R2Dtutu: These are the droids you are looking for. Part 1

I wish this was an original idea but it’s not. I totally saw someone else do a costume like this. It was adorable but like any cosplayer sometimes we look at a costume and sometimes think to ourselves “I would have done this and this differently.” That’s exactly what went through my heads! So I did the that and that I would have differently for this costume.
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For this costume I spent most of my time looking for reference shots of R2’s details and the perfect corset. With how I envisioned the details the usual snaps up the front you find on EBay corsets wasn’t going to cut it. Even looking at higher end shops and websites I couldn’t find what I wanted. After months I finally found a solid white corset. I replaced the back lacing to fit it over my shoulders but think my color selection worked better than what it came with. The only down side to this costume is because it doesn’t have front or side clasps I need help getting in and out of it.

 photo 905_zpsvwsmwbg1.jpgThe details are all hand painted with fabric paint on the corset and gloves by me. One reason I feel this costume is a success is I am constantly asked where I bought it! That is such a compliment to me.

The gloves have the details of R2’s legs on them. Again, hand painted by me. I also painted the point shoes blue. I have always had respect for ballet dancers but after breaking those in and walking at a con in them I appreciate their dedication to their art even more. Those are so uncomfortable! I have to thank a ballerina friend who walked me through the steps so of this process and the pest options to help reduce the pain while wearing these shoes. FYI these pointe shoes do occasional require touch ups on the paint so I would keep a bottle or the remains on hand.
I love the bracelets for this costume! I wanted something to represent the wires in his legs. And I thing this detail was a great idea personally! And the wig! I love this wig! I have used it for a few other things cause the color is so vibrant! With the long wig I didn’t feel a need for a necklace for the costume like I did with my C3PO.

 photo 1019_zpsdcdwic2i.jpgAt first I wanted to make a cute hat to represent his doom but all my designs honesty sucked! And my construction attempt was abysmal! Then I saw artwork of an umbrella with his dome details and decided that was what this costume needed! It wasn’t too hard to paint these details. The difficult part was finding an umbrella that wasn’t waterproof so I could add the details to it. I ended up using permanent ink pigment I found in the calligraphy isle at the craft store instead of fabric paint hoping that would hold up better when the umbrella was stored closed. So far it was a better choice and has help up well after a few years. It occasionally needs touch ups but what costume really doesn’t need maintenance.

To capture images of this costume I wanted to take advantage of leaving in Seattle with all the lush forests and pretended that I was on Endor. This shot was very difficult being in pointe shoes and unstable ground. We tried to get some good dance type poses but this was rather difficult. Not to mention I am not a trained ballerina so actually using the pointe shoes as they were designed is not possible or safe.

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I hope you enjoyed reading about my R2Dtutu! This is one of the funnest costumes I own and I love being sassy and playful in it! There are so many great photos from Violet Rose Photography I had a hard time deciding what to choose for it so here is a link to my Facebook album. All photos credit goes to her. Please check out Part 2 of this series regarding C3PO’s build.

Check out my other cosplays and costumes on my resume by clicking here. If you have already checked out my resume you may notice no new listings for 2017. This is because I have been joyfully creating art for my new business! Check it out on my Facebook, Intsagram, Redbubble, and StorEnvy sites!

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Emerald City Comic Con 2016

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ECCC 2016 has come and gone and I have been busy working on a review and interviews with cosplayers for Cosplayers Among Us Magazine! I thought it might be fun to start blogging about my highlights for memory’s sake instead of just looking at the con as a whole and dissecting the various aspects in a review. So here it goes! My personal highlights from ECCC 2016!

1- I actually saw my friends constantly this time! And multiple times! It’s not just that I have more friends in the Seattle area, I kept running into the same friends! It was a nice change from 2014 when we struggled to meet up even with making plans. You couldn’t find anyone with the crowd that year!

 photo IMG_1799_zps9q7wglff.jpg2- The Wonder Woman fandom made my con!! I have a ton of costumes and have never felt more loved and accepted by a fandom before! It was almost intoxicating and really made Saturday at the con stand out as one of the best con experiences ever! So thank you Wonder Woman fans!

