Saturday, October 14, 2017

Recommended Reads: Favorite Thriller Books

On the second installment of "Recommended Reads", I will be covering thrillers! Fall is here and there is no other genre that screams fall to me than thrillers! With Halloween around the corner (which is my favorite holiday of the year), mysteries and scares is all I want to read about. It was hard to come up with categories for this genre, but I think what I came up with works well enough. Let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below... I would LOVE to check them out this fall!

Also, I wanted to add in very quickly the difference between suspense vs. mystery vs. thriller (in my head they are different reading experiences). Mysteries surround a question or scenario for which you don't know the solution until the end - they are the classic whodunnit. Suspense keep you on the edge of your seat - there is danger and you get that feeling of goosebumps. Thrillers are action packed - a lot of times there is danger from the very beginning and it's a race to get away... you also have unreliable narrators in this genre a lot of the time.

Favorite Crime Thriller
Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Favorite Suspense Thriller
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Favorite Conspiracy Thriller
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

Favorite Mystery Thriller
Final Girls by Riley Sager

Favorite Psychological Thriller 
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Favorite Spy Thriller
The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

Favorite Serialized Thriller
Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz

Favorite Thriller Author
Gillian Flynn

Honorable Mentions: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel, and Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Gifted Pilot Review - eXposed

Network: Fox

Genre: Drama, Superhero

Airs: Mondays at 9:00/8:00c

My Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: In a world where mutated humans are treated with distrust and fear, an institute for mutants battles to achieve peaceful co-existence with humanity.

My Thoughts: To be honest, I went into The Gifted with low expectations. X-Men adaptations have been very on and off for me; some are better than they should be (Logan, Deadpool, Legion) and some have inconsistent timelines and are full of dumb dialogue (X-Men: Apocalype, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine, etc.). I watched the trailer for this show and thought that it looked a little boring. However, I was VERY pleasantly surprised after this pilot episode. I am now so excited to watch every week and see where the story and characters take us. After watching Inhumans in the same week, The Gifted looks spectacular and I think it has great potential to do very well.

I don't really know where to start with my review. I have many pros about this show and I think all are equally as important. The Gifted has a great cast of characters (mutant and humans alike), phenomenal visual effects, and a smart beginning to a new X-Men storyline. Like I mentioned earlier, I watched Marvel's new show, Inhumans, just a few days prior to watching The Gifted. I will try to keep my comparisons to a minimal so as not to dissuade anyone from watching both shows, but in doing so I am able to see very clearly things that The Gifted is doing right. It is very obvious to me that this show is relying heavily on practical effects instead of computer generated effects and I ABSOLUTELY APPLAUD them for doing so. It keeps the show grounded and realistic and I didn't once find myself taken out of the story because of bad CGI. This show has also chosen to focus it's main storyline on a family of characters, I believe, are not from the comics. I know this caused a lot of uneasiness with reader of the comic community, but I didn't find that this affected my viewing enjoyment at all. I liked each of the family members and look forward to them discovering the secrets of their new universe. 

Overall, I loved The Gifted! I think nerds and lovers of other superhero TV shows will also really enjoy this show. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the show stays as good as it is (as it is on Fox and this network has let me down more times than I can count), but remain very optimistic!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Kingsman: The Golden Circle - Movie Review

Genre: Action, Comedy

Director:  Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore

My Rating:  ★★★

Synopsis: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, the Kingsman's journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US. These two elite secret organizations must band together to defeat a common enemy.

My Thoughts: Kingsman: The Golden Circle was a fast paced, humorous, yet slightly bloated sequel and one of my most anticipated movies of the year. Its predecessor, Kingsman: The Secret Service, was an unexpected hit and is now one of my all time favorite movies. I have a secret place in my heart for spy movies and the Kingsman series utilizes all of the spy tropes in the best way possible. This sequel is no different. With the exception of clunky moments, this movie did not let me down. I was laughing and smiling the whole way though. Now I know that this movie has been hit hard by the critics, and I do understand some of what they are saying. I agree that the movie had some weird writing and the handling of certain characters was less than desirable, but I still found that this didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the movie.

One of the things that I found most impressive about this movie was the cinematography. It was beautiful, clean, and seamless... especially in the epic and very stylistic fight scenes. It is these fight scenes that I, personally, think Kingsman is known for. I think everyone remembers that amazing one-shot church scene from the first movie and went into this movie hoping for more of that. AND WE DID! I also really enjoyed Julianne Moore's take on her villainous, Poppy Adams. She portrayed this character as sweet as sugar, while being despicable and literally disgusting at the same time. This is not a feat that is easy for most actors and Moore did it with ease and beauty. The final thing I want to mention is how much I loved that they incorporated Eggsy's love interest, who is introduced in the first movie. One spy trope that this movie did not follow is that Eggsy stayed in a relationship. Too many times the spy is a womanizing player who prefers to "hit it and quit it" because he doesn't want to risk his secret identity. Eggsy loves his lady and wanted the best of both worlds.

Overall, I think everyone should watch Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The movie has it's problems but it was still SO enjoyable. I honestly don't understand how some of the critics are not having a great time while watching this movie. If you are looking for something action packed or a movie that would be great for a date night... look no further. I think that this would satisfy those criteria and you will walk away with a smile on your face.