Dreams Do Come True: Batgirl Casting

Mark March 30, 2017 down as one of the greatest days of my life. A Batgirl film was finally announced, with Joss Whedon at the helm to write and direct it. You might think it is an exaggeration, but my husband begs to differ. I fancy it is because I even talk about it in my sleep. In my head, I already have the ideal movie script and cast. While I may ponder my full ideal cast and story at a later time, I first wanted to play with who could take on the Batgirl cowl. Of course, I have a clear favorite, but there are others I wouldn’t be disappointed in taking the lead. There are also a very few that I want nowhere near the role (looking at you, Anna Kendrick and Jena Malone). I digress. On to the main point, who is our Barbara Gordon?

First off, I have a very clear image of Barbara Gordon. Red hair, librarian/girl next door cute, smart with a taste of sarcastic wittiness. This is my Barbara Gordon. She cares about others and she doesn’t take your shit. Plain and simple. She’s my cup of tea.

4. Karen Gillan 

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When it comes down to the look, Karen Gillan pretty much nails it. Her bright red hair and ability to rock the girl next door style leaves me pretty much charmed. Also, there are no concerns about her acting abilities. From Doctor Who to Guardians of the Galaxy and even Selfie, she’s always brought a fresh dewiness to the roll. My biggest concern with Gillan is her active role in the Marvel universe. Sure, she is unrecognizable as Nebula, but she is even slated to be in Avengers: Infinity War. I have no doubts that Marvel will not want to share.

3. Olivia Cooke

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The youngest of the bunch, Olivia Cooke has the opportunity to bring a naivety to the role that no other actress on the list could match. If they were going with a Batgirl origin story, I think Cooke could be their girl. Personally, I prefer a slightly aged up version, but I would be interested in seeing how Cooke could put her own flair on the Batgirl mantra. I’m the most unfamiliar with her work, only seeing her in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. While she seems to be typically casted in “scream girl” roles, I’m excited to see what she brings to the table in Ready Player One. Is she the Barbara Gordon the world didn’t know they needed?

2. Jane Levy

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If there is one person who could nail Barbara Gordon’s sassy wit right off the bat, it is Jane Levy. Have doubts? Watch her in Suburgatory. You will fall in love, and wonder why this darling tv show was cancelled. It was ahead of its time, but we can write those wrongs by giving Levy her time to shine. Similar to Cooke, Levy has been a little bit of a Scream Queen, but she has shined in every role. Any role that allows Levy to showcase her witty charm, you can sign me up for. Also, if we are going with the Batgirl of Burnside story, Levy knows how to navigate going from a big city to a town.

1. Emma Stone

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I know, you get it. I love Emma Stone. But do you know why I love Emma Stone? It started with House Bunny, rumbled in Zombieland and solidified in Easy A. This was the girl who I wanted to be Barbara Gordon. She embodies the role with her comedic timing, clever tongue and down to earth personality. This is always what I’ve known of Batgirl, and Stone is who I wanted to personify it on the big screen. Ironically, Stone played my second favorite female comic character of all time, Gwen Stacy. They both have a similar sharpness that makes them stick out. At the end of the day, both of these characters always loved their respective significant others for who they were, not the costumes they wore to save the day. Even more so, both of these ladies kicked ass in their chosen fields. Look at both of them shine today, as our current Batgirl and Spider-Gwen. Back to the main point, Stone is the cheeky detective we need and the sassy heroine we want when it comes to Barbara Gordon.

Bore in the Streets, Snore in the Streets: The Secret Adversary Review

I love Agatha Christie. When most people ask my favorite author, it’s a rapid fire response about the brilliance that is Christie. Her mysteries are smart, compelling and, typically, keep you guessing to the end. With “Secret Adversary“, the pulse is novel thrives on discovering Mr. Brown’s identity. Unfortunately, that’s where the comparisons stop.  It’s unlikely you will find me continuing with The Young Adventures, Ltd. on any of their other journeys.

Maybe it is modern day marketing (and I don’t say this lightly as a public relations professional), but the back of the book drew me in with it’s description: two young lovers solving crimes and always on the run. Yet, nothing about it felt electric. Tommy and Tuppence genuinely care about each other, but the relationship always felt brother/sister-like. Their engagement at the end was not the end goal of my reading. It happened, but I would have been okay if it didn’t.

