarodějův učeň (Krabat) – I first heard about this 1977 Czech fairy tale film in a book, The Enchanted Screen, and eventually found it on youtube. It is an original tale about a poor boy that becomes a prisoner of the evil magician and works at his mill. The artwork/style is stunning and unique, and the music lovely. The film is quite wonderful, with understated storytelling – no subplots or big bangs so speak found in most movies – little actual dialogue, and no explicit violence that for me made Krabat all the more touching and memorable. This is now one of my favorite fairy tale films

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – Way back when the ’05 Pride and Prejudice first came out, I thought as a period drama standing on it’s own two feet it was great, but was lacking as an adaptation of the book. That is pretty much how I feel about VODT. The first ten-ish minutes of the film were excellent with the reentrance of Lucy and Edmund, and the introduction of Eustace Scrubb, and then Narnia. Eustace was one of the highlights of the film for me. He was Eustace. And his friendship with Reepicheep was quite touching. It was interesting how Lucy’s jealousy of Susan and her longing to be beautiful was handled, focusing on a different aspect of it than in the book. I was so glad Aslan’s comment about being in the Pevensies’s world was included! That whole last minutes of the film was wonderful, my favorite part along with the beginning. Oh! And David Arnold’s score was magnificent.

My main problem with VODT is the premise of the voyage. When Eustace, Lucy, and Ed meet up with Caspian, he is indeed seeking the lost seven lords. But that takes a back seat when they learn about the evil mist and that it can be defeated by bringing the seven lords’ swords to Aslan’s table. I personally thought it wouldn’t be a problem to have the driving force of the book – quest for the lost lords – be the same for the movie. Yet once again, it seems the whole point of being in Narnia has to do with saving it. …From evil that is not really an evil to Narnia, just has the potential to be someday. Evil green mist! I still don’t get it. And Edmund…he pained me. It seemed sort of like he was Peter in PC, with how different he was, and not exactly for the best. *shakes head sadly*

Tangled – Such a great film. Moving and funny. Awesome story, characters, animation, and music. It was like going back to the Disney classics. Gothel I think is right up there with Ursula as my favorite villain. She was not complex, a fully drawn character. And Donna Murphy’s voice! I could listen to “Mother Knows Best Reprise” for hours. Wow. I loved how Eugene was sort of a nod to the actor Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood. There were definitely similarities between the two. A new Disney favorite.

Miss Marple: The Body in the Library (1984) – The Body in the Library was my introduction to the great Miss Marple, and made me an Agatha Christie fan. This film adaptation features Joan Hickson as Miss Marple who solves the baffling case of an unknown murdered girl discovered in the library of the Bantrys. At over two and a half hours, the mystery was flushed out well with its twists and turns building suspense and wit, and the characters were all nicely developed. Joan Hickson’s Miss Marple was splendid, who at first glance seems a bit withdrawn but has a sharp mind and brilliant wit. The supporting cast likewise turned in fine performances. The script is good, and is quite faithful to Christie’s novel. Despite knowing how it all went down, I was drawn into the suspense, and enjoyed seeing it all unfold.

Marple: The Body in the Library (2004) – Maybe if I had not watched this and the 1984 versions of The Body in the Library back-to-back I might have liked this a little bit more than I did. It is much shorter than the 1984 version, causing the mystery to be crammed and rushed, with characters never really established. While the sets and costumes were quite lovely, there was too modern a feel to the whole thing. The script was lacking despite some occasional humor. Most of the cast’s performances were strangely over the top. Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple was too cheeky and smug for my taste. This adaptation was pretty faithful to the book until the very end when suddenly the identity of the murderer was changed, and a lesbian affair was thrown in. WHY?? Also, having Miss Marple spell the whole thing out to the police before the murderer was apprehended sucked out all the suspense in the end. I think I’m going to stick to the older Miss Marple adaptations. This newer version did not cut it.
rosa_cotton: (You're Just a Boy)
The last Peter Pan paraliterature I read was Peter Pan in Scarlet sometime ago, which was good, but not great in my opinion. Last month, somehow, somewhere on the web I stumbled over Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri. It is a peculiar fantasy blending original Egyptian mythology with the story of Peter Pan set in comtempory Manhattan.

"Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling and her insecure freshman brother, John, are hitting the books at the Marlowe School. But one tome consumes their attention: THE BOOK OF GATES, a coveted Egyptian artifact that their professor father believes has magical powers. Soon Wendy and John discover that the legend is real—when they recite from its pages and descend into a snaking realm beneath the Manhattan school. As the hallways darken, and dead moths cake the floor, a charismatic new R.A. named Peter reveals that their actions have unleashed a terrible consequence: the underworld and all its evil is now seeping into Marlowe." (Goodreads)


I got about two thirds through the book before calling it quits. While the plot was what had originally caused me to check out Another Pan, the demon-nurse and myth/spiritual parts were not my cup of tea, and I was never completely drawn in. I liked Wendy for the first 100 pages or so, and then I didn't. She wanted to be with Peter one moment, yet no she shouldn't; and having her popular boyfriend be the cause for her indecision instead of her family and home like in Barrie's story didn't cut it for me. John was just plain annoying. There were some moments when I liked Peter, such when I caught glimpses of the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, but overall he disappointed me. While there was a spark between him and Wendy, I couldn't understand what they saw in each other. The best thing about the book was how cleverly the concepts of "happy thoughts" and the Lost Boys were handled.

On the other hand, I completely fell in love with several of the books from the series of The Rescuers by Margery Sharp (written in the late 50s to 70s). These are what the Disney films is based on. And what marvelous stories they are! Unlike Another Pan, there is heart and substance in Sharp's books. Miss Bianca is as charming, kind, and adventurous as in the films, yet she always enjoys returning to her comfortable, high social life after each mission. Sharp's Bernard is not as clumsy or afraid as in the films -- rather he is brave, determined, and devoted; his fear comes from worrying about Miss Bianca's safety. In one book when she claims she will accept an assignment, he leaps to his feet with a shout of, "Not without me you won't!" A far cry from the stuttering little mouse who reluctantly sets off with Miss Bianca to rescue Penny and Cody. His devotion to Miss Bianca is precious, and the reader's heart goes out to him upon learning she has claimed to be able to give him only friendship seventeen times. *SQUEE* The adventures they embark upon are very interesting, with them traveling from a Black Castle to free a poet, to the salt mines to rescue a little boy. The illustrations, writing, plots, characters are all fantastic. *sigh* There are not books like this written anymore, sadly. Track the series down if you can. They are a treat. :D
rosa_cotton: (Side by Side)
So I've just discovered the great Inspector Lewis. I read reviews and recaps of the series on Masterpiece at austenprose.com, finding them interesting despite never having watched any of the series...until now. “Dark Matter” with its combination of a intrigue-sounding murder and Holst’s “The Planets” (one of my favorite compositions of classical music) finally lured me into checking out the Inspector, and I was not disappointed. A very good episode which kept me guessing until the end, with a wonderful cast — loved Robert Hardy (Sir John from the Emma Thompson S&S) and Sophie Ward. And I heart the duo Lewis and Hathaway make. Now I must make time to watch the rest of previous episodes. Wahoo!
rosa_cotton: (Dreaming of the night he danced with me)
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (Five out of five stars)
Read more... )

Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser (Five stars out of five)
Read more... )

Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs (Five out of five stars)
Read more... )

Cast Two Shadows by Ann Rinaldi (Five stars out of five)
Read more... )

George MacDonald: A Biography of Scotland's Beloved Storyteller by Michael Phillips (Five out of five stars)
Read more... )

The Cater Street Hangman by Ann Perry (Four out of five stars)
Read more... )

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Lousia May Alcott (Five out of five stars)
Read more... )

So what have you all been reading this summer?
rosa_cotton: (Emotional)
This afternoon I saw UP with my brother. I went in not knowing really what it was about and enjoyed it a lot. Amazing animation, wonderful characters, and brilliant storytelling. I found it different from previous Pixar films (sort of like Wall*E -- a bit melancholy and dark for a kids film. My heartstrings were tugged on a lot. Several hours after seeing UP I'm still thinking about it: how wonderful dreaming can be, yet perhaps we have to let those dreams go, not let them sidetrack us from the path God has in mind for us. And when we let dreams consume us, nothing else matters, they can destroy us, turning us into people who will do anything to fulfill that dream...

Great, great movie.
rosa_cotton: (In your arms)
*Final episode of Little Dorrit was amazing: secrets revealed, castles in the air crumbling, and a satisfying ending.

SPOILERS!! )

Four out of five stars

*Tess of the D'Urbervilles. This was my first reading of Thomas Hardy. Man, that book was depressing! It was hard to root for anyone: Tess I never really grew to care for; Angel was disappointing with how he abandoned her; and Alec I despised completely from his first appearance. The story seemed to offer no hope. And I did not understand the ending. Not as bad as Atonement, but it doesn't make my favorite books list.

Two out of five stars

*Last week I read Charlotte, Julia Barrett’s continuation of Jane Austen's Sanditon and found it very disappointing. The plot (or lack there of) was all over the place once Barrett picked up the story. She did a great deal of explaining characters’ motives and mental states instead showing them really accomplish anything.

