Black Panther ~ Movie Review

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Over spring break, my dad and I went to see Black Panther. It was my second time seeing it, and his first. With the upcoming Infinity War, I thought I would hurry on up and get in my review of this movie first! 🙂

Black Panther takes place after Civil War, with T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, returning to Wakanda, after the death of his father, to take his place as king. Wakanda is a nation in Africa, however, its actual country is concealed from the world. Most people believe that it is a poor nation, that happens to have a small amount of the strongest metal on earth – vibranium.

The truth, though, is that Wakanda is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world and is far from being helpless.

During the course of the movie, T’Challa’s reign gets challenged by a foe that is surprisingly connected to Wakanda, and he is forced into a difficult position of what to do when your entire worldview and belief about your country and family is rocked on its axis.

His family is there to support him each step of the way however, with his sister, Shuri, played by Letitia Wright (I did a post on her here), and his mother, Queen Romanda, played by Angela Bassett. With their help, T’Challa strives to do the right thing, while having the weight of Wakanda on his shoulders in the process.

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Black Panther is an amazing movie that combines action, humor, and culture into a two hour and fourteen minute film, and if you haven’t seen it, you definitely need to.

Alright, as per usual, there’s the spoiler-free version 😉

SPOILERS AHEAD.

WARNING Y’ALL.

ANYTHING BELOW WILL HAVE SPOILERS.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

With that out of the way, full-speed ahead into spoiler territory!

There’s so much to unpack in this movie, that I’m just going to jump right in and ask that y’all bear with me.

 First of all, can I just say that Marvel does sibling relationships fabulously??? I love Shuri and T’Challa’s relationship. There’s Shuri, who at sixteen, gets a huge kick out of the fact that her brother is being made king. This is never more apparent than at the ceremony, when she asks, “can we get on with it already?” and mentions that the corset is really killing her.

And T’Challa, who bless his soul, finds himself continually roasted by his little sis. I saw something on Tumblr that I just have to restate here – “being a good older brother: reassuring your sister after she unknowingly ran over someone in the street.” xD

So funny.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie, is at the very end, when the antagonist of the movie, Erik Killmonger (also I LOVE NAMES WITH PUNS, and like the fact that his last name has the world “kill” in it is hilariously ironic considering his reputation), is about to attack Shuri. At this point, Shuri has used all the firepower in her weapons and stumbles to the ground.

In the distance, T’Challa is taking some serious hits from basically the entire tribe under W’Kabi. You can see him getting tired and becoming weary, when all of a sudden, in his line of sight, he catches view of Erik about to attack Shuri.

Pretty sure you can guess what happens. T’Challa ain’t having NONE of that dude hurting his little sister, and instantly, you can physically see him becoming reinvigorated as he races toward them and knocks Erik away from Shuri.

It reminded me so much of in Star Wars, when Vader is taunting Luke. And Luke is doing an awesome job of keeping his cool, until Vader mentions Leia…starts threatening her. Farewell calm persona, hello protective anger.

Lesson of the day, ladies and gentlemen, don’t mess with someone’s siblings. Just. Don’t. Seriously, you will live a much longer life if you listen to this piece of advice xD

On the mention of Star Wars, I can’t help but also notice that there were some other elements that echoed the space series. For one, did anyone else get Padme Amidala vibes from Queen Romanda’s outfit, when she greets T’Challa upon him arriving home? Cause I totally did. The more obvious touch, I think, were Shuri’s buns – reminiscing of Princess Leia.

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I thought Black Panther also did a great job of showcasing the culture of Africa. You can tell they really put a lot of thought and effort into the research for the different tribes and such.

Additionally, they did a great job of showing so many different type of women. There’s not just one stereotype. You have Nakia, who has a compassionate spirit, desire to help others, and is a spy for Wakanda. You have Okoye, who has strong leadership qualities, not very emotional, and is the general of the Dora Milaje, an elite female special force that protects the king. You have Queen Romanda, who is wise, more traditionally feminine (if that makes sense), and an advisor to T’Challa. You have Shuri, a light-hearted teen, who has one of the most brilliant minds in the world.

In terms of the villain, I did not see Erik Killmonger being related to T’Challa coming at all! So, I think they set that up very well to be a surprise. I liked how they tied in the storyline of helping others with the villain, without making what Erik did right.

#blackpanther #erikkillmonger #tchalla #marvel #mcu #michaelbjordan #chadwickboseman

And Everett Ross was such a great addition. I felt like he was pretty much everyone in the audience if we were in the movie: “Hey, don’t know what I’m doing, or what’s going on, but I’ll totally help with anything.”

Personally, Shuri was one of my favorite characters in the movie. I loved her humor and the light-heartedness she brought to the film, which was much needed with some of the seriousness.

If you’ve seen Black Panther, what did you think about it? Favorite scenes, characters? If you haven’t, I encourage you to go watch it! And definitely see it before Infinity War!

~ Southern Dreamer

Revenge of the Sith ~ Part 4

Disclaimer: All Star Wars characters/locations/etc belong to LucasFilm, but the storyline (once it derives from the movies) is mine, so pretty please give credit if you decide to use any ideas or repost 🙂


The skyline of crimson and darkening clouds only gave the tiniest glimpse into the battle that was being fought on Mustafar. Hot air bellowed out from the lava that bubbled up to the surface, the heat creating a stifling, suffocating canopy over the planet.

