i want you to BE better
X-Men: Days of Future Past: Successful Past Leads to a Successful Future

The first “X-Men” released in 2000 to positive reception and much fanfare, quickly followed by “X2” in 2003 to equal praise as its predecessor. Both aforementioned films were directed by Bryan Singer, who returned to the X-Men franchise in 2011 to direct “X-Men: First Class,” and has completely reinvigorated the franchise after some bumps along the road. I’m looking at you, “Origins” and “The Last Stand.”

Singer brings audiences the seventh installment in the X-Men series, “Days of Future Past,” which serves as the sequel for both 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “First Class.”

With movies, and especially superhero movies, a multitude of moving parts represented by too many characters and plot points can often become problematic, but “Days of Future Past” handles all the parts terrifically through meaningful action sequences, utilization of time, and an engaging plot. A star-studded cast does not hurt either.

The opening of the movie presents a hopeless, dire dystopian society of mutants and humans enslaved alongside one another at the hands of the sentinels, giant, robotic mutant hunters.

Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) with the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Paige) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time in an attempt to prevent the apocalyptic future they currently reside. His task is nearly impossible because he must try to convince Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) of the 70’s to work together, who currently hate each other after the events of “First Class”. They must unite together in an attempt to prevent Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the creator of the sentinels trying to convince people in power that mutants are a new, impending threat to the human race and his sentinels are the only answer.

The 1970’s atmosphere captures all the glory of the time period with the presence of lava lamps, flamboyant clothes, big-framed glasses, and cameras. Everything in the 70’s was big and colorful. Even the footage from the cameras and televisions had a grainy, old school touch.

New mutants such as: Blink (Fan Bingbing), Bishop (Omar Sy), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), and others are introduced along with the reappearance of some old faces like Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde, and Storm (Halle Berry).

Wackiness and entertainment ooze from Quicksilver (Evan Peters), a fast-talking, and similarly as fast-moving mutant, who draws a laugh or sense of awe every time he does anything.

Tension becomes real, almost palpable, when the climax simultaneously hits the characters in the future and past. Does Wolverine succeed in his mission? Do the sentinels in the future hunt down every last mutant?

Numerous scenes in “Days of Future Past” memorably stand out. Action sequences involving the mutants combating the sentinels showcased the mutant’s old and new powers beautifully. Iceman uses ice as a slope-like mechanism to glide around quickly, while Blink creates portals to attack enemies at an infinite amount of angles.

Future Professor X speaking with past Professor X excels easily as one of the most poignant scenes in the film with Stewart and MacAvoy not holding back. Audiences can relate because we have all struggled and needed some sort of guidance to rescue us. Why not our future selves?

The film wrestles with the juxtaposition of past and future characters, not only in Professor X’s case, but with Magneto, too. The contrast between McKellen’s Magneto and Fassbender’s Magneto is a joy to behold because of their polarizing motivations and natures. One wants to set everything right, while the other wants to flip everything upside down.

Singer’s “Days of Future Past” ties the X-Men franchises’ past and future together with a well constructed, nicely placed bow on top of a box complete with new powers and mutants, old faces with new tricks, and a bright future. “Days of Future Past” answers questions concerning oddities from previous iterations in the franchise, but also raises questions about what’s next?


The Lego Movie: Nostalgic, Colorful Journey for All to Enjoy

Have you ever built or played with legos as a child or as an adult? Of course you have. Legos provide the tools for children to create whatever their heart or imagination desires. Legos are like a sculptor’s clay, artist’s paintbrush, or a writer’s pencil. “The Lego Movie” brings audiences back to their childhood with an energetic, nostalgic journey for all ages to delight in.

“Lego” opens with Lord Business, played by Will Ferrel (“Anchorman” and “Elf”), taking a super-powerful weapon, “Kragle,” away from Vitruvius played by Morgan Freeman, which causes him to recite a prophecy about a future unique, master builder preventing Lord Business’ evil ways.

Some time passes and Lord Business is now President Business of the Lego World. Everything in the world appears to be perfect, maybe even awesome. “Everything is Awesome!!!” is one of the catchiest songs ever sung and everyone in the city knows and performs the song in perfect synchronization. Kudos to Tegan and Sara along with The Lonely Island for providing their vocal chops to the foot-tapping, upbeat song.

Chris Pratt (“Parks and Recreation”) plays Emmet, the lovable, follow instructions to the tee main character. He is a normal in every sense of the word and lives his daily life the same way everyday until he sees Wyldstyle and does not know what to do.

Elizabeth Banks (“Role Models” and “Hunger Games”) is Wyldstyle, a stealthy master builder searching for the “Piece of Resistance”. Emmet stumbles upon the all-important “Piece of Resistance”, so Wyldstyle brings him along on their quest to stop Lord Business.

