Author Archives: agirlushouldknow

Venom (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Tom HardyMichelle Williams,Riz Ahmed
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: comicbook, superhero,  action, franchise
Runtime: 
1 hour 52 minutes

Release Date: October 5, 2018

OVERALL: It is a lot better than I expected. It was enjoyable, more so then even some of the Avenger movies. Just don’t have huge expectations.

STORYLINE

Journalist Eddie Brock is trying to take down Carlton Drake, the notorious and brilliant founder of the Life Foundation. While investigating one of Drake’s experiments, Eddie’s body merges with the alien Venom — leaving him with superhuman strength and power. Twisted, dark and fueled by rage, Venom tries to control the new and dangerous abilities that Eddie finds so intoxicating.

REVIEW

We went into the movie expecting it to be horrible. I have seen a couple of reviews that they didn’t like it at all. With that said, from when we sat down, to the moment we got up I enjoyed the whole thing.

I understand overall on Rotten Tomatoes gave it 30%, but the consumer score was 88%. I think that shows the disconnect between reviewers and what the audience wants. To me that means the critics don’t understand what other people like.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t an academy award winner. It isn’t Black Panther, but it is entertaining an action packed the entire way. The reason though I felt it was so good was the bits of humor tossed in, and the interaction between the Venom symbiote and Tom Hardy’s character. That was the best part.

The action and relationship scenes are pretty standard. Good special effects, a tight story and not exceeding two hours all fed into something enjoyable. The best part for me was the internal monologue. I truly wish they had put more in there. The banter between Tom Hardy and Venom was incredibly funny. I would tell you my favorite interaction but since I don’t want to make my website adults only you will have to see it when you watch it, its the one involving an elevator and the roof.

The movie isn’t the best, but it was good enough for me (and better then some of Marvel’s other stuff) that I will go see the sequel if they have one. I recommend you do the same.

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Giovanni’s Room (book review)

Giovanni's RoomGiovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Type: Audible
Length: 6 hours 49 minutes

Baldwin’s writing is as impactful now as it was 60 years ago.

In 1956 Baldwin had traveled to Paris, believing racism would never end in the USA. He also was a gay man and he felt if that was found out while in America he would never be able to write, a two strikes and you are out situation.

His words are as impactful as his writings in “The Fire Next Time” but instead of dealing with racism in America he was dealing with the emotions and sexual connection between two men in 1950s Paris.

What is unique for me is that it isn’t truly about being homosexual, but about being bisexual. It is the earliest novel I have seen about a man who has relations with both women and men, once again Baldwin is ahead of himself.

The story itself is hard emotionally. Baldwin packs every sentence with details and emotions. The novella is dark, and don’t expect yourself to walk away not feeling the pain of the whole situation. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it, just that it is one of those stories that will haunt you for a while after you read it, and will stick in your head permanently.

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Lost in Space (2018) (tv show)

LOST IN SPACE (2018 REBOOT)

DETAILS:

Created By: Matt SazamaBurk SharplessIrwin Allen
Stars: Molly ParkerToby StephensMaxwell Jenkins
Based on: Original Lost In Space tv show (1965)
Original Network: Netflix
First episode date: April 13, 2018
Number of Episodes: 10
Number of Seasons: 1

OVERALL: There are some great points, but sadly the Dr. Smith storyline turns this into just a “meh” show.

STORYLINE

After crash-landing on an alien planet, the Robinson family fight against all odds to survive and escape, but they’re surrounded by hidden dangers.

BREAKDOWN BY SEASON

Currently we have only watched season 1. At this time I am unsure if there will be more on my part.

SEASON 1

I really wanted to like this show. I had only ever watched the original show in passing as a child, but something about this made me want to like it. For the first few episodes they had me on board as well. That is until Dr. Smith.

The show itself isn’t the best written show. Rather than being about a family lost in space it has more to do with CW’s the 100 then about the family. There was just a little too much politics for my taste, but even then I still was enjoying it.

The interaction between the children was ok. You get a general idea of what happened between the parents and kids, but it really is just a rehash of archtypes you would see on a dozen other shows. That being said it wasn’t bad and I didn’t mind.

The parents I liked a bit more. It was interesting to see what Maureen did to get the family on board, and I enjoyed seeing John Robinson trying to reacclimatize himself into family life from a strongly special operations life.

The problem comes in with Dr. Smith. I only vaguely know the original Dr. Smith storyline, but my memory suggests he was a selfish, cantankerous person, but someone people could live with. This Dr. Smith is purely evil to be evil and crazy. Her storyline jumps around and I think the actress is great, but the writing sucks. It is a shame too because I liked they made Dr. Smith a woman.

