Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday What Ifs: Cars

I love my car, but sometimes you just wish you had something a wee bit...other. So this week we are going to imagine our other vehicles, you know the ones we keep at home in the Batcave and only bring out on special occasions. Now this is up to you, you can just geek out on your favorite actually does exist vehicles or like me, imagine a vehicle that is more than just really sexy. We’ll do spaceships, etc some time later. Here are my top five.

KITT (Knight Rider) Knight Industries Three Thousand. I choose the reboot because let’s face it that car was incredibly sexy. I love KITT because it is Herbie on crack. Not only is KITT intelligent but it has one goal, keep you safe. Here is what is cool about the Three Thousand: can morph into other cars (kind of like glamour), windshield projection (again GPS and everything else on crack), missiles, guns and lasers (you know for protection), a 3d printer that lets make an extra key or you know a dashboard hula doll, of course different modes (attack and stealth), plus he talks. I would prefer my KITT sounded like David Tennant though instead of Val Kilmer. And with the red light scanner bar reminds me of a Cylon. It would be such a sexy sexy car. Not sure why I would need all the gadgets and protection but maybe I find new life as a modern day superhero....or well, you know a girl can never be too careful.

Aston Martin DB5 (James Bond) There have been a ton of different models for the various movies, but I have giant love for Bond’s car from Goldfinger. Not only is the Aston Martin a beautiful car, but this one had all the bells and whistles (ejector seat, guns, oil slick, revolving license plates, etc). PLus if I am lucky James Bond may come with the car.

Delorean (Back to the Future) Car, Time Machine and it has vertical doors (hell yeah). Downside it does run on plutonium or if you are in a pinch, lightning from a clock tower. And admittedly it would be a bit cramped, but it’s an awesome looking car though and going back and forward in time wouldn’t suck.

Black Beauty (Green Hornet) The movie was horrid, but the car was beautiful. A sleek Imperial Crown model with tons of bells and whistles. Not only would I look pretty sweet in it, but I would also have the ability to destroy things with its guns, missiles and flamethrowers (again not really sure why I need all that, but nice to have just in case), bulletproof glass, tires that never go flat, and have a sweet sound system to boot. Plus, green headlights if I want them.

Bumblebee (Transformers) A car that is really a Transformer and talks to you via audio clips. Awesome. I would have a friend and a car. A really sweet looking Camaro shaped car. Plus he cant be stolen, which may be an issue for all of these pretty cars, cause you know he’d go Christine on them.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TUESDAY TRAILERS: RIDDICK

I dig the Riddick movies. Both of them. The first one had awesome monsters and introduced a great character and the second one was Conan in Space and I dug the Necromorphs. So this latest one looks like Pitch black with a bigger budget, but it does have Katee in it so whoo hoo. Karl Urban is in it so maybe we will see a return of Vakko, but who knows. I will still no doubt spend the money to see it in the theatre. What do you think? Are you excited to see it?


Summary: Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he's encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won't leave the planet without Riddick's head as their trophy. Opens September 6th, 2013.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Now You See Me: A Review

Now You See Me (2013)
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Written By:Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakim
Genre:THRILLER/CRIME
Rated: PG-13
Time: 106 min
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
Plot: An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

Comments: For my birthday I decided E and I needed to go see a movie. I have always been a fan of the crime caper whether it is film (The Inside Job, Oceans 11) or TV (Leverage, White Collar and Hustle). Plus I completely dig the whole magic scene (Bucket List completely includes a trip to the Magic Castle. NPH....invite me). There is something about magic, about believing the impossible and returning to those days of wonder. When I was a kid I went to a David Copperfield show and was blown away. Holy cow, magic people. Real magic. It didn’t matter to me that it was an illusion. For two hours I believed in the impossible and that was good enough for me. Add both of these elements into a movie, sure thing I will go.

The movie opens up with our band of thieves in the various professions that they do while a mysterious figure in a hoodie watches. We first see J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), a cocky David Blaine-esque street performer. Then we have Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Atlas’ former assistant, who is now an escape artist who thrills the audience in her shock magic show (though seriously piranhas don’t do that. There was a Mythbusters on it). Woody Harrelson plays Marritt Osbourne, a hypnotist who cons people out of their money and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) who is our actual thief and his skills in lock picking and sleight of hand are indeed magic.

The four are brought together through a mysterious invitation to become the Four Horsemen. One year later they are in Vegas selling out a show with their finale being a teleportation device that leads to the theft of millions all the way in France. Of course this brings the attention of FBI detective Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) who try to figure out how they did it and prevent them from doing more heists in New Orleans and Brooklyn. Then you also have Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), who spends his time exposing illusions and telling people exactly how it is done and Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler who is the benefactor of the Four Horsemen.

Things I enjoyed were the overall story of the magic thefts and the rush to try and catch them and figure out how it is all done. It is very pretty to watch and I enjoyed watching the various elements come together. Plus it had me guessing. Even though Eben says he knew it all in the first 30 minutes (still think he is lying. sorry sweetie), I didn’t. Watching The Prestige way too many times has me considering all angles. Misdirection. And flair. The film does it well in my opinion.

The script does have some holes, but most movies do. None of them were so gapingly huge that it ruined things for me (Total Recall reboot was another story). Pace was nice, even some clever camera shots which I know I am not supposed to notice, but I did because they were nice and visually interesting.

For all that I loved, I do have some nitpicks. Jesse Eisenberg was the weakest for me. all I could think was that he was just playing an illusionist version of Mark Zuckerberg with the same delivery, arrogance and vanity that he did in Social Network. And that is a crying shame as I was excited to see him and Harrelson again after Zombieland since they had such great screen chemistry and really played well off of one another.

I also thought at times it was a bit too flashy. We know that everything is an illusion, that it is not really magic. We know that there is a logical way that each illusion was done. But when the CGI is so slick that you can’t believe in the illusion at all and just want to scream at the CGI, then you have a problem. There is a scene with fabric, a piece of silk placed over the final trick and while there are a great many things you can do with fabric, filament, vacuums, etc, instead it just looked like overdone CGI and the movie lost me for a little bit. I guess I was actually hoping you had some actual magic and illusions in the movie instead of just straight up CGI. Because there are some great illusionists out there, especially sleight of hand guys. Just ask Neil Patrick Harris. he’ll point you in the right direction.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema. For a popcorn film, I was entertained. Not sure if I would buy it later this year, but I do not feel as if my money was wasted at all.

