All the Light We Cannot See, Or (All the Time I Spent Crying Last Month)

Grade: grades can’t express how many feels this book gave me. Okay fine. A+. +. +. +. +. ++++++++. +.

All the Light We Cannot See (5/6/14) by Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See is a Pulitzer Prize winning book, the third one I have (attempted) to read. Small mistakes beside (that’s the editor’s job so), it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I don’t if anyone says otherwise I think it’s a masterpiece.

I haven’t read a book like this in a while. A super haunting, touching, FEELS-Y book. A book that kept me up all night and made me neglect my other work so I could just read just a sentence more (which turned into chapter, which turned into section). I was up until 1am most nights frantically flipping pages while calculating the time I had left to sleep. And then after I finished, the book just stayed with me, the lines (especially the horrific ones) repeating in my head. Basically what I’m saying is that do not read this book if you have something important to do in the next month (or possibly year) because you will regret your life choices.

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The book follows two main characters: a girl named Marie-Laure and a boy named Werner. It’s set in WWII and spans the time immediately before the war, the time during the war, the aftermath, and even (maybe spoiler?) reaching to 2014.

Marie-Laure is French (of course, her name is the most typical French name I’ve ever heard). She’s also blind, which makes her chapters 10 times more beautiful since she imagines the world and feels her way through it and notices everything. Her story begins in Paris, and then goes to Saint-Malo, where she flees with her father and lives with her uncle, all the while carrying a stone called the Sea of Flames, an incredibly valuable and incredibly made up diamond.

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Werner is a genius albino orphan German boy. He joins the Hitler youth and builds transmitters to aid in the effort of the war. Through the book he becomes more and more aware of the death and destruction he’s in the midst of. He gets sent to the front and eventually ends up in Saint-Malo, where he meets Marie-Laure.

The story lines are beautiful, intertwining in sometimes obvious and sometimes surprising ways. But the style of the writing: OH MY GOD. I’ve never wanted to write more like anyone else.

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I’m now going to launch into one of my epic metaphors / similes. I have come up with several that I think should go down in quote books. Jk they suck.

Most authors write as if they’re taking a photograph: the focus is on the main characters and everything is blurred in the background. Sometimes characters lack a certain depth and the quality of the photograph seems empty.

Anthony Doerr writes as if he’s painting. Every detail is masterfully included, and with each brush stroke he adds another tiny object to the painting: a lamp, a shell, a car. But although he puts tremendous effort into his tiny details, still his entire painting is harmonious and congruous. The quality of his painting never fails. I’ve never read a book where I can picture the scenes as well as I could in this one. And the characters are constructed beautifully as well (I have a very strong mental image of what Marie-Laure looks like and if anyone tries to tamper with that we will have problems).

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(I think I’ll refrain from gif usage for the rest of this post because it’d be weird… sorry y’all)

Sometimes, Doerr drifts off into epic descriptions of sceneries or background information. Sometimes he’ll explain where every single character in the book is at the moment, from Werner to his sister to Marie-Laure to her father to her uncle to… yeah, everyone. Sometimes he’ll launch into some beautifully constructed memory that flashes between scenes of the past and scenes of current events. And once he even went into a what-could-have been situation that I can’t even speak of because it just makes me so sad.

And of course I can’t neglect to talk about the title, which is probably the best title in relation with the contents of the book since To Kill a Mockingbird (which, incidentally, is also one of my favorite books). Doerr plays around with the idea of light a lot. The different types of light, especially visible light and radio waves.

Radios play a huge role in the entire book. Werner builds them and loves them and understands how they work. Marie-Laure’s uncle has a huge transmitter in his attic that becomes key to the core of the story. Radios, literally, are the light we cannot see. And of course, there is visible light; especially that of moonlight or no light. There are quite a few descriptions about the sky and the light streaking across the clouds. Additionally, Marie-Laure is blind, but she seems better at picturing the world than the rest of us are. She can imagine all the different types of light.

And (SPOILER, HUGE SPOILER TURN BACK NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW), there’s also the dead and the souls of the dead (as this is a WWII book, there are a lot of deaths). Several characters become extremely traumatized over the course of the book, to the point where they begin to see the dead and see ghosts, some benign and some vengeful; they travel like light does, undisturbed by everything. Towards the end, Marie-Laure contemplates that the dead could be traveling through the air just like radio waves, the light we cannot see. And so everyone and everything that’s gone isn’t actually gone.

Of course, “light” could also be seen metaphorically as truth or hope. Werner is often blinded by himself, even though he has rays of truths, “lights,” like his sister or his best friend. And each character in the book maintains hope within themselves, even though eventually they almost all descend into hopelessness, unable to see the light anymore.

But in Doerr’s book we come across one of those rare scenarios where the literal meaning is as beautiful or possibly even more beautiful than the metaphorical meaning. The radios, the dead, the truths, our faded hopes: it’s all the light we cannot see.

Pitch Perfect 2: Prepare to Get… Mildly Pitch Slapped?

