Saturday, December 29, 2012

Savages (2012) : A Review

Savages (2012)
Directed By: Oliver Stone
Written By: Shane Salerno and Don Winslow (who wrote the book)
Genre: ACTION
Time: 131 min
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Salma Hayek, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson
Plot: Entrepreneurs Ben, a peaceful and charitable marijuana producer, and friend Chon, a former Navy SEAL, run a lucrative, homegrown industry - raising some of the best weed ever developed. They also share a one-of-a-kind love with Ophelia. Life is idyllic in their Southern California town... until the Mexican Baja Cartel decides to move in and demands that the trio partners with them. When the merciless head of the BC, Elena and her enforcer, Lado, underestimate the unbreakable bond of the three friends, Ben and Chon - with the reluctant assistance of a dirty DEA agent - wage a seemingly unwinnable war against the cartel. And so begins a series of increasingly vicious ploys and maneuvers in a high stakes, savage battle of wills.

Comments: Sometimes I dig Oliver Stone and sometimes I don’t, but Savages looked intriguing.  Or maybe I am just a sucker for pretty boys and Salma Hayek as a bad guy.  Who knows, but the weekly trip to Red Box brought this one home with me. Chon, Ben and O are an interesting threesome and yep that kind of threesome.  Ben and Chon have been best friends since they were kids.  While Ben is a part time do gooder saving children in Africa and trying to bring clean water to third world countries, Chon is an ex-NAVY seal who has a bad attitude and a firm belief that civilization is just pretending to be civilized. They both run a Laguna Beach based marijuana ring with Ben being the botanist and Chon the muscle.  Tying them both together is O, spoiled little rich girl who loves them both, sleeps with them both and keeps them all tied together. They run their business in relative peace until southern pot empress Elena (Salma Hayek) wants to form a partnership. Even though Ben is tired of the drug business and wants to bring clean energy and computers to the third world, neither of them want to work for the Baja Cartel and would rather go play Robinson Crusoe off in Indonesia.  No isn’t really acceptable to Elena and her empire, didn’t they see the video of all of the headless guys who weren’t willing to play with her, and so her henchmen kidnap O after a day of fun filled pre-escape shopping. Their playmate taken, the boys decide to become the savages everyone thinks they are.  Let the machinations, plot twists and savagery begin.

The movie begins with an amazing home that Ben and Chon have built with their eco-friendly, fairly benign marijuana empire as O gives us a bit of exposition.  Rich colors, nice curtains blowing in the ocean breeze and Taylor Kitsch’s bare ass pumping away between Blake Lively’s legs.  Can’t say I was complaining as it was a very nice little bum. Of course as soon as Ben comes home from his stint as philanthropist and overall saint, we then see more bums, this time it is Aaron Johnson who looks quite delectable as well (It’s amazing what a few years and some facial hair can do for the Kick Ass kid).  Yes I am shallow, but I can have the men, you can have Blake Lively. Admittedly it’s a lot of sex scenes in the first 20 minutes and as I sat watching it with my roommate Eric, we both kind of just looked at each other and said ‘Really?’.  What is this movie about again?

I do like Oliver Stone’s take on modern drug dealers and marijuana in general.  You have Ben who is sweet and eco-friendly and trying to take some of the savagery out of the drug business. They sell their stuff to the local dispensaries and are trying to help with the pain, but of course the real money comes from shipping it out of state. Of course not everyone plays nice and that is where Chon and his fellow vets come into play every now and again.  You have money launderers who are fresh faced twenty somethings who used to be bankers and scary henchmen who drink iced lattes and watch reality tv. Oh and everyone loves Skype and having cheesy little animations after their live videos of torture and mayhem, possibly just for the cutesy factor or because they want it to be the next meme.

I also liked the relationship between the three lead characters.  The bromance between Chon and Ben is evident.  There is not a lot those two won’t do for one another and apparently for O. It’s a strange relationship that they have, but one that seems to work. The part of the relationship I didn’t like was O herself.  What makes her so special? Other than amazingly tan legs and a killer wardrobe?  Is it the pouting?  I don’t like Blake Lively.  I know I may be a minority here but I don’t think she can particularly act and the whole pouty princess thing got old really quick. O just got to be annoying and I didn’t want her to be.  I really did want her to be this Mother Earth like glue that kept Chon and Ben together and kept them balanced and noble and good. When she is taken away then they descend into the savagery.  

I think what was really annoying is how blasé O is about her kidnapping.  I would be scared shitless.  Hello your boyfriends were just planning the grand disappearing act because the bad guys want their business and their heads, but sure complain about having pizza all the time as you are chained to a bed and being leered at by creepy Benicio Del Toro.  I have no sympathy for her.  And as I said Lively makes O extremely flat, being the happy stoner chick when things are amazing and the sad, whiny stoner chick who frowns and pouts a lot when things aren’t going so well for her.

John Travolta and Benicio play their respective characters over the top, but I am okay with that.  I enjoy being terrified of Lado and Dennis is just a parody of every crooked DEA agent. I think of all of the characters Ben is the most interesting and actually develops throughout the film albeit in a negative way.  I feel for him as you see a good man do some pretty terrible things.  I don’t expect growth from Chon.  He is just a bad ass who likes to blow things up and kill a lot of people.  I am not expecting him to learn a valuable life lesson and become a fuller more realized individual and I am okay with that.  

