Who Has Two Thumbs and a Tumblr?

This blog, that’s who.

I’ll be sharing my all reviews on there as well as random thoughts and things I like (things that are safe for work and the family, by the way; I’m no sicko). If you don’t follow me here on WordPress you can through there and immediately get updated when I publish something new.

Also, it’d be really nice to have some followers that don’t go by the name “obese-loving-mama”. Just sayin’.

https://upontheshelfreviews.tumblr.com/

 

Addendum: This is my 100th post on this blog. How about this for a milestone?

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Gravity Falls Review: “Blendin’s Game” (S02E08)

If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.

Previously on Gravity Falls: Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are spending the summer in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a little town where the strange and supernatural are almost everyday occurrences; Dipper and Mabel, usually along with their friends Soos and Wendy, have encountered everything from ghosts, zombies and demons to shapeshifters and time-travelers. One in particular has a bone to pick with the Mystery Twins after using him to mess with the space-time continuum…

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“All right, but what I don’t get is how did the police know you were stuck in one of Stan’s weird displays?”


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“It’s quite simple. You see, if my good friend President Trembley hadn’t spied our dear Miss Shelf in the Mystery Shack and informed me of her wrongful imprisonment, we wouldn’t have been able to alert the authorities and she would still be trapped in that glass tomb.”

I owe you both my life. One more round of tic-tac-toe with Mabel and I thought I’d lose my mind.

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“Think nothing of it. Should you ever need my services again Miss Shelf, I am always happy to oblige.”

Thank you, Baron.

…Actually, there is something. You say you’re friends with Trembley?

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“We do have opposing thoughts regarding the public visibility of knickers, but yes, I consider him a friend and ally.”

Would you be able to reach him quickly and deliver him here?

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“Of course. Why do you ask?”

Trembley said he’d return when this country needed him most, and I’ve got a feeling that day’s not far off…it’s time to get ready.

 

Oh, wait. There’s a review to do first.

 

The episode opens in the year Twenty-sneventy…you know, I haven’t the courage to try to spell it. Here it is.

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A shadowy figure dodges through the streets of a futuristic hellhole chased by Lolph and Dundgren, officers of the Time Police. They catch up to him and reveal the fugitive is former Time Officer Blendin Blandin, recently escaped from time prison after being incarcerated for wreaking havoc in the 21st century. Before he can be carted away, Blendin shocks those present by publicly invoking “Globnar”. The officers put away their handcuffs and ask who it is that Blendin wishes to challenge – Dipper and Mabel Pines.

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Gravity Falls Review: “Society of the Blind Eye” (S02E07)

If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.

Previously on Gravity Falls:
Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are spending the summer in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a little town where the strange and supernatural are almost everyday occurrences. When Dipper’s not trying to learn the identity of the Author of the enigmatic Journal that’s been aiding him in his adventures, or Mabel isn’t trying to start the perfect summer romance, they’re evading ghosts, monsters, zombies, living mini-golf balls, and attracting the attention of a powerful demon who once sought to wreck their great-uncle’s mind…

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“I’m tellin’ ya, I swear I didn’t know I locked HER up! You gotta believe me!”

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“That’ll be for the court to decide, Mr. Pines.”

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“How was I supposed to know what she looked like when I’ve never seen her face before?”

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“Would you like me to taser him, Ms. Shelf? You’re within your legal rights to permit it.”

Really?

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“Well, no, but we’d be more happy to if it gets him to stop talking.”

Leave him be, officer. I’m not pressing charges – as long as this sort of thing doesn’t happen to every tourist whose car breaks down on the side of the road in the middle of the night, right Stanford?

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“Y-yeah, water under the bridge. All non-canon. Hey, help yourself to 10% off a t-shirt! I’m not picky!”

Of course. By the way, hope you enjoyed this opening because it’s the only part of the review you’re appearing in this week.

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“WHAT?! Come on! I’m the heart of this series! Who are you gonna give the Crowning Line to, Soos’ grandma again?”

You’re barely even in this episode. Consider yourself lucky I’m such a big fan of the Mystery Shack that I’m not suing.

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“All I’m saying is there’s so many times you can hand it to Mabel before people think you’re playing favor-“

Oh officer, all this stress of spending over two weeks in a glass box is getting to me! I think I’m about to swoon!

