Archive for February, 2020

Media Update 2/6/20

February 6, 2020

Jupiter Ascending

This movie has a heck of a reputation. When I announced that I was going to watch this movie on Twitter, a friend asked if I was being punished. The thing is, I really like the Wachowski Sisters a lot. They are not perfect filmmakers but they are so creative. They are really good at worldbuilding which is one of my favorite things in fiction. Also, the movie stars Mila Kunis who is somebody I wish would be in more movies (Cancel Family Guy). She is very easy to like as a human woman out of her depth in an alien world. Of course, most people know that Channing Tatum plays a dog/human hybrid in this movie and I liked him. The other stand out was Eddie Redmayne who hams it up so much that it was impossible not to love him. There are a ton of other fun side characters who really add to the movie. It is not a great movie but I found it to be a really enjoyable movie. The movie was an absolute mess but my only real problem was the scattered and repetitive plot. (Seriously, who gets kidnapped three times in one movie? Aang?) There were quite a few funny scenes and the action and character design were definitely on point. I recommend this movie as long as you can relax and enjoy a goofy movie.

October Faction

I am a sucker for a good science fantasy/horror show so when I heard that a show was coming out with “October” in the name, my interest was instantly piqued. The show follows two parents who are secretly part of an organization that hunts monsters. Monsters often hide in plain sight, posing as humans. Tamara Taylor is undoubtedly the star of the show as the mother returning back to a town where she first experienced both monsters and racism. She is cunning and protective of her family and those around her. J.C. MacKenzie plays the father of the family. He has a dry sense of humor but he supports his family as the father figure but also supports his wife as her partner in hunting. Their kids are twins played by Aurora Burghart and Gabriel Darku who have such good chemistry together, backing each other up at every turn. The show has two mysteries. The first is the mystery behind the monsters that the parents must fight. The second is the twins beginning to touch the world of the supernatural on their own. I cannot wait for these two to eventually blend together but I love watching the whole family try to hide secrets from each other while still remaining a loving family. I recommend this show.

Bates Motel

Most horror aficionados have seen the movie Psycho, a precursor to a lot of the greatest of the horror genre. The movie’s tale is mostly psychological and about how people can lose themselves to insanity. Of course, in Hitchcock’s classic, we are left to fill in a lot of the backstory ourselves. This show is a prequel to the movie (although it is set in modern times). It follows Norma Bates and her son Norman Bates as they move into the house and open the Bates Motel. Vera Farmiga plays Norma Bates, a widow excited to start over and acting too clingy with her son. Freddie Highmore plays the legendary Norman, a shy kid who is often emotionally and psychologically manipulated by his mother. From episode one, it is easy to see that they have an unhealthy yet kind of endearing relationship. There is also a cast of characters at Norman’s high school (he’s 17) who look like their gearing up to Carrie him. It is interesting to start to see the seeds of what makes Norman Bates into the creature he becomes. I have only watched the pilot so far and, although the acting is good, the show feels very anxiety heavy in a bad way. I will definitely try more episodes and I recommend the show.

Music of the Week:

Tyler, the Creator – Earfquake

elbow – Dexter & Sinister

The Interrupters – Take Back The Power

Summer Walker – Come Thru

The Prostitunes – Hey Psycho! (Do U Recycle?)

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Inheritance”
– I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 9
– I watched more VODs of AGDQ 2020
– I watched more Stumptown Season 1
– I watched more Prodigal Son Season 1
– I started watching The Chilling Tales of Sabrina Season 2
– I watched more Penn and Teller’s Bullshit Season 1
– I watched more Rizzoli and Isles Season 1

The Brimstone War

February 3, 2020

When Phillip and Margot Heisey had been born, the town of East Redding had burned to the ground. The entire town. Every last structure. The fire had started in St. Catherine’s Hospital where Phillip had Margot had just been born. In fact, Mrs. Charlotte Heisey, their mother, had been forced to evacuate with her children almost immediately after their birth. Charlotte carried Phillip while a brave nurse carried Margot as they fled the flames and collapsed outside on the street. Mr. Luke Heisey, their father, had unfortunately succumbed to the flames and his body was never found in the ashes of the hospital.

