Category Archives: Reviews

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

It’s been a while since I’ve really posted a review, especially a movie review, and I felt like sharing my thoughts on the MCU’s latest offering: Spider-man: Homecoming.

Spider-man: Homecoming is probably not going to be lauded by most as the best Marvel has to offer, but I think it’s safe to say most will consider it the best of Spider-man. Tom Holland nails his role as a nerdy and quirky Peter Parker, who is a total Hufflepuff by day, and Spider-man-with-training-wheels-but-doesn’t-know-it by night. Even if you feel burned-out on Spider-man after so many reboots, if you had any love for the character in Civil War I’d definitely recommend checking out Homecoming.

A few of my favorite things about the movie:

  • Peter’s such a good guy. He hasn’t been jaded and I love his pure enthusiasm. His main desire seems to be to do the right thing.
  • Peter’s not a perfect Spider-man. He really has to work to develop his abilities. 
  • High school awkwardness. So much on-point high school awkwardness and I loved it. 
  • Captain America PSAs. Enough said. 🙂
  • Peter’s friend Ned. Ned feels like such a real high school student, rather than a glamorized version of one, and I really appreciated that. Plus he is a good friend to Peter. 
  • Peter makes a choice that gives him a nice little arc. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Peter shows some maturity towards the end of the movie that I thought was a nice touch.

Also, not necessarily a favorite thing about the movie, but something I did appreciate, is that there isn’t really a romance. Peter does pine after a girl, but they never kiss or go on a real date, and at the end he doesn’t “get” her. It was refreshing and felt more realistic!

But it wasn’t perfect…

  • The villain. I appreciated a certain aspect that I won’t spoil, but overall he was really pretty boring. Villains that aren’t named Loki really are Marvel’s Achilles heel.
  • Really… that’s the main thing.

Right now I feel Marvel is trying to walk the tightrope between taking itself too seriously and being too light with their movies since Civil War. While I really liked the turn of Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron fell a little flat, and Civil War never completely worked for me, so I’m enjoying the levity. Right now, I’m enjoying the high-quality popcorn entertainment Marvel provides, but I am curious to see how this might ultimately tie together for a deeper storyline.

Have you seen the latest Spider-Man? What are your thoughts?

Movie Thoughts: Star Trek Beyond & Jason Bourne

Hey, everyone! I’m not dead and I promised Charlene I would try to get around to reviewing Star Trek Beyond, so here I am coming back from my unintentional absence to talk about two summer flicks.

I went into these two different movies with different expectations, and they may surprise you. Despite my love for Star Trek, my enthusiasm for Star Trek Beyond waned before I saw the movie because, of all things, my rewatch of the two previous reboot films. I really enjoyed Star Trek 2009 and Into Darkness the first few times, but the more I watch the show and the more I watch these movies the less I care for the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them enough to rewatch them, but I definitely have problems with their respective stories.

On the other hand, I was really excited about Jason Bourne. It just looked spot-on and I could not wait.


Ultimately, when I went into Star Trek Beyond, I went in a little warily but also hopeful that I could enjoy it based on everyone else’s reviews that it was fun. And fun is a very good word to describe it. Not that there aren’t any serious moments or stakes, but it felt like TOS to me, in the best way. (Well, not the literal best, like The Trouble With Tribbles, but another solid and fun episode like A Piece of the Action or something.) Chris Pine actually for real felt like Kirk to me, but not in some rip-off-of-Shatner way at all. I believed that this alternate Kirk was actually a viable Kirk. Really, the entire cast of the Enterprise crew were great, and I loved how they spent part of the movie separated but paired off, giving us a taste of some different interactions we don’t normally get.

Jaylah was a great new character too, though I’m still annoyed that there are like zero aliens from the prime Star Trek universe other than Vulcans and a couple others, and that almost every alien is something brand new. I appreciate the creativity of it, but it just feels disproportionate. And I feel that leads me to my main quibble with this movie, the villain.

