I can't wait for this one. Loved, loved, LOVED the first movie!
Thursday, December 19, 2013
We both liked it. I gave it 8 out of 10, while the boy gave it 7.5. Not a bad score. An A and a B+.
Compared to THE HUNGER GAMES I found CATCHING FIRE much more engaging. There was hardly a moment I wasn't glued to the screen eager to see what happened next. As with most good sequels everything was ramped up. The action, the suspense and the tension are all far greater here.
One of my favourite scenes comes during the games when Katniss Everdeen, the heroine, and her allies, are attacked by a bunch of fierce baboons. Scary stuff. Those things have teeth like the shark in Jaws!
Most of the acting is well done, especially Stanley Tucci. He is becoming one of my favourite actors. And I think Lenny Kravitz should definitely do some more acting. He has some great screen presence.
One actor that I have never seen before but who I thought did a good job was Patrick St. Esprit, who played Commander Thread. Brilliant, if short, work!
If you are looking to see a movie this holiday season, CATCHING FIRE won't disappoint.
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 12:55 PM
Thursday, December 12, 2013
*scroll down for my thoughts on the first two books*
Okay, quick recap: Perdido Beach, California. Everyone over 15 years of age poofs! Disappears. Gone. Massive wall appears at the same time, twenty miles in diameter, the centre of which is the nuclear power plant. Survivors, the kids, have to figure out what is going on and also learn to survive without adults. To make matters worse there is an evil presence, a supernatural creature, that is determined to destroy them (if they don't destroy themselves first!). Oh, and some of the kids are developing X-Men like superpowers.
GONE knocked me on my ass. HUNGER blew me away.
LIES was a really really good middle of the pack book. For me it wasn't as thrilling, nail biting, as the first two books. That said, it was still damn good! Really good.
I think if you have read the first two books in the series, there is probably no way you aren't going to enjoy LIES. Probably my main beef (and I use that for lack of a better word) would be that the main story does not move forward. And that's fine. The GONE world is a big one and there are many places and people to explore. In LIES we meet some new and interesting characters and hang with some of the regulars as they face a new threat from the evil presence in the mine shaft near Hermit Jim's Shack.
The best thing about this series is seeing the changes come over the different characters as the challenges they face steadily grow more difficult and their situation becomes more and more desperate. No one here is static. They are changing. Some are growing into roles they are meant to grow into, while others are being twisted and forced into moulds they do not fit.
This is a kick ass series. I can't recommend it enough. If you are looking for something better than THE HUNGER GAMES. If you want something to keep you captivated the way TWILIGHT did. If you want something that mixes both those series and adds a little X-MEN and LORD OF THE FLIES, this is the series for you.
Get into the GONE series now!
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 9:32 AM
Friday, December 6, 2013
I love the Wolverine. He is one of my favourite Marvel characters. Hugh Jackman is always amazing, be it in the X-Man movies or the stand alone Wolverine films.
This time around Logan is fighting to save the beautiful heir to a multi-billion dollar Japanese corporation, while dealing with his own mortality. He's got seemingly innumerable number of Yakuza mobsters after him, ninjas and Viper, all trying to kill him. Oh yeah, and I can't forget the Silver Samurai!
THE WOLVERINE is action packed with almost non-stop adamantium claw-slashing action!
I quite liked it.
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 9:09 AM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
All the adults in a twenty mile radius of the power plant near Perdido Beach, California suddenly disappear. Gone. Poof! The survivors of this strange phenomenon must figure out what is going on amidst some very troubling occurrences, namely the appearance of the wall, a dome-like structure that prevents anyone from getting in or out of the Perdido Beach area.
Oh yeah, there are monsters, mutants and some kids develop X-Men-like superpowers.
If you read my review of GONE a couple weeks back then you know I really dug it. It was a terrific read. Tense. Frightening. Thrilling and horrific. It was great.
If you are a fan of Stephen King there is no doubt in my mind that you will love this series.
HUNGER starts off about three months after the events at the end of GONE and it isn't long before Grant has the tension right back up to where it was near the end of the first book. Food is running out and kids are starting to go hungry. And they aren't the only ones, either. There is a monstrous entity in the mine near Hermit Jim's Shack that is starving for it's own type of food.
If anything, HUNGER is even better than GONE. The villains are getting scarier, the situation more desperate and our hero's must delve deep within themselves to find the strength to stand up and face what seems like certain doom.
I really like the characters in these books, and they are many. The GONE series has a huge cast of characters rivalling some epic fantasy tomes. But this is a good thing. There are characters that you will fall in love with and others that you will love to hate. Some are nasty mean and others heroic.
Honestly one of the best series (so far) that I have read in some time. Check it out today!
