The Blank Book #4: The Importance of Living

I have never been into motivational or self-esteem books because I felt I have never needed them. While I am not exactly a confident person, I am definitely not someone who devalues my self-worth. I acknowledge my weaknesses, but I also acknowledge my strengths as well. I know who I am, what I can do, and what I like and I do not need a book to spell that out for me. However, I consider myself an open person and when a friend recommends me a book, I always try it out.

While I do still feel the same way about these type of books, The Importance of Living did open my eyes (in a way). I understand how these types of books could really help someone out who may need some encouragement to do something or need a new way of looking at life. This is not really a must read (and I may end up changing it to a Blank Book, edit: I did), more of a change in thinking. Too many times, we become to hesitant to try something new, something we think we may never do. We become closed off to the idea of change or scared of the unknown this idea presents. I admit there are many things that I regret on not doing. Going to school dances, asking that one girl out, etc.  And as I grow older, I cannot help but think of all the missed opportunities that have passed me by. Even if it may end up in failure or an absolute flop, why not? There is no harm in doing so. I’d rather try and fail than not try at all. I can definitely understand how change can be something scary. Change is unknown. And the idea of the unknown is something most of us are scared of which is absolutely understandable. Just like when we were kids scared of the dark, we do not know what is out there shrouded in the black.

The truth is the unknown is scary, it is something that can change our lives for the worse. But for every bad thing that happens, there may be an even better option waiting for you behind that darkness and you will never know if you remain in your bed like a kid. Life works in funny ways. The best things come when you least expect it and sometimes it seems as if your entire world is crumbling before your eyes. Sometimes you just have to hope, sometimes you have to step into that darkness and venture out into the unknown. Sometimes, taking chances leads to the door on the other side.

The Blank Book #3 : So I saw Spider-Man: Homecoming….

And it was fantastic! It exceeded my expectations and that’s coming from someone who placed high expectations on this movie being my most anticipated movie of the year. It is absolutely the best Spider-Man movie since Spider-Man 2 and in my opinion, is on par or even better than Spider-Man 2 which I consider one of the best superhero movies of all time. This is just to get my thoughts out and talk about it. Let’s begin.

Tom Holland is a fantastic Peter Parker/Spider-Man and the best portrayal of that character I have seen. He’s funny, awkward, and when the scene calls for him to be emotional, he delivers (especially that rubble scene). He really sells that he is just a kid who happens to be bit by a radioactive spider and gets superpowers. RDJ Jr. was fantastic as being a mentor to Peter. Unlike the trailers and promotional material suggests, he is not in the movie that much, but when he is, he is great as always. Jon Favreau returns as Happy Hogan and provides some laughs and a big brother-figure as well. Onto Peter’s classmates. Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds was hilarious. He acted the way others would if they figured out their best friend was a superhero, but I definitely could see other getting annoyed by him as it does get a bit too much. Zendaya as Michelle was good for what she was, I just wished she was in it more. Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson was a welcome change for the character. Being a rich snob instead of a jock works for this day and age as a bully, there really is no more of the big and mean meathead’s as bullies nowadays. Laura Harrier as Liz Allen was good, but the romance was standard and I felt should have been more developed. Time for the big bad, the Vulture. Michael Keaton was phenomenal easily one of the best villains in the MCU. He was intimidating, yet you understood why he did it. He is not some bad guy out for revenge, he is just trying to get by. There is a reveal later on in the movie that completely took me off guard, it was sooo good. The scene right after that was perfect, some of the best writing and acting in the entire MCU. It was the first time that I heard an entire theater gasp.

The plot was a bit simplistic, but I loved that it was not very high stakes. There’s no big light in the sky or a villain determined to kill everyone, it was very low-level stuff. Funnily enough, the worst parts of the movie are the Spider-Man parts. The action scenes were well done, but it kind of lacked the wow factor. This movie shines when it focuses on the high school part which, fortunately, was the majority of the movie. Above all, it is just so damn fun. I loved this movie and it is definitely one of the best MCU movies and my favorite movie of the year, so far. I cannot wait for the sequel and Avengers: Infinity War.

