Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Films I'd like to see for 2014

Hi. I finally get around to doing this post. I'm not going to go into detail as to why I want to see each movie. However I will give a short little reason as to why I'm considering seeing each movie. Oh, and the order will be in order that they will be released.
This looks like it's going to be funny.
I'm interested in seeing how they do this movie.
Bringing back an old cartoon, and it looks like they're having fun with history.
The account of Noah's Ark was one of my favorite events from the Bible, and still is up there on my list.
I'm interested in seeing how Captain America adjusts to life in the 21st century.
I've been impressed with some animated sequels that have been released in the not so far past and feel like nowadays animated sequels are being done better than they have been.
I like Spider-Man and I think this looks like it's going to be electrifying. Pun intended there.
I like the stories of Oz and this looks like it'll be a cool adaptation of the book Dorothy of Oz.
I'm a fan of the Godzilla movies and it really feels like they're trying to do a better job with this remake.
I'm interested in seeing what backstory they give to one of the most popular Disney villains ever.
Action-packed trailers with plenty of humor plus interesting new dragons. Also because I really enjoyed the first film, the shorts, and the TV show.
Everything seems to suggest the Dinobots will make an appearance, and I loved the Dinobots growing up. Still do in fact.
Haven't heard of this before, and I'm interested in seeing who they are.
It appears that right now I've run out of posters to post so I may have to list them for now.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
I grew up watching the classic cartoon.
The Maze Runner
It's based off the book by James Dashner, who also wrote the series The 13th Reality. I need to be sure to read this book before I see the movie.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
I remember the book as a kid and so don't want to pass this by.
Here are the posters/logos again. I read that this is Disney's first animated adaptation of a Marvel Comic, and it's supposed to take place in a city that combines Eastern and Western Culture. That'll be interesting to see.
Just found out about this. Another upcoming film from DreamWorks, and their films have definitely been good.
Another film based off the Bible? Is this year a Biblical film year or something? Still, it's a retelling of another one of my favorite Biblical accounts (Moses) and I'd like to see what they do.
This one I also just found out about. I read these books too and believe it'll be a fun movie to see.
Close as I can get. There and Back Again is definitely going to be epic due to how the last two were epic. Definitely going to be interesting to see how they conclude this trilogy.
Night at the Museum 3
Yes, there's going to be another one. Don't know much about it yet, but it'll be interesting to see who from history they use this time.
Into the Woods
I only found out about this film not too long ago. It's supposed to be based off a play that uses different elements and characters from fairy tales. It'll be interesting to see.
Well that's it for now. There may be some I may have to give a miss depending on what the rating is. Like I said before, I will not see an R-rated film. For now we'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review of Prophet: The Story of Nat Turner

Hi everyone. Sorry I haven't been blogging so much. I've been trying to make sure I stay caught up in school. I did read a book I wanted to share with you. It's different from other books I've reviewed because this one is historical fiction. It's called Prophet: The Story of Nat Turner.
This story is written as a screenplay which makes it easy to follow and understand. We learn about Nat Turner and the horrible things slaves were made to go through during the years preceding the Civil War. However Nat's faith in God gives him the strength to endure all the cruelties and harshness of the world around him and eventually he sets out to change things forever.
Kenya Cagle does an excellent job of presenting the lifestyle of the southern states preceding the Civil War. We learn that because the plantation owners treated others poorly they reaped what they sowed. It can be a little sad and disheartening to read about these things. Nevertheless it is important to remember these events so we can learn from them and try to avoid repeating history. Well done, Kenya Cagle.
Stars: 5 out of 5.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Kingdom Hearts fan fiction chapter 1

Hi everyone. I know I've been bad about blogging. However I decided to share something fun with all of you. Some of you may already know that I'm a fan of the Kingdom Hearts game series. For those of you who don't know what it is it's a game series from Square Enix and Disney Interactive about a boy named Sora and his friends who travel to worlds based off the Disney Films. In addition to befriending several classic Disney characters they also meet people from the other games Square Enix has made, namely the Final Fantasy series and The World Ends With You. I was doing this fan fiction a long time ago and recently have been rewriting it so I could add a little more description. I just want to make clear that Kingdom Hearts is under copyright and I am not trying to plagiarize here. I'm only doing this for fun. All the characters from Netokan are original created by me and some online friends. Enjoy.

