Friday, November 5, 2010

Title:  The Princess and the Frog
Format:  DVD
Category:  Family/Animated/Disney Princess
Rating:  A-

Description (from Disney website):  Walt Disney Animation Studios presents the musical The Princess and the Frog, an animated comedy set in the great city of New Orleans. From the creators of "The Little Mermaid" and "Aladdin" comes a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana, a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana.

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I'm so happy Disney returned to their classic 2-D, hand-drawn animation for this movie.  It was a refreshing change from the 3-D, CGI obsession that has taken over all animation studios, including Disney.  It was also awesome, because it wasn't the low-quality, straight-to-DVD animation that seems to have become standard for all non-CGI movies and Disney sequels.

This version of The Princess & the Frog is amazing, not only because it captures the essence of the classic Disney princess movie, but also because it provides a fresh twist on the original fairy-tale.  With memorable characters, fun songs, and great dialogue, this movie is great for the whole family.  Unless you have children who scare easily (like my sister) or if you disapprove of seeing the occult in a Disney family film (like my mom).  The villain of the movie is a voodoo practitioner who speaks to evil spirits, and one of the "good guys" also practices voodoo, but she's portrayed in a good light.  Something neither my mom nor I agree with.  But if you can get past the occultism, the movie is a great retelling of a classic fairy-tale.  A-

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Title:  Castle: Season 2
Category:  TV Crime Drama
Rating:  A

Description (from Castle is an incredibly famous mystery novelist who finds himself at the center of a police investigation when a serial killer uses scenes from Castle's book to commit his many crimes. Once Castle helps track down the killer with the help of the very beautiful Detective Kate Beckett, the two begin working together (with plenty of romantic tension) to solve homicides.

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Love, love, love this series!  I just bought and re-watched this season in preparation for Season 3 (on tonight!), and it just solidified in my mind how awesome this show is.  The dialogue, the humor, the exciting mysteries, the characters, the drama, the twists, the flirtation-- how can anyone resist loving a show with so much to offer?

The characters, their dialogue, and their humor are the main reasons this show surpasses other crime dramas.  Nathan Fillion is hilarious as novelist-turned-detective Richard Castle, and his banter with Detective Kate Beckett is the best part of the series.  Beckett is an awesome female lead; she's a kick-butt detective with a talent for sarcasm.  Her partners, Ryan and Esposito, are always handy with a witty remark or to tease Castle and Beckett, and their arguments over pointless and obscure facts add to the fun.  Castle's relationship with his mother and daughter also brings a lot of entertainment and laughter, and their presence helps keep Castle anchored to the real world.

The show is exciting, humorous, and fun, and its second season is the perfect follow-up to the awesomeness of the first.  A
Title:  Primeval: Season 3
Format:  DVD
Category:  Sci-Fi
Rating:  A

So much action and drama packed into this season.  Even more new characters, the scariest new villain yet, and a catastrophic death that overwhelms and changes the team's dynamic forever.  The third season is the most intense and exciting of the series.

The newest characters in the series are Dr. Sarah Page (an Egyptologist), Captain Becker (head of ARC security), and Danny Quinn (former police officer).  Each add their own unique style and quirks to the team, as well as provide new perspective on the anomalies.  The newest villain, Christine Johnson, is extremely power-hungry and devious, and she's not afraid of putting other people at risk to get what she wants.  Her desire to learn more about the future and its advances and to gain an important artifact from a future anomaly is one of the main overarching plots of the season, and on more than one occasion, she comes close to succeeding.

The worst part about watching this season was to get to the awesome cliffhanger at the end, and then realize that the show had been canceled.  How could they?!  It was such an amazing show, and it ends in the most exciting, nail-biting cliffhanger ever.  They couldn't just leave it there.  Luckily, lots of other fans felt the same way and voiced their opinions loudly.  And they're bringing the show back in December for at least two more seasons!!  I'm so happy!  Now they can finally tell me what happened to the team.  And if my luck holds out, maybe they'll extend it for a sixth season too!  Can't wait for December!  A

Monday, November 1, 2010

Title:  Primeval: Season 2
Format:  Netflix
Category:  Sci-Fi
Rating:  A

I'm not even going to bother putting in a description because imdb's stinks, and every other websites' is two pages long.

