Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

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  • Double Feature Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron & Tomorrowland

    June 2, 2015


    Avengers: Age of Ultron

    Avengers: Age of Ultron

    Colleen’s Movie Review

    I always give spoilers so consider yourself warned. =)


    Romance
    :
    So the guys all mention their significant others but none of the girls make an appearance in the film. There is a new teased romance however between Black Widow and Bruce Banner/The Hulk. She seems to like both versions of him pretty equally. We never really see this romance develop which is disappointing. It’s a bit like wham…there it is. You all make sense of it on your own. And even though there are obvious feels between them, nothing swoony actually happens other than some invading of personal space, the scintillating buttoning of a shirt, and the calming down of The Hulk.

    Special Effects: Well you know anything Marvel does is going to have good special effects. It’s a given. It was pretty much as expected. The city rising up was cool as was the giant wormy mechanical thing. Also liked the army of iron men guys.


    What I Liked:
     First off, I wish I had a Jarvis. Just saying. Also…sorry got lost for a moment thinking of Thor’s biceps. Me likey. Okay so the perfect Avenger’s boyfriend would be Tony Stark’s sense of humor and bank account, Captain America’s good boy code of honor, Hawkeye’s family devotion, Bruce Banner’s brain, and Thor’s accent and hair and beard and and smile and looks and…pretty much everything else.

     

    Had to look up the red guy over here and he’s called Vision which is pretty much a boring name but man he was cool. My favorite thing about the movie actually. I really hope he pops up in the Marvel universe again. He was so much more compelling than the villain. Who was that again? Oh, yeah. Ultron.

     

    Oh! And really loved the twins Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. They were really awesome. They don’t look like twins at all. Like in any way.

     

    What I’d Change: The funny thing is…I remember liking the movie when I watched it but I can’t recall a single reason why, other than the charm of the heroes I love. I’m a bit nervous about the idea that the main Avengers will take off leaving behind only Black Widow (we’ll talk about her in a moment) and Cap and then an assorted hodgepodge of sidekicks. Can the Avengers work without Iron Man? I honestly don’t know. Not feeling optimistic though. He carries the movies in my opinion.

    Okay so on to Black Widow. While I applaud wholeheartedly including a female among the superheroes, I don’t get her. Granted, I don’t read the comics that include her, but her backstory as told in this film was just sad and didn’t actually explain too much. So she’s a deadly assassin. Okay. How does that measure up to what the other guys can do? Also the sheer size of the buildings, trees, metal, cars, etc., they throw around should have killed her dozens of times. She needs a better power than just being deadly and super nimble. At least they let her calm down the Hulk which, if you ever watched the old Hulk television shows, pretty much any girl could do. Anyway, it gave her something to do.

    There was too much destruction. This is surprising because Joss Whedon typically balances destruction with character development but since all these characters met previously, the dialogue was just slightly out of balance with the action. Iron Man having to contain the Hulk as he destroyed the city was just superfluous and a way to display someone’s cool  idea for a Hulk containment device.

    The Tagline: A new age begins 

    Not sure what new age is beginning. A new cast of Avengers is beginning. Maybe that’s what they mean. The tagline feels not quite right.

    Hunky Hero: The Avengers is full of hunky heroes which is always a fun thing for me. Like I said before they each have good qualities.

     

    The Villain: Ultron was much less interesting to me than Loki. If I had my way, I’d put Loki in everything. There were some good moments, like when Ultron overpowered Jarvis but I think taking out the human element lowers the stakes for me.

    Best Line: 

    Tony Stark: If I lift it, do I get to rule Asgard?

    Thor: Yes, of course.

    Tony Stark: I will be fair, but firmly cruel.

    Maria Hill: [from trailer] All set up boss.

    Tony Stark: Actually he’s the boss.

    [points to Captain America]

    Tony Stark: I just pay for everything and design everything, make everyone look cooler.

     

    Best Scene: Definitely the hammer scene

     

    Recommended for YA Fans: Obviously

    Compared to the Book: Haven’t read the comics so I have no idea.

