Love, Blood, and Other Drugs-Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Review

Gary Oldman as Count Dracula

It seems like they don’t put as much effort into filmmaking as they used to these days. Sure, you could make a good movie without beautiful imagery, some of the marvel movies are an example of this, what with the overuse of CGI and green screen. But it doesn’t hurt to have every shot in your movie a portrait, in fact, your movie would be all the better for it. In 1992, one of many legendary filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola realized this fact and put out a movie that favored the old school ways of filmmaking, illusions and forced perspective, in a time when the modern ways of filmmaking were just coming into the spotlight. In 1992, he made a beautifully made, and very sexually charged, adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A film that, because of the aforementioned illusory ways of which it was filmed, may very well be the last of it’s kind.

THE SHADOWS ARE ALIVE!

The Set of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. They favored practicality over digital effects.

To touch on the filmmaking of this movie, Bram Stoker’s Dracula came out in a time when the use of digital effects were starting to bloom. Everything that seemed impossible to put on screen at the time could now be done on computer. But that’s not what Coppola wanted. He wanted darkness and shadows of the variety that only practicality could give him. So, he fired everyone who insisted he go with the newer ways, and formed his own ragtag group of artists to create a criminally underrated visual gem.

This is a film where pretty much every frame is a portrait. It is nearly impossible to take your eyes off of the screen. The lighting, the sets, and the costumes!

The costuming is where the movie really shines, and it’s intentional. Coppola actually said himself that “the costumes are the sets”. If you’re wondering how pretty a piece of clothing can be, search up the movie and look at what the actors are wearing. Try telling me then that you couldn’t stop gawking (if you really couldn’t, you’re fine, I usually don’t see the appeal in pretty clothing either).

Beyond stunning costumes and great use of light, how this film was made goes against the very essence of ‘traditional’ in the modern sense. Not one bit of CGI or green screen or anything was used in this movie. Everything you see in this film is pure, good-ol-fashioned illusions. It’s practically a love-letter to the old ways of filmmaking where, in order to make it look like a character disappeared on screen, you had to cut, move the actor out of the shot, and then action. Some smoke to make it more appealing.

Coppola knew what he wanted, and though it was a painstaking task of bringing that vision to life, he stuck to it. He brought together a crew of very talented people, even his own son, to create a visually stunning story of a fallen hero.

THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE

Traditionally, Count Dracula has always been portrayed as a cunning, no-good, bloodsucking, doer of evil. In ‘Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein’ he resurrects(?) Victor Frankenstein’s monster for…I don’t know, evil? At the time that’s generally how he was portrayed and therefore how people saw him, a moustache twisting villain that does bad things for the sake of being bad.

But Coppola did something different. In a way, this is one of those villains you find yourself rooting for.

Dracula in this film is a centuries old war hero that fought for God and his country. But after losing his wife, and being told very non-chalantly by the priests around him that she is in hell, he renounces God and becomes the bloodsucking creature we all know and love to hate. Jump forward to turn-of-the-century England (Late 1800’s-early 1900’s) Dracula has come to London not only to get a decent meal, but to win over a married-woman that is the spitting image of his late wife.

None of the things Dracula does in this film he does because he’s evil-and-loving-it. He does them because he’s in a state of constant heart-ache. He never got over the loss of his wife, he chose and continues to choose being an inhuman…thing. I find calling him a monster a very loose description. A monster in my mind is…well…classic Dracula, Someone who does evil things and doesn’t care about how those actions affect others. The Count in this film certainly isn’t a good guy, he’s the antagonist (Not a villain, antagonists are characters that oppose the protagonists, a villain is someone like, say, ‘The Wicked Witch of The West’), he opposes everyone looking to protect their loved ones from him. But in the end, he’s just a man with a broken heart. Everything he did in this film he did because he’s in love. He lost that love once, and, as a result, he chose to drown in his misery and gave up on God and humanity.

Coppola’s Dracula is a tragic hero. A man that lost his way, and, clearly, when we see him again after the prologue, he is far from saving.

Also, the character is played oh-so-brilliantly by Gary Oldman. If you don’t know who that is…what are you doing with your life!

Speaking of characters, the rest of the cast in this film is, mostly, stellar. We’ve got the always-so-lovely Winona Ryder as Mina Murray, Keanu Reeves in his less than ideal role as Jonathan Harker, And Anthony-Freaking-Hopkins As Abraham Van Helsing! How perfect is that!

There are of course many other actors that lend a lot to this movie, but these are the ones I thought would ring more bells to most people reading this blog.

Winona Ryder’s role in this film isn’t anything too special in terms of performances. She plays Jonathan Harker’s fiancé Mina, who ends up getting too close Dracula. Keanu Reeves as Jonathan isn’t one of his best roles, his monotone voice and demeanor, not to mention a lousy English accent, don’t lend a lot to the role. On the other hand, if it weren’t for this movie, perhaps, he wouldn’t have ended up being as well known as he is and playing roles that are actually suited to him (i.e. John Wick, Neo, etc.). Then there’s Dr. Van Helsing, played by easily one of the greatest actors of all time who shows no sign of stopping what he does best, Anthony Hopkins. Younger people may know him as Odin from ‘Thor’ and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But before then Hopkins was…well…playing on his strengths and acting as side characters with, maybe, a few screws loose. This was a year after ‘The Silence of The Lambs’ so his performance as Hannibal Lecter is probably what motivated the crew most to pick him as Van Helsing. And boy was it a good choice. Van Helsing in this movie is just a looney old man with seemingly intimate knowledge of vampires that is very beneficial in hunting Dracula.

I couldn’t help but appreciate the cast in this film, they all bring something to the table and many of them really wanted to be apart of this film. Gary Oldman joined so he could work with Coppola, and so he could say “I have crossed oceans of time to find you”.

OVERALL

The Dead Don’t Die

If you’re going into Bram stoker’s Dracula thinking that it’s going to be an entertaining horror flick like ‘Alien’ or ‘The Thing’ then you’re probably in the wrong mind-set. While it has horror elements, it’s barely a traditional horror movie. It’s a gothic romance with vampires. It’s a soap opera about a man who was once good, but was consumed by darkness upon losing everything dear to him.

So don’t watch it expecting jumpscares every minute or tons of sexual tension (though there is plenty of that), watch it for the visual appeal and the most entertaining antagonist that I’ve ever seen so far.

