Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Callsign - Tripleshot (Jack Sigler Thrillers novella collection - Queen, Rook, and Bishop) by Jeremy Robinson & Others (Book 2014)

This was a combination of 3 short stories following around three of the major characters from the Jack Sigler series. They were OK...very short but they all had a plot and some action. I only remember the story from one out of the three plots though...so I guess that shows how mediocre they were when compared to the main books.

I'd only recommend this to fill in the gaps for the whole series, but if you're not reading the whole thing then yeah this combo book wouldn't be worth it.
Rating - Mid

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Action Comedy 2014)

So this movie was a combination of James Bond, Austin Powers, and Hot Fuzz. It's a silly action movie that had some good scenes which made it entertaining. It's a total rental though.

Action was OK but again it was silly so you can't really respect it. Most of the dialog was in a British accent so thus I was reading subtitles like crazy to make sense of a lot of it. Overall it was a fun movie for a one-off.
Rating - C

Monday, June 22, 2015

Inside Out (Pixar Animated 2015)

It's been a while, but Pixar finally pumped out another feature film. Luckily it was another good one. This movie was intelligent. Not sure what other word I can use but that's the main one that comes to mind. A lot of smart people had to have brainstormed for quite a while to come up with a lot of the psychological stuff that this film used in order to move the plot along.

It's kinda weird to say this towards a Pixar movie, but some parts weren't really young kid friendly as in the ideas and themes may be too complicated to be fully or even partially appreciated by super young kids. Additionally it was a bit dark and depressing during the sadder moments since the film takes a much more serious tone underneath its happy, cartoony surface.

Anyway, on the positive side, this whole movie was relatable back to real life since all of the primary emotions are ones that everyone has felt at one time or another. Really well done. Music integration was perfect as well as several poignant sad/emotional scenes.

The film wasn't as uplifting as Up or Finding Nemo, but it was good in a different way. Additionally, if you've ever moved around during your childhood, the core story will definitely speak to you.
Rating - A

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Everything Before Us (Romance 2015)

So I've been following the guys over at Wong Fu Productions ever since they started out as new, talented Youtubers. Since the mid-2000s they've created many great shorts and one mini movie that I reviewed back in the day. This film was a ton better; goes to show what close to a decade of work and experience can do.

So yeah this movie is a touchy-feely type of romantic flick. It follows around two couples as they go through life in a kinda odd world where people have an emotional integrity score garnered from past relationship experiences. This score is much like a credit score in that it can make or break one's career or getting a loan and such. It was an interesting angle to take, but beneath this premise, the story further bolstered the well-known fact of how relationships are all non-linear and quite complicated.

I liked how the two couples were very different in that the first set followed a HS relationship through to college, while the secondary one was more grounded in the post-college career world. I think I would've had more of a connection with the film if I were a youngin' back in college watching this, but everything was still relatable.

This movie wasn't necessarily solid as it still faltered in some places like missing plot transitions and some occasional overacting , but it was indeed much better than many movies I've seen as of late that had a much larger budget.

The main set of props goes out to the creators who totally followed their dreams of making movies and other visual media and they seemed to have succeeded. The story, cinematography, transitions, music selection and integration were all spot on. They did a really good job considering they did all the work with no big-money support. So yeah gold star for taking a risk in life.

So would this film survive as a standalone in the box offices? No, mainly because these days the average movie-goer mainly expects a lot of special effects and/or tier 1 actors. Would this film do well at any indi place? Definitely. It would take a slightly artsy crowd to appreciate what was created here, especially towards the end of the film. This was a good watch that was definitely worth the $5 streaming rental.
Rating - B

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia (Book 2009)

This was an excellent book that starts off a new series for me. This first one was free and it certainly did its job in making me want to read more.

The plot follows around an average, everyday accountant who suddenly gets attacked by a werewolf. The setting is our world where monsters aren't supposed to exist, so after this event the main character comes to the realization that monsters do exist, the government knows about it, and a secret group of hunters go around and eliminate said monsters for bounty money. Just picture MIB for a general layout.

The story in this book was not short and not superficial. It had many twists and turns and it continued to build up the main character and all of his buddies. Very good plot and a nice, thorough novel. It had a bunch of detail and was exciting to boot. So if you want to read about mercs hunting down monsters while keeping their existence on the dl, then this may be your cup of tea.
Rating - High

Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Age of Adaline (Romantic Drama 2015)

This film was surprisingly good. It was about a chick who was born in the early 20th century, got into a freak accident, and stopped aging. It didn't go too deep into how she managed to survive on illegitimate papers and such, but that's OK. We'll assume she winged it for a century.

The story, of course, concentrated on the main character and her involvement with a present-day gent. That allowed for the plot to move forward, but I would've liked to not have the dude in it, and instead have more of the story follow around the main character through the decades. The gold star goes out to the acting itself, because I thought it was superb. Although I haven't seen this Blake Lively person in anything else, I thought that she did a fantastic job portraying a 100+ year old lady in the body of a late 20s chica...very elegant and intelligent with 1930s feel to it.

Of course the choice of words, mannerisms, and clothing assisted in "making" the character, I thought it was a cool combination. So yeah, not to go into too much detail, the movie was good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not game with all of the romantic stuff since there didn't seem to be that much natural chemistry between Lively's character and the main dude, but I did like the music and how the story was conveyed.
Rating - A

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Prime (Chess Team Adventure series Book 0) by Jeremy Robinson and Sean Ellis (Book 2014)

Eh. This was an OK prequel of sorts. I think Pulse was a bit better though. This adventure story was not as believable as the other book so maybe I just didn't like the main plot that the book was carrying.

Writing was more/less the same, as were the characters, but yeah it didn't have the same spark I was looking for. The baddies were super unrealistic FYI. Even super-augmented mutants should die after a shot to the noggin. Anyway, it was still worth the read if you plan to go through the whole series in order, but as a standalone I'd have to think about that some more.
Rating - Mid

Stiger's Tigers (Chronicles of An Imperial Legionary Officer Book 1) by Marc Alan Edelheit (Book 2015)

Wow, excellent book and a great start to a promising new series. The setting of the story is pretty neat. Picture imperial Rome as the base, but set in a fantasy-like atmosphere, so nothing historical.

The story follows around an infantry officer as he is tasked with building up his company from scratch and is ordered to complete a specific mission. The writing has a lot of detail and fully develops multiple characters while slowly moving the plot along.

Great writing and pace. This was definitely one of those books that you can't put down. Considering it was the author's first book, kudos to Mr. Edelheit. Well done.
Rating - High