Sweat beaded on Anakin’s forehead, yet even the exploding fire in the distance did nothing to deter his focus. His focus on the Sith. With a cry of outrage and anger, he swung his saber in an arc that came down heavily onto his opponent. How dare you try and take MY family from me! screamed his mind, emotion alighting his veins and fueling him against the counter-strikes from Palpatine.

“Such anger young Skywalker.” Darth Sidious grinned, yellow, crooked teeth showing. His eyes, so dark and empty, stared at Anakin with the confidence of one whose plans are falling perfectly into place. The red blade came within an inch of Skywalker’s neck, a warning from the Force being the only thing that saved him from a painful, deadly wound.

Anakin dropped into a roll to avoid the collision of sparking saber meeting his skin, and came to his feet with one jump. Using the momentum, he dashed forward and with a firm hand on the Force leapt into the air. Sending a quick succession of swipes at Sidious, he did not wait for the Sith Lord to retaliate, preferring to go on the offensive instead.

The energy he used from this feat, left him the slightest bit winded, and the Sith took his shot. With a quick speed that shocked Anakin, Sidious scathed the skin of his right arm – every move intentional. There would be no quick death for this menace in the Darth Lord’s side, on the contrary, the ex-Chancellor planned to draw this out and make every action as painful as possible. Anakin Skywalker would be shattered into nothing more than a barely breathing structure, and then, oh yes, Sidious let his lips turn up in evil glee, then, when the boy could only beg for mercy and plead for forgiveness, he would take his chance. He would treasure each moment, letting the last thoughts of the foolish child’s mind be that he failed, and because of his failure, the Sith would never stop hunting for his family…until they were dead, or turned into Palpatine’s own puppets. Then, and only then, would Darth Sidious take the final strike and end Anakin Skywalker’s life.

Letting his mind return to the battle, Sidious chortled at the battle stances Skywalker chose. How adorable, how utterly immature. Someone needed to be taught a lesson, and Sidious thought of himself as perfectly qualified to do so. With a practiced swing that did not give any indication he had been sitting in an office for years, he allowed the red blade to sashay past the boy’s face – a warning, of who he was dealing with. Drawing the Dark Side close to him, Sidious used it to hold Skywalker in place.

Anakin twitched, muscles tense in adrenaline and fury. He had sorely underestimated the Chancellor, but how could he have possibly known of Palpatine’s ridiculous aptitude at combat? Ever since he could remember, the only activity the Chancellor was involved in included paperwork, speaking in front of large groups, discussions, diplomacy – nothing pertaining in the least to battle. He glared at said person.

Stalking from one side of him to the other, Sidious flipped the saber’s handle easily. “Such emotion, loss of control,” he started, hood hiding many of his features for which appreciated, “quite unbecoming for a Jedi. I wonder what the Council would say about this, hm?” Sidious paused, letting the seconds tick by as he ever so slowly turned around. A smirk appeared on his face. “Oh dear, I fear a significant fact slipped my mind only now. The Council can never give you an answer, do you know why boy?” He came closer. “Because of you. You killed them, every death rests on your conscience.”

As Sidious cackled madly, Anakin’s blood, which had already begun to boil, erupted into a frenzy of irate anger. In all truth, he did not know if he was a Jedi or a Sith. Anakin did not seem to meet the mold for either, and that left him alone in a world where the Force was apparently black and white. I really couldn’t give a kriff about that right now! and with that Anakin broke out of the Force hold and made good use of the precious few seconds of surprise.

One underhand swipe aimed at the Sith’s middle.

Overhand – the shoulders.

A flurry of sharp movements that materialized as a blue blur.

Through every jab sent his way, Sidious retaliated with equal or greater force. He appeared unconcerned and as Anakin’s energy lessened, the Sith’s grip on the Dark Side grew.

Ok. Clearly need a new plan. Offense is not happening…mused Anakin, grumbling internally at the stupid Sith’s skill. He had underestimated Palpatine. Breathing in deeply, he tried to focus on calming himself – not exactly easy when everything you thought you knew turned out to be a lie, not to mention the emotions that threatened to drown him. Nevertheless, Anakin made himself focus and draw on the Force, not through anger, but remembering the love of Padme. And sure, some rage he was unable to hold back, but all things considered, Anakin thought he faired pretty well.

As Sidious increased his offensive strikes, aiming for critical limbs and toying with Anakin physically and psychologically, he matched the Sith’s saber – blow for blow. Though Sidious had more years of experience than Anakin, the effects of his battle with Windu and Yoda were still being felt.

He’s still a man…Anakin reminded himself, when he ducked to avoid an especially violent move. Part of him wondered how the Sith was even keeping up, considering his age, but whatever the reason may be, Anakin was coming to the realization that Sidious, at least at this moment, could not be defeated.

“You will never defeat me!”

“Like I said,” a Force push, “earlier,” the red saber swung high, “I don’t have to defeat,” his blue blade met it, “you,” he drew on the Force firmly and shoved every weight of it towards Palpatine, “to win.”

ANAKIN.

Not. Now.

Quit being an idiot! If you do not make it onto this ship, Padme has threatened to come back down to the surface herself.

Anakin rolled his eyes, gritting his teeth as he tried to hold Sidious back.

I am being completely serious. She said to tell you that if you do not get up here in ten seconds, then she is coming down and dragging you back.

