Periodic Pretentious Book Reviews: ‘The Circle’ By Dave Eggers

No, I have not seen the movie. Nor am I sure I will ever see the movie. This is just about the book.

So, let’s begin!

  • What’s It About?

The Circle is about a near-future world where a company modeled after Silicon Valley corporations integrates technology into the world that breaks down the concept of privacy. Continue reading

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Christmas Collection #12: Most Popular Article! “Review: How To Train Your Dragon 2”

(Originally posted July 12th, 2014)


Notice: The Dragon University would like to inform viewers of this film, that the methods of dragon taming shown are incorrect. Furthermore, any injury caused by utilizing the sub par methods depicted, is not the responsibility of any of the certified Hatcheries. Complaints or other concerns can be voiced to the She-Demons of Riff-Tuu.

Alright so if it was not obvious by now I am a serious sucker for Science Fiction. I watch way more of it, then really anything else. Also almost all of my writing  falls into that category. As such, I have never really found the appeal of fantasy. I have even gotten into arguments on the subject. Continue reading

Top Ten Most Anticipated Cards From Hearthstone’s The Grand Tournament-Part 1

Oh yeah, you read that title right. With the upcoming expansion of my favorite obsession coming out, I thought I would toss my hat into the ring, and tell you which cards I’m most excited about.

Now, I must warn you. You are not going to agree with my list. Once the cards actually come out in the game, I’m probably not even going to agree with this list. There are more than a hundred new cards and I had to whittle them down to only ten. So of course I’m going to miss some of the good ones.

Also I must stress that this is all just my opinion; feel free to disagree in the comments.

Alright, let’s go!

#10: Frost Giant

Hearthstone_Frost_Giant Continue reading

Comic Review: Biowars Issue #1: Infection

When I first started Coolerbs Reviews I never thought I would end up doing a comic. And even when Marvel started to become an obsession of mine, I still never thought it was going to happen.

“The universe was too complex” I’d say, “and I don’t live near a comic book store.”

Yet, for some reason, it never occurred to me that there were original comics being made online. Ones just starting out, devoid of the labyrinthine plot lines and hundreds of characters. Stories I could get into with only a few clicks.

And so, here we are. Continue reading

Review: Big Hero 6

Before I start this review I must make one thing clear: It takes a lot to get me to watch a movie.

Movie nights at my house, no matter who I’m with, are a struggle of herculean proportions. To even consider watching a movie, I have to study the critical ratings, who made it, and sometimes even what age group it’s for.

For instance, if you have looked at my Trailer Talk series, I often give high scores to trailers. But even those movies I do not end up watching.

I am telling you all of this, so that this next part has some context.

I chose to watch Big Hero 6, after hearing only two sentences:

  1. It’s a Marvel movie.
  2. It’s made by the creators of Frozen & Wreck-It Ralph

Continue reading

Trailer Talk: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

It’s almost here boys and girls!

The penultimate movie. The only series that gets better with each sequel. The only good Y.A. novel movie adaptation this year!

The one that makes fan-girls scream, and dystopia nerds need a cold shower.

And that’s before Jennifer Lawrence shows up.

So, may I present to you, without further ado, the grand spectacle that is:

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_Tsj_wTJkQ Continue reading

Netflix Quest: #4 Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated

Along the multiverse path there is a strange neighborhood. It is, somehow, both a pathway and a cul-de-sac. It spirals in on itself, twisting upwards into a funnel.

Trust me when I say it’s a bit hard to understand. But, thankfully, you can only see all of that if you happen to be on Soy Sauce. Or, a traveler.

I happen to be both. Continue reading

Trailer Talk: 9/13/14

No matter how many movies you watch, there is always more.

More trailers too; so let’s give them a look.

WELCOME! To another addition of…..

TRAILER TALK!

The Guest

Interesting, interesting. Not the usual thing that I would watch.

This trailer makes this movie out as some sort of mixture of James Bond, and a Nicholas Sparks book.

Think about it. An attractive man comes to a small rural town, with intent to help out a family. Learning about the issues within, and making the family stronger as a unit.

Then, terrorists attack.

