I know what you are thinking…I haven’t reviewed a movie in a long, long time, and when I finally decide to, I review Monsters University. I don’t feel like I have to defend my recent movie choices, but if I had to, I would say;
(a) It’s about monsters, so it is technically a horror movie,
SO IT’S FOR GROWN UPS.
(b) Nathan Fillion, the most chiseled jaw in Christendom, voices a central character,
SO IT’S FOR GEEKS.
(c) Baby Mike is the cutest thing I have ever seen,
Hear me out here…this movie is funny, cute, well written and colourful. I realize the ‘colourful’ thing is only really a deciding factor if you are under 18 months old, but it is really nice to look at. Sort of like Hugh Jackman, but more aimed at children.
Monsters University, strangely enough, follows the basic plot of any movie you have ever seen about a little nerdy guy starting his first guy of college. Except with less casual nudity and beer pong.
I’m not judging the kind of movie you may or may not have seen, I’m just saying, most of these movies are basically the same film.
Mike is small, not scary and smart, while Sulley is scary and kind of dim. Gosh, what a great team they would make, if only they could put aside their petty rivalry! The story-line is essentially that – our favourite little monsters start off as rivals, before assembling a rag tag group of squishy, adorable humanoids to win the Scare Games.
There. I avoided spoilers nicely.
Any Pixar fan worth their salt (is that a saying?) will also appreciate the ENORMOUS amount of Easter eggs and hidden references scattered all over this flick, as well as the ever present ‘Pixar short’ at the beginning of the film. This one is about umbrellas in love. Seriously. Nearly as good as the last one about the man who really liked paper airplanes and women.
I guess I’m not selling this tremendously, but it really, really is worth your time. The fact I’ve seen both The Wolverine and Monsters University in the past week and a half and vastly preferred this film to the actual comic book movie says an awful lot, don’t you think?
Word of advice, though. Don’t go on a Saturday afternoon, because, for some reason, the cinema will be full of children.
I love ASOS. I make no secret of this; over the years I have found some weird and wonderful little things on the site. Mind you, they are, like most regular non-geekcentric websites, slaves to trends. I don’t approve of trends. They are too much like change, and I hate change.
Anyway, the ASOS sale is bloomin’ marvellous. Here are some things I want that you should want too.
Dinosaur t-shirt! Okay, maybe not “geeky”, but adorable and lovely. And I really like green and everyone knows dinosaurs were green. Plus, a steal at £8. It’s only a bargain if it’s under £10.
Sticking to the girly items for a moment, this little bangle. Sometimes it is necessary to hide your true, nerdy inner child self under a blanket of maturity and normal-ness (job interviews, weddings, funerals, murder trials), so it is necessary to be a little more subtle in your choice of accessory. This bangle has a teeny pair of geek glasses for a clasp, but I’m sure no one will notice that unless you feel the need to point it out.
Which, of course, you will.
Don’t worry, boy people, I have not neglected you. Batman vest! Vest with Batman on it! Ignore the generic model with generic model head tilt, focus instead on the wonder of the cowl. ASOS mens’ stock has been a little bit disappointing of late, unless you like dressing like a rainbow threw up on you, but every now and again, you get a little gem.
No affirmation necessary. Go get this.
This came from the men’s section, but I like to think it’s fairly gender neutral. In honour of True Blood making it’s way back to our screens (erm, well, America’s screens) recently, it seems only fair to include some vampire themed bits and bobs. Although, it seems they have fallen slightly out of vogue in the past few months (Twilight is all over and done with, after all. And thank god), Sky is screening teasers and trailers for the Dracula series they are gifting us in Autumn…so I see fangs making a big comeback.
If you are really into the child-of-the-night-but-not-a-hooker look, there’s also this gothic bling.
ASOS delivers quickly, does not mess you about with returns and exchanges, and the quality of the stuff is beyond decent. Highly recommended. If you do buy something, or see something wonderful that I’ve missed, let me know! I like to know I’m helping someone somewhere in someway, somehow.
I am a huge, huge fan of London. I think I might live there someday, even just for a little while. Recently, I was lucky enough to get the chance to go to help a very lovely Aunt celebrate a very important birthday. A lady never tells, of course. Unfortunately, we were only there for two days and I was forewarned not to expect anyone to come to any museums with me (it’s okay – I’m going again JUST for the museums! Joy), so it was sort of a whistle-stop tour of London. Literally…”LOOK, THERE’S BUCKINGHAM PALACE. Now let’s sprint to Piccadilly!”
