The Amelia Peabody Series

"I always say that if one cannot have a pyramid, a nice deep tomb is the next best thing." Amelia Peabody (Photo by Yassin Hassan | Creative Commons

“I always say that if one cannot have a pyramid, a nice deep tomb is the next best thing.” Amelia Peabody (Photo by Yassin Hassan | Creative Commons)

Review:

One of my favorite series! Though I had issues with some of the later books, overall this is an extremely fun and enjoyable historical mystery series, starring a female Egyptologist and her family in the late 19th through early 20th centuries. The mysteries themselves are mostly pretty good, but I love the series most for its humor. Expect to laugh frequently and loudly! The novels are among the most quotable I’ve ever read, from recurring catch phrases like “Another shirt ruined!” to Amelia’s pithy observations on life. (There are good collections of quotes here and here.)

Correction: I love it for the humor, and the characters. Amelia, Emerson, Ramses, Sethos, and the rest are larger than life, but so entertaining and (frequently) adorable that they’re irresistible. Reading about their latest adventures is like catching up with old friends. Amelia and Emerson in particular are rumored to be part of the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones, as well as Rick O’Connell and Evy Carnahan in The Mummy.

Series author Elizabeth Peters, who died in 2013, had a Ph.D in Egyptology, so you’ll also learn interesting stuff about Egyptian culture and archaeology along the way.

Here’s the complete series, with my commentary:

[Read more…]

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Movie Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

I don’t think of myself as being a big fan of Westerns in general, but ironically enough, two of my all-time favorite films are Westerns. Since they both happen to be written by the same guy, it might be more of a William Goldman thing than a Western thing, but even so, I probably shouldn’t discount the genre quite as much as I tend to do.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of my parents’ favorite movies and is probably second only to My Cousin Vinny in the frequency with which it’s quoted at family get-togethers. Based loosely on the lives of real-life outlaws Butch Cassidy and Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, it’s one of the greatest buddy comedies ever made, and is loaded from start to finish with laughs, mainly from its witty and memorable dialogue. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are in their prime, both as actors and heart-throbs (luckily, the film is color, so you get the full effect of Newman’s incredible baby blues), and there are also some enjoyable action sequences.

A well-deserved classic and must-see film.

My rating:5 Stars (5 / 5)

[Read more…]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 6 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

In season six of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Scoobies struggled with the realities of adulthood and (mostly) failed. After being dragged out of heaven by her unwitting friends, Buffy tried to deaden her feelings by entering into an unhealthy and mutually destructive sexual relationship with Spike. Dawn’s kleptomania got out of hand. Xander freaked out and left Anya at the altar. Willow got addicted to magic, and increasingly used it to arrange not just things but people to her liking. Including Tara. Giles left. Twice.

In short, fun times were had by all (not) and a lot of fans found the unrelenting darkness too depressing. It’s probably the most “love it or hate it” season of Buffy. Personally, I lean more towards love, but some parts were hard to watch.

My favorite episodes include:

[Read more…]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 5 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had two big flaws: Glory (the Big Bad) and Dawn (Buffy’s surprise younger sister). Glory was too boring (I’ll be upfront here: none of the later Big Bads ever equaled season 2‘s Angelus or season 3‘s Mayor in my eyes), and Dawn was too annoying, and unfortunately, we got a lot of both of them this season.

Nevertheless, season 5 was pretty good. Not only did it have some great individual episodes, it was also much more consistent than season 4, or even season 2 (though I prefer season 2 overall.)

My favorite episodes include:

[Read more…]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 4 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

In season four, Buffy went to college, and the show floundered a bit trying to regain its footing after the change in setting and the loss of Angel and Cordelia. It is widely considered the weakest season of the show after season one. The pod people, refreshed from their extended vacation in season three, turned up quite a bit. (To be honest, several episodes had such bad reputations that I never even watched them.) Season four was also hurt by a boring Big Bad.