3/4 popcorns

Sunday, June 9, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: SUMMER MOVIES PT1

The summer means warmer weather, sandals, dresses, flowers, lemonade and of course, the Summer blockbuster. Whoo hoo the summer movies have begun. I have already seen Iron Man 3, Star Trek and the Great Gatsby, but we have three more months of goodness. Now the great thing about the summer flick is that they are a bit different than your other seasonal flicks. Its popcorn movie time: action, humor, and two hours of fun escapism. Here are some of my favorite movies that I am looking forward to. So what are yours?

Man of Steel: June 14th. Growing up I was always a bit of a Batman fan, at least more so than being a Superman fan. Superman seemed a bit too much of a boy scout. Sure he is a superhero, but almost too much of one. I couldn’t relate to him, but now I think Zack Snyder may be bringing him down to Earth. The trailer looks awesome and I am looking forward to seeing what Snyder can do with the mythos and if we are really lucky, maybe see a Justice League movie hint.

Much Ado About Nothing: June 7th. There are a few things I love: Shakespeare, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, comedy romance. I love that Joss brought all of that together when he decided to invite all of his buds to his place and film a black and white modern retelling of the comedy. It looks fantastic and I cannot wait to see it though sadly I doubt it will come here. *pout*

Bling Ring: June 14th. Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes. Now I love Emma Watson and the last film I saw her in (Perks of Being a Wallflower) left Hermione far behind. This one apparently leaves Miss Granger even further behind. This is also a film by Sofia Coppola who hasn’t made a movie I haven’t enjoyed yet.

Monsters University: June 21st. Sully and Mike are iconic. They kind of fill me with warm fuzzies really and to see them in animated college hijinks leaves me feeling all giddy like. Plus you have the voices of Helen Mirren, Nathan Fillion, and Steve Buscemi.

Pacific Rim: July 12th. Kind of the epitome of what Summer blockbuster means: monsters, destruction, and robots. Complete popcorn film. Plus it is brought to me by Guillermo del Toro who brings me visual prezzies when he directs a film. It is his version of Godzilla or a Japanese anime and I am okay with that.

The Wolverine: July 26. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine battling ninjas and the yakuza – works for me. Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future. And yes I am completely shallow in the hopes that I will get to see Jackman shirtless. And possibly with a sword.

RIPD: July 19th. Based on the graphic novel, the movie version looks like Men in Black but with monsters and demons. Now I haven’t read the comic, but the film looks fun especially when the real world sees Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds as a supermodel and a little old Asian guy. It looks funny. Total popcorn movie. Plus I can swoon over Reynolds any time.

Honorable Mention:Now you See Me, Violet and Daisy, Byzantium, Black Rock, Fast and Furious 6, and The Purge.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Planet: Finding Humor Review

My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places
Written by: Mary Roach
Softcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Readers Digest
Language: English
May 2013, ARC
Genre: Essays/Humor

Follow New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach -- but be careful not to trip -- as she weaves through personal anecdotes and everyday musings riddled with her uncanny wit and amazingly analytical eye. These essays, which found a well-deserved home within the pages of Reader's Digest as the column "My Planet," detail the inner workings of hypochondriacs, hoarders, and compulsive cheapskates. (Did we mention neurotic interior designers and professional list-makers?) For Roach, humor is hidden in the most unlikely places, which means that nothing is off limits. Whether she is dwelling on her age or talking about the pros and cons of a bedroom night light -- "A married couple can best be defined as a unit of people whose sleep habits are carefully engineered to keep each other awake" -- Roach finds a lesson, a slice of sarcasm, or a dash of something special that makes each day comical and absolutely priceless.

In keeping with our mission -- curating the best reads in the land -- Reader's Digest editors neatly packaged these timeless (and hilarious) Roach essays together for the first time. Whether you read this cover-to-cover or during spare moments over morning coffee, flip to a page in this volume and try not to smile.
+++++++++++++

Mary Roach makes me giggle. I have read Stiff, Bonk and Spook and Gulp is in the TBR pile. She is funny, witty and honest in her point of view and that is a great thing. This is a compilation of her columns in Reader’s Digest and range from the wonders of Costco to life with her husband. In a way she reminds me a bit like Laurie Notaro just not as snarky.

Things I loved: There is really nothing bad that I can say about this book. As I said Mary Roach is a funny lady. Admittedly I couldn’t relate to all of the different columns as she is a bit older and married and yet this was just a fun read. It’s the good clean family fun that my stepmom would love and laugh over.

It’s not a book that you can read in one sitting. Admittedly some of the stories are uneven, but that is usually the case with any sort of collection. And yet the perfect little mini collection of lightweight fun. For those of you who haven’t read any of Mary’s other works, this is a cute start as you see life from her point of view. Though I highly recommend her more learned fare in her other books.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. This makes a great little gift for those who need a smile or two in their lives

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: For more anthologies I recommend any of Laurie Notaro’s books, Chelsea Handler’s books or I was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Monday, June 3, 2013

TUESDAY TRAILERS: THE WORLDS END

What do you get when you combine Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman and The World’s End – amazing things that is what. The only thing we really know about the film is that it involves an epic pub crawl and other stuff (possibly aliens). I have faith though just like I did with Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. What do you think? Are you excited to see it?


Summary: In "The World's End," 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World's End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind's. Reaching The World's End is the least of their worries. Opens August 23rd, 2013.

The Night Circus: A Review

The Night Circus
Written by: Erin Morgenstern
Softcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Anchor
Language: English
July 2012, $14.99
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story.

The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway - a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

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

There is something about the circus that just fills you with wonder. You see things that you wouldn’t normally see, clowns, acrobats, elephants. The circus reminds us to believe in magic and to be filled with the impossible and the fantastic. While Night Circus wasn’t really Young Adult, our group decided to stray a bit and pick it up. So glad we did.

