Jumanji (2017) Review

The best sorts of sequels are those which build upon the preexisting world while adding new twists and story beats. When done well, these are movies which can eclipse the original. The two examples that come to mind for me in particular are Aliens and The Godfather: Part 2.

I got the opportunity to catch an advanced screening of Jumanji last week, though I went in a little leery. I’m not the biggest fan of the first film. I don’t an issue with the performances of Robin Williams and crew so much as I just didn’t care for the tone and feel of the movie. It was almost gothic, and a little on the grim side for what was ostensibly a children’s movie.

As a result, it’s not a high bar for the sequel to surpass the original in this case, but I’m not being hyperbolic here when I say that Welcome to the Jungle is leaps and bounds better than the original!

Advance at your own risk, for spoilers await.

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Scrappy-Doo is . . . awesome? Yes. Yes, he is.

I don’t read many comics these days. The entertainment hour-dollar value ratio just isn’t there, for the most part. Why spend four or five bucks on a thin comic that you can read in under an hour when you can buy a Kindle book or two for the same price, that will provide far more value for the dollar? Yeah, the art is often cool, but it’s often not, as well. (Looking at you, Squirrel Girl.)

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Awesome news!

’nuff said.


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A Place Called Hope is as Much Military Thriller as Zombie Apocalypse Book

HP reviews “A Place Called Hope”

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

Happy belated Thanksgiving.  If you are looking for things to be thankful for, here are a couple:

  • Good books
  • No zombie apocalypse (yet)

If you haven’t read Daniel Humphreys’ A Place Outside the Wild, go read my review of that book.  I can’t really talk about its sequel, A Place Called Hope, without spoiling major surprises in the first book.  And A Place Outside the Wild may be the best zombie apocalypse book I have ever read.  Humphreys incorporates the familiar canon and builds on it, both in service of the meticulously plotted story.  Another highlight is the attention to detail regarding everything from guns to farming—an attention to detail in service of building narrative tension.

My only quibble with both books is that the dialogue—especially the manly banter—is a bit clunky.  (The actual presence of manly banter, on the other hand, is nice to see.)

A Place…

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Justice League is a blast. Rotten Tomatoes is not.

I’ve noticed something as an entertainment consumer here, lately. More often than not I find that I’m directly opposed to the ‘smart takes’ from the critics who we’re supposed to consider experts in the field.

Justice League has been getting trashed in the press, one way or another, since the project was announced. The original director, Zak Snyder, stepped down to a family tragedy, and was replaced by Marvel Cinematic Universe alum Joss Whedon.

After the film previewed, the “Rotten Tomatoes” aggregate score of critic reviews of the film stands, as of this moment, at a rather dismal 41%. One of the (to my mind) positive things the site has done in recent years is to display the audience reaction for contrast, and there’s an interesting disparity at play here.

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A Place Outside the Wild Takes Survival During the Zombie Apocalypse Seriously

Kind words from HP at Every Day Should Be Tuesday . . .

Every Day Should Be Tuesday

Campbellian science fiction, especially hard science fiction, gets a hard time in the quarters I run in.  Epic fantasy is denigrated in favor of slim sword and sorcery paperbacks.  I like a good pulpy adventure as much as the next guy, but I refuse to give up on my original love, epic fantasy, or my more recent discovery, hard science fiction.  Detailed worldbuilding (for the former) and limits of the science (for the latter) can, in the hands of a skilled and careful storyteller, be a wonderful tool for creating and enhancing narrative tension.  Heinlein does this masterfully with the space suit in Have Space Suit—Will Travel.  Why do I mention this in a review about a zombie book?  Because I’ve been saying for years that zombie fiction should focus more on the difficulty of survival itself, turning a zombie yarn into as much survival fiction as horror.  That…

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New release day!


There are some fun stories in this anthology. Check it out. My personal faves are the ones by Jon Del Arroz and Brad Torgerson. Seems unfair to tab my own as my fave.

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