Brett Michael Orr



Movie Review – Alice Through the Looking Glass

Tim Burton must have very strange dreams. Or, perhaps, he sleeps rather soundly at night, because all his crazy visions are put into film projects like the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. The newest edition to the film franchise is a departure from Lewis Carroll’s books in all but name, and yet somehow, Burton (with director James Bobin) has produced a film that’s more enjoyable than the first.

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Movie Review – Captain America: Civil War

This is a spoiler-free review.

2016 is the year for superhero showdown movies. Earlier this year, I reviewed Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justiceand now I’ve seen Marvel’s own superpowered clash in the form of the third Captain America film, Civil War. What ensues is a slightly long, but overall very enjoyable Marvel adventure – but one that ultimately continues the new tradition of achieving very little with each iteration.

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Movie Review – Allegiant

It’s no secret that the third film in the Divergent series has been unfavourably received by fans and box offices around the world. Die-hard book-lovers criticized it for (excuse the pun) diverging from the novels – but comparisons to the source material aside, there’s a half-decent YA flick underneath the flashy sci-fi skin.
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Review: Long Dark Dusk

This review contains spoilers for Way Down Dark. 

I’m going to be honest. I absolutely raved about Way Down Dark last year, but the first novel in James Smythe’s Australia trilogy was so perfectly executed that, coming into Long Dark Dusk, I was afraid the sequel would suffer from the Glass Sword-effect and fall short of my expectations.

It turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

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Review: The Glittering Court

For a plot that’s basically about selling beautiful women, The Glittering Court as a novel doesn’t seem to know what it’s selling me. It alternates between so many agendas that I’m not sure if it’s a gritty allusion to human trafficking, or a social stance against 1800’s era sexism, or a criticism of the British/American colonization of Native American tribal lands.

The Glittering Court wants everything at the buffet, but it doesn’t have the appetite or palette to match.

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Series Review – Death Note

On my blog, I typically highlight and review novels, but every once in a while, I can be tempted into the incredibly rich and detailed complexities of Japanese manga. Over the last few months, I’ve read my way through Death Note, a twelve-volume (108-chapter) manga about a young student who discovers a notebook with the power to kill anyone.

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Review: Shiver

Whenever someone mentions a plot about a girl falling in love with a werewolf, alarm bells start ringing in my head. Thankfully there’s no vampires or awkward Kristen Stewarts in Maggie Stiefvater’s SHIVER, the first in The Wolves of Mercy Falls – instead, there’s a sappy romance and a dire warning to stay away from local wolves.

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Movie Review – Batman v Superman (Dawn of Justice)

This review is SPOILER-FREE.

If there’s one thing that’s most iconic about superhero films, it’s their tendency to have massive, bombastic action sequences that typically involve a combination of evil supervillains or alien invasions, oftentimes ending in the utter destruction of massive urban centers. In the previous outing for Superman, Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel (2013), the city of Metropolis suffers greatly during the climatic battle against Kryptonian General Zod.

Dawn of Justice boldly points out this fact (sounding eerily similar to Marvel’s upcoming Civil War) and questions what right any ‘superhero’ has to willfully end lives in the pursuit of the greater good.

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Contemporary novels are driven by their characters, by the intrinsic humanity we as readers are able to find in the paper construct of a novel. In lines of black ink, and in the images our mind conjures from these pages, our soul reaches out to a person that doesn’t even exist – and in-between real and imaginary, we learn a little something about our own humanity.

THE SIDEKICKS by Will Kostakis achieves everything a great contemporary should, and does it with the signature flair of an author who is early in a career that’s surely going a long, long way.

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