Murder Games By James Patterson – Book Review

 

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This book is the equivalent of rubbing sandpaper into my eyes. whoever his co-author is, sucks and is as bad as Patterson. The amount of cringe this book has on story and dialogue knows no bounds. It’s a good ole Cop vs Serial Killer battle, that had promise but the main character is a professor partnering with a cop and the professor is pretending to be a cop and a cop above all the rules no less. It’s a mess.

Also, I cannot stand when an author is so clearly in love with his own voice. Patterson destroys his narrative and characters because of this. There would be moments where the professor and a student would casually flirt but would feel forced. Meanwhile, the whole class does something stupid like, ‘oooohhhh’ it’s dumb and not needed. Now to the worst part. Nothing pulls me out of a book more than when the characters speak or behave in such unnatural ways that it doesn’t feel human. There is some dialogue that’s so bad it’s hilarious. For instance when the serial killer in the first chapter explains his ways of killing he simply says in the first person, ‘Me? I like to mix things up.” The only explanation is that the author couldn’t figure out how humans work. Or maybe Patterson is a serial killer.

Now the chapters, each chapter is between 2-5 pages. Some chapters end in the middle of dialogue and pick up literally in the next chapter/page. It’s dumb and makes no sense and it hurts my head.
Any writer who makes over $70 million a year must be doing something right, and James Patterson is obviously doing something right. Because he’s more of a marketing genius than a writing one. I won’t be reading another James Patterson book anytime soon. There are so many books out there and so little time. I honestly didn’t expect I made it half way through Murder games sober. If I had to read this again I would need a suitcase full of drugs like in ‘Fear and loathing’ and have all the drugs injected into my vein from those morphine bags.

 

1/10

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Death: The Deluxe Edition (Death of the Endless #1-2) by Neil Gaiman – Book Review

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One day Gaiman smashed into my bedroom like the incredible hulk and yelled at me to read this. Of course, I had to oblige since a crazed British man in a black trench coat busted into my room. “excuse me Mr. Gaiman” I said. “You do know this Sandman book is all about death right?” Gaiman proceeded to power bomb me through my own bed before he flew off into the stars. In my confused daze on my destroyed bed, I realized that Gaiman was right. This book is just as amazing as the original series.  This book is essentially a series of short stories about the character Death. Each story has a unique feel to it and at times I feel like the stories were written by a different author. But then I remember that it’s Gaiman and he’s made of magic. Right, when I think I’m getting bored with a story Gaiman comes back into my room and sucker punches me. Damn you, Gaiman, Damn you and your glorious writing.

10/10

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‘Samurai Jack – XCIV’ TV review

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Damn am I’m glad Samurai Jack is back. The episodes this season have gotten better and better. Not to mention the transition from a kids show to an adult one. But I digress ‘XCIV’ is the third episode of the fifth season and it exceeded all expectations and took Jack through uncharted moral territory. Not only that but this episode delivered one of the most intense fight sequences in not only animated television but on TV as a whole.

(SPOILERS)

Last episode became a game-changer when Jack took his first human life. Throughout this episode it goes into a journey of Jack’s mental well being and shows a heavy burden to bear for jack. Warped versions of his consciousness comes to chastise him. His consciousness turns into a talking nightmare and bares all of his doubts onto him tempting him to end his life. (Yeah definitely not the same show I watched when I was a kid). Though the dialogue sort of dragged, it hardly mattered when the show demonstrated the idea to bring fourth this kind of trauma on a cartoon with mature themes.

At one point you see Jack covered from head to toe in blood and it comes off very terrifying yet artistic. Around this time a wolf appears from a previous episode and stays with Jack in a cave. What follows is a bond forged between them and a spectacular display of characterization with no words of dialogue. It gets even better with the symbolism as it becomes noticeable that the wolf and Jack are basically two ancient figures in a new world filled with machines and aliens. It has a very kindred spirit atmosphere and when these two interact it comes off naturally and beautiful.

Eventually Jack finally overcomes his doubts with a rare flashback of his childhood that showed his father fighting and killing men and possibly showing Jack’s first encounter with fighting and death. Jack’s father eventually gives him advice that echoed throughout the episode, “The decisions you make and the actions that follow are a reflection of who you are”. With these words the Jack we know from the previous series returns in full form and gives the viewer an incredible shot of Jack coming to terms with himself.

