Life and 100 Films: Charlie’s Review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

catwspHello everyone! It’s been far too long since we last talked. I apologize, my life has been super hectic but I have finally fulfilled my dream of working in the entertainment industry, hence why I have been away. With all that being said, I’m back to tell you about one of my favorite films of 2014, which just so happens to be a part of one of my most favorite things in the world, the  Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Without further ado, I give you Captain America: The Winter Soldier, sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger. Obviously this film is based on the Marvel Comics character, Captain America. It’s produced by Marvel Studios, and is considered the ninth installment in the MCU. The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and stars an amazing cast including Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and last but not least, Samuel L. Jackson.

As a huge comics and Marvel fan, I knew quite a bit of what to expect from this film. However if you are just a casual fan, I only want to give you a gist of what the film is about, because if I told you everything there would be spoilers out the wazoo! The trailers may give a little away if you are observant, but boy are you all in for a treat! So, we pick up with Steve Rogers aka the Capt. right where we left off with the Avengers. He, along with the Black Widow and new buddy Sam Wilson (aka The Falcon), join forces to uncover a conspiracy within the beloved S.H.I.E.L.D., while also dealing with the mysterious assassin, the Winter Soldier (WHO IS HE?!?!?).

catws1

I’m assuming that if you are going to see this movie, you are familiar with most of the characters as they have been in numerous MCU movies before this. So, I’ll comment on the acting instead. Chris and Scarlett are perfect in their roles, as is Samuel L., who has a HUGE part in this film. Robert Redford and Emily VanCamp are great attentions to the canon as well! Everyone involved in this film is great!

All in all, I think this is my favorite Marvel movie ever made, and if you know me that is a big deal! Right now the MCU really is dominating Hollywood, and they really can’t do wrong. I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon, as they have everything mapped out until 2026! Everyone else is just playing catch-up. Also, if you watch ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this movie is going to change it forever! GO SEE THIS MOVIE if you haven’t already, and if you have, go see it again! It really has something for everyone, and is a throwback to old school spy thrillers. As always with any Marvel film, stay through the end of the credits!

HAIL HYDRA…NEXT UP, Guardians of the Galaxy!!!

6 out of 5 Stars

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Marvel Studios
PG-13, 136 Minutes

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Charlie’s Review of The Geek’s Guide to Dating By Eric Smith

17568806When I was given The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith to read, I was intrigued by the concept as I identify myself as a 21st century geek. We all know that this is a cool thing these days, even though I have had these interests long before they were cool. As far as dating advice goes, anyone who knows me knows I don’t need that. I was quite the ladies’ man before I found the love of my life. So, I read this book solely based on the entertainment factor as I have no need for help in my love life. However, for all you out there looking for that special someone, The Geek’s Guide to Dating is not just entertaining, but may actually help you succeed!

From the publisher:

Boldly Go Where No Geek Has Gone Before! You keep your action figures in their original packaging. Your closets are full of officially licensed Star Wars merchandise. You’re hooked on Elder Scrolls and Metal Gear, but now you’ve discovered an even bigger obsession: the new girl who just moved in down the hall. What’s a geek to do? Take some tips from The Geek’s Guide to Dating. This hilarious primer is jam-packed with cheat codes, walkthroughs, and power-ups for navigating the perils and pitfalls of your love life with ease. Geeks of all ages will find answers to the ultimate questions of life, the universe, and everything romantic, from First Contact to The Fellowship of the Ring and beyond. The Geek’s Guide to Dating will teach fanboys everywhere to love long and prosper.

This guide is a geek reference bible. From Star Wars to Star Trek to Doctor Who, the list goes on and on. It’s very heavy on the video games references as well (just look at the cover.) All of these witty references have a purpose, though, and they apply themselves towards being useful knowledge. Whether you need help meeting someone in the real world or in cyber space, there is something here for you!

Referring to the reader as “Player One”, this book seems like it’s specifically made for guys, which is always a geek stereotype, but there are plenty of girl geeks out there too! With that being said, there is a little something for all of us here. This isn’t your average self-help nonsense. As I said earlier, this is more of a geek culture book, and reading all the references makes it a great read and much more than a dating book. This guide touches on not just how, but when to talk to the ladies. Something that stood out in the book was that it teaches readers that they WILL fail, and that is OK. Just as I have experienced in life, as has almost everyone else in the dating game, sometimes you fall, but you just have to pick yourself back up again. Learn from your mistakes and life just gets better. Eventually you all will be as lucky as me and find your Princess Leia (I am obviously Han Solo.)

