Thursday, November 30, 2017

media update: November

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


1. Strange Weather* by Joe Hill:  A collection of 4 novellas.  My favorite was "Snapshot", in which a teenage boy meets an ominous dude with a very special Polaroid camera.

2. Righteous by Joe Ide:  Isaiah Quintabe, a sort of urban Sherlock Holmes, agrees to look into a case for his dead brother's girlfriend and finds himself in the crosshairs of more than one gang.  I liked the first book in this series much better than this one.

3. The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed:  The titular girls band together to fight rape culture at their school.

4. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine:  Amber is a wretched bitch who insinuates herself into the life of wealthy Daphne Parrish, hoping to steal Daphne's hot husband Jackson.  Just about every character in this book is an asshole or a moron, and the writing style is a bit sloppy, so I didn't enjoy it very much.

5. Bonfire by Krysten Ritter:  Abby Williams never wanted to return to her small Indiana hometown, but her job as an environmental lawyer brings her back when the town's biggest employer is accused of poisoning the water supply.  It's not bad (well, with the exception of a few lines, the "best" of which I'll quote below), but I never felt emotionally connected.

Side note:  there's a scene where Abby is reminiscing about hunting with her father, after which we get this gem:  "Deer, coyote, and bear heads adorn the walls of our house like trophies."  I did a literal facepalm at that one.  That's like saying "Framed pictures adorn the walls of our house like art"!

6. Lovemurder by Saul Black:  Detective Valerie Hart reluctantly reaches out to gorgeous serial killer Katherine Glass when Katherine's partner in crime, who was never caught, begins killing again.  It reminded me of Chelsea Cain's Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell novels, though nowhere near as good, so give those a try instead if you haven't already.

7. Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne:  Zivah is a healer who becomes infected with the rose plague, which will eventually kill her.  She teams up with a soldier who is "umbertouched", meaning he survived the plague and is now immune, to spy on the capital.

2017 TOTAL SO FAR: 91


1. Paperbacks from Hell* by Grady Hendrix:  A lavishly illustrated celebration of horror paperbacks from the 70s and 80s.

2017 TOTAL SO FAR:  33


1. The Walking Dead: Here's Negan!* by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard:  The backstory of the series' most infamous villain.

2. So Cute It Hurts!! vol. 15 (final volume) by Go Ikeyamada

3. Rin-Ne vol. 25 by Rumiko Takahashi

4. Avatar: The Last Airbender - North and South vols. 1-3 by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru

5. Queen's Quality by Kyousuke Motomi

6. Erased vol. 3 by Kei Sanbe

2017 TOTAL SO FAR:  43 volumes of manga and 15 graphic novels


1. War for the Planet of the Apes*:  After suffering tragedy, Caesar and his simian cohorts set out to find a new place to live, but they run afoul of an evil soldier (Woody Harrelson in full Colonel Kurtz mode).  Easily the weakest of the trilogy, but it's still good, and if Andy Serkis doesn't get an Oscar at some point in his life, there's no justice.  He's the Meryl Streep of mocap.

2. Annabelle: Creation:  The creepy-ass doll's origin story.  It's not, you know, GREAT or anything, but it has some decently creepy moments and it was far superior to its predecessor...which wouldn't have been hard.  Shit, the only way this could have been worse than Annabelle would be if she'd popped out of the screen like Samara in The Ring and given me a purple nurple.

3. The Mummy:  Tom Cruise inadvertently awakens an ancient evil in this mildly entertaining flick.

4. Batman and Harley Quinn:  When Poison Ivy hatches a plan to take over the world, Batman reluctantly teams up with Harley Quinn to take her down.  The online reviews led us to believe this would suck all the balls, but it was fun!  It was only an hour and change, and probably a bit overlong at that; there was a karaoke sequence in the middle that REALLY needed to be shortened.  Still, if you have fond memories of the animated series, you'll enjoy this.

Side note to parents:  It's animated, but take that PG-13 rating seriously.  Just to give you an idea: at one point Harley makes a vibrator joke.

5. Wind River*:  When an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) is called to investigate the death of a young woman on a Native American reservation in Wyoming, she enlists the aid of a tracker (Jeremy Renner).  Extremely grim but very well done, and the cinematography is beautiful.  

6. Merantau:  A dude from the countryside goes to Jakarta and almost immediately runs into trouble when he saves a young woman from a nasty pimp.  The hardcore martial arts action more than makes up for the mediocre plot.

7. Thor: Ragnarok*:  With the help of his brother Loki, the Incredible Hulk, and a hard-drinking Valkyrie, Thor tries to save Asgard from Hela, the goddess of death.  It was a little overhyped by the time we saw it, but still loads of fun.

8. Your Name*:  Mitsuha, a teenage girl from a rural mountain town in Japan, mysteriously begins swapping bodies with Taki, a teenage boy from Tokyo.  Gorgeously animated, and it's funny and heartbreaking in equal measure.

Side note:  This is being remade into a live action version, which in my opinion is completely unnecessary.  J.J. Abrams is involved, so it probably won't be a total shit show, but this movie stands perfectly well on its own.  Also, and I'll try to be as vague as possible in order to avoid spoilers, I don't think certain aspects will work nearly as well in live action form as they do in the original.

9. Kedi*:  A documentary about street cats living in Istanbul, where they are (mostly) regarded with affection by the human residents.  Mandatory viewing if you love cats; needless to say, I was enthralled.

Somewhat spoilery but mandatory side note: there is an upsetting, albeit non-gory, sequence involving a badly injured kitten whose fate is not revealed in the film.  I actually went back and turned on the director's commentary to see if they said what happened to her!  Fortunately, she was taken to the vet by a kind man and she was okay.  (They think a bigger cat hurt her.)

2017 TOTAL SO FAR:  79