Thursday, July 30, 2015

There's No Reason To Worry #3

"What the hell does that mean?"

The dark figure walked over to the kitchen and grabbed the knife block off the island. The house was spacious, contemporary, with modern lights, finishes, and all around metallic design choices. There were two floors, and as Sanjay was clumsily sprinting up the steps to the second floor, the dark figure walked over to the stair case.

"Hey man, we can w-work this out-t-t.... I have money, here, have it all," Sanjay stammered as he dug out a couple dollars from his jeans. The dark figure swatted the bills away, threw the knife block at Sanjay, and continued up the steps. Sanjay instinctively ducked, the knives flying out of the wood and impaling the opposite wall.

The dark figure spoke once more, "Mr. Patel, come with me," before vanishing into thin air. Sanjay stood on the steps, confused, scared, and angry all in one. This is all that Davies fault! The knives remained in the walls as Sanjay walked cautiously down the steps and around to the back door.

As he opened it, he realized that it had suddenly turned dark, bugs were out and about, and Mr. Davies and gone back inside. Sanjay ran to the other side of the backyard and vaulted over the fence into the opposite house's backyard. He squatted low to the ground, and he could here the normality of the family within the house. "So, Jacob, how was school today? What did you learn?" said the mother, almost pleading her teenage boy to answer anything other than "Nothing." But alas, that did not happen. Sanjay tuned out their extraneous noise and focused on what was at hand. The dark figure. Right. Now where did he go? Sanjay looked over his shoulder at the fence. Nothing. Nobody.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed Sanjay's neck. He whipped around, heart racing, to find nothing. "Hey, if you want me to follow, maybe show yourself," he said contemptuously. And there he was, the dark figure, barely visible in the darkness.

"Follow me, Mr. Patel."

The dark figure drifted across the grass and through the fence. What the--

"Mr. Patel, if you hope to follow me, you'll have to move." And then Sanjay was moving, but not by his own will. He too was drifting across the grass and through the fence. The neighboring house seemed abandoned, the paint peeling, the grass thick and unruly, the wood rotting.

Wisely, Sanjay adopted a respectful tone before speaking, "Sir, I don't understand what you want with me." The figure knuckles became white, but that was just for an instant before he turned around and responded.

"You'll see."

"No! I don't see anything. It's dark, and there are bugs, and I have work tomorrow! Let me go!" Sanjay said desperately.

"You'll see." The dark figure drifted over to the back door, bringing Sanjay with him despite Sanjay wanting desperately to flee. The door opened of its own accord, and as they stepped inside, Sanjay gagged from the smell. The kitchen still had a pot with some indistinguishable liquid(s), and the fridge had streaks of the same liquid(s). As they went through the living room to the second floor, Sanjay pleaded

"Sir, I have to GO HOME!" No response. The dark figure went up the stairs with his prisoner, and as they went up, the colder it got. On the top step, ice had formed, and Sanjay tried to resist going up.

"Resistance is futile, Mr. Patel," the dark figure said in a different voice. His voice seemed to be the collection of many. And then Sanjay was unable to utter a sound. As they went up the steps, Sanjay closed his eyes. "Seeing is believing, Mr. Patel." His eyes were opened, without the dark figure even touching him. When they reached the landing, Sanjay couldn't believe his eyes.

"Welcome, to the Abyss."

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

There's No Reason To Worry #2

The murders had been going on for a while now. Citizens were starting to get scared. All along Beache Road, Roger Davies, the old man that used to be on city council, had started petitioning the government to call for the National Guard. Signs lined the sidewalks on people's front lawns. "Mr. Stuart has done NOTHING! CALL IN THE GUARD!" Davies wasn't the only one. Mr. Locke from Douglass Street had also riled up his neighbors. He could be seen going about in the evenings door-to-door, asking people to sign some petition or other. Rumor had it that there was going to be a (hopefully peaceful, but who knows?) protest in the town square Sunday afternoon. The pressure was piling up on Mr. Stuart and the rest of the city's police force. The sheriff was constantly getting notifications from his deputy about the situation of unrest in Clare View Point. "Mr. Stuart, you might want to see this." Each instance of protest more unruly and savage than the last.

