Monday, April 30, 2012

Laura's 100 Books in 2012 - #17

The Death Cure by James Dashner

It's hard to talk about this book, because it's the third in a very awesome trilogy. It's like describing a play, but only being able to talk about the third act.

The Maze Runner Trilogy is about a boy named Thomas that finds himself a part of an experiment put on by a secret organization called WICKED. His part in the experiment make up the mystery of the series. The third and last book has Thomas and his friends finally figuring out what WICKED is and the truth that WICKED has been withholding. I don't want to give a lot of it away, but this was a good ending to a great series.

If you are into the Hunger Games trilogy, I would suggest picking this one up too!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Liz's 100 Books in 2012 - #13

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

The story is about a man who gives away his daughter when she is born with Down Syndrome, then fakes her death and doesn't tell his wife or the girl's twin brother. It follows his family and the nurse who raises his daughter throughout the children's lives.

This book kept popping up every time I looked at Goodreads, so I gave it a shot. Let's just say I was very disappointed. With so much hype, I expected much better. I guess we've all figured out by now that I really enjoy books with good characters, and this one was seriously lacking in that department. I didn't love any of the characters, and I only slightly liked two of them! Unfortunately, the unlikable characters were the least of this books problems. The story was slow to develop, and the subplots were kind of bizarre (the husband ends up becoming a famous photographer, even though he started out as a doctor).

2 out of 5 (and that's being generous)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Liz's 100 Books in 2012 - #12

Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace

I've been wanting to read this book for a long time because the movie adaptation was filmed here in Alabama, but I'm a little sad to say that I didn't really enjoy it that much. I wasn't really interested in either the main character or his dad, and I didn't really like how the story slipped back and forth between tall tales and real-life sequences. I guess I'm a bigger fan of characters that I can get to know and love, and I really didn't end up even liking these characters. I still haven't seen the movie, and now I'm not sure if I want to! (editor's note: the movie is great, you should check it out)

It's a pretty quick read, but I wouldn't put it in my "recommended" stack.

2 out of 5 catfish

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FIGcast - Episode 61 - "Don't Read The Latin"

There's a reason some languages are dead.

Don't forget, you can email us at, you can follow us on Twitter with @theFIGcast, you can Like us on, and you can listen to us on the iTunes Store or the Stitcher Smart Radio app.

Liz's 100 Books in 2012 - #11

Hammered by Kevin Hearne

I know it gets old for me to say it, but this is REALLY the best book of the series so far! The grievances against Thor, the jerk thunder god, have been a minor theme through the first two books. This theme becomes the main plot for the third book, as Atticus, Leif, and a group of new characters (a Slavic thunder god, an ancient Finnish shaman, one of China's Eight Immortals, and some giants) join forces to take Thor down.

Although this book was a lot more serious than the previous two, it brought so much more in terms of character development. Each of the new characters has a story to tell about how Thor's actions have ruined their lives, and we finally learn the secret of Leif's grudge against the Norse god. We also get a sad glimpse into Atticus' past. Even with a more somber tone, Hearne was able to incorporate humor as well, including an interesting lunch date with Jesus over fish and chips.

I really liked the book, but I'm a little nervous that it may have changed the feel of the installments to follow because Atticus has put himself in a really precarious position. I give it a 5 out of 5, but I hope that the series can stay lighthearted in the future.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Liz's 100 Books in 2012 - #10

Hexed by Kevin Hearne

In my opinion, these books just keep getting better! (ed. - see her review of the first book in The Iron Druid Chronicles here) This time around Atticus faces an evil horde of Bacchants, a fallen angel, and a visiting coven of witches. While the amount of trouble that one druid can get himself into may seem a little ridiculous at first glance, the plots that get him there are really interesting and have kept my attention the entire read (which is saying something). I really love almost all the characters. Hearne does a really good job of making even the most evil characters somewhat likable or at least interesting when seen through the eyes of Atticus. And I loved that we get a little more insight into several of the characters' background stories in this book.

Another 5 out of 5 for me!

Comic Mini-Reviews Week of April 11th, 2012

This week: Thief of Thieves' story deepens, Geoff Johns expands via contraction, and James Robinson does the opposite.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Casting Fire: Trey's picks for Beetee & Wiress

I still haven't read any of the Hunger Games books, but that isn't going to stop me from giving my opinions on who should play some of the new characters in the Catching Fire sequel.