Funny enough, what I had anticipated to be the Dr. Smith influence in the series was more closely associated with Victor Dhar. A person thinking they are doing the right thing but are being selfish and underhanded. I liked his representation and really did wish that was the kind of character Dr. Smith was.

I realize a lot of people focus on the robot and Will Robinson, but after the first few episodes that just became a buzz at the edges of the show. Not sure why, but I didn’t really feel a connection between the characters and I absolutely hated the Dr. Smith inserting herself between them. It felt really formulaic and honestly stupid.

By the end of the season I had to force myself through the last two episodes. It isn’t horrible, it just isn’t good. If you have nothing else to watch, maybe it is a good option. However, with so much more out there I don’t think I am going to put anymore time into after this review.

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Eastern Expansion (book review)

Eastern Expansion (Wild Wastes, #2)Eastern Expansion by Randi Darren
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible Book
Length: 12h 32m

If you read my review for the first book review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…, it shouldn’t surprise you that we are on a downward spiral. Not worth the time.

The book continued its decline. There were really no positives in the book. The writing of the women and the “shipping” between characters declined. Mostly in an attempt to distance him from his current women and to add additional women.

The cons from the first big are still there, but even more evident. The relationships are stale, the plot line veers from Vince being all powerful to not being able to stand up to a strong wind. There was no real world building here, just Vince thinking he could threaten everyone and they should follow him.

It is a shame, the world is interesting, even the portals he finds, but just not enough to keep it going. The relationship scenes are very much written by rote, and not worth the time.

Overall, this is where I jump off the series. I am fairly certain I won’t pick up more of his books either. I don’t think he has bad ideas necessarily, just doesn’t go anywhere with them, and gets more and more plot bloat as we go.

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The Addictive Brain (book review)

The Addictive BrainThe Addictive Brain by Thad A. Polk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Type: Audible
Length: 6 hours 19 minutes

A simple but informative book.

This book is a decent, informative book on how the addiction process in your brain works.

The author covers all of the different addictions, not just drugs or alcohol. He delves into junk food, gambling, pornography and gives a small snippet on each. I found some of it very interesting, and the rest was informative.

It wasn’t the most exciting book of its type, but it is a good solid generalist book about the generic categories of addiction and how they effect your life. It wasn’t a bad read at all.

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Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection (book review)

Andrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman ProtectionAndrea Vernon and the Corporation for UltraHuman Protection by Alexander C. Kane
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 8h 49m

I really did want to like this book.

First, I should disclaim that funny, non-serious books like this have never been my thing. The only series I liked close to this was the Xanth series in the 80s. I wanted to branch out though, as I get close to 50 I feel its only fair to try something again.

That being said, some people I knew really liked it. After all it is about superheroes, but not government funded or vigilantes, rather its about corporations who own them. It is funny, but it wasn’t funny to me. The author indicated it was supposed to be funny, I could logically see what they were doing, but nada, zilch, bupkis. Not funny at all.

It was a long slog for me, which is funny because I eat up 30+ hour audio books about history, or fantasy/urban fantasy. This just didn’t do it.

None of the characters were likable, the plot itself didn’t really do anything for me, and this might have even convinced me not to read superhero books overall.

That being said, I think the author themselves are not bad. However the whole genre, theme and characters really didn’t work for me. I suspect though if you like discworld, or other books like that, maybe this would work for you.

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History’s Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach (book review)

History's Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They TeachHistory’s Great Military Blunders and the Lessons They Teach by Gregory S. Aldrete
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 12h 11m

Hubris, stupidity, or just bad luck. It doesn’t matter when you lose.

Another great class from the Great Courses. This time is an in depth look at 24 different blunders made by different militaries/leaders from ancient history to more recent times.

Whether its mistakes made by Roman commanders, or British Army officers in India it doesn’t matter. Bad leaders get moved up the ranks and cause the result you expect. Often times without permanent injury to their own career (barring people like Custer of course).

Each 30 minute lecture is an excellent overview of a specific event. The details of each blunder is precise, and Dr. Aldrete gives a lot of support and explanation of the surrounding circumstances. There were a few blunders I knew about, and a lot I didn’t.

He presents an intriguing class, with a well worded, well performed voice, without being too distracting. I enjoyed the whole thing. I definitely recommend this great course, and I also am pretty sure I recommend Dr. Gregory Aldrete, at least for historical courses.

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The Predator (2018) (movie review)

DETAILS:

Director: Shane Black
Stars: Boyd HolbrookTrevante RhodesJacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn
Runtime: 90 minutes
Categories: sci-fi, action, franchise
Runtime: 
1 hour 47 minutes

Release Date: September 14, 2018

OVERALL: A not horrible, not great sci-fi update of the Predator franchise. It wasn’t something I regret seeing in the theater, but unless you have a close personal relationship with the series, it can wait until netflix/redbox.

