Thor: The Dark World

I’d been waiting all weekend for this past Monday to roll around so I could go see Frozen in 3D. I missed Tangled in theaters and there was no way I was going to miss Frozen too. And then I remembered something crucial.

I hadn’t seen Thor: The Dark World yet! Naturally and completely understandably, my plans changed. Luckily our local theater had a few showings left.

I wasn’t a big fan of the first Thor (my favorite part was the ending credits. It looked like I was flying through space!). But after all of the success with The Avengers and hearing Joss Whedon had lent a helping hand to the Thor 2 script, my hopes were high. And I was not disappointed.

On Monday I posted about the seven deadly sins of world making. I had reread this article after watching Man of Steel and the debacle that worldbuilding was (my review for that will be posted soon as well!). But Thor 2 was a perfect example of how to build a new world.

While Thor 2 does jump around between the Asgardian world and our own Earth, Asgard is focused on ten fold than what had been featured before. We get to see the regular streets and people milling about. It was nice to see some regular people versus all of the warriors. But, not surprisingly, there are a lot of warriors.

Thor: The Dark World (c) Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture

Thor 2 focuses much more on medieval like battles then the first movie. It’s not graphic in that you have to look away and cringe but it still looked painful! Visually the battles are gorgeous and so well detailed.

I think my favorite part of the movie though is the character development. Following Thor and Loki through the events of the first two movies (Thor and The Avengers) there has been such great change. We can see where both Thor and Loki have learned, how they have changed because of their societies. And as the events of Thor 2 unfolds they continue to develop and adjust to new changes. I just absolutely love how deep these characters are. Everything they do has meaning and purpose to the character.

There was little I disliked about the movie. I found one core element to the story a little cliche, but it seemed like a necessary evil. I’d go into more detail but alas, spoilers. Otherwise though I’m really having a hard time coming up with something I disliked. There was probably some dialogue here and there that was a little cliche but for the most part I found it extremely entertaining.

Thor: The Dark World
Overall Score: Strong A 90 points

Like I mentioned, I felt like one of the major story points was a little cliche. I felt they could have found a better way to bring the characters together. They certainly were deep and thorough with the method they chose which was nice, but I just feel like it could have been more interesting and original. Otherwise though I think the movie was excellent. It was a great ‘escape into another world’ type of movie. Visually gorgeous, musically awesome, and of course phenomenal acting on all sides.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below. Also, you can check out my Twitter feed for live mini reviews on movies and television shows.

Have a show/movie I should take a look at? Let me know!

The 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

One of the most glorious things about writing is getting to create a new world. Millions of other worlds have enchanted generations. Middle Earth. The Death Star. And wonderful stories have been told about other worlds within our own. Hogwarts. Panem. The range of opportunity for writers and readers is endless.

That all being said, even other worlds have to have rules. And without those rules, no matter how eloquently the words are put, the worlds will collapse.

I thought of this recently as I watched Man of Steel (expect a review soon). I had so many questions, so many issues, with the movie, that all could have been answered with some simple fixes. The entire beginning of the movie, the foundation for the rest of the story, was set on Krypton. Krypton is a world unfamiliar to me. I’m not even sure how much the movie correlated with the comics. But either way, there were some serious issues with the world of Krypton.

So I wanted to share a wonderful article by Charlie Jane Anders called 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding. She makes some excellent points that would’ve greatly improved the Man of Steel movie. I’ve personally used her points while writing my novel to make sure the world I was creating made sense and seemed realistic on all levels. I’ve listed her points here but make sure to check out her full article for wonderful explanations. She also brings up some fantastic points you can check against your own writing.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Worldbuilding

1. Not thinking about basic infrastructure.
2. Not explaining why events are happening now.
3. Creating fictional versions of real-life human ethnic groups, that never go beyond one dimension.
4. Creating monolithic social, political, cultural, and religious groups.
5. Inventing a history that is totally logical.
6. Not really giving a strong sense of place, like what it smells like after it’s been raining.
7. Introducing some superpower, like magic or insane tech, without fully accounting for how it would change society.

Showcase: The Bitter Script Reader

Being the first showcase for my blog, I decided to choose someone who was the first writing blog that I stumbled upon. There are several blogs and people I follow on Twitter that I know how I found out about them. Oh, they follow so and so. Or this guy always retweets that guy so why not follow that guy too. But with this individual, I cannot quite remember how I found them. I am certainly thankful that I have.

Today’s Showcase: Bitter Script Reader

When I first started digging into the internet to find out more about script writing and the entertainment industry, I somehow happened upon Bitter Script Reader. And when you’re just googling information on an industry as big as Hollywood, it can be hard to find real, honest information. Bitter Script Reader gives an honest scope to the industry as a, not surprisingly, script reader.

