Showing posts from December, 2013

The Best (and Worst) Movies of 2013... and Introducing: The Ghostie!

Happy New Year's Eve, everybody! Today it's time for one of the blogs I look forward to writing all year long: my personal wrap-up of the best and worst movies of the year. Of course, try as hard as I can, I don't see every movie, so it's not a totally comprehensive list (glaring omissions right now are The Wolf of Wall Street, Her, and August: Osage County; I might revise the list once I get to see them). Once again as in past installments, I won't be reviewing the movies, there will just be a brief word or two here and there and a link to a past blog post if I had given them a full review in the past. As always, this list is possible in large part due to the existence of the Flickster app on Facebook, on which I do mini-reviews of every movie I see all year long. So let's get the list rolling!

The Worst
Normally I just list the worst movies of the year, which I'm still going to do, but this year there's a new addition: The Ghostie Award! Last year, Gho…

Goodreads Book Review - Krampus: The Yule Lord

Krampus: The Yule Lord by Brom

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Talk about an alternative Christmas story! This book tells the tale of Krampus, a mythological creature of Asgardian descent who is the Yule Lord and who hates Santa Claus for stealing the holiday season from him. The set-up sounds comical as hell but, while the story does have plenty of comical moments, it takes quite a few darker turns as well. The main character, Jesse, gets involved in Krampus' story at a particularly low point in his life, and the story itself is all about watching how Jesse's personal journey dovetails with Krampus' quest for revenge. I enjoyed the book, it had quite a lot of nice touches and fun characters, but it felt less complete to me than the other Brom books I've read. I think that's because it felt kind of rushed; the entire story takes place over three or so days so the pace is frenetic and there isn't a lot of breathing room. Better pacing would have made for a better story, b…

Merry Christmas!

We here at SSTAS (and by we, I mean me, cuz there ain't no one else) just wanted to take a minute to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Enjoy your day, whatever you're doing, wherever you're doing it, and, most importantly, whoever you're doing it with. For my part, I'll be spending the day with my grandmother and my girlfriend, watching Christmas specials while I wait for the Doctor Who Christmas specials, a box of tissues by my side. I'm not ready to say good-bye to Eleven, y'all. But that's a story for another time, as this is all about the merriness. So enjoy, everybody!

Goodreads Book Review - A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm definitely of two minds about this novel. On the one hand, I really like the story Irving told here. On the other hand, I don't like the way he told it; there were too many asides that seemed pointless. In his defense, some of them seemed pointless only to become important later on, but some of them were just pointless. He's also very, very repetitive, and at least for me after a certain point that jarred me out of the story. But again, I really liked the story. Likewise, for the majority of the book, I absolutely hated Owen Meany. Up until about the last hundred pages or so he struck me as an over-bearing, self-important feminine hygiene product and the package it comes in. And yet, despite my disdain for the character, Irving still managed to make me get emotional at the ending. I also appreciated the way the ending ties things together in an unexpected way, and the way both the ending and the book as a who…

Better Late Than Never TV Reviews

Here's a blog I've been meaning to write for like a month now but have never gotten around to. Between the occasional work assignment, a newish relationship, and my all-around laziness and desire to just read and watch movies and stuff, well, I never found the time. So it's a little less than timely but still needs to be done as it wraps up my coverage of the mostly disappointing 2013 Fall TV season in terms of new shows. I've got three new ones to go through, and two of them quite frankly suck.

Atlantis comes to us from our friends at the BBC and is the story of Jason, Hercules, and Pythagoras (yeah, the mathematician) on the titular island. Except, this Jason isn't the Jason you're thinking of, it's a kid from the present who somehow ends up back in time after trying to find his missing dad. And this Hercules isn't some great, intimidating strongman, it's the fat king from the first season of Game of Thrones. And the third member of this triangle i…

Goodreads Book Review - The Necromancer's House

The Necromancer's House by Christopher Buehlman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this book up on a whim, having never heard of it or the author before, just because I really needed something to read. It's a decision I'm glad I made. The present tense narration is a welcome change from the norm, as is the way Buehlman modernizes the use of magic for his characters without beating us over the head with too much information. The novel can be a bit tricky as he juggles quite a few plot threads; there are a lot of balls in the air throughout the story but they all come to a pretty masterful head in the climax and the denouement. There are a few leaps that make things confusing for a brief second in parts, but the ship is always quickly righted. I also enjoyed all the characters and the way they're presented, good guys, bad guys, and mythical guys all. I haven't yet decided if the book was good enough to make me read the other novels Buehlman has written as I understand th…

Spinning My Own Web for a Spider-Man Movie Franchise

As you might have noticed, the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 dropped yesterday. As you may not have noticed unless you frequent the same circles on the internet that I do, there's been a lot of hubbub about the casting choices, character design choices, and most of all, the idea of including three new villains (Electro, the Rhino, and some version of the Green Goblin) at once just because Sony wants to get the Sinister Six involved by the third or possibly fourth movie. I don't have an opinion at the moment, content as I am to play "wait and see" here, but it did inspire me to re-post this column I did for a different blog three years ago in which I looked at the Raimi trilogy and reimagined it as a longer series which also had the Sinister Six as its payoff. So, for your enjoyment if you're interested or just bored, my idea of a Spider-Man film series, based off Raimi's beginnings!

The fact that I'm a comic book geek is no secret; and, like all co…

Goodreads Book Review - Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I majored in English in college. That means I spent an awful lot of time reading books that I was only reading because other people had picked them out for the literary value they thought they had. Sometimes I was reading three or four of these at once. Some of them i enjoyed. Some of them I never would have read if I didn't have to because there wasn't a thing about them I liked. When I graduated, I decided from then on I'd only read books I wanted to read because I thought I'd enjoy them. If I took recommendations from people, I'd only read books other people said they legitimately enjoyed, not because they thought the book had "literary value," or whatever. I broke that rule with Infinite Jest. I read it because of how it's supposed to be the greatest book in a generation or something. i don't know if it's deserving of that milestone, but one milestone it definitely has is that it&…