The sound of an engine roaring overhead caught his attention. Briefly, his eyes flickered up and saw the ramp being lowered. Part of him screamed that no, he did not need to get on that ship. He needed to stay on Mustafar and finish Palpatine for good. Yet, Anakin knew his wife well and if what Obi-Wan was saying was the truth, then nothing would stand in her way, not even a Jedi Master.

Making a quick decision, Anakin used the last remains of his energy to make the far leap onto the ship’s ramp. As soon as his feet touched it, the ramp began closing and he walked into the Naboo star skiff.


Let me know what y’all thought! 🙂

~ Southern Dreamer

Midnight Sun ~ Movie Review

Recently, I went to see Midnight Sun with one of my friend’s. I had seen the trailer and was really excited to see the movie. For one, there was going to be a romance, and anyone who knows me, knows that Hallmark Channel-like movies are my cup of tea. And besides that, I was super happy that another film about someone with an illness other than cancer was being showcased.

The National Institute of Health says that 23.5 million Americans suffer from auto-immune diseases (https://www.aarda.org/news-information/statistics/#1488234345468-3bf2d325-1052). I do think that it is important to look at other types of illnesses and have more light shed on them. My entire point with the statistic was to show that many people would relate to a character in a film who has another type of disorder/illness. I believe that Hollywood should branch out a little more and make more movies about people with other unseen illnesses like diabetes, lupus, narcolepsy, etc…

ANYWHO.

Apologies for the semi-rabbit trail xD

See the source imageMidnight Sun is a movie about Katie Price, played by Bella Thorne, who has a rare disorder: a life-threatening sensitivity to the sun. Because of her disease, she can never go outside during the day, and has been homeschooled her entire life. During the first few minutes, a flashback details how she met her bestfriend – Morgan, played by Quinn Shephard, and shows the most important person in her life – her father, played by Rob Riggle.

The premise of the movie is that she is faced with the decision to tell her long-time crush, Charlie – played by Patrick Schwarzenegger, about her illness…or keep it a secret and play normal for a while, risking her life in the process.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS.

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LAST WARNING.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Now that that’s out of the way! 😉 Onto the spoiler part of the movie review.

One of my favorite things about the movie was Katie’s relationship with her father. For reasons I will never understand, many times Hollywood seems to enjoy giving dads and men in general a bad rap, so it was really refreshing to see this close, healthy relationship.

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I loved the genuine honesty in their relationship. There was no lying or tricking the other person. The one time that Katie tries to lie; she doesn’t even make it half a day before telling her dad.

I absolutely love that.

Katie is genuinely a good teenager. She’s not perfect by any means, but she doesn’t lie to her dad or sneak behind his back. Her heart is in the right place, and I really love how they portrayed her character.

On that note, I seriously adored her entire interactions with Charlie. For one, maybe it’s just me, but like so relatable??? I feel like a lot of times in movies people are all smooth and not-awkward when it comes to crushes and dating. I’m sure that definitely applies to some people – like Morgan, but for the rest of us out there aka Katie, well, it doesn’t come quite as easily.

I thought Charlie was a great character. The twist of popular guy, who does something stupid, gets injured in the process, and pretty much loses everything he had been working towards, making him wiser and put a stop to getting wasted/drunk was a refreshing change. Not to mention, that he was really sweet to Katie. Even after he learned about her disease – knowing that she would likely die, Charlie did not leave her.

See the source imageHe could have and I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if he did, after all, pure logic says that what would be the point if the end is inevitable anyway? But he didn’t, and that entire scene and monologue is wonderful.

The movie also has some funny moments. Like when Katie is amazed at the “party,” and Morgan heaves a sigh, mumbling that no this is not a real party, and no Garver do not listen to her – she has never been to a party before and has no idea what she’s talking about. I also loved the Taylor Swift comment, relating to Katie’s boy troubles xD

Unfortunately, I now must discuss the ending. Grab your tissues, go ahead. I promise I won’t judge. Alright, tissues at the ready? Here we go.

Not going to lie, I was in complete denial that the movie was going to end the way it started to look like it would. I kept telling myself, ‘nope. they’re going to find some miraculous cure and everything’s going to be a happily ever after.’

Yeah, that did not happen.

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But gosh y’all, the way the constructed the ending was so like heart-wrenching??? In terms of storytelling, they did a great job of tying everything together and giving the viewer a punch to the heart. Of course, as a viewer, I also did not want it to end that way, so, take that with what you will.

The song Katie recorded as she started to decline – “Charlie’s Song.” How Charlie used the money he had been saving for his truck, to rent out a real recording studio so she could record her song.

How her song stared playing on the radio as Charlie was driving, after she had died. How it had gone viral. How her dad turned on his radio and started to shout, “That’s my girl! That’s my girl!”

Yep, both horrible and beautiful at the same time.

If you haven’t seen Midnight Sun, I would encourage you to go see it! But be warned, you should probably bring tissues. If you have seen the movie, what did you think? Did the ending leave you satisfied?

~ Southern Dreamer

 

Revenge of the Sith ~ Part 3

Disclaimer: All Star Wars characters/worlds/etc belong to LucasFilm, but the plot and events are mine, so pretty please don’t steal and give credit if you use any ideas 🙂

See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


Palpatine started to chortle, hysterical laughter exploding from him – wave after wave. The old man could barely stand up, so great was his amusement. Beady eyes finally looking back up at Anakin’s defensive position, a smirk appeared on his face. “You. You truly believe you can defeat me? Foolish boy! Not even your Master Yoda could come out victorious! And yet, somehow your childish mind, fantasizes that you, not even a master, could win such a duel?”

