giver1Release Date: August 15, 2014 (USA)
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes
Director: Phillip Noyce
Studio: Walden Media
Distributor: Weinstein Company
Genre(s): Supernatural, Romance, Drama
Based On: The Giver by Lois Lowry

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Spoilers: Low
IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes | Wikipedia

As I sat in the theater, snow caps in one hand and a coke in the other, my hopes were tentatively high. Going in I knew they had changed the ages of the main characters. No big deal, artistic license, and connection to the current teen/twenty-somethings who are going to see it, and all. Still, since so many book to movie transitions have been going fairly well these days, I had hopes. 

I wish I hadn’t had any hopes.

The movie was beautifully shot in black and white with a wonderful slow transition to color, much like how Jonas would have experienced it. But that’s where everything started falling short for me. I know not every detail from the book is going to make it in the final cut, and they have to add somethings in to spice it up and make it attractive, but you don’t take out the main parts the book revolves around! In the book, Jonas has light eyes. This is a big deal considering everyone else in the community, sans The Giver and Gabe, have dark eyes. In the movie, it’s a special birthmark. In the book, Jonas first see the color red through an apple. In the movie, it’s Fiona’s hair. Pretty big difference, but it sets up what the writers and director wanted in the end.

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The dynamic of the three friends is something that is questionable from the start. Friends forever. No jealous among the two boys and single girl because, hey, accuracy of language and they can’t feel that emotion due to the utopia. And yet you get that strange vibe that Asher is getting jealous of Jonas and Fiona. How can he feel that emotion you ask? Beats me. 

The movie as a whole moves rather quickly. Flipping through time as if it was a book you were casually interested. It made no note of any real time passage, as major milestones were mentioned once and then never again for the following year when they would have occurred. The only shift in times you get are the child looking slightly older, and more memories. Granted in a utopia, you don’t really get to have seasons so, I can’t fault them too much on that. 

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The acting was good. I can’t say great for every person, but it was good, believable. Meryl Streep as Chief Elder kinda threw me off. As the Elder in a society that has no memories outside of the Memory Keeper, how did she know so much about the past? And as a people with no strong emotions, why did she show them and have accurate knowledge of them? Jeff Bridges is wonderful, as usual. He plays the tortured soul well. The star of the movie, Brenton Thwaites is great at playing the curious kid who learns too much too quickly. Plus, he isn’t bad to look at. 

Final Thoughts:

I love the book dearly, and do hope that if people choose to go see this, it’ll drive them to the book. Part of what makes the book so great is Jonas’ young age. The ability to make those choices so young and be willing to sacrifice everything for it; that’s what makes it so amazing. The main details in the book should have, in my opinion, been kept for the movie. The light eyes, the red apple, Jonas’ dad bringing Gabe, the baby, home, the ceremony and where everyone sat, and the actual assignments. Overall, it wasn’t the worst book to movie adaptation I’ve ever sat through. And the end of the movie was exactly like the book, which is rather redeeming. 

Calling all Fannibals, Hippie Kids, and those who like to feel pretty!

DIY Flower crowns! That’s right! You too can learn to make your own flower crowns to toss at cast members of your favorite shows, or to wear during your binge session of Hannibal. They can also be used to general frolicking around a field, or even in the ruins of a castle during D&D. The possibilities are endless. 

Gather your supplies! 
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– Flowers- any shape or color. Fake ones are suggested for longevity.
– Floral wire- the thicker the better, but also remember to buy the thin green kind.
– Scissors
– Floral tape- find it by the fake flowers.
– Super glue- just in case
– Pliers- optional if you think you can twist and cut wire by hand. 

Step one
– Determine if your flower heads are loose or tightly secured by holding them upside down and shaking. Should any fall off, add a dab of super glue to the steam and pop it back on. After doing that, grab your pliers and pinch right below the flower head. Give it a nice 90 degree angle turn. Measure about two inches from that turn, cut that flower off. Do that to all the flowers you bought.

