Friday, May 28, 2021

Movie Review - Cruella (2021 Film)

I never liked the film 101 Dalmatians. I thought the animation was good and the visuals were very nice, but the story and characters were so boring. Cruella was the only highlight of the experience, so focusing a movie on her made sense.

Cruella is a 2021 live-action dark drama loosely based on the book and Disney film 101 Dalmatians. It is rated PG-13 for a couple of mildly horrific scenes and is appropriate for tweens and up.

The Good

Story. I wasn't sure what to expect. I had a few ideas, but the story went in a very different direction. But it was really enjoyable and held my attention almost the whole time after the slow beginning.

Concept. This is very different from the cartoon and a very different take, but it's an enjoyable one that works well. Technically this is a prequel to the movie 101 Dalmatians being Cruella's origin story, but she really is a very different character as are everyone else from the original cartoon with only the names the same. But the story and take was so strong, I think it was better this way.

Casting. The casting was perfect, especially Emma Thompson as the Baroness. And everyone else was excellent except for Roger and Anita who couldn't have been more dull or pointless.

The Bad


Young Cruella. The movie opens with Cruella's birth and childhood. And it is deadly dull with a really unlikable actress playing young Cruella. The movie is almost painful until it fast forwards to adult Cruella.

 

What I Would Like To Have Seen

I wish they would have left out Roger and Anita. They were poorly cast, poorly written, and added nothing to the story.


Overall

Cruella is a 2021 live-action dark drama loosely based on the book and Disney film 101 Dalmatians. It is rated PG-13 for a couple of mildly horrific scenes and is appropriate for tweens and up. This is very different from the cartoon and a very different take, but it's an enjoyable one that works well. Technically this is a prequel to the movie 101 Dalmatians being Cruella's origin story, but she really is a very different character as are everyone else from the original cartoon with only the names the same. But the story and take was so strong, I think it was better this way. I wasn't sure what to expect. I had a few ideas, but the story went in a very different direction. But it was really enjoyable and held my attention almost the whole time after the slow beginning. The casting was perfect, especially Emma Thompson as the Baroness. And everyone else was excellent except for Roger and Anita who couldn't have been more dull or pointless. I wish they would have left out Roger and Anita. They were poorly cast, poorly written, and added nothing to the story. The movie opens with Cruella's birth and childhood. And it is deadly dull with a really unlikable actress playing young Cruella. The movie is almost painful until it fast forwards to adult Cruella. Then it's brilliant! I highly recommend this film and give it 4.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


    

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Animation Review - DC Showcase: Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth! (2021 Animated Short)

I wasn't a fan of Jack Kirby until he came to DC Comics and launched his Fourth World saga lead by his brilliant work on Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. And I enjoyed the other creations that followed including Kamandi and OMAC: One Man Army Corps. Both would make excellent cartoons as shown by the Kamandi shorts from Batman: The Brave and The Bold series on Cartoon Network.

DC Showcase: Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth! is a 2021 16-minute animated short included with Justice Society: World War II on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Streaming. It is unrated for action violence and is appropriate for all ages.


The Good

Art Direction. The backgrounds came straight out of the Jack Kirby comic books, which was pretty cool. The character designs were very nice, but I would have preferred the versions from Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Those better captured the energy of Jack Kirby's artwork.

Story. This was adapted from one of my least favorite issues of Kamandi, but I really enjoyed it. The story works better in animation, and the filmmakers were able to squeeze in the major characters, the origin, and cameos to service the fans.

The Bad


....

 

What I Would Like To Have Seen

A whole series!


Overall

DC Showcase: Kamandi: The Last Boy On Earth! is a 2021 16-minute animated short included with Justice Society: World War II on Blu Ray, DVD and Digital Streaming. The backgrounds came straight out of the Jack Kirby comic books, which was pretty cool. The character designs were very nice, but I would have preferred the versions from Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Those better captured the energy of Jack Kirby's artwork. This was adapted from one of my least favorite issues of Kamandi, but I really enjoyed it. The story works better in animation, and the filmmakers were able to squeeze in the major characters, the origin, and cameos to service the fans. I highly recommend this short and give it 4.5 out of 5 Reels of Film.

