Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category
Book Review: John Carter and The Gods Of Hollywood
May 20th, 2013 at 2:30 pm | |
John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood
By Michael D. Sellers
Release Date: November 28, 2012
Pity John Carter. The poor bastard never had a chance. Released several months before the summer movie deluge, Andrew Stanton‘s highly anticipated adaptation of the classic 1912 Edgar Rice Burroughs novel A Princess of Mars had the potential to kick start a new blockbuster sci-fi adventure franchise. Unfortunately a series of idiotic marketing decisions in the run-up to the film’s debut and mounds of negative press surrounding the troubled production and its massive $250 budget effectively sabotaged any chance John Carter had of connecting with audiences and grossing enough at the box office to ensure future sequels and additional ancillary revenue. Though it was very flawed I found the movie to be one of the most entertaining of last year – you can read my review here – yet it seems I was in the minority on that front.
John Carter‘s failure to even make back its budget and marketing costs turned out to be a major strike against the Walt Disney Company; the studio was pilloried for befouling what has been long considered one of the most important (if not THE most important) genre properties in existence by hiring a director inexperienced with live action – Stanton had previously directed several major hits for the company’s computer animation division Pixar – and allowing the costs to mount to the point where the movie’s box office prospects were saddled with unrealistic expectations, and then worsening its already ineffectual reputation even more with a confusing ad campaign that had no idea how to sell the film to the general moviegoing public. [...]
Book Review: The Art Of BioShock Infinite
April 9th, 2013 at 11:30 am | |
Book Review: Machine Head: Inside The Machine
The Art of BioShock Infinite
Writer: Julian Murdoch
Release Date: April 9, 2013
Cover Price: $39.99
Written by Julian Murdoch, The Art of BioShock Infinite allows fans of Ken Levine‘s BioShock series to delve deeper into design of BioShock Infinite.
This deluxe hardcover by Dark Horse features production designs and concept illustrations focusing on main characters Booker DeWitt, Elizabeth, and Songbird from the BioShock Infinite video game, as well as the city of Columbia — the fabled floating metropolis that serves as the game’s setting. BioShock Infinite takes place in 1912 during the rise of American Exceptionalism. The player assumes the identity of DeWitt, a former agent of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. [...]
April 2nd, 2013 at 6:00 pm | |
Book Review: Back To Frank Black
Machine Head: Inside the Machine
By Joel McIver
Release Date: April 1, 2013 (U.S. | Kindle Edition)
Available now (UK)
It’s easy to forget Machine Head has been going for over 20 years. The past five years has seen them hit a creative boon with their two finest albums one after the other: Metallica-approved The Blackening and last year’s astonishing Unto The Locust. Many of their contemporaries burst on to the scene in the 1980s then struggled to maintain what they started with. Ten years down the line many of those same acts failed to recapture that early magic and fell into the great metal chasm. Whereas Machine Head only improved with age.
British author Joel McIver has written books about almost every metal icon: from Slipknot to Slayer, Motorhead to Tool, with Metallica and Black Sabbath to boot. His latest work, Machine Head: Inside the Machine, is an interesting, honest and completely open account of the life of Machine Head. [...]
March 26th, 2013 at 10:00 pm | |
Back To Frank Black
A Return To Chris Carter’s Millennium
Edited By Adam Chamberlain & Brian A. Dixon
Introductions by Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, and Chris Carter
Fourth Horseman Press
Release Date: October 15, 2012
Cover Price: $28.99
One of my favorite television shows of all time is Millennium. Created by Chris Carter following his success with The X-Files, Millennium follows former FBI profiler Frank Black (Lance Henriksen) journeying into the darker recesses of society as he tracks down criminals as a law enforcement consultant for the shadowy Millennium Group. The series zoned in on the dichotomy of light and dark / good and evil in society at the time, and in retrospect was a watershed moment in television for the abundance of procedurals and darker shows that would follow in a post-9/11 world.
After three seasons, the show came to an end, canceled by Fox, and leaving fans wondering what happened to Frank Black. In the many years that have followed, the fans of Millennium have never forgotten the series – and neither has Lance Henriksen, who has stated many times his hopes for a Millennium movie.
And that’s where Back To Frank Black comes in. [...]
Art Book Review: Frank Cho: Women, Book Two
March 6th, 2013 at 2:30 pm | |
Frank Cho: Women, Book Two
Foreword by Geof Darrow
Artwork by Frank Cho
Release Date: January 16, 2013
Cover Price: $24.99
The second volume of Frank Cho‘s Women is, like the first, an art compilation of the talented illustrator’s work specifically focusing on his studies of the female physical form. Comprised of finished comic book cover artwork, the original penciled and inked versions, as well as outlines and other
BOOBS ballpoint studies, the collection is fairly pleasing to the eyes (correction: MORE THAN pleasing to the eye), and will be a must-have for any aspiring comic book artists.
