Category Archives: Uncategorized

Announcing the 2017 Reel Infatuation Blogathon!

I won’t be joining many blogathons this year (due to my schedule) but I WILL be joining this one (last year I talked about my crush on Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible)

Reel Infatuation

Sometimes an experience is so much fun that you cannot wait to do it again. This impulse is one of the reasons why people keep revisiting amusement parks and beaches, museums and restaurants. The comfort of the familiar, when hitched to the promise of a fresh, unpredictable variation, is pretty thrilling to the average human.

We’re no different. Thus…

while a blogathon is marvelous, a yearly blogathon is one step  better on the scale from here to fabulous!

On that note, along with my co-hostess with the mostest, Ruth of Silver Screenings, I’m happy to announce the return of the Reel Infatuation Blogathon!

Help Lucy Spread the Word

It’s time to sharpen your pencils and start thinking about your favorite character crushes. They can come from film, television, or books. Remember: the character is the thing. We want to hear about specific character crushes, not generically dreamy performers. To learn more…

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Cancelled Too Soon #6: Birds of Prey (2002)

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Birds of Prey is a superhero show that I sadly did not learn about until it was long over. The show premiered in October of 2002 and followed Helena Kyle, aka Huntress, the daughter of Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Selena Kyle (Catwoman). When Batman disappears from New Gotham City, Helena takes over as the city’s protector along with Oracle (Barbara Gordon) and Dinah (daughter of the original Black Canary) as the “Birds of Prey.” They are aided by Alfred Pennyworth and Det. Jesse Reese. The group frequently runs into schemes masterminded by Dr. Harleen Quinzel, aka Harley Quinn (assistant and sometime girlfriend of the Joker).

The show’s concept is intriguing, not to mention rare; how many all female groups of superheros on television can you name apart from Supergirl? For that reason I am especially sad that this show did not go beyond its first season, as what I’ve seen looks amazing.

As for why Birds of Prey was cancelled after only thirteen episodes, it looks like this show was another victim of ratings. While the show did premiere with excellent ratings (7.6 million viewers to be exact), the ratings began to sharply fall and the WB (now the CW Network) subsequently axed the show once the finale aired. I know that television networks need to make money and I understand why ratings play a big part in that, but I feel like it’s unfair to stop a great concept like this after only thirteen episodes. It is my personal belief that a television show should be given two seasons to prove themselves before they can be cancelled. After all, some of the greatest tv shows had abysmal first season ratings (MASH and Star Trek come to mind) and yet when they were given a second chance with another season, they rebounded. Who knows what might have happened if Birds of Prey had been given this chance.

Did you get the chance to watch Birds of Prey? What did you think about it? Should it have continued past season 1? Let me know in the comments!

For more of this series, see also:

Cancelled Too Soon #1: Constantine (2014-2015)

Cancelled Too Soon #2: Terra Nova (2011)

Cancelled Too Soon #3: Dracula (2013-2014)

Cancelled Too Soon #4: Moonlight (2007-2008)

Cancelled Too Soon #5: Firefly (2002)

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Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (2017)

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*warning: a variety of spoilers follow*

I have been waiting months for this film to arrive and once it did, oh my gosh, it was absolutely worth the wait!!

Ordinal Scale is the first full length film set in the world of Sword Art Online, an anime that begins with the tale of 10,000 gamers trapped in a virtual reality “death game” called Sword Art Online (SAO). Of the original 10,000, only 4,000 made it out alive, among them Kirito, his girlfriend Asuna, Klein, Silica, Liz and Agil. Four years after the original death game concluded, in the year 2026, Japan is entranced with a new Augmented Reality (AR) device called the Augma that lets you fight epic battles (among many other functions, think of it has a futuristic version of Google Glass) in the real world. But curiously, monsters from the old SAO game are showing up, which shouldn’t be possible because server for SAO was shut down when the game ended. Or WAS it??

There are many things I loved about this film, the mystery behind the Augma was intriguing, as was the revelation of who Yuna, the beautiful AI  girl who serves as a “host” for Ordinal Scale really is (she has connections to the original SAO game).

