Recommended #17

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Searching (movie): A man’s daughter goes missing. As he searches her online history, he learns that he might not have known her as well as he thought.

I found seeing the movie through the perspective of a computer screen unique—although a little like those “home video” movies. I also enjoyed how the confrontation with perpetrator at the end was closer to how it would happen in real life.

The Soulkeepers (book one of “The Soulkeepers” series) by G.P. Ching: A teen’s mother goes missing so he has to leave his home and live with an uncle he never knew he had. Over time, the teen learns there is more to his family and himself than he thought.

The story was a good read. I had trouble putting it down until the end. Near the end, I started to feel like “how much longer.” The book is very religious with the main character struggling to accept God and his role in protecting the world from fallen angels. I did like that the ending seemed like an ending. The ending answered all the questions and felt like the adventure was over but still left it open to another tale.

Recommended #16

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Wattpad Stories

Fugitive by 8lydia14m99

Red Petals by music_ally

YouTube Videos

Dad Vs The Internet by It’s Alex Clark

PUSHEEN’S VALENTINE #pusheensvalentine by Jess the Dragoon

Comics

The Adventures of the Super Sons #7 (DC Comics)

Movies

Tolkien Trailer #1-(2019) J.R.R. Tolkien Biopic posted by IGN

SHAZAM!-Aquaman Sneak Peak by DC

Books

Brother’s Keeper: A Surreal Short Horror Story by Richard Denoncourt

Contract Killer (The Short and Scary Series) by Cathy Pace Matthews

The Hearts in Ralph

Spoiler warning!

A couple days ago, I went to Ralph Breaks the Internet. It was a pretty enjoyable movie. I liked the plot and the after credit scene was funny. They even managed to sneak in a Stan Lee cameo. Also the Big Boss battle at the end was awesome; they did a great job animating the character. (And who wouldn’t want to be in a book club with Sonic the Hedgehog?!)

What got my attention the most was the idea of the hearts equaling money. I know that hearts (aka likes or subscribers) can help with getting money, by boosting your spot in the algorithm, but it is mostly the people watching the ads placed before or throughout the video (or at least watching 30 seconds of the ad). I thought how nice would it be if that was true: instead of getting paid when someone is actually nice enough to sit through an ad, you got paid each time someone liked your video. I know a lot of bloggers, vloggers, and YouTubers who’d love that system.

It is getting closer to that system in the form of crowdfunding, doing a pay-for subscription, or donations, but it still requires the person to pay. It’d be so weird to just click the like button and the person gets money. In the movie, you don’t see people paying or see them sitting through an ad–they just hand over their heart (wow, that got creepy there for a moment).

Can you image how much more people would be saying, “click that like button, subscribe, and hit the notification button.”

I’m sure the money was actually coming from the advertising. (It had to come from somewhere.) The hearts for money thing was probably an easier way to explain the system–it was a family movie and they didn’t have 40 minutes to explain economics. Also, animating a little heart is easier and more visually interesting than showing people sitting around watching commercials.

Maybe there was some kind of message in making the likes be hearts. The people were tossing their hearts at the screen and getting them sucked up into a machine so that the video creator could make money. We just toss our trust or love at some random Internet person that we only know what they choose to tell us.

Or it could have been that Disney didn’t want to/couldn’t use the like button icon.

I should end this with some kind of bee pun, but I won’t. (If you saw the movie, you’d understand.)

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Joe Rover ebooks are available at many online retailers.

Recommended No. 1

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  • Incredibles 2: Action-comedy movie for the whole family. 4.5/5
  • The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit: A 10-year-old boy plays through his Saturday morning. You get to chose what he does. Free demo for the new Life Is Strange series. 4.7/5
  • Minecraft Summer Camp series: New series by SystemZee, Netty Plays, and others on YouTube. Each team gathers equipment needed to battle the Wither. Interesting so far, but has only had one episode.
  • The Verdant Mark by dracollavenore: A lower-class girl wishes to be a member of the upper-class and she gets her wish–by being transformed into a boy. Not a complete story yet, but still 4.6/5

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A Quiet Review

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I decided to see what all the hype was about and check out A Quiet Place, a movie about a family trying to survive a world where creatures hunt by sound.

I enjoyed the fact that you actually saw the monsters. They weren’t these blurry objects that moved around and you might catch a glimpse of an arm. Or all you ever “saw” of the creatures were thumps and hissing noises.

The creatures looked pretty awesome. They definitely looked like something out of a nightmare. My problem with them was they had the typical long, thin, blade-like arms and legs that seem to be trending in the monster world. They also had the retractable/opening face and the teeth looked they were too big for their mouth. But I loved how they moved like wild animals; and when they moved slowly in order to sneak or hunt, it just added to the creep-factor.

img_2674Even though there were many stereotypical horror movie moments, such as the monster in the room with the baby, there is one thing that made this movie stand out: the people weren’t complete idiots. They still did stupid things, but reasonably stupid given the situation, for the most part (minus the mother not taking care of the exposed nail and the daughter having temper tantrums while killer monsters are attacking).