Fun Fact: The character of Dracula took some inspiration from Vlad The Impaler, a Romanian ruler that was known for his brutality in war fronts. They pay homage to him in the beginning of the film and it’s great.

Have you seen Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Have you seen any Dracula movie? If so, which is your favorite? The list of questions goes on, and I’d love to know what you thought of this movie. For me, it’s great. Though I can see how it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you’re having a good day.

Weeping Angel VS Xenomorph: Which Is The Scariest Alien?

These images were selected and put together with pixlr editor. They do not belong to me.

In the years that I’ve been alive I have come across two fictional monsters that made me jump out of my skin and go running for the hills. The Weeping Angels and Xenomorphs.

Both of these creatures have qualities that not only make them terrifying in appearance, but they also have a psychological effect on us. There’s something wrong about these creatures. Something in the way they live and breathe that makes us uncomfortable and timid towards them. Both have found pretty cozy spots for themselves in the world of pop culture notoriety, scaring the pants off of millions of people and having a lasting impact on our sub-consciousness.

But which is more terrifying? And if it came down to it, which would win in a fight?

Xenomorph

Let’s face it, there are few movie aliens that strike our imaginations than the Xenomorph. As Ash (Ian Holm) so brilliantly put it, a Xenomorph is a “perfect organism. Its structural perfection matched only by its hostility.” The first appearance of a Xenomorph alien was in 1979 in Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Alien, in which a group of astronauts find themselves being picked off by a single one of these creatures. It was followed up by James Cameron’s Aliens (expect a review of it very soon) in which the sole survivor of the previous film and a group of space marines face off against a hive of these perfections. Since then the Alien universe has expanded through not only more movies, but comics, novels, and video games. Making it very clear how ingrained they are in popular culture.

Xenomorphs are tall, usually ranging around 7 feet and higher, and while it’s doubtful they’re able to lift a tow-truck (at least one that was born in a human embryo) they have been shown to have strength surpassing the standards of any normal human being. Their greatest advantage, however, lies in their aptitude for speed and stealth. They can fit in very tight spaces of varying degree and can get around just about anywhere. They could be present for one second and be gone just as suddenly. What really makes them go from being dangerous to flat out deadly are their biological gimmicks. Every Xenomorph has a second, smaller mouth within their maws that primarily serves the purpose of putting a hole in your head. They also have a long, thrashing tail with a sharp end that they often use to impale other creatures, and their bodies are coursing with acidic blood that has been shown to melt through anything. Their skin, while not able to withstand everything, as we see in Aliens, is nearly indestructible. The only exceptions being fire, sharp bullets, and tons of weight pressing down on it.

While their bodies may seem, and certainly are in some cases, fragile, a single Xenomorph is not to be underestimated. If their appearance isn’t enough to scare you…well, you’ll probably be dead by the time you are able to register any fear. Xenomorphs are fast, agile, and incredibly deadly. They do their part to ensure the hives survival through good old fashioned survival of the fittest. Really, this quality doesn’t make them very different from any other animal. They don’t know and aren’t capable of registering anything about morality or emotion. They have only ever been driven by an instinctive need to survive through whatever means necessary. Making them all the more dangerous.

So, in terms of how to evade a Xenomorph: Run. Hide. Pray.

Weeping Angel

“Fascinating race, The Weeping Angels. The only psychopaths in the universe to kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss.” -The Doctor.

At first glance they seem like beautifully carved statues of an angel crying into her hands…but then, for one millisecond, you look away. You don’t know how, you don’t know why, but the angel is now peeking through it’s fingers, and you feel from the marrow in your bones, the blood pumping through your veins, it’s looking at you.

The weeping angels first appeared in episode ten of season three, titled “Blink”, in the modern Doctor Who series. They’re revealed to be hostile yet merciful creatures. They feed on residual space-time energy left behind by the victims they send to the past. One touch, and you’re living out the rest of your life in the eighteenth century. Or maybe the eighties, if you’re lucky enough.

The most interesting aspect of the angels is their “quantum-locked” nature. When they’re not being looked at, they can move. And they move fast. However, when in anyone’s line of sight they revert to a stone-statue state (try saying that ten times!). Though it is a safety mechanism used to throw off their prey, it can be used against them. If two or more angels somehow end up looking at each other they will stay eternally “quantum-locked”, forever reduced to their stone condition. However, Though they’re immobilized, they’re nonetheless dangerous. You can look at an angel anywhere, but not into their eyes. Looking directly into their eyes will allow them to turn you yourself into an angel. When not in their quantum-locked state they move at an incredible speed to catch their prey, but it has been shown that they usually like to play with their food. Other abilities involve seeing in the dark, turning other statuesque objects into angels (i.e. turning the statue of liberty into a weeping angel), having control over their time travel abilities, which means they can touch you without sending you back in time. And, most of the time, it’s not exactly a love-tap.

The Weeping Angels have existed since the beginning of time, living under one singular goal; the preservation of their species. They are frightening creatures with psychopathic tendencies, always willing to do whatever it takes to get the energy they need to live on. Not caring how it affects other creatures.

VERDICT

The Scariest

I’m not popular enough to start a poll so I’m just going to go off of personal experience. Since it’s been awhile the last time I watched Doctor Who in general, I’ve got to say the Xenomorph. Watching the movie, I found myself terrified for the crew, and myself a bit, because I had no idea where the creature would pop up. The same is especially so in Alien: Isolation. I still have scary dreams about boogeyman-esque aliens walking up to my bed while I’m asleep.

While the Weeping Angels are downright terrifying in “Blink”, I feel like in later appearances their scariness is reduced somehow. Fellow Whovians, please correct me if I’m wrong! Like I said it’s been awhile since I watched modern DW so most things I’m a little fuzzy on.

The Fight

In terms of who would win in a fight, I think the deciding factors of which would win are speed and sight. This will very much be a battle of wits as both of these creatures are extremely fast and, while the Angels may be smarter than Xenomorphs, both seem to be highly intelligent.

