Monday, November 30, 2015

media update: November

Howdy, folks!  I'm freshly back from New Mexico, where I spent a lovely week with G-Vo and his family.  We visited several art galleries and museums, went to an alpaca farm where I fell in love with a sweetheart named Scarlet, and just hung out watching movies and talking.  I also ate a metric fuckton of food, and G-Vo's mom even made an old-fashioned sugar cream pie (aka my favorite dessert of all time, bar none) for me!  It wasn't as good as the ones I grew up with (and you are NOT to tell her that on the off chance you ever meet her), but it was still excellent, and the thoughtfulness of the gesture really touched me.

Yesterday was one of the worst travel days ever, though.  There were some major issues at the airport, a small child sat behind me on the plane and alternated between kicking the back of my seat/crying/sneezing, and then we had to wait over an hour for the Roadrunner shuttle to pick us up at the terminal.  Our driver was very nice, but there was something off about him (he kept talking about weird shit and randomly singing "Surfin' Bird"; not kidding), so we were extremely glad to finally get home!

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; double asterisks are reserved for the absolute creme de la creme.  As always, your mileage may vary.


1. Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day:  Juliet Townsend is still stuck in the town where she grew up, cleaning rooms at a crappy motel.  Then one night her former best friend Maddy shows up, and in the morning, Juliet finds Maddy's corpse hanging from the railing outside her room.  When Juliet becomes a suspect in the murder, she has to find a way to clear her name.  Decent, but there's no way you won't guess whodunnit pretty early on.

2. Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell:  Dr. Kay Scarpetta receives a text featuring strange surveillance footage of her niece Lucy, and she fears that an old adversary has come back into their lives.  It's not bad, but still a far cry from Cornwell's heyday, and it really needed a firmer hand with the proofreading.

3. The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly:  When the severed head of a deer is discovered, people assume it was just a prank.  But then one of the town's rich kids is murdered, and when suspicion falls on her best friend, Nova tries to solve the mystery herself.  It was okay.

4. Don't Fail Me Now* by Una LaMarche:  Michelle is a young African-American woman trying to take care of her brother and sister while their mother is in jail; Leah is a rich white girl.  The only thing they have in common is their father Buck, who abandoned them when they were little. When they find out that Buck is dying in a California hospice, they pack up Michelle's rickety old station wagon and head out on a road trip to see him, hoping to get the closure they've wanted for years.  It can occasionally be a bit melodramatic, but for the most part, I really enjoyed it, especially because the characters are so well drawn.

5. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King:  A collection of short stories (and a couple of poems) from the master of the macabre.  As a huge fan of his, it pains me to say that most of them are mediocre, and one of them ("Obits") is basically Death Note.  (Which, to be fair, is probably a complete coincidence; "no new ideas" and all that.)

6. Lie Still* by Julia Heaberlin:  When her husband Mike accepts a job offer in Texas, Emily is hopeful that the unknown stalker who has been harassing her for years will finally lose track of her.  But when she befriends a wealthy group of women, all of whom have dark secrets (and one who keeps them as blackmail material), she discovers that she may be in even more danger than before.  Gripping and enjoyable, with an important message near the end.

7. The Mare by Mary Gaitskill:  Velvet is a young girl from a troubled home who gets the opportunity to spend some time in the countryside, courtesy of the Fresh Air Fund.  Her host mother, Ginger, becomes extremely attached to her, and Velvet finds comfort in an abused mare named Fugly Girl.  It wasn't bad, but the story sure didn't need 400+ pages to be told, because it just kept repeating the same things over and over.  (Velvet's mom is jealous of Ginger; Velvet rides a horse; Ginger is sad; rinse and repeat.)

2015 tally so far: 82


1. Rookie Yearbook 4:  A collection of articles, art, and photographs from the popular website.

2. Wildflower by Drew Barrymore:  The actress shares her life through a series of informal essays.  It can get a bit hippie woo-woo at times, but then that's always been part of her charm.

3. Rice, Noodle, Fish* by Matt Goulding:  This book about Japanese food will make you ravenously hungry, so be prepared to head to your nearest Japanese restaurant immediately upon finishing it.

