Reviews with Pizzazz: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows”

Boss-Bot is back! Please enjoy his newest post in “Reviews with Pizzazz”! 🙂

 

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” Review

Wow.  In a good way, though.  All that needs to be said about this movie is that if you like the Turtles, the certain aspects of the movie at the very least will put a smile on your face.  If you don’t like the Turtles, you won’t like the movie.  It’s as simple as that.  This movie is truly fan service at its best.  I’ve been a Turtles fan since the ’03 4Kids series and have loved the heroes in a half shell ever since.  That being said, the movie isn’t perfect, so here are the good and bad.

Good:

Compared to the 2014 predecessor this film really nails the characters; all of them.  We really see the Turtles struggle and eventually grow as a team throughout the picture.  Their goofy personalities are still there, while the crude humor is toned down from the 2014 movie; which no one is complaining about.  Rather than the cliché Leo vs. Raph drama which has been really overdone at this point, the turmoil between the brothers does not seem forced and it works.  That’s what is important: it works.  Turtles aside, Splinter has a much smaller, more fatherly role which worked for his character.  Rather than being a major player, he’s in the shadows and gives advice and wisdom when necessary, as a sensei should.  The human protagonists are not as heavily pushed as the last film.  As much as I loved the 2014 reboot, at times it felt more like the adventures of April O’Neil than a movie dedicated to the Turtles.  That being said, I did like Fox’s April and loved Will Arnett’s new character of Vern Fenwick during the 2014 film.  I had the same feelings towards their roles in “Out of the Shadows”.  While we saw less of them, they were used much more wisely.  April seemed much less of the focus character, but did important detective work with the Turtles.  Vern was still a great comic relief and his “Falcon Breath” scene was one of the funniest moments in the picture.  Onto the villains, we have an array of fan favorites including Baxter Stockman, Shredder, Krang, and even Bebop and Rocksteady.  Shredder was more of a traditional ninja rather than the last film’s Iron Man suit, which I liked, but I digress.  He was silent, intimidating, and seemed like a convincing Shredder.  Tyler Perry was surprisingly great as Dr. Stockman.  He was quirky, funny, and nailed the character, which seemed based off of the 2012 show’s incarnation of Stockman.  Krang was done well, too.  While not as memorable as the last villains that will be discussed, he was eerily humorous and again, most importantly, it worked.  Last but certainly not least, the best characters done in the film were Bebop and Rocksteady.  Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams nailed the duo.  They were hilarious throughout the film and took the goofiness of the characters so seriously that you would truly believe the two were Bebop and Rocksteady.  The film’s tone and plot was much lighter and more cartoony than the 2014 film.  The Turtles are goofy and not meant to be taken seriously, so the light, comedic tone of the film was perfect for the franchise.  Most importantly, it was fun.  The script was corny, but it should be.  It’s a Turtles movie.  Call it a popcorn movie or just a fun movie, but for what the Turtles are it worked.  Not to forget, the film truly had heart.  The moral of one accepting who they are against what society believes is powerful to the casual viewer, fan, and incredibly important for the young viewers to understand.  This movie was for the fans of the franchise, to put it simply.  Not to mention, if you looked really closely when Shredder was frozen in the Technodrome, there was a frozen Triceraton next to him.  #BattleNexus

The Bad:

Well, there isn’t much bad for me to say.  I’m biased as I loved the film, but for general audience goers there could be some issues.  One could find the script too cartoonish, but as a nonfan it would make sense how not everyone will appreciate the film’s script.  The only other negative would be bathroom humor, but there was not much.  There was only one fart joke, which was not as cringe worthy as it could have been.  Other than that, I really did not find that many faults with the movie.  Before watching, one must remember “Out of the Shadows” is meant to be a fun, summer popcorn film.  It’s not meant to be taken seriously and torn apart.  It’s meant to simply be an enjoyable way to spend a few hours during a summer day.