It’s unknown if Xenomorphs actually have eyes. There are theories that it’s inner jaw can pick up scents and textures around it, like a snake. It’s also theorized that a Xenomorph skull has eye sockets, but the creature itself doesn’t actually have eyes, which is odd. Whatever the case, it might be safe to assume that Xenomorphs can’t see, which puts them at a disadvantage when facing even a single Weeping Angel. This is where speed really comes in. Angels are fast, very fast. A quick internet search revealed that, thanks to actual science and some amazing hardcore Doctor Who fans, Weeping Angels may be able to move at 8 meters per second. Fast! But, being the angelic psychos they are, Weeping Angels have been known to play with their prey before delivering their final blow. Whether that be sending the Xenomorph back in time or just killing it probably doesn’t matter to the Angel.

Now, Let’s set the scene. A Weeping Angel and a Xenomorph are stuck together in a spaceship. And yes, it has vents. Whether one attacks the other, or one beat the other at a card game, doesn’t matter. They fight. And, knowing what I know about both creatures, I’d say the winner would be the Angel. Weeping Angels win against Xenomorphs.

As advanced a species Xenomorphs are, they are just not nearly as powerful as Weeping Angels. Not only are the Angels faster and smarter, they are, so far, immortal. Xenomorphs can die from a barrage of bullets. Weeping Angels have suffered that same punishment and came out unscathed. It may be easy to think that you could just smash a Weeping Angel into pieces with a sledgehammer, but if a gazillion bullets couldn’t do anything, then it’s very possible that a hammer won’t save you either. Perhaps the Angel will play with it’s foe for a time, allowing the Xenomorph to get a couple hits in. But whether it’s killed or sent back in time, ultimately, the Angels speed, strength, and invulnerability are why it’s going to come out on top.

Do you disagree? Is there something I’m missing? Knowing me, it’s very possible. If you think the fight will have a different outcome, please say so in the comments. Thank you to the Alien Species Wiki, Tardis Data Core, and Stack Exchange for answers to the questions I had concerning both of these creatures.

Thanks for reading!

Why Love At First Sight is, Kind of, Bullcrap

heart with cardiogram

Bear in mind, if you believe in this notion, good on you! I personally think it’s donkey-doo.

I never really saw myself as giving advice on love, but if you’re someone who wants to look at love with a more realistic eye (which has been proven time and again is a thing that works) then I guess I’m here to help.

WHY IT’S DUMB

Falling in love is a process. Often you have to work at telling someone you like that you are a good fit for them. The result of that effort could either be something beautiful or dangerously toxic. It kind of depends on who those people are at their core and how much effort they’re willing to put into the relationship that determines whether or not it’s healthy.

Falling, and just being, in love can be an endearing experience. And that’s coming from someone who’s only ever been on one date in the nineteen years he’s been alive. However, there is the fairy tale notion of love at first sight, or “insta-love”. The idea that two people who are meant to be together fall in love the moment they see each other.

In fiction, this is probably one of the most HATED cliches in storytelling. I, myself, am not a fan. I love it when there’s a slow progression of how two people feel about each other (Warbreaker). When you just stick two characters together and claim it’s “love at first sight” it doesn’t feel very original, or romantic (Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs).

In real life, from what I’ve seen in my research, it’s actually a very common occurrence. But I think it’s safe to say that it boils down to how attracted you are to that person, not how much you’re in love with that person.

That’s it. The end.

Any form of insta-love is just pure attraction. I’m not saying that you’re stupid for being attracted to someone, everyone becomes attracted to a person, even me. It’s just when you mold that attraction into love the moment you see someone that, for lack of a better word, is kind of foolish. And there are a few ways that your brain can make you think you’ve fallen in love at first sight, even when you’re not aware of it.

Now I’m making Insta-love sound like a sickness.

It’s not a sickness so much as it’s just…the usual sparks of attraction. Sparks that are most common in men. In cases involving insta-love, men are usually the one’s with the first spark. And in the old, mythic tales of love at first sight, it’s said that the love is shared mutually between two people the moment they lock eyes. Like Snow White and her prince. Unfortunately, while a man may think he’s fallen in love, studies show the woman usually hasn’t gotten that far. She may be attracted to him, but not as deeply as he is.

And sure, you could chalk that up by saying: “Oh well then she’s not right for him if she can’t see the great person he is.” Why? Because she doesn’t see his soul? No One Can “See” Into Another Person’s Soul! It is entirely possible for the girl to fall in love with the guy even if she didn’t immediately fall in love with him the second she saw him. It IS possible for two people to have a healthy relationship even if only one of them claims that they fell in love with the other “at first sight”.

If your someone who’s waiting to lock eyes with the one for you, you’re wasting your time. If your attracted to someone, give them a chance. If they’re not right for you, and it’s VERY important for you to be able to tell if they’re not right for you, then just keep looking. Any form of Insta-love is just pure attraction, unless you’ve known that person for a long time and the two of you have always had feelings for each other but never bothered to give it a shot for whatever reason. If that’s the case, Freaking Give It A Shot!

Other than that, the whole concept of love at first sight is nothing more than a fairy tale. Still…perhaps all that stuff about “the one”, while nonsense as a whole, part of it may not be entirely inaccurate.

WHY IT’S PLAUSIBLE

One of my seminary teachers shared the story of how he met his wife. When he was a teenager he just saw her in class one day and immediately he felt like he knew her from somewhere. He actually told her that he thinks he knows her. Of course, she was like “Yeah, sure” and walked off. Of course, of course…that only prompted my teacher to pursue her, which apparently worked out in the end because now they’re married and have kids.

One of the details about Insta-love from those tales of yore, is that when you lock eyes with “the one” you feel like you’ve met them before. Your familiar with this person, in fact you feel like you’ve known them your whole life. I don’t think we could go as far as to say that my seminary teacher had that vague sense of already knowing his wife-to-be, but he did say that he recognized her from somewhere. He went on to say that he had this sense because he did know her from somewhere, he knew her in the Pre-Mortal realm. Which, in my religion, is the world we live in before earth. In premortality we do have famlies and loved ones. My teacher’s wife could have been with him in there, or they at least knew each other.

If that isn’t a neat love story, I don’t know what is.

That feeling of familiarity associated with love at first sight could be your spirit saying: “Hey, I know her” from when you actually knew each other before this life.

Of course, I will admit as a logical thinker myself, the idea is pretty far fetched. But as someone who knows that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for our spiritual well-being, I also need to put forward this idea. After all, not everything is impossible.

