Interesting movies for 2013

Here are the movies I’ll be interested in checking out in the upcoming year:


Oz: The Great and Powerful

March 8, 2013.  Mixed feelings about this.  While I think the overall idea could be a ton of fun, I’m worried it will turn out generic and uninspired.  But I’ll give it a chance.


The Croods

March 22, 2013.  This is the film one of my animation mentors from DreamWorks was working on while I studied animation.  The trailers were funny, but I still don’t know what the overall story is about.


The Host

March 29, 2013.  Yes, it’s based on a book by the author of the Twilight, but this one doesn’t look like romance, so hopefully I’ll be safe from such girlish daydreams.  The main reason I’m interested in this film is director Andrew Niccol, in whose work I have yet to be disappointed.


Jurassic Park 3D

April 5, 2013.  This is one of my favorite films of all time.  I can’t wait to see it in 3D.  Roar.
Man of Steel

June 14, 2013.  I normally have no interest in Superman, and have yet to see any film or TV show featuring this silly flying alien man in tights.  However, the trailers were intriguing, and with a screen story by Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, a screenplay by David S. Goyer, and the awesome eye for fantastic visuals of director Zack Snyder, I’ll check it out.


Monsters University

June 21, 2013.  While Pixar slips away from the glory it once was, and continues to descend into the depths of series-dom, we are given a prequel to Monsters, Inc.  Honestly, this looks rather uninspired, but I’ll give it a chance just because they are Pixar.


Despicable Me 2

July 5, 2013.  OK, even though I just said that series-dom was a depth to be descended to, some films have obvious sequel potential.  I still have no idea what this sequel will be about, but the first one was funny enough that I think I will enjoy seeing these characters return.


Pacific Rim

July 12, 2013.  From director Guillermo del Toro.  I guess it’s about giant robots fighting mystical monsters near the coast of the Pacific.  The trailer looked awesome; definitely a huge special effects film.



July 16, 2013.  This animated feature from DreamWorks has something to do with a snail who dreams of being a racer.  But, wait.  Snails are slow!  Whatever will happen?  Don’t know much about this film yet, but I’ll keep an eye on it.


The Seventh Son

October 18, 2013.  I know nothing about this, but I like the look and feel of the production photographs that have been released, and the storyline from IMDb sounds interesting enough for me: “John Gregory, a seventh son of a seventh son and the local Spook, has protected the country from witches, boggarts, ghouls, and all manner of things that go bump in the night.  However, John is not young anymore and has been seeking out an apprentice to carry on his trade.  Most have failed to survive.  The last hope to the county a young farmer’s son named Thomas Ward…”  OK, let’s go.


Ender’s Game

November 1, 2013.  My favorite sci-fi novel turned into a movie?  Impossible.  While it’s based on the book, the spirit of the book is very internal, very thought-driven, making it un-filmable.  So the success of this film will depend on director Gavin Hood’s interpretation; what he adds to it as much as what he’s forced to take out.  I look forward to watching it, but I can’t imagine it living up to the book.  But if it helps steer some audiences towards the book, that’s not a bad thing.  And it’s got Harrison Ford, who is perfect for his role.



November 29, 2013.  From Disney Animation comes an animated interpretation of my favorite Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale: The Snow Queen.  It looks like they’re changing around a lot of the story, though, as Disney tends to do.  We’ll see.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

December 13, 2013.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was fantastic.  So of course I’m looking forward to the second chapter.


Saving Mr. Banks

December 20, 2013.  This Disney live-action drama, starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, tells the behind-the-scenes (but surely embellished, because Uncle Walt never did evil) story of creating Disney’s classic film, Mary Poppins.

And that’s it for now.  Lots to look forward to.


I think there’s a lot of stress and fear out there. The basic fears: Will I find a job? Will I have enough money? Enough food? Shelter? And then there are deeper fears that claw at one’s heart, even if people are too afraid to challenge them face to face: Am I good-looking? Am I loved? Am I worthy of love? Am I worth anything? Am I a good person? Do I belong here?

What saddens me just as much as the recent shooting is the number of people encouraging others to be enraged by it, to fuel themselves with the spirit of anger. The idea that anger and rage will somehow bring about justice is a terrible folly; these emotions only make truth harder to see. The world is ruled more by the spirit of our hearts than the coverage of our laws. We should be working for heart change more than law change. Otherwise, even with stricter laws, things are going to get much worse.

If you want to make a huge difference, think of the person or types of people you hate the most, and abandon that hate, give it up. And when someone or something makes you feel hurt and hated and fills you with that rage again, give it up again. You may not see the ripple effect this will produce; this world is too complex for our tiny minds. But all humans are connected and it will ripple. We may still disagree on things, but then our discussions will be fueled by love of truth, not contempt for rivalry.

And give up your fears. It’s a supreme, almost unnatural act of trust, but there is no real wisdom in suffering yourself with them.

Somebody else already taught these things a couple thousand years ago, but His message is doubted or ignored, perhaps because it sounds too good to be true, or perhaps because we think we’re too modern and smart for it nowadays. We’ll be celebrating His birth soon, a good time to remember that it’s all true. And this physical life is just the beginning.

God bless.

Lord of the Rings marathon was great!


Today (or yesterday, I suppose, since it’s 2 AM) I spent about thirteen hours in the movie theater watching a Lord of the Rings Extended Editions trilogy marathon.  About twenty to thirty people showed up; I thought it would be more popular, but I guess thirteen hours is a rather long time.  I thought it might test my stamina, but I was able to watch attentively without getting tired or getting a sore back (they had good comfy seats, good for tall people), or having to go to the bathroom halfway through a film, though I’m sure sitting for thirteen hours wasn’t very healthy at all.  Watching in a theater also offered less distractions, whereas if I did a marathon at home, I’d probably be pausing the film all the time.  Although we didn’t have the biggest screen of the theater, it was still much more glorious to see and hear these epic films on such a big screen than on a home TV.  It’s just awesome when movies like these take up more of your visual field, and the theater’s 4K projectors are wonderful.  (I’d love to get one for my home, they’re only $25K…)

Finally, even though I’ve seen the films plenty of times, they continue to inspire and excite me.  I got some good energy to finish my novel-in-progress, and continued to get new story ideas from the trilogy’s wealth of material.

I would love to live in some place that was a combo of Bag End, Rivendell, Lothlórien, and Minas Tirith, but that was also a space ship.  I guess it would be called Bagendellorienirith, Firefly-class.

Anyway, awesome stuff.  I loved it!  Let’s do it again!

Wobble through Les Miserables!

A small collection of clips from the upcoming musical film Les Miserables were uploaded to YouTube a couple days ago. For example, this one:

My thoughts:

Musically, sounds good. The singing sounds good, save for Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, who’s rapid vibrato makes it sound like she’s singing while driving over a bumpy road. I’m not sure the “live singing” adds anything spectacular, at least not in these brief clips, but it certainly doesn’t take anything away.

Camera-work wise, GAH!! I don’t mind the close-ups and the wide-angles, which I think will look awesome on the big screen, but why the wobbly handheld look? Is this a home-made movie? Is this a British TV show? Why can’t the English learn to hold a camera steady?

The worst example is in this clip, at about 35 seconds:

Oh, yes, let’s glance down at the letters and then back up at his face…? Very unprofessional looking. It makes me, as an audience member, feel like I’m not there, like elements of the scene are being concealed from me, like I’m being forced to watch something through the eyes of a tipsy drunken man. Ugh.