Sunday, February 5, 2017

Under the Tuscan Sun Movie Review ~ A Step Towards New Life

under the tuscan sun review

  Sometimes a day comes along where you it's fresh in the morning, (well late morning--late night=sleep in) and you get ready to enjoy another weekend day. And you just know that it's the day to watch that movie that has been on your netflix list for the better part of a year. The day just feels right.

  Under the Tuscan Sun. It is warm with heartbreak, and starting again. The warmth of life. Simplicity. Words, thoughts, exploration in starting over. New friendships are made, fears and happiness are shared. Life in the end is always about the people we meet, the memories we make, the things we discover every day. It is colorful, and mysterious, and fun. Rivers of regret and sadness run through our lives but there is so much color and rebirth. It is the simple things that keep on happening. And a lot of them just freaking funny. Life is bizarre. We keep building on it every day. What an adventurous roller coaster life is.

  Diane Lane plays a heartbroken divorcee who, to find a way to escape and start over, goes on a tour of Tuscany. Spurred by one of those spontaneous moments life throws at us, she literally gets off the bus in the middle of nowhere because she has seen the house that is to be hers. She felt drawn, and she took that tentative step forward, doing the unpredictable. And in just taking that spontaneous leap, she finds a new family, rebuilds an old Italian house, and makes a good life full of joy. Even after getting her heart broken again, she realizes still just how blessed she is. And still finds love. Goodness. I have to say my favorite part really is the end, when the old facet all of a sudden starts running with water, for the first time. It spreads over her floor, over her feet, and she marvels. Her cup has really run over.

  This movie was directed, screenwritten, and adapted by Audrey Wells from the book of the same name. I can't wait to see what else she has done. And see what the book is like.

  There was another post written by Travel Wine Chick, that I really appreciated as well. It's worth the read, sharing the parallels of the movie with her personal experience.


Friday, January 13, 2017

RIP Carrie Fisher ~ The First To Kick Ass

general carrie fisher

  I really don't know what to say about the death of Carrie Fisher. I was so crushed when I found out she had passed. She was my first female hero on tv--while most girls were busy just standing around looking pretty, Carrie Fisher showed me a character who had so much more to her than that. As a little kid, that was important. Getting to know who she was as a person through little things I heard online was fabulous--I've always wanted to meet her. I feel like she's been stolen from us. I need to read her books.
 Everyone knows how much of an influence her portrayal of Leia Organa was, how much of an advocate for mental illness and the perception of women in Hollywood she was. As an admirer of hers, I was very depressed when I heard she had died. Honestly, I can only say how she treated the character of Princess Leia effected me as a kid. I so admired her--she was my hero. I loved her moxie. Her command. Her womanliness. And that bikini looked like hell, but man, choking Jabba the Hutt to death must have felt so very satisfying. I'm glad she was so sarcastic about that bikini though. No one should be happy to be so stereotyped, and displayed. Although it served a purpose in showing the depravity and view of Jabba's court. It was obvious. And a reflection on cinema's penchant for half-naked women.

  The only personal thing I can say, is that she was the first female hero I ever had as a kid. I loved her. I thought she didn't take any shit, she had a temper that reminded me of my mom and I. She led people with capability, she jumped into action and did what was necessary. She was simply herself. And that's what I think is so powerful about good characters. They don't serve a propaganda, they don't conform. They are natural. They react to their environment, to their circumstances, what is naturally in them--and what they must strive towards. I think a lot of the challenge in good writing is figuring out that natural element. I think the best actors are the ones who give that element of themselves, to bring something so alive that it stays with us forever. Perhaps I'm a sentimentalist, but I think it is true. Think of Alan Rickman, Christopher Lee, Robin Williams. Will we ever forget them, and the stories they told us? Will we ever forget Fisher? I know some, including me, who never will.


Monday, May 16, 2016

OUAT ~Last Rites~ Now I Lay You Down To Rest


  I meant to publish this previously but got caught up with other things. Life has been busy, that can I tell you.

regina last rites once upon a time

Spoilers! You have been warned.

  Oh my gosh was this last OUAT ep a killer. Haha, pun may or may not be intended. I watched it yesterday after deciding that it was absolutely necessary that I resubscribe to Hulu, so I could stop waiting. I was going to just wait for it to be available on the website, but no--I was impatient! I had to have it now.

