Memoirs of a Geisha

During the semester, I did not have as much time to read as I would have liked. I reread one of my favorite stories, Memoirs of a Geisha, recently and was reminded of why I enjoy this book.

The story is told from first person point-of-view from an older geisha. She begins the story when is a just a young girl in Japan during the Depression. Chiyo Sakamoto is a poor girl from a fishing village, but captures the attention of a man for her unusual eyes, which are a blue-gray color. She and her sister are taken from their home and Chiyo is sold to an okiya (house where geisha live) in a prominent area of Kyoto. The story is based on background information provided by retired geisha, Mineko Iwasaki, but Chiyo’s character is fictional. Without giving too much away, she becomes a maid before she begins her journey to being a geisha. Chiyo is in awe of the beauty of the geishas and the respect they are given, but the path is very difficult.

I enjoyed the novel because it read at a leisurely pace without being slow. In the beginning of the story, Chiyo is just a child. The narrative highlights her curiosities at that age and her emotions as she is taken from her home. It also reflects her maturity as she gets older and encounters different experiences. Reading the story made me feel like I was following Chiyo through her life. A good book will pull in its readers until they feel every emotion and that was my experience with this one. When there were moments of heartbreak, it hurt me to read of her tears and devastation. The story was very detailed, but well-balanced with dialogue. Many different characters are introduced throughout the story, but it was not confusing because there was a clear distinction between them. Each character had a strong impact on Chiyo and I could feel that through their descriptions.

Prior to reading this book, I had heard of geishas and only knew what they looked like. I did not know what they did, but there was a negative association between geishas and prostitutes. Geishas are traditional Japanese entertainers. They entertain men through song, dance, conversation and serve tea as hostesses. Young girls spent years training and perfecting their skills that would make them successful geishas. They went to schools that taught dance, musical instruments, and other skills. It was important for them to be successful because they were expected to repay their okiyas back for the money spent on their food, lodging, kimono, and other tools needed.

There is a great deal of effort and time that is required for being a geisha and not every woman can do this successfully. It is also important to note that some people would confuse geishas with prostitutes. The difference is that geisha’s wear their sash tied in the back, but the prostitutes tied theirs in the front. There are still some geishas practicing in Japan, but they are mostly in the company of the higher social class.

This book is controversial because Iwasaki sued Arthur Golden after the book’s release. According to her, he was supposed to keep her identity a secret and revealed parts of her life that were supposed to remain personal. She felt that he did not accurately portray her life and shamed the geisha profession. Iwasaki published her own book in 2002 titled, Geisha: A Life, to tell her story in her own words.

Whether the story is completely true or not, it is still a very good story that I can always come back to when I want something to read. This is also an award-winning movie.

The Last Jedi – A Star Wars Recap

MAJOR Spoilers! (For the 1st 8 Star Wars movies)

I have been a huge fan of Star Wars since I was young. So young that I would sneak into my parent’s room grab the collector’s edition VHS tapes and watch them. The first time my dad found me watching it, he was not happy. Since then, it has become a tradition to binge watch all the episodes, usually when a new movie is about to release.

As the latest release of the Star Wars series is coming into view, fans are eager to have a few questions answered. Who are Rey’s Parents?  Who is Supreme Leader Snokes, and what is going on with Luke Skywalker?  All these questions will be answered in the second installment of the third wave, hopefully.

For those who are unaware, the second installment of the third wave is essentially the 8th episode in the series. In the past, George Lucas filmed movies four, five and six between 1977 and 1983. Several years go by and then movies one, two and three were made between 1999 and 2005. Ten years go by, and you had the seventh movie debut. Now we are approaching the eighth installment come December 15, 2017.  Wait, wasn’t there a Star Wars movie that came out in 2016? Yes, however in typical Star Wars fashion it is out-of-order and doesn’t directly tie into the main storyline. It’s best to think of it like Tokyo Drift in the Fast and Furious series. It doesn’t fit into the story when it is released, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get tied in later.

A recap of the episodes and the order best to watch them to avoid spoilers:

  • I: The Phantom Menace (1999) (32 BBY)
  • II: Attack of the Clones (2002) (22 BBY)
  • III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) (19 BBY)
  • Rogue One (2016) (15-0 BBY) Stand Alone Spin-Off
  • IV: A New Hope (1977) (0 BBY)
  • V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (3 ABY)
  • VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) (4 ABY)
  • VII: The Force Awakens (2015) (34 ABY)
  • VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) (34 ABY)
  • IX: Unknown (2019) (Unknown)

Solo (2018) (TBA-BBY) Stand Alone Spin-Off

[BBY- Before the Battle of Yavin; ABY- After the Battle of Yavin. The Battle of Yavin took place at the end of A New Hope (1977). It was the Death Star Explosion.