The movie is also fairly violent.  As I said there are beheadings and one brutal scene with a whip and an eyeball.  Eli Roth would be proud and for that it’s not going to be for everyone.  Plus it is hard to believe that all of this violence is going down just for marijuana. Maybe I am naïve but I just don’t really see stoners getting that worked up especially since you have so many states including my own of Montana where a fifth of your city may have a green card.

From what I hear the book is great and the movie lacks a lot of the political and social commentary that fans of the book really embrace and love. In the end I liked the movie, but have no real desire to watch it again or own it unless I am feeling particularly shallow and need to see some cute man butt. I am really happy to see Aaron Johnson come back into focus though as he was my favorite part and I look forward to seeing more of him. 

Rent/Cinema? Rent

3/4 popcorns

Been A While

So umm, yeah.  Its been a while gang.  What can I say other than its been a hell of a year.  I met a nice fellow nerd who embraces my girly geek and has me hopelessly addicted to Mass Effect 3 and who treats me like a pretty pretty girly geek princess (I forgot how awesome that can be).  I have read far too many book and seen way too many movies and so happy to have the time to do both.  Its been a relatively rough year as well but 2013 promises to be something spectacular.  I have missed you guys and hope all is well on the geek front whether it be books, movies, comics or anything else. In the next few weeks expect to see a lot of me after all I do have a lot of catching up to do.

Happy New Year Kids!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

THURSDAY CRUSH: Peter Bishop





I am a huge fan of Fringe, the sci-fi show brought to be my lovely JJ Abrams. The show basically follows a team that uses “fringe” science and investigates unexplained occurrences most of them relating to a parallel universe (where the Green Arrow is the Red Arrow and the West Wing is still on the air). I would be lying if I said that part of the reason I am crushing on Peter Bishop is due to the fact that he is played by Joshua Jackson (What can I say I thought Dawson’s Creek should have been the Pacey show). There is something about Joshua (besides being a complete hottie). He has presence and has the ability to make you smile and relate to him. Plus Peter is a bad ass.

Peter is the man who has been there and done that despite his young age. He speaks like seven languages, can charm the pants (including me out of mine) off of anyone and is extremely intelligent. More than that he is extremely loyal and caring to both Walter, Olivia and Astrid. He is a man who can macgyver a defibrillator, but he can also hold and short a gun. He’s a bit of a gentleman rogue. That’s sexy.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

SUNDAY SEVEN: Comic Book Films

With the new Avengers trailer out and the countdown beginning for me, I thought we would discuss the top seven comic book films that have come out. These are my picks.




ONE: HELLBOY
Based on Mike Mignola’s Dark horse comic series, Guillermo del Toro managed to bring Big Red to cinematic life much to my glee. Hellboy is a great character. He is as endearing and funny as much as he is total bad ass. I think Del Toro does a great job of showing that the freaks and geeks of the world can be heroes too. Plus it has Ron Perlman (I grew up watching Beauty and the Beast and even have a cd of ‘Beast’ reciting poetry with the score from the show just like he did on the show), Selma Blair (Who wouldn't want to be Liz), and proves that men like Doug Jones (Abe Sapien, but who also was the Lead Gentleman in the Buffy episode ‘Hush’) and Andy Serkis can do more wonder in SFX makeup and green suits than most actors can. I also love the detail that goes into Guillermo’s films. Love, love, love this film.

++++++


TWO: BATMAN BEGINS
I grew up a Batman girl. He had no superpowers, was definitely no boyscout like Superman and then there was the whole bat thing. Now I loved Tim Burton’s Batman, but Christopher Nolan’s reboot is a creature all its own. We had been watching superhero films, but few were relatable. In a way they seemed too otherworldly, too ‘comic-y’. Batman was now grounded in a world we could relate to and the ‘comic’ feel went away. Now it wasn't just geeks watching movies made from comic series. There is also something about an origin film as well that can be satisfying. Batman was cool. Batman was scary and I got to watch how he got there. And for the first time I even got my father interested in a comic book film. What can I say it is a start.

++++++++++++++++


THREE: SPIDER-MAN 2 While Spider-man is pretty kick ass. Spider-Man 2 is kickass times kickass. It is kickass squared. By Spider-Man 2 Spidey is already the hero and yet has mundane problems like keeping your grades up, wooing the girl he loves, and keeping a job. You cant help but like Peter just as you cannot help but like Doctor Octopus played brilliantly by Alfred Molina. Doc Ock was a role model before he became the big bad and that gives his character some depth, depth I appreciated. Plus we got to see Peter rise again even after he is put through hell. Again an amazing film and I miss seeing Tobey McGuire in films of late. (though excited to see him in Great Gatsby).