DUN.DUN.DUN!

With a premises like that, it really comes down to the execution. If they can make the family feel real, if they can make us care, then they will be able to pull it off.

Alternatively, if the family is s**t, then the action needs to kick-ass.

But from the trailer, it seems like the second will be the case. I just hope that they didn’t use it all up for the trailer.

I give it a 7 out of ten. Let’s see if the next one is a bit more, original.

Box Trolls

That was….charming. No other word for it. Just absolutely charming. Made by a group that created two of my favorite movies. I am absolutely excited for this.

The only issue, is the trailer really does not tell me anything about the story.

Sure, it shows us the wonder, and beauty of claymation, lovingly filmed and set up. The city, especially, took my breath away. But that does not guarantee a good movie. Just a pretty one.

But damn…that lovely, charming, world they created.

I give the trailer 10 out of 10. The movie however, is not going to get any good will from that.

Okay, maybe a little.

One more to go!

Tusk

What the hell!

Come on people! Another Human Centipede? Really?

Well at least the villain looks actually interesting. Also completely insane.

That’s important.

You see the funny thing is that I actually was interested, until he drugged him.

Up till then, I thought he was going to reveal some monster of the lake, or something like that.

But nope, he turns people into walruses. In Canada.

I would be forgiving if this was a comedy. But guess not, it looks like they are playing it straight.

So for letting me down, completely, I am going to give it the greatest dishonor I can muster.

A 1 out of 10!

It should feel ashamed.*

Alright, well, that concludes another addition of Trailer Talk. Tune in next time!

*If the movie does turn out a comedy, then I redact my earlier insults.

Did you like the article? Dislike? Tell me about it in the comments. I would love to hear your opinions. If interested in specific articles, or want to write as a guest; you can message me at scifibrandonscott@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!

Rambling Review: Dolphin Tale

Things looking a bit different? Yeah, you could say that. You see I am having a bit of an event on the site for the next few weeks. You can read about it here. Otherwise, no worries, this is not permanent. Just a bit of fun. Hope you enjoy.

Recently, the movie Dolphin Tale came out to critical acclaim, getting  86% on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.5 out of 10 on Metacritic,  along with a very similar score of 6.4 on Imdb.

Based on the true story of Winter, a dolphin that lost its tail and receives a prosthetic one to survive.

Well, for a movie that is based on a true story, it actually has a large number of false facts, with things added, mainly, to increase dramatic tension. I can actually back this up slightly as during a visit to Florida I was fortunate enough to actually see Winter in real life, and I will admit to choking up when I say her with the chunk of her tail missing. The movie did not stir me at all in the emotional department, but actually seeing one of the most beautiful animals on earth ripped apart was honestly heart breaking.

Well enough of the mushy stuff, I will get to what you want to know, what is true and what is a lie.

First off the obvious stuff. Of course the people in the movies are actors and thus are just pretending, though the names are, from what I can tell, accurate. Also some of the boats and even the building itself are props, as the building shown is not even close to how the real thing looks. Though the inside were actually correct and filmed at the real hospital.

I can understand why they did this, as the real one could not be covered in storm debris, and the real building is also not aesthetically pleasing.

But there is more, less obvious stuff.

The place where they found Winter is completely different. They rescued her in a place called Mosquito Lagoon, miles away from the beach. Also, there were no kids involved with the affair, I understand that it would make the movie more relatable. Also, they worked as a great way to get out exposition. Despite that, I am not exactly happy with that choice, as I think the story could stand on its own merits, but I digress.

Another big change is that it took only a couple of weeks to figure out the substance for Winter’s tail and building it, when actually, it took a full year to create the device. Which does lead me to wonder how much of a medical danger Winter was in, by not having a tail.  Was it just stated to make it more dramatic?

On the subject of drama, the movie makers actually did a lot to ramp it up, which I suppose made it more intense. One of the things they changed was the financial trouble in the movie; the company was not in any trouble before or after getting Winter. That was totally made up, as was the storm that hit them.

Now, lets round out the false facts in the movie. Winter was actually caught in December, which really makes you feel worse for her, as it must have been cold even in Florida.

