movie

Check Out this Review of “Christopher Robin” (2018)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Young Christopher Robin is spending the last moments with Pooh and friends. The animals even throw him a goodbye party before he goes off to boarding school.

Thirty years go by to the point that Christopher Robin is now an adult trying to get something done for his job. His wife, Evelyn, points out that he isn’t spending enough time with his daughter, Madeleine. But Christopher still focuses on his work.

Pooh-Bear spots Christopher in a local park, making him shocked. Christopher forces Pooh back to Hundred-Acre Wood, claiming that he is a grown man and has other responsibilities. Later he runs back into the other creatures from Hundred-Acre Wood, who also go into the regular world. Things go in unexpected directions.

I found this film to be a good watch. I admire how it communicates the importance of family and how family is more crucial than work.

That being said, when Madeleine ran away to London via train, I was predicting that she was going to be grounded for a long time for doing something super-irresponsible and dangerous. Add the fact that she lost her dad’s important papers, and she would have received more severe punishments. But, instead, her parents comforted her and her father shrugged off his work documents as nothing essential. I get that this is meant to teach the audience about how family matters far more than work and how Christopher grows and changes to acknowledge that. However, it isn’t believable. If a kid does that in real life, he or she would get the beating of his or her life and be as severely punished as possible. Not to mention that the parents would be in trouble with authorities.

Another lesson portrays the importance of reliving your childhood. Christopher Robin, Evelyn, and Madeleine eventually spend time in Hundred-Acre Wood with Pooh and friends. While that is a sweet moment, I felt that Christopher Robin’s reaction to Pooh returning to him after thirty years was how most people would react. In real life, we move on from things very quickly. We grow, change, drift in different directions, and much more.

For instance, after graduating high school, it is common for people to move on from their friends then in as little as a few years. Although it would be nice for old memories to be relived, it’s very, very rare.

Nevertheless, I would rate “Christopher Robin” 4 out of 5 stars.

fiction

The Ball: A Flash Fiction Piece

“Let’s have some fun in a cartoon world,” said Dylan, my nine-year-old brother.

            “Are you crazy?” I asked.

            “I found a special ball that claims it can take you into your favorite cartoon.” Dylan held the glass ball in his hand.

            I made a facepalm.

            “Come on, Elise, please?” Dylan made a sad puppy face.

            “No!” I said.

            Dylan groaned and walked away.

            I was fifteen, and had no time for that nonsense. Plus, Dylan should have known better than to claim that an object could transport him into a cartoon.

            I didn’t know how he’d come up with it, or if he had read it somewhere. If the latter, then that person needed to be penalized.

            I went up to my room and sat on my bed. Perhaps, chatting with friends could take that ridiculous statement off my mind.

            I picked up my phone—only for Dylan to scream.

            “Dylan!” I bolted up and rushed out of my room. “Dylan?! Are you all right?!” I opened his bedroom door. He wasn’t there. My parents were out of town this weekend, so they couldn’t help.

            Inhaling and exhaling, I hurried down the stairs and checked every room. I finalized with the family room—only to find steam arising from Dylan’s ball. I gasped and knelt. “Oh, no,” I moaned.

            My knee pressed on something, which happened to be the remote. The TV turned on, but it played a commercial. The cartoon, “Tyndale and Tina”, about two talking-dogs, came on. The episode started as always—yet a familiar voice sounded, shouting, “Help, help, somebody help me!” A cartoon boy burst into the room with Tyndale and Tina. The kid had pale-blonde hair, and wore the same clothes Dylan wore. Either this was a new episode or…Dylan had ended up in the cartoon.

            “Who are you and what are you doing here?” asked Tyndale.

            “I got sucked into this world!” exclaimed the kid.

            I inhaled. “Dylan!” I knocked on the monitor. “Dylan!”

            None of the characters responded.

            “Dylan, can you hear me?!” I asked. “It’s me, Elise, your sister!”

            Still nothing.