++++++++++


FOUR: KICK ASS
We’ve always wondered what would happen if regular people decided to be superheroes, fighting crime and wearing costumes. We’d probably think they were all nutters. Mark Millar and John Romita Jr explored these ideas in their comic series. Matthew Vaughn brought it to life (He directed X-Men: First Class and is a frequent collaborator with Guy Ritchie). While the movie isn't always plausible (Hit Girl being able to trounce bad guys three times her size or lets face it jet packs) and yet I love the brutal, gritty nature of it all. While there are deviations from the comics, it is a fairly faithful adaptation. Also I just love Hit Girl.

++++++++++++


FIVE: IRON MAN
Despite being more of a DC/Vertigo girl, Marvel has the Avengers and Tony Stark is both a bad ass and an ass hat. Who knew that Iron Man would become such a household name the way that Batman, Superman or Spidey is? While Iron Man in another origin story and thus has the same hero’s journey, Robert Downey Jr owned that role and the film would not be the same without him. He was funny, charming, and a bit of an ass but that is who Tony Stark is. And seriously just give RBD Jr an Oscar already as he is an amazing actor, one I will go and see any film for.

+++++++++++++


SIX: SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
Director Edgar Wright is the shit and he makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It began with Shaun of the Dead and Spaced and continued with Hot Fuzz. He was actually a great choice to bring Scott Pilgrim to life. The film has everything that made me love Bryan O’Malley’s series and yet had enough geeky references (name those video game soundbytes) to make a geeky video game playing, comic book reading girl like me one very happy camper.

++++++++++++++


SEVEN: TANK GIRL
As a fan of the comics by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, I was happy to see Tank Girl come to the big screen. While most people would put it on their worst lists, I love it anyway. It’s funny, snarky, and entertaining. Yeah there are a hell of a lot of differences and some of my fave bits got axed, and yet I feel the same way as I do the book/movie of Practical Magic: they are different creatures. I think Lori Petty and Naomi Watts were perfect as our dynamic duo and they make me happy. Also the film has a kick ass soundtrack that frequently plays on my ipod which includes tracks from Bjork, Portishead, Veruca Salt, and L7. 



HONORABLE MENTIONS The Crow, The Rocketeer, A History of Violence, RED, Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Chronicle

Chronicle (2012)
Directed By: Josh Trank
Written By: Max Landis
Genre: ACTION/SCI-FI
Time: 83 min
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Michael B Jordan, and Alex Russell
Plot: Three high school friends gain superpowers after making an incredible discovery. Soon, though, they find their lives spinning out of control and their bond tested as they embrace their darker sides.

Comments: While the Blair Witch Project helped the whole found footage/faux documentary become the new schtick in film, for me it was the brilliant Cloverfield that made it all popular again. And why not, its a fun and interesting gimmick, especially in this day and age where cell phone footage and youtube videos are everywhere. 

When I first saw the Chronicle trailer, I turned to Finn and said yes. I was hooked. I couldn't wait to see it. Filmmakers Josh Trank shows that there can be great films using the whole found footage thing. They don’t have to be relegated to horror films with no character development. It doesnt have to be scare to scare. The special effects aren’t bad at all and I loved how creative they were with the events caught on tape. There were cell phones, CCTV, camcorders and more. And while yes Andrew has this American Beauty like fondness for cameras it works especially when his power grows and the camera opens things up and gives the audience different perspectives.


I like Andrew. Played by Dane DeHaan (I knew him from In Treatment though he looks like a young Dicaprio from his Growing Pains years) you can relate to Andrew even from the opening shot when he is filming his bedroom door waiting for his father to beat the shit out of him. He is the shy loner who gets bullied too much at home and away from home. You root for him to be able to strike back and you also mourn for him.

I think one of the things I really love about this film is the what if. I remember there was a This American Life about superpowers. They asked if given a choice would you choose invisibility or flight? The answers were not selfless. It was always about what you could get away with or do, not about saving the world. And lets face it if you were a teenager who suddenly has amazing telekinetic powers you would do stuff like trying to impress the opposite sex, getting back at bullies, messing with people and having fun. You certainly wouldn't go all Superman or Wonder Woman. I mean what would you do if you could levitate objects, fly and be an overall telekinetic genius when you were 17? Watching the guys grow into their powers and explore their relationships and lives doesn't get old.

In short I loved it. And it definitely will be going on the movie shelves when it comes to DVD later this year.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema


3.75/4 popcorns

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Crush: Glenn


Glenn from the Walking Dead
I love The Walking Dead, both the comic and the tv series. I started reading the comic when the first trades came out and I was immediately hooked. While the journey is essentially Rick’s, I have always been fond of Glenn. Played by Steven Yeun on the AMC series, my crush has grown just a wee bit more (seriously he could not get any cuter and his appearances on Talking Dead make me crush a bit more). Glenn is the one character I can really relate to: the nice possibly nerdy boy next door. He is hope, he is humor, he is the happy balance of sweet guy and nice shot and did I mention he is completely adorable. Plus when the zombie apocalypse happens he would be nice to have watching your back. They always say those who slay zombies together, stay together. Or maybe I just made that up. 