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“Ok, ok, I’m going! Sheesh, these interannette reviewers think they’re so entitled…”

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August Review: Moana (2016)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material.)

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Greetings and wel(ow)come to this month’s (ow) review of (ow) Disney’s latest animated (ow) feature Mo(ow)ana. I hope you’re (ow) as excited as I am (ow).

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Um, not that I’m actually concerned about your well being, but, you ok, Shelf?

Have you ever had carpal tunnel, Cynicism?

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Well seeing as I’m part of you, yes. Disney College Program, 2012. Both hands. Remember?

How could I forget?

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So it’s back again? Just take some Advil and get a stenographer to help with the review.

Don’t worry, I got this. Frankly it’s my own fault anyway. Remember how in school the teacher would make you copy lines starting with “I will not” for hours so you’d never do what you did to earn that punishment again? I set out to do that before writing this review of Moana so that way my fair judgement wouldn’t be clouded by…certain musical preferences.

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There’s no point in repeating how much 2016 sucked donkey balls, but I can rest easy knowing what a red letter year it was for the world’s foremost musical laureate, Lin-Manuel Miranda. He was already established on the Broadway circuit for his Tony-winning show In The Heights and providing an authentic Spanish translation for the Puerto Rican Sharks in the 2009 revival of West Side Story, but the runaway success of Hamilton quickly established him as the poetic voice of our time. It’s no surprise that Disney scooped him up as quickly as possible. When I found out he was going to be writing the songs for Moana, my excitement for this movie tripled. In addition to that, Lin is scheduled to voice Gizmoduck in the Ducktales reboot, play Bert 2.0 Jack in the upcoming Mary Poppins sequel, and work with Alan Menken on new songs for the live-action Little Mermaid remake. Lin is already a major Disney fan and proud of it (he even named his son Sebastian), so on top of winning all the Tonys and Emmys and Grammys and Pulitzers, working with Disney is a dream come true for him. And once you hear the songs from Moana, you know he put his damndest into making them worthy of being sung along with the classic tunes he grew up with. The best part? He succeeded. Had it not been for La La Land he most likely would have become a PEGOT winner five months ago. To come so far in such a short amount of time with his talent and work ethic, the man freaking deserves it.

But I can’t attribute all of Moana’s success to Lin. Not only is there a crack team of animators, effects artists, and storyboard artists that would take too long to name individually, but after a nearly ten-year absence from Disney animation, John Musker and Ron Clements have returned to the director’s chair. These two guys are pretty much responsible for the Disney Renaissance AND the current Revival period we’re in, having provided their trademark knack for story and humor to The Great Mouse Detective, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, and The Princess and the Frog. Despite their efforts to make Moana Disney’s first feature fully animated in Meander, which near-seamlessly combines hand-drawn and computer animation (and was used to create the Oscar-winning short Paperman), they were forced to compromise and make it all CGI – with one welcome exception. This marks their first foray into the medium, but does that mean visual quality is put before story and character? Can it be considered worthy of being a Musker/Clements movie, let alone a Disney movie? Let’s find out.

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Gravity Falls Review: “Little Gift Shop of Horrors” (S02E06)

Hey, you new around here? Go HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”, the first of my grandniece and nephew’s, uh, “adventures”.

Previously on Gravity Falls:
So this summer my nephew decided to ship his kids Dipper and Mabel over to my place, the Mystery Shack, to stay with their beloved great-uncle Grunkle Stan (that’s me.) Between you and me though, the real mystery is what goes on outside the Shack. Gravity Falls has got gremlins, goblins, gremloblins, zombies, gnomes, and all sorts of spooky stuff that my family loves chasing around. It’s dangerous, but at least it’s a distraction from the basement…
…which the Mystery Shack doesn’t have.
…What? Why you lookin’ at me funny? What’s a basement??!

Uh…let’s move on.

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Gravity Falls Review: “Soos and the Real Girl” (S02E05)

If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.

Previously on Gravity Falls:
Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are spending the summer in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a little town where the strange and supernatural are almost everyday occurrences. Their great-uncle Stan runs the local tourist trap The Mystery Shack with friendly handyman Soos who often helps out when they’re in a jam no matter how bizarre.