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Step two
– Bring out the thicker wire and wrap it around your head. Be sure to overlap the ends so you can attach them together securely. Cut where needed, fold the ends back on each other and wrap the extra wire around the newly formed ring. Don’t worry if it isn’t a perfect circle or gets messed up. It’ll even out in the end. 

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Step three
– Cover your wire frame in floral tape by wrapping it around. Pull it tight as you do so. It’ll feel a bit sticky; that’s because floral tape sticks to itself. The sticky feeling will wear away. Once that is done, line your flowers up around the edge in the pattern you want. PRO TIP: Make all the stems face the same way, and only cover about half of the ring. It looks better on and lays on your head in a more flattering way.

Step four
– Start wrapping your flowers onto the frame with the skinny wire. Bend the stem just slightly to give it a bit of a curve to make it easier. If you have all your stems facing the same way, and the stems are all facing to the left, start with the one on the right. It’ll make wrapping easier if you’re not trying to wrap behind the flowers. As you go, add in some leaves! It makes it look more realistic. Cover the ends of your flower ends with leaves. PRO TIP: Make the front center of your crown where the wires were hooked together to make the circle. This will hide that bump. 

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Step five
– Bust out that floral tape again. This time, just wrap over the flower steams that you wrapped up with the skinny wire. This helps to hide the wires, and keeps hair from getting caught in them. Once you have done that, pull that tape tight and add a bit of super glue for extra security. 
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You’re done! Wear that flower crown, and show off that fandom pride! 

Robin Williams. What can I say about you that hasn’t already been said? My short life has been shaped by you, your movies, words of wisdom, and laughter. You taught me that comedy is acting out of optimism, and that comedy is nothing without drama. Mr. Willliams, your movies helped inspire me to a life of acting, and if not acting, psychology. I can attribute Patch Adams to my love of psychology, of helping others when their lights seem so dim. Jack helped me see that though our outsides are different, our insides are the same. Judging someone for what they look like is useless. Your role as Genie has helped me though some of the darkest times in my life, because your song, “You’ve never had a friend like me,” has always reminded me that my friends are there, though I may not hear them. Your life affected so many lives. You brought laughter and hope into this dark world, and this world will never be the same. Thank you, my Captain.  For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding. 

Aquaman: Volume 1 The Trench

Aquaman

Aquaman: Volume 1 The Trench

Author: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: Bought and Owned
Genre(s): Action, Drama

Rating: ★★★★★
Review Spoilers: Medium

 Oh, Aquaman. It has been a long time coming that you have found yourself a fresh fan base. Before the new 52, he was ridiculed by most comic readers, and big name shows. I mean, ruler of the sea? Just how bad ass can he be? Turns out. Pretty dang bad ass. Be prepared to find that love for Aquaman that you buried deep down. 

In The Trench, Aquaman, or Arthur Curry, is a hero living in today’s world where he is scoffed at. He communicates with fish, not exactly something that inspires confidence in the locals. However, he is there doing his best to take down the bad guys, and live a simple life above the sea. This is a lot harder than it sounds when at every turn he is mocked and jeered at. They do soon change their tune when mysterious creatures from the depths of the ocean start attacking the people in the village. 

These creatures come up from the depths to seek a new food source. For an unknown reason, their source has been wiped out, so now they are taking people, putting them in pods and dragging them back down to their colony. A local deputy asks Aquaman to step in and save the town from destruction. He does, and with the help of Mera, they dive down to stop the creatures from eating every person they can. Naturally, they are asked where the “real” superheros are, and if Aquaman could just “talk” to them and make them leave. 

I’m going to take a moment here and point out that even though Aquaman/Arthur Curry is constantly ridiculed by the people he’s doing his best to save, he doesn’t lash back at them. He walks away. He takes it, and does his best to explain how his powers work. The poor guy has had to hear what a crappy hero he is, all while he is doing some pretty bad ass stuff to save the same people who are mocking him. He flips a car with his trident. He figures out what the creatures are doing, and then finds a way to get rid of them. He could influence all the sharks in the area to eat the locals, but chooses not to. I digress…

Down in the depths, they find the creatures’ lair, they work together to defeat the creatures. While down there, they find a connection to Atlantis which opens more questions than answers. Who are these creatures? What are they doing down there?  Why are they now trying to eat people? Why do they have Atlantian ruins? 

