My Entertainment Weekend Update

Happy weekend friends!

This week in books:

I’m still working through The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V. E. Schwab. It’s a big book, and I’m sinking my teeth into it and savoring every page. It’s a fascinating read about a woman who makes a bad deal for eternal life, but at the price of never being remembered. By anyone. Ever. How she makes it through life this way as she witnesses history is an amazing read.

Still working on The Outsiders, but it’s a small book and my daughter’s class is almost done. I won’t mention it again until I’ve actually finished it, lol.

I’m excited to report that I received the Star Wars book Ronin, by Emma Mieko Candon. It’s based on the Visions short The Duel, with the mysterious Ronin and his faithful straw-hatted droid by his side. I’ve only just finished the chapters that deal with what we see in the short, so from here on will be new material. I can’t wait to see what he’s all about.

This is a really cool cover.

I’ve also been reading The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry, a middle-grade Star Wars book about Luke Skywalker that takes place between A New Hope and Empire. This is also a short book, and I’m about halfway done. It deals with Luke on a mission for the Alliance, but he gets sidetracked into exploring a destroyed Jedi Temple on an Outer Rim planet. Fun. I don’t normally read middle-grade, but I wanted something short and sweet on the Kindle to read on break at work, lol (I hate dragging around big hardcovers).

In Marvel news: I’m saddened that there’s no more What If? episodes to watch. 😦 But, I did watch the movie Black Widow, which is now available to basic Disney+ subscribers like myself. It was good; I enjoyed it. I think it takes place between Avengers: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, when Natasha is on the run and hiding from some government dude after the Sekovia Accords. I’ve only watched those movies once so far, so I’m a little fuzzy about the timeline and events, lol. I’ll have to do a rewatch.

It’s all about (dysfunctional) family.

Speaking of rewatches, every now and then I rewatch a favorite Marvel movie or show: this week it was Guardians of the Galaxy. Before my Marvel revelation and conversion, when I saw the previews for this movie when it came out I thought, “Boy, that looks so dumb.” Never in a million years did I think it would be one of my favorites! But it’s so fun, and the soundtrack helps a lot, too. I’m a sucker for 70s easy-listening, and my joy in it is validated in this movie, lol. But I love the characters (I never thought I’d love a gun-toting racoon so much), it’s hilarious, and ties in nicely with the upcoming Infinity War arc.

That’s really about it. The next big thing, I think, is the Hawkeye series premiering on November 24th, with two episodes. I’ve always been a Hawkeye fan, so I’m looking forward to this.

What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Dark Dr. Strange by Uzuri Art

I found this amazing image of Dark Doctor Strange (I think he’s called Dr. Strange Supreme? but I like Dark Dr. Strange, lol) on social media and just had to share it. It’s by one of my favorite illustrators, Uzuri Art, who, by the way, will be officially illustrating the middle-grade Star Wars book Stories of Jedi and Sith, coming out next year.

Image

What do you think of this image? Have you been tuning in to Marvel’s What If…? series? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Happy weekend, my friends!

In books this week, I’m about halfway through The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, which I’m really enjoying. I’m also only about halfway through The Outsiders, the book my daughter is reading in school. It’s a short book and I would have finished it in a couple of days, but I’m trying to go at my daughter’s class’ pace, which is EXTREMELY slow, lol (it doesn’t help that her teacher has been out sick). So that’s on hold until they catch up.

So I needed another Kindle book to keep me busy until then, so I downloaded The Weapon of a Jedi, by Jason Fry. It’s a middle-grade Luke-centric story that takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. I’ve just started it, so I can’t really say much about it right now, except that I’m happy to be reading a Luke story. More on this book next week.

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He’s in the yellow coat/black shirt combo I like so much.

Speaking of Luke-centric stories, I just learned that there are several new Star Wars canon books coming out next year, and one of them is called Shadow of the Sith, by Adam Christopher. This one has Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian post-Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens. Finally, a Luke story post ROTJ! It comes out June 28th of next year (my birthday! Sounds like a great birthday present to myself, lol). I’m going to have a whole post on these new books, which also includes an Obi-Wan and Anakin novel called Brotherhood, a YA novel about Obi-Wan (so much Obi-Wan next year, my heart can’t take it!) called Padawan, and a book of short stories about the Jedi and the Sith called, well, Stories of Jedi and Sith, by various authors. Very exciting for this Star Wars bibliophile, and along with the new High Republic books coming out next year, I’ll be very busy indeed!

