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16 August 2020 @ 05:13 pm
Welcome to my journal! I mainly use this journal to review and recommend great stories and anime. My favorite fandoms are BBC Sherlock, Harry Potter, White Collar, Kpop, and anime.

You may be interested in my recommendations for:

[Harry Potter] [Sherlock] [Kpop] [Anime] [White Collar] [Cabin Pressure] [Other Fandoms]

Onto the Recs!Collapse )

Please also use the tags to the left to find other reviews. I'm always updating my lists, and I love to chat, so please also comment and feel free to friend me. Thank you!

Current Mood: happyhappy
So I really didn't enjoy the first Guardians of the Galaxy (see ranting here), but Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2? I totally loved and would recommend. Go figure.

Cut for SpoilersCollapse )
16 April 2017 @ 09:48 pm
Note: You can also find me on Dreamwidth: shadowfireflame.dreamwidth.org. I'm still working out how to use it and will not be deleting my LJ.


Anime Rec: Spiritpact

This 10-episode shounen-ai anime is the Japanese edit and dub of the Chinese anime Ling Qi (Soul Contract).

In it, a young You Keika is living in poverty as a fortune-teller when he is hit by a bus and killed. In death, he chooses to become contracted to the human demon-hunter Tanmoku Ki as his spirit shadow, a partner to protect Tanmoku and give him strength. Unbeknownst to both of them, they are connected more deeply than they realized. Along with Tanmoku’s ignored fiancée Shin Shiyou, the three team up to uncover the sinister plot going on at Tanmoku’s family home.

The anime packs a lot into its 10 episodes with lots of supernatural hurt/comfort elements and a gentle shounen-ai between You and Tanmoku, with some humor and very pretty art and character designs as well.

While the supernatural elements are a bit stereotypical and aren’t explained well, and the characterizations are a bit one-note, it’s interesting to see the different motivations of the characters, particularly the “evil” ones who are all vying for power behind the scenes and constantly testing Tanmoku and You’s relationship.

Tanmoku is difficult to read as a typical tsundere, but You makes for an appealing lead with his innocence and occasional frustration with his situation. I felt really bad for Tanmoku’s fiancée, Shiyou. Her character is actually fleshed out but it’s still hard to determine her reasons for sticking around when Tanmoku overlooks her constantly. She seems to have more meaningful interactions with You than with her fiancée.

Where the anime really shines, though, is in the evolving relationship and powerplays between Tanmoku and You. The two have great chemistry and it’s wonderful to see how they slowly get to know one another and how they react to seeing each other in danger. Towards the end I loved seeing how they had evolved into a team.

Unfortunately, after just 10 episodes it feels like it’s just getting into the good content when it ends. Would love to see more!

More anime recs can be found here.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
12 January 2017 @ 10:22 pm
My favorite video essayist, Nerdwriter1, has covered my favorite show! It's a very nice analysis of some of the filming techniques in Sherlock.

Video embeddedCollapse )
Current Mood: giddygiddy
03 January 2017 @ 08:38 pm
I'll cut for those who haven't seen The Six Thatchers yet! I thought I wouldn't theorize...but I was wrong... :)

Spoilery theorizingCollapse )
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
Squeeing because Sherlock is back!! No spoilers but I'll put it under a cut just in case.

No SpoilersCollapse )
Current Mood: excitedexcited
01 January 2017 @ 02:12 pm
Happy New Year! Here is my annual list to help myself keep track of what I've seen.

Previous years: 2013, 2014, 2015

::: Animation :::

  • Finding Dory (all right but had issues)

  • Hotel Transylvania 2 (cute and funny, like the first one)

  • The Little Prince (very sweet and beautifully animated)

  • Over the Garden Wall (slowly builds to an interesting conclusion)

  • Steven Universe (superb; read my full review here)

  • Zootopia (best animated movie of the year in my opinion)

::: Documentaries :::

  • Amanda Knox (great documentary that reveals so much police incompetence and sexism in her case)

  • Before the Flood (Leonardo DiCaprio takes on climate change intelligently—you can watch this on National Graphic for free!)

  • Boom Bust Boom (Monty Python’s Terry Jones takes on capitalism…using puppets, animation, and silly songs)

  • Capitalism: A Love Story (great Michael Moore documentary)

  • Catching the Sun (about solar energy)

  • (Dis)Honesty: the Truth About Lies (interesting documentary about deception and building a more ethical world)

  • Frontline: The Choice (about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, makes her a bit more relatable and him less relatable)
  • The Mask You Live In (about what causes toxic masculinity and how to change it)

  • Planet Earth (and Planet Earth II) (beautiful and thoughtful BBC documentaries)

  • Poverty, Inc. (excellent documentary about why traditional paternalism in foreign aid hurts those in poverty and a better way to help local economies to lift people out of poverty)