In the comics, Glenn was a pizza delivery guy with far too much debt when the dead started to rise. In the beginning he was the scavenger who would venture into the city to get supplies as he was the only one quick and smart enough to evade and fight the hordes. On one of his outings he finds and rescues Rick, and they later become friends. Later, he meets Maggie Greene and the two become very close, even to the point where he and Maggie are married and he becomes Sophia’s unofficial adopted father.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

212 in 2012: February Films

February Films have included:

16. The A-Team (3/4 popcorns)
17. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (3.5/4 popcorns)
18. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (4/4 popcorns)
19. Bad Teacher (2/4 popcorns)
20. The Descendants (3/4 popcorns) [theatre]
21. The Tempest (2.75/4 popcorns)
22. Chronicle (4/4 popcorns) By far the best film of this past month [theatre]
23. Paranormal Activity 3 (2.25/4 popcorns)
24. This Means War (3.25/4 popcorns) [theatre]
25. Rio (2.5/4 popcorns)
26. Polish Wedding (4/4 popcorns)
27. Paul (2.75/4 popcorns)

Rating Scale:
4 Popcorns = A worthy addition to any film collection. Loved it. See it theatres if you can. Maybe even more than once.
3 Popcorns = Please go see or rent. Liked it.
2 Popcorns = More flaws, than merits. Wait for HBO or TBS. It was okay.
1 Popcorn = Not Worth Watching. Not even on HBO or TBS. It was horrible. Stay away. Far, far away.
Italics denotes favorite

+++++++++++++++++

The List Thus far

212 in 2012
Start/End Date Date: Jan 1, 2012 – Dec 31st, 2012
Number of Films: 27
Total Hours Watched: Far too many
Last Updated: February 29th, 2012

The list Thus far:
January
1. Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon (1/4 popcorns)
2. Contagion (3/4 popcorns)
3. Ballerina (2.5/4 popcorns)
4. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2/4 popcorns)
5. Pixar Shorts (4/4 popcorns)
6. Super (2/4 popcorns)
7. Greatest Movie Ever Sold (3/4 popcorns)
8. Easy A (4/4 Popcorns)
9. Tabloid (2/4 popcorns)
10. We Bought a Zoo (3.25/4 popcorns)
11. War Horse (3/4 popcorns)
12. Blue Valentine (2.5/4 popcorns)
13. Haywire (2.5/4 popcorns)
14. Red Tails (2/4 popcorns)
15. Prom (2/4 popcorns)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Trailers: Cabin in the Woods

I am a Joss Whedon fanatic and I've been looking forward to Cabin in the Woods for quite some time. Written by Drew Goddard and Joss Cabin in the Woods stars Chris Hemsworth, Bradley Whitword and Joss alums such as Amy Acker, Fran Kranz and Tom Lenk. Directed by Goddard who brought awesome Buffy eps like Conversations with Dead People this should hit theatres this April. Yeah. What do you think?



Monday, February 27, 2012

Un Lun Dun

Un Lun Dun

Written by: China Meiville

Kindle Version: 469 pages

Publisher: Random House 

Language: English

February 2007, $8.99

Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult (Though more appropriate for grades 5-8 in my opinion)

“What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle.
Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.”




+++++++++++++

The last time we met for YA Book club, we were talking about how some of the plot stereotypes are getting old. In particular the character/protagonist who thinks they have no powers then magically not only finds out that they do have powers, but that they are the most powerful ones in that particular verse. I would love for the hero to just be normal amidst all of the paranormal. So Finn decided to choose Un Lun Dun where apparently the normal girl is the hero. More than that the premise sounded great. An Unlondon kind of like the Nightside by Simon R Green, or Neverwhere or Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman. Sounds like the kind of thing I would dig right?



And then I began to read it. I had been wanting to read China Mieville for some time and while I probably would have chosen his adult novels before YA, it worked for me. Except as I began to read I was annoyed. Oh look Destiny is a theme again and it looks like Zanna is the Chosen One. Frustrating. Finn lied. And then I kept reading. Yeah.



Zanna and Deeba two best friends from London begin to notice strange things, all surrounding Zanna. Eventually the two find themselves in Un Lun Dun, which is essentially an UnLondon where everything is strange and unusual and the world is populated by all of the things and trash that London no longer needs or has found obsolete. But Unlondon is in trouble and its up to The Schwazzy to save them. But who really is the Schwazzy?



Things I loved: Destiny and Fate are very frequent themes in so much of YA fiction. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is really nice to read something that strays from the Narnia/Spiderwick/Harry Potter formulas. It isn't fate that moves the story along. It is the choices that the characters make and it is based on who they are not what they may be. That is awesome. And I absolutely love that Mieville surprised me. I really did think the whole novel was going to be about Zanna and I found her extremely boring and selfish.
The overall plot switched up the paces as well. Characters die, things get lost and it became more than the hero’s journey. 



The world is really what makes this book. In many ways I both loved and hated UnLondon. Its odd and fantastic where a school of fish in a diving suit is a sentient being, where a man can be clothed in books and where giraffes are people eating monsters (sometimes illustrated beautifully by Mieville, the giraffe sketch by the way is frightening which is just awesome) . For a child I can imagine that the whole experience would be sublime. As an adult, I felt that Un Lun Dun should be in the Harry Potter age section rather than Young Adult. It read a bit too young and the puns are not good. They were cute at first and then they just got old. Really fast. Like in the first 10 chapters fast.