 This whole season I was like, "Nope, nope, there's no way they're killing off Hook. People like him too much, he and Emma suit each other too well, it just WORKS too well--they wouldn't kill that off just for some momentary drama." And so I was watching yesterday, riveted of course--and still thinking, "Naw, naw, they'll find a way." And then I started doubting myself. And then Hook walked into the light. And then he accepted the Greek (Olympian, I know) dude's offer to move forward. And he looked back, and then kept walking forward.

  NNNOOOOOO! YOU BASTARDS! Okay yes by this point I had some tears. I rarely cry ever, but I'm just in love with this show, have watched every episode, just love the whole story--and I had to swipe away a couple tears because it was just so wrong.

  And Robin! His face! And Regina's expression--that gentle but horribly wretched look of distraught! And Robin's look of loving acceptance, kindness--before JUST DISSIPATING IN HER EMPTY HANDS. Yes at this point I had stopped everything else I was doing, I was just standing there in front of the tv like a 5 yr old, all bitter and teary and going, "Oh dude you have no idea what she's going to do to you...hell and darkness is coming are going to feel like you never even know what it was to be a god BECAUSE THE REAL HELL IS COMING FOR YOU!!!" Hell hath no fury like a woman scourned.

  But surprise, it's Zelena who deals the fatal blow and disintegrates Hades...remembering one truth that makes it clear for her--than in the end, love IS supposed to be enough--not having everything, not a kingdom--and that Hades was never real. Not in the way she wanted. So blazing Olympian Crystal through the heart, so much for love conquering Storybrooke! And high five for sisters, for dealing the day. And women all around losing their men and getting their hearts broken. What a wringer. Bastard writers. How dare you make us feel so keenly.

  BUT THEN! Oh then! Of course in the funeral what happens? Poof! Zeus, for his hand in destroying Hades, brings Hook back at the last second. THANKS FOR GETTING ME CRYING! And then bringing him back! Convince me then make me lose it because I cried for no reason. Well there was plenty of reason but it was still annoying. But man it still was beautiful.

  But that's what's great about the show. No matter how annoyed or heartbroken I get, there is always so much to love, to ENJOY, in every season. The intrigue, the superb story, never stops being good, even if I don't agree with some choices made.

  But one thing always does ring true...loss always makes us reflect on the best of what was. To cherish it more, or even to realize it for the first time. Because we can lose people, things in life--it behooves us to actually value them. Without loss there isn't gain--and so the bittersweet cycle goes.

  And of course, Rumplestiltskin is back in to speak. Oooh-hoo-hoo...can't wait for the FINALE.

  ~Elora Carmen Shore

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The World is a Garden ~ The Beauty of The Secret Garden

the secret garden garden gifsThe Secret Garden...for me, the very words breathe magic. I was around five when I first saw it. I saw it and The Little Princess around the same time--they both hold memories for me. They're a symbol of my entrancement with childhood magic, memories, and friendship told in period pieces. My fascination with other times just might have been born when seeing these movies--I'm not sure. I just know that my love started very early.

  As a child, on watching this movie my imagination was filled with the hidden passages, sleeping corridors echoing with unspoken memories, things left where they had been put down years before. Garden paths that led to natural wonders that were all the more wondrous because of their natural, beautiful being. And incredible, exotic rebirth. I definitely know that my fascination with India is greatly due to these movies. It was filled with the purity and rawness of childhood friendship, in life at it peak of bloom.

  The film itself is strongly presented in imagery. The very potent, tangible atmosphere is surrounded by the Garden, by Life. Birds, lambs, flowers, sprouts, the rustle of the wind through green leaves and delicate stems. The life of Mary and the inhabitants of Misselthwaite is told in the currents of the seasons, although not so obviously. It all is melded into a beautiful, innocent whole, showing the wrongs and blessings, the changes, the growth, the wounds and healing. The rawness of our own human nature, in the wildness of the natural world we live in, even if at times we forget it. Gardens have a way of reminding us.

  Through cold tragedies, our drawing into ourselves, to the warmth of thawing hope in friendship and the belief that perhaps the world has some beauty after all, the characters and places of The Secret Garden have always impressed upon me the singular, beautiful quality of beauty and hope.

  When I learned that it had been written by Caroline Thompson, I was not surprised--she has a touch for the sweet innocence of nostalgia, for purity in friendships. Can't say I've ever watched anything else directed by Agnieszka Holland, but I think this is a sign that I should. Just to see. And heaven knows that Coppola is famous for his hit films.

  Looking forward to exploring this movie more, as I study the characters and work behind the film.

Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Theatrical Release: 1993
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay by Caroline Thompson




Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Don't Go On the Bridge, Ya Nerfherder! ~ Ode From a Fangirl

han solo death gif

Now as I've said before, I'm disappointed with Solo's outcome on Ep VII. I was so terrified of said outcome when it was rumored months ago I didn't even finish reading the post and swore off of anymore StarWars news until the movie came out. Which I easily stuck to, considering how petrified I was. They were going to kill off my childhood crush? No. Surely not.

  But they did.

  Harrison Ford's wish to be sacrificed to some ideal was finally carried out. It was done for a good purpose, and I suspect that he'll be making ghostly appearances in the next ones, but still! Personally, I think he could have given a lot more to the movies. In life. Not as a ghost, or a memory. Han Solo has always symbolized the adventure of StarWars for me--he was like the embodiment of the adventurous energy, on the every-guy level. It would be like killing of Capt. Jack Sparrow and just expecting the movies to carry on, even though he wasn't the main character in the first three. You think that would go well? Phssh. There would be riots. Personally I'm not sure why there isn't for Solo. Am I the only one waving a grief banner around here?

  I do wonder what it'll be like for the others of the Millennium Falcon to carry on--what it will feel like. I was so pumped for more old gang storylines and action, I'm really quite sad about this outcome, even though it's sort of ok. My one gripe though is that throughout this movie it was it was mentioned in a certain article, too riff-off like. This final scene is too Empire Strikes Back, in a mirror form. I think it would have played off better in a less "let's make this a so iconic and Darth Vader vs. Luke moment, and Solo falls into oblivion" type of scene. It's been overdone. And there are some major points to be made about Han's CHOICE to even walk onto that bridge.


  1. Personally I don't think he'd walk out there in the first place. He's too common sense.

  2. He speaks with actions, not negotiation. Even if it is to save his son, this is such a part of his being I don't see WHY he'd be so...foolish. Han Solo...talking someone out of their decisions? I can't fathom it, aside from the knowledge that some people change with time, but still, it's hard to swallow in Han's case.

3. The gentleness of the scene. I don't completely buy it. Yes, he's his father. But something more upfront, gritty, harsh, and loving at the same time would have been so much more believable, and poignant. And Ford could have carried that off completely. More Indiana Jones, only Solo. Come on, we've seen the gritty father before. In this context an all-stops-removed kind of scene would have fantastic. Would have served the story better.

4. Han Solo should have gone out fighting. I think he should have been willing to kill his son. Known that it might come to that, and prepare for it. In the context that he was fighting for his son's soul, yes he's still going down fighting, but not in the way that makes him the brilliant character that he is, nor in the way that would have best served the movie. Where's the smuggler that knew when to shoot and when to live to fight another day? The lack of basic practicality that is so integral to Han is sadly missing here.

  5. This is more just personal preference, but I totally think it would have been more fitting for him to fully die on board the Millenium Falcon. The setting itself would have tore our hearts asunder all over again. Or, instead of falling into the abyss, (overused) I think it would have served better if they had to leave his body behind, after realizing he's dead and they immediately had to run in order to escape in time. Granted that's been used before, but I think it'd be more symbolic of how the fans feel. Han isn't lost in the abyss for us. Our fandom couldn't save him sacrificing himself like a idealist nerfherder, and now we have to go on without him. His death will be a monument in our minds. A picture of a normal hero that was someone so integral to the things we wanted to believe in ever since we saw him as children.
  And perhaps it would have been even better if Han had crashed the Millenium Falcon in order to save everyone, so Han goes down with his ship, and they get one last glance before escaping. But anyway. This is all conjecture and wishful, heartbroken thinking. And it's my natural writer coming out. I want to rewrite it all and make a new one in a lot of respects, even if I do freakin' love the movie. It's alternately "AAAHHHHH!!!" with love and fangirling, and "WWWAAAAHHHH!!!" with anguish. And disappointment. There are just things that could have been done better.

  I think that covers the gist of it. We're all heartbroken, and the great love of my childhood will still always have a place. More poignantly, perhaps. I'm sure Harrison Ford would be thrilled.

  Hopefully the Force brings you peace, since you're a ghost now. RIP HAN SOLO.


  P.S. As a way with coping with my grief, I have most hilariously established a shameless parody account on dead Han's behalf. Enjoy his tweets of wise-cracking quips.
  And it wouldn't be complete if you didn't follow Condescending Chewie too. All the things he said but you were too dumb to understand....