What the book does right is the characterization of Tuppence: quick-witted, smart mouthed and full of wonder. Alone, I hope I could follow her along as she stumbles into these highly dangerous situations. On the other hand, I’m okay if Tommy wants to sit on the sidelines. While I compliment Christie’s development of characters, he just sagged against Tuppence’s brightness. They were a fine pair, but he just seemed to exist.

Moving on, the characterization of Mr. Brown was fascinating. An ever changing chameleon, no one could ever pinpoint his true identity. While it seemed like he hid in the shadows, he was always in broad daylight. Don’t let me fool you, he isn’t a Moriarty or Joker. But he held his own, and built an interesting counterpart to the Young Adventures.

The story itself was your typical mystery. There was nothing that stood out or made it revolutionary. While it kept you guessing who Mr. Brown was, the mystery at hand wasn’t all that compelling or seductive. You knew the culprit after a few chapters, you just had to discover his identity. Sure, there was the aspect of finding Jane Finn, but even that unraveled rather quickly (or shall I say, felt transparent). This wasn’t as page-turning as “And Then There Were None“, but it found its charms through characters.

Ultimately, “The Secret Adversary” is what I’ve grown to love about Agatha Christie, but a little lacking on the heart of other mysteries. While I feel this way, I know many other cherish Tuppence and Tommy and enjoy some of the other adventures they tackle together. Please never let my words make you hesitate on whether or not you should pick up a book. Everyone has their own cup of tea they enjoy.

Don’t worry about my love of Christie diminishing, either. I will be following up with “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” and “The Body in the Library“. The latter of which follows my favorite protagonist, Miss Marple. The former, of course, is lead by Hercules Poirot, who is a fine literary hero in his own right. Every mystery gives you something to unravel, it’s just about finding what your book soul is searching for in that moment.

All About That Oscars, Take 3

New year, new Oscars. That’s how the saying goes, right? Anyways, it’s my favorite time of the year, once again. Legitimately, I’ve been on edge all week waiting for Sunday. Yes, I understand it is just another awards ceremony, but we can dive into my bad habits another time. Truthfully, this has been an outstanding year in film and I’m very excited to see what the Oscars brings to the table.

Best Supporting Actor

My Pick: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Who Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

If I had to pick one performance that truly outshone the rest this year, it would be Mahershala Ali’s turn as a lovable drug dealer in Moonlight. What’s even more remarkable is the imprint he leaves, despite only starring in the film for maybe 20 minutes. How was his performance so effective? Every little detail. The way he carries himself, the inner turmoil you see on his face when dealing with the main character, his heart and, honestly, the list could go on and on. One thing I constantly highlight is how his presence is still felt after he is gone. He played such a significant role in the main character’s life, and this type of feeling is unmatched by any of the other supporting actors.

Best Supporting Actress

My Pick: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Who Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

On any given Sunday, you would hear me singing all of the praises for Viola Davis and that isn’t going to change today. Viola Davis is a master class actress who is in a league of the best and brightest, but the problem here in the category she is in. Davis rightfully deserves to be the in the Best Actress race. Unfortunately, the supporting actress category was viewed as less crowded and a guaranteed shoo-in for a win. This leaves true supporting roles, such as Naomie Harris and Michelle Williams, out in the cold. Don’t get me wrong, Viola deserves this award. I just wish she would have chosen to run in her true category.

Back to Harris, who was a marvel in Moonlight. She dominated what a supporting role is supposed to be. Although she was a hard character to support, you wanted her to be the type of parental figure needed. You witness her cruelty driven by an addiction and the heartbreak she experiences a little too late due to the deteriorated relationship with her son. It’s a role worth examining and praising, and Harris pulled it off in three days. Just remember that years down the road.

Best Actor

My Pick: Andrew Garfield, Silence

Who Will Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

No, your eyes do not deceive you, I did say Silence. And no, I do not mean Hacksaw Ridge. I know what movie Andrew Garfield is nominated for, but we all know what role was Oscar worthy. I think very, very highly of Garfield and his acting abilities, and I think they are something that gets overshadowed because he played Spider-man. Side note, I will happily argue with you as to why he is the best Spider-man to date. Back to the main point, Silence was a hard film that was very much carried on Garfield’s back. I do not think it would have had the same soul without his presence, and I don’t think Scorsese’s passion project would have its heart without him. I would continue to layer on the compliments, but we need to get back to the actor’s race at hands.