And yet I dig the strangeness of it all. I only wish that he had spent as much time with his characters as he did his world building which is by far the best character in the book. How can you not love forests in houses and litter that is sentient. I mean who wouldn't want to have a cute little milk carton as a pet? Which brings us to the things I didn't love so much.

Things I didn't love so much: I don’t understand why authors dumb down language for young adult books. I can maybe understand independent readers, which is where I think this should be marketed and shelved, but the scaled down prose and language is just irritating. Plus like Empty, an earlier novel I read, the sledgehammer to the head approach in your save the environment theme made me want to toss the book away. And yet my biggest gripe was that this book relied so heavily on its quirkiness and on descriptions that the core things that made me excited (turning the whole ‘chosen one to save a fantastic land’ cliched plot on its head) got lost.

While I liked Deeba at first and in the ned, she is fairly one dimensional. I cant relate to her even though I really wanted to as she is just the normal girl with a really weird name. She isn't fleshed out for me. I dont have a clear picture of who she is or what she looks like. She is the most mundane of them all and it is sad when secondary characters whose ‘fleshing out’ is primarily due to their descriptions of appearances and mannerisms. I couldn't get emotionally involved with any of them and that is extremely disappointing.

I really wish I had read Perdido Street Station which has been sitting in my TBR pile for more than a year rather this one. I was extremely disappointed considering how much people throw Mieville’s name out to me as an author to read. And yet I saw really awesome potential in Un Lun Dun which is probably why I am so disappointed.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow

Part of: A Standalone

Also Recommended: For strange worlds I would recommend watching Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask or reading Neverwhere. For an adult version of another London, Simon R Green’s Nightside series is amazing. The Phantom Tollbooth would be a nice recommendation as well. If you are a Mieville fan, perhaps Kraken his latest?

2.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks


The Soundtrack for this Post: Possibly Maybe by Bjork, Wait by The Kills, Abandon Opening Titles by Clint Mansell and Closer by the Gracious Few.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

SUNDAY SEVEN: Fictional Pets

This Sunday Seven I thought we should discuss fictional pets largely as I spent the weekend watching the family dog and cat. It can be from television or books, or movies. It is up to you. Here are my picks.


One: Fezzgig // The Dark Crystal Fezzgig is a little ball of fur and fangs that would be a complete handful, but he is so cute. If you have seen the film, I am sure you will agree. Belonging to Kira, a Gelfling, Fizzgig is pretty much a puppy in the world of the Dark Crystal. He is extremely protective of Kira, sometimes a bit of a coward, but completely adorable. I even have a little doll of him though he came with my 12inch figures of Jen and Kira.



Two: Mouse// Harry Dresden series by Jim Butcher: Mouse is a giant mutt that is more than meets than eye and Harry’s dog. Harry first met Mouse in Blood Rites when Harry was hired by a Tibetan Monk to rescue Mouse and the rest of his litter. But Mouse decided to stow away after the rescue and with no way to return him, Harry adopted the puppy which then turned into a huge dog (compared to a Ovecharka Mountain Dog). We later learn that Mouse is a temple dog which is essentially a celestial scion of a Foo Dog. He is only partially mortal and is hella smart, perceptive and has his own supernatural powers. PLus he is extremely loyal to Harry and has saved his life a few times. Who wouldn't want a pony sized dog to be your guardian?



Three: Spike // October Daye series by Seanan McGuire Spike is an adorable little rose goblin from the October Daye series. Described as essentially a cat crossed with a rose bush, Spike became Toby’s when she named it. He doesnt flower but has thorns instead of fur. Another extremely loyal companion, Spike loves car rides, is quite vocal, though Toby cannot understand his chirps and ‘purrs’. He also has his own magic and survives quite well with some sunlight, water and fertilizer.



Four: Bubo // Clash of the Titans I grew up loving Ray Harryhausen’s Clash of the Titans. I also really wanted Bubo, the little mechanical owl forged by Hephaestus when Athena cannot give Perseus who treasured companion. He was steampunk before it was cool and completely adorable. Though I suffered through the recent remake, seeing Bubo even for a second made me quite happy.



Five: Ein // Cowboy Bebop He is a corgi. He is also a data dog. And pretty much is awesome. Brought aboard by Spike, Ein is not only uber intelligent and attentive, but he can steer a car, answer the phone, use the SSW, plays shogi and more. In one episode he hacked a computer. Though the crew tends to dismiss him as just a cute little puppy, I wouldn't just like Ed never did. plus did I mention he is a corgi, all stubby legs and all. It would mean he would get lots and lots of cuddles.



Six: Darwin // Seaquest DSV My own personal talking dolphin. I think no explanation other than that is needed. Okay for those of you who don’t know Seaquest, Darwin is just your average dolphin. What makes him special is a translation device that allows him to communicate his thoughts. Bridger brought him to Seaquest after he had befriended him at home and at that time used hand signals to communicate. While technically Darwin cant really talk, but rather the vocoder transmits simple ideas (“the dark” is death), he is still fairly awesome and treated like a member of the crew rather than a pet.