The episode starts with Mabel getting her braces trapped in the screen door (as per the norm). She’s rescued by Soos before he quits for the day. The Pines wonder what Soos’ life is like outside the Mystery Shack.

At his home, Soos helps his grandmother with her highlights while in the midst of an intense video gaming session. Abuelita informs him that his cousin Reggie is getting married and it would make her happy if he could bring a date for his engagement party.

Abuelita: I would like to see you settled before I ascend to Heaven to live with the angels.

Soos: And with Grandpa!

Abuelita: …No, he is…not there.

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Spoiler Alert: Abuelita is winning Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness for this episode.

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Gravity Falls Review: “Sock Opera” (S02E04)

If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit Gravity Falls from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.

Previously on Gravity Falls:
Twelve year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are spending the summer in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a little town where the strange and supernatural are almost everyday occurrences. When Dipper’s not trying to learn the identity of the Author of the enigmatic Journal that’s been aiding him in his adventures, or Mabel isn’t crushing on a new boy, they’re evading ghosts, monsters, zombies, living mini-golf balls, and attracting the attention of a powerful demon who once sought to wreck their great-uncle’s mind…

After days of tuning up, Soos has the laptop he found in the Author’s bunker in working condition. The only problem is it needs a password in order for Dipper to unlock it and hopefully learn more about the Author of the Journal. He and Mabel decide to sleuth some potential passwords in the Gravity Falls library. Mabel promises her complete undivided attention on the task at hand – but then she sees him.

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All right, who let one of the Sev’ral Timez clones out and made him a puppeteer?

Mabel introduces herself to the teenage puppet master, Gabe Bensen (Matt Chapman). Gabe asks if she shares an interest in puppets and Mabel is so desperate to impress him that she tells him she’s planning a big sock puppet show for that weekend. Mabel begs Dipper to help her, promising that it will only be a few days of work. Reluctantly he agrees, even though it means taking time away from digging into the laptop. They go home to get started, unaware that they’re not alone.

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July Review: Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material.)

much-ado-about-nothing-movie-poster-1993“Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more.
Men were deceivers ever.
One foot on sea, and one on shore,
to one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so
But let them go
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all
Your sounds of woe
Into hey, nonny, nonny.”

Ah, William Shakespeare. The Bard. The muse of many. Stratford-Upon-Avon’s golden boy. The man who put humanity to prose and through his many poems, songs and plays revealed the nature of –

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I had a feeling this would happen.

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Now that I have your attention, let me say that I get what many of you are feeling right now. Chances are you were forced to read Shakespeare in your high school English class and you most likely found it the most dull indecipherable piece of literature to be praised as art since…well, take your pick of the other classics you probably had to read. Sadly, that’s the trap most English teachers fall into. Shakespeare wrote poetry, which is prime for studying and easy enough for most folks to understand, but he’s primarily famous for his plays, and plays aren’t supposed to be read like any other book – they’re supposed to be seen. Even I in my obsessive bookworminess had difficulty understanding what was really happening while reading Hamlet and Macbeth unless I read the side notes or my teacher put on film versions of the plays that we were reviewing.

I had a general grasp of how important the works of Shakespeare were and even had some interest in learning more about them unlike my bored classmates, but I was never quite able to appreciate the works of Will ’til long after I left the classroom setting. Much of that is primarily thanks to the videos of Kyle Kallgren and Overly Sarcastic Productions. Both reviewers have very distinctive styles – one an in-depth analysis that balances familiarity with the subject with pop culture playfulness, the other a speedy anime-drawn recap marked by a few snarky asides and often a gentle acoustic cover of a song related to the subject played over the end credits – but they both made me realize the reason why Shakespeare has persisted for over 400 years and is taught ad nauseum: his stories are universal. Be it love, war, vengeance, betrayal, magic, history, religion, family, legacy, the transition from youth to adulthood, gender and societal roles, or the very nature of being, the Bard has covered most every genre and theme known to man, and created some of the most popular stories and characters that have been revisited countless times by an infinite parade of directors, actors, cultures, and storytellers. One particular auteur was singled out by Kyle for revitalizing Shakespeare for the silver screen in the much latter half of the 20th century.

