Film Reviews

Film Review: Ma (2019)

Ma and her teenage captives Ma (2019)
via Blumhouse
  • Director: Tate Taylor
  • Starring: Octavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis, Luke Evans
  • Rating: B

I’ve waited eagerly for Ma since I saw the first trailer months ago. Finally, I saw the film today, and it didn’t disappoint. Although I am going to take a second here to complain about trailers. They do give too much away. I’m making it a priority to not watch them anymore. It sucks because I do enjoy a good movie preview but not at the cost of suspense and surprise.

While it wasn’t as ludicrous and campy as I was hoping it would be, Octavia Spencer is a national treasure who could elevate a Taco Bell menu reading on-screen. You have to work hard not to enjoy yourself when she’s chewing the scenery as Ma. Her genuine enjoyment of the role froths into the audience. Octavia Spencer is infectiously gleeful about playing someone so wicked.

Had any other actor played the role of Sue Ann, I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun. I can admit there were some strange plot elements (Gypsy Blanchard called, she wants her life story back), some underutilized characters (Alison Janney, of all people, is a glorified extra for some reason), and less outright horror than I would have liked, but Ma heartily embraces its faults.

It asks you not to overthink and to let the sheer absurdity entertain you instead. No, I don’t know why Ma had it out for some of the teenagers. Some of whom appeared to get roped in by association alone. Yes, there were plenty of plot holes. But at the end of the day, I wanted to see a movie where Octavia Spencer terrorized a group of idiot teenagers and runs over Missi Pyle with a car. And that is damn well what I got! Ma is utter insanity and never wanted it to stop.

Ma is now playing in theaters.

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Book Reviews

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout Review

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout ReviewStorm and Fury (The Harbinger, #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: The Harbinger #1
Published on June 11, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Links: Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Pages: 512
Format: ARC

Source: NetGalley

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

Book Review

Let me preface this review by stating that I don’t know anything about Jennifer Armentrout’s other books or stories. I decided to give Storm and Fury a try because the plot appealed to me. Gargoyles and demons? Okay, I’m listening.

However, ultimately, this book fell short for me. While I do enjoy reading young adult fiction, Storm and Fury harkened back to the early 2000s. I felt like I took a time machine a few years ago. How many times did I read the phrase “crap on a cracker” or a myriad of other cringe-worthy phrases that no real teenager would ever utter?

How do you do fellow kids meme - Storm and Fury reaction

The most substantial component of this book was the romance. Armentrout knows how to write sexual tension. Looking at her pedigree of romance novels, I can see why. The intimate scenes made me feel more than anything else in the story.

My main caveat with the story is it feels as if the mythos and worldbuilding came secondary to the romance. A great deal of exposition came from the protagonist info-dumping. That’s fine if you’re writing a romance novel, but this is meant to be a sweeping fantasy, and I didn’t feel like it was fleshed out enough.

There is nothing wrong with romance. I have my issues with the YA cliches, but I was okay with the one in this book. If only it didn’t overshadow everything else.

All that said, I did find something oddly compelling about the story, after all, I did finish it. The twists during the climax shocked me. But I wish they felt more earned. Vast swaths of this story meandered into nothingness. There wasn’t enough action, or there was too much talking. Regardless, this needs another round of editing.

Should you read Storm and Fury?

Honestly, I’m going to say no. You can find better written YA fantasy novels. Many of the plot points in here are retreads of those found in The Mortal Instruments. While there are some new and exciting concepts, they don’t get nearly enough time to shine, and therefore the storyline falls flat.

But, as I said, I’m not familiar with the world. Perhaps if I had read the other books surrounding this one first, I might feel more in touch with Storm and Fury. People who are already a fan of hers may find themselves enjoying this much more than I did.

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