“Iron Man 3”: A Movie Review

iron-man-3-official-hd

My friend and I managed to get tickets to watch Iron Man 3 one day before it is supposed to come out, so here is my review (spoilers free of course).

The movie takes us back into Tony Stark’s past– back to 1999 to be exact. We once again see Tony in his partying days, where he basically pisses off everyone he meets by being an arrogant, stuck up billionaire. Here, we meet Aldrich Killian, who tries to get Stark’s attention as he has an idea he wants Stark to help fund. Of course, Stark brushes him off, and in anger, he decides to seek revenge, working with a mysterious character who calls himself The Mandarin. I must say, I love Pepper more than ever in this film.

That was an overly simplified version of the movie, but I will say that it was very funny. There were lots of laughs throughout the film and I enjoyed it. One thing I really liked was how they humanized Tony Stark. Sure, he is Iron Man, but following his encounters with aliens back in the Avengers, and the knowledge that there was so much more out there, we now see Tony getting panic attacks because of his experiences. Really, this is to be expected for anyone who has to go through such a stressful experience, but we usually forget that superheroes can be affected by stuff like this. It really helps us relate, even if just a little, to these big guys. So huge props to whoever made that part of the story.

I wonder what will happen with Robert Downey Jr’s contract, as it expires after this movie, but I am sure they will work something out with him for the Avengers 2. This movie also leaves a little to be questioned… and I will leave it at that since I do not want to spoil anything.

Iron Man 3 comes out tomorrow, and I would recommend seeing it for some light superhero action, coupled with some great laughs! Plus, Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow are beautiful people. Stan Lee’s cameo was funny as well!

And yes, stay after the credits for a little Science Bros action (Tumblr reference, sorry!).

-Karen

“42”: A Movie Review

I just came back from watching 42 from the cinemas.

Honestly, when asked to choose a movie, I opted for this one because Harrison Ford was in it. I was not entirely sure what it was going to be about, but I ended up crying through the whole movie because it was very touching and motivating. The man next to me gave me a high-fived for weeping through the whole thing. Props to him for putting up with my sniffling.

“42” is a movie about Jackie Robinson and how he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers despite being black. The story in itself is inspiring, but seeing those around Jackie willing to find acceptance and change was the most amazing part of the film. The end credits also explain how different members of the team went on to achieve great things. They also explained that the number 42– Jackie’s jersey number– was retired by the major baseball leagues to honour him. Like my friend said, it was a bit cheesy at times, but overall, I would defintely recommend this. Especially if you liked movies such as The Help. It really shows how far we have come in society.

I do not want to spoil too much (though it may be a bit obvious how it will end), but I suggest that if you wanted something good to watch, especially at a time like this when the movies seem to be lacklustre (at least in my parts of town), go watch 42.

– Karen

To read or not to read?

The second season of Game of Thrones premiered on Sunday! My friends and I had a little premiere of our own at Monica’s house. At first, we were going to cook food inspired by the books/ TV show, but since it was the last week of university and everyone was super busy and preoccupied, we ended up going to Safeway to choose Game of Thrones-like food. Basically, we bought roasted chicken, loads of bread, bread dip, salad, cheese and sausages. Very Westeros-esque? Well, we tried. Oh and to add to the authenticity, we ate with our hands and dressed up.

Our take on food from Westeros. Thank goodness for Safeway!

I attempted to dress up as Irri...

The first season of Game of Thrones corresponded to the first book in George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I watched the first season before moving on to reading the books and I did not like that experience. I then read the second book, and am now on the fourth book (which for some reason, I cannot get past. I keep putting it down because I can’t seem to get absorbed into it). After watching the first episode of season 2, I can now safely say I definitely prefer reading the books before watching the TV show.

IT BEGINS!

I think one thing that annoyed me to watching the show first was that it robbed me of my chance to create my own interpretations of the characters and setting. While reading the first book, I already had premade images of who the characters were and where they lived. For the second book, although some characters were in the first book and I did not get to mentally create them myself, there was still lots of new characters and settings. I found it really fun to watch the second season and realize certain scenes were just as I imagined, or even the opposite—they were nowhere near what I had in mind!

Although creating my own characters based on what I read is, in my opinion, one of the most important part of the experience, there was also a negative part to reading the books first. As I was watching the season two premiere, I realized I knew what was going to happen next. It was as if everything was spoiled. I hate knowing how something is going to end before I watch it. But despite this, I still enjoyed reading the books first.

On a similar note, I watched the Hunger Games with a bunch of friends the day after it was released. I have already read the whole series well before the movie was even announced, so I found that I had forgotten a lot of the plot. However, as I sat in the cinemas watching the movie, I found a lot of bits and pieces were coming back. And then I remembered how the series ended and I actually started crying in many of the scenes that reminded me of the ending. People were obviously thinking I was crazy because the scene that was playing was not even sad. But for me, I kept thinking about the ending and thus wept. Story of my life.

