Hope everyone is having a good Memorial Day weekend. I would have posted Friday as I decided that I would post Fridays and Sundays, but Friday the 26th was my husband's birthday and we annually go out to see one of the new summer blockbuster films in theaters and to eat. We ate Chinese and saw X-Men: The Last Stand. I'll do a review for that shortly. Saturday, we went to the Virginia Renaissance Faire at Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania, Virginia
( http://www.varf.org/ ). I dressed as a pirate and Bill wore his ultikilt. The day was sunny and nice, and the faire was wonderful. We had Sneaky Pete's for lunch, who frequents the Richmond Highland Games and has Heaven on a stick in my opinion--which is a baked potato drowned in melted cheese, a hot dog (Irish hot dog-LOL), and slices of pork, all grilled on a grill with Sneaky Pete's, which is peat. Mmmmm, mmmmmmm. We spent the day, wandering around the faire, buying me a dragon in armor statue and visiting my girlfriend, Merion, who was a merchant there, selling her costumes, jewelry and few things she didn't make under Mim's Whims:( http://www.mimswhims.com/ ). If you need a costume for a convention, a romance author needing a costume for next year's Romantic Times Convention, or for Halloween or Ren faires, contact my friend through her website--she's not bad on the prices, does great work (I'm a costumer too, and yeah, she's good) and will custom make the costume for you. Her hand made jewelry is wonderful too--I got a pair of earrings from her for Christmas and they're wonderful. Anyway, to go on, we got home from the faire by 7PM, in time for me to watch the DVD I'd rented, Blood of the Beasts, a werewolf, Beauty and the Beast tale, set in the medieval times of the Vikings. I really enjoyed this movie. It had the fantasy and magic (the Beast had been a man cursed by Odin for killing Odin's Beast, now he is forced to wear the dead monster's skin and has been growing steadily more beast-like, loosing the essence of the man), a werewolf tale which is Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, retold in an earlier time than the fairy tale was set itself. There's the romance for the romance authors and readers out there. The ending though disappointed me, and I tell you why it left me short, but then I will give out a spoiler for those who hate spoilers, and ruin the movie. Rent it--it really was enjoyable--the ending may not bother you as much as me.Well, now before I sign off and get ready for a cookout my husband and i were invited to (by my good friend, Elizabeth Blue, a super horror author and book reviewer for zPretty-Scary.Net), I'll give my review for the new X-Men film that just came out. X-Men: The Last Stand ReviewFirst, to let everyone know, I do know most of the X-Men mythology as my son (who's now 28) collected both the Spiderman and X-Men comics and is into the whole scene with these comics. I was the involved mother, reading what my son read, like every mother should. If you want to know the mythology behind the X-Men when you go see the film and see why it is one thing I'll be picking on about this film, go to http://www.marvel.com/ and you can find out about each and every X-Men, including Jean Grey and Dark Phoenix (which she is in this film). Okay, first, I am sure the fans were upset. Jean Grey, aka Dark Phoenix's whole mythology was screwed up. Plus a couple other characters too. That's one aspect. Another gripe was some characters were put as so minor, becoming two-dimensional cardboard people, put in there just to further along the story. Okay, this is a spoiler, but since this is a gripe of mine, if you don't want to go on and read, then please don't, I understand. Otherwise, here I go: Scott Summers, in pain over her death, goes to the lake where she died in the last film, and after a blast from his eyes, she rises from the waters. Now here's where I had issues, besides screwing with the mythology, I understand why when later she kills Charles Xavier (another screwing with the myth), but she kisses Scott and kills him. Why, she does, as he's no threat to her like Xavier that she thought was. But like I said, he was that two-dimensional character, and not even making you care for him when he does get killed by her. Oh, the film had great action scenes, the special effects were superb, and I loved Ian McKellen as the evil Magneto, but Ian can play both evil and good characters to a T (who else could make a great Gandalf?). Another character with promise, though not enough, but still wasn't as two-dimensional as others, was Kitty Pryde. But otherwise, geesh, even the major enough characters like Storm and Wolverine, had become sad copies of their selves in the last two films. Hugh Jackson as Wolverine is still great eye candy for us ladies and macho enough for the guys, but I missed the Wolverine from the first two movies. Bryan Singer as director had taken him, along with Storm and the others, and gave us clarity and subtlety: layered, complex themes of discrimination, alienation and humanity. The first films were rich, with conflicted characters, sly humor underneath it all and with multiple points of view. He was able to take so many characters and give them all diverse, personal characters, and make them work. Between him gone and replacing some of the screenwriters, we get a film that lacks the heart and soul the first two had. Worse, except for Ian's Magneto (even he wasn't as good as in the first films), the evil characters were pitiful. Basically they were black, the good guys white, with no interweaving of gray. And talking of gray, Jean Grey's Dark Phoenix, an entity who supposedly went mad, most of the time either reminded me more of a spoiled brat on a tangent, or just glowered as she stood there during the last action scene at Alcatraz Island, until she was called upon to show us her nasty powers, which were short and really disappointing. If you go expecting the last two films, then you'll be disappointed. Just enjoy it for the popcorn fluff it is, as a way to escape the summer heat and let your mind unwind. It could have been more thrilling while meaning something; instead it is nothing more than like the popcorn you'll be munching on.