All and all, Smith has constructed an excellent geek read, even if you aren’t looking for dating advice. It’s well written, creative, and funny (the list goes on and on.) His knack for understanding the geek culture really makes the book shine. I would love to see him write a Sci-Fi novel! While some may not agree, I really believe this book can appeal to not just guys, but girls as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves all things geek because at its core, that is what it really is. In the end, it definitely can help out with some dating hints, but you are going to want to read this for all its references.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Geek’s Guide to Dating by Eric Smith
Quirk Books (2013)
Hardcover: 208 pages
ISBN: 9781594746437

Special thanks to Quirk Books for my review copy!

Winner Announced in the Watcher of the Dark Giveaway!

wotdjnOne person has been chosen the winner in the Watcher of the Dark giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. Abinash who left a comment on November 14th

Please contact me with your mailing address by Thursday, November 28, 2013 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Watcher of the Dark (Jeremiah Hunt #3) by Joseph Nassise

wotdjnAs the resident fantasy, horror, and sci-fi lover here at Reflections, I have a special post for you today.  Thanks to Tor/Forge I have a copy of Joseph Nassise’s latest Jeremiah Hunt novel, Watcher of the Dark, to give away! Check out the book description below, as well as instructions on how you can win a copy!

New Orleans was nearly the death of Jeremiah Hunt, between a too-close brush with the FBI and a chilling, soul-searing journey through the realm of the dead that culminated with a do-or-die confrontation with Death himself.

Hunt survived, but found no peace. When he performs an arcane ritual to reclaim the soul of the magically gifted, beautiful woman who once saved him, he must flee the law once again, to the temporary sanctuary of Los Angeles, city of angels.

In L.A., Hunt must contend with Carlos Fuentes, who sees in the blind exorcist a means to obtain the mystical key that opens the gates of Hell. Fuentes knows Hunt’s weakness is his loyalty – to the woman he loves and to another supernaturally gifted friend—and threatens to torture them in order to get Hunt to help complete his dreadful quest.

Hunt has learned a lot since his life was irrevocably hijacked by faith months ago. But when enigmatic Preacher calls in his marker for helping Hunt in New Orleans, Hunt knows that all his newfound experience and ability will go for naught unless he can keep both the Preacher and Fuentes at bay long enough for him to somehow find a way to free his friends from mortal peril.

In Watcher of the Dark, take a trip to the dark underbelly of the City of Angels to experience an engrossing mix of fantasy, thriller, and horror.  This book is sure to leave you sleeping with the lights on.

About the Author:

Joseph Nassise is the author of the internationally bestselling Templar Chronicles and of Eyes to See and King of the Dead, two previous novels about Jeremiah Hunt.  Nassise has been a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association and the International Horror Guild Award.  He lives in Arizona with his wife and family.  For more information, please visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor/Forge for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a hardcover copy of Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nassise!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, November 20, 2013.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, November 21, 2013.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Charlie’s Review of Carniepunk, an Anthology

cpAs I have stated time and time again, I am a HUGE fan of the fantasy genre, so when I was asked to read Carniepunk, I welcomed it with open arms. It seemed like a pretty awesome anthology that numerous authors in the genre had put together.

From Goodreads: 

A star-studded urban fantasy anthology featuring bestselling authors Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, and Kevin Hearne, whose stories explore the creepy, mysterious, and, yes, sometimes magical world of traveling carnivals.

The traveling carnival is a leftover of a bygone era, a curiosity lurking on the outskirts of town. It is a place of contradictions—the bright lights mask the peeling paint; a carnie in greasy overalls slinks away from the direction of the Barker’s seductive call. It is a place of illusion—is that woman’s beard real? How can she live locked in that watery box?

And while many are tricked by sleight of hand, there are hints of something truly magical going on. One must remain alert and learn quickly the unwritten rules of this dark show. To beat the carnival, one had better have either a whole lot of luck or a whole lot of guns—or maybe some magic of one’s own.

Featuring stories grotesque and comical, outrageous and action-packed,Carniepunk is the first anthology to channel the energy and attitude of urban fantasy into the bizarre world of creaking machinery, twisted myths, and vivid new magic.

