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Graphic Novel Review: Sons of Chaos
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Sons Of Chaos By Chris Jaymes Header

Sons of Chaos
Hardcover | Kindle
Writer: Chris Jaymes
Illustrator: Ale Aragon
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release date: June 2019

I’m a sucker for a good historical novel. Done right, it can drop you into a time period, introduce you to characters you see as dear friends or bitter enemies, and immerse you into historical events in a deeply meaningful way. The graphic novel Sons of Chaos by writer Chris Jaymes (Party of Five, Chicago Hope, Lost) illuminates the harrowing 19th-century events of the Greek War of Independence through the lens of tragic underdog Marcos Botsaris. Game of Thrones meets 300 in this bleak-yet-epic saga portraying the costs of brutal and anything-but-fair conflict with impressively natural pacing. Massive, lustrous pages serve as a backdrop to the grandiose, fantastical, and occasionally wincingly violent artwork illustrated by Ale Aragon (28 Days Later, Deadpool).

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Movie Review: Queen And Slim
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Queen and Slim

Queen And Slim
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Writer: Lena Waithe
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Bokeem Woodbine, Indya Moore
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Rated: R | Minutes: 132
Release Date: November 27, 2019

If art is a reflection of society, then Queen And Slim is a serious call to action to address the societal damages that police brutality and systemic racism cause when it is allowed to continue to fester across America. Melina Matsoukas, who makes her directorial debut using a script written by Lena Waithe, reimagines the outlaws on the run from the law story by adding timely real-world social themes that we see making news headlines too often. Though a film will not completely change the hearts and minds of those who may not see these dangers, it can be a powerful reminder that it still continues to exist and if it isn’t taken care of, these senseless deaths will continue to happen. My review below.

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Movie Review: Knives Out
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Knives Out

Knives Out
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
Distributor: Lionsgate
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 130
Release Date: November 27, 2019

Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is a deliciously twisted whodunit murder mystery in the same vein of an Agatha Christie novel, but with a modern touch. Though it does rely on many of those Christie tropes of a detective warning the audience about foul play, marking everyone as a suspect, and deliberately setting up all of the clues in plain sight. And true to form, though the film holds the audience’s attention by giving them a well-crafted intrigue that is set up by Johnson, the political subtext allows it to be much more than just a simple murder mystery. And it is able to stay constantly entertaining as it is full of unlikeable and very suspect characters, who are wonderfully played by an all-star cast, that not only keeps things funny, but will also have us guessing until the very end. My full review below.

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Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Eberron: Rising from The Last War
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Eberron cover header

Dungeons & Dragons: Eberron: Rising from The Last War
Hardcover
D&D Accessory
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Well met, adventurers! I hope this day finds you well. Our discussion today revolves around a world that has been around for well over a decade but has been revamped for the current incarnation of Dungeons & Dragons. I speak, of course, of Eberron: Rising From The Last War. A unique fan favorite, this release has a load of previously unavailable material for this current edition of the world’s greatest role playing game.

I am aware that there was an online supplement that introduced Eberron to the world of 5th Edition, but this tome is so much more. Whereas the other release was a constantly evolving set of documents, this new adventure book is all of that and more. If you will allow me a few minutes of your time, I will tell you all about it! This is most definitely not your standard fantasy setting, folks. Not by a long shot.

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Book Review: Alien Archives: Eighteen Stories Of Extraterrestrial Encounters By Robert Silverberg
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Alien Archives by Robert Silverberg

Alien Archives: Eighteen Stories of Extraterrestrial Encounters
Paperback | Kindle
Written by Robert Silverberg
Publisher: Three Rooms Press
Release date: October 29, 2019

Alien Archives: Eighteen Stories of Extraterrestrial Encounters is a career-spanning collection highlighting some of the best science fiction short stories and novellas from celebrated author Robert Silverberg. With all-new forwards from the author himself, readers are given greater insight into the motivations and process behind each story.

There is quite the variety of tales being told here, too. Some of these stories are humorous slices of life while others trend to darker tales of survival. Some are told from an alien point of view while others focus on the human beings affected by their encounters. But, despite these differences in style and theme, all the stories are believably written with sympathetic protagonists with whom you can easily relate, regardless of species.