I did find it a bit hard to shallow that the mother wasn’t more concerned for the daughter once the creatures attacked the home. But at the same time, she was about to have a baby.

Another feature that made A Quiet Place different from other movies was the jump-scares. Normally, you can tell something scary is about to happen because it’ll get quiet or the music will change; but when the movie is already quiet, you can’t tell if it’s normal quiet or jump-scare quiet. I found myself jumping at things I normally wouldn’t have.

And since the movie was quiet, I could hear the noises from around the theater and from outside it. So any time someone would shift in their seat or someone in the lobby would say something, I’d jump about ten feet.

My last main problem with the movie was them taking so long to figure out the monsters’ weakness. I thought that this weakness would have been exploited pretty early on. But, I figured that by the time people learned the creatures hunted by sound, the monsters had become too much of a problem for armies and such to get coordinated.

All in all, the movie was a great horror movie. It had lots of scares, some spooky looking villains, and even a bit of hope for survival. The characters seemed smart but not so much that the plot never happened. I felt like the characters had a chance to survive but not so much that I felt like it wasn’t tense.

I’d give A Quiet Place a 4.7/5.

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Joe Rover eBooks are available at many fine retailers.

 

Ready Reviewer One

I finally got to see Ready Player One. My journey to it seemed rougher than Wade’s quest to get the three keys and save the Oasis. My journey was full of scheduling conflicts and troubles with getting tickets (namely my coupon being declared expired even though it clearly states it expires April 18, 2018). And there were a lot of phone battles while trying to straighten everything out, including being told they would contact me in 24 hours–*cut to me still waiting 25 hours later.*

But, like Wade, I was triumphant. Sadly, I didn’t get the girl or become a part owner in a trillion dollar company.

However, once the lights dimmed and after the one movie trailer aired (so glad I made it to the movie on time), I was able to relax and enjoy the movie.

The best part of the movie was, no surprise here, the Easter Eggs. Just about every pop culture reference you could think of was in the movie at some point. I felt sorry for those that were keeping track, such as IGN, who found about 138 eggs (too bad they weren’t candy ones).

My only problem with the eggs is that most went by too fast or they seemed blurry. I don’t know if this was because of copyright issues or style or just the filmmakers being in a hurry.

I did like how they added some modern pop culture, such as Overwatch and Hello Kitty. It wasn’t all 1980s references that younger people wouldn’t get. Even when mentioning 80s culture, the filmmakers did a good job of choosing ones that everyone would know about. There were still some lesser known ones but they either hid them or explained them–I didn’t feel like I was lost in a sea of pop culture references that only gamers or comic book geeks would understand.

What about the book, you might ask? Where there changes?

The answer is yes.

One change is that Wade didn’t seem as cynical as he was in the book. Also, his aunt was nicer, not loving-homemaker nice, but “better.” The movie was also less post-apocalyptic, depressing world and a bit more…friendly. A character who died in the book does not in the movie. In fact, there seemed to be a lot less deaths…correction, real deaths–there were plenty of virtual deaths (or “Zeroing Out”).

In the book, when the Stacks are attacked, it seemed more destructive, with more people dying. In the movie, it was less destructive. You can see this as a negative or a positive as you wish. I found it to be a positive.

Another, I found, positive change is that Wade “clans up” faster in the movie. In the book, it was close to the end before he really joins the others. While they are friends, they still are in competition. In the movie, the Hi-Five seems to form sooner, though Wade doesn’t really make it “official” until the end.

The movie definitely was geared to a “younger” audience (like teenagers) while the book seemed more targeted for older teens or adults.

At first, I was hesitant about the changes but as the movie progressed, I found I enjoyed them. I still like the book, but I also like the movie. Instead of feeling like I was just watching the book in movie format, I felt like I was getting to go on another adventure with Wade while at the same time fulfilling that want for a movie adaptation. The movie followed the book, but not so much that I felt bored waiting for the best scenes to happen or felt like I knew the ending before the movie began.

I do have to say that I felt the plot was a bit fast. It seemed like within seconds they’d found all the keys. It was kind of like it took five years for the first key to be found and five minutes for the rest. And Wade’s evolution from wanting to win the contest for the money to wanting to stop IOI seemed quick too.

But, I have to agree with others who say Ready Player One is like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but with pop culture candy and a scoop of childhood memory ice cream.

Overall, I’m going to have to see it again. And looking forward to doing so. I have to give it a 4.8 out of 5–mainly because some of the camo characters looked blurry, otherwise it was a nice, fun action movie that made you feel like you were on an enjoyable ride filled with your wildest dreams instead of running for your life.

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Joe Rover eBooks are available at many fine retailers.

I am Groot Vol. 2

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Here be Spoilers. Enter at your own risk.

Peter and gang return for more cosmic comedy in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

In this sequel, the Guardians discover who Peter’s father is while on the run from gold-skinned aliens.

I found the make-up and character designs to be better than the first. But in some close ups of Gamora, I could see places where they missed a spot. However, in the comics (and the Telltale Games Guardians series), Gamora is seen with flesh colored circles around her eyes, so I could give this a pass…though it got weird that in one scene the rings were there and in others they weren’t.

