Showing posts from February, 2013

Goodreads Book Review - The Magician King

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started off kind of slow, with the main character, Quentin, just as completely unlikeable as he was in the first installment. However, as the story goes on and picks up speed, it becomes very engrossing and Quentin begins to slowly undergo a process of self-discovery that not only does he fail to realize he's going through but even I failed to realize it until the book barreled to it's conclusion, an ending that actually made me sad for Quentin, a character I thoroughly hated for an entire book and a half or so. Plus, being taken on a journey through Julia's back story is both an entertaining diversion and a great character study as it reaches its climax. I've seen a lot of reviews complaining about the snark present not just in the dialogue but in the narration, saying that it was overwhelming and distracting, but I felt it wasn't as bad this time as in the first book; it felt more organic and justi…

2013 Oscar Scorecard

How's everybody's Oscars hangover doing? I have to say, I enjoyed the hell out of the show last night. I liked the idea of the Oscars having a theme, and enjoyed all the love for musicals... because I guess Les Mis turned me into a musical queer, maybe, I don't know. And how about Seth Macfarlane as host, huh? I don't know about the rest of you, but I thought he was the best host the show has had in a long time.

Before the show yesterday, I posted my prediction for the categories I actually care about, so I thought today I'd check the scoreboard and see how I did.

I was wrong about both Adapted and Original Screenplay, picking Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, when the winners were Argo and Django Unchained. Some writer I am, huh?

I got Best Animated Feature wrong, expecting Frankenweenie when the nod went to Brave, and I was equally wrong about Best Director, expecting Spielberg and getting Ang Lee (who I still haven't forgiven for Hulk. Someone need…

2013 Oscar Predictions

The Oscars are upon as once again, so of course I'm here to give you my predictions as to the night's big winners so that we can all laugh at just how wrong I probably (and usually) am. When the nominees were first announced, I posted some knee-reactions, but now that I've seen all the nominees I'm back with the list of who I want to win and who I think will win in the big categories... I'd do all the categories, but I just don't have that kind of attention span!

Starting at the bottom and working our way up...

Best Adapted Screenplay
I'd love to see Silver Linings Playbook come away with this one, because I think the writing there was almost at an Aaron Sorkin level of brilliance, but I have a feeling the big winners of the night will be Lincoln and Argo, and I think Lincoln will snatch this one up.

Best Original Screenplay
I'd give this one to Zero Dark Thirty, and I think the Academy might just agree with me on this one.

Best Director
I loved everything…

A Tumblring Stormtrooper

For some reason, I went and got myself a tumblr. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it or how I'm going to use it in conjunction with this blog and Twitter and every other kind of social media I'm already on, but I'm going to try to make it entertaining. So if you're interested, it can be found here: Straight Shootin' Stormtumblr.

Goodreads Book Review - The Prisoner of Heaven

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the third book by this author I've read. It wasn't as good as the first, The Shadow of the Wind, but it was better than the second, The Angel's Game. The reason for this is that while it didn't have the kind of gripping, compelling mystery the first book had, the plot was much clearer than the muddled mess that was the second book; in fact, some of the reveals found within actually made the second book better. Also, it was nice to revisit the strong characters I really liked from the first book like the Semperes and Fermin. I would have liked it more if this book had more of a mystery to it instead of being more or less a straightforward retelling of Fermin's time in prison, but the story was still well-written, and it's easy to see the main purpose of this book was to catch us up with the characters and better align the first two books to set everything thing in place for the coming four…

Fiction Friday - I Had a Dream

It's been a long time now since I posted a short story on here... and that streak isn't going to be broken today. But, while I'm not posting a story, I am going to tell you guys about a dream I had two weeks or so ago that was so vivid it's still with me, and it's a dream in which I think a pretty cool story resides, provided I can find it.

