Thoughts on Bea Miller’s New Album: Aurora

Where did the relatability go?

I loved every song in Bea’s blue, red, and yellow chapters (not really S.L.U.T., but I bought it anyway). However, I am extremely disappointed by her five new releases that complete the album. As an asexual INTJ, none of her new songs are relatable to me. Now, I know I am a minority regarding my sexual orientation and Myers-Briggs personality type, but I am really tired of songs about sex, surface-level connections/interactions, and immaturity. The music part is awesome; the lyrics, not so much. If these songs are what Bea feels and experiences, great. They are definitely not for me, though.

I am not sure where to go from here. Ever since 2014 when I heard Young Blood on the radio, I have enjoyed Bea and her music, but I can no longer relate to her music and she has even been annoying me in interviews. Maybe I never related to Bea at all, but the person I thought she was. I definitely will be on the lookout for whatever she puts out in the future, but this album (well, half of it, anyway) is not for me. Does anyone feel similarly?

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It Movie Review

Misleading, depressing, pointless

I was unimpressed by It. Maybe the hype was over after waiting almost 5 months to see it (I was at college and had to wait for it to be released to rent), maybe I do not fully understand the story, maybe watching it in my living room had a different effect than in the theater. Regardless, I was disappointed.

First, I should let you know that I did not read the book. I do not know all the backstories and details not included in the movie, or anything else the book provided that the movie did not. It really should not matter that it was based off of a book, though, since everyone knows a lot of people prefer to watch movies over reading books (I am one of those people).

The trailer gave away most all the scary parts. As a result, when I saw them in the movie, I already knew what was going to happen and was not shaking with anticipation. Also, I remember going to see a different movie in theaters, and they played the entire clip of Georgie getting manipulated by Pennywise!  (They did not include Pennywise biting off Georgie’s arm and taking him down into the sewer, but how hard is it to guess that outcome?) Honestly, that scene was the scariest part of the movie for me and it was RUINED before I even got to see It.

I was underwhelmed by the amount of scary parts and how those parts were executed. It felt like most of the movie was about the friendship between the members of the loser’s club, and that is not what I paid to see. When I go to see a horror movie, I expect to be so scared I scream, cover my eyes, squirm in my seat, look around the theater (or room) to make sure the scary thing in the movie is not there. None of that even remotely took place while watching this movie. Therefore, as a horror movie, it failed for me. However, those scary moments that were included definitely could have made for a great horror movie if only there were not so many breaks with jokes and nothing involving It happening. Even then, though, I think those scenes could have been improved. When It is in forms other than Pennywise, It delivers the horror factor well. However, when It is in its Pennywise form, It under-delivers. The taunting, the manipulating, the tension–all that was successful. The attacks? Not so much. There needed to be a little more tension and silence and waiting and playing with It’s food before Pennywise attacked. Then when It goes and kills someone, I would have liked to see exactly how It did it. I want to see the gory details. As for when Pennywise “attacks” the kids, It is a total let-down! Pennywise walked funny and It’s face looked creepy, but It did not even really touch or hurt the kids, and–many times–voluntarily left them! I wanted the balloons to be a foreshadowing tool and a terrifying thing to see, I wanted Pennywise to be so supernatural the kids are basically doomed, I wanted the music to send a chill down my spine, I wanted to be shaking for 2 hours and 4 minutes straight. It did not deliver.

I love Bill’s story and his bond with and love for his younger brother, Georgie. I wish the audience had a minute or more longer of watch time to see how strong their bond was. This would have allowed for a deeper connection with Bill. Bill’s story deserved more attention. I wanted more.

The look at each of the loser’s club’s members helped me connect with each of them. But what was with all of that excess content, like the lake scene? Like all those jokes? Like the school bullies (especially Beverly’s)? Like Bill and Beverly’s kisses as the end?  All that excess content took away from the horror part of this horror movie and made me confused about what the purpose of this movie was. Are you trying to scare me? Make me feel for the kids? Wonder about It? Hate the bullies? Connect mostly to Bill or any of the other characters? Yearn for Bill and Beverly to be together? I am genuinely confused!

I cannot say I was bored while watching It. My brain was fully active and awake the full 2 hours 4 minutes. The child actors were fantastic because they were believable, three-dimensional, and natural. The individual stories were crafted well, and Pennywis–as well as It’s other forms’ outward appearances–definitely were creepy. I think as a drama, this movie works. But to market It as fully horror is misleading. And I was mislead.

As a drama: 4/5 stars

As a horror: 2/5 stars

I am not sure if I will watch chapter two. Maybe if the trailer interests me;  as of now, though, I do not have high hopes.