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Book Review: Chokehold by David Moody
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Chokehold By David Moody Header

Chokehold
The Final War #3
Paperback | Kindle
Written by David Moody
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: November 19, 2019

Maybe it’s simply due to having already read One Of Us Will Be Dead By Morning and All Roads End Here, the previous two novels in David Moody‘s The Final War trilogy; or maybe it’s because I’ve gotten used to the raw carnage of his post-apocalyptic horror world; or maybe it has to do with Moody’s unique – yet still quite natural – format of storytelling in which each novel has a completely different feel; whatever the reason may be, whatever special circumstances set the third and final novel apart from its predecessors, there is no doubt that I absolutely loved Chokehold.

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Book Review: In the Hall With the Knife: A Clue Mystery by Diana Peterfreund
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In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund

In the Hall with the Knife
Hardcover | Kindle
A Clue Mystery: Book 1
Written by Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release date: October 8, 2019

A storm is raging both outside and in Maine’s elite Blackbrook Academy. The outside storm is threatening to cut off the island-bound Academy from the mainland stranding what few students were not already evacuated. The one inside is much worse. Among the remaining nine students and one staff member could be a cold-blooded murderer, one who just killed Headmaster Boddy… with a knife… in the hall…

Sound a lot like the classic game of Clue? That’s because it is. In the Hall with the Knife is the start of a brand new book series for young adults based on the board game. We have a lot of the classic characters here — although their titles may be different because they’re boarding school aged and not the adults to which we’re accustomed — such as Peacock, Green, Mustard, Plum, Scarlet, White, and Boddy (the original victim). But for those of us still playing our old childhood copies of the board game who may not be accustomed to recent developments, what you must realize is that Mrs. White is no longer a playable character in the game. She was retired in 2016 and replaced with Dr. Orchid McKee. While Mrs. White is still in this book, she’s a background character playing the role of house mom in Tudor House where a vast majority of this story is set. Orchid is part of the book as well as a student who, like all the rest, has motive.

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Movie Review: Frozen 2
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FROZEN 2

Frozen 2
Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Writer: Jennifer Lee
Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown, Evan Rachel Wood, Alfred Molina, Martha Plimpton, Jason Ritter, Rachel Matthews, Jeremy Sisto, Santino Fontana, Ciarán Hinds, Alan Tudyk
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 103
Release Date: November 22, 2019

Even six years after its release, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen never stopped being a magical phenomenon as it continued on to thrive with its animated short Frozen Fever and its made-for-TV special Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. While both were fun expansions on the franchise, they weren’t really the deep dives into the original film’s characters or mythology that we would expect to see. Though Frozen 2 is not as narratively strong as the first, it is a rare Disney-animated musical sequel that is still a force to be reckoned with because of its emphasis on character development and continuing to echo the themes of female empowerment, while pushing the boundaries in its music and visuals. My full review of Frozen 2 here below.

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Movie Review: The Report
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Adam Driver The Report

The Report
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Writer: Scott Z. Burns
Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Ted Levine, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Corey Stoll, Maura Tierney, Jon Hamm, Matthew Rhys, John Rothman, Sarah Goldberg
Distributor: Amazon Studios
Rated R | Minutes: 120
Release Date: November 15, 2019

There is nothing more shocking and revealing than the truth. Scott Z. Burn‘s The Report is based on the true story of Daniel Jones’ investigation into the infamous Torture Report that followed after the September 11 attacks. The film takes a deep dive to uncover the heinous torture crimes committed by the CIA, and how they and the White House tried to cover it all up. While it is a slow and tedious political thriller, it is something that is filled with fast-paced dialogue, outstanding performances from Adam Driver and Annette Benning, and shocking revelations that will surely evoke anger and frustration.

Above all, The Report highlights the absolute necessity for investigative reporting. My full review here below.

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Movie Review: Ford v Ferrari
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Ford v Ferrari Christian Bale Matt Damon

Ford v Ferrari
Director: James Mangold
Writer: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas, Noah Jupe, Remo Girone, Ray McKinnon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rated PG-13 | Minutes: 150
Release Date: November 15, 2019

Great sports cinema goes far beyond what happens on the field, the court, or in this case, the racing track. It explores the unseen drama and relationships that are created off of them. Ford v Ferrari, directed by James Mangold, is just that kind of film as it chronicles the building of a better, faster, and stronger American car, while also elevating the story with a real-life grounded human drama.

Though it may check off all the boxes when it comes to biographical sports films, it also makes and checks off a few more with its editing and technical designs in sound, production, and costumes, and has audiences consuming what they are watching thanks in part to terrific performances from Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Check out the full review below.

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