 


 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Book Review - Super Powereds: Year 2 by Drew Hayes

I loved the first book in the series and was really excited to read the second. But I was also worried. Would it be as good? Would it capture the magic of the first while adding something new? Would the story take a disappointing turn?

Super Powereds: Year 2 by Drew Hayes is a science fiction teen angst school drama. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Characters. The characters all retained what I loved about them in the first book, but each moved forward and developed both as individuals and as a group. I also enjoyed how the powers were further explored and more ways to use their abilities discovered.

Continuation. This book continued the story from the first book but added new elements, new plot twists, new developments that were all consistent with the world created and rules set in the first book. Yet there were enough new situations and growth that this felt like its own book and not just a repeat of the first.

The Bad


...


What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


Super Powereds: Year 2 by Drew Hayes is a science fiction teen angst school drama. The characters all retained what I loved about them in the first book, but each moved forward and developed both as individuals and as a group. I also enjoyed how the powers were further explored and more ways to use their abilities discovered. This book continued the story from the first book but added new elements, new plot twists, new developments that were all consistent with the world created and rules set in the first book. Yet there were enough new situations and growth that this felt like its own book and not just a repeat of the first. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


    

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/







Friday, March 19, 2021

Movie Review - Zack Snyder's Justice League


 I'm a huge DC Comics fan, and I loved most of their movies until The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, and the other grim and gritty trying to beat Marvel films. I was so excited for a Justice League movie and so disappointed by what we got. I, like many others, wondered if the original cut of the film might have been better.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is a 2021 live-action superhero film based on characters appearing in DC Comics. It is rated R for language and fantasy violence and is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good

Story. This movie had a story. The story made sense. The story logically progressed from one scene to the next. That was all absent in the theatrical cut.

Fan Service. This film included a lot of characters and a lot of fan service, but it did it in a way that made sense and added to the story (for the most part).


The Bad


Music and Soundtrack. The music and soundtrack was one area this film fell short. It wasn't memorable. It didn't add to the emotion of the film. In places it was just plain boring or made no sense.

Lack of Great Fight Scenes. This film does have several fight scenes, but none of them were really great or memorable. They were short, looked like quickly rendered video games, and lacked choreography.

Not the Justice League We Wanted. While this is a really good film, it's not the Justice League film any fan really wanted. It didn't look or feel like the Justice League fans have grown to love in the comics and cartoons.

 

What I Would Like To Have Seen

I wish the film would have been more true to the comics and cartoons.

 

Overall

Zack Snyder's Justice League is a 2021 live-action superhero film based on characters appearing in DC Comics. Unlike the theatrical version, this movie had a story. The story made sense. The story logically progressed from one scene to the next. This film included a lot of characters and a lot of fan service, but it did it in a way that made sense and added to the story (for the most part). The music and soundtrack was one area this film fell short. It wasn't memorable. It didn't add to the emotion of the film. In places it was just plain boring or made no sense. This film does have several fight scenes, but none of them were really great or memorable. They were short, looked like quickly rendered video games, and lacked choreography. While this is a really good film, it's not the Justice League film any fan really wanted. It didn't look or feel like the Justice League fans have grown to love in the comics and cartoons. I recommend this film and give it 4 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


    

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Book Review - Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes

I love fairy tales, but I'm not a big fan of modern reinterpretations or variations on the classics, mostly because they are so predictable, dull, and derivitive. But every once in a while and author comes along with a unique spin.

Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes is a fantasy tale that spins multiple fairy tales and stories together. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Story. The author has created a clever story where a group of three mercenaries travel from one fairy tale to the next righting wrongs. The author and story look at fairy tales from a more realistic point of view exposing some of the stranger parts we've heard so many times we usually gloss over. The story is very tight with a clear beginning, middle, and end, and moves at a nice pace.