The dream was about a large family of vampire hunters. There was a father, an older brother, three younger brothers of varying ages, and one deceased younger sister was mentioned. A mother was mentioned too, but she was never seen. They were in a little town... you know, the kind of Bavarian-looking joint you always see in vampire movies? The father and older brother... who was, like, 8 feet tall, which I guess came in handy with the vampire-hunting... were hunting for one particularly nasty vampire, the one who had killed the daughter of the family, and who looked like Gary Oldman. Not just any Gary Oldman, mind you; Sirius Bla…

Following the Following

Here's another blog I've meant to write for a few weeks now, but between recovering from my birthday party and fighting off another bout with bronchitis, I just didn't have the time until now. There aren't too many mid-season replacements I plan on watching on TV this year, only two that I can think of (three if you count Touch, but since that started last year, I don't count it). One of them, Cult, starts on the CW next week, and the other is the topic of today's blog: FOX's new hit, The Following.

Here's a short summary of the premise: Kevin Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent who is pulled back into service when Joe Carroll, a serial killer he caught played by the brilliant James Purefoy, escapes from prison, intending to finish what he started by killing the victim Hardy saved from him, capturing Joe in the process. Normally, I'd say it's a spoiler to tell you Joe succeeds in killing that last victim, but considering this is all part …

Goodreads Book Review - Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good

Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good by Kevin Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit, while this book was funny, I was expecting more of the behind the scenes stories, candor, and humor we saw in the "An Evening with Kevin Smith" videos and less the self-congratulatory, "I changed things" Kevin Smith stories we got here. Which, to be fair, was all my unfounded expectations. He did change things, so it's only to be expected he'd talk about it. And there are behind the scenes stories, but they're less funny and more just factual. Still, the book did make me laugh. I just wish there were more topics covered... seriously, three long chapters on Red State is too much focus on one thing for a man whose career is twenty years long now... and I wouldn't have minded if the whole "Too Fat to Fly" topic was left out completely; that story has been covered to death already. Still, he writes with an honesty about everything t…

Farewell to Fringe

I've been trying to write this blog for quite awhile now, but between recovering from the drunkenness (and the nearly-lost-an-eariness) of my birthday party the day after the finale aired followed by a nasty bout of bronchitis that I'm still fighting off... well, the writing of it has been problematic at best. But the passing of the best pure science fiction show in years deserves at least a little something, and by Jove that's what it's going to get.

I mean it when I say Fringe is the best pure sci-fi show in years. Each week for a full one hundred episodes we would get a plot that revolved around some weird leap or advancement in science that had disastrous results: time travel, dimension-hopping, genetic mutation, shape-shifters; you name it and Fringe covered it, always in a mature way with an eye towards explaining how things like that could actually be scientifically possible. In fact, I'd say that if Fringe had one drawback, it was that it could be too devo…

Goodreads Book Review - I Am the Messenger

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am utterly astounded at how much I liked this book. I'm generally really not the guy to fall for these sweeping testaments to the power of the human spirit, books filled examples of how the smallest moment of connection between two people... two strangers, even... can change lives forever. Honestly, I tend to think stuff like that is hokum at best, and absolute bullpucky at worst. Yet this book, with its wonderfully developed main characters and its simple yet beautiful prose hooked me into all that and made me believe in it completely to the point that, at the end, my eyes teared up a bit. This book really did take me by surprise more than anything else I've read in a very long time. My only complaint is the ending; the story itself ends wonderfully but the denouement goes on just a few pages too long, bypassing what would have been a very beautiful final sentence for a very ham-fisted one instead, choosing to beat th…

Goodreads Book Review - Heart-Shaped Box

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I didn't enjoy this as much as Horns (which is fine, a writer's second novel should be better than his first, after all), it was very close, so I'm giving it the same rating. What struck me most about this novel is that, underneath all the horror trappings and really effed-up things that are discovered, at its heart, I feel like it's a love story, and that's pretty awesome, considering how well-crafted the characters of Jude and Georgia are. They're both incredibly likeable, even for all their flaws. Even more well-crafted is the ghost, Craddock, who... well, for fear of spoilers, I'll just say he's a real sunovabitch and leave it at that. I'd give this a more in-depth review but I'm pretty sick and my brain isn't working all that well, so, you know, you should just read it for yourself.

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Twenty-nine books down, with two-and-a-half or so months to go til I'm done …