Grade: A-/B+

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Funny how the black lesbian girl is on the bottom… Minor spoilers up ahead but really they’re not that bad. I promise 🙂

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Following the ultra-successful instant classic Pitch Perfect that inspired an entire generation to join an a cappella group, Pitch Perfect 2 will… um… inspire an entire generation to… graduate college?

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Pitch Perfect 2 was satisfactory, and as far as sequels go, it was actually decent. It had its really funny moments, and its awkwardly funny moments, its forced funny moments, and the funny moments that were on the trailer that you watched so many times that it’s no longer funny. Also, there was some intense girl power, which is always important to me (who run the world? GIRLS!)

But, as you can see from the grade, I obviously have some criticism.

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The film followed the exact same plot line as the first movie. It’s like the writers were like, oh look how successful this scene was! Let’s repeat it but amp it up! Seriously. There’s yet another and more serious on-stage fail that the Barden Bellas need to fix. Beca interns at a fancier job where she wants a more famous producer to listen to her work. There’s a bigger competition that the Bellas attend. There’s even another riff-off… which starts off with Songs About Butts instead of Songs About Sex. It’s literally the exact same formula.

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Well, I mean, the formula works.

Also, be prepared to get force-fed the most cliché message in the world via highly irritating new girl Emily Junk: be yourself! Don’t try to be someone else! You have your own voice!

Well BLAH!

I mean 90% of the audience was kids under the age of 12 (exactly why I have no idea), so I guess they still need this message.

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Overall, if you want a good laugh and a throwback to Pitch Perfect, go watch this movie. Or just watch Pitch Perfect. It’s cheaper and you’ll probably enjoy it more.

ACA-OUT.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron… MORE LIKE AGE OF AWESOME AMIRITE?

Grade: A++++++++++++++++++++ (times infinity… war)

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As anyone who has read my blog knows, I’ve been waiting for this movie for at least a year now. And I am FAR from disappointed.

Besides the insane success of making approximately $185,000,000 more than any other movie in the box office at the moment, Age of Ultron is so fulfilling to fans that they’ll probably be fidgeting and squealing in their seats. Okay, that might’ve just been me but I was literally dying in the movie theater.

But honestly, whether you’re a new fan or an old fan or a MCU fan or a comics fan, if this movie doesn’t make you squeal with delight, then you’re either emotionless… or a critic… or both.

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Wait am I technically a critic? I prefer to go by critique-r. Which is not a word.

Anyways, since I have no idea how to form this review seeing as the movie was too epic and I’m still slightly in shock, I guess I’ll just go with my classic list format and give you the TOP 5 MOST AWESOMELY AWESOME THINGS ABOUT AGE OF ULTRON.

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1) An absolute plethora of characters. You thought Marvel couldn’t fit in all the anticipated characters without screwing up the film completely. Well, HAHA YOU’RE WRONG! Whether the characters got a lot of action time or a little bit of action time, everyone was a badass.

All your beloved Avengers return (some with their respective movie partners, like Captain America with Falcon or Iron Man with Iron Patriot), along with new characters, like Quicksilver, Ulysses Klaue, Scarlet Witch, and the Vision. How Marvel managed to include them all… you’ll just have to see.

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2) Character development. In terms of character development, obviously the people without individual movies got the most: Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch (sorry Quicksilver you kind of got left in the dump).

Black Widow’s backstory gets explored quite thoroughly, yet we still have absolutely no idea what happened in Budapest (THANKS WHEDON). Also, I hated her entire relationship with Bruce Banner, aka the Hulk – partially because I ship Clintasha but mostly because it made Black Widow seem weak. Hawkeye actually turns out to have a really nice life outside of Avenging. No spoilers, but now I’m squinting at his relationship with Black Widow in the first Avengers. And of course, new girl Scarlet Witch undergoes some intense character development… which you can probably deduce from watching the trailers.

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3) ACTION TO THE MAX! The movie starts off with a fight scene and there are like 10 more fight scenes and literally 2/3rds of the movie are fight scenes. There’s individual badass-ness and TEAMWORK EPICNESS. There’s slow-motion and explosions and basically everything you could ever wish for.

4) Humor, humor, humor. When I wasn’t freaking out during the fight scenes I was laughing at the quips and witty retorts of the characters. There are some running jokes throughout the entire movie (and they don’t get old). Also there are some scenes where characters simply fail so much at talking that you’re simultaneously like “HAHAHA” and “oh my god that’s me.”

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5) References to past films and illusions to future films. Marvel is very good at referencing their own films explicitly but not explicitly enough to make it sound like an advertisement.

Of course Marvel had to reference past films because, you know, if you were Marvel then you would never stop talking about your achievements. Falcon mentions the search for Bucky, Captain America references Natasha’s “flirting,” and of course the entire movie is just an allusion to the first Avengers. Duh.

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Marvel also never fails to allude to future films. The rising tensions between Iron Man and Captain America, along with (SPOILERS!) the appearance of new Avengers (Scarlet Witch, Iron Patriot, Falcon), all lead up to Captain America: Civil War. Thor has some visions which set up for Thor: Ragnarok (let me tell you, they are not good visions). Black Panther is alluded to when the Avengers go to Africa to find a supply of Vibranium. And of course, all the mentions of the infinity stones (or gems or whatever) lead up to the main event of the MCU, Marvel’s INFINITY WAR!!!!!!!!!

