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From Up on Poppy Hill (viewed at home 19 April 2013)
B and I watched this subtitled with the original Japanese voicing. I’d wanted to see it since I knew it was coming out (in English) in the United States this year and it’s always a good thing to support anime in theaters. I didn’t want to see it dubbed, though, and the last Studio Ghibli film I went to see in theaters… wasn’t the best thing ever. So, found it online and we watched it together in the comfort of my own home. Yay. Also, I’ve been sorely lacking in watching anime recently, and B (apparently) really likes Studio Ghibli, so… (although he did complain about it having been directed by Goro Miyazaki and not Hayao Miyazaki). Now, that being said: I know Studio Ghibli is near and dear to many fans’ hearts, and of course that’s fine, but with the exception of Mononoke Hime, I just haven’t loved/adored the Ghibli films I’ve seen. Maybe it’s similar to my relationship with James Joyce’s work; I acknowledge that he’s a master among many, but I just don’t like his stuff. Sorry, it’s just a preference.

Supernatural, season 4 (viewed at home late March 2013)
All right, so I think my interest in this series peaked somewhere in the middle-to-late part of this season. What I’m really interested in is Sam and Dean’s relationship with each other, and watching it become strained to nearly the breaking point is realistic, but it’s not… something I want to watch. I have enough problems in my own life, you know? I’ll keep watching the series, obviously, because the characters are compelling and holyshit Lucifer’s out. (Is that actually a bad thing? Grraaaaagh cliff-hangers!) Also, Dean was right all along about Ruby. (He owes Sam the biggest “I told you so” ever.) Kind of made me sad, but she’d been a prick in the brothers’ sides for… well, basically since she arrived, so I also wanted her death to be… more drawn out. ^_^;; Hahaha, maybe I’m a little sick, I don’t know. On to season 5!

Oz, the Great and Powerful (viewed in theaters 31 March 2013)
Grandma’s family night choice. I was surprised she picked it, though I suppose that the Wizard of Oz stories are right up her alley, so maybe I shouldn’t have been. Anyway, my sister had seen it previously and said it was full of wasted potential, so I my expectations were pretty low. It turned out not terrible, all things considered, though I agreed with my sister’s assertion that the title character was kind of useless until the very end, wherein he made strange-but-interesting use of his “powers” and saved the Emerald City and the Land of Oz from… two evil sister witches? I mean, yes, they were “evil”, but they were so two-dimensional (and so was every character), that it was basically laughable. I feel like the whole movie, despite actually passing the Bechdel Test, was a giant step backwards for women’s personal agency.

Supernatural, season 3 (viewed at home late February – late March 2013)
All right, so I finished season 3 with my heart in my throat. Lilith as a child was really not my cup of tea (children creep me out, to say the least), and Sam and Dean (and their relationship) keep growing on me. People keep telling me the show gets better and if that’s true, Supernatural will end up holding a place in my top five all time favorite television shows ever. I really like the portrayal of family here, each brother willing to do literally anything to save the other. That’s how I feel about some of the people I know, and it’s a relief to see that I’m not the only one who has such strong feelings. (I realize Sam and Dean are fictional characters, but somebody had to make them up and write them that way, right?) I’d really like to see more siblings with strong, complicated relationships portrayed positively on film/TV.

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (viewed in theaters 16 March 2013)
This film is so bad, it’s good. The title characters are like Neo and Trinity reborn as siblings and dropped into the nineteenth century… sort of. Anacronisms and f-bombs abound, and you know what? It was awesome. Most critics didn’t like it, and I didn’t watch it expecting anything Oscar-worthy. I really love retellings and continuations of classic fairytales, and this didn’t disappoint. It was gorier than I expected—gratuitous violence isn’t really my thing—and the antagonists were pretty two-dimensional, but like I said: I wasn’t expecting much. What most interested me was the dynamic between Hansel and Gretel, two different-gender main characters who explicitly do not have a romance going on between them. I wish that dynamic had been explored more; it was refreshing to see a reunion scene that didn’t inevitably lead to an “adult situation”, for example.

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Accepted (watched at home 10 March 2013)
I actually bought this film for my dad for a past gift-giving occasion, and he kept it on his desk with the intent to “watch it someday”… I got fed up with that, finally, and declared that we’d watch it for my family night, since neither he nor my sister had ever seen it. It’s a cheesy, mostly-unrealistic, feel-good movie that I’d probably watch again sometime if I owned it myself. More use of the word “shit” than I remember, but really… the name of the school that comes into being is South Harmon Institute of Technology, so what was I honestly expecting? Anyway, it’s not Oscar material, I guess, but I liked it. The school’s curriculum was the best thing ever. I would totally take the class “Walk Around and Think About Stuff”, for example, or “Bullshitting 236”.