Also the tail itself, it really did fall off, but not from infection. It fell off because of blood loss, naturally, no surgery required.

Personally though, I really only had a few problem with the movie. One of which kinda killed the experience, the music.

Out of all of it I only enjoyed the Jason Mraz part, because it matched the cheery/hopeful tone of them working on the tail.

Otherwise…….

There was a scene towards the end where he is swimming with Winter and I wanted to watch the beautiful scene, but the music was so loud and not matching the mood, that I had to fast forward through it.

There were also scenes that just did not need background noise; I will give them credit though, some of their scenes were great, simply because they did not add background noise to happy scenes. Which let the audience actually be happy on their own terms, instead of just being happy in response to the music telling them to.

Another complaint is how easy it was to predict what was going to happen. The second I saw the kid messing around with a tool I knew he would have something to do with the tail.

I also guessed right about what would happen with the cousin. Because he said that he was just going to the army for a little while. From that alone, you could tell he was going to either die or be injured, so he could not swim.  No movie ever puts someone into the army off-screen without being killed or injured.

The stuff that I did like was mostly character based.

Morgan Freeman, of course, steals the show no matter what he is in. Lending a bit of class to the movie.

Also, the child actors were surprisingly good for this kind of movie, though at times the girl was a little too “whimsical”.

The relationship between the characters was also good, if a little stereotypical and, I honestly was happy that the two kids parents did not end up together, despite so many planted chances for them to do just that.

So all in all a good story that does deserve to exist (unlike the two Transformers sequels) and does its job as a kid’s movie with some real depth and conflict. In a world where kid’s movies are fart jokes, pratfalls and recycled concepts, this is a refreshing story of hope and fighting the odds.

Personal score: 6 out of 10

Worth Owning: Only if you have kids

Recommended audience: All ages

Multiple Viewings: Yes, but only once or twice.

Trailer Talk: 8/9/14

The trailers don’t stop! So neither will I!

Welcome to another addition of Trailer Talk!

Let’s Begin! Starting with….

Let’s Be Cops

Umm alright. So I just saw that. Huh.

See the problem with these sorts of comedy movies is that they tend to put all the best jokes in the trailer. Then, when you go see it, you’re bored, because they gave it all away already.

I think this might be one of those movies.

Because the trailer is really, really funny. I was at the brink of losing it a few times in just that 45 seconds.

The premise looks good. Exploration of the power that we inherently allow cops and other law enforcement to wield. Because honestly, we would all do (most) of those things if we thought they were real cops. Or at least we would be really shocked when they did something so outrageous, and clearly illegal, in public

Also, it really does give a good example of why we have laws to prevent someone from faking being a police officer.

So, since I am only judging the trailer itself, and not the movie that is going to accompany it. I award this trailer an 8/10.

Alright, whats next?

The Giver

Hey look, they are remaking Equilibrium!

Oh, wait, this is something else. Oh well.

So another movie based on a Y.A. novel. Alright fine, unlike some people, I am actually in favor of this trend.

But they really should be more selective about what they pick.

I am not saying The Giver is not a good book. I have not read it. So I can’t judge the source material.

What I am saying, is that adapting this to a film seems……unwise. This sort of story has been done to death. There has been so many movies about people without emotions, that it is practically a sub-genre of science fiction. Not a practically good sub-genre either. Especially because for the movie to fit the theme, the acting has to be inherently bland. Which, in a book, would not be a problem as the language and word play can make up for it.

But in a movie, you have to be interested on visual alone. So if they are acting bland, then the movie will feel bland.

Yeah, so the trailer is not that good. Except the soundtrack. Which sounds excellent. It sets a building sense of dread, just with a simple piano chord. Drawing you in, and making you look close.

So, normally I would have given it somewhere in the 3 range, but, I am going to be generous and award it a 5/10.

Now, unto the final entry!

Life After Beth

This is going to be a weird month.

So Zombies are still a thing apparently, and now we have completely walked away from taking them seriously. Now they are strictly comedy monsters.

I am surprisingly okay with that.

