Hello 2014.

Man, is it really 2014 already? I hope everyone had a good holiday, I know I did. I finally got my recurve bow for Christmas, as well as plenty of socks (the only thing I had asked for the year before were socks and I received not a single pair). I’ve been trying to convince my family for years not to buy me anything for Christmas, yet they refuse to listen. Oh well. A couple of other amazing things that I received for Christmas was an action figure of The Governor (from the Walking Dead) from my lovely boyfriend, a wood burning kit, the first season of Darkwing Duck on DVD, and a TV for my bedroom – all from mom.

I was able to ring in the New Year with my boyfriend in person. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to 2014 than that. I can’t wait to finally be with him for good, but until then, I have realized that I need to embrace the fact that I am in a long distance relationship. There are so many opportunities for us to get to know each other and so many creative options out there to make people in an LDR feel closer that I should take advantage of that while I can.

What I proposed to him the other day, which he eagerly accepted, was the idea of us starting a book club. Basically one of us chooses a novel, we each purchase a copy, and we read and discuss the novel together. So what is our first novel?

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“Guilty Pleasures” by Laurell K. Hamilton. This was my pick. I have read this book already, but it has been at least 10 years, so I thought it was time to reread it. I had the pleasure of meeting LKH at Dragon*Con in 2012 completely by chance. I’ve mentioned LKH a couple of times during my conversations with the boyfriend so I thought that choosing one of her novels would be fitting.

In other news…

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ returned last week with a painful episode that ended up being one of my favorites of the season. I’ve been on the fence about the show since the beginning, but I think the production team in finally starting to step it up.

After a season finale that nearly ruined me, ‘The Following’ returns on Sunday, January 19 (yes, a special premiere on Sunday). Though almost ALL of my favorite characters met their unfortunate demise, season 2 of this FOX favorite has already generated a lot of buzz, the experts saying that this season will be bigger and better than the first season.

‘Hannibal’ will – thankfully – return February 28! And nonetheless, it will be returning on Fridays at 10! Thank goodness. Now I can get my Hannibal fix without having to worry about getting enough rest for work the next day.

We have a little over a month until ‘The Walking Dead’ comes back on February 9th, but I can’t wait. I have a bet with my boyfriend that the Governor is still alive and will appear at some point or another. Come to find out, a coworker has the same bet with her family. Care to place a wager as well?

Movie Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’

I’m avoiding spoilers of today’s 50th anniversary episode of “Doctor Who” like the plague since I was at a family event and unable to catch it live. That being said, I figured that I would write-up my little review for ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ which I had the opportunity to see Friday evening.

Full disclosure: I have not yet read the books nor do I plan on reading the books anytime soon. For me, it’s either read the book or see the movie. I end up disappointed if I attempt to engage in both mediums.

In short, I thought the film was fantastic – my favorite film of the year thus far, which is saying a lot considering that just a few weeks ago, ‘Thor: The Dark World’ held the spot of my favorite film of 2013.

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Alright. The IMDB synopsis says,

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Very vague and spoiler free, right? Well, you guys know how I am about spoilers, so we will just go with that description and keep on trucking.

The costumes were fabulous, even better than the first film, in my opinion. I’m always impressed by the dedication and creativity that the film’s costume designers must have.

The acting: I felt that Finnick Odair (played by Sam Claflin) and Johanna Mason (played by Jena Malone) completely stole the scenes that they were in. Throughout the entire film, I found myself on the edge of my seat – apprehensive and nervous, a sign that I was truly invested in the film. I think a lot of care was put forth by the casting department to chose actors, and not necessarily well-known actors, that would fit the various roles.

One particular detail of the film stuck with me. I had heard rumors that parts of a scene had been filmed at the gorgeously futuristic Marriott Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia – the very hotel I had stayed in during both of my times at DragonCon. I was stunned when I actually recognized the hotel on-screen.

The only negative that I have about the film was how abruptly it ended. The third installment, ‘Mockingjay’ is going to be released in two parts: the first in late 2014, the second in late 2015. I really hate waiting and I hate cliffhangers. Even more than that, I hate it when they split a film into two parts. While I understand that it helps to develop the plot so that everything isn’t rushed or so that you won’t have to sit in a theater for hours upon hours, to me, it really just seems like an attempt to grab as much money as possible.

All in all though, this film is a definite buy!

Movie Review: ‘Thor: The Dark World’

I apologize for my absence but I’ve mostly been blogging over at The Southern Belle Blogs the past couple of months. But I’m back to bring you my review on ‘Thor: The Dark World’, one of my most eagerly awaited movies of 2013.

I’m going to attempt to make this as spoiler free as possible for those of you who haven’t been fortunate enough to see it yet.

IMDB:

Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.

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Even though IMDB has no mention of Loki in its brief synopsis, I would call this the Loki movie because he stole the film, as he tends to do. His silver tongue is back and his quips were the perfect accompaniment to what could have been simply an overdone superhero movie. Without Loki, the movie would have just been about a journey and a war – not about someone’s attempt at redemption.

The imagery and settings in this movie were beautiful. I’m thrilled that the majority of the film took place on Asgard – I love exploring that world.

The film kept me guessing/on the edge of my seat and the ending set the scene for the next line of films. Jane Foster didn’t drive me bananas, Thor grew more as a character, Darcy was fabulous (as always), and Frigga simply outdid herself – what more could you ask for? I even found Christopher Eccleston (9th Doctor on ‘Doctor Who’) as Malekith a good fit. My only real complaint is that I wish I could have seen more of Sif – but that’s such a minor thing.

In my opinion, ‘Thor: The Dark World’ was a much better sequel than ‘Iron Man 2′ and a much more developed film that “Thor” itself.

All in all – this will be a definite “buy” on DVD. In fact, I may even watch it again next weekend while it is still in the local theater. Our theater was recently renovated with a new screen, sound system, and digital capabilities, so it made the entire movie-going experience more enjoyable.