“The Umbrella Academy” Episode Two Thoughts

So, I think I’m going to try to write up one of these “thoughts” posts for each episode as I watch each one. I tried to be non-spoiler for the first one but starting with this one I’ll give a quick review of the episode and then spoilers for the episode and comics will be behind a read more.

Great second episode. It cemented the idea that I may know the story but I don’t know what is coming next. More good character moments between the Academy members. Pogo, despite being a talking monkey, brings a lot of gravitas to the scenes he’s in.

Rating: Honestly they’re all going to be in the 4/5-5/5 range unless the series makes a serious misstep.

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“The Umbrella Academy” Episode 1 Thoughts

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I’ve watched the first episode and so far I like the show. The Netflix series seems to be going for a mostly straight deconstruction of the teen superhero group and dropping a lot of the absurdist scifi elements from the comic. This isn’t a bad thing just different.

The chronology of this first episode pulls events from as far the fourth issue of the comic. So anyone looking for a one to one recreation should turn away now. It doesn’t feel out of order and until I checked the comic I thought it might have only been from the first two issues. Personally, I’m looking forward to more scenes that aren’t in the comic. While the comic is a fun read it’s a little shallow on character development. With ten episodes I hope to see more into what makes these people tick.

One large change is Vanya, the seventh child, looks to have more interactions with the rest of the Academy. On my recent reread of the first volume of the comic, which this first season seems to be based on, I noticed she barely says two sentences to Diego before she goes to SPOILER and SPOILER happens. It makes sense that if you cast Ellen Page in a role that you give her more to work with.

A welcome change is we are given brief introductions with character names for all the grown children. In the comic, names are rationed out at one or two an issue. Yes, this is realistic in regards to speech patterns but terrible when trying to keep several characters straight in your mind.

Mild spoiler: Another character(one that I have wanted to see more of) that was mostly absent from the comic appears in the first episode and might get more appearances in the rest of the series.

Rating for this first episode: 4.5/5

Captain Marvel: Convince Me

I don’t know what to think about the Captain Marvel movie. To be honest, Marvel Studios doesn’t have any experience with female-led superhero movies. Until Black Panther, their female cast was like two women. The recent Superbowl trailer for Captain Marvel didn’t raise my level of excitement. It was mostly scenes we have seen in previous trailers recut with slightly more context. It’s almost like Marvel doesn’t want to show us to much of the movie. Could it be that they’ve already shown us the best parts of the entire movie in under five minutes?

Also, I’ve heard the critiques from the naysayers:

“I mean Captain Marvel could end up being a great inspiration to little girls but why can’t they be inspired by Captain America?” … “What’s wrong with a captain named after our great country?” … “Honestly Captain Marvel sounds like she’s from Canada.” … “There are already so many female characters in the Marvel movie I don’t know why this one needs her own movie.”

With my faith shaken by Marvel’s lack of confidence in their first female-led movie, I’ve decided to conduct an unscientific non-legally binding survey. I want sincere honest strongly held opinions so there are some rules to participate in the survey.

Guidelines:

  • Votes are to cast as donations to my paypal.
  • Odd dollar amounts ($1, $3, $5, etc.) will be counted as “YES” votes.
  • Even dollar amounts ($2, $4, $6, etc.) will be counted as “No” votes.
  • You may add comments to your vote.
  • Comments of interest will be posted on my blog.
  • Any comments that contradict the dollar amount vote (a $2 “YES” vote with comments about how bad the movie will be) will render that vote invalid.
  • All votes valid and invalid are non-refundable.

Goal Levels:

  • Majority “YES” votes: I see the movie secure that it will meet or exceed my expectations and write a review afterwards.
  • Majority “NO” votes: I will burn my ticket stub, post a video of it and write a review afterwards.

Dollar Tier Goals (Every dollar tier includes the previous tiers.)

  • $10: Popcorn and a soda will be added to my experience.
  • $15: Popcorn will be upgraded to the special Captain Marvel plastic popcorn tub (if available).
  • $30: I will treat a friend to a viewing.
  • $40: I will see the movie a second time.
  • $70: My worn out work shoes will be replaced.
  • $90: All the yarn I need for my current knitting project will be bought.
  • $200: Video of ten tickets being burned will be produced.
  • $60,000: Animated cartoon of this post produced.

