"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" Extended Cut Review (No Spoilers)

Last night, across the nation, Fathom Events hosted a special early screening of "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" extended cut.  The roughly 20 minutes of new footage was enough to earn the extended version an "R" rating.  However, if you saw the original theatrical cut of BotFA or took your children to see it, you are probably safe doing the same with the extended cut.  Yes, more "classic Peter Jackson" outrageous battlefield deaths occur in the extended cut, but just the fact that they are indeed so Peter-Jackson-esque means that they are played for laughs, somewhat ridiculous, and there's no gore seen up close.  And this is "The Hobbit," after all - this is fantasy violence - orcs beating on dwarves, dwarves beating on trolls, trolls beating on elves, etc.  The MPAA chooses to stand firm on some types of content, such as long, sustained scenes of violence, therefore the "R" rating pops up despite the added scenes not much more gruesome than the theatrical cut.


Geek Gear of the Week

For the die-hard Gatsby fan in your life who will totally get this somewhat obscure The Great Gatsby reference, here is a "West Egg/East Egg" necklace from Modcloth.  The charm is a clever allusion to the dichotomous cities Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby inhabit during that infamous summer... And now to decide... Who's going to wear old money versus who's going to wear new money?

Product page on modcloth.com


"White God" Movie Review

I have been waiting with bated breath for six months to see Kornel Mundruczo's "White God."  You don't have to be a dog-lover to appreciate the powerful and hair-raising sight that is two hundred dogs sprinting through the streets of Hungary.  And the best part is that not a shred of CGI was used to achieve this scene.  It was the sight of this army of dogs, which I viewed in the trailer in March 2015, that intrigued me.  Knowing full well that these well-trained (and extremely photogenic, I might add) dogs were most likely part of thinly veiled political commentary, I settled in for the wait for this story to come to Netflix.


Eden 2.0: A Review of "Ex Machina" (Major Spoilers)

The title of Alex Garland's film "Ex Machina" is a truncated form of the Latin phrase "deus ex machina."  The translation is "god from the machine."  The phrase conjures similar imagery to the idea of the "ghost in the machine" from Cartesian dualism, especially in the context of a film like "Ex Machina" which deals with an artificial intelligence.  The meaning is much more literal, however.  Deus ex machina refers to a device from Greek drama in which a crane (a machine) would suddenly lower an actor playing a god onto the stage, whose appearance typically provided a convenient solution to a seemingly unsolvable dilemma and wrapped everything up in a nice little package.

Most likely "Ex Machina" as the title of this film, however, was meant to carry dual meaning.  Yes, hardware or machinery is the means by which a superior being enters the stage, but there are also undeniable overtones of what it means to play god, and what happens when your creation deviates from your plans for it.


"Wolf Hall" Episode 1 Review (No Spoilers, Except for Historical Facts...)

Image credit: notjustanothertvsite.com
In January of this year, BBC Two released a television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, based on the Tudor period of history.  They are told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell, who in his lifetime rose from obscurity to adviser and close confidante to the King of England.

It has felt like a very long wait for "Wolf Hall" to begin airing in the US, but it is finally here.  Episode one aired on PBS's Masterpiece segment on April 5th, and will continue to air Sunday evenings at 10/9c.


More Home Decor Straight from Middle-Earth

"...though there was still some store of weapons in the Shire, these were used mostly as trophies, hanging above hearths or on walls, or gathered into the museum at Michel Delving.  The Mathom-house it was called; for anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they caled a mathom."
--Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

I have found many things worth hanging above the hearth and on walls at the Mithril and Mathoms Etsy shop (formerly known as the tiedyejedi Etsy shop).  You might remember Mithril and Mathom's colorful, ironic, and, as always, exquisite Middle-Earth themed accoutrements from this post in April last year.

Well, the owner of Mithril and Mathoms is at it again with a completely redrawn Elvish Map of Middle-Earth.  If you are looking to impress your fellow mathom-collectors out there, you might need to have this particular map, since all the place names have been drawn in Tengwar - the Elvish script.  The best part is you can request that the owner of the shop alter the colors of the text, geographical landmarks, and/or background.  Eeek!

Elvish Map of Middle-Earth; image source: mithrilandmathoms.com

Check out mithrilandmathoms.com for other "mathoms" worth having such as necklaces based on the Elvish mapadorable posters for your kitchen detailing a Hobbit's love for food, and a Gollum parody of the familiar Precious Moments collectibles!


"Interstellar": The Most Realistic Film about Space Travel You Have Ever Seen

Image source: showbizcafe.com
The typical space odyssey throws mankind into the arena either with a much more intelligent and evolved species whose involvement is meant to guide us, or with any number of extraterrestrial adversaries, truly "alien" in both their appearances and their ways.  The Enterprise took us on a tour of colorful worlds full of humanoid beings who could teach us more about ourselves and more about peace.  The Obelisk showed up to nudge us toward technological advancement and progress, for worse or for better.  Then the Xenomorph burst onto the scene (forgive the pun), but unfortunately, "In space, no one can hear you scream."  Then we borrowed the tall, blue-skinned physical forms of the Na'vi with which to have all manner of adventures among the gorgeous phosphorescent plant life.