I realize this post is a bit subjective, but at the time I felt like I needed to write something. I wasn’t coming up with any story ideas, which was bumming me out a bit. Then I remembered I have a blog that I can use to fill in some writing time. I got the idea of doing a post on insta-love and went for it. I’m sorry if you’re someone who was a bit sensitive to this, but this is just my opinion. If you believe in Love At First Sight then I won’t hold that against you. In fact I praise you for it, it means you might be more creative than I am (…floozy…).

Thanks for reading! DO you believe in insta-love? Go ahead and say so in the comments. Anyone who criticizes you for it can go fall face-first into a well. Also…pleeeeeeeeease recommend your favorite romantic movie or book. I am DYING for good love story!

Always Be My Maybe: (Spoiler) Review

Ali Wong & Randall Park AKA The Funniest People On Earth.

To be clear, I never intended for my blog to be all about reviewing movies. But, might as well keep the train rolling and throw out my opinions of another movie that I watched very recently, one that, in terms of genre, is a farcry from the horror masterpiece that I reviewed in my previous post.

WORLDS APART

Always Be My Maybe follows the dual POV’s of Sasha and Marcus. Two Asian-Americans that grew up together in San Francisco. After a fallout right after a romantic connection had blossomed in their adolescence, the two become estranged for fifteen years. During that time, Sasha becomes a famous chef and Marcus stayed in San Francisco smoking weed and leading a low-budget band. When Sasha comes back to the city to open a new restaurant, her and Marcus cross-paths unexpectedly and those old sparks of attraction grow as they spend time together.

Individually, the two are pretty well fleshed out. Sasha is a workaholic who enjoys the glamour and pzazz of the upper-class world, and Marcus is a lazy musician that gathers his energy from the homey, dirty streets of San Francisco. The chemistry between the two , for me anyways, is the most enjoyable part of this movie. Of course, it’s pretty much essential for two characters with distinct personalities to have good chemistry, especially in a romance. And, in that regard, Ali Wong and Randall Park nail that. Marcus is a smack-talking, one-liner master that can come up with something brilliant to say in a matter of seconds, even if some of the things he says can come off as rude. Sasha is a bit more collective than that. She herself is pretty articulate, but isn’t as quippy or ill-mannered as Marcus. Together the two make a satirical dream team.

Of course there are other characters, like the sidekicks. Sasha has a gay best friend that assists her in the growth of her brand, and Marcus has (I think) a Pakistani friend that’s part of his band. While Sasha’s friend does more to further the story, they both add good doses of humor whenever they appear on-screen. I’d say what their names are but I don’t remember (kind of feel like a bad person because of that).

Always Be My Maybe

DID THEY HAVE TO GET TOGETHER?

There isn’t much to say about the filmography. It’s pretty standard in terms of cinematography, setting, etc. There are some pretty shots here and there but I don’t have as much to say about ABMM’s filmmaking as I do about Aliens’.

While the story itself isn’t terrible, the biggest problem I have with this movie is the ending. How they wrap up Sasha and Marcus’ story arcs…by bringing them together. The movie ends with Marcus going to New York to confess his love for Sasha at an event for rich people. Of course, he succeeds and the two live happily ever after.

That’s good, right? The guy gets the girl, that’s how all good stories should end.

Yeah…if you’re James Bond.

I think it would have been much more interesting and cathartic for the characters if they didn’t get together. If they accepted that they live in two very different worlds and neither of them are willing to leave those worlds for each other. They sacrifice their love so they could find happiness in fulfilling their dreams and making other people happy through Sasha’s food and Marcus’ music. I’m not saying that they should never see each other again, just that, at the very least, they could’ve remained platonic so they’re not crying themselves to sleep. After all, given their chemistry, I’d say their better off as Just Friends anyway. By putting them together, after everything that happened throughout the movie, Hollywood is, once again, making the suggestion that you need, NEED, to be with someone. Even though you can live just fine without without a girlfriend or a boyfriend.

Now for the elephant in the room.

Neo grew some hair.

Yes. Keanu Reeves is in this movie.

No. It’s not great.

Keanu being in this movie was total fan service. While he was kinda fun, he didn’t bring a lot to it. I realize what his roll was, but really, anyone could’ve done.

I’m not saying I hate Keanu Reeves, quite the opposite actually. I just don’t like how they presented him in this movie. Everyone knew who he was: Keanu Reeves! Big movie star and one of the nicest guys in America!

I honestly would’ve liked it if he was just some handsome rich guy. Really that’s his role in the movie. The rich, handsome schmuck that starts sleeping with Sasha and makes Marcus jelly. Anyone could do that, Keanu did it with ease. If anything it would’ve been hilarious if he was just some cute, rich dude Sasha was seeing rather than Keanu Reeves playing Keanu Reeves. And that’s honestly how I like it anyway, I like when Keanu Reeves is playing a character, not just himself.

CONCLUSION

Always Be My Maybe is a romantic comedy that succeeds greatly at being a comedy, but doesn’t live up to the romance as much as it could have.

The characters are a lot of fun and are sure to make you, at least, giggle. But what it makes up for in comedy and character chemistry, it lacks in story and theme. It’s one of many romantic comedies that make the suggestion that you can’t live without having a romantic partner, which is so far from being true.

Overall, I would recommend ABMM as a movie to watch when you just want a good laugh and/or if you just love Rom-Coms, like me.

How did you feel about Always Be My Maybe? Did you love Keanu Reeves, or do you like it better when he’s playing a character? Please tell me what you thought in the comments. While your at it, check out my review of Ridley Scott’s Alien. I also have a YouTube channel, I’m not very active on it right now but I want to get back into making stop-motions, so look out for those sometime in the future.

And please correct me if I’m wrong about Marcus’ freinds’ ethnicity. Thank you for reading!

Alien (1979) Review

This image belongs to Twentieth Century Fox. No copyright intended.

I’ll be honest, I’m not one for scary movies. Mostly because I don’t like being scared, watching people being mutilated or torn to shreds, sex scenes make me uncomfortable, etc. Also they sometimes turn out to be garbage movies.

Call me a wuss all you like.

But sometime last month, maybe it was it’s popularity or science fiction elements, but I had the courage to watch Ridley Scott’s Alien.

Spoiler Alert: It kept me up all night.

