Some thoughts on Daredevil, season 2 — March 23, 2016

Some thoughts on Daredevil, season 2

I really love this show. When I discovered the Punisher was going to be featured I was super excited because there is very little I love more than a great antihero. I watched the entire season over the span of two days, I couldn’t put my screen down.  So anyway, here are some thoughts-

.I’m not that into daredevils new costume. A huge part of what makes this show so impressive is it’s utter lack of CGI, and the costume, which has a very unearthly look to it, kind of takes away from that. Sometimes when he’s busting out his ninja moves it LOOKS like animation, even though it isn’t, and just kind of takes from the coolness. Also, While on one hand I appreciate that it represents that he has accepted himself as the ‘devil’ and is slipping down a path of become more and more lenient in his morality, the beady black eyes and devils horns can kind of dehumanize him during his more tender or emotionally raw scenes.

The Punisher is an amazing character with amazing motives, moral grounds, and a thick, rich backstory. Daredevil has a wonderful way of making it’s villains very sympathetic, so bringing it Frank Castle was a genius move, seeing how well he compliments Murdock’s character. While there may be a lot of scum that gets very satisfyingly beat up over the course of the series, we can count on the big, end game, boss-level bad guys to be more complex. It is so much more engaging for the audience when the villain, like the hero, is  harder to pinpoint as being inherently “good” or “bad”. Both Fisk and Castle have seemingly pure, honest motives. The punisher though you really find yourself fighting for. Unlike Fisk, Castle doesn’t want to hurt anyone who doesn’t fit into his ideal world. He’s not as temperamental. He is a lost, grieving, ptsd suffering decorated war veteran who has decided he is going to weed out the bad guys. This is why he so perfectly aligns with Daredevil as a character, they have very similar goals and ideals. The only difference is that Castle thinks he is entitled to the right to kill people. To play judge, jury, and executioner. Murdock is the exact opposite of this, sometimes to the point where it’s just plain irritating. Fans of the comics know that Daredevil is one of the few Marvel heroes to kill his archrival, and when he does kill fisk he does it brutally, in public, everyone knowing who he is and what he has done and it changes that characters life forever. He unintentionally BECOMES the new kingpin, in a way. But for right now, we get to see him standing over Castle telling him that the only one who has a right to take lives is God. Daredevil has not suffered losses to the extinct that The Punisher has, and when he does he will start taking lives. Daredevils has chaotic control and the Punisher has controlled chaos.

I want to take a minute to discuss Karen, and how much she has really come into her own. What makes a Female character “strongly written” is not her ability to fight, her snappy comments and ferocious attitude, her masculine traits, or -and really try to get this through your head, Marvel- her sex appeal. It is a character that it well rounded, well written, given the same thought and complexity as male characters, and is not just designed for the admiration of the male characters/audience. Que Karen Page. She is determined, she is prideful, she is stubborn, she has interesting and deep run motives and a full and intriguing backstory that isn’t about a man who broke her heart or girlhate. She is curious. And now we have seen her outgrow nelson and murdock and become a journalist. She’s receiving well-deserved respect. She can be this independent character and can still be feminine, and can still have a story thread about her relationship with Matt without that relationship taking over her arc. There need to be more characters like this out there, which is exactly why I am choosing NOT to talk about Electra, who is, in short, a trope.

On a final note, I am still deeply impressed by the practical effects, stunting, and prosthetic makeup being done on the show. There is a scene towards the end of the season where the Punisher is locked in with a bunch of convicts who are out for his blood, which results in this total bloodbath. And I was watching this and thinking “I aspire to be this good and this.” If you do any of the above or would like to, Daredevil is a great show to be watching.

 

Why Go Vegan? — March 9, 2016

Why Go Vegan?

I have been on and off vegetarian for a long time, and I haven’t eaten red meat in nearly 8 years, but now I am ready to commit to going full vegan. Here’s why:

Say NO to Meat

Meat consumption is associated with almost all major deceases. People who don’t eat meat have a cholesterol level of around 120 as opposed to 210, making risk of heart attacks virtually 0. Vegans are 40% less likely to get cancer. It also helps prevent Atherosclerosis which leads to strokes and heart attacks. A Vegetarian saves roughly 198 animals every year (what people eat on average) 40% of the worlds grains and 50% of it’s water goes to livestock. Enough grain to feed 800 million people. 1 Acre of land produces 40,000 lbs. of tomatoes, 53,000 lbs. of potatoes, or 132 lbs. of beef. It is also easier for most vegans and vegetarians to loose weight and usually have much clearer skin.

Say NO to Milk

Cows milk is the #1 cause of allergies in infants and children. 33% of all American Adults and lactose intolerant but only 13.1% don’t drink milk. That leaves 62,200,000 people who drink it despite being unable to digest it properly. In 1970 cows produced 9,700 lbs. of milk. Now they produce 19,000 lbs. This is because we inject cows with growth hormones which carry into the milk we drink. This hormone contains IGF-1 which humans already have. It is linked to early puberty in girls and increases risk of ovarian and prostate cancer. Ounce for Ounce milk has the same calorie count as soda. Milk consumption increases the risk of type 1 diabetes and heart disease. One serving of 2% milk has the same fat count as a serving of french fries.

