Sneak Peek: The Girl in the Tower

I seriously can’t wait to read this one. 

After reading The Bear and the Nightingale I was disappointed to find out it was a series. I thought the first one ended well and was ready to let that be “The End.” There were many plot holes but to me they worked.m because they seemed to work within the realm of fairy tales. I’m not sure if that made sense. 


Even though I was slightly disappointed it turned into a series,l I am still excited to continue Vasya’s story. And hope she ends up with Morozkov (not that it is anyway a romance because it really isn’t. It’s just one plot line I hope comes through, but will be perfectly fine if it doesn’t, unless Vasya ends up with someone else. Okay, this aside is getting long winded so in summary, Vasya and Morozkov or Vasya and no one, but it’s not a romance).

To be released January 2018.

Movie 411: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Directed by:
Bill Candon (Mr. Holmes)
Screenplay by:
Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower


Evan Spiliotopoulis (The Huntsman: Winter’s War)
*based on Disney’s 1991 ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Animation
Release Date: 
March 2017
Musical, Fantasy
The Hook:
Nope. No hook. I went with my mom 😊


The Review

A few random thoughts

I will be straight forward and say I did not want to watch this version. 

What?! You’re kidding me!

Nope. Not kidding. I love the animated one and I think it’s safe to say out of all the Disney animations, Beauty and the Beast was my favorite until The Princess and the Frog. But when I heard they were going to do a live action I was so apprehensive about it. 

Will it be as good as the animation?

Are they going to do all the singing?

Will this one have “Human Again?”

Who’s going to do Lumiere? They cannot get my favorite Disney character wrong!

Emma Watson? As Belle? Are we sure?

There was just too many reservations for me so I decided to skip it for as long as I could. Which wasn’t long, laughs. My mom really wanted to see it and we had an afternoon free of obligations so to the theater, we went.

Now, do you really need a summary? For the newer generations, one should be written.

So, there once lived an arrogant boy who was too much into looking good. When an old, ragged woman knocked on his door one rainy, stormy, wintery kind of night he balked at her and shooed her away. Turns out she was a witch! Or at the very least a magic-wielding woman. She cast a spell on this arrogant boy, turning him into a beast and his entire household into household objects. The only way the spell can be broken is for someone to fall in love with the beast, despite his monster-like appearance. 

Enter Belle.

The Plot . . .


What can I say about the plot? It’s a classic. At least, I think of it as a classic. Disney’s Beauty and the Beast came out in 1991 and even before that you had the French film La belle et la bete directed by Jean Cocteau (which I’ve never seen and didn’t know of its existence until this. post.). And with further research (because it wasn’t until I decided to write this when I thought “Hm, where did Disney pick up this French tale) I found this fascinating article, “The History of Beauty and the Beast”, posted by Pook Press that gives an overview of the history of the story and it’s possible origins (and I’m not using “fascinating” in the sarcastic sense. Historian wanna be, remember?) and it has a relatively short history when compared to other fairy tales. The article mentions that the first appearance of the tale was in the 1700s.

So, I didn’t mean to turn this plot-review into a history lesson, but since this plot is a classic fairy tale all I can really comment on is the theme. As most fairy tales go, there is usually a lesson to be heard and in this case, it’s to not judge outward appearances. It’s a good lesson to learn. And while we cannot always stop our minds from being biased at first glance, we can push those thoughts to the side after those first few seconds. 

. . . and Presentation

“Oh, you’re a villain, all right? You’re just not a super villain.”

“Oh yeah, what’s the difference?”


Sorry, sorry. This movie has been on my mind and I watched parts of it the other day. Couldn’t resist putting this in  😛 .

The live action adaptation, together with good directing and good acting, was done well. The pace moved along nicely and almost matched the animation scene for scene. It was interesting to see how some animated parts would translate to live action, like the scene where LeFou hides as a snowman while spying on Belle’s father. I’d say the spirit of the animation was captured in this live action which is always a plus. There are just some things that you just can’t translate into live action, but Candon and his team done good.