Coco Movie Review

Emotional, smiley, original.

My mom was telling me how apparently ‘cliche’ was “my favorite word” before I left for college about four months ago. Lucky for her, ‘cliche’ is definitely not a word I would use to describe Coco.

One of my favorite things in the movie was the multiple unexpected plot twists. All the characters were believable and Disney left out the right amount of detail to not have you questioning anything, which made the plot twists all the more shocking and effective. Okay, maybe I had a couple questions, but I bought into the story so much I thought I was wrong to be questioning things.

Every character was a strong one. They each had their own story and personality, and it really came through.

I appreciated a look into Latino culture. You hear about Day of the Dead, but no one explains it to you. Same with other cultures. People always push me out of those kinds of conversations because I am white and “don’t know.” (Well, obviously. So help me know.) Anyway, from the outside, Day of the Dead sounds stupid–to me, at least. I still do not believe in it because I do not believe in an afterlife, but it is a beautiful thing to believe in and I enjoyed looking at someone else’s perspective. This is a game-changer movie, so I wish it was advertised better (as in, the trailer did not interest me that much; in fact, if my mom had not wanted to see it, I never would have gone). But, man, was this awesome. Good job, Disney!

This story had fun music and a positive message about family. I loved watching Miguel and Hector perform together and watching Ernesto de la Cruz chase Mama Imelda around on stage while pretending to perform at the same time. It was also just fun to watch Coco because of how colorful it is. The animators killed it!

The movie had a happy ending. I walked away feeling good.

4/5 stars

Thoughts on Bea Miller’s New Music–Chapter 3: Yellow

Aw, man. Bea Miller strikes again.

My favorite song in this chapter is ‘repercussions’ because I love its sound and the lyrics (especially the chorus) speak to me. I have been described as introspective, but sometimes I am blind to the most obvious things; this song, to me, has a message of keeping your figurative eyes open at all times and doing your own thing. Plus, this song is really catchy.

‘to the grave’ ft. Mike Stud is my second favorite song. I mostly just like how it sounds, to be honest.

S.L.U.T. has a great message, but one that I do not need to hear. It bores me at this point. However, I think the acronym approach (Sweet Little Unforgettable Things) is creative, and so is the song as a way to respond to a hate comment from Instagram.

The music videos (2/3 are out right now) are still too simplistic for me. At the beginning, I thought maybe Bea wanted each music video to be a part in a story. If that is her vision, I do not see it. Honestly, I am disappointed. She could do so much more in her music videos than mouth out the words while doing the same thing for three minutes.

Chapter Two: Red is probably my favorite, but ‘repercussions’ might be my favorite song out of all the songs from all the chapters. Recently, I have been looking back at ‘burning bridges,’ so that might be second favorite. Next would be ‘buy me diamonds.’ I love all this new music, and I think I will be disappointed when Bea stops releasing music in chapters. It is a fantastic idea and I cannot wait for the rest of her album to come out (I saw somewhere that there are three more songs to come out that are not affiliated with a chapter/color; we will see).

What did you think of Chapter Three: Yellow as a singular chapter? What about compared to the other two?

Annabelle: Creation Movie Review

Grotesque, clever, chilling.

Though this movie is a prequel to Annabelle, it came out after that movie. I was too young to see it. As a result, all I knew about the first movie was what people told me: it is not scary and, therefore, a bad horror movie. However, Annabelle: Creation’s trailer intrigued me and I knew I had to see it. Luckily, the movie exceeded my low expectations.

I thought the storyline was clever, not only because the writers had to create a backstory to what audiences saw in the beginning of the first movie, but they had to make the end of the movie lead right into the first one. (I knew what the beginning of Annabelle is from watching trailers and reviews.) Everything made sense, and the movie was made interesting in the process.

My favorite aspect of the movie was that audiences got to witness all the gory scenes/events. For example, I got to watch each of Samuel Mullin’s fingers break by supernatural force instead of hearing them break while viewing a closeup of his face in pain. I appreciated the cringe-y violence because it made me feel something.

Annabelle: Creation had many scenes where you would endure about 10-20 seconds of silence, waiting for what you know is coming, and then–BAM! Though most of these types of scenes were well-done, a couple were drawn out too long and I got bored waiting for the scary part.

Though I knew the sunshine song little Annabelle loved would end up being used as a scary aspect of the movie, I enjoyed that as well as some other lines and relationships that were played around with to give the movie some edge. I cannot deny that they creeped me out.

Overall, Annabelle: Creation is a well-crafted horror movie; as a result, I am interested in watching the first movie, as well as the Conjuring movies–which are apparently in the same universe (I have seen Conjuring 2, but not the first one; why do I keep watching sequels?).

