Movie Review – John Wick: Chapter 2

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John Wick: Chapter 2 is a 2017 neo-noir action thriller, directed by Chad Stahelski and starring Keanu Reeves once again as the titular character. Following the conclusion of the first film, John tracks down his stolen car to a chop shop run by Abram Tarasov (Peter Stormare), the brother and uncle of the antagonists in the first film. After making “peace” John tries to return to a normal life, only to be visited by Italian crime lord Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio), who sees John’s recent rampage as an opportunity to collect upon a blood oath that John swore to him many years prior. Unable to refuse, despite wanting to, John is thrust back into the world of killing and carnage with hopes to free himself and return to a quieter life once again.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2017/02/22

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’ve been aware of this for a while, and though I’m thinking I will post every other week rather than every week (I don’t feel I read fast enough for weekly), I thought it’d be fun to participate.

Currently Reading

I started reading Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King last week as a final side-story departure before finishing the Dark Tower series. I plan to read the entire thing, but my priority is getting through “Low Men in Yellow Coats”, since Ted Brautigan is apparently an important character related to the Tower. As a story that’s part of this collection I do find it a little strange just how tied to Dark Tower it is, since as I understand it this book is mainly about capturing the attitudes of 1960s America, especially in relation to the Vietnam War. The family drama is good nonetheless, and King does a fine job of telling the story believably from the perspective of a young boy.

I’m still in the middle of Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris, which I treat as something a little more supplementary to what I’m mainly focusing on reading. I’m enjoying it a lot so far, it’s quite funny, though I liked When You Are Engulfed in Flames more thus far. The essays are good, but the short monologues he was inspired to write by the “Forensics” that high school students dictate haven’t done much for me yet.

Recently Finished

The most recent book I finished reading was Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler, the second Philip Marlowe detective novel. The hardboiled attitudes and narrative style was fun, especially the period specific dialogue and exaggerated manner some characters are presented — the loudly-dressed ex-con Moose Malloy being my favourite. It was a strange odyssey through a criminal underworld that Marlowe, despite his intelligence and capabilities, seemed to stumble along through more than deduce and break down on his own. In this way it felt very anti-detective fiction, until the ending which wraps things up conveniently for the reader. The mystery kept me interested nonetheless, though it did drag a bit towards the end, where I started to feel a little tangled in all its threads.

Reading Next

I’ve got several books in mind for reading in the near future, some of them prose and others graphic novels. I want to finally start The Dark Tower (VII) so I can say I’ve finished the series. I’m dying to know how it all ends, especially with the cliffhanger Song of Susannah left me on. I also want to start reading more current books, so I picked up Homesick for Another World, a collection of short stories by Ottessa Moshfegh. I read a little bit of a preview before buying to see if I like her style, but otherwise I want to go in blind.

I’m waiting for a copy of Hellboy: The Crooked Man and Others to arrive so I can finish reading Hellboy. I have all 12 volumes except for the above one (Vol. 10) which has been harder to find, so it’s run my progress on the series into the ground. I’ve been loving it though and can’t wait to finally power through the rest. In the meantime, I’m going to start reading Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J. H. Williams III, which I’m disappointed I haven’t done already considering how much I love the original Sandman series.

 

Book Review – Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

Summary

Marlowe’s about to give up on a completely routine case when he finds himself in the wrong place at the right time to get caught up in a murder that leads to a ring of jewel thieves, another murder, a fortune-teller, a couple more murders, and more corruption than your average graveyard.

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Farewell, My Lovely is the second novel by Raymond Chandler that follows the hardboiled Philip Marlowe, who works as a private detective in Los Angeles in the late 1930s. Marlowe, though not the first of his kind, feels like the quintessential pulp/noir detective character. He’s intelligent, tough, heavy-drinking, wise-cracking, desired by women, and yet a loner in his personal life. At the same time, the novel has a certain humanity to it that made it unique while towing the genre’s lines.Read More »

TV Series Review – A Series of Unfortunate Events Season One

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a new black comedy drama series, developed for Netflix, based on the series of children’s novels by Lemony Snicket (real name Daniel Handler). The series follows the misadventures of the Baudelaire orphans Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny (Presley Smith), who are forced to move to different homes following the death of their parents. They are relentlessly pursued by the villainous Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), who is determined to secure their wealthy inheritance for himself. The first season adapts the first four books in the thirteen-book series, dedicating two episodes to each book for a total of eight episodes.Read More »

Mighty Thursday #21: House of Penance

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By Peter J. Tomasi (Story & Words), Ian Bertram (Art), Dave Stewart (Colours); Dark Horse Comics; 2017

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Summary

A horrific story of a haunted house and one woman’s mission to wash away the blood curse of her husband’s invention from claiming her own life and soul.

This is a tale about guilt, ghosts, and guns…of how fortune brings misfortune, as a grim and determined woman oversees the construction of a house twenty-four hours a day for twenty years with the simple motto of keep busy building or get busy dying.Read More »

Book Review – The Manitous by Basil Johnston

Summary

From the strong oral culture of his own Ojibway Indian heritage, Basil Johnston presents the first collection by a Native American scholar of legends and tales depicting manitous, mystical beings who are divine and essential forces in the spiritual life of his people. These lively, sometimes earthy stories teach about manitous who lived in human form among the Ojibway in the early days, after Kitchi-Manitou (the Great Mystery) created all things and Muzzu-Kummik-Qua (Mother Earth) revealed the natural order of the world.

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The Manitous is a collection of stories about the spiritual beings that inhabit the world of various Native North American tribes with a shared language, referred to within as the Anishinaubae people. Rather than simply cataloguing different examples of what the Manitous are, Johnston contextualizes what exactly a Manitou is, starting with the misunderstanding by European settlers and colonizers of what the Anishinaubae were referring to — the word “manitou” having many different connotations in their language. We come to understand the roles various Manitous played in the lives of the people, and the effect their ilk had on cultural development.Read More »