Chapter 1: Gathering of the Chosen
It was a peaceful day in Twilight Town. Of course that depended on where you were at the moment. If you were in the area where Hayner and Seifer were having an argument with each other it definitely would not be considered peaceful. However the woods around the old mansion were definitely quiet and undisturbed except for the calls of the birds. Inside the mansion debris was everywhere. There were still very few who dared to venture inside. Some would say ghosts resided there although right now the only souls inside were the rats and spiders that made the mansion their home.
            However the horror that was to follow made ghosts a much better option.
            Several dark portals opened up in the main room. The darkness swirled around them as lots of figures emerged from the oval-shaped doors. Each one was dressed in a black coat except for one, who had a train flowing from his outfit. The majority of the people were known as Organization XIII, a group of Nobodies who sought the power of Kingdom Hearts to make them whole. The last was known as Ansem, though he was really the Heartless of Xehanort. All of them stirred as they slowly regained consciousness.
            “Wh-what happened?” One of them, a young teenage boy by the sound of his voice, asked as he struggled to get up.
            “It appears we have been reborn.” One of the members of the Organization said as he stood up. The hood fell from his face to reveal that he was Xemnas, the leader of Organization XIII. Xemnas was the Nobody of Xehanort, and like Ansem had long white hair, gold eyes, and brown skin. Xemnas’s hair was a little messier than Ansem’s was, but he didn’t really care. He had something bigger on his mind. He watched as everyone in the black coats removed their hoods.
            “How is it that we have returned?” Xaldin asked. Xaldin was a tall man with long black bangs. He was also one of the most skilled fighters in the Organization, which if you played the game Kingdom Hearts II you would know.
            “Who cares? I want to get revenge on the brat who did this to us, and his little friends too!” Larxene snapped. Larxene was the only female member of the Organization, and despite her looks was a savage beast. Her short blonde hair matched how short of a temper she had.
            “There are many who desire the same thing.” Ansem said from where he stood. People were surprised to see that he was among them as he had been defeated long before they had been.
            “Well, well. You’re back too.” Xemnas said, although his voice lacked any emotion.
            “What do you want?” Xigbar asked, raising an eyebrow. Xigbar had long hair tied in a ponytail. His face was heavily scarred and he had an eye patch over his right eye. However the eye color from the remaining eye was gold.
            Ansem answered mysteriously, “Same as all of you: Revenge on the Keyblade’s chosen. And I know a way to do it…”

            Netokan is a thriving metropolis. If you were to see it you would think of a futuristic combination of New York City, Tokyo, and London. It wasn’t far future with everyone wearing tights and having holographic butlers. However there were robots roaming around and instead of doors and windows there were special force fields that let in light and air while keeping people from falling out on accident.
            In his room Jason Norman awoke with a punch to the alarm lamp. He yawned as he looked around. His room was a complete disaster zone. Clothes were scattered all over the floor and his shelves looked like they had never been dusted. Jason never bothered to clean. He saw no point to it. He could function well in his mess. Other people could cry him a river if they didn't approve.
            Jason was not a nice guy. In fact most people saw him as the class bully. Netokan’s school system was against such behavior but Jason didn’t care. He was always looking for someone to harass and he never ran from a fight. Jason would’ve preferred to sleep in, but one more missed day and he’d be expelled. Not even Jason wanted to be kicked out of school.
            Moaning and groaning Jason pulled himself out of bed. His hair was buzz cut so there was no need for him to comb it. Not that he would've anyway. Jason grabbed a red shirt from the floor and pulled his favorite jeans from the chair. Both knees had holes in them, but Jason had worn them for a long time and wouldn’t throw them out. Once he had dressed he headed down for breakfast.
            “Rise and shine, Jason.” His mother said from the kitchen. Jason’s mother was a woman in her late thirties, and she was a brunette while Jason had walnut-brown hair. She had a fit build and kindness radiated out of her face. All that came from Jason’s face was trouble.
            “Morning Mom.” Jason muttered, sitting down opposite of a man reading something in a high-tech phone. Jason wasn’t one for conversations. He preferred action. Jason poured some cereal into a bowl and the milk splashed in shortly afterwards.
            “You could say something more.” The man said without looking up. He sported a buzz cut that made his head look covered with dark stubble. This was Jason’s father, and most of Jason’s bad attitude was a result of him.
            “Like what?” Jason asked without looking up. He was more interested in eating and getting out of the building.
            “Maybe what you’re going to be doing.”
            “Just the usual.”
            “What usual? Picking fights again?”
            “Why do you care? You’re always telling me a man fights.”
            “A man fights wars! He makes a name for himself on the field of battle. He doesn’t go giving others black eyes.” Now Mr. Norman was looking at Jason, who glared at him.
            “What difference does it make if I fight at school or in the battlefield? I’m going to be going there eventually so why wait until then?” Jason snapped.
            “Young man, you need to get control of that temper!” Mr. Norman shouted at him, knocking the chair over as he stood up.
            Jason slammed his hands on the table and stood up to face his father. “I need to get control of my temper? You’re the one who’s always yelling so loud the entire city hears it! All you ever do is shout about what I’m not doing right!” He argued with him.
            “Jason, you’re going to be late for school.” Mrs. Norman reminded him.
            “Why do we keep sending him? All he does is cause trouble for the other students and he keeps hurting his record. There’s no way he’ll get accepted into military service with his attitude.” Mr. Norman said to his wife.
            Jason snorted in exasperation. “See you later.” He growled as he grabbed some toast and stormed out of the room. At the entrance he pulled out a phone device similar to one his father had and began playing music on it. Although it was loud the device created a special field so only Jason could hear it. All the way to school he listened to some heavy rock music.

