Posts Tagged ‘review’

Book Review: Noah: Ila’s Story

Sunday, April 13th, 2014


Our latest book review courtesy of Titan Books is Ila’s Story a young adult novel, written by Susan Korman, and based on the screenplay for the film Noah.  I reviewed the Noah novelization last week [read it here], which did include Emma Watson’s character from the film, Ila, Noah’s daughter-in-law and Shem’s wife but like the movie left much to be desired with a backstory.


Note: May contain spoilers – Ila’s Story is told from her point of view and shares the events not shown in the film where her home and family are attacked and she’s eventually found by Noah and his family.  As time passes she eventually marries Noah’s son, Shem.  If you have seen the movie then you know that Ilsa cannot have children, there is a surrounding army that wants to come onto the ark, the animals arrive in droves and eventually there’s a great flood – so it’s easy to say there is a lot more action than the Bible story.

Watching the movie and reading the books, I never found Ilsa’s character likable.  She’s essentially a conflict bringing trials and tribulation to herself and those around her.  Korman has a lot more emotional traits to give Ilsa in this short read than I found in the previous Noah book.  If you want to read a story related to the Noah film I can recommend this.  It’s a very short novel that does do a great job detailing the world our characters live in.  It’s an easy read for young adults and I suppose if you have to have every book Emma Watson’s nice face is on, here’s another one for you.

Buy it today!

More CoF Book Reviews

Book Review: ALIEN

Saturday, April 5th, 2014


Since its release in May 1979 Alien has garnered iconic status, reaping critical acclaim as well as box office success, and this May marks its much-celebrated 35th anniversary.  Titan Books has re-released Alien, Alan Dean Foster’s long out-of-print adaptation, considered one of the defining novelizations ever written and we received a copy to review.

There is a reason Alien has been praised as the finest movie novelization ever written, it’s likely true.  Admittedly, I haven’t read every movie novelization, but from the many I have I can tell you they are often hack jobs.  Here we have a classic title that lends itself to a classic movie, a rare feat in storytelling.  For completionists like me, this makes a great addition to the shelves.

alien-novelIf you’re reading this then you likely know the story of Alien, if you don’t, then what are you waiting for?  The book is faithful the movie and goes into great detail which may be a bore for some (for the first thirsty pages or so).  They set up the scenes including details like technical aspects of landing, planning the course, and positioning.  The scene where they find the chamber is still scary as hell among other scenes which may actually be more intense in print then on screen.  Ridley comes off as less likable in this version, arrogant is an understatement.  So that may change the way you view the movie afterwards too, Dallas will forever be likable though.

What is wish was included was a better description of the alien.  It’s very vague which is surprising considering the detail they put into relatively small stuff.  We get detail about the egg and some theories thrown out by the crew.  Adult alien makes its appearance and it’s all up to you to decide, maybe that was the point?

Fans should read this knowing it doesn’t add any missing moments or further, but it’s still a great read that will scare you.  Now it’s time to re-watch the movie.

Buy it today!

More CoF Book Reviews

Book Review: Noah – The Official Movie Novelization

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

Mark Morris has written tie-in novels for Hellboy, Spartacus, Doctor Who and Torchwood, and novelizations for Vampire Circus and the game Dead Island.  Titan Books recently released Noah: The Official Movie Novelization, here is my review.


I haven’t seen the movie yet, which I anticipate will be worth a viewing.  I don’t believe that the tale of Noah is anything more than that, a tale.; though I will be reviewing the book much like I read other books and watch other movies – without prejudice.  Like most people I am familiar with the story of Noah. It’s just one of those stories I remember finding interesting when I was a child.  This retelling is definitely more interesting, and exciting as far as action and fiction goes.

The interesting part in this adaptation, and perhaps it’s the same in the movie is that Noah’s actions are based on his own interpretations of his visions.  I didn’t get the sense of “And God said unto him…” so I can see why a lot of faith based readers and viewers would get offended, but again, if you go into a movie or book with an open mind and want to be entertained for a few hours, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.  Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you’re right.

If you enjoyed the movie, you will enjoy the book.  It’s an easy read and comes of as more of an action tale than a take on the Noah story from the Bible.  The hype and criticism surrounding this film seems unwarranted, but many people don’t see this story as fantasy and rather a historical occurrence.  How will you see the movie or read the book?

