The Circle Movie Review

On Tuesday, I went to see The Circle with a couple of friends.  The Circle is a movie that I really heard a little about prior to finding out that I was going.  A part of the reason, I think, is that The Circle isn’t as big of a deal as some of the other movies that have premiered thus far this year.  Plus, the leading lady – Emma Watson – had a huge movie release in March.

Yet, the few times I saw a few ads for the movie, the main draw was both Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.  Yet, this isn’t shocking because the production budget was $18 million.  From previous movies that I have watched, the lower the budget, the wow factor typically comes in the form of one or two main cast members.  (Fair warning, from here on out, there will be some spoilers.)

The movie centers around Watson’s character Mae, a recent college graduate armed with an art history degree.  Mae has a connection, Annie (Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan), at a major social media network: the Circle.  Mae works as a customer service representative and is encouraged to go the extra mile to ensure that customers are happy with the services.

Since the Circle wasn’t happy with Mae’s lack on participating with other employees and what not, the Circle entices better health insurance for her parents since her father has multiple sclerosis.  After this, Mae is willing to go all of the way for the Circle to the point that Mae is willing to let the Circle stream her day-to-day activity.

As time and the movie progresses, the Circle’s constant streaming ultimate leads to Mae’s love interest Mercer’s (Boyhood‘s Ellar Coltrane) death.  This leads to Mae questioning the Circle’s motives.  Within the last moments of the movie, Mae ends up forcing Bailey’s (Hanks) hand and gets everyone willing to essentially live stream their lives.

Beyond the appeal of seeing Watson in another film this year, the movie wasn’t stellar.  The movie was an interesting critic on how society is willing to share their lives on social media.  Not to mention that the use of drones, cell phones, and other recording devices.

Since I haven’t read the book that this movie is based off of, I’d imagine that there are details that I am missing out on.  After all, movies have a tendency of not being able to trasfer all of the details.

But one thing that one of my friends brought up after the movie was how we never found out what was in the in the emails that Mae was able to get released.  Personally, I think that the emails had a bit to do with the Anti-Trust laws and other legal work that Annie was working on early on in the film.

For anyone that isn’t familiar with anti-trust laws, the basic rundown of anti-trust laws is that they are set up to ensure that one company doesn’t control the market for a particular product or service.  In the case of this movie – and I am presuming in the book – the Circle is probably in violation of anti-trust laws or pretty close to since the government is looking into the company and that seems to have mysteriously disappeared.  I would imagine that a part of the reason why we don’t hear anything about the investigation really.  So I’d imagine that there is a coverup or a buy off or something.

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90’s Kid’s TV shows on iTunes…Finally

Recently, I’ve had the urge to watch the Disney movie Brink! since it has been a good four or five years since I’ve seen it.

Hulu has added movies like Johnny TsunamiStuck in the SuburbsTiger Cruise, and a few other Disney Channel Original movies recently.  Yet, I can’t seem to find Brink! on the sites I usually go to to enjoy didn’t have it.  Yet, out of slight lack of something to do while sitting at a school computer, I decided to see if iTunes had it and it does.

While looking at the iTunes page for Brink!, I noticed how The Secret World of Alex Mac also is on there.  It looks like there is just the first and second seasons, as well as a Retro Essential four episode collection.

There is also Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 of the Animorphs tv series, which is based off of the book series by the same name.  Granted, I doubt I’ll be buying Alex Mac or Anirmophs any time soon, it’s slightly exciting to know that some of the shows I grew up watching are accessible on iTunes.

Memoir Monday: An MFA Program Inspiration

Today, I did a day trip to Duluth for no other reason then I wanted to get out of Ely for the day.  Somehow, I got lucky enough to have the day off from school – the instructors at Vermilion had a duty day – and I got the day off from work without requesting it.

One of the main stops I always take, if I can, is to Barnes and Noble if for no other reason to enjoy the books.  While I was there I purchased Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s with Morrie, and Debra Ginsberg’s Waiting.  The first two, I’ve either read or heard of before, but I completely stumbled upon Ginsberg’s while window shopping.

Spalding’s Logo

Apart of the reason why I bought these books, as well as a few through Amazon and Target, is that I’m in the process of applying to Spalding’s MFA program.  The specific cohort that I’m planning on trying to get in, at the moment, is the creative nonfiction one.  The application deadline for the Fall of 2017 is August 1st, so I wanted to to find a good idea for my final project that I will have to do.

The books I have, so far, on my memoir reading list are:

Mitch Albom’s Tuesday with Morrie

I first read this memoir back in the spring of 2008.  Most of the memoirs out there that seem popular are women’s ones, so I wanted to make I attempted to have a few male centered ones.  Plus, it will be nice rereading a book I once read nearly a decade ago.

