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Movie Review: The Lion King (2019)
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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The Lion King

The Lion King
Director: Jon Favreau
Writer: Jeff Nathanson
Cast: Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, James Earl Jones
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 118
Release Date: July 19, 2019

When it comes to Disney animated films, The Lion King is considered to be one of the studio’s shining crown jewels. Released 25 years ago, the film raised the bar on animation and storytelling so high that it made it nearly impossible for any other animated feature from other studios to come close to its quality and standards. As such, there is no denying the film’s place within the Disney animation pantheon.

We then flash forward to 2019, when director Jon Favreau took the lessons that he learned from making the live-action The Jungle Book, and used tools and techniques to tell a beloved story in a new way that is visually bold and striking. Backed by a terrific voice cast including Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles, Billy Eichner, and Seth Rogen, The Lion King roars with astounding pride. But as great as it is and how respectful it is to honor the original, this reimagining’s major issue is that it takes too little risk to separate itself from its animated counterpart. This new take matches the story almost beat for beat. However, the new cast gives it a refreshing spin, and the visuals help audiences see the film from a completely new perspective. My full review below.

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Book Review: Recursion by Blake Crouch
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FunWithDeadTrees   |  @   |  
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Recursion book cover Blake Crouch

Recursion
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Blake Crouch
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Release date: June 11, 2019

In Recursion, it’s 2008 and Dr. Helena Smith is a brilliant neuroscientist driven by the devastation that Alzheimer’s disease is ravaging on her family to create a device that will save the memories of those people who are losing them. Not just a passing or faded memory, but those core ones that define our lives. And they are very lucid, very vivid memories. The way she has worked out the science, if you were to review these saved memories, you’d swear you’re living them firsthand. But she’s out of funding.

Enter Marcus Slade, a billionaire tycoon driven by a love of science and technology who wants to give Helena anything she needs to make her dreams a reality.

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Blu-ray Review: Silent Hill (Collector’s Edition)
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Blu-Ray Review: Silent Hill (Collector's Edition)

Silent Hill
Blu-ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Christophe Gans
Screenwriters: Roger Avary, Christophe Gans, Nicolas Boukhrief
Cast: Radha Mitchell, Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates, Tanya Allen, Alice Krige, Jodelle Ferland
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 125 Minutes
Release Date: July 9, 2019

Directed by Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf), 2006’s Silent Hill is an adaptation of Konami’s 1999 survival horror video game of the same name. Written by Gans and Roger Avary (Beowulf), the film stars Radha Mitchell (Pitch Black, Rogue) as Rose, a woman searching for her missing daughter (Jodelle Ferland) in the abandoned town of Silent Hill.

A ghost town for 30 years, Silent Hill was the site of a massive coal-seam fire. Now, it exists as a town trapped in a dark dream, occupied by damned souls and hideous monsters. Like the Playstation game, the film incorporates elements of exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat, while building dread through its eerie atmosphere.

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4K Ultra HD Review: Pet Sematary (2019)
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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4K Ultra HD Review: Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary (2019)
4K Ultra HD Combo Pack | Blu-ray Combo Pack | DVD | Digital
Directors: Kevin Kölsch, Dennis Widmyer
Screenwriter: Jeff Buhler
Cast: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow, Jeté Laurence
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Rated R | 101 Minutes
Release Date: July 9, 2019

“The soil of a man’s heart is stonier; a man grows what he can and tends it.”

Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer (Starry Eyes), Pet Sematary is the second film adaptation of the 1983 Stephen King novel, after Mary Lambert’s 1989 movie. Starring Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, the story follows a family that discovers a mysterious graveyard in the woods behind their new home.

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Book Review: We Sold Our Souls By Grady Hendrix (Paperback Edition)
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Olympus Athens   |  @   |  
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We Sold Our Souls review

We Sold Our Souls
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle | Audiobook
By Grady Hendrix
Publisher: Quirk Books
Paperback Release date: June 25, 2019

Kris Pulaski has a dead end life, but once upon a time she felt alive crunching chords with her yellowing calloused hands in front of anyone who would listen. But that was a long time ago, before her singer sold them out and rocketed to fame, leaving the rest of the band, Dürt Würk, in the dust.