I think I dropped two dress sizes with all the walking we did.
You may or may not be aware that London is, like, the greatest place to shop. I’m comparing this to Belfast and Lisburn, so obviously my scope is small and unimpressive, but oh, Camden. I want to live there, but it’s really expensive, so if you’re ever there and see someone living in a box and begging for change dressed as Batgirl…well. That might be me, chuck us a quid.
If markets, stalls and haggling isn’t your thing, then you’re weird, but there’s also Oxford Street, home of, well, all the flagships stores of all the shops that have ever existed. I might be exaggerating, but Selfridges is there. I am a girl, and as such, I like to look at expensive handbags (and then buy comic book print ones, see above). Nice to look at, but if you are willing to spend that much money on something that isn’t a house or an island, you need psychological help. We went to Oxford Street for one main reason, and that reason was Primark. SUCH A PRIMARK. I’m pretty sure it has everything that Primark actually make. On the downside, it is absolutely packed. There is no room for movement or trying things on or basic human decency. You get in there, you find what you want, you grab it and you queue. I got a little pile of basics, and a Batman top.
I took my derpy face out for your own good. It’s nice and long and not all black, so it’s a change from all my other Batman tops. This is my justification for buying another item of clothing with the bat symbol on it.
I also saw an amazing Star Wars tshirt, but they only had it in sizes 8 or 20. Typical. I am keeping my eyes peeled for it making its way to the Primark in Belfast, or, heaven forbid, Lisburn.
There you have it, a brief summary of my weekend in London, illustrated through my few but beloved purchases. I will be back, and I will have a much emptier suitcase to fill with magical Camden junk.
RIGHT. I AM GOING TO SIT HERE AND NOT MOVE UNTIL I MANAGE TO WRITE A BLOG.
Thank you for bearing with me, but I’ve had sort of a crazy month; the idea of sitting down and writing something for the pure enjoyment of it just didn’t seem to be happening. I hate chores and sometimes, blogging feels like a chore. Not today though. Today will be magical and productive, as will everyday that follows it. Can you feel all those positive vibes I’m throwing out there? Marvellous.
So, writer’s block has been the worst thing ever, and it has affected far more than my ability to blog (unfortunately), but that’s a whole other thing you don’t want to hear about. What’s that? You do? Tough, I don’t want to talk about it. I want to talk about movies and comic books and the many adorable geeky things I’ve bought in the past month. Those are better things to talk about, don’t you think?
Onwards and upwards towards the actual subject. You may have noted the title of this blog is, in fact ‘Man Of Steel’, and not ‘Let’s Watch A Geek In Her Early Twenties Experience Her First Mid-Life Crisis’. The first one if catchier.
I can’t believe I let Man Of Steel come out without the appropriate amount of adoration and hype from the RefugeekNI corner. I am, after all, a complete DC nut, though I have to admit that I am not a HUGE Superman fan – mostly because he’s a boy scout and everything Batman is not, and because Smallville did nothing but bug me for the however many years it managed to cling to my television. I am, however, a Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan fan, and they did not let me down. This was the Superman movie I really wanted to see.
Henry Cavill played Mr. Kent as moody, confused and conflicted (and he was often topless, which, to the heterosexual female eye, was an art form in itself), while Russell Crowe made Jor-El a complete hard-ass. I loved the armour, and it was interesting to see how Zack Snyder envisioned Krypton. It’s not, not in a million years, how I would have pictured it, but it worked. I guess. I don’t know, maybe I wanted more from such a famous, ill-fated planet. It’s like the Titanic of planets, there should’ve been more…pomp? Circumstance? I don’t know, but I wasn’t disappointed, not really. There were a lot of new ideas about Krypton thrown in there too, ideas that I liked. The idea that they are all bred to serve a certain purpose, and that Kal-El was the first baby born of natural (sexy) means in over a hundred years adds a whole new depth to the character, his civilization and the sacrifice made by his mother (which was heartbreaking to watch, both awful and brilliant).