Overall:

Out of a star rating, I would definitely give it a 5/5.  This rating is coming from a fan.  The good outweighed all of the bad for me and it was a fun movie.  It succeeded at its purpose: being an enjoyable film.  Coming from a more critical perspective, I would give it a 4/5.  The humor and plot may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that changes from person to person.  While some really hate this movie, all I can say is it’s at the very least, better than the last one.

Crafts with Pizzazz: Luke Skywalker and Yoda!

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Hello from Bee!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the first “Star Wars”-themed post appeared on our blog.

Okay, so it was last week. 🙂

The point is, “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” opens this Thursday, and Boss-Bot and I are more excited than Stormtroopers who went to a Samsung store and found the Droids they were looking for.

In honor of our love for “Star Wars,” I’ve been doing a lot of craft projects worthy of the Rebel Alliance. Last week, I showed you Han Solo and Princess Leia. This week, I would like to present a pair of famous Jedis: Luke Skywalker and Yoda!

With my “people pattern,” Luke was easy to crochet. For his longer Tatooine shirt, I just added a few extra rows in the same way that I made Mary Poppins’s skirt and Leia’s dress. I also chained a piece of brown yarn for a belt.

When I started Yoda, I knew that I wanted to make him as close to scale as possible to the other figures – which, for Yoda, was a little less than half the size (“Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm!…”). I ended up scaling down the basic proportions from my pattern, taking out a few rows here and there to create a rounder head and shorter legs. I also added two triangular pieces of flat crochet for his ears, and a triple knot of yarn for a more defined nose. His beige robe was created by crocheting a flat piece of half-double crochet that, halfway through, I split into two sections, essentially creating a big letter Y. The two top parts of the Y drape over Yoda’s shoulders and attach to the sides of the lower part.

Look fantastic, they do! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Han Solo and Princess Leia!

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Hello from Bee!

Well, it’s December, which means snow, holidays, and of course, the new “Star Wars” movie! “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” premieres next week; with presale tickets numbering in the millions, resulting in so many theaters already sold out opening night/day (like all of the ones near Boss-Bot and me), it is clear that this is going to be the movie of the season.

Boss-Bot and I are certainly excited about it! We’ve been getting our Force on with movie nights, exchanging “Star Wars” gifts, and (for me) making “Star Wars”-inspired crafts that I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks.

I would like to start with two of my absolute favorite “Star Wars” characters: the rebel princess and her scruffy-looking Nerf-herder, the “I love you” to each other’s “I know,” Princess Leia and Han Solo!

I love Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. In fact, a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away), I actually used Allison Hoffman’s AmiguruME book to make my first Han and Leia, which came out looking great. After developing my own “people pattern,” however, I decided to challenge myself and use it to make the couple again.

Crocheting Han was fairly easy. The only extras I had to incorporate into the basic pattern were a belt, felt pieces for the red stripes on his pants, and a black vest. With regard to the vest, I thought about making it exactly like the Mary Poppins coat without the sleeves, but then decided to try something different. I ended up single-crocheting a flat piece with black yarn. Two rows from the top, I skipped the single crochet for the first and last stitches and chained some extra stitches instead. When I rejoined the chains to the piece, it created two spaces on either side for armholes. After that, I simply single-crocheted one more row on top to finish it off.

With Leia, I made her dress the same way I made Mary Poppins’s skirt, adding some extra rows towards the bottom for a longer skirt and a strip of grey felt for her belt. The real challenge actually came with creating her signature “A New Hope” hairstyle. After slip-knotting all of the long pieces of brown yarn into the crocheted brown top, I tried several different ways to style the yarn into her side buns. I used twists, loops, knots, braids, hair ties, you name it – but none of those looked good or even stayed in place. (I can only imagine how much effort was put into the real hair and makeup for Carrie Fisher for that first movie!)