Zero Dark Thirty (viewed 24 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
By the end of this film, I just had a giant headache. I mean, I get that Osama bin Laden is a bad guy and the “good guys” used questionable tactics to get questionable responses from prisoners. I just… I didn’t really need to see it played out. I really didn’t. I mean, it was a good story, well-acted and well-directed, but I just… Meh. Let’s just say: I’m glad this country has people who will do what it takes, I’m glad I rarely have to be one of them, and I’m glad I don’t usually even have to know anything about it one way or the other.

Silver Linings Playbook (viewed 24 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
Of the Oscar nominees, this was my favorite. It hit a bit closer to home than I was really expecting, and of the films I saw on the second day of the showcase, this was the only one that caused me to tear up. Bipolar disorder! Mental health! Dancing! What’s not to like? (Haha, I’m not being sarcastic, either. The portrayal of the characters’ mental health really was better done than “OMG there’s a crazy person hahaha oh wait let’s fix them okay now we can all live happily ever after”, which, for Hollywood, is saying a lot.)

Lincoln: see One Paragraph 10
I skipped this film in the lineup because I’d already seen it and didn’t think I could handle the heartache again so soon.

Life of Pi [in 3D] (viewed 24 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
Better than I expected. It’s almost a one-man show, not including the tiger, of course. It was… sort of like Das Boot…? Except not so boring. The end made me think: Pi was the only one who survived that ship sinking, so who’s to say what really happened but him? I think a really good adaptation of a novel can only hope to entice the audience into reading the original content—and this film definitely did that for me. Kudos.

Beasts of the Southern Wild (viewed 24 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
Not what I expected. Not bad (good, even), but not what I expected. A lot of it seemed to revolve around (eating) live/raw foods, especially seafood. The connection between Hushpuppy and the large beasts was, at least, intriguing. It was interesting to see the difference between the father’s priorities (and the priorities of the other members of the Bathtub) and the refugee camp’s doctors/nurses/helpers’ priorities. Made me think.

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Wreck-It Ralph (viewed in theaters 17 February 2013)
Watching Wreck-It Ralph was Mom’s family night choice. Honestly, I didn’t really want to see it, but it turned out to be really decent. (The last animated film that I saw that turned out decent was Finding Nemo, for comparison.) We had to explain to my grandma that it was about video game characters, but after that hurdle, even she thought it was really good. I kinda wasn’t really into the Fix-It Felix, Jr., character and the primary setting, the Sugar Rush game. Ugh, so much pink. It’s all right, I guess, but it wasn’t my first choice. Not to mention the Sugar Rush theme song is reeeeeally not something I’d prefer to have stuck in my head; I’m just sayin’. But bonus! It passes the Bechdel Test yaaaaaay. Who knew that was even possible when the main character is a guy?

Django Unchained (viewed 16 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
I didn’t like the overuse of the n*word, for starters, but as a person whose ancestors probably owned slaves (as opposed to someone whose ancestors who probably were slaves), I don’t have the historical or personal context to tell someone else not to use that word. Well, actually, I’m pretty sure it’s off limits for white people, but if black people reclaim the word as their own, that’s their right. I liked the parallels made to the Brünnhilde legend (oh, Germany) and Dr. Schultz, the white character who seemed so out of place treating black people like people in the context of the movie and the history. Overall, I agree with much of the criticism the film’s received in regards to seeming to make like of what was a horrible time in our national history, but on the other hand it also made me think about how much further we have to go in order to achieve true equity. Also, though there are multiple women characters, I don’t think it passes the Bechdel Test. (Obviously, there’s a long way to go for equity in that respect as well.)

Argo (viewed 16 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
All right, so. Argo was much better than I expected. It’s even a comedy (in the Shakespearian sense of the word “comedy”, of course), so that was a relief after watching two tragedies (see below). I didn’t like that a white guy (Ben Affleck) played a Hispanic character (the main character, in fact); it’s not like there aren’t any Hispanic actors in Hollywood (or anywhere). As for the story: Canada is awesome, the Houseguests went a little crazy stuck inside but they survived, and they were saved by the kind of plan that would only work in the movies. Really. Also, it really, really does not pass the Bechdel Test.