But seriously though, minor spoilers.

In Space…Everything Is Beautiful!

Before we get into the nit and gritty of the movie, I wanted to touch on the filmmaking, and how gorgeous it is (as with almost any Ridley Scott movie).

Again, property of Twentieth Century Fox. No copyright intended.

Right from the get-go you’re sucked into this movie with its cinematography alone. The lighting is used so well, often there aren’t very many sources of light even before the crew ventures into darker areas of the nostromo to find and kill the alien. The only instance of a scene that was enveloped in bright light was the first chest-bursting scene, which helped make it look more gnarly than it already was.

The set design, also, is fantastic. The nostromo may not be an old, gothic mansion or a dark crypt, but it might as well be with the overall look of the ship. There are clear signs that people live in this ship, toys and equipment are scattered everywhere. The griminess helps to make the ship feel homey, and when the characters actually show up you feel comfortable with them in their natural state. However, there are some areas of the ship that are so dark and eerie it’s like they were meant to have a monster lurking in those dark corners.

Lighting and set design are used brilliantly to not only establish the tone of this movie, but to make the alien really shine in it’s menacing beauty. They spend much time in the beginning making you feel at home in the nostromo, so when the alien shows up, it actually feels like an intruder is in your home.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Nightmare In Space

Property of Twentieth Century Fox. No Copyright Intended.

The movie follows the crew of the fore-mentioned nostromo, a massive carrier ship. On their way back to earth, the ships computer, an A.I. called M.U.T.H.R, intercepts a distress call on another planet. The crew travels to the planet to find out what’s happening, only for one of them to become the unwitting host of a horrific creature that terrorizes everyone on the ship.

Like I mentioned before, the whole first act and a good chunk of the second is spent making you feel at home on the nostromo. The characters are very well fleshed out during this time as well, you get a sense of who they are and their relationships with one another. Which, for the most part, is very positive.

It’s unclear who the main character is at first until Ripley herself takes the reins. Sigourney Weaver does a great job at playing a character who is very “by the book”. She follows protocol no matter what anyone thinks and is able to conjure a plan on the spot. That doesn’t mean she’s perfect though. Like everyone else she’s scared out of her wits and isn’t really prepared for the horror they face. And when it comes down to it, like any person, she resorts to running for dear life. Thanks to her sharp thinking though, she can come up with solutions to a problem and is able to lead the others with ease.

That’s not to say she’s the only good character though. This is an ensemble movie done with fantastic precision. Each character have their own personalities and opinions of what should be done. We feel connected to them, which creates a tantalizing feeling of dread as we know that not all of them is going to survive.

AAAAAAAAAAAHH!!!

Now for the real hero of this story.

This thing gave me nightmares for days. It doesn’t show up until near the middle of the movie, but even so, you can feel it’s looming presence overshadow everything happening long before it claims its first victim.

It, of course, goes through it’s stages. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’ll let you see what those stages are yourself (although it’s hard to imagine you don’t know, since this thing is a staple in pop culture). But the real treat is in how this creature is presented. It’s a boogeyman. It can fit in tight spaces and appear out of nowhere. Rather than having it pop up every ten seconds (jumpscare or not) its appearance is low. When we see it, it’s not for long. It does what it does and then it’s gone. This creates a sense of paranoia, whenever the characters go somewhere that’s outside the “safe-zone” you end up biting your nails because you know it’s there somewhere. You don’t know where it is or where it could be, so you’re holding onto your seat and preparing for the worst.

Like the the design of the nostromos, the design of the alien is amazing. Some find it cool, I personally just find it strange, in a good way. Everything about this thing makes you uncomfortable. Its size, Its inhuman thinness, the color, the long tail, and of course, let’s not forget, its freaking second mouth! This might be the only movie monster design I have seen that is genuinely terrifying to even look at, because you can feel it in your bones how inhuman this thing is. Props to the costume people for creating something so mortifying so elegantly.

Do I really have to say it…?

Conclusion

I’ll admit that this movie wasn’t my introduction to the shared alien/predator universe. That credit goes to Alien vs Predator, which, while not great, I found to be enjoyable. Predator followed not long after (which, also, was amazing). But upon watching this movie, I now understand why it’s such a classic.

It does what any great horror movie should do and gets in your head. The boogeyman-esque persona of the alien will leave a lasting impression, not just in how it looks or how it kills, but how it’s presented in this movie. You can feel the fear the characters feel, which says a lot about the actors’ acting. Ridley Scott’s directing is careful and immaculate, he puts you in a terrifying and isolated situation and doesn’t let you out. This is a movie that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go until the very end. Which is why I would recommend not doing anything else while watching it, because it really is a movie you need to be paying attention to if you want a truly thrilling experience.

I said before how I’m not one for horror movies. I just don’t like being scared. But after watching Alien, seeing how great horror can really be…I’m still not one for horror movies. But I now see why Alien holds a special place in the hearts of many. It is an example of horror at its best. In fact I would argue that it is a pitch-perfect horror film.

So if you love scary movies or are interested in getting to know the predalien universe, this movie is a safe bet that you’ll get what you’re looking for. Just make sure your with a buddy or two while watching, it is not for the faint of heart.

Have you seen Alien? What did you think? I’d love to know what you thought in the comments, especially if you can sum up why it’s so good better than I did. Thank you for reading and have a good day…or night!

7 Things I Can’t Stand

We all have things that we can’t stand. Whether it be a person, place, or thing. I will admit, I’m no exception.

In this list I’m going to mention the things I mildly dislike, and the things that make me want to wage war and taste the blood of my enemies. Here we go…

Dislike: Dan Slott.

Dan Slott | SYFY Wire

For those of you who don’t know, Dan Slott is a writer working at Marvel Comics. He’s written She-Hulk, Silver Surfer, Avengers, and is currently writing Iron-Man and Fantastic Four. But he’s most infamous for his work on Spider-Man, which, though started out strong, completely fell apart when Superior Spider-Man came around (a series in which Doctor Octopus switched bodies with Peter Parker and, for months, was Spider-Man). As you can imagine, the series was pretty controversial. But then again, it also didn’t do too bad at highlighting why Peter Parker is THE one and only Spider-Man. You’d think that after Superior he’d move on right, Nope. He kept writing Spider-Man even after Peter got his body back. Slott wrote him in a weird and different way, a way that wasn’t really consistent with who he was before Slott came around. We’re familier with broke, struggling Peter Parker right? Even as an adult he struggled with money and love. Mostly because his duties as Spider-Man can severely impact his life. But what Slott did was completely different. He basically made Peter a low-key Tony Stark by giving him his own company. Which kind of butchered one of the things that made the character so fun! Not to mention that his run started to drop in quality after Superior.

