Archive for the ‘Media Review’ Category

Drama Review

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013


Drama Cover

So everyone loves some good drama right? Well if you like interpersonal drama (Susan likes Ted, but Ted is secretly sleeping with Bill) prepare to be slightly disappoint. There’s some in this, but the name actually refers to the fact that the main character is on the stage crew for a high school drama class. I’ll be honest, this sounds really freaking awesome to me. I wish I’d gone to a High School where our Drama class had enough of a budget that we had a stage crew. The little Drama I did in HS the actors were also the stage crew. Then again, if I had had the opportunity to make props and sets that’s what I might well be doing.

If only I’d been born 15 years earlier maybe I could have been making star ship models for ILM and blowing up model tie-fighters in the parking lot. If I didn’t know that almost everything was done with CGI these days I might just pack it up and move to Hollywood right now.

So yeah… can you say tangent? Anyway, this book has a little bit of high school romance, including an almost Midsummer’s Nightesque mixup (which I alluded to above, but changed the names to avoid spoilers), but it’s handled well. I really hope that there is half as much acceptance in real life as was represented here … then again, he didn’t actually come out of the closet to more than a few people so who knows. Basically what I’m saying is it’s nice to see the issue come up, and be handled well without it being focus of the book. In some ways I feel that when we get to the point where gender identity and sexuality can be different from “the norm” without drawing undue attention … or being the focus of the story, or drawing away from the focus, then we as a species are maybe, just maybe, starting to grow up a little.

Anyways, yeah this is a great book. I’m not so interested in the Baby Sitters Club books, but I have added Explorer to my to-read list. So in summery, I’ve avoided really talking about the content of the book because I don’t want to spoil the whole thing… the play’s the thing right?

Cthulhu Tales (Graphic Novel) Review

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

 

cthulhu tales cover

Do you like Lovecraftian Horror? Do you like Short Stories? Do you like Graphic Novels? If you answered yes to all of these things, you need to do yourself a favor and read Cthulhu Tales. Many of the stories have wonderful little twists. There’s even one that breaks the Fourth Wall. My biggest complaint with this is that it is way too short. I would have liked more stories, and maybe a couple that were a bit longer. On the bright side, it wasn’t until I was writing this review that I realized the book I read was Volume 2. There are three more volumes as of this writing. So that’s great, except that it just bumped my to-read list up to 229 books/series.

Do you have favorite stories from the Lovecraft Mythos? Games? It is an excellent Genre in my opinion, and I would love to know what you recommend!

Spoilers not guaranteed.

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

timetravelad__spanSo for a Sci-Fi movie about time travel, there is in fact very little of the trappings you might expect. Usually I’m pretty willing to countenance spoilers, as I’ve found (and heard told) that having the plot spoiled for you can often enhance the movie. There are some times though where watching or reading something without spoilers can be worthwhile, and this is definitely one of those cases.

So the premise is based on a joke ad published in ’97 in Backwoods magazine to fill space. It later hit the internet (YTMND for instance) before finally becoming a movie last year. All told the movie is more about people than time travel. Many have regrets that maybe time travel could fix … but maybe just meeting the right person could. Regardless the movie does a great job of keeping the big reveal a secret until the final moments of the movie. Hell, to be honest, they could probably go either way if they did a sequel… though I’m not sure how awesome a sequel w/out actual time travel would be.

It was pretty fun. I might bother to watch it a second time sometime, knowing now how it probably ends. I certainly wouldn’t purchase the movie, or force my friends to watch it. If you’ve got the opportunity to watch it though, by all means do so.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

jiro dreams

And I dream of considering $350 dollars a worthwhile investment for a single meal. That almost covers rent and utilities for a whole month. That said, this was a pretty interesting movie. The short story (SPOILERS much!) is this guy has been making Sushi since he was 10 (75 years now) … And he’s gotten pretty good at it. The movie covers everything from family dynamics (Jiro has 2 sons, but the eldest is kind of hosed, since he’s 50 and Jiro still hasn’t retired! The other son has opened a second, mirror image restaurant. ) to food selection (they taste everything they are going to make, to ensure it’s good) to environmental impact of over fishing, and much more.

I would recommend it. It’s probably not worth buying the movie, but netflix it, or borrow it from your library. Especially if you are a fan of Sushi, though knowing you’ll probably never taste the “best Sushi” might be a little depressing.

It was an Honest Mistake

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

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Just finished watching Brave. It was nice. Not great, but not bad either. This is one of those movies that is basically just mediocre enough. That is to say, it’d have had to have been considerably worse or better to really merit a review under my old system of only occasionally reviewing anything, and then only if it was extremely. Anyways, the movie’s got a few funny bits, some cute little bears,  a fairly simple moral, and an empowered female lead, who to my mind really is pretty empowered (or at least becomes so over the course of the movie). Okay, so in the fights basically no one accomplishes anything ever. It is a kids movie, so death and injury isn’t exactly to be expected though.

If you’ve got a couple of hours, and need something light hearted, check it out. The movie isn’t overly heavy handed with it’s message.

Also, the Witch’s answering machine is possibly the best thing ever. I’m certainly going to have to steal that for one of my D&D games the first chance I get.

Hobbit

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Just watched the Hobbit. I enjoyed it. The “Good Morning” scene brought tears of Nostalgia to my eye. I was a bit saddened by the lack of the “Lots, and none at all.” line, but hey, they half of my two favorite bits from the book made it in right?

That said, it really bothered me how erudite the Goblin King was. He’s supposed to be the bad guy, and evil. Making him sympathetic made it that much harder for me to rejoice when he and kin were mercilessly slaughtered by Gandalf and the Dwarves. If nothing else, it gives me a lot more impetus to read The Last Ringbearer. Really in the end though, it just made me feel bad for liking something which maybe is problematic.

Is Peter Davison a proto-Matt Smith?

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

So for years and years I’d been putting off watching Doctor Who because I’m a terrible chronologicalist and completionist. That is to say, I can’t abide unfinished works, or reading things out of order. Things like Star Wars only being Episodes IV-VI has long bothered me. And of course the new trilogy did little to assuage my mental dissonance relating to the SW universe. I may never start reading the books because there are so damn many, and this  is one of the things that’d kept me from DW for so long. Everyone was talking about how awesome the new Doctors were, and how it didn’t matter if you hadn’t seen all the old stuff. So I decided to start with the 4th Doctor, Tom Baker, for a number of reasons.

  1. At the time it was the earliest Doctor with no episodes missing.*,**
  2. He was several of my trusted friends’ favorite
  3. Douglas Adams was editor for the series, and even wrote several episodes.***

Anyways, I finished watching the fifty or so “Stories” of Baker a few weeks ago, and I’ve been rather enjoying Peter Davison. I’ve also been watching some of the Matt Smith and I must say, having watched Matt Smith before I finished the Baker years, that watching Davison, he really reminds me of the current Doctor. I wonder how much of that will bear out in the next few Doctors. Anyone else noticed this?

* Since I started the final missing episodes of Doctor 3 have been found.

** I’m not counting the Unaired Shada Episode, since this wasn’t finished due to writer’s strike, and was eventually aired w/ Baker doing narration for the missing parts.

*** Including the unfinished Shada Episode.

Pathfinder and Ruins

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

So I just finished the second book in the Pathfinder series, by Orson Scott Card. This is a quite excellent pair of books (with it being very likely that there’ll be a third.)

You’re likely familiar with the Clarke’s Third Law:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Some minor spoilers, these books are science fiction, not fantasy, but they very much appear to be fantasy at first. The books involve time travel, and preventing the end of the world, and those are all minor enough spoilers I don’t think knowing it will adversely affect your reading of the stories.

All in all the stories feel fairly internally consistent (which can be important in any book involving time travel) and even though the book is thick as a brick I tore through it in what feels like just a few days, though a quick look at Good Reads tells me it was almost exactly week, since I finished Erebos on the 2nd, and started Ruins the day after.

Saga by Brian K Vaughan

Saturday, December 8th, 2012

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been this effusive over a comic since Spacetrawler. I am totally loving Saga, it is one of the best comics out there right now. I’ll admit I’m loving Adventure Time (Ryan North Woo!) and the monthly wait for the next issue of Walking Dead is always such a pain. And Lookouts (the penny-arcade spinoff) is pretty frakking fantastic, but there is something amazing, and real, and empathetic about Saga that you just don’t see in other comics very often, or even books. It reminds me in some ways of Sandman, at least in that the basic premise is so crazy and outside anything you might expect, yet everyone in it from “good guys” to “bad” seems to be a real person, not just a cartoon cutout or an opportunity to show off some boobs/butts.

Seriously, if you’ve got a local comic shop go hit them up. If not check your local book stores or just buy the first trade (issues 1-6) from amazon. Whatever you’ve got to do, do it and get your hands on this. You won’t regret it… well unless you’re offended by nudity (which there is some of), violence (some of), or good story (lots of).

Review: Snow White & The Huntsmen

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

So I watch a lot of movies, and I’ll be honest if the movie is good, or mediocre, I probably won’t care enough to review it. So I just finished Snow White & the Huntsman … and it was almost good enough to count as mediocre.

So of course the biggest problem with the movie is that Keanu Reeves (who isn’t in the movie) looks like the most emotional dude ever in comparison with Kristin Stewart. I’ll admit I was surprised, as I’ve been the internet a few times so of course had heard it intimated that she only has the one expression.

Next (and this is probably actually a bigger complaint, it’s just less obvious) is that if you’re going to have a movie with a female lead, especially one where she’s going to dress up in armor and run around with a sword and shield, please, for the love of Pete, let her actually kick a little bit of ass! By my count she stabbed a guy who was being held by another guy. Got grabbed and beat ineffectively against the grabber until someone else killed him. Then ran away from the fight to have her epic battle with the queen, which was also pretty lame.

On the bright Ian McShane (aka Al Swearengen) and Toby Jones where both dwarves, which was pretty awesome.