4/5 stars!

 

Fatal Burn by Lisa Jackson Book Review

I enjoyed this book just as I enjoyed Deep Freeze.

The switching POVs kept the book interesting through the slower parts. The complex, thought-out story/explanation kept me guessing until the last page. I was shocked by the “Stealth Torcher”s identity, more so than the serial killer from Deep Freeze.

I wish I had learned more about Dani’s character than her tomboyish nature, and more about Dani’s dad’s past. However, I enjoyed following small characters from Deep Freeze around, then catching up with major characters at the end of Fatal Burn.

Once again, the sex scene felt unnecessary.

I loved the symbol that the Stealth Torcher used to track his progress/get revenge on the Flannerys/make his revenge a game and keep the police guessing. It definitely stumped me.

This review is short because this book is similar to Deep Freeze–which I already wrote a review on–but I still liked it! In fact, I wanted to purchase After She’s Gone at Half Price Books, but they did not have it, so I purchased Close To Home instead. You can look out for a review on that in the future!

Luminance Skincare Review

Yes, cheap skin products can exterminate acne and save you some money, but I prefer to invest in good quality, healthy skin products. That is why I decided to try out Luminance.

Luminance Skin Care is organic and vegan. Its website has an easy-to-navigate layout, with every ingredient listed, and subsections for every type of skin and age.

Honestly, the only reason I tried out Luminance was because my usual skincare line–Devonne by Demi–is taking a break and I am running out of their stuff. I had a moment of panic because I had problems with dry skin years ago, and Devonne by Demi was the only product I found that made my skin feel moisturized. But I had no other option than to try to find something else. So, I ordered Luminance’s Hydration Face Moisturizer.

I was extremely impressed by the short amount of time it took to ship to my PO box: two days! Then, when I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised that Luminance gave me a free gift, Nourishing Serum. Both bottles are made of glass and good quality. They are both small, but I was not worried since Devonne by Demi’s products were small too and I got months of uses out of them.

The face moisturizer works! I have been using it since I got it, and have had no problems with dry skin. The stuff may be expensive, but definitely worth it in my opinion! I love knowing that on top of feeling great, I am using products that are healthy for my skin. As for the serum, I have been using it only at night as a spot-treatment. I am not really sure what it is supposed to do, but I appreciate the free gift. My guess is it takes a little longer to work and that is why I have not seen any results from that product yet. I can tell both products will take a while to get used up, so I am satisfied with my purchase.

If you are looking for a healthy line of skincare products and are willing to spend a little extra moo-la, I recommend Luminance! Another great aspect of this company is they have sample kits (https://luminanceskincare.com/products/sample-kit?variant=32297418759). Also keep in mind that they have other skin products–not just for the face–such as sunscreen, soap, deodorant, etc.

Luminance Skin Care: https://luminanceskincare.com/

 

666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce Book Review

Overall, I enjoyed this book. However, there are a few kinks…

One: I bought this book because I found it in the “horror” section at a local bookstore. The only horror in it, though, takes place within the last 100ish pages. (AKA the book moved slowly.)

Two: The bulk of the book I spent following around a 24 year-old girl whom makes dumb decisions by ignoring red flags all because she is in love with her fiancé whom she dated for a whopping one month before moving in with him and his gigantic family in a different country she has never been to before. She also puts up with too much.

Three: I hate sex scenes, and there were two too many.

Four: The relationships (friends, family, romantic partners, etc.) were too predictable. I never predict anything unless it is obvious, and I predicted almost every relationship made.

Five: Third person point of view makes the story objective. I do not have much of a clue as to what goes on in Jane’s head–and frankly, I need to know why she does not take hints!

Six: Maeve and Harrison both seemed like irrelevant characters. The only way they would be relevant is if there is a sequel in which they play larger roles.

Now that those are out of the way, let us move on to the positives:

One: I loved the cliché horror setting. I do not care that it is cliché. I love big, abandoned houses in isolated locations!

Two: The twist with how the Grandma died totally got me and made for an interesting catapult into horror territory.

Three: Dee was a fun character. I appreciated her presence. She was the beacon of hope in a world of crazy.

Four: Jane’s manipulation of Charles and rescue of Malcolm, then departure from him at the train station shows what a strong character she is. She may have made dumb decisions throughout the novel, but she has got a brain! (Plus, she got herself a job even when her new family looked at her crazy because of it.)

Five: Pierce effectively incorporated foreshadowing into 666 Park Avenue, which added suspense as well as prepared the audience for what was yet to come. I still think she drew the “acting normal” part out to long, but I like the foreshadowing.