2015 tally so far: 24


1. Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi by Anthony Bourdain, Joel Rose, and Ale Garza

2. A Bride's Story* vol. 7 by Kaoru Mori

3. Secret vols. 2-3 (completed) by Yoshiki Tonogai

4. Kamisama Kiss vol. 19 by Julietta Suzuki

5. Kaze Hikaru vol. 23 by Taeko Watanabe

6. What Did You Eat Yesterday? vols. 8-9 by Fumi Yoshinaga

7. Killing and Dying* by Adrian Tomine

8. Alex + Ada vols. 1-3 (complete series) by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn

9. The Demon Prince of Momochi House vol. 2 by Aya Shouoto

10. Food Wars!* vol. 8 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

11. Library Wars vol. 14 by Kiiro Yumi

2015 tally so far: 74 volumes of manga and 20 graphic novels 


1. Air:  After Earth's air becomes unbreathable, a group of scientists are cryogenically frozen, and two engineers (Norman Reedus and Djimon Hounsou) are supposed to keep watch over them.  But when their friendly relationship frays, the entire project is put at risk.  The performances are good, but it's so fucking slow that G-Vo and I kept checking to see how much time was left in the movie, which (needless to say) is not a glowing endorsement.

2. The Gift:  While shopping for their new home, Simon and Robyn run into an old acquaintance of Simon's.  Simon barely remembers Gordo, but Gordo sure remembers him, and things are about to get fucked up.  A decent little thriller.

3. Monkey Kingdom*:  A Disney documentary following a troop of Sri Lankan monkeys.  The narration can get awfully juvenile (which is the fault of the script, not Tina Fey, who's good), and I could have done without "Hey Hey, We're the Monkees!" on the soundtrack, but I'm giving it a star because of the gorgeous cinematography and, of course, the monkeys.

4. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl*:  Greg is an aimless high schooler who makes film parodies with his friend Earl.  One day, his mother insists that he go visit Rachel, a classmate who has just been diagnosed with leukemia, and he reluctantly does so, but they wind up forming a close bond.  Despite the subject matter, it can be very funny, and it's far more realistic than most movies about terminal illness.  Tissues are mandatory.

5. The Woman in Gold:  An elderly woman (Helen Mirren) enlists the help of a young lawyer (Ryan Reynolds) to recover a Klimt painting that the Nazis stole from her family during WWII.  Helen Mirren is great, and it's an interesting true story, but it was a bit schmaltzy and predictable...well, inasmuch as you can call a true story "predictable".

6. Burn After Reading:  In this deeply weird flick, a woman desperate to pay for plastic surgery and her meatheaded coworker (Frances McDormand and Brad Pitt) concoct a scheme to blackmail a former CIA agent, leading to all sorts of complications.  The great cast also includes John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton, and George Clooney,  but it was a bit too pointless to be thoroughly entertaining, and there's not a single sympathetic character in the bunch.

7. Jurassic World:  Some people never learn from their mistakes, so they build a new theme park called Jurassic World that features lots of dinosaurs, including a new genetically engineered one called Indomitus Rex.  When she gets out and goes on a killing spree, the park superintendent and a "dino whisperer" (Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt) have to take her down.  Intensely stupid, but lots of fun.

2015 tally so far: 97


1. Honeymoon (full album) by Lana Del Rey

2. Emotion (full album) by Carly Rae Jepsen

Monday, November 16, 2015

my 30 favorite movie quotes of 2015

(NOTE: not all of these movies were first released in 2015, but that's when I saw 'em!  Also, I tried my best to avoid any spoiler quotes, and these aren't in any particular order.)

1. "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."  (The Imitation Game)

2. "Looks like somebody used a landmine to clear their sinuses."  (Kite)

3. "Once I got fingered by Boz Scaggs."  (Tammy)

4. "I love kids.  Except the fat ones.  Fuck those little turds, right?"  (The Skeleton Twins)

5. "The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other? What will we do?"  (Gone Girl)

6. "Dear God, is that a tear in your eye? Are you one of those single-tear people? Do I look like a double fucking rainbow to you?"  (Whiplash)

7. "I'm so very tired, Mr. Tusk, battered by a life of cruel fate and poor decisions and the terrible consequences of both."  (Tusk)

8. "You know the difference between Americans and Canadians? Canadians don't get sad. We're red and white but never blue."   (Tusk)

9.  "You don't want the gun?  What kind of American ARE you?!"  (Tusk)

10. "He's not the boogeyman!  He's the one you send to KILL the fucking boogeyman!"  (John Wick)

11. "[Cosmology] is religion for intelligent atheists."  (The Theory of Everything)

12. "There are no two words in the English language more harmful than 'good job'."  (Whiplash)