But the biggest thing that ticked me off about this guy…was his resentment towards Mary Jane. He has declared numerous times his hatred of M.J. and has refused to let one of the most endearing comic book relationships happen. He’s even slapped us in the face about it multiple times, the biggest slap being a short series he wrote during the “Secret Wars” event in 2015 called “Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows”, which takes place in an alternate universe where Peter and M.J. are married and have a daughter. He rejected variant covers of M.J. when they celebrated her anniversary by having her on variant covers of Thor, Deadpool, Black Bolt, Wolverine, Iron Man, and other awesome ones. Pretty much every marvel title got an M.J. variant except for The Amazing Spider-Man series, the MAIN Spider-Man series.

Maybe I’m biased, but ask any comic fan and I guarantee you that 95% of the people you ask will agree that they don’t like this guy.

Dislike: A lack of time to myself.

This is something that I’m pretty sure a lot of people will agree with me on. Having time to ourselves allows us to take a breather from the bonkers world outside. Whether it’s reading a book or watching my favorite show, I think I enjoy having time to myself more than anyone in my family. But if you take that which I cherish away, well, I just get weird. For example, these days there are kids running everywhere in our house, and guess who pretty much does all of the babysitting. Not ideal. These days I don’t have the time I’d like to read or watch or write. I just sit on the couch with my computer and watch youtube videos while keeping an eye on three, count em’, THREE, kids. Thankfully though, one day I’ll have all the time I want to myself. Still, I have a looong way to go.

Dislike: Being cooped up.

Now as an introvert I enjoy my leisure. But then again, it’s not exactly healthy to stay indoors all the time. I do go out, I think I pointed out in my last post that I adore Barnes and Noble, I hit the gym when I can, and I have a job as a dishwasher. Occasionally I’ll be with a couple of my best (and only) friends. There are other things I like to do outside of my solitary lifestyle, but more often than not I am confined to the walls of my house. Which isn’t a bad thing, but like I said it’s not very healthy to stay inside all the time.

Dislike: Rich people.

Bear in mind, I’m well aware that not all rich people are bad. I hate the ones that profit off of destroying our planet. Out of everything that is a huge threat to our planet, the meat industry is our biggest threat. We kill animals, and then eat them with the added chemicals and toxins in their bodies, which can cause serious physical and mental conditions. We treat the animals terribly, prepping them for the market before they’re even born. The dairy industry also is a cynical, money-laundering madhouse. Little fun fact: You have a high chance of getting serious mental and physical disorders from being raised on dairy.

Do not even get me started on the film industry. I know it may not be as serious as the ones mentioned above, but as someone who has been deeply passionate about stories and film for pretty much his entire life? It’s a big deal. For example…Spider-Man. If you don’t know, Marvel basically sold off the film rights to some of their most popular characters and teams to avoid going bankrupt way back when. The one that, these days, picks up the most amount of drama is Sony’s unflinching grasp of Spider-Man. Recently Sony pulled him out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Disney made an outrageous offer that would’ve costed Sony everything. You see there’s a good reason Sony won’t let go of Spidey, it’s their money-making franchise. Everyone who works at the company depend on the franchise to make them buttloads of money so they can keep roofs over their heads and feed their children. Disney came at them with an offer that basically said “We want it all”, so of course Sony pulled him out! Thankfully though the two have kissed and made up and now we’re going to get one more Spider-Man movie in the MCU and one more appearance in another Marvel movie. After that he’s in Sony’s hands.

I went a little off topic about the Sony/Disney drama didn’t I?

The point is, while some rich people are good (actors, chefs, comedians, etc.) the people who run the industries, corporations, etc. are absolute monsters who only care about one thing: money, money.

Hate: Bad romance.

Image from onsizzle.com

WARNING: SPOILER’S FOR MAUREEN JOHNSON’S TRULY DEVIOUS AHEAD.

If your a reader who knows me then you may be surprised to find out that I’m a bit of a romantic. I devour love stories like sharks devour fish. However, as I am with a lot of things, I’m a little picky. If it isn’t a well developed romance, not just in the story, but in the lovers the story focuses on, even if one of the two people are just a hollow shell meant for kissing and hugging, I instantly hate the story.

Let’s take Maureen Johnson’s YA (Young Adult) murder mystery novel Truly Devious for example. If your a passionate fan of Maureen Johnson, please don’t take this as hate on her. She’s a fine writer, and a ‘not bad’ storyteller, I just hate how she handled the romantic subplot in the book. Also, in case your blind and didn’t see the big bulging letter’s mentioning something about spoiler’s…yeah, might want to skip this section

So basically the story follows Stephanie “Stevie” Bell, a teenager with a knack for true crime, as she’s enrolled into Ellingham Academy. A school for kids with special talents. (For instance: If your a natural born writer, artist, inventor, heck even a prankster, your off to Ellingham.) She gets there and we’re introduced to her schoolmates (*koff* suspects *koff*) and we see that it’s an interesting bunch, her included. One of those “mates” is a carefree young man named David. Stevie and David don’t exactly hit it off when they first meet, I, as the reader, didn’t exactly gain a lot of interest in him myself. For about 50% percent of the book it’s vaguely eluded that there’s some romanticism between the two. Sparks of attraction that Stevie, or me, weren’t really aware of. On the night of the first murder, after having seen the body, David comes into her room. Now note that this is no more than at least 20-25 minutes after she had her first experience with a corpse, and it was someone she knew. He walks in, she tells him about human memory in crime scenes, and then he just abruptly kisses her mid-sentence. Does she do anything? No! She gives in! and before we know it they’re having a full blown make-out session. Thankfully they were caught in the act before anything came off, but to this day it just disturbs me. She didn’t do anything to suggest to him that it wasn’t a good time, even days afterward she didn’t confront him about it. Even though she regretted it, no signs indicated that she hated him in any way. Disliked, sure, But for crying out loud he took advantage of her! It was wrong!