There is very little text in Women, Book Two. Aside from the descriptive captions and the book’s foreword, Image Comics has genuinely allowed Cho’s artwork to speak for itself and remain open to the interpretation of the audience viewing the work. This is great, because I can’t stand art books with far too much text. Just give me the description and more breathing space for your art – I don’t need your fucking history, just give me the art. Save the text for your biography. This book avoids all those traps and focuses on
BOOBS Cho’s work [...]
Book Review: Cold Days: A Novel Of The Dresden Files
March 5th, 2013 at 5:30 pm | |
A Novel Of The Dresden Files
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Jim Butcher
Release Date: November 27, 2012
Cover Price: $27.95
This week saw the release of Cold Days, book fourteen in what is arguably the greatest urban fantasy series of all time. I want to gush and talk about all the greatness that I bore witness to by reading this novel…but I cannot. That wouldn’t be a review, it would be a spoiler fest because this book upended the entire Dresden Files universe. Jim Butcher created a masterpiece of intrigue and adventure. Again.
Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard/private investigator, is back. And back in a major way. As the new Winter Knight for the Unseelie Court, he is Mab’s right hand man. Harry finds himself with ridiculous amounts of power that augment his own innate magical abilities, which is impressive considering how much he is feared already. Mab definitely has plans for him, though. Plans that he may or may not be carrying out. [...]
Book Review: Wonder Woman: Power Outage
February 11th, 2013 at 10:30 am | |
Book Review: Just My Type: A Book About Fonts
Wonder Woman: Power Outage
A Choose-Your-Fate Adventure Books
Written by Michael Teitelbaum
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Cover Price: $5.99
As this book is aimed at a younger reader, I called upon the help of someone in the perfect target audience, my 7-year-old daughter, Sofia. After going through the book, I asked her a few questions about it:
What’s the name of this book?
Wonder Woman: Power Outage
Have you read other Wonder Woman stories before?
What makes this one different?
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book.
How does that work?
It says to flip to a chapter if you want to do one thing, and if you want to do another thing, it says to flip to a different chapter.
Was it easy for you to do, or was it confusing? [...]
February 4th, 2013 at 3:05 pm | |
Disney In Depth: Book Review: John Carter and The Gods Of Hollywood
Just My Type: A Book About Fonts
Hardcover | Paperback
Written by Simon Garfield
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Let no one ever tell you that language is boring. Being a bit of a Grammar Nazi, I have enjoyed a plethora of books dedicated to languages and the perversions through which they have been made to suffer. I may sling a few slang words occasionally, but I am rearing my children (isn’t that a funny phrase?) to speak English properly, at least in our home. And while no two languages are the same, they all share the common bond of generally having the ability to convey their meaning accordingly. Now, take any word and change the font…without altering the word itself, you can add expression and depth to it instantly. When you can take a common word and render it in script, you get not just a beautiful word, but in some cases you also get a piece of art [...]
January 31st, 2013 at 6:00 pm | |
“When I saw I you, I believed it was a sign, that something new can come into this world,” says Tars Tarkas, the giant green Thark, as voiced by soulful Willem Dafoe in the teaser trailer for John Carter. Sadly, when the feature film entered our world, or at least in our cinemas, its reputation had already been tarnished by a soaring budget, backstage turbulence, and muddled marketing. Not until the release of Michael D. Sellers’ winning book, John Carter and The Gods of Hollywood, have we truly appreciated all of what truly unfolded behind the scenes, of what John Carter could have been.
Before I dive into the book, let me share with you my experience with the film. I followed John Carter’s production process extensively years prior to its March 2012 opening, as I was just as excited as any other Andrew Stanton fan of this Academy Award-winner directing an adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Though I was not terribly familiar with the material, I felt enchanted by the riveting content. I was more than thrilled to be one of only thousands of individuals to see early scenes of John Carter at the Disney D23 Expo in August 2011. [...]
Book Review: The Legend Of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
January 31st, 2013 at 4:00 pm | |
The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Written by Shigeru Miyamoto, Akira Himekawa, Eiji Aonuma
Art by Akira Himekawa
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Cover Price: $34.99
I’m starting feeling a little old these days. AMC regularly features movies from my childhood. My favorite songs while growing up are now considered “classic rock.” And now, as if to drive the point home, the Legend of Zelda is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Dark Horse Comics and Nintendo have teamed up to celebrate the occasion with a compendium of Zelda knowledge titled The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia.
This tome is instantly the supreme information source for all things Zelda. It’s all here, NES through Wii, in unimaginable exquisite detail. Hyrule Historia covers the background of each Zelda game and then slots them into an overarching timeline that brings order to the story. And before you ask, no, the dreadful Phillips CD-i games are not included or even acknowledged. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of playing the CD-i games, then we’re probably in agreement that these games must be forgotten or else we’ll have to someday send a Terminator back to, uh, prevent that from ever happening. [...]
