Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard – Take 2

I enjoyed the movie the first time and found a lot of hate out there for it. I decided to sit down and watch Die Hard 1 & 2 then rewatch A Good Day to Die Hard.

A Good Day to Die Hard is a decent action movie, just disconnect that logical part of your brain and enjoy the explosions. Is it a good Die Hard movie? No, but I still consider Live Free or Die Hard to be the worst of the series.

Why isn’t this a real Die Hard movie?

A Good Day to Die Hard has him traveling to Russia to try to rescue his son from a murder charge. That right there makes no sense. John has always been a stand-up guy doing the hard stuff because he’s the only one around to do it. I think this suffered from Reboots Disease.

You can see they were trying to make it good and trying to make it a modern action movie but in doing so they lost sight of what made Die Hard so good. When Rambo and the Terminator were hardly batting an eye at the throngs of bad guys, John McClane was getting tossed around just to do his job.

It doesn’t follow the formula. John McClane is a regular cop who gets caught up in extraordinary situations. That can pretty much sum up all the movies. He doesn’t go looking for trouble, he isn’t some invulnerable bad-ass, and he’s just a good guy in a bad situation.

Updated Verdict:
If you want to watch a good Die Hard Movie go pick up the 4-pack on sale. A Good Day to Die Hard is a fun action movie but it isn’t Die Hard. Hopefully, it’s the last.

 

On a side note, Die Hard 2 is just awesome, but did he get the car back as well as the ticket ripped up?

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Reluctant Reaper by Gina X.Grant – Book Review

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Blurb from Amazon:

Life for Kirsty dArc might not be perfect, but it’s far from hellish. She likes her job, has a great BFF, and truly admires Conrad, her boss. But when she dives in front of a lunatic’s blade to save him from certain death, she finds out Conrad isnt so admirable after all. In fact, hes traded her soul to the Devil!

While her body lies comatose on the Mortal Coil, Kirstys spirit is dragged straight to Hellwhich is not quite the fire-and-brimstone abyss shed expected. In fact, the place is quirky, wacky, and not without charm. Desperate to reunite body and soul before her time runs out, she seeks out allies, earning the friendship of a powerful drag demon, a psychic server, and, most importantly, Hells civil servant. But what of her growing attraction to Dante, the sexy Reaper with a flair for romantic languagecan she forgive him for scything her soul?

Stuck in the netherworld, Kirsty vows shell do everything on her postmortem bucket list, starting with getting her life back and ensuring that Conrad has Hell to pay!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Reluctant-Reaper-ebook/dp/B00A27X94A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371489571&sr=8-1&keywords=reluctant+reaper

My Review:

The book clocks in at about 227 pages, which would usually take me about a week to finish. I’m a slow reader, I’ve got toddlers in the house, and being mildly dyslexic makes casual reading something that requires a lot of attention.

I finished this book in less than a day.

I was hooked from the first page. Kirsty is a relatable, real character that I was rooting for all the way. The story moves along at a nice clip with humor and puns peppered throughout. It does have puns but they aren’t over-done. There are times when the main character drags a bit in pity, but then she did die, so that’s understandable.

There is a pleasant wit displayed among the wordplay and I look forward to the next in the series. 

My Verdict: At $2.99 it’s a steal. Buy and enjoy.

Image Credit:
http://ginaxgrant.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/available-now-now-now-the-reluctant-reaper/

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Man of Steel – Movie Review

 

Going into Man of Steel with a clean slate was impossible. I grew up believing a man could fly. Christopher Reeves as Superman, I watched that movie so many times the tape went out. After the disappointment that was Superman Returns and the long running soap opera of Smallville, I was desperate for a good Superman movie.

Russell Crow as Jor-El? Eh. Kevin Costner as Pa Kent? Um. Okay, my trust is a little shaky. Then I saw Zack Snyder was attached to it and my faith was shaken. 300 was a stylized nightmare and even seeing it by borrowing from a friend I felt like I wanted my money back.