            Clair Fay lived on the other side of the block. Clair was about thirteen years old, a year younger than Jason. Unlike Jason she had sable-black hair and brown skin as if to suggest she had been tanning all her life. She was a descendant of some of the Tribals, the original inhabitants of Netokan. Centuries ago her people had been promised a place in Netokan if they helped to overthrow the oppressors. They accepted the deal and now were among the more populous residents.
            Right now Clair was having eggs and waffles with her parents. She had gotten most of her looks from her mother, who was also a descendent of Netokan’s Tribals. Her father, however, was descended from the people who colonized the city. Clair’s grandfather had not approved of their marriage, but when Clair was born had been happy that they did.
            “Hurry up Clair or you’ll be late for school.” Came the warning from Mrs. Fay. Clair swallowed her remaining eggs and washed them down with a glass of milk. After wiping her mouth she picked up her things and kissed her parents good-bye.
            “Don’t forget you have a dental appointment this afternoon.” Mr. Fay reminded her as she headed for the entrance.
            “I won’t. Thanks Dad.” She said as she walked out. Clair took the monorail to school because she felt safer that way, and it gave her the opportunity to continue reading. Books were becoming rare in Netokan, but she knew a place where they sold them still. She preferred turning the pages themselves instead of sliding down a hologram. Every stop she looked up to make sure she didn’t miss the one closest to school.
            When she finally got off the monorail she headed for Henry Netokan High School. It was the best high school in the country, and she was among the top students. Clair always loved learning and constantly had an open mind. Some people were expecting her to go to college before she was sixteen.
            As she walked up she heard lots of shouting. She couldn’t make out the words, but what do you expect when something’s going on and people are exercising their vocal cords? Clair hurried over and groaned at what she saw.
            Jason and Aurora were having another one of their arguments. Aurora Kara was a year older than Jason, and had long black hair. Her attire made Clair think of a school outfit some students across the sea were required to wear, with the blue long-sleeved shirt and black pants. However Aurora was an official tomboy. She would not hesitate to get into a fight and was an enemy to all the cheerleaders.
            For some reason Jason and Aurora had a long-going feud between them. As far as she could tell they had been going on like this since Kindergarten, and no one knew why they kept going at each other like cats and dogs. How she wished that they would let the subject go.
            A shrill whistle blew announcing the approach of the school coach. Coach Under was a former professional wrestler who retired after he had an accident that left him hospitalized. He was still remarkably fit for a man of about fifty. One of the unofficial rules among the student body was never make him mad.
            The crowd broke up at the approach of Coach Under. No one dared to mess with him, except maybe Jason and Aurora. They weren’t afraid to let Coach Under get involved in their fights. That’s why they usually spent their afternoons in detention, thought the teachers knew better than to have them in the same room. That was just as smart as standing in front of a twister. Clair then joined some of her friends to go to class.