3- The various talks I had about strong comic book characters and women empowerment.

 photo IMG_1822_zpsp2q5iyuy.jpg4- The steampunk represented at ECCC was amazing! It was inspiring and to see so many amazing ideas for crossovers! You should all be proud of your creations! One that stands out was a female venom who used a veil for the mask! Brilliant idea! I wish I had grabbed a picture with her. I had too much fun talking to her and that we were both wearing the same pattern and had difficulties in the same capacity of the patterns. And I loved the other Wonder Women in steampunk and dieselpunk. There were so many other crossovers that were amazing I don’t know where to begin.

 photo IMG_1812_zpswbhrkqar.jpg5- Another highlight was doing interviews for Cosplayers Among Us. I met so many different cosplayers. Each unique and inspiring in their own right. Make sure to check out the Facebook page to see the great costumes, enthusiasm, and potential inspiration.

6- But I must say that my all time favorite Cosplayers were the Monster High girls. Thank you to my friend who made sure I saw them. I was about to do an interview and my brain totally shut  photo IMG_1780_zps2rnmd193.jpgdown when he pointed them out! They looked fantastic and had the dolls with them. It was my only uncontrollable fan girl moment of the con! I MUST do a monster high cosplay now! I just need to decide what outfit!

 photo IMG_1803_zpsv6yqju3a.jpg7- The R2 Builders! I got see all the R2s!!!! I love R2! And we wore matching top hats one day! I may or may not have inspiration for a new steampunk crossover! As you can see from this photo evidence I fan-girled but it was not as bad as the with the Monster High cosplayers.

8- The talented saxophone man playing themes based off of the cosplayers around him! 90s X-men theme for the win. Not to mention I am sure the Frozen songs made Olaf’s day!

 photo IMG_1839_zpsnxabcpdf.jpgThank you to all my friends for making this con what it was! Seriously, the con itself was disappointing in various regards but you made it amazing! I had more fun running around outside the con with you and making new friends! Thank you! THANK YOU!!

For a complete review of ECCC 2016 check out my article for Cosplayer Among Us Magazine where I go into more detail about this convention!

Monster High Scaris: City of Frights (2013)

watch-monster-high-scaris-city-of-frights-2013-online-free-590Monster High Scaris: City of Frights (2013)

Reviewed: 4/2016

Genre: Animation, Family, Monster High

This movie originally aired on TV in 2013 but wasn’t released on DVD until 2015. Since I haven’t watched my purchased copy yet I decided it was time to open it and re-watch this movie for this blog.

One of the reasons I like this movie is that it focuses on several of the characters instead of just one as the newer movies have started doing. While Clawdeen Wolf, daughter of the Werewolf, is getting a chance to prove herself as an up and coming fashion designer in Scaris (the equivalent of Paris) Frankie Stein, daughter of Frankenstein, and Rochelle Goyle, daughter of the gargoyle,  are looking for Rocehelle’s long lost boyfriend from before she moved to Monster High. The two had written letters after she moved and with no explanation he stopped writing her.  At the same time back at Monster High the ghouls boyfriends get worried about their ghouls being in the most romantic city in the world and sneak away to Scaris to check up on them. Not to mention the other girls have their own adventure in Scaris exploring icons and the culture of the city. As you can see there is a lot crammed into about an hour of time but it was nicely done and how it all connected together helped with the overall story.

Another reason this episode is so great is its exploration of other cultures. Further encouraging the series’ focus on acceptance of differences in others. For example, children are exposed to Mexico’s emphasis on family and their ancestors. The character designs of both Jinafire Long, daughter of the dragon, and Skelita Calaveras, daughter of the skeleton, brilliantly pull in iconic aspects of their cultures with a high fashion blend.

The only thing I didn’t like about this movies was the last few minutes didn’t fit into the over all plot. Clawdeen’s sketch book ends up having its own personality, in other words it is alive, which causes some trouble. By trouble I mean it causes some of the characters to miss their flight home and they must find alternative means to get home. Though this leads them on a crazy fun adventure it felt like filler for the TV time slot this movie was originally allowed.  I am sure kids love this part. I will not deny that I enjoyed it but found it unnecessary for the over all story. Filler episodes drive me crazy and I have been known to stop watching a series if there are too many of these episodes. For this movies ranking among the other Monster High movies I am not taking these segment into consideration.

