Reviews

New Kid Explores the Challenges of Being “Different” in Middle School

Everyone has been the new person. Even if you’ve never changed residences, there are plenty of unfamiliar situations to enter for the first time. People frequently change jobs, schools, and social groups. Sometimes, you get lucky and everyone is in the same situation; when you start kindergarten, for example, chances are high that everyone is new. Then there are times when you enter an environment so foreign you can’t help but wonder whether you’ve entered some strange pocket dimension....

Serious Moonlight Will Give You Serious Feels

I have a confession to make: I had never read any of Jenn Bennett’s books before picking up Serious Moonlight. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen two of her other contemporary YA novels, Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes, in the book section of Target or shelved face out at Barnes and Noble, and a quick search on Goodreads confirms that an overwhelming number of people love her writing. It all comes down to the fact that...

The Haunting of Henderson Close Fills the Bill for a Spooky Ghost Story

Because I am a sucker for a plot line with a spooky ghost story, I was drawn to The Haunting of Henderson Close. I was not disappointed at all. Many years ago, a street in Edinburgh named Henderson Close was closed and then built over. Due to the unique nature of the area, it has become a tourist attraction where our protagonist, Hannah, serves as a tour guide, showing people the nooks and crannies of the old street. One...

Mad Cave’s Midnight Task Force Is a Gripping Cyberpunk Adventure

When looking for comics to read, I prefer to purchase trade paperbacks versus single-comic issues. I find there are so many comics to enjoy that I tend to fall behind in my favorite series. When I purchased Midnight Task Force from Mad Cave Studios I fell back on my ways and purchased the whole volume instead of just the first issue. The premise seemed exactly up my alley and I figured I would enjoy the complete story. Midnight Task Force is...

Blood, Guts, and Jazz Set the Mood in Ape Out

Content warning: This review contains descriptions of in-game violence. You’re an ape, you want out, and you’re gonna kill anyone who gets in the way. Quite the straightforward premise, no? Made by Gabe Cuzzillo, Matt Boch, and Bennett Foddy, and published by Devolver Digital, Ape Out is an indie game about a gorilla’s violent journey to freedom. Hominids they may be, an ape only has so many options: shoving someone, or grabbing and then throwing them. Either way, it’s...

Missing Link Is Another Lavish Laika Production

Laika’s daring and artistically stop-motion animated movies always feel like well-oiled machines. Its 2016 film, Kubo and the Two Strings, was a beautifully bold cultural tale with great action and mythical storytelling to a degree not commonly seen in bigger-budget films, especially in stop motion. While the newest project, Missing Link, doesn’t quite have that same breath of bold, it’s still a stellar showcase of how well Laika can weave brilliant artistry with real charm. Consider how this buddy-adventure...

Hellboy Is a Hellish Disaster

I know it’s not fair to compare director Neil Marshall’s take on the demonic hero Hellboy to the visually stunning depictions by Guillermo del Toro, but it’s hard to shake the memories in the face of this jaw-dropping trainwreck. It is the polar opposite of del Toro’s movies, in which the talented filmmaker presented gorgeous displays of unique monsters and locations. The new Hellboy shirks the “show” and topples under the weight of its “tell,” spelling out everything to...

The Umbrella Academy Is Not Your Parents’ X-Men

Hit show The Umbrella Academy has been renewed for a second season, according to such sources as the Nerdist, so now seems as good a time as any to review season one. I embrace science fiction when the stories go down an unorthodox road. Too often, comic-based and Disney movies follow typical archetypes of a story. I like it when something breaks the mold and goes down a darker road for once, or even a strange or obscure one,...

Grief Goes Gruesome in Pet Sematary

Despite the inherently odd nature of Stephen King’s story, a bigger dose of effective somberness would have done Pet Sematary some good. With a varied landscape of horror that can touch on deeper terrors, it had a chance to become a much different movie than the 1989 iteration. Unfortunately, despite the creepy moments and a great cast, the 2019 version doesn’t pack as much of a punch as it could have. But maybe that’s just my desire for a...

The Midgard Worldbook Offers a Unique, Detailed World for Pathfinder and D&D Players

The best tabletop games come packaged with a great setting. Dungeons & Dragons’ original setting, Greyhawk, is a timeless world that any seasoned player would find familiar. The more modern Forgotten Realms is also comforting to anyone who has read fantasy books since the ’80s. Paizo’s Pathfinder borrowed familiar themes and ideas from both but created its own multiplanetary realm in the Pathfinder campaign setting that I still enjoy to this day. With all that being said, sometimes it’s...
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