And as apprehensive as I was about casting, it was . . . pretty good. I was going to write decent, but I think that’s too light of a word. I was unsure of Emma Watson as Belle. For whatever reason, she did not seem quite like a Belle to me but it worked. Watson always does a good job and she didn’t disappoint in this one. Whether she matches as Belle is another argument, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t pull off the character. And I have to say Matth–I mean Dan Stevens did a good job as Beast (because he is still Matthew to me–Downton Abbey, if you’re wondering) 

They were the leading actor and actress, but really, the cast did an amazing job. Luke Evans was hilarious as Gaston. It really was hard to picture him like that since he’ll always be Aramis (Three Musketeers [2011], just in case) to me. And Josh Gad did well as LeFou. It was good to see Kevin Kline (Maurice) as well. Everyone did an amazing job.

While we’re on presentation, the storyboard layout was good as well. I’m not really that techie, but I like the shooting sequence (does that make any sense?) of the scenes. I know they had a blue print, but I cannot help but think that it the camera work and editing could have gone wrong and they didn’t in this case. 

The Verdict

Ah, the verdict. Well, let’s start with this:

Will it be as good as the animation?

As with most comparisons, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the two. While telling the same story and almost matching the animation, it’s live action. I mean, animation you draw the smiles, the laughs, the anger. Live action it falls upon the actors. It falls upon the backdrops, the set design, the right camera angles. It just wouldn’t be fair.

So to say that it was as good as the animation? No. They are both good in their own right.

Are they going to do all the singing?

They sing. You are warned. It was so much fun to hear this soundtrack again and seeing it on the big screen (since I didn’t watch the animation in theaters). Needless to say I was singing softly to myself during the movie. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. 

Will this one have “Human Again?”

No. They did not  😥 . 

Who’s going to do Lumiere? They cannot get my favorite Disney character wrong!

Ewan McGregor. And as far as voice overs go, he did do live-action Lumiere justice. And of course, you have his partner in crime, Cogsworth, who was done by Magne–I mean, Ian McKellan. They had the right chemistry for partners-in-crime.

Emma Watson? As Belle? Are we sure?

Yeah, I answered this one. But to the point, not too sure, but she did well. She always does a good job with the roles she plays and this one was no different. And just think, to one generation she’ll always be Hermoine and to the other she’ll always be Belle. #mindblown

As for the verdict, to add or to pass. It’s a good movie to watch, but I don’t think I would add it to my library. But it’s not my kind of movie, I don’t think. I mean, for me, I don’t think I would ever say “Ah, let’s watch Beauty and the Beast!” For me it would be like, “you didn’t watch Beauty and the Beast? Oh, you have to. At least once.”

Photo Credit:

TV 411: Shadowhunters, Season 1 Recap


It’s a recap so … spoilers!

Ah, Shadowhunters. The latest addition to my TV Show queue. You can catch my intro here.

With the pilot debut in January, this show has made it through its first season on air and has done a pretty good job with it. If you want a quick summary on each episode, I usually go to Wikipedia for that. I’ll do you a solid and include the link here. Since there are so many other blogs out there that does an episode-by-episode recap, I figure I’d skip that and jump to a season highlight instead.

We have had a good introduction to the basic foundation of this world. Clary Fray has found out she is part Shadowhunter, a hybrid race of Angel and Human created to combat demons and the like. Shadowhunters are the police force for all things supernatural, or maybe the FBI of all things supernatural would be more accurate? Anyway, they keep all kinds of supernatural baddies, generally known as Downworlders (which are hybrid blood lines of human and otherness i.e. Human and Demon creates warlocks and witches), in line so the supernatural world isn’t exposed to humans. There are laws, known as the Accords, that govern this magical existence and Shadowhunters enforce it. With me so far?

So, Clary’s world is turned upside down when her supernatural powers go full force on her 18th birthday. First, an invisible boy almost knocks her over when she waits outside a club with her best friend, Simon Lewis, who can’t see this mysterious boy. Second, she finds out invisible boy is Jace Wayland, the best-in-his-class Shadowhunter, and starts falling for him. Then, Clary’s mom is kidnapped by Clary’s evil father, her best friend turns into a vampire, and just as she’s falling hard for invisible boy she finds out he’s her brother! I mean, her brother! That royally sucks. For both, since Jace finds himself falling just as hard. Happy Birthday, Clary! This is a good summary of what happens in this season. The creators took us from Clary’s intro to the Shadowhunter universe all the way until Jace joins up with Valentine, evil father of Clary and Jace.

