Monthly Archives: July 2014

“Scott and Scamp” book review (short story)

I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I started reading this book. It was labeled as “gay erotica” but I just shook my head and was like, it’s probably not really that. (ignorance is not always bliss) By the time I got to the point in the story where I discovered that it was indeed about teenage boys falling in love, I was too hooked by the story to put it down.

That’s how you know a story is good, when you are willing to go out of your comfort zone and read it anyway. Now the writing style was different from what I’m used to as well. It wasn’t written perfectly, but I caught on quickly that it wasn’t meant to be. This story is told in the first person, of a teenage boy. And it is written exactly like you would expect a teenage boy to write it. To me, that made it more real. If it was written all fancy and grammar-ly correct, it would have broken the feel of realism. I actually felt like I was reading this kid’s diary.

To me that’s the goal of any good story, to take you out of your own reality for a while and put you in someone else’s. That’s what this book did. So if you are willing to try something different, that doesn’t fall in the mainstream media eyes, give this little short story a try. I was glad I did.

Scott and Scamp

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The Purge: Anarchy, Movie review

In case you didn’t see Purge 1, the plot can be summed up rather quickly. Its a home invasion, made extreme. This movie relied too heavily on having the actors be stupid. If the people had any kind of brain there wouldn’t have been a movie. They were a few attempts at plot twists but they were undermined by the believability of, “would a person really do that?”

The setting for Purge 2 helped it greatly. We are seeing the purge on a much larger scale. So the director had more to work with. The acting was on par with what you’d expect to see in a horror movie. The dialog was a bit hard to listen too. It felt too much like “time fillers” as we had our actors travel from one disaster to another. Someone really needs to tell the director that silence is okay.

There were constant twists in the plot. Most of the time you could predict when one of those “twists” was coming. But guessing what the twist was going to be, not easy. So in that aspect the movie was entertaining.

There were a lot hidden messages in the movie. Well, they weren’t really hidden, but it was nice of them to try to put some meaning behind the gore. Most horror movies don’t attempt that.

If you are itching to see an action-packed horror movie, Purge 2 will fit the bill. Since it’s only 90 minutes long, the shortfalls in the movie are forgivable. Don’t bother with Purge 1 though. There are no tie-ins from one movie to the other. Aside from the fact it’s the some dystopian world that has purge events.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, movie review

My expectations were high for this movie. It has been receiving some very stunning reviews. And it has Gary Oldman in it, one of my favorite actors.  I am happy to report, the movie met my expectations.

The gut wrenching part of these movies is, you know how it’s going to end up. You know the Apes are going to win. So as you see them struggle for peace, you keep rooting for them to achieve it, even though you know in the back of your mind, they won’t. The movie is very dark, and the few uplifting moments are quickly snuffed out by tragic events.

Now this is a sequel. I would recommend seeing the first movie before you see this one. There are several tie-ins to the first movie. The main apes are in both movies. However it is a brand new human cast. If it’s been a while since you’ve seen the movie, or you haven’t seen it, don’t worry. They do a little spin-up in the opening credits that fills you in on what happened in the first movie and helps you understand the current status of the world.

The graphics are astounding. If the movie had boring parts, I didn’t notice them because I was so busy trying to see a flaw in the apes. They truly looked real. Only the newborn was a dead CGI giveaway, and really he only felt fake when the human actors had to respond to him. You could tell they had no idea where to look or what they were really looking at.

The apes riding horses, seemed a bit overkill. I’d like to know where these horses are kept when they aren’t riding them—cause they sure seemed tame and obedient for free range.

The camera angles and cinematography was excellent. There were a few first person shooter type scenes and some panoramic shots that really worked well. The most violent and traumatic scenes were often muted, which was a nice break from movies that enjoy trying to make you go deaf.

Overall Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a must see. It’s an action movie that is the opposite of Transformers 4. Instead of assaulting your senses, you are taken on an emotional journey that keeps you grounded in the grim reality of how dark society can be.


Movie review, Transformers: Age of Extinction

I’ll admit I did less research going in to see this movie than I normally do. I didn’t watch the first three transformers movies directly before going. Quite frankly, I’d forgotten the movie was coming out until I saw a sign saying it was playing.

I should have taken that as an indication to avoid the movie, rather than a sign to see it.

The one praise I want to throw out there is, you can enjoy this movie even if you haven’t seen the first three. Wait, I have misspoken. Did I just say you can enjoy this movie? You will not, unless you are under the age of fourteen and enjoy playing with transformer toys. At the end of the movie I turned to my husband and said, “I think this movie was made for kids.” He replied, “I think this movie was made BY kids.” That really quantifies it quite well.

I really don’t know where this movie went wrong. It hired good actors, it had a basic plot ‘idea’ but beyond that, it felt like they planned the movie in a ten minute brainstorming session.

The movie started out, tolerable. But the angles they kept putting the camera at, annoyed me quickly. For some reason, the director thought it would be cool to blind his audience repeatedly with the sun. And in case that wasn’t enough, there were some explosions that also were positioned perfectly to blind you. We are talking about zooming in on two actors and having the sun pop out between them, in the most annoying manner. What was the point of that? I’d really like to know… and it was easily done a dozen times.

The dialogue just added to the frustration. We are talking simple lines like: “Those guys look mean.” “We are the good guys.” “Don’t you get it?” The characters are all stereotypes and cliques.

We won’t go into a plot, cause if there was one, I was too bored to bother figuring it out. But odds are, there wasn’t one. I think it was an odd mashing of subplots.

The one plus to such a big budget movie is it was shot on location. It was cool to see parts of China that you normally wouldn’t, and even the filming in Chicago was nice. When I wasn’t being blinded by a sun that is. (oh yes, that’s right, I’m complimenting the landscape… not the special effects.)

Overall the movie was a giant commercial for transformer toys. The LEGO movie pulled this off quite well. Transformer did not. Save yourself the three hours of boredom, buy your kid some of the cool toys and watch him play with them. I’m sure he will be more entertaining and original than this movie was.