    Trailer:


    A Kid’s Perspective

    Josh

    Josh’s Bio: First, may I introduce the energetic Josh. Joshua loves pepperoni pizza just like his dad, and like all boys he loves video games first and foremost. He loves Roblox, Minecraft, and Transformers Fall of Cybertron. Josh is in the 4th grade and is really good at math. He loves to play Pokemon with his older sister on the Nintendo 3DS whenever he can. He also flies remote control helicopters with his dad.

    Josh’s Review: I thought Avengers: Age of Ultron was cool and I like Ultron the robot guy. And I loved the part with Thor’s hammer. Iron Man turned into a big gigantic robot and punch, punch, punched the Hulk! I like the evil guy Ultron best since he kept on upgrading himself. My favorite Avenger is Iron Man because his Stark tower becamethe Avenger tower.

    Gingerbread making

    Aidan’s Bio: Hi. I am in fifth grade and I like games. For example, Plants vs. Zombies, Minecraft, and Luigi’s Mansion. I also like building paper crafts and Legos, playing with my brother Lex and baby sister Ashley, and creating animation with my Nintendo 3DS using play dough and action figures. My favorite subjects are science and art. My least favorite is of course math! I have so many favorite treats I can’t list them all. My favorite books I’ve read include; Diary of a Wimpy Kid novels, the How to Train Your Dragon series, Big Nate books and The Quest for the Diamond Sword (Minecraft novel). When I grow up I’d like to be either an engineer or a scientist. Aunt Colleen is special because she loves me so good.”

    Aidan’s Review: My favorite Avenger is Iron Man because he’s cool and invents very high tech stuff. My favorite part is EVERY battle! If I could choose what to see in the next movie it would be Thanos. If I could have one super Avenger power it would be Tony Stark’s smartness. I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

    Lex’s Bio: Hi, I am in the 4th grade. I like everything Legend of Zelda. I also like swimming, jumping off the diving board, going to Great Wolf Lodge and the great big awesome water stuff there, playing pretend, and wearing pajamas (my cozy clothes). My favorite subjects are art & science. My least favorite is Math and laundry and sitting still. My favorite treats are gummy worms, chicken & pasta with lots of Parmesan, fried rice with hoisin sauce, and brownies. Tomatoes and cucumbers are the most disgusting foods ever. When I grow up I want to star as Link in the new Legend of Zelda movie or maybe design video games. 

    Lex’s Review: My favorite Avenger is Iron Man because he is very cool and he has so many creations from the future. My favorite part of the movie was the last battle with the city rising in the sky. And also two parts that made me laugh were when the big Iron Man suit was punching the Hulk and that one where that new super hero picked up Thor’s hammer and all the Avengers were like, “What?!” And the part I didn’t like has to do with the Hulk and Black Widow when she was like, “Hey Hulk, I should’ve got in the shower with you.” I give this movie 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

    A Guy’s Perspective

    2014-02-01 22.54.02

    Brad’s Bio: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    Brad’s Review: 

    I’m not going to say too much, because most of you have probably seen it by now, but suffice it to say I relished this sequel much less than the first Avengers film. Why? Well, for starters, the story wasn’t as enthralling. Second, though I know Ultron has a history with the Avengers in the comic books, on screen, for an artificial intelligence who had just been invented, he came off as too powerful, and trying too hard to be funny with his one-liners. As a whole, the Avengers need a super-bad enemy, but the marriage of pure-evil, CGI, humor, and superior power that was rolled into Ultron didn’t work.

    Third, I didn’t really get the budding romance between Hulk and Black Widow. Where that came from, and why, was never explained. Fourth, the constant, non-stop action, fighting, and destruction becomes extremely tedious for me. I want a story with character development, not simple mindless chaos toward saving a planet. Naturally, the special effects were superbly delivered, and they were out of this world. Having seen this film once, I won’t see it again.