Scripts are like animals sometimes. You think you know what you’re doing. You plan and you write and you think, yeah, this is easy. And then you go back and you read. And you read some more. And before the always depressing CTRL-A, DELETE, you realize that you were wrong. You have no idea what you’re doing. And even if you do know what you are doing, that script is going to surprise you. There’s a wrench (or ten) in that script that will bite back. No matter how many times you have done it, it will forever be a learning process.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t train the animal. Or well, to fit the metaphor, you can train the trainer who is working with the animal. You can train yourself to catch common mistakes, plot holes, and find your own weaknesses.

Whether it’s through his tweeted wisdom or his in depth blog posts, Bitter Script Reader has helped me find so many of my own weaknesses. Sure I’m an experienced writer, but I’m a baby when it comes to screenwriting. There have probably been millions before me who have attempted screenwriting. Some of them succeed more than others. Some of them make mistakes. And luckily for me, Bitter Script Reader knows many of those mistakes. He’s constantly sharing tips, don’t dos, do dos, things that I might not have thought of on my own.

But it’s not just about screenwriting. It’s also about movies and what makes them as powerful as they are. What makes movies influence society, change the way we think about ourselves, our world, our friends and families. The concepts, the ideas, the basic premises that evolve into the riveting movies we adore. Bitter Script Reader takes all of this into consideration as he talks about movies, such as with his post on 12 Years a Slave.

Oh and did I mention he interviews writers, answers reader questions, and post fun informative videos as a puppet?

So go. Right now. Here’s the link. Add it to your favorites. Follow him on twitter. You won’t be disappointed.

Stop back on January 4th for the next blog showcase! After that showcases with be the 1st and 15th of every month.

12 Years a Slave

Never has it crossed my mind to walk out of a movie theater.
I considered it today.

Never have I had the urge to vomit during a movie.
I thought I was going to today.

I thought to myself, for the first time ever watching a movie, I don’t think I can finish this. I don’t think I can keep watching this.

I did stay through the movie. I didn’t throw up. I did cry several times. I did feel shame for the color of my skin.

12 Years a Slave is heartbreaking. Life changing.

12 Years a Slave is the truth.

I find this review difficult to write. Not in that I disliked the film or have nothing to praise. But in that I feel my words are meaningless, pointless. I feel that whatever I write will not truly encompass the feelings that I had during the movie and now after.

See it.

Catching Fire

I rarely go see films opening weekend. I’m not a huge fan of movie theater crowds. When I watch a movie I want it to be silent with no distractions. Plus I want to be able to weep loudly without bothering others.

But for Catching Fire, I just couldn’t help myself. As a fan of the first movie, I had been pretty much counting down the days until Catching Fire’s premiere. So I purchased a ticket for an odd timed showing (5:40 – too early for date night and many are not home from work yet) and went plenty early to get a good spot (eye level, middle seat). By the time the movie began the theater was pretty full, but luckily everyone was very courteous and quiet.

Now I only really had one issue with the first movie, The Hunger Games. I cannot stand a shaky camera. It completely distracts from the scene. Yes, I understand it is supposed to imply action and blah blah blah. But if the camera is shaking so much that I can’t tell what is going on, I’m just annoyed. The first film had quite a bit of this in the beginning. I think I read somewhere that it was supposed to signify how the books were written (the books are all in first person).

But that was really my only issue with the first movie. I’m not a fan of the books so there may have been some changes that angered others. I thought the first movie was fantastically well done all around.

Catching Fire (c) Lionsgate

And where The Hunger Games left off, Catching Fire blows right past it.

Catching Fire was stunning. The new director for the film, Francis Lawrence, does a fantastic job. Visually the movie is gorgeous. The CGI looks real, scarily so. The acting is once again phenomenal. And I’ve heard the movie is strikingly close to the book (again, as I wasn’t a fan of the book I really don’t know or care about this point).

But I think my favorite part about the movie is the pacing. A lot happens in Catching Fire, but never do you feel that things are rushed or glanced over. First we have the gritty Victory Tour. Then we have the announcement of the Quarter Quell. And as the movie continues throughout the 75th Hunger Games, there is no sense that something was overlooked. Even knowing what was going to happen, I found myself delighted to see lengthy scenes such as the TV spot with Caesar, or Peeta and Katniss’ moments on the train.

There was only one part I did not like in the movie. As always, there are no spoilers in my reviews, but I was not happy with the ending. Not so much of the content but in the manner that it was shot. Maybe that’s just a personal preference but it saddened me after such a fantastic film.

Also, I somehow managed to muffle my constant sobs so I don’t think I bothered those around me.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Overall Score: A+ 100 points

I couldn’t think of an any valid reason not to give this movie 100 points, A+. I also recently saw 12 Years a Slave (read the review here) and I almost feel weird giving them both A+. Both movies are astounding but on so many different levels. Now maybe I’m biased when it comes to Catching Fire. And I’m certainly not saying that they are on completely equal footing. 12 Years a Slave is based off of real stories, real tragedies, real deaths. And Catching Fire is not. If you want to watch a gripping, real account of slavery, then 12 Years a Slave is your movie. If you want to be transported away to another world, a different set of problems, then Catching Fire is your movie.

