Oct 20, 2018

[Movies] How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2017) Review

The writings of Neil Gaiman are much beloved by fans around the world and in recent years it feels like more and more television and movie executives are greenlighting projects based on those works. But beyond his full-length novels, even his short stories can be used to inspire feature-length movies.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties is one such adaptation with a somewhat unexpected creative team behind it. The movie aimed to add on other themes on top of the original story to create an entertainment piece that is a distinct, evolved version of that first story.

I recognize that the structure of this movie is not an easy one to understand right off the bat and the narrative style is quirky, sometimes a bit too quiet and also understated. But I still enjoyed it despite those quirks and found some resonance in the story it wanted to tell. It was both a celebration of Neil Gaiman's original story and something else entirely - perhaps something just a little alien in nature.

Oct 19, 2018

[Movies] Next Gen (2018) Review

Netflix continues to churn out more and more original content in order to provide more original value versus other streaming services. And that apparently includes new animated ventures that will try to go head-to-head with streaming content from studios like Disney-Pixar and Dreamworks.

Next Gen is one of those tentpole efforts for original animated content as it certainly had the feel of a big budget animated feature. The movie certainly has a lot of familiar elements involved that you may or may not remember from other animated features that makes it almost feel like a marketing-driven story in terms of behind-the-scenes decision-making.

The movie was quirky and had its own share of fun to be had, certainly. But it also didn't quite hit the right notes perfectly and left me with mixed feelings. I keep saying this about Netflix original ventures but it again didn't feel terrible nor did it seem exceptional and so it was very middle of the road to me.

Oct 18, 2018

[Theater] Kinky Boots (Marina Bay Sands) Review

My love for the original Kinky Boots movie made the decision to watch the Atlantis staging of the musical an easy theater decision to make. But when provided a chance to catch the international touring production while in Singapore came up, it took a while to reassure myself that the cost was totally worth it.

And yes, the show was even more amazing that I had expected it to be and I'm super glad that we watched. I wish I had been able to catch it with my partner Tobie, but at least I wasn't entirely alone either.

Oct 17, 2018

[Movies] Rampage (2018) Review

There's a certain stigma around video game movies as they rarely seem to translate well to the big screen. There are two extremes when it comes to the more problematic side of these movies - good games that are twisted into bad movies or games with very thin plots that become odd movies. This is definitely one of the latter ones.

Rampage is based on a now obscure game that really didn't have much of a plot - if anything it barely had a premise. But somehow we ended up with a big budget movie that hopes to capitalize on nostalgia somehow but really the average movie-goer is too young to even remember the game existed.

To top it all off we have Dwayne Johnson in the movie. He's not a bad actor and in fact he can be quite funny. But his main challenge is that he doesn't always pick the most fulfilling roles for himself. At the very least he seems to have fun with all of his movie projects though.

Oct 16, 2018

[Books] Battletech: Grave Covenant (Twilight of the Clans - Book 2) Review

The "Twilight of the Clans" story arc begun in Exodus Road continues in Grave Covenant and the action can only get...more political? But hey, the Battletech universe has always been part big robot-on-robot action, but also medieval-style political intrigue and maneuvering. And you know that when Michael A. Stackpole writes a book for the Battletech franchise, he tends to get a lot of the big political events to cover as part of his scope.

Grave Covenant shifts the action back to the Inner Sphere and the discussions that lead up to the point when former Smoke Jaguar warrior Trent finally defects with information of the Exodus Road. And apparently a lot of what happened...was talking. But what else can you expect from a mainly political conference, right?

Other stuff happen of course and we do get some action in the latter half of the book, but it takes a while to get there. So I have to warn you - the first half is a bit of a trudge to get through. So be patient with the material.

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