With those nominated, Denzel Washington brings another award winning performance in Fences, even if it isn’t his best to date. It still feels raw and vulnerable, which is one of the reasons people love watching Denzel onscreen. Similar to Harris, this isn’t a character you root for, but it is a role that feels real and worthy of telling. While there is a lot of stylistic choices that I would change to Fences, Denzel and Viola’s chemistry and, at times, volatile relationship is one that I wouldn’t. It sticks out like a sore thumb and keeps you watching as you journey through this life with them.

Best Actress

My Pick: Emma Stone, La La Land

Who Will Win: Emma Stone, La La Land

Genuine, heartbreaking and loving. These are the three words I would use to describe Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land. Want another one? Effortless. While this is a musical, this film isn’t built upon her singing or dancing abilities. No, that’s just part of the charm. La La Land is based on ordinary people who dream of tackling something greater in life. If you don’t understand Stone’s talent, watch her face throughout the movie. She carries all of her best dialogue through her posture, her eyes and the subtle way she moves her mouth. She conveys emotions with ease but holds firmly in a role surrounded in reality. Fall and onwards is carried on her shoulders. Through her audition to the tear duct inducing ending, Emma Stone is the one who whisks you away and makes you feel the heartache and memories of love.

Best Director

My Pick: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Who Will Win: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Whiplash was not a one-hit wonder, and we should all be wondering what else Damien Chazelle has up his sleeve. While there is a lot of deservingly wonderful directors here, Chazelle created something that couldn’t be done: a modern day, original musical. The weight of those words might feel light, but we haven’t seen a musical with this much heart and soul for ages. The film serves not only as a love letter to LA but to those who try to embark on their dreams each day. Between the technicolored wonderland and intimate relationship built between Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, Chazelle never misses a beat. He has created something that will last for ages to come.

Best Picture

My Pick: La La Land

Who Will Win: La La Land

You’ve made it to the big prize, and if you read my other picks then this one comes as no surprise. La La Land stole my heart, and I partly think it is because it is the first film that has shocked me and affected me in such a long time. As I’ve mentioned before, I was lucky enough to see this at the opening of the Denver Film Festival. My god, I was blown away. Every movie should be seen in an opera-worthy auditorium. Here’s the thing, with each repeat viewing I’ve fallen more in love. In its flaws, I see a story that has been waiting to be told. At its best, it is a feeling that I want to be wrapped in forever. I don’t think I’ll ever be over the ending, and I don’t want to be. Ultimately, La La Land is something that will haunt me and move me, and I can’t wait to experience it again.

Love Across Time: Time Traveler’s Wife Dive In

Disclaimer: To begin things, I’ve posted this rewind a little later to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Why? Because I’m an overly cheesy romantic, and I’m all about timing. Even if it is a day late, I think we are all still feeling the love tonight. Also, there is most definitely spoilers below. Read at your own risk.

There’s something oddly familiar about reading an old book, and I don’t mean rediscovering longed to be re-read pages. It’s similar to the feeling of smelling a candle that brings back childhood memories. That’s how I feel every time I touch the spine and re-open “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”

I got chills reading the first chapter of “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” passages I have read 3 times before. I can only equate it to a feeling of being home. An “oh, there you’ve been” notion, that I’m not sure another book will ever be able to capture. I truly believe I’ve slightly given up on reading books because I don’t think they can capture this magic. That’s partly why I’ve turned to graphic novels because the art and fast pace is the closest I feel to it. This feeling, though, that’s what a favorite book is for, right?

The thing that always draws me into “The Time Traveler’s Wife” is the how deeply integral time travel is to the plot. I know, you are probably thinking, “no dip, Sherlock. It’s literally in the name.” It’s more than that, though. Based on the title alone, this seems like a novel dedicated to a man and a woman and their romance through time travel. Alternatively, it’s about a man named Henry de Tamble, who is burdened by this disease that causes him to time travel. As he ages, he learns that he tends to go to important times in his life, which is what always bring him back to Claire Abshire.

