Doctor Who: "The Witch's Familiar" Review

     'He's trapped in the heart of the dalek empire. He's a prisoner of the creatures who hate him most in the universe." - Missy

  I won't go to the trouble of detailing every little aspect of "The Witch's Familiar."If you're reading this chances are you have some knowledge of Doctor Who or you are interested in learning. For the sake or those who are simply curious about the program and whether or not they would enjoy it I will keep things relatively vague for the most part. This episode is an extremely dramatic and surprising thrill ride featuring the daleks, Davros and Missy/the Master. It's an exciting combination of the old and the new which manages to highlight much of what people love about Steven Moffat's writing and Doctor Who in general.

     When it comes to two part stories everything comes down to how part 2 builds from and ties up the story and ideas explored in part 1. Moffat knows this. He is a master of his craft who employs misdirection and the feels in order to manipulate whovians and sherlockians alike. A writer such Russell T. Davies would have most likely opted to move from the part 1 cliffhanger to some kind of direct conclusion (likely involving a deus ex machina, not judging just telling it how it is) but Moffat would rather leave us to think on the scene as the rest of the story unfolds before our eyes,

   Doctor Who is a franchise rich in story. The writer Neil Gaiman has called it a story machine. The TARDIS can go anywhere and the whoniverse is full of darkness and wonder. It would be difficult to compile a complete list of all the neat little moments in "The Witch's Familiar." Instead I have created a short list of things that really jumped out at me in the episode.

                     Episode Highlights 

1. The Doctor's new chair.

  I still can't decide if this was intentionally used as a metaphor. The Doctor stole Davros's chair and used its protective force field to get the upper hand on the daleks. This is a surprising solution which makes perfect sense given everything we know about Davros and the Doctor. I will say that I am surprised there wasn't a moment where the Doctor looked at a reflection of himself in Davros's chair and had some kind of major revelation about himself. 

2. The Dalek Sewers. 

   This is a neat if kind of gross idea. The sewer daleks reminds me a little bit of Torchwood: Miracle Day. I did not see their return at the end coming. 

3. Sonic Shades. 

   This is very interesting indeed. There has been a significant portion of the fan base expressing opposition to the continued use of the screwdriver lately. The Doctor has parted with his sonic before. These sonic shades could be a way to meet sonic fans and critics halfway. While I love Smith/Capaldi's sonic I must say the glasses are cool. I STRONGLY doubt this will be a permanent change. 

4. Davros's eyes.

  I can't be the only person who let out an audible gasp when this happened. I'm not sure I exactly understand why Davros never used his natural eyes in any other story but I like the symbolism. I'm curious as to whether or not Moffat will be expanding on this in the future.

5. Davros crying. 

  When Davros get the feels you know it's serious. Okay, maybe it was all just a show to try and trick the Doctor. I don't think so. Sure that was his goal but it really seemed like he was tapping into some genuine emotion. Davros's primary goal in creating the daleks was to put an end to the thousand year war between his people (the kaleds) and their enemies the thals. 

6. Missy!!!

      What can I say? She's just so fabulously evil. 

7. Dalek Clara, again.


      If the image above looks strangely familiar that might be because of the series 7 episode "Asylum of the Daleks". In that story Matt Smith's Doctor first encounters Clara. There's only one problem. It's not Clara. It's a dalek. Well actually it's Clara. It's complicated. It's actually a version of Clara (named Oswin Oswald) created by the Doctor's timeline who was been turned into a dalek. In "The Witch's Familiar" Missy comes up with a plan that conveniently requires Clara lock herself in a dalek shell. Little does Clara realize that Missy doesn't have the most noble intentions. Seriously, just a little bit of critical thinking on Clara's part would have told her that getting into a dead dalek and following Missy's orders was not a great idea. This all leads up to a very emotional scene in which Missy nearly convinces the Doctor to shoot his companion/best friend.

   If I was a gambling man I'd say that this won't be the last time Clara sees the inside of dalek armor. Perhaps Moffat is foreshadowing her exit from the show. This could either mean absolutely nothing or be extremely important. You decide!

                               The Final Verdict 

        "The Witch's Familiar" is a strong episode with a lot of interesting and original ideas. The cast are all wonderful.  Michelle Gomez and Julian Bleach really shine as Missy and Davros respectively. Clara is probably going to get turned into a dalek again. Maybe not. 

