Sunday, June 28, 2015

Jurassic World (live action movie) - at the movie theater

I saw Jurassic World today. This isn't a review so much as it's a bunch of notes, but it'll remind me how I felt about it when it comes out on DVD and the Velociraptors tempt me to buy it.

The basic story: A couple parents whose marriage is on the rocks send their two sons to visit Claire, their aunt, at her workplace, the Jurassic World amusement park. Claire, meanwhile, is trying to get a newer, bigger, and more dangerous genetically modified dinosaur ready for its park debut. Things go awry, the children are in peril, everyone is in peril. Thankfully, an ex-Navy Velociraptor tamer is there to save the day.

Ugh. I already knew from reviews and comments on Twitter that the movie was going to crap on its few female characters, but what I didn't expect was how upset the dino-on-dino violence would make me. The field of dead dinosaurs. The baby triceratops being lifted up in the air by its saddle. The Velociraptors getting smashed.

Up to a certain point, the vast majority of deaths were dino deaths. The one human death that bugged me was during the flying dinosaurs bit. That kind of prolonged and detailed death is normally reserved for characters the audience is supposed to want to see die, but this character barely had a name and certainly hadn't done anything to warrant a terror-filled, multi-minute, multi-dino death.

Other things:
  • So many Jurassic Park references. And, unfortunately, all they did was remind me that I liked that movie more. And also, that opening up another dinosaur park was a really stupid idea.
  • The only movie I remember much about is the first one. Did the other two end in ways that made opening up yet another park filled with dangerous dinosaurs seem like a good and plausible idea? Because I kept getting stuck on that.
  • I know this has been said before, but it was incredibly dumb for Claire to be wearing high heels through the whole movie. Some of the areas they trekked through would have been difficult enough in sneakers or boots. Whenever she ran, I squinted at the screen, trying to figure out if she had briefly switched shoes. If she could run that fast in heels, imagine what she could have done in more appropriate footwear.
  • Something about the way the Velociraptors and T. rex reacted and fought didn't seem quite right.
  • The justifications for using Velociraptors in warfare made no sense to me. That goes double for tiny Indominus rex.
  • A big "no" to the Owen and Claire romance. I was mentally debating how long it would take them, after the events in the movie, to remember that they can't stand each other. I give them no more than a week or two.

Murder in Mystic Cove (e-book) by Daryl Anderson

Murder in Mystic Cove is a mystery published by Carina Press. It has a word count of approximately 90,000.

My read-alikes list isn't very good. I had trouble thinking of books that would fit that I had actually read, so I ended up listing books with similar settings.

Review:

Addie Gorsky used to be a homicide detective in Baltimore but is now Chief of Security at Mystic Cove, a retirement community in Florida. It's not her favorite place to be, but it does mean she's around to help out her dad, who has cancer.

At the start of this book, Addie discovers the body of Mel Dick, one of Mystic Cove's more annoying residents, with gunshot wounds indicating that he was murdered. The police think the most likely suspect is the man's wife, but Addie isn't so sure. Mel had been acting oddly in the months prior to his death, and he certainly wasn't lacking in enemies. Addie decides to conduct an investigation of her own, risking the ire of both her boss and Sheriff Spooner.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Cold Sleep (book) by Narise Konohara, illustrations by Nanao Saikawa, translated by Douglas W. Dlin and Iori

Cold Sleep is m/m romance, I suppose. As you'll see in my review, I'm not really comfortable applying the “romance” label here.

This is published under Digital Manga, Inc.'s Juné imprint and is one of their yaoi novels – not manga.

Review:

Cold Sleep is composed of three stories, two of which are related. “Cold Sleep” is the longest, taking up 166 pages of the volume. “Class Reunion” is 24 pages long, and the related story, “The One I Love,” is 27 pages. I'll be writing about each part separately, with a little bit at the end about the volume as a whole.