It’s more than love, though. Henry finds himself traveling to times where he interacts with himself, teaches his younger self how to push through and other figures who are important in his life. He discovers that he cannot interfere with time or change things no matter how much he wishes he could.

The other side of the story follows Claire and how she adjusts to loving a man who cannot always be there and finding herself and her style in everyday life. Between wanting a family and wanting to be a successful artist, Claire even struggles with understanding why her lot in life involves a man who travels across time. Yet, she doesn’t want it any other way.

The book divides the two stories by breaking them up into sections, with each character telling a certain part of their lives. As far as books go, it is one of the most realistic love stories, despite being held up with a science-fiction premise. It shows the inner struggles and triumphs of a relationship, family troubles and the value of friendships.

One of my most treasured moments in “The Time Traveler’s Wife” revolves around Claire and her mother’s death. Not only do we see and feel her inner turmoil, we watch as Henry tries to provide the support that Claire needs while also watching his wife crumble in this delicate time. Eventually, she finds a note from her mother and it is a small, tender moment that I think almost anyone can relate with.

Ultimately, the book revolves around these two beautifully flawed humans who find a tenderness in one another and grow together. They are two independent characters and they acknowledge the fact that their lives are more valuable spent together. There comes a time where Claire is on her own without Henry, but that never spells the end of their love story. Like some of my favorite romantic story lines, they built a life together and a love that transcends across time.

 

 

Reading Rainbow: Popkaiture’s 2017 Reading List

2017 has already started off as a mixed bag, but there is no better way than remedying it with some good old fashioned reading. If you have nothing better to do in your free time or just really love to read, join me on a unique reading journey. Between revisiting old favorites and journeying onto new stories, I hope you will join me for one helluva reading voyage. At the end of each month, I’ll dive into a dissection of each book and what I’ve gained through each piece of glorious literature. Let’s get started, we don’t have much of January left to finish our first book!

January’s Book: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler’s Wife is my favorite book, and I learn something new with every reading of it. Unfortunately, the rest of Audrey Niffenegger‘s writing has not been able to recapture the magic of this book, but that isn’t going to stop me from loving it. If you are willing to dive into a relationship and the various moments of times they spend together, then get ready for one amazing magic carpet ride. I’m very excited to revisit this book, as it is the perfect way to kick of 2017!

February’s Book: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

I’ve solved mysteries with Miss Marple and followed behind collecting details with Hercules Poirot, but this is the first crime I’ll be solving with Tommy and Tuppence. Mysteries are my game, and this is the first of three on the list. If you’ve never read Agatha Christie before, she is the mother of modern mysteries. I wish there was another author who could recapture her magic for today’s audiences, but I’ll settle for constantly finding new stories of hers to read. The Secret Adversary specifically follows a couple who is attracted to the allure of private investigating, but their first assignment threatens to test their bond. There’s nothing better to celebrate the month of love than a couple who embarks on these mysteries together, and continue to grow with one another over each new case.

March’s Book: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Every new year deserves a little bit of comedy, and Mindy Kaling is the perfect author to help you giggle. Why Not Me? is the follow-up to her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and I’m excited to see the different aspects of her life with this new(ish) short story collection. Maybe we will find out the answer to the lifelong question: why not me? Or maybe we will just get a full heartfelt laughs at relatables stories. Any way it goes, Kaling will be the perfect entry way into St. Patrick’s Day 2017!

April’s Book: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Marking off one of the classics, April is dedicated to Kurt Vonnegut‘s Slaughterhouse-Five. My husband and I just inherited a whole collection of Vonnegut’s books, and I’m looking at this being the first of many books of his that I will be reading. I missed out on reading this gem in high school, so I’m making up for lost time.

May’s Book: Second Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Just like January was dedicated to my favorite book, May is dedicated to my husband’s favorite. A science-fiction story centered around a badass teenage girl? Sign me up! Since Isaac Asimov is my husband’s favorite author, I’m familiar with a few of his works and have been dying to read Second Foundation. 2017 is going to be dedicated to tackling things I’ve been wanting to do, and my reading list is no different! Let’s adventure into one of the greatest sci-fi stories of all time together.