My opinion towards the Hunger Games movie is that it was really well made. A lot of movies end up deviating quite a bit from the book and making a lot of changes. I thought this movie stayed well on track and kept changes to a minimum. Along with Holes, I would say the Hunger Games were one of the movies that allowed for a pretty accurate portrayal of the book.

So what is your take on the topic? Book first or movie first?

-Karen

Movie reviews: week of February 20th

Hey guys!

I went to the cinemas with my friends on Tuesday and we ended up watching three movies! Here is my two cents on them!

1) A Dangerous Method

I was not really prepared for this film, mostly because I did not read up on it before going to the theaters. However, after settling down and getting into the movie, I found it really interesting. I am taking psychology in university right now, but I was watching the movie with two friends who wanted to major in psychology and cognitive systems respectively. So I feel like this movie should have been pretty well appreciated by us!

A Dangerous Method explores two great figures of psychology: Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Jung can be seen to be the more central character in the movie. He starts off tending to Sabina Spielrein’s (another great psychology figure– the first female psychoanalyst) problems, as she appears in the beginning of the film to seem psychotic and very troubled. It is revealed to the audience that she was frequently beaten by her father in the past. However, Jung does his job and Frauline Spielrein is well on her way to recovering. At the same time, he takes her under his wing, helping her pursue a career as a psychologist. Along the way, Jung has a relationship with her, meaning he was, in modern day terms, cheating on his wife. It becomes clear that Jung is not the perfect psychiatrist the audience was originally introduced to.

Freud, meanwhile, had great aspirations for Jung to take his place in the world of psychoanalysis after his death, but came to realize the fact that Jung had other ideas about psychology. Their conflicting ideas causes a bitter row between the two. The rest of the movie follows on this idea and depicts how the world of psychology is affected by this conflict.

I personally really liked the film, but that may be because I had low expectations for it.

2) The Secret World of Arrietty

The second film we watched was The Secret World of Arrietty. Unlike the first movie, I had really high hopes for this film because it was by Studio Ghibli, which I loved! I think that is why I did not think it to be as amazing as my friends thought. Nonetheless, it was still a good movie.

The audience is introduced to Arrietty and her family, who are all Borrowers. Borrowers borrow from things from humans that they would not miss (e.g a piece of tissue paper, a cube of sugar) for their survival. I guess it is a lot like stealing, except they call it borrowing throughout the whole film (it is, after all, a children’s movie). Arrietty and her type are also very small. Think Thumbelina. Borrowers must carry out their borrowing in stealthy operations, making sure they are not seen by humans. However, Arrietty gets spotted by Shawn, a sick boy who moved to the countryside to rest and relax before getting his heart operation. This means that her family must move to a new home, as is the custom for all borrowers when they are spotted or else bad things tend to happen to them.

This animated film had beautiful scenes, many of which showed how small Arrietty’s world is: She was the same size as crickets, a basil leaf could last them for a month, and many other examples. Overall, it was a beautiful movie about friendship, with plenty of colourful scenes! It was also a sweet story, but not overly sweet!

3) The Artist

This was the movie I really wanted to watch. For those of you who read my blog, I have posted earlier that I was contemplating going to the cinemas alone so I can watch it since I doubted anyone would want to watch it with me. Surprisingly, I did manage to drag my two friends into watching it as well! They both liked it, so that is a relief!

A silent film. Black and white. Set in the late 1920s. These are the basic ingredients one must first be acquainted with before explaining this movie. I wanted to watch it because I wondered who would dare make a black and white silent movie in the middle of our modern age! After watching The Artist take home awards at the Golden Globes, then hearing about its’ ten Oscar nominations, my curiosity only grew. Keep in mind that I love old films, so I did not mind the black and white bit at all. The silent part, however, was going to be new for me.

This movie begins by introducing us to George Valentin: a famous actor, well loved by everyone for his silent films as well as his charming personality. In comes Peppy Miller, an adoring fan of his who gets pushed in the spotlight after an accidental encounter with Valentin. With a boost of confidence after showing up in the papers, Peppy decides to pursue an acting career. Coincidentally, Peppy’s first time acting was in a new film starring George Valentin! The two hit it off and Valentin finds himself messing up a scene over and over again due to his enchantment with Peppy.

Time passes and Al Zimmer, a studio boss, proposes the idea of talkies (films where actors talk) to Valentin. Frustrated and angry, Valentin stubbornly sticks to silent films and goes off on his own to produce such films. As time passes, the audience realizes that Valentin writes cheque after cheque to fund his movie and suddenly, the Great Depression strikes. Valentin’s movie gets released and barely anyone watches it. Peppy Miller’s movie, on the other hand, which was released on the same day, had lines of people queuing to get in. Valentin becomes a broken, financially troubled man. Of course, him and Peppy gets reunited along the way…and well, I guess I will leave the rest to you so I do not spoil anything.