Other notable characters worth mentioning are Liam Neeson perfectly playing Good Cop and Bad Cop and Will Arnett playing an excellent, mysterious Batman.

We learn later that “Kragle,” which is krazy glue with the “z” and “u” scratched off will be used by Lord Business to make everything permanent and take over the world. Can the team of master builders led by Emmet stop him?

The cinematics are beautiful and vibrant even though they are merely digitally animated lego pieces. Millions and millions of beautiful little lego pieces! The sea was living and breathing as the characters traversed the treacherous waters. Explosions lit the screen in a blaze of glorious mini lego piece glory.

Comedic moments are present in each and every scene starting right at the beginning. There are one-liners, references to pop culture, and plenty more. Imagine getting blasted out of a cannon filled with laughter and joy and never ever falling down.

The colorful and spirited cast range from superheroes like Batman and Superman to a unicorn kitty, aptly named, Unikitty, to Star Wars characters to a cameo from Shaquille O’Neal himself.

There was a surprising shift near the end. No spoilers here, but the attention to detail on display is amazing.

“Lego” plays out as if a child’s wild, inventive imagination came to life for the big screen. Everyday objects like pirate ships, skyscrapers with dragons, horses, giant mechanical pirates, and randomly constructed mishmashes of lego pieces found throughout.

“Lego” easily displays itself as a movie filled with moments that are entertaining, comical, exciting, adventurous, beautiful, etc. The list goes on and on.

Just like any child’s special lego creations, each individual person thinks and acts uniquely. The movie instills a belief in others, but most importantly, oneself.

Adults will enjoy. Kids will love. Families will be entertained. We all laugh and sing because everything is awesome!!!


That Awkward Moment: Too Much Awkward


Each and every one of us approaches the end of college and the beginning of our careers. Some of us may already be there or have already experienced this stage in life. Others will be looking for jobs, love and/or probably both. We are almost at the awkward transitional point in life, where we are trying to figure out what to do and who to spend time with.

This is the position the characters of “That Awkward Moment” find themselves in. The premise follows three best friends from high school, who are now in their mid-20s, searching for what to do with their lives.

Zac Efron of “High School Musical” fame plays the selfish, charming player, Jason, never wanting to commit to a relationship. Miles Teller of “Spectacular Now” and “21 and Over” plays Daniel, the goofy, comic relief throwing out one-liners left and right. Mikey, played by Michael B. Jordan of movies like: “Chronicle” and “Fruitvale Station”, is the most mature of the three. He married young, graduated from medical school, and now works at the local hospital.

Mikey’s wife wants a divorce, so Jason and Daniel hatch a plot to stay single with Mikey for as long as it takes. They all want to have fun drinking at bars and getting girl’s numbers with no strings attached. Little do they know that Jason and Daniel will be the ones, who soon find themselves in relationships.

Jason comes off as selfish and through the use of his charm, he’s able to build up his “roster” of women he can call upon at his leisure. Mikey proves to be the most likable character because he is the one hurting the most, but handles his situation respectfully in stride. Daniel is just the goofy, random friend with a weird sense of humor. Throughout the movie, Mikey calls the other guys “idiots” and rightfully so because they suggest some stupid plans and give equally stupid advice. Plot seemed to gravitate toward Jason, but Mikey demonstrates himself as the glue of the group.

The three friends are put into the most awkward, ridiculous situations one can imagine. One of the scenes has a naked Jason and Daniel peeing in separate bathrooms with their bodies horizontal, while talking to each other on their cellphones. Ridiculousness seems to ramp up in each subsequent scene. Another situation in particular involves an adult sex shop with many “toys” in plain sight. You get the picture.

Jason finds himself amid most of the awkwardness the majority of the time, but shifts the situation from unfavorable to beneficial because of his handsomeness and suaveness. Enter the just as charming Imogen Poots as Ellie to counter Jason’s never committing attitude. Will she break up his “roster”? We all know the answer.

The ridiculous nature of each situation masks the acting talent Zac, Michael and Miles actually possess. A movie can only go so far relying only on ridiculousness.

The chemistry between the three should be commended because they were believable as three best friends in their mid-20s. Each actor owns their respective unique allures, which are on full display in other movies, but the predictable, juvenile script of “Awkward” often hampers them. Unfortunately, these up and coming actors’ talents are wasted on a sometimes funny, awkward more than necessary film.


Xbox One (XB1) versus PlayStation 4 (PS4): Battle of the Next Generation

We’re less than a week away from the release of the two next generation consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. PS4 releases on November 15th, while the XB1 releases on November 22nd. It has been 7-8 years since the 2005 release of the Xbox 360 and the 2006 release of the PlayStation 3.