Six: There was a strong background story which was especially brought to life through Lynne.

Seven: I enjoyed it.

Sure, there were some flaws. It certainly is not a masterpiece, in my opinion. But, overall, it was well put-together and entertaining. I would consider reading a sequel (if one is to be written).

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

Emotional, Puzzling, Beautifully horrible.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it was super dumb (talking animals–seriously?). But, as my whole family was going to the movies to see Spiderman: Homecoming and Despicable Me 3, War for the Planet of the Apes seemed like my best option. I was surprised to find that I deeply enjoyed the movie.

The graphics are intense and everything feels real because it is high definition. So, I actually found myself gaping at scenes during the movie. It may be a war movie, but the forest, cave, sunny plane, snowy mountain, etc. settings were all gorgeous.

The apes act like humans for the most part, so it is not hard to take them seriously. They also used sign language (I am not sure if it is American sign language or some made-up language, but they used their hands, so imma go with sign language) to communicate. This proved helpful during the war as well as effective when creating an emotional connection with Nova.

Let us talk about Nova! At first (from the trailer), Nova appeared to be a completely unnecessary character. However, she ended up pulling the whole story together through her symbolic representations of innocence and hope–which are both well-needed in a war setting. She also pulled the two–ape and human–worlds together, posing the question of whether or not the colonel’s point of view is right.

I think for most people, they probably sided with the apes. But I could not seem to choose. Of course, I felt for the apes since the movie is done from Cesar’s perspective. However, when we meet the colonel and he tells his story (which puts Cesar to tears, by the way), he has a point. Some might even say he is courageous and selfless. I mean, it must take a lot to kill your only son. Anyway, I thought both sides were valid. We want to be/stay the dominant race, as humans. Anything/Anyone more intelligent than us scares us (ex. technology/robots). So, it makes sense that the colonel and his soldiers feel threatened by the apes’ existence (I do not understand why they cannot just talk it out, but whatever…). On the other hand, the apes are just protecting themselves. Cesar even offers the colonel peace in the beginning of the movie. The colonel refuses, but the apes still offered! I do not agree with killing in general, but both of these sides have points, and I wonder if the movie makers were trying to stump me. If so, it worked. (I think, if anything, though, I sided a little more with the apes just because the whole movie was from Cesar’s perspective.)

Cesar is a strong character. Despite his feelings, he always thinks about his “followers” (more like family) before himself. However, he does not let anyone kick him around. He also inspires his followers–which comes in handy. Next, I enjoyed watching a character with a set goal whom also had a sensitive side. Plus, Cesar was smart (for the most part) and up-front, two qualities I value in a leader.

(Get ready for various random opinions all at once.) This movie does not spare any feelings when it presents audiences with war. I do not see it glamorizing war at all. I loved the twists in it as well as the emotional progression. The traitors of both sides were unexpected, but real. In addition, I appreciated the apes’ hand symbol (“Apes together strong”); it was extremely powerful. Bad Ape was well woven into the movie, as he was humorous but real. He also reminded me of someone I know who acts like that. Lastly, I appreciated Cesar’s death at the very end. It is really annoying to have every movie end the same way, because it takes the thrill out of watching it if you know certain characters are going to live through ’till the end. This movie killed the two most important characters, and as a result, it brought a whole new perspective not only to this story and to war, but to film, too.

The only cliche aspect of this movie was Cesar’s anger. It was too predictable. Of course, it probably is common in war, to be mad at the person who killed your loved ones. However, considering this is just a movie, I would have liked to see Cesar overcome his anger earlier in the film or project it in some other direction/way.

I loved this movie and will definitely be buying it. 4.5/5 stars!

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cute, fun, empowering.

All I could think about while watching this movie was how much my grandma, Mammie, would love this movie. I have to admit, after watching horror movie after horror movie, watching a family movie was a breath of fresh air.