“Cold Sleep”

Tohru Takahisa (who'll I'll refer to as Tohru from here on out) wakes up in a hospital with no memory of who he is or how he got there. He is told that he was in a car accident and that Keishi Fujishima (who'll I'll call Fujishima, since that's usually how Tohru thought of him) is his friend. After Tohru gets out of the hospital, Fujishima takes him in. Tohru is grateful, but he also feels awkward about it. What if Fujishima throws him out for some reason? Where would he go? He's been told that he has no family or other friends, and he doesn't even have a job.

That last bit, at least, he can do something about. He finds a part-time job at a convenience store, starts making friends, and becomes more curious about his past. There are indications that Fujishima hasn't been completely honest with him, but, at the same time, Fujishima appears to be a good person.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Moon Embracing the Sun (live action TV series), via Netflix

The Moon Embracing the Sun is a Korean historical-ish (meaning that it has period costumes, but no actual historical events are depicted) romance series with fantasy elements. It's 20 episodes long.

Review:

Here's Netflix's description for the show: “Years after she's assumed dead by the palace, a young noblewoman, now trained as a shaman, returns to court to reclaim her rightful position as queen.” This is not quite accurate. It makes it sound as Yeon Woo returns with the intention of regaining her rightful position. In reality, Yeon Woo does little except exist and be virtuous and good – it's only through the actions of others that she even remembers what her rightful place is, and then regains it.

Let's back up for a moment. Here's my description of the show: Yeon Woo, the 13-year-old daughter of a government official, inadvertently catches the eye of both the Crown Prince (15) and his illegitimate brother, Yang Myung (17). I'm not sure if she ever realized that Yang Myung loved her, but the one she fell in love with was the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince's grandmother plotted Yeon Woo's death and arranged for Bo Kyung, the daughter of one of her supporters, to become queen instead. Yeon Woo was saved by the trickery of Nok Young, a shaman, but lost her memory.

Eight years later, Yeon Woo and the Crown Prince, now the King, meet once more. The King is confused and upset because this girl who calls herself Weol looks so much like his dead first love, and yet she doesn't seem to know him. He works to uncover the truth about Yeon Woo's death, even as various government officials conspire against him.

Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! (manga) by Fumi Yoshinaga, translated by William Flanagan

Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! is a single-volume slice-of-life, food, and restaurant guide manga. The English translation is published by Yen Press.

Review:

Although I generally enjoy Yoshinaga's works, I dragged my feet over getting this one. I didn't think a restaurant guide/slice-of-life manga featuring restaurants I'd never be able to visit would work very well for me. I ended up buying this during a moment of weakness and a nice Right Stuf sale.

The manga starts with a disclaimer: “This story is a work of fiction. Any similarities to actual persons is purely coincidental. But all of the restaurants in this book are real.” It felt a bit odd, considering that the volume's main character is a foodie named F-mi Y-naga, “who makes her living by drawing men engaging in anal sex" (7). Which sounds awfully similar to Fumi Yoshinaga, if you focus primarily on a certain portion of her work.

Anyway, Y-naga spends most of her time working and likes to unwind by eating delicious foods. Her newest assignment involves introducing restaurants to readers, which gives her an excuse to eat out even more. Along the way, we meet various people she knows. Her current roommate is S-hara, a guy who ended up becoming her assistant because he couldn't get any other work. M-waki is a sweets fanatic who was Y-naga's roommate before S-hara. F-yama is Y-naga's foodie friend, and also her secret (sort of) crush. T-i is a guy who loves eating meat. The list goes on – there are a bunch more people who make brief appearances.

The structure of the volume is pretty simple: two or more people (usually Y-naga and someone else) have a reason to go out to eat, and so they do. Everybody talks about how good the food is and tries to describe what it is that makes it so good. Each chapter focuses on a single restaurant and ends with a page of information about that restaurant: its address, phone number, hours, directions, and parking availability. Yoshinaga also notes how much you should budget for and includes a few other comments about things she didn't have a chance to mention in the manga.
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