The Corner

Sometimes I see people alone in the corner and I think I ought to go talk to them

And then I see them reading a book, engrossed in its story, knee-deep in another plane of existence

And I walk away because I know:

They’re not alone at all

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All the World’s a Broken Clock

All the world’s a broken clock
For some reason the cogs have stuck
Yet pretentiously it goes ‘tick tock’
And no one seems to give a—-

Fractured lines across
Glass, we thought unbreakable
Fragile after all

It hangs delicately from its place on the wall
Muffled ticking, like a sickly heartbeat,
Purring from beneath shiny glass
Like a caged animal counting away the hours

For all the world’s a broken clock,
And we all pretend it’s fine
We walk past springs but I think in fact
We’re running out of time

If you can’t fix it,
At least don’t break it further
It’s not what we want
But it’s all we have

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Drive

My engine wasn’t meant to slow down
If it’s running
Then it might as well run fast
Skid marks and tire tracks
A cloud of exhaust in my wake
Scream of gears and blur of polished chrome
Beating all the red lights
Just under the speed limit
I’m sorry for the noise I’m making,
I’m sorry for the road I tore up
I’m sorry for swerving into your lane
I’m sorry if I smash your fender
But you had fair warning
Don’t say you didn’t see me coming
With all those careful any-which-way-view mirrors
Either I was too reckless–
Or you
Didn’t get out of my way

And skid marks and tire tracks,
A cloud of exhaust in my wake
They see me rollin’,
They hatin’,
The noise
That I’m making
I’m drifting
And I’m lifting
From the mud
To the stars

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Through Windows

Through windows
I glimpse a life
That is not my own

Fleeting glances
Into a stranger’s psyche
Watching, with fascination
Movements and routines
That are alien to me

Glass
Screening sound
Omitting noises
So all I perceive are the images

Shades and shadows,
Blurred faces
As if from an ancient distant TV set
Or a portal into another dimension

And I,
Caught in limbo
The observer, unknown, unrecognized
And feeling more real
Than before

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I Love This Bunch of A-Holes- Guardians of the Galaxy Movie Review

‘I’m going to die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.’ — Gamora

It’s been ages since I’ve done anything geek-related/any movie reviews, so I’m glad to break the recent tedium of poignant, short poetry with a post regarding the latest Marvel has pulled out of its magic hat: Guardians of the Galaxy.

(Also this makes up for the fact that I reviewed neither Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and since I reviewed the trailer with mixed reactions for Guardians here, I figured I might as well do it anyway.)

Right! So, back when all the news was coming out about this film, I was majorly doubtful. As I mentioned in the trailer review, the Guardians are an obscure team and to bring in characters from Marvel Cosmic would be a big segue from what we were used to up till then. Yet with aliens and cosmic power making up a huge part of the plot of The Avengers, I should have known it was only a matter of time before Marvel tried something like this. It was all a bit iffy to me from the start, and I believe the words I said over and over again were ‘I don’t know how to feel about this.’

So I’ve finally seen the movie. How do I feel about it now?

Really, really good.

I’m surprised and a tad bit remorseful about my previous doubts on this movie, because all in all, it was just a great big ball of joyful fun. Iron Man 3 was the MCU Phase 2 appetizer, Thor 2 was the salad, Captain America 2 was the main course (and quite a satisfying one at that) and GotG was most definitely your out-of-the-box, out-of-this-world dessert course that you never knew you needed. If any of my doubts were rationalized, I’ll talk about them in the latter part of this review.

Spoilers abound after the jump, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, now’s the time to turn your spaceship around.

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STORY: Most of the film may take place in distant planets, but it begins humbly on Earth. Young protagonist Peter Quill has just lost his mother to cancer and shortly after her death (about five minutes after, in fact) he is abducted by space pirates known as The Ravagers. Fast-forward 26 years into the future and Peter has become an intergalactic thief who calls himself Star-Lord. He lands on an abandoned planet and steals a mysterious McGuffin called The Orb, which earns him the attention of villains Thanos and Ronan, and Ronan sends one of Thanos’ many adopted children/assassins, Gamora, after him to recover the Orb. On a planet called Xandar, home to the interstellar police the Nova Corps, Peter tries to sell the Orb for a high price, Gamora tries to snatch it from him, and they run into bounty hunters Groot and Rocket– who are, I kid you not, a humanoid tree and a genetically-experimented raccoon (respectively.) Nova Corps arrives on the scene and everybody gets thrown in prison, where an inmate named Drax tries to kill Gamora as revenge for Ronan killing his family. Peter manages to get everyone to get along long enough for Rocket to come up with an escape plan, and they can then sell the Orb to a buyer that Gamora found and split the money. Turns out Gamora’s buyer is The Collector, who acquires knick-knacks and rare species across the galaxy, and the Orb conceals an Infinity Stone (yaaaaay!) which Ronan wants to use to destroy planets all over the universe, because he’s the bad guy. Shenanigans then ensue, all of which coerce the five characters to put aside their differences and apathy and join forces to stop Ronan and, well, guard the galaxy.

Sounds boring when you condense it that way, but in between there’s a lot of witty banter, epic space battles, some genuinely heartfelt moments and a ton of 70’s hits. Some explanation as to why the Orb has been left on an abandoned planet for years would have been good though, and I always thought it was weirdly convenient that Drax managed to bait the entirety of Ronan’s fleet to their location…with a phone call. Like is there a phone book for villains or something?

