Book Review: The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The truth? Who gives a fuck?

The Anomaly is a thriller science fiction novel by Michael Rutger. Nolan Moore is a documentary presenter looking for a big break in the media industry. When him and his team caught wind of a story about an explorer finding a mysterious cavern within The Grand Canyon, the team sets out to find the same cavern and try to document the mystery behind it.

The book starts out as your typical horror movie set up. A group of people heading to an exotic location, in their case to film a documentary and soon finds out something odd is afoot in said location. This book however is a lot more clever than expected.

The characters are likable and though they are types they’re all given personalities. The story itself is simple and though there are times where you think the book’s going a certain way, it manages to stay unpredictable until the very end.

Overall The Anomaly was very fun read, it’s highly entertaining and even though it starts off fairly slow it becomes a page turner halfway through. If you’re looking for a good science fiction/thriller/horror with some dab of comedy, check out The Anomaly.

Rating: 4/5

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Book Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Sometimes, all you have to do is shift your perspective to see someone else’s truth.

Origin is the fifth book in Dan Brown’s series starring the Harvard professor, Robert Langdon. When futurist Edmond Kirsch gets assassinated during his groundbreaking presentation. It’s up to Robert Langdon and curator Ambra Vidal to disclose to the world Edmond’s discovery, the origins of life.

Origin has all the staple elements that makes a Dan Brown novel. A high stakes mystery, Robert Langdon’s female companion and a rogue assassin that’s after our heroes. Not to mention countless of commentary on art, architecture and several exotic locations. Though repetitive author Dan Brown still manages to keep it entertaining.

The book starts out strong setting up the premise of the story, the topic is intriguing and I found myself invested in the outcome. Like previous books starring Robert Langdon, this follows the same beats with our main character adding his commentary on everything around him. Sometimes it’s relevant to the plot however at times it feels tedious.

The novel touches on a lot of themes from religion to science to technology even to the ever growing topic of artificial intelligence. And though far fetched, there’s a level of plausibility on the concepts and ideas presented.

The book drags a bit and there are plot points presented at the start that were completely forgotten as the book goes on. At times it’s predictable and at times it’s hard to care about some characters, right around the middle the story got convoluted and by the third act it becomes a muddled mess.

Overall Origin isn’t one of the better Dan Brown books but it still manages to be entertaining. The ideas presented are interesting and I found myself researching on the history behind it. If you’re a fan of these books, you might find to your liking but if you’re not it’s not recommended.

Rating: 3/5

 

Movie Review: Hereditary

I just don’t want put anymore stress in my family

Hereditary is the feature length directorial debut of Ari Aster. It stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne and Milly Shapiro.

When the Graham family experiences a loss, the family struggles to express their grief, in the meantime weird things start happening around the house affecting all the rest of the family.


The Good

Hereditary is easily one of the best horror movie to have come out this year. It is tense, it’s creepy but it’s also well shot and brilliantly acted. Toni Collette gives a powerhouse performance alongside Alex Wolff and the rest of the cast are also great.

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Though it doesn’t have a lot of jump-scares, it does deliver in terms of uneasiness. At times it’s uncomfortable and there’s a lingering feeling of dread throughout the movie as one bad thing leads to another.

Another great aspect of the movie is the cinematography, the movie uses creative shots and cuts to amplify the creepiness and once again it’s thoroughly effective.


The Bad

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Though majority of the movie works, the movie does have some flaws. When the third act kicks in, it becomes your typical horror movie having elements that you have seen before. In return, the movie becomes somewhat predictable and it can take you out of the movie.


Rating

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Overall Hereditary though slow, it delivers the scares, the creeps and the uneasiness. The acting and the cinematography is the movie’s biggest strengths. The story sucks you in with vice like grip and puts you on the edge of your seat and at times you’ll feel helpless.