Wow. Take me to the circus. Take me to the Night Circus. It is here that everything is in black and white and understandably so. It is here where you are presented with good and evil, love and loss, the past and the future, dreams and the fantastic, magic and the mundane and so much more. The tents are many and the magic within differs from an ice garden to a labyrinth, a tent where jars hold memories and all you need to do is pop the cork and fall into the smells, sights and sensations. This is the circus where magic is real but you dismiss it as sleight of hand or maybe you do begin to believe in it all as you once did when you were a child and did not have mortgages, broken hearts and regrets. It is a place where you get lost and find yourself all over again, where jackets become ravens, and the Pool of Tears reminds you of so much.

Things I loved: There are few books out there that I want to read aloud due to the prose. This was one of them. Beyond the prose, the descriptions are magical. I can see the circus perfectly, the starkness of the colors, the vividness of the performers...and it is all quite beautiful. Also, this is one you can discuss. Not just the plot or the various tents you would like to go to, or our two young lovers, but the various symbols throughout.

Celia and Marco are pawns of their parents, raised to be combatants in a game they know nothing about and for a prize they know nothing of. Even the challenge is a mystery until it is too late and their lives are forever intertwined. Their moves on the battlefield take place at the circus, but what was meant to be a war between them becomes a love letter. Each new tent becomes a message, an endearment for something they feel they can never have with one another...a love for the ages.

Some of my favorite scenes were Celia’s color changing dress, Celia’s powers, pretty much the entirety of the circus including the carousel where the animals breathe, and a fire that never goes out. The Wishing Tree and the Cloud Maze made me smile as well. Seriously why isn’t this a real circus.

Things I didn’t love so much: The progression of time was a bit confusing. The jumps in time even more so especially when you also had a change of narration from first to second and then back again. For me it took me out of the story when it came to Celia and Marco, especially when I became immersed when it came to the circus itself.

I will say that this is a book that relies more on beautiful descriptions and really making the circus a character, but at the expense of others. This is frustrating especially when I want to like Celia and Marco. I really wanted to see them fall in love, to rebel against it since they were supposed to be rivals...essentially the whole star-crossed lovers schtick. Instead I was told that they were in love but there was not very much evidence to back that up. Now there are some great scenes such as the touch of one another’s skin makes them gasp and a kiss can make the world tremble, but hard to believe, as I said, when there is nothing to really prove this depth of love. I wanted to believe in their love, but it fell flat.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. This wasn’t the grand love story that you think you will be reading but it is a love story of a different sort. At times I neither liked nor rooted for Celia to have a happy ending. I also didn’t get the Prestige sort of ‘dueling magicians’ that I was expecting. But expectations aside, I did get a wonderful novel that tugged at my heart strings and made my imagination soar. It was also a novel that stuck with me.

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: For more circus mayhem try Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and If I Ran the Circus by Dr Seuss.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MisCon 2013

I know its small compared to other geek cons, but I am going to let the geek flag fly this weekend over at MisCon in Missoula, MT where I plan to be nerdy and unabashedly so.  So pardon if I disappear for a few days to join a couple of my favorite authors (Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs), Miss Hailey Rae (roommate extraordinaire), some Walking Dead fans and Whovians, Cosplayers and more for a different sort of Memorial Day weekend.  I call it preparation for PAX in September. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend kids!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

WEDNESDAY WHAT IF: BAR FIGHT PALS

WEDNESDAY WHAT IFS: 
Bar Fight Buddies.

Who would you want to have your back in a bar fight and who would you want to share a pint with after it was all said and done. So I ask who would yours be? At first I was going to go with video game characters as this is completely inspired by an Indoor Kids podcast, but then I thought who my top five would be from film and fiction, videogames and anything else

River Tam (Firefly) Umm, she can kill you with her brain. That should be enough. So why Miss Tam? Cause she’s a badass, is odd and I like that, would be fun to have a beer after everyone was sobbing on the floor and if she can trick Badger, maybe not even get us into a fight in the first place.

Spike (Buffy) If I had my choice I would have chosen most of the crew of Serenity, but that didn’t seem fair. Not when you can have some snarky love in the form of one Billy Idol looking non sparkly vampire. Spike is also a bad ass, may not play fair which let’s face it is sometimes necessary and he can definitely share a beer or more once it is all over.

Wong (Drunken Master) So the great thing about Wong in this film is that he looks harmless and drunk, so when he busts out the moves in a barfight no one will be expecting it. Plus Wong is a nice guy in the film. He is funny, probably happy to share a pint before and after and I have a total soft spot for Jackie Chan films.

Wolverine (X-men) So having a guy that looks like Hugh Jackman to share a beer with is always a plus in the whoo that is a great idea column. And also having someone who is basically immortal, kind of goes into berserker mode and also has steel claws might be worth having on my side when it came down to a bar fight. Did I mention he’s Hugh Jackman shaped?

Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Battlestar Galactica) I like Kara. She is snarky. She is fun. And while she is probably the whole reason we got into said bar fight, she is one I would like to have in my corner. She would certainly make the fight fun. I think she and Spike would get along famously, maybe we can all play some Triad as everyone limps away.

Allright kids, who would you bring with you to a bar fight?


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness: Review

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)
Directed By: JJ Abrams
Written By: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman
Genre:SCIFI/ACTION
Rated: PG-13
Time: 132 min
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Simon Pegg

Plot: When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.

Comments: For those who know me they know quite well that I love both JJ Abrams and his reboot of the Star Trek franchise, so admittedly I had high hopes for this second installment. After all you had the same cast and crew, Benedict as the villain and what promised to be one hell of a ride. And I loved the idea of a darker Trek. Ooh character development, makes me giddy. What I saw was the potential for a good film that was bogged down in way too much fanservice. Beware SPOILERS  SPOILERS  SPOILERS below.

Now I am a fangirl and I love the little nods to the fans. However, when the dialogue feels stunted and all about punch lines and deliberately pausing after each little fan nod, I just find myself thinking really? Wow, trying a bit hard aren’t you? What happened to the chemistry between characters? What happened to the snappy dialogue that didn’t pause for effect? What happened to my crew?