There were several things, that Obi-Wan, having known Anakin for so long, knew could get his padawan worked up into a tizzy. One – threatening those he cared for, which the Sith had managed to do splendidly, and two – treating him like a child, something Palpatine had also brilliantly succeeded at.

Force help them all.

Gripping the hilt of his lightsaber tightly, the blue beam shimmering against the red and orange landscape of Mustafar, Anakin made himself take a deep breath – never losing sight of the hooded figure. “Well, it’s certainly a good thing that I am not Master Yoda then, isn’t it?”

Palpatine’s lips curled up into an evil grin. “Ah, such arrogance! Such poorly placed confidence!”

“It’s not poorly placed if it’s true. And,” Anakin took a step forward, “I don’t have to defeat you to win.” This time, he was the one who gave the other a smirking expression.

Padme watched all of this with wide-eyed anxiety, grateful that her idiot husband and his ridiculous friend had stopped fighting, but at the same time, now encased with an entire new thing to worry about – namely, whether they would all survive to escape this planet.

Next to her, Obi-Wan was still trying to process everything. His mind was going into overdrive, and the only thought that kept passing through was Force help us. Force help us. Force help us.

Obi-Wan!

Said Jedi started suddenly, glancing around, before his eyes came to rest on Anakin. Anakin?

Yes. Of course it’s me! Listen, I’m going to hold Sidious off. I want you to get Padme and the babies – force that’s still weird – off this planet. Don’t worry about me.

Are you insane?! He’s going to kill you!

Thanks for the vote of confidence. You’re not going to change my mind, all that matters now is getting Padme and my kids to safety.

Obi-Wan attempted to persuade Anakin, but it was now clear that his padawan had, at least temporarily, closed off the connection in order to focus. Kriff, if Jedis took vacations, he was seriously going to need one once this was all over and done with.

Turning to Padme, he gave her a tight-lipped smile and gently picked up one of the babies. Force help us all…he thought for the thousandth time, as the Jedi helped the young twins and Padme into the ship, while in the distance, red and blue lightsabers sparked violently.

Lover’s Ballad

Several days ago, I was sitting in my bed at night and that ancient battle of whether or not to go with what my flesh was wanting, or what I knew my spirit needed commenced. I had not spent time with the Lord or read the Scriptures much that week, and realized I needed to, though a large part of me wanted to do other things then – looking on social media, reading, etc…All things that are not bad in and of themselves, but as believers, we’re supposed to keep the Lord first and foremost in our lives.

I’m not going to say that it was easy to do the right thing, because it wasn’t. However, I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit helped me to overcome that and do what needed to be done even if I didn’t “feel” like it.

The devotional I used was an app called “First 5.” If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a short devotional that takes about five minutes of your time. The Proverbs 31 team put together the app and devotionals, and they usually go through different books of the Bible – at least, that’s what I’ve observed so far.

Anyway, right now, they are going through Hosea.

When I opened the app, the main verse out of chapter 11 of Hosea that they were focusing on was…

“I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath,” ~ Hosea 11:9

At first glance, you might be like, ‘ok. so, what’s the significance here?’ The part that really stuck out to me was the very end of the passage: the Holy One in your midst and I will not come in wrath. 

I read this the day before Easter. And in my mind, I kept thinking how ridiculous it was that I was struggling with wanting to read the Bible, to spend time with God. He literally died for me – nails stabbed into his hands, thorns shoved onto his head, betrayed by his closest friends. 

Then, here I am, having a difficult time deciding whether or not to spend time with Him or go scrolling on my cellphone.

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So, when I read that passage – “I will not come in wrath” – my entire brain was kinda overwhelmed. Humans, imperfect as we are, are not forgiving creatures and when someone doesn’t respond correctly after we have sacrificed everything, well, I would say that the majority of us are probably going to be pretty mad.

God is perfect. He has not sinned at all. If anyone had the right to be angry after the sacrifice Jesus gave for us, it would be Him.

But that’s not how He responds. Instead, He makes several statements that I think we all need to remember. One, God is not man – sounds straightforward, yet many times, I know I think that He will react the same way that humans do. The Holy One in your midst, reminding us that He is here. Lastly, I will not come in wrath.

I especially love this verse, and really the entire passage, not only because of what it says, but where it is located…Hosea. The Old Testament. A lot of times, the Old Testament is categorized into the section where God’s power is shown and not His love and mercy. While there is some truth to that, I don’t think it’s the whole story.

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
3
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4
I led them with cords of kindness,[a]
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.

Then verses five through seven cover the consequences of Israel’s actions. What will happen because they refused to come back to God.

8
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.[c]

I find this passage beautiful. It really shows the Lord’s heart, I think. It reminds me almost of a lover’s ballad – someone who knows what they need to do, and yet, the very thought of hurting their love is unbearable. The tone is definite, yet broken – resigned, nostalgic, adoring.

Reading this helped me to see a different side of God that I had not really thought of before, and I hope that some portion of this Scripture will touch your heart like it did mine.

~ Southern Dreamer

POP Pilates ~ Activewear

For those of y’all who aren’t aware, Cassey Ho started POP Pilates, which is “a powerful fusion of music, strength, and choreography that takes classical Pilates to the next level. POP Pilates is a dance on the mat” (https://www.poppilateslife.com/p/gettingstarted).