   I hope you've enjoyed wasting your time like this. If you haven't tell no one. If you have any thoughts about the episode, Doctor Who in general or you just want to flirt you can comment bellow. Remember to avoid sudden death. Please go away now.


Doctor Who: "The Magician's Apprentice" Review

        "Listen, if someone who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives, could you then kill that child?" - The Doctor (Tom Baker)

      This question, first asked by Tom Baker's Doctor in 1975 is at the core of the series 9 opener. The Doctor finds himself face to face with a young Davros ans is presented with a choice. He can either save the child begging for help or let him die, saving countless other lives in the process. When we put aside all talk of time travel paradoxes, reapers or all of time happening at once the problem becomes both very simple and infinitely complex. Is it morally correct to kill one in order to save trillions? If a good person becomes evil does that cancel out any value in there life from the beginning? Can one man be allowed to decide the fate of the universe? Regardless of moral rightness could the Doctor ever bring himself to murder a child?


Let's not pretend that anyone actually thought a Moffat series opener was going to be all doom and gloom. That's just not how the Moff rolls. After Missy (who naturally isn't dead) uses Clara to locate just where the Doctor is in time and space she zaps them both there via a vortex manipulator "cheap and dirty time travel."  They find themselves at in England in the early renaissance at a party thrown by none other than the Doctor himself. The Doctor rides in on a tank playing guitar. This is both very out of character for the Capaldi's Doctor and exactly the sort of thing you'd expect the Doctor to do. The Doctor has not made an entrance so perfect and surprising since the incident at Rory's bachelor party.

    The rest of the episode is not a rock and roll love fest. A strange new enemy known as colony Sarff shows up and forces the Doctor to go with him to see Davros the creator of the daleks. Neither Miss or Clara can leave well enough alone and let the Doctor sort things out for himself so they force Sarff to take them too. This so does not get both of them exterminated later on. Soon they find themselves inside what appears to be a space station/hospital. This is where Davros is residing as he prepares for death. Little do our heroes (and Missy) know but the "space station" is actually a building on a planet which has somehow been made invisible. The planet in question is Skaro which somehow still exists after being completely destroyed on multiple occasions. Soon after this revelation comes the sudden deaths via daleks of Clara and Missy.

  This prompts the Doctor to go back in time to when he encountered the young Davros and apparently shoot him with a dalek gun. The credits start rolling before anything actually happens so I think it would be a safe bet to say that's not what actually happens. Still you'll have to tune in next week to find out. Also you could just start a tumblr or talk to your unpopular friends.

     This episode is jam packed with fun and exciting bits and pieces. The following is a brief list of highlights.

 1. Colony Sarff

  This character is creepy in all the right ways. Not only does he feel menacing and evil but he is literally just a bunch of snakes in a cloak. I'm not even particularly afraid of snakes and he gives me goosebumps.

2. Davros's Return

  This character hasn't made an appearance since the series 4 finale "Journey's End." Davros is the kaled creator of the daleks and a Hitler stand-in if I've ever seen one. Julian Bleach plays him with the kind of macabre edge that makes you feel as if he is right there in the room with you. He's every unpleasant old person who has ever made you feel small. He's a reflection of human evil in a much more direct way than any of his creations.

3. The Shadow Proclamation

This intergalactic governing body has much like Davros not made a proper appearance since David Tennant's era, While the role they played in this episode was minimal it's always nice to see a reference to the past used to further the plot.

4. The Sisterhood of Karn

  This return will quite possibly be the one that most strongly effects the series going forward. The sisterhood are Time Lords (Time Ladies). This means that the Doctor and Missy are definitely no longer the last Time Lords in the universe. It should also be mentioned that the sisterhood helped the eighth Doctor regenerate into the war Doctor making the organization especially significant.

5. Hand mines

I couldn't possibly make a list of highlights from this episode without including the hand mines. They're hands that reach out from the dirt and pull people under. While the germ of the idea may have simply come from a clever play on words the hand mines are genuinely scary and an interesting piece of battlefield biotech, It's a shame we didn't see any of them in "Genesis of the Daleks"

   In conclusion the series 9 opener is a scary and exciting romp with a good bit of heart. It's high quality Who which allows Capaldi's Doctor to really shine. Considering everything I'd give it a rating of 8.5/10. Make sure to tune in tomorrow/later today for the conclusion of this two part series opener. I should have a second review up in the near future. Bye! Avoid sudden death.


Sick Sentience Will Return!!