Les Misérables (viewed 16 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
ALL THE SONGS! No, seriously. All the songs. And I know—even though I’ve never seen the musical or read the book (I know, I know; save the lecture)—that they cut out a bunch of songs/music in order to cut the play down to a (relatively speaking) bite-sized movie musical. I learned afterwards, though, that in order to have the plot flow more easily for people who’ve never read the book or seen the musical on Broadway, the directors (or whomever decides that kind of thing) wrote a cappella parts for the characters who are basically just explaining the plot that’s being skipped over. If you know the musical by heart (as many people do), it might be strange listening to characters sing without instrumentals to back them up, but it’s actually a warning to you that something from the musical is being rushed through with basic exposition. Back to the film itself: the candlestick part at the very beginning gets me every time, and the rest of it is so sad that it’s difficult to watch. It’s based in history (y’know, but with more singing), and watching the movie made me want to read more about the French Revolution and nineteenth century generally speaking. Seriously, though, such a sad story. I don’t know if I could handle the extra-long novel. Gaaaaaah. Pretty sure this film does not pass the Bechdel Test.

Amour (viewed 16 February 2013 in theaters as part of AMC Best Picture Showcase 2013)
A French language film; I watched it with English subtitles. Involving a stroke victim and her husband caretaker, it made me want to never be so incapacitated that I couldn’t handle myself in most respects. It covered the extreme difficulty in caring for someone whose mental and physical state is in decline. It was like a dark comedy without the comedy. Very difficult, bittersweet, sad. The kind of thing my mom would like, if she was prepared for such heartache. It passes the Bechdel Test.

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Supernatural, season 2 (viewed at home February 2013)
I’m already invested in this series, obviously, because I’ve seen the entire first season. Season 2 was pretty good, but it had more episodic episodes (for lack of a better term) than an wide-reaching arc. I mean, the story arc was there, too, of course, but it felt to me like the episodes could be switched up more easily than in the first season. Sam and Dean are still most definitely brothers, and I like the dynamic between them. It feels kind of… Holmes/Watson-esque, each complementing the other perfectly. In the first season I identified more with Sam, who was/is struggling with his (possible) destiny, but this season, I liked Dean more. He’s rough and reckless, but he loves his brother so much he’d fucking sell his soul. Damn.

Supernatural, season 1 (viewed at home late December 2012 – early February 2013)
Holy shit, guys. Sam and Dean Winchester are actually for realsies brothers and no one can convince me otherwise. A couple of the episodes were corny (a haunted truck, FFS?), but it paid off in the end because OMG HOLY SHIT WHAAAAAAAAAT. Damn, can’t these guys catch a break? I mean, really. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say I’m really happy I don’t have to wait ages for season 2. Why didn’t anyone tell me about Supernatural before? It’s right up there with Buffy and Angel.

Jack Reacher (viewed in theaters 30 December 2012)
My family went to see The Hobbit, but because I had already seen that film and there were no seats available in the theater, I elected to see something else on the condition that both films let out at roughly the same time. My choices, then, were This is 40, Parental Guidance, and the movie I chose: Jack Reacher. It was an okay movie. Tom Cruise (who plays the title character), is… well, he’s Tom Cruise, and he acts like himself in every movie I’ve ever seen him in. Or rather, he plays basically the same character in every movie, and this one was no different. There was even an offhand comment referencing Mission: Impossible, and that was amusing for about a half-second. There was a lot of flying concrete and killing people, shooting heavy weaponry (that is, assault rifles and the like) and conspiracies, and, of course, the obligatory Evil Soviet Antagonist. But it all turns out okay: the lady lawyer is saved, the conspiracy is uncovered, the guy who was framed is exonerated. Yay, all is well. I don’t know if it was worth the price of admission, but it was a fun movie (if you like that sort of thing) and it didn’t give me nightmares, so I’m counting it as a success.