June’s Book: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

To mark the start of summer, we will be backpacking with the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Okay, maybe not backpacking, but Ann Brashares captures the joy and turmoil of a teenage summer. I’ve been wanting to revisit this series for awhile, especially with all the talks of a third Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. If I get you addicted and inspire you to read the rest of the story, well that’s all part of job! 😉

July’s Book: Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Complex was, hands down, my favorite book of 2016, and it’s sequel is getting released July 4, 2017! If you aren’t familiar with Sarah Kuhn‘s work, get acquainted with her. She has such a genuity and quirkiness to her writing, and I indulge in it wholeheartedly. Heroine Complex follows Evie Tanaka, while Heroine Worship will be following Aveda Jupiter, who is her best friend and original superhero. I’m a little skeptical of diving into Aveda’s mind, mostly because I loved Evie’s story, but I’ll follow Kuhn to the end of the line. I hope you will, too!

August’s Book: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

If you are familiar with Barbara Kingsolver, then you know that she weaves together her words with lyrical storytelling. I read her novel, The Poisonwood Bible, in high school, and I’ve been dying to revisit her writing. Prodigal Summer feels like the perfect next step, and I’ve only heard people rave about it. I’m not sure what to expect for it, but I’ve heard that it centers on three different stories and it’s very organic in more ways than one. If you don’t know how to interpret that, neither do I. Let’s do this together!

September’s Book: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I was introduced to Rebecca in my senior AP English class. Described as a modern-ish Jane Eyre but with a lot more intrigue, and I’ve been dying to read it. I’ve owned this book since reading that article, and I’ve never touched it. Well, that’s all about to change this year! I feel like this is a good way to welcome back school or welcome in fall, whatever change you are experiencing in September. I’m ready to experience Daphne du Maurier. It’s been a long time coming.

October’s Book: The Trespasser by Tana French

The 6th book in the Dublin Murder Squad series, Tana French is the closest we have to a modern day Agatha Christie. I’ve been a fan of this series after one of my English teachers recommended it to me. French has such a unique way of constructing a mystery, and each book follows a character from a previous book. This means you don’t need to read the first five, but I recommend it if you enjoy mysteries and if you want a little bit of background on everything. I’m excited to see where The Trespasser is going to take us.

November’s Book: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

The last mystery on this list, so we have to do it right. Back to Christie, but this times at the hands of Hercules Poirot. Murder on the Orient Express is a classic, and one of the few big titles I haven’t tackled from the Poirot stories. Why has it taken me so long? I was waiting for something great to come along, like the Murder on the Orient Express film that will be released on November 22nd. I’m gearing us up for the movie, so you’re welcome. Also, just be prepared because we know it will not be as good, but we take the victories no matter how small!

December’s Book: The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Two years ago, I read this book called The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Little did I know, this was a series referred to as the Cemetery of Forgotten Books and the next book was a “prequel” called The Angel’s Game. Luckily for you, this book can be read independently of one another, but Zafon’s writing is very alluring and eerie. Some categorize this as a mystery, and while it has mystery elements, it feels like your technical gothic fiction. What is gothic fiction? I’m glad you asked. It’s like the best of horror, mystery and romance in a dark setting. If that sounds tantalizing, then Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the author for you.

Things to Make You Smile: Best of 2016

What’s better than beginning a new year by looking back at what was good from the last? 2016 wasn’t one of the best years on the books, but it had it’s moments that reassured everyone maybe it would be okay after all. I mean, if you can’t escape with a good movie or book, then what even is the point? If you are still looking for a little bit of sunshine, I hope this list provides you with everything you need. Here are the ten things that made 2016 all worth it (well, kind of).

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La La Land

Damien Chazelle created a Hollywood musical masterpiece, and he knows it. Unlike traditional musicals, La La Land only boasts 6 songs with actual singing, but it’s soundtrack isn’t something to brush off. The songs littered through out the movie will make you fall in love and leave you humming for days. Maybe that’s just me, I have bought the soundtrack digitally and received the vinyl for Christmas (I can’t stop singing it, and I know I’m driving my loved ones crazy).

Much like the tagline, this movie is for the fools who dream. If the opening scene doesn’t draw you in and the last 15 minutes doesn’t get your tear ducts working, then I think we need to talk. Bring back the chemistry from Crazy, Stupid, Love. and Gangster Squad, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone sparkle like they never have before. Gosling hit a stellar year with film, and has already partnered up with Chazelle for a Neil Armstrong-biopic, but it is Stone who steals your heart and doesn’t stop running. Stone brings sincerity to every role she touches, but La La Land is the next level and her career best. I’ll be forever grateful for this 2-hour romantic stroll about the ones who dream. Until it is on DVD, I guess I’ll just be humming along to the soundtrack every day (sorry loved ones).