            Nettie Juarez sat eating some nachos in the lunchroom later that day. She shivered despite the room being at a good temperature. Most of the girls had on similar tank tops with shorts like she did, and the metal legs of the chair she sat on felt like ice. She couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right today.
            Looking around to make sure no one was looking Nettie lifted up her backpack and unzipped it to peek inside. Mabul had eaten all her seeds. Mabul was a brown and white ferret that Nettie loved with all her heart. It was against school rules to bring pets, but Nettie hated being without Mabul’s company. She even lied to her mother when she asked about the backpack so she wouldn’t get caught.
            “It’s okay girl. I got some more from the lunch line.” Nettie opened a bag of seeds and poured them into her backpack. Mabul eagerly began to eat the seeds. Nettie smiled. The ferret was so cute.
            “Please tell me you didn’t bring Mabul again.” Nettie was so startled she almost dropped her backpack. She sighed as she saw it was Clair who had spoken. Clair and Nettie bore a good resemblance to each other, except Nettie had brown hair and green eyes while Clair’s eyes were brown. She saw Clair was wearing her favorite blue sleeveless shirt with her jeans and red sleeveless Raptors jacket. Clair wasn’t much of a sports person. She just wore the jacket to show her school spirit.
            “What if I did?” Nettie asked.
            “Nettie, you know the rules. If you get caught you’ll be in a lot of trouble.” Clair warned as she took a seat by her friend.
            “That doesn’t stop Jason and Aurora from tearing each other’s throats out.” Nettie resumed eating her nachos.
            “True. Not to mention some of the other delinquents around here.” Clair scanned the cafeteria to see people she mentioned. Ashley was making her way to the table with the popular girls. Ashley was the average girl you expected to become the next Miss Popular, with long blonde hair and blue eyes. However she also had a strong dislike at being told what to do. She didn’t really care about school and was famous for sleeping during her classes.
            Jason was sitting next to his best friend Phil. Phil had messy brown hair and a smiling face. He was laid back and preferred to spend time in his video games. Jason once took his system from him to mess with him, but when Phil actually fought him he won Jason’s respect. The two had remained good buddies for a long time. He referred to Jason and their other friends as his gang, and Clair could only hope that was only figuratively used.
            Stella Valleys was among the popular kids in school. She had beauty and brains, and most of the guys were heads over heels for her. She had dark brown hair and a warm face. She always got straight A’s, and always was happy to take a test. Clair in some ways looked up to her as a role model. However Clair always felt she could never be as beautiful as she was.
            “Oh no. Look what the cat dragged in.” Nettie warned after swallowing some chocolate milk. Clair looked to see the Mr. Truant of the school had arrived. Seventeen-year old AJ Musashi was the biggest flirt in the entire school. His spikey black hair seemed to attract girls like moths to a candle. AJ however never was committed to a serious relationship. If he saw a pretty face he’d go flirt with that girl. Several hearts had been broken because of him.
            “Let’s just hope he stays on the other side of the cafeteria.” Clair munched on her cookies.
            “Or that he decides to go back to the arcade.” Nettie said.
            “That guy spends so much time gaming I’m surprised he still has eyes in his head.” Clair added.
            “Well there’s nothing wrong with games.” Nettie said.
            “The guy obsesses with them. Not to mention the female characters.” Clair remembered seeing the inside of his locker was filled with pictures of various video game characters. She never allowed herself to be anywhere near that guy. “He needs a serious reality check.” Clair added with a shudder.