13. "Amish got more flavor than you."  (A Walk Among the Tombstones)

14. "I like to think if you're seeing me, you're having the worst day of your life."  (Nightcrawler)

15. "What if my problem wasn't that I don't understand people but that I don't like them? What if I was the kind of person who was obliged to hurt you for this? I mean physically. I think you'd have to believe afterward, if you could, that agreeing to participate and then backing out at the critical moment was a mistake. Because that's what I'm telling you, as clearly as I can."  (Nightcrawler)

16. [Baymax the robot, while petting a cat]  "Hairy baby!"  (Big Hero 6)

17. "Next German you see with a weapon, you rake the dog shit out of him. I don't care if it's a baby with a butter knife in one hand and his momma's left titty in the other."  (Fury)

18. "You know what hell is?  A world without narcotics."  (Maps to the Stars)

19. "Why don't you just eat your breakfast instead of blogging about it?"  (Insidious 3)

20. "Espresso?  Is that like reefer?"  (Big Eyes)

21. "Hi, I'm Jade. Welcome to Chick Planet Massage! Please take a look at today's Pussy Eater's special which is good all day until closing time."  (Inherent Vice)

22. "This morning I woke up and there was a pubic hair on my pillow shaped like a question mark. And it really got me thinking of unanswered questions, like all the times in my life when I was supposed to feel something but I felt nothing and all the other times in my life where I wasn't supposed to feel anything but I felt too much and the people around me weren't really ready for all of my feelings."  (Welcome to Me)

23. "It's very bad for a girl to be too pretty.  It stops her developing a sense of humor...or a personality."  (About Time)

24. "It's like their apartment is full of everything we once threw out, but it looks so good the way they have it."  (While We're Young)

25. "I'm a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. Hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon."  (Kingsman: The Secret Service)

26. "Take her to the moon for me, Joy."  (Inside Out)

27. "There are no bears in San Francisco!"  (Inside Out)

28. "They look like the entire cast of The Goonies grew up and became rapists."  (The Wedding Ringer)

29. "By the way, I can see your gun, unless you're so extreme that you have a second dick coming out of your hip!"  (Spy)

30. "God, you guys eat like rescue dogs."  (Adult Beginners)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

best of 2015: random edition, part 2

And now it's time for part 2!  A few notes before I begin:

  • Not everything here was first released in 2015, but that's when I played/read/watched them.
  • I used to provide pictures, but it was such a formatting nightmare that I've discontinued the practice.  Sorry, but I need hair on my head and not ripped out and thrown on the floor.
  • In years past, manga and graphic novels received their own entry, but there were so few contenders this year that I've put them here instead.
  • As ever, your mileage may vary.

1. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0: 7th grader Mirai is unhappy when her mother makes her take her little brother Yuuki to a robot exhibit.  While they're there, a gigantic earthquake hits (no prizes for guessing the magnitude), and they have to try to find their way home again.  Along the way, they meet Mari, a young widow who takes them under her wing.  It's beautifully animated and genuinely moving, but be warned that it will punch you in the gut more than once.  (Free on Hulu; also available on DVD)

2. My Mental Choices Are Completely Interfering with My School Romantic Comedy: In this anime (also known as NouCome, a shortened version of its Japanese title), Kanade Amakusa is a normal high school boy except for one thing: he's been cursed with something called Absolute Choice, which forces him to make snap decisions, usually between two really embarrassing things.  (Example: when he finds a porno mag in a playground, he has to either eat some of the pages or start smelling it while making appreciative noises.  Oh yeah, and there are kids present.)  If he doesn't make a decision, he gets a severe migraine that lasts until he finally makes a selection.  It's like the anime version of a Choose Your Own Adventure book, only with crude jokes and lots of fanservice, and it's really funny.  Props for being the only harem anime where I could actually see why the girls were all so crazy for the hero; he's not only good looking, but he frequently makes choices that are bad for him to benefit others.   (Free on Hulu; also available on DVD)

3. The Order: 1886: When Victorian England comes under attack by forces both human and supernatural, an elite group of knights comes to the rescue.  Some of the most breathtaking graphics I've ever seen, combined with good voice acting and some fun fights, made me glad this underappreciated gem didn't fly under my radar.  Bonus points for full frontal male nudity, although none of the dongs in question belonged to Lafayette, the suave Frenchman who stole my heart. (PS4 exclusive)

4. Until Dawn: One year after a tragic incident, a group of friends meets up at an isolated mountain lodge, but they're not alone.  I reviewed Until Dawn in my September media update if you'd like a more detailed review, but for now I'll just say this was by FAR my favorite video game of the year. (PS4 exclusive)

5. Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine:  By turns heartbreaking and funny, this collection of short stories in graphic novel format is a must.  Most pictures are worth a thousand words; Tomine's drawings are worth ten thousand.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

best of 2015: random edition, part 1

2015 is slowly but surely coming to an end, so I figured I'd go ahead and start my annual "Best Of" lists a little early!  Before I begin, a few notes:

  • Not everything here was first released in 2015, but that's when I first read/saw/played/smelled them.
  • In years past, I provided pictures for each item, but that became such a formatting nightmare that I'm not doing it this time around.  I have crappy hair, but I'd still like to keep it as opposed to ripping it out in frustration!
  • Some of the video games are available for multiple consoles, but I'll list the one I played them on.
  • I usually have a separate entry for the best manga/graphic novels of the year, but I only had a couple of titles this time around, so I'll just include them here instead.
  • As ever, your mileage may vary.

1. Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd:  An insanely addictive rhythm game featuring virtual idol Hatsune Miku and her pals singing an array of catchy J-pop tunes.  (Playstation 3)

2. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX:  Look who's back!  And this time around, Miku and her friends are in chibi mode, making them even more adorable than usual.  I don't know why everyone on GameFAQs shits on my absolute favorite song in the game ("LOL"), but even if you hate "LOL", which why, there are sure to be at least a dozen songs you'll enjoy.  (Nintendo 3DS)

3. The Evil Within: I had very high hopes for this game, both because I love the survival horror genre and because it was created by Shinji Mikami, who brought us several Resident Evil games (including, in my opinion, the best ones) and the Devil May Cry series.  And to be honest, it fell far short of those expecations, largely because of the bland protagonist and a few blisteringly hard bosses, but it still had a stratospheric creepy factor and some really fun fighting, so it's worth a rent if you like the genre.  (Playstation 4)

4. Displacement by Lucy Knisley: In this graphic memoir, Lucy takes her elderly grandparents on a cruise and learns a lot about them and herself in the process.  The watercolor art is charming, and the writing is quietly, beautifully heartbreaking.

5. A Lab on Fire Paris/L.A.: When perfume blog Now Smell This described this scent as "Coca-Cola meets macarons", I knew I had to try it, so I bought a sample from Luckyscent.  About two minutes after trying it, I placed an order for a full bottle.  It's fizzy and sweet, and far more sophisticated than the description would have you believe.  It's happiness in fragrance form.

6. Citrus by Saburouta: In this manga, cheerful and popular high school girl Yuzu is astounded to discover she has a new stepsister, Mei, who's also the student body president at Yuzu's school.  Yuzu is attracted to Mei, who keeps giving her mixed signals, and Yuzu isn't sure they'll ever be friends, much less something more.  It's a massive cocktease (please excuse the phrasing), but the art is beautiful and the story is intriguing enough that I'll keep reading to the end to see if they ever get together.

7. P.T.: This playable teaser was meant to be an appetizer for the now-cancelled Silent Hills, which had Guillermo del Toro, Hideo Kojima, AND Norman Reedus attached to it, so it was basically too awesome to live.  Even though it was in first person, which tends to make me vomit and/or get a massive headache, I knew I had to play it since it was the closest thing I'd get to a new Silent Hill game for a long time, if ever again.  And oh my god, it is fucking TERRIFYING.  I literally did not want to continue at certain points, and even G-Vo (normally much more unflappable) was freaking out.  It's been pulled from the Playstation Network because Konami threw a hissy little baby fit, so good luck finding it, but it's worth watching on YouTube at the very least.  (And for the record, I didn't get sick playing it, probably because I took frequent breaks and made sure to move very slowly.)

8. Resident Evil: Revelations 2: Claire Redfield (my favorite female video game character of all time until Ellie from The Last of Us came along) makes her triumphant return, and this time, she's got a friend named Moira Burton, estranged daughter of Barry.  Lots of great action, and Moira is a fucking riot.  (Playstation 4)

9. The Wolf Among Us: Telltale Games hits it out of the park again with this intriguing video game based on Bill Willingham's Fables comics.  Sheriff Bigby Wolf looks into the murder of a prostitute, and his investigation uncovers some dark secrets among the residents of Fabletown.  Familiarity with the Fables series is a plus, but not necessary; they do a good job of explaining the universe.  (Playstation 4)

10.  Broad City: Aimless twentysomethings Abbi and Ilana have adventures in New York City; think a much funnier Girls with much more likable characters.  All of the episodes are funny, and some have left me literally helpless with laughter.  I want Abbi and Ilana to be my BFFs.  (Comedy Central)

To be continued!  