In the end, Aquaman saves the day. He wins the respect of the locals, and is told by a young boy that he is his new favorite superhero. Mera and Aquaman then return to their lighthouse, with the newly adopted Aquadog, and begin to finally start their new life on land. 

Aquaman favorite superhero

Final Thoughts:
This comic is beautifully written. Geoff Johns spins an amazing story, adding in humor, strife and really draws you in to how Arthur Curry really feels about his given situation. Even with minimal dialogue, you know exactly what Aquaman is thinking due to Ivan Reis’ brilliant drawings.They humanize Aquaman in a way that has never been done before, and bring you bits and pieces of his and Mera’s past that flow effortlessly within the main story. Naturally, they leave you with a trailing end to be picked up in Volume 2: The Others. I also love that they add in the sketches in the back and give more details on how they characters came to be. Even if you hated Aquaman in the past, take the time to read this comic. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by Johns’ rebirth of Arthur Curry as Aquaman. 

The Giver Series. Not just for kids.

The Giver. Most of us read it in school and hated having to do a book report on it. However, this is one of those books you really should revisit this summer. This book is smart, quick, and twisting. Lowry spins a story so compelling, you’ll want to read it in one sitting, and then finish up with the three other books in the series. This review gives quite a few spoilers, so if you’re not down for that, just go get the book and read it. Other wise, read on for a full review of The Giver, spoilers and all. 

The Giver

Before Assignment 

Jonas is an eleven, soon to be twelve, year old boy. He and his family live in this utopia like city where everyone is equal. There is no want, inequality, unhappiness, hunger or poverty. In a future world, where strife, unhappiness, hunger, poverty, unemployment, inequality, and all the other things that make our current world so tough, Jonas lives. Jonas is an eleven, soon to be twelve year old kid. He’s never known cold, or hot weather. Never stressed or wanted for anything. Everything in this world is perfect. Except for one thing. Jonas is about to be twelve, and that is when people are given their life assignment from the Elders. He’s worried about what position they will give him. The only thing outstanding about him is his pale eyes; a rarity in his world. He does stumble onto something though. While playing catch with an apple, he notices that it shimmers and changes colors for a brief moment. Wondering what this could possibly mean, he accidentally takes the apple home, which brings about shame when it is announced community wide that “someone” took it without proper permission. Admitting he took it at family talk time is bad enough, but now he has to face the community at large who will tut and titter at his infraction. At least he has something good to take his mind off of everything. His father brought home a baby, Gabriel, who needs special care, and this boy has pale eyes just like Jonas. Jonas does his best not to get too attached, but he does begin to wonder the significance of pale eyes, glimmering apples, and his life assignment.

During Assignment

The day of the ceremony, he watches as his friends are given perfect assignments. Jonas’ assignment leaves him reeling. He’s been given the life assignment of Receiver of Memory, and is to report to a man only known as the Giver. As soon as he meets the Giver, Jonas’ life is turned upside down. Nothing is as it seems, and he soon realizes the perfect utopia he grew up in is nothing short of a sham. He is given new rules to follow, none of which make sense in the world he has known. Upon his first visit, The Giver tells Jonah that he is to receive all the memories of the collected community that have ever been. Mercifully, he starts off easily, giving Jonah happy memories of snow, beaches, rainbows and the like. Over the course of time, Jonah can now see the full spectrum of color, while his friends and family cannot. While alarmed, this is not yet his tipping point.
Jonah’s father comes home and tells of a set of twins that were born where he works as a nurturer. One of the twins is due to be released by Jonah’s father who must decide who is the superior twin. Jonah requests to see the release, and while everyone around him discourages him to, he goes and witnesses something he could have never imagined. The twin is “released” by a lethal injection, and then sent to the garbage. Jonah’s father has no idea of the severity of what he is doing, but Jonah does and is horrified. 

