2017 Upcoming Flicks

Where is the time going. February is nearly half done and I’m late to getting to the movies of 2017. So, here is the list of what I’m looking forward.

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Justice League Dark – February 7 – I just finished Volume 1 of the Justice League Dark New 52 and I’m a fan of Constantine which is the draw here.

John Wick: Chapter 2 – February 10 – Well, the first one was good and there have been plenty of good reviews for the follow-up.

Patient Zero – February 17, 2017 – Super virus. Highly intelligent infected with a special language and a search for patient zero. Add in some decent casting with Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer and Clive Standen and it may have potential however, I’ve heard very little about this movie including where it is available to see.

A Cure for Wellness – February 17, 2017 – Creepy wellness centres. Mixed reviews so far but I’m still interested.

giftsThe Girl with All the Gifts – February 24, 2017 – Read the book, which I enjoyed so I’m curious to see how it translates to film.

Logan – March 3, 2017 – Grizzled old Logan. This looks like it will be the best one of the bunch as far as Wolverine movies go.

T2: Trainspotting – March 3, 2017 -21 years after the original was released, it’ll be interesting to see how they mature these characters and if the follow-up maintains the gritty edge of the original.

Kong: Skull Island – March 10, 2017 – Not usually my kind of movie (something about giant, talking, thinking gorillas bugs me) but the trailer for this makes it appealing. Have to see what the reviews say.

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The Belko Experiment – March 17, 2017 – People locked in at work, forced to kill one another….office work is a bitch. Violence bred by the instinct to survive and the bending of people’s morals and conscience. Would you kill to save yourself?

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5 – Probably more of the same as the first movie but there’s nothing wrong with that plus, little Groot.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – May 12 – A King Arthur flick directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Charlie Hunnan should be a great. Add in an impressive cast and Charlie Hunnan shirtless, nothing wrong with that. Let’s hope the best part of this isn’t the trailer.

The Dark Tower – July 28 – It’s unclear which books of the Stephen King Dark Tower series are going to be in the first movie but from what I’ve seen, it kind of looks like it will meld The Gunslinger and The Drawing of the Three. I’ve read the first 4 books of the series and am in the process of going through the series completely. Really like the casting of Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and I this is one of the rare good Stephen King adaptations.

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IT – September 8 – Another Stephen King based movie. Loved the book and while the TV movie tried to bring the story to life it hasn’t held up over time (just realized that I have it on DVD). Hopefully the movie is as good and creepy as the book.

Murder on the Orient Express – November 22 – An updated adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic. Love her books and most of the previous film/TV adaptations that I have seen have been good.

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Winter TV Begins

TV Homer

Winter is fully upon us and it sucks. Even though we get 1 day of snow usually (think we are up to 3 this season) the wind is getting brutal and all I want to do is stay inside and keep warm in front of the glow of the TV. Here is what is coming up in the next couple of months.

Taboo (FX) – January 10 – 8 part miniseries starring Tom Hardy as James Keziah Delaney, an adventurer who builds his own shipping empire in the early 1800’s.

The Young Pope (HBO) – January 15 – HBO series focuses on Lenny Belardo, the first American Pope in history. Starring Jude Law

Six (History Channel) – January 18 – Centres around Navy SEAL Team Six who discover an American working with the enemy in Afghanistan.

Beware the Slenderman (HBO) – January 23 – HBO documentary focusing on two 12-year-old girls who lured a friend into the woods and stabbed her in attempt to appease the Slender Man from a Creepypasta tale.

Face Off (Space) – January 24 – Season 11 brings back the all-stars for one of the best reality competition shows.

The Magicians (Showcase) – January 25 – Season 2 of what I think of as the adult version of Harry Potter.

Cardinal (CTV) January 25 – Not entirely sure what this about other than a couple of detectives in Northern Ontario investigating the murder of a young girl.

Riverdale (Streaming on Nexflix Canada) – January 26 – Archie comes to the small screen and from the little that I’ve read, it has a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe.

Black Sails (SuperChannel) – January 29 – Season 4, the final season. Sad but I think it will be a great ending.