            “Amen to that.” Nettie stood up with her tray. However she never took it to the trashcan. It was at that time their world was changed forever.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Review of Walking with Dinosaurs

Hi. This is a post I meant to do days ago, but circumstances haven't been in my favor. Still better late than never. On the very last day of 2013 my family and I went to see Walking with Dinosaurs!
Yes this film was inspired by the documentary of the same name from back at the start of the millennium. While the film does incorporate many aspects of a documentary it also features a lot of elements of a traditional narrative. One theme I noticed in this film is that we should never give up. The story is basically about Pachyrhinosaurus named Patchi who has to learn to survive in the prehistoric world of what is now Alaska. The events are narrated by Alex the Alexornis, which was a prehistoric bird. He and Patchi become good friends and share several misadventures together. As time goes on Patchi has to learn to stand up for himself when it comes to facing another Pachyrhinosaurus or a Gorgosaurus which is the main predator used in the film. Patchi's journal supports the moral mentioned earlier because there are several times where he feels like giving up but in the end chooses to keep living.
I enjoyed how they combined elements of a documentary in with the film. That made it more relatable to and easier for people to understand. Several times there are brief pauses in the movie to explain about the dinosaurs found within and some of the interesting features about them. One of my favorite moments was when Alex was explaining about the Gorgosaurus and he loses composure because of one key feature of the carnivores. I won't say what, but if you've seen the trailers you might know what I'm talking about. Still despite Alex breaking the fourth wall several times the characters don't even know the audience is there. I think the documentary features help support the moral I'm using in this review because we can understand a little more of Patchi's life and know how he's feeling, why he feels like giving up at different points and why he chooses to keep trying.
The design of the dinosaurs was also very interesting. I enjoyed seeing some of the new information we found out about dinosaurs since the original Walking with Dinosaurs came used in this movie like how certain dinosaurs had feathers. The film did have some errors with the animals. It listed Troodon as being an omnivore when I was sure it was supposed to be a carnivore. Also the ankylosaur in the movie was called Edmontonia. The film did use some species that were new to me like Chirostenotes and Hesperonychus. I have to admit I'm not sure if Gorgosaurus being the shade of blue it was would've been very helpful in the prehistoric world. To me at least it be a dead giveaway that they would've been in the area and would alert prey to them. Patchi's coloring and size also help support the theme because he's basically at the bottom of the pack (or herd I should say), yet he keeps pushing on until he becomes more than what others saw him as.
I really enjoyed this movie and had a good time watching it with my family. I was surprised to read that several reviews for the movie had been negative. Still my opinion remains the same: This was a very well done movie and one that I definitely will add to my personal collection when it comes out on DVD, if they still exist at the time.
One of the funny things about us going to the theater was that we were the only ones in there.
See? I couldn't get a photo of around me. However you get the idea. Also I didn't hear this come up at all during the movie, but the main Gorgosaurus (the one that was really blue) was named Gorgon according to what I read. That was interesting because the species was named after the gorgons of Greek mythology. Actually that was the understanding I had. I did some research and Gorgosaurus actually means Fierce Lizard. I don't know about you, but I'm not going to argue with that. Well I think I've done enough for now. I'll try to get a list up this week of movies I plan to see this new year. Also one of my new year's resolutions is to be completely done with the first draft of book 2 of The Myths of Dymos by the end of the year. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review of Beautiful Scars

I know I said I was going to do a certain blog post. However I finally finished something I've been meaning to do so I'm going to do a review on that now. This review is for the book Beautiful Scars.

This book gives the life story of Tate Publishing author Patti Chiappa. She speaks of her childhood and the fun times she had with her family growing up. However as life would have it it didn't last. There came a time where she went through hard times by other people. From what I've read to call them bullies would be the understatement of the millennium. However through the years Patti received help from family and friends to get through her hard times and she was rewarded with wonderful blessings as she turned to The Lord for help and guidance in her life.
I really sympathized with Patti as I read her story. I know what it's like to be bullied and let me tell you if you've never been bullied it's not something you want to experience. However the things she went through made my experiences seem like little more than an argument on the playground. The depression that came as a result of the inhumane treatments she was given is also something that came to me because of low self esteem. Patti's message in the book not only shows us where we can look for comfort, but the dangers of putting others down and making them feel like something less than human. If you need to find a book to teach others about the dangers of bullying look no further because this is definitely one to use. 
I also enjoyed how she included the story of her family in this book. I've gotten into doing family history and genealogy and one of the things I've been wanting to know is what my ancestors were like. I want to know more about what they liked, what they didn't like, how they interacted with each other, what some of their dreams and fears were, etc. Here Patti gave answers to several of those questions about her own family that I know descendants will love and thank her for. 
Results: Five out of Five Stars