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 5:57 PM
Friday, November 15, 2013
If you don't know anything about S., I can tell you don't expect your "normal" reading experience. The core "book" is called THE SHIP OF THESEUS by a mysterious writer by the name of V.M. Straka. However, in the margins of the novel are notes by two people who are researching the writer and the mysteries surrounding the story.
That's all I really know so far. At this time Chapters is selling the hardback for $25 and damn, that is a hell of a deal in my opinion for the product you get. There are at least 20 inserts and it comes in a nice little slipcase. The book itself will remind you of a dusty old library book from the 40's and 50's (which THE SHIP OF THESEUS is dated at). It really is a beautiful thing.
Expect a review sometime in the next little while.
Where as the covers to his GONE series are a bit on the lame side, this one is exceptionally catchy. The first time I saw it on the stand at the bookstore I picked it up and read the sleeve to know what it was all about.
Nanotech, mad scientists and a war for humanity…sounds pretty MATRIX-y and quite bitching.
I can't wait to get into this one. Check out the trailer below.
I like the title of this one, BZRK RELOADED sounds, again, very MATRIX-y and I dig that (if you haven't guessed THE MATRIX trilogy is one of my all time favourite movie trilogies you now know).
Not going to look up what this one is about because it might be spoiler-y. But I do dig that cover and can't wait to see what the BZRK world is all about!
THE EYE OF MINDS is the beginning of a new series called THE MORTALITY DOCTRINE. Dashner fans have been raving about it on Amazon. It's about a virtual reality video game and should appeal to gamers. It has even garnered some mild comparisons to one of my all-time favourite books, READY PLAYER ONE.
I will be reading this one and the MAZE series to boot!
The one below is the sequel to HOUSE OF SECRETS, a book I liked for the most part. I will definitely check out its follow up. Columbus is one of my all time favourite movie directors so the choice to buy this book really is an easy one to make!
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 1:20 PM
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I wonder if I would have made the comparison had it not been made by one of the promotional quotes on the cover or because of the obvious similarities to King's UNDER THE DOME.
Grant is a terrific writer and GONE is one of the most exciting books I've read in a while. It is books like GONE which make reading so fun. They remind me that reading a book can be so much better than watching a movie.
I had seen the GONE series (GONE is the first of six) on bookstore shelves for a few years now but never bothered to pick them up.
Why you might ask?
That cover is pretty terrible.
Not sure what those two are looking at but it doesn't come close to conveying the horrors they face between the covers. So don't be fooled by the sappy cover. GONE is pure kick-ass.
One day everyone over the age of 15 suddenly and inexplicably disappears within a ten mile radius of a nuclear power plant near the town of Perdido Beach, California. At the same time a dome appears out of nowhere, surrounding the town and land around it, trapping all survivors. There is no way in and no way out.
With all the adults gone, it isn't long before things begin to spiral out of control. Suddenly some of the survivors begin to display X-Men like abilities. Animals mutate and somewhere out in the desert an evil creature waits in the darkness of a cave.
GONE is like LORD OF THE FLIES, BATTLE ROYAL, THE HUNGER GAMES, UNDER THE DOME mashed up with THE X-MEN. In other words, really freaking cool!
Grant's voice, while unique, definitely has some Stephen King flavour. If that floats your boat, well cast off my Wormy friends. Grant's writing is superb. He gets you to feel for the kids and the strange predicament they must overcome, while cranking up the tension chapter by chapter to a very explosive finale.
Highly, highly recommended.
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 6:43 PM
Friday, November 8, 2013
When it comes to Marvel movies THOR 2 can comfortably stand among the ranks of the three IRON MAN films (the cream of the crop in this fan's opinion) and definitely of higher quality than CAPTAIN AMERICA or the HULK and X-MEN films.
However it doesn't quite touch THE AVENGERS.
Dark Elves, giants, epic spaceship battles and combat are stuffed into THOR 2 from the opening credits to the end of the film (which, if you know anything about Marvel movies you will stay to the very, VERY end).
No one is better suited to carry Mjollner than Chris Hemsworth. He has really taken to playing the God of Thunder and has a lot of great scenes in the movie, from light hearted bantering with his mischievous brother Loki, to chest beating threats towards Malkith, THOR 2's primary antagonist.
Speaking of Loki, Tom Hiddleston rules. Just saying.
Can't wait for CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE WINTER SOLDIER and AVENGERS 2, AGE OF ULTRON.
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 9:36 PM
Friday, October 18, 2013
I mean, the last few films we had seen together were, admittedly, more up my alley than hers. Superhero stuff. IRON MAN and the like.
I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about PRISONERS because I thought it was a movie about a couple of guys breaking out of a prison, an assumption I made simply from the title. I didn't know who was in it or bothered to search YouTube for a trailer.
