Book Review: Manga Art: Inspiration and Techniques from an Expert Illustrator by Mark Crilley

Title: Manga Art: Inspiration and Techniques from an Expert Illustrator
Author: Mark Crilley
Source/Format: Blogging For Books; Paperback
Genre: Art, Drawing
Publisher/ Release date: Watsin-Guptill; June 6, 2017

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Synopsis from Goodreads:
The world of manga (Japanese comics) has captured the imagination of artists, both aspiring and professional alike. Now best-selling artist and art instructor Mark Crilley presents the most complete look yet at the variety of creative options available in the world of manga. Crilley fills each chapter with gorgeous, original artwork created with a variety of tools (pencils, colored pencils, digital art, pen and ink, and more) and in a variety of manga-inspired styles. He pairs each piece with information on the materials used and the inspiration that led to its creation. Manga Art provides readers a one-of-a-kind chance to hear from one of the leading artists in the field of manga instruction, as he reveals the unlimited possibilities of manga and the creative secrets behind over 100 pieces of original, never-before-seen artwork.

My Thoughts

In Manga Art: Inspirations and Techniques from an Expert Illustrator, Mark Crilley presents a lot of art along with details about them. The book provides an overview of inspirations and techniques—as indicated in the title—as well as tools and mediums. While Crilley’s book may not be a tutorial or how-to book directly, in another sense it is. It is a view of the processes an artist considers before, during and after creating a work of art. Also, the themes for each chapter are things that one may consider during their own creative process. I like the prompts that occasionally pop up throughout the book. Even though they were pretty vague, they encourage creative flow. There is one quote that perfectly describes how I feel about this book: “Creating things is fun. That’s all there is to it.”

This book is exactly how the blurb describes it, and I liked the topics discussed. I’d recommend reading it, especially if you like reading about art.

I loved it!
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review

Album Review: Dark Matter (Repost)

Title: Dark Matter
Band/Artist(s): Les Friction (Even Frankfort, Helmet Vonlichten, Paint), also Featuring Emily Valentine and Laura Fabian
Source/Format: Les Friction; CD
Label/ Release date: Moriposa Lane Music, INC/ Would Work Sound LLC; August 25, 2017

Official Site Bandcamp     Itunes     Spotify       Amazon      CDbaby

My Thoughts

I first heard of Les Friction in an epic music compilation. This was a few years ago when I first began listening to this genre of music. Like any music junkie, I’ve checked to see if new music was on the horizon. My day lit up when I saw the tweet announcing Dark Matter was coming out.

Not only did this album meet my expectations, it exceeded them. Every millisecond is perfect, starting with Your World Will Fail. This song starts calm and then changes about midway. At this point it morphs into something more, resulting in a pleasant mix of instrumentals and vocals. Other songs including Who Will Save You Now, Dark Matter, and Firewall seems to follow this pattern somewhat too. Obviously, like any album, Dark Matter has calm moments too. I Remember and You Always Knew add a touch of sincere tranquility. These two duets with Emily Valentine and Laura Fabian, respectively, occasionally misted my eyes. The album ended with Kashmir (which is a cover of a song by Led Zeppelin); the only thing I can say is that it is the perfect way to end an album.

Due to the fact that each track was diverse in sound and lyric, the whole album maintained a certain aesthetic. Not one felt out of place. Actually, a host of emotions were elicited as I listened to each song. I’m not even sure they are nameble. To put it simply, it’s like finding that perfectly tailored dress. I love it!

I recieved this CD from Les Fricition for this review.

Movie Review: The Dark Tower

Title: The Dark Tower
Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel
Produced by: Akiva Goldsman, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Stephen King (Read more on IMDb)
Screenplay: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, Nikolaj Arcel (Read more on IMDb)
Release Date: August 4, 2017
Official Website

Summary from IMDb:
The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.

My Thoughts

I never read The Dark Tower by Stephan King myself; I only saw it on a shelf in a bookstore. However, the trailer really caught my interest. Although I liked many elements of the film, I am only going to discuss a couple.

The first thing I found out about the movie was that it was only about ninety-five minutes. I was curious, as I am used to sitting through longer movies. However, after seeing the film, I feel like this was the perfect length. Any longer, and it would have been a yawn fest. In the allotted time, adventure, plot, and action held my interest as the main characters, Jake and Roland, sought one goal: keep Dark Tower standing and defeated Walter.

The action scenes kept me on the edge of my seat. The pacing of these scenes was fast, often making me wonder how characters were going to get out of the situation. There were also some emotional scenes, making me at times want to cry. One last thing is that it would have been nice to see more background information on the world(s), as I left the theater with some questions.

I would like to elaborate on some other things, but I dislike possibly spoiling anything. Therefore, overall, I really enjoyed The Dark Tower.

I loved it!

Book Review: Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker

Title: Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker
Author: Stephen Galloway
Source/Format: Blogging For Books, Hardcover
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Publisher/ Release date: Crown Archetype; April 25, 2017

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

The definitive biography of movie executive and philanthropist Sherry Lansing traces her groundbreaking journey to become the first female head of a major motion picture studio, shares behind-the-scenes tales from movie sets and Hollywood boardrooms, and explains what inspired her to walk away from it all to start the Sherry Lansing Foundation.

My Thoughts

Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker is the biography of one of Hollywood’s top women. Honestly, having never heard of Lansing, Stephen Galloway does a tremendous job of introducing and illustrating her life and struggles as she transitioned throughout her career. It’s a realistic portrayal of what happens behind the scenes in Hollywood.

The majority of the book’s content contains interviews from Lansing and other people. Additionally, the author provides a clear timeline with the inclusion of historical events, headlines, and facts. I particularly enjoyed this aspect of the book, because Galloway did not try to sugarcoat the hardships of a career in Hollywood. Instead, the author provided a raw take on the events and meetings by using the recollections of the people involved.

Overall, I enjoyed Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker. I liked reading about Lansing’s life, what being a studio executive is like, and what it takes to make a movie. The only downfall to this book was that some parts felt prolonged. However, I would still recommend reading this book if you're interested in learning what it’s like behind the scenes in Hollywood.

I liked it!

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes

Title: War for the Planet of the Apes
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Produced by: Mark Bomback, Peter Chernin (Read more on IMDb)
Screenplay: Mark Bomback, Matt Reeves
Release Date: July 14, 2017
Special Screening

Summary from IMDb:
After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind.

My Thoughts

Usually, I go to movies that I'm interested in, but with War For the Planet of the Apes, my mom encouraged me to go.  The only thing I knew was that it was the third movie in the series. Even though I had no intention of seeing it, I'm glad I did.

The story started in the middle of soldiers coming towards a stronghold. My first thought was that this was going to be an all war no story type of movie. Albeit, happily, I was wrong. The plot was able to hold my attention throughout the film, and the dialog wasn't overbearing. One of the things I loved was the visuals. The apes were very realistic in detail, plus The  CGI blended well with both the humans and scenery. There was some violence, but I can always appreciate a film that can do action that doesn’t contain too much gore.

The entire film was a good balance between story, dialog, and action. Overall I enjoyed War for the Planet of the Apes.