Legion (FX) – February 8 – X-Men comes to TV with a show a centred around the mutant Legion who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – February 12 – Very interested in seeing how John Oliver’s show will be once the new president takes office.

The Walking Dead (AMC) – February 12 – The second part of the season begins. As much as I have not cared for the past couple of seasons, I have actually been enjoying this season.

Taken (NBC) – February 27 – Not sure what to think of this TV adaptation of the Taken movies but it does have Clive Standen (Rollo from Vikings) so I’ll give it a shot.

Marvel’s Iron Fist (Netflix) March 17 – Following in the footsteps of Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, I believe Iron Fist is the last character to be introduced before the next Nexflix Marvel series The Defenders brings them all together.

Twin Peaks – May 21 – I binged the original series one Christmas and loved it. Looking forward to seeing this one. Just need to figure out what channel it is airing on in Canada.

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Welcome 2017…Let’s have a chat

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New Year New You. I keep seeing this saying but for me it’s going to be New Year Old Me. It’s time to get back to basics and get back the things that make me happy and ease stress and help me not be so insufferable to my loved ones. I feel like I lost myself a bit in 2016 and I want to get back to the me that isn’t always on edge or concerned with what others are thinking or doing or planning. Having a couple of weeks before the new year to step back and clear my head has helped to get rid of the negativity and anger I was carrying and I can hopefully keep those unhealthy feelings at bay.

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So, what does that mean, back to basics? Watching horror movies/TV, writing about it and other media and writing in general. The goals are to relax and not worry so much (this morning doesn’t count as we had yet another plumbing issue). Must catch up on horror movies. I think there are quite a few that I meant to watch in October and there are a few coming up that I want to see and there will be a post coming soon, I promise. I’m reading more as I seem to have overcome the inability to actually get engaged in any books. Looking forward to Resident Evil 7 in VR; should keep me terrified for a while. And my plan is to run/walk the annual TC 10km this April. I walked it last year but I want to be able to at least run some of it, as long as my ankle holds up.

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While there were things in 2016 that sucked, losing our 18-year-old cat and work disappointments, there were good things like family and adding to that family i.e. Jinx! I spent too much time focusing on the things out of my control and not enough time on family and friends. So let’s see what 2017 has to offer. Be happy, be healthy and just be the true you.

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Interlude

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I’ve been getting pretty worked up about a number things recently that for the most part are out of my control. Cell phone drama (damn you Samsung), work drama (I fear it may all be in my head) and my inability to focus and enjoy the season or write because of those dramas. I sat down at my desk in the office yesterday morning and looked up on my cabinet and read again what that little bunny is saying. It seemed appropriate as I was getting in a tizzy over batteries. I worry about getting the short end of the stick in pretty much everything and it’s not true even if it feels like everything is against me.

……And then I see the news, Reddit, Facebook feeds and I see the real life horror and hardships that exist around the world – the hate, injustice, depravity, cruelty and poverty that is too prevalent in our world today. It exists in my country and real world problems are so much more present in countries where I can’t even begin to understand how the people can live let alone thrive or have their own identities. And I think, what is so terrible in my life? What is so worrisome that it drags me and others around me into the dull drums? The simple answer is nothing in the broader scheme of things. The term First World Problems comes to my mind often as I seethe about the things that really aren’t worth being upset over. I am lucky to live where I do, have the rights and freedoms I do and it’s simply not necessary to waste time and energy on worrying or being upset about those issues. The hard part is remembering that. Yes, I live in a society where I am lucky to worry about what my next smart phone should be but that shouldn’t make those ultimately materialist concerns the forefront of my anxiety. There are people facing real dramas, hardships, pain and loss that don’t have the luxury of worrying about trivial matters.

So, that’s a little interlude to relieve some of the pent-up worry and to remind myself to just enjoy this good life, treat people with respect and kindness (even if it isn’t reciprocated) and get the hell into the Halloween spirit already.