When I said I would see PRISONERS I discovered it was anything but what I thought. Turns out it's not about bad asses breaking out of prison (thank goodness, because when was the last really good prison movie? I'm thinking SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION?).
PRISONERS is the terrifying story of two families struggling with the disappearance of their daughters and a cop who is trying his best to help them find the kidnappers.
The film stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Both are fantastic but for me it's Gyllenhaal who steals the show. I just love this guy. He is one of those actors I could watch in just about anything. In PRISONERS he shines as a young cop with a dark past (it is really only hinted at by the dark circles under his eyes and the tattoos scattered over his body, particularly his neck and fingers). He exudes law enforcement intelligence and the seeming ability to see past peoples cleverly built walls.
The film is very atmospheric. Lights and darks and the weather playing important mood settings from scene to scene. In one of the most electric scenes between Jackman and Gyllenhaal characters the weather outside smoothly switches from a torrential downpour to wet snow. Other scenes take advantage of shifting shadows during a candle light vigil for the missing girls that shifts amazingly into a frantic backyard chase in cold darkness.
I highly recommend PRISONERS. It's a perfect fall season mystery thriller. Don't miss it!
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 6:56 PM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
TOMMYSAURUS REX is another terrific middle school romp kids will get the biggest kick out of. It is an engaging, heart-pulling, heart-warming, funny, and relevant (it's got an anti-bullying message to it) book.
After the accidental death of his dog, Ely is sent to spend the summer at his grandfather's farm to get his mind off things. There, in the woods behind the farm, he makes a T-Rex sized discovery...literally.
TOMMYSAURUS REX is another amazing display of imagination and creativity from TenNapel. Checking it out is a must!
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 7:49 PM
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Some stuff has been excellent, but much of it has been mindless garbage. One author who consistently delivers quality zombie stories is Brian Keene.
If you haven't read THE RISING or DEAD SEA or some of his other zombie related stories, you're definitely missing out. THE RISING is one of the best zombie apocalypse novels I've ever read, and one of the best books in terms of escapist entertainment value.
Last week, after a long period of zombie avoidance, I sat down and watched WORLD WAR Z and felt that old pang for some zombie action. The movie was good, so if you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. Lots of action and gore and good flesh chewing fun!
After the movie I dug through my pile of unread novels and pulled out Keene's ENTOMBED.
ENTOMBED, while not strictly a zombie novel (it takes place during a zombie apocalypse), is a balls to the wall thrill ride from beginning to end. Think THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME. Think LORD OF THE FLIES. Think DIE HARD, with sprinkle of THE MIST and THE LOTTERY. I think then you'll get the picture.
When Pete becomes the first chosen to become dinner for the rest of the survivors inside a labyrinthine underground bomb shelter he has two choices. Fight for his life, or die. The rest is pure hardcore action and thrills.
Keene's ENTOMBED is a hell of a fun read and I comes highly recommended.
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Wil Wheaton is remembered by most folks as Wesley Crusher from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION. But for those of us a little older, we remember Wil Wheaton as Gordie Lachance in the movie STAND BY ME (adapted from Stephen King's THE BODY).
These days Wheaton writes and does a lot of voice work in cartoons (TEEN TITANS), video games (GTA: SAN ANDREAS) and audio books (RED SHIRTS by John Scalzi).
And he's really good, too!
Wheaton made a book I had read twice completely fresh and exciting. It was like experiencing the story all over again for the first time! I borrowed this from the local library but Wheaton's performance was so amazing (and I love the book so much) I might one day buy it so I have it to listen to whenever I want.
READY PLAYER ONE is a must read. Now it's a must listen!
Wormies, especially those of you who grew up in the 80's, will love this book. If you don't want to read it, then pick up the audio book from your local library and give it a listen. It's amazing.
Check out the book trailer:
Check out this interview with Ernest Cline (it's a year and a half old but still fun):
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 2:11 PM
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
For starters it moves at a much quicker clip than the first film. There is very little time to catch your breath between blockbusting scenes of action.
Things don't get bogged down in explanations or any of that crap. It takes less time than the credits to get it out that these kids are Greek demigods and have extraordinary powers. Then it's on with the action.
It's funny but also pulls on the heart strings, especially in a scene involving Jackson's half-brother Tyson, near the end of the movie.
It had a hip song that I liked (LIGHT 'EM UP by FALL OUT BOY) and Anthony Stuart Head (Giles from BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) replacing that bore Pierce Brosnan in the role of Chiron from the first film.
The creature FX are pretty good and at times quite frightening (the manticore is quite nasty!).
If you are a fan of the Riordan books, this is a must see. If you saw the first film and were not all that impressed, I recommend giving the series one more shot by checking out SEA OF MONSTERS. You might be pleasantly surprised. I was.
Posted by Andrew Leonard at 4:27 PM