Characters. There are three characters, Jack who cut down the beanstalk, Frankenstein's monster, and a female werewolf who work together helping those in need for a price. They all have very different personalities, interesting backstories, and great chemistry.

Use of Fairy Tales. The author does a really clever job incorporating fairy tales and other stories in his narrative. They fit the story well never feeling forced, and they provide a new perspective on such familiar tales causing the reader to view them in new and interesting ways.

The Bad


...


What I Would Like to Have Seen


A sequel.

Overall


Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes is a fantasy tale that spins multiple fairy tales and stories together. The author has created a clever story where a group of three mercenaries travel from one fairy tale to the next righting wrongs. The author and story look at fairy tales from a more realistic point of view exposing some of the stranger parts we've heard so many times we usually gloss over. The story is very tight with a clear beginning, middle, and end, and moves at a nice pace. There are three characters, Jack who cut down the beanstalk, Frankenstein's monster, and a female werewolf who work together helping those in need for a price. They all have very different personalities, interesting backstories, and great chemistry. The author does a really clever job incorporating fairy tales and other stories in his narrative. They fit the story well never feeling forced, and they provide a new perspective on such familiar tales causing the reader to view them in new and interesting ways. Overall, this is a very entertaining tale. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/








Thursday, March 4, 2021

Book Review - Rewired: An Unlikely Doctor, a Brave Amputee, and the Medical Miracle That Made History by Dr. Ajay K. Seth

I am a big fan of biographies, history, science, and technology. I'm also a big fan of science fiction becoming science fact. It's not often these five areas come together in one story.

Rewired: An Unlikely Doctor, a Brave Amputee, and the Medical Miracle That Made History by Dr. Ajay K. Seth is a nonfiction short novel about one woman losing an arm and then regaining feeling and function via surgery and a prosthetic. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Story. This book tells the story of a woman who is bitten by a racoon, her arm becomes severely infected to the point it has to be amputated, and then a new, never-before-performed surgery restores sensation and motor functions to the art. The story itself is pretty remarkable, because everything that happens is pretty basic and ordinary, and yet the results of every event and every action was not the usual or even the expected. There were also many unexplained and seemingly impossible twists in the story.

Telling. The author is the doctor who performed the amputation and the surgery to restore sensation and function. He does a remarkable job detailing the events in a very interesting way. His ghostwriter(s) should probably credited on the cover as well.

Technology. This book discussions cutting edge technology and surgical techniques that not long ago were strictly in the realm of science fiction. It was a lot of fun to see them move into the light of science fact.

The Bad


Stops too Soon. This book stops too early. There is still so much more to this story, but I suppose the author wanted to get the important part out there for all to read, and maybe we'll have a sequel to finish the tale.


What I Would Like to Have Seen


I really want to know what happens next. Does the main character get a new prosthetic, and does it work like a real arm?

Overall


Rewired: An Unlikely Doctor, a Brave Amputee, and the Medical Miracle That Made History by Dr. Ajay K. Seth is a nonfiction short novel about one woman losing an arm and then regaining feeling and function via surgery and a prosthetic. The story itself is pretty remarkable, because everything that happens is pretty basic and ordinary, and yet the results of every event and every action was not the usual or even the expected. There were also many unexplained and seemingly impossible twists in the story. The author is the doctor who performed the amputation and the surgery to restore sensation and function. He does a remarkable job detailing the events in a very interesting way. His ghostwriter(s) should probably credited on the cover as well. This book discussions cutting edge technology and surgical techniques that not long ago were strictly in the realm of science fiction. It was a lot of fun to see them move into the light of science fact. This book does stop too early. There is still so much more to this story, but I suppose the author wanted to get the important part out there for all to read, and maybe we'll have a sequel to finish the tale. Overall, it is a fascinating story. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/








Friday, February 26, 2021

Movie Review - Tom and Jerry (2021 Film)

I was a huge fan of the classic MGM Hanna-Barbara Tom & Jerry cartoons and I even enjoyed the lesser follow ups. I would watch them over and over on afternoons after school. It doesn't get better than those. But I didn't have high hopes for a movie after seeing how poorly other cartoons I loved translated to the big screen (Smurfs, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, and The Flintstones to name just a few).