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Jinx’s witch hat

 

Southbound (2015)

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Southbound takes a trip down a lonely desert highway where winged skeletal creatures hover in the distance, watching and waiting. The flick is a horror anthology that uses that lonely highway to tie together 5 stories where the beginning is end and the end is the beginning…that does eventually make sense. But not all the stories in the movie do. Here is brief synopsis each segment with no spoilers (at least nothing obvious).

The first segment starts with 2 men driving down the highway covered in blood and bewildered, the floating creatures seemingly tracking them. Arriving at a diner, they fall into some sort of time loop but escape is impossible.

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Up next are 3 young women on their way to a gig when they get a flat tire on the highway but eventually a kind middle-aged couple shows up and suggests the women go home with them where they will be able to get help with their van in the morning. One of the women is hesitant but the others are eager to get off the road. What follows is a dinner that no one in their right mind would touch followed by some lovely black vomit. Hesitant girl doesn’t trust the couple and their creepy neighbours and with good reason. southbound

The second tale flows into the third as a man on his cell phone driving down the nighttime highway runs over a woman in the middle of the road. Seeking help from 911 is not a good idea in this instance and the situation devolves as the man enters a deserted town and an empty hospital in disarray. This segment was pretty gory and unnerving as the man tries to save the woman.

Again, there is a flow from the previous tale into the 4th one as we stay in the deserted town and head to a bar where a man is looking for his sister but in his pursuit to save her from the town she is voluntarily in (is it hell?) he takes her away against her will and pays the price for trying to be a good brother. This is the one that is somewhat muddy but that could have been from the beer.

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And finally to wrap it up and bring the movie full circle, a couple and their college bound daughter have rented a room at a roadside inn next to the highway. They are the perfect loving family until masked men start an assault on their room, terrorizing them. But there is a reason that isn’t made quite clear. The husband has done something unforgivable to one of the men however, it’s also muddy as to whether or not the viewer is supposed to infer what he did or if they actually say it (beer bad, when watching movies). This is where the first story ties into the last one but you’ll have to watch it to understand.

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Final Thoughts: This was an OK horror anthology. Using the highway as the connection between tales worked but there was a bit of a feeling of being lost as to what was going on with each segment. The third tale was felt the most complete and was enjoyable because of that. The creatures were interesting too and certainly got creepier by the last story. All in all, a decent flick with some weirdness and winged baddies. 3 winged demons out of 5.

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The Houses October Built (2014)

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The Houses October Built follows 5 friends (this is a found footage flick filmed by the main characters Brandy, Zack, Bobby, Mikey, Jeff) on a road trip in the Southern US as they search for the most extreme haunted attractions and one in particular called Blue Skeleton which is so exclusive that it moves every year and participants must be personally invited.

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The trip starts out full of drinks and fun times as the group heads to Texas and hits up the first haunt but they soon attract the attention of a group of scare performers they piss off and things start to get a little off kilter. As the trip continues the group has more unnerving encounters with clowns and performers from various haunts they visit. At one point the only woman in group Brandy is cornered in a restroom by 2 performers. It’s an uneasy scene as she pushes past the lecherous men and calls to her friends; no one wants to be in a situation that like.

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So that happens followed by even more creepy and invasive clown stalking when the group finds a video posted online of them sleeping in their RV and someone walking silently among them, touching Brandy and then leaving. Again, this is a very unnerving situation and terribly violating. Eventually the group receives the invitation to the Blue Skeleton haunt and heads to the designated gathering spot, Bourbon Street in New Orléans on Halloween night. By this point two of the crew, Brandy and Mikey, are not into it anymore but reluctantly follow along ignoring their own apprehension.

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The group is abducted, split up, left in a house with nothing but a camera and then each one is knocked unconscious. The ending shows 4 of the 5 (Jeff is apparently beaten, possibly killed in an alley in New Orléans) being buried alive or are they? The 3 men are in silk lined caskets while Brandy is in a wooden casket lying on top of what looks like bloodied meat. It appears that only her casket is actually being covered in dirt as the perspective shifts to show clowns burying Brandy and filming it. Finally they zoom in on one of the masked figures and it is unclear why or what is significant about that one. So a good base but not the greatest ending by leaving too much open-ended or up for interpretation unless I missed something.

