Tag Archives: Review

The School For Good and Evil

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What’s this? A middle grade book, right on this very blog?

I decided to check this out for a variety of complex reasons, including a) it was on sale b) it has a nice cover and c) it’s sort of vaguely similar to something I’m writing right now if you squint a bit. This is the kind of sophisticated reading you can only get here on Doing In The Wizard.

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The Last Of Us: Left Behind

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Last Summer I reviewed The Last Of Us and declared it to be the bee’s knees. Then it went on to win approximately eleven thousand awards, proving that my judgement in all things is infallible.

Now we’ve got a short DLC cherry to top off the main game, but is it a needless bit of fluff or a game-changing experience that not only surpasses the original but might count as one of the freshest and most artistically honest products to ever come out of a AAA developer?

(Yeah it’s that second one)

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Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag

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Ah, AssCreed.

It’s hard to remember now, but the original Assassin’s Creed was a fairly big disappointment. After being hyped to the moon as one of the first next-gen blockbusters the game met with a fairly lukewarm reception. Like many early console generation titles it came off as a good idea that the developers hadn’t quite gotten a handle on yet. For a while it was looking fairly dicey that the game would get a sequel.

Then it did, Assassin’s Creed II was much better received and there are now so many sequels and mobile spin-offs I’m having trouble keeping track of them all. I haven’t played any of them since the second game, since I had some fairly fundamental complaints with the core gameplay of the series that none of the sequels looked like they were interested in fixing. Then I started to hear some absurdly good reactions to Black Flag, which got me interested enough to see if my gripes with the AssCreed formula had finally been fixed.

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Frozen

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Frozen is a movie that came out against a hefty river of backlash, partially because it was saddled with a breath-takingly awful and misleading marketing campaign seemingly designed to make it look as much as possible like the sort shallow, pop-culture obsessed filler Dreamworks would put out on a bad day but also because the thematic content of Disney’s films (and particularly its more girl-oriented “princess” films, of which this is one) have been frequently called out for consistently hewing to fairly regressive gender roles.

I’ve seen some audiences and critics hail the house of mouse’s latest effort, a story very loosely inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, as a complete and total revolution for the company, a full repudiation of the old days and even as a new feminist beacon in children’s entertainment. All of that is overstating things hugely- there is ultimately nothing in a surface level reading of Frozen that isn’t going to sit right at home with Disney’s traditional normative family audience- but it does represent a welcome shift in focus and directly takes pot-shots at one of the stalest and most old fashioned of the Disney aesops while presenting some subtext that’s a bit unexpected for the company (and if you’re willing to look even further and engage in a little speculation, some subtext that’s way unexpected for the company) while also being  for the most part a wonderfully entertaining little fairytale musical.

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Doctor Sleep

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 The instantly riveting Doctor Sleep picks up the story of the now middle-aged Dan, working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire, and the very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless – mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him and a job at a nursing home where his remnant ‘shining’ power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes ‘Doctor Sleep.’ Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival …

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Gravity

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During a routine upgrade on the Hubble Space Telescope a Russian spy satellite explodes (Russians now being the default villains in popular media again), creating an expanding cloud of debris that imperils our two all-American astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Space George Clooney (George Clooney). What follows is essentially Murphy’s law: The Movie as spaceships explode, air and fuel runs out, things that are supposed to be tethered together become un-tethered, fires start and the debris cloud swings by for another visit, all at the worst possible moment. In the middle of all of this Ryan and Space George Clooney attempt to survive and make it back to Earth in spite of how obviously fucked they are.

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