Another reason many people dislike season four is due to Buffy’s relationship with Riley. I actually kind of like Riley myself (possibly I’m biased due to the Iowa connection), but I nevertheless agree with the fandom at large that he’s a distant third on my list of favorite Buffy boyfriends.

Despite its flaws, the fourth season does contain several outstanding episodes. My favorites include:

[Read more…]

Maverick Movie Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Based on the popular TV show starring James Garner, the film Maverick stars Mel Gibson as fast-talking gambler Bret Maverick, who’s trying to get together $25,000 to enter a big poker competition, Garner as lawman Zane Cooper (Bret’s dad), and Jodi Foster as fellow gambler and con artist Mrs. Annabelle Bransford. Wacky hijinks and hilarious misadventures ensue.

I don’t think of myself as being a big fan of Westerns in general, but Maverick is one of my all-time favorite films. Funnily enough, another of my all-time favorite films, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, happens to be a Western penned by the same screenwriter, William Goldman. Goldman brings his signature style of witty and memorable dialogue (also on full display in the classic fantasy The Princess Bride) to the Wild West, and the combination is magic.

[Read more…]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3 Review

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Complete Third Season (Slim Set) (DVD)
Actors: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head, James Marsters
Director: David Greenwalt, David Semel, David Solomon, James A. Contner, Joss Whedon
Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
Language: English (Dolby Surround)
Subtitles: English
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Running Time: 990 minutes

List Price: $39.98
Price: $13.99
1 offers available from $13.99
4.7 out of 5 stars (679)

Review:

I have a hard time deciding whether season two or season three of Buffy is my favorite. I think I would have to say that I like individual episodes (Innocence, Passion, Becoming 1 and 2, etc.) in season two better than any single episode in season three, but season three was much stronger and more consistent overall. The pod people, for one, seem to have spent the season on vacation, so there are no clunkers on par with “Bad Eggs” or “Go Fish,” thank the muses. The Mayor is also one of my favorite Big Bads.

mayor-become-invincible

Unfortunately, despite the fact that it’s one of my favorite seasons, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve seen any episodes other than my favorites (Lover’s Walk and Graduation Day 1 & 2), so I’ll have to do a rewatch before doing comments on individual episodes. Oh the pain. 😀

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

[Read more…]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 2 Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

Season two might be my favorite season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I’m always a little torn, because the bad episodes in season two were really, amazingly bad and I think some of the later seasons were more consistent overall.

But the good episodes were great, and the Angelus storyline starting in the final moments of Surprise is one of my favorites of the whole show. (I’ve never been much of a Buffy/Angel shipper, mainly because I always thought David Boreanaz was clearly having much more fun as Angelus.)

Another season two vampire bonus: Spike, when he was still un-chipped, un-souled, and cheerfully ripping out throats. \o/

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

[Read more…]

Bring It On Movie Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

This movie belongs to the same class of high school tongue-in-cheek comic masterpieces as Mean Girls and Easy A. Though it doesn’t quite reach those heights of brilliance in dialogue and plot, it does come with the bonus of some truly fantastic cheerleading routines, and will give you new respect for cheerleading as a sport.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

[Read more…]

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Movie Review

Buy at Amazon

Review:

My dad isn’t a Trekkie, but he is a Star Trek fan, and he tried to introduce my siblings and me to the series with slightly mixed success when we were kids. For example, we got sort of traumatized by the Ceti eel things in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (I didn’t attempt to watch that film again until I was an adult), but we absolutely loved Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In fact, it became one of our favorite movies and we watched it many, many times as kids. It remains one of my favorite films to this day, and is definitely my favorite Star Trek movie. The Voyage Home is hilarious, highly quotable, and ultimately touching, as the crew of the Enterprise travels back in time to 1980’s San Francisco to bring back a pair of humpback whales in an attempt to repopulate the species (which has become extinct in the 23rd century). Also, I still kind of want to be Gillian Taylor.

My rating:4 Stars (4 / 5)

[Read more…]