CHARACTERS: Although I loved the script and the characters a lot, I couldn’t help but think that it failed in terms of character development in the villains department. Ronan’s motives for destroying parts of the galaxy aren’t very clear (and I didn’t read the Guardians comics so I don’t even have an insight into his guy’s character.) So it feels like the entire character of Ronan (played by Lee Pace, no less!) was wasted and we weren’t even allowed to sympathize with him. And Nebula, for God’s sake! A blue-skinned, cyborg assassin raised by Thanos alongside Gamora, Nebula hates her ‘dad’ and her ‘sister’ and sides with Ronan when he decides to turn against Thanos (and Thanos being the ‘villain god’ of the Marvel universe, this isn’t the wisest thing to do.) She’s played by Karen Gillan, who brings a solid American accent and a murderous attitude that deviates far from the flirty and feisty Amy Pond (her character on Doctor Who.) And her character development was tragically wasted because I would have loved for this movie to explore the jealous sister dynamic between her and Gamora, like a more deadly female version of Thor and Loki. She seemed like such a promising character in all the trailers and stuff, so I was sorely disappointed when I saw her reduced to nothing more than the bitter token female villain reserved for those fans who wanted to see a little girl-on-girl fighting.

It really is hard to introduce, develop and allow the audience to bond with five entirely different, new characters all in one sitting without the luxury of there having been solo movies of them previously. I applaud this movie’s efforts though, because it still managed to make each ‘Guardian’ endearing to me. Although in this case, a sequel is definitely necessary for further character development.

Let’s address the giant tree in the room, though: Gamora is basically Zoe Saldana’s character in Colombiana, right down to the ‘some bad people killed my parents in front of me when I was young’ shtick. Except she’s green in this one. I would have appreciated more insight into what else pushes her into betraying her ‘father.’ Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, surprisingly brings out a lot of depth. The scene where he flips out in the bar was placed at a point in the film that makes it a sucker-punch of a moment, and about a minute after that I blinked and thought ‘oh my god, Marvel just humanized a raccoon, and I want to hug it.’ And dammit, DON’T get me started on Groot. That guy is everything.

Peter Quill is a lovable jackass from start to finish, and I appreciated how his story arc wrapped with him finding the courage to finally take someone’s hand, something he was too scared to do as his mother was dying. And Drax does what not every rage-fueled warrior trying to avenge his dead wife does– he admits to being blinded by his pain BEFORE he gets to exact revenge. It’s a humanizing moment that I quite appreciated as well.

The characters may lack some development, but they certainly stick with you in a way that makes it hard to pick a favorite. And at the end it was extremely gratifying to see the bunch of a-holes all tied up together in a neat little group that (sue me for this) felt a lot more like family than the Avengers ever did.

SCREENPLAY: The screenplay is the icing on this cake. It’s funny, it’s witty and it keeps you riveted to your seat. It’s definitely a lighter feel from The Avengers, and by this point I really should stop comparing the two. Just when you think all hope is lost, something that happens that makes you think ‘OH NO, YOU DIDN’T!’ and i really wonder how they managed to pull all of those crazy stunts and live through it. It’s a crazy ride with outrageously ridiculous plot devices, and most outrageous of all is that it WORKS. This movie is actually one of those that REALLY needs a sequel. We learn by the end of the movie that Peter Quill’s father was not of Earth, so who or what WAS he? Nebula escaped, so where’d she go? And who created Rocket? James Gunn, come back and explain this!!!

MUSIC: While the score didn’t exactly grab my fancy, the retro soundtrack simply stands out. Every song just matches what this team is all about. A++ for using The Runaways’ hit Cherry Bomb for the suit-up sequence!

AND OF COURSE, SPECIAL EFFECTS: Want more icing on the cake? Special effects! Everything in this film is stunning and the action sequences are great. Planets may be populated by human-like beings, but they carry an amazing science-fantasy quality that just comes to life. The CGI rendering of Rocket and Groot are amazingly realistic and have surprisingly human qualities, while the interiors of spaceships vary in ways that make it seem like they have personalities of their own.

STILL GOT DOUBTS?: It’s definitely got more heart that Avengers, but after some contemplation I still think it works better as an independent science-fantasy movie that is not tied to Marvel in any way. I understand that the studio intended to do something funny and unique this time, but the film’s voice is very, very far from the other films and hard to believe that they all take place within the same universe, let alone the same galaxy, despite the presence of Thanos and those gosh-darn infinity stones. Enjoyable as it was, I will stress once again that Guardians of the Galaxy should be kept well away from the events on MCU Earth, because with Ultron rearing his ugly head, we’ve got enough problems…

ANYTHING ELSE?: The galaxy is a cold, hard, cruel and shit-blasted place, indeed. But what this movie tells us is that there’s no reason that it should stay that way, and there’s no reason for you to remain the same. And that, at least, is one thing I loved that I took away from the film– well, that and Blue Swede’s ‘Hooked on a Feeling.’

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Also pls add Adam Warlock and Phyla-Vell to the cast in the sequel ’cause that would be SPECTACULAR

‘Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast.’

‘We’re having a dance-off, you and me!’

‘We. Are. Groot.’

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Steps

I don’t know who put those small bags of unmixed concrete on the wet floor,
Making a stepping-stone path over deep puddles that would have sloshed water through my mangled Chuck Taylors if I’d walked through them
It didn’t stop the rain from falling,
But it did save a sister from slipping

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If I Lose Myself

I lost myself
Then in the losing
Found myself
And found that I had everything,
And therefore nothing,
To lose

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