            “Oh, shoot.” I stood and my breathing quickened. If my mom and dad found out about this, they’d ground me, especially since they’d left me in charge.

            My eyes drifted to Dylan’s ball. I stared at it. It could be the only way for me to save my brother. But how would I—or we—get out? There had to be something.

            I crept to the object and picked it up. It had a couple buttons. I would not press any of them, though. One was green and the other was red.

            I carried the sphere and thought about where the instructions could be. Maybe in Dylan’s room?

            I walked upstairs and entered his bedroom. Toys, clothes, and games covered the floor. I picked up each item, but found nothing that could be a manual.

            Then I searched under Dylan’s bed. Still no sign of paper. I returned downstairs and looked everywhere in the family room. Nothing.

            What am I going to do? I asked myself. There’s got to be something.

            I stared into the ball’s buttons and gulped. Perhaps, I should take my chances and press one. Hands trembling, I aimed for the red button. I breathed and touched it. Then I pushed it. Nothing happened.

            I sighed and sat on a couch. But the thing lit from the inside and projected a ray. The noise of Dylan yelping occurred. His colors came out and formed his figure. He landed on the carpet and the beam reversed back into the sphere.

            “Dylan!” I stood and crouched by him. “Are you okay?”

            “I’m fine.” He lifted himself.

            “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you,” I said.

            “I shouldn’t have used that stupid ball,” said Dylan. “We’ve got to get rid of it.”

            “We will,” I said.

            “Can you not tell mom and dad about this, either?” asked Dylan.

            “I won’t tell them.” I hugged him. “I’m glad to have you back.”

cooking

The Most Delicious Homemade Brownies Ever…it’s a Miracle!

Homemade cooking involves less preservatives and more control from you. And with the coronavirus forcing people to be in their homes pretty much all the time, I have to do most of my own cooking. I do love going out, and I will admit that prior to the covid-19 crisis, I barely cooked and spent more time eating out, and a lot.

However, now that dining out is no longer an option (only takeout and delivery are available in New York), and I’ve been cooking at home, I’ve noticed that I feel more energetic and am losing weight again.

Okay, this is not a health post. But all of that is true. Anyway, let me talk about the brownies I made.

They taste kind of like the ones made from boxed mixes. I’m not kidding. The only difference is that their textures at the top aren’t flaky, and most importantly, I know what went in them.

My guess of why they are fudgy and not cakelike is that the flour ratio is sort of smaller than the rest of the ingredients. Not once have I seen that in any other homemade brownie recipe. So, bravo to the creator of this one.

I can’t find the recipe again through my Google search. But I do find that the other recipes have similar formulas, by using less flour. So, if you try one of those recipes, you may be satisfied.

movie

This Film of “Sonic the Hedgehog” is on Fire! Now Here is the Review (2020)

The story begins ten years early, when Sonic is just a young child hedgehog. Due to the threats happening, Sonic must leave his owl guardian and travel to Earth.

Years have passed, and Sonic finds ways to occupy himself. He plays games, such as baseball, with himself. However, he is sad and lonely. So, he speeds around the unoccupied baseball field, only to knock out the power everywhere in the entire region. Authorities investigate the mysterious wide-spread blackout.

Sonic meets a man, who is also a cop, named Tom Wachowski, and nicknames him “Doughnut Lord”. Tom does not like that, though. Although they struggle to get along, Tom agrees to help Sonic with finding his lost rings that allow him to go places instantly. But there is a villain out to hunt for Sonic.

I saw this movie with some friends, and although I am nowhere near familiar with the “Sonic the Hedgehog” franchise, I still enjoyed the film and felt that it wasn’t super-necessary to know a lot about Sonic. There were some moments that might have made you lost if you know little to nothing about the “Sonic” franchise. But overall, the movie easily stood on its own.