The fact that this is an anthology will either be a big turn on or a big turn off for readers. I found it to be a great opportunity to get a good mix of not only the genre, but to be exposed to many different authors. Some of the authors I’m sure you have read/heard of, while others are completely new. I felt like many of the stories were geared towards attracting readers to check out the author’s existing books, as most of them are tied in to their signature series. The positive thing about this is that if you like a story, you can go pick up their other works. However, the negative thing is that some of the short stories depended too much on the reader being familiar with the series it drew upon and failed to stand on its own. While this can be a downside to readers who have never been exposed to that author’s work before, the flip side is the opportunity to appeal in acquiring new readers. While I definitely enjoyed the book I don’t believe it’s for everyone. The problem I have here is that while you get to enjoy numerous short stories instead of one novel, I’m not sure the flow of it necessarily works. It makes me think was this written solely as a tool of marketing, perhaps.

While I don’t want to give away all the stories by going in-depth I’ll just let you know which was my favorite. For some reason Freak House by Kelly Meding really stuck with me. She isn’t even one of the featured authors, so I found that refreshing to really discover someone new and not just play into the fact that the names on the cover must have written the best stories. Freak House really was a fun little story, and if I’m not mistaken it is one of the few to stand on its own. The basics revolved around supernaturals being captured and displayed in a carnival freak show. It has a great lead character, excellent pacing, and I really felt that it could grow into something more! This story was right up my alley, and I really hope I get to revisit that world again in a standalone novel!

All in all, Carniepunk has its ups and downs. I definitely didn’t love all the stories, but I thoroughly enjoyed enough of them to make the experience enjoyable. I honestly haven’t read many anthologies like this, but I feel like this one was pretty good in the grand scheme of things. I particularly liked the carnival theme, as I think it was very creative! I could totally see this being developed into a miniseries for the screen, with the potential to grow. I would totally recommend this to anyone who either likes the genre, wants a quick fix, or feels like the authors seems interesting. However, as I stated earlier, just keep in mind that this isn’t a true novel.

3 out of 5 Stars

Carniepunk by Various
Gallery Books (2013)
Paperback: 433 pages
ISBN: 9781476714158

Special thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy!

Charlie’s Review of London Falling by Paul Cornell

sb10063436a-002As I have stated over and over again I am a HUGE fan of the fantasy genre, so when I was asked to read London Falling I welcomed it with open arms. To top it off, it’s written by Paul Cornell, who I was fortunate enough to interview not only about London Falling, but just chat with in general. It was a huge honor. I’m a big fan of his work, so I jumped at the chance to read his new novel.

From the publisher: Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.

The centralized plot of the story revolves around the main characters, who are police officers investigating the death of a local mob boss. This leads to the formation of a secret squad to further explore the mysteries surrounding the criminal enterprise they begin to uncover. As the boss died under mysterious circumstances, the team starts tracking a lead that might also connect the crime to a series of child abductions and a long-standing curse on the local football team. Something supernatural has invaded their world and it will forever bond this group of police officers together. They can now see the true horrors that no one else can see, which leads them to discover new ways to tackle the unexplained besides just relying on their police instincts and procedures. With all that being said, you can find out the rest for yourself, as there is a plethora of storytelling for you to look forward to.

I’m a big fan of the BBC’s Doctor Who franchise, and one of the main factors that piqued my interest in London Falling was Paul Cornell, who is a writing contributor to that series. His new novel, the first in a proposed series, is a great mix of not only the fantasy genre, but the horror and crime genres as well. This gives it the opportunity to appeal to a wide variety of people. While I definitely enjoyed the book, its mix of these genres presented a dilemma for me at first. Personally I grow tired of the crime genre, which is duplicated over and over again in different ways. However, the fantasy elements here gave London Falling (and the crime genre) a fresh new take, which I loved. Having a historical backstory really was a great add-on for me as well, since I am fascinated by the English culture. London is the one place in the world I would want to live outside of the US. Additionally, I’m a sucker for mythology, so the inclusion of mythical elements in the work were an added bonus as well.