Unfortunately the movie doesn’t maintain this throughout as the third act becomes your run of the mill horror flick. It has surprises that you’ll never see coming and scenes that are undoubtedly unforgettable and with that it all leads to a great horror film. If you love psychological horror, Hereditary is highly recommended.

Good Bad 4.8/5
    • Great Performances
    • Great Cinematography
    • Utterly Creepy
    • Weak third act

Movie Review, Solo: A Star Wars Story (mild spoilers)

I’m gonna be a pilot… best in the galaxy.

Solo is directed by Ron Howard, it stars Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Paul Bettant and Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo.

Solo tells the story of young Han Solo and his origins steaming from how he met Chewbacca and Lando Calrisssian and their adventures years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.


The Good

One of the notable things about this movie is that it looks great, it has some spectacular set pieces almost like a theme park with very big rides scattered around. One prominent line you would have heard from the original Star Wars movies is Han Solo doing the Kessel run in 12 parsecs and they show it here and it’s a great set piece, and it definitely puts you on the edge of your seat.

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Elden Ehrenreich is decent as Han Solo, he’s not quite Harrison Ford but a notable aspect of his performance is he’s not trying to be Harrison Ford but rather he’s putting his own take on Han Solo and it works.


The Bad

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With this being an origin story of a character we already know who’s dead, the movie lacks real stakes. We know Han Solo survives, we know Chewbacca and Lando survives so what’s the point? Though there are interesting other characters here and there, since we have never heard of them from previous movies we can assume what happens to them at the end and that results into this being a predictable movie.


Rating

Overall Solo is a decent addition to the Star Wars canon, though it is an origin story it still manages to add more story to the Star Wars lore. Your supporting casts are also great, Donald Glover as Lando is good and with a hot talent like him, you can almost assume that they might make a stand alone Lando movie.

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However that doesn’t save this movie from the fact that it’s an origin story of a character that we know is dead. And for that it might fail in grabbing any emotional investment from it’s audience. But if you are interested in the origins of Han Solo this one is for you.

Good Bad 3/5
    • Kessel Run in 12 Parsecs
    • Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo
    • Donlad Glover as Lando Calrissian
    • Predictable
    • Lack of Stakes

Movie Review: Deadpool 2

Well, that’s just lazy writing.

Deadpool 2 is directed by David Leitch, stars Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Zazie Beetz and Julian Dennison.

When Deadpool befriends a young mutant he tries to stop a rampaging Cable, played by Josh Brolin, from killing the kid.


The Good

Deadpool is back and he’s even funnier than ever, with so many new avenues to pull his jokes from Deadpool 2 doesn’t hold back with the humour. Ryan Reynolds is still excellent as Deadpool and you can tell that’s he’s having a lot of fun reprising the role

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A great addition to this universe is Zazie Beetz as Domino. With her powers being extremely lucky, her powers work in a final destination-esque way affecting everyone around negatively except her. She is fascinating to watch and it also helps that she’s incredibly funny too.


The Bad

Unfortunately the movie’s plot take a step back as the movie is so funny, you never feel any real stakes are on the line. Where you are meant to care about Deadpool’s relationship with Russell, played by Julian Dennison, that relationship felt lacking. At times you question why Deadpool is trying so hard to save this kid.

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Another issue is the CG, at certain parts it looks unpolished and it can take you out of the film momentarily.


Rating

Overall Deadpool 2 is still a very fun movie, you got few new characters all of it are interesting to say the least but Domino stole the spotlight in terms of new characters.

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The movie is hilarious and is able to make tons of references and if you catch them you’ll definitely laugh out loud. There are also pleasant surprises within the movie that helps elevate it a bit. However with a weaker plot than the first you probably won’t care about the story all that much.

Good Bad 3.8/5
    • Incredibly Funny
    • Zazie Beetz as Domino
    • Weak Plot
    • Poor CGI

Movie Review: Isle of Dogs

We’ll find him. Where ever he is, if he’s alive, we’ll find your dog.