Before we see Krall or even know he’s the big bad, he seems pretty vicious the way he attacks the Enterprise. When we actually meet him and see him on the planet he doesn’t seem quite as bad until we see how he attacks one of the crew members. Then we get a big reveal about him (that I guessed beforehand) that is pretty significant but we get so little development that it ultimately falls flat, and we end up with someone who was just a hair better than Nero in 2009.

Overall, I enjoyed all the great character interactions that felt so genuine, the fun lines, and I really appreciated the tribute to Leonard Nimoy (and there’s just a tiny bit there for Anton as well). I was absolutely against more of the reboot films before seeing this film, but now I’m more open to it if they stay more true to the feel of this film.

Left to right: Simon Pegg plays Scotty, Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

The new Jason Bourne feels pretty much just like the first three Bourne films, just more modern. If you enjoyed those, you’re probably going to enjoy this one as well. I had some problems with it… mass amounts of unnecessary destruction, the death of a certain character that felt meaningless, and perhaps a slightly shallow/flimsy storyline… but overall I was entertained. I think my favorite part of the movie was Alicia Vikander’s character, Heather Lee. I love how there was more to her than met the eye, and if the story continues, I definitely want more of her. There was also a little bit of a subplot that I felt was sadly too underdeveloped that I want more of, involving a social media company called Deep Dream and its mogul.

And since I’m like the only person who prefers the Aaron Cross/Jeremy Renner movie to the Matt Damon ones, I would be super intrigued if we could see these two intersect in the future as well. But please don’t fridge Rachel Weiss.


Have you seen either of these? What are your thoughts?

One Paragraph Reviews: The Books & Movies Edition

The Shadow Queen by CJ Redwine


While I saw there were mixed reviews of The Shadow Queen, I really wanted to check it out, and was thankfully able to do so through my library rather than having to commit to buying it. Now that I’ve read it I am left to wonder why any YA fantasy fan wouldn’t enjoy it! I really enjoyed the characters, the pacing was mostly good, and while it was a retelling there were some pretty interesting and unique concepts. It’s not my new favorite ever, but I did really like it and look forward to the next book in this series!

The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


Oh Jennifer Lynn Barnes, why do you torture me so?! So I loved this book just as much as its predecessor The Long Game, and it was filled with just as many twists and turns that really floored me. And though I did like Tess, Asher, and Henry in the first book, I grew even more fond of them in this book. And then… ugh, I won’t go there! Major spoiler! Let’s just say I simply need another book for more resolution, yet I don’t see one listed on Goodreads?! I NEED MORE.


Finding Dory


I love the way Honest Trailers said it best when referring to this movie: the sequel you hope will be more like Toy Story 3 and less like Cars 2. Finding Dory was cute, fun, and yes, emotional. It didn’t have the same magic for me as Finding Nemo, but it was still a good, solid story about Dory where we learn a lot about her and meet a few more fun characters. I will say that there were moments of this movie that felt a little outrageous for Pixar fare and almost more in Dreamworks’ territory (which is not a dis on Dreamworks, they just have a different philosophy for their animated movies), but again, these were minor quibbles I can forgive for the overall enjoyment of the movie.

Independence Day: Resurgence


I didn’t watch Independence Day in 1996, but at the point where enough years had passed where it seemed more cheesy in our modern age of movies. I have seen it again a few more times since then, and in that time, and especially in this last time I saw it in preparation for the sequel, I have grown fonder of it. In Resurgence, we see Earth has progressed in the 20 years since the aliens attacked, and we get to see many of the same characters and/or their children. There were a few different storylines that were eventually intertwined, much like its predecessor, and several new characters introduced, but I feel this was all well-developed. I especially enjoyed the President’s daughter and her fiance’s good friend Charlie (her fiance was Liam Hemsworth so he was… OK, actually, considering my natural prejudice towards Liam), and the other young, new characters. Overall, it’s not going to win Oscars and I did have a few issues with it, but it was a fun summer flick, and ultimately that was all I wanted from it.