How does Man of Steel stack up?

The movie is about two hours and I wanted more. My only complaint being that I sat through a long credit sprawl just to find out that there aren’t any post-credit teasers. You’re welcome. The credits are really long.

It starts on Krypton because, you know, no one knows the origins of Superman, but this one is worth it. Gone is the rambling mumble of Marlon Brando doing a monologue he doesn’t give two craps about, no we get to see the ruin that is brought upon Krypton.

We see Clark as he wonders through life just trying to find answers, we meet Lois soon after and things move along as a nice clip. Flashbacks and memories tell the story of young Clark nicely and the memory of Jor-El fills in the blanks.

Oh, thank you for a Superman with decent fight scenes for once. Beyond the cartoons out there the live action fights were horrible. It does get a bit CGI heavy at times but I can forgive that. I would have liked to see some more practical effects but then your run the risk of looking too hokey.

My gripes are far surpassed by the joy I felt watching this. To be honest, I was shocked at how many times this movie had me caring. It wasn’t just the big moments, there were dozens of little looks traded by characters, or things just unsaid, that made it so good. Unlike the recent Batman films where everyone has to take a couple of minutes to explain their motivations, this just goes.

Russell Crowe was great, Kevin Costner was great, and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White brought all those dramatic looks we all know and love. Henry Cavill as Superman is wonderful. He brought something to the character that was missing as of late, a vulnerability, that sense of always being just out of touch. Amy Adams as Lois Lane did great and they worked very well together. I’m pretty sure Harry Lennix is now the go-to guy when they need a tough but intelligent military guy on screen. He pretty much just stands there and talks but he does so splendidly. Michael Shannon as Zod was glorious, that guy can play villains do well.

I’m giddy just thinking of it. Damn, I want to see it again. That’s not even touching the music.

My Verdict: GO SEE IT NOW. Check the local time and go IMMEDIATELY.

Two big changes to the story that I LOVED just happen to be very big spoilers.

Please stop reading if you don’t want to see them.

Last warning.

SPOILERS

SPOILERS

This time it is the last warning.

  1. Lois knows who Superman is!

THANK YOU! She’s a world class reporter! How could she not know?

  1. Superman kills Zod

He’s forced to do it, but still, thank you. Even that scene is just, wow, it hits you. This whole ‘don’t kill’ thing doesn’t make sense and just proves that Batman is just as crazy as his Rogues Gallery.

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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – A Book Review

 

A lot of people rave about this book and the writer. I’ve come to recognize Patrick Rothfuss through his series about writing on Geek and Sundry. He is smart, funny, and it made me want to read his book. I follow his blog, I’ve liked him on Facebook, and now I’ve read his book.

From Goodreads:

Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard

It ends with a lot of questions unanswered and after that journey it wasn’t the payoff it was hyped to be. I enjoyed reading it, the first few chapters really hooked me. It was interesting and kept me engaged but by the end I was a little irked. The tale tottles along, covering this and that, going along everything about Kvothe’s life and then it ends, that’s it. Want more? Pick up book two, another large tome about the further adventures of Kvothe which I haven’t picked up and I don’t plan on it.

My Verdict: Check your local library. It’s entertaining and, in a pinch, even the paperback could stop a bullet.

Image Credit:
PatrickRothfuss.com

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Dragons of Autumn Twilight – A Book Review

 

I’ve recently started reading this book for maybe the fifth time. It’s been a few years and this copy was one I purchased because my wife hadn’t read it before. I was really looking forward to rediscovering old friends.

Man. I was wrong.  It hasn’t aged well.

I know the book first came out in the 80s but it reads like a soap opera. Everyone has internal dialogues about the past or this character doing something or how INSERT CHARACTER has changed. It’s clear that Raistlin is going to get his own series because there is enough about him or how the others react to him and think of him to fill up a few chapters. The only character I still love across the years is Tas and he hardly gets any real time. It’s about Tanis, or Strum, or the Twins and after the first few chapters I really don’t care about them anymore.