Isle of Dogs is directed by Wes Anderson, it stars an ensemble cast featuring Koyu Rankin as Atari, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and more.

When all the dogs from the city of Megasaki has been moved to a nearby island. A young boy, Atari, is determined to find his pet dog Spots at all cost.


The Good

Much like Wes Anderson’s previous stop-motion movie, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs looks incredible. The voice acting of the cast is of typical Wes Anderson movie, speaking softly with very little emotions but it works very well. To it’s credit it gave the dogs personalities and makes them endearing.

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Your five lead dogs are easily the best part of the movie, Bryan Cranston plays Chief, Edward Norton plays Rex, Bill Murray is Boss, Jeff Goldblum is Duke and Bob Balaban as King. Their interactions with each other and with Atari are great. There’s a lot of charm in their scenes and you can easily find yourself caring for these dogs.


The Bad

Unfortunately the second half of the movie is not as strong as the first half. Where the first half is all about Atari, his interaction with the five dogs and their journey within the island. The second half becomes less adventurous and more political.

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Greta Gerwig plays Tracy Walker who’s fighting for the dog’s and unfortunately she’s the weakest part of the movie, her arc comes of as uninteresting and dull. Sad to say she occupies certain parts of the second half of the movie and it drags the movie down a bit.


Rating

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Overall Isle of Dogs is still a fun movie, it has all the elements that you get from a Wes Anderson film, the quirky take on the characters, the cinematography and the voice acting it’s all there. Depending on the viewer if you’re a Wes Anderson fan you’ll definitely love this. Though it’s still good it’s not as good as Fantastic Mr Fox but still very enjoyable.

Good Bad 3.5/5
    • The Dogs
    • Overall Look
    • Weak Second Half

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (mild spoilers)

I hope they remember you.

Directed by the Russo Brothers the third installment of the Avengers franchise collects almost all the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, MCU, to go up against the mad titan Thanos, played by Josh Brolin.

The Avengers Assemble one more time to defeat the Mad Titan, Thanos who aims to collect six infinity stones and wipe out half of the life in the universe.


The Good

10 years and 18 movies in the making Avengers: Infinity War is without a doubt the most anticipated movie of this year and boy did it deliver. This is the most ambitious project in recent history and to credit the Russo Brothers and the screen writers this movie is incredible.

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Josh Brolin plays Thanos the main villain of this story and they took their time fleshing him out. They gave him an empathetic backstory that makes him one of it not the best villain to date.

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A major highlight of these Marvel films is the humor and with all the seriousness and dread that’s revolving around the movie they still managed to alleviate some of it by having endearing and humorous interactions between our heroes. Whether it’s with Thor and Rocket Racoon or Peter Quill and Iron Man. These interactions are something fans would would gleefully watch and cheer.

The action sequences are spectacular and creative, it highlights some of the heroes abilities and it makes them even more interesting than they previously were. There are also certain dramatic moments that can get you more emotionally invested in these characters, Thanos included.


The Bad

The only glaring issue I have in the movie is it’s not a standalone movie. As mentioned above this movie have a 10 year history behind it and 18 other movies that accompany it, for someone to be fully invested, they need to have some prior knowledge about the infinity stones or previous marvel films.

There are minor issues as well, since the movie is huge in scope the story is divided into quadrants all leading up to one climax and some plot points take a little too long to resolve while other aren’t all that explored at all.


Rating

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Avengers: Infinity War is something we haven’t seen before the culmination of a 10 year project by Marvel pays off in a big way and it’s not afraid to push the limits in terms of superhero storytelling. With a huge cast to juggle the writers and the Russo Brothers manages to tell a story that’s clear and compelling. If you’re a fan of the Marvel movies there’s no reason for you to skip this film, it’s a must watch for a fan.

Good Bad 4.8/5
    • Josh Brolin as Thanos
    • Heroes Interactions
    • Deep Storytelling
    • minor plot points