But I am getting a head of myself. Let me talk about what I loved first. Benedict is a great villain and I love to see him do more things as the man has presence. While I am always going to love Ricardo Maltalban’s Khan and in some ways I think he is the better of the two, Benedict is very believable as the genetically engineered super man. However his Khan is underused in my opinion. We never really get to see his full potential which is a shame as he is one of the best villains in all of Star Trek history. There is a reason why old school Spock is willing to break his rules because he understands how dangerous Khan is. Not to mix fandoms, but I really wanted to see my Sherlock be a bit Moriarty and I never really got to see it all. Sure I got to see the physically superior bad ass, but the scheming intellectually superior, watch the bad guy win and be scared Khan....nope. Again, a total shame as Benedict could have pulled it off and with panache.

I still love the crew, especially Scotty (seriously Simon Pegg is the man and he steals every scene he is in) and the cast is still great. I love some of the action scenes, some of the little nods, love how Pine and Quinto are really becoming Kirk and Spock and really owning these characters. Finally, wow do I want to live in the future world. It is absolutely beautiful. Even as it gets torn to shreds.

So let’s get to the nitpicks and there are a few. I wasn’t expecting a retread of previous films. Ooh sure some roles are reversed but it was disappointing. The first film promised that there were so many directions we could go. But really you had to redo the Wrath of Khan storyline? Yes there are some changes, as I said, but what about boldly going...into a whole new direction? I won’t even start on the magic blood which should prevent death...ever. Seriously we will all be immortals.

And oh dear God do I hate the revamp of the Klingons. They look dumb. Had to say it. I miss my old Klingons. You know, the badasses. The makeup, the costumes...even the Klingon sounded bad which I don’t understand. how can you make Klingon sound bad? And the score...I dig Michael Giacchino, but the score was overpowering in this film and also annoying when it strives for ‘hey feel this’ in a scene instead of complimenting it. Grr Argh.

I think, which I am discovering as I write this, is that this film wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t good either. There are some brilliant moments in the film, ones that made me giddy. But the things that annoyed me, annoyed me way more than it should have. The annoyances took me out of the film and that is never a good thing. I think mostly I am just disappointed, disappointed because there was a good film in there that just got lost. But I also know it will do really well at the box office. I guess I really wanted what the title promised...darkness. But the stakes were never really high enough for me and I know JJ can provide them for me. Just not this time. And those are things I really wanted. I wanted to clutch my chair and whisper to Finn even though we knew it would be okay. I wanted that rush of oh shit you are facing Khan and I know how well that went the first time in that other universe (thank the gods there were no ear bugs this time...seriously nightmares for weeks people). I wanted to be scared for Kirk. I wanted my heart to race, but instead I got a popcorn film.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema. It really is worth watching on the big screen but if you are a Trekkie don’t get too hyped up about it. Just expect a great summer film, but not too much more than that.

3/4 popcorns

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hauntings: A Review

Hauntings
Edited by: Ellen Datlow
Softcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Language: English
April 2013, ARC
Genre: Horror/ Anthology

“Ghosts. Ghouls. Spirits. Monsters. What happens to the best of us – and the worst of us – when we die? And what happens to the living when they get left behind...or when they get in the way?

Ellen Datlow, the horror genre’s most acclaimed editor confronts our obsession with the mysteries of the afterlife in this chilling collection of ghost stories from the past twenty five years. Follow tortured souls through decaying houses and suburban streets. Run from hungry neighbors and unforgiving children. Turn the page and be Haunted.

This spine tingling anthology will take you from the graveyard to the electric chair. Acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub, and many more will expose your fears of - and fascinations with – death in these twenty four unnerving tales that will stick with you long after you are done reading. If you think there is no such things as ghosts, think again.”

*A sweetly vengeful voice on the radio calls a young soldier out to join a phantom patrol.

*A hotel maid who threw her newborn child from a fourth-story window lingers in an interminable state.

*An intern in a paranormal research facility delves deeply into the unexplained deaths of two staff members.

*A serial killer plans his ultimate artistic achievement: the unveiling of an extremely special instrument in a very private concert.

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

There is something incredibly satisfying about anthologies for me. I like them as they are perfect night time reads, as in you can read one or two of the short stories and put the book down instead of staying up all night (Of course this completely depends on not being completely engrossed in the stories and wanting to read all of them at once because they are so good) . I also like them as it takes skill to tell an entire story in just a few pages rather than over the course of a trilogy or a lengthy series. It is also not something that a whole lot have mastered. Essentially you are hooking me with the first paragraph and giving me enough to build a world, tell a story, have some plot and character development, all within a few pages. Now admittedly I am the kind of gal who looks at the authors who have done some of the stories, but there is one person whom I always dig, and that is Ellen Datlow as an editor. She is the one who has chosen each in order to take you on a journey as much as the author’s stories themselves. Now my first really memorable anthologies that I loved were also Datlow’s doing (along with Terri Windling). They were Snow White, Blood Red and Black Thorn, White Heart. They were tales from my childhood except oh so much more sinister. I loved them, still do as those volumes still sit on my bookshelves.

The Story List:
1. “Eenie, Meenie, Ipsateenie” by Pat Cadigan
2. “Hunger: A Confession” by Dale Bailey
3. “Cargo E.” by Michael Lewis
4. “Delta Sly Honey” by Lucius Shepard
5. “Nothing Will Hurt You” by David Morrell
6. “The Ammonite Violin (Murder Ballad #4)” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
7. “Haunted” by Joyce Carol Oates
8. “The Have-Nots” by Elizabeth Hand
9. “Closing Time” by Neil Gaiman
10. “Anna” by F. Paul Wilson
11. “Mr. Fiddlehead” by Jonathan Carroll
12. “The Fooly” by Terry Dowling
13. “The Toll” by Paul Walther
14. “The Pennine Tower Restaurant” by Simon Kurt Unsworth
15. “Distress Call” by Connie Willis
16. “The Horn” by Stephen Gallagher
17. “Everybody Goes” by Michael Marshall Smith
18. “Transfigured Night” by Richard Bowes
19. “Hula Ville” by James P. Blaylock
20. “The Bedroom Light” by Jeffrey Ford
21. “Spectral Evidence” by Gemma Files
22. “Two Houses” by Kelly Link
23. “Where Angels Come In” by Adam L. G. Nevill
24. “Hunger: An Introduction” by by Peter Straub

Things I loved: Now I love the folks over at Tachyon Publishing. Not only do they send me out ARCs every now and again to read and review, but they are nice people to boot. And I love that they send me anthologies. This one was all about hauntings and not just of the ghostly variety and that interested me. I won’t go into each of the stories but rather highlight my favorites. As far as the what I like and didn’t like it really only comes down to what stories I liked and did not like.