This was a good first season. For those fans who never read the book, the creator and screenwriters did a good job introducing the major characters and set up current and future plot lines pretty darned well. As a fan of the books and knowing what should be coming around the corner, I still felt engaged and found myself excited to see what the writers would come up with next. That’s a plus in my book. When you can speak to the fans of the book as well as the newer TV audience, you’ve done your job.

Highs of the season:

  • I like that the show is staying close to the story line of the books. They added their own twists and introduced knew plot points, but the season kept the same concepts and appeals. The way I see it, the book focuses on the overall plot and character development. With a TV series, you can explore the world they live in. You know, daily routines? Because I’m sure finding Valentine, though very important, won’t be taking place every single day, you know?
  • Magnus Bane. Yep, he has a bullet point all on his own. I think it’s safe to say that Magnus is pretty much everyone’s favorite so I feel like I’m following the crowd on this one, but I can’t help it. Book-Magnus rocks (I especially like him in the Infernal Devices series) and I am happy to see TV-Magnus rocks as well. Harry Shum Jr. is seriously Magnus reincarnate. He is doing such a good job.
  • And I love Simon! I’m just going to say it. I love book-Simon and I am happy to see TV-Simon is just as good.

Magnus and Simon are my favorites in the Mortal Instruments series so I was anxious to see how they were going to be and they are turning out fine. I love it.

  • Magnus and Alex. Oh yes, we get to see the tensions between these two. In season one. I love it.

With that said, I am worried for this show. I liked what I saw well enough to keep me vested for season two, but I can’t ignore that it felt a little weak. It was a bit slow moving and some things felt overstressed. The way Clary kept on and on about finding her mother. I mean, I know I’d be freaking out if my mother was kidnapped by the number one villain in a supernatural world and he so happens to be your father, but there were certain times when it felt forced and overdone. It’s probably just me though. And I’ll probably have to rewatch the season to get a better read on it. And as much as I am enjoying Magnus, there were times when I felt he did stuff out of character. I can’t pin point exact examples at the moment which is why I am letting it slide, but it’s worth mentioning for the sake of acknowledging nagging feelings. There are weak points but I feel that’s the growing pains of a new show. Actors and actresses are finding their groove, building their chemistry. Writers and directors are stretching their muscles and testing the waters. I expect that in a first season run.

The episode I enjoyed the most was Episode 10, “The World Inverted” because of how they played the alternate dimension. It was awesome to see that.

So, will you continue to Season 2?

Yes. Yes, I will. Even though I have a few concerns, overall I like what the creators are doing and where they are trying to go. My rule of thumb is if a TV Series can make it past Season 4, they are good to go so since Shadowhunter is renewed for Season 2 (Thank you,, I’m giving it another shot.


Movie 411: The Last Witch Hunter

Directed:Breck Eisner (Sahara)

Screenplay: Corey Goodman (Priest), Matt Sazama (Dracula Untold), & Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold)

Rated: PG-13

Released:October 23, 2015

The Hook: Witchcraft, duh!

I’ll be totally honest, this movie flew under the radar for me. It wasn’t until a week or so ago that I saw the trailer and it looked pretty cool. And I know you’re probably thinking I’m being sarcastic when I say witchcraft instead of Vin Deisel, but I’m not. I respect him as an actor, but he’s never been a “draw” for me. Anyway, The Last Witch Hunter.

The Plot Summary: The story focuses on Kaulder, an ancient warrior who killed the Witch Queen back in … like 800 years ago. With her dying breath, she cursed him with immortality and now, 800 years later, he’s a present day strong arm for a secret order called the Axe and Bow. This organization oversees the governing of witches, ensuring that they are not using their practice against humans and sentences any witch who does to something like a witch prison. Kaulder is assigned a single mentor, to look after his well being and safety while he conducts this service for the Axe and Bow. When the mentor he’s most closes, Dolan 36th, retires and dies on the same day, red flags go off on Kaulder’s radar … and the fun begins.

Mixed feelings about this one, from start to finish. If I used a star rating system, I’d say this movie would come in around 3 stars, maybe 3 1/2.

