And how was your November? Mine was quite nice, thank you. G-Vo, C, J, and I went to the Hello Kitty 40th anniversary exhibit in Little Tokyo, and it was terrific. They had tons of classic memorabilia (I kept excitedly pointing out things I'd actually owned way back when) as well as modern artworks depicting the beloved icon. If you love Hello Kitty and live near Los Angeles, you should definitely check it out before it closes in April.
As for Thanksgiving, I spent the long weekend with G-Vo doing nothing but eating, watching TV and movies, napping, and playing video games. In a word: perfection.
Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.
by Gennifer Albin: This is the final book in the Crewel World trilogy, so I can't review it lest I spoil its predecessors. It was okay.
2. Mother, Mother
by Koren Zailcka: The Hurst family is thrown into chaos after the oldest daughter, Rose, runs away with her boyfriend. In response, Josephine Hurst tightens her grip on her other children, and what initially seems like mere overprotectiveness is soon revealed as poisonous narcissism. I guessed where it was going about halfway through, but it's still pretty good.
by Ally Condie: Rio is a teenage girl who lives in the underwater city of Atlantia with her sister Bay. But when Bay makes the decision to go Above, Rio is determined to follow her no matter what it takes. And Rio has a special advantage: she's secretly a siren, and she can make people do whatever she wants just by asking. It's decent enough.
* by Stephen King: When Jamie Morton is a kid, a new pastor named Charles Jacobs comes to town. He's unusually interested in electricity, but everybody loves him. Then a tragedy strikes, and Jacobs loses his faith in a spectacularly public way and moves out of town. Many years later, Jamie---now desperately addicted to heroin---runs into Jacobs, and suffice it to say that weird shit goes down. To be honest, it took a while to really interest me, but once it did, I was hooked. There are some indelibly freaky scenes in here.
4. The Wolf in Winter
by John Connolly: The small town of Prosperous is aptly named, but its good fortune comes at a high price. When private investigator Charlie Parker starts looking into the death of a homeless man, the residents of Prosperous will stop at nothing to keep him from uncovering the truth. Not one of Connolly's best, but I liked it fine. As usual, gay hitmen Angel and Louis get the best scenes and dialogue.
5. Flesh and Blood
by Patricia Cornwell: Dr. Kay Scarpetta's vacation plans are rudely interrupted by a homicide that turns out to be more complicated than it initially looks. Cornwell used to be terrific, but once she got majorly successful, she started coasting on her name. Still, this is better than her last couple of books, which isn't saying much. I'm not sure why I keep reading her; nostalgia, I guess.
6. In the Afterlight
* by Alexandra Bracken: This is the final book in the Darkest Minds trilogy, so I can't review it properly lest I spoil its predecessors, but it was excellent.
Nothing this month.
vol. 5 by Yoshiki Tonogai
2. A Bride's Story
vol. 6 by Kaoru Mori
3. What Did You Eat Yesterday?*
vols. 2-4 by Fumi Yoshinaga
4. Black Rose Alice
vol. 2 by Setona Mizushiro
5. An Age of License
by Lucy Knisley
vol. 3 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton: No relation to the Stephen King book.
vol. 16 by Rumiko Takahashi
8. Attack on Titan: Junior High*
vol. 2 by Saki Nakagawa
1. Deliver Us from Evil
: NYPD officer Ralph Sarchie teams up with a priest to investigate paranormal crimes around town. A couple of decent scenes, but mostly meh. G-Vo hated it.
2. Sex Tape
: Jay and Annie decide to spice up their marriage by making a sex tape, but complications ensue when the video accidentally gets uploaded to the cloud. Some very funny moments, and Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz have good chemistry together.
: This Disney documentary follows a bear and her two cubs as they search for food in the Alaskan wilderness. The narration can get awfully goofy, no doubt due to its target audience, but the footage is absolutely stunning.
4. The One I Love
*: Ethan and Sophie (Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss) are sent on a weekend retreat by their marriage counselor. The property is gorgeous, but they quickly discover something unusual about the guest house. I wasn't crazy about the ending, but the premise is so clever that I gave it a star. A word of advice: if you're interested in seeing this, go into it as unspoiled as possible.
: After blowing up at a restaurant critic and losing his job, a chef (Jon Favreau) opens a food truck in hopes of rekindling the joy of cooking on his own terms. If you'll pardon the metaphor, it's not exactly a hearty meal, but it's a tasty snack. And oh my god, the scene where they're making Cuban sandwiches made me moan like a porn star. I've been to Florida many times, but I've never had a proper Cuban sandwich, which really needs to be remedied.