Seven: Guenhwyvar // Drizzt seies by RA Salvatore Guen is a magical black panther that Drizzt can call from the Astral Plane after he acquires her artifact (a black onyx figurine). Drizzt has never wanted Guen to be used for evil and he summons her quite often as she not only helps him in battle, but she is his companion. Who wouldn't want a loyal giant shadow panther?

Honorable Mentions Scooby Doo, Hedwig // Harry Potter, Podo and Codo // The ferrets from Beastmaster, Roberto the Fruit Bat // Christopher Moore’s books, and Falcor the Luck Dragon.

What are your favorite fictional pets?

Rosemary and Rue

Rosemary and Rue

Written by: Seanan McGuire 

Paperback: 368 pages

Publisher: DAW

Language: English

September 2009, $7.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Series

“October "Toby" Daye, a changeling who is half human and half fae, has been an outsider from birth. After getting burned by both sides of her heritage, Toby has denied the Faerie world, retreating to a "normal" life. Unfortunately for her, the Faerie world has other ideas...



The murder of Countess Evening Winterrose pulls Toby back into the fae world. Unable to resist Evening's dying curse, which binds her to investigate, Toby must resume her former position as knight errant and renew old alliances. As she steps back into fae society, dealing with a cast of characters not entirely good or evil, she realizes that more than her own life will be forfeited if she cannot find Evening's killer.”




+++++++++++++

I have said it before and I will say it again, I love the fae. But that is because faeries are dangerous, manipulative, beautiful and scary and thanking them would really not be a good idea. Tinkerbell they are not. I grew up on the mythology of all things faerie, of pixies and the Wild Hunt, of selkies and bansidhes. There is something about the different courts, of light and dark, summer and winter...all of the intrigue. More than that just because you might be Seelie Court, bright and shining doesn’t necessarily mean that you are the good guys. While the Toby Daye series is far different than the fairytales I read as a child, I like it. Kind of the same way I am digging Lost Girl on Sci-fi.


October Daye (Toby) is a changeling, part faerie and part human, working as a private detective in San Francisco. She is not fully accepted by the fey world, and she marries a human and has a daughter, but loses them both when she is cursed and vanishes for 14 years. Nothing like being a goldfish in San Francisco to turn things asunder. When she returns, she has to start over and learn how the world has passed on without her. And then her friend Evening Winterrose is murdered, and Toby is cursed to solve her murder or die trying. . . 


Things I loved: Toby talks about her weaknesses, which she undoubtedly has compared to most of the big bads or even little bads that she faces or that are around her. But she recognizes those weaknesses and compensates for them. This is not a woman who is afraid to run away, but in doing so she has strength. And lets face it Toby would be lost and dead without her friends and companions who make up for her weaknesses.

I think one of the huge reasons I like Toby though is because of her sense of right and wrong and her utter loyalty to those she cares for. There is a very big reason why Toby ended up making friends with the Sea Witch. As I said Toby is alive because of those she has helped and befriended. While yes she is sarcastic like so many urban fantasy heroines but aren’t we all? I wouldn’t object to Toby being both my friend and my hero. She is a nicely layered character, one that I look forward to getting to know as the series continues.



The story doesn't feel rushed which I love. And I am so happy to finally understand all of those gaps that had me bewildered in the second book. But it is nice to read another series where the characters don’t fall in love in 256 pages. Things are not tidy. There are still questions I have. And I dig that. The mystery is awesome in this book as well. there are so many shades of grey, not necessarily clear cut bad guys.

Finally as a Shakespeare nut, I loved the references. Especially when Toby does some of her spells.

Things I didn't love so much: I will say that I am very glad that I read the second first as this one was okay, but not amazing and I am not sure that I would have picked up the rest of the books. Which would be a shame as I am in the middle of the third book and loving it enough that I may have to just go out and buy the rest of them to feed my fix. It just has first novel jitters. The writing can be a bit repetitive and i don’t think Toby’s voice and characterization is as strong as it is in latter books.

I am thankful for my love of mythology and blame my mum for telling me tales of the fey when I was a kid. So many of the characters and creatures are familiar to me. And while the pronunciation guide gets props, I would have loved to have seen brief descriptions of some of them as those who aren’t familiar with mythology may be fairly lost.

While Toby is certainly growing on me, in this book she aggravated me to the Nth degree. Really? You didn't see that final betrayal coming from a legion away considering your history together. And while I understand that in your head you can make a decision that someone needs to die, while your heart hesitates long enough for you to fail in being the hero, I was still angry at her. But maybe thats why I am growing to like her because she is so flawed at times. And I don’t think it is ever easy for Toby to take a life even when they are a very big bad guy. As I said there are some first book jitters and it felt like Seanan was trying to cram a bit too much.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. Though it is not the strongest of the books, it would be like not reading Storm Front or Magic Bites.

Part of: A Series. 

Book One: Rosemary and Rue

Book Two: A Local Habitation

Book Three: An Artificial Night

Book Four: Late Eclipses

Book Five: One Salt Sea


Book Six: Ashes of Honor (Sept 2012)

Also Recommended: For more fey action, I would suggest Melissa Marr’s YA series that begins with Wicked Lovely. For similar series I would suggest the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews and the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. And yes I would even recommend the Mercy Gentry series by Laurell K Hamilton.