One of the main characters in the film was George Valentin’s dog. I thought this was a great way to convey information to the audience. Dogs are mostly understood through their actions anyway, so it made certain scenes easier to understand due to Valentin’s canine companion. Out of the three movies I watched I would recommend this one the most. It was interesting to see such a classic storyline made in our present time, as well as the producer taking a risk to make a silent film.
Out of the three movies I watched, my order from my favourite to least favourite would be:

The Artist > A Dangerous Method > The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty is only the third because I had very high expectations for it. On the other hand, A Dangerous Method I had no clue as to what it was even going to be about, so I was pleasantly surprised. Hope this little review convinces some of you to watch at least one of these movies! Let me know what you think!

-Karen

What I’ve learned this week

1) How to play mahjong

2) I cannot eat as much as I think I can

3) Santa Claus is Canadian

4) The idea of watching movies alone

So starting off with number 1, I finally learned how to play mahjong! Okay, so I am not at the level where you can play the version where you tally up the points, and you play certain different combinations, but I learned how to play the regular matching three up one! Honestly, in my 18 years of life, although I have watched my parents and many aunts and uncles around me play mahjong, I have never thought about learning it. However, now that I have, I cannot believe I never did! It is actually very fun, and I feel more connected to my Asian heritage. Okay, maybe not so much the whole connected thing, but it was still fun! Funny (or not so) thing is that we play at the UBC library. I think half the people wanted to kill us at Irving K. Barber and the other half wanted to join us. Okay, before you start tutting at me, you have got to realize that Irving is infamous for being the library you to go when you do not want to study. It is the nosiest library in the whole of UBC. At one point, some random guy came up and asked if he can join us for a round. Of course we agreed, but he had to leave before we finished our own round. 😦 Overall, I would say it felt like I have acquired another life skill.

Mahjong at the library...I won three times in a row!

Now to number 2…it all began (and ended) at Anton’s. So after everyone’s classes ended today, us hungry university kids were starving and William, one of my friends, said he knew a place. We all listened as he described how although it is like $20 a plate, the spaghetti portions were huge and you win a prize if you actually end up finishing it. Being who we were, we were like

It turns out that this place was Anton’s Pasta Bar, on Hastings and between Carleton and Madion. We got there and I was so hungry I declared I could eat half a cow. My friend said she was so hungry she would resort to cannibalism (*cough* Monica). There was a line, as my friend had warned, since it was such a popular joint. After sitting down, we basically took ten minutes before quickly flagging down the waitress so we could order. Looking around the restaurant, I saw everyone asking for a box to take away their leftovers. I was criticizing how people could not even eat one-third of their plate of spaghetti. WEAK! When our food came, we all dug in. Although there was five of us, we ate in silence for 10-15 minutes. That is how hungry and into our food we were. I got the Spinach Fettuccine Alla Fillippo, which was basically a white sauce spaghetti with spinach and chicken. Delicious! Charlie also got a white sauce spaghetti (the Fettuccine Alfredo), while Monica and Kody got the Fettuccine Creola. William was the only one who got something really different, the Tortellini Alla Panna. After a while I realized that this was an endless battle. In the end I think I ate 1/3 of my plate max. Kind of sad when you walked in with such high expectations of yourself. And I wanted the prize too (a pen). Sucked watching some table behind us claim a pen. Anyways, defeat aside, that restaurant was delicious! Probably not the place you would take someone on a date, due to having to pig out and dig through a heaping plate of pasta, but a great place with a cheerful environment for hanging out with friends.

Anton's Past Bar storefront featuring Valentine's Day

Our spaghetti 🙂

A feast! Challenge accepted!

Before challenge...

Challenge failed...though you have got to admit, I did plough through a lot!

And we shamefully walked away with half our plates in these containers...

Point number 3 came up as we were waiting for our takeout boxes at Anton’s. We narrowed down Santa Claus’s nationality as either Russian, American (from USA) or Canadian. We all started arguing our points and the argument went on from there. My friend and I argued that since he wears white and red, is super nice, and our coin (the quarters) has a picture of a caribou, which is the same as a reindeer, Santa Claus is Canadian. No one seemed to have as much evidence as we did so we kind of left that there. 🙂

Lastly, I was having a conversation with my mom the other day, complaining how I do not think I know anyone who would be willing to watch “The Artist” with me, though I desperately want to! All my friends definitely do not seem like the type to be into that type of movie…so I was stuck in a dead end. I jokingly said “I might as well go to the cinemas by myself.” My mom then told me that watching a movie by yourself is a whole new experience. When I thought about it, I realized how true that was. You do not have to censor your feelings and you can fully concentrate on the film! I really am thinking of trying it out one day, just to see how I like it. Who knows? It may even become a thing I do! Honestly, after consideration, I would most probably want to watch those cry-your-eyes-out movies alone because it gets so hard to control your tears when you are into the movie.

So for now, that is what I have learned this week! 🙂 Have a great weekend everyone!

-Karen