I am an enormous fan of Aliens. I was 12 years old when it was released, and it was just about the time I was seriously starting to notice not just boys, but older guys. With muscles. And uniforms. And very large guns. Thus my infatuation with Michael Biehn was born (*tweengirlsigh*).
But aside from that it was also a movie that struck my Girl Power nerve, because Sigourney Weaver is not only incredibly strong-willed, but can kick ass as well if not better than a whole squad of uber-Marines. Throw in an adorable little girl with a neat accent who is also pretty good at taking care of herself, and the movie was awesome as hell.
So I was kind of intrigued when Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was hitting the theaters. The precursor to Alien, it was supposed to give insight into “what happened.”
Starts out with a group of people poking around a remote region on Earth and discovering cave paintings that they say show a map to another system in space where something cool must be waiting for us. Ok groovy.
Then we’re on the Prometheus, and the obligatory robot is hacking around, reading things, watching movies, checking on the stasis pods, blah blah blah when they finally arrive at their destination. Then there’s a scene – very much a throwback to the scene in Aliens where the grunts are all sitting around getting the mission briefing – where Charlize Theron introduces the head of the company as a recording, who pretty much just says “by the time you see this I’ll be dead, so here’s the scientists to explain why you’ve been asleep in space for 2 years.” From that scene alone I already picked up a future twist.
They fly into the new planet’s atmosphere, almost immediately find a funky, non-natural structure, and set down to go check things out.
From here, it gets even more boring and predictable. They find interesting things, a storm rolls in and a couple of stragglers get stuck back at the structure while the rest are back at Prometheus being all excited about their finds. VERY predictable bad things happen to the stragglers, VERY predictable bad things happen to the excited scientists on the ship, VERY predictable twists happen along the way. But I cared very little about anyone who was killed, because very little time was spent developing the characters beyond the surface. The plot dragged on at a rather boring pace, which also lent to me not caring much about the characters. I was less than impressed by the origin of the aliens as well. *Yawn*
The movie is not a complete disaster, however. I thought Noomi Rapace was great – she played a very believable scientist who has a strong sense of religious faith and a survival instinct to rival Weaver’s Ripley. The sweeping landscapes that scream “THIS IS A RIDLEY SCOTT FILM!” do not disappoint, although I would have sacrificed a little of the real-life sets to add a touch more awe-factor that some CGI could have added.
If you’re a fan of the Alien series and want to be a completist about it, check it out on disc, but if you’re looking for something on par with Alien or Aliens (or heck, even Alien: Resurrection), you will walk away rather let down.
It’s been a while since I went to a movie theater on a movie’s opening night, but this one was one I just couldn’t pass up. Despite chronic back pain (damn those uncomfortable theater seats), I sat through almost 2 1/2 hours…
The Marvel movies that have been leading up to this with additional scenes stuck after the credits have PAID OFF. Joss Wheden did not disappoint – the character development was really well done (and considering there are 6 heroes and at least 4 other rather main characters to split screen time with, that’s very difficult), the pace moved fairly well, the initial disfunction and the eventual meshing of the group felt very natural, the battles were head-spinning, and the dialogue was perfect. There were also plenty of comedic moments to break the tension, enough so that I can’t wait to watch it again on Blu-Ray to make sure I caught them all.
In particular, I was intrigued by Tony Stark’s immediate respect and interest in Bruce Banner. Robert Downey, Jr revived his character seamlessly, of course, being such an incredible actor in the first place, and I was really interested in Mark Ruffalo’s portrayal of Banner – his nervousness and anxiety over his transformations coupled with his deep desire to be helpful seemed pitch-perfect to me.
I was also left desperate for a movie to be made with Black Widow and Hawkeye. I don’t think they will have any struggle in putting one together, and after seeing and enjoying Jeremy Renner in several films, I am eager to see him again in the same character. Scarlett Johannson was the perfect choice for Black Widow the first time around, and she brought Widow more depth with this film.
My complaints about this movie are few, but one I was kind of disappointed with was Agent Coulson – Wheden decided to portray him as a gushing fanboy of Captain America, something I thought should have been severely scaled back. He could have gotten the point across with a lot less tripping-over-his-own-tongue. Agent Coulson always seemed like the consummate professional to me, and this added a dimension to him I didn’t feel fit.
Additionally, I was slightly confused how during the first transformation, the Hulk went from complete destruction hellbent on removing ANYONE in his path, to working alongside the rest of the Avengers without them fearing his wrath. Perhaps I missed something in the exposition (I was in a rather noisy theater), but this was something that nagged at me later on.
All in all, a FANTASTIC movie. Also, do yourself a HUGE favor and sit through ALL the credits. There is a mid-credit scene AND a post-credit scene. 99% of our theater missed the final scene because they left after the first one. Suckers!
About a month ago, I reviewed the Lunch Box by Black + Blum, and since then I have had the opportunity to test drive the Lunch Pot by the same company.
Although the shape is completely different, it is nonetheless very obviously of the same family. The Lunch Pot is simplistic, but versatile and very functional. Let’s break down the 6 pieces…
When the Lunch Pot is assembled, the first thing you encounter is the strap that holds the entire unit together. The strap is attached to two rings: one centers the bottom pot into place, the other snaps gently onto the top pot, securing the two. Simply pulling the strap on one side will loosen enough to allow you to pop off the top ring, and start taking it apart.