Important lessons for this movie, be true to yourself! There is no need to change who you are to accomplish your dreams or to make others happy.

Favorite Phrases: “All that and a bag of bolts.”- Frankie

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Some of the dolls from this movie. I love the suitcases they came with!

New Characters/Dolls: Jinafire Long, daughter of the dragon, Skelita Calaveras,  daughter of the skeleton, Rochelle Goyle, daughter of the gargoyle, Garrott du Roque, son of the gargoyle (Garrott’s doll was released for the first time when the DVD was released), and Catrine DeMew, daughter of the werecat.

Clever locations in this move: Catacombs of Scaris, a reference to the Catacombs of Paris, the Eiffel Terror, a reference to the Eiffel Tower, Ogre Dame Cathedral, a reference to Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Boovre, a reference to the Louvre.

Mala’s rating: 4 out of 5.

IMDB: 6.8 out of 10 as of 4/4/16

Amazon: Available for rent or purchase on Prime. Rated 4.6 out of 5 as of 4/4/16.
Available for streaming at time of review

Netflix: Available for streaming at time of review

Check out my overall review of Monster High and other Monster High reviews here!

The Final Girl (2015)

mv5bmtq3mjk5ndu3nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnju3mtu1nje-_v1_sy1000_cr007081000_al_The Final Girl (2015)

Genre: Action, Drama, Horror, Thriller, 31 Days of Horror 2016

Rated: R

Duration: 90 minutes

I choose this movie for actress Abigail Breslin who was also in Scream Queens the TV show that I loved watching with last years 31 days of horror. She is an actress that I really enjoy watching! You may recall a much younger her as Little Rock in Zombieland or Valentine Wiggin in Ender’s Game.

I have been struggling with what to say about this movie for months now. I decided to re-watch it as part of my 31 days of horror movies to see if I might be able to finally articulate anything about this move (to be honest this was my third time watching to movie). What it comes down to is there are things I enjoyed about this movie and things that I did not, but I did not hate this movie. It is a very stylized piece that not all will enjoy to be honest. From my perspective one of two things happened: (1)  it was very low budget or (2) the lack of extras, sets, and background was done on purpose. As it is consistent throughout the film I want to the think that the film makers purposefully made the chocs to focus on the story and characters.  Even the lighting felt off to me but, again, it is consistent so I assume these were purposeful decisions.

The artistic aspects of this movie seemed to bother a lot of people from other reviews  I read but I see them as necessary for part of the story telling process. Lighting design and placement was key in scenes influenced by drugs. The artistic aspects did also influenced minor scenes as well. Visually, the juxtaposition of many scenes was interesting to me but I can see why others might be put off by it.

Two of my biggest issue were first, the dialogue but again it could be part of the style for this move. The dialogue influenced some awkward acting from actors that I usually enjoy. Second, it is a slower paced movie but you have to pay attention to it. Originally I started this movie while working on a project but I had to restart it several times because I got lost in the simple plot, which is part of the reason I have watched it so many times now. Simple plot, there is no way I should have been confused but the delivery of the plot is very subtle in some parts. If you miss something there are too many why questions to keep watching.   Maybe there are too many why questions to begin with and that was the point of the movie? Which is part art of my issues finding words in regards to this movie.

I will simply leave it at watch, decide for yourself, but this movie is not for everyone.

IMDB: 4.7 out of 10 at time of review

Amazon: 2.9 out of 5 at time of review. Available for rental or purchase streaming.

Netflix: Available at time of review

Mala’s Review: 3 out of 5

Check out the other movies on this years 31 days of Horror. And if you like what you read last years (not all movies were reviewed but I hope to do better this year!)

Batkid Begins (2015)

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I am very excited about this blog. And because of my excitement I am not going to rate this documentary. It is too great in my opinion. This is the first blog that my passions (the various aspects of my blog) get to merge! My family can attest to my passion for movies. They can also attest for my love of costumes. And the joy I have gotten for using my hobby to make a positive impact on my community. Just recalling the few confirmed moments that I made a difference in someone’s life makes me happy.