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Yuna is a mysterious figure

And then there’s the ongoing relationship between Kirito and Asuna. To my surprise, Kirito is initially reluctant to engage in Ordinal Scale, which is unusual for him, he’s usually jumping in headfirst to a new game. According to Kirito, he doesn’t like Ordinal Scale because it doesn’t feel the same as a VR (Virtual Reality) game. Unlike VR, in AR your actual physical body is moving, meaning you have to be in great shape to move and engage quickly enough to win (there’s an embarrassing moment when Kirito runs to attack and ends up falling flat on his face after tripping on a curb). But soon Kirito has no choice but to engage in the game when something weird begins happening to the players who survived SAO…

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Kirito’s new look for Ordinal Scale

It starts with Kirito’s friend Klein: during one AR battle, the #2 Ordinal Scale player, Eiji, attacks Klein and his friends. At a certain point in the battle, a node on their Augma devices glows and pops out , being sucked up into nearby drones used to project the game all over the city. Not only is Klein’s arm broken, but his memories of SAO (two year’s worth) are missing. And then the same thing happens to Asuna: while protecting Silica from an attack, Asuna’s Augma node is taken and HER memories of SAO (as well as two years worth of memories of her boyfriend) are taken away, devastating her and briefly casting doubt on her relationship with Kirito.

To get Asuna’s memories back, Kirito must become the top player in Ordinal Scale and along the way discover the truth behind this latest game (I won’t spoil it, but it’s really good).

My favorite part of the film comes at the height of the final battle when we’re finally shown something I thought we’d never see: Floor 100 of Sword Art Online (the original game was based on a castle made of 100 floors. The original game ended early on the 75th floor when Kirito realized that the leader of a powerful guild was actually the creator of the SAO game.) For this final battle, Kirito and company are transported to the Ruby Palace on Floor 100 and, even more, are changed back into the forms they possessed in the original game (which brought shouts of joy from the audience).The Ruby Palace is simply beautiful (and huge!!) with wonderful gardens around the entire structure. Inside the castle resembles a giant cathedral as it seems to be one very large room. The boss they have to fight on Floor 100 is insanely powerful and it ultimately takes every ally Kirito and Asuna have ever made to defeat it.

The story ends with something that’s been a long time coming: after getting “married” in the original SAO game, Kirito finally keeps a promise he made in-game and gets engaged to Asuna in the real world (they were 15 going on 16 in the original game, so they’re at least 19 going on 20 now).

But that wasn’t all….after the credits finished, we got a short peek at the upcoming Season 3 of Sword Art Online!!! It’s maybe 90 seconds long, but at the end, we get a glimpse of the latest VR world: Rath, the setting of the recently concluded Alicization Arc. No date was given but it is confirmed now that SAO WILL return!!!

While the movie last night was a one night only event, I hope that eventually the film will be released on one of the streaming services so everyone can see it (I know the English dub is in progress). I’m not sure if the movie will be released on DVD here in the US, but if it is I will let you know.

Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale was an awesome experience, worth the wait and I sincerely hope there are more films to come!

For more of my thoughts on films, see here

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RIP Robert Osborne (1932-2017)

I was so sad to learn of the death of Robert Osborne, the longtime host for Turner Classic Movies. TCM was far and away my favorite channel to watch growing up and I always looked forward to hearing what tidbits Mr. Osborne would share before the film started playing.

I had no idea that Mr. Osborne had such a long history with Hollywood, nor did I realize that he’d hosted TCM from the very beginning. The film world is now a much darker place for his absence. RIP Robert Osborne, we all miss you.

Cancelled Too Soon #5: Firefly (2002)

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Alright *deep breaths* here I go…the most infamous show in the “cancelled too soon” category has to be Firefly, a show from the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon that only aired eleven episodes (out of fourteen) before being summarily cancelled by Fox. Now I’ve hinted before that I have a confession to make regarding this show and here it is….

I have never seen Firefly. EVER. (I know that’s a terrible thing for a science fiction researcher like myself to say, but it’s true.) It’s not that I don’t WANT to, it’s just things keep coming up and as a result I’ve yet to see this show (or Serenity for that matter).

That being said, here is the gist of Firefly: In the year 2517 the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity travels in and around a distant star system ferrying cargo or doing smuggling for various clients. It is implied that a very long time ago, a large population of humans left Earth (due to overpopulation) and moved to this system to start over. All of the planets and moons are controlled by the Alliance (a fusion of the governments of the former United States and China, resulting in a fusion of Eastern/Western culture).