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Sarah Kuhn’s “Heroine Complex”

Lately, I’ve had a hard time connecting to books. Graphic novels are a different story, but traditional books have eluded me this year. That was, until I stumbled across Heroine Complex at our local Barnes and Noble. If the cover didn’t suck me in, the story did. A fine mix between your soapy fantasy love story and the baddest female super heroines previously missing from DC and Marvel movies,  you’ll fall in love with Evie and her fellow companions and see why representation is so important in storytelling (and, of course, every day life).

With the sequel, Heroine Worship, set to be released in July 2017, I can’t wait to fall back into the comfortable, sassy mind of Evie Tanaka and see if her life is still ridded with evil cupcakes. Cheers to Sarah Kuhn for making such an easily lovable character, and for reminding me that good books are always waiting around the corner.

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Arrival

Speaking of women who kick ass, have you seen Arrival? One of the sharpest sci-fi movies to date, I instantly fell in love and connected to Amy Adams‘ character, Louise Banks. The story felt familiar (in the best way), and the structure of the film will make you long for more science fiction stories. The movie is based on a short story by Ted Chiang called, “Story of Your Life.” If you connected to this film like I did, I highly recommend checking out the short story and connecting to some of Chiang’s other material.

I don’t want to spoil the plot of Arrival, but if you follow along closely you will catch little bits of detail that unravel for a very hard hitting final act. Don’t sleep on this film. If it is still in theaters around you, I urge you to go out and see it now.

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

One of the few new shows I actually loved this year, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency captured my heart with episode one. The titular character, Dirk Gently, is such a gem, but he doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all the supporting characters. Ultimately, this feels like the love letter Douglas Adams deserves, whose novel the show is based upon.

To anyone worried about getting too attached to a show, Dirk Gently’s has already been renewed for a season 2! That means another season full of ridiculous adventures, a new mystery to explore and an opportunity to show this show to the people you care about most in your life. With all of its quirks, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was the show I needed in 2016.

Added bonus: If you love the show as much as I do, be sure to follow their Twitter account for a little extra pep in your step every morning.

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The Nice Guys

Shane Black created a very raunchy buddy-cop comedy, and I’m here for every second of it. I remember seeing previews for The Nice Guys in February and wanting to see it, but alas my husband and I waited until it was out on DVD. Out of all the movies we saw in 2016, I wish we would have saw this one in theaters. Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe had some of the best on-screen chemistry I have ever scene, and, much like Dirk Gently, the Twitter account did a great job of promoting that fact (enjoy).

The movie itself found a way to pair up two unlikely candidates to solve a mystery that is so ridiculous, that you will want to follow it until the in. Sprinkled with inappropriate jokes, Gosling truly owns every scene, but his character’s daughter, Angourie Rice stole the show in her own way. Crowe reminds you that he can be charming, but more than anything the movie left me wanting a Yoo-hoo! If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will.

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Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr’s Batgirl Issue 50 (and before)

Why Issue 50? Well, that is the last issue that the Batgirl trio, Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, worked on together. Batgirl of Burnside, as I like to call the journey (but it also the name of the first volume), was one of the greatest re-envisions of Batgirl and I relished in every issue. If you ever glanced at any of Tarr’s work, then you know exactly the kind of beauty you are getting yourself in for. As for Stewart and Fletcher, they help bring the images to life and create a story worth living in.

Don’t be too sad that they aren’t creating any more issues for Batgirl (even if I’m still silently sobbing in my pillow), they developed a new comic series through Image Comics called Motor Crush and it is worth diving into. Just as vivid and lively as Batgirl, this is a dynamic trio that I would keep my eye on in years to come.

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

When I recently read Danielle Gutierrez’s article about Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, it was everything I’d been feeling and more. With little promotion before it’s release, Popstar was one of the best comedies I’ve indulged in. The Lonely Island has always had a direct line to my funny bone, but this felt like a refinement over their past material and built a monster that I’ve watched multiple times since purchasing on DVD. Unfortunately, like Gutierrez mentioned, I was one of the few who saw it in theaters, much less to tell all of our closest friends about it who didn’t even know it existed.

