Friday
Oct242014

Trailer Park Friday: The All Superheroes All the Time Edition

No preamble. No waiting. You've probably already seen it a bajillion times, but here's the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. It's kind of creepy. We will be taunted about this movie until we can see it on May 1, 2015.

To balance the Marvel goodness out, lets toss in some DC action. As part of a NYCC wrapup video the comic book publisher released, they included a clip of the upcoming Justice League cartoon movie. While I dread the upcoming slaet of DC live action movies, I'm always game for an animated film. This one is called Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. It will be released on DVD and streaming sometime in early 2015.

There's also a bit about upcoming DC comics and LEGO Batman 3 in this video.

Speaking of LEGO Batman 3, I am so excited about Batman in space. WB Games released a short video talking to some of the voice talent behind the new game, including Stephen Amell (Mr. Arrow of course) and Conan O'Brien (yeah, really). It comes out November 11 and you should preorder it right now!

And finally the very first trailer for the new series version of the comic series Powers came out last week at NYCC as well. This is going to be a not-so-child-friendly comic book show that's a little more violent and "adult" than most of the comic book shows on the air. It stars Sharlto Copley (the dude from District 9) and will be streaming on the Playstation Network (which I didn't even realize was a thing...) starting in December.

 

So what do you think of the Age of Ultron trailer? Are you obsessed with the LEGO games like I am? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday
Oct232014

Mini Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall
Bethany Griffin

Greenwillow Books
I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Released October 7, 2014
400 pages
YA / Horror / Retellings

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

I think I read The Fall of the House of Usher back in high school, but that was so long ago that I couldn’t tell you many details about it. So while I can’t speak to how The Fall is as an adaptation or reimagining of that classic horror story, I can say that it is a fascinating story all on its own. It bounces back and forth over the years of Madeline Usher’s doomed life. At the start of the book, we see her inevitable fate only to bounce back to her at the age of 9 to see how everything fell apart.

Madeline and her twin brother are the latest in the Usher line, a family long ago cursed to live in a decrepit mansion that haunts their every moment. The house has taken a particular interest in Madeline, declaring her the heir to the family’s curse. She watches as her parents quickly lose their mental faculties and watches as her twin brother is sent away in an attempt to save his sanity. All the while Madeline grows up with the house being equal parts protector and tormentor.

From the first page to the last, The Fall maintains a solid creepy tone with ghosts haunting every page (sometimes quite literally). Griffin has a deft hand at atmospheric writing that left me constantly looking over my shoulder in fear that one of her ghosts would pop up behind me. The chapters are broken up into tiny pieces, often lasting no more than three pages, so this book reads incredibly quickly and ended much faster than I would have thought its 400 pages would have warranted.

The ending is a little muddled to me – and I mean, literally, the ending as in the last two or three pages. Perhaps if I remembered more of the original story, it would have been a clearer ending, but despite that one slip up, The Fall was a very satisfying read.

While it can easily classify as a horror novel, it’s of the old-school variety without all the gore and violence that is common of more modern horror novels. Griffin has written an extremely fast-paced and intrigue suspense story with a female protagonist fighting her fate to become something more than what outside forces will allow her to be. This is a great read building up to Halloween if you’re looking for a more old-school type of scare.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Wednesday
Oct222014

What We're Watching: Constantine Pilot Review

Constantine
NBC

Starts Friday, October 24, 8PM Central

I don’t really know much about the character of Constantine, outside of the not-that-great Keanu Reeves movie from 2005 and his bit part in Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic graphic novel. I know he’s a grey character that dabbles in magic and fights demons, so a television version of that should be right in my wheelhouse. We were lucky to see the pilot earlier this summer at Comic Con, while the rest of the world gets to see it this Friday, October 24 on NBC.

Knowing I have don’t have much of a background with Constantine or the Hellblazer comics, please forgive me any inaccuracies in cannon.

