On the Fence About This One

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is one of those sequels that left me wondering what exactly it was that I watched. It wasn’t a bad film, but like most sequels it lacked a bit of the magic that made the first film. I feel the problem lay with it not being sure which tale the writers were wanting to tell and some characters put in that begged me to question why they were there in the first place which caused things to drag a little bit. And despite the title, it really doesn’t feel like Grindelwald plays much of a part in the movie except for the opening and the climax at the end. The middle is pretty much Credence trying to figure out his true identity and some stuff with Queenie and Jacob (again, pointless characters) with a bit of Newt Scamander thrown in because he’s supposed to be the main character of the film. There’s not much of a plot, or perhaps the plot is just all over the place, and it feels like a 2 hour set-up for another sequel which I’ll probably end up seeing. Visually, it’s great, but the story needed more substance and a bit more menace from the main baddie. Overall I think a 6.5 out of 10

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And 2018 Continues to Suck Right on Through to the End

So much for the dental and vision insurance I was so excited about getting for next year. It seems that come January 1st, I am to join the ranks of the unemployed. Time to go into super survival mode which means no excess spending, no holiday gift giving, really no fun at all. Also means searching for a new job which can be pretty scary. I’ve been with the same local tv station since I was still a senior in high school. Well technically the station I started with was bought by another cable company which was bought by another cable company but in the end it is still considered serving time with one company despite the acquisitions. Television production literally saved me from suicide when I was a directionless high school kid with no self esteem, saddled with people pushing and pulling me into all sorts of directions, none of which were directions I wanted to go in to. I found something that gave me purpose, a connection, something I was good at and that would hopefully lead me to my ultimate goal of acting and filmmaking. Well unfortunately the acting and filmmaking hasn’t happened yet due to people and circumstances holding me back after the company had been bought for the third time and then a layoff in 2005 and then they brought me back on a contract basis later on doing productions and running master control which eventually spiraled downhill into a mostly desk based job (something I had vowed never to ever get sucked into). Why did I stay? Well they kept making promises and I kept falling for them.

Getting let go (not fired, but let go due to downsizing) is quite depressing to say the least. A company I worked so long for, even when they kept diminishing my role. You see, I was once an award nominated producer and when not producing my own stuff I was the production assistant everyone wanted on their projects. I’ve even won a couple awards. After awhile they turned me in to a desk jockey (how humiliating) but I put up with it because I needed to pay the bills and jobs in my field are hard to come by. Them pushing me down the chain isn’t 100% the fault of the tv department as the company itself is always changing gears and frankly the tv programming department has always been more of a hindrance to them than a boon and they take away one or two or more people from the department every year. Some may ask why be so depressed about being let go from a company you no longer love working for? It’s always better to be the one saying goodbye on one’s own accord then to be the one getting pushed out. I would much rather have been able to say “Hey guys guess what? I finally got a chance at my dream job so I have to leave but will always remember you.” But that didn’t happen. I’m still a loser.

Now to find a new pay the bills job. Hopefully a better one that could get me closer to my dreams. Wish me luck and send me good vibes. Going to need it.

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Fresh Take on a Classic

I often gripe about the commercialism and greed of the Christmas season. I don’t hate it, I just get annoyed with the people sometimes. I do have a soft spot for some Christmas themed movies. The latest matinee selection is a fresh take on one of my favorite holiday classics, “The Grinch”. Originally a short story by Dr. Seuss, it is the tale of a grumpy green guy bent on ruining Christmas for the citizens of Whoville but then eventually discovers the true meaning of Christmas. And no, I didn’t see this just because of Benedict Cumberbatch though it is a nice bonus. The man is so good with voices, you wouldn’t even know it was him. Illumination’s “The Grinch” is great fun for the whole family. Predictable storyline, but then again the book it is based on was written over 55 years ago therefore being universally known by this time. The animation is crisp and bright and the music is festive. Singer Pharrell Williams does the narration. The story is modernized yet holds close to the source material without the extra material used to plump it up taking away from anything and is kept simple enough for youngsters to keep up with. The Grinch himself could have been just a little Grinchier but was still way better than Jim Carrey’s version which kind of strayed a bit and I’m sure probably gave some small children nightmares.

This version is definitely one to add to your Christmas movie viewing. I’ll go so far as to give it an 8 out of 10.

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Ruining the Moment

For some people, watching horror films or spooky stories on television is fun. For unexplained reasons, many of us love the rush of the “safe scare” that movies, tv, and books provide. We know these stories aren’t real yet for the brief moments as we delve into our chosen form of entertainment, our brains get drawn into the moment and we like it.

