Review-a-palooza!

The latest reviews, from Geek for e and Sleeping Hedgehog.  And even a book review!  Yes, I can read.  I can also clean up HTML to make it look all similar and pretty-like, but I’m lazy.  There, now you know for sure.

As always, clicky on a heading for the full review!


It started out as a whisper in a bar, as many things do.  “You haven’t read The Hunger Games yet?  Why not?  You really need to.  Seriously.”  Then there was the lost weekend when my brain snarfed down all three volumes in one sitting, breaking only for the usual eating and sleeping and such.  Now there’s a film in theaters based on the first book (more on that in another review).  So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that this series deals with timely issues in a timeless fashion; by blending modern-day issues like humanity’s current obsession with reality TV with classic mythology, The Hunger Games is a tale that pushes all the right buttons.  It has gore, love and a feel-good triumph over a corrupt government system, this series advocates while it entertains.  A science-fiction story that reads like fiction (in other words, it’s not “too weird” for non-genre folk.)  No wonder it’s so friggin’ popular.

The Hunger Games is the latest film to get the “Hollywood Blockbuster” moniker, and the latest piece of cinema entertainment launched from a series of popular YA fiction.  The books are amazing, like the Harry Potter series, and the stars of The Hunger Games are appealing, like the stars of Twilight.  But instead of being the latest cut-and-paste Hollywood cash-grab, it’s something more.  It’s a movie that makes you think.  And it works in your little ol’ cerebrum by being so dang entertaining that you find yourself leaving the theater thinking about morality in the face of self preservation and how absolute power corrupts absolutely, all without barely realizing it.  That a film can deliver these affecting messages in such a quiet manner is downright… subversive.  And I’d bet that’s just how the downtrodden masses of Panem would want it.

Movie Review: Bully

Every 7 minutes, a child is bullied on the playground.  280,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.  3 million students are absent each month because they feel unsafe at school.  77% of students are bullied mentally, verbally or physically.  Nearly 42% of kids have been bullied online and almost 1 in 4 have had it happen more than once.

 1 in 4 teachers sees nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.

These stats are horrifying.  Bully is moving, heartbreaking film that has a message of hope.  This film offers up the idea that change is possible, one person at a time.  It also shows you up close what it’s like for children who are bullied, with scenes of actual bullying that are often difficult to watch.  Bully should be required viewing for anyone who has been affected by bullying, been a bully, or seen bullying.  Which is everyone.

Movie Review — The Raid: Redemption (Serbuan maut)

I was lucky enough to grow up when action movies were comin’ in hard and fast at the theaters.  Maybe not so lucky — I did have to sit through more than my fair share of Steven Seagal — but my formative years were spent in a haze of Stallone (Rambo, not Judge Dredd), Jackie Chan (Police Story, not Shanghai Noon), and of course, Ah-nuld.  Which is to say I’m a geez.  So when my crotchety ol’ self got wind of a new martial arts movie from Indonesia, a film that promised to bring back the awesome fight choreography I loved from Chinatown-theaters-only films of the 80s, I was all in.  And I’ve gotta say that if tough-as-nails action is your thing,  The Raid: Redemption is the movie you’ve gotta see.

If you’re thinking “but I don’t like subtitles!  Reading hard!”  Then really, you need to rethink your priorities.  Do Not Let Subtitles Put You Off This Film.  Because if you love badass martial arts, if you enjoy nonstop action, you will enjoy The Raid: Redemption.  This is the type of film that has me slinging overused reviewer cliches like “action-packed thrill ride!”, “best film I’ve seen all year!” and “instant genre classic!”  Why?  Because they’re true.

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