All and all, Cornell has constructed an excellent new series in the world of fantasy. It’s well written, detailed, original, complex, and has great character development.  He has definitely executed a plan for the series in my eyes. He makes readers want to know what is going to happen next. His knack for the unusual really makes the book shine. Hopefully this can generate a nice fan base because I think there is a lot of potential for a wonderful adult fantasy series, especially considering that this would adapt very well to the screen. We get a whole new look at the city of London, which even though it may be supernatural, is intriguingly believable. With good word of mouth, as well as the fact that it’s written by Paul Cornell, I feel that not only does London Falling have a fan base off the bat, it has great promise to become something even greater. While some may not agree, I really believe this novel has something for everyone. Like I said earlier, it’s part horror, crime, and fantasy all wrapped into one. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something new, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Severed Streets.

4 out of 5 Stars

London Falling by Paul Cornell
Tor (2013)
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN: 9780765330277

Special thanks to Tor Books for my review copy!

An Interview With Paul Cornell: Author of London Falling

Recently I was given the awesome opportunity to interview Paul Cornell.  You may know him best as one of the writers of Doctor Who, who has won several Hugo awards for episodes that he has written.  Now, he is taking on a new project, an urban fantasy novel, entitled London Falling.  As a massive Doctor Who fan myself, I am very excited about this interview in general, and thankful that Paul has taken time out of his busy schedule to give us a glimpse into this new work.  So, without further adieu, here it is!

Hi Paul, thank you so much for agreeing to the interview! First, a few questions about you as a writer and London Falling:

Author Paul Cornell outside New Scotland Yard in London

Photo credit: Rob Monk

What inspired you to write London Falling?

I wanted to talk about modern life, and have fantasy onside when I did it.  I like the idea of professionals, in this case undercover Metropolitan Police officers, trying to use their training against something beyond them, in this case, magic and monsters.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced in writing this book?

The research, but that was made easier by knowing several police officers and intelligence analysts I could ask about their work.

How did you get into writing professionally?

I flunked out of an Astrophysics course, and had to find some way to make a living. There followed years of poverty, but I recommend it as a learning curve.

Do you base your characters off people in your actual life?

Bits here and there.  Very rarely a whole person.

If you could write for any series, what would it be and why?

You mean a TV series?  I’d love to do a Game of Thrones. But that’s trying to get onto a very small team.

sb10063436a-002Who are your literature inspirations?

Christopher Priest, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Brian Aldiss, M. John Harrison, a lot of the New Wave of SF in the UK.

Now, a few questions about you as a sci-fi fan:

Are you a geek at heart, or does science fiction just come natural to you?

Is there an ‘or’ there?  I am a geek, and I try, now I have the luxury of that choice, to only write SF and fantasy.

I have to ask as a huge Doctor Who fan, who is your favorite Doctor?

Complicated.  I love Matt Smith.  Back in the day, it was a choice between Peter Davison and Sylvester McCoy.  That’s as close as I can get to an answer.

Do you enjoying writing literature more than you do for the screen?

Hugely.  Books are where the writer has sole responsibility.  Prose is my favourite way to write anything.  I hope to end my career as a novelist.  Hopefully not soon.

What did you think of The Avengers film, and can you see yourself ever doing any work in the Marvel cinematic universe?

I loved it.  Cracking shape.  Characterful and even arty, which is what we should expect of Joss. If they ask me, yeah, of course I’d do that.

Finally, a few general questions:

What is your favorite novel of all-time?

Light by M. John Harrison.

Do you have any feature films in the works?

No.

How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?

Following cricket, matters Fortean, looking after my little boy.

Are you currently reading any books or following any television series?

Loads!  Listening to Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal and Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman.  I consume most books on audio these days, on long walks with the baby.  My two favourite TV shows right now (apart from Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, which are more lifestyle choices), are Arrow and Person of Interest.

What advice do you have for us aspiring writers?

I sum it up in a sentence: ‘Your job is to seek out harsh criticism of your work and change as a result’.

Thank you for having me along!