Sometimes when I finish my work early, I’ll sit in my office and watch a bit of tv. A bit of a perk of working in local television. One show I enjoy watching is called “Ghost Adventures”, a show about paranormal investigators investigating haunted places and documenting their findings. I personally do believe in the paranormal though televised encounters I take with many grains of salt. Anyone who has ever watched film or television knows that things can be rigged to appear real, that’s showbiz. To me the show is still fun to watch for the most part. Whether or not you believe is not the point here though, the reason for this post is coming up in the next paragraph and is quite amusing.

This year “Ghost Adventures” had a live Halloween special, complete with social media interactions. Yeah, from the get go, the show fails to get you in the spooky story mood as they keep breaking to commercials every five minutes. Already a bad start. As the show progressed, one could hear background voices. No, these were not voices from beyond but the sounds of the production crew. This is supposed to be a production done by professionals yet nobody could hear the crew’s background chatter and cues to talent? Having worked in television, I know the sounds of a studio control room all too well. Apparently though the people on social media for the show do not as they thought they were actually hearing spirits. Yeah, ghosts are really going to  shout, “Going to commercial in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…” I only tried to watch the show for about an hour before heading home but that had me laughing all night. I know goofs happen during live shows but some are just too elementary.

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The World is Going to End if They Don’t Get Their Candy and Bracelets!

This one goes into the “seriously?” pile. One of my coworkers likes promoting, making flyers, passing out useless trinkets with our station or company name on them. That’s pretty much all she does these days besides putting a few shows up on video on demand. She really should have gone into marketing as she is not really a production person. Seriously, I do more than her and I am just a freelancer. Don’t get me wrong, I like her. This coworker is a wonderful person, but just like the rest of the small staff at our local cable tv station, she’s struggling to stay relevant in a dying department. We are not ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, HBO, USA, or any of the other big networks out there, just local to subscribers to the cable company in Michigan. But truth be told, even the big guys are struggling as there is stiff competition from video streaming platforms and online video sites.

Anyways, this coworker calls me up at home on her day off asking if I could take some things over to a hockey arena where our live hockey games come from. Why she didn’t just take the stuff with her and go up that day with the stuff is beyond me as she lives a lot closer to the arena than I do. Not knowing exactly what the stuff was, I agreed because I’m nice like that. She told me where in the office to find the promotional stuff that needs to be taken. When I get to the office, I see one tiny bag with nothing but suckers, jelly beans, and rubber bracelets sitting on the table. I called her up and asked her if that was the only thing, and apparently it was. I’m thinking, “Seriously?” Let me tell you going from Southfield to Plymouth in the late afternoon is no walk in the park. I-696 is a real bitch at that time of day. A simple 30 minute trip will take you 90 minutes. Plymouth is west of Southfield and I live south of Southfield meaning this would be way out of my way. Not exactly worth the hassle for one solitary bag of candy and rubber bracelets that will just eventually end up in the trash. If it was more than that or stuff that was more significant in value it would be different. Thank goodness for H. H is another freelancer like me who happened to be on master control duty that day. I was telling her I was going to have to leave early to drop off the bag, and being the nice girl she is, H offered to take it for me as she only lived in the next city over from the arena saving me from the needless hassle of rush hour freeway traffic.

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Finally It’s Dead

My old computer has finally kicked the bucket. One of the reasons I haven’t been on too much the past month. That old 10 year old computer decided it was finally time to die for real after so many times faking me out. Things were already stopping to work on it due to it still running Windows Vista but I’m the type to get every last bit of use out of something I can, and I did. Luckily I had a spare computer waiting in the wings. My roommate’s dad had sadly passed away back in May and nobody else in the family needed a used computer so the roommate gave his dad’s computer to me. So oh what fun it was to copy down all the links on my old computer as well as making sure important files were backed up and then of course having to get the newer one to behave the way I like it.

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Alien Invasion or Comic Book Movie? Or Both?

After seeing such mixed reviews, many negative, I was originally on the fence about seeing Venom. And I don’t mean just negatives from the “professional critics” but from the average public as well. I very rarely go by what the professionals say anyways. It was surprisingly quite entertaining. Not quite to the actual origin but for that they would have had to make it a Spider-Man movie. After a numbingly slow first 45 minutes, the movie finally kicks into gear. Be patient with the first part of the movie because once the Venom symbiote finally bonds to Tom Hardy’s Eddie Brock, that’s when the fun begins. To me this movie felt more like an alien invasion story than an adaptation of one of Marvel’s more famous anti-heroes, but it was still entertaining and left me wanting a sequel as long as they don’t bog it down with unnecessary scenes as they did in the beginning of this movie. Not “OMG BEST EVER!” but still fun once it gets going. Would like to see where they take Venom in the future.

7.5 out of 10

Also note that there are 2 mid credit sequences in this film. Don’t just get up and walk out at the first fade to black.

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