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Final Impressions: For the most part this was a good flick and it was quite enjoyable. One thing about haunted houses is the way they can make a person feel claustrophobic, walking through the dark with flashing lights and having no idea where you are going or how to get out and being purposely jump scared the whole time. What a horrible feeling of being trapped. You can kind of get that sense from this movie when they are going through the haunts and especially in the last scene. It was a good quality found footage flick with not too annoying shaky cam. Decent acting and a fun Halloween/spooky story line. There were a couple of things that threw it off a bit. As the flick nears the conclusion it somewhat falls into cliché as part of the group insists on continuing while the others hesitate but go along anyway and it ends badly as expected. And that is the other part that didn’t work – the end. It’s a personal preference to have the movie tie up and conclude without any questions (sometimes admittedly a cliff hanger works) but with this movie the ending was disappointing. That being said, it leaves the viewer to decide if the end is part of the haunt or really the end for these thrill seekers. The Houses October Built is a good start to the Halloween season. 3.5 clown masks out of 5.

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The Girl in the Photographs (2015)

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In a quiet community a young woman is stalked by an unknown assailant who leaves photographs of brutally murdered young women at her workplace and on her car. Contacting the police leads nowhere as it is unclear whether the photos are real or staged.creepers

The movie opens with a young woman returning home unaware that a half naked man in a weird mask is hiding in her living room. After being abducted she is tied up and photographed before being brutally killed. One of the photos is left for the main character Colleen (Claudia Lee) to discover. Apparently this is not the first time she has received such a picture but the police don’t react, not convinced that the photos are real despite some of the women having been reported missing. Jump to elsewhere and professional photographer Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn) is reading about the photos which is being taken/found in his hometown. This prompts him to go back there and recreate the photos with models to cash in on the stunt. Colleen eventually runs into Peter and his crew and ends up giving into his requests to go back to L.A. with him and be his muse. All the while Colleen is being stalked by the murders who are revealed right from the start.

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Final Impressions: To begin or end with I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the majority of this flick was filmed in my hometown. I had to look it up after seeing a bottle gin in the store they were shopping at called Victoria Gin (local) and then seeing a familiar grocery store logo (Wellburns). Aside from that, the movie was kind of just meh. I wanted more info on the killers as there motives seemed to be steeped in something deeper that would explain the photos and I was curious about their relationship. There were a couple of cringe worthy kills but it felt like the movie had plucked bits and pieces from other movies and put them all together making it seem somewhat disjointed. Overall, great scenery, creepy killers but lacking depth of story and character. 2.5 developed photos out of 5.

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The Blair Witch Project (1999)

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This was the movie that brought together found footage and horror. I watched it years ago and didn’t care for it and after another viewing, can’t say it has made a better impression. The film isn’t a total bust. What it has going for it: an interesting story and a premise that would make a great haunted tour – out in the woods, isolated with only 3 people being stalked by an unseen, unknown presence. Terrifying. Add to the isolating environment an urban folk legend about a witch and people disappearing in the woods, being found dead and you have a good idea for a story. Even the found footage elements were ok as the shaky cam didn’t hinder it but while the acting was fine, it was the screaming and shrieking of Heather that put a damper on the movie. There was something so annoying about her running around and yelling. It was over the top and detracted from the atmosphere of eeriness and building tension of watching the 3 film makers wander lost, cold and hunger through the forest. Right near the end when the horror is ramping it is the endless shrieks of Heather that ruin the flow.