And throughout the fiasco in the town, the dark figure continued to seemingly bring about these deaths, and now, the victims were identifiable. Of course, the dark figure remained out of sight, his clandestine outings to the crime scenes as discreet as ever. Or was he? He had already been spotted once, an over-enthusiastic police man's 5 block perimeter had seen to that, though they didn't recognize him. Soon enough, he melted into he shadows, escaping with his wits about him. Still, either he was getting reckless or the police were getting more diligent, more likely the former.


"Mrs. Edna, Mr. McCullum, bless their souls! These murders are getting out of hand, Mr. Stuart, and you better do something about it before we do!" Ugh, it was that fool, Roger. What was it with him? His signs were nightmarishly ugly as well, a dark purple with bright yellow text ruining the entirety of Beach Road!!! Sanjay Patel was getting sick and tired of it. In fact, he was going out there right now to end this madness! Sanjay opened the door and walked out to the sidewalk.

"Davies! What on earth do you think you're doing?"

"Isn't it obvious, young man?"

Sanjay blurted out the first thing that came to mind, dripping with sarcasm... probably not the best thing to do when dealing with an old guy who was already riled up.

"Yeah! You're going to save the city! You keep at it, and you might even LOSE A FEW POUNDS!"

"What. Did. You. Say. To. Me," Mr. Davies said with his jaw set.

"I said, 'YOU MIGHT EVEN LOSE A FEW POUNDS!'" Sanjay retorted, Mr. Davies "better-than-you" attitude spurring him on.



Oops... that probably wasn't the best thing to say with a murderer on the loose. Sanjay froze as Mr. Davies jaw dropped. After what felt like an hour, Sanjay made a rude gesture to Mr. Davies and sprinted back to his house. After he slammed the door shut and locked it (who knows what the crabby old man might do to him?!), Sanjay rested against the door, panting.

"I've been waiting for you, Mr. Patel."

A dark figure stood before Sanjay. Though there was sunlight streaming through the blinds in the living room, the figure still seemed to be indistinct. He was wearing a long black trench coat and sunglasses, his features blurred by the mysterious haze.

"Who the hell are you?" Sanjay whispered.

"You'll see."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Minions - Average Joe Review

So, on July 25, 2015, I went to the theater to see another movie (I forgot what it was called), but because it was really boring, I moved to the theater to the right and saw Minions, start to finish. Hey, movies cost a lot these days, you gotta get your money's worth! And this is my (spoiler-free) review of the movie.

First off, if you hate the Minions and how they have taken over pop culture (one, how can you LIVE WITH YOURSELF?!), this review isn't for you (well, it is for you, but you probably won't share my opinions about the movie). Okay? Okay. OOOPS, I forgot that that's from TFiOS, oops, I hope this isn't like sued or anything. No copied right in fridge mint in tent dead!

A surprisingly funny movie, Minions is an interesting way to go about expanding the Despicable Me brand. In all their lovable banana loving goodness, people seem to be kind of binary towards them. Either you love 'em, or you think they're despicable. Get it? Because Despicable Me and Minions..... I'll show myself out. 

I feel the need for a new paragraph to distance myself from the pun. This movie highlighted why people love these yellow pills so much (that did not come out right) but it also showed me why people hate them so much. They're just too much sometimes. Sure, most of the jokes and humor in this movie were great, but some were just off the mark, too childish. I remember vividly once that a joke was made, and then nobody laughed. It wasn't very funny, it was just there to be a joke, to remind you that it's a comedy movie.