Book Review: Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-Up Adventure
January 24th, 2013 at 8:00 pm | |
Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-up Adventure
By Matthew Reinhart and Lucasfilm
Release Date: October 16, 2012
It’s a rare delight to find a product that can bring out the 8-year-old in even the most jaded adult. Star Wars: A Galactic Pop-up Adventure is a sure bet to send your mind spinning with child-like wonder. You’ll begin your journey of discovery in this book with a sense of amusement that quickly transitions into an immersive curiosity. Pop-ups lead to further pop-ups which occasionally cover even more pop-ups. This book is wonderfully engineered to keep you excavating eac page for more treasures.
The book serves as a high-level encyclopedia of the pre-Episode 4 Star Wars universe. The text is obviously not the draw here, but what’s included is informative and relevant. Each pop includes a brief history and background on the character, ship, or monster in question. The level of detail is impressive for a pop-up book that could just as easily say nothing and still sell incredibly well. [...]
Book Review: Firefly: A Celebration (Anniversary Edition)
January 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 pm | |
Disney In Depth: Book Review: The Art Of Wreck-It Ralph
Firefly: A Celebration
Written by Joss Whedon
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Cover Price: $49.95
Compiling the three companion books from Titan Books, Firefly: A Celebration is perfectly captured in a leather effect binding that really gives this anniversary compendium that extra bit of oomph. From the moment you first hold this edition in your hands, you know it’s something special.
Spec. Tac. U. Lar. Seriously, this book is the epitome of a Browncoat’s dream. It contains every script from every episode, completely uncut. And if you take the time to read them, you can actually hear the voices, the inflections, the passion. But even better are the blurbs from the cast and crew that are peppered throughout the scripts, revealing their feelings associated with each episode. It really lends some depth to this short-lived series. [...]
January 17th, 2013 at 1:00 pm | |
Book Review: Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace
Releasing your video game controllers and picking up a book hasn’t been easier since the release of Chronicle Books’ recent coffee-table beauty The Art of Wreck-It Ralph. It’s game on to explore this eye-catching, mind-blowing, and precisely-designed volume of exquisite artwork!
Disney’s attractive attention to detail carries through in this work from Chronicle Books. The Wreck-It Ralph touch literally permeates through each of the thick, glossy 160 pages. To the book’s benefit, the filmmakers behind the groundbreaking action-adventure flick serve as its writers. Disney-Pixar’s John Lasseter lends a kind, thoughtful preface to director Rich Moore’s reflective foreword. Jennifer Lee, Wreck-It Ralph co-writer, and Maggie Malone, director of development at Walt Disney Animation Studios, seamlessly translate all of the fascinating film content to each portion of their co-authored book. [...]
January 2nd, 2013 at 1:45 pm | |
Book Review: America Pacifica
Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
By Jonathan Friesen
HarperCollins | Zondervan
Released Date: July 10, 2012
Jonathan Friesen‘s fourth novel, Aldo’s Fantastical Movie Palace (you can watch the trailer below), begins like this: Fourteen-year-old Chloe Lundeen has a scar. It’s a big, ugly scar given to her by her father, Crazy Ray, while testing out one of his many failed inventions. Her scar is the source of all her pain, from the kids at school who taunt her and call her Scarface, to the father whose guilt is so great that he can no longer bring himself to even look at his daughter.
The only solace in the world for Chloe is her great-grandpa Aldo’s movie theater, which she helps her mother run. She describes the movie theater as being a real New York City art deco building plopped in the middle of rural Minnesota. Chloe’s only friends are her cat and her grandpa Salvador, who has no trouble looking at her at all [...]
December 28th, 2012 at 4:00 pm | |
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle Edition
By Anna North
Reagan Arthur | Back Bay Books
Released June 2012
In Anna North‘s gritty dystopian, America Pacifica, eighteen-year-old Darcy lives with her mother on an island of the same name. It’s presumed to be one of the few inhabitable places to live after mainland America has entered a second ice age. The island was the brainchild of a legend named Tyson, who gathered up the first pilgrims from mainland America to restart society in a place where they could go outside again and not freeze to death.
Darcy knows little about America because her mother is sparse with the details of her past. All Darcy really knows is that her mother once lived in a co-op in Seattle before boarding a boat to America Pacifica and that her father is dead. When her mother doesn’t come home from work one night, Darcy sets out on a quest to find her, stopping at nothing and no one to get the answers she seeks. The problem is, for Darcy’s entire life, her mother has been the center of her universe, making her emotionally and socially dependent on her. This leaves Darcy ill-prepared to go out into the grimy, sleaze filled world and also the clean, privileged world of those who knew her mother in the time before the island. [...]