May. 24th, 2013 | 09:42 pm
posted by: gloriaoliver
Starring: Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Christoph Waltz, Beyoncé Knowles, Blake Anderson, Aziz Ansari, Chris O'Dowd, Steven Tyler, Jason Sudeikis, and more.
Directed by: Chris Wedge Story by: William Joyce, James V Hart, and Chris Wedge Screenplay by: James V Hart, William Joyce, Daniel Shere, Tom J Astle, Matt Ember Based on the book "The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs" by: William Joyce Cinematography by: Renato Falcão Music by: Danny Elfman
Premise: Moving to her father's house after her mother's death, Mary Katherine is disappointed to see he's still up to the same strange research that led her mother to leave him years before. Her father believes there's an advanced civilization of diminutive people living in the forest. So when it looks like the solstice, combined with a full moon, has her father running about even more than usual, MK decides the new arrangement isn't going to work after all. But when the three legged, one eyed pug, Ozzie runs off into the forest, MK goes after him, and stumbles into the middle of a battle of good versus evil. (Rated PG)
1) Voice Acting - Thumbs Up: I've always enjoyed the work of Colin Farrell and Josh Hutcherson and their voice acting on this film was well done. Amanda Seyfried gave a great performance as the grieved and troubled MK. Christoph Waltz looked to have had some fun as Mandrake. Beyoncé Knowles came across as a great and wise queen. The comedy tag team of Aziz Ansari and Chris O'Dowd definitely did a lot to amuse. Though some of the different accents thrown in at different places and not always consistently so did jar a little in places.
Of course one of the most fun characters in the film had no voice at all - Ozzie - the three legged, one eyed, old pug.
2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Blue Sky Studios did an awesome job with the look of the film. From the gorgeous hummingbirds to the wilting of plants, the detail was astounding. Seeing the leafs and plants used as clothes, flying boats, and moving doors made the world of the forest really come alive with wonder. The scenes of Queen Tara arriving at the small lake in her flying ship and then stepping on the lily pads were gorgeous.
Inversely, watching the rot arrows deform the tree limbs, wilt leaves, and other destruction were also quite impressive. Mandrake's home was the essence of decay.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Overall the plot of the film worked, but wasn't necessarily outstanding. There were a few small surprises, though not many. We barely got a glimpse into the culture of the Leaf Men and those they protect, or even the structure of life in the forest, which would have given the plot more depth and context. The whole side business of betting and fixed bird races didn't mesh well with what little the audience was shown of the culture. Even the problems with Nod seemed forced and without any real substance. Late in the film, we find where Nod lost his father, it made no sense why Ronin and Nod's dad would have been there in the first place and it was never discussed. (If anything, it lent a dark undertone to what the two might have been up to at the time.)
I found the use of Ronin's name rather odd. Since the Leaf Men obviously followed many oriental ideals in the way they fought and lived, the fact they would give their commander a name meaning 'masterless samurai' seemed strange. Though with what happens to the queen, perhaps it was apt.
Another odd point was a thread pursued in three different prongs - the act of loving someone yet there being obstacles keeping you apart and no solution ever becoming apparent - the queen and Ronin, Grub and MK, MK and Nod. It's rather a depressing theme and seemed out of place in what was advertised as a combination action and comedy animated film.
Conclusion: EPIC wasn't so epic. And its name if one of the worst for a film ever. The animation is totally well worth watching. The film definitely had its moments, but it won't have you running off to tell all your friends about it. With all the birds, Grub and Mud, and Ozzie, there might be enough there to entertain the younger kids.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better For Matinee)
May. 24th, 2013 | 07:11 pm
location: House of the Quiet Cat
posted by: alfreda89
Interesting thing that makes me reject finch as a type -- when they flatten themselves to the stucco to eat the bugs, their tails fork into two short, needle points! But they are short tails compared to a swallowtail, and not solidly dark like swifts I've seen.
No sign of their nest yet, but I imagine they have built one. Can't find the box with bird books, and the internet site I looked at wasn't much help. I need an old outline page, I think.
May. 24th, 2013 | 03:36 pm
location: House of the Quiet Cat
posted by: alfreda89
Be safe, everyone.