You may be thinking “Oh, well, it was one time right? They didn’t do it again.” WRONG. They, almost, do it again, and again, and she does NOTHING to push him away.

This enrages me so much because it robs me of any likability for not just David, but Stevie as well. I find it absurd and disturbing that she hardly did anything to confront him about it. The two didn’t even have any prior development in their relationship. Barely any after. For Crap’s Sake! Teenager’s, Especially Teenage Girls, Are Not Playthings! THEY’RE PEOPLE! And Fictional Characters Should Be Treated IN SUCH WAY TOO!

Now…this doesn’t mean I hate Stevie or Johnson for that matter, far from it. By no means does it make Truly Devious a terrible book either. I just hate it when author’s, filmmaker’s even, think it’s okay to launch two character’s into each other’s arms for the soul purpose of surprising us or feeding our brains with pornography. Whatever the case, romance is something that many people, me included, are invested in when reading or watching a story. A good love story can make us feel joy and sadness in all the right ways and takes time and careful attention in order for it to be good. Thankfully, that was just the first book. There are still two more novels where Stevie and David can get plenty of development…hopefully.

Dislike: Reboots.

Image

Now I don’t hate every reboot that has ever existed, Many reboots have been great (e.g. The Dark Knight Trilogy, Spider-Man Homecoming), but when a franchise is rebooted for the wrong reasons, or they keep doing it, or the filmmakers’ vision just isn’t good (e.g. The Amazing Spider-Man, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Charlie’s Angels), then that’s when we can call it either “OK” or “NOWHERE NEAR OK, IT’S SO BAD”. Because even if one of those three things are what holds the movie back, there’s still a chance that it might just be “OK” (Godzilla: King of Monsters (2019)).

The reason why I put reboots on my dislike list is because of how numerous they are these days. Usually coming around before the previous material has barely even had time to get off the ground.

Power Rangers (2017), for example, has recently been bought out of Saban’s hands by Hasbro, and even though things have mostly remained up-in-the-air about a sequel, there have been rumor’s of another reboot. I don’t know about you guys, but…NO!

I really like the movie, I liked where they were going with it as a saga with an over-arching story. To see it disregarded for what Hasbro would proclaim to be a “better vision” would tick me off far beyond comprehension. Now I’m not saying that a reboot is officially happening or that Hasbro did say that, I’m just exaggerating. But it would nonetheless be very disappointing if Power Rangers got the Amazing Spider-Man treatment.

Overall, while reboots can be great, and sometimes a good idea, the amount that have been produced over the years is just exhausting. At this point I wouldn’t say we live in the golden age of content, so much as we live in the golden age of reboots…and adaptions…and sequels…and memes.

Hate: Hollow Characters.

Thankfully they’re not around all that often, but when they are it’s really hard to read them. It doesn’t matter if they’re a Mary Sue-a character that’s pretty much perfect in every way-or just one-sided-we only see one part of their personality-these characters are usually really boring and can be very hard to read/watch I’d say that they are mostly common in middle grade stories, books and movies for kids. Children don’t often worry about character or story development, as long as they have fun reading a book or watching movie. Which, now that I think about it, is kind of what counts whatever age you are.But characters are what make a majority of that fun, watching them grow and seeing what makes them who they are and what they become is what makes a great story, and creating hollow, Bella Swan-like characters that just drag the story is not as fun as watching Luke Skywalker traverse the galaxy to learn the ways of the force and destroy the empire. I haven’t had very many experiences with characters like these, thankfully, but when I do there are times when really I consider putting down a book and never reading it again or pushing forward no matter the bore.

We all have things we hate; movies, people. We also things we just don’t like; people, movies. On the bright side though, it can be really fun to talk about them!

What are things you hate? Do you disagree with me on anything? Let me know. I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little bit about me and expect some good stuff in the future. Thank you so much for reading and have a great day!

Hello, I’m Seth (And These Are My 10 Favorite Things)

My name is Seth. I live somewhere past the horizon, and beyond the sunset (maybe from where you are). I think that I’m one of those characters that people will either think “Oh, this guy is weird and I should stay away from him” or “Oh, he seems nice, I should talk to him.” Usually it falls on me to be the one to start a conversation, which is why I normally stay quiet. Not that I hate socializing, if anything it can be really fun to talk to people. It’s just that the very thought of starting a conversation terrifies me. Although more often than not I’m able to break through my fear and say something ridiculous to a stranger. On the plus side, silly talk can be fun talk.

There are, of course, many more things to know about me. Things that not even I know yet. So what better way to get to know me than to compile a list of things that I like. Whether or not you care is, really, up to you. It makes more sense to make a post that introduces me, rather than post my review of ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ from a guy that no one is familiar with.

So without further ado, my 10 favorite things;