Buy it today!

More CoF Book Reviews

Book Review: Grimm – Below the Surface

Sunday, March 30th, 2014


Grimm: Below the Surface is a comprehensive guide that delves into the depths of the show, so if you’re a fan, you’re set.  It covers the names and habits of the Wesen from early in the series and it goes into the mind of most if not all notable characters.  There’s a lot to find here among the nice pictures that cover both episodes and behind the scenes production.  It covers all you’ll need to know about your favorite hero or villain from the show too, no bias worries there.

grimm-novelThere are a lot of insight from the entire crew, special effects team, and the show frontrunners.  Pages from Aunt Marie’s “Casebook”  are included about various Wesen – and a chapter about Grimms.  Interviews with the show’s producers, creature designers, makeup and hair artists, visual special effects (VFX) specialists, costume designers, casting director, stunt coordinator, prop master, and the writing team; interviews with David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Bitsie Tulloch, Russell Hornsby, Bree Turner, Sasha Roiz, Claire Coffee, and Reggie Lee; and summaries of every episode in Seasons 1 and 2.

The details found in the 176 pages are sure to make any fan of the show happy.

But it today!

More CoF Book Reviews

A Quick Peak into the World of a Divergent

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014


I say quick peak, because that’s exactly what it felt like. Divergent, which clocks in at a running time of 143 minutes, actually flew by and considering I had more scrutiny going into the theatre than I had coming out, I would argue that I enjoyed the film more than I initially gave it credit for.

Most of the casting qualms I had had since their early announcements were dissolved or easily ignored after the film started, but one was a harder pill to swallow simply because of all the liberties that needed to be taken to make sure her role was one of screen-time. I mean, you get Kate Winslet on your roster, you use her. I get it. With that being said, overall, the adaptation from a piece-by-piece basis from the book was pretty seamless on the surface.

Book Review: Grimm – The Chopping Block

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014


“The Chopping Block” is the second book in the Grimm novel series based on the TV series, we have been sent a copy from Titan Books to review.

There is a lot to say about a book that can draw my attention without me having watched an episode of the series it’s based on, this isn’t one of those books.  Granted, if you’re a fan of the series you’ll probably like this book because you’ll want to after spending time on it.  I can’t tell you that the author managed to capture the personality of each individual character and hold onto the shows formula and tone.  This novel is an original story, set between episodes:

When a pile of bones is discovered in a Portland forest, severed and stripped of flesh, homicide detectives Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin quickly rule out an animal attack, but suspect the killer is something other than human. Soon more skeletal remains are unearthed, and tests reveal that the bones were cooked before burial. As the body count increases, Nick, Hank, and reformed Blutbad Monroe must track down a Wesen with a taste for human meat, before the killer can butcher their next meal…

I can say this: it came out at a good time for Grimm fans, during the grimm-2Olympics hiatus.  The story itself is entertaining enough that people who like gory reads will get a kick out of it.  Grimm is apparently one of those TV series what can have books released placed between episodes, I don’t know what that says for viewers of the show – do the writers just churns out these scripts like it’s an episode of Law & Order?  Is there an end in sight and character development and conflict resolution here?

Grimm: The Chopping Block is an entertaining read for Grimm fans, It would be an advantage for me to have seen an episode of Grimm of course, but it’s still possible to understand what is going on and to not feel lost; it’s a fast and easy read.

Grimm: The Chopping Block by John Passarella is released in the UK on February 28th courtesy of Titan Books.

Buy it today!  amazon.COMamazon.CA

More CoF Book Reviews

Cut To The Chase Review: Ender’s Game

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013


Cut To The Chase Reviews from The City of Films are spoiler free Reviews ‘abridged for your pleasure’. Quick, concise, and sometimes entertaining opinions on the go!


Ender’s Game is a widely popular novel adored by science fiction fans around the world. It is also been a film in development hell for years! So of course when this was announced nerds around the world rejoiced. With all of the parades in the streets and fireworks, little thought was given to the fact that the Ender’s Game novel is chalk full of content that could no way fit into a 2 hour film. For this reason I chose to have extremely low expectations heading into this one, along with chocolate covered cherries just in case. (more…)

Book Review: Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

annoTitan Books sent us a copy of Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard by Kim Newman, here is our review.