The film consisted of many twists and turns, as well as some emotional moments, both happy and sad. There is one scene that really stands out to me, though. That is when Sonic and Tom are in some country-like bar and lounge area with dancing, a bar, a bull machine for riding, and food. The waitress comes to take the guys’ orders, but when she sees Sonic, she says that there are no kids allowed in the building. I actually didn’t know that that setting was adults-only prior to the woman saying it. However, Sonic looks nothing like a human child or a person at all. Therefore, I found the waitress’s reaction to be too casually accepting of Sonic’s look as if she was completely used to seeing others who resemble him. I really don’t find that believable. The waitress would have been spooked by Sonic’s unfamiliar appearance. She would have freaked out and said something like, “Oh my God! What is that thing?!” Even Tom’s defense for Sonic, claiming that Sonic was in his 40’s and had a growth and skin issue, seemed unrealistic.

Okay, I spent a lot of time with that scene. Anyway, I appreciated the characterization as well as the humor at times. But I considered the plot to be well-executed.

I would rate this movie 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to everyone, even those who know nothing about Sonic the Hedgehog.

movie

Welcome to My Critique of “Bambi” (1942)

Warning: contains spoilers***

I saw this movie at a friend’s house. A fawn grows, makes friends, and even goes through challenges along the way.

Here are the parts of “Bambi” that I admired and those that I felt could’ve been better.

First the strengths:

1: The animation and artistic layout

I find it very unfortunate that Disney stopped doing 2D animated films as did pretty much all movie companies. So, seeing the beautifully illustrated backgrounds as well as the animation of the characters drew me in emotionally.

2: The morals

The lessons that are communicated throughout this movie apply to real life etiquette. I especially love Thumper’s quoting of his father after he criticizes Bambi’s walking abilities. He says, “If you can’t say something nice…don’t say nothing at all.” I’ve heard kids being told that many times, although the wording they received was, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” If only more people took this seriously, though.

3: The characters’ relations to one another

Bambi’s bond with his mother, as well as his friends, Thumper, Flower, and eventual love interest, Faline, were beautiful. The portrayals and importance of friendships, family, and more mattered to me.

That being said…

1: Why doesn’t Bambi’s father play more of a role in his life?

Could it be that deer dads don’t get to know their young like the mothers do? Disney animals are shown to be very scientifically inaccurate all the time. So, while times Bambi and his mom together were sweet, I found it unsatisfying that his father hadn’t been involved in his life until his mother died. We also don’t get to see Bambi learning to grow and change after losing his mom in this film. There is a sequel where it might be more emphasized. However, a characters’ evolution after a tragic event should happen in the same story, not in a later one. After his mother’s death, the scene transitions to when Bambi is an adult and reuniting with his friends, as happy as they can be.

2: What is Bambi’s goal exactly?

Unlike other movies, Bambi’s goal isn’t made clear enough. What does he really want? What was he working toward?

While his development from birth is essential, I couldn’t see what he had an eager desire for. Take other Disney films, like “The Lion King”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, and “Hercules”, where they start when the main characters were babies. Simba, Quasimodo, and Hercules still all had goals they worked toward and did everything they could to achieve them. And they were made obvious to the audience.

Therefore, it kind of disappointed me that Bambi’s ambitions didn’t feel clear.

3: Structure being too similar to “The Lion King”

Well, technically, it’s the other way around. “Bambi” came out decades before “The Lion King”. It’s also common for Disney to recycle animation movements. But the plotlines of both films mirrored a little too much.

And onto the part I’m kind of unsure about

Bambi and his friends finding love interests

I get that this was made in the 1940’s, when standards were different. And Bambi’s romance with Faline does become crucial, even if Bambi, sadly, didn’t join Faline after she gave birth to two fawns. But why did Thumper and Flower need to fall in love? Satisfaction? I do, however, admire the rabbit Thumper develops feelings for. She reminded me of Snow White.

While I found “Bambi” to be a beautiful experience, I felt it could’ve done better with a few more literary elements. So, I would rate the movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.

movie

A “Hercules” Mystery: Why Can’t Mortals Live on Mount Olympus?

