My review of Iron Man 3


Iron Man 3, directed by Shane Black and starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, and Guy Pearce, completes one of Marvel’s strongest trilogies. The arc is so clear: Iron Man is about the creation of a hero. Iron Man 2 is about his deconstruction. And in Iron Man 3 is about his reconstruction.

The antagonists were a thrill to watch, and the mystery intriguing. The pace was very well done–with enough action and tension in every scene to keep your eyes glued to the screen, but never at the cost of character development. My favorite action scenes were when he fought without his suit–it was infinitely creative.

I really liked the beginning, it had a comic book feel to it. The scenes were choppy and the flashbacks were solid and well told.

I highly recommend this incredible film. 5-Stars. Now tell me what you thought of the movie in the comments! I like nothing more than gabbing about movies.

Here’s my video review:

Iron Man 3 Review from Ellie Soderstrom on Vimeo.







What’d you think of the movie?

A Fanatic’s Review of The Hobbit

*There are NO spoilers in this review–it’s like blue cheese in that you might expect it to be spoiled but it’s not.*


I’m a ginormous LOTR fan. Like, I could talk about this in Elven tongue except I’m a bit self-conscious about my accent. I could probably beat you at LOTR trivial pursuit. And I can quote most songs and poems from the series from memory.

So, like I said. Fan. Short for fanatic.

Which means I have a really low level of objectivity about this movie. Actually, I probably only have a microscopic amount of objectivity, if I have any at all.

So this isn’t so much a review as much as it is one long “SQUEEEeeeeee.”

Bear with me. I’ll try to make sense but MY LOVE FOR THIS FILM MAKES NO SENSE. I j’adore it.

Let’s see. My favorite character? Bofur. How can you not like a dwarf who rocks a hat like he does?


I was surprised when I liked the characters so early on. Bilbo was endearing from the start. The first scene with the dwarves, with all of its slapstick jocularity, was incredibly fun. Each dwarf has something pretty characteristic about them. Not so much that I can remember all their names. But I’ll try: Bofur, Balin, Bilbo, Bimbo, Fili, Kili, and Neal, Orrin, Thorin, Oil, Gloin, Groin, Dori, Bifur, Dwalin, and Dora the Explorer. I may have got one of those names wrong but that’s what they sounded like to me.


The songs? THE SONGS. I so love the songs. Fantasies should always be musicals–I’m looking at you, Twilight. Now that I bought The Hobbit soundtrack I’ll have listening music for the next year or so until I get tired of it. Actually, I didn’t tire of the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack for like three years so maybe I won’t have to buy another album until 2015.


I still can’t get over the Riddles In The Dark scene. It’s just so dang good. It’s an entire story in one scene (which is what every writer should try to create). It had tension, horror, humor, and a strong moral theme. If the whole movie was crap (which is blasphemous to say) I think it would be redeemed through that one scene.


But that leads me to something … the strong moral to the story in The Hobbit. There’s one scene in which Gandalf tells us the moral point blank, and it’s distracting in its starkness. But at the end, Bilbo gives us the same moral … and its beautiful. What I’ve always like about Peter Jackson is that he’s able to get to the heart of the story. He knew what LOTR was about and he took it to its heart, even though it was just his interpretation of it I still love it that he told the moral of the story. This is classic fairy tale/myth telling. At its best. Since I’m crazy about the fairy tale/myth/tall tale genre I don’t mind the overt “moral of the story.” It’s telling instead of showing, but sometimes I like that.


I thought the goblin scene was amazing. It was like the Mines of Moria on steroids–the battle was exciting to watch in a roller-coaster-thrill way. And Gandalf was a rock star. I’ve always dreamed of seeing an excellently filmed goblin battle.

And have I told you I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WATCH A ROCK GIANT BATTLE? Now all my dreams came true.

What I Learned from The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

I didn’t like the movie. It’s hard to watch. But I also really loved the movie–it deals with the hard stuff well.

I can’t recommend it to most people–it has multiple rape scenes (both male and female) that are integral to the plot, shown and heard several times. Like I said . . . hard to watch.The original Swedish title Män som hatar kvinnor – “Men Who Hate Women” — is aptly named. The story is about Lisbeth Salander’s abuse and justice regarding men who hate women (rapists).

I haven’t read the books, I’ve seen the foreign films, beautifully filmed in a beautiful language. I’m peeved that Hollywood tried its hand at the story. Because The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo, the whole Millennium Series, is a phenomenal story, very well-told, and if I ever meet Mr. Stiegg I shall kiss his in hand in respect.

It’s a bloody good mystery–completely engrossing and confusing until the last scene. But the story was much deeper. It was about abuse, and what it did to one girl. And what she did about it.

Lisbeth Salander. She’s like the Elizabeth Bennet of our time. I feel for her, I respect her, I like her. She’s extremely anti-social, introverted, independent, confident, wary, bi-sexual, beautiful, hostile, fair, and borderline autistic. Mr.  Stiegg said he based the character of Lisbeth Salander on what he imagined Pippi Longstocking would have been like as an adult. Which is all kinds of awesome.

I learned from the story. It ate at me for a whole week, always in my thoughts. Here are some of them:

Lesson #1: Just because someone smells like beer, dresses goth, and doesn’t look you in the eye doesn’t mean they’re trouble.

One of the first scenes shows a bunch of punks bully Lisbeth, just because she looks black and dark and troubled. They pour beer on her and smash her backpack to the ground. Her laptop is destroyed. Her laptop is her life. She goes to her friend, who can fix the computer, and he makes a comment about how she reeks of beer. When really, she’d never drunk a drop.