Hunger by Dale Bailey was great about a young boy who is tormented by his older brother’s horror stories which so often leave him shuddering in the dark. But when the siblings move into an old house with a sordid and horrific past, the roles are reversed. I love the way it is told, very much like a fireside ghost story and quite chilling. Immediately following Hunger was also one of the best stories in the anthology, Cargo by E. Michael Lewis about a loadmaster and some precious cargo he has aboard. Not exactly scary, but thought provoking and emotional. I love that each of the those two ghost stories had such different reactions from me.

Surprisingly I loved Caitlin R. Kiernan’s The Ammonite Violin as I thought the story was a bit of a retread, but she has a wonderful gift with words and teh way the story is told is what makes it special. But it also makes me want to put on Jamie Bell and watch the Red Violin. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Of course sometimes you need some lighter fare, and Terry Dowling’s The Fooley is one of them about one man’s adventure when he comes across a stranger on the road. Two of my favorite tales in the anthology were Transfigured night by Richard Bowes and Where Angels Come In by Adam Nevill but for very different reasons. One is about a little boy who wishes for a best friend and the other is about the creepy house on the hill. Another great story is The Pennine Tower Restaraunt by Simon Kurt Unsworth which is delightfully creepy and atmospheric. There are other great stories mixed within as well and even the ones I didn’t care for as much certainly have their merits.

Things I didn’t love so much: I wasn’t in love with Delta Sly Honey by Lucius Shepard as the pacing was a bit too slow for me. Distress Call by Connie Willis was just confusing with a lot of loose ends and not in the good way. Surprisingly I didn’t love Neil Gaiman’s Closing Time as much as I thought I would as I felt it spent too much time setting up the tale rather than telling it. Not that any of these tales are bad, but they didn’t hook me the way that the others did.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. The great things about anthologies is there is usually something for everyone, kind of like a soundtrack. And if you are looking for some atypical ghost stories this anthology is also great.

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: Please try some of Ellen’s other anthologies. As I mentioned earlier the Blood Red Anthology is divine especially if you like the retelling of some of your favorite childhood fairy tales and some you may not have heard of. I would also recommend Sirens and other Daemon Lovers, the Best Horror of the Year Anthologies and More. For more urban fantasy fare in anthology form are The Unusual Suspects, the Blood Lite anthologies, Urban Fantasy Anthology and more. As I said there is usually something for everyone when it comes to Anthologies

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Monday, May 13, 2013

MONDAY MEME: MANY FACES OF KIRK

In honor of Star Trek Into Darkness coming into theatres, much to my glee, this week thought we would go old school Kirk and just smile a wee bit.  You're welcome.



Sunday, May 12, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: FICTIONAL WEAPONS

This week we are talking about our favorite fictional weapons. You know you have yours. Sting, maybe a light saber (of course that would be one of my picks, but kind of a gimme so I am leaving it out), heck even maybe one of the mechs from the Upcoming Pacific Rim though a bit overkill I must say. The trick is you will be able to use this weapon with ease. So what are yours?

The Zorg ZF-1 Weapon Pod: Why I love it? The Fifth Element is one of my favorite films and in it there is a gun that can do pretty much anything. It is a net launcher, a freeze beam and a flamethrower, a machine gun, a rocket launcher, a poison dart gun and has tracer rounds. But whatever you do, do not hit the big red button at the bottom of the gun. It won’t be pretty. This is the weapon for the cant make up my mind when it comes to weapons sort of person like myself.

The Phaser: The hand held phaser from Star Trek can pretty much do anything. It can stun. It can kill. It can also heat up rocks and metal (handy when you need to do such things), or you know vaporize them, be used as a grenade when it overloads and could fit in a nice little holster at my waist.

The Point of View Gun: From the film version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Point of View Gun was created by Deep thought before it began to ponder the Answer and for the Intergalactic Consortium of Angry Housewives, who were tired of ending every argument with their husbands with the phrase: "You just don't get it, do you?" Why it’s useful? Because it would cause everyone I shoot to see my point of view. I think that would be effective enough.

The M90 Indra:My favorite gun from the Mass Effect series, it is the only fully automatic sniper rifle and for this it is great fun both at a distance and up close. It has an extremely efficient heat-sink system that allows a surprisingly large number of shots to be fired before the weapon ejects its thermal clip. It is also very light which is nice. Plus it is oh so pretty.

Harry Potter’s Wand: He has the best wand of course, though admittedly I do like the look of Hermione’s with the vine crawling up it. With it I can do some crazy magic. Need a flashlight? Nope. How about some glasses repair? Make someone giggle? Turn their arm into jelly? Repel some dementors? It can do all of that. Plus as I said it looks pretty snazzy. I really wish I had a wand. It’s like an easy button, only stick shaped.

The Speaking Gun:For anyone who has read about John Taylor’s adventures in the Nightside understands why this would be a weapon to have. In fact it is almost too powerful to have and of course with something that powerful there are always side effects. The gun is pretty much is made up of flesh and bone (I envision it to be like the bone gun from existenz except fleshier and gooier) Infused with Lilith’s power and the ancient words that God used at the beginning of time to create the universe, "Let there be Light", when you fire it, it speaks the true name of whatever it is pointing at backwards therefore un-creating it. The problem with the gun is that it wants to destroy everything and pushes its will onto anyone who possesses the gun in the hopes that it can speak the true names of everything.


The Green Lantern Ring: Pretty unassuming for a weapon right? Not only is it a weapon (we’ll get to that later), but it can also be a universal translator, gives you a force field that would let me fly in space or you know search for the lost city of Atlantis. Other perks are advice, scan for energy signatures or objects (like my car keys) and is a pretty color. of course the main reason I would want it is because it gives the user control over the physical world as long as I have the willpower, strength and imagination to use it. In short it can be anything I want it to be and I have a really really big imagination.