The storyline was solid. It was something different, but it has a solid foundation. In the world of magic, secret sects are common. A ruling class to ensure magical beings can live among humans without drawing attention? Again, not uncommon. A cursed being? Same. These concepts have been done before, but they’re solid because it works. I think when a plot has something we’re familiar with, we’re interested in presentation and plausibility. Axe and Bow? Catchy name. A mentor, or more accurately, a personal historian? Nice touch. With an 800 year old immortal warrior being your most valuable asset and dangerous liability and threat, it’s good to have a choronicler to get it all down.

While the plot had certain elements I enjoyed, it fell flat. It lacked a certain charm, maybe? Again I’m finding it hard to place why a movie didn’t “wow” me, but I’m usually easy to please so when a movie falls short, it takes a while for my brain to process. Maybe it’s because the plot was predictable? To by-the-book? Those are the best ways to describe it.

I will say this though … Spoiler Alert! … I love their use of dream walkers! I was pleasantly surprised with how they used dream walking as a magical element. I haven’t seen it done before. We’ve seen dream walking as a type of science, like in Dreamscape (1984) and Inception (2010), but I loved it depicted in this magical sense. … End Spoiler Alert!

Special effects rocked. It wasn’t over-the-top or cheesy. It had the right combination of fantasy and reality. The one gripe though was the prison guard, so to speak. That was just a little hokey. Also, it looked like Eisner did a combination of special effects and straight up stunt work because there were scenes where CG could have been used but it was too raw and real to be computer enhanced. I always appreciate that kind of work. And while we’re on the subject of cinema-magic, the camera work on this film was awesome. I’d say it was straight shooting, nothing too fancy, and that worked well with this film. The combination of camera work and graphics worked well.

And all that’s left is the acting. Awesome. Even though Diesel, who plays Kaulder (of course!), isn’t on my faves list (and I’m pretty sure that doesn’t bug him), I like his work and he did well in this one. Acting opposite of our leading man is our leading lady, Rose Leslie as Chloe. I haven’t seen her before, but I love her! She reminds me of Emma Stone, in the sense where they have a strong on-screen presence, at least for me. They command my attention whenever the camera is on them. Among these leading roles are the supporters and you have a strong one with Michael Kane, acting as Dolan 36th. I absolutely love him! And even though all I could think of was “Alfred” while watching him in this one, he does such a good job in whatever role he’s cast as. The other supporting actor is Elijah Wood, as Dolan 37th, and he’s another one who I’m not particularly drawn too. He does a good job in this supporting role, though, and I’m still deciding how I feel about seeing him on screen again. That’s our core cast and while there were others weaved into this story, this crew really took up the screen time.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie and I’d watch it again. More than once, even, so I would buy the DVD and add it to my library even with a three star-ish rating. As I said, it’s a solid story.


Photo: IMDb
Movie Credits: IMDb

TV 411: Witches of East End, Season 1Recap

Spoiler Alert: Just letting you know now. All of Season One.

Created by: Maggie Friedman
Premiered: October 6, 2013
Network: Lifetime
Hook: Witches with a Norse mythology twist

So, Witches of East End.

I read the book a couple of years ago. It’s written by Melissa de la Cruz and from what I understand, this story spans three books which include The Serpent’s Kiss and Winds of Salem. I didn’t make it past the first book. I liked it enough, but it didn’t make me entirely interested to invest in the rest of the series.

Which is why I found it interesting that they decided to make into a television series.

And I was on the fence about adding this to my watch list. But Reign and The Vampire Diaries had a really long break and I got bored on my study breaks.

Season one wasn’t too bad. It was actually better than I expected. What I liked in the book was that the story took on a Norse mythology perspective. I like that. That was different. And of course they kept that angle when making the TV series.

In season one, the sisters Freya and Ingrid discover their actually witches. Their mother, Joanna, kept it a secret during this life span because one way or another magic causes the girls death and they get reborn. Joanna couldn’t take that. But, the girls were bound to discover magic. It was accelerated by the fact that someone has a target on Joanna.