But wait! There’s the one item you MUST have in order to eat your lunch (unless it’s all finger foods) – a utensil! Black + Blum decided to go with a spork for this container set, and it slides neatly into a sleeve on the strap, making it easy transport.
Once you have the strap removed, you can take the two pots apart. The larger pot has a clear lid, the smaller pot lid matches the color of the pot, and each are easily removed with a simple twist. The lids also have a ring inside to ensure that the pots are leak-proof. After lunch is done, the smaller pot can be put inside the larger one for even easier transportation.
So how does the Lunch Pot do in everyday situations? Here’s the breakdown…
I absolutely love that they went with a spork for the utensil as it fits the theme of the container. The Lunch Pot works great for noodles, soups, stews, oatmeal, fruit salads, rice dishes, and so much more, and the spork works for all of them all. And having such a convenient and simple way to keep it with the pots is great! The only downsides to the spork is that the tines of the fork are on the shorter side, so you won’t get many noodles on it, and the spoon is actually quite deep. I love spoons with depth, but it does sometimes feel strange when it’s so deep that your upper lip can’t naturally help clean the spoon. It was definitely noticeable by my daughter, who obviously has an even smaller mouth than me.
Like the Lunch Box, you should make sure not to microwave for more than 2 minutes to help avoid warping, but the pots are not so large that whatever you pack should require more than that anyway. And the same care you take with the Lunch Box should be applied here. Not having a dishwasher, I can’t say how they would hold up (though I know top-rack is advised for those that do), but I have yet to find a food that causes me trouble with these. They clean effortlessly with the soft side of a sponge.
My daughter still loves it, despite the deep spoon, and uses it just as much as the Lunch Box I previously reviewed. In fact, here’s a picture of her first lunch with it: sushi rice and sauce (her favorite), and a fruit salad (more variety at the bottom, they just got covered).
My ONLY suggestion to improve this would be to include a pair of chopsticks that could be held in a pocket on the strap opposite the spork. That way you have utensils that will help with noodles the spork can’t handle. Overall I definitely give the Lunch Pot a big thumbs up! It’s cute, stylish and can easily transport in a messenger bag or tote, and again, perfect for people who are watching portion sizes.
As I said, I LOVE bento, which means I also love bento boxes! I have a fondness for containers in general, but bento boxes are in a class all their own. I have seen everything from the cartoon-y Hello Kitty bento boxes marketed for very small children (and college girls who want to be adorable), to some very sleek, modern styles marketed for professional businessmen.
I had a wonderful friend even send me a couple of bento boxes and accessories right from Singapore – I cannot tell you how freakin’ excited I was to get THAT package in the mail!
So in my grand search to find the perfect bento box, I discovered a set from Black + Blum. Researching their other products, they have a style reminiscent of IKEA – clean, simple and functional. Since I am a fan of ReUseIt, a website dedicated to reusable, recycle-able or otherwise environmentally conscious products, I chose to purchase the small and large lunch boxes from them (hint: they do run sales).
While waiting for my new bento boxes to arrive, I decided to read reviews about them. I was very glad I did, because there were some complaints. Some people were upset that the clear top of the box got scratched and became opaque, others found that even putting the items on the top rack of a dishwasher caused some warping, and others greatly disliked how the side tabs broke off and rendered the product useless.
I’ll admit, I was a little worried. Had I fallen for the pretty packaging and would I be left with a worthless product and less money in my pocket?
Then they arrived. For a couple of weeks I just left them on my shelf, admiring the design and cleanliness of them, and afraid to use them for fear of wrecking them.
Yeah, I was afraid to use them. I’m a moron like that sometimes.
But when I started really getting into learning how to make sushi rice properly, there came the realization that I could do something similar with my 11 year old daughter’s lunches. I wasn’t feeling confident enough to try packing her sushi for lunch (well, onigiri really since sushi obviously has to be made fresh and and consumed quickly), so I made wraps and sliced them like sushi…
Bologna in a wrap, a few carrot sticks and broccoli, and the little sauce pot had veggie dip. Yeah, it’s wasn’t spectacular by any artistic means, but she LOVED IT. The container made her feel so sophisticated, and for about 2 weeks straight she didn’t use anything else but this container.
Each afternoon I made sure to get it back from her, hand-washed it (I have no dishwasher anyway) with the soft side of the sponge, and let it air dry in the dish drain. Easy!
There was one time that my daughter neglected to remember where she put it. She swore she had it in her hand when she left school, but it was nowhere to be found. After two days she finally pulled everything out of her backpack and discovered it at the bottom, with one of the side clips popped off.
I was devastated! I read reviews where that had happened to other people and it was useless afterward.
Except, apparently the company read the same reviews I did and did a little REDESIGN, and I was one of the people with the new design! Once I cleaned all the pieces (I remember the soy sauce… everywhere), it was a simple matter of popping the clip back on. Simple, easy, and no problems.
REVIEW SUMMARY: I freakin’ LOVE this bento box! It looks small, but once you pack it with food, it really is just the right amount.
I also have the large version (below), but have not used it extensively yet. The smaller one is perfect for tightly packed food (noodles, sushi, etc), the larger would work great for lighter, more airy foods like salads so people who are into portion control can put them to the best use. Enjoy!