<sidenote> I won't be going over the plot of the movie in this, so you can just read this plot summary by Rotten Tomatoes <sidenote>

The beginning of the movie was very Stanley-Parable-esque, with the narrator showing us the entire history of the Minions, from them being single-celled organisms to their adventures (or should I say mishaps) with dinosaurs, cavemen, and big bears (that Agnes would probably say, "HE'S SO FWUFFY!!!!") The humor is spot on, but I felt some of it was a bit... much? There's this one scene involving a bank robbery, but guns are shown (revolvers) and it seemed out of place, at least to me, in a kids movie. As were several other jokes that I won't elaborate upon... you can watch the trailers.

The characters were great too! I bet there will be those few in the crowd that say, "THE MINIONS DON'T GROW OR CHANGE AT ALL!!!" and they would be right. But that's not to say that it's not a bad thing. Minions, a mon avis, are already fleshed out in the other movies, and that cute, playful personality is the star of the show here. Scarlet (why do I think it should be spelled with two t's?) is pure evil. A backstabbing traitor who takes advantage of the Minions' innocence. I thoroughly despised (I know, I know, that was bad) her by the end of the movie, which is a good thing!

The action was great too, with the sequences feeling natural and right at home with the rest of the movie, highlighting the villain's shortcomings and the Minions' unwitting skill for saving the day. Something to note: the main characters can barely communicate in English (Minionese being their first language... for the dictionary, click here), yet the movie still told a story. That itself is something to be applauded (not really, but just putting it out there...

That mismatched parentheses is really annoying you isn't it? I'll keep it just 'cuz. (^_^)

All in all, this movie was OKAY. Often times humor fell short of the mark, but it made up for it at other parts. In the end, the rollercoaster of Minions is worth a 3.7/5. Some parts were downright hysterical, but others had crickets chirping in the audience. Watch it if you love the Minions and can't get enough of their adventures!

That is all


Monday, July 20, 2015

Ant-Man - Average Joe Review

So, on July 18-19, 2015, I went to the theater to see Ant-Man. And this is my review of the movie.
(July 18-19 because it started at about 10:20 and lasted until 12:30 at night)

First off, this review doesn't contain any spoilers for Ant-Man. You're welcome.
Ah, another year, another pair of Marvel movies. Last year was probably the best year of Marvel movies yet, a mon avis. (2012 being the second best because of the Avengers, but come on, two movies are better than one!... I know some of you might not share the same thoughts.) and I still stand by that. 2015 was great, sure, with Age of Ultron and Ant-Man broadening up (or should I say SHRINKING up... get it? Oh wait... it doesn't make sense. I feel the need for a facepalm emoji), but The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy? It doesn't get much better than that.

Anyways, back to Ant-Man (which is what this post is supposed to be about). The movie is primarily a heist film, like TWS was a thriller/action-y type film and GOTG was... sci-fi? I guess so. Meet Scott Lang, ex con that just got out of jail and needs to get a job to reconnect with his daughter... I think? Eh, it's a long story. So, he heard from his boy Luis who heard it from Carlos who heard it from this chick that got some money to spread the rumor from a certain prominent character, I won't say who (gasps for air) that there is a job (a burglary. What do you expect? They're ex cons!) for them to break into a safe. Some stuff happens, Scott Lang becomes Ant-Man, yadayadayada(Stuff that I can't touch upon here for fear of spoilers)yadayadayadayada. The science of the Ant-Man suit is that it uses a particle called the Pym Particle that moves atoms closer together. The Pym Particle, however, was hidden away by Hank Pym. Darren Cross is trying to recreate that, and that's where Scott comes in. (For more information without spoilers, read the first 3 paragraphs of this).

Ant-Man definitely brought something new to the table in terms of how the action was presented. TWS was great at this, but the shrinking aspect of the Ant-Man (and Yellow Jacket) suit was... interesting. I feel as though they could've done a little more with this, as usually when Scott shrinks, we don't see him as a tiny person, instead we see the person he's beating up. (YAY! for run on sentences!) Also, the effects on this shrinking aspect, a mon avis could've been done better, for there was always a wispy white afterimage that detracted from the effect.