So, in Marvel: the latest What If? episode (What if…the Watcher Broke his Oath) was the season finale, and it was…good. I enjoyed it, as it brought together this rather ragtag team of heroes from across the multiverse to fight Ultron, including Party Thor, T’Challa Starlord, Captain Carter, Gomorra, Killmonger, Black Widow and Dark Dr. Strange. It had a lot of cool battles, and the solution was unique and unexpected, but…I have questions, lol.

What If...? Every MCU Easter Egg In Episode 9 | Screen Rant
Guardians of the Multiverse, assemble!

First off, I wanted to know more about this Gamorra. We hadn’t seen her at all in the series, and suddenly she’s there (taken from a universe where she was working with Tony Stark, of all people). What’s her story? Also, I just kind of assumed that if the Watcher broke his oath (and who, exactly, did he make the oath to?) that there would be consequences. A price to pay, so to speak. But nothing happened. He broke his oath and interfered, Ultron was defeated, and…that’s it. Multiverse saved. Doesn’t seem to make cosmic sense. Anyway, my last question is: how does the Watcher fit in with the multiverse unleashed in the Loki series? Does Kang (or He Who Remains, or whatever his name is) know the Watcher? Is he the one The Watcher gave the oath to? Maybe these are questions that will be answered in a Season Two, which I really hope happens.

Oh hey, if you want to ball your eyes out, check out the movie War Horse. It’s a great film about a horse and his boy, but has the kind of scenes (like a horse getting caught in barbed wire) that make me wonder why the hell I put myself through this, lol. Seriously, it’s a wonderful Spielberg film that ranks up there with my personal horse movie favorites–Hildalgo and Seabiscuit. Heavenly Hiddles is in it but only for about 20 minutes in a 2.5 hour movie. No matter; still well worth it.

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Get the tissues out.

That’s it for this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

Brief thoughts on my X-Men Movie Marathon

I’ve been casting around for something else to watch that fits my mood lately, and it suddenly struck me that I haven’t seen all of the X-Men movies. I did see the first one when it first came out (in 2000–wow!) and maybe the second one, but that’s about it. I remember liking it, of how it shone a light on those who are born differently and are discriminated against because of it. So I went to Disney+ and scrolled down to “Marvel Legacy Movies,” and started in. Here’s my brief opinions on the films:

X-Men (2000). A solid first entry, setting up the world and the characters. The history between Charles and Eric, the love triangle between Logan, Jean, and Scott, the mysterious past of Wolverine, and the political climate surrounding the Mutants. My favorite Mutant? Mystique, baby! She’s bad, but she’s SO cool.

X-Men 2/X2: X-Men United (2003) A worthy follow-up. The X-Men and Magneto unite to defeat Stryker, a man bent on annihilating all mutants; he also seems to know the particulars of Wolverine’s past. I liked Nightcrawler–he’s very sweet and his faith keeps him from being bitter. Jean Gray’s death was sad, but I feel like we haven’t seen the last of her.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) This was a fairly enjoyable movie, but there was something about it that was unsatisfactory. Bringing Jean Gray back from the dead as a ruthless monster? Well, okay. Not using that beautiful bald kid to stop her at the end? It didn’t make sense to me. Of course, it forced Wolverine to kill the woman he loves, and endure losing her a second time, a love that I never got invested in anyway. Not perfect, but a decent popcorn movie.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) Now this was a great movie. We get Logan’s mysterious past explained, and why he can’t remember any of it. Interesting that he crossed paths with Scott (who was blind at the time, and so wouldn’t recognize him later). Another tragic love story for Logan. I was going to skip the Deadpool movies, as I wasn’t sure how they fit into X-Men, but of course I get it now, so they’re on the list, lol.

X-Men: First Class (2011) I loved this movie. I loved learning how the X-Men began, and seeing the young Charles and Eric forming their friendship and then diverging onto different paths. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are perfect for the roles. My favorite out of all of them, I think.

The Wolverine (2013) I’ll watch this one at a later date and post my thoughts.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) This one was….strange, lol. Dark and weird and a little confusing, but I think I got the gist. I think. It was cool seeing the older Xavier and Magneto and the younger in the same movie, but the plot was kind of absurd. Even so, it changed the timeline, and everything going forward is different. I was a bit startled to see Peter Maximoff–hey, that’s the guy from Wandavision, who was pretending to be Wanda’s brother!–and it just kind of confused me. But I’m going with the flow, lol.