Learn more about Paul Cornell by following him via:

Twitter: @Paul_Cornell
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaulCornellOfficial
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/63341.Paul_Cornell
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/paulcornell/
The Web: http://www.paulcornell.com/

Life and 100 Films: Charlie’s Review of Oz The Great and Powerful

Oz_-_The_Great_and_Powerful_PosterThe moment I heard Disney was making Oz the Great and Powerful, I was ecstatic. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big movie geek, especially with anything made by Disney, so this was a GREAT match made in heaven.  I’ll leave it to Wikipedia for the plot:

The film is directed by Sam Raimi and stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda. The Great and Powerful serves as a prequel to Baum’s 1900 introductory novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and an homage to the 1939 MGM Classic, The Wizard of Oz. Set 20 years before the events of both sources, Oscar Diggs arrives in the Land of Oz where he discovers three witches; Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda. Oscar is then inclined to restore order in Oz, while struggling to resolve conflicts with the witches and himself.

One of the great things I really loved about the film was its continuity. Just as in the original film, the opening sequence is presented in black-and-white, and then transitions into color when the protagonist arrives in Oz. We are also treated to some new changes as well: the aspect ratios and sound effects are different (don’t worry, Glinda still travels in a giant bubble), and the Emerald City looks better than ever. Not too many changes have taken place, however, as we still have the iconic Wicked Witch of the West and her sister Glinda, the Good Witch. Several actors who play Oz characters make cameos in the Kansas scenes as well! I don’t want to spoil everything for you, so if you haven’t seen it, look out for these homages, and comment below on what you think they are! While there are some differences from the books and the original film, Mr. Raimi has done a great job colliding all these worlds together to make a great piece of art for fans of old and new!

If you are a fan of Oz, I don’t see how you won’t enjoy this movie. Is it a masterpiece? No, however I think that it served its purpose perfectly and will allow generations of people to enjoy the works of Baum in new ways. If you didn’t know, Disney plans to turn this into a new franchise of their own, especially after it dominated at the box office. I know there are some fans that are mad about this: the fact that the film got the Disney treatment, James Franco’s acting, etc. In my opinion, they need to just shut up and live a little! Even though I may be biased as a massive Disney fan, I think they did great by this franchise, and I love James Franco in the role. Would I have liked Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp better as they were the original picks? Maybe, but I think James did a great job for what it’s worth. To be honest the person I was a little disappointed in was Mila Kunis (something just didn’t seem right), while on the other hand, Michelle Williams was made for her role. I was also happy to see Zach Braff back in the game, as I have missed him on the screen.

It’s been a long time coming for the world of Oz to return to the big screen, especially with the technology we have today to really bring this world to life. Disney has been trying to do it for quite some time, and even though MGM may have been a bit of an annoyance since they seem to own the most random rights (like the ruby slippers from the original film), I think they did a fine job, especially with the ending! Some think it’s a ripoff of Wicked to some regard, but this film is actually loosely based on the original books (which I now want to read), whereas Wicked is completely made up. All in all, if you are a fan of Oz, fantasy, or just a plain good old-time at the movies, I suggest you go see this film, as I don’t think you will be disappointed.

4 out of 5 Stars

Life and 100 Films – Charlie’s Film Review of The Hobbit

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-movie-poster-1The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was one of my most anticipated films for this year. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big geek, and this is one of my holy grails! A film adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, it was in development for several years after the critical and financial success of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Peter Jackson was initially going to produce a two-film adaptation of The Hobbit, which was to be directed by Guillermo del Toro. Del Toro left the project in May 2010 after about two years of working with Jackson and his production team, due to delays caused by the financial problems MGM was facing. To make a long story short, Peter Jackson finally came to his senses and took over the project as director, as it should have been all along because he is the rightful heir to the throne! Besides Tolkien, may he rest in peace, no one knows Middle-Earth like Peter!

The Hobbit films were produced back to back to back, just like The Lord of the Rings films. Yes, you read that right, I said back three times. At first it was only going to be two films, but now Jackson is turning The Hobbit into a film trilogy. When the credits started rolling after I saw the film, the guy behind me was like, “WTF, it’s only one book.” All I wanted to say was, “have you been living under a rock?” Before you say to yourself that I’m nuts and that The Hobbit is the shortest of all of Tolkien’s books, I’m quite certain that Jackson knows what he is doing. It’s not just to make more money, as I believe that he always has the end goal of making the best possible product on his mind at all times. Adapting The Hobbit to film was a very hard task to begin with, but now that he’s completed this Peter has allowed us to enjoy it to the max. He has added appendix material of Tolkien’s, including side stories happening off of the main page, and even added a few things of his own to make this into the epic trilogy that the story deserves. I will admit, some studios have been doing this as of late just to make more money, but this adaptation is for pure entertainment in my mind. Without an author like Tolkien, who I believe is the greatest of all time in his genre, we wouldn’t have many of the great stories we all know and love today.