Disney's "Cinderella" World Premiere - Arrivals

Kenneth Branaugh, the finest slice of Northern Irish ham you’ll ever see on stage or screen, and one of the most highly regarded Shakespearean thespians of our time, having both directed and starred in lavish film versions of Henry the Fifth, Hamlet, Love’s Labors Lost, As You Like It, a filmed stage adaptation of The Winter’s Tale and the movie I’ll be reviewing today, Much Ado About Nothing – or as I like to call it, the blueprint for every future rom-com ever made. There’s fanciful innuendos, a main couple and a smaller less important couple that we both want to see hook up, a black best friend providing both sage advice and comic relief, misunderstandings that could easily be cleared up in a matter of seconds if they stopped to think about it, and much of it hinges around a “will they-won’t they” plot that you could probably guess ends with “they will”. Branaugh can be beautifully subtle in both acting and style, but boy can he bring on the bombast whether we want it or not. In this case his over-the-top hamminess and obvious love for the material makes this outing a fun ride.

If you’re concerned that this review is going to be too highbrow compared to my usual work, there’s no need to worry. In some ways I’m on the same level as you guys. I confess that I’ve never seen any of Shakespeare’s plays performed live, I’m not very familiar with some of the language and phrasing outside of what little I remember from high school and some Youtube videos explaining select passages, and sadly my Cine-Kyle is still in the mail, but that’s never stopped me from enjoying many of the Bard’s works as seen on film (nor has it stopped me from trying to sound smarter than I really am). Once you understand the actions behind the flowery language, though, it’s pretty simple to take it from there. Never fear, I will be acting as your translator in my own unique way throughout this review.

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Gravity Falls Review: “The Golf War” (S02E03)

If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.

Previously on Gravity Falls:
It’s been a tense few days for the Pines family. First the grand re-opening of the Mystery Shack is crashed by a horde of zombies, then Dipper almost unleashes a murderous shape-shifting creature on the world and is forced to come to terms with his one-sided crush on Wendy. Now’s as good a time as any to unwind with a wholesome family activity, don’t you think?

Mabel runs into the living room with exciting news: her fashion tips for squirrels are going to be featured in the newspaper! She unfurls it only to find Pacifica Northwest, her rival ever since she first came to Gravity Falls, has taken up the front page. Mabel deals with her rich competitor getting the best of her again in her own way.

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Mabel, we really need to talk about your OJ problem.

Dipper draws Mabel’s attention to a mini-golf course being advertised on tv. Apparently Mabel is a mini-golf savant, kicking butt since she could first pick up a putter. The Pines proceed to cheer Mabel up by taking her golfing. She does phenomenally, even attracting a decent sized crowd. But on the last hole, the one involving a windmill, the ball comes out in a random direction and ruins Mabel’s perfect hole-in-one.

To make things worse, who should come along but Pacifica and her family to taunt her. (“Soos, would it be wrong to punch a child?” asks Grunkle Stan. For once I’m with him.) Pacifica is also skilled at mini-golf, having been trained by a gold medal mini-golf champion named Sergei. She makes a hole-in-one on both the last course and the bonus round, and has the crowd passive-aggressively applaud Mabel for reaching second place.

A humiliated Mabel demands a rematch and screams that she’s a one-dimensional bleached blonde valley girl stereotype.

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Pacifica is ready to kick Mabel’s butt then and there, but a storm closes out the golf course. She tells Mabel to meet at midnight to end this grudge match once and for all.

The Pines stop for a quick bite where Mabel confesses she’s not feeling very confident about beating Pacifica. Mini-golf is something she’s excelled at for so long, the thought of Pacifica topping her makes her question her talents. Dipper reassures her that if she does beat Pacifica at her own game, then Pacifica could never make fun of her for anything again, leading to this bit of awesomeness.

With her confidence restored and Grunkle Stan leaping at the chance to break his family into somewhere after hours (nothing like a nice illegal family outing), they speed to the golf course as darkness approaches. And, in one of my favorite heartwarming moments from Stan, he gives Mabel a trophy sticker from her book and tells her to knock ’em dead.

Having arrived early Mabel practices on the windmill hole. Each ball she knocks through falls short of the hole, however. Dipper doesn’t understand how it’s possible, but then he hears something moving inside. He and Mabel investigate and uncover –

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