Warning: contains spoilers from the 1997 film***

Hercules was born on Mount Olympus as a god. However, when Hades has Pain and Panic abduct him, they give him a potion in a bottle that would make him remove not only his immortality, but also his powerful strength. Luckily, a couple finds him and raises him with loving care.

The gods do try to look for him, too, but they discover that he has become mortal. Therefore, they cannot let him back. Years later, when Hercules has grown, he discovers that he was found and where he actually came from. The Zeus statue reveals that he was stolen and that only gods can live on Mount Olympus.

So, why is it like that? There could be a reason in the original myth. But, of course, it could differ in the Disney movie. After all, Disney does drastically change stories from the original sources as well as sugarcoat them a lot.

My guess is…could there be something on Mount Olympus that makes it unsafe for mortals to be there too long? At the end of the film, Hercules is brought back to Mount Olympus with Meg, his love interest. Meg stands outside of it, unharmed. And, of course, she was never a goddess.

But what if she stayed there for days, weeks, months, years, and so forth? Someone in a YouTube video pointed out that Zeus could change that law of only gods getting to live on Mount Olympus.

I can’t think of any other reasons why that rule is in place, except for my guess or Zeus’s possible inflexibility to change the law.

art

Lost Fonts? How to Fix That

Adobe Suite changes over time, including Photoshop. That means they gain new features as well as alter existing ones. Unfortunately, a handful of elements go away, too, such as fonts.

When my computer needed to be rebooted due to some virus, I had to reinstall and download everything. So, when I downloaded Photoshop, it was a newer version. Therefore, changes have been made and I had to adjust to them.

But when I opened a file of an image I had with text, the fonts were missing. So, I could not use them. I had to delete them and replace them with available fonts.

However, this was a cover of a published book that needed to be updated. I was giving the story a new title. So, without the designated font, I had to figure out what to do.

I considered downloading the font from the Internet, which you can do. I might have found that removed font. However, it didn’t seem to make it into the software.

That was when I came up with another solution. I opened Microsoft word, and luckily, I could still get that font there. So, I wrote some letters in big sizes, took a screenshot, opened that file in Photoshop, and altered them to match the font I’d originally used. I also created a library designated for symbols of that font.

But they are images and not symbols you can use your keypads with. For instance, you can’t delete them with the backspace, move them with a space or return key, and so forth. If you want to make a word, you have to drag them with your mouse or touchpad. You can use keyboard shortcuts to put them near or far from each other with the transport tool, though.

I think it would be good for anyone to create a library of different symbols in various fonts, just in case they go. If they’re common or standard fonts, such as “Times New Roman”, then it’s unlikely that they’ll disappear from a program. Still—better prepared than to have to scramble for the same or similar styles.

travel

My Top 3 Unique Travel Moments

Image from Pixabay

I’ve traveled so many times throughout my life that I’ve learned so much about other areas, cultures, and much more. I can’t even keep track of how many places I’ve been to.

Anyway, when you travel a lot, you may experience unique moments or activities. So, without further ado, here are the top 3 unique moments.

3: A trip to a cooking school and getting to prepare a meal

Now this one was not out of town, although I still consider it unusual, but in a good way. When I was in 10th grade, the students who took Italian as a foreign language got to go on a trip to a small cooking school several minutes away. We were assigned different foods to cook. After we finished, we got to eat. I got the polenta group (we worked in teams), but when I ate it, I didn’t like the taste. Nevertheless, the trip was fun.

2: Visiting the “Harry Potter” exhibit in Discovery Times Square

Unfortunately, Discovery Times Square has gone out of business and the space is now for a National Geographic Museum. However, I went to Discovery Times Square in 2011, and there was an exhibit with the “Harry Potter” films’ props, costumes, and more. No phone use, touching, or photographing anything was permitted. Yet it was still exciting to see the items used in the movies. I was especially surprised and amazed at the life-sized Hagrid model. It stood so high that I found it strange that Hagrid never seemed to get stares in the muggle world in either the books or the movies. I remember thinking that real people that size would probably receive tons of stares in public, which would make me feel sorry for them.