If you’ve read either of these books or seen either of these movies, let me know what you thought of them! What’s been your favorite summer movie so far?

Book Review: Nora & Kettle

I had seen some blogging friends express interest in Nora & Kettle, but when the e-book was on sale and I contemplated buying it, I checked Goodreads and noticed none of them had actually read it. The reviews from others on GR really piqued my interest though, so I bought it and read it not too long after. And I’m glad I did.


The pacing of the story is very slow, but the writing is beautiful. It also weaves in some elements from Peter Pan, though it is definitely not a retelling or an adaptation.

In the beginning we meet Nora, a girl who, to the outside world, seems to have a good life, but she’s harboring the secret of her father’s abuse. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to mention the inciting incident, as it happens so quickly, but her mother dies in a freak accident, and suddenly Nora is even more terrified because this means she has to endure her father and shield her sister from him alone.

Meanwhile, Kettle is a poor homeless boy doing his best to take care of other poor homeless kids alongside his friend and “brother” Kin. He takes his life in stride but is haunted by the past he barely remembers – the family who might not have wanted him, his childhood in internment camps, his mysterious mixed heritage. And he deals with the overwhelming burden of trying to provide for himself and others at the young age of 17 and no place to call home.

For more than half of the novel, we go back and forth between these two’s individual lives, with them skimming each others’ paths, but not properly meeting for a while. It’s very drawn-out and not a lot happens, and yet I was invested in these characters. I cared for them and wanted to know what would happen to them and how they would finally meet up.

When Nora and Kettle are finally involved in each others’ lives, it’s interesting to see how they compare and contrast to one another. I will say, however, that this portion of the story was more rushed and didn’t feel fully developed. Nora and Kettle grow interested in each other quickly, which is fine, but it felt more vague than sure, and then suddenly towards the end it seems to get very serious very quickly. However, the climax was really compelling and I think it played out perfectly. I just wanted maybe one more chapter afterwards for more of a final resolution.

Overall, it’s a beautiful story, and I would love to read more about these characters. I know so little about the Japanese internment camps and while this didn’t teach me much more, it did humanize those events for me through Kettle and Kin.

Rating: 4 stars

Trigger warning: domestic violence/abuse

Content advisory: Domestic violence described but not too graphically, some language.

Have you read Nora & Kettle? What did you think? 

Movie Review: The Martian

Despite my bookish nature, I decided to watch the movie The Martian without having read the book. Thus, this review will be about the movie as a movie, not as an adaptation of the book.


After a mission goes south and it’s believed he’s been impaled to death, Mark Watney is left behind by his crew – on Mars. Once the reality of the situation sinks in for Mark, he puts his mind to work. How can he contact Earth? How long would it take for a rescue mission to reach him? How can he make his food supply last that long?

I really liked Mark’s character. He’s extremely competent, but he does have to try things by trial and error at times. He’s also very funny, which helps him get through and is entertaining for the movie as well, especially since there’s also a lot of science and math babble.

In addition to Mark being stranded on the planet, we get to see some of his mission crew, making the long journey back home, as well as that of several NASA employees on Earth. I really liked seeing all these different facets of the situation. When NASA finds out Mark’s alive, we see them struggle with the PR situation, if and when to tell the rest of his crew, how they are going to attempt a rescue, etc.

the-martian (1)


I really enjoyed every aspect of the movie, from the writing to the acting to the directing. Since I didn’t know the story and how everything would play out, I was intrigued the whole time and on the edge of my seat towards the end. The only complaint I have is small, and that is I wish I could have gotten to know some of the other astronauts a little better, but I know that wouldn’t have been feasible in the movie’s time length, and it didn’t need to be any longer.

The Martian isn’t a new favorite, but it was definitely very enjoyable. If funny, realistic sci-fi appeals to you, I’d definitely recommend The Martian.


Have you seen The Martian? What are your thoughts? Have you read the book?