 I apologize for the lack of new posts recently. I'm very busy with school and being mentally disturbed. I hope to have a review posted for the new Doctor Who episode soon after it airs. Avoid sudden death.


Creepypasta and Doctor Who

Recently I've become very involved with the creeepypasta wiki. If you don't know what a creepypasta is allow me to explain. A creepypasta is an online horror story intended to be both highly share friendly and as the name implies creepy. Popular pastas which you may have heard of include Slenderman and Jeff the Killer (which actually kind of sucks). Anyone can write a pasta so I did. I've actually written a few. Currently I have four up on the wiki. I'll tell you a little bit about each of them below and provide links to the wiki. Feel free to comment any thoughts you might have either here or on the wiki itself.

1. Twisted Metal Love

   This was actually the first pasta I posted I posted and also in my opinion one of my better stories. It's available on this blog but the version on the wiki is slightly improved. The story is about a man who buys a robotic wife. It follows there relationship as it dissolves into hate and sadistic torture. You can send it to someone you have the hots for with the message "This is how you make me feel." It's a regular fifty shades only I tried to make it good.

2. A God Fearing Man

 A lot of the same ideas in Twisted Metal Love are touched on here. It's narrator is a very similar man to the narrator of TML, It's setting is however very different. It takes place on a farm in the south.  It was loosely inspired by the true story of Ray and  Faye Copeland (the oldest couple sentenced to death in the United States).  It's a bit romantic in places and as you may have guessed touches on the relationship between religion and morality.

3. The Savages

  It's no secret that I am fascinated by what societal taboos and what people will do to stay alive. The Savages is about a woman and her two small children. They live in a world where the weather is harsh and unforgiving, humanity is an endangered species and the law of the jungle is the only law left. It's unusual for me because it was written in the third person.

4. The Kissing Bug

I won't give too much away about this one. The main character is a gay teenager with a dead mother and a cold and detached father. He gets dragged to a party by his only friend and then some strange stuff happens.

  As you may or may not be aware Doctor Who returns September 19th. Here is the trailer for what will be the ninth season of the revived series. I will be reviewing the first and final stories of series 9 as well as any others which I find especially thought provoking. Have a lovely day if that is at all possible.


A Review of "Engines of War" by George Mann Starring John Hurt's War Doctor

 This is a review of the Doctor Who tie in novel Engines of War. If you have no interest in Doctor Who you will have no interest in this. Caution there may be spoilers.

Doctor Who is a unique and beloved franchise and if you have to ask what it's about you probably shouldn't be reading this review. Needless to say the Doctor is a personal hero of mine. I love him in all his forms and enjoy every era of the show. In 2013 Whovians  were given many gifts from Steven Moffat and others who have worked on the show. In my opinion the most memorable event to take place in the the Whoniverse was  the 50th anniversary episode the Day of the Doctor. It was an epic multi-Doctor adventure featuring all of the past incarnations of the Doctor and saw the return of Gallifrey. The episode starred Matt Smith's eleventh Doctor, David Tennant as the tenth Doctor, Billie Piper as the Moment, Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald and John Hurt as the War Doctor. The War Doctor is an incarnation between McGann and Eccleston. He fought in the Time War and because of this his three immediate successors refused to acknowledge his existence.

No Doctor in the history of the show is without tie in books. I do not believe John Hurt could have ever truly been the Doctor in the same ways as the other twelve without at least one prose adventure. Engines of War is that adventure. I really thoroughly enjoyed this book. Because of that I'll begin by talking about what's wrong with it.

1. There are typos scattered throughout the book. They don't make anything unreadable but they took me out of the story on several occasions. I don't know why this is the case or if it's the same with every copy but you should be warned. Naturally you have just noticed a typo on my own blog and plan on gloating in the comments.

2. Your enjoyment/understanding of the book may rely largely on your knowledge of the established canon of the show. This wasn't a problem for me but I'm a very dedicated and obsessive fan. If you are a long time fan you are likely to get a lot of the little references and nods to the past and the future.

   Engines of War is about the Doctor  crash landing on the Dalek occupied planet Moldox. There he encounters the fiesty and emotionally damaged young dalek  unter Cinder. From there the two finds themselves breaking into Dalek headquarters, The Daleks it turns out have been developing a new weapon. The weapon is poweredby a temporal abnormality near Moldox called the Tantalus Eye. The purpose of the weapon is to wipe people, things or even places from both time and space. This would effectively make them no longer real. The Doctor and Cinder go to the Time Lords who in order to prevent the proliferation of time weapons decide to just go ahead and blow up the Tantalus Eye . This would of course destroy a dozen different inhabited worlds and every living thing on them but it's not like that matters. Obviously the Doctor and his companion work to stop the genocide as well as defeat the Daleks. They do this by stealing a Time Lord  (Borusa) who Rassilon has turned into a weapon known as a possibility engine.