I remember loving this book, I’ve read this trilogy a couple of times before, not to mention the ones that follow it, but I’m going to put this back on the shelf. It feel juvenile, unpolished, and it tries too hard to be dramatic.

My Verdict: Don’t slay your nostalgia, keep it on the shelf

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Almost Home

 

Annalise glared at the clock. She had five minutes left on her shift. Her feet were killing her, her shoulders were screaming, and she had already agreed to another twelve hour shift tomorrow. For the past week people were calling in sick constantly leaving them shorthanded. As it stood there were only six employees that hadn’t called out, and two of them looked like death warmed over. She got out of working yet another double by picking up three overnight shifts in a row.

Whatever was spreading among the staff was knocking out the residents at an alarming rate. Working at a long term care facility as a nursing assistant usually meant caring for at least one sick resident, but every single one was ill, and it all looked like the same cold. She was incredibly glad she had decided to take the summer semester off; nursing school on top of this load would have been insane.

“Anna,” Maggie, the nurse on duty tapped her on the shoulder.

Maggie was about three inches shorter than Annalise and made her athletic form look anorexic with a figure that demanded to be on the side of World War Two bombers rather than draped in cheap patterned scrubs.

“Mrs. Brackeman passed,” she didn’t have enough energy left to be sad. “Can you do The Care?”

“Yeah,” Annalise stretched her arms as she walked down the hall.

The Care was what they called End of Life Care, the procedure to clean up a resident and arrange their room for viewing. It would take longer than five minutes but Mrs. Brackeman was one of the good ones. She deserved some extra attention. Death, unfortunately, was a regular part of her job, but it seemed like the nice residents went faster. The cranky, curmudgeons held on another day to be a pain in the ass.

Annalise paused at the doorway to take in the room. Mrs. Brackeman’s room was a solo suite, which made things easier. Having a roommate sit dejectedly in the corner and watch as she prepared a former friend was rather unnerving. There was a smattering of family photos mixed in with more recent ones. A small collection colored glass in shape of pigs. She made a mental note as she gloved up that she would need to bring in a few chairs for the family.  Her eyes finally made their way to the bed.

It was empty.

Mrs. Brackerman had been bedbound for the past three days. The covers were dangling over the side onto the floor exposing the curved depression in the bed where the body had been lying recently.

“Maggie,” Annalise called back down the hallway. “Where is she?”

“In bed,” the nurse had made it back to her desk and was working on the paperwork. “Why?”

“She’s not there.”

“What do you mean?”

“She’s not in bed,” she pointed into the room. “Who found her?”

“I did,” Maggie walked briskly back down the hall. “I just came in to do vitals and then went to find you.” She poked her head in the room. “What in the hell? Where is she?”

“I trust you’ll find her,” Annalise looked up at the clock with a dreamy smile. “My shift ended one whole minute ago.”

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Vampire In Brooklyn – Movie Review

This is a vampire movie that gets overlooked a lot. Most people don’t really see Eddie Murphy beyond his comedies. The movie came out in 1995, a year after Beverly Hills Cop 3 and a year before The Nutty Professor. Really, the only thing that doesn’t hold up over time is the dated hair styles and some overacting near the end.

The story is of Maximillian, played by Eddie Murphy, being the last of his kind from an island chain in the Bermuda Triangle. He comes to Brooklyn to search for a half-vampire to continue the species. The lore is classical vampire. These days with the taint of Twilight so fresh on the mind a respect for the source material is needed.

Maximillian is THE vampire. He’s got a ghoul, Kadeem Hardison is hilarious, he changes shape, he can fly, and he’s got some tricks too. There are some great one liners. This is Eddie Murphy in his prime, he looks great, he is charming and predatory, and his jokes are funny.

Verdict: Watch it.

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