STORYLINE

From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. The universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biologist can prevent the end of the human race.

REVIEW

First and foremost, Shane Black really messed up by hiring on a convicted sex offender and having them work with the crew. Unacceptable and not at all forgivable. That being said, the movie itself is better than most reviews show, but doesn’t hold a candle to the original, or the 2010 Predators with Adrienne Brody and Walton Goggin.

The story suffers from trying to do too much. Too many storylines, too much detail of the universe, and honestly Shane Black (and the actors/actresses involved) wouldn’t be up to updating the franchise with so much in so little.

I wonder how much of the problems though were Shane Black and how much the studio. I have read that they reshot a ton of film, edited, etc after the studio saw the movie. Maybe the original version would have been worth it.

I do like that it isn’t a reboot, but a continuation. I think the franchise definitely has more life in it, but that is because I love that kind of sci-fi. Unfortunately I don’t think Shane Black should do the next movie.

It was worth the matinee price I paid, and yes I will go see the next Predator movie that comes out. Although that is partially because it is just something I do. I go see all the Aliens, Predators and Friday the 13ths that come out. Blame it on my horrible 80s childhood.

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Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (tv show)

TOM CLANCY’S JACK RYAN

DETAILS:

Created By: Carlton CuseGraham Roland
Stars:  John KrasinskiWendell PierceJohn Hoogenakker, Ali Suliman
Based on: “Jack Ryan Universe”, by Tom Clancy
Original Network: Amazon
First episode date: August 31, 2018
Number of Episodes: 8
Number of Seasons: 1

OVERALL: A little rocky on some parts, but overall an enjoyable show.

STORYLINE

An up-and-coming CIA analyst, Jack Ryan, is thrust into a dangerous field assignment as he uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the center of a dangerous gambit.

BREAKDOWN BY SEASON

Currently we have only watched season 1. Additional seasons will be added as they come out.

SEASON 1

First let me get this out there, as I grow older the less patience I have with flag waving bravado that has no merit and doesn’t give at least a cursory exam on the other side. Not really interested in propaganda. I was pretty sure this was going to be exactly like that.

Now, that being said, Jack Ryan was a pretty even handed, although a bit rah rah in its outlook. They managed to give the “bad guy” a backstory that gives him some sympathy. They made him smart and three dimensional. I honestly think they did great with the character and his arc across the season.

I enjoyed that they seemed to wrap up that story completely by the end of the season. This gives me a hope that this is more of an anthology series, with different stories of different missions for Jack Ryan. I really like how a lot of series have started this (thank you American Horror Story for trailblazing). I especially like they limited to 8 episodes. I would rather have less episodes that are better story wise overall, then too much fluff in the middle.

I did enjoy the first half of the season exploring Jack Ryan (John Krasinski). He suprised me, as an actor from the show “The Office” I really didn’t expect him to do well with the role. In the end he did pretty well.

The character Jack Ryan did have some problematic issues for me. They couldn’t decide if he was a hardcore badass, who survived possible death and was a combat genius, yet was so shocked that his boss would make deals with “bad guys” to get information. The naïveté combined with the warrior theme really didn’t jive with me. I especially hated when he lost his temper while on a mission. It broke any “realism” cred that he had before that.

The fact that they made torture seemed like it was efficient and effective is a joke, and having Ryan stand up to interrupt anyone and speak to the president directly without getting fired (no matter what he said) really annoyed me (coming from someone who worked for the DoD in a civilian position for over four years, no way that happens).

The direction, story writing (other than what I talked about above) and acting by everyone was on point and definitely worth it. I didn’t really like the relationship between Greer and Ryan, I know they are trying to shoehorn that relationship to end up like the movies, but it isn’t working for me.

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The Goths and Vandals: The History and Legacy of the Barbarians Who Sacked Rome in the 5th (book review)

The Goths and Vandals: The History and Legacy of the Barbarians Who Sacked Rome in the 5th Century CEThe Goths and Vandals: The History and Legacy of the Barbarians Who Sacked Rome in the 5th Century CE by Charles River Editors

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Book Type: Audible
Length: 2h 18m

I should have known better!

Last review I did, about Isis was also by the Charles River Editors. I figured they couldn’t mess that up. After all its a historical book, how can they mess it up again. Oh but they did.

Let’s start that it is dry, monotonous and has no interesting information. The narrator is not my favorite, but I am not familiar with him so maybe he is different in other things.

Let’s continue on to the personalizing facts and just being out of order. It was put together in a way that is not useful to most people. It is a shame because I have to tell you the price was pretty darn good.

I think there will be no more Charles River Editor in my life. I wish them well, but just don’t work for me.

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