Kenneth Rosenberg’s Memoirs of a Starving Artist

I picked this one in part because of the otherwise female orientated list I will have.  The other reason why I picked this one was because the author draws upon 25 years of experience of trying to pursue his dreams.

Megan Gebhart’s 52 Cups of Coffee

The appeal to this one for me is that it sounds like it might have similar tones as Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie in the sense that Gebhart met with a different person each week for a year to see what lesson she could learn from them.

Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black

I choose to add this one to the initial list purely for bandwagon reasons.  I figured since Orange is the New Black is very popular, still, among Netflix users, why not read the book that inspired the series.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love

Another bandwagon choice.  After all, I remember taking a travel narrative course right around the time that the movie came out.  I have read the book, as well as watch the movie, but I figured another good read and paying attending to the structure more so this time wouldn’t be bad thing.

Julie Powell’s Julie & Julia: My Year of Living Dangerously

I’ve seen the movie more times than I care to admit.  Since the movie is based on of a book, I figured that I should probably read the book.  Plus, the book is essential based off of Powell’s blog and blogging is a format of writing that I’ve been use to since about 2009.

Frances Mayers’ Under the Tuscan Sun

This choice was a movie inspired one, but also to contrast Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love choice.  Since Mayers stayed in one country, this has a certain appeal to it since I’m totally an arm-chair traveler.

Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted 

I, probably like most people in my age group, have heard about this book.  Also, since there is a bit of mental ‘illness’ in my family, I figure that this read might help to see how to write about the topic.

Debra Ginsberg’s Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress

Like I wrote earlier, I saw this book while window shopping today.  What attracted me to it is the fact that I’ve worked in the food service industry a bit, so I figured it’d be a fun read.

Cheryl Strayed’s Wild

This one is purely a Lorelai Gilmore Recommendation, indirectly, from the revival series of Gilmore Girls.

In regards of a reading order, I really don’t have an order picked out.  I already have about half of the books at the ready and in my apartment ready to be utilized.  However, you can keep up to date on the progress I’ve made, both in terms of book reviews and the list, by going to the ‘Memoir Reading List’ page I have set up.

It’s Morphin’ Time for the Big Screen

Like some 90’s Kids, finding out about the new Power Rangers movie was an epic deal.  After all, the Power Rangers series was a huge part of my childhood.  I remember looking forward to watching episodes after school, on Saturday mornings, or when ever I could.

Of course, the reboot or the revival or what ever you want to call the reason why Hollywood decided to make a new film adaption, does showcase that we’re going through a period of ‘recycling’ old shows and movies for new movies.  This, by no means, is anything new.

Regardless, I finally got the chance to see the movie on April 2nd.  One of the first things I noticed was that the audience had a mixture of teenagers and adults in the audience.  This is something I also noticed both times I saw the live action of Beauty and the Beast.  This showcases why some of the 90’s movies and tv shows are being re-purposed: people who enjoyed these movies and shows are now bringing a younger audience with them.

The movie design of the Power Rangers as covered by Entertainment Weekly.

The movie design of the Power Rangers as covered by Entertainment Weekly.

This adaption of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers is actually written and set for the audience that I now think the series should have always been set for: teenagers.  Nothing against having the original series geared towards children, but I think that the more mature, and darker, themes work better for the movie.

We get to see that each of the five rangers aren’t perfect.  Instead, they are more of the ‘teenagers with attitude’ that one would expect.  Also, the movie does showcase an LGBT character as well as a character that falls onto the autism spectrum.  What’s great about the former is that the producers and writers decided not to make that a major part of the movie and with the former, it was nice having a character explain a bit about what autism is for people who aren’t introduced to autism.

What also works about the series is that it’s also set up as an origins story.  We’re introduced to why Zordon and Rita where near Earth.  It also explains a bit more about how Rita had the green power coin, why dinosaurs were chosen for the megazords, and so on.

In regards of character development, I think this movie does a great job at it.  We see that Zordon is reluctant to take on the rule of mentor to the rangers.  Instead, he initially wants to use to them so he can get out of the morphing grid.  We do see that change, though.

The character development with the power rangers does take form in how they morph.  In order to morph, the Rangers essentially have to have a certain openness with each other.  I think this works better then the rangers just saying that its morphing time.

Also, what’s nice is that we see them have actual ‘powers’ in the sense that their strength and speed are enhanced.  Although there are people out there who I am sure aren’t thrilled by this fact, it actually makes sense that as ‘Power Rangers,’ they would have increased powers or strengths.

