Comfort Food Shows

The book I’m reading is particularly long and I’m not in the mood for any movies (depression is a bitch), so I thought I’d share some of my ‘comfort food’ shows—some of which are actually about food.

1—Halloween Cooking Competition Shows

Halloween Baking Championship, Haunted Gingerbread Showdown, and Halloween Wars all air on Food Network and all are competition shows. In Halloween Baking Championship, individual bakers compete and one gets eliminated each week until there are only three left in the final episode. In Haunted Gingerbread Showdown, the contestants are in teams of a primary baker and their assistant, and they are allowed to bake their pieces ahead of time in their own kitchens, then ship the pieces to the studio where they must assemble their pieces. Halloween Wars is my favorite, where teams of three—a pumpkin carver, a sugar artist, and a cake artist—create creepy scenes utilizing all three of their mediums together. Continue reading “Comfort Food Shows”

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Soulless—Illustrated Hardcover Edition—Squee!

Soulless by Gail Carriger, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall book cover
Soulless by Gail Carriger, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall

Soulless, by Gail Carriger and this version illustrated by Jensine Eckwall, is titled after the preternatural Miss Alexia Tarabotti, whose touch renders supernatural vampires and werewolves mortal. The book, told in omniscient point of view, mainly follows Alexia as she flirts with an alpha werewolf, visits with a rove vampire, and gets kidnapped by mad scientists.

I know I’ve talked about the Parasol Protectorate series before, but not this individual book, and the issue of the illustrated hardback seemed the perfect time for a reread and a review.

1—The Illustrations

The illustrations in Soulless were charming. Done in a pen-and-ink style, they are intricately detailed. Scattered throughout the book, there are ten full-page illustrations that include a werewolf in wolf form carrying a coat, a walk through the park with dirigible floating overhead, Lord Akeldama holding his tuning fork-anti-eavesdropping device, and of course the first scene in the book with Alexia hitting a vampire with her parasol. There are other key moments illustrated, but I won’t tell about them since that would give some important plot points away. Continue reading “Soulless—Illustrated Hardcover Edition—Squee!”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (movie)—Improbable Fun

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie poster
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie is a science fiction comedy that follows Englishman Arthur Dent and alien Ford Prefect after the Earth has been destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The movie is punctuated with humorous asides from the titular Hitchhiker’s Guide, which Ford writes for.

1—Beginning Again After the End of the World

Arthur wakes up to find bulldozers outside his house. Shortly thereafter, the Earth is surrounded by a Vogon Constructor Fleet and destroyed. But before that destruction, Ford and Arther hitch a ride on one of the spaceships—and shortly after that, they’re captured and subjected to Vogon poetry. After then getting tossed out of an airlock, Ford and Arthur are improbably rescued by Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy who has stolen a ship with an improbability drive and kidnapped himself, and Trillian, a girl Arthur met once at a costume party. The improbable adventures continue from there. Continue reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (movie)—Improbable Fun”

Mamma Mia!—Strange and Silly

Mamma Mia! movie poster
Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is a musical romantic comedy utilizing the songs of ABBA. It follows Sophie as she tries to discover which of three men is her father so that one of them can give her away at her wedding.

1—The Plot

The plot is a little convoluted. After finding her mother’s diary from the summer during which she was conceived, Sophie invites all her potential fathers—Sam, Harry, and Bill—to her wedding without informing her mother Donna. When the men coincidentally arrive at Kalokairi together, Sophie must explain to them that they weren’t in fact invited by Donna, and also can’t tell her that Sophie invited them to the island. Donna’s two best friends also arrive on the island. From there…it gets hard to explain. There are further misunderstandings and secrets kept, and love affairs, and it’s all set to music. Continue reading “Mamma Mia!—Strange and Silly”

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter—Secret Societies, Murder, and Tea

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss book cover
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss, follows the meeting and adventures of the daughters and ’daughters’ of mad scientists in 1890s London. Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, along with the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, investigate the murders of young women in White Chapel and their connection to the sinister Societe des Alchimistes.

1—Notes and Interruptions

The book is in epistolary format, ‘written’ by Catherine Moreau with commentary by the other girls. There’s an ‘Author’s Note’ at the end of chapter one, where Catherine explains the notes and why she’s kept them in the book—partly to help illustrate the characters of the various young women about whom she is writing and partly so you can see what she’s had to put up with while writing it. It’s very meta, but very entertaining. Continue reading “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter—Secret Societies, Murder, and Tea”

The Emperor’s New Groove—Ridiculous Nonsense in the Best Way

The Emperor's New Groove movie poster
The Emperor’s New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove is a Disney Movie that follows the Emperor Kuzco after he’s cursed and becomes a llama. He then has to rely on the peasant Pacha whose home he’d planned on destroying. It’s a buddy comedy that makes the most of using humor to get away with any and everything.