Still, the twins were raised by their mother several towns over and they were fortunately not revisited by catastrophic fire. Their mother did the best she could but their upbringing was humble and relegated mostly to subsistence. They barely made their way in the world but the twins excelled in life anyway. Margot became a talented athlete. She hammered her body into shape through rigorous training and play. Meanwhile, Phillip became an excellent academic. He really enjoyed using his intellect and creativity and diving into his books. The two made an excellent team together.

On their thirteenth birthday, they received a visitor as they walked home after school. An old man, weathered by time and age stood in their path. He had a long gray beard and eyes like black coal. When the twins tried to pass, snakes crawled out from his long coat and blocked their path.

“Where are you going, children?” The man asked. “Come and talk to me.”

“We don’t talk to strangers,” Phillip said.

Margot picked up a stick, prepared to fend off the snakes. “Go away,” she said. “Let us pass.”

“But I have come to give you your birthright,” the man said.

“Who are you to us?” Phillip asked. “How do you know us?”

“My name is Nagas. I was sent by your true father,” the man said. “He wants to meet you.”

“Our father died in a fire when we were babies,” Margot said. “Go away.”

“Your father reigns over Hell,” the man said. “He sent me to collect you and begin your true education.”

“You’re telling us that our father is Satan,” Margot said. “and that we should follow him instead of our mother’s teachings?”

“I offer you unlimited wealth and unlimited knowledge,” Nagas said. “Luxury in a mansion of your own.”

Phillip seemed to seriously consider this offer until Margot put her hand on his shoulder which strengthened his resolve. Both twins looked defiantly at Nagas which made him frown deeply. His eyes morphed into those of a snake and two sets of bat wings extended from his back.

“Don’t be foolish!” Nagas yelled. “Don’t refuse your birthright.”

“Go away!” The twins yelled in unison. Nagas screamed and vanished in an explosion of shadow, uttering what the twins could only imagine were evil words in a foreign tongue.

The twins tried to convince each other and themselves that the incident had not happened. Weeks passed by and they returned to their lives and they were happy. There were no more thoughts of demons or Hell. They did not even think to ask their mother about it. Life was simple and they liked it that way.

On another walk home, their path was interrupted by a woman sitting on a stump, weaving something out of pieces of grass. As they approached, she smiled at them. Her teeth were green and she had a mad glint in her eye.

“Children!” She cried out. “Come closer!”

The twins were understandably hesitant. “No thanks,” Margot said.

“It didn’t go so well the last time,” Phillip said.

“Oh but I’m not a demon,” the woman said. “I’m a faerie. My name is Jenny.”

“What do you want?” Phillip asked.

“Well,” Jenny said. “I’ll be honest with you. More honest than that snake who was here before. War is rising again between Heaven and Hell. Hell created you two to be the perfect leaders for their new army.  Two antichrists for the price of one. If you don’t want to do that, things are going to go badly for you. Hell is going to want to eliminate or dominate you. Due to your origins, Heaven wants nothing to do with you. Total snobs. We’re somewhere in the middle and we’re offering our assistance. We don’t want to make you ours, we just want your help in protecting the Earth during the coming war. We want our kind and your kind to survive.”

“You understand that we’re hesitant to accept your offer,” Phillip said.

“It’s the best offer you are going to get,” Jenny said. “You’ll need some magic to survive and we’re stuck in the middle like you. This is an honest offer. We are nothing but honest.”

“We’ll think about it,” Margot said. “We’ll get back to you.”

“Fine,” Jenny said. “In the meantime, I offer you a book of spells. I’ll leave it here on the stump.”

The twins just stared at her and she shrugged and vanished. There was a book left on the stump just as she said. They approached with curiosity.

Time Goes By Pt. 4

February 1, 2020

When they got outside, they began to walk toward the park where Mariel had found her piece of evidence. Mariel worked her way over to Fern. The young druid was the only member of their adventuring party that she had not greeted yet. They had discovered Fern living alone in a cave. They had no way of knowing how long she had lived there alone, with only animals and plants to talk to. They had not even known how old she was at first since she had worn a hood and had wrapped her face in muddy bandages.