Deadpool (2016) I’ll watch this one at a later date and post my thoughts.

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) At first I thought this one was going to be absurd, too, lol, but it turned out pretty good. Poor Eric just can’t catch a break, and my heart breaks for him. I kind of understand why he wants to destroy humanity, the jerks. Also, Peter Maximoff is his son???? I’m happy to see (younger) Nightcrawler back. And what’s up with the new Storm? At the end of Future Past, Halle Berry is there as Storm. More inconsistencies, but oh well. But most importantly, we see how Charles loses his hair.

Logan (2017) I’ll watch this one at a later date and post my thoughts.

Deadpool 2 (2018) I’ll watch this one at a later date and post my thoughts.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019) Finally, aliens! This was a good new spin on Jean Gray. I was kind of hoping to see more of Peter Maximoff and maybe Eric finding out he’s his son, but I guess not. Interesting how Mystique became more Raven with these new films, a hero rather than a villain, but she kind of annoyed me. I preferred her as a villain, to be honest.

The New Mutants (2020) I have zero interest in this movie right now. It looks more like a horror film than an X-Men movie, which is fine but not what I want right now.

All in all, I really enjoyed this marathon. It’s fun to see the various mutants, and I love the complicated relationship between Charles and Eric. My favorite character (besides villain Mystique) is Magneto played by Michael Fassbender. My only criticism is that the films lack consistency and are kind of all over the place. I feel like the X-Men arc is kind of Marvel’s warm-up to its Avengers arc, which is superior in a lot of ways.

As I noted, I’ll watch the Wolverine and Deadpool movies later, and do a catch-up post on those.

Have you watched the X-Men movies? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!

My thoughts on Star Wars: Visions

When I heard about Star Wars Visions way back when all the new shows coming up were announced, it was pretty much last on my list concerning my interest level. I’m not an anime fan and don’t know much about it. But even with it at the bottom of my list, I knew I’d at least check it out when it released, out of curiosity if anything.

I’m pleasantly surprised to report that I enjoyed it, for the most part. It’s visually beautiful and looks at Star Wars from a different perspective, one that I found intriguing, for the most part. As I suspected, there were shorts that I really liked, even loved, while others were a little too “out there” for me, lol. Here’s a list of my personal ranking from best to worst, with some brief thoughts on each:

  1. The Elder. I have to admit, I think this is my favorite because of the familiar Star Wars elements, mainly the Jedi Master/Padawan relationship. It looks like it could be right out of the Republic era. Master Taijin reminds me of Qui Gon Jinn (and I think maybe that was intentional), and so of course I loved him. I love that Taijin was voiced by David Harbour, from Stranger Things and Black Widow.
  2. The Duel. I loved the look of this one, and the story was pretty intriguing, too (that’s why I ordered the novel based on it, called Ronin). I want to know this man’s story, and to learn about the alternate Jedi and Sith history.
  3. The Ninth Jedi. I think everyone universally loved this one, and I thought it was great, too. I love the idea of lightsabers changing colors based on who wields it. And it’s ripe for continuation in either more shorts or books or whatever they want to do with it.
  4. The Village Bride. I thought this one was lovely. I recognized the groom’s voice as Christopher Sean, who voiced Kazuda in Star Wars Resistance, which immediately endeared me.
  5. Lop and Ocho. Despite the bunny (not a fan of the cutesy stuff), this one was pretty good. I liked the strained family dynamics, the very cool lightsaber, the adopted kid becoming the father’s heir.
  6. Akakiri. This one committed the ultimate sin of being kind of boring, lol. The main character reminded me of Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor, which I thought was interesting even though there’s absolutely no connection, lol.
  7. T0-B1. An obvious Pinocchio allusion, this one was a bit too cutesy for me. I’m intrigued by a droid training as a Jedi, though.
  8. The Twins. Although this one looked cool and the story sounded promising, it was just too much for me. Fighting in the vacuum of space? Riding on top of a ship during hyperspace? The female sibling screaming dramatically and incoherently? No thanks.
  9. Tatooine Rhapsody. Maybe I’m being too harsh on this one, I know some people loved it, but it just didn’t work for me. The singing didn’t interest me, but I could have tolerated it if the Padawan singer actually did some Jedi stuff with his lightsaber microphone. But he didn’t. He just sang. That’s fine, but not enough for me, lol.