In 2009, she posted her first YouTube video of one of her workouts. Originally, it was only meant for the forty students that she taught. Cassey was moving cross-country and wanted to leave them something behind to remember her by. Even though she did not know it then, that would be the first building block on what would become the world of Blogilates.

She is the #1 YouTube fitness instructor and has over four million people following along to her videos. Through 24 Hour Fitness’s partnership, POP Pilates is now their official Pilates format in all their gyms. From her best-selling book Hot Body Year Round, to her own line of activewear, Cassey’s growth has been incredible in only eight years!

Right now though, I want to focus on her activewear line. If you’re an exercise guru, a college student walking to class – because let’s be honest, athletic wear is 90% of what we wear, or just want something to help motivate you to workout, you should definitely check out POP Flex activewear! The peony and mermaid collections run sizes 2-12, while the dark bloom has sizes 2-16.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

PEONY COLLECTION

Pointe Legging - Snow White

Pointe Legging ~ Snow White $45

MERMAID COLLECTION

Siren Tank - NightfallSiren Tank - Nightfall

Siren Tank ~ Nightfall $32

You can also find this in a seafoam color.

DARK BLOOM COLLECTION

Heart Strings Bra - CabernetHeart Strings Bra - Cabernet

Heart Strings Bra ~ Cabernet $28

This one comes in the night and dark bloom patterns as well.

Fly Away Run Short - Night

Fly Away Run Shorts ~ Night $34.50

Also comes in the pattern of dark bloom.

activewearactivewear2

Fairytale Long Sleeve ~ Snow $34.00

This one also comes in black.

activewear3activewear4

Zenith Zip Bra ~ Dark Bloom $32

The zenith zip bra comes in a shiny black or normal black if that’s more your style.

In less than a week, Pop Flex is releasing another collection – Dusty Blossom! Can’t wait to see what they come out with this time!

Check out Pop Flex’s website if you want to look at more of their activewear: https://www.popflexactive.com/.

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

 

Thor: Ragnarok ~ Movie Review

*cue music*

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With the third installation of the “Thor” movies, Thor: Ragnarok comes on the heels of the first two films – Thor and Thor: The Dark World respectively. The entire aesthetic in this one is very different from the others, but different in the best way. Personally, I feel that Thor: Ragnarok was the most well-made and enjoyable out of all the “Thor” movies.

Returning actors, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki, join the newcomers to Marvel: Cate Blanchett as Hela, Tessa Thompson as Valkryie, and Jeff Goldblum as the Grandmaster. Director Taika Waititi also plays a more minor character, Korg.

If my estimations are correct, the movie spans a little less than a week’s time, and boy, oh boy does a lot happen!

*Warning: spoilers below*

**Spoilers Coming Soon*

***WARNING: SPOILERS***

**LAST WARNING**

*YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED*

Between realizing that the brother he thought was dead, is actually alive (surprise!), all the way to getting his hair chopped off, Thor has had a pretty rough week. Not to mention that he apparently has an older sister who wants to take over Asgard???

Cue Hela.

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Firstborn of Odin, who their father did not find relevant to mention, until literally seconds before he died. Conflict avoidance much?!

Instead of guiding his sons on how to deal with their psychotic sis – which is saying a lot, considering Loki, Odin decides to check out and hightail it to the afterlife. Thor and Loki are then left to deal with the repercussions of their older sibling being the goddess of death – something that is not an exaggeration in the least. She literally adores dying and war and bloodshed.

In fact, with one of the Asgardians working in the palace – Skurge, Hela thinks that it is actually an honor for her to offer him the job to be the executioner.

On another note, I was glad to see in this movie that Thor did not fall for Loki’s tricks again. Being someone who almost always believes-the-best in other people, for a long time, Thor seemed surprised by Loki betraying him. In Ragnarok, then, I was glad that he realized that Loki could change, yes, but might not and he should be prepared if that were the case.

I also appreciated the history that was revealed in this film. As the viewers, we get to learn more about the royal family – hello Hela – and that Odin used to be pretty ruthless as a king and conqueror. In addition, we are exposed to one of the elite warriors in Asgard – a Valkryie. With Loki’s powers, a scene from one of the Valkryie battles is shown and the reason behind the last Valkryie being so reluctant to return to Asgard starts to take on a more definite shape.

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And guys, like the humor??? A+++

SO GOOD. I absolutely loved all the funny moments, quirks, and hilarious quips.

From Thor’s interior design remarks, to the entirety of the fighting scene with Hulk, all the way to the little moments like Mjolnir pretty much wrecking Doctor Strange’s house, fireworks shooting out of the aircraft during the chase on Sakaar, and Korg’s silly statements, there was some great and clean humor.

Further, there were definitely some moments where I was like ohmyword WHAT just happened?!

Exhibit A – Hela destroying Mjolnir as if it were made of glass (as Loki so poetically put it)early in the film. Yep, basically in the span of less than ten minutes, Thor has lost both his father and his prized possession, while also learning that he has an older sister who apparently wants to take over Asgard.

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Thor: Ragnarok, otherwise known as, Thor: And the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Exhibit B – While Thor is fighting the Hulk, the green guy just starts smashing him into the ground and during this incidence…his eyes start to turn a blinding white. Cue lightening, flying, and all around awesomeness.

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On another note, I could be wrong, but I sense a future romance between Thor and the Valkryie being hinted at? Anyone else?

Anyway, overall I loved Thor: Ragnarok and thought it led to a great set-up for Avengers: Infinity War, along with the amazing humor and fun, new characters that were introduced.