The later segments of the episode revolved around the female assassins aka “daughters of Aku” who are hunting Jack down in order to gain some recognition from Aku. In this episode we finally get to see how warped and naive the assassins are. They come across a deer couple that show their affection by brushing their noses. When the daughters see this they freak out and don’t know how to react. Then it clicks to the viewer. They’ve never seen wildlife, affection or any positive trait in life. All they know is pain and death. So when Jack comes to offer them a chance to walk away echoing his fathers words. They yell at him to die and shut up. It’s tragic in a way, because even though their merciless killers their still children who don’t know any better.

What follow suit is one of the greatest fight scenes in TV. Jack shows no mercy from then on, and the viewer witness’s probably the most artistic killings. Then a chase through a snowstorm that creates a very minimal and stunning canvas on the screen while Jack dispatches the assassins one by one luring them into a false sense of security. I’ve spoiled enough already and I feel that I can’t spoil this. Because what happens from the climax to the ending  is beyond awesome.

Everything about this episode is perfect. The episode is intense, fascinating, and made a great continuation on what we’ve seen so far. The visuals were astonishing – every scene was essentially a artistic masterpiece. With the  contrasts, shadows and camera angles flowing smoothly across the scene along with incredible fight scenes this episode made be one of, if not the best Samurai Jack episode.

You truly get pulled into this episode and lose track of time. This episode shows what Samurai Jack is about and why it has a cult following!

10/10

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‘Rick and Morty: Season 3 Episode 1, The Rickshank Rickdemption.’ TV Review

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Wow, like everyone else I did not see this coming. A season premiere at the tail end of April Fools. Also it kept going about 10 times in a row. Over placing other shows like Samurai Jack and Dragon Ball Super. No lie I was upset, yet at the same time I got new Rick and Morty so it sort of balanced itself out. Now there will be some spoilers later on in the review so if you haven’t seen it yet avoid a paragraph that has a bunch of words in caps.

So recap, on earth the galactic federation has taken over the world, Jerry has been promoted five times even though he doesn’t know what his job is, Morty and Summer try to rescue Rick while Rick is being interrogate by the federation and gives a goofy backstory on his life and a strange sketch on McDonald’s soy sauce that was used to endorse the movie Mulan.

(SPOILERS) so right off the bat things get crazy. Summer digs up a dead Rick from their backyard which was a nice callback to seasons’ past and a dark reminder of life’s pointlessness when multiple dimensions are involved. The duo find the portal gun and Morty takes us back to Cronenberg world to show Summer the devastation Rick has caused. Here, they find themselves in trouble once more, as Morty’s true family eat Cronenburgers. Luckily, Ricks from the Citadel of Ricks are on hand to save the day, sort of. From here on out everything turns into a fiasco with hilarious results. The whole episode ran smoothly with the plot and the comedy kept me roaring every few seconds. Right away I knew this was a fantastic episode.

The only flaw with the premiere is that it basically pulls a reset on the series. (SPOILER ALERT; DON’T READ THE REST OF THE PARAGRAPH IF YOU WANT THIS EPISODE TO BE RUINED) Rick is back, the council of ricks are destroyed and the Galactic Federation is no longer in control, so we’re all set to start over with weekly, self-contained, kooky sci-fi adventures. That’s sort of a let down because the last season had a build up to the finale and to see it all concluded in one episode felt anti-climatic. Still, at the same time, Jerry and Beth getting divorced (or at least taking the divorce theme more seriously) is a nice-fresh development that’s been a long time coming and the tag that brings Tammy and Birdperson or should I say “Phoenix Person” back implies there may be echoes of Rick and Morty’s past showing up to challenge their future.

“The Rickshank Redemption” essentially redeemed the idea of April Fool’s Day. This episode came out of the blue, and picked up right where the Season 2 finale left off. It kept the level of humor and quality high even as it repeatedly defied everyone’s predictions about where the story was heading towards. Like most Rick and Morty episodes, this one delivered plenty of weird, goofy humor along with the grim portrait of a mad scientist who hates everyone including himself.

Rick said it best at the end of the episode, “Nine more seasons, Morty!”

 

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9/10

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‘John Wick 2’ – Movie Review

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If I could quote Rick Flair I would say, “WHOOOOOO” this film is a wild ride. The movie starts off right after the first one and throws you back into the action immediately. The story goes over a member of the underworld who made a blood pact with John Wick and in order for Wick to finally be out of the life he would have to do one final task for this guy. What happens after that is sheer entertainment for the next two hours.