Tom and Jerry is a 2021 live-action and animated action, romance, comedy based on the classic MGM cartoons of the same name. It is rated PG and is appropriate for all ages.

The Good

Story and Content. This movie had so much more story and content than I was expecting. A lot of stuff happened with a lot of characters having fairly long stories with lots of moving pieces. This was like a real movie and not just a money grab.

Action. There was the right amount of classic Tom & Jerry chase scenes and physical violence, not too much, but enough that it felt like Tom & Jerry I also appreciated that most of it was new and original with only a few reenactments from the cartoons.

Art Direction. This film was really beautiful to look at. The animation was traditional and hand drawn but had a very modern feel while retaining all the greatness of classic animation. The sets and scenery was great to look at.

The Bad


Ken Jeong. Why does anyone hire this guy? He is so obnoxious. He was over the top in a bad way in this film and added nothing.

 

What I Would Like To Have Seen

...


Overall

Tom and Jerry is a 2021 live-action and animated action, romance, comedy based on the classic MGM Hanna-Barbara Tom & Jerry cartoons. This movie had so much more story and content than I was expecting. A lot of stuff happened with a lot of characters having fairly long stories with lots of moving pieces. This was like a real movie and not just a money grab. There was the right amount of classic Tom & Jerry chase scenes and physical violence, not too much, but enough that it felt like Tom & Jerry I also appreciated that most of it was new and original with only a few reenactments from the cartoons. This film was really beautiful to look at. The animation was traditional and hand drawn but had a very modern feel while retaining all the greatness of classic animation. The sets and scenery was great to look at. The only negative was Ken Jeong. Why does anyone hire this guy? He is so obnoxious. He was over the top in a bad way in this film and added nothing. Otherwise this film was thoroughly entertaining. I highly recommend this film and give it 4 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


    

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/

Book Review - Will Destroy the Galaxy for Cash by Yahtzee Croshaw

I love comic books and superheroes, but I'm not a fan of books and shows that try to explore the concept. They almost never get it right.

Will Destroy the Galaxy for Cash by Yahtzee Croshaw is a humorous science fiction space opera. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Dry Humor. This book is a pretty standard space opera, but what makes it stand out is its dry humor and witty take on both science fiction troupes and human nature.

Characters. The characters are the basic sci fi troupes reinvented into read characters with real histories and real thoughts, cares, and desires. Plus they all have great chemistry and play off each other really well.

Use of Technology. One of the many things I love about science fiction is the new ways authors think of using existing and theoretical technology. This book threw in a novel use of a fairly well used technology and really surprised me at the end. It seems so logical and obvious I'm amazed it hasn't been done much more before.

The Bad


Bad Guys and Authorities. The bad guys and the authorities are the main antagonists in this book, and they were pretty flat and generic. It would have been interesting for the author to have put as much though into them as he did the main characters and their situation.


What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


Will Destroy the Galaxy for Cash by Yahtzee Croshaw is a humorous science fiction space opera and a sequel to Will Save Galaxy For Food. This book is a pretty standard space opera, but what makes it stand out is its dry humor and witty take on both science fiction troupes and human nature. The characters are the basic sci fi troupes reinvented into read characters with real histories and real thoughts, cares, and desires. Plus they all have great chemistry and play off each other really well. One of the many things I love about science fiction is the new ways authors think of using existing and theoretical technology. This book threw in a novel use of a fairly well used technology and really surprised me at the end. It seems so logical and obvious I'm amazed it hasn't been done much more before. The bad guys and the authorities are the main antagonists in this book, and they were pretty flat and generic. It would have been interesting for the author to have put as much though into them as he did the main characters and their situation. Overall, this is a very entertaining tale. I highly recommend this book and give it 4.5 out of 5 eReaders.


  

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086G6FKRV/