What did y’all think of this third film? Like it, love it? Favorite parts? Let me know in the comments below!

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

The Purest Love

For those of y’all who didn’t realize it, American Idol started back this past Sunday! This year the judges are Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, and of course, with Ryan Seacrest as the host.

As I was watching the second night, the very last audition shown caught my attention – and maybe, not for the reason that one would first think. If you haven’t watched it, I would encourage you to check out the clip below:

David Francisco auditions for them, and when he first walks in, you notice the braces that are helping to support his arms and weight. Like they do with many of the auditions, they explain the history of the person, and David was no different. In 2016, he moved to Nashville for the purpose of pursuing music, and in a tragic turn of events, was hit by a distracted driver who ran a red light. A bike offers no protection in the case of an accident, and this situation caused him to be paralyzed from the waist down at only twenty-three years old.

A friend wrote him a letter to encourage him not to give up, and long story short, that friend – Christie – is now his fiancé.

For his audition, David sang “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder.

As he is singing, you can see that Katy Perry starts to really tear up and get emotional. I couldn’t find the exact clip – this video doesn’t show it, but after they walk out of the audition room, you can hear Katy say, “It’s the purest kind of love” referring to the couple.

When I was talking about it with my mom, we came to the conclusion that it wasn’t his story in and of itself that brought her to tears. It was the fact that he and his fiancé were so in love, despite all of the difficulties that life had thrown at them. How Christie, chose to stay by his side and love him through everything, even when he could not walk or dance or do all the activities that you would normally find a couple doing. She could have easily decided to leave him and find someone else, someone who was completely healthy – but she did not. Christie stayed by his side.

And most of Hollywood does not have that.

They have cheapened romance and love, thrown commitment out the window – made having affairs something to be admired and sought after. There is no depth, no lasting promise to stay with someone forever – even when you disagree, argue.

random by southern-dreams on Polyvore featuring artWhere are the stories like Jack and Rose from the Titanic, how he would rather die than see her perish? Or The Princess Bride with Buttercup and Wesley, the loyalty and willingness to not care whether they were poor on the farm or living in the grandest castle? What about the comical adventures of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, from I Love Lucy, who were committed and enjoyed the journey of life together?

The amount of classic, appropriate romances coming out of Hollywood, that actually have depth and commitment, are unfortunately not many. This is why, I believe, Katy Perry became so emotional watching David singing, and Christie lovingly waiting on the sidelines.

She does not see that in her day-to-day life. Most people, especially in the stardom industry, could care less about keeping vows that you make to someone – if they even manage to become committed enough for marriage!

It is truly sad how far our society has gone, and the relationships and family unit that have suffered as a result. Divorce? Cheating, affairs? Far more common than it should be. And what really gets me angry, and stumped if I’m being honest, is how people can cheat on their spouses when they have children?! The notion that having an affair and then divorcing because of that or because you do not want to have to do the hard work in a relationship, the idea that this does not affect the children is absolutely ridiculous.

As a society, we need to start taking back these things. Why should we let how Hollywood and the media portrays relationships, love, and sex dictate our actions? We are better than that – we need to be better than not.

I’m not so naïve to think that this is easy. We are all sinners, who unfortunately struggle with sin. Nothing good ever came easy, but for heaven’s sake, let’s start doing something about it. 

If we fail, well, there’s the next day to try again. But we a society, we need to start redefining romance and love to what it is actually meant to be…sincere, loyal, committed, respectful.

Let’s stop lowering our expectations with these “celebrate a one month anniversary” for dating. Yeah, that’s great that you’ve been dating for one month! Exciting, fun. But in my opinion, one month is just getting to know someone – it is not even a true test of commitment yet. What we should be celebrating and encouraging others to do, is for someone who is resisting the temptation to sin in a relationship – cheer them on! Encourage them. What we should be making a big deal of, is for those who get through the first year of marriage, for those who have been married for ten years, twenty years, fifty years. For the people that say we are going to stay together and work through these issues in our relationship. For the couples that decide to be committed and not leave the other, even when hard times hit.

Faithfulness is such an important component in life. No one would ever abandon a pet, or decide after two weeks of working at a job they had dreamed about for their entire life to quit – most people wouldn’t that is…then why do we treat relationships any differently?

Both sets of my grandparents, and my own mom and dad, have demonstrated what it looks like to be faithful even in the midst of hardships. Being faithful doesn’t mean you always agree with the other person, or even like them very much at some particular moment, but it does mean that you stick with them through thick and thin.

And honestly, I think that’s why having faith in Jesus as a part of a marriage is so important. When you have Jesus, then you have a higher loyalty – so even on the days when you want to give up, you can remind yourself of the promise you made to God. Not only that, but looking at the example of Jesus. He loved us even when we did not love him back, and he continues to love us even when we blatantly oppose his authority and sin.

In conclusion, I hope that Hollywood will create more films like The Greatest Showman that show love with depth, sincerity, and commitment, and as a society, I pray that we will start reclaiming the true definition of love and not let it be changed to something that is cheapened.

~ Southern Dreamer

 

 

Behind the Scenes

Last month, I went to see Black Panther with a group of my friends. We all drove to the movie theater, found our seats, and waited for the film to begin. There was action, humor, and everything in between, but I’ll save my longer review for another post 😉

After I see a movie, I like to go on YouTube and look up interviews with the cast.  So, that’s what I did! One of the characters in the movie, is T’Challa’s younger sister – Shuri. As a genius, she helps to design Wakanda’s technology and weaponry. The actress, who plays her is Letitia Wright.