  This book is interesting for a number of reasons. It is not only the best look we get at the life of John Hurt's Doctor it is also our best look at the events of the Time War. It's something we could never get in a multi Doctor story. This story allows for a kind of focus and exploration of the Doctor's past which would be out of place in the regular series. In book form however it works beautifully. We get an interesting cast of characters both from the classic series and the mind of George Mann and we get to see just what pushed the Doctor over the edge and put him in a place where he could even imagine pushing that big red button.

   I'm a big believer that Doctor Who is first and foremost about the Doctor but at the same time it is never just the Doctor. Engines of War is not only  the story of Doctor and the Time War. It is also the story of Cinder. Cinder is everything the Doctor values. She's brave and smart and capable of working independently and making tough decisions at a moment's notice. But more than that she's a girl who wants to escape everything but doesn't know if there's anywhere to escape to. She's stuck between a rock and a hard place and is determined to fight her way out. She could  easily be compared to Ace. She adds a lot to the book. It's a real pity she only got this one adventure.

   The George Mann wrote the Doctor is very true to the performance given by Sir John Hurt. He's a slightly grumpy, slightly goofy old soldier who desperately go  back to exploring the universe for pleasure. He's got a dark and feels an enormous sense of responsibility to protect the universe. What I think Mann does really brilliantly is that rather than writing a character exactly like the one seen on screen he wrote the Doctor as he would have been before losing hoping. He shows us real character progression and makes his writing feel natural and not like some sort of prequel put out just to cash in on the popularity of the character.

   Engines of wars is a fun and at times very sad story which sets gigantic standards for itself and then lives up to everyone of them. It's truly a must read for any dedicated Whovian. It stands up as a perfect companion piece to The Day of the Doctor and is an entertaining and poignant story on its own.


A Review of "All You Need Is Kill" (AKA "Edge of Tomorrow") by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

   Before beginning I should clarify that I am reviewing an English translation of the Japanese novel All You Need is Kill. This book is the source material for the popular Tom Cruise film Edge of Tomorrow. I have not yet seen the film but will likely be reviewing it separately in the near future. Now that I've made that clear I'll introduce you to some of the major characters in this novel.

   1.  Keiji Kiriya

Keiji Kiriya starts off as your typical everyman. He's joined the UDF (United Defense Force) within the Japanese military in order to fight the Mimics which are what the humans call the alien creatures that have invaded. He says himself that he doesn't want to be a war hero. He just wants to prove to himself and others that he is capable of accomplishing something.

   He soon learns that his decision to join the military may have been a mistake when he finds himself about to die on the battlefield. Rita a prodigious American soldier stays with him as he takes his last few breaths, He dies but somehow he lives to remember it. He finds himself repeating the thirty battle over and over again. Each time he dies and wakes once again in bed to start all over again. As he starts to piece together what's happened he also trains his mind and develops fighting skills  in the hope of eventually being able to defeat the Mimics and somehow return to normalcy.

2.  Rita Vrataski

Rita (AKA the Full Metal Bitch) is an American soldier who has killed more Mimics in battle than anyone  else and is considered a hero by people all across the world. She fights with a personalized battle axe and wears a standard issue robotic fighting suit which she had painted red in order to stand out and attract Mimic attention. She's got a kind disposition but has suffered a lot and been hardened by pain. She does not suffer fools gladly and has more than a few secrets.

  Throughout the time loops Keiji and Rita begin to build a complex which is inevitably forgotten by Rita each time things are reset. She helps him to figure out what exactly has been happening and their relationship becomes a key plot point of the novel.

3. Yonabaru Jin

Yonabaru is Keiji's closest friend and in many ways the total opposite of him. He's an argumentative, womanizing, often rude soldier who is initially more experienced than Keiji. Each loop begins with him approaching Keiji to sign the same peace of paper. He dies on more than one occasion and despite the temporary nature of each of these tragedies Keiji feels a great deal of guilt for his friend's demise,

4.  Bartolome Ferrell

   Ferrel is Yonabaru and Keiji's platoon sergeant. He's an experienced veteran who demands respect but would sacrfice his own life for his soldiers. He believes in physical fitness, hard work and self control, Throughout the novel he becomes a great asset to Keiji who attends the same training session with him more than a hundred times. Keiji eventually surpasses Ferrel in fighting skill. Ferrel shows him a great deal of respect and seems to value him highly as a soldier.