Fortunately, I had an idea. I used the “magic loop” technique and created two chained circles – exactly the same way I create shoes for my “people pattern.” I sewed these circles onto each side of Leia’s head, then used my embroidery needle to wrap each slip-knotted piece of yarn around and through them. The buns looked fantastic, but I ended up with a bunch of excess yarn tails in the back. Rather than cutting them and running the chance of the buns falling apart, I simply sewed over the tails with another piece of brown yarn; this technique both secured the buns and created a fuller look to the hairstyle at the back.

Are you looking forward to the new movie? Who are your favorite “Star Wars” characters? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Favorites with Pizzazz: Old Comedy

Hello from Bee!

Well, here it is: the new section of our blog I promised last week! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce “Favorites with Pizzazz!”

This new page is something Boss-Bot and I had been talking about for a while as a way of diversifying our blog a little more. (By the way, although Boss-Bot is still a bit too busy for regular blogging, he does do the majority of our Tweeting. He’s got a lot of fun things to say, so please feel free to check out our Twitter page at @nerdswpizzazz!).

Anyways, “Favorites with Pizzazz” is going to be a section where we can just talk about our personal favorites – books, movies, music, etc. – and hopefully, you’ll share some of yours with us, too!

All right; let’s get started!

For my first “Favorites with Pizzazz” post, I would like to introduce you to one of my absolute favorite film genres: old comedy.

I really have to thank my parents for my love of old comedy; it’s what they have grown up watching and enjoying, and they wanted to share this interest with me. (Actually, I was probably one of the only kids my age who knew about such great acts as the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Abbott and Costello.)

In any case, from my first introductions to pie fights, piano moving, and “Who’s on First?”, I fell in love with old comedy, and have since discovered (and am still discovering) many more hilarious constituents of the genre: Lucille Ball, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Martin and Lewis, the Marx Brothers…the list continues!

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the people associated with this genre. They are true pioneers of their field, and I would like to talk more about them and their work individually in later posts. For now, let me just list some of their films that are my absolute personal favorites. If you want a really good laugh, I suggest going to the library and renting a few of these classics:

  • “Road to Morocco” – Bob Hope and Bing Crosby
  • “A Night at the Opera” – The Marx Brothers
  • “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” – Abbott and Costello
  • “The Great Race” – Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon

Do you like old comedy, too? Have you seen any of these golden oldies? Leave a comment below! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Mary Poppins and Bert!

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Hello from Bee!

Updates! We now have a Pinterest page for our blog and fun, geeky pictures that we find around the Web. It should come up under Nerds WithPizzazz or nerdswpizzazz, and we made our boards, etc. public, but it seems that the Pinterest search bar doesn’t always pick it up. If there are any longtime Pinterest users who may know why our account isn’t searchable, or are able to tell us how to fix it, would you please drop us a comment? Thanks!

We’re also going to be starting a new page on our blog soon: “Favorites with Pizzazz!” This will be a feature where Boss-Bot and I can share our favorite books, movies, shows, music, etc. with you – and we hope that you’ll reciprocate and share some of yours with us, as well!

All right…last week, I wrapped up my first series of posts dedicated to my Avengers crochet. While I am a huge fan of superheroes, this week, I would like to talk about another love of mine: Disney!

Unquestionably, I am a Disney kid. I’ve grown up watching Mickey Mouse cartoons and singing along to the movies – both of which I still love to do now, especially with my fellow Disney-loving friends. As a matter of fact, if you look at the contents of my iPod, you’ll find a much listened-to (and sung along-to – just ask Boss-Bot 🙂 ) playlist of classic Disney.

There are so many amazing animated and live-action films that have come out of Walt Disney Studios over the years, but if you were to ask me to name my absolute favorite, I would immediately say “Mary Poppins.” Really, this classic is “practically perfect in every way”: its top-notch cast, including the legendary Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, incredible script, innovative special effects, and in my opinion, some of the best music ever produced (compliments of the great Sherman brothers), make it a film that is…well… “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

As such, after perfecting my “people pattern,” I simply had to use it to make Mary Poppins and her dear friend, Bert the Chimney-Sweep. Of course, in making these two iconic characters, I had to figure out how to crochet several elements I hadn’t had to create previously – namely, outerwear: coats, hats, scarves, and even a skirt. The latter two were fairly easy to create. For the skirt, I went back into the body and did a round of surface slip-stitch over the waist. I then single-crocheted down, increasing by one stitch each row, until I reached the desired length. With regard to the scarves, Mary Poppins’s was a couple rows of straight crochet, and for Bert’s skinnier one, I just chained a small length of yarn and tied it off.

