Monthly Archives: December 2017

Farewell, 2017

The end of 2017 is here, and quite frankly, I am exhausted. I had a lot of stuff happen in my personal life this year that left me drained both physically and emotionally. As a result, I wasn’t as active on here as I usually am, and I really do apologize for that. Real-life drama just had a habit of interfering with other things I wanted to do.

The good news is that 2018 is another chance for blogging excursions, and the fact that it will be my sixth year running this will be quite impressive, indeed. I’m still impressed that I didn’t give up after three weeks.

Before I forget, though, I want to link to the Saint Name Generator. I always love using this to find a new saint to pray to for the new year. This year I got St. Juan Diego, the man to whom Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared. I’ve always loved Our Lady of Guadalupe, so to get St. Juan Diego as my patron saint for 2018 was really exciting.


Leave a comment

Filed under Random Things of Randomness

Disney’s Live-Action “Beauty and the Beast” Review

It’s hard to believe it took me this long to get around to watching this. Part of it was my own fault; I was procrastinating a lot. I was afraid this movie would destroy my childhood love of the animated version, which is still one of my favorite Disney films. The good news is that it didn’t–it was much better than I was expecting although I did not find it to be the smashing success so many other people thought it was.

By now you already know the plot, so I’ll just skip that part and go straight to my opinion. My biggest complaint about the movie is that they really needed to cast someone other than Emma Watson as Belle. Her voice sounded more than half computerized, indicating a generous application of autotune. I don’t mind if autotune is used to tidy up a singer’s performance, but I do mind if it was so heavily applied that the singer doesn’t sound human anymore! Maybe you should, I don’t know, cast someone who doesn’t need so much post-production help. What made it particularly jarring was that it was obvious everyone else could sing with little to no autotune required. Her acting was fine, but the singing could have been so much better. Everyone else was fine, though, and I was pleased to see that Luke Evans was every bit as awesome as Gaston as I thought he was going to be.

This live-action version had some new songs added, and I’m sad to say they just weren’t in the same league as the originals–or even the songs from the stage production. “Evermore” was arguably the best of the lot, but even it lacked the emotional power and depth of some of the older songs. Personally I think the film would have been much better suited if it had kept “If She Can’t Love Me” from the stage production, which occupies roughly the same space in the story.

No spell has been broken;
No words have been spoken.
No point anymore
If she can’t love me.

No hope she would do so;
No dream to pursue, so
I finally know
That I shall always be
In this hopeless state
And condemned to wait,
Wait for death to set me free.

The good news is that the original songs were performed with every bit of passion and enthusiasm they deserved. My two favorite performances were “Gaston” and “Be Our Guest”; the visuals on the latter were especially amazing.

One of the things that I found surprising was the fact that I felt sympathy for Le Fou–he spent pretty much the entire movie watching his oldest friend turn into a monster and not knowing how to put a stop to it. There were times he tried to stand up to Gaston and get him to stop, but Gaston always ended up bullying him into complicity. In a way it almost felt that the story of the Beast’s redemption and Gaston’s fall were paralleling each other, and that was one of the things I genuinely liked about this version.

Final verdict: it’s not as good as the 1991 animated version, but it’s still a good movie in its own right. I also encourage you to check out the 2014 French version that I reviewed earlier this year. I spotted some similarities between that version and this one, most notably in set design and shot framing, so I wonder if someone at Disney watched the French version and got some inspiration.

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

Doctor Who Review: Twice Upon a Time *Contains Spoilers*

Well, here we are folks, the finalĀ Doctor Who review of 2017…and the final time I’ll be reviewing Capaldi’s irascible, incorrigible Twelfth Doctor. I’ll tell you what, though–there’s a part of me that feels as though he hasn’t stopped being the Doctor. I know Jodie Whittaker has officially taken over the role now, but it hasn’t quite sunk in yet. It still feels that in some corner of the universe, Twelve is still roaming around time and space making wisecracks about pudding brains and playing riffs on his guitar.