Albert Nobbs (viewed at home 29 December 2012)
My dad and I actually wanted to see this film when it came out in theaters, but it didn’t have a wide release, and we couldn’t get our schedules together enough to go before it came out on DVD. So, he bought it and we finally watched it at home ourselves one Saturday night at the end of 2012. It was sad, but not in the way that I really expected. I didn’t really know WHAT to expect, actually, and the film was basically realistic historical fiction. That is to say, it was more-or-less what would’ve happened during that time period (late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries), as opposed to what any of us WANTED to happen. Of course, we want happy endings, but this ended more realistically than happily, and that made it tragic and sad. There was a flicker of hope at the end, but it was bittersweet. I think I liked Mr. Hubert Paige the most, and I wanted to know more about his story, too, as well as Mr. Nobbs’s. It was a good movie, and I can see why it received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations, but it was… strange.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (viewed in theaters 16 December 2012)
My best friend bugged me about seeing this film until I finally caved and said I’d watch it with him. I’ve never read Lord of the Rings (gasp; I’m a terrible English major, I know!), but I read The Hobbit in fourth grade, before it was cool. That said, I haven’t read the book since…. fourth grade, so it was basically like watching a film that I’d heard of and once sat through the synopsis of, but that was all. My friend, a Tolkien fanatic, was pleased with The Hobbit film more than he’d been with any of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I thought it dragged in places. It was good, if you like Tolkien, but really. The entirety of the Brown Wizard sections could’ve been taken out, for example, without adversely affecting the plot. (Don’t get me wrong, Radagast the Brown was probably my favorite character, but the story is called “The Hobbit”, not “The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and everything else Tolkien ever wrote” or “The Hobbit and also Gandalf’s wizarding side-story”—I’m just sayin’.) As the credits rolled, my friend turned to me and said without a hint of sarcasm in his voice, “I can’t wait for the extended edition!” I couldn’t help but groan. The Hobbit film was good, but it wasn’t THAT good.

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Lincoln [2012] (viewed in theaters 18 November 2012)
We saw this at my grandmother’s request as a family. The actors who played Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, were amazing. I’m not sure they could’ve been more well-cast. Overall, the film made me (1) want to learn more about Lincoln himself, (2) think of the sinking of the Titanic and films based on said (in that we already know the ending, so it’s only a matter of time before everyone breaks down crying), and (3) want to fist pump and high-five Thaddeus Stevens for being totally badass, driven, and radical. He’s the kind of guy I want on my side, and I wonder how he’d see the present day if he was transported from the Civil War era into the twenty-first century. Stevens might be a historical person I’d like to speak with if given the chance. Man after my own heart. And it made me wonder: what the hell happened to that Republican party, hmm? What happened to all that awesome to create today’s idiotic GOP? Arrrrgh. I have feelings about this, obviously. -_- So much potential, either used up or wasted.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [ballet] (viewed live ballet 21 October 2012)
After seeing Don Giovanni at the Music Center in Los Angeles, I was made aware of other live performances at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, including a ballet depicting Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, performed by the National Ballet of Canada. My family attended a Sunday evening performance dressed to the nines and sat up in the second balcony. I really enjoyed myself, and the ballet was stellar. I borrowed my grandmother’s binoculars and was able to see many of the dancers close up, even though we were sitting so far away. The music was good, the Queen of Hearts great, and Alice (with short, dark hair, as had the original Alice) well-cast. Because there was no speaking and all the performers had to tell the story only through their dancing, I was glad I’d recently read the stories. I also liked the way the ballet ended, in the present day. Very beautiful. (And amazing dancing, as one may expect from professional dancers!)

The Day the Earth Stood Still (viewed at home 07 October 2012)
Grandma chose this film as a “family night” selection, and while I thought it was somewhat outdated in its dealings between women and men in relationships, I could see the value in it after I’d seen the entire thing. It was produced in black-and-white in 1951, and the idea that humanity needs a savior but is too afraid to accept one is quite obvious. The parallels my grandmother drew to Jesus were… unnecessary, in my opinion. I’d like to see the remake, just to see how times have changed (and how they’ve stayed the same), and read the short story upon which both films were based.

Don Giovanni [LA Opera] (viewed live opera 03 October 2012)
My best friend and I attended the performance of Don Giovanni at the Los Angeles Opera after our German teacher suggested the students attend live performances by German composers. He and I got to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion with a few minutes to spare to get student tickets ($25 each for seats on the first floor ten rows from the stage = sweet!). I changed into opera-appropriate clothing (my friend had forgotten a tie, but it turned out okay), and we ate expensive salad and desserts (more than $50 for two salads, two desserts, and two Shirley Temples = NOT sweet >_>) before the performance began. I guess I should’ve already known that the opera was written in Italian and not German, but I hadn’t connected that before the performers began to sing. Luckily, the audience was provided with supertitles in English so that we would understand what was actually going on. It was pretty funny, for an opera first performed in the late eighteenth century, anyway. There are two deaths, but the first was necessary for some/most of the plot to take place, and the second was the apparently necessary conclusion for the protagonist so lacking in “good morals”. I also realized that Gaston and Lefou, antagonists in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, were lifted almost exactly from the characters Don Giovanni and Leporello. The difference was that, in Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni/Gaston and Leporello/Lefou are the main characters—it’s their story that’s being told. In Beauty and the Beast, it’s Belle’s. I learn something new every day, it seems.