The Phantom Menace opened the door for Anakin to be trained as a Jedi. Anakin has grown up in Attack of the Clones and has become a skilled Jedi who defeats a clone army and later marries Padme. In Revenge of the Sith you watch Anakin turn into Darth Vader while his wife dies in childbirth to twins. In Rogue One they steal the Death Star Plans. In A New Hope they destroy the Death Star. The Empire Strikes Back by having Lando Betray Solo with the rest of the rebellion determined to rescue Solo. In the sixth movie, Return of the Jedi you learn that there is another death star and that Darth Vader had a redeeming moment. Finally moving into the recent installments with The Force Awakens you discover that the son of Leia and Solo has taken over his grandfather’s (Darth Vader) throne. The bad guys are building an even more destructive death star, and Kylo Ren does something unforgivable in the eyes of star wars fan and Chewbacca.  In the end, Rey finds Luke.  The Last Jedi picks up exactly where the last one left off which is not the typical George Lucas style. Without giving any spoilers the villain in this installment is called the Supreme Leader Snokes.

Somewhere in the 70-year timeline, the Solo movie will come into play as it reveals more about Lando, Chewbacca, and Han Solo’s history. Most fans will already know the correct order to watch the series, and will already be aware of the basic plots that go along with every installment. Few, however, know George Lucas kept the licensing and merchandising rights. During that time, people did not make much of a profit off of the merchandising rights. However, George Lucas did, and it was the rights to the first Star Wars film that allowed him to branch out and go on to create the following episodes.  From their George Lucas created LucasFilm and Industrial Light and Magic. As much as George Lucas enjoyed having realistic props, he also enjoyed using technology which was why he waited so long before producing the second wave of star wars films. He wanted access to more technology and thus started the Industrial Light and Magic studio which is the founder company of Pixar.

December 15, 2017, cannot get here fast enough for most fans, as they are eager to have another adventure. They are ready to fall back into the space western realm and have their questions answered.

Cinemark Launches Movie Club

In recent years movie theaters have been competing to have the better deal. Cinemark announced their new Movie Club to stay above the competition. The Movie Club will be $8.99 a month for one 2D ticket. At checkout, you can add an additional ticket for $8.99. If you want to cancel you can at any time through your account. Benefits continue through the end of your paid billing cycle. Unused credits are good for six months after cancellation. After you’ve used your monthly credits, you can buy two additional tickets per transaction for $8.99 each. Unused credits roll over and never expire when you’re a member. You can even use your roll over ticket as an additional ticket for your guest. Online fees will be waved on additional tickets. Redeem your credit online, in Cinemark’s app or at any box office. Credits are saved to your Cinemark account and are automatically applied at checkout. Also, concessions will be 20% off! This is an interesting trend that could change the way we see movies. So be sure to download the app and join!

Don’t forget to scan and earn points for every purchase to redeem for great rewards like movie swag, digital downloads, sweepstakes and more!

To find out movie information go to https://www.cinemark.com/movieclub

Justice League Movie (SPOILERS Review)

[Seen it? Skipping it? Read on! Plan to see it? Keep scrolling!]

The Justice League is something I’ve loved ever since I was a kid. Growing up I watched the cartoon series that ran from 2001 to 2004. This movie is tough for me to review because one part of me loves it and another part of me hates it. Going into this movie, my expectations were already low from Batman V Superman, but unlike many people I liked it. I am even a big fan of the “Batfleck.” Out of the list of problems with the Justice League, the first is the same as with Batman V Superman. It feels rushed. They come together like “oh hey it looks like we got to save the world”, instead of coming together more organically. It feels like they made this to compete with Marvel and if so, they should have followed that formula.

Marvel has been making films leading up to the Infinity War film since 2008. I don’t expect DC to be on the same scale or make films for the next ten years leading up to uniting their heroes but we could have seen a Cyborg and an Aquaman movie before they came together. The best thing about Marvels Avengers is that we had time to get to know and care about the characters.

Another weak factor of this movie was its villain Steppenwolf. He was another one-dimensional villain who was so awful that at the end the Justice League forgot he was even there. The final flaw is the cringe-worthy writing. The film is full of one-liners where characters say what is not really something they’d say. For example, Batman rolled on the ground saying something like “something’s bleeding.” The Flash came off as more annoying than funny. Then there was the very cliché line “Do you bleed?” said by Superman that was kind of painful to watch. The worst thing to watch, however, was the famous CGI done to remove Henry Cavill’s mustache during the filming of this movie. His mouth looked distorted. The film had a much lighter tone, not a bad thing, but  almost too light for me. I go see Marvel for a lighter toned movie and I go see DC for a darker tone movie. Most of the problems could be because of Joss Whedon’s takeover since Zach Snyder had to leave because of his daughter’s suicide.