Due to the hairpiece overlay I like to add, I had to make the hats several stitches wider than the head so they would fit. Mary Poppins’s signature flat flower hat required a few rows of in-the-round back loop only (BLO), then a brim of front loop only (FLO) and some felt decorations. Bert’s newsboy cap is a plain in-the-round half-cylinder with an extra partial round for the brim.

Undoubtedly, the most difficult pieces to make were their overcoats. I could have simply changed colors while making the bodies and crocheted the arms in black to match, but I wanted the coats to be removable. I ended up straight-crocheting a long, flat rectangle for the back, as well as two smaller ones for the front lapels. When I finished sewing these parts together, I had what resembled an upside-down T. For the sleeves, I crocheted two cylinders (not using an adjustable ring) and attached them to the right angles of the T. I might play with the coat design later on and try to simplify it, in addition to making the sleeves a little less bulky, but for now, I think they turned out quite well!

Are you a Disney fan, too? Do you have a favorite Disney movie? Leave a comment and let’s hear about it! 🙂

Crafts with Pizzazz: Thor!

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Hello from Bee!

I would like to thank you all again for reading our blog – Boss-Bot and I are so glad that you are giving us the chance to share all things geeky with you! On that note, if there’s a post you really enjoy, something you might be interested in seeing on our blog, or even if you just want to say “hello,” we’d like to hear from you! A few of our viewers have already commented on our posts here in WordPress – please feel free to do so, as well! You can also send us an email (nerdswithpizzazz@gmail.com), and find us on Twitter (@NerdswPizzazz). Thanks!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been having fun with a series of posts featuring my crochet Avengers – Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, and Dr. Bruce Banner – and your positive responses to them tell me one thing: “This post. I like it. ANOTHER!”

ANOTHER it is! Ladies and gentlemen, physicists and interns, Asgardians of all ages, it is my great pleasure to present to you today: The Mighty Thor!

I’m actually a big Thor fan, particularly when it comes to the films. I thought that bringing Kenneth Branagh on board as the first film’s director was a great decision; he’s an excellent Shakespearean actor/director, not to mention Gilderoy Lockhart in “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and, of course, Miguel in “Road to El Dorado” (a very funny animated movie which, by the way, draws on my favorite Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road” films 🙂 ). And who would have thought that Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, initially lesser-knowns in the movie industry as an Australian soap opera star and a British stage- and period-piece actor, respectively, would become overnight fan favorites as Thor and Loki? It’s very clear that they have strong chemistry both on- and off-screen, which is a delight to see.

With regard to my crochet, Thor has proven to be the most involved of the four Avengers I’ve made. He actually required many of the more intricate elements I had to figure out for my previous projects, such as proportioning colors for his costume and wristbands, Arc Reactor-style discs for the metal pieces on his armor, and using embroidery thread to give him a beard. His hair took the longest to put together, as I had to fold tens of individual strands of yarn in half and slip-knot each piece into the yellow crocheted overlay. (He also ended up getting a “haircut” when I finished, so his long locks wouldn’t get in the way of wielding Mjolnir!)

Of course, I did have to figure out one new piece for Thor: his cape. Since I often find that pieces of straight single crochet curl up on themselves, I decided to make the cape using half-double crochet instead. I started at the top, increasing on the first and last stitches of each row to give the cape a triangular shape. Once I finished, I went back into the top of the cape, splitting the first row in half and doing a little single crochet to make the pieces that drape over Thor’s shoulders.

Well, he may have taken a bit longer to make, but it was definitely well worth it!

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And here they are all together: four of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! 🙂