Sunday, June 17, 2018

Book Review: Dragonwatch

Dragonwatch: A Fablehaven Adventure, Brandon Mull, illustrated by Brandon Dorman, Shadow Mountain, Salt Lake City, UT, 2017.  This is a continuation of the Fablehaven story.  I must admit, Mull keeps the adventures coming and I seem to enjoy them all.  We continue the follow the adventures of Seth and Kendra, brother and sister.  However this time they are facing the dragons, rather than the demons.  The dragons have sensed their increased power after the fall of the demons in Fablehaven.  Now they want their freedom.  However the dragon watchers fear this will lead to similar scenes of days of old when the dragons ruled, and humans huddled in fear.  Kendra and Seth become the caretakers of Wyrmroost, a dragon sanctuary, from which the dragons are not allowed to leave. because together they destroyed a dragon in Fablehaven.  All their skills are tested, and they even have to grow.  In this case Kendra is fairy kind, and Seth dark.  Together they make a formidable team.  They work much better together in this book than the first series.  The change is good to see.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Movie Review: ***^Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Here is a movie that combines two film dynasties, the Avengers and Defenders of the Galaxy.  Even with their combined strength, they still are a bit inadequate to confront Thanos (Josh Brolin voice) and his hoards.  Thanos is on a quest to retrieve the five stones with which he will have all power: The Power Stone, The Reality Stone, The Space Stone, The Time Stone and The Mind Stone.  He destroys Thor’s (Chris Hemsworth) hammer in retrieving the Space Stone.  He is successful in getting three stones, but the Mind Stone is in Vision’s (Paul Bettany) forehead, and the Time Stone is kept safe by Dr. Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) deceptions.  Thanos is gathering the stones to complete his life-long task of killing half the people in the universe, and thereby eliminating hardship and hunger.    Thanos is the father of Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillam).  Gamora and Dr. Strange have the best chance of stopping Thanos.  There is a confrontation with Thanos on his home world with Iron Man ((Robert Downey Jr.), Spider Man (Tom Holland),  Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Drax (Dave Bautista) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff),  At the same time Thor is off to forge a new hammer.  He travels with Groot (Vin Diesel voice), and Rocket (Bradley Cooper voice).  Others prepare for a confrontation on the Black Panther world of Wakanda.  They are joined by many as the attempt to destroy the Mind Stone without killing Vision.  These are: Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Don Cheadle-War Machine, Chadwick Boseman-Black Panther, Elizabeth Olsen-Scarlet Witch, Anthony Mackie-Falcon, Sebastian Stan-Winter Soldier.  There are many more in this epic battle.  I must admit, the ending of this movie left me with a bad feeling of despair.  Thor battles hard, but with all five stones in place, Thanos has unlimited power.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Book Review: Five Kingdoms 5, Time Jumpers

Five Kingdoms 5: Time Jumpers, by Brandon Mull, Alladin, New York, 2018.  Last of 5 kingdoms.  Book to book this series gets more and more exciting.  This last is no exception, as Cole Randolph struggles with his new found powers, and explores their limits.  His powers are unique, and he has the biggest part to play in the upcoming showdown with Ramarro.  Fortunate for him, people from other times have put in place measures so he can win the impossible battle.  I had to wait for this book to be published and it was well worth the wait.  Lots of fun.  This one had me reading on and on to find out what was next.

Movie Review: ****Adrift (2018)

Adrift (2018)  In theaters now>  Shailene Woodley as Tami Oldham and Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp star in this romance.  These two are young world travelers, that meet in Tahiti.  Their relationship quickly turns into a romance, as they travel on Richard’s boat.  They want to make their way to Japan, but they receive an offer to take and even bigger boat to San Diego for pay and plane tickets back.  They reluctantly agree to this trip, because of the impressive nature of the boat.  All is going well, until a bird comes flying onto the boat.  They are many miles off shore.  A terrible hurricane is approaching.  Efforts to go around to avoid the hurricane fail, and they are caught in the middle of the storm.  The storm is worse than they had expected, and it leaves the boat crippled.  Richard has been blown overboard and Tami has injured her head.  This begins a 41-day journey of survival.  She rescues Richard from the ocean, so it seems.  He is badly injured. 
Based on a book by Tami Oldham Ashcroft.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues

Encyclopedia Brown Finds the Clues by Donald J. Sobol, illustrated by Leonard Shortall, Elsevier/Nelson Books, New York 1966.
It is always fun to match your wits against a master (though young) like Encyclopedia Brown.  This is ten stories, with the key to solving each mystery presented laters.  Encyclopedia Brown of course is a kid detective, and he helps his father, the police chief solve cases.  Some of these stories I figured out before reading the clues, most I didn't, and some I still don't get even with the clues. I like the case of robbery, with the suspect seeking through the hood, the bully who wants to sell divining rods, the bitter drink story, and many other fine stories.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Book Review: The Seven Chinese Brothers

The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng, Scholastic, New York, 1990.  This is a fascinating Chinese story about what happens to a bad emperor.  Not to be confused with "The Five Chinese Brothers" which is very similar in its theme.  In this case each of the brothers has a special gift: hearing, seeing, strength, iron neck, legs that grow, resistance to fire, and crying tears like a river.  The first six brothers always wanted to keep the seventh brother from crying.  Te strong brother helps to alleviate suffering by repairing a hole in the great wall.  However the emperor is jealous, and has him captured as he is too strong.  He is sentenced to die next die by chopping off his neck, but the next brother trades places, and so it goes, until the emperor orders death by arrows.  At this all the brothers agree to face the emperor and die together, which causes the seventh brother to cry a river, and washes the emperor away.  This is a cute story with a good moral. 

Movie Review: ***^White Buffalo (1977)

This movie stars Charles Bronson as Bill Hickok and Will Sampson as Crazy Horse.  However they are both keeping their names hush hush; Hickok because of his part, and Crazy Horse because he is told not to use his name until he kills the white buffalo.  Part of this movie were not very well done, including the White Buffalo attack of the Indian village that killed Cray Horse's child.  Even Tony noticed that.  It was flashes of the buffalo and then blood.  However is is because of this incident Crazy Horse is given his task of killing the white buffalo and his name is changed to "worm" until he does so.  At the same time, Hickok has ben seeing the white buffalo in his dreams.  Hickok if joined by his friend, Charlie Zane (Jack Warden). 
There are also several cameos: Slim Pickens as the stage coach driver, John Carradine as the undertaker, Kim Novak as the female interest and Clint Walker as the man who wants to kill Hickok.
However this movie is more than three men chasing a white buffalo, which can cause earthquakes and avalanches.  It turns out in the end to be about relationships, and personal growth, for both Crazy Horse and Hickok.  Zane, the old timer, does not go along, and in the end Hickok loses a friend in Zane and gains one in Crazy Horse.