Saturday, September 20, 2014

Blood Magick by Suzan Harden - Book Review

Vampires and Witches and Sex. Oh my!
Alright, what a fun book. I bumped into this author online and she was very helpful with her advice, friendly. So I went to her website and picked this up for my Kindle PC. I figured I'd give it a glance over. To be honest I'm not super into sexy vampire stuff, but thought I might try to expand my palette since the author seemed so genuine. I'm glad I did.

The story plays out as a mystery tale, who dunnit? It has vampires, vampire lords, witches, human allies, covens and even a werewolf.

The thing I was surprised about was the sex, I didn't know going in that it was going to have erotic elements. I can't remember ever reading any erotic novels, so I can't say how the sex scenes hold up comparatively. As a newb I'd say they were great, they pushed the story forward well and weren't too over the top. Not that I think sex scenes need to be integrated into the plot or character so much, heck I wouldn't mind if a story had tons of sex scenes unrelated to the story. Keeps it interesting.

I'd recommend this to anyone looking to get into sexy vampire stuff, seems like a good starting point. This book is part of a series, so if you are looking for a new series to dive into go ahead and check this one out. The next one looks to have zombies!

Here's a link to the author's website:
http://suzanharden.com/suzan-harden-books.html

Friday, September 5, 2014

Falling Free - Book Review

4 arms!
Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold is easily one of the best science fiction stories ever written. I read it at least once a year if not more.

The basic set up of the book is that a galactic corporation has created a race of 4 armed people, with no legs, who are built to function exclusively in zero gravity environments. Themes of love, slavery and freedom permeate throughout the story.

I can't speak too much about it without giving away too much. It's an 'idea' story with strong characters, so giving away the ideas it is based on can ruin the experience.

I recommend this one for ANYONE AND EVERYONE. It is very approachable even for people who aren't that interested in science fiction. I recently loaned my beat up copy to a friend who reads mostly nonfiction broken up by the occasional best seller, she loved it. I can't think of any group of readers that might be disappointed in this one. Many of my favorite books do not have such a broad appeal, science fiction can be that way sometimes, but this book does not suffer from that.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Starred Up - Review

Tough and damaged
Wow. This is one of the most brutally honest performances I've ever seen, from the entire case. The entire tone is so nerve wracking it had me amped up, a strange emotional response I do not often get from a film.

It's a prison drama, which is apparently a genre of Brittish film and includes the likes of Scum and Bronson.

This one revolves around the transfer of a young inmate from the juvenile system to the adult prison system. He is transferred to the same prison his father currently resides in, a fellow convict. What follows is one of the most intense father and son bonding episodes ever put to film. A truly great achievement.

As for who I would recommend this film for, I'm just not sure. It's a tough call really. It's not that fun of a movie, not to say I didn't like it, but it can be a tough watch. Also the English is very low class Brittish with lots of rapid slang. It can be hard to understand. Anyone into prison drama and more artistic styled movies would be into this. It's definitely not a mainstream choice. The movie leaves you feeling optimistic, which is great. It could have went so much darker, glad it didn't.

Now that the summer movie season is over I'll be doing more book reviews. I have a list of a few dozen that need my attention. Movies aren't the only story medium you know!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Night Moves - Review

In a truck. Being futile.
Just watched this flick last night, it's an interesting one. It's about a trio of enviro-terrorists getting together to blow up a small dam. It is more of an art film, which means it's slow and brooding. Films like this tend to hinge on good acting and this one is no different, luckily the three leads, pictured above, are definitely up to the task.

Unlike many of the stories I talk about I cannot recommend this one broadly. You sort of have to know what you are getting into. If you are looking for some action and a big finish ending, any sort of summer blockbuster type movie, this one is not for you. If you are an overfeeler about the environment and other causes you might like it, but you might also not like how the activists are portrayed. Try not to internalize. For fans of fine acting, for fans of slow burning drama/thrillers, this one is definitely for you.

You can look at the other films I've reviewed here and get a pretty good idea whether or not I enjoyed myself with this film.

One note on the ending, it tends to make no sense so I'll address it here:

***SPOILERS***

In the end the main character is seen looking through a mirror, over his shoulder, watching some customers do their shopping. They are on their cell phones. This hearkens back to an earlier conversation where people don't care and are happy just having their phones on 24/7. So this mirror shot works as a double metaphor or reference. One, the main character will always be looking over his shoulder and two, that even though he's killed people in order to try to wake people up to the problem people are still just going about their day talking on their phones like nothing happened. The film ends there. A real downer. No matter what you do, what you sacrifice, you'll change nothing at all.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Frozen - Review

Olaf. My fav.
For those people into family entertainment, musicals or Disney movies in general this is a masterpiece. The story revolves around 2 sisters, one who has super powers and the other who is just super brave.

It's Disney, so you get all of the talking animals and snow men you could ever want, you get the young lovers and the magic of the true love's kiss and all of that. And princesses. It's not Disney if there isn't at least one princess!

I highly recommend this move for people of all ages and tastes, especially for the kids. For young girls it has a lot of very positive imagery without bogging itself down with gender politics.