1—The Nonsense

We start the movie off with Emperor Kuzco narrating how his life got so off-track. He occasionally stops the story to do things like scribble over the top of it. Also, we get one instance of story-Kuzco arguing with narrator-Kuzco, with is very meta. There are plenty of anachronisms, like an electric floor buffer, and animals that don’t belong in a jungle, like a squirrel. During the final chase scene, Yzma and Kronk get taken out by a very localized lightning storm, only to reappear at Yzma’s secret lab and not know themselves how they got there. But oh well, on with the assassination attempt! The visual gags and use of “cartoon” physics just works in this movie. Continue reading “The Emperor’s New Groove—Ridiculous Nonsense in the Best Way”

Van Helsing—Monster Mash-Up

Van Helsing movie poster
Van Helsing

Van Helsing, directed by Stephen Sommers, follows the titular character as he fights Dracula, the Wolf-Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster. The horror movie is both tribute and homage to the classic Universal Horror movies, as well as the original books.

1—Born Dead

The plot is as follows—Dracula—played by Richard Roxburgh—commissioned Dr. Frankenstein to create a creature to power a machine that would bring to life the children of Dracula and his brides. They’re nasty little monsters birthed by the hundreds and would destroy all human life. Enter Van Helsing—played by Hugh Jackman—sent by the Vatican to save the souls of the Valerious family. Their ancestor swore they’d not enter heaven until Dracula was killed, and there are only two members of the family left. There’s also a mysterious link between the amnesiac Van Helsing and Dracula. And oh yes, they have to figure out how to finally kill Dracula. Continue reading “Van Helsing—Monster Mash-Up”

Mary and the Witch’s Flower—Flights of Fancy

Mary and the Witch's Flower movie poster
Mary and the Witch’s Flower

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is an animated children’s fantasy film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc. It follows Mary Smith as she finds the rare fly-by-night flower, also known as the witch’s flower, which gives her temporary magical powers.

1—The Start of an Adventure

We start off with a building engulfed in flames and a young woman running, and then flying on a broomstick, away. She crashes and the magic seeds she’s carrying go flying off into the woods. Fast forward some years later, and we come to Mary, a bored little girl who’s moved in with her great aunt. She’s waiting for for her parents to move out there as well and for school to start so other kids will be in the village for her to play with. A pair of cats lead her to a mysterious flower, which she picks and brings home. Later, one of the cats leads her to a broom stuck in the undergrowth. That same cat then gives her a bud from the flower and Mary accidentally squashes it, getting sticky stuff all over her hands and the broom handle. Strange marks appear on Mary’s palms, and the broomstick takes off with Mary and the cat, taking them through the clouds to Endor College for Witches, where the first rule is “trespassers will be transformed.” Continue reading “Mary and the Witch’s Flower—Flights of Fancy”

Black Cat Crossing—Bad Luck For A Killer

Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch book cover
Black Cat Crossing by Kay Finch

Black Cat Crossing, by Kay Finch, is a cozy mystery that is told from the first-person perspective of would-be author Sabrina Tate as she tries to clear her aunt’s name of murder, as well as save a so-called “bad luck cat” from her aunt’s handyman.

1—Death on the River

When Bobby Joe Flowers comes back to town claiming to be Aunt Rowe’s half sister—and entitled to half of everything she inherited, including her rental cottage business—he shortly thereafter gets himself killed. Aunt Rowe is the prime suspect and Sabrina isn’t about to let her aunt go to jail, so she starts investigating on her own. There’s no shortage of suspects but a dearth of clues. Was it one of the many women Bobby Joe scammed, pretending to love them when he only wanted their money? Or was it the local Game Warden, who’s mother was Bobby Joe’s latest broken-hearted victim? And is there a connection between Bobby Joe’s death and the cold case of a young woman killed on the very same river behind Sabrina’s cottage? Continue reading “Black Cat Crossing—Bad Luck For A Killer”

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch graphic novel book cover
The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch

The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is a graphic novel by Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, and Carey Pietsch, based on the Dungeons & Dragons podcast The Adventure Zone by the McElroy boys (which I also recommend) and drawn by Carey Pietsch. It follows Magnus, Merle, and Taako on what seems to be a standard boy guarding gig but turns into a disaster of epic proportions.

1—Meet the Boys

Magnus Burnsides is a human fighter with proficiencies in, well, almost everything. Taako is an elf wizard who used to have his own cooking show. Merle Highchurch is a dwarf cleric spreading the good word of Pan with an Extreme Teen Bible. And of course Griffin, their D. M. (Dungeon Master) who pops in to make comments and chat with his players. It’s kind of meta but you soon get used to the conceit and just go with it. It’s all in fun. Continue reading “The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins—A Great Translation”