May. 24th, 2013 | 01:07 pm
posted by: reudaly
I mentioned on Wednesday that this weekend was going to be bittersweet for me – alas, for many of us. When the final cannon blows on Monday, May 27th, not only will it herald the end of the 33rd Season of Scarborough Renaissance festival – it will also be the end of Anne Boleyn. Shannon Hopps announced that after 25 seasons, she’s retiring to pursue other aspects of her life.
As with Dr. Who, there’s always someone who is “Your Doctor”. As I am Scot by birth, Queen Margaret is “MY” Queen… as David Tennant will always be “MY” Doctor. But as I’ve grown inordinately fond of Matt Smith’s Doctor, is also how much I love Shannon’s Queen Anne. And as with a whole generation of people – Shannon’s Queen Anne is the only Queen of England we know at Scarborough.
And what a legacy she leaves behind. The posts and comments on social media have been heartfelt and sincere. She’s been a role model and friend to many. I know her peripherally through social media and as a vendor out at the Faire. I’ve never seen her utter a cross word to anyone – no matter what the temperature or weather conditions. Not only is she a consummate professional – she is the embodiment of grace and beauty.
I’ve worked (with a break) as a vendor at Scarborough since 2006. I am honored to have sold Her Majesty a piece of art for her Real Life home (in fact, I’ve sold art to all the Royal Households of Scarborough – that’s kinda cool). And even though we – Jimmy and I – are not part of the cast, when we missed a week this run for a family event, when we came back Queen Anne welcomed us back and let us know that we were missed. Which, coming from Queen Anne (because that’s who’s on site after Opening Cannon and not Shannon) actually feels like it has some weight to it.
So this weekend, as we say our farewells to the season, we also say farewell to Queen Anne. And though we know Shannon has remarkable adventures ahead of her – and we look forward to living them vicariously though social media – with her husband, her menagerie, and her wide network of family, this part of her family will be grieving just a little for the loss of their queen.
I mentioned on Facebook that I wished some currently reigning queens were more like Shannon, and it bears repeating. And to whomever gets to spend time with her after this? You are not only lucky, but in for a treat. But for now… God Save the King, but LONG LIVE THE QUEEN. And someone stop slicing those onions, would ya?
May. 24th, 2013 | 12:00 pm
posted by: shadowhelm
- Thu, 14:40: My tweets http://t.co/NJO73V0h25
- Thu, 19:38: RT @kpaxnews: The latest on the Moose attack... http://t.co/o8SdinzrmP
- Thu, 21:52: RT @nytimes: Interstate Bridge Collapses in Washington State http://t.co/WHo6FAC5DX
- Thu, 21:55: Lost Apollo 11 Moon Dust Found in Storage - http://t.co/x7Zv6WqRwN
- Thu, 22:22: 1,000 rhinos butchered in just 18 months: Bid to stop poaching as species faces extinction - http://t.co/beXdrq3m2X
- Fri, 01:52: The Sky Warrior Books Daily is out! http://t.co/uSRJe7lwc5 ▸ Top stories today via @NancySThompson @andrewnicolle @MediaWhizInc
- Fri, 02:11: Sky Warrior Books News #constantcontact http://t.co/z1Xzn5gc0O
- Fri, 11:16: RT @DepressedDarth: If she gets excited about Star Wars marathons on TV, wife that girl.
- Fri, 11:19: RT @kpaxnews: Check out this photo...Can you help Missoula PD identify this woman? http://t.co/BN5Rcen3CN http://t.co/aS2r3AqzdK
- Fri, 11:21: RT @derekpike: I hayte typos
May. 24th, 2013 | 12:00 pm
posted by: alleypat
- Thu, 17:26: The alleypat Daily is out! http://t.co/5YWsuezg9F ▸ Top stories today via @avsnews @Pepper_Phillips @NYIslanders
- Fri, 00:56: Amphibians dying off at alarming rate http://t.co/wpUpkE0BOz
- Fri, 00:58: The First Web Page, Amazingly, Is Lost http://t.co/fzZRKfn8ua
- Fri, 01:00: A Modern Stone Age Family? A Neanderthal’s Molar Suggests Early Weaning http://t.co/qmj82a67P9
May. 24th, 2013 | 11:30 am
posted by: jongibbs
Here’s my selection of interesting (and sometimes amusing) posts about writing from the last week:
Tips for Productivity (Terry Odell)
Word of Mouth (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) Jon’s ‘Pick of the Week’
Different voices in your narrative (Juliette Wade)
How Convenient--Plot Contrivance (Elizabeth Spann Craig)
All the Publishing Information You Ever Wanted (Rachelle Gardner) Jon’s other ‘Pick of the Week’
Imagining a Post-Amazon World (Steve Davidson)
Rejection: #1 Cause of Writers' Neurosis (Ash Krafton)
Infographic: 5 Key Book Publishing Paths (Jane Friedman)
Letting Go of Scarcity Thinking (Rachelle Gardner)
Ten Ways To Torture Yourself As A Writer (Marybeth Whalen)
Amazon Debuts Licensed Publishing Program for Fan Fiction (Publisher’s Weekly)
If you found these useful, you may also like my personal selection of the most interesting blog posts from 2012, and last week’s list.