Honorable Mention:the Noisy Cricket from Men In Black, The Colt from Supernatural, any of Hawkeye’s bows, The Dagger of Time from Prince of Persia and The Ebony Blade from the Marvel Universe.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Date a Girl...

You Should Date A Girl Who Reads

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Rosemarie Urquico

Nabbed from Geek Girl Jossie

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dragon Age II: A Review

I know Dragon Age II came out quite a bit ago, but what can I say it takes me a while to finish up a game especially when you spend all of your time grinding Borderlands II or playing through the Mass Effect trilogy. But I finally got around to finishing it last week and I’ve got to say meh. I really enjoyed the first one, so this was disappointing. This could be because I was also playing through Mass Effect at the time and became very heavily invested in all of the characters, but DA was *shrug* playing a game. And yet I still had fun.

DRAGON AGE II is as follows: Embark on an all-new adventure spread across a ten-year span of years with an all-new hero in the multiple award-winning Dragon Age saga. In Dragon Age II you are Hawke, said to have been one of the few to survive the destruction of your homeland. Forced to fight for survival, you gathered the deadliest of allies, amassed fame and fortune and sealed your place in history, eventually becoming in effect a legend in your own time. But legends are all in the telling.

Dragon Age II utilizes a nonlinear narrative, taking the form of a story-within-a-story that hinges upon your exploits as told by the storyteller, Varick. Yet like any good storyteller, Varick tends to exaggerate from time to time. When questioned on events related to Hawke, Varick may present a different scenario in which Hawke's exploits play out. It is within these replays that the decisions of the players hold sway, as their particular versions of Hawke relive these events. Is the player's particular version of Hawke, male or female? A warrior, a rogue, or a mage? Is Hawke good-natured or something less than a salt-of-the-Earth type? Is romance in the air amongst characters he/she associates with? These choices are all the player's to make and each affect the the outcome of the story at all levels.


At the beginning of the game you make a choice when you get to the city, join the smugglers or join the mercs. A year later you have begun to make a name for yourself. Stuff happens, subplots appear and another three years go by. This is all skimmed over by Varric’s storyteller, your unofficial biographer. You kill bad guys, stuff happens and the game ends. Trying not to be spoilery though at this point if you haven’t played it, well...

In the first DA I fell in love with the game. Loved the snark of Alistaire, the awesomeness of Morrigan and really really debated on my final choice of things whether to lose Morrigan or lose Alistaire. I was invested. The choices in conversation were good. I didn’t know if there were consequences to what I said, I was just given choices. In this game you have good, snarky, and asshat. I was not invested in Hawke, as bad ass as I looked. I think this is due to a lot of things, but let’s talk about what I liked first.

I love that the story is centered around your character and the family that comes with it. It’s their stories that help further along your own and I dig that. In fact those were the few times I was emotionally invested. My choice at the end largely came down to that family, whether it be blood or not and the sacrifice I was willing to make for them and others like them. I also loved that it took place in a single city just the same way a dungeon crawl would happen. And making the game set in the city over a span of time was great. While I don’t know if my actions in any of the “chapters” really would have changed the city as a whole, there is a part of me that would like to think so. Though I know this is probably wishful thinking.

Graphics were much better than the first game and I did enjoy the character customizations a bit more. There were also some really nice storylines that were great, very engaging, touching or suspenseful. Banter between characters was nice, though not as cool as the previous game.

So let’s talk about some of the bad. The qunari got an upgrade from the last game and all I can say is that it is a change for the good. The bad is that I understood the subplot going on. I understood the quinari leader and I really didn’t want to fight him, let alone kill him. Anders was whiny and when Fenris showed up I was heavily wishing I could have romanced him instead when all I really wanted to do was romance Varric, but could not.

The game really does re-use maps and not in a good way. More in the look there is a door that I went through in the last cave but now it is doorway filled in with rock. Not like it is disguised at all. Now I understand going through parts of the city again and again. This makes sense. Making every cave system look the same doesn’t. Unfortunately the pacing was a bit slow. Now I am a completest and tend to do every side mission as possible so yes a 20 hour game turns into 40. But even if I didn’t do every small task the plot was less than spectacular. It plodded along and it also seemed like it didn’t have a clear direction.

Finally let’s talk about some of the game play and mechanics. One of my biggest problem with the fighting system is that once you’re done with each battle any party members who died resurrect and regains full health and mana. I played on normal so it meant that I rarely used the potions because there was no point. My team was pretty well equipped I had my tank (Fenris), my healer and defensive magic (Anders), me (rogue assassin) and either Varric or Aveline. I didn’t really need my inventory. In fact a lot of my inventory was useless and I just lugged around a ton of stuff that I would never use. Pick up some armor for a warrior class, well I can’t give it to any members of my party because apparently they like to choose their own clothes and for me this was an annoyance. I like making the game my own including dressing up my party like jesters (Dragon’s Dogma) if I so choose. The point being as my inventory seemed pointless. I rarely used anything.

Other things I didn’t like. I could only play a human. Well that is no fun. I enjoy playing other races as much as I do other character classes. This is probably due to the fact that I feel like DA II was a bit rushed and was just more of the same leaving a lot of things unpolished. But your character isn’t the only one limited. Your companions are a couple of rogues (Varric being one of them which sucks since he is by far the best character and I wanted to play a rogue so I rarely put him in my party as he is just another one of me and yet his banter with everyone was the best), a couple of mages, and a couple of warriors. Now depending on your choices you lose many of these peeps or can potentially lose them and end up being fairly unbalanced. Then again the enemies are just as limited and unbalanced. Ooh yea another round of spiders, demons or bad guys. Not really a variety and thus pretty boring.

I think in all while I liked it and it is better than a lot of games played, it just felt unfinished and rushed and too much of more of the same while taking away some of the things I really liked from the first. I wasn’t engaged as much and it felt very much like a videogame that I had to finish not one that I was invested in. Let’s hope that the third game promises to be like the first instead of this one.