There are a lot of good fight scenes that are very well choreographed mixed in with some comedic elements and witty dialogue. Several action scenes had me laughing out loud by the sheer silliness of the situation with a clever blend of humor and fighting. The movie also does a good job of expanding its world building. Though their may be some cheesy moments with setting. The world still leaves a sense of mystery to it and certain areas of the setting stayed relatively grounded as the first one.

Then theirs Keanu Reeves who is as bad ass as he was in the first film. There were moments where he reminded me of Clint Eastwood with the squint eyes and grim expressions. He felt like a caged animal ready to strike and whenever any action scenes happened Keanu went loose. The fighting choreograph flowed with the acting and even out did the first film.

Now this film isn’t perfect either. I mentioned earlier that the world building felt a bit cheesy at times. I won’t give it away but when you see certain characters doing certain actions in the movie you’ll roll your eyes. That and it felt like everyone in NYC is an assassin. Though most of the dialogue and scenes hold up. There are certain moments where the dialogue feels cliche same with a few paces in the story. Finally the main villian has zero charisma, you don’t feel the seething revenge motive like you did with the first movie.

Though it may not be as good as the first movie, Chapter 2 is still a fantastic film. It recaptures the brilliance of its predecessor, and further explores its unique world, while still delivering on the explosive action and incredible stunts.

8/10

 

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Daredevil/Punisher: Seventh Circle- Comic Review

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This comic felt like I brushed my eyes with sandpaper. Here’s the whole plot, Daredevil is sending a very bad man to Texas to stand trial. Why Texas? Because Texas has the death penalty. Ok why? because this guy needs to die… okay.  So when the Punisher shows up to shoot this dude with a ginormous gun this causes problems? whatever and this is the entire plot. I’m not joking that is the whole premise to this story. It’s as bad as it is generic. Even the villain isn’t memorable.

The art is a waste too. Comic fans could tell that this artist tried to do art from previous daredevil stories. Dark, and crisp except the art in this is just bad. Some of the postures of the characters look like their drunk or having a seizure. Some of the facial expressions had me laughing out loud in between the untold rage I was building up through this book.

Seventh Circle, is the perfect name for this book because it is a hellish read. Zero story, with nothing to engage the reader, no decent character moments, no great scenes, just forgettable action from the first page to the last.

1/10

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He’s driving a van you moron!

 

 

 

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All-New Wolverine, Volume 1 – Comic Review

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Having a new or different character take up the mantle of an original character is a real problem I have with comics. It’s up there with ‘Super Mega Event Bring All The Characters Together!” crap that annoys me. Everyone knows the original character will come back in a few years. What bugs me more too is that the replace a male role character to a female. It’s not that I’m sexist but it’s such a lazy cop out and  comes off as trying to hard to get female readers. Meanwhile, you got the other end of the spectrum where guys hate a female lead because she’s a woman. 21084792Then the internet blows up with all kinds of angry fans, arguing over nothing, everyone fights about this stupid nonsense, and the comic book community looks like a bunch of morons. It’s a wonder why everyone outside the medium makes fun of us. Whatever that’s a topic for another time.

Still outside of all the flaws that could come with this series, All-New Wolverine works and for several reasons. First, Laura/x-23 is a fantastic character. Like Barbara/Batgirl she has a distinct personality that makes her stand out compared to other super heroes. She’s only been in comics for about ten years which is sort of new compared to other characters. The second is the writer himself Tom Taylor. This guy could write about turtles walking and I’ll have fun. His take on Laura is fantastic and really adds layers to an already great character. The art is okay, nothing cutting edge but it is crisp and colorful.

The real flaw I guess is the recycled plot and characters. Yes there are clones, yes human experimentation is bad. We get it, its been done in every wolverine book since wolverine was created. It’ll come off feeling regurgitated to pickier readers and marvel fans will be annoyed.

Still I thought it was a fun volume. Even though I loathe the idea of these spin-off things. In the end, this book was better then I expected.

7/10

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Syd ‘Fin’ – Album Review

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Born Sydney Bennett From Los Angeles, the 24 year old has been a part of a loose kinship of musicians, like Frank Ocean and her brother Taco, who rode into the public eye with Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future. She went on to become a part of the group ‘The Internet’ releasing three albums. Their 2015 release Ego Death provided a breakthrough for the band, and gained them a Grammy nomination. Now Syd is going out on her own path that has caused both buzz and excitement in the musical community.  The release is finally here and Fin is proof that Syd is a talented artist.