If you are looking for a good laugh or some good weekend entertainment, rent it. Get stuck on the comical soundtrack, buy it and play it on repeat. After a gloomy 2016, who doesn’t need something like”Incredible Thoughts” to brighten up their day? If this is any sign of what is to come from The Lonely Island, sign me up for more. Like usual, I’ll be there waiting for it the day it releases.

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Kate McKinnon

If you’ve made it through 2016 without anyone bringing up Kate McKinnon, I’m utterly shocked. One of the brightest stars of 2016, McKinnon not only dominated SNL, but also made a name for herself in Ghostbusters amongst other comedies released this year. Even with lackluster releases of Office Christmas Party and Masterminds, McKinnon found a way to make herself stand out against a crowd of comedic superstars. If she didn’t steal your heart as Hillary Clinton on SNL, then I truly have no hope for you going forward.

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Mahershala Ali

The best parts of Moonlight and Luke Cage, I’ve been a huge fan of Mahershala Ali since his role as Remy in House of Cards. Every time Ali graces the silver screen, he brings something new to the show. Whether charming or threatening, I’m almost always captivated with what he is selling. The most disappointing part is that Ali is almost always in a supporting role. Somehow, he never lets that stop him from dominating every scene, usually stealing the light from the main performer (looking at you Mike Colter). Let’s leave it at this, there is a reason he is sweeping the awards for best supporting actor this season.

La La Land Breakdown: Part 2, Audition

If you’re like me,  you’re still a little tipsy from La La Land‘s “City of Stars” trailer. This is perfectly okay, and I’m glad to have you along the ride with me. La La Land has been such a breath of fresh air into the world of musicals, at least trailer wise. So far, they’ve been able to tackle two trailers with catchy, sing-along tunes. They’ve been able to capture the magic of musicals, which we haven’t seen since Hairspray in the 80s (I’d even argue the remake from 2007). I love, love, love, love musicals. They are infectious and a true delight to watch, when they are done right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the first one to step up and suggest Moulin Rouge! or Chicago, maybe even Les Miserables, but this just feels a little bit more magical. Maybe because it is completely new; original music, a fresh story. Whatever it is, I’m pining for December.

Anyways, I’ve stalled you long enough. You’ve come for the main show, and I’m offering you some second-rate commentary on why it’s already so good. Snap to, the second trailer for La La Land was titled “Audition,” and believe it or not, it’s better than the first trailer. Like, a lot better, and that’s hard for me to say (I deeply loved the first trailer). While I wait for them to upload the song to Google Play (or the Music Store), let’s breakdown trailer number two.

Teaser Trailer #2: Audition

iris

Back to my Iris Shot, Damien Chazelle is already hitting all the right notes. To contrast from the first song, the beat is slower and the shot is inside the busy action of the city. We are pulled away from the full on blue, and are entered into a sunset of orange and blue. The city is blossoming and it’s no longer Ryan Gosling‘s Sebastian’s turn to tell the story. Emma Stone‘s Mia is pulling out all the stops on her own.

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Here’s to the ones who dream… Mia seems to contemplate herself before revealing a smile. This is the start of her journey, and she seems like she is currently happy with the life she is making for herself.

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piano

Foolish as they may seem… A reintroduction of Sebastian. Once again, it feels firmly set that Gosling’s character knows who he is and what he wants from life. Following along with the lyrics, it seems relevant that both of them are dreamers who seem like they are reaching for foolish dreams.

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Once again, this highlights the daydream living Mia seems to embody. She’s hopeful for what lies ahead.

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Here’s to the hearts that ache… Does Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club have room for two more? But truly, a lot of these images feel like direct callbacks to the original trailer. Returned is Mia’s coffee stained blouse and diminished sense of hope, and Sebastian’s deranged coif. But, there are also two hopeful images in these shots that are directly from the original trailer, as well. One of a perfectly groomed Sebastian getting down on the piano, and one of the returned look of Mia watching from a far. Together the blend into a mix of defeated hopefulness, which might sound like an oxymoron, but bare with me.