There are two things that did disappoint me. First of all, I do not think Amy Adams was Lois Lane. Sure, she was spunky and determined, but I felt for most of the movie, she was just sort of…there. Being useful and female. The love story aspect was not convincing at all, it was just rushed and there was no chemistry. Not in my opinion, at least. There needed to be a spark – a spark between Lois and Clark, a spark in Lois at all…for me, it just wasn’t there.
The other aspect of this movie that disappointed me almost to the point of laughing was the RIDICULOUS product placement. Seriously? Did they think we wouldn’t notice?
“Hi there, I’m Lois Lane and I HAVE A NIKON CAMERA.” Pfft. PFFT. Between that and the Ihop that manages to survive an extra terrestrial super battle? C’mon Hollywood, we’re not stupid.
Before I start to sound too negative, I just have to…Zod. Wow. Michael Shannon was a piece of casting genius, he captures the frustration and anger and ruthlessness of the General perfectly. I know he’s appeared in COUNTLESS Superman shows and movies and comics, but for the first time, I found him scary. There was an awful lot of Bane (circa The Dark Knight Rises) and just a little bit of Heath Ledger’s Joker thrown in for good, manic measure. Teeny bit gutted he never said ‘Kneel before Zod’…just me? Okay.
Over everything – over the casting, the costumes and the script, there was an overall highlight from this movie. The sheer scale of it; the visuals, the CGI…Man Of Steel was absolutely mesmerizing to watch. Captivating. The way his cape sways in the breeze, his first faltering attempts to fly, the Fortress Of Solitute. Incredible to watch. I’ve talked to a lot of people who found the actual story to be a let down, and, when I think about it, maybe I did too, but the joy I got from watching this film distracted me from that. That’s no mean feat.
I’ll draw this to a close, because LONG. Well worth a watch.
Just like this blog is well worth keeping an eye on, now that I am determined to be back in business.
You may have noticed, if you notice such things, that I am not quite as prolific in my blogging as I have been in the past. I apologize, but the thing is, on any given day, I HAVE FOUR HUNDRED THINGS TO DO.
In fact, I am only doing this blog now because I’ve just done an hour and a half of uni work and I need a break before my brain explodes and redecorates my bedroom. With brain gunk.
On the plus side, for those of you that dabble in the reading of blogs, I shall be much, much easier to keep up with. Instead of, like, eight blogs a day about what I’ve just eaten or the episode of the Clone Wars I’ve just watched.
SO. I did, in a past blog, promise you that I would go to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition over the weekend and then tell you about how great it was. I assured you it would be face-melting (or something to that effect), so HOLD ONTO YOUR FACES.
First of all, I would like to say that getting tickets for this free (that’s my favourite word) event was much, much more difficult that it should have been. I mean, the internet is all powerful, surely ‘click and possess’ is a fairly straightforward concept? Alas, the website was crashing all over the show and the phone lines were busy and I was starting to hyperventilate and stress. I did a mean, awful thing – don’t judge me. I was scared I would end up with no tickets at all, so I sent a nasty email to Titanic telling them to wind their neck in and make things work better.
I am a mean, bad person. I am ashamed.
To make the shame even worse, some lovely bloke from Titanic Customer Services emailed back immediately, with an apology, and then offered to book the tickets for me. Eek. I still feel bad about being a grump.
Good on you though, Titanic, your people are marvellous.
Ticket drama aside, I was so excited about this. The little clip advertising it was immense…and WordPress still won’t let me embed videos. I had forgotten that. Oh well,here’s the link.
I had never actually been inside the Titanic building before (I know, I know, I am a museum geek and a touch patriotic, so I really should go for a proper visit), but it’s pretty flippin’ cool. And busy, which is always nice to see. The guys at the coffee shop thing were dressed like ye olde times paper boys, and the toilets were ultra clean and shiny. What more can you ask from anywhere, really?
Wisely, when booking tickets for the exhibition, you had to choose a time slot – this sounds kind of like hassle and a bit odd, but it meant the displays weren’t too crowded and you didn’t have to queue for too long to get a good look at anything. AND OH, the things there were to look at.
The exhibition was divided up according to family – the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Greyjoys and Targareans all had their own little areas, as did the Nights Watch (although characters from North of the Wall were stuffed in that display too, which makes sense, I guess). There were videos playing all around the place too, and although they were really just behind the scenes videos from the DVDs, always worth a watch. Some of the main characters did little ‘Welcome to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition’ clips too, which was a nice feature.