Personally, one of my favorite scenes in the movie is the training montage that they do to  Fitz & The Tantrums’ song “Handclap.”  What works well about the training montage is that we see Alpha 5 serving a purpose besides being almost a secondary Yoda like character.  Instead, this incarnation of Alpha 5 actually has some fighting skills that he teaches the rangers.  This also showcases something that annoyed me a bit about the TV series: what are the odds of the teenagers that were picked had karate and fighting ability prior to becoming Power Rangers.

In regards of potential sequels, there is definitely a lot of source materials.  It’s common knowledge that the series Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers through Power Rangers in Space where all intended to be the whole run of the Power Rangers franchise.  This does allow a fair amount of freedom to do several movies within the rebooted franchise; and the groundwork is already there.

One of the reasons why Zordon came to Earth was to protect the Zeo Crystal.  Personally speaking, I am hoping that the movies get to the point where we see the shift from Zeo to Turbo.  This is due to the fact that it’s never explained in the series what happened to the Zeo powers.  I am guessing in order to get to Turbo though, there has to be at least three more movies.  Two in the Mighty Morphin’ era of power rangers and one in the Zeo era.  But, that depends on what happens with the movie series and how the production staff handles the movies.

Although I would love to see weekly episodes like the kids series, I think that wouldn’t work as well.  With TV series, you do get more character development and at a more steady rate, but at the cost of better scenes for what a movie can do.

Over all, I would say that the movie is one of the more interesting ones I’ve seen in a while.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Overview

Since Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life aired on Netflix this past November, I’ve been thinking a fair amount about the series.  If you haven’t watched the series yet, continue reading at the risk of spoilers, cause I’ll be going there.

Rory’s Love Life

One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of the revival series is Rory’s love life.  She’s dating some guy – Dan or Derek or something; I’m not trying to play coy with the joke of everyone forgetting his name – while sleeping with ex-boyfriend Logan.

Personally speaking, I would have liked a bit more of a backstory of how Rory and Logan ended up hooking up every time she was in London, which seems to be about every 15 to 20 minutes through the series.

Logan

While on the topic of Logan, I really want to know what he’s doing back in London.  After all, he left London to pursue an online startup that went south and ended up with a job offer in sunny California.  I really want to know how and why Logan is back in London.  Logan’s dad does make a cameo and things seem to be on better terms between Logan and his dad.

I’m chalking the lack of background to the limit of four 50 to 60 minute episodes.

Once a mistress, always a mistress?

But back to Rory’s love life, a part of me finds it hard to accept the fact that Rory would be willing to be the other woman, again.  We already saw this story line at the end of season four and the start of season five.  Apart from the fact that the story line has already been done, I also find it hard to believe that Rory would also cheat; or at least keep on cheating for as long as she did.

Rory + A Wookie = Rory’s First One Night Stand?

Rory, post wookie

While working on a spec piece for GQ magazine, Rory ends up having a one night stand.  One night stands happen.  Yet, I personally find it hard to believe that Rory would juggle a boyfriend – that she even admits that she keeps on forgetting about – an affair with a former boyfriend and throw in a guy in a Wookie custom.  Then again, maybe Rory has a secret fantasy that we didn’t know about.  Regardless, Rory does admit that it was a mistake.

Rory’s Career

At the end of the series, it was set up that Rory had a somewhat promising career as a journalist.  As we left the series, Rory took a job as an embed for the Obama campaign for an online magazine.  Besides referencing a well written piece that she had published in The New Yorker, no real outstanding pieces that she’s ever written where mentioned.  Does anyone else find this somewhat bazaar?

To be honest, I’m not up to date on what it’s like in the journalist market besides print media is slowly becoming a harder field to break into.  Yet, I would have imagine that Rory, having been the editor-in-chief of the Yale Daily News, as well as getting a job offer right after college hasn’t found a job.  Instead, she’s working as a freelance journalist.

Granted, this could have something to do with maybe Rory being to focused on journalism as a career and not willingness to expand into other writing related fields prior to considering writing a book.

Emily’s New Job

We see towards the end of the revival that Emily has taken up a job – or a volunteer position – at a museum in Nantucket.  This seems very fitting for Emily since at a couple times throughout the original series, Emily complains about just being a housewife and how all she’s done with life was go to college – where she majored in history – got married and made a home.  Since Richard’s death, it made sense for Emily to look for something new to do with her life, since the life she was use to – DAR meetings, luncheons, and so on – lost meaning for her.

Emily kept a maid, finally

One thing that I was really shocked at is that Emily finally kept a maid.  The woman who has been sued before for firing someone kept a maid.  The woman who would have a new maid every episode kept a maid.  The woman who at one point who would have fired for not being able to understand her is shocking, but it a good way.  This showcases, I believe, that Emily has had some character development.  This is shown not only by the fact that Emily kept a maid throughout the run the revival, but she also hired the maid’s family members.