Once again, Tripp has provided me with a few physical descriptors to base my choices on.  Unlike last week, I am relying less on those characteristics and going more with my gut.


What I had to work with: Male, 35-45 years old, Electronics District, "small, twitchy, ashen skin, black hair, engineer type".

My choice: Aaron Paul

One of the real breakout stars of (what I think is the best show on television) Breaking Bad, Paul might be slightly too light complected for the role but he can successfully do "small" and "twitchy".


What I had to work with: Female, 35-45yo, Electronics District, "small, crazy, ashen skin, black hair"

My choice: Amy Acker

If you've seen her starring turn as Fred on the show Angel, you know Acker can do crazy and crazy smart.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

FIGcast - Episode 60 - "Made Of Star Stuff"

You tell 'em, Sagan.

  • (0:01:30) Darren won the lottery!!! (for Broadway tickets)
  • (0:13:25) Trey read some comics (contain your shock)
  • (0:24:50) Tripp read Ex Machina Vol. 3, and tried out a new vidcast
  • (0:30:30) TV Talk: Awake keeps us interested, Community kills it, and Game of Thrones takes us to Pyke
  • (0:43:40) Blu Rays: (The Darkest Hour)
  • (0:44:25) Coming Attractions: (The Cabin In The Woods...Lockout...The Three Stooges)
  • (0:50:10) Box Office: (Katniss threepeats!!!)
  • (0:59:30) The Hugo nominees are out, and we run through a few of the categories
  • (1:14:05) What Would Darren Read
  • (1:26:45) Trey's Pullbox: (Avenging Spider-Man...Batman & Robin...Batwoman...Conan the Barbarian...Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E....Green Lantern...The Shade...Thief of Thieves...Winter Soldier)
Don't forget, you can email us at, you can follow us on Twitter with @theFIGcast, you can Like us on, and you can listen to us on the iTunes Store or the Stitcher Smart Radio app.

CTDB: John Carter- The Gods of Mars #1

This week Shaun tackles a John Carter property that didn't lost Disney 200 million dollars.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Laura's 100 Books in 2012 - #16

Celie is a 14-year-old African American girl living in rural Georgia with her completely messed up family. She writes letters to God because her father abuses her in every way possible. She ends up having two children, both of whom her father presumably gets rid of. After a man named Mr. sets his eyes on her younger sister, Nettie, Celie's father refuses to let them get married, but instead gives Celie to Mr., leading Celie into a very unhappy marriage at a very young age. Nettie runs away from home and joins a missionary family, and Celie decides to start writing to her sister (who she assumes is dead) rather than God. Soon fate, or whatever you want to call it, steps up in the form of Mr.'s mistress, Shug Avery, changing Celie's life forever. 

In some ways, this story is about the struggle of poor families during the Great Depressions, so Celie could be white and the story would be similar. Racism isn't the biggest theme in the book, although it's touched upon through the character of Sophia, a woman who reacts in a big way to a white man's unkind words and lands in jail. In the biggest way, this story is about two sisters to whom life has dealt a bad hand in that they are women and don't have the power to say no to the decisions that are made for them. 

I enjoyed this book, although I had to go watch that scared kitten on YouTube afterwards so I wouldn't stay depressed. I've never watch the movie, but I would like to see what Steven Spielberg and Oprah did with the story.

Comic Mini-Reviews Week of April 4th, 2012

This week...who am I kidding? Look at that banner image!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Casting The Hunger Games - Catching Fire: Beetee & Wiress

This is my second casting post for Catching Fire, so if you're wondering about Finnick and Johanna, you can find my take here.  You can also find Trey's spin on those characters here.  We're moving on to another set of former Victors, Beetee and Wiress.



Beetee is a former victor from District 3, which is responsible for most of the Capitol's electronics.  I would describe Beetee as an electrical engineer, though that term doesn't seem to exist in Panem.  He's definitely a tinkerer.  He's described as small, pale, and dark haired.  He wears ill-fitting glasses.  His age isn't specified, but I envision him as being at least a generation older than Katniss, though maybe not quite old enough to have a kid her age.  For casting purposes I decided to look for someone over 30 and under 40, but that's obviously a big range and not necessarily canonical.