I don’t want to trawl through every single item I saw, but highlights included some of the Starks’ costumes (all lined up beside each other, like in the first episode before they all shoot off in opposite directions all over Westeros), Ned Stark’s head on a spike (which I only noticed because I tipped my head back to yawn – it was pretty high up), Ice and Needle (among LOADS of other weapons) and the dragon eggs and scale models of Drogon. All in all, it took around 40 minutes to see everything.
So neat. Some of Emilia Clarke’s costumes were out on display along with said dragons, and man, that chick is TINY. The detail that does into all the costumes in mind blowing – small stitches and teeny details that a camera would never pick up, just proof that this show takes itself seriously! As well it should.
I think that’s more than enough of my talking, here are some blurry, dark, badly taken Iphone photos. You’re so welcome.
You may notice that there are only two dragon eggs here; one of them hatched! Teehee, I kid, obviously – the third egg was given to George R.R. Martin as a wedding gift! I thought that was a nice gesture.
The exhibit is in Belfast until June 17th, but there are no tickets left now. If you are elsewhere in the world, see where it goes next on their site!
If you’re heading down to the exhibit, or if you have already been, nip over to Facebook and tell me if you liked it!
And the Paris blogging, it continues. Apologies if you don’t care about my holiday, but I want everyone to know how civilized and cultured I am.
So, yes, Day One was all about the Eiffel Tower and Day Two was Notre Dame, the Pantheon and Shakespeare & Co. Day Three was another geeky one, particularly if you’re into museums and red light districts.
Some people are geeks for prostitutes, right? Maybe geek isn’t the right word…
Anyway, we started with a ridiculously early morning (6:50am, to be precise, although I had been awake from 3am because of all the excitement, so I don’t think it really counts as an early morning. More like a super late night), and got to the Louvre before it even opened. The freakin’ Louvre. It is amazingly awesome to look at, the former palace is beautiful and the pyramids are iconic…although I’m not really sure whether or not I like them. It’s like the Eiffel Tower. You’re told it’s beautiful and you’ve seen it so much that you think you like it, but you don’t really know because, well, it’s Paris and it’s magical. That made more sense in my head.
First up, obligatory bee-line to the Mona Lisa, before the room gets swamped with Asian tourists and you can’t actually see anything. It’s nice to look at, but again you don’t know if you like it, or if it’s the Mona Lisa, so you just think you do. Italian Renaissance paintings aren’t really my thing (and there are really a whole lot of them), but the sheer scale of some of them are astounding. I couldn’t paint something like that with a lifetime to spare, and some of these artists were churning them out like Mills & Boons novels.
I mean, what’s a Mills & Boons novel? Urm, anyway.
After Mona Lisa admiring, we made the executive decision that our morning would be best spent focusing on the Ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian sections. You see, if you briefly glanced at everything in the Louvre, it would still take you 100 days (that’s like, four months, without a break), so you really do need a game plan. Game plan in hand, we got lost among the statues (Venus de Milo!), pottery, mummies, armour and oh, oh everything. It was history nerd heaven. The first room we were in took us an hour (it was about gladiators, the bestest and most gory part of ancient history), so we sort of made a little shove on for the rest of it to be out for lunch and off to our next adventure.
After pretending to be Tom Holland for a little while, we made the slog to Montmartre – where the French Can Can was born, and, perhaps, best known for being the area the Moulin Rouge is in. It’s a strange little place, I can tell you that much. It’s all sex shops and sleaze, and not in the nice fun way like Amsterdam. It feels dirty and dodgy and sort of icky.
Until you make the GIANT climb to the highest part of the city and see the Sacre Coeur, that is. It is a hike to get to, but it is worth every leg cramp and sob…the view is unbelievable.
The church itself is worth going in for a look, too. There was next to no queue when we got there right in the middle of the day – although you aren’t allowed to take any pictures inside, and you’re meant to maintain absolute silence while you’re walking around. I guess the guy who stands and shouts ‘NO PICTURES’ at people has a different set of rules, mind you. Ruins the moment a tad. It’s not as grand or ornamental as Notre Dame or the Pantheon, but again, the scale is astounded. And there are real life nuns, which totally adds to the experience.