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Final Impressions: When this movie first gained notoriety it was unclear why. Perhaps because the initial viewing I had was poor quality on a small screen could explain my disappointment. Nope. Watching it again after about 20 years on a big screen and good quality didn’t improve my opinion of it. Good premise, atmospheric setting, potentially fascinating story brought down an annoying lead character. I was hoping with the release of the new Blair Witch that the story might finally get a decent telling. From the reviews that have come out I don’t think that is going to happen. 2 stick men out of 5

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Autumn Movie List

 

Halloween

Autumn is quickly approaching (Thursday marks the Autumnal equinox) and I feel like getting in the mood for all the Fall goodness. The pumpkin goodies are starting to come out and 1 of the pumpkin beers is available so far. Part of the way to get into the season is watching horror movies. Of course Trick ‘r’ Treat and The Crow will be watched on Halloween but there are several movies I’ve been meaning to see but haven’t gotten around to, so what better time to revive the horror bug then at the start of Fall. Here is the list I have comprised thus far. Recommendations for any good horror related documentaries are welcome. Reviews to follow each one I watch. Happy (almost) Autumn.

The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Houses October-The House October Built (2014) – Reviewed on October 3

Crimson Peak (2015)

-Kill List (2011)

-Southbound (2015) – Reviewed October 17

-Baskin (2015) 

 

-We Are Still Here (2015)Baskin

-Blue Ruin (2013)- not really horror in the traditional sense but I’ve heard it’s good

-The Girl in the Photographs (2015) – high ratings for this one…not really but I’m try it – Reviewed on September 22

-A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)- not too sure if I can find this one to rent anywhere

-The Neon Demon (2016)

 

The Neon Demon

-Friday the 13th (1980) – I have never seen the original so it’s about time

-I Saw the Devil (2010)

-Extinction (2015)

-Hellions (2015)

-The Hunger (1983)

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-Rec 4: Apocalypse (2014)

-Wer (2013)

-Lights Out (2016)

-Goodnight Mommy (2014)

-The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Reviewed on September 22

Leaves

Distractions

Dallas Road

Well, so much for writing and posting more. The title says it all: distractions. More accurately excuses but I prefer to say distractions. Work has been a major mental and emotional drain the past 4 months to the point where I just don’t want to think as well as being stressful with so much uncertainty floating around. The other new but good distraction is the little girl below, Jinx. She was born on April 1 and I adopted her about 2 months ago. Other things keeping me blocked are the usual – TV, movies, video games and sadly only a couple of books.

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TV/Netflix Series

Stranger ThingsFour pre-teen boys in the mid 1980’s are drawn into the world of monsters and alternate worlds after one dark and stormy night one of them goes missing and a strange girl with strange powers shows up. I didn’t like the first episode of this Netflix original but it grew on me after the next couple. There is a lot 1980’s nostalgia (which I think my husband appreciated more than me) and one of the characters played by actor Charlie Heaton reminded me of a young Stephen King. Overall, it was a pretty good series once it go going.

Preacher: Ugh…I had high hopes for this AMC series based off the graphic novels but it somewhat fell short. Dominic Cooper is great as Preacher Jessie Custer and Joe Gilgun makes a good Cassidy with the exception of the Irish accent he is trying to pull over his distinct British one. I’m not too crazy about the way that Tulip is being portrayed as a hard ass unflinching thief. Not how I remember her from the books. Also wasn’t crazy that Season 1 focused only on Annville, also a divergence from the books. The Saint of Killers stuff felt out of place because there was no context for it until the end. It felt like most of the time I had no idea what was happening. But the last episode leaves some promise that Season 2 will hit the mark. Maybe I just need to watch it again…

Penny Dreadful-Final Season: This final season that was only announced as the final season shortly before it ended also had a lot of promise but ended up being under-developed possibly because it seems that it was not intended to end the show. The introduction of Dr. Jekyll and Catriona Hartdegen would have added 2 interesting characters but sadly their time was too short and it almost felt pointless to bring them in, particularity Dr. Jekyll with his part in the story being ultimately useless. The show had such a divide between the characters that it didn’t work as well as when they were all together. And the Ethan/Vanessa love aspect felt off. I wish the show had continued and explored more of the Gothic Victorian monster mash that made it so good in the beginning.

Banshee-Final Season: Another good show ended this year and another disappointing season and ending as well. And the most annoying part is they never said what Hood’s real name was.