If you have a particular favorite among these, please let the author know (and me too, if you have time). Also, if you've a link to a great post that isn't here, feel free to share.
May. 24th, 2013 | 09:44 am
posted by: j_cheney
Now I always suggest taking any Wiki with a grain of salt. As a user, you don't know who's posting the info there. But I wanted to mention one way in which Wiki became invaluable to me in researching 1902 Portugal.
I used it extensively as a portal to Portuguese Wikipedia.
Let me give you an example:
Here's the English Wiki Page for Matosinhos, a town where part of The Golden City is set.
As you can see, there's hardly anything there. Apparently English speakers don't care much about this town.
But if you look down the left sidebar, you can see several other languages available.
When I click on Portuguese, I get this version of the page:
You can see that there's a LOT more information on this version of the page. There are also dozens of links on the Portuguese version that I can follow, both of other pages in Portuguese Wikipedia, and to external sites. Each of those might have links to dozens of other sites...and on it goes.
So I've used Wiki this way to help me slip into Portuguese research. If I tried to do research via a search engine in Portuguese, I would be overwhelmed. I wouldn't know where to start or which sites had any validity. With Wiki's help, though, I have a starting place.
But I don't speak Portuguese!, you complain.
I speak very little, and that I had to learn for writing these books, but there are always machine translators out there that can give you a leg up. I mostly use the Bing Tranlsator, but Google has one as well. (Keep in mind that these are machine translations, and are only 'better than nothing'.) Between my poor Portuguese and the machine, I do a decent job.
In addition, if you hop to another Wiki page, you can double check to see whether there's an English version. That page may have similar information.
To research for Book 3, The Shores of Spain, I'm now having to hop over to Spanish Wiki a lot. Since my Spanish is better than my Portugese, this is easier for me.
It's still proving a very useful research trick.
May. 24th, 2013 | 10:12 am
location: front porch
mood: ready for the weekend
posted by: dragon_quill
For your Friday enjoyment, a cute and funny video.
Have a great weekend!
If she can’t believe what she sees, can she believe what she feels? When photojournalist Stephie Stephanova visits Ugly Creek, Tennessee to help her best friend, Madison, she expects a boring visit. Then she snaps a photo of something she shouldn’t have seen–and falls for a man she definitely shouldn’t have.
The Ugly Truth available only in ebook from Amazon until August 16 when it will be available in electronic and paperback formats from all major book outlets.
May. 24th, 2013 | 06:23 am
posted by: jaylake
Every year, some people tell me that I need to announce JayCon early so they can get it in on their calendars. Every year, some people tell me I need to announce JayCon later, because they don't plan that far ahead. Sometimes, these are the same people. So starting now, and going on through the spring, I will be reposting this announcement with occasional edits or updates as needed.
In celebration of my natal anniversary, JayCon XIII, my 13th annual 37th birthday party, is Saturday, June 15th, 2013 from 2 to 5 pm at the Flying Pie in SE Portland. We're partying because I was born, and because
If you can read this, you're invited. Prior JayCon experience not required.
Also, if you're coming from out of town, and you think I might not be aware of that, please contact me. There are some limited capacity extended festivities from Friday to Sunday.
Flying Pie Pizzeria
7804 SE Stark Street
[ Google Maps ]
As is traditional for JayCon, Paul M. Carpentier is specifically not invited.