Blood for the Blood God: A Review of Carrie (2013)

I finally ended up seeing the 2013 remake of the classic Stephen King book and movie Carrie (through a campus screening), and I had a few thoughts about it.carrie-poster-2013

Let me preface this by saying that I have not yet read the book or seen the original movie, so this is entirely based on my opinion of the 2013 version of the story.

First of all, I honestly liked the film. It wasn’t very well-reviewed, but I found that it did a good job of drawing me into the world of the film. I won’t deny the possibility, even probability, that the first film was more effective (and I intend to read the book and watch the original movie to find out), but standing completely on its own I felt that the 2013 version was one of the better (though certainly not the best) straight horror films to come out of mainstream Hollywood recently.  Continue reading ‘Blood for the Blood God: A Review of Carrie (2013)’ »

It’s Getting Better all the Time: A Review of “The Incrementalists”

Let me begin by saying that the impressively-named Steven Karl Zoltan Brust is one of my favorite authors of all time, right up there with Terry Pratchett, Neal Stephenson, and Jim urlButcher. His debut novel, Jhereg, is one of the first fantasy novels that I fell in love with when I read it as a child, and I avidly await each new entry in the Vlad Taltos saga.

When I first heard that he was coming out with a new book called The Incrementalists, cowritten with Skyler White (who was unknown to me), I was pumped, although a little sad that it wasn’t a new Vlad Taltos book. Then, when I found out that it had one of the most unique premises I’ve read in a while, that of a secret society with shared memories going back to the dawn of mankind who try to make the world “just a little better”, I got even more pumped. Then, when I read John Scalzi (another favorite author)’s blurb on the cover, ”Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money.”… well, at that point there was no going back. Continue reading ‘It’s Getting Better all the Time: A Review of “The Incrementalists”’ »

Surgery! A Review of Repo! The Genetic Opera

Hey everybody! My apologies, but there will not be a story on this fine Monday. I’m still recovering from my wisdom tooth surgery and, while foolish me thought that I’d be able to get a proper story done on Sunday, I’m still not finished with it. Short stories will return on Friday.

repo_the_genetic_opera_xlgSpeaking of surgery, have you ever heard of a movie called Repo! The Genetic Opera? Because I watched it again yesterday and it is both a fantastic movie (though not without flaws) and completely appropriate for fresh-out-of-surgery me to watch, given that it’s a dystopian rock opera about a Not Too Distant Future™ where the population has become obsessed with surgery and people who cannot pay their surgical bills are hunted down by murderous organ reposessors.

This 2008 film from Darren Lynn Bousman and the producers of Saw is a true rock opera, with essentially zero dialog that is not sung in one form or another. This seems like a very strange choice (and it is), but it works masterfully to set the tone of the film, which is dark and bloody and dramatically over-the-top. The music itself is also excellent, save one song (“Seventeen”), and will likely be stuck in your head for quite a while. “Zydrate Anatomy” and “Mark it Up ” are my two personal favorites, but they are all pretty excellent.

Continue reading ‘Surgery! A Review of Repo! The Genetic Opera’ »

Some Real Tough Shit: A Review of Kevin Smith’s Tough Sh*t

(NOTE: My apologies for the lack of a regularly scheduled short story. I had my wisdom teeth out yesterday and am still recovering from the surgery. Instead, here is a book review that I had been saving for Wednesday. Regular short stories will resume on Monday.)

I just finished reading what was perhaps the most inspirational book that I have ever read. And it was written by, to quote the man himself, “that fat guy who did Clerks.”tough-sh-t1

Tough Sh*t: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob who Did Good (2012) is the most recent book from thoroughly divisive filmmaker Kevin Smith of Clerks fame. Collected within are various stories from the life of the man himself, as well as the stories of his films and the rise and fall of the “indie as fuck” studio Miramax, which he refers to as “The House that Quentin Built.”

Tough Sh*t is, despite my usual dislike of the term, a thoroughly inspirational book for anybody who aspires to be an artist of any sort. Early in the book, Smith says that the best piece of advice he ever received was given to him when he told his sister that he wanted to be a filmmaker. His sister replied “So be a filmmaker.” This is the point where Kevin Smith learned perhaps the most important lesson in becoming an artist, that you have to consider yourself an artist first and foremost. Either you are a filmmaker or you are not a filmmaker. Either you are a writer or you are not a writer. If you have a dream, pick up that dream and run with it. become what you want to be.

Continue reading ‘Some Real Tough Shit: A Review of Kevin Smith’s Tough Sh*t’ »