So from this trailer we learn that this a romantic comedy about zombies. Or rather, a single zombie. Who over the course of the movie becomes more and more of a monster. With the main guy trying to somehow keep everything from exploding into meaty chunks.

Now this movie could be terrible, but from the clips I saw, it does seem to be funny. The actors are ones that I like, and they seem to be giving it there all. So I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt, and reward it with a respectable 7/10.

——

Alright, well that is the end of this installment of Trailer Talk!

Tune in on Wednesday for my next exciting article!

Trailer Talk: 7/26/2014

Trailers, the heralds of the new movies to come. They are meant to intrigue us, to pull us in. Make us want to spend our money on their products. They come in all shapes, sizes and lengths, and are just as much a part of going to the movies as anything else.

So I thought I would take some time out of the day to go over the trailers for movies that are yet to be released, and judge the book by its cover. Or rather, the movie by its trailer.

After all, what is a critic, if not judging?

So today, I will look at three movies that are set to be released next month, starting with….

Guardians of the Galaxy!

The newest in the Joss Whedon’s orchestrated mad-house that is the Marvel films. This film promises to branch the franchise into the more, ummmm, unique things that the franchise has to offer.

Like for instance a plant monster and talking raccoon alien.

From the look of things, this movie seems to want to take the undertones of comedy from the previous films and blow it up to serious overtones.

The movie also promises to be very heavy on special effects, which normally would be a slight detriment to a film aesthetic, as too much C.G.I. makes things look really surreal, and can pull you out of an experience. Yet, this movie will probably not have any issue, as the film series has for certain made enough money to support the effects.

If it was not for the amazing track record of this movie series, I would probably be a bit dubious of this film. The previous Marvel films have been good though, that I am willing to ignore any misgivings, and get excited for another masterpiece.

So I give this trailer a 7 out of 10. But how will the next one fare?

Lets see….

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles !

So remember how I said that too much C.G.I. can make a movie look surreal? Yeah, just thought I would bring that up again.

So this trailer….I am not happy with it. It may just be my usual dislike of Michael Bay, or the fact that I am sick and tired of remakes, but I have misgivings about this.

First off, the turtles look like they are douchey white boys. Now the original characters could be a bit abrasive, but they were still kind and honorable. These guys look like Mudflap and Skids in turtle form.

Now the action does look fun, that is one of the things that Michael Bay is really good at. He can make explosions still look interesting, even after the fifth one goes off in a two-minute span. He has an eye for wanton destruction, but not much else.

Also, Megan Fox shows up again. For more eye candy. As if this movie was not already shaping up to be pure spectacle.

So, from this short 1 minute clip, it looks like it is to be just pure popcorn fodder, shut off your brain and try not to drool. Some people like those sort of movies.

I am not one of them.

I give it a 3 out of 10.

Hopefully the last one will be more interesting….

Step Up: All In

Despite how it looks, you can totally tell that the trailer is actually holding itself back. Only giving you the beginning snippets of the dance moves that this film will contain.

There are two types of people who watch these films.

1.) People who watch it to see the amazing dance moves.

2.) People who watch it for the plot, a.k.a. LIARS! (Yes I am aware I have used that joke before)

The step it up movies are never well acted, always cheesy as hell, and totally predictable.

Also, they are f***ing awesome.

Yeah, I sorta love these films, the dancing is that good. Mind blowing cinematography, choreography that probably took years to perfect.

The movie can shove all the crappy dialog into it’s running time that it wants. Just give me dancing and flipping and fire and crazy sh*t.

This is not the kind of movie that you have turn your brain off to watch, this is the kind of film that shocks your brain out for an hour and a half. You won’t remember what you saw, but you will feel happy and energetic.

It’s like the film version of a caffeine buzz.

Also just to add to the fun of this movie, that one line spoken seems to reveal that this film has some level of self-awareness. “Does it always have to end in a big, giant dance battle?” says to me that they understand what they are making, and just want to make the best damn version of it that they can.

The title really does sum it up well. Step Up: ALL IN.

So for giving us it’s all, even in the trailer. I award this trailer a 9 out of 10.