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And thus ends the Avengers as we know it (SO MANY TEARS). But never fear! Ant-Man is about to close up the Marvel’s ultra-successful Phase 2, and Phase 3 promises the arrivals of Black Panther, Captain Marvel (who’s actually Ms. Marvel), Doctor Strange, and the Inhumans. The Guardians of the Galaxy also join together with the Avengers for the Infinity Wars. And of course, Marvel’s new partnership with Sony finally, FINALLY brings Spider-Man into the canon MCU.

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THIS? I’M NOT! LET’S DO IT!

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Daredevil: A Catholic Lawyer Vigilante… :)

Grade: A+++++

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Isn’t it gorgeous.

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Huzzah! It’s Marvel’s newest Netflix original series, which was completely overshadowed by Age of Ultron (which I can’t see until next week URGGGH) even though it came out on April 10th.

This show is probably totally overrated but I don’t really care because IT’S NOT OVERRATED TO ME!

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Contrary to the belief of imdb, Daredevil is not in fact about the Flash, but it’s actually about Daredevil! I know, I’m sure you guys are shocked to learn this piece of news, but The Flash tells the story of the Flash.

And for you disbelievers out there about the IMDB falsehood, let me present to you, figure 1:

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But enough about the discrepancies of the internet these days. It’s time for the review!

Daredevil takes place in Hells Kitchen, aka very close to the place where the Avengers demolished everything. It tells the story of a lawyer named Matt Murdock. A very, very hot lawyer, who also happens to be VERY shirtless a lot of the time. While a lawyer by day, he’s a vigilante by night, going around and fighting crime in a black mask. Eventually, Matt discovers that the majority of crime seems to be centered around a certain group of people, who all seem to be following a single person whose name I cannot mention because then the entire series will be spoiled.

Fine, it’s Kingpin. But they don’t actually refer to the character as Kingpin in the series so I get a pass.

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Matt also happens to be a devout Catholic, which is quite the struggle considering he beats up people every night. Anyhow, his Catholicism causes him to grapple with what’s right and what’s wrong – how far would he be willing to go to keep his city safe?

Surprisingly, the villain gets quite a bit of fleshing-out as well. Kingpin gets almost as much as a childhood backstory as Matt himself does. He also gets a gorgeous and loyal wife  whom he loves dearly. His intentions for the city are… uh… the same as Matt’s (A+ intentions, D execution)? And… uh… you start feeling bad for the dude.

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The directors or writers or whatever said that the show would “blur the line between good and evil.” WELL, THEY WEREN’T LYING.

In fact, most of the characters get their own complicated stories, which weave and intertwine with other characters’ stories. Karen Page, Matt’s assistant in his law firm, goes out hunting the truth by herself. Foggy Nelson, Matt’s partner, cleverly manages to wheedle information out of his ex-girlfriend (ikr how r00d).

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And now for TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU MUST WATCH DAREDEVIL.

1) The premise of the show is extremely dark and gritty… literally. I mean, it’s so dark sometimes that you can’t even see what’s happening (you’ve just got to turn your brightness all the way up). It’s like Marvel’s preparing to mourn for Captain America’s impending death. At least the darkness makes the show seem more realistic and epic anyways. As for the grittiness… well, it’s about as bloody as you can get outside of the land known as HBO.

2) The fight scenes and stunt scenes are insanely good… and there are a lot of them. It’s like Captain America: Winter Soldier elevator and highway fight scene level… well at least close to it (nothing can beat Captain America: Winter Soldier). For those of you who don’t speak Marvel Cinematic Universe, allow me to present to you, figure 2:

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That, my friends, is the highway fight scene.

3) Strategies and corruption. Like, the amount of people Kingpin has paid off to represent him is insane: policemen, media peoples, judges, even senators. He’s able to twist people’s public images and dispose of anyone who might reveal him. Gives you an insight to how much power rich people have, eh?

4) An excellent buildup for the next season. Season 1 was insane, but it also left dozens of opportunities for the next few seasons. Meaning, either Marvel will screw it up completely because there are way too many things to do, or, knowing Marvel’s excellent track record in the last 7 or so years, Marvel will make it TOTALLY AWESOME!

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5) Crossovers with other Marvel Netflix shows and connections to the greater Marvel Comic Universe. Which, if you’re a die-hard Marvel or just MCU fan, should excite you just as much as it excited me. First of all, there are 4 other superhero shows coming along on Netflix: AKA Jessica Jones (which stars David Tennant), Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders. The Defenders is a team-up of the aforementioned superheroes plus Daredevil. Yes, I was brought to tears of joy when I found that out. NO YOU CANNOT JUDGE ME.

And of course, most importantly, Daredevil is canon to the greater MCU universe. For those of you who do not speak fandom, canon means that it actually connects to everything (which could potentially lead to crossovers). I will now present to you, figure 3:

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Taken straight from episode 12.

I’m dead. Bye now.

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