Just because someone smells of beer doesn’t mean you know the whole story. Reminds me of my post about the little trash girl that I saw.

Lesson #2: It takes patience to be friends with Lisbeth.

Mikael was trustworthy and kind and would do anything for Lisbeth–but that didn’t matter. First, she had to believe he could be good. And she had to start seeing that some men don’t hate women.

She couldn’t trust him, even though he was a trustworthy person.

He could take her out to coffee, smile, give her flowers, share a personal story about his childhood, and talk about feelings of loneliness, and still … her heart would not melt like what happens to most girls in most romance movies.

This is no romance.

But, maybe if he does that for her many years in a row, and never breaks her trust . . . then she’ll allow herself to connect.

So, if I ever want to be friends with someone like Lisbeth Salander (which would rock), I’ll have to be patient.

#3: Sex doesn’t mean emotional connection.

I’m of the old fashioned belief that sex actually makes an emotional connection.

However, if sex has been used against you … it’s broken. No more sexual connection.

So when Lisbeth has sex, it’s perhaps trying to make some connection, but it certainly doesn’t create an emotional connection.

So don’t break sex. Or it won’t work right.

#4: There really is no privacy.

Lisbeth can hack into my bank account faster than I can punch in the PIN. She could have my work history before I can type LPN. And she could have my address before I can write my area code. Seriously. She’s that good.

It almost makes me want to change my password that was labeled “weak” by Google.

#5: Families want closure.

One of the most rewarding parts of the story was when finally, the missing girl’s family was told what happened. Finally. Closure. Whether it be the 5 stages of grief, opening your heart up to new loves, or seeing justice for what happened … when a horrible situation is closed so you can finally explain the problem/how it happened–it’s good.

#6: Take the side of the weak.

Jesus did. If there’s ever a tiny kick-boxing girl with spiked hair, black lipstick, covered in studs, who says that a fine, upstanding social worker raped her . . . take the side of the weaker one. Listen to the story of rape–though it will hurt to hear–and make you uncomfortable. It’s not about you.

I know some girls will lie about rape. But methinks it’s not often. It’s much more common to lie that you weren’t raped, to keep it inside. People just don’t want to hear about a fine upstanding man raping a dirty punk whore … best to take the rich man’s side … best to not listen to the pleading in her eyes or the slight tremble in her lip.

Listen to the weak, the hurt, the abused, and the raped tell their stories. Even though it’s uncomfortable.

That’s what I learned.

What did you think about The Millennium Series?

Friday Favorites: Super 8

No, I’m not talking about the motel I stayed at that had soap slime in the sink, a bedcover that smelled like a foxhole, and crumbles falling from the ceiling. I’m talking about this:

“In the summer of 1979, a group of friends in a small Ohio town witness catastrophic train crash while making a super 8 movie and soon suspect that it was not an accident. Shortly after, unusual disappearances and inexplicable events begin to take place in town, and the local Deputy tries to uncover the truth – something more terrifying than any of them could have imagined.” -official synopsis

You should have seen this movie yesterday.

What I mean is, you should get into your time machine and watch it yesterday so that you can talk about it with me today. Seriously. *impatiently taps toe while you time travel* Watched it? Okay, good. (cause there are spoilers)

There are many things that I could note about this movie. I could note that it has an incredibly cheeky metal-mouth pyromaniac who lit up every scene he was in.  Or that boyhood buddy movies are a lot of freakin’ fun to watch. Or that Elle Fanning played the part of an abused kid, both hating and loving her father, while radiating soulful beauty and sweetness: quite an accomplishment. Or that bad comes from all sorts of things: from accidents, from neglectfulness, from miscommunications, from un-forgiveness, or from natives torturing and imprisoning you when all you want to do is go home. And you must let go of the bad things that happened in the past, if you want to be free of it.

One scene especially resonated with me.

It’s when Joe is forbidden by his dad, Jack, from ever seeing his crush again. I can SEE Jack’s thoughts in this scene. A narrowing of the eyes, a softening of the brow, a clenching chin, all revealed exactly what he was thinking – but wasn’t saying. Jack had the whole city on his shoulders. He was hounded by the mysterious disappearances. He’d never been alone through a crisis like this and missed his wife. He had to be sharp and in control with the citizens out there, or they’d become a frantic mob. Then, he sees his son with his worst enemy’s daughter. Which brings in a torrent of angry remembrance and hatred. Which he never wants to feel again. So he forbids Joe from seeing the girl, so that he might be able to forget her, and her dad as well. But then his son rebels, jumping into Jack’s heart when there’s no room for him there. So Jack pushes him back out . . . calls his enemy “angry, selfish!” He looks into his son’s eyes, brimming in tears, and the names he shot out bounce back at him. He is like his enemy. He is also an angry, selfish father. As he realizes it, he dies a little inside.

That’s some terrific acting by Kyle Chandler. He deserves an Oscar for that one scene. And if he doesn’t get one, by golly I just might make him one myself from the teeth of the Oscar judges panel.

As an end note: I was just like Charles, the best friend, when I was younger. JUST like him. Except I was tallest-in-my-class and had huge glasses. He gave me flashbacks of my 8th grade year. Of course, I never would have blown up my brother’s model train. I would, however, make my siblings (including 4 yr old sister) go out in the freezing rain so I could film the “perfect shot.” If I’d known what PRODUCTION VALUE was, I’m sure I would’ve been shouting it.



What did you think of the movie Super 8?













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