During one of the interviews I was watching, she mentioned her faith in God. My interest was piqued, as a believer, so I scrolled down to see other videos that might hold similar content.

I was really encouraged from what I saw. Sometimes it can get so discouraging, seeing actors and actresses in Hollywood constantly going down this destructive path of immorality, etc – where are the role models? When I watched these interviews then, it encouraged me. I would also like to note, that a lot of times people will mention god/God, but not be referring to the one, true God. What caught my attention though, was not her reference to God in and of itself, but how she also talked about the Holy Spirit, prayer, church, and the fact that she gave up a huge acting job for Jesus.

If you watch the video above, you’ll notice that she says that God told her he could do more, if she would trust him with this. This is going to sound like a rabbit trail, but I promise it comes back around!

Yesterday, my mom and I were driving home and I had just shown her the video. We were talking about it, and then suddenly it was just like God let a lightbulb go off in my head. If you’re not aware, Black Panther has…

  • in four days (opening weekend) made more than the Justice League in its entire run in North America
  • in its four day opening, is only surpassed in revenue by the first Avengers film.
  • has reached $1 billion at the global box office
  • it is the second highest grossing superhero movie of all time
  • it is the seventh highest grossing movie out of all films
  • has currently made $950.40 million in the US alone

Ok, are you ready for this?

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” ~ Ephesians 3:20

Letitia was obedient in giving up a huge acting job – one with Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. That was an act of trust and faith; God did not tell her “hey, by the way, you’re going to get a role in a Marvel movie.” And she spent seven months just with Christ.

And y’all, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED. The success of Black Panther is amazing. Please don’t take me as saying that the movie does not deserve its success, I think that it definitely does, but here’s the thing…this is not just because it’s the first African American superhero movie.

Letitia was obedient, and God is a good and gracious Father, who delights in giving incredible gifts to his children. Hollywood, the secular world is coming up with reasons why this film has been so successful, and yeah, that definitely has merit, but y’all, don’t miss the big picture here!

Since Letitia is the daughter of the King, and she was faithful, God is blessing this movie and the success of it in so many ways! I can just see God saying something like, my daughter has put me first in her life – giving up something that she highly valued. I am going to bless her with a role in a Marvel movie, and not only will it be successful, but it will be one of the highest grossing films of all time. 

Is that not so exciting??? I don’t know about y’all, but I think that is freaking awesome! I love this entire story. Not only do I find her faith in a profession where it is looked down upon encouraging, I also adore this entire situation. It is such a good reminder of the blessings that come when we are obedient to God.

I’m not saying it’s easy, nothing worthwhile usually is – especially if it calls for sacrifice. If Letitia were writing this, I feel certain she would say the same thing. But look what God did! He orchestrated it so that she not only got another acting job, but one that would put her in a position to be noticed and have more opportunities.

The next time God asks us to do something, I hope and pray that we have the courage to be obedient and faithful.

~ Southern Dreamer

Sources:

http://www.nerdcoremovement.com/black-panther-already-surpassed-total-domestic-revenue-justice-league/

https://www.thewrap.com/black-panther-billion-box-office/

 

The Greatest Showman ~ Movie Review

Dim the lights.

The theater goes dark.

Anticipation rises…

The Greatest Showman is seconds away from beginning!

~~~

Y’all, I have already seen this amazing movie three times. The first time was with one of my friends at Alabama, the second was with my dad, and the third with my entire family and Nana. Each viewing, I noticed something new about the movie and still enjoyed it immensely even after seeing it three times in such a short time frame!

There are so many components to love about this movie. The historical time frame, which is always a favorite of mine –  I love seeing all the beautiful costumes, how people lived back then. And of course, it is a musical!

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Musicals are pretty much the best. You have dancing, singing, acting – and a story being told through all of those different, moving parts.

For this film, Hugh Jackman – aka Wolverine aka Jean Valjean – stars as the leading character, P.T. Barnum. Other names you might recognize are Zendaya from Spider-Man Homecoming (M.J.) and Disney Channel (K.C. Undercover, Shake It Up), as well as, Zac Efron (!!!) from High School Musical 1/2/3 (Troy Bolton), among other work.

Additionally, there are several stars from Broadway, such as Keala Settle (Hairspray, Waitress, Les Mis, etc…) and Michelle Williams (Cabaret and Blackbird). 

The movie is loosely based around the real life person of P.T. Barnum, who started the Barnum and Bailey circus, which closed on May 21, 2017, after having been opened for 146 years. Like I said, it is loosely based, so please don’t watch the movie and take it for 100% historical accuracy.

With that said, onto the spoiler part of the review!

WARNING: Spoilers ahead

SEE ABOVE NOTICE.

SERIOUSLY Y’ALL.

LAST WARNING. SPOILERS AHEAD.

~~~

Alright! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s delve into the movie-musical!

The way this musical was constructed was so smartly done. A lot of times, when a musical has many reprises of the same song, it can be boring and feel redundant. I’m not entirely sure what the formula was for how they managed to create such an emotionally jarring reprise each time, but they succeeded fabulously.

My favorite part of the entire musical is the first fifteen minutes. Seriously, PERFECTION. The introduction – SO GOOD. Like such a smart move. I adore how they did these sharp clips of Hugh Jackman with his cane, and then flashed to some of the script.

THE ASESTHETIC.