   These among others are some of the people the not too distant future world of All You Need is Kill.

  The book is a very fast and easy read with plenty of action and cool visuals. While none of the core concepts (alien invaders, robotic fighting suits, time loops etc.) can be said to be unique to this book they are all done in very interesting ways. You really feel the isolation and the frustration from Keiji's strange predicament. The war does not feel like something which simply existed for the purpose of putting our protagonist in danger. It was presented like any real war between human entities. The Mimics are more like tanks than people so their nonhuman nature doesn't distance the book two far from the realities of battle.

I'm the sort of person who finds it impossible to rank things on a scale of one to ten so I won't. What I will say is that I recommend this book to anyone with a taste for good science fiction and or horror. It's thrilling, surprising and in places very touching. The characters feel like they live in a world far larger than what is presented in the book. Even the aliens have a complex and not entirely evil backstory. It makes you think about the value of life and sacrifice and it is likely to bring a few tears to your eyes.


What Does It Mean To Be Human? Are the Doctor, Data and Dexter Morgan People?

   Humans are Homo sapiens. We experience emotions such as love and hate. We are capable of understanding that we exist as individual beings separate from other humans. These are all some fairly accurate observations of what  humans are. They are also of course incorrect. Thousands of years ago Homo Sapiens shared the Earth with the Neanderthals. The Neanderthals were human. In fact Neanderthal DNA is present in the human genome today. But when we think about humanity we exclude them because when we don't the picture becomes a little less clear and hard to fully understand. The observation that humans can be defined by the presence of emotions is likewise untrue. While almost all humans experience emotion on some level their is a spectrum and even those who experience normal emotions are in some cases capable of completely shutting them off in order to commit acts which would otherwise be unthinkable. The final observation is true of almost all adult humans without severe mental impairments but interestingly enough it is not true of infants who as far as researchers can tell believe themselves to be the only thinking beings in the world.

  I am writing this in response to a video contest from the Big History Project. The contest aims to encourage discussion and contemplation of the question of what it means to be human. I'll go ahead answer that now. A human is an organism scientifically categorized as such. This of course is done by humans and is somewhat meaningless on a universal scale where we can all be looked as nonliving particles acting to consume energy which have organized into an arbitrary and random pattern. I don't think the question that most people are asking when they say "What does it mean to be human?" is actually about humanity itself. It is more so about any being that has equal to or great than human intelligence and can understand the world and engage with the world in a way that the non-human animals we see on Earth simply do not. The question is more about personhood. This is not the abstract concept of personhood which Republicans like to apply to anything which could someday be a person. This question can be broken down into three parts. 1. What is personhood? 2. What are the identifying markers of a person? 3. How are people fundamentally different from anything else be it living or nonliving in their environments?


  1. Personhood is defined as the quality or condition of being an individual person.
     At first glance you might think that this doesn't tell you much but the wording does say a lot about
     how we as a society tend to think about personhood. A person is an individual. An individual is a person. The two words are easily interchangable. The smart wasp or ant is never truly person because they act as a hive mind and can not be separated as singular and functional individuals. So a person is something with a brain capable of understanding its own existence and percieving some aspect of reality beyond the perception of lower creatures. They can think as individuals and as as questions such as "Why am I me rather than them?" For argument's sake let's say the young and the psychologically abnormal who belong to groups that could on the whole be categorized as people are people. 

2. As stated people look at the world in a way different than other creatures capable of thought and think about themselves on a deeper level as well. Because these are all arbitrary rules made up by humans it's fair to say that this intellect is beyond that of the primates that share the earth with us today. 

3. It might be that for some people what I've already spelled out makes people seem pretty different from everything else that is I'm not sure I buy it. Dogs aren't people but they can love. Corpses are shaped like us but they're empty inside. In the end we are both the sum of our parts and so much more than that.