Gershwin on the Green (LA County Arboretum 08 September 2012)
I think this was Dad’s idea, though I don’t completely remember. We attended the dinner (which we brought) beforehand and had reserved table seating, so we were actually relatively close to the musicians when the performance began. I was able to lie on the grass watching the stars cross the sky and listen to more Gershwin than I ever have before at one time. It was good. Some of the music I recognized, most of it I didn’t. I learned that Gershwin is one of my grandmother’s favorite composers, and the conductor who was originally supposed to be conducting the performance (Marvin Hamlisch) had died shortly before, so the entire concert was dedicated to him instead. In between pieces, various people close to Hamlisch metaphorically sung his praises, which I found annoying, but I’d never met the man, so who am I to deny those mourning a little bit of celebration and closure? I had a good time despite the concert’s interruptions, and I’m glad I went.

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (viewed at the cheap theater 02 September 2012)
I chose this movie as a “family night” event because (1) it looked interesting, and therefore (2) I wanted to see it, and (3) it reminded me of my grandmother. The was one character in particular, Muriel (played by Maggie Smith, a woman actor who I absolutely adore), is racist but has a good heart and comes to appreciate the dilapidated hotel and its staff and residents—and that’s exactly like my grandmother. (I’m pretty sure my grandmother didn’t see herself in that character, though, at least not the way I saw her. Grandma has denied multiple times over being racist, or ever having been racist in the past when it’s clear to many/most/all people around her that actions speak louder than words.) Anyway, I liked the movie. It’s a film I’d see again and wouldn’t be put out if I had it in my collection. It made me think about relationships people have with one another across races and genders. Recommended.

The Land Before Time (viewed at home 22 August 2012)
OMG I hadn’t seen this movie since I was a kid. I watched it this time with my best friend, who’s a paleontologist. Let’s just say, it was more fun watching it when I was a kid. Little Foot, Cera (I’d always thought her name was “Sarah” but I guess I was wrong), Ducky, Petrie, and Spike were much more interesting when I didn’t have a friend telling me everything that was wrong with the movie in real time. >_> It was okay, but really?

Moonrise Kingdom (viewed in theaters 21 August 2012)
I was feeling pretty crappy and pretty on edge late one night and so I picked up my best friend and drove around for a while before deciding that we should do something instead of just wasting gas. So we went to see Moonrise Kingdom at the Arclight in Pasadena. I hadn’t even seen a single preview for it, so I wasn’t even sure if it’d be the kind of movie I’d actually want to see. Luckily for me (and my wallet), it wasn’t a horror film, but it was pretty strange. It had Edward Norton and Bill Murray in it, though, so how could I really go wrong? Anyway, it was good, but…. strange. A children’s love story? Well, yes.

Savages (viewed in theaters 15 August 2012)
I saw this movie by myself because I don’t know anyone who’d want to see it with and with whom I’d actually want to sit through a movie. (Yes, I am picky.) I went to see it to see how the director/producers/whomever treated a committed, romantic, and sexual relationship between two men and a woman wherein there was no jealousy. I liked the beginning. I thought all the voice over was kinda weak. I abhorred the revelation of the main character’s rape. (Really? Do movies really always have to use rape as a terror tactic in kidnapping situations? I realize a lot of the time that’s the reality, but I don’t go to the movies for reality, do you? Not to mention I could’ve really used a trigger warning at that point.) I liked the first ending better than the “real” ending, even though the former was sadder and more bloody than the latter. The whole movie was the “good” guys (white pot smokers, of course) against the “bad” guys (a semi-stereotypical Mexican drug cartel) with corrupt American cops on the side. In the end, I didn’t really like any of the characters and what the main character says about how she’s not sure that three people can really truly love each other equally was really disappointing. Eh, I think the movie had potential to show alternative relationships in a positive light, but by the end the whole thing was pretty clearly a shot at hedonism. Overall, I was severely disappointed after getting my hopes up. I guess I should’ve known better; a movie about hash and drug running take anything seriously? Of course not. Sad.