And now…drumroll

1: Running into a former school classmate and doing an activity with her

This was back when I was in 5th grade. A girl who was in my 4th grade class and I ran into each other in Cozumel, Mexico. I recall that she’d left my elementary school starting in 5th grade. Not only did I hang out with her for a bit, but we also participated in a dolphin-swim that same day. What a miracle! Not many people run into former school classmates on vacations and get to do activities with them.

So, there you have it.

art, cooking

It’s Fun to Draw Cakes

Although it’s unlikely typical for people to want to draw designs for their cakes, no matter the reasons, I enjoyed it in my youth and still do now.

As a creative and artistic person, I’ve constantly come up with various ideas and specific envisions for just about anything.  With cakes, I’ve drawn how I wanted them to look. Sometimes I’ve had my own drawings scanned onto them. During that time, I also discovered that copyrighted images could not be scanned onto cakes. So, I had to stick with my own ideas.

I would also illustrate a few different ideas of one cake. I did that for my sweet 16 cake, and used every possible point-of-view (except the bottom, obviously). The bakery used one of the designs and that pleased me.

Recent years, though, I’ve designed cake appearances for me to bake from scratch. One of my college friends is allergic to peanuts, and unfortunately, there aren’t many commercial options near me that are 100 percent safe for those with nut allergies. It sounds strange, especially since I live close to New York City. But even there, I had trouble finding a place I could trust to be fully nut-free. There are some, but they’re also dairy-free, gluten-free, and so on.

Even though I’ve been cooking since I was 12, some of the cake designs I’ve envisioned were a little too advanced for me, like the ones below.

The gradient technique is called an ombre. It looks beautiful, but I’m not sure if I know how to do it properly (in spite of researching it). And some of the flowers are probably best for elite and highly talented bakers. Here’s another cake image I drew that I felt was too hard to actually do in real life.

It most likely would be easier than the one with the ombre and detailed flowers. However, this would have involved a lot of work.

So, at times, less can be more with designing and decorating cakes, especially if it’s a casual party at your house with a group of friends. I learned that cake appearances can still look dazzling, even with few decorations. That is what I did for my 26th birthday November 2019.

Okay, maybe me looking away from the camera might be kind of distracting. But if you look carefully at the cake I’m cutting, you see only two colors, one type of decorative design, and the writing on a white chocolate bar in the center. That was good enough for me, especially with all the cooking and other preparations I had to do.

So, there you have it.

art

Drawing Proportions from Face to Face is Anything but a No-Brainer

Image from Pixabay

Pretty much all of us have drawn in our youth whether it was required in school or for pleasure. Regardless of that, only some of us have taken our artistic activities seriously and honed them to produce quality work.

This post will focus on the face and why it can be difficult to create with accurate proportions. And no, that doesn’t count the simple smiley faces or the stick-figure heads. Anyone could make those easily. This will be about drawing the face as best as possible.

One fact I learned when creating faces was that the eyes are separated by one imaginary eye shape. In other words, you could fit a third eye in between the two real ones.

The mouth is also difficult to line up where it belongs. Not only because people move their mouths and have different shapes of them, but also because getting them in the center is challenging. So, it’s a good idea to have lines to guide you when you draw.

But the biggest struggle with the face is probably the nose. You want it to look attractive and, at least, kind of realistic, depending on your artistic skills. But you also might not wish to make the human look like he or she is wearing a nose costume.

What I do for that is shade or draw one line that leads up from the nose toward the eye area. It all depends on your style or plan as well as your talent.

So, yeah, the face can be a bit of a challenge. However, it can also be fun. After all, many folks like creating different variations of different subjects.

Having reference material can also help. You use it as inspiration, but not copying (unless that’s your intention and only for personal use).

I hope this post helps.