Friday, July 23, 2021

Movie Review - Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

I loved the G.I. Joe cartoon and toys growing up. I enjoyed the live action movies from a decade ago. So I was excited to see a new movie and a new take on the franchise.

Snake Eyes is a 2021 live-action action movie based on the G.I. Joe toyline. It is rated PG-13 for violence and language, and is appropriate for teens and up.

The Good

Second Half. This movie was pretty boring and pointless with no direction until the second half when a story is finally introduced and something other than random fighting begins. It action becomes interesting and I started to care about the characters and what would happen to them.

 

The Bad

Casting & Acting. The movie was poorly cast and just as poorly acted. The actors didn't really fit the characters they were playing. And everyone was so stone faced and unemotional about everything. I had a hard time caring about what was going on when the characters seemed to care just as little.

Snake Eyes is the Bad Buy. For some reason the filmmakers decided to make Snake Eyes the bad guy and then quickly redeem him in the end in a very unbelievable twist that everyone magically accepts. I understand the idea of wanting a character arc where the character learns and grows, but this was just sloppy writing.

More About Storm Shadow. While Snake Eyes appears in almost every scene, the movie is really Storm Shadow's story. It follows his rise and fall. The film should have been titled Storm Shadow.

Changed the Mythology. I don't have a problem with filmmakers taking liberties with the source material and making changes if those changes are interesting and make a better story or lead to more compelling characters. I do have a problem with making changes that don't improve on the source material. This movie did not improve upon the source material.

Fights & Action Scenes. The fights were pretty mediocre and badly filmed. And then halfway thru the characters suddenly developed the power of flight after a fairly realistic and grounded take. And the flying didn't even look good.

 

What I Would Like To Have Seen

I wish they would have stayed truer to the mythology and done a better job casting, acting, and story writing.


Overall

Snake Eyes is a 2021 live-action action movie based on the G.I. Joe toy line. It is rated PG-13 for violence and language, and is appropriate for teens and up. This movie was pretty boring and pointless with no direction until the second half when a story is finally introduced and something other than random fighting begins. It action becomes interesting and I started to care about the characters and what would happen to them. The movie was poorly cast and just as poorly acted. The actors didn't really fit the characters they were playing. And everyone was so stone faced and unemotional about everything. I had a hard time caring about what was going on when the characters seemed to care just as little. For some reason the filmmakers decided to make Snake Eyes the bad guy and then quickly redeem him in the end in a very unbelievable twist that everyone magically accepts. I understand the idea of wanting a character arc where the character learns and grows, but this was just sloppy writing. While Snake Eyes appears in almost every scene, the movie is really Storm Shadow's story. It follows his rise and fall. The film should have been titled Storm Shadow. I don't have a problem with filmmakers taking liberties with the source material and making changes if those changes are interesting and make a better story or lead to more compelling characters. I do have a problem with making changes that don't improve on the source material. This movie did not improve upon the source material. The fights were pretty mediocre and badly filmed. And then halfway thru the characters suddenly developed the power of flight after a fairly realistic and grounded take. And the flying didn't even look good. I do not recommend this film and give it 2.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


   

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Book Review - Life After the State: Why We Don't Need Government by Dominic Frisby

I've been a Libertarian since studying Economics in college and seeing how incentives are much more effective to drive people and nations than regulation and force.

Life After the State: Why We Don't Need Government by Dominic Frisby is a nonfiction book about unintended consequences that always follow regulation and government programs. It is available as an eBook, Audiobook, and those paper things your grandparents used to read.

The Good


Explanations. So often well meaning people do things to help others only to have their efforts backfire and actually make the problems they're trying to solve worse. This book explains how that happens, why that happens, and how to avoid that.

Examples. The author uses many examples from around the world and quotes actual numbers to support and illustrate his points. I appreciate the variety and the specific numbers he gives.



The Bad


...


What I Would Like to Have Seen


...

Overall


Life After the State: Why We Don't Need Government by Dominic Frisby is a nonfiction book about unintended consequences that always follow regulation and government programs. He clearly explains why well-meaning people do things to help others see their efforts backfire and actually make the problems they're trying to solve worse. This book explains not only how that happens and why that happens, but also how to avoid it. The author uses many examples from around the world and quotes actual numbers to support and illustrate his points. I appreciate the variety and the specific numbers he gives. I highly recommend this book and give it 5 out of 5 eReaders.


    

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

Monday, July 12, 2021

Movie Review - War With Grandpa

It's rare to come across a PG movie these days, especially one that is entertaining.

War With Grandpa is a 2020 live-action comedy. It is rated PG for mild content and is appropriate for all ages.

The Good

Casting. This movie was perfectly cast. Everyone does a great job and fits their role perfectly.

Concept. The concept is pretty clever. Grandpa is too old to live on his own, so his daughter forces him to move in with her family and displaces her son to the attic sparking a war. The point of the movie is to show the damage that comes from any war, no matter how small. It gets a little heavy handed at the end, but otherwise it good.

 

The Bad

Prosaic. The movie is very enjoyable, but if you've seen the trailer and/or thought about what could go into such a movie, you won't be surprised. Nothing was especially clever or surprising.

 

What I Would Like To Have Seen

I wish they would have been a little more clever and imaginative in the different situations and pranks.


Overall

War With Grandpa is a 2020 live-action comedy. The concept is pretty clever. Grandpa is too old to live on his own, so his daughter forces him to move in with her family and displaces her son to the attic sparking a war. The point of the movie is to show the damage that comes from any war, no matter how small. It gets a little heavy handed at the end, but otherwise it good. This movie was perfectly cast. Everyone does a great job and fits their role perfectly. While the film is very enjoyable, but if you've seen the trailer and/or thought about what could go into such a movie, you won't be surprised. Nothing was especially clever or surprising. It is rated PG for mild content and is appropriate for all ages. I recommend this film and give it 3.5 out of 5 Boxes of Popcorn.


    

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/