Miss Patty’s Weight Loss Isn’t Pointed Out

One thing that seemed odd was that Miss Patty’s weight loss wasn’t pointed out.  I feel like some kind of nod to it like, “Hey Miss Patty, that Zumba class you’re taking really worked” or “I’m glad to see you lost that last five pounds” or something.  Alas, that didn’t happen.

We meet Lane’s dad, kind of

During a new festival that focuses on foods of the world, we get about a five second cameo of Lane’s dad.  I think this is a somewhat of an insult to the Gilmore Girls fan base.  We know that Lane’s dad is still alive, but where was he during the original series?

Wait, there’s a secret bar?

Can my town have a secret bar?  I think it’s kind of cool that Stars Hallow has a secret bar.  Especially since Taylor seems to be the only that doesn’t know about it.  This goes to show how well does, or rather doesn’t, know about the town that he is essentially the mayor of.

Luke thinks that Lorelei wants him to sleep with those women?

One thing that happens in the revival is that Luke and Lorelei, mostly Lorelei, considers having someone carry their child.  This desire is brought out by something Emily says that gets underneath Lorelei’s skin.  While looking at potential women, at Paris’ fertility clinic, Luke thinks that Lorelei wants him to sleep with these women.  I personally find this way more funny then I feel that it should.  Mainly since Luke seems smart enough to know how a surrogate works.

Lorelei tries to go Wild

At the end of the third episode, Lorelei decides that she wants to do Wild; the book, not the movie.  This seems to be the culmination of having done therapy with her mom, the relationship she’s in with Luke and feeling like she’s stuck or something with it, her feelings in regards of her father’s death, and everything else.

Lorelai goes wild

The first 10 minutes of the fourth episode focuses on Lor trying to do wild.  And by try, I mean that she gets her pack packed and ready to go, but a couple of hurdles keep her from actually going on the trail.  Although these hurdles could easily be remedied, she ended up not going through.

This is probably a good thing since the only camping related thing I can see Lorelei doing is buying a camping outfit for kicks and giggles.  Regardless, she does have the revelation she was looking for.

I think the reason why Lorelei decided to do Wild is because everything that has been going on.  Like I said earlier, there was a lot going on with her life, but she is also at the midlife crisis point in her life.  By even just going to the hotel that she did, having a bonding moment or two with the other women that where going to be doing Wild, and having the chance to escape gave her the much needed space to just clear her mind.

One thing I didn’t realize before this part of the revival is that people go on trips like Wild or Eat, Pray, Love for the spiritual aspects of the trips for reasons similar to why both Lorelei did an and why the authors of these books did.

Rory writes a book

Throughout the revival, a reoccurring element is Rory writing a book.  Originally, she was going to collaborate on a memoir for someone, which ends up being a flop.  Yet, Jess comes back into town to visit Luke and his mom – did I mention that Liz joined a cult by accident? – and suggested the idea of Rory doing a memoir on her and her mother’s life.

Looking back at the series, this actually works well with the Gilmore Girls canon very well I think.  It would explain the tone of the series to a degree.  It would explain some of the limited backgrounds we got of some of the minor characters.

Paris…in general

We see that Paris, true to her type A personality and drive to succeed at everything she does, ended up get both a MD and JD.  With using her background in both medicine and the judicial system, she is helping people conceive children and to use suragents.  Of course, her standards for suragents is pretty high; but she is the best in the industry.  Shocking, right?

What’s the most shocking about Paris’ career route is that I would have expected her to become a surgeon or something and ultimately the chief of surgery or something.  Although Paris does

Granted, she and Doyle are separated or divorced or whatever Doyle and her are.  For some reason, it isn’t shocking that the two of them have kids and have a rocky relationship.

The Final Four Words

There are so many questions that are opened with those four words.  The first, of course, is if we’ll get another season to find out Lorelei’s reaction. Then there are things like who is the dad, how will Emily react, will Rory follow the path her mother did or will she marry the father, and so on.

This ending was the planned one for the original series and personally, I am happy that it wasn’t.  I think that a 22 year-old pregnant Rory wouldn’t have been the ending that most of the audience would have wanted.  Plus, having this happen when Rory is in her 30s makes it seem less like her following the same footsteps of her mother, in a way.

If Rory does keep the child, she does have options available to her.  The headmaster of her high school essentially promised her a job if she got a masters.  Although going for a masters wouldn’t be easy, I think that Rory is a good enough position to get her masters.

Also, I think that this will give Rory the chance to work and finish her book.  Granted, it will be interesting to see what happens if a second season does happen.