Sunday, November 01, 2015

media update: October

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; double asterisks are reserved for the absolute creme de la creme.  Your mileage, as always, may vary.


1. Pretty Girls** by Karin Slaughter:  Rich trophy wife Claire and her sister Lydia have been estranged for over twenty years.  When Claire's husband Paul is killed during a robbery gone wrong, the sisters reconnect and try to come to grips with their past, but there are some very nasty skeletons lurking in the closet.  I don't want to say more for fear of spoilers, but goddamn is this a CORKER.  Good luck getting anything else done once you start reading this.  Warning, though: even by Karin Slaughter's standards, Pretty Girls is extremely disturbing, so caveat reader.  I've read every single one of her books, so I thought I was prepared for how dark she can get, but nope.

2. After You by Jojo Moyes:  This is a direct sequel, so I can't properly review this without spoiling Me Before You.  I'll just say that it's well worth reading if you enjoyed its predecessor. 

3. A Song of Shadows by John Connolly:  Private detective Charlie Parker rents a house in a small Maine town to recuperate (from what is a spoiler from The Wolf in Winter, so I won't get specific), and while he's there, he uncovers some dark secrets involving WWII.  Not as good as most of its predecessors, largely because I'm not very interested in war themes and because this was written in third person, which was jarring as all of the other Charlie Parker books have been written in first person.  Still, it features some great scenes with gay hitmen Louis and Angel, as well as some interesting developments concerning Charlie's young daughter Sam.

4. The White Rose by Amy Ewing:  This is a direct sequel to The Jewel (the YA equivalent of The Handmaid's Tale), so I can't properly review this lest I spoil its predecessor.  I had really high expectations because I loved The Jewel so much, so I was a bit disappointed.

5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo:  In the city of Ketterdam, gang leader Kaz Brekker is offered a huge sum of money to rescue a scientist who's just discovered something huge.  He can't do it alone, though, so he recruits a motley crew to help him.  It took a while to get going, but once it did, I enjoyed it.

Side note:  although it takes place in the same universe as Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, you don't need to have read those to enjoy Six of Crows.  I think it would help, though.

6. The Walking Dead: Invasion by Jay Bonansinga:  This is the latest installment in the Walking Dead novel series, so I can't properly review it lest I spoil its predecessors.  It was meh. 

2015 tally so far: 75


1. Furiously Happy* by Jenny Lawson:  In this new collection of essays, the author discusses everything from her love of taxidermy to her struggles with mental illness.  It's not as funny as its predecessor (Let's Pretend This Never Happened), but it's definitely more important.

2. Bad Kid by David Crabb:  A memoir of growing up gay in Texas in the early nineties.  The writing is a bit choppy at times, but it includes plenty of funny moments and lines, like the one where he compares his overworked penis (he'd recently discovered the joys of masturbation) to E.T.'s glowing finger.

3. Home Is Burning** by Dan Marshall:  While on vacation, the author returned to his hotel room to find that he'd missed several calls from family members.  He feared that his mother, who had been battling cancer for many years, had taken a turn for the worse, but the news, although not what he expected, was just as bad: his father had been diagnosed with ALS.  When the burden became too much for his mother to shoulder alone, he moved back home to help.  I know it sounds unbearably depressing, and it can be, but more often it's brutally honest and profanely, mordantly funny.  (Example: During a phone call with his long distance girlfriend, she complains about not being able to use a treadmill at the gym and he says "Well, my dad's arms don't work, and I had to clean shit off his balls.")  If you've ever had to take care of a terminally ill loved one (raising my hand here) and you don't mind swear words in practically every sentence, you have to pick this up because it will be a tonic for your soul.  I could have done without the chapter in which he and the housekeeper dream up violent punishments for the family's messy cats (though they don't actually hurt them), but everything else is golden.