Syd brings love and heartbreak, stress and endearment to this album. It plays on various stages on relationships through the course of the album.There is a clear thread that runs through these tracks they’re quiet, yet subtly great with every listen. There is nothing in this album is too much of a drastic departure from Syd’s previous work as lead singer of The Internet. It feels more like a subtle continuation.

The key to Fin’s easy balance is Syd’s voice. Her wispy smooth voice has yielded subtle emotional resonance, The single ‘Body’ is Syd at her finest. she displayed restraint in producing the majority of the track with only an eerily rumbling bass line and a whisper while her soft vocals plays out some sexual tropes of R&B. ‘Body’ attains a perfect mix of the trap low-end with a hint of soul.

This album however has some unfortunate flaws. A minor one is the repetition on a few tracks. Some songs such as ‘smile more’ get very repetitious where she keeps singing, “You can leave ’em on” over and over. It becomes stale after a while. It’s not just her voice that is stale either some of the production feels like its on repeat as well. It made me wish that Bennett delivered a few tracks with more range, to break away a bit of the usual tempo. With the lack of flow in some of the tracks, it leaves most of Fin hitting a moderate to slow pace. It’s not a bad thing, but not always exciting either.

Fin is a record of intimacy and reliance. A wonderful combination that Syd has pulled off well. It speaks from the heart and brings up personal problems such as anxiety. This theme feels like she invites us to share these moments it comes off rather touching and special. Syd has proven that she can stand out on her own and I look forward in her future works. Submerse yourself and enjoy it.

7/10

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‘Kill or be Killed’ – Comicbook review

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Wow. this is Brubaker’s best book yet. Along with his go to collaborative partner Sean Phillips, these two made another great book.

The synopsis is about a 28 year old grad student named Dylan. He decides to commit suicide over several frustrations in his life. Mainly over a girl as well. Except, at the last moment, a demon saves his life! There’s a price to his second chance though and Dylan must kill someone who deserves to die every month otherwise the demon will take his life. Hence the title.

The whole idea of a masked lunatic shooting up bad guys in random areas around NYC is exciting, brutal and instantly grabs you.The setup is intriguing too – is the demon real or is Dylan just crazy and created the demon as an excuse to act out his darkest desires? A little bit of fight club thrown into the mix which is neat and Brubaker deliverers it very cleverly. He drops subtle hints throughout to make either explanation viable which keeps you guessing.

Both these guys improved on their craft. Well sort of, Phillips made a flaw in this volume that he still hasn’t throughout his career. Facial expressions. 9/10’s of the time the art on the characters are incredible. Yet once every three issues a character makes a ‘derp’ face which comes off hilarious and kills the vibe of the story. He’s been doing this since hellblazer and granted its a small complaint its something I wished he improved on. Outside of that minor complaint, this book is a real gem and is a must read for noir and comic fans.

9/10

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Sampha – ‘Process’ Album Review

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Sampha Sisay is a newcomer in the music world that has been bringing a lot of buzz with him. After singing with Solange, Kanye, Drake, and Frank, Sampha releases his debut LP ‘Process’. Numerous fans and critics have been waiting for this album for a few years. Well the wait is finally over and Sampha delivered something really special.

The production is a beast within itself. Some of the production felt heavy while other songs were soft and spacey. Sampha showed how balanced he can be with his work. While the atmosphere of these songs are unique, the vast majority of  the album overall is poignant and powerful. Highlights include ‘Plastic 100°C’, ‘(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano’, and ‘Timmy’s Prayer’. Sampha’s voice is rich with emotion, and he is often accompanied by wonderful background instruments that support the gravity of the album.

A flaw that I think some people will make note of it is that Sampha sounds very similar to James Blake. Granted It’s a similarity only in the tone. And when you push past the tone you can tell that their styles are vastly different. Still the tone could throw some people off this record which would be upsetting if it did because this album is very good. Besides that, the only other issue I had with this album is the ‘freshman album’ flaw. Compared to some of his earlier singles, a few of these songs don’t feel as bold or as inventive compared to other tracks in his previous works. But this is still a small law to the overall project.

 ‘Process’ is a meditative work, where he processes grief along with a road towards self-discovery. Sampha throws a unique spin on electronic and R&B music. With meaningful songwriting and sophisticated production, Sampha delivers One of the best debut albums to come out since FKA Twigs LP1. A must listen to music fans.

 

8/10

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