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks


The Soundtrack for this Post: Blackout by Breathe Carolina, Today by Poe, Color Me Once by the Violent Femmes and Pauline by Eleni Mendell.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

212 in 2012: Haywire


Haywire (2011)
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Written By: Lem Dobbs
Genre: ACTION/THRILLER
Time: 93 min
Starring: Gina Carano, Channing tatum, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender
Plot: Beautiful freelance covert operative Mallory Kane is hired out by her handler to various global entities to perform jobs which governments can't authorize and heads of state would rather not know about. After a mission to rescue a hostage in Barcelona, Mallory is quickly dispatched on another mission to Dublin. When the operation goes awry and Mallory finds she has been double crossed, she needs to use all of her skills, tricks and abilities to escape an international manhunt, make it back to the United States, protect her family, and exact revenge on those that have betrayed her.

Comments: I like Steven Soderbergh. he has his own style and flair and he does a variety of genres. When I first saw Haywire it looked quite different than Contagion which we rented a few months ago. Granted it also looked a hell of a lot like the Bourne Identity but with a hot chick. no big deal. It also had Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor and Michael Douglas as well. Finn and I were psyched for a little grown up Hanna action. Sadly Steven missed the mark in a big way with this one. So lets start with the bad and leave with a high note.

The bad: The script is not good. The dialogue is pretty dismal, Gina Carano seems to have taken Kristen Stewart’s acting classes with her monotone delivery and I didn't think you could make the spy/thriller genre so dull. I guess I was wrong. For one, the pacing was slow, the editing flat and did I mention the bad dialogue so full of pointless pausing that it took out any adrenaline the fight scenes may offer. While I dug the static framing of the fight scenes, the rest of the film seemed so restricted that it removed all of the fun tension out of potentially awesome and thrilling action flick. I also think that the flashback way of storytelling was making things far more confusing than it needed it to be. And while I dug Michael Fassbender and Ewan their characters are as flat as the film. Plus they are just stereotypes (the former lover who wants to kill her, the suave James Bond type spy, The Muscle, the Comedic Relief). But lets move onto the good.



The Good: I actually enjoyed Gina Carano for her fighting skills. And I enjoyed the fight scenes. Finn said she likes her fight scenes with a bit more finesses. I enjoyed the quiet, no seriously this is how it would go down bleakness of it all. Because her day job is as a mixed martial arts champ the fight scenes are believable. Soderbergh said he saw her and wanted to make a film a round her talents kind of the way Tarantino did with stuntwoman goddess Zoe Bell. I can see why. She definitely has presence. She does the fight scenes with ease and while not the most amazing actress Soderbergh made her character Mallory a very detached and cool character which helps make up for that. In a way it works (however the editing slows it down too much and sometimes makes Mallory pretty dull when she isn't kicking the asses of men twice her size).


In the end while I love that Soderbergh made a film with a kick ass female lead, I wanted a bit more than what I got.

Rent/Cinema? Redbox it.

2.75/4 popcorns

Friday, February 17, 2012

NEW SERIES: PART TWO

Winter and Spring bring a whole new array of tv shows for me to thrive on. Since the fall I have let go of a lot of them: Prime Suspect, Two Broke Girls, Ringer, and more. In fact the only ones I have really stuck with are American Horror Story, Revenge and New Girl. Here are my new favorites.




PORTLANDIA: Starring SNL alum Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, formerly of Sleater-Kinney star in a collection of weekly shorts centered around Portlandia. Currently it airs on IFC.

I am digging the new season of Portlandia. It is too funny and yes I can relate to it far too much. I do live in Bozeman after all where we grow our own food, brew our own beer, hike a lot, have beards and staches aplenty, sew our own clothes and are big on the whole indie craft thing, and think puppies are awesome. It’s kind of like the 1890’s with snow. (those of who who have seen the last couple of episodes are smiling at this description). It really is a great show though and some of the ‘skits’ have included BSG, bad art for good walls, not bringing your bag to the co-op, and has also included stars like Jeff Goldblum, Kristen Wiig, Eddie Vedder and more. It also just makes me want to visit the Pacific Northwest even more despite the sarcasm involved with all things Portlandia.

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LOST GIRL: Lost Girl is Syfy channel’s newest import from Canada which centers on Bo, a succubus as she learns to control her abilities, discover who she really is and help those in need.

Syfy’s newest import from Canada makes me happy. I like it thus far, Dyson aka Kristen Holden-Reid can be my pickup anytime he wants to be, and it’s really not a bad show thus far. Maybe its because I am a sucker for all things fae though in this case its every monster just divided into light or dark. Admittedly I am totally team Dyson, but thats because Team Lauren hasn't really showed up yet. Also I am a fan of Canadian genre shows: Forever Knight, Highlander, Friday the 13th: the series, VR5, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and Blood Ties to name a few.