Thank you, for your participation.

Crafting

yarn-and-needles

The needle slips into the stitch on the other needle, yarn loops around it and is pulled through to make a new stitch. The old stitch drops from the needle and the next stitch is ready behind it.

In, loop, pull through, drop.

In, loop, pull through, drop.

In, loop, pull through, drop.

Stitch by stitch, row by row, yarn becomes a hat, a scarf, socks, mittens, or a sweater. From simple processes, complex patterns arise.

Like words into a novel.

Like notes to a symphony.

Like atoms into molecules.

Knitters, crocheters, nålebinders, and weavers take the straight line, turn it upon itself and make all things possible.

Shooting Star

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I touch the atmosphere and begin.

The air ignites as it blasts against my surface; tearing bits and pieces off. I’ve traveled millions of miles for these last few seconds. I burn and shine and listen.

How many will I hear? One? Five? Twenty? Or will my final blaze be silent, unwitnessed, unremembered?

I strain to hear past the fire roaring. I struggle to stretch time. Just a little while longer, please.

There almost nothing left of me when I hear:

“I wish-

“I wish-

“I wish-

My light flares for the last time as my body is consumed but my spirit continues within the wishes made upon my funeral pyre.

Bird Box Quick Review/Thoughts

I just finished watching Bird Box on Netflix. I liked it with a few caveats that would be mild spoilers that I’ll talk about at the end.

The movie is about a woman, Sandra Bullock, and the young children living in a post-apocalyptic world trying to make a journey to a safe haven. Through flashbacks, we learn what happened to the world and how the woman ended up where she is.

Content warnings for suicide, blood, implied and mild gore, close-ups of eyes, imaginary voices.

I found the movie to be very tense and unsettling. More thriller/suspense end of the horror spectrum than shock/gore. I’m not normally a horror fan because most end up in high in shock/gore which I don’t like. Suspense horror pushes my fear/anxiety buttons in a way I do like. The payoff isn’t the point. Not knowing what but knowing something is out there.

Bird Box pushed those buttons in the best ways.

Rating 4/5

Spoilers in the read more.

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I’m learning to knit

So the other day I bought a beginner’s knitting kit. Eventually, I will have a small scarf.

yarn-and-needles

These are the first “good” rows I knitted after about three attempts.

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For my first practice session, I learned the knit stitch, purl stitch(which is a reversed knit stitch), and how to castoff(ending a piece so it doesn’t unravel). My first “finished” piece was wider at the end because I didn’t pull the yarn as tight at the end.

first-finished

The next day at work I had an interesting experience looking at a sweater. I could ‘read’ the stitches. It was like seeing the code of the matrix. Honestly, it reminded me of how I felt when I started learning how to program. The realization that this complex thing (program or sweater) is made up of these small parts (lines of code or individual stitches) and you can make it, is just really good.

Immortal Reborn

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The Leader has guided our community, once just a small city now a thriving empire, for hundreds of thousands of years. They came to us from far away and taught us how to work metals and build with stone and how to split the atom. They have lived so long by transferring their memories from one body to another. As a boon, they grant immortality to the hosts by joining their memories. The body dies but the Leader and all the previous hosts live on.

I have known since I was a child that I would be Leader’s next host. When the Leader enters me, our minds will blend until they are the same. And when my body is old the Leader will move to a new chosen and my memories will go with them thus I will not die. Not really.

However, now in my twenty-fourth year, as my physical and mental maturation are at their end, as the day of the joining comes, I fear my death. Will I truly live forever as part of the Leader? They speak of their previous host’s lives like they lived them. Is being remembered the same as living forever?

On the day, I am dressed in white robes and taken down, down, down flights of stairs of metal that turn to concrete then to carved stone and finally to rock. The room at the bottom is plain, carved out of the rock, a single chair in the center. The Leader sits half slumped, eyes closed, shaking with each labored breath. Their attendants guide me to kneel before the Leader. Garlands of metal and stone are draped around both of us. After several minutes, the chief attendant motions and I am separated from the Leader.