Years later, in her dead end Best Western, after mopping up piss, she was heading home and was hit with a horrible surprise. Said singer was about to embark on his farewell tour, and with it brought up all the rage and anguish that long ago betrayal had created.

More below on the paperback edition of We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix.

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Book Review: Alpha and Omega By Harry Turtledove
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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Alpha and Omega review

Alpha and Omega
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Harry Turtledove
Publisher: Del Rey, an imprint of Random House Books
Release Date: July 2, 2019

Harry Turtledove is renowned for his alternative historical tales. Oftentimes, one small change is all it takes to create an entirely different possible outcome. And, to be fair, I have enjoyed all of his prior stories that I have read. Therefore, I was slightly surprised to find that Alpha and Omega was less about a historical event and more about the present and, to some extent, the future. I was no less entranced, to be sure. In fact, it caused me some serious introspection when I put the book down. Curious? Then keep reading for more about this wonderful book.

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Movie Review: Midsommar
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Midsommar

Midsommar
Director: Ari Aster
Writer: Ari Aster
Cast: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper, Vilhelm Blomgren, Archie Madekwe, Ellora Torchia, Will Poulter
Distributor: A24
Rated R | Minutes: 147
Release Date: July 3, 2019

Hereditary writer and director Ari Aster‘s Midsommar reminds us that, even though his films are redefining the genre, they aren’t for everybody. For his sophomore effort, he creates a world that on the surface looks bright and colorful, but deep down, hides something that is bizarre, strange, and visceral.

It is certainly a stark contrast to what he offered in his directorial debut in terms of vision and tone, but one that can be imbalanced because of its use of black comedy and an uneven narrative. Still, it is one trip that isn’t conventional and scares audiences to their core with the use of shocking imagery and terrific pacing. Check out my review below.

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Movie Review: Yesterday
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eelyajekiM   |  @   |  
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Yesterday

Yesterday
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Richard Curtis
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 157
Release Date: June 28, 2019

A world where The Beatles do not exist would be a strange one. But it is one small part of the entire premise of the fantastical romantic comedy Yesterday. Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, the film explores such a world where only one man remembers the music of The Beatles, and how his life will dramatically change. But underneath such a simple premise lies a sweet love story and a quandary of what would happen if you had all that knowledge yet you knew that it wasn’t truly your work.

Though it may be narratively flawed by not fully exploring an interesting concept and plays it safe at times with the rom-com aspects, Yesterday relies on the direction of Boyle and Curtis’s script – though their voices may inadvertently clash at times – along with Lily James‘ cheery performance to carry the film all the way to end. My full review below.

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Blu-ray Review: Night Of The Creeps (Collector’s Edition)
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Blu-ray Review: Night of the Creeps (Collector's Edition)

Night of the Creeps
Blu-Ray (Collector’s Edition)
Director: Fred Dekker
Screenwriter: Fred Dekker
Cast: Jason Lively, Steve Marshall, Jill Whitlow, Tom Atkins
Distributor: Scream Factory
Rated R | 88 / 90 Minutes
Release Date: June 25, 2019

“Zombies, exploding heads, creepy-crawlies… and a date for the formal. This is classic, Spanky.”

Written and directed by Fred Dekker (of The Monster Squad and RoboCop 3), Night of the Creeps is a fun, throwback horror comedy that pays homage to ’50s B-movies like The Blob and Plan 9 from Outer Space.

The 1986 film is the latest cult classic to receive a definitive collector’s edition Blu-ray release from Scream Factory, including both the theatrical and director’s cut versions of the movie and a plethora of new bonus features.

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Book Review: Empire Of Grass (The Last King Of Osten Ard Book 2) By Tad Williams
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Waerloga69   |  @   |  
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Empire Of Grass header

Empire Of Grass
The Last King Of Osten Ard Book 2
Hardcover | Kindle | Audiobook
By Tad Williams
Publisher: DAW
Release Date: May 7, 2019

I sat here for several minutes trying to figure out how to start this review. In fact, I am still trying to decide if I liked Empire Of Grass, the latest release from Tad Williams. Not that I hated it, I just did not connect well with it. I have always been hot or cold when it comes to Williams, through no fault of his own. In fact, I have had several conversations over the decades about how I must be crazy to not love everything he has written. This held especially true when I managed a Waldenbooks all those years ago. But, on with the show!

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