    I give this film 5.5 out of 10 Hulk Smash Fists.

     


    Tomorrowland

    Colleen’s Movie Review

    I always give spoilers so consider yourself warned. =)

    Romance: There is a sweet relationship between Athena and a young Frank, George Clooney, but since we mostly spend time with the adult George Clooney, the love they shared once upon a time felt strange when they came across each other again. This is because she’s an android that doesn’t age.

            

    Special Effects: Everything about tomorrowland the place was pretty much awesome. I liked the old fashioned rockets and the Eiffel Tower becoming a launch pad. The giant robot things felt out of place in a Utopian society. The hovercraft monorail was an obvious nod to Disney’s monorail. But hover anything is cool.

     

    What I Liked: The whole vision of tomorrowland was really cool. I especially liked the floating swimming pools. Not sure why there were in the middle of the city but it was interesting and a totally awesome and absolutely unattainable dreamy kind of idea. Can’t find a picture but I did find a picture of this which is not in the movie but it’s freaking awesome.

    I really liked how I got a Tomorrowland pin when we went in to see the movie. That was a really awesome marketing tool! Disney is very adept at making things you want to collect and I see this pin becoming a collectible very quickly.

    The acting was really good. I liked all the characters and especially enjoyed seeing the It’s A Small World ride being used to transport mysterious people to another dimension. Though I’m not entirely sure how the whole interdimensional contraption actually worked. 

     

    What I’d Change: There were a lot of things about this movie that didn’t gel for me. 

    1) While I liked the whole Utopia of Tomorrowland, I couldn’t figure out why people were jet packing around or getting into rocket ships. Supposedly this place is a top secret alternate dimension created for the super smart scientists of the world to go invent stuff without all the red tape or big brother watching over their shoulders. The thing is, I mostly saw teenagers goofing off or playing with high tech toys.

    2) The robot bad guys with the toothy grins were cool but who sent them and why? Doesn’t make sense at all.

    3) I liked George Clooney and Athena as young kids falling in love but seeing the older version with the young girl felt strange and awkward.

    4) Why was the city destroyed?

    5) Why were the inventions never used to help mankind?

    6) How does negative thinking affect glaciers? 

    7) What was the purpose of the tachyon thing or the giant robots guarding it?

    8) Who put Hugh Laurie in charge? Why does he get to call the shots? 

    9) Why is the teenage girl the savior of the world? And why is the hat so important?

    10) Where did all the young androids come from? And why are all of them children?

    11) What good is recruiting waitresses and tree planters to a scientific Utopia?

    12) Why did we get into a sphere to go to the Eiffel Tower and board a rocket ship? Why couldn’t the sphere be the rocket ship?

    13) How did the rocket ship travel interdimensionally? There was no special gate or shooting around the sun going on.

    14) What was the point? I mean other than plugging Disney or Coke?

    15) Where did the $190,000,000 dollars go? Maybe making pins.

    The TaglineImagine a place where nothing is impossible

    I like it, if Tomorrowland the place had actually lived up to its purpose. 

    Hunky Hero: 

    George Clooney is undeniably hunky. The little glimpses of warmth I saw when he looked at Athena were very sweet and reminiscent of his E.R. days. I want that George Clooney back. He can be so charming when he wants to be. He just doesn’t seem to care about that anymore.

    The VillainHugh Laurie played David Nix, a character I didn’t really understand. He was the sort of gatekeeper of Tomorrowland and he alluded to the fact that he was using some kind of secret product to remain young. We never learn his true age but I can’t imagine he’d be older than 200ish since Tomorrowland’s “founding fathers” were early scientists like Thomas Edison. Regardless, he should be a man full of wisdom since he’s rubbed elbows with the best and brightest Earth can offer. Then he says things like, “We’ll be safe here in Tomorrowland.” This is while the Earth gets destroyed. My guess is that since Tomorrowland is layered on top of Earth there would still be consequences should the Earth fall. Also clearly something has happened to Tomorrowland to the point where even with robots they haven’t been able to make repairs. Not sure how safe they’d be or even why he’s so opposed to doing something about it. Which is ironic considering his big soapbox quote below. 

