Archive | Reviews

07 July 2017 ~ 2 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Sing

Sing is a 2016 Illumination Entertainment animated musical comedy about an animal singing competition.  Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), owner of the Moon theater, is on the verge of bankruptcy, but makes one last try at success to save his lifelong dream of running a successful theater:  a singing competition with a prize of $1000, which is slightly more cash than he actually has in hand.  Except, due to a clerical error by his assistant, the posters for the competition indicate that the cash prize is actually $100,000, so the contest draws a lot more notice than he expected.

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30 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets

The Secret Life of Pets is an Illumination Entertainment animated adventure film about dogs and cats and other pets getting into adventures in New York City.  What do your pets do when you’re away at work every day?  What you probably didn’t say is that all the pets in your apartment building sneak out of their apartments and meet up with the other pets in the building to hang out.  But, apparently that’s what they do.

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26 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Fafner: Right of Left

Anime Catch-Up Review: Fafner: Right of Left

fafnerrightofleftFafner: Right of Left wasn’t available to English speaking audiences for a long time. Animated back in 2005, it’s the second oldest entry in the long running Fafner series, but never made it stateside, likely due to its status as a direct-to-video prequel.

Right of Left was also skippable when the Heaven and Earth movie came out in 2010, but when the Exodus TV series emerged in 2015, it became clear that Right of Left wasn’t optional viewing anymore, as they made references to characters and the plan that makes up the heart of Right of Left. It was clear I was missing something.

Thankfully, at some point in the past year or so, it quietly slipped into the streaming library at Daisuki.

Right of Left takes place about half a year before the original Dead Aggressor and involves the class ahead of Kazuki and the others who will become the pilots of the first show. As such, we get treated to slightly younger versions of most of Dead Aggressor‘s pilots, back before their worlds got turned upside and raked over the coals.

However, because we know the pilots of Right of Left don’t exist in Dead Aggressor (save for the one who’s killed in the first episode), it’s a safe conclusion going in that Right of Left is going to be a downer. Some tissues may be needed.

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19 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Catch-Up Review: Psycho-Pass

Anime Catch-Up Review: Psycho-Pass

psychopass1 Psycho-Pass is an original self-contained anime from 2012 that I missed during initial broadcast. I’m generally not a big cyberpunk dystopia fan, so I only came back when I kept hearing about it. This review covers the first series, which is stand-alone.

I’d never thought about how much different American TV storytelling is from Japanese until I watched Psycho-Pass and realized how western its presentation is. Character development, particularly for the supporting cast, feels paced out like I would expect on an American show, with small nuggets here and there that lead to an eventual payoff, and the world itself draws clear inspiration from Philip K. Dick (particularly Blade Runner and Minority Report).

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13 June 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

The Prey of Gods is a science fiction and fantasy novel from Harper Voyager, the premier novel by Nicky Drayden.

The book takes place in a future South Africa, where there are a lot of improvements for the future–everyone has a helper android to help make life easier, and the booming genetic engineering business in Port Elizabeth has revitalized the town.

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09 June 2017 ~ 1 Comment

REVIEW: Hugo Novelette Finalists

written by David Steffen Another category in the Hugo Award review series for this year, this is for the novelette category which covers fiction between 7500 words and 17,500 words. As mentioned before, this year marked several rule changes–including that there will be six nominees in every category, and the nomination tallying rules are different […]

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05 June 2017 ~ 1 Comment

Anime Review: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.

acca

ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept. is a slow burn, sometimes agonizingly slow, which is incredible considering that there are rumors of a coup with secrets all over the place and multiple characters who have no idea who can be trusted. Each episode feeds into the audience’s pool of knowledge and yet the truth feels frustratingly out of reach for half the show.

This isn’t necessary a bad thing, as it’s a ground zero view of the information most of the POV characters are working with, but ACCA plays its cards so close that the world seems made up of trees rather than a forest.

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29 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

THEATER REVIEW: Sneetches: The Musical

I am a lifelong Dr. Seuss fan, so I was very excited to hear that Sneetches: The Musical. In case you haven’t heard of it, “The Sneetches” is a children’s story by children’s author and illustrator Dr. Seuss (the pen name of Theodor Geisel), published in the collection The Sneetches and Other Stories originally published in 1953 and still available in print.

The original Sneetches story was very short, but was one of Seuss’s most memorable pieces, about two groups of birds whose only distinguishing characteristics are that one group has green stars on their bellies and the other has none. The star-belly sneetches use this cosmetic difference as a reason to justify poor treatment of the poor-belly sneetches while the star-belly sneetches exclude plain-belly sneetches from all of their social events. This inequality continues unchanged until the shyster businessman Sylvester McMonkey McBean comes to town selling the use of a machine that will put stars on bellies, and then when the original star-belly sneetches complain about the injustice of it all he offers use of another machine that will remove stars from bellies, and the sneetches all run from one machine to another until all of the sneetches are bankrupt. McBean leaves town much richer than when he came, and the sneetches actually learn a lesson from the ordeal–all treating each other as equals.

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26 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Anime Review: Saga of Tanya the Evil

tanyatheevil

Saga of Tanya the Evil is one of the best military-oriented anime series I’ve watched. While a lot of shows feature characters who are part of a military unit and involve war-related storylines, Tanya the Evil is particularly well suited to military enthusiasts, the kind willing to argue whether the Schlieffen Plan actually could have worked.

That’s not to say that lay people can’t enjoy Saga of Tanya the Evil on it’s own, it’s fantastic watching our jerk protagonist scrabble out of situations that progressively get from bad to worse, but military history buffs will get an extra kick out of the show from its pseudo-historical setting and frequent basis in historical tactics and battles.

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23 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: River Of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

Did you know that in the early 20th century the United States Congress considered a bill to populate the Louisiana bayou with hippopotamuses to serve as a new source of meat during a meat shortage?  In River of Teeth, we get to see an alternate history where that law passed and some decades later there are hippo-riding “hoppers” which are something like cowboys.

River of Teeth is a new release and debut novel by Sarah Gailey and published by Tor Books.  It is sort of a an alt-history Western with the feel of a heist story, and also a revenge quest, the first of a two-part book series.

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