I remember when the story this documentary is about went viral. This documentary shows the journey taken to make a child’s dream of becoming Batman for a day come true. This is why I CAUSEplay! To make someone smile. To make a difference in that persons life. You may not think that running around in costume can make a difference but in the eyes of a child it can. Some children are too sick or the families too poor to go to somewhere like Disneyland. For them to see their childhood hero, their idol, can make a difference in their lives. It might not seem much to you as an adult but that moment can capture the child’s imagination and give them hope. Something positive to look back on. And for some kids can give them the a little bit of change in their life.

1118-batkid-maw-getty-redesign-2I dream of getting to work with Make-A-Wish! To make that difference again. I have had many friends get this opportunity. I won’t deny my jealousy of this.  It is one of the most cited positive memories and reasons why people CAUSEplay.

I learned so much about Make-a-Wish with this  documentary. And what it takes to make a wish happen. Even on a small scale there is a lot of work. This is an organization that works hard to make a difference one kid at a time. As they say in this documentary, to give back a little bit of the childhood taken away by illness and cancer.

Just as an FYI, I may be extremely biased toward this documentary in many ways. I also have a Masters in Public Administration where I studied nonprofits and disability studies, so I totally geeked out in many aspects of this documentary getting a behind the scenes look at Make-a-Wish. Especially when all those years of school helped with understanding the implications of this wish/event had for the organization and the City of San Francisco who helped make this happen.

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The newspaper that a San Francisco company made to assist with this wish.

The most amazing thing about this wish is how it effected the world. Through social media people were able to experience the wish at the same time as the Madke-A-Wish recipient. The sense of community and love this wish inspired is truly amazing. How many people, complete strangers, came together for one child. Not only to make the wish happen but to help the family out after. A sense of community was created in San Francisco that day and how many people brought it up in interviews is truly inspiring. The most inspiring part to me is that one simple childhood dream affected so many of us.

The enthusiasm of each interviewed person brought tears to my eyes. You could see this wish bringing out the inner child in everyone involved. So many people joined in different creative ways to make this the most memorable day possible. I often wonder where our world would be if we weren’t socialized to suppress our imaginations. Forced to give up our dreams because of needing health insurance, needing to work a job you care nothing for to have a place to live or put food on the table. What if we could dream big and achieve it? What if we could all be Batkid?

This documentary makes you happy. If you need something to make you feel good and inspired to make a difference watch this documentary.

Batkid Begins Facebook.
Batkid Begins website.
Make-A-Wish

Ninjas vs. Monsters (2012 or 2015 depending on who you ask)

ninjas-vs-monsters-movie-poster-justin-timpane_5Ninjas vs. Monsters (2012 or 2015 depending on who you ask)

Genre: Action, B-Rate, Comedy, FantasyHorror

There are discrepancies in information between IMDB and Amazon about this movie. Too be honest this is the first time I have seen this in regards to a movie that I am reviewing. And there are many reviews that I started and never finished. I take this a bad sign.

Apparently this is a sequel to Ninjas Vs Zombies and Ninjas vs. Vampires. So if you want to watch the first ones by all means do. This movie might actually make more sense to you if you do. There is a brief sort of unclear re-cap at the beginning that things happened and history exists between the main characters. Oh, and a lot of people apparently died or turned into vampires……or something like that. I didn’t quite understand the whole re-cap even though I watched it twice. I may be trying to use too much brain power to process this movie. Or too sober. Time will tell at this point.

Looking at reviews of this movie before watching it I had hoped that it wouldn’t be such a let down, especially after learning that this is the third movie. To get funding for three movies should be a good sign right? The premises is an amazing idea and I literally jumped up an down with joy when I found it on Amazon Prime.

There is a laundry list of issues with this movie. The dialogue is terrible. It did have some clever references to horror pop culture like an ode to Army of Darkness and Misery. I really couldn’t figure out if they were trying to be campy or clever. The acting was almost as bad a the dialogue but occasionally redeemed itself. As actors you can only do so much with the material you are given. Look at Batman and Robin from the late 90’s as another example. If you were alive then you know were excited for this movie.