I did find the make-up work for the golden aliens to be amazing: gold skin, gold hair, and gold eyes. It didn’t look like they just slapped in some gold colored contact lens, even the whites of their eyes had a golden tint.

I found the swearing, crude humor, and sexual innuendos to be a big much for a comic book superhero movie. All the killing scenes were also a bit much: the bodies floating in space, people being sucked out airlocks, and bodies falling in slow motion. But, they weren’t out of place. It wasn’t like it was Batman going around killing people. It made sense to have villains shoving people into space or Yondu killing people with his arrow; he’d done it in the first movie so there was no big surprise.

Guardians still had plenty of sarcasm, jokes, and “they’re all idiots” moments. For instance, Yondu uses his arrow to lower himself to the ground. Peter tells him he looks like Mary Poppins. Yondu asks if she is cool and Peter replies, “Yes.” At this point, Yondu then boasts, “I’m Mary Poppins, yo!” Only Guardians characters could deliver a line like this seriously.

The delivery of the line showed the skill of the actors. The person playing Yondu knew who Mary Poppins was and understood the joke, but he delivered it as if he didn’t. It wasn’t done with a twinge of “I really know what’s going on because I’m an actor.” He sounded like he really believed it.

The cosmic craziness that is the Guardians of the Galaxy continues with a giant 8-bit Pac-Man appearing during the final battle. I won’t tell you how or why it happened (you’ll just have to watch the movie).

During the battle with the golden aliens, the Guardians discover that the ships coming after them are drones. The scene than shows the pilots controlling the drones while video arcade sound effects play; they even include the death sound effect.  Once a pilot was defeated, they would rage quit. At one point there is only one pilot left and the others have gathered around him cheering him on to get a high score. Who knew advanced alien races like video games?

I found the graphics to be great but for the most part the same as the original, except for Yondu’s arrow. The blur trail effect was much better. The coloring and glow made it stand out and added some flair to the movie. It seemed to match Yondu’s personality too. This effect made the arrow seem more high-tech and more like an object you’d see in a sci-fi or comic book movie instead of being completely realistic.

I enjoyed the character development moments. I enjoyed the fact that we got to see more of Rocket’s character. He wasn’t just an angry, greedy, thieving genetically modified raccoon. You could see that he had feelings and cared about other people. Also, it was awesome to watch Rocket take out squads of Ravagers on his own.

I missed Rocket’s orange outfit from the first movie. The outfit for this movie made him look like he was naked. It made him look more like a wild animal, but to be fair, he acted like one for most of the movie.

I had a problem with Nebula’s character change because in the last movie she was portrayed as this crazy, murdering, sadist (and she still was to a point), but then she’s like “I just want a sister.” It seemed like a strange switch, but her “mellowing” out doesn’t come till near the end of the movie. It wasn’t like one second she was a psychopath and the next doling out hugs. It was still believable that she could change. It was nice to see that she could be more than just stab, stab, kill and we got a peak into why she is the way she is.

The characters seemed to be more mature in this movie. They still made jokes and teased each other, like when Peter calls Rocket a “trash panda,” but it seems like their personalities were more flushed out. They had become more than just jokes, eye rolls, and sarcasm.

Like from Peter. I got the sense that he’s been the leader of the Guardians for awhile. He has grown into the role and is a bit more responsible. He even tells Rocket not to play music during a battle, while in the first movie Peter constantly played music whenever he did anything.

This maturity could be said about the rest of the Guardians. Though they continued to bicker, they still seemed to acknowledge Peter as the leader. They also seemed to function more as a team.

My biggest problem with the movie was Peter’s father being a Celestial. It seemed over the top or out of place. It made Peter seem too important. I felt like the movie would have the same theme and plot even if Peter was still the prince of Spartax instead of a god. It made it seem like Marvel was trying too hard to make the movie like other movies; they fell into a trope instead of breaking tropes.

What I mean by breaking tropes can be seen at the beginning of the movie. The Guardians are getting ready for a battle with a cosmic beast. This amazing and frightening monster alien shows up and you’re expecting to see this epic battle, but instead you watch Baby Groot dance while the Guardians battle in the background.

Another example of trope-breaking is during the final battle. The Guardians strike a pose and epic hero music plays as there are explosions and such behind them…and then one character gets hit in the head.

They also make fun of the “characters walking slowly towards the camera” trope.

But having Peter be the son of a god seemed like they were giving in or they thought, “We need some kind of twist that’s going to shock all the comic fans.”

But all in all, I still say Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s best series. Mainly because of the credits. Every now and then the credits read “I am Groot” and then switch to the English translation. Not to mention seeing the various character dance. And finally, the during and after credit scenes; you get multiple ones. You also get to see teenage Groot who stays in his room all day playing video games and leaves his vines all over the floor.

I have to give Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 a 4 out of 5 Groots. I enjoyed it and most issues were forgettable annoyances. But it was the fact that they made Peter’s father a god when they really didn’t need to really lowered the score. Also, they should have had more Cosmo the Dog and Howard the Duck.

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