Firstly I’d like to say that I have never read any of Kim Newman’s Anno Dracula series,Ryan did a review (a re-release title) around this time last year and was lukewarm to that particular entry.  I have heard pretty good things about the books, they are often compared to the great read that is Interview With a Vampire.  I can tell you now for someone who doesn’t read this particular genre of books, I was hooked.

Anno Dracula: Johnny Alucard, is the first Anno Dracula series entry in over a decade, a long time to wait for fan, but worth it.  Newman’s dark and impish tale begins with a single question: What if Dracula had survived his encounters with Bram Stoker’s Dr. John Seward and enslaved Victorian England?  When vampire boy Johnny Alucard descends upon America, stalking the streets of New York and Hollywood, haunting the lives of the rich and famous, from Sid and Nancy to Andy Warhol, Orson Welles, and Francis Ford Coppola, sinking his fangs ever deeper into the zeitgeist of 1980s America, it seems the past might not be dead after all.

It’s not necessary to read the earlier entries in the Anno Dracula series, but helps to know your vampire films and novels, and popular culture for the last several decades.  Film and vampire lore is what kept me turning pages, Newman manages to touch on nearly every meme or mythos I can think of.

This book will delight fans of the series and bring in new fans as well, it’s a fun and easy read put together beautifully by Titan Books.

I do not want to go into too much detail as I would hate to ruin a few surprises, so check it out for yourself and let me know what you thought.

But it today!  amazon.COMamazon.CA

Check out the Anno Dracula series history here.

More CoF Book Reviews

Review: BEFORE MIDNIGHT – A Love Story In Three Parts

Thursday, July 25th, 2013


Like sunlight, sunset, we appear, we disappear. We are so important to some, but we are just passing through.”

It was fall 2004 and I was working at a video store, remember those?   We had this dreaded loop tape we put in for all the TV’s in the store to play all month long that would show trailers and mad combo deals for the kids.  One of the trailers that played throughout the month was for Before Sunset.  It wasn’t long until I had the music stuck in my head (Watch the trailer featuring Ivy – Edge of the Ocean) and I was researching what this movie was all about.  It’s now nine years later and I’m writing a review of the second sequel and third film in the “Before” trilogy, Before Midnight.

Note: I will keep this Before Midnight spoiler free, but I urge people to watch Before Sunrise and Before Sunset as soon as you can (or 9 years apart for the best experience).


Cut To The Chase Review: THE CONJURING – The Best Horror Movie of the Past Decade

Saturday, July 20th, 2013


Cut To The Chase Reviews from The City of Films are spoiler free Reviews ‘abridged for your pleasure’. Quick, concise, and sometimes entertaining opinions on the go!


James Wan might be the least insulting director working in horror today; proof of this can be seen in his movies Saw and Insidious, and now The Conjuring. My often vocal complaint over the past decade when it comes to horror movies is that they are all the obnoxious and or lazy only excluding a rare few*. Convoluted editing and sound effects that have no purpose only than to remind you to jump and think you’re scared when in actual fact you should be annoyed. Oh how often I left theaters annoyed.

The Conjuring is extremely well-crafted and paced; it feels like you’re getting scared in your parent’s basement all over again. It isn’t obvious what’s going to happen on screen and the characters are well developed with great performances all around (it’s nice when young kids can act in a horror movie).

The audience I was with ate it up at every turn. Nervous laughs after their embarrassed screams filled the theater. I don’t scream in theaters, I get lower in my seat – by the final act I was face to face with the cup holder. We get genuine scares made from genuine on screen direction. The movie looks and sounds amazing; Wan clearly took his time setting up every scene, no filler nonsense like the cheap reveal of “nothing there” when a skeptical sheriff comes a looking.

The anticipation of scares is what makes the movie, I’m sitting there waiting for what I think is going to happen, making my own image in my head when something even better comes along. We are so used to the cheap thrills of quick takes and even faster shots. This is going to remind audiences and directors what the payoff of patience is, long shots and long takes that scare the hell out of you. Remember July 2013, because that’s when James Wan and company made the horror genre scary again.


+ Great looking movie, love the atmosphere
+ Smart yet simple, and kind to its audience
+ Genuine scares made from genuine on screen direction
- More back story please

*Candyman (1992), Ringu (1998),  The Descent (2005), Let the Right One In (2008)