   I'm not going to lie. I wrote this most because I was hoping aliens might be reading my blog. It seems unfair to me that the Doctor despite how wonderful and lovely he is does not fit some definitions of what a person. It seems abundantly clear to me that he is a person regardless of his fictional nature. It is highly likely that there are aliens (who very probably don't resemble humans) that could be called people. It is very very probable that with advances in artificial intelligence you will one day be in the company of mechanical people. Humans are special. We are the only people any of us have ever met and that's something to be proud of. We have this opportunity to live in a universe of constant change and experience it as it is right now. We get to build ourselves and shape our own realities. That's what it means to be human. More importantly that's what it means to be a person. Have a lovely day. 


 Here is John Green's video response to the same question.



Dumbledore and Gandalf Bravely Fight Evil with Love

      On Sunday two great bearded wizards united not for a battle or to vanquish some dark force but instead in the name of love itself. That's right, on Sunday June 8th, 2015 Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf tied the knot. Even more interestingly this magical union took place not in Hogwarts or Middle-earth but instead at the Equality House located closely to the HQ of The Westboro Baptist Church (a center for racism, homophobia, treason and the brainwashing of impressionable youth). 

    This all came after J.K. Rowling the author of the widely beloved Harry Potter tweeted a meme which proposed that Dumbledore and Gandalf as an interesting non-canon couple. In the 
language of today's Muggle youth she shipped them. Naturally as soon as the illiterate and deranged leaders of the Westboro Baptist Church finishing screwing their cousins and checked twitter they were outraged to find something as unholy as joke and set to work stopping people not agreeing with them by typing words and sending them to Rowling. Needless to say these were bitter and unpleasant words with no real value. Somehow the church's brilliant plan failed and Rowling the bestselling author and literary genius was able to respond in such a way that they were made to look like fools. 

   Aaron Jackson, the founder of the nonprofit Planting Peace (which created the Equality House) 
thought that Dumbledore and Gandalf really did seem right for each other and so  he organized for a wedding to be held. Unfortunately Gandalf  and Dumbledore were both unable to make it so they had arrange for actors to play them instead. Still it was a festive and cheerful occasion and a real fairytale wedding. 

When anybody tells you that the characters you love in books or films or televison aren't real or calls you a fool for loving them remember this. Remember that these characters can be real. They're real when and where it matters. They are what we stand for and they stand for us. They remind us what we believe and how to fight and to be brave in situations which we've only ever imagined facing before. Whether it's the Doctor or Batman, Gandalf or Dumbledore these heroes are important. They help us fight  real world evil. This isn't dementors or death eaters. It's not orcs or giants. It's people who are prejudiced and want to tear us apart and consume us just because we're not them. We are the people who believe in magic even when we know it's not real. We can be the heroes we love just by standing up and doing good in their honor. That's what they would want from us. 


A Review of Paper Towns by John Green


The man pictured above is John Green. He is a well known Youtuber  and the author of multiple bestselling YA novels. Perhaps most notably he wrote TFIOS or The Fault in Our Stars. He also puts peanut butter on his face. You may or may not be aware but the film Paper Towns (which was adapted from John Green's book of the same name) is coming out soon. If you're at all nerdy or you hang out with nerdy people chances are you're going to be hearing a lot about Paper Towns. It's going to consume your life. Everywhere you look people will be talking about it or their will be advertisements for the film or book. In fact if you're the sort of person who reads this type of blog I would put money on you seeing the Paper Towns movie within the next two years. Now that we've accepted that you are definitely going to see this hopefully awesome movie I would just like to tell you a little about the book that started it all.

   Paper Towns is about a guy named Quentin Jacobsen (Q for short) who is deeply in love with the idea of his next door neighbor Margo Roth Spiegelman. Q is pretty much your average guy. He's a bit smarter than most and he's initially somewhat withdrawn but  he doesn't have much of a story of his own. He's in many way very similar to the character of Pudge in Green's first novel Looking for Alaska. In Looking for Alaska Pudge is a teenager who obsesses over the last words of dead people but does not live himself until he goes to a boarding school in Alabama in search of a "great perhaps." The great perhaps represents everything that people wait for and want to happen and also the lack of control and the intensity of the experience of just letting go and allowing life to happen.

    It's an idea that's completely abstract but also core to the lives of Green's protagonists. Margo herself becomes an abstract concept to Q. She keeps him at a distance for years, pops back into his life one night and then vanishes leaving cryptic clues and unanswered questions.  For Pudge the great perhaps is Alaska Young and Culver Creek Preparatory High School. For Q the great perhaps is  Margo Roth Spiegelman or the journey to find her or at least understand understand who she is.