James Badge Dale

I first saw Dale as the star of the AMC series Rubicon.  He'll turn 34 next month, so he's in the age range I was shooting for.  He played Chase Edmunds in the third season of 24.  He was Robert Leckie, one of the three leads in HBO's The Pacific. He's already shot World War Z, and he's currently working on The Lone Ranger.  He plays Dan Reid, who was the Lone Ranger's nephew, but I'm guessing has been switched to his brother or cousin since Dale is actually older than Armie Hammer.  Dale just looks the part to me.  He played a writer in The Pacific, and he was an intelligence analyst on Rubicon, so I have no problem believing him as a guy who lives indoors and works with his hands.  He's also an amazing actor, and would bring a really interesting, understated aspect to a world with a lot of flamboyant personalities.



Wiress is from the same district as Beetee, and I've always seen her as similar in age to him.  She's supposed to have a similar appearance: small, pale, dark hair.  Wiress is much more notable for her personality.  She's crazy, but she's also crazy smart.  She can't speak in complete sentences, but she's probably more intuitively intelligent than anyone else in the books.  So, I'm looking for someone in her 30s who can play crazy, but with smart under the surface.


Clea DuVall

I first remember DuVall from Can't Hardly Wait (go look at the IMDB page, it's crazy how many people you'd recognize are in that movie) and The Faculty.  She was in Girl, Interrupted with Winona Ryder and Angelina Jolie.  She was in the ensemble mystery thriller Identity with John Cusack, which is a great flick if you've never seen it.  She was also in The Grudge and Zodiac.  DuVall will turn 35 around the time Catching Fire will start shooting, so she's in the right age range.  She's 5'5", so while she's not tiny she will still be shorter than Katniss. She's got the right coloring, and she's definitely played crazy before.  I think she's a great character actor, and she'd fit right in with the rest of Panem.

Friday, April 6, 2012

FIGcast - Episode 59 - "Viva Chris Gaines"

Chris Gaines demands Crystal Pepsi on his rider.

Don't forget, you can email us at, you can follow us on Twitter with @theFIGcast, you can Like us on, and you can listen to us on the iTunes Store or the Stitcher Smart Radio app.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Casting Fire: Trey's picks for Finnick & Johanna

I haven't read, nor do I plan on reading, the Hunger Games trilogy. Nothing against the books, I just have other stuff I would rather focus on. I did, however, see and enjoy the movie.  So, when Tripp asked me if I wanted to attempt this crazy casting experiment, I said "yes!" The question is, who will I choose to play characters without having read the series and based solely on what little description can be mined from the book? we go. First up is Finnick Odair.

The only descriptors I had to work with were: He's a 24 year old male who lives in the Fishing District and is "extremely handsome, tall, muscular, tan, bronze hair, sea green eyes."

Strangely, my first thought was "Namor should play Finnick." This is just one of many depressing signs that I have been reading too much Marvel recently because the obvious correct answer is actually Aquaman.

But, seeing as fictional characters cannot act in movies, I had to choose a living breathing human for Finnick. Eventually, I also (without knowing Tripp had already picked him) settled on Armie Hammer (The Social Network, The Lone Ranger). He fits all the physical descriptors and is a good actor, so this seems like a no-brainer to me. The unforeseen side effect is that I now want an Armie Hammer Aquaman movie to be made.

Next: Johanna Mason

Description: She's a female about 20-23 years old from the Lumber District with "wide-set brown eyes, short brown hair, small, petite".

No funny story here, I just compared those physical traits to a bunch of actresses that are the appropriate age for the character and settled on Emily Browning.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

James Robinson Enjoys Feeding Superheroes to Rats

I knew there was something familiar about the Earth Two #2 cover, but I couldn't put my put my finger on it until today.

The Golden Age #3
Earth Two #2

To the left is the cover for issue #3 of the 1993 mini-series The Golden Age drawn by Paul Smith and Richard Ory. To the right is the cover for issue #2 of the upcoming 2012 series Earth Two drawn by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. Both are projects penned by James Robinson, so it's not as if it is some sort of plagiarism going on here. However, I am kind of worried that Robinson has some sort of musophobia (fear of rats).