Absolutely awesome.

The kids they chose to play a younger P.T. and Charity, his wife, were adorable. Their scenes were so cute, and the fact that they sing the first “A Million Dreams” version, in this house that (SPOILER ALERT) is later the one they buy???

❤ ❤ ❤

Fast forward, and the next reprise is when P.T. and Charity are now adults, and they are starting their lives together. Charity, who grew up in a wealthy family, is leaving all of that behind to go and be with him. As they walk through the town, you see him wishing that he could offer her everything the world has, and with this, Charity pulls him away and the dance, the reprise begins.

Again, AESTHETIC.

My favorite reprise however, is the last one. Y’all, when it started, I literally looked over at my friend, Ashleigh, and was like what even. FIFTEEN MINUTES into the movie and I’m already getting serious feels???

You know. The scene where it’s his daughter’s birthday, and he has to put SOMETHING together because she’s his little girl…but he kind of got fired, and they don’t have much anyway, so he spins this tale of wishes and firelight and danger, all the while putting together this rag-tag gift that’s basically a candle holder, but SHE LOVES IT (help me now), and then he says that you tell it your wishes and it keeps them safe AND THEN THEY START SINGING THE SONG OK. IN THEIR BABY CHILDREN VOICES.

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ADORABLE. INNOCENT. TEN OUT OF TEN.

It’s funny, cause most of the time in movies, my favorite scene is the romantic one, but for this film, the entire way they orchestrated the “A Million Dreams” numbers, and how the emotional gravity kept increasing with each rendition, just got me.

Love.

Another one of my favorite components of the movie was Phillip Carlyle, played by Zac Efron, and Anne Wheeler, played by Zendaya. The progression of their relationship is really told through the music – even if neither one is the main singer in a particular song.

For instance, in “Never Enough,” Jenny Lind sings:

I’m trying to hold my breath
Let it stay this way
Can’t let this moment end
You set off a dream with me
Getting louder now
Can you hear it echoing?
Take my hand
Will you share this with me?
‘Cause darling without you

Cue Phillip taking Anne’s hand – so adorable.

All the shine of a thousand spotlights
All the stars we steal from the night sky
Will never be enough
Never be enough
Towers of gold are still too little
These hands could hold the world but it’ll
Never be enough
Never be enough

Then, as the song continues, Phillip looks up and sees his parents watching him.

Uh oh. What’s going to happen?

He drops Anne’s hand instantly, and at this, she leaves Jenny Lind’s performance. It really is so heartbreaking, because they both care about each other, but all these things and pressures of the world just keep getting in their way.

There’s also a scene between them during the song “This Is Me,” where Anne stares up at Phillip from the circus floor, while he is in the office, and just gives him this look. 

Sometime after this, Anne goes to the theatre because P.T. said he “left” her a ticket. Sneaky man! Because, as you continue watching, you realize that it was in fact Phillip – with the help of Lettie and P.T. – who orchestrated this, all for desiring to go on a date with Anne Wheeler.

PRECIOUS.

They start to go up the steps; Anne whispering that she always wanted to go to the theatre, when suddenly, something happens that crashes their happiness.

Guess who?

Phillip’s parents.

Being the gentleman he is, Phillip introduces Anne to them, however, the situation only goes downhill from there. Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle treat Anne rudely, making their racism apparent and Phillip is having NONE OF THAT. 

Long story short, he basically says he wants no part in their world or in his inheritance if this is how they’re going to act. He leaves the theater, rushing after Anne who darted out at the comments from his parents.

Cue “Rewrite the Stars.” Honestly, every single song and musical number in this film was A++, but this was another of my favorites.

You have Phillip, who tries to tell Anne that they can be together – they can change their fate; they can do what they want no matter what anyone else says. You have Anne, who despite wanting to be with him, doesn’t think that’s possible, says it could never work in the world they live in.

The entire number is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

There are honestly so many parts of this musical I could go on and on about. I love the scene between Anne and Phillip in the hospital, where Anne is finally willing to risk it all, after almost losing him. I love the entire “This Is Me” number, where they are not shying away despite what society has labeled as useless – and the choreography for that is really awesome too, it shows the exact emotion coming through in the lyrics and matches them word for word. I love the part at the end where the birth of the entire circus tent came to be, how P.T. hands the baton over to Phillip, and goes to be with his family.

I love how P.T. wears his father’s hat for the rest of the film, and how in the song, “Tightrope” you can see the wish holder sitting on the little girls’ bedside table. I love the attention to detail, especially with the costumes – personally, I believe that P.T. sewed the costumes for the circus, seeing as how he was broke when it first started, and his dad was a tailor. Which, makes it entirely plausible.

I love that this was a family film – that it was clean, decent, and filled with everything that made people want to go watch movies and musicals in the first place. We don’t need all this inappropriate stuff, foul language, or vulgar meanings. What people need, and want, whether they realize it or not, is hope, love, something that actually has depth and meaning. Something where commitment is honored, and traditional, good values are kept. 

I’m so happy that Hugh Jackman decided to make this, despite it taking seven years. I wish that it had gotten all the recognition it deserved in awards, but I hope he and everyone that helped make it, knows that the audience and the people loved it, and were it up to us, it would have received more awards.

If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch The Greatest Showman! You will not regret it, and will likely find yourself going back to watch it again and again. If you have seen it, what did you think? Did you have any favorite songs or scenes? Let me know in the comments!

~ Southern Dreamer