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-movie-poster-1

The series acts as a prequel to Jackson’s highly acclaimed Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Several actors reprise their roles from The Lord of the Rings in this new trilogy, including Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Ian Holm, Elijah Wood, and Orlando Bloom. For those of you who don’t know, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is set in the fictional world of Middle-Earth, and the films follow the hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman [aka BILBO PERFECTION]), hired by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), to accompany 13 dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage) on a quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbactch [aka a NEW GEEK GOD]). The next in the series is The Desolation of Smaug (2013) and There and Back Again (2014). I can’t be any more excited!

Now, even though the film is already awesome, what makes it even cooler is that it’s filmed at 48 fps (frames per second) instead of the normal 24 fps. This is the first time we will be seeing this on the big screen, and it will provide the most realistic 3D experience to date, as if you were actually with Bilbo in Middle-Earth. It’s getting mixed reviews, but I think that’s just because some people don’t like change. This is the future of film, and trust me, when you sit back, relax, and think about it, its pure awesomeness! I really couldn’t believe how crisp and quick the image was. I’m a technology nerd, so it made me love it even more.

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All in all, I loved The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It ended at such a great moment, and even at almost 3 hours running time, it was legit the fastest 3 hour movie I have ever seen, which is a great thing! I can’t wait for the next two! I think that one of the best things about this movie is that it’s told from the point of view of an older Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm), whom we all know and love from the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The story is told as he is writing a book, which allows for us to see our old friend right from the beginning of the movie! One final note, this is defiantly a lighter tale, whereas the book was originally written for children, but it is awesome nonetheless, as they manage to include some darkness as well. To top it all off, it’s the 75th anniversary of the book, so if you haven’t read it already, be sure to READ it, and if you have already, READ it again! Peter Jackson has done it again!

5 out of 5 stars

Life and 100 Films – Charlie’s Film Review of Lincoln

lincolnLincoln was a film I had anticipated for a long, long time. In the mid to late 2000’s it was said that Steven Spielberg was working on a film about Abraham Lincoln, with Liam Neeson playing the titular character. That just sounded like pure gold to me. After numerous delays, script changes, actor departures, etc., we are finally seeing this movie.

In my opinion, it’s the best possible version we could have asked for, so it was well worth the wait. The best thing about it (besides the fact that Spielberg was obviously still directing despite all the changes), is that Neeson dropped out and the one and only Daniel Day-Lewis took his place. He may just be the greatest actor of his generation, as everything he touches is perfection. He is extremely particular in the roles he plays, as he has only been in five films, including Lincoln, in the new Millennium. So far, he has been nominated for Best Actor at the Academy Awards two times, and Lincoln will undoubtedly be his third. He is so good, especially as Lincoln, that you have no doubt in your mind that what you are watching is real footage, and that he is actually the real Honest Abe in the flesh. He may have been put on this Earth to specifically play this role.  Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as Radical Republican Congressional leader Thaddeus Stevens, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Todd Lincoln, and James Spader as Republican Party operative William N. Bilbo all give outstanding performances as the ensemble cast.

Lincoln_One of the great things about this film, which at first I wasn’t sure about, is that it’s only based on a certain period of Lincoln’s life. It’s actually based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and covers the final four months of his life. It focuses on Lincoln’s efforts in January 1865 to have the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives. Even though we all know the outcome, the movie still has you on the edge of your seat wondering who is going to vote which way. There is no doubt in my mind that this movie is going to bring home some gold men at the Oscars, and in my eyes, Daniel Day-Lewis is a guaranteed lock!

YOU NEED TO SEE THIS FILM. Everything about it is brilliant, and it’s definitely on my list of top films of 2012! It may be a little slow for some, but if you enjoy history, want to learn a little more about the greatest president to ever live, or just see a great film that everyone is talking about, go check it out. It’s some of Spielberg’s best work, and unlike anything he has done before. You mark my words: the success of this film is going to open up many doors for other films about Lincoln. Not only do I recommend the film, but I highly recommend checking out the book as well.  Both offer great insight into the fascinating life of Lincoln.

5 out of 5 Stars