3 out of 5 controllers.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

WEDNESDAY WHAT IF: ZOMBIE TEAM

The mister and I were discussing our zombie apocalypse team when inevitably someone puts up the meme that is all about birth month, birth day, etc. and it asks if you survive or not. So we started thinking about what our teams would be if we could choose. So these are my picks for my team with the general archetypes. So usually your team includes the following: The Team Leader, the Brains, The Gun, The Blade, the Medic, The Brawler, The Humor and the Survivalist. I am, however, adding The Tech Expert, The Kid (there is always one), The Best Friend and the Potential Love Interest. Oh and we are all piling into Dead Reckoning from Land of the Dead. So I ask who would yours be? This time we are dealing with those from film and TV and we’re trying to stay realistic so no Hulk or Buffy as they would be on my team as well. *grin* Please share and I will post your link to your answers.

So I figure I need some nice sympathetic bad asses to be on my team that way they don’t just leave at a mall to get eaten.

 The Team Leader: Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly) Sorry Rick, but I am going with Mal and here is why. He’s Mal. He’s fought in a war, knows what it is like to be on the greyer side of things and not afraid to do so which will be important and one big damn hero despite it all. He protects those he cares about and hopefully that will be me and my bad ass crew. Plus inspiring as all hell and aren’t zombies kind of like Reavers? And maybe he will say Inara who?

The Brains: Michael Weston (Burn Notice) At first I was thinking Macgyver, but then he had the guns are bad thing and well we might need that in a pinch so I am going with Michael. Being a former spy means he is good at killing the bad guys and in this case its zombies. Plus he’s kind of like Macgyver in the way he can improvise bombs, communication devices, etc.

The Gun: Nikita (La Femme Nikita) I chose Nikita because I needed more gals to survive with. I also like the idea of my weapons experts being women for some reason. The great thing about Nikita is she is from the streets so she has our street smarts, she was an assassin so all things killing she has in the bag and is a fairly decent sniper. I figure she would be a good teacher as well which I would need since she was great with Alex.

The Blade: Michonne (Walking Dead) Of course Micchone from Walking Dead is the easy answer and let’s face it she is tres tres badass. It was either her or the Bride from Kill Bill. The one thing I like about TV Micchone is how efficient she is, but also how helpful she is. In that hopefully she won’t leave me to die. Plus girl power.

The Medic: Anne Glass (Falling Skies) Before the war with aliens...I mean zombies, she was a pediatrician, but she is combat ready which sometimes you need to be when the zombie apocalypse happens. She is great with knowing that certain meds can help with certain ailments not for their designed use, is great when it comes to improvisation and being a pediatrician she probably has great bedside manner.

The Brawler: Elliott (Leverage) Elliott used to be a soldier and is quite good in hand to hand combat. I like having someone who is versatile ala Jason Bourne. Someone who knows all of our exits and isn’t afraid to go melee on the undead. He’s done merc work, kind of got the hero thing going on and would probably work well with my team.

The Humor: Tallahassee (Zombieland) I know I am defaulting to another obvious, but can you blame me. Played by Woody Harrelson in the film, he’s funny, knows how to keep the humor and to enjoy the little things as much as he is great at killing zombies. We just need to make sure there are Twinkies.

The Tech Expert: Claudia Donovan (Warehouse 13) Having another geek girl would be great, especially one who is as snarky as I am. I chose Claudia because she is a hacker and could be useful when trying to work computer systems, but she is also great at tech in general and is often piecing together different electronics and artifacts to her advantage. Did I mention she has a wicked wardrobe and probably has her zombie escape plan already set. Surprise, I’m in it.

The Kid: Rue (The Hunger Games) When the zombie apocalypse happens we need someone who can hide and Rue is really really good at hiding. Plus she is small (great for getting into small spaces), but more importantly someone to live for. There is always a kid involved, someone who we need to keep fighting for and protecting, our little bastion of hope. Rue would probably be it. Plus she is so cute. I couldn’t let her brains be eaten.

The Survivalist: Daryl Dixon (Walking Dead) yep another gimme, but I couldn’t choose Les Stroud. Having someone who is an archer could come in handy in a pinch, but the reason I like Daryl is he is not afraid to be a bit of the bad guy in order to protect the group. At his core he is a hero and one that will keep us from starving with his ability to shoot squirrels or anything else that happens to be about and sometimes that is what you need to do for survival.

The Best Friend: Sydney Bristow (Alias) Everyone needs a best friend that goes with them and who better than my unassuming friend who works at a bank (aka spy). When it comes to disaster she has a clear head, knows what to do and is pretty bad ass. But the great thing about Sydney is she is just a nice girl, totally friend material and would protect me from being bitten. And I am going to need that.

Potential Love Interest: Riley Denbo (Land of the Dead) Simon Baker’s character is not only great to look at it, but he created Dead Reckoning and will keep it running. He is the guy who helped those who couldn’t help themselves, knows his way around zombies and thinks fast. Granted he is back up just in case Mal doesn’t work out.

So who has your back?  By the way on my team I would be the cook and the mental health person.  Also possibly our linguist with the whole French, Spanish and Gaelic thing. We could use that right?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Geek Girl Penpals

Remember sitting down and writing a letter? That went through the mail? And wasn’t part of a birthday card or Christmas card? Yeah, it’s been a while for me as well. I have also really wanted to have a penpal for some time and meet some other geeky women. Then I found the International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club.

So here is the dealio on it. It was founded only this past March by a couple of gals who are trying to revive the lost art of letter writing. They are looking for women who love to write and send letters, who want to find new friends who are as geeky as they are. So one a month they have signups and attempt to match you up with your International Geek Pen Pal soul mate. And each round there is a theme (my initial one is all about sugar and spice and something nice). Anyone 13 and over can join up, there is a great little geeky community online with a forum, meet-ups, activities and more.

I know I am quite excited to break out the stationary, do a little papercraft, find some cool local postcards and make a new buddy. Maybe you might be too. So go on over and check it out and maybe make a new friend.

TUESDAY TRAILERS: PACIFIC RIM

Pacific Rim looks awesome. Its my Godzilla popcorn movie of awesome and directed by one of my favorite directors Guillermo del Toro. When I think about summer movies, i want to go sit in a darkened theater that has a nice air conditioning, sit with my friends or honey and just escape into entertainment happyland for two hours. This looks like one of those films. I am not expecting it be an Oscar nominated film. I am not expecting it to make me think (though inevitably his movies will probably end up with a nice discussion over drinks afterward). What do you think? Are you excited to see it?