Snow White and the Huntsman (viewed in theaters 25 July 2012)
Went to see this with my sister. Was pleasantly surprised, bt I can’t tell if that’s because I had such low expectations, or it was really a decent movie. The actress who played Snow White wasnt the greatest, but the one who played the Queen was amazing. The story made me rather more interested in the Queen’s version of events than anything Snow White or the Huntsman had to say. I was also interested in the unresolved love triangle—and I’m glad it was never resolved. I can see that was an opening for another film in the future, since “happily ever after” is when the real interesting stuff begins, but I don’t know if this film was popular enough to warrant a sequel. My sister commented that she thought that Snow White and the Huntsman was “her” movie and another film based on Snow White called Mirror Mirror (which I’ve never seen) that came out at roughly the same time was “mine”. I don’t know how I feel about that since I actually did really like this movie, and I’ve never seen the other, so. Also, I was so happy to see Snow White wearing armor that’s actually armor and not some nonsense like bikini chain mail or whatever.

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The Avengers (viewed in theaters 20 June 2012)
About time! Watched this with my sister and her boyfriend down in Fullerton. I’m glad we watched the lead-in movies because without them, I’d’ve been seriously lost. (I mean—for example—Loki’s beef with Earth is never explained, and Thor randomly shows up with no explanation, either, so.) Captain America being “a man out of time” was really intriguing; I kept forgetting (and the other characters basically kept forgetting) that most of life is a bunch of cultural references—and that Steve Rogers (having slept for 70 years) doesn’t know any of them. (Thor didn’t know many/any of the cultural references, either.) I also thought it was interesting that the Avengers fought more amongst themselves than they did fighting Loki, at least until the very end when shit finally got real and they had to pull together or die. Favorite characters? Black Widow, easily, with Hawkeye in second place. But really my love goes to Black Widow; she’s a real character in this film, and she has a history and her own traumas, and you know what? She still gets her shit done because it’s her job and she’s got loyalties, too. Actually, here; read this. I’m not kidding; click on that link and read that article. Do it.

Thor (viewed at home 12 June 2012)
The fifth and final movie that my sister and I watched together in preparation for The Avengers. The character Loki is introduced and the backstory for why he wants to take over and/or destroy the Earth is put into motion. Unfortunately, I felt like Thor‘s characters didn’t have much character development at all—even the title character kind of acts the same way at the beginning as he does at the end, except that at the end, he’s not as willing to just jump into battle as he was to begin with. I liked that he (Thor) didn’t really know how to act in any given situation while on Earth, and I was kind of ticked that Hawkeye (featured more prominently in The Avengers) barely has even a single line—he doesn’t even get to loose a single arrow. What a let-down. I thought the fuss that all those neo-Nazis made about Heimdallr being black (back when the film first came out in theaters) was pretty ridiculous all around; Thor‘s Asgardian characters are based on Norse mythology, which is basically the whitest set of gods known to man. I’m just sayin’.

The Incredible Hulk (2008) (viewed at home 29 May 2012)
The fourth of five pre-Avengers movies. I didn’t know Edward Norton was in this movie! That guy’s such an under-rated actor that it’s incredible. (Hahaha; no pun intended there.) Anyway, it was okay. The Hulk isn’t my favorite character in any respect, but the movie was decent and it was interesting to watch the descent (and rise) of Bruce Banner from celebrated doctor to man on the run working in a soda bottling plant in South America to feared monster tearing up Harlem in New York City (with the help of The Abomination, of course). I read somewhere once that filmmakers from Los Angeles always have their disasters situated in New York City and visa versa; I wonder if that holds true for this film, too. I was sad to learn that Norton’s talks with the company broke down after this film and so his character had to be recast for The Avengers.

Iron Man 2 (viewed at home 23 May 2012)
I’m not going to lie; I liked the first Iron Man better, but this one has more Robert Downey, Jr., in it, so who’s really to complain? It’s got Whiplash, too, but haven’t ever read a single comic about Iron Man, or even any with Iron Man in them, so I probably missed a lot more references than I got. It’s okay, though; the scene where he buys strawberries for Pepper using his Rolex watch is by far my favorite. And that quirk he has where he doesn’t like being handed things. Reminds me of me.

Iron Man (viewed at home 22 May 2012)
Of the five Avengers lead-in movies, I’d already seen both of the Iron Mans, but in the spirit of completeness, my sister and I watched them both again. I liked it. I like Robert Downey, Jr., and his take on Tony Stark like he’s Bruce Wayne (the playboy, not the brooding Batman) is really interesting. Makes me wish I had enough money to just do whatever the hell I wanted with a personal assistant like Pepper Potts to just clean up all my messes for me.