Otherwhere

Books, movies, reviewage and other mixy things

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies (2013)

Jonathan Levine

After a zombie becomes involved with the girlfriend of one of his victims, their romance sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

I had been watching the production process for awhile now. Catching photos on the set, and stalking the trailer. I can say this movie easily lived up to my expectations.

Quirky, irreverent and yet, somehow poignant, being inside R’s mind was just as I imagined it. At heart he is trying to connect with a world that has completely disconnected, a chance he gets through Julie during a zombie hunting raid.

Having read other stories, involving zombie love and being totally disgusted by it, I was pleasantly surprised at how Julie and R’s relationship evolved, while slowly changing him. Thankfully the yuck factor was absent and it was easy to cheer these two on.

On a literary note, I find the silver screen counterparts of their originals work better as a companion than an outright replacement. There is much to be gained by watching the movie and reading the book. I thought the changes they made for the screen were pitch perfect and while there were a few scenes I would have loved to see (i.e., R talking Julie using the record player and more Sinatra), overall it captured the tone and fun of the book. Also how they changed the storyline with her dad was actually an improvement as far as I’m concerned.

The Point: In a completely disconnected world, Warm Bodies offers a poignant commentary and some quirky fun.

BY - December 18th, 2012 - Movie Reviews - Leave a comment

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Rich Moore

A video game villain wants to be a hero and sets out to fulfill his dream, but his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade where he lives.

You know us 80’s kids are starting to grow up when we start making movies about our childhood. From the first generation of video gamers, Wreck-It Ralph, had enough nostalgia to keep me entertained without adding anything else. Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch, however pwnd, this movie. It served them well to allow the actresses to use their brand of comedy and it made for hilarity and some fabulous one-liners.

The story was fairly standard but had enough of a modern flair to make it relevant to multiple generations. There were even a few surprises in the end. Speaking of end. The ending credits were pretty much worth the price of admission.

It’s hard for me to argue against a movie that has Streetfighter in it, that was part of what made it so good. Seeing all the different video game worlds in high fidelity. Even then, there weren’t enough worlds visited, and a third of the way through the flick it’s like the producers just gave up and we spend the rest of the movie in Candyland.

Candy. Land.

Don’t get me wrong, it was cute and had its clever moments. However, I thought I was going to puke pink by the end of the movie.

BY - December 17th, 2012 - Movie Reviews - Leave a comment

The Walking Dead Vol. 7-9: A Brief Review

After the insanity of the last few comics it took me awhile to get back into the series. It could just get to depressing. My husband stayed a couple of volumes ahead and kept urging me to keep going. The craziness never stops for these survivors, but it’s so well written and thought out that I really couldn’t imagine not continuing. Plus, I love the show, and it does a darn good job of filling in the gaping holes between seasons.

The Calm BeforeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 7: The Calm Before
After the suck fest that the Governor put these people through, you need a brief interlude before the next cluster. Ha! Like life would get less suckier for Rick and his crew. This one was all about parallels. Balancing the bad with the good. Some people are injured while others celebrate life, there is time to be normal for a bit before the world starts crumbling down around them.

For the prison… this is the beginning of the end.

Made to SufferThe Walking Dead, Vol. 8: Made to Suffer
You are never safe in a zombie apocalypse. And seriously, double tap. You do not need men like the Governor, returning… ever. He is the most vile, disgusting, evil, depraved, bastard of a villain I have ever read or seen on-screen.

This is one of the hardest comics in the series to read, and by the end, Rick and his crew suffer such major losses of both life and limb.

Here We RemainThe Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain
The reset button has been pressed and Rick must once again, pick of the pieces left to him. Though this time his is a hand short.

Focusing more on the relationships and people left as they grieve and attempt to go on with whatever is left to them. The violence of Made to Suffer is left behind for some introspection. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of Rick and the rest of the survivors. For better or worse.

BY - December 16th, 2012 - ComicCo Sundays - Leave a comment

I Want it Wednesday #48

I Want it Wednesday Otherwhere.co Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where we highlight dying-to-read upcoming releases. Parajunkee also hosts Desperately Wanting Wednesday. I Want it Wednesday is kind of a mix of both. Now with movies!

Leila’s psychic abilities have been failing her, and now she isn’t sure what the future holds. If that weren’t enough, her lover Vlad has been acting distant. Though Leila is a mere mortal, she’s also a modern woman who refuses to accept the cold shoulder treatment forever–especially from the darkly handsome vampire who still won’t admit that he loves her . . .