Story arch 1: The main story arch over season one is someone wants to kill Joanna. I like this story arch. Joanna has lived for centuries so it was interesting to see her make that list of enemies. I also like that Joanna has a sister! I don’t remember reading about a Wendy in the book, but I like her as an addition to the television series. And Madchen Amik does such a good job portraying her. And she’s included in this story arch recap/review because she’s the one that 1) brings it to Joanna’s knowledge that someone is trying to kill her and 2) kind of let’s on to the girls that their witches.

Story arch 2: Freya and Dash story line which evolved into the Dash-Freya-Killian love triangle.

Ah, gotta love those love triangles. And they’re the most heated when it involves two brothers, eh? Family drama. Anyway, I like Dash. And I like Freya. Dash and Freya, however, is another story. I was waiting for Killian’s entrance. Patiently waiting. Freya and Dash has good on-screen chemistry, played by Jena Dewan Tatum and Eric Winter respectively. Now, I like Freya. And I like Killian. Freya and Killian … okay. They, too, have good on screen chemistry, with Killian portrayed by Daniel DiTomasso, so they were fun to watch as well.


The Ingrid and Adam

I was sad to see Adam go, but how he left was interesting, considering that Ingrid used magic to keep his ghost on the earthly plain. Their story was short lived, since it only lasted a season and, if we’re getting really picky, only a few episodes.

Wend and her nine lives

Jonna and Wendy are sisters who were banished from their world and had curses placed on them. Jonna is immortal in the sense that there are not many ways she can be killed. Wendy is immortal up to a certain point–nine lives so to speak. She has this necklace that harnesses her immortality and when it turns a certain color, she’ll be on her last life. And the nine lives reference isn’t just a turn of the phrase. Wendy turns into a cat!

Joanna and Fredrick

In all fairness, Fredrick cames in at the end of the season, but I think he’s a lead in to a bigger plot. Anyway, Fredrick is the Freya and Ingrid’s father. Yep, father. He’s hasn’t been a part of their lives in a few … centuries? … well, a long time, but certain events happened where Joanna and Wendy were forced to call in Fredrick. I can’t wait to see their backstory. I mean, wow. Not seeing your .. wife? for centuries? Hm …


Yep, it comes up. And apparently, there’s a map leading to its entrance which has been destroyed upon the Beauchamps banishment. That’s all I’m saying.

Casting and Character

The Beauchamp Family

Joanna is portrayed by Julia Ormond. She looks familiar to me in some ways, but I can’t place her. Even browsing through her filmography nothing strikes me as familiar, but she’s doing a great job as the matriarch of the family. She’s strong, but compassionate towards her daughters and she does a good job anchoring her sister as well.

Wendy is portrayed by Madchen Amick. She, too, looked familiar to me and I can’t place her either. She has played small roles in Psych and White Collar so maybe that’s why? I don’t know. She was even in a couple of Dawson’s Creek episodes and I watched some those so, maybe? Anyway, I love her! She’s the fun aunt!

Freya and Ingrid are portrayed by Jenna Dewan Tatum and Rachel Boston (respectively). I have to say it, these two looked familiar to me as well, but as such, no recollection as to when or where. And no, I haven’t watched Step Up. Nor do I follow Channing Tatum and if I’m being honest, I didn’t realize they were married until this post! But anyway. I like these two as sisters. They do a good job portraying sisters and I enjoy the characters they play. Ingrid a bit more because … well, she works in a library so she’s cool.

Fredrick is played by Christian Cooke. He did not look familiar to me and even though he only appears in a couple of episodes this season, I like him. I’m interested to see his character develop as well.

The Gardiners

Dash and Killian are played by Eric Winter and Daniel DiTomasso. Great job. You’d never guess they’re brothers but I’m guessing there’s a reason for that 😉 . Great actors. While I didn’t quite enjoy Dash in the book, he’s not too bad on screen. These brothers do a good job feeding off each other. I’m curious to see where they head.

Penelope, the mother of these two boys, is played by Virgina Madsen. She looked familiar to me as well, but knew when I looked up her filmography it was in Monk. She appeared in more than one episode for that series and I remember her. So there. One person I recognized amongst this awesome cast. She does well paying the future mother-in-law of Freya. Of course, she needles me. As she’s supposed to.