Outcast: Another Robert Kirkman based series. This one deals with demonic possession and one might say, mental illness. I have 3 episodes to watch still but it feels like there is something missing from the show to make it really good. I like it but it has that drag that The Walking Dead suffers from where it’s on the cusp of ramping up then has nothing but filler. I like the premise and will continue with it for now. As for as The Walking Dead, I think I still have the last 2 episodes to watch and I’m in no rush at all. Disappointing. Fear the Walking Dead has potential but again, too long to get on with it.

The Strain (Season 1 & 2 again): Season 3 premieres at the end of the month and I am looking forward to seeing how much of the 3rd book is in the show. Watching Season 1 again I recall now that the first couple of episodes were kind of meh but once it gets past the introduction and gets to the vampires and the hunters it improves.

Movies

Green Room: There have been a lot of really good reviews of this flick that takes place at an isolated white supremacist club in the pacific northwest. A low rank punk band gets a gig at the clubhouse, not aware of what they are getting into and becomes embroiled in murder and a desperate fight for survival simply by being in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Starring the late Anton Yelchin, I enjoyed this movie and it kind of makes you wonder how extreme these white supremacists really are.

10 Cloverfield Lane: I guess there are ties between this movie and Cloverfield which I started watching and promptly stopped. A woman is leaving home late one night (not sure why) and ends up in an accident. She awakens chained to a wall in what appears to be a basement. When her captor appears he informs her that the earth is under attack and the air outside the bunker is toxic. John Goodman is great as the captor Howard and the story makes you wondering if he is being truthful or if he is merely a psycho who kidnapped this woman for reasons unknown.

Hidden: Another bunker movie, this one stars Alexander Skarsgard and is written/director by the Duffer Brothers who are also behind Stranger Things. The primary location is in bunker as a family of 3 hide from an unknown and terrifying threat on the surface. They are eventually forced to flee the hideout and the truth of what has happened is revealed and is not what is expected but I rather enjoyed the twist and the general claustrophobic feeling of the flick.

Cell: I swear the only good Stephen King adaptation was The Mist. Cell was a good book, not great by any means but definatly better than this movie version of the story where cell phones drive people into a homicidal rage and then into a zombie like state. This reminded me of 1408 probably because it also starred John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson and the acting felt like the characters were trying to portray King’s vision of written stereotypes in the flesh. This was just not enjoyable.

Batman V. Superman: I didn’t hate it but it certainly wasn’t great. It was too long and hollow in story and I really disliked Lex Luthor. Wonder Woman was kind of cool but after the first 2 hours it needed to end.

Sinister 2: The follow-up to the creepy Sinister movie comes in as, meh. It’s sometime after the horror of the original and Deputy So-and -So is determined to end the nightmare of Bughuul. He comes across Shannyn Sossamon and her twin sons living in a house haunted by Bughuul and his ghost children. Much like other horror movies that impress with their mostly unique stories and then follow-up with a sequel trying to live up to that original splendor, Sinister 2 was OK but doesn’t really capture the thrill of the first and is unnecessary. 

Green Inferno: No, just no. I don’t mind gore, obviously, but there was nothing remotely interesting about this cannibal story.

Books

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: Speaking of disappointment. This tale of librarians with special powers trying to find their “Father” failed for me. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t like it. The opening couple of pages were good but then it’s just magicians who are out of touch with humanity trying to be human. It felt childish even as the darker elements were played with on the surface.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes: I quite enjoyed The Shining Girls by Beukes but Broken Monsters is taking a bit to get into. A detective is on the case of  a dead boy who is murdered and mutilated by having his lower half meddled with the body of a deer. I think it’s the detective’s daughter’s story that is kind of interfering with the twisted and interesting story.

Games

Uncharted 4: I never played the first 3 but I really enjoyed this game that reminded in some ways of Assassin’s Creed.

Dragon Age: Inquisition: Finally, I have gotten into this game after 2 years. So far, so good.

Pokémon Go: Yes, I admit it, I’m playing this. I’ve caught 69 so far.

Listening

The Last Podcast on the Left: Still listening to it, still loving it – Megustalations!

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Sedge Warbler

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