  One of the reasons I love Looking for Alaska is that it allows the reader to draw their own conclusions about the motivations of the characters and the true nature events. It left questions hanging because the point of the book was asking the questions not answering them. To me Paper Towns feels like a thematic sequel to Looking for Alaska. It takes similar characters on the same sort of journey in search of personal connection, meaning and truth but this time it doesn't leave you wondering. We get to see what the pixie manic dream girl really is like when she's alone and it's sad and harsh and not what we want to see but it's also something that needs to be seen. DFTBA!!



A Review of Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green

       I must confess that I have a bit of a collector's mentality. I wouldn't call myself highly materialistic (though I do love material things) but I crave experience and when I fanboy I try to go as fully fanboy as possible. This is why after reading and loving John Green's TFIOS, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns and An Abundance of Katherines I decided to pick up Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I expected another somewhat formulaic but also completely brilliant and fresh John Green book. What I did not bargain for was David Levithan's unique style which attacks young adult fiction in a somewhat different but equally real and interesting way.

    Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two misfit teenage boys, One is a somewhat social and outgoing heterosexual with a gay friend named Tiny (who is anything but), the other a deeply depressed and self hating homosexual with no real friends whose world view is a mixture of dark humor and total pessimism. Initially the only thing connecting these two characters is that they both share the name Will Grayson. Long story short, they meet in a porn shop and the course of both their lives takes a turn.

Now I could take you through the entirety of the novel. I could talk about the important character progression or the importance of learning to let go or letting yourself care but you know what I'm not going to. The only thing I want to talk to you about is the real star of this book. His not Will Grayson. It is Tiny Fucking Cooper. Tiny Cooper is the most fabulous and awesome thing about this entire book. He's so incredibly gay. By this I don't mean to stereotype gay people. It's just that Tiny could easily be some kind of stereotype but he's not. He's a flamboyant and hilarious gay romeo who may have a tendency to be a bit of a drama queen. He's hilarious but at the same time a genuinely good and warmhearted person. He knows who he is and he owns it. He's the sort of person who writes a musical about himself and doesn't care what anybody says so long as his vision is realized.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a hilarious and thought provoking book with a fleshed out cast of characters and a feeling that it is grounded in the reality of everyday. You  should go out and read it as soon as possible. I'm a thousand percent sure it will be a movie within ten years.


Dumbledore Vs.Dumbledore :Who is Albus Percival Wulfric Bryan Dumbledore?

The above video is in my opinion one of the greatest and most iconic scenes in any movie ever. It is the opening of the first Harry Potter film if you don't already. Maggie Smith plays Professor McGonagall and the late Richard Harris plays Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts and a key figure in both the Harry Potter books and films. He is a wizard, He is more than 150 years old. He has a dark past, a scar which is perfect map of the London underground and is rather fond of lemon drops. He is what you get when you take a genius, a lunatic a general, your crazy uncle and your grandfather and roll them into one.

    Richard Harris played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films. Sadly he died of Hodgkin's disease leaving Hogwarts was left without a headmaster. Fortunately the role was recast and Michael Gambon portrayed Professor Dumbledore for five of the six remaining films. While the character remained largely the same and scripts stayed true to the books (for the most part) Gambon's Dumbledore was not a carbon copy of Harris's. Gambon gave off a slightly different energy and had a different sort of physical presence.

  Here is the first scene Gambon appeared in as Dumbledore.

As you can see the face of Dumbledore changed significantly with Gambon. The funny thing is, as young child and fanatical Potterhead I hardly noticed at all. My Dumbledore was never an actor on the screen. My Dumbledore was a sort of mixed up hybridization of Harris and Gambon's portrayals plus something altogether other which I created as I experienced the books and spent hours daydreaming about the wizarding world.

 While it is sad that Richard Harris died and his replacement became necessary I think it's fitting that a character as complex as Dumbledore should quite literally have more than one face. Throughout the series he is seen by various characters as among other things an old fool, a godlike figure, a powerful enemy, a loyal friend, a trustworthy adviser, a hero, a corrupt liar, a martyr, a murderer and a giver of second chances. No one in our world or Harry's truly sees the same Dumbledore. I think it would have been incredibly interesting to see Richard Harris battle Voldemort or defend Harry at his hearing but at the same time he would almost certainly had some of the edge which Gambon brought to the character. Both Gambon and Harris find something in the headmaster that's one hundred Dumbledore but also not entirely what he is.