And, as with all TV shows and movies, you can’t really get into all the characters involved with the series so, I’m leaving it at the main players. They’re doing a great job with season one and I actually thought I may reread the book.

I’m almost sad, but not surprised, to hear that they canceled the show after only two seasons. I’ve read some reviews on season two and most were positive so I’m debating whether or not to continue on to season two. In an EnStars interview with Madchen Amrick, Amrick mentioned it was due to budgeting. Since not too many people sit down and watch the show live, it’s hard to keep it running when you don’t have much viewers, which I agree. There’s a petition going around to bring the show to Netflix and I’m still debating whether or not to jump on that bandwagon, but I will say that I like that the petition mentions the strong female leads. I agree 100%. You don’t see that in TV much these days. You can check out the interview and petition here.



Movie 411: Seventh Son

Directed by: Sergey Bodrov
Screenplay by: Charles Leavitt & Steven Knight (The Hundred Foot Journey)
Screen Story: Matt Greenberg (Screenplay in Reign of Fire)
*Based on the novel The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney (haven’t read this one, but I will now!)
Rated: PG-13
Release Date: February 6, 2015
The Hook: I didn’t really know what this one was about going in. All I remember is I watched the trailer and tagged it TBW. I know, bad huh? But for the record, there’s a reason I marked it! And my local theatre offered it as part of a double feature so who can argue with that?

Plot: Awesome.

I’m happy with just leaving it at that, but of course I can’t so …

The seventh son of a family with seven children serves a purpose in this world. They have a calling, a destiny, and while I’m not quite clear as to what that means exactly it’s basically a secret order that serves humanity by vanquishing, or in this case maintaining, demons. I swear, when the scene that explains the whole seventh son thing started all I could think of was “Oh, it’s a medieval Supernatural!” Bad, I know, but that’s what popped into my mind.

It follows the last knight in this order, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), and he seeks out a seventh son because his current one was killed by an evil witch, Mother Malkin (Juliana Moore). This takes him to the Ward family and their seventh son Tom Ward (Ben Barnes). Tom and Gregory’s journey begins immediately to Mother Malkin’s lair because the Blood Moon is rising and that’s the height of Malkin’s power.

There’s magic (of course), various degrees of sorcery from the witches (of course), and the world isn’t always so black and white (of course). Witches aren’t always evil and the good guys aren’t always so good. I mean, you know the drill. And while it sounds a bit boring and straight-foward, it’s done well so it’s fun. And there’s a lovely twist that was somewhat predictable but still awesome because, like, … a hybrid! Hybrids are always pretty cool (up until the point when they’re not).

Kudos on the plot. And I’m glad that even thought I couldn’t remember what it was about, I was smart enough to tag it.

Acting: Not bad. I have to say I like Ben Barnes, though he will always be known to me as Prince Caspian. He’s not one of those super-prominent actors, but I really enjoyed him as Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia and I thought he did a good job as Alejandro in The Big Wedding. I have to admit though, he seems to match a bit more in this fantasy/historic era kind of roles. I haven’t seen Alicia Vikander (Alice) before, but I thought she held herself well. And it was good to see Juliana Moore and Jeff Bridges. Haven’t really seen them in a while. And while I’m mentioning Juliana Moore and Jeff Bridges, I really loved seeing Jason Scott Lee (Urag) even though it was a very short and small role and Djimon Hounsou (Radu), who will always be Midnight to me, did a good job, but that’s no surprise. He does well in all the roles he’s played, at least those I’ve seen anyway. And I was so stoked to see Kit Harington, not minding the brief shots! Overall, this cast did well together. I’m not sure if the chemistry between Barnes and Vikander was enough to convince me of love, but they did a better job than Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman, in my humble opinion.

Visual Effects/Camera work: Pretty good. The graphics weren’t tacky or overdone. It provided a balance feel in this fantasy world. Not bad at all.

Movie Adaptation: I can’t comment since I haven’t read the novel yet, but after seeing this movie, it’s definitely on my TBR list. This movie was pretty awesome, since I’m a fantasy geek, and I can’t wait to see how much the movie left out in the book.

So, I’m definitely adding this to my library. Definitely worth the investment and I think I’m going Blu-Ray on this one. I definitely recommend it if you like a good fantasy!