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FACE OFF: Face Off is a competition/elimination series exploring the world of special-effects make-up artists and the unlimited imagination that allows them to create amazing works of living art. The contestants are tasked with elaborate feature challenges including executing full body paint make up on models and creating their own horror villain. Each episode involves incredible reveals of the competitors' finished work, and the drama of one contestant being sent home by the panel of expert and celebrity judges. It all culminates in one winner and one grand prize that will launch a career.

The second season of Syfy’s special effects makeup competition has begun. There are some great contenders this year and then others where I still don’t understand why they are there. The themes have been interesting: re-imagine the Wizard of Oz, create an underwater creature or create a horror movie villain based on a phobia, but I am still waiting for that holy shit they are amazing episode. Still, if I’m going to watch a reality based show I would rather it be this one.

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THE FADES: Paul, a young man who is haunted by apocalyptic dreams that neither his therapist nor best friend, Mac, can provide answers for. Worse still, Paul is starting to see the Fades – the spirits of the dead – all around him. Though they are everywhere, they can’t be seen, smelt, heard or touched by living beings. But now an embittered and vengeful Fade has found a way to break the barrier between the dead and the living, leaving Paul, Mac and their friends and family caught in the eye of the storm with the fate of humanity resting in their hands.

Supernatural Saturday on BBC America is often hit or miss with me. As a hard core Whovian I have to say hell yes to Doctor Who, Torchwood and Being Human. I am not a fan of Merlin or Primeval, Hex was just fine, Outcasts has me interested and now we have The Fades. I am still waiting for the show to really grab me but I keep watching, interested in where it is going to go and kind of delighted with the unexpected events that keep happening to major players. Plus Mac’s pop culture geeky references keep me happy.

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DOWNTON ABBEY: Downton Abby - a sprawling, lavish Edwardian mansion and park nestled in the lush North Yorkshire landscape - needs an heir. Dame Maggie Smith turns in a show-stopping performance as Violet, the charmingly stubborn Dowager Countess of Grantham, matriarch of Downton and the irrefutable authority on everything. Hugh Bonneville stars as her son, the stoic, unflappable Earl of Grantham; Elizabeth McGovern plays his far-sighted American wife, Cora; and a star-studded cast round out the glittering, gossipy, and beguiling men and women of this epic tale from Academy Award-winner Julian Fellowes (Gosford Park). After a tragedy at sea claims the life of the presumed heir, Lord Grantham is faced with the possibility that the house he's loved his whole life might someday belong to a distant cousin he's never met. But before he can worry about that he must deal with his scandalous daughter, Lady Mary - considered by many to be the rightful heir to Downton. Even the staff has opinions on the family's affairs. And while most are devoted to those they serve, there are others whose selfishness and scheming do more than simply disrupt the well-oiled inner workings of the estate. As the servants' mischief escalates, even the most faithful employees begin to imagine a different life.


I love PBS and Masterpiece Theatre to pieces. This year Downton Abbey has returned. I still love the costumes and the drama. It makes me giddy really. This year we’ve had the war, loves and losses, and more love for Dame Maggie Smith. While not as engaging as the first season, I still love it.

+++++++++++++++++++++++


HOUSE OF LIES: A new series from Showtime about management consultants. The job is described as impossible to describe, but the general idea is that they're con artists who make troubled corporations dependent on their own company's advice. As legend-in-his-field Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) puts it, the goal is to "make them think they can't live without us .... while we infect the host and bleed them dry." It stars Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell

I like House of Lies because it reminds me of Thank You For Smoking. The lead characters are your antiheroes who dress to the nines, spend far too much time on airplanes and in airport lounges, and explain their not so nice jobs to the audience with each episode. But they also have private lives that either make them more sympathetic or make us want to hit them with a brick. There is a lot of humor and I am a sucker for anything Kristen Bell is because I was a huge Veronica Mars fan. It is also created by Matthew Carnahan who did “Dirt” with Courtney Cox which I also kind of dug.

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THE RIVER: Famed explorer Dr. Emmet Cole went looking for magic deep in the uncharted Amazon and never returned. The shocking truth about his disappearance is out there, somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. To the millions of kids who grew up watching his nature show, Dr. Cole was a hero. To his own son, Lincoln, he was more of an enigma. Now, six months after he vanished, Lincoln is finally ready to bury the past when Dr. Cole’s emergency beacon suddenly goes off. At the urging of his mother, Tess, Lincoln reluctantly joins her on a search for his father. To fund the rescue, they agree to let Dr. Cole’s cagey ex-producer, Clark, film the mission documentary-style. The mixed crew of old friends and new acquaintances includes the sexy and resourceful Lena (Eloise Mumford), loyal mechanic Emilio and lethal bodyguard Captain Kurt Brynildson.

After watching Chronicle and kind of digging the new craze of found footage stuff, I decided to catch The River brought to us by the same man who has done Paranormal Activity. Its kind of set up to be a monster of the week episodic mini-series, but I am okay with that. I even had a horrible twisted dream of the tree of dolls because lets face it that was just creepy. Lately its been my fave show to watch in the dark, the way I did with American Horror Story.

Other Shows that have held my interest are The Nerdist because Duh, Alcatraz and my guilty pleasure of Spartacus: Vengeance. What shows have captured your interest in the past couple of months? Have you liked any of the ones I have mentioned?