The second installment of the Primeval series is even more exciting than the first.  New characters, new creatures, new villains... and an alternate universe!  This season focuses on creatures from the future and the relationships between the characters.  Which are especially strained after the twisted ending to the first season.

Cutter has the hardest time readjusting to all of the changes occurring in his life and world, like their new headquarters, the ARC (Anomaly Research Center).  The biggest change he has to cope with is the departure of Claudia Brown, and the entrance of her look-alike, PR specialist Jennifer Lewis.  James Lester gets a much bigger and more appreciated role, although he will always be snarky.  And Connor and Abby start to take on more responsibilities as well as bigger roles in the series (after all, they are the only two people from the original team to last through all four seasons).  Their "relationship" also goes through a lot of bumps and turns, but it's one of the best parts of the series.

The second season also has a more defined overarching plot, and the subplots are much more connected.  Everything builds up to a spectacular season finale, where one main character dies to save others, and one of the villains escapes to cause more trouble in the next season.  A
Title:  Primeval: Season 1
Format:  Netflix
Category:  Sci-fi
Rating:  A

Crappy Description (from  When strange anomalies in time start to appear all over England, Professor Cutter and his team have to help track down and capture all sorts of dangerous prehistoric creatures from Earth's distant past.

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I heart this series!!  I started watching it just because I love Andrew Lee Potts, and ended up falling in love with the whole show.  The dialogue is funny, the cast is amazing, and the plot is engaging and exciting.  Like many British TV-shows, the special effects aren't the best, but they don't detract from the show at all.  And as the series became more popular and made more money, the effects did start to improve.

This season, which only had six episodes, mostly focused on the introduction of the time anomalies, the establishment of the team, and the development of the characters' personalities.  Basically, the anomalies are these rips in time that are allowing creatures from the past, such as dinosaurs, to come through to the present, wreaking havoc all over England.  A team is quickly thrown together, mostly by being in the right place at the right time, to try to control the creature sightings and keep the nation from discovering the anomalies exist.  This early team is made up of Nick Cutter (professor of evolutionary biology and team leader), Claudia Brown (government liaison), Stephen Hart (lab technician & bodyguard), Connor Temple (student-turned-equipment/research/logistics-specialist), and Abby Maitland (herpetologist and assistant zookeeper).  They are overseen by Home Office official James Lester, who butts heads with Cutter all the time.

The stories are extremely interesting, especially since most of the creatures in the series aren't the traditional ones we think of when we think of dinosaurs.  No triceratops or stegosaurus or t-rex here.  Instead, there are giant insects, dodos, parasites, mosasaurs, and a gorgonopsid.  Of course, like Jurassic Park, a great deal of creative license is used when it comes to these creatures, as we don't have a lot of concrete facts about their behaviors and habits.

This is one of those shows that you just can't stop watching; it's so exciting.  And there are overarching plotlines and subplots galore to keep the show from just being about catching dinosaurs.  BBC created an awesome series with Primeval, and I can't wait for the next season to come out on DVD (since they won't be showing it in America).  A
Title:  Going Postal
Author:  Terry Pratchett
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  416
Genre:  Fantasy/Discworld
Date Started:  August 14, 2010
Date Finished:  August 17, 2010

Rating:  A-

Description (from the Publisher):  Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses—until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into...a government job?

By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position—and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.

Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt.

But it says on the building neither rain nor snow nor glo m of ni t...Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what's called for, he'll do it—in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope.

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Watching the miniseries adaptation before reading the book was a big mistake.  My brother had told me that there was more creative license taken with Going Postal than there had been for the other adaptations.  I just didn't realize it was going to be for the better.  Usually the book is a hundred times better than its movie; in this case, it seemed so much... slower and less exciting than its TV adaptation.  The book was still very good, and there were several parts that I wish they'd included in the miniseries because they were so hilarious.  I just felt that the original story had quite a few parts where the action just seemed to stop.

Overall, Going Postal has memorable characters, a unique and exciting storyline, and Pratchett's famous wit and sarcasm.  I personally loved the book, but I wish I'd read it before seeing the miniseries.  A-