This movie was cute like the previous two movies; however, I did not enjoy it as much. Here’s why:

  1. I predicted the ending early on. (I never do that!)
    1. Usually, even if the movie is bad, I become the main character and think exactly like them–leading me to never be able to predict the ending because I am experiencing things as they do (I like this). For example, it took me watching Clueless four times before I understood why everyone found her stupid… Anyway, in Cars 3, I predicted right away that Lightning McQueen was going to wipe out, Stirling would turn out bad, Cruz and Lightning would get assigned to each other, and that Cruz would end up racing for Lightning and winning the race. Of course, there were aspects I did not predict, but I predicted all the main plot points beforehand! The movie was too easy to figure out in my opinion.
  2. I was not satisfied with the buildup–if there even was any–of the friendship between Cruz Ramirez and Lightning McQueen.
    1. The friendship between the two was forced. I liked the introduction. Cruz treating Lightning like he is 70 was hilarious, and so was the beach scene (“the beach ate me”). But after a while, nothing seemed to move. All the emotional conversations between the two were one-sided, so they never connected. When Cruz told Lightning her sob story, he was silent the entire time. Later on, when Cruz helped Lightning in his training by pretending to be storm to motivate him and Lightning was improving, he congratulated himself instead of thanking or even chatting with her. They felt awkward and distant.
  3. I wanted more of Doc!
    1. It was obvious in the beginning that Lightning needed training. But why the heck did he go to Smokey instead of to Doc? Throughout the movie, Lightning watched clips of Doc wiping out as well as performing his incredible never-before-seen moves and winning, looking at newspapers of him with Doc, talking with Smokey about Doc, etc–so why was there no Doc??? (He was in some flashbacks, but they were short.)
  4. Cruz’s character was cliche, and I did not agree with the ending (even though I predicted it ahead of time).
    1. Everyone has a backstory, and since Cruz was first seen killing it on the simulator and then training current racers, it was easy to guess hers. Once she revealed that she had always wanted to be a racer and chickened out of her shot, it was easy to guess that she was going to end the movie by winning the race and becoming a racer–with Lightning as her mentor. The reason I do not like that ending is because not everyone has the physical or even mental/emotional ability to achieve their dreams, so making it seem like everyone can achieve their dreams is unrealistic and misleading.
  5. The music did not stand out to me.
    1. I still remember Life is a Highway from the first movie! In the past, the music for the car movies have been carefully and well-chosen. This movie…not so much. The music is modern, and as I think most people can agree on, modern music (most of it, anyway) is bad. Obviously this is personal preference, but the music nevertheless was unmemorable and not enjoyable.
  6. I did not feel as empowered by the ending to this movie as I did with the previous two.
    1. This may have been the result of my earlier prediction of the ending, but either way, I did not walk away with an enlightened feeling. I did like how Lightning become Cruz’s mentor, but as I described earlier, the relationship between the two felt forced, so it did not work.
  7. This movie felt unnecessary. The franchise could have gotten on without it.
    1. The message seemed to be the same. I did not gain anything from this movie either. My opinion definitely could be different if they carried it out differently/improved it, but as it is, it was an unfulfilling end to the cars movies. I much would have preferred that they ended with Mater (I am probably going to buy all the movies anyway).

I am not a sourpuss, though. Here are all the movie’s positive qualities:

  1. It had a great overall message.
    1. This movie encompassed how life changes when you grow up. Nothing stays the same and you have to adjust. It also encourage working hard for what you want and never giving up. Follow your dreams is another message, and work hard and you will succeed is another one. There are probably more, but I think that is the gist of it. The messages may be cliche, but they are important to exercise.
  2. It was funny!
    1. The pranks in the beginning, Mater in the middle, and Cruz throughout all lightened the movie up. I cannot deny that I laughed many times during this movie, and I am sure I would laugh again if I were to rewatch the movie.
  3. We got to see Lightning McQueen later in life after he has grown up more.
    1. It is always fun to follow our favorite characters for as long as movie makers will show them to us. I may not have enjoyed the last cars movie as much as the first and second movies, but I definitely enjoyed seeing Lightning at different times of his life.
  4. We also got to see Lightning McQueen wipe out (everyone messes up, accidents happen).
    1. Sometimes we put people on pedestals, so it was nice to see one of the greatest racers of all time wipe out too.
  5. The clips of Mater showed him being as adorable as ever.
    1. If you did not love Mater after the first movie, you sure as heck did after the second one! Mater is a laugh-box and a supportive friend, so I enjoyed the scenes of him giving Lightning not-so-good advice and cheering for him at his races. I wonder what happened to his girlfriend…
  6. I loved that Lightning’s competitors (the old ones) were his friends.
    1. In the previous movies, Lightning’s racing competitors were mean and violent towards him. Cars 3 shows a whole different side, where as a result of Lightning’s years of racing with the same cars, he and those cars were friends. They would pull pranks on each other before, during, and after the races–and would cheer each other on when one of them one. I loved the lightheartedness and friendship.
    2. Another change I enjoyed was when Lightning joined Dinoco. Just like Lightning became friends with his old competitors, he “became friends” with an old competing company.

So, overall, I think Cars 3 is worth a watch. However, it did not live up to the masterpieces that were its previous two films and was unnecessary.