Like choosing between eternal love and a loveless eternity . . .

Soon circumstances send Leila back to the carnival circuit, where tragedy strikes. And when she finds herself in the crosshairs of a killer who may be closer than she realizes, Leila must decide who to trust– the fiery vampire who arouses her passions like no other or the tortured knight who longs to be more than a friend? With danger stalking her every step of the way, all it takes is one wrong move to damn her for eternity . . .

Once Burned, was one of the best PNR novels I read this year. Jeaniene Frost never ceases to amaze me. This is a fantastic spin off to the main series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!

Star Trek Into Darkness

J.J. Abrams

After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction.

I have always been much more of a Star Wars fan then a Star Trek fan, but Abrams has made a damn good case. I absolutely loved his reboot, he couldn’t have cast it better. It’s funny, action packed and full of characters you can’t help but love. This looks like the crew of the Enterprise is heading toward some hard times but J.J. himself has assured fans that there will be plenty of fun to be had.

BY - December 11th, 2012 - WoW - 1 comment

Iced: A Dani O’Malley Novel (Fever#6)

The year is 1 AWC—After the Wall Crash. The Fae are free and hunting us. It’s a war zone out there, and no two days are alike. I’m Dani O’Malley, the chaos-filled streets of Dublin are my home, and there’s no place I’d rather be.

Dani “Mega” O’Malley plays by her own set of rules—and in a world overrun by Dark Fae, her biggest rule is: Do what it takes to survive. Possessing rare talents and the all-powerful Sword of Light, Dani is more than equipped for the task. In fact, she’s one of the rare humans who can defend themselves against the Unseelie. But now, amid the pandemonium, her greatest gifts have turned into serious liabilities.

Dani’s ex–best friend, MacKayla Lane, wants her dead, the terrifying Unseelie princes have put a price on her head, and Inspector Jayne, the head of the police force, is after her sword and will stop at nothing to get it. What’s more, people are being mysteriously frozen to death all over the city, encased on the spot in sub-zero, icy tableaux.

When Dublin’s most seductive nightclub gets blanketed in hoarfrost, Dani finds herself at the mercy of Ryodan, the club’s ruthless, immortal owner. He needs her quick wit and exceptional skill to figure out what’s freezing Fae and humans dead in their tracks—and Ryodan will do anything to ensure her compliance.

Dodging bullets, fangs, and fists, Dani must strike treacherous bargains and make desperate alliances to save her beloved Dublin—before everything and everyone in it gets iced.

I did my self a huge favor and re-read (via audiobook) the entire Fever series. Thank JZB I did! I honestly would have totally been lost had I not. Even though I absolutely love the Fever series I didn’t remember that much, especially the much of the last quarter of Shadowfever. See, there is this certain scene, that I think after reading, everything else just becomes background noise.

ICED starts off right where Shadowfever left off, and while Moning does a good job of getting you caught up, this is such a vast and complex world that you would be missing the finer points. Calling this Fever #6 makes far more sense than considering it a spin-off of the series.

Dani is on her own, cut off from Mac and from the Abbey, finding herself in loads of trouble, especially Ryodan. Pretty much everyone wants a piece of her, whether for revenge, her fae killing weapon or to freakishly keep her in a box until she is old enough to date. The girl is fourteen and already she has dudes clamoring to get to her. Cracks me up.

Sure, now most of the innuendoes fly right over her naive head (which is good) but considering how she has grown up and the immortals she is dealing with, puts her at a different level. She is innocence (in at least one sense) thrown in to a very sensual world. She is also a killer, so in that way not innocent at all. I can’t wait to see  how that all develops.

Her characteristic voice is toned down a bit for this book, which works well, you certainly aren’t losing any of her personality but it makes it easier to understand her. We also get a peek in to her childhood and the horrors she had to survive there. ‘Mega’ is absolutely her given nickname and she lives up to it, but there is a vulnerability there just waiting to be explored.

The story itself is surrounding the mystery of the hoarfrost, that is popping up everywhere and killing fae and human alike. Ryodan has Dani acting as detective – more to keep an eye on her, than anything – as they attempt to stop the crazy. Much of the book involves Dani getting into trouble. Into trouble with Ryodan, with Christian who is now a unseelie prince, with the abbey, with Ryodan again, with inspector Jayne, etc… She does have Dancer, the nerdy seventeen year old human, in her corner there and ready to back her up.