The editing (and possible the camera angles they had to edit with) did not make this movie feel professional in any way, shape, or form. A lot of the footage was shaky. The monster costumes felt like a high school play which was really a let down to me. And the gore was weak (it did get better gore wise toward the end but still felt like the held back in a lot of regards). If you deal with some of the other B-rate terrible things then a movie should make up on these capacities, especially the gore. These are why I like these types of movies. Gore and amazing monster costumes!

I will say they did hire good fighters for some of the ninja. But the difference with the rest of the cast was extremely noticeable. The fight choreography was good too. I did enjoy it. Especially the fighting in the last 30 minutes of the movie. Seriously, it was like 30 minutes of fight sequences. How else are you going to tie up a plot focused on a fight between seven ninjas and seven monsters. Especially if they are in individual fights and not a big brawl.

I feel that this movie was way longer than it needed to be. And the plot got ridiculous. They were really trying to make this plot clever but over did it in my opinion. This entire movie could have easily been in less than hour in my opinion. I do give them points for their efforts in trying at this plot.

I really wonder if this would have been more enjoyable, and easier to understand, if I had seen the other two movies first. It felt like the characters’ development would have been better understood. If I can track the other two movies for free I think I will try this movie again after watching them. But I won’t pay to rent or purchase them.

Defiantly check out the trailer below. It is a great trailer!

Did you have to cover your eyes? Not once. The gore was super weak. Would have been okay for basic cable.

Would this be a good drinking movie?  I recommend being drunk or getting drunk if you watch this movie.  I recently gave up drinking and I wish I hadn’t. This movie would have been better with vodka. Recommendation, monster themed gummy candies soaked in vodka!

Rating: Not Rated

Duration: 90 or 96 minutes depending on what website you look at.

Mala’s Rating: 3 out of 5. They tried really hard. So I up the rating for effort.

IMDB: 4.7 out of 10 as of 4/3/16

Amazon: 2.7 out of 5 stars as of 4/3/16. Available for rent, purchase, or Prime streaming. The first two are not available for streaming but available for purchase of DVD.

Netflix: None of the three installments are available at time of reivew

Animaniacs (TV series 1993-1998)

653345-animaniacs1Animaniacs (TV series 1993-1998)

Genre: Animation. Comedy. Family. Musical. TV series.

OMG! I loved this show as a kid and it recently came out on Netflix so of course I have to watch it! I can’t wait for the Pinky and the Brain episodes! Over all this show holds up to my childhood memories which is not common from other 80’s and 90’s shows. For an overview their intro and theme does a great job so feel free to watch/listen here. If this show is ever it removed from Netflix you can find it on YouTube! This is where I have got my Animaniacs fix before.

This kids series is well written and I feel high intelligent with the dialogue, cameos, and story telling. Not to mention the content! I mean who would have thought about trying to selling Eisenstein kid scout cookies while he working on his theory of relativity! Or poking fun at life on the Warner Studios back lot. And who can forget the Wheel of Morality that determines the lesson for each episode!  You can find a variety of these on YouTube. Or Colin! Even though he is designed as a filler his content is well written and voiced! I enjoy each and ever story he has to tell about Randy Beaman! Like this one! Or this one!”K, bye.” There are too many great ones to chose from! You can look through YouTube to see the random stories Colin has to tell. And who can forget Dot’s Poetry Corner. I was able to find a compilation of this segment.

The creativity and the scope of most kids shows do not reach this level today! The background music is very iconic to childhood classics.  At least to my childhood! If this blog is still up in 15 years I am sure the following generations will disagree with me about the music but my generation will agree. And most episodes have fun new songs, again cleverly written!

I know many people who agree with the sentiment and missing of the Looney Toon brand of cartoons. For the older generations this series is like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, the Road Runner, etc. for my children of the late 80’s and 90’s.

Mala’s Rating: 5 out of 5

Volume 1 Highlights (1993-1994). This list will focus on Episodes 1-10 since I have to include the introduction of each amazing regular character in the highlights. Also, each episode varies in how many shorts are included within it. Not to mention there are over 50 episodes in Volume 1. This a long list that will be broken up into smaller sections as I watch the episodes from the beginning. A complete list of Episodes can be seen here in case I don’t highlight you favorite episode and you want to track it down to watch! If I can find just a link to the highlight I have included but for the most part I was able to find links to the full episode not the shorts.