With that said, the powers-that-be try to cram what feels like a whole bunch of comic canon into 42 minutes of television. That alone bogs down what could have otherwise been a very fast-paced introduction to a darker comic book character. John Constantine has a checkered background and regularly gets taunted by both angels and demons. He’s a bit of a grumpy guy and doesn’t appreciate suddenly getting roped in to protecting the daughter of an old friend.

That’s basically the plot of the pilot – a demon wants the friend’s daughter, Constantine feels obligated to protect her from being dragged into hell. There are some toss ins about previous cases going horribly wrong, leaving Constantine with figurative (and a few literal) demons haunting him so that the only place he can get some rest is in an institution. An angel played by Lost’s Herold Perrineau regularly stops by and threatens Constantine with un-angelic things and hammers home that there’s a bigger mess of things happening than some demon wanting this 20-something year old girl.

Matt Ryan as John Constantine is some good casting. He has the look perfect and his grumpy standoffishness is well-balanced with a sense of humor, so that he doesn’t come out as a complete asshole. Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) plays Liv, the friend’s daughter, and she is equal parts whiney and useless, which is probably why the character is written out after the pilot to be replaced with a different female character. A few secondary characters show promise of building out an intriguing cast.

The special effects are hit or miss with a couple of scenes looking pretty dodgy. This is balanced out by some honestly surprising moments that continued to pique my interest at just the right moments. This pilot feels like it was made for fans of the comics, but there’s enough inside to leave the casual or new fan interested in seeing more. Matt Ryan is a charismatic lead and a fair number of Easter eggs are dropped throughout the pilot episode. If it realizes even half of the potential it hints at with this pilot, this should be a fun Friday night diversion, though I don’t know if it will have the staying power of some of the other comic book-based shows currently on the air.

Tuesday
Oct212014

Random Tuesday: October Lootcrate - The Unboxing

Today was a mediocre day until I went to the grocery store and found a wall of caramel apples. Then I came home and found this lovely sitting in my mailbox.

Whoo hoo!! I never even got an email saying my Lootcrate had shipped, so this was a very pleasant surprise. I know the theme was Fear, so I was a little scared to peek inside.

That looks like a robot in that creepy shack, so this box can't be too bad, right? And are those cats on that t-shirt?

Yep, those are cats. I've already heard a couple of people say this shirt is lame, but I think it's cute in a silly way. Granted, those people who say it's lame are guys, who probably wanted zombies or something gorey. At least this one I can wear outside the house and not fear scaring small children.

What else do we have in here?

A weird zombie-killing gizmo from the videogame Dead Rising 3. Hmm... but is it just what it looks like?

It looks like Lootcrate believes that old adage about the pen being mightier than the... well, sledgesaw zombie killing thingy. This is a neat little exclusive.

They must have gotten the memo that I'd signed up! This month we have reading material, including a book to help survive a Sharknado and other extraordinary disasters and a Lootcrate exclusive variant cover The Walking Dead issue 132. Nice.

Here is the miscellaneous items for this month, including the monthly button. The October magazine has some nice 3D features and those temporary tattoos might come in handy for our Halloween costumes. If we ever decide what those are going to be.

And finally my favorite part of this month's Lootcrate?

This piece of art of Daryl and Meryl from The Walking Dead is both adorable and depressing. It gives conflicting feelings, but I kind of love it all the same.

So that's the latest Lootcrate. What do you think about the Fear box? Are you expecting a box in the mail yourself?

Monday
Oct202014

Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
Gillian Flynn

Crown Publishers
Released June 5, 2012
419 pages
Thriller

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Oh man, I actively avoided this book in 2012 when it was the big “It” book of the summer. I do things like that – purposely avoid things that are popular. I’m not really sure why, but in this case, a thriller about married people just did not press any of my buttons. I didn’t read much about it or know anything about the plot. For some reason I thought it was about college a missing college student for a while.

But then they made it into a movie and the previews looked very intriguing. So several years late, I got the book from the library and dived in. I figured a change from my usual YA / science fiction / fantasy rotation would be good for me. So how’d the change work out for me?

BIG GIANT SPOILERS FOR THIS BOOK – LIKE THE BIGGEST OF ALL THE SPOILERS

Click to read more ...