Some day I will have something bad to say about one of the movies I review. But today is not that day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy - Review

Awesome!
So here's a more recent movie currently knocking it out of the park in theaters. Another big Marvel franchise starting up, and doing so with as much fun and wizbang as any other movie this summer.

The story centers around Star Lord, a self nicknamed scoundrel in the Indiana Jones and Han Solo mold. There's a magic McGuffin, an evil overlord working for an even more evil overlord. There are family rivalries, hidden family connections, revenge, comic style violence, self sacrifice and a huge battle during the climax of the movie.

What I liked most about this movie was the tone. Very light and fun the whole time. Star Lord dances, a lot.

It's great all around, but I wouldn't exactly say it's for everyone. If you are into the slow well acted dramas you might not get much out of this movie, but for everyone else who likes the big summer blockbuster or is into the Marvel Universe at all this is probably the best movie all year. Captain America: Winter Soldier and X-Men: DoFP are also good entries, more serious.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ghostbusters - Review

Cool, Cooler, Coolest.
Love me some Ghostbusters. This year marks the 30th anniversary of this super awesome movie.

This is one of those movies that gets it perfectly right. I rarely call a movie perfect, but man this is it. The went for a 'creepy comedy' as their goal and achieved it better than any other effort I can think of.

The plot revolves around 3 dudes, and later a 4th, who attempt to start an extermination business. Ghost extermination. Pretty soon bureaucratic interference gets involved and a huge supernatural event occurs, endangering our dear City of New York.

This is Akroid, Ramis and Murray's best work I think, with a supporting cast of Sigourney Weaver, Ernie Hudson and a fantastic Rick Moranis.

Seriously I almost didn't post this because the movie is so awesome I figured everyone had seen it already.

I recommend it for anyone interested in movies. At all.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Trading In Danger by Elizabeth Moon


This is a nice far future space ship based science fiction story by Elizabeth Moon. She has several series out, some pretty lengthy, this is one of the less popular series but still very strong. This is book one. It follows a young scion of a trading guild on her first voyages as a starship captain. It has a bit of military edge to it and isn't too heavy on the hard side of science fiction, which makes it my favorite type of science fiction story.

There are a few confusing passages using trade jargon that might confuse you, but it adds to the story by showing just how much the main character knows about trade ships and so helps add a bit of depth to the character.

So far there are half a dozen novels in this series. I plan on reading them all.

Alien - Movie Review


Yes! Alien. What a great horror/sci fi flick. A classic by director Ridley Scott. If you want to see some of the best of HR Giger, a great performance by Sigourney Weaver and some fantastic practical effects before everything started going fakey looking digital then this is the movie for you.

This is the movie that launched an entire franchise, including 3 sequels, 2 cross overs with Predator (which I'll review soon) and now a sort of spin off (Prometheus). It all started here folks.

This movie along with Event Horizon is probably my favorite scifi/horror tale. I highly recommend for fans of both genres, as well as fans of seeing Sigourney Weaver strip down and put a space suit on.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Steel Panther


These guys are awesome. I don't do a lot of music reviews, but the story here is great. A bunch of over 40 dudes totally kicking ass. Their style of music is the big arena 80's sound of Motley Crew, Van Halen and Def Leppard. The difference being they are a bit of a joke, a lampoon perhaps. A satire?

Can you really satirize a music genre that did so much to become a joke all by itself? Like if I walked around with huge metal teeth spitting rap lyrics would I be making fun? No, I'd be paying tribute to an image and sound that I enjoyed.

That's what these guys are doing. Also their lyrics are fun and hilarious.

Check them out on you tube.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow Review


I really really liked this one. A ton. It probably won't crack my top 5 due to a kinda weak final act, but for scifi lovers and Tom Cruise fans this is where it's at. Crazy aliens, time travel and awesome freakin' battle suits.

Also it has that one thing that all truly great movies aspire to...Bill Paxton. He's so great. He should just be in every movie. Every. Movie.

The one thing I didn't like so much was that they had to shoe horn a love story into last act. It felt forced and weak to me. You can have a big movie like this and just have everyone be an epic badass without turning it into a guy gets girl retread.

Definitely a top 10 movie this year. I'll definitely see it again sometime. I strongly recommend it to the action and scifi crowd.

Movies 2014 - Top 5 So Far

Alright people, so far it has been a great year of movies. I tend to favor the big action movies, science fiction and fantasy preferred, but I love all movie genres for what they are.

So far here is my list of top movies:
1. The Lego Movie - Such a great one, for all ages really. Everything is awesome!

2. Captain America: Winter Soldier - This is what super hero movies should be. Just great tone, great costumes. A lot of fun.

3. X-Men: Days...- Another solid entry into the X-Men franchise. With some brain burning time travel and the introduction of Quicksilver. The highlight of the movie for me.

4. Godzilla - Good monster movie, the human drama was a bit weak for me, but this is easily a top 5 Godzilla movie (I have a weakness for Mecha Godzilla).

5. Maleficent - I don't know why this movie didn't get great reviews, it was a ton of fun for me. I recommend anyone go check it out. Jolie is fantastic!

Honorable Mention: Chef - Just a low key family movie about redemption and being an artist, taking the plunge to go out on your own. Really great.

That's it for now, those are the ones that have really grabbed me so far. I've seen a TON more movies though. About one or two a week.