Sony and Microsoft have been fighting for the living room space and our money for several years now. Who will win this time around? Is there enough space for the 2 next-gen consoles to coexist? Gamers of all shapes and sizes are the winners. Doesn’t matter if the gamer is casual and only plays “Candy Crush” and the occasional “Call of Duty” (the recent iteration of COD made $1 billion on day one). Doesn’t matter if the gamer is hardcore and plays all the indie games like “Flower” and “Minecraft” and triple-A titles like “Infamous” and “Gears of War”. Everyone wins, but there are some caveats.

These consoles do arrive with a hefty price tag, though, so games and features play the important role of swaying the wallets of consumers. Some people have to purchase gizmos and gadgets on day one, so launch titles will have a strong gravitation for them.

Sony’s launch lineup looks a little barren now especially with the recent delays of “Watch Dogs,” multiplatform hacker adventure and “Drive Club,” social network racing simulator, while XB1 has a special looking launch lineup with zombie butt-kicking,“Dead Rising 3” and racing simulator,“Forza Motorsport 5.” The PS4 has family-friendly action/adventure, “Knack” and futuristic shoot-em up, “Killzone: Shadow Fall.” Each console receives its share of multiplatform titles ranging from shooters like “Battlefield 4” and “Call of Duty: Ghosts” to sports titles like “FIFA 14” and “NBA 2K14.”

A console’s initial launch will not make or break a system. The PS3 had a rocky launch releasing a whole year after the 360, but today both their worldwide sales are approximately 80 million each respectively.

PS4 has the price point going heavily in its favor being a $100 cheaper at $399 versus XB1’s $499. Both are expensive pieces of hardware. Sony is trying not to make the same mistake of the previous generation’s $599 blunder, while XB1 is trying to sell this idea of a 1 box for all things entertainment.

XB1 has a multitude of features catering not solely to gamers, but to other multimedia applications like Netflix, Skype, etc. This is evident in their new commercial displaying sports, Skype, racing and movies all in one commercial.

PS4 has been targeting gamers through and through with much of its support going toward indie developers like. Their launch commercial features 2 men singing Lou Reed’s “Perfect Day,” while participating in live action racing, shooting and fighting.

Each companies’ target demographic is clearly depicted in each commercial. Microsoft wants to sell you an entertainment console that plays video games, while Sony wants to sell a games console with entertainment capabilities.

The main difference between the two consoles is the highly improved camera and motion controller, Kinect 2.0, the spiritual successor the Kinect on 360, bundled with the XB1 and heavily integrated into how the XB1 functions. XB1 can be controlled exclusively through voice command, which makes things much faster if executed correctly. The PS4 has a camera called the PSeye, but it is sold separately and not as heavily advertised and/or probably less powerful.

Is the XB1 worth the $100 price difference? Does the PS4 need more than just games? This all depends on numerous variables. Which games does a player prefer? Are you a fan of the adventurous “Uncharted” series or the guns blazing “Halo” series? Is it better to bide time and wait to purchase? Should consumers wait on the new toys? There are many questions surrounding the launch of a brand new system and this month, there will be 2 new systems.

It may be wiser to bide your time on purchasing a next-gen console (especially if you already own a 360 or PS3) until console reviews are released, bugs are fixed and more games are released.

This is a difficult choice to make. You decide. It is your living room.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - “Same Love" Featuring Mary Lambert

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these song/video thingies, so here goes. This is song has special meaning and is the reason that initially gravitated me towards Macklemore. He’s a different kind of rapper who has thought-provoking songs that have a significant weight attached to them. He also did Thrift Shop which was buckets of fun.

Idyllic Beauty

Idyllic Beauty


The Reward

AWESOME animated short!  Fantastic art direction and design, and a good message too :D


Hey everyone! Sorry for being MIA for so long, but we’re back!

Sooo… For Maricor’s birthday, our friend Rhea came up with a really cute idea. Since Maricor is always the one making everyone cakes for their birthdays, Rhea wanted to gather up some of the boys to make Maricor a Hello Kitty cake for her birthday. This girl is all about Hello Kitty. My job was to guide them and show them what to do. So basically I was the Cake Boss! But throughout the night I just couldn’t help myself and jumped in to help anyway. Lol!

It was so much fun making this cake with everyone. They all worked hard and i was sooo proud of them. We had some problems along the way, but the cake turned out great!!! Maricor had no idea at all and when they gave her the cake, she was completely surprised and truly touched. Success!! Yay!                      

Hey, I’m there! We’re so talented. Haha.


my thoughts of life all the time.


my thoughts of life all the time.


Yayoi Kusama - Fireflies on the Water

Photos taken by Gabrielle Plucknette.

[via: atavus]