Tender Morsels (Margo Lanagan)

Tender Morsels is a retelling of Snow-White and Rose-Red by Margo Lanagan.

Plot:
After her mother’s death, Liga lives alone with her father in the middle of the woods – and has to be a stand-in for her mother in every way. Before her father can force the third abortion on her, he suffers a fatal accident though, and Liga can keep her daughter Branza. But the crappiness is far from being over. Not soon after Branza is born, five young men from the town come to Liga’s hut and rape her. When Liga tries to kill herself and Branza after this, a magical force saves her and transports her to a magical world, where everything is made to fit Liga and her two daughters (one of them still unborn) perfectly. But the real world can not be hold completely at bay.

I enjoyed Tender Morsels. It’s well-written, a very interesting spin on the fairy tale and the characters are very vivid. It does have some problems with the pacing, though and I did not like the ending.

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The Expendables (2010)

The Expendables is Sylvester Stallone‘s vanity project, starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, Charisma Carpenter, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Plot:
The Expendables are a group of mercenaries, most notably Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Ying Yang (Jet Li) and Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren). They mostly go around blowing up bad guys and getting tattoos from Tool (Mickey Rourke), who always throws some wisdom into the mix. When Barney gets the job to get rid of the General, a tyrant on a small Latin-American Island, he has to face is own humanity. And he has to blow a lot of shit up.

The Expendables should have been great cinema: that cast and a bunch of fights and explosions, whatever could go wrong? The answer is simple: Sylvester Stallone. He should have never directed it, and neither he nor any of the other writers should be allowed to get within 200 meters of a script ever again. Also, everyone in this project should grow a sense of humor (except for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who seem to have one already).

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Random Dozen – Meme Monday

[taken from here]

1. What is your favorite Mexican dish?

Hmm… I like Mexican food but I don’t have it often. When I do, I usually vary it.

2. When you were a kid, did you get started on your homework right away after school, or did you procrastinate?

I didn’t do school work, not really. I’d usually start copying it from other, more diligent people in the break before the lesson. When that wasn’t possible, I was the master of procrastination. Probably still am.

3. What is your favorite store for home furnishings?

Ikea. For their raspberry cake.

4. When you were young, did you like school lunches?

I didn’t have school lunches.

5. Is religion a crutch?

Yes. Sometimes helpful, mostly not.

6. In your region, what is the “big” (most popular in the community or state) high school sport?

High school sport is such a USA concept…

7. Do you consider yourself rich?

I’m good. Not rich, but not poor either.

8. Which of these would you have the best chance for success in administering:
A) CPR
B) Heimlich Maneuver
C) Changing a flat tire

Changing a flat tire or CPR. Learned both when studying for my driver’s exam, haven’t done either since, probably would suck at both, though.

9. Which dance would you prefer to learn & why:
A) Salsa
B) Hip Hop
C) Waltz
D) Swing

Hip Hop. I know how to waltz (well, the basics) and Hip Hop is just really cool to watch – I’d love to do it myself.

10. What’s the worst news you’ve ever delivered to someone?

I’ve been pretty lucky so far and didn’t really have to deliver anything too bad.

11. Name something you learned in college that had nothing to do with classes or academics.

That I’m not cut out for college.

12. New variation on an old question: If there’s a song in your head that just won’t get out, what is your favorite (or most repeated) line in that song?

There’s pretty much always a song stuch in my head. At the moment, it’s a Billy Talent medley.

I’ve got the devil on my shoulder/ every word every thought every sound, surrender / rusted from the rain / fallen leaves, fallen leaves, fallen leaves on the ground

It doesn’t work too well as only one song. [No shit, Sherlock.]

Step Up 3D (2010)

Step Up 3D is the newest movie by Jon Chu, starring Rick Malambri, Adam G. Sevani, Sharni Vinson and Alyson Stoner.

Plot:
Moose (Adam G. Sevani) arrives freshly in New York, gets immediately thrown into a dance battle, which he rules, gets into trouble and is found by Luke (Rick Malambri), who has a kind of shelter for stray dancers, the Pirates. Because of his pwnage, Moose is quickly accepted into the group and, together with new arrival Nataly (Sharni Vinson), is supposed to provide the fresh blood needed to win the World Jam Dance Competition against their nemesis, the Samurai.

Step Up 3D has several problems (not including the stale plot and the general dance movie clichés [because what would a dance movie be without them?]), but most of them shall be forgiven for the mostly awesome choreographies.

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Salt (2010)

Salt is a movie by Phillip Noyce and stars Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor and August Diehl.