——

Whew, that was actually really fun. I think I might just do these ever few weeks/months as new trailers come out. But for now, I must say good-bye. Check in every Wednesday and Saturday for more fun, and more nerdy things!

Review: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

It is a very exciting decade for book to movie adaptations.

So many books are getting so popular that they can become movies. Which in turn is feeding back to the popularity of books.

It is really cool to see teenagers reading again. Even if it’s just so they can understand the popular movies made from them. It is a step forward as far as I am concerned.

Now of course the two biggest success of this new fad are the “Twillight” and “Harry Potter” franchises. They are huge and made money hand over fist, continuing even too this day. But the third is just as intense in its fan base.

I am referring to the Hunger Games Trilogy. Continue reading

How I Review Movies

When I decided I was going to review movies. I realized that I would need a system. A short hand for how I would score movies I saw. That way I could give a 1-10 score within a few minutes of finishing it. It was obviously not meant to replace the critical thinking needed for reviewing. Just a tool to make my job easier.

It also serves as a good way to remember how I felt about a movie, while I was watching it. Because I can’t always write reviews within the week, or even the month I saw it.

Note that these are not a be-all, end-all method of reviewing, and some movies can be good even if they do not fit any of the categories. Though…I have never found one that does…but anything possible right?

Also these reviews are made specifically for movies. They sorta work for television series, but are not formed for that purpose.

Okay, well time to delve into my method.

Hopefully, no madness to it. Fingers crossed.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” -Winston Churchill

For each of the qualities that the movie has, it gets a point. Ten points in all. Quite an easy system really.

  1. The movie is clever and smart.

I hate dumb movies, our culture is already filled to the brim with stupid, shameless stuff. Honey Boo Boo, Jersey Shore, TMZ, and the Twilight movies already exist. We do not need more stuff like that. If a movie does not care about its plot or the logic of it, then why should we?

  1. The viewer experiences the emotion or tone that was intended by the director.

If it is a comedy, I should feel uplifted, or happy. If it is an action movie, I should feel victorious or powerful. Movies that fail to deliver on what they are supposed to, makes you feel cheated or bored.

  1. The main characters are interesting, dynamic, and not stereotypical.

This rule only applies to the main characters, stock characters have their purposes. But the main ones need to be good enough written to be people, not characters. It is hard to care about them if they are generic.

  1. The movie is not a remake, prequel, sequel, or a mid-quell. If it is one, it needs to be better than the original. 

This one is strictly a product of this day and age. Companies are quick to make these, because they are supposedly guaranteed to make money. The movie must be better than the original for its existence to be warranted. At the very least, it must continue the story.

  1. Engaging and well paced. Basically stuff happens at a good pace.

I hate being bored. I hate it so much. Boring movies are no fun to watch. Plain and simple.

  1. Has a story worth telling.

Movies are art. Simple fact. But like all art, there are hacks. People who are in it for the money, ready to make things just for money. No creative spark to it. Any movie made this way, does not deserve to exist. I understand that people need to make a buck to live. I know that too well, but if you do not care about your story. Then it is not worth the time.

  1. Has a satisfying resolution. 

This does not mean that the movie needs to have a happy ending. Far from it, I do not think enough movies have the nerve to end unhappily, or with some level of loss. A movies ending needs to feel like an ending. That the story is done. No cliff hangers. Except for some very certain movies, an open ended ending is still a resolution. The ending of Inception is a great example of how you can have an open-ended ending and still be good.

  1. General technical excellence. Camera angles are good, and the lighting is pleasing to look at.

Low budget movies get some level of forgiveness for it. But I do not want to get a headache well I am watching a movie.

  1. The movie does not have any plot holes in it.

This is partially just an extension of the first one. Movies need to be thought through and have internal logic. It does not have to follow real world rules, but it does have to follow its own rules.

  1. Not predictable, story does not follow a paint by numbers plot. 

Spoofs, send ups and tributes do not count, they are meant to be that way. But other stories need to be unique, not just the same old thing. As I said before, I hate being bored.

So that is how I review movies. I thought that anyone who reads my reviews may want to know how I decide what I think the quality of a movie is.