  • Prescription Thugs

  • Requiem for the American Dream (hard-hitting interview with Noam Chomsky about the sad state of wealth and power in the U.S.; rage-inducing)

  • Rise of the Continents (entertaining documentary about the stories geology tells)

  • Sharkwater (sad documentary about shark finning)

  • The Story of Maths (BBC history of math[s])

  • Super Powered Owls

  • Trophy Kids (parents who push their children to devote their lives to sports)

  • Vanishing of the Bees (systematic pesticides lead to bee colony collapse disorder)

  • Where to Invade Next (great Michael Moore documentary about how America should use Europe’s example to improve the country)

  • Why We Love Cats and Dogs (surprisingly emotional Nature documentary)

::: In-Theater Movies :::

  • Arrival (whoa, best movie of 2016 in my opinion)

  • Captain America: Civil War (great movie! I saw it twice in theatres!)

  • Deadpool (lots of fun, a great parody of the superhero genre)

  • Doctor Strange (with Benedict! Trippy and fun)

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Pretty good but ultimately disappointing. Could have been good, but instead felt like they were trying to make two different movies: one about politics and one about fantastic beasts)

  • Ghostbusters (fun movie and lots of chemistry between the four leads, especially Kate MacKinnon and Leslie Jones)

  • Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (very funny film that actually has something important to say about institutionalized sexism)

  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (the Lonely Island mockumentary; very funny!)

  • Sherlock: the Abominable Bride (amazing, love that it was in theaters! Saw it twice!)

  • Star Trek Beyond (better than the first two, and Sulu has a husband! Awesome!)

  • Star Wars: Rogue One (fun! I like the direction these are going in and I love the diversity in the cast)

  • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (with Tina Fey; full review here)

  • X-Men: Apocalypse (yikes, not good)

::: Other Films :::

  • 10 Cloverfield Lane (good slow-building suspense)

  • 99 Homes (good but could have been better)

  • Adam (with Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne, about Asperger Syndrome)

  • Against the Sun (with Tom Felton! Great WWII survival story)

  • Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (hate-watched to see if it was as bad as reviewers said. It was. So, so bad.)

  • The Boss (with Melissa McCarthey and Kristen Bell; pretty funny)

  • Boy (New Zealand Maori family drama by Taika Waititi, who did the very funny What We Do in the Shadows)
  • Brooklyn (sweet story of an Irish immigrant to America)

  • The Brothers Grimsby (can’t believe Mark Strong got involved with this; it wasn’t bad though)

  • Central Intelligence (with Kevin Hart and Dwane Johnson, very funny! I hope it gets a sequel)

  • Concussion (honestly, this could have hit a whole lot harder, pardon the pun)

  • The Conjuring (quite scary and unusual presentation, focusing on ghost detectives)

  • Creed (not a fan of Rocky, but I like the main actor, Michael B. Jordan)

  • Daddy’s Home (funny Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg movie)

  • Dave and Mike Need Wedding Dates (silly but funny; Aubrey Plaza is amazing)

  • Dirty Grandpa (with Robert DeNiro and Zac Efron, not good)

  • Earth to Echo (pretty good found-footage alien movie similar to E.T.)

  • Eye in the Sky (thought-provoking drama about military drone strikes)

  • Fantastic 4 (yikes, no fun at all and certainly nothing fantastic. Almost works as a prologue to a story that never comes)

  • The Game (very messed-up movie with Michael Douglas)

  • The Hateful Eight (takes a while to get going but comes together in the end)

  • Keanu (funny Key & Peele movie with an adorable kitten)

  • Killing Charlie Countryman (too slow and random for me but has Mads Mikkelsen in it, which is always a good thing)

  • Krampus (a disappointment; could have been a fun comedy or horror movie, but instead went the way of being neither)

  • The Legend of Tarzan (2016) (engaging show-don’t-tell style…right up until the third act, when everything takes a nosedive plot-wise and rushes to the end)

  • The Man Who Knew Infinity (about a groundbreaking Indian mathematician at Cambridge during WWI, an inspiring story but could have been presented more meaningfully)

  • Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World (great movie and casting choices! I’m reading the book series right now, which has heightened my enjoyment)

  • Midnight Special (fascinating sci-fi movie like E.T. with wonderful acting, tension, and atmosphere)

  • Muriel’s Wedding (sweet 1994 movie)

  • New Waterford Girl (sweet movie set in rural Nova Scotia)

  • The Night Before (a story about men realizing the importance of emotional labor)

  • Now You See Me 2 (amusing and entertaining if implausible, loved the scenes in Macau and the fact that Daniel Radcliffe was in this)

  • Pan (bad; really, really bad…Captain Hook is for some reason a cowboy…)

  • The Program (with Ben Foster, about the Lance Armstrong doping scandals)

  • The Revenant (with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy)