Plot:
Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) is a CIA-Agent, and a pretty good one. One day, they have a walk-in (Daniel Olbrychski); a guy claiming to know of Russian sleeper agents who will shortly kill the Russian president. Salt, and her partner Ted Winter (Liev Schreiber) dismiss him as a nutcase, until he tells them that the name of the agent was Evelyn Salt. While Winter and Secret Service Man Peabody (Chiwetel Ejiofor) try to figure this out, Salt tries frantically to reach her husband (August Diehl), who doesn’t respond. So she flees and tries to find him.

Salt was well-acted and well-shot but the plot was just waaaaaay too predictable to make it really entertaining. When you try so hard to surprise people with your plot twists, don’t make the hints billboard-announcements, ‘kay?

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Burning Up (Nalini Singh, Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra, Meljean Brook)

Burning Up is an anthology of four novellas, most of which are paranormal in nature. They were written by Nalini Singh, Angela Knight, Virginia Kantra and Meljean Brook.

I bought it for Nalini Singh (how could it be any different?), since her novella was a Psy-Changeling story. [My reviews of the other books here.] That story was also the best on in the book. The other three were mostly meh. There was also nothing that really kept them together, except them being paranormal (one of them was actually SciFi, not Fantasy) and romance-y. The settings were very different (1 medieval, 1 1800s, 1 futuristic, 1 steampunk) and the tones and themes just wouldn’t fit together.

As an anthology, it’s pretty much average to bad. More about the stories individually after the jump.

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Frequency Festival 2010

Last year, the festival program was disappointing – so disappointing, in fact, that I didn’t go to any of them. Which means that this year, of course, there were at least three I really, really wanted to go to.

I finally settled for the Frequency – the line-up was just too good and I could stay at my brother’s girlfriend’s mother’s house – which meant none of the usual festival inconveniences! Yay! [Here's my review of the Festival in 2008.]

So, on Thursday of last week, I got my parents’ car, and picked up B. and deadra in Vienna and we drove to St. Pölten for three and a half days of music and awesomeness.

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Links

Art

22 Photos of Faraway Places.

Books

Jo Walton describes my reading habits exactly. I guess I’m now officially a sipper.

OK, Where Do I Start With That? U and V.

Fall Book Preview.

World Fantasy Award Nominees Announced.

io9 offers SciFi 101.

Movies

1st Avengers teaser.

[via deadra] 35 mm: 35 movies in 2 minutes.

Lego Inception.

Buildings and Vampires, a tribute to Where the Wild Things Are.

Please, just don’t.

Fall Movie Preview.

A sequel to Porco Rosso?

Music

TV

Fall TV Preview.

Completely Different Things

Bertrand Russel’s Ten Commandments.

The Beatles vs. Zombies.

True Things About Me (Deborah Kay Davies)

[To be perfectly honest: I got a copy of this book in an Early Reviewer give-away at librarything. I don't think it's tainted my judgment, though.]

True Things About Me is Deborah Kay Davies’ debut novel.

Plot:
The narrator of this book is a young woman who basically has a psychotic break that’s triggered by an abusive relationship. We follow her from her first meeting the guy into the depths of mental illness.

True Things About Me is a very well written, very depressing and disturbing book. It was quite different from what I expected (though the blurb that it was the new Bell Jar could have warned me) but once I got used to that, it was quite gripping.

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The A-Team (2010)

The A-Team is the movie remake of the 80s TV show. It was directed by Joe Carnahan and stars Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley, Quinton Jackson, Jessica Biel and Patrick Wilson.

Plot:
Somewhere in Mexico, Hannibal Smith (Liam Neeson) gets beat up by corrupt police men; though not as beat up as people might think. He manages to escape and sets out to save his fellow-soldier Faceman Peck (Bradley Cooper). On his way, he meets another Ranger, B. A. Baracus (Quinton Jackson) who decides to help him save Face. And finally, the three of them escape with the help of Captain Murdock (Sharlto Copley), crazy, but a pilot par excellence.
8 years later, the four of them are a force within the army, stationed in Iraq and getting ready to bust some money-printers. Unfortunately, they’re being set up. But by who? And what do Face’s ex-girlfriend Sosa (Jessica Biel) and the CIA-Agent Lynch (Patrick Wilson) want?

Like most people my age, I used to watch the A-Team when I was younger and all the power of nostalgia surrounds it. But my judgement was never too cloudy to know that the show actually sucked (even though it was awesome) and that’s what I expected from the movie as well: stupid jokes, explosions and fun. So it might not come as a surprise that I really liked the film. [What does come as a surprise that most people seem to have expected a good movie and were consequently disappointed. You're watching the A-Team, people. Don't expect quality.]

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