Summary: When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity's resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes—a washed up former pilot (Charlie Hunnam) and an untested trainee (Rinko Kikuchi)—who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalypse. Read more over at ComingSoon.net. Opens July 12th, 2013.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Oblivion: A Review

Oblivion (2013)
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski
Written By: Karl Gajdusek, Michael Debruyn
Genre:SCIFI/ACTION
Rated: PG-13
Time: 126 min
Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo

Plot: On a spectacular future Earth that has evolved beyond recognition, one man's confrontation with the past will lead him on a journey of redemption and discovery as he battles to save mankind. 2077: Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) serves as a security repairmen stationed on an evacuated Earth. Part of a massive operation to extract vital resources after decades of war with a terrifying alien threat who still scavenges what's left of our planet, Jack's mission is almost complete. In a matter of two weeks, he will join the remaining survivors on a lunar colony far from the war-torn world he has long called home. Living in and patrolling the breathtaking skies from thousands of feet above, Jack's soaring existence is brought crashing down after he rescues a beautiful stranger from a downed spacecraft. Drawn to Jack through a connection that transcends logic, her arrival triggers a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew.

Comments: As much as I may not like Tom Cruise as a person, I do tend to enjoy the movies he is in. Oblivion looked interesting when E and I saw the trailer and it just looked pretty. Plus it had been a while since we had watched a good sci-fi film. My expectations were low, as they usually are when I go to the cinema so far this year (sorry 2013 too many duds and not enough awesome), but I was pleasantly surprised.

This was a movie to see on the big screen. Sweeping shots of a world we know and yet so different, shots of the destroyed moon, of living spaces so clean and minimal that it is hard not to want to imagine this future. It is a beautiful thing this destroyed Earth, waterfalls tumbling from vast empty skyscrapers, sunrise from the top of cloud cover, empty arenas and great sand dunes with the carcasses of old ships. And our cinematographer does a great job at taking us through all of this beauty. But its more than just the scenery. I love Vicca’s dresses. I loved the drones. I loved the scavs and how they looked. I loved the look of everything really.

The cast is small and I like that. Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace), Andrea Riseborough (whom I saw last in the Devil’s Mistress), Morgan Freeman and just a few others. We focus on them, on the characters and it is the small subtle things, the way Victoria’s breath hitches when Sally asks if they are effective team, the way Jack cares for a small plant that try and grab a connection with me. I think one of the great things about this film is it relies on the characters and the setting to tell a story instead of all the great sci-fi explosions and things we have begun to expect out of an action film. And while yes many of the plotlines have been done before and the ending predictable, I didn’t care. I was entertained for 2 hours.

There are flaws, the action takes too long to really get started, and as I said many of the story elements have been done before. Plus there are some plot holes (such as two person team maintaining the entire Earth, let alone just the US), but you suspend your disbelief. And you have to in order to really enjoy it. And there is also something just missing that made me really really enjoy it as in must buy when it comes out, but it was enough. While Iron Man 3 is really the start of the Summer Blockbuster Season, this was a nice opening act and one I am glad E and I didn’t wait to grab on Redbox.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema


3/4 popcorns

MONDAY MEME: Fair Question

Sunday, April 28, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: MAG LOVE

I have magazine love. While I currently subscribe to only 2, I have been known to make monthly trips to the local store to go and indulge my monthly issues of my favorite mags. Most of them are geeky in nature, but I am curious to see what your favorite magazines are. Here are my top Seven. What are your go to magazines?

Geek: A few years ago I fell in love with Geek Monthly. It was what I wanted in a magazine: science, and tech, comics, gaming, movies, etc. And then the publisher closed and I was a wee bit heartbroken. Luckily about a year ago, the magazine came back and for me better than ever. The latest issue has everything from a review and an insider’s guide to the tv show Revolution, to training tips for Jedis. There are also articles on Gears of War, exo-planets, the subculture of itasha and itachari, a discussion about Superman: Unbound, and so much more. If you are a geek, you will probably enjoy this bi-monthly mag. I know I do. Plus several months back they had Nathan Fillion in a Tux ala Bond on the cover and my ovaries may have twitched a bit.

Mental Floss: I love learning new things. In fact if I didnt have to have a job and had the funds to do so I would either collect hobbies like Penelope does in the Brothers Bloom or I would be a student pretty much all of the time. I dig trivia and useless information. These are the things that make me happy and there is a magazine for that. Devoted to trivia and knowledge junkies such as myself, the mental floss monthly magazine features little factoids from pop culture and then everything else you can think of. And it’s all done in a great way from graphs to quizzes to articles. I kind of dig it.

Wired: A must for any techno geek out there, Wired is all about the science and technology we use or really want to use every day. You don’t have to be a computer geek to enjoy it and I love that articles range from philosophy and art to the new advances in hardware or even social network etiquette. It is all about how technology changes us as a society and just humans in general. Well written articles, new things for me to understand and enjoy ...all in a pretty magazine.

Entertainment Weekly: This one is fairly self-explanatory. As a pop culture junkie, this is my go to magazine and one of the two that I actually have subscriptions for.

Make: Ah the magazine for all things crafty and for everyone. We are talking the CRAFT side of things which is sewing, jewelry, etc and then we have the original magazine which can help you build your own robot or create a lamp. It’s a lovely magazine, though admittedly I tend to buy Make: Craft more than anything when there are issues (it’s been a while, but it’s coming back)

Bust: BUST is a groundbreaking, independently run women's lifestyle magazine that connects with bright, cutting-edge young women. Fierce, funny, and proud to be female, its revolutionary editorial mix addresses a variety of women's interests, including pop culture, crafting, music, fashion, sex, news and celebrity interviews. What can I say I dig fashion and all those things that Cosmo wants me to like, but I want it for me and things I like. I want real sized models and articles about women and not 50 ways to get your man. For me this is Sassy all grown up and I love that.

National Geographic: Who doesn’t love Nat Geo? Want to learn something, here is your magazine. Glossy pictures, lovely things that make me want to explore the world and become a full time student, to become a photographer and a researcher. It’s a magazine that makes my brain all warm and fuzzy and I steal the old issues when my dad isn’t looking.

Honorable Mention:Discovery, Empire, Mollie Makes, and Rolling Stone.