Once you are out of the church, sit for a bit, and just look out. There are so many places to stand and look at Paris from a great height, but this view is a whole other thing. It’s just incredible. So pretty and crazy romantic. This area of Montmartre feels less tacky than the sex shop street, even when you take all the many, many souvenir shops into account. It’s quaint and lovely, and exactly how your brain pictures Paris when it’s left to its own devices. Cobbles and all.
Hard to think it was a whole week ago, I truly believe I left my head there, because I can’t quite get back into the swing of things back home! Maybe I should stop eating pain au chocolat and drinking Orangina, to be fair…
I already had a rant about the airport and covered the Eiffel Tower in day one – you can go read that here, if you like.
While I had a plan for the weekend in mind before we set off, day two (Saturday) was meant to be a day of wandering and discovering. And oh, it was. I am not a healthy, sporty or fit person, but I think we might have walked about 5 miles. First thing in the morning I hopped out of bed (also something I don’t usually do, at home it’s more of a roll-and-splat motion), and we made a beeline for the Seine. If you are headed to Paris in the future, you really, really have to start your trip with a boat tour. It’s insanely beautiful, very informative and gives you an idea of where everything is in comparison to everything else.
We went with Bateaux Parisian, because it wasn’t raining and we could sit outside and take fifty million pictures.
After our very lovely boat trip, we WALKED from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, via a whole bunch of bridges and museums and gardens and landmarks. Paris really does need to be done on foot, we would’ve missed so much if I had been more me-like and refused to walk. Notre Dame is spectacular, of course, but they’ve built a viewing platform-thingy for the 850th anniversary (yes! 850 years! That is one OLD, OLD building), which was packed, ruined the view from the ground and looked downright cheap and tacky. Especially when you put it beside on of the most recognizable cathedrals in the world.
RIGHT. On to the real geekery. First up, after getting into Notre Dame and being silent and respectful, we got a little bit lost. Which would’ve been fun, if my legs weren’t about to drop off and if we weren’t literally going in circles. We did stumble across the world’s fanciest toilet, but I don’t think that’s really a feature of the city…
Eventually we found the Pantheon, one of the big tourist attractions that nobody seems to really go to. Except for the French. Good news is, if you are between 18 and 25 and from the EU, you get in for free! Same goes for the Louvre and the Arc De Triomphe. It pays to be from Northern Ireland. Sometimes.
This one time.
I highly recommend a visit to the Pantheon though, it’s really amazing. They have a wonderful exhibition on how the church building is actually crumbling and falling down, which was both interesting and terrifying. Maybe bring a hard hat? The real sights are underneath the church/mausoleum part (it’s changed purpose so many times, thanks to all those revolutions), where there are crypts where the French government bury citizens of note. Of which there are many! Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie and Pierre Curie, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Louis Braille…the list goes on and on. Humbling to visit and fascinating to look at (all the info. panels are in French, by the by, so you might want to get a book or an audio guide if you really want to know what’s going on).
After we went and visited some famous dead people (ah Paris, the city of love), we got lost a little bit more, but again, in the pursuit of something marvellous. If you have been to France/Paris and you are of a geeky persuasion, you really must’ve gone to Album.
Album is sort of like Forbidden Planet. Except, bigger. And better. With newer stock and older stock and displays that nearly put Disneyland to shame. It’s just…wow. They have an English section as well, so if you aren’t fluent in a foreign language (I got by okay, I’d like to point out), you won’t be completely lost.
PICTURES. ALL THE PICTURES.
As we were heading back to the tourist-beaten-track, we stumbled across another store I’d been dying to see – Shakespeare & Company. An English bookstore opened in 1951, named after an even older English language bookshop (that closed during the Second World War), the place is pure, incredible chaos. There are books everywhere, each room leading on to another room, people crammed into every little space. Oh god, I really loved it. I want my house to look like that. So many books. Heavenly, it really was. The outside of the shop is just as lovely, with little benches and trees and tables of books. Everyone who works there seems to be American, which struck me as odd (HIRE ME?!), but at least you don’t have to try and ask for a specific book in broken French!
All in all, a brilliant day of wandering and finding and shopping and romance. And now, I am sitting in Northern Ireland, wishing so badly I could just go back and stay there forever.
Don’t worry though, days three, four and five are on their way!