The attendants guide me to stand. The transfer has been completed. Slowly I begin to feel the Leader in my mind but I can not hear their thoughts. Their memories are locked away. This is not how -***- said it would be. Who said? Teacher -***- Teacher -***- I can not remember her? His? Their? The memory is gone. Have I forgotten anything else?

I’m scared … I … I am reborn once again. My heart beats rapidly as I draw deep breaths. I am standing for the first time in years. Everything looks, smells, and sounds so much more. Before me, my previous host slumps further in its chair. I step forward and brush my hand against its cheek for the last time. Soon it will expire without my will to sustain it. I motion for my servants to remove it.

I find a slip of paper my hand. I unfold it and read its short message: “Remember your name is Amrita”. I read the name again. There is a flicker of … nothing. I sneer at this pitiful attempt by my host at clinging to some memory.

The name means nothing to me. Why would it? The host is a vessel for my essential self. A vessel is best filled when it is first emptied, after all. I drop the paper and leave for my chambers.

Transformers: The Last Knight Watch Log

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Originally posted on my Tumblr.

I’m watching Transformers: The Last Knight and I just want to scream at how ill-conceived this movie is.

***

I’m an hour and half in and I just remembered the movie started by introducing a kid sidekick, who had her own robot sidekick, that we last saw forty-five minutes ago. Anthony Hopkins is an absolute terror in this movie as he swings from distinguished gentleman to demented old man. Hot Rod has a FRENCH ACCENT FOR NO EXPLAINABLE REASON!! He also has a gun that slows down time. ALSO, the movie needs to decide if these robots bleed green blood or can just fall apart for comedic reasons.

One more thing before I continue this movie: if a character starts a sentence in one location he can not finish it in another. That is not how conversations work even in movies.

***

There is so much wrong with this movie but the worst part is it isn’t a complete movie. If Unicron had only been hinted at then it would have worked as a sequel hook. Until Cybertron arrived and started wrecking earth, Unicron felt like the pressing matter at hand. Also, was Cybertron draining power from Unicon? Did the good guys save Unicron? I’m unclear on that point and many other points. I am torn between wanting to know what ludicrous plot they were going to come up with in the next movie and wanting to scrub this and the previous three movies from my mind.

Rating 1/5

I am looking forward to the Bumblebee movie, which is not directed by Micheal Bay. The transformer designs look much better and hopefully it will be the start of a new series.

Short Random Movie Reviews

Originally posted on my Tumblr.


 

Ant-Man and The Wasp

I went to see the latest Marvel movie today and I really liked it. Like the previous movie, it’s comedy-action with a solid plot. The Wasp gets plenty of action scenes and never gets sidelined. I really liked Ghost, one of the main villains. The recent run of Marvel movies have had great villains like Vulture, Killmonger, and Hela. Ghost continues this trend of villains with understandable motivations.

Fyi: There is a scene after the diorama credits and then another at the end of the regular credits. The last end credits scene is entirely skippable, has no bearing on any other movies, and is not worth watching.

Rating 4/5


 

Monster Trucks

I just watched Monster Trucks, a movie about monster trucks that have literal monsters for engines. It’s a “kid and their monster” type of fun movie. Overall it’s a well made movie with a goofy concept. There aren’t any glaring plotholes and the minor ones can be ignored if you just want to have fun. The characters are pretty shallow but likable. Mostly white cast except for Danny Glover who appears in the beginning, disappears for the bulk of the movie, and then reappears for a couple of scenes near the end.

It’s not art but it was fun to watch once.

Rating: 2.5/5


 

Bright review

I just got done watching Bright on Netflix and I liked. The biggest praise I can give this movie is: it doesn’t get bogged down trying to explain two thousand years of alternate history with elves and orcs and pixies and dragons.

The world just is this urban fantasy and people live there. A centaur cop shows up in the background for like five seconds. A dragon flies through the clouds over LA. Orcs have block parties. Pixies are pest creatures like wasps. Nothing is explained in great detail but because the characters interact like their world is real, it makes sense.

Beyond that, it’s an action cop movie with Will Smith and an Orc. The race metaphor gets hit a little too hard at times. A couple of scenes feel like they linger so Will can ad lib a joke or two but it’s done with restraint.

Rating 4.5/5