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Review: ‘Fantastic Beasts’ is Fun and Surprising

Kind of too late for a spoiler-free review, but if you don’t want spoilers then you know what’s good for you.

It feels hard to enjoy a movie when you get there late with your friends and the only seats left are in the very front row—especially an action-fantasy blockbuster like Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. In retrospect, Fantastic Beasts was cool and I enjoyed it, but the first time watching it I kind of felt like the pacing was a little too fast. I didn’t hear the names of most of the creatures, and I couldn’t keep track of the characters, either. At least not as much as I would have liked to.

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It’s December, and the Doctor is Back (Finally)

It’s been a long time since we have had new Doctor Who. It will be exactly one year when the new Christmas special airs. In all fairness, this year may have felt really long to those of us who are “new” to the series. Let’s remember, thought, that from May of 1996 until March of 2005 there was nothing. No Doctor Who on TV for nearly ten years. The last episode before the 1996 TV movie was aired in 1989. Our little one year break is really nothing.

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11 Reasons I’m Grateful for Salt Lake Comic Con

While you’re digesting your turkey and pie and thinking about the things you are grateful for, feel welcome to browse this list and the attached photos, and if you want to give feedback you can share why you are grateful for Salt Lake Comic Con. Disclaimer: yes, next week for my personal blog I’m going to be posting a wish list for guests to have at future SLCC events, so if you think I’m buttering up the Salt Lake con organizers I won’t blame you for thinking that. And bear in mind, none of these are in any particular order…except towards the end.

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Sliding in to Slytherin

In case you don’t follow me on social media, this might be news. In advance of the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I’ve finally joined Pottermore. I took the sorting quizzes for both Ilvermorny and Hogwarts on Monday night. For Ilvermorny I got Pukwudgie. No surprises there even though Pukwudgies aren’t as cool as the animals the represent the other houses, IMHO.

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‘Doctor Strange’ Makes Impressive Magic

I wouldn’t really say there are spoilers in this review, but I do discuss some of the highlights of the film openly rather than the ending or what happens to people. So sit tight.

A Strange Place in the MCU

I went to the Salt Lake Comic Con screening of Doctor Strange last week. It was fun to watch a new MCU movie with a group of excited and eager fans—kind of a cross between a family reunion and a pep rally. When I got back to Provo, the first group of friends I ran into asked me how good Doctor Strange is and how much I liked it. You probably want to ask me the same thing, so I’ll tell you the same thing I told them. It’s not as good as Marvel’s best like Guardians of the Galaxy. I don’t think it’s as good of a film as Captain America: Civil War but then again there’s some bias to that. I don’t LOVE it like I love The Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But it is better than Thor: The Dark World and Age of Ultron. I would put Doctor Strange in the same category as the first Thor film or the Iron Man films as far as both enjoyment and quality. As far as its place in the MCU, it doesn’t tie into the previous films hardly at all, which it didn’t need to, but I feel like it is going to be a set-up for a lot of things to come.

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A True Princess: Leia Organa’s Story

I figured something out a month or two ago: Princess Leia does not get to live a happy life.

Popular culture has always defined the term “princess” as a helpless or hapless royal heroine, a damsel in distress, a fashion model. And pop culture dictates that a princess must go on to live “happily ever after,” either by marrying a more or less royal Prince Charming or by asserting her female independence.   The term “Princess” looks superficial on Leia, but she lives up to her title in so many ways.

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10 Favorite Halloween Movies

Halloween is just around the corner, and maybe you are looking for something fun or a little bit spooky to watch to pass the time on this crisp fall evenings. This is a list of some of my favorite movies to watch this time of year. The first thing you should know about me is that I am absolutely a wimp when it comes to Halloween movies. I don’t like scary and I don’t like bloody or gory. So maybe that makes this a pretty weak list, but it’s what I enjoy.

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Meet Utah’s Top Cosplayers-Part 2

It can look like Cosplay came out of nowhere. But science-fiction and fantasy have been popular genres for generations now—one could argue that they’ve been around as long as literature itself. Costuming has been around since the first scifi conventions in the 1930s and 40s, when people would dress up to fit into the genre they liked to consume, not necessarily to reflect certain characters. By the 1970s there were formalized costume contests and standards for costuming. The term “cosplay” itself was invented by a Japanese news reporter who visited an American convention in 1970 as a shortened form of the terms “costume play”.

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Living with Super Powers: A Survey

The cool thing about science fiction and fantasy is that it allows us to examine what makes us human. Because more often than not, the genre features a protagonist or group of protagonists with capabilities beyond those of ordinary humans. And sometimes we watch how extraordinary humans cope with still living an ordinary life, or learning to adjust to a different one.

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My 10 Favorite Movies

Recently, Tim Champlin tweeted me and asked if I could do a list of my ten favorite movies. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I jumped at the opportunity to do it. Before I get into this list, I want to set a few ground rules. First, these are my favorite movies. I don’t know how to quantify “favorite,” but I do know that it is not the same as a list of the ten best movies. Some of these movies may not be great, but they are movies I could sit and watch again and again, for the most part. Also, you can’t argue someone’s favorite movies. You just can’t. Another rule I set for myself was limiting myself to one movie per series. Otherwise, this list would be nothing but Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. That would be boring. So, in no particular order, here is my list.

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