Coraline (the movie)—Spellbinding

Coraline movie poster

Coraline (yes, that’s spelled correctly) is the stop motion animated tale of a young girl who moves into the Pink Palace Apartments and finds a door to a magical world that’s more sinister than it first appears. Based on a book of the same name, by Neil Gaiman, it is one seriously creepy movie.

1—Wondrous

The “wonders” the Other Mother creates for Coraline are suitably spectacular, seeing as in-story there were created to be spectacles. Spink and Forcible’s musical and high-diving act with its scottie dog audience; Mr. Bobinsky’s Jumping Mouse Circus in the attic; and of course, the garden. Oh my, the garden. And of course all these wonders turn to horror in their time. Continue reading “Coraline (the movie)—Spellbinding”

Down Among the Sticks and Bones—Lyrical and Even Darker

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire book cover
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire, is a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, telling the story of Jack and Jill, how they came to the Moors and what happened to them once there.

1—Realistic Evils

Two of the most evil people in the book are Jack and Jill’s parents, who don’t love their daughters, only the desires they enforce upon them. So concerned with appearances and their own dreams of what their children should be that there’s no room for Jacqueline and Jillian to be themselves. This twists them so much that the Moors opens a doorway for the twins and invites them in. Continue reading “Down Among the Sticks and Bones—Lyrical and Even Darker”

Inside Out—Growing in Emotional Complexity

Inside Out movie poster
Inside Out

Inside out is a computer animated kid’s movie about the lives of the primary emotions living inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl named Riley as she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.

1—Things Go Wrong

Things start going wrong when Sadness starts inadvertently effecting emotions, causing them to turn from happy to sad. This culminates in a sad core memory forming and Joy freaking out and taking it out of the system. The fight over this in turn causes all the core memories to get lost into longterm memory, along with Joy and Sadness. Continue reading “Inside Out—Growing in Emotional Complexity”

Black Panther—Powerhouse Movie

Black Panther movie poster

Black Panther is a super hero film that follows T’Challa as he becomes king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced but severely secretive nation, and fights for his throne and with himself over what it means to be king.

1—Beautiful

Every frame of Black Panther is gorgeous, from the set designs to the costumes, to the special effects. And the fight scenes, can’t forget the fight scenes. The architecture of Wakanda in particular is stunning—you don’t see Afrofuturism much in Hollywood films. The underground scenes are nice too. But I think my favorite thing is all the shades of red of the Dora Milaje. The music is just perfect too. Continue reading “Black Panther—Powerhouse Movie”

The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale

The Shape of Water movie poster

The Shape of Water is the story of Elisa, a mute woman who works as a cleaning woman in a top secret facility. One day they bring a fish monster into the lab, and Elisa falls in love. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.

Warning: full frontal nudity, female.

1—Once Upon A Time

Where to start talking about The Shape of Water? It’s a slow simmer, rather than an action-packed romp, but the pacing is just perfect for what it is. I was never bored. The imagery is beautiful, starting with an underwater apartment scene. We meet Elisa and get to know her routine—wake up, masturbate, cook eggs, go to work. And then her routine is disrupted by a scream and a man coming out of a room bleeding from the stumps of his fingers. Continue reading “The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale”

Every Heart A Doorway—Dark and Lyrical

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire book cover
Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire is the tale of Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children—that is, children who went through a magical door to another world, and then ended up coming back. The children no longer belong to the world they were born into, their parents think they’re crazy, and so they come to Eleanore’s school. Except someone has started murdering them.

1—Every Story Has to Start Somewhere

And this story starts with Nancy arriving at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children. Nancy went to an underworld, The Halls of the Dead, where she learned to be slow and still. She’s desperately trying to hold onto her stillness in this world so fast and bright. Every child at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children is trying to hold onto the survival skills they learned in the world they went to, hoping that they’ll find their door again and get to go home. Though Nancy’s roommate Sumi says, hope is a bad word. Continue reading “Every Heart A Doorway—Dark and Lyrical”

The Resurrection Game—Family is Bloody Business

The Resurrection Game by Michelle Belanger book cover
The Resurrection Game by Michelle Belanger

The Resurrection Game, by Michelle Belanger, is the third Shadowside novel. An urban Fantasy told in first person perspective, it follows Zack Westland—the mortal name of the Anakim angel Zaquiel—as he battles one of his own brothers bent on revenge for an act Zack doesn’t remember committing.

1—Memory Troubles

Zack’s lack of memory is still getting him in trouble. He’s apparently done something to one of his Anakim brothers named Tashiel that’s set Zuriel on his hellbent quest for vengeance. Zuriel has sworn to destroy Zack’s life, to kill all those close to him. It starts with a woman named Marjory, a woman very important to Zack if for no other reason than she holds some of the keys to his past. Now Zack is looking for Marjory’s daughter and hoping he finds her before Zuriel does. Continue reading “The Resurrection Game—Family is Bloody Business”

Star Wars: The Last Jedi—I’m Conflicted

Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie poster
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi continues the adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe as they battle the First Order for the fate of the universe. Things don’t go so well this time.

1—Thrilling

The fights, both between people and between starships, are great. They all have that sense of awe and danger. Partly this is the choreography and effects, but it’s also that each fight has consequences. People die and fates change. Continue reading “Star Wars: The Last Jedi—I’m Conflicted”

American Gods Season One—Intense

American Gods
American Gods

Based on the book by Neil Gaiman, the tv series American Gods follows Shadow Moon after the death of his wife and hiring by the mysterious Mr. Wednesday. As Shadow and Wednesday cross the American landscape meeting with old gods from across the world and preparing for war with the new gods, the narrative intercuts with other stories, including that of Shadow’s undead wife.

Warning: full frontal nudity, both male and female.

1—Spectacular

American Gods is a beautiful show. Every scene bursts with color and atmosphere. Even the dark scenes are rich in hue. Every piece seems well chosen to convey the story being told at that particular moment. The effects are gorgeous, but more than that the symbolism is really well-chosen. Some of the imagery is of a giant bison with flaming eyes, dandelion fluff that goes up into the clouds and turns into snow, and a noose made out of a spinal column. American Gods does spectacle well. Continue reading “American Gods Season One—Intense”

Grave Witch—Intriguing

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price book cover
Grave Witch by Kalayna Price

Grave Witch by Kalayna Price is an urban fantasy told from the first person perspective. It follows Alex Craft, a grave witch—that is, a witch who works with the dead, shades, ghosts, souls, corpses—as she tries to find a serial killer who carves strange glyphs into their victims’s skins.

1—Faery Tale

The world changed when the Fae came out of the closet and revealed themselves to humans—literally changed, as in pockets of reality opened up new land. In one of these new places is Nekros City, the city where Alex lives. There are all kinds of Fae, the differences of which aren’t important in this book but I suspect will be in later books in the series. Alex ends up partnering with one from the FIB—Fae Investigation Bureau—when it turns out the glyphs the killer is using are Fae. Continue reading “Grave Witch—Intriguing”