Slight spoilers )

Two out of five stars

*I think I'm turning into a Dickens fan. Bleak House was brilliant. And Little Dorrit, which I finished today, was amazing!! I enjoyed it so so much, more than the miniseries. I understood the story better. I loved the characters more, and despised those who deserved it. Arthur and Amy were... *sigh* An excellent read.

Five out of five stars

*And to close this post: Dickensblog
rosa_cotton: (Heartache)
Part four of Little Dorrit wasn't quite as interesting as the previous episodes. This one focused greatly on Mr. Dorrit, causing Amy to be more in the background. No scenes with both Arthur and Amy, darn it. (Though it was so sweet seeing Arthur read Amy's letters.) Fanny was very good, and she actually grew on me some. Loved John in the brief scene he had with Mr. Dorrit. Arthur is so patient with his stubborn mother. Why was he seemingly being matched up with every lady in sight?! I'm still quite confused about Frenchman Rigaud's connection to Miss Wade and the House of Clennam.

Can't wait for the final installment to tie up all the loose ends, discover what secrets Mrs. Clennam's hiding, and (hopefully!) see Arthur realize what's been under his nose!
rosa_cotton: (In your arms)
I just finished watching the first three episodes of "Little Dorrit" online.

(This is one of the rare occasions where I'm watching the movie before reading the book. I put the book on hold at my library, but all three copies are out and I'm the forth one on the list... It will be a couple of weeks before I get my hands on Dickens' novel.)

Wow, wow, WOW!!!! I am totally hooked and engrossed in this miniseries. It is both suspenseful and moving. (What a chilling cliffhanger at the close of the last episode!! *shiver*) "Little Dorrit" is brilliantly filmed, and the sets, costumes, and music are all lovely. Its great cast is seemingly as large as "Bleak House"'s; it is hard at times to remember who is who, and what part they contribute to the plot(s). Some characters I love: Amy, Arthur, John, Pancks, Maggy, Frederick; and others I loath: Mr. Dorrit, Rigaud (a very creepy and scary Andy Serkis), Flintwinch, Tip, Fanny.

Clare Foy as Amy "Little" Dorrit is wonderful. She is a pretty girl, with a very expressive face. At times more was conveyed through her eyes when she was still and listening than when she spoke. Good-hearted, caring, loving, quiet, I identified with Amy very much. My heart broke for her, first, in her discovery of her secret love for Arthur being hopeless (his head was turned by a young lady), and later by her family's attitude towards her and her conduct when they became wealthy. I just wanted to hug her tightly.

Arthur Clennam is played by Matthew Macfadyen. I am liking Matthew much more here in "Little Dorrit" than I did in P&P. His is a very human, haunted character here. Determined to discover what it is his dying father wished for him and his cold mother to "put to right." I heart his concern for Amy and her family. There is a wonderful chemistry between Arthur and Amy. I hope he will soon realize how special she is.

There are several elements in "Little Dorrit" I do not like: the mild language scattered throughout; seeing Rigaud start to have his way with a woman; and the disturbing tension between two female characters in several scenes.

Overall this is another great miniseries from BBC. I'm looking forward to episode four.
rosa_cotton: (Princess Irene)
The Watsons and Emma Watson by Jane Austen and Joan Aiken

The Watsons, a fragment by Jane Austen, is about Emma Watson who returns home after spending 14 years with a dear aunt. Life with her family is drastically different from her old well life: her family is poor, her father ill and weak, and she does not get along very well with her siblings, except for her oldest sister. Emma is introduced to the neighborhood at a ball and, among the guests, meets Mrs. Blake, her son Charles, her brother Mr. Howard, and catches the attention of Lord Osborne and Tom Musgrave. Joan Aiken's Emma Watson completes the story.

As a historical drama it was a pretty good read. As a continuation of Austen’s fragment it was a disappointment.

Slight spoilers ahead )
rosa_cotton: (stay here beside you)
AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
SWAN LAKE (Choreography: McKenzie, after Petipa/Ivanov)
February 20, 2009
Kennedy Center Opera House

Odette/Odile - Veronika Part
Siegfried - Marcelo Gomes
Von Rothbart - David Hallberg
Pas de Trois - Yuriko Kajiya, Maria Ricetto, Jared Matthews

Swan Lake is my absolute favorite ballet with a haunting score by Tchaikovsky and a fantastic story. This was the second time I've seen this ballet live, and the first time I saw American Ballet Theatre. The main draw for me was Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes, whom I'd read much about their partnership and had longed to see for sometime.

Part and Gomes were a match made in heaven with a very special chemistry between them. Their partnership was one of kindred artistry rather than dazzling technique. They completely believed in the lake of tears and sold it to me singlehandedly.

Read more... )

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