The Blank Book #2: John Wick 2 and Action Movies

I originally was going to write a review, but I watched John Wick 2 last night and I loved it. But this post is not going to be about how good the movie is, but rather the problem with action movies today.  I love movies and action movies are one of my favorite genres. The visceral brutality or the elegance of Kung-Fu or a skilled fighter taking on several other and the list goes on and on. There is nothing that gets an audience more excited than a beautifully shot action scene with great editing and a soundtrack to back it up. The problem is that is getting less and less often today. When I watched John Wick 2, every action scene was clear. The director, cinematographer, and everyone involved did a fantastic job of keeping the action clear. It also helps that Keanu Reeves does actually know what he is doing and can perform the action himself. I don’t recall any scene in the movie where shaky-cam was used. Each action scene moved at a nice pace and you could clearly see what was happening.

The problem is action movies nowadays have used the hyper active editing style that is quite common. It seems that the movies opt for a lightning pace that they believe recreates the frenetic pace that they are trying to go for. As a result, quick cuts that end up resulting in a million amount of cuts combined with techno music and odd shots have become the standard and it absolutely sucks. The action becomes blurred  and often confusing as there is no clear shot of, well, the action. Take for example, Iron Fist. I actually liked Iron Fist and believe it’s better than Luke Cage. However, this style I described is used quite often. The worst action scene in the entire series occurs in one of the first several episodes where Danny fights someone in a file room. There are an obscene amount of cuts aimed to hide the fact that actor Finn Jones has little to no experience of fighting. Although, it was revealed that he was given about 30 minutes to practice before they filmed. Still, the quick cuts were jarring and terrible causing me to lose track of who was fighting who. The show could have been better (but I think most of that is due to the terrible showrunner Scott Buck. I hope he doesn’t mess up Inhumans).

I hope this trend does not continue for the sake of action movies. I love action movies, but they have become more and more muddled with these type of action scenes. Please let there be more action movies with scenes such as John Wick 2.

The Blank Book #1: My Most Anticipated Movies

This is something new I want to try. It can get a bit mundane just writing book reviews, TBR’s, etc. So this series, I guess, allows me to write about whatever I want. I mean my life does not revolve around books, I love a bunch of other things too. This time it’s movies, specifically my most anticipated movies for the rest of the year.

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man is one of my favorite superheroes and my favorite Marvel hero so I was quite excited to see him in the MCU. Tom Holland was fantastic in Captain America: Civil War and his scenes with RDJ were even better. While I wish the 2nd trailer didn’t give away as much as it should have, I am still beyond excited for this movie. It’s the first Spider-Man movie where he is actually a teenager! The high school part of the movie seems more interesting than the action which is rare for me. I can’t wait for this movie!

Justice League

I know, I know, Zack Snyder has not really given us a reason to trust him. Batman v Superman was ok, but underwhelming. It just felt like he wanted to jam several years worth of movies to catch up to the MCU, although Ben Affleck was great as Batman.  Suicide Squad was solid on first viewing, but after a few more viewings, its flaws really start to show. The editing and writing is fairly bad, moreso the editing. It just did not match up with the movie. But I am still optimistic that he can at least make this an entertaining movie and the trailer showed some promising moments. He can’t possibly ruin this, right? (Please don’t ruin this, if there is one thing you must do right Zack Snyder it’s this movie.)

Kingsman_The_Golden_Circle

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The first Kingsman remains one of my favorite action movies of all time especially the church scene. It was pretty much making fun of the Bond movies, but I loved it! Matthew Vaughn’s slick directing style complements this movie so well and the tongue-in-cheek tone fits the movie as well. The trailer for the sequel recently came out and it looks to be an even bigger and hopefully, better movie.

 

Thor: Ragnarok

I am a big fan of the MCU, although I have always found the Thor series to be the weakest of the main Avengers. It was just boring and a bit generic considering the main character is a Norse God. But the trailer for this movie was just so cool which I somewhat attribute to the great song choice. Plus Taika Waititi is one of my favorite directors (Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one of my favorite movies from 2016) who seems to be embracing the space-bounty hunter-esque tone that kinda borrows from the Guardians of the Galaxy which I am totally cool with.

 

Baby Driver

I am not a big fan of Ansel Elgort as the Divergent  film series is not very good besides the first one which was solid. But Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz is one of my favorite movies of all time) is my favorite director and the trailer just looks so awesome! I haven’t seen a movie like this for quite some time,  an action movie centered around heisting and cars. The last one I remember watching something like this was The Italian Job over 10 years ago. I just can’t wait for this movie, it looks like such a good time.