That's exactly how it ought to be. Dumbledore is never just one thing, No one besides J.K Rowling has him figured out. He was a brave and heartbroken man who knew all to well what the pursuit of power can do to people and believed in clever words and kindness before acts of violence and evil. He was the greatest headmaster Hogwarts ever had. I'm thankful for everything he's taught me.


'Lost River' Review

For quite awhile I was eagerly awaiting a day when I would drag all my friends to the movies to see the movie  Lost River which was directed by Hollywood hunk Ryan Gosling and features the acting talent of none other than the Doctor himself, Matt Smith.  The Cannes film festival unfortunately changed all that. The film was mercilessly attacked by critics. So much hate was directed at it that theaters all across America decided not to release it. Today I finally got the opportunity to watch on pay per view.
  Lost River is not a simple movie. Perhaps this is why so many simple minded critics did not find it to their liking. This movie is about the struggle to survive and to develop a new identity. It's about the predator and the prey and trying to find out which one you are. It's about control and weakness and how hard it can be living in a world that would like very much to see you tear yourself apart for its viewing pleasure.
   Now that I've touched on some of the themes I should probably address the actual plot of the movie. According to IMDb in Lost River  "a single mother is swept into a dark underworld, while her teenage son discovers a road that leads him to a secret underwater town." This led me to believe for quite some time that I was going to be watching something with strong elements of a traditional fantasy film.  To clarify this film is about a woman (Christina Hendricks)  and her two sons who are struggling to keep their house. The woman is offered a job working at a nightclub for fetishists. She accepts the offer and begins doing performances where she appears to mutilate herself onstage. Her oldest son Bones (Iain De Caestecker) breaks into abandoned homes to take copper wiring. This lands him in trouble with Bully (played by Matt Smith) who has claimed the city as his own and protects his claim with extreme violence.  The city itself is called Lost River because of the nearby river which was created by  literally sinking a town.
 I'll admit that as a huge Matt Smith fan I'm already predisposed to having a positive view of anything he's in but I assure you that even though Smith's character is vital to the plot the movie has a lot more to offer than just him. The cinematography is beautiful. Every shot feels like a work of art. The character Rat (Saoirse Ronan)  remarks at one point that the whole town feels like its underwater. As a viewer I can attest that is true. Theirs a heavy, dark and sort of breathless atmosphere.
The character of Bully is a very relatable young man. He wants to help his mother by providing for his family. At the same time he feels resentful of her for not being able to hold everything together. He's desperate to find some way to fix things and prove that he's a man. His friend and love interest Rat is a bit of a wiser counterpart to him. She knows about the town's past from her grandmother and she can think on her feet. Rat's called rat because of her pet rat Nick, Without giving too much away let me just say that there is a very darkly sexual scene between Matt Smith's character and Nick.
   The mother in this movie is a complicated character as well. She wants to what's right for her children and she's willing to sacrifice a lot to make that happen. At the same time she wants to preserve the past. She fights to fights to keep her family in a dilapidated home surrounded by what can only be called ruins. Even as the world around her crumbles apart she refuses to admit that there's really nothing she can do. This is where Dave the banker (Ben Mendelsohn) comes in. Dave offers her work at a nightclub for fetishists which he started. He tells her its' good money so she takes the offer. Let me just say that this does not turn out great. There's a dancing scene later in the film which is very reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs.
  Bully (Matt Smith) is one fucked up motherfucker. He's equal parts Alex from A Clockwork Orange, Tyler Durden from Fight Club and every schoolyard bully from an eighties movie. Whether he's shouting about his muscles or breaking someone's neck he's fun to watch every second. Bully is a villain's villain. He serves as a metaphor for corruption and cruelty which can come when even small amounts of power are left unchecked. Bully is a king. His thrown is a cheap blue chair mounted to his car.
   Speaking of the similarities between Matt Smith's character and Alex from A Clockwork Orange, the two films have something else in common. They both have really haunting and beautiful soundtracks. Lost River is filled with ominous and powerful instrumentals and Rat (Saoirse Ronan) has a fantastic singing voice. The music only adds to the overall enjoyableness of the film.
       I would like to summarize by saying Lost River is a complex and enjoyable film which is often dark and creepy. It has a lot to say about society and what people will do to get by. It's an awesome movie and the critics can suck Matt Smith's dick. I hope to see Ryan Gosling continue directing in the future. 
           For anyone who may be interested, here are Matt Smith's muscles.