Throughout all the action, Ant-Man managed to not take itself too seriously, something that was definitely important for a movie named Ant-Man. Humor was apparent throughout, a lot of which was spoiler with the clips posted on YouTube and the trailer(s). However, the characters were also very memorable. Luis in particular was hilarious, his ramblings being intercut with different (relatively minor) characters speaking in his voice being particularly amusing. Michael Pena and Scott Lang did a very good job at incorporating such humor.

Now for the final heist (DON'T WORRY I'M NOT GOING TO SPOIL IT!). There is a subplot involving Scott and Scott's ex-wife's fiancee, Scott being an escaped-criminal and whatever. Anyways, the way the incorporated the subplot in with the heist scene(s) was quite hilarious as well, most of the characters involved having a humor about them as it were.

I give Ant-Man a 4.4/5 on this arbitrary scale of my opinionated statements that you may or may not agree with. The movie was hilarious and action-packed, but the way the shrinking aspect was carried out detracted from it, thus the 0.7 being knocked off. Oh, and it got an extra 0.1 for being one of the few movies that my dad did not fall asleep during. This is definitely a welcome edition to the already huge Marvel Cinematic Universe.


PS Stay till the very end, there is a mid-credits and an post-credits scene.

PPS I'm pretty sure that the credits said nothing like "No ants were harmed in the making of this film." Make of that what you will.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Is Art?

Because I was bored, and had nothing better to do (actually I do have better stuff to do, but that involves me doing something useful, so... yeah... no.) I started watching old Idea Channel videos and the first few deal with what is art (but you already knew what this was going to be about because of the title)?

In one of the videos, he states a very striking quote by Leo Tolstoy (author of War and Peace and AKA LOLstoy):

To evoke in oneself a feeling one has once experienced, and having evoked it in oneself, then by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling that others may experience the same feeling - this is the activity of art.” 

And I agree wholeheartedly with the quote. Art must make you feel something or make you think about something or make an impact on you in some way. Otherwise, it isn't art, it's just background noise that you take in and throw out. Art may be incomprehensible, but it can still impact you. That's why, despite what other people out there say, movies and video games are art (more on that in this video). The Last of Us made me feel something, emotions, about loss, desperation, the feeling of inevitable doom that came with it. Sadness, happiness, triumph. However, a mon avis, Pac-Man didn't make me feel anything, anything lasting anyways. As one of the comments in that video says, art makes a lasting impression on you, one that stays with you for however long. A mon avis, good art makes a lasting impression on you, and you remember it.

However, bear in mind that people may not interpret art the way you do. It (most likely) won't make them feel the same way you do, it won't make them conjure up the same emotions, memories, as you do. Art, in that sense is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. Some may not be able to feel things that others may be deeply impacted by. For instance, me not understanding how people see Pac-Man as art is probably because I can't understand how other people think. After all, we're different people, and emotions are one of those things that are pretty much indescribable in the same way that pain is. (For more on that, watch this video.) That's why, I think, that abstract art was severely discouraged hundreds of years ago. People didn't have an open mind, they weren't, I think, ready to understand, they didn't want to. People back then were much less accepting than we are today. But we still are close-minded, as a people. That's how art can move people. I think (I might be wrong) art was a huge contributor in the the movements of acceptance seen in history. Women's rights (I dunno if that was punctuated properly), abolitionism, and in recent times, gay rights. Art has given us a different perspective on things, a way to see things from different angles, to feel others' feelings, to understand. As LOLSTOY said, art is supposed to evoke feelings in the hope that others can feel it too. The distinction between good art and bad art is completely in the hands eyes mind of who is absorbing the art.

Ultimately art is completely subjective. What you think is art may not be what I think is art. But all art must make an impact on you. Music, literature, film, video games, videos, all these things move you. Books, they take you on a journey, through the ups and downs. Music evokes emotion, happiness, sadness, intensity (if that even qualifies as an emotion). All these things make an impact on you, and that's what I think separates art from the background noise, the stuff you filter out, the stuff that is virtually useless. Just keep in mind that one person's background noise can be another's Monet.