The crew of the Serenity is lead by Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion); he and his first mate Zoe Washburne are veterans of the Unification War where Independents fought to keep the Alliance from taking total control, but ultimately they lost. Mal then bought the Serenity to keep beyond Alliance control.

Now why was such an amazing show cancelled so quickly? Well….apparently the answer is a little complicated. The short excuse is that Fox cancelled the show due to ratings (which isn’t uncommon). The longer reason is that the network aired the episodes out of order (making the plot harder to follow), episodes were pre-empted for sporting events, and what is possibly worst of all: the show aired on Friday nights!! Fridays aren’t considered the “death slot” for no reason, and I think that greatly contributed to the show’s early demise despite its enthusiastic fandom.

Fifteen years later, Firefly retains a cult following that dreams of hearing the news that the show is being relaunched. I haven’t seen the show (yet) but I sincerely hope that their wish is granted, even if it was only for a few episodes (like when the X-Files came back for a limited series).

If you’d like to read more about the great television shows that left us far too soon, see the list below:

Cancelled Too Soon #1: Constantine (2014-2015)

Cancelled Too Soon #2: Terra Nova (2011)

Cancelled Too Soon #3: Dracula (2013-2014)

Cancelled Too Soon #4: Moonlight (2007-2008)

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About Ghost in the Shell (2017)

So I got to see Logan last night, it was amazing!! I’m still processing everything I saw (and the ramifications) so while I keep working on that review, I wanted to share some thoughts on the trailer for Ghost in the Shell

Several months ago, I stated that I was tentatively looking forward to Ghost in the Shell (2017), the live-action adaptation of the epic cyberpunk manga of the same name (which had already been adapted into an anime film in 1995). However my opinion on this film has now changed drastically…

From the beginning I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this film. For one, Scarlett Johannsen (a Caucasian female) was cast in the lead of a Japanese story set in Japan. And for another, the more preview footage I saw, the more something felt…wrong….about the story. See, here’s gist of the original Ghost in the Shell (more or less): Major Motoko Kusanagi and her Section 9 squad are on the trail of a mysterious hacker known as the Puppetmaster who is not what he appears to be. Along the way, Kusanagi muses about whether or not she is still human since the only biological part of her is her brain.

THIS version, however…doesn’t appear to tell this story at all, not even close. If the previews are anything to go by, this film has reset the story to be more of a conspiracy/mystery film that centers more on the Major discovering who she was than who the Puppetmaster really is. I don’t like this at all; sure in the original story Kusanagi wonders at times if she’s been told the whole truth, but ultimately that doesn’t matter. She is who she is now, it’s not like she can go back. But that’s not what really upsets me: I just learned two days ago that Scarlett Johannsen is not (apparently) playing Motoko Kusanagi, instead she’s playing someone called “Mira.”

Who the frack is MIRA?? It’s not enough you cast a non-Asian in the lead role, but you give her an Anglicized name too?? Not only am I NOT looking forward to this film, I’m not going to go see it, I can’t, the 1995 film means way too much to me. In fact, I will go so far as to say that none of you should go see this movie when it comes out in a few weeks. Instead, please go find a copy of the 1995 film (it’s worth the cost) and watch that instead.

I hereby predict that Ghost in the Shell will FLOP at the box office, which is so sad because a live-action film done properly could make a killing. But this is NOT that film.

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Upcoming new series “Disturbing Disney”

Hey everyone, I’m so excited for this weekend as Logan is finally here!! Everyone seems to love it so far, so I can’t wait to see it and share my thoughts with you. I’d also like to announce that in the very near future I will be starting another series to go along with the small handful I currently have.

I’ve named this new series “Disturbing Disney” because, let’s face it, for a company that makes animated films for children, they’ve put a lot of freaky/disturbing things in these films, especially if you look at their earliest features. In this series I will find Disney’s most disturbing moments and share them with you.

You’ll probably never look at Disney movies in the same way ever again.

Look for the first post of “Disturbing Disney” next week when I look at Pinocchio (1940)

“Cancelled Too Soon” will also return with a look at Firefly (where I have a small confession to make regarding that series).

That’s all for me today, hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!!

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