Now that I’m done with the flaws there were many things I liked. I really enjoyed seeing Superman come back. Until he came back, it felt like something was missing. This movie is overall a lot of fun and really gorgeous. The actors are amazing for what they were given. Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot are Superman and Wonder Woman. I am just pleased to see these characters come to life and be on the big screen. Despite my negative comments, this is still a good movie to watch and I recommend seeing it if you like any of these characters. I have watched this film twice and probably will again one day. Also, unlike the other DC movies, be sure to stay after both sets of credits for a very cool scene that could be important to future DC films.

Rating: 7.5/10

Holiday Movies

Whether it’s at home with family, or snuggled up with hot chocolate and a blanket in your dorm room, there is something special about watching movies that celebrate the holidays. Students around campus were asked to submit their favorite holiday movie they watch every year. From classics to current, these suggestions will leave you without question on what you need to watch this season.

Hocus Pocus- Katie McCorkle

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Home Alone – Brooke Rayburn

Elf – Landon Porter

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Rebekah Drennon

The Polar Express – Sharda James

Christmas in Connecticut – Victoria Marshal

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation – Misty Jones

White Christmas – Rebekah Drennon

Die Hard – Austin Powers

Original Ghost Busters / New Years – Misty Jones

Thor Ragnarok: Calm Before the Storm

Rated PG-13 for Intense Sequences of Sci-Fi Violence and Action, and Brief Suggestive Material

Thor Ragnarok represents the calm before the storm – the latest in the ever progressing Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it works to answer lingering questions while setting the stage for the highly anticipated Infinity War films. Unfortunately, it isn’t much aside from that – Ragnarok tries to be some sort of 80’s film homage and succeeds, much to its detriment.

Underneath the highly appealing aesthetic, Ragnarok is chiefly concerned with Thor saving Asgard from, well, Ragnarok – the prophesied apocalypse he’s been receiving visions of since prior MCU films. The film moves full speed ahead to resolve this plot, quickly tossing aside plot points from The Dark World to make way for new dilemmas, such as whatever happened to the Hulk or to throw out there that the antagonist of Ragnarok is Thor’s heretofore unmentioned sister.

It isn’t as though the film is inherently bad – the fight scenes are nice to look at, the music adds to the energy of the film and the chemistry between characters (such as Thor and the Hulk, who can now speak) makes for great laughs. It’s more so that the only aspects of the plot that feel like they were thoughtfully done are those related to Infinity War and unfortunately, they’re the sort of things that make Ragnarok a required view for those fans of the MCU that want to keep up to date for it. But that Ragnarok seems so keen on doing away with old plot points for the sake of progressing the MCU makes me a little concerned that these portions of the movie will be just as simply discarded for the sake of Infinity War.

Thor Ragnarok – come for the Hulk, stay for the post-credits scene!

Spooky Shows For Halloween 2017

This Halloween is on a Tuesday. So unless you planned to go to a party this weekend, it is just going to be another boring weekend in October. In order to stay in the Halloween spirit, here are some suggestions of some newer spooky shows to watch this weekend.

Netflix:

Stranger Things, Season 2 — if you haven’t watched the popular Netflix show Stranger Things yet, it’s never too late to start. Season 2 is just in time for Halloween, so grab the popcorn and binge watch season 1. Season 1 starts out when a young boy vanishes and a small town uncovers a mystery involving secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one strange little girl.

Gerald’s Game – A woman whose husband dies of a heart while she’s handcuffed to the bed is stuck in a remote lake house with no hope of rescue. She begins to hear voices and seeing strange visions.

1922 — A farmer pens a confession admitting to his wife’s murder, but her death is just the beginning of a horrifying tale. Based on Stephen King’s novella.

Movies:

Jigsaw — Part of the popular, gory Saw series. Jigsaw is back. Bodies are turning up, each having met a unique demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, who has been dead for ten years.

Happy Death Day –– This movie is more fun than it is scary. So if you are light-hearted and not a fan of horror movies, this will be the Halloween movie for you. A college girl relives the day of her murder over and over. It is like the movie Groundhogs Day only with a terrifying twist.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – SATURDAY ONLY at 9:30 PM. The classic horror movie The Texas Chainsaw Massacre will be on the big screen again for the 40th anniversary of the film.

Go to https://www.cinemark.com/north-texas/cinemark-texarkana-14 to get tickets or https://www.netflix.com/ to start watching!