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Here’s to the mess we make. Could that be a beautiful mess? Because these images seem to capture a life worth living. One thing to note, in the last trailer we see Mia running down the middle of the street (we will see that again later on), but we actually she her face in this scene and it is smiles. This could suggest a reflection on the film, the two-sided love story between Mia and Sebastian. From the bottom two images, it feels like this isn’t the life Mia had envisioned for herself, but Sebastian is providing her with a radiant love that’s worth it.

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While Gosling’s trailer showed him humming along on the bridge, Stone’s song is taking place at an audition. Fitting place to tell the story that is surrounding her, and maybe how she is able to take a transition from struggling actress to budding starlet.

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A highlight reel of the life Mia is building with Sebastian. But is this what she wants? Or does Mia want to be an actress? From the audition, this feels like there is a building turmoil inside of her. This is the life she wasn’t expecting, and acting is the life she has always dreamed of. Shot out to the little bit of French New Wave feel with the gradient videos of one of their shared moments.

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Another direct callback to the original trailer. As I mentioned in Part One, this still feels like the peak of their relationship. Based on the slideshow that happens before this, I see this as the point where they become ships in the night.

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I can’t help it, the connection to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers is unreal. I feel it though. I feel is so strongly. Also, I have no doubt these two scenes will feature incredible musical and dancing numbers. Will we see Stone dance backwards in high heels? Damn straight. I’m counting on it. We are looping back to the beginning of the song, with dreamers in mind. Here’s to the ones who dream…

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The two dreamers. While Stone is captured in the middle of a thought (as seen in the first trailer), Gosling seems to be signing a contract with John Legend‘s character Keith. Again, only formal introduction of a secondary character. To touch back to the first breakdown, I believe we caught a glimpse of Finn Wittrock‘s Greg. I’m now starting to wonder if Sebastian signing a contract with Keith is what pushes Mia away, and into the arms of Greg? Theories exploding everywhere. Whatever comes from this contract, I don’t think it is what Sebastian will want and maybe it will make him feel like it’s the reason he lost everything.

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With the city full in bloom, Los Angeles is the bird of the feather that ties them together. Foolish as they may seem…

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Taking a pause before uncovering more of the story, here is your introduction of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. While this is a fresh shot of Stone, the one of Gosling is from the theater date in the first trailer. Recall the Rebel Without a Cause. All I have here is that Stone’s white blouse is asking for coffee to be split on it. I’m more making this connection because she seems hopeful and full of life, but in a coffee shop. Does her day become unraveled leading her to let down her hair and call defeat?

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I’m still calling it, big Classical Hollywood happy ending. This just feels so perfect and in tune with the music and style and the films it is referencing. The path back to each other after everything has settled. Sebastian has gone back to the musical life he wants, and Mia knows that Sebastian is the one she wants to be with. Here’s to the hearts that ache…

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After the big move, this scene reminds us of the somber nature their relationship takes. It has me hot and cold, and I’m here for all of it. Maybe the mess they made from the beginning of the trailer isn’t so beautiful after all. Or maybe this is when they learn that they need to discover what they want and find a way back to the one another.

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Another direct callback to the first trailer, Mia is running away and Sebastian standing distraught outside the theater. I wonder, if the clip of Sebastian is following from where he is performing and looks to the crowd with Mia beaming back at him. That fits more in tune with the looks and styling, which feels like that scene will be the demise of the relationship. Here’s to the mess we make.

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Ultimately, the trailer ends on another positive note. The two star crossed lovers starring into the depths of each others souls, contemplating what life has in store. Guys, I’m a hopeless romantic, I can’t help but call it as I see it.

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While this ending isn’t as passionate as the kiss to end Gosling’s trailer, it is just as emotional. It’s also fools errand to compare apples and oranges. There’s something about Stone’s side of the trailer, something that feels more rewarding. Maybe it is because we feel more of the connection between Mia and Sebastian, and the journey of their love. It isn’t in the beginning stages, it is fleshed out and real. It is beautiful and breathtaking. Where as Gosling’s trailer featured more of the aspect of falling in love, capturing a feeling and not wanting to lose it. This trailer explores the beautiful mess of a relationship, and how it’s worth every moment. The high and low points charmingly intertwined. This is the ode to a true relationship, for the idealistic dreaming souls.

This is Mia’s take on La La Land.