There is plenty going on in the Fever world and there is just as much satisfaction to be found here, in a fantastic story. I said it before, I will read ANYTHING that has ANYTHING to do with the Fever world. ICED satisfied the craving splendidly.

The Audiobook: Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante are back and as frackin fabulous as always. These two should narrate everything as far as I am concerned. Natalie did such a great job with Dani, she just knows the character so well and it pays off. Brilliance audio consistently comes out with the best audiobooks, this is no exception.

Narrators: Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante          Length: 14 hours and 51 minutes

PS – Spell checking a review about a fae book is HIGHlarious!

BY - December 11th, 2012 - Books - Leave a comment

Argo

Argo (2012)

Ben Affleck

A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.

Affleck is one of those showbiz people I have watched evolve over the years. He has always been brilliant when it comes to directing and writing, as clearly shows in Good Will Hunting. Gone Baby Gone and The Town, are absolutely phenomenal, Affleck knows how to direct amazing characters and tell compelling stories. If only his acting has improved so much.

I’ve actually heard it said that he takes after the Keanu Reeves school of acting. In Argo, that is absolutely true.

The movie is fraught with well crafted tension, characters you can get behind, political intrigue and the insane lengths the government (and others) go through to get their people out. It’s a fantastic story, and it’s true, making it that much better.

Affleck did an Oscar worthy job. But the man forgot to act. His beard conveyed more emotion than he did. I don’t know what he was going for with his character but maybe directing and starring in this piece was a tad too much.

That being said, this a great movie, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It’s memorable and well worth multiple viewings.

BY - December 10th, 2012 - Movie Reviews - Leave a comment

Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha

Publisher:
GoodreadsAmazon

An all-new Mac & Barrons story by #1 "New York Times" bestselling author Karen Marie Moning, marvelously adapted into a full-color graphic novel by writer David Lawrence and illustrator Al Rio
In "Fever Moon, " we meet the most ancient and deadly Unseelie ever created, the Fear Dorcha. For eons, he's traveled worlds with the Unseelie king, leaving behind him a path of mutilation and destruction. Now he's hunting Dublin, and no one Mac loves is safe.
Dublin is a war zone. The walls between humans and Fae are down. A third of the world's population is dead and chaos reigns. Imprisoned over half a million years ago, the Unseelie are free and each one Mac meets is worse than the last. Human weapons don't stand a chance against them.
With a blood moon hanging low over the city, something dark and sinister begins to hunt the streets of Temple Bar, choosing its victims by targeting those closest to Mac. Armed only with the Spear of Destiny and Jericho Barrons, she must face her most terrifying enemy yet.

I picked this up right when I was in the midst of going through the Fever series again on audiobook. I knew it took place during Shadowfever, and I made a half assed attempt to wait until I got to Shadowfever, before I read it.

Yeah, epic fail. The second it arrived via Amazon.com, I immediately locked myself in my room and read the whole thing. Al Rio, first off, is an amazing artist. He captured the sensual feel of the story and characters perfectly. Every panel is so gorgeously rendered I have spent many subsequent hours going through it just to appreciate the art. The look of Mac, Barrons and Dani is far better than I could have ever imagined in my own mind.

Really, that’s the beauty of comics. It is the happy medium between your imagination from the printed word and a fully produced movie. Characters in graphic novels are much more apt to line up with your imagination, and there is still plenty blanks left for your mind to fill in. Let’s face it, any man cast as Barrons will fall short to somebody.

The story itself dovetails well with the set-up in Shadowfever, and so well set up, that even if you aren’t familiar with the series you can pick it up and enjoy it. It would also work really well as an introduction to the series, though you’d have to suffer a few spoilers.

Graphic novels are known to be incredibly time intensive. Fever Moon, took over two years to complete and ended up being Al Rio’s final project. However, I hope against hope that Karen decided to do another one. Absolutely gorgeous, I recommend it for fans of the series and comic fans alike.

BY - December 9th, 2012 - ComicCo Sundays - Leave a comment

Warm Bodies

½

R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead and the blurry line in between.

It’s not common place to have a zombie book from the perspective of a zombie. Which makes sense as they typically are mindless automatons, seeking after only one thing. R is a zombie. He doesn’t remember his name or know how old he is. In the beginning he just… is. He hunts, he wanders around, he groans. Brilliant.