    Nix: You’ve got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation, explain that one. Bees butterflies start to disappear, the glaciers melt, the algae blooms. All around you the coal mine canaries are dropping dead and you won’t take the hint! In every moment there’s a possibility of a better future, but you people won’t believe it. And because you won’t believe it you won’t do what is necessary to make it a reality.

    And then the theme of the film.

    wolfCasey Newton: There are two wolves who are always fighting. One is darkness and despair. The other is light and hope. The question is… which wolf wins?

    Eddie Newton: The one you feed.

    This is a nice idea but belief doesn’t always lead to action. Also sometimes bad things just happen. You can’t always do something about it.

    Best Line: 

    Athena: I’ve figured out why you couldn’t make me laugh.

    Frank Walker: Why’s that?

    Athena: You’re not funny.

    This is funny because this movie was desperately screaming for some kind of humor to break up the bleakness. See the Nix paragraph above. I liked living in the 50’s version of the film. It was much more hopeful and exciting. By the time we moved into the modern world everything was depressing and just sad.

    Best Scene: The Tomorrowland “commercial” shown to Casey Newton.

    Recommended for YA Fans: It’s worth taking a look at. There are some interesting ideas here. If you’re a long time Disneyland fan you’ll like the beginning a lot. 

    Compared to the Book: There is a book that has been written to go along with the film. It might be a good idea to read this before seeing the movie as it may help you to make more sense of the film. I can’t really speak to it myself since I haven’t read it yet.


     

    Trailer:


    A Kid’s Perspective

     


    Lex’s Review: I like the girl robot because she is awesome and cool. My favorite part of the movie is when the girl gets the pin. If I could create a new ride in Tomorrowland it would be called Pacific Rim. Here’s how the ride would work. First you would go through the Jaeger’s head, then you go through the Kaiju’s mouth, then you would come out underwater and fight at the bottom of the ocean. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.

    Aidan’s Review: I like the guy, Frank, with a lot of tech. My favorite part is when they touch the pin. My idea for a ride in Tomorrowland is to be on a roller coaster and I could ride through different scenes in the movie and you would get splashed by the water. I would give this movie 5 out of 5 stars.

    A Guy’s Perspective

    2014-02-01 22.54.02

    Bio: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    Review: 

     

    Tomorrowland is perhaps my favorite, most intriguing section of the Disneyland theme park. For me, the film successfully transmitted that sense of wonder and curiosity that I often feel as I stroll through that section. Although the central message was somewhat clichéd and cheesy—typical of most Disney films— Tomorrowland was better than I expected as there was rarely a dull moment. An aura of mystery lingers throughout the film, keeping me on my toes to find out what happens next, and the special effects were excellent.

    George Clooney (Frank) is the celebrity attraction, but Britt Robertson (Casey) has the most film time and she carries the film adequately. Casey is pleasant enough, almost too teeming with a positive-Mickey-Mouse-Club-never-say-die demeanor, but not annoying or unlikeable, whereas Clooney comes off as a bitter old man with an axe to grind. Apparently, her upbeat demeanor is what sets her apart from the rat race heading for the inevitable apocalypse.

    While the special effects were well-done, I thought the Eiffel Tower splitting in half to reveal a secret rocket in the underground compartment was a tad unbelievable. On the other hand, I enjoyed the scenic transformation when Casey touches the Tomorrowland pin, and she takes us with her on her journey of discovery.

    The conclusion is a bit of a stretch, but I did not feel like I had wasted my money. Though I did think directors/producers/writers Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and Damon Lindelof (Lost) could have done a better job, I would still give this film 7 Hulk Smash Fists.

    I give this film 7 Hulk Smash Fists.

     

    This entry was posted in A Guy's Perspective, Kid's Perspective, Movie Review.

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    Colleen Houck
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.