The Boy and the Heron – ★★★★

The Boy and The Heron

Fantastically beautiful in both expected and unexpected ways. The animation in the fire scenes was remarkable and surprisingly evocative and scary. Not our favorite Miyazaki but the kids and I both really enjoyed it, though I wonder how much of it they followed in parts. My 8 year old is not exactly as familiar with World War II and metaphors for grief as most folks on Letterboxd.

Maybe seeing in the theater without distractions is why it worked better for me on first watch than some of Miyazaki’s other more fantastical, less narratively straightforward films have. Looking forward to rewatching it again to see if it rises any higher in my Ghibli rankings.

This is actually my first ever Miyazaki to see at release in theater. The third one on the big screen this year though as we saw Nausicaä and Mononoke as part of Ghibli Fest this year. Will definitely make it to a few more when the next one rolls around.

Rating: 4.0 stars

🍿 Crossposted on Letterboxd
💿 Watch The Boy and the Heron in theaters

13: The Musical – ★★

13 the musical

This was rough. Best song by far is in the trailer and in general this is just awkward and sub average musical. A huge portion of this story and multiple bad songs are about the entire school of 12-13 year olds openly talking and planning so two of them can kiss including the two of them that want to kiss. It feels like a story about 13 year olds written by an 8 year old.

Based on other reviews they butchered the stage version so maybe I’ll get a chance to watch that sometime.

Rating: 2.0 stars

🍿 Crossposted on Letterboxd
💿 Watch 13: The Musical on Netflix

The Sword in the Stone – ★★★★

The Sword in the Stone

I think this may have been the only hard plastic Disney VHS we had when I was a kid, but not sure how many times I actually watched it because Madam Mim scared the ever living crap out of me.

I had forgotten that this is just Merlin and Wart goofing around for 72 fun minutes before he actually finds the sword in last seven and becomes king for half a scene. I also forgot all the jokes about how Merlin knows the future, some of which resulted in some lol moments for my 8 year old watching with me.

Story and songs nowhere near as strong of some of the movies preceding it, but nostalgia factor for me still made it a quite enjoyable watch. That Madam Mim is still scary though.

Rating: 4 stars

🍿 Crossposted on Letterboxd
💿 Watch The Sword in the Stone on Disney+

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) – ★★★★★

All Systems Red

Great, quick read that I didn’t want to put down. Enjoyable humor and strong premise and character development of the titular murderbot. I was disappointed at first by the very last couple pages but then I remembered there’s 6+ other books that it leads into and am a lot less critical of how it wrapped up.

Rating: 5 stars

📚 Crossposted on Goodreads
📕 Buy All Systems Red on Bookshop

Sleeping Beauty – ★★★½

They waited 15 years and 364 days without using magic and then everyone lost their damn minds baking cakes and color changing dresses and getting drunk one day before her 16th birthday.

Really enjoyed this on this rewatch though. I think I previously had this as maybe my least favorite of the classic princess movies but this is light years better than Snow White and almost up there with Cinderella. Glad to be moving on to the 60s and 70s now though as part of my animated Disney chronological rewatch, there’s a good number of films there that are either blind spots or I haven’t watched in probably 30 years.

Rating: 3.5 stars

🍿 Crossposted on Letterboxd
💿 Watch Sleeping Beauty on Disney+

Marvel’s Secret Invasion – ★★★½

Secret Invasion

Finally caught up with this since The Marvels is coming out soon and it was much more enjoyable than all the grouchy comments would let make you believe. Not really sure what people want or are expecting, but this was an interesting thriller with several really good performances (Charlayne Woodard and Kingsley Ben-Adir in particular). It’s not groundbreaking or anything but it does a good job of what it was trying to do.

Of course, the fact that the show is centered around a shapeshifting alien species that can be any character in any scene hamstrings it a bit, but I feel like they were largely judicious enough in their use of that trick that I wasn’t expecting a few of those reveals. I might find the Skrulls abilities more annoying in upcoming MCU stuff than I did here where they’re the main plot line.

Olivia Colman is really fun in this. Hopefully she continues to have chance to be funny and kinda badass if her character continues popping up in future MCU stuff.

Rating: 3.5 stars

🍿 Crossposted on Letterboxd
💿 Watch Secret Invasion on Disney+

Relic (Pendergast #1) – ★★★★½

Relic by Preston and Child

Really enjoyable thriller. Been making my way through Preston and Child’s independent books while waiting for this book to become available at the library. Relic was considerably more interesting and generally better than any of those so looking forward to making way through more of these. Interested to see how Pendergast goes from side character to the namesake of the 20+ book series.

The Agent Coffey character was one of the worst “idiot cop who’s in charge of everything and keeps blowing it for our heroes” trope characters in any media though. Just comically stupid and obnoxiously stubborn.

Rating: 4.5 stars

📚 Crossposted on Goodreads
📕 Buy Relic on Bookshop

Mickey 7 by Edward Ashton – ★★★½

Mickey 7

I could have done without the handful of pretty average and vaguely sitcom/rom-com adjacent chapters when the multiple appears early in the last third, but I enjoyed the writing style and dialog of this quite a bit.

This ended up being pretty slight particularly with regards to the conflict/mystery of the planet itself and wrapped up the issue with the multiple quickly and unsatisfyingly, but the premise and execution (pun intended) of the expendable concept in general was really good so I’m interested in seeing where Ashton took this in the sequel. Especially considering because of the decisions Mickey makes at the very end of this.

(I’m also now excited for the Bong Joon-ho/Robert Pattinson movie version Mickey 17 coming out early next year I found out about while writing up this review.)

Rating: 3.5 stars

📚 View my Goodreads review
📕 Buy Mickey 7 on Bookshop

Chrysalis (Jeremy Logan, #6) – ★★★½

Chrysalis (Jeremy Logan, #6)

Well after reading six of them I’m still not really sure what exactly a Jeremy Logan book is, but I’m not sure Lincoln Child knows either. They’re at least nice easy reads/listens.

I liked this book pretty well but its another Logan book where Logan doesn’t really do all that much. And does even less enigmatology (hey look that is actually a “real” word after all) related business. The final conclusion was flat out dumb/silly and the epilogue was not much better, but overall it was a mostly solid little tech thriller with not as much mystery or thrills as it should have had.

Despite my complaints, I still overall enjoyed the series and am looking forward to the Child/Preston books coming available via Libby. Hopefully those will be both better and more consistent.

Rating: 3.5 stars

📚 View my Goodreads review
📕 Buy Chrysalis (Jeremy Logan, #6) on Amazon