6. Hulk Vs.
: This movie is split up into two 45-minute segments, one in which the Hulk fights Thor and the other in which he fights Wolverine. The latter is MUCH better, thanks to improved voice acting and Deadpool's presence, but it's still pretty skippable.
: After a horrifying incident on a desolate highway, two FBI agents try to unravel the truth. If you can't see where it's going within the first five minutes, congratulations on watching your first movie ever! There's one really well done scene in the middle, but the rest of it is unbelievably predictable.
8. 22 Jump Street
*: Schmidt and Jenko (Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum) go undercover at a college to stop a drug ring. To be honest, it took about 15 minutes to get into its groove, but once it did, it was hysterically funny. The leads have great bromantic chemistry, too.
: After an unforgivable betrayal, Maleficent curses the king's baby daughter. But as Aurora gets older, Maleficent becomes fond of the girl, and she tries to undo the damage. I was expecting it to be really meh, but it wasn't bad, and Angelina Jolie was terrific as Maleficent.
: Derek has a brain aneurysm that could go at any time, so he decides to start on his bucket list and travel the world for a year. His friend Cliff comes along to keep him company and document their adventures. But when Derek has a one night stand that goes wrong, the vacation takes a very dark turn. A decent little horror flick.
Side note: I'm pretty prone to shaky cam induced motion sickness, but this one didn't bother me much. There were a few running scenes where I looked away to be safe, but mostly it was fine.
ADDED TO MY IPOD
by Lana Del Rey
2. "Not Yet" by Orange Caramel
3. "Superwoman" by Orange Caramel
4. "One Love" by Orange Caramel
5. "Shanghai Romance" by Orange Caramel
6. "Catallena" by Orange Caramel
7. "Cannonball" by The Breeders
8. "Safari" by The Breeders
9. "For Love" by Lush
10. "Cat Brain Land" by Melt Banana
11. "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" by Ministry
12. "Go" by Moby
13. "Feeling So Real" by Moby
14. "All Your Way" by Morphine
15. "No Rain" by Blind Melon
16. "My Copycat" by Orange Caramel
17. "Clara's Dream" by Orange Caramel
18. "Cool Places" by Sparks feat. Jane Wiedlin
19. "Barbecutie" by Sparks
20. "Honey Power" by My Bloody Valentine
21. "Twist Barbie" by Shonen Knife
22. "Not Too Soon" by Throwing Muses
23. "Very" by Moby
24. "Beautiful" by Moby
VIDEO GAME OF THE MONTH
Nick Ramos is a nice dude living in Los Perdidos when a massive zombie outbreak occurs. The government plans to bomb the city to contain the outbreak, and Nick has to round up as many survivors as he can and find a way out before it's too late.
- This is the biggest Dead Rising game to date. Los Perdidos is huge, and you'll spend many, many hours exploring it all.
- So. Many. Fucking. ZOMBIES. You won't believe the sheer numbers onscreen at any given time! To give you an idea, I racked up over 23,000 kills by the end.
- In a new addition to DR2's weapon combinations, you can now find blueprints for super combos, which enable you to craft some glorious stuff. My personal favorite was the fire reaper, a flaming scythe which cuts through zombies like butter. And appropriately enough, since Nick is a mechanic, you can also combine cars to make them stronger and/or deadlier. The best one is the Rollerhawg, a combination steamroller/motorcycle that's so effective it probably accounted for about 50% of my body count.
- When early details about this game started trickling out a couple of years ago, I was worried that it was going to be a more serious entry into the franchise, but my fears were in vain. There's a psycho boss who shoots flames from his crotch and another one who's a monstrously obese woman riding a scooter. Nick can wear goofy outfits like a Borat-style banana hammock. And there's a survivor you find who's wearing a meat dress a la Lady Gaga.
- It's addictive as hell.
- I can't go into details due to spoilers, but there's a part near the end where I actually screamed with delight.
- Considering how much processing power must have gone into putting all of those zombies onscreen, there was absolutely NO slow down and surprisingly few glitches. I only noticed one or two, and they didn't affect the gameplay at all.
- The facial animations are not as good as you might expect.
- It ended. (Although I still have the DLC to look forward to!)
All in all, if you enjoyed the previous Dead Rising games, you must pick this one up too. It's a shot of pure pleasure injected directly into your happy vein. I give it 8 Freedom Bears out of 10.