Maybe it’s because his stubbornness from “The Doctor Falls” is a holdover of sorts, and we got a double dose of it in the form of the First Doctor (portrayed here by David Bradley). Both Doctors are refusing to change; both Doctors insist they have the right to die as they are. And this stubborn insistence is creating a paradox and interfering with the normal flow of time, which is part of how Captain Archibald Lethbridge-Stewart (none other than the Brigadier’s father and Kate’s grandfather) finds himself involved in their escapade. An organization known as the Testimony extracted Archibald from his timeline temporarily in order to harvest information about his life before he died, and when they tried to return him, the regeneration paradox caused them to accidentally strand him at the South Pole. The Testimony offers the Twelfth Doctor a deal–return the Captain to them, and they will return Bill to the TARDIS. But is it really Bill? And what exactly is the Testimony’s motive?

This wasn’t a loud, bombastic, edge-of-your-seat episode; it was quiet and understated, and that mood really seemed to fit the story. It allowed the focus to be more on Twelve and his final days, and it also served as a farewell tour for Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who has been both a writer and an actor on the show since the 2005 revival; here he portrays the Brigadier’s father Archibald). It was a fan’s farewell to the show, from the inclusion of the First Doctor to Rusty’s return to allowing Twelve to say goodbye to Clara and Nardole. There was passion and enthusiasm and genuine love…and Twelve’s final words are the most heartbreaking yet.

It’s difficult for me to give my impressions on Thirteen yet because, well, she didn’t really do very much. She saw her new appearance in the console screen, pushed a button, and triggered something in the TARDIS that results in her sliding out of the console room and plummeting to the world below. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed they’re going with the whole “The Doctor just regenerated, and now the TARDIS is wildly out of control” theme again–they’ve been doing this since Tennant, and it’s getting old! Do something different already!

It’s been a wild ride, and I will miss every moment of Capaldi’s tenure. Following his powerhouse performance will be no easy feat, and I wish Jodie Whittaker the best of luck. I hope for her sake that Thirteen isn’t an unlucky number.

I have to admit, though, that a part of my heart will always belong to Twelve. I could never choose a favorite; I loved them all…but Twelve, now and forever, isĀ my Doctor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Christmas Eve 2017

It has been a long and eventful year, but lo and behold, Christmas is here once again.

It’s also the day before the Doctor Who Christmas Special, which means *sniff, sniff* it’s almost Capaldi’s last episode.

But enough about that for now! We can cry about Twelve’s departure after we’ve celebrated Christ’s birth. It’s one of the most stupendous events in the history of the world, that God became Man so that we could have a chance for salvation. By becoming one of us, He restores human nature to its original dignity and reminds us of what we were always meant to be–children of God and heirs of Heaven.

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholic Stuff

Advent Playlist

For a long time I had been looking for music to listen to during Advent, but with so much emphasis on Christmas, a lot of times it feels as if Advent gets overlooked. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with listening to the different Mass settings for Christmas because it gets you pumped for what your choir will be singing at Midnight Mass (and you’re currently awake enough to appreciate it), but sometimes it’s just nice to sit back and listen to music that talks about how we’re waiting for Christ to be born/return for the Second Coming.

Finally, I have found such a playlist! Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholic Stuff

A Talking Dog Learns about Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, one of my favorite apparitions of the Blessed Mother. Ever since I was little, I loved hearing the story of how she appeared to St. Juan Diego…and one of the sources I heard it from was the last place I expected.

Back in the 1990s, there was a TV show called Wishbone, which was about a Jack Russell Terrier that loved classic literature (Wishbone was my first exposure to Phantom of the Opera, but that’s a story for another day). One of the episodes actually covered Our Lady of Guadalupe and told the story of her apparition. For a long time I couldn’t remember if this had actually been an episode or if I had imagined the whole thing, but lo and behold, YouTube proved I wasn’t crazy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholic Stuff

Vespers Antiphon for the Feast of St. Nicholas

I posted this last year for the Feast of St. Nicholas, but I thought it was cool and decided to share it again. I really loved seeing all the different countries’ depictions of him.

Leave a comment

Filed under Catholic Stuff