When the party had finally seen her face in the moonlight, they had been shocked at how young she was. Also, they realized that she was human. Mariel had gifted her a pair of black tinted glasses to shield her eyes and make her feel more comfortable. Now her face and dirty reddish-blonde hair were exposed to the air and it was a little easier to read her. Still, the girl kept things close to her vest which everybody respected.

“It’s good to see you, Fern,” Mariel said. “I hope you are doing well.”

“I am,” Fern said and kept walking. She was definitely not one to engage in flowery language.

“Good,” Mariel said, not as unnerved by the terseness of Fern as she had been in the beginning. “I’m sorry for interrupting your vacation.”

Fern shrugged. “It’s ok,” she said. “This is important.”

“Wow, five whole words,” Mariel said with a smile. “Did you enjoy your time in Thorncatch with Dina?”

A small smile formed on the subdued druid’s face and she simply gave a small thumbs up. Mariel was overjoyed at this little display, knowing it was the equivalent of a normal person jumping for joy. She watched Fern gravitate toward Dina and the two walked side by side.

They arrived at the park and a shiver went up and back down Mariel’s spine but she pushed it away. It was well into the late afternoon but the sun was still good enough to see everything around them. The party looked around with fresh eyes while Mariel tried to think about what they should do.

“This is your show, Mariel,” Luther said. “What do want us to do?”

Mariel took a deep breath and nodded. “Fern,” she started. “You’re naturally sensitive to the world of magic. See what you can sense around here.”

Fern nodded and started to walk around the area, starting near the fountain. An opossum crawled out from her robes and settled on her shoulder with a hiss. This garnered a lot of attention from passersby.

“Dina,” Mariel said. “I need you to use that sensitive nose of yours. See if you can smell anything that is weird or should not be there.”

Dina cocked her head to the side. “That’s kind of weird, Mari,” she said. “but you’re the expert on weirdness.”

Mariel smiled. “You’re our tracking expert, Dina,” she said. “I trust your senses.” She turned to everybody else. “Everybody else, start looking for things out of place. You three are also pretty attuned to the world of magic so just use your best judgment.”

Everybody fanned out and tried to investigate the small park. They got some weird looks but nobody was worried that they might be bothered. The public and the city sentinels knew that it was against no law to look around. Besides, they all had a token of respect from the city manager which they could definitely use to ward off any harassment. This was good to think about as Dina was literally sniffing around the park and Fern was crouch walking across the grass, trying to commune with nature. Incognito was not a concept most of their little group was familiar with. Still, Mariel had learned to love the chaos. If you did otherwise, you were just looking for heartbreak.

Mariel opened her bottomless bag of tools and pulled out her umbrella again. Once again, she used it to detect magic and looked through the veil of the fabric to start scanning the area for strange magic. She was only a little surprised to notice that the statue figures that made up the majority of the fountain were radiating magical energy. It was not unusual for cities and towns in this region to use landmarks such as statues as points for last-ditch defense. Mariel assumed the dormant statues would come to life and defend the city. It was fascinating but not at all what she was looking for.

Next to a bench, she saw something strange. It was similar to Mullo except that when she pulled her umbrella to the side, she could not see it anymore. She had trouble figuring out what the object was until she got closer. As she stepped up, she could plainly see that it was a large chunk of stone. Perhaps it was a piece of her parent’s tower laboratory? It was rippling as if she was looking at it through the surface of a pond during a rainstorm. It kind of hurt her eyes to focus on it for too long. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath and then she slowly extended her hand to try to touch the stone. Instead, she watched her fingers pass through the stone. It did not exactly hurt but she felt one of her fingers briefly go numb so she withdrew her hand and shook it out.

She looked over at Dina who was frowning with her fingers in her ear. “Dina?” Mariel called out. “What’s wrong?”

“That sound is killing me,” she said. “It just won’t stop.”

“What sound?” Mariel asked. “I can’t hear anything.”

“It’s really high-pitched,” Dina said. “I can’t tell what it is.”

“Maybe we need to go find out,” Mariel said.

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