Now I don’t think you need to rush out this very second to see Catching Fire if you’re not a huge fan of the series. But it is definitely a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen. And thus begins the countdown for Mockingjay Part 1 – November 2014!

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below. Also, you can check out my Twitter feed for live mini reviews on movies and television shows.
Have a show/movie I should take a look at? Let me know!

A Cat Crossed My Path – Version 2!

Hello everyone! Sorry for the absence. Things have been very busy for me and my blog had to be put on the back burner for a little bit.

But now I’m back and we’re kicking it off big time! Obviously we’ve got a new theme. But you can also expect new material!

In addition to my reviews and articles, I’ll be doing showcases on other blogs and people that you should be following. These showcases will happen on the first and fifteenth of every month.

I’m also going to be writing  a lot more interactive blog posts. These posts will be on my personal writing styles, tips, and techniques. They’ll be open for discussion after their initial posting. Let me know how you work!

So I’m looking forward to sharing all of this new material! We’ll be kicking off the bat this weekend with a review of the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire.

My final big piece of news is I’m officially moving to Los Angeles! My week-long road trip starts January 13th! And of course as I learn more about the television and movie industries I’ll share my knowledge with you all!

Follow me on twitter for more up to date (more like up to the minute!) posts that will include live tweeting tv shows, movies, and of course a ton of helpful industry information from real industry workers.

And for my more personal and fanatic side, check out my tumblr, look at what youve done now (warning, explicit material!).

So welcome to A Cat Crossed My Path – version 2!

Monday Update 9/30

We’ve still got a few new series that are premiering this week. I’m going to be doing my best to get reviews out for the premieres sometime this week.

Series Premieres:
Monday 9/30: We Are Men (CBS)
Wednesday 10/2: Super Fun Night (ABC), Ironside (NBC)
Thursday 10/3: The Originals (The CW), The Millers (CBS), Welcome to the Family (NBC)

Season Premieres:
Thursday 10/3: Scandal (ABC; Season 3), The Vampire Diaries (The CW; Season 5),

Season Finales:
Wednesday 10/2: The Bridge (FX; Season 1)
Saturday 10/5: Hell on Wheels (AMC; Season 3)
Sunday 10/6: Low Winter Sun (AMC; Season 1)

Hostages – First Glance

Hostages logo – Copyright CBS

The first big battle of the networks took place last night with The Blacklist versus Hostages. Now initial ratings seem to indicate that The Blacklist won that fight (source). But the trailer for Hostages did have me curious so while our Tivo taped The Blacklist, we recorded Hostages on our good old fashioned VCR.

You can read my full review for The Blacklist here, but one of the issues I had with that show was the pacing. It just seemed to be too fast. Boom, boom, boom, no down time. Well Hostages seemed to have the opposite of that problem.

Continue reading

The Blacklist – First Glance

The Blacklist – Copyright NBC

This is probably the hardest review for me to write and not be biased. Because I’ll be honest with you, this was the show that I was most looking forward to this fall season. Even more so than Agents of Shield (which most of my friends would shank me for saying). But I love James Spader and the whole, Silence of the Lambs-esc-ness. So I had high expectations and hopes for NBC’s The Blacklist.

And they did not disappoint.

Continue reading

Monday Update 9/23

Here are the weeks premieres! This is the biggest week of premieres this fall, so make sure you get them all written down!

Series Premieres:
Monday 9/23: Hostages (CBS), The Blacklist (NBC), Mom (CBS)
Tuesday 9/24: Agents of Shield (ABC), The Goldbergs (ABC), Lucky 7 (ABC), Trophy Wife (ABC)
Wednesday 9/25: Back in the Game (ABC)
Thursday 9/26: The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC), The Crazy Ones (CBS)

Season Premieres:
Monday 9/23: Castle (ABC; Season 6), How I Met Your Mother (CBS; Season 9),
2 Broke Girls (CBS; Season 3)

Tuesday 9/24: NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS; Season 5), Chicago Fire (NBC; Season 2),
Person of Interest (CBS; Season 3)

Wednesday 9/25: The Middle (ABC; Season 5), Revolution (NBC; Season 2),
Criminal Minds (CBS; Season 9), Law & Order: SVU (NBC; Season 15), Nashville (ABC; Season 2)

Thursday 9/26: The Big Bang Theory (CBS; Season 7), Parks & Recreation (NBC; Season 6),
Glee (FOX; Season 5), Two and a Half Men (CBS; Season 11),
Parenthood (NBC; Season 5), Elementary (CBS; Season 2)

Friday 9/27: Hawaii Five-O (CBS; Season 4), Blue Bloods (CBS; Season 4)