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rey as The Chosen One Reborn

rey the chosen one

   Rey has swiftly been declared one of the favorites in the newest addition to the StarWars saga. I know she's mine. It's not often that I completely adore a female character in a show or movie, but StarWars has always given female characters that are admirable. Padme, Leia, (Leia is still my favorite) now Rey. She's completely natural, and I was thrilled with Daisy Ridley's performance. Her chemistry with John Boyega as Finn was fun and natural. Some have said that her performance was wooden, but honestly I'd like to what them upside their own hard head.
  When I saw the trailer, I had a picture of Rey being Han and Leia's daughter, and over the course of the movie and seeing that that was not the case (although I suppose any twist in the plot might allow for that still, but it'd really take a really good twist) I conjectured what everyone else did--that she was Luke Skywalker's daughter. All the clues point to it. Quite obviously.
  One theory that I read about was rather bizarre--a bit much. Interesting, but too much. The theory was that, given the time frame, there was great possibility that Rey is actually the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker, and it would complete the cycle of his fall and redemption. Well, tremendous theory--certainly a kick of a one--but I think it's just way too much.

  And then,  there was a bit my friend told me. "Guess what? On the new game when Ren confronts Rey, he calls her 'Cousin'!" Quelle surprise.



Friday, December 25, 2015

The New Generation: StarWars Is Back ~ The Fan Experience

starwars 7 premiere night images

  I finally know what it's like to sit in theater full of ardent fans clapping and cheering at shared loves. It is one of the most AWESOME sensations in the world. Whoo! My friends and I had reserved our tickets early, (they on the night of the release, mine a couple evenings after). We got the premiere early, although we weren't not the first ones there--and I was tickled that we were the first seated. That was interesting, walking into an empty theater looking for our labeled seats. Then waiting for the place to fill up with other costumed dandies and the lights to dim.
  When they did and the lettering stretched across the screen a cheer went up and quickly quieted down, as we all just watched. And I realized that I didn't remember feeling so in the moment when watching the prequels at the theater. Except for the first, but I was so young that I don't remember watching the intro roll at that point either. But this--this was different.
  The camera panned to the side and the silhouette of a ship showed against the backdrop of a gleaming planet in stark tones. Well, I thought. This is starting off properly.

  The movie was spectacular. It had the feel of the originals, the cinemagraphic tone, and the pace and excitement that has become a byword of the stories. The characters easily won my heart.

  I had a few expectations that did not happen to take place. I had expected Rey to be Han and Leia's daughter. I had expected there to be a feeling of the old gang, with a lot more involvement on the part of Leia, Han, and Chewie. I had pictured Leia and Han still together, Rey was their daughter probably making off with the Millenium Falcon, and she gets in trouble and they have to jump in and they're all led on a merry chase and adventure.

  Once I realized she was not, it didn't take long for me to suspect that she was Skywalker's daughter. does led me to wonder (as are thousands of other people) why she was abandoned on Jakku. What I had thought was Tattooine in the trailer is actually Jakku, and I'm really rather relieved, even if they look a lot alike. It's a good turn to start the new adventures on a new planet.

  There were only two disappoints that I had. First, that Harrison Ford got his wish. Really ticked off. Months ago I heard a rumor that he was going to, and I immediately shut the page and just never looked up another bit of StarWars news. I was terrified that I'd hear anything else. And my longest crush ever dying? No thanks. Didn't need to hear it, much less see it happen. Han Solo had a lot more to offer in my opinion, but still--his death still served a purpose. And I know Ford really wanted this for his character. So. I'll get over it. Eventually.
  Secondly, that there wasn't that major involvement, that old gang feel. But it was not so big in the face of all the excitement and my satisfaction with the story. I was sad that Leia didn't yell at least once. I was looking forward to hearing her bark orders, and run the place with the fiery passion that I loved. Didn't get to see that. So...yes, I was a bit disappointed. Everything was so sedate compared to what I was used to regarding the characters. Yes, people change with time but their essence often remains the same. It could be argued that such painful experiences have changed them, but I still expected more fire. More sparks. A little bit of clash between her and Solo. But still, it wasn't so big that I dwell too much on it.

  Overall the movie was fun, I'm thoroughly excited, I loved the new characters, the new storyline. I'm thoroughly revved for more. And I'll never forget the big cheer that followed when we saw that a piece of junk referenced was actually The Millenium Falcon. Never forget the love.

  Oh, and keep in mind that more spoilers will be coming. Bwhahaha. Come on I can't help it it's STARWARS!