I see movies

spiderman_homecoming_ver6_xlg

You like movies, right?  Everybody likes movies.  You may have noticed that they made another movie about that Spider-Man dude recently.

Quick!  Guess if I saw it.

Of course I did.  And I’m pleased to report that I liked it quite a damn lot; I continue to be amazed that Marvel has cranked out something like ten thousand of these movies and I haven’t seen one I disliked yet.  It’s not the best superhero movie of the year– that title belongs to Wonder Woman still, but it’s a solid effort, especially when you consider that there have been like seventeen movies just about Spider-Man in the last fifteen years or so.

Highlights: Tom Holland, Tom Holland, Tom Holland, and Tom Holland.  Also Michael Keaton.  Actually, hell, let’s be honest here: I like the entire damn cast.  There’s just enough Robert Downey Jr– I didn’t want this to have as much Iron Man in it as, say, Civil War did– and he’s got enough screen time that it’s more than a cameo but not a lot more than a cameo, if you know what I mean.  Putting Peter Parker back in high school was the right move, and Tom Holland plays young more than well enough.  Michael Keaton as the Vulture (who, note, is never actually referred to by that name) is the best villain Marvel’s put on-screen since Loki, and I actually really like how low-stakes the film is for most of its runtime; it fits Spider-Man’s role as a street-level hero.  This movie gets the character’s soul completely right, and that’s really important.

One minor gripe: this guy?

Unknown

The character’s name is supposedly Ned?  And maybe he’s supposed to be Ned Leeds, although they don’t ever use his last name, and shouldn’t Ned Leeds be a lot older than Peter anyway?  And: nah.  Fuck that.  This isn’t Ned.  This is Ganke, dammit, and I want Miles Morales in a Marvel movie.  Donald Glover plays his uncle Aaron!  He’s out there, dammit!  Quit giving me his friends under weird pseudonyms and his relatives and give me Miles Morales!  

aEaVyVDeEEGvN1JotwLFV6K_UyA@555x822

I also saw this, finally.  You may remember my review of the book of The Girl With All the Gifts: I loved the hell out of it, and it ended up being my second favorite book of 2016.  I actually first heard of the book when I saw the trailer for the movie and it blew me away, and then I waited a year and a goddamn half and the damn movie either never came out in the States at all (I’ve been unable to get a solid answer on this, and believe me, I’ve looked) or got such a limited release that I was never anywhere near a theater that showed it.

Well, good news: Apple to the rescue!  I was able to rent the movie for 24 hours for just 99 cents, and if anything it’s even a bit creepier than the book was– and, remember, I loved the book.  You won’t be able to find this in theaters anywhere, but it’s absolutely worth hunting down if you have any way to stream it.  Read the book, too, while you’re at it.

#Review: M.R. Carey’s THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

The_Girl_with_All_the_Gifts.jpgThis has been, in general, a pretty goddamn good year for reading.  I’ve been trying to aggressively diversify the authors I’m reading; my goal is that at the end of the year 75% of my books will have been by women and/or people of color, and so far just under half of the books I’ve read this year have been by authors that I’d not previously read anything by.  So I’ve been doing a lot of “Let’s read this person’s best book!” so far this year, which leads to a lot of good books.

What I haven’t really had is a book that’s fucking blown me away to the point where I was recommending it to everyone I know.  That only happens a few times a year, obviously.  Well, I’ve got my first one for 2016, and it’s M.R. Carey’s THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS.

Carey isn’t quite a new author to me, as he’s got a long and storied history as a writer of comic books, but this is the first of his novels that I’ve read.  And, to be honest, this is where reviewing it gets difficult, as it’s the type of book that I feel like you want to go into knowing as little as humanly possible about beforehand.  There’s a movie coming; I happened to chance upon the trailer, which caught my interest immediately, and then saw two or three positive references to the book in the same day and ordered it immediately.  I cannot wait to see this story on the big screen.  Hunt down the trailer if you want to, but I’d prefer you just take my word on it and go in blind.

What can I tell you?  Well, THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS takes what has, lately, become somewhat of a worn-out genre and immediately makes it fresh again by putting a twist on it that as far as I can tell I haven’t seen anywhere at all.  And the twist makes the setting horrific as hell; the book got under my skin immediately and stayed there, and I read the whole 400+ page novel in two or three big gulps, staying up later than I wanted to on more than one occasion because I couldn’t put it down.  The book is fast-paced and action-packed, and once it gets its setting in place it doesn’t slow down for a second until the ending, which is as bleak and haunting and exactly what it needed to be as anything I’ve read in years.  This is the type of book that could easily have been ruined by the wrong ending, so it’s good Carey found the right one.

So, yeah.  I’m not going to tell you too much about this book, or why you should read it, other than it’s awesome and horrifying and you should take my damn word on it.

But you should.  Because I say so.   And it’ll be worth the surprises.  Don’t even read the blurb on the back.  Just go buy this and read it right now.  It’s the best damn book I’ve read this year.  Trust me.