(A note on protein: you get almost double the protein from 100 calories of broccoli than you do from 100 calories of meat, and 0 cholesterol. So ha)

Resources:

http://www.Peta.org, http://www.vegan.org/learn, http://www.vrg.org, http://www.nomeatathlete.org, http://www.milkprocon.org, http://www.nutritionstudies.org/12-frightenig-facts-milk (on netflix:) Food Inc., Hungry for Change, Food Matters, Vegucated, GMO OMG, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead

 

 

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman — February 17, 2016

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

It might take some time to warm up to it, but this book is a YA must read. This book is about a teenage boy, Caden, who is suffering from Schizophrenia. It’s a harrowing journey although it is a harsh read and might be bothering or even triggering to sensitive kids.  The writing really reels you in and it’s incredibly unnerving and gripping. The writing style feels very natural and I’ll be honest,this is the best book I’ve read in a long while.

It’s great to read a book that captures mental illness as well as Challenger Deep has. The author has a friend who is schizophrenic as well as his son, whose artwork is included throughout the book. I did end up sort of skimming through large portions of the alternate reality, especially in the beginning when it was a bit confusing and without context, but it’s still a lengthy read regardless.

Shusterman did a stunning job illustrating the character’s descent into insanity while maintaining a realism and believably. It almost makes you second guess yourself, how rational the inner dialogue is presented. Top it all off with a good inspiring ending and a sweet, unconventional hospital romance and you’ve got an 8/10 rating.

Pick it up next time you’re at the library. It’ll be worth it.

Why Daredevil might be the best thing Marvel’s put out yet — January 18, 2016

Why Daredevil might be the best thing Marvel’s put out yet

(*I’m referring to the film and television branch, not the comics, which in a way I sort of categorize as it’s own thing. )

I’m on episode five of Daredevil and I have been so impressed by what I am seeing I can’t even wait till the end to write a review. I have never been a big DC fan because it’s too brooding, but sometimes Marvel can be waayyyy to campy, and I think they have found a wonderful balance with Daredevil, which is dark and violent but still maintains a humor and incorporates lighter moments. It’s definitely the darkest Marvel creation I’ve ever seen, but it still maintains that iconic marvel tone just enough to make it a really enjoyable experience.

the acting is amazing. A lot of times you see blind people with still faces, staring fixated on one spot, but here you see so much expression and emotion. His eyes move around all over the place, he just never makes perfect eye contact. I don’t know anyone blind so I can’t vouch for this, but it just seems so much more realistic.

The story itself is very interesting, there is something so compellingly contradictory about a Lawyer by day and a vigilante at night. Traditionally, superheroes like in a world with incredibly incompetent police and (a) judicial system(s), causing them to take it into their own hands, sweeping in a being all super-hero-y.  So I don’t know, the fact that he is a good lawyer and a super hero just makes it so interesting. I also really like that he isn’t hardly even a “super hero” in the traditional sense. He isn’t unbelievably strong, or wealthy, or genetically engineered. He didn’t fall into a vat of radioactive waste and develop near magical powers. He is a man who grew up learning to strengthen his senses without the use of sight. He is a man who trained and aspired to be more like his father, the boxer. The story is definitely unlikely, they are in fantastical situations, but it feels so much more grounded than,say, Captain America or The Flash.

THAT CINEMATOGRAPHY THO. Beautiful. I think that film is an art.Storytelling is obviously incredibly important but to me, the way it is done is equally important. It’s 50/50, all the way. This show is a masterpiece. The lighting, the stunt blocking, the camera movements, the framing. The editing. It’s all absolutely gorgeous, and contributes to it’d darker, more realistic feel.

Of course, I have to point out the violence. What got this show it’s M rating. In case the title sequence didn’t convey this well enough; it’s brutal and there is a lot of blood. You see our very human protagonist pulling off outrageous stunts but getting very, VERY, hurt in the process. We see people  slamming their heads through metal spikes heads getting bashed in with fire extinguishers and bowling balls. 40 minutes into episode 5 a particularly disgusting scene unfolds in which a mans head is smashed in a car door repeatedly until we see his brain fall out in bloody chunks onto the pavement.

I am terrible at wrapping things up, especially when there are such loose and unconnected thoughts, but here you go: You should definitely watch daredevil. 9/10 rating. I really can’t see anything wrong with it. There hasn’t been as single thing that I would have done differently. I would definitely recommend it for older audiences, 15+ probably, but it’s great and can definitely hold older audiences attention.

RIP Alan Rickman — January 14, 2016

RIP Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman died age 69 of cancer today. What extremely sad news. He was an amazing and deeply loved actor known for Die Hard, Galaxy Quest, Sense and Sensibility, Robin Hood, and of course, Harry Potter. His last role was in Alice in Wonderland Through the Looking Glass, which will be released this spring. He gave an invaluable contribution to the film industry and I don’t think I’ve ever been so personally affected by the death of an actor. He will be truly missed.

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