  1. Comic Books/Novels: I’ve been a natural fan of storytelling for as long as I can remember. My whole world practically revolves around creativity. So it makes sense why I would be an avid reader of comic books and regular books. I love reading stories about my favorite superheroes (e.g. Spiderman, Nightwing, Batman, etc.) and literary heroes (e.g. Wade Watts, Nobody Owens, Alina Starkov, etc.). I realize that I’m supposed to mention someone like Hercules when I say literary heroes, but usually I read books that came out in the past two decades. And really it doesn’t have to be restricted to historical/mythological characters. If a character you like is from a book, he or she is a literary hero…or villain. Depends on what kind of character they are. Speaking of heroes…
  2. Superheroes: As I said before, I love superheroes (expect a list of my favorite ones in the near future). You may have guessed this already, but I’m a huge fan of Marvel and DC comics. As far as opinions go, in the comic format I like DC better, since their publishing is more consistent and easy to follow. Whereas Marvel are like school supplies spread out across a table in a jumbled mess. Every character is always doing they’re own thing in a way that’s hard to keep up with. “Let’s see what Spider-Man is doing right now. Oh Wait! Jean Grey is back!? When did that happen!? Hold On!…There’s a NEW HAWKEYE!?!?” You see? it’s exhausting trying to keep up with Marvel. Ever since Disney bought them way back when and they’ve just been cranking out those comics. Thankfully though, the movies are much easier to follow. I pretty much grew up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first Iron Man movie came out when I was at least seven years old and I’ve been following the adventures of my favorite superheroes ever since. DC movies though, even though they’re starting to get their footing with good ones like Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam, There are obvious reasons why I prefer Marvel over DC in the film format. There’s this sense of adventure and excitement in seeing these extraordinary people come into their own while battling evil. The complexity of superhero storytelling can be really fun to follow, and it is an amazing experience to watch them grow from trying to balance their normal lives and saving the world. Which, bear in mind, is not an easy feat.
  3. Cartoons: Young Justice, Fullmetal Alchemist, Gravity Falls, Voltron, and, very recently, The Hollow. Those are just a few in my list of awesome animated TV series. It’s just interesting to see a story told through art and animation rather than the usual recorded scenes through a camera lens. With the right kind of art style (how it looks) and proper animation (the movements of characters and objects), it can really make the story shine. It also feels like there’s more originality to cartoons, whereas these days hollywood produces more sequels/prequels, adaptations, and reboots rather than actual creative and original content. If your thinking that: “Well yeah, all ideas have been used up.” You’re dead wrong, I’ve come up with all kinds of ideas for movies, tv shows, books, comics. Heck, I’m even interested in doing theater. Also, if you look into the world of novelization, you’ll see a lot of creative content there. Doesn’t matter how much inspiration author’s had for those stories, after all, no idea is without inspiration. Basically, in the world of creativity, there’s no such thing as a bad idea. It’s just how that idea is made in reality that determines whether it’s good or bad. And often, cartoons nail it for great creative storytelling. No matter how silly it is.
  4. Movies/TV Series: Now, what I said before about sequels and reboots ,etc. I know that may have given the impression that I don’t like movies and tv shows, but actually my opinion of them is quite the opposite. I love movies! Sci-fi and fantasy, action, adventure, mystery, heck even rom-coms (romantic comedies). Sure, visually seeing a story unfold instead of imagining it in your head through a page is considered a little lazy in my book, but that doesn’t stop me from seeing marvel movies in theaters right when they come out. Besides, a story is a story, doesn’t matter what format it’s on. It still serves it’s one purpose: to entertain. Also, I realize that not all the things I mentioned earlier were bad. Bumblebee is a prequel to the trainwreck Transformers movies and yet it was surprisingly good. The Dark Knight is not only an adaptation of one of the most beloved superheroes of all time, it’s a sequel to Batman Begins. And yet it’s one of the greatest movies ever made and is, easily, on my list of the best movies I’ve ever seen. But then again, there’s movies like The Mummy from 2017 with Tom Cruise and the other American Godzilla movie from 1998 with Matthew Broderick that aren’t so good. Like I said before, how an idea is made in reality is what determines whether it’s good or not.
  5. Ghosts & Monsters: I believe in ghosts and monsters. Even as a kid I knew that such things were real. When I say monsters I don’t mean the kind that hide under your bed or your closet. I mean Bigfoot, the Loch-Ness monster, the Kraken, and many more. I devoured as many monster documentaries I could. Monster Quest, Lost Tapes, some other shows that I don’t remember the names too. Most boys played outside, I watched documentaries about monsters. I honestly just liked being creeped out. I’m not a big horror fan, I don’t like to be scared. Horror movies are often just excuses for more porn anyway. By no means does that mean all horror movies are bad, and by no means do I not like going outside. I may be an introvert, but staying indoors isn’t the best way to live life. As far as my belief in ghosts go, I believe in an afterlife. I believe that we hang out in a spirit realm after we die for some time, and then once our spirits have reached full growth we’re judged by the big guy himself and we enter into one of three kingdoms. Yes, I am mormon, no regrets. I was also a massive Godzilla fan, I loved watching those classic, cheesy giant monster movies with all my heart. Even though I’m not as obsessed with Godzilla as I used to be, I still really like watching the movies and am a casual fan of the franchise these days. I’ve concluded that superheroes and monsters are the primary things I grew up with, and you know what, I couldn’t be happier about that.
  6. Peace and Quiet: Noise is…too noisy. Especially with kids around. I love having time to myself, time to just kick back and watch a show, read a book, zone out (going deep into my imagination). I’m sure a large majority of people will agree with me on this one. Alone time is amazing. No worrying about what your going to say next in a conversation, no loud noises, no…anything annoying. Just me, myself, and I.
  7. Pinterest: Whoever’s idea it was to make a social media website where people could share their ideas is a genius. I frequently go there and look at posts about creative writing, dessert recipes, and, occasionally, fan art and fiction.
  8. Baking: I’ve recently gotten into baking, not as a profession, but more as a hobby. And I love it! It’s a lot of fun, and the end result of following a recipe can be delicious. I’ve made cookies, brownies, cupcakes, microwave cookie in a cup, and many more that I intend to make. I’ve also cooked some dinner for my family a couple times. I can just imagine myself seven years from now making food and dessert for my friends and family, I can’t wait.
  9. Barnes & Noble: One of my dreams is to walk out of B&N with a huge stack of books in my arms. But until then, usually I just browse around and look at books from the young adult, sci-fi/fantasy, and kid sections. It is surprising how you can lose track of time in a place where creative energy is surging all around you, it’s so much fun to just look around and decide which books your going to to get either now or later. My imagination fires up just looking at the cover of a book. It’s just a soothing, often peaceful environment that I go to every once a week. Because I’m just a die hard fan of literature.
  10. Scooter: Every. Single. Day. I get on my scooter, and ride around and around my cul de sac. I don’t do any tricks or anything, I just zone out. Go into my own world(s) in my head. I’ve been doing it for, at least, the past seven years. I’d say it’s probably the oddest thing I do. People don’t usually tell me that up front, they are curious about why I do it, but I think they’re mostly interested in this little factoid of mine. Going out on my scooter allows me to get the quiet time that I desire and it’s a good outlet for my thoughts and feelings.

Overall, you could probably tell that I’m a strange person. But, nonetheless, a really nice guy once you get to know me. My life goal is to become a writer and director, and experience life at it’s greatest. I’m a huge nerd who gets a good kick out of the world of creativity and being with my friends and family, and myself. I don’t intend to make blogging a profession, just a hobby to improve my writing skills, and a nice little something to do. I have a few ideas for my next post and beyond, and I hope that you all will enjoy the time you spend with this weirdo. Thank you for your time and enjoy the rest of your day.