  • Ride Along 2 (I love Kevin Hart and Ice Cube in this)

  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show (2016 Fox remake, creepily sanitized and not enjoyable even though Laverne Cox tries her best)

  • Room (best picture of 2015, in my opinion)

  • Score: A Hockey Musical (as weird as it sounds)

  • The Shallows (tense thriller as long as you accept the premise that there is an obsessed shark)

  • Shrek the Musical (on Netflix; they did a good job)

  • Sicario (about the abuse of the CIA with the drug war in Mexico; not what I expected)

  • Sisters (cute, love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler)

  • Source Code (intriguing premise and very good acting)

  • Straight Outta Compton (interesting but missed an opportunity to more deeply explore many issues)

  • Take Shelter (with Michael Shannon; strange and ominous)

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (awful, even worse than the first movie)

  • Triple 9 (about a gang of criminals and crooked cops who are blackmailed into doing jobs by the Russian mafia; amazing cast)

  • Trumbo (I’m glad Hollywood covered this story)

  • Warcraft (standard fantasy in many ways but takes some interesting risks)

  • War Dogs (not a bad take on U.S. military contractors, though I felt Nicholas Cage’s Lord of War was better)

  • The Witch: A New England Folktale (interesting horror film about a devout Puritan family in the 1600s)

::: Film (Non-English) :::

  • The Handmaiden (by the fantastic Park Chanwook; brilliant and tense lesbian drama!)

  • Look Who’s Back (German mockumentary about Hitler coming to the future, very politically relevant)

::: TV / Drama :::

  • 11.22.63 (good time-travel drama with James Franco, based on Steven King’s JFK novel)

  • Cuckoo (amusing “Father of the Bride”-style British comedy starring Americans Andy Samberg and Taylor Lautner)

  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Service (zany fun but dark show from Douglas Adams, and Elijah Wood’s acting is great)

  • Empire

  • Frank Herbert’s Dune (2000 mini-series; couldn’t really get into it)

  • Fresh Off the Boat

  • Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (very funny)

  • Hannibal (season 3)

  • House of Cards

  • Inside Amy Schumer

  • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (utter brilliance)

  • Making a Murderer (a must-watch addicting documentary that will make you insane with rage and horror)

  • Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (campy lesbian Australian detectives! Love it!)

  • The Shadow Hunters (bad, but better than the Mortal Instruments movie!)

  • Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (brilliance as always)

  • Stranger Things (very creepy and well-done Netflix series that blends many supernatural horror ideas; great child actors)

  • War & Peace (excellent new BBC miniseries)

  • Westworld (superb sci-fi/Western HBO drama, one of the best new shows this year)

Current Mood: excitedexcited
20 November 2016 @ 10:39 pm
I've been attempting to cope with the U.S. 2016 election results by going on a movie binge this week!

So Doctor Strange was enjoyable--not my favorite ever, but pretty good and visually lovely (and not just because of Benedict and Mads!). Same with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for me. I had been hoping to enjoy both of them more than I did, but it’s all right because…

The movie Arrival, with the aliens? Fantastic! It's what Interstellar could have been with more humanity. Highly recommended, particularly for linguists (?!).

Also enjoying the new HBO show Westworld, South Park (as always), Fresh Off the Boat, Samantha Bee, and John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.

I hope all Americans have a happy upcoming Thanksgiving, and a special shout-out to people who have loud, unavoidable relatives who voted for the new president-elect (*shudder*). I salute you all.

The bright spot is that in January at least there will be new Sherlock.
Current Mood: blankblank
16 October 2016 @ 07:02 pm
Anime list continued from (Anime Recs Part 1)

My ratings, from best to worst:
—One of my favorites!
—Very good, almost a favorite.
—Very good.
—Enjoyable, but not one of my favorites.
—You might like it, but it’s not for me.

Click Here for My Anime List!Collapse )

<— (Anime Recs, Part 1)
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
16 October 2016 @ 06:54 pm
Anime rec: Akatsuki no Yona / Yona of the Dawn

“This group just keeps getting weirder.” This is the story of how the band gets together. In this historical fantasy anime, Princess Yona leads a happily sheltered life in the capital city with her father (the king) and two male childhood friends, never knowing the world outside her safe existence. But one terrible evening, everything comes crashing down and she is forced to flee everything she has ever known.

Despite some occasional plot holes and coincidences, what first appears like only a shallow reverse harem becomes something very special indeed, gaining darkness, depth, and complexity with each of Yona’s new discoveries outside the capital. All of the characters are appealingly drawn, each with an interesting back story (Yona’s bodyguard, Hak, is a special favorite of mine, but each of the dragons are unique). Yona’s journey, both physical and mental, is increasingly complex as she takes more agency over her life, and I loved seeing her grow from a spoiled princess to a self-sufficient and worthy ruler.

More anime recs here!
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful