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Review: Incredibles 2

I loved the first Inredibles movie so it wasn’t difficult to go see this new one. It starts off the day after the first movie ends, and everything has changed for our heroes. Mr Incredible no longer has a job. They no longer have a house. And supers are back in the limelight again… for good or bad? Only time will tell.

What I loved about the first movie, and now this movie, is that the story revolves around the family more than their super powers. In the first movie it started with Mr Incredible sneaking around behind the families back and dealt with their lives as a family trying to live without their super powers. I could relate to that. Maybe I don’t have a super power but I do have a talent and something I love. Something that I wasn’t able to do for years. And when I was finally able to use that talent again, to really dive into it, I felt so much relief. Like a flood gate opening. I imagine that’s what the supers felt when they were finally able to use their powers again. The thing that made them special.

So when they are given an opportunity to work as supers again of course they jump on it. But…there’s a catch. Isn’t there always?

I loved that they focused on the family so much. When the start at the beginning Mrs Incredible tells Mr Incredible she will go to work, he’s done his time and she knows how much he hated it, now she’ll take her turn. This is something that happens in many families where times get tough and mom and dad have to sacrifice what they want so that the kids can just eat, and go to school. I also loved the fact that this is one of the few Disney (through Pixar) movies where both parents are there, love each other, and working together even if sometimes they fight. It’s almost like they are a real family.

There was also a lot of great action in the movie. A lot of new super heroes with different abilities. And a really great villain with a perfect back story.

I also love the fact that their heroes aren’t perfect. They make mistakes, miss their shots, or break things. Like real people.

Overall a fun movie that I enjoyed seeing. If you liked the first one you’ll probably enjoy it too.

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Posted by on June 24, 2018 in Review

 

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Review:Cloverfield

I am going to admit that I love the Cloverfield series right here. I like how they blend different genres and styles. The first one had a found footage feel with a Godzilla origin. The second had a thriller/horror vibe with an alien invasion, and the third has a science fiction action adventure and lost in space feel. And yet all work together in the same universe. As a story creator myself, I LOVE THIS!

Now, I admit there are a lot of plot holes, and some big science aspects that really miss the mark, especially in the third one. Still, I enjoyed the actual story. I liked what they did with the main character. I like the mystery of what’s happening. And I think it fits in this…universe…?

For a non spoiler review: Don’t go into this expecting the best picture you ever saw. That’s not what this is. Don’t go into it expecting Godzilla monsters. That isn’t what this is. Don’t go into it expecting hard sci-fi with absolutely flawless science to back up what’s happening on screen. That is DEFINITELY not what this is.

What you should expect is a survival adventure on a space station slowly falling apart. And it does an okay job of being that, as well as expanding upon the universe of Cloverfield a bit. There are some good special effects, some interesting character moments, and as a survival space movie it is good.

If you’re trying to bridge the gap between Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane then you might get annoyed. Don’t watch it for that.

Now, for the spoilery stuff. You’ve been warned:

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Posted by on February 6, 2018 in Review

 

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Being Crazy

I started listening to Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, also known as the Bloggess. I read her blog infrequently, and stalk her twitter posts more often. I bought the first book, and the second in hard back. I even read the first book, though the second book has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for a while.

So when I got a free credit from Audible I took a chance to go get the Furiously Happy. I liked the original, I just tend to listen to books more often then read them lately. I don’t often have quiet moments to sit and enjoy words on a page unless I’m writing them. That’s what happens when  you’re trying to write a series…time just disappears.

But I started listening to it, and realized it was far more fun to listen to than read anyway. Jenny Lawson is funny on paper, and hysterical speaking. The fact that she’s talking about her taxidermy collection, and trying to tie socks onto the cats so they can experience a waterbed to the fullest doesn’t hurt.

But she also talks about serious things, like her mental problems, depression, and self harm. I find myself saying “yes, I know that feeling” all too many times. Hiding in the bathroom crying? Check. Hurting yourself because the pain on the outside is better than the pain on the inside? No, I did the opposite. I turned off all the emotions so I couldn’t feel anything, which was probably worse in some ways (though I bet Jenny would disagree.)

Listening to her struggles with depression, and her desire to live life furiously happy is helpful to pulling me out of the darkness sometimes. It helps that she knows what I’ve been through, and she keeps smiling and making fun of it. She keeps gathering those ridiculous stories and sharing them with everyone else. And those ridiculous stories make me want to share some of mine.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2018 in Review

 

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Thoughts on Star Wars the Last Jedi

Is been a few weeks since I saw the new Star Wars movie, and I had to think about it because I wasn’t sure what I thought about it at first.

On the positive side, there were some cool new creatures. Crystaline wolves, fish people, and porgs (that were flavor to the set rather than integral to the story, which I liked.)

I loved the final battle scene. The beautiful reds and whites playing off each other, and marking every move made in the field.

I really liked the development of Rey and Kilo. Tense hatred, punctuated by bitter betrayal, and a risk finding answers for both of them. I almost felt their story line was a little rushed to add in bits for other people, which disappointed me.

I even liked the bomb run. It had a very ww2 vibe to it, risking everything to stop the enemy, which is what the original SW fight scenes were based off of.

So, there was a lot to like in the movie, and even love.

But let’s get into the things I didn’t like as much. Here there will be spoilers, so you’ve been warned.

The biggest problem I had with the movie is that while we were watching I would be really into what was happening, on the edge of my seat, and then something would happen that just pulled me out of the scene and ruined it for me. I thought about it too much, stayed analyzing and trying to figure out why it didn’t fit, and it took me a while to get back into it. There weren’t a lot of those moments, but they were sometimes big moments.

In writing one of the worst things you can do is throw a reader out of the story. It becomes less likely they will pick the book up and continue reading. There were other things that pointed at bad, or sloppy writing. No foreshadowing, missing continuity, sub-plots that lacked cohesion with the main plot (casino planet?). You probably want specifics, but it’s been a few weeks since I watched it so I can’t give you a very detailed list of anything. But I can tell you why I think the purple-haired-lady was such bad writing.

In a story you have to make people care about characters. Make them hate the character, or love the character, but make them FEEL something about them. Either you see them a lot and grow accustomed to them, or they save a puppy, or kill a puppy…SOMETHING happens to make them endearing or hated by you, and then when they die you care. Either you cheer, or you’re sad. It really impacts the audience. But you have to SHOW that they are worth caring about, not tell us.

If I said “hey, that dude over there killed a puppy,” you might look at him a little sideways, but you’re probably not going to believe me. If I show you a video on youtube of the guy tying up a helpless puppy, putting it in a sack, then throwing the sack into a deep, fast moving river…you’re calling the cops more than likely. Showing has far more impact than telling ever will.

In this case they introduced a character, told us she was some great commander that did some awesome thing, then she promptly told Poe (someone we really liked) to get lost. She keeps telling him to get lost, and has no meaningful interaction until the very end. Even then she tries to destroy the one chance we, the audience, can see of the rebels survival by trying to capture Poe. Then after she’s destroyed all chance of anything good happening (from what we see) someone finally speaks up and says “oh, she had a plan.”

We spent no time with purple-haired-lady. We knew nothing about her, other than Leah said she was a good general. We did not see her kiss a kids boo-boo, rescue a puppy, or teach some young trainee to shoot. She did NOTHING except stand there and tell Poe to sit down and shut up, over and over again.

I saw a video from I Hate Everything that said we also didn’t care about Admiral Akbar, so it wouldn’t have mattered if they would have switched it out. I disagree. The fact is Admiral Akbar has been a staple meme of Star Wars culture. “It’s a trap!” is imprinted on us. We quote it, time and time again. We see his face, hear his voice in countless videos, pictures, and jokes. We knew him. No, he didn’t save a puppy either, but he did try to save the fleet, on screen, while we watched, and that resonated with us. We watched as the ships were decimated, and we knew Admiral Akbar tried to save them, but it was too late. If he had been the one on that ship to sacrifice his life than it would have meant something. Instead we got a “and Admiral Akbar is dead too” from some lady we didn’t know, or care about. They didn’t even have the decency to show him die.

You know what it felt like? What a lot of the movie felt like? The director said “how many women can we cram into this movie” and he cut out as many men as he could, making their rolls insignificant if he couldn’t out right cut them. Unless they were the bad guy. Notice that most of the fighter pilots they showed were women? Or that all of the generals were women? Poe was cast as even more of a screw up maverick than the first movie, and Fin was painted as an idiot at times. Mostly due to sloppy writing. I try to imagine this is because most of the men already died in battle and all they have left is women, but it’s still awkward that they make the male’s in the rebel group look so damn incompetent. Even Luke had become a coward, though I was glad to see he learned from it.

Lastly, the way they destroyed the ship at the end was kind of bad ass, I’ll admit. It was beautiful imagery, and looked amazing…and it left a lot of questions. Like why didn’t they sacrifice any one of the other three ships that were being destroyed before that? Oh, I can see not sacrificing a ship unless you had to, but you’re already dead. Why aren’t you doing something heroic instead of letting yourself get blown up? And how did purple-haired-lady know it would work? Was she really the first person to even think of doing it? Even so, it was a beautiful scene, and I think with a little bit more story they could have made it fit in better.

And no, I’m not talking about the casino planet. Let’s just forget that ever happened, okay?

Overall I loved the imagery, and the battle on the salt planet was beautiful. I even liked the end of Luke, it was fitting. I thought the dice on the mirror were kind of dumb, but what can you do? There was sloppy writing, and inconsistencies, and it kind of didn’t fit entirely in the Star Wars universe, but it was a really good space adventure film.

Would I watch it again? Maybe, if it was on late night cable or netflix. I’d probably even like it more the second time. If you believe the film theorist watching something repeatedly makes us like it more. I will probably even go to the theater to see the next movie in the series…and hope it has a better writer next time. Or the director stops trying to make it so female-centric. Whichever.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2018 in Review

 

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Favorite Reads of 2017!

I set out with a goal of 30 books this year, and managed to read 30. I will admit, I upped my book count because I realized they wouldn’t all be novels. I had a few graphic novels, and some short stories in the mix, as well as a few audio books for my long commutes.

In all I read 16 novels, ten short stories, and four graphic novels.

I’d have to say the Baine Chronicles were my absolute favorite this year. Jasmine Walt spun a fantastic story about a shifter hybrid who gets caught with her magic on display and has to avoid being killed, then ends up rescuing the arch mage. So much allegory for real life in this series. Lots of magic, and mischief. Loved every page and I read the first six books pretty quickly.

Star Nomad by Lindsay Buroker is another favorite. This read very much like Firefly, and Buroker wasn’t afraid to say it up front. That’s what she was going for, and she managed it with flying colors.

Dungeon Crawl by Skyler Grant hit on a second love of mine, LitRPG, which I didn’t even know was a thing until just this month. I’ve been enjoying Sword Art Online, Kilobyte by Piers Anthony, and other movies and books in this genre, but didn’t know it had an actual name until just recently. Dungeon Crawl scratched that itch (so to say) quite nicely, and I’ll be reading more of these types of books this year.

I also read Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. This is a fantastic book for anyone who wants to make their story telling better. I had to rewrite a lot of chapters because of this book, but my novels are so much better because of that rewrite. Worth it!

Lastly I’m going to say Grizzly Shark is my favorite graphic novel this year. Oh, Heathen and LumberJanes were good, but Grizzly Shark is one of those books that will stick with me for the rest of forever. With sharks swimming through the trees to eat everyone, and irreverent jokes on every page, I loved it. Crass, unapologetic humor that goes out of it’s way to just be itself. Would read again!

Of the other books, there were some good ones, and a few fell short, but nothing really bad. The books I chose just stood out a bit more than the others, either because I loved the series as a whole, it hit that nestalgia button, or it was incredibly memorable (queue the grizzly shark!)

How did your reading challenge go?

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2017 in Review

 

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Review – The Defenders from Netflix

I loved Jessica Jones, the first season of Dare Devil. I even liked The Iron Fist (even though I thought it wasn’t well choreographed, and didn’t hold up as much as the other three.) Luke Cage I found a bit boring, and I never got into the second season of Dare Devil.

So I thought I’d take a chance on The Defenders. I liked the four characters, so it had to be good, right?

Parts of it were. They had a decent plot going with the conflict escalating between the four super heroes and The Hand. They had Jessica doing her detective work, and Dare Devil trying to stop her from getting too deep. Because I hadn’t seen the second half of Dare Devil season two I kept wondering how Matt got to the point where he stopped fighting. Stopped trying to save his city. But I digress.

While the plot was interesting, and I loved Signorine Weaver as a villain, I thought some of our super hero’s were a bit on the angsty side. “I don’t want to risk my life, but I do, but I don’t” The back and forth wishy washy nature was annoying.

The choreography for fights left something to be desired. My favorite part of Dare Devil was the long hall scene where they are fighting, being thrown in and out of view of the camera. That was awesome. In the Defenders maybe more of it should have been off camera too.

The other character I absolutely couldn’t stand was Misty. She kept getting in the way, but kind of wanted to help them, but kept trying to brow beat them into telling her what they knew. Her character was so poorly written. I think they were trying to show she was stuck in between advancing at work, and helping the people who could actually do something, and it showed up as more indecisiveness.

I ended up liking parts of it, and hating other parts of it. I actually yelled at the screen at one point for a particular character to get the hell out of the way. But the overall plot was an interesting one, and the ending tied up everything nicely. It was the character development, and some of the angstyness of most of the cast that really did not help.

 

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2017 in Review

 

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Review: Witch Hunt by SM Reine

I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I’ve been wanting to read something by SM Reine for a while. When I saw I could get a couple of her trilogies for free, then purchase the audio book, I knew it was a great chance to do so. I was in between books, so it was perfect timing.

Preternatural Affairs is about Cèsar Hawke, a witch, and his investigations into the darker side of magic. In the world that Reine created magic users are still in the closet. Demons have hidden cities that normal people can’t find unless they are invited in, and witches use herbs, stones, and circles to create some powerful spells.

It’s a rich world. In this first book she doesn’t delve into the magical side that much, most of it is centered around figuring out who killed the girl in his bathtub. But it takes a few spells, and some other magical help to get to the bottom of things.

I loved the fact that this was from the POV of a man. So many urban fantasy novels are from the POV of women right now, and it was nice to get a change. She writes him pretty well, and I loved that he’s a strong personality with a female partner with an equally strong personality. They play off one another well.

All in all, if you like paranormal, and you like mystery, this is a good series. And I fully expect it will just get better.

Also the guy who reads it has a really smooth, sexy voice.

And that’s my five.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Review

 

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