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Category: Books

A Week of Media (Thanksgiving 2018)

Last year I started tracking my media consumption during vacations, holidays, and trips — just to try and take advantage of that time in a way that feeds my creative soul with images, sounds, and words. 

I took the week of Thanksgiving off this year, as I have for a few years, and here’s how my consumption stacked up…

  • Wind River (Netflix) – Amazing film starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen that’s been out a while, but not on my radar. It was about a hunter (Renner) who helped an FBI agent (Olsen) investigate the murder of a young woman on a Wyoming Native American reservation. Not for the faint of heart and based on a true story, this was surprisingly excellent. 
  • Equalizer 2 (Amazon purchase) – Starring Denzel Washington (reprising his role from the first one) and Pedro Pascal, I have to say I liked the sequel better than the first one. Solid story. Great action. 
  • Overlord (at the theater) – This one had been on my radar for a while — a zombie film set during a World War II story. I enjoyed it, but I won’t say it was the best thing I’ve ever seen. 🙂
  • Hurricane Heist (Netflix) – Not a great flick, but fun just to listen to how horrible the dialog was with Maggie Grace and Toby Kebbell. If you need some background noise and have fond memories of Twister — this might be right up your alley.
  • Voltron, Season 7 (Netflix) – AJ and I have been enjoying this reboot of one of my childhood favorites and look forward to the next season in December.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic (book by V.E. Schwab) – This was an impulse buy at Barnes & Noble and ended up being a fantastic story. 
  • Daredevil, Season 3 (Netflix) – I think this season was much better than season 2 and almost on par with season 1. Great action and some amazing new characters with a lot of depth. Once again Foggy & Karen both take center stage over the titular character — and that was fine by me. 🙂
  • Revolt (Netflix) – Watched this on a whim and hung on to the end. Science fiction set during an alien invasion in Africa and it was surprisingly good.
  • Power Rangers (2017 movie, Amazon Prime) – Yeah, I know. Why? Well, my friend Alan Bahr suggested this to me quite a while ago — and I have to say I enjoyed the first 2/3 of the movie up to the point where they put on costumes and rode dinosaurs. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. 🙂
  • Incoming (Netflix, didn’t finish) – Unlike Power Rangers, this was too stupid to watch for more than about 15 minutes. Didn’t make it.
  • Death Race: Beyond Anarchy (Netflix) – Like Hurricane Heist, this was not a good film — but it was fun in spots. Of course, you don’t watch Death Race and expect Shakespeare. 🙂
  • Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia (Netflix) – The new host of The Daily Show proved he still has his chops as a comedian. Fun and timely. 
  • Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Netflix) – This was out of the blue from the Coen Brothers and I have to say that AJ and I loved it. It was a series of short Western stories and I think we liked them all except the very last one. Some fantastic character pieces however, including one about a prospector looking for gold. The film starts with a singing cowboy and gets better from there. 🙂
  • Next Gen (Netflix) – An animated flick about a girl and her robot, this was surprisingly good and it had a fun dog as well. 
  • House on Haunted Hill (Netflix, second time through) – Probably my favorite story of 2018 and the last episode made my eyes water like I was chopping onions — AGAIN. Some fun horror elements, but simply amazing writing, fantastic characters, and surprisingly emotional storytelling. 

I won’t say that they were all good, but I definitely got some use out of our Netflix subscription!

A Bunch of Mini-Reviews for January 2016

On a business trip to Germany last week, I had the opportunity to not only watch movies on my flights but catch up on some reading, so I thought I’d just do some mini-reviews of the things I managed to digest.

Movies

  • Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – If you liked the first one, you’ll probably like this one too. No Robert Duvall this time, but I thought that it was fun even if it was a little predictable in places. And, as with all Tom Cruise movies, it could be subtitled “Run Tom, Run!” (3/4 stars)
  • Morgan – This looked like an interesting movie and turned out to be a rehash of every other Frankenstein-like plot. Why is it that monsters, machines, alien/human hybrids, and nanobot/human hybrids always turn on their masters? Far too predictable and boring for me. (1/4 stars)
  • Legend of Tarzan – Funny enough, I enjoyed this one with Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robie, and Sam Jackson. They didn’t go overboard on talking with the animals and all the characters were pretty clearly motivated. (3/4 stars)
  • Swiss Army Man – This has to be the weirdest movie I’ve seen in a very very long time with Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. I won’t spoil it, but suffice it to say that I will never think about farting quite the same way. (3/4 stars)
  • War Dogs – When I saw the trailers for this one with Jonah Hill, I have to say I wasn’t all that interested. But I decided to give it a shot on the plane. It turned out to be pretty good. Reminded me a bit of Deal of the Century with Chevy Chase.  (2/4 stars)

And since I’ve been back, I watched the latest animated DC Comics movie – Justice League Dark.  I really enjoyed this one. One of the best of the rebooted DC universe animated flicks by far. (4/4 stars)

Books

  • Conspiracy of Ravens by Lila Bowen – Wow. Amazing follow up to her first book, Wake of Vultures. If you like urban fantasy and an alternate Wild West, this series is phenomenal.
  • Monster Hunters International: Sinners by Larry Correia and John Ringo – Another fun entry in the MHI series, though not my favorite. I liked MHI: Grunge better, though this one ended pretty well. If you like guns, action, and monsters, you should definitely check out this series starting from the beginning. Check out Larry’s website for more.
  • The Purloined Poodle by Kevin Hearne – If you are a fan of urban fantasy and haven’t read Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series, you’re missing out. And this is a fun side quest for Atticus and his hound Oberon. Definitely light reading and entertaining! Check out Hearne’s site for more about his series!
  • Shadowed Souls  a short story collection from Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes – Another amazing urban fantasy series is the Dresden Files series from author Jim Butcher. This short story collection has one story in Dresden’s world and a great mix of others from a variety of authors. Fun collection of varied voices and tones. If you want more of the Dresden Files, check out Jim Butcher’s site for the complete list!
  • Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia – I have been enjoying his Monster Hunters International series, so thought I’d dive into his new epic fantasy series. And I was not disappointed. I’m VERY curious to see where it goes in the next book.

And there you have it. I had a lot of time to kill in airports, airplanes, and in the hotel when I was between meetings. 🙂

Have you read anything good recently? Let me know!

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