All in all, I enjoyed watching these shorts and I’m glad Star Wars was explored through this perspective. Despite looking a little different, they focused on what Star Wars, to me, is all about: Jedi and Sith, The Force, lightsabers (I especially loved the variations on lightsabers–even the microphone one, lol), family, good against evil, dreams and longing, wonder and hope. I’m even up for a Season Two, if it happens.

Let me know what you thought about Star Wars Visions, and we’ll talk about it!

My Entertainment Weekend Update

Happy weekend my friends!

In books this past week, I finished The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, about a childless couple in 1920 Alaska, who create a snow child that seemingly comes to life. It’s a lovely, moving book about grief and loss, but also joy and love; and about the forces of nature and how we try to tame it. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy magical realism, which this novel flirts with.

I’ve started reading The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, because my 12 year old daughter is reading it in school and I wanted to read it along with her so we can talk about it. Now that she’s older she’s reading more interesting books in school, and I relish the idea of discussing them with her. I read The Outsiders way back when I was a teen (35 years ago!) and remember liking it, though not exactly what it was about. I have to admit, it reads differently now that I’m a mom–such violence! smoking! chasing “broads”!–is this what I want my daughter to be reading?? Then again, I read it at her age or thereabouts, and it didn’t scar me or anything, lol. Kids can handle more than we give them credit for. And it’s about so much more than rowdy boys in the 60’s. The only problem is that now that I’m reading it, I want to keep going and finish it, but I also want to read it along with her at her class’s pace–which is pretty slow, lol.

A blast from my 80’s past: Two-Bit, Soda Pop, Ponyboy, Dallas, Johnny, Darry, and Steve.

Luckily I’ve got another book I’m reading called The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, by V.E. Schwab, and I’m loving it. It’s about a young woman in the 1700’s who prays to the gods for a different life, one where she is free and belongs to no one–but oops, she prays to “the gods who answer after dark” and gets her wish, but at a price. The price is that no one remembers her–not her parents, her best friend, not even the old witch who told her about the old gods. No one over the next 300 years ever remembers her. She is free to wander the world for as long as she likes, but it’s an unbearably lonely journey. I’m only several chapters in and I love it.

Never pray to the gods who answer after dark.

After watching Star Wars Visions, I decided I wanted to know more about the Ronin in The Duel, and so ordered Ronin, by Emma Mieko Candon. It comes out on October 12th, and I’m looking forward to it. I think it will be a unique Star Wars read–containing familiar Star Wars elements like lightsabers, the Force, droids, etc. but also things we’ve never seen before. I’d been trying to decide what Star Wars book I wanted to read next, but nothing called to me in particular; but once I heard about Ronin, I thought “Yes!” Can’t wait.

And speaking of Visions, I saw this custom poster for The Elder (my favorite Visions short) by TRIGGER on social media. It’s awesome!

May be a cartoon of text

Speaking of Star Wars, I discovered a new special on Disney+ called A Galaxy of Sounds. It’s a tribute to the sound and visual technicians of Star Wars, and it’s really cool to listen to parts of the movies without the John Williams soundtrack (which is fantastic, of course, but sometimes masks the other sounds we might not notice). It’s got 5 to 10 minute shorts with titles like “Wonder,” “Excitement,” “The Light Side,” “The Dark Side,” “Beeps,” etc. It’s put together quite well, and I enjoyed it. Made me want to watch all the movies again!

I also watched Lego’s Terrifying Tales, since I enjoyed last year’s Holiday Special so much. This wasn’t as funny or entertaining to me, but it had its moments. I especially liked the story “The Wookie’s Paw” where Luke joins the Empire instead of the Rebellion and is trained in the Force by Vader. When they swing across the chasm on the rope and Vader kisses him and says “For luck,” I lost it, lol.

In Marvel, the penultimate episode of What If? (Ultron Won) was just fantastic. When this whole thing started, I wondered about the Watcher, but never imagined he’d become an active character in his own right. Now he’s fighting for the fate of the multiverse, and actually asks for help from dark Dr. Strange. It just boggled my expectations, and I love it! Can’t wait to see how it ends next week.

What If… “Ultron Won”? Gives Us Peace in Our Time | Tor.com
How we gettin outta this one?

So that’s about it for this week. What’s been entertaining you? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!