Casting The Hunger Games - Catching Fire: Finnick & Johanna

The Hunger Games is by far the biggest film, to date, of 2012, and I thought they did an outstanding job with the casting.  Jennifer Lawrence was the only person with any name recognition who I could imagine as Katniss. Lenny Kravitz was a surprisingly understated Cinna. I haven't heard any complaints from young female fans about Josh Hutcherson or Liam Hemsworth, and they both held up well acting against Lawrence.

So, for those that don't know, The Hunger Games is the first in a trilogy.  I always knew we were going to see the rest of the story, but this opening leaves no doubt that Catching Fire will be put into production any day now, and it will be given every necessary resource to meet and surpass the successes of the first film.  The story is already there, though we should never downplay the art of adaptation.  Almost all of the actors from the first film are returning, so they don't have to start from scratch.  However, there are some very substantial new roles in Catching Fire, and they really need to nail the casting to maintain the Panem tidal wave.

I've decided to offer my assistance.  I'm not going to get into deep spoilers in the rest of this article, but if you don't want to know anything at all about Catching Fire, you should probably click on something else.


I didn't go back and do a statistical analysis, but I'm pretty confident that Finnick is the largest new role, both in terms of lines of dialogue and pages on which he appears.  Finnick is about 24 years old, and from District 4, who's primary occupation is fishing.  He was the Victor of the 65th Hunger Games, and is probably one of the most recognizable and popular victors throughout Panem.  Katniss describes him as tall, muscular, athletic, and extremely handsome, with tan skin and long bronze hair.  His weapon of choice in the Games was a trident.


I feel like all I really need for this one is the picture, but I'll continue.  Armie first hit the collective consciousness as the Winklevoss Twins in The Social Network.  He played the titular character's protege in J. Edgar, and he's currently starring as the Prince in Mirror Mirror.  He's 6'5, and he looks like a superhero stepped off the page of a comic book.  He would have been Batman in the Justice League movie if it hadn't fallen through.  He'll be 26 by the time shooting starts, so he's technically a few years older than Finnick, but that's inconsequential.  The biggest question mark is scheduling.  He's currently shooting The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp.  They started the first week of March, and most tentpole movies shoot for about six months, so they'll probably be done around the end of August.  Catching Fire is scheduled to release November 22, 2013, so they'll probably want to start shooting this November.  He wouldn't have much of a break, but he could make it work if he wanted to.


Johanna is right behind Finnick in terms of "screen time" in the second novel.  She's from District 7, the Lumber district, and was the Victor of a Hunger Games "a few years ago".  Since her Games aren't specified, we don't know her exact age, but I've always assumed she's around Finnick's age.  Because of her lumberjack background, she used an axe in her Games.  She's very sarcastic, and Katniss describes her as having wide-set brown eyes and short brown hair.  I always got the vibe she was significantly smaller than Katniss, but I'm not sure that's ever spelled out in the novels.


Bell is probably best known for the titular role in Veronica Mars.  She did half a season as Elle Bishop on Heroes, and is currently starring in House of Lies on Showtime.  She also has experience on the big screen, starring in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Couples Retreat, and When In Rome.  She's obviously a blonde in her normal life, but she's been brunette for roles before.  She's great with sarcasm, so I'm confident she can pull of the character.  She's also 5'1, so if I'm right that Johanna is supposed to be smaller than Katniss she's perfect for that.  The only real hang-up is her age.  Bell will be 32 by the time shooting would start, so she might be as much as 10 years older than the character.  However, Jennifer Lawrence is four years older than her character, and Bell has always looked much younger than she is, so I don't think it's a problem.  House of Lies has also been picked up for a second season, and I haven't been able to find out when they're supposed to start shooting.


That's it for this round, I'll be back in a few days with two more characters.  Let me know what you think in the comments.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trailer - Total Recall (2012)

Yes, the original is a cheesy Ahhhnold movie.  Yes, I'm a bit sick of remakes.  No, Colin Farrell is not enough by himself to get me excited about a movie.  I get it, and I understand, but you need to watch this trailer.  I'm not saying it will be good, but this 2.5 minutes looks pretty cool.

Comic Mini-Reviews Week of March 28th, 2012

This week: Mole Man is a sympathetic character, Justice League Dark fights vampires, and Jonah Hex hits New Orleans!