Enter Julie, a young women caught in the middle of a zombie attack. Suddenly R’s world gets turned around.

This book could have easily been kitschy, short-lived and without any real depth. However, Marion’s writing style combined with his amazing ability to explain R’s mind is both lyrical and creepy. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. I was glued to this story, not only to hear how R and Julie’s story panned out but just to see how he would phrase the way a zombie experienced something.

Even the little Romeo (R) and Juliet (Julie) by-play was cleverly done.

The Audiobook: The narrator sounds a lot like Michael C. Hall. So it’s like Dexter is reading this to you. Pretty much awesome. While not Michael C. Hall, Kevin Kenerly was pitch perfect for this read. Able to deliver the slowness of the zombies cognitive thinking skills while imbuing growing emotion in a very confused world. I would absolutely recommend this in audio.

Length: 7 hours and 59 minutes      Narrator: Kevin Kenerly

BY - December 5th, 2012 - Books - Leave a comment

I Want it Wednesday #47

I Want it Wednesday Otherwhere.co Edition

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, where we highlight dying-to-read upcoming releases. Parajunkee also hosts Desperately Wanting Wednesday. I Want it Wednesday is kind of a mix of both. Now with movies!

In a futuristic world nearly destroyed by religious extremists, Justin March lives in exile after failing in his job as an investigator of religious groups and supernatural claims. But Justin is given a second chance when Mae Koskinen comes to bring him back to the Republic of United North America (RUNA). Raised in an aristocratic caste, Mae is now a member of the military’s most elite and terrifying tier, a soldier with enhanced reflexes and skills.

When Justin and Mae are assigned to work together to solve a string of ritualistic murders, they soon realize that their discoveries have exposed them to terrible danger. As their investigation races forward, unknown enemies and powers greater than they can imagine are gathering in the shadows, ready to reclaim the world in which humans are merely game pieces on their board.

Gameboard of the Gods, the first installment of Richelle Mead’s Age of X series, will have all the elements that have made her YA Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series such megasuccesses: sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; and relentless action and suspense.

The Vampire Academy, was a fantastic read. The premise alone for Richelle’s new Age X series was more than enough to intrigue me. The fact that it’s adult and accompanied by this gorgeous cover sealed the deal. Count me in!

The Host

Andrew Niccol

A parasitic alien soul is injected into the body of Melanie Stryder. Instead of carrying out her race's mission of taking over the Earth, "Wanda" (as she comes to be called) forms a bond with her host and sets out to aid other free humans.

Yet another book I loved that has made its way to the screen. The first trailer was horrific, however the official one blew my mind! I can’t wait to see how this one turned out, though from first glance it doesn’t look like Melanie’s little bro made the cut.

BY - December 4th, 2012 - WoW - 2 comments

On Dublin Street

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare…

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.

Now that NaNoWriMo is done, I have the teensiest bit more time to get caught up on reviews. I actually read this back in October, and was immensely entertained.

The reviews were so stellar for this read and it was exactly the kind of book I wanted to pick up at the time. I had no problem grabbing this one off of Amazon and devouring it.

Joss was a well crafted character. With a tragic past that makes it nearly impossible for her to get close to anyone and a penchant for panic attacks to boot, creates some interesting scenarios. Of course then she meets Braden, the typical alpha male that wants in her pants.

It isn’t just him that starts breaking down her long fortified walls though and that’s what made this book great. She gets involved with his family, his sister is her new roommate and through a combination of her relationship with Braden and getting to know Ellie and the rest of the clan, she starts to properly deal with her past and open up to her future.

As an alpha male, Braden was quite likable (and lickable). He knew at first glance he wanted Joss and spends the rest of the book making her realize she wants him too. Of course the whole ‘let’s just be friends with benefits’ thing, never works out but I have a feeling that was Braden’s plan all along. A man who knows what he wants and has no qualms about saying it, I thoroughly enjoyed the banter between him and Joss.

Young has a talent for building tension and had real craft with the romance. Every time Joss tried to throw up her defenses, Braden came right back to shock her into place. This worked well in and out of the bedroom. He refused to play by her rules and I loved it. The storyline was a tad predictable, but it didn’t matter, the characters made up for it. I would love to hear this one in audiobook, especially if they got the right narrator for Braden.

The Point: A steamfest with well crafted characters and a story well worth your time, that’s guaranteed to satisfy.

BY - December 4th, 2012 - Books - Leave a comment