After Realization

Now that Jonah is aware of everything that was, and everything that is, he comes to The Giver with a plan. They both decide that the time for change is now and the community as a whole needs all of their memories back. No longer should one person be burdened with the past. They hatch a plan for Jonah to leave, thus forcing the memories to be released back into the community. Jonah is on pins and needles waiting for the day. The night before he leaves, his father announces that the baby, Gabriel,  that has been with the family for a year is set to be released the next day. This shifts Jonah’s escape plan dramatically, forcing him to take drastic action to save the child. In the middle of the night, he sneaks out with Gabriel, borrowing his father’s bike for easy commute. They reach the border of what is known as Elsewhere, where freedom and uncertainty await. Using his new found ability that he doesn’t understand to “see beyond” Jonah sees a sled waiting them atop a mountain. They trek through the snow and cold to find that sled. As they climb aboard, Jonah gives his last bit of strength to push off. Jonah and Gabriel’s trip ends outside of a house filled with lights, a fire, and a Christmas tree. 

My View

This book, while a simple read, kept me enthralled from the start. Lowry is a master storyteller, and this is just another classic. Yes, I know The Giver is aimed towards children, but it really is much deeper than you would first think. Some of the story is very predictable, as you would expect for a book that is only 192 pages. However, Lowry leaves you with an open end, which can be quite frustrating. I mean, it’s all fine and dandy to let us know that they made it out. But where did they make it to? What is their life now? A mystery to be solved, and plenty of questions. Luckily there are three other books in this series to help solve the questions. I can’t express how much I enjoyed this book. It is well worth the read on a summer day. The rest of the series is equally as good, and has an ending you would never expect. 

Have I mentioned that this book is also becoming a movie? No? It is! This August 15th!  

Sharknado 2: The Second One Trailer

As a Sharknado fan, I am thrilled to know that a second one is coming out July 30! Fin and April are back to take down more sharks, but this time it is in New York. The sharks are tougher, the storm is bigger, but the people are more rough and ready to rumble. It looks to be another gory, cheesy, cult film that you will love to hate. Watch as sharks rain down on the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square! Cheer with us when Fin brings out the chainsaw! Are you ready to get your shark on? I know I am!

Curious Drink

One of the best parts of Alice in Wonderland is when she stops falling down the rabbit hole and now has to find a way into Wonderland. I mean, who would honestly take the advice of a doorknob and drink a strange liquid that just so happened to appear on a table? Not I. But I am perfectly happy having a small drink me bottle to remind me to always be curious, seeking, and crafty.

What you’ll need for this DIY:

– Small Bottle (find these in the scrapbook section)

– Clear Elmer’s Craft Glue

– Blue Food Dye

– Toothpick (or anything long and pointy)

– String and Paper (to make the label)

– Pen

– Matches or Lighter (optional)

Option to make into a necklace:

– Chain

– Jump Rings

– Wire

1. Uncork the bottle. Place the cork in a safe place. If you are opting to make this into a necklace, pierce the cork through the middle long wise with the wire, and cut a quarter of an inch from the top. Create a small loop on top, and coil the bottom flat against the cork.

2. Fill the bottle about halfway with glue. Add one drop of food dye, and mix well. Once it is mixed throughout, fill to the neck with more glue, and mix again.

3. After mixing, place the cork on the bottle firmly. If you want to make sure it won’t move, add glue to the sides before placing in bottle.

4. Set the bottle aside the bottle and grab your string, paper, and pen. After poking a hole in the paper to string it, write “Drink Me” in any fancy font you choose. If you grabbed some matches or a lighter, now would be the time to break those out and burn the edges to give an “old” feel.

5. Tie the string around the bottle. If you chose the necklace route, add a jump ring to the top loop you created, and string the necklace. Step back and admire your brand new Drink Me bottle.

Go out and amaze your friends with your craftiness. Be careful of rabbits with waistcoats, talking cats, and caterpillars that smoke! And if you haven’t gotten a dose of madness lately, go back and watch the movie, or read the book. Then come back and tell us your favorite part!

*Let it be known that the author does not advise drinking the contents of this bottle and cannot be held liable should a person decide to drink the glue. *