Monthly Archives: October 2013

Review: Killing Floor

Killing Floor
Killing Floor by Lee Child
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There’s a rule in writing having to do with coincidences. If you get too many of them, the audience will stop believing what you’re writing. This is the case with Killing Floorthe book which launched the incredibly long running, and profitable, Jack Reacher series. Here, we’re asked to believe an ever expanding set of randomly occurring incidents, which just happen to lead our hero to all the answers AND give him a motive for sticking around in the first place.

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Review: American Gods

American Gods
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first read this book back in ’06 and remembered liking it a great deal. Listening to this full cast recording of the author’s preferred text, I didn’t particularly notice much difference (that being said, I didn’t really remember the Hinzelman scene or the coming to America passages from before so who knows).

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Fish

Fish tour posterIt’s no secret I am a big fan of the band Marillion. I have followed them from their 80s Prog Rock beginnings up through their current, more straight forward rock and roll albums. In fact, I first discovered them in late 1984 when I was working at the Waldenbooks in the Meadows Mall and I had a reciprocity deal going with the guys who worked at the record store. When they needed books for school, I would strip the covers or give them my discount (this was before I knew how the author end of things worked – I would never do that today!) and in return, whenever I’d go into the record store, I’d bring a stack of LPs and a 45 to the counter and the guys would ring me up for the single (about $1.49 or so in those days) and throw the entire stack into a bag. Continue reading

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Review: About Time

about timeI may be in the minority here, but I absolutely adored Richard Curtis‘s new film, About Time. I know it’s not a perfect film but then, really, what is? Yes, there are some logic issues and you are asked to let your disbelief suspend mightily, but I don’t care. For me, it works.

The only major conceit, and the reason this film is listed as speculative as opposed to a straight romantic dramedy, is that in the family of Tim, the male lead, all the men have the ability to travel through time. I’m not giving anything away here, this is in the trailer. The caveat is that they can only travel within their own time line and the so called “butterfly effect” is dealt with by means of a little hand waving. But once you buy into that one concept, the rest of the film falls into place beautifully.

Tim meets Mary near the start of the film and, the way some people do, just knows she’s the one for him. Now, again, from the trailers this much seems fairly obvious and the film itself seems like it’s going to be a fun little romp about how the get together. It is and it isn’t. Continue reading

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Review: Gravity

gravity-movie-poster

Alfonso Cuarón‘s new film, Gravity, is stunning. Pure and simple. These words can describe the plot as well. There’s nothing complex about some people working out of the space Shuttle Explorer when they hit the debris field of a an exploded satellite. This happens within the first few minutes and for the rest of the hour and a half film it’s left for the two survivors, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) to try and get home.  That’s it. But in the hands of a master of suspense like Cuarón,  you don’t need any more. 

The filmmaking gets us as close to being in space as we can get on this planet. Honestly, I have no idea how he filmed half the scenes he did, I can only assume it’s a seamless mix of CG and greenscreen and a flying rig that puts David Copperfield to shame. And if Bullock or Clooney wanted to take a run at “Ashes to Ashes” to go along with Chris Hadfield‘s “Space Oddity” I’m not sure many would be able to spot the difference between the reality and the movie magic.  Continue reading

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