V1:E1 De-Zanitized. The episode that started it all. We learn just how zany the Warner brothers and their sister Dot is while they are psychoanalyzed. This is where we get the iconic phrase Heeellllooooo, Nurse!

V1:E1 Nighty Night Toon is a great retelling of the childhood classic Goodnight Moon. And a great way to introduce a lot of the on going characters from this show! It might be the nostalgia and fond memories of this show coming back but this is a great short! Plus the narrator sounds like the old school Winnie the Pooh! Nighty Night Wako’s underwear!

V1:E2 Yakko’s World. Though this show has its stupid moments it can also be educational like Yakko’s song naming all the countries! I know people who can sing this decades after this show aired on tv!

V1:E2:Win Big. PINKY AND THE BRAIN that is all I can say! Nearly everyone in my generation knows these characters, the opening song, their interactions, and catch phrases! This is the episode that begun it all with these crazy characters. They were so successful that they earned their own spin off series! The premise of these characters is that Pinky and the Brain are lab mice, often referred to as rats. Brain tries each night to take over the world! His plans always backfire but that doesn’t keep him from trying. Pinky has to be one of the most quoted characters in this series. And here is why!

V1:E3 HMS Yakko. Because double pegged leg pirate captain of awesome! And this song Cartoon Individuals. Another song that I know people who can still sing to this day.

V1:E3 Slappy Goes Walnuts. This is the first episode focusing on Slappy the Squirrel. This is an iconic episode in my opinion.

V1:E4 Goodfeathers: The Beginning. This is the introduction to ongoing characters Squit, Pesto, and Bobby. Also known as the Goodfeathers. Pigeon who act like the classic movie Godfather. The movie Goodfellas is also sited as inspiration to this episode. This is another episode that stands out in childhood memories. They are not my personal favorite ongoing characters so they may not be included in the highlights very much but their first episode at least deserves a notation on this list!

V1:E6 Operation: Lollipop. This is when we get to meet Mindy and Buttons! “Thank you lady. I love you. Bye bye.”I had totally forgot about these characters until this came on! But the catch phrases are still in me brain! I just forgot where they originated form. The dynamic of these characters is simple. Mindy gets herself into not so good situations and her dog Buttons tries to keep her safe. In this episode she is chasing her lollipop all over town while Buttons does everything he can to keep her safe.

V1:E6 What Are We? This is an excellent question! What are Wakko, Yakoo, and Dot? I love any show that pokes fun at it’s self!  Check out the song written around this question.

V1:E7 When Rita Met Runt. This is the introduction to Rita and Runt. This episode touches on a social issue that many are passionate about regarding treatment of animals and the use of animal shelters. Rita is voiced by Bernadette Peters, one of my all time favorite actresses and stage performers. This episode is slightly sad, not going to lie but is still good. Their dynamic is that Rita is an  independent cat and Runt is a stupid dog who meet in an animal shelter.  They end up breaking out of the shelter and journey together to find a real home.

V1:E8: Bumbie’s Mom. This episode brings back so many memories. And it totally borders on copy write infringement with Disney’s Bambi but the content of this episode highlights why I don’t think Bambi was meant for children. I recall my siblings and I being traumatized by this movie! Its all happy then the mother is killed! I still get teary eyed as an adult when the mother is killed. And the fire was pretty scary as well when I was a child. In this episode Slappy the Squirrel takes her nephew Skippy to see Bumbie in theaters and he is traumatized by Bumbie’s mother’s death. Slappy spends the rest of the episode trying to show Skippy that it was an actress and she didn’t die.

V1:E9: Where Rodents Dare. Another Pinky and the Brain episode! Filled with the perfect banter of these two friends as Brain attempts to take over the world again by freezing the world leaders at a peace conference. The music in this episode holds true to the traditional Looney Tunes playing off the movements of the characters.

So go watch Animaniacs! Especially if my links above have brought back memories or got you hooked for the first time.  “Gooooooodbye, nurse!”

Volume 1 Episode 11-35 can be found here.