2015 tally so far: 21


1. Food Wars! vol. 7 by Yuto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki

2. The Walking Dead vol. 24 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

3. Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire vol. 5 (final volume) by Naoki Serizawa

4. So Cute It Hurts! by Go Ikeyamada

2015 tally so far: 64 volumes of manga and 15 graphic novels


1. Unfriended:  Several friends hanging out online notice a lurker in their midst.  As weird shit begins unfolding, they start to wonder if the lurker is Laura, a girl they'd bullied by posting an incriminating video of her online...but Laura killed herself.  It takes place entirely on a computer screen, so it's surprisingly immersive and much better than I thought it would be.  It's a shame that the last few seconds are so lame.

2. When Marnie Was There*:  Due to her chronic asthma, young Anna is sent to live with distant relatives in a small seaside town in hopes that the fresh air will help.  She meets another girl named Marnie, and they become fast friends, but Marnie has a big secret.  As you'd expect from a Studio Ghibli film, it's absolutely gorgeous, and I enjoyed the story too.

Side note:  I'm usually a subtitle snob, but I wound up going with the dub for this so I could appreciate the art instead of reading.  It wasn't too much of a sacrifice, because the dub is really good and features such big names as Hailee Steinfeld, John C. Reilly, Kathy Bates, and Geena Davis.

3. Magic Mike XXL:  The gang gets back together for a road trip to a stripper convention.  It's better than the first movie, largely because it doesn't take itself seriously.  Still, it only really comes alive during the performance scenes, especially the one where Joe Manganiello (nfff I said NFFF) does a routine to Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" that's about a million times sexier than anything in 50 Shades of Grey.  (Not that that would be difficult, but seriously, the scene in question is a legit panty drencher.)

4. Justice League: Gods and Monsters:  An alternate universe take on Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.  The animation isn't all that great, but it has some really sharp dialogue and good voice acting.

5. Dark Places:  25 years after her mother and sisters were murdered and her brother was convicted of the crime, Libby Day (Charlize Theron) is approached by a group who wants her to investigate further and exonerate her brother.  Considering its pedigree (it's based on the novel by Gillian Flynn) and the cast, I thought this would be better, but the direction wasn't very good.

6. Tomorrowland:  Casey, a super smart teenage girl, finds herself in possession of a pin that transports her to the utopian world of Tomorrowland.  She teams up with a grumpy genius (George Clooney) to try to make our own world better.  It's a bit preachy and corny, but it didn't deserve to bomb so hard at the box office.

7. San Andreas:  When a massive earthquake hits Nevada and California, an LAFD rescue pilot (Dwayne Johnson) heads to San Francisco with his estranged wife in hopes of rescuing their daughter.  G-Vo put it best when he said this movie is "disaster porn that's about as predictable as REAL porn", but it was still a very entertaining popcorn flick with excellent special effects.

8. Insidious 3:  Quinn is a grieving teenage girl who asks a psychic to help her contact her dead mother.  Unfortunately, she arouses the interest of a decidedly less benevolent spirit, and after an accident leaves her bedridden, Quinn gets a very unpleasant visitor.  I'm not sure why I popped this onto my Netflix queue, since I thought the first one was just meh and I hated the second one, but it was surprisingly decent and even made me tear up at one point.  Not very scary, though.  (I'm not counting jump scares, as they are cheap.)

9. Spy*:  Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) works as a handler for hunky CIA operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law).  When a mission goes awry, Susan is sent into the field.  It's hysterically funny, and Jason Statham shows surprising comic chops.  I'd like to see him do more comedies, and also more nude scenes.  (Not that he has any in this movie, but goddamn do I wish.)

10. Pitch Perfect 2:  After a wardrobe malfunction makes them outcasts in the acapella community, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition in hopes of reclaiming their throne.  I liked the first movie quite a bit, but this one was terrible.  Practically every line fell flat, and several scenes could have (and should have) been cut out entirely.  Hopefully the third movie is able to capture at least some of the original's magic, because this one was an aca-flop.

2015 tally so far: 90


1. "Jealous" by Drootrax & Rena

2. "Fine on the Outside" by Priscilla Ahn

3. "Sweet Magic" by Rin Kagamine

4. "3" by Britney Spears

5. "I Touch Myself" by the Divinyls

6. "Finder" by Hatsune Miku

7. "Mickey Mouse" by Sparks

8. "Words" by Missing Persons

9. "Eaten by the Monster of Love" by Sparks

10. "Johnny Are You Queer" by Josie Cotton

11. "Tryouts for the Human Race" by Sparks

12. "Criminal" by Britney Spears

13. "It Should Be Easy" by Britney Spears feat. Will.I.Am.

14. "LOL" by Hatsune Miku