Gleanings

Neal Shusterman. Walker Books. (432p) ISBN 9781529509540

Gleanings

Gleanings

I absolutely loved the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman and was sad to leave it at the end, when I heard that there was going to be a collection of short stories set in the same universe I kept an eye out for its release. Amazingly I was approved for this on NetGalley and had to wait no longer.

And what a collection this is, if you’re a lover of the Scythe universe you will love this addition, and if you’ve not read the original trilogy I would advise you to read it first as there are some spoilers in here.

The collection has a real mix of tone throughout, from the darkly humorous to more serious additions, though I would say that the humorous stories really add to the flavour of Scythe, and would probably have to admit that two of the humorous shorts were my favourites but not my top story.

Meet Cute and Die Is hilarious, the fluffiest story in the collection but also one of the best, got to love Scythe Boudica’s preferred method of Gleaning.

The Persistence of Memory is a hilarious look at two Scythes of different temperaments in Barcelona, Dali and Gaudi… It is a look at the perceived competition between the two in Dali’s eyes, how one wishes to be flamboyant and the other more peaceful, absolutely loved the ending of this, and the theatricality of Scythe Dali.

Never Work with Animals who doesn’t like a shaggy dog story with a happy ending, maybe not the ending you would expect but hilarious especially with the bits of the Sythe’s past that are brought into the story.

The Mortal Canvas this for me though was the strongest story of the collection, looking at what could be lost with the onset of immortality and lack of challenge that only having one lifetime brings.

A great collection of short stories for lovers of Scythe and for all others as you don’t need to know the universe to appreciate great storytelling.


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Prey (2022)

Prey

Prey

I’ve been counting down the weeks until this arrived, and watching all the other Predator films (yes, even AvP: Requiem) whilst waiting, and had such high hopes for this new addition to the franchise.

It’s always so good when a film really delivers on all the hype and promise that the build up brings, this is definitely the best in the franchise even though I still have a huge soft spot for Arnie’s testosterone-fuelled 80s original.

Dan Trachtenburg and Jeff Cutter bring a wonderful vision to the screen. With a muted palette and great vistas this has a feel of a western in the old epic style. With a lot of the brighter colours only coming out in the clashes with the predator as counterpoints to the muted countryside.

These clashes also counterpoint the considered character building which helps you to invest in them rather than throwing a pile of cardboard characters at the predator to be chewed up and dispatched in humorous and gory fashion.

Talking about characters, Amber Midthunder is convincing in this action role, swinging into the various confrontations with wildlife, trappers, fellow Comanche, and the Predator with a balletic ease that wouldn’t be out of place in a John Wick film.

I have no knowledge or experience of representation of Native American culture but it didn’t feel exploitative and felt understanding.

My only disappointment is that I didn’t get to see this in the cinema.

Prey | August 5, 2022 (United States) 7.3

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Predator (1987)

Predator (1987)

Predator (1987)

Right from the start you could smell the testosterone oozing from the screen, but in the right way.

This is another vehicle for the talent that is Arnold Schwarzenegger, as most of the 80s was. He did action but each of them seemed to have a little bit of a twist that took them just outside the run of the mill action films.

Team this up with John McTiernan who really knows how to direct a half decent action film (Die Hard!) and we have a marriage made in heaven.

What looks like a straight forward action blaster from the start, rescue mission that’s really a cover up for a CIA operation. Lots of gun fire, betrayals, and goodies win out in the end.

But the brilliant twist on this is the addition of one of the best sci-fi protagonists of the 80s, The Predator, and an excellent but sparse script moving the action forward and piling up the tension.

Completely forgot how much I enjoyed this film, and was lucky enough to see it in the cinema when it came out.

The alien proceeds to hunt the special ops group, upping their testosterone at every step, and knocking them off one by one.

Though still don’t really get the bit with Billy near the end, just a bit silly, but then again it is a silly film, good but silly.

The ending is an absolute classic, setting up further films for the franchise.

Going to be watching the whole franchise before Prey hits Disney+ in August, and revisiting the 80s with more Arnie films.

Predator | June 12, 1987 (United States) 7.8

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The Bronx Warriors (1982)

The Bronx Warriors (1982)

The Bronx Warriors (1982)

I was initially going to watch a couple Nicolas Cage films tonight as way of having a bit of a distraction from the world.

But as usual I thought I would use Reelgood’s Randomiser to pick a film for me and go with it.

It chose ’The Bronx Warriors’, an absolutely obvious rip off of ‘Escape from New York (1981)’ and ‘The Warriors (1979)’ and it carried that aesthetic brilliantly.

Let’s get this out of the way from the start, it was terrible, I had seen better acting from a plank of wood and overall it felt like an action version of ‘The Room (2003)’.

Trash, the leader of The Riders, walked around strutting like a peacock with intensely clenched buttocks.

The dialogue was really, really stilted which gave a really strange feel to every scene and every scene seemed to fall flat due to it.

The ‘action’, ok the action scenes were poorly choreographed with no section feeling as though there was any connection.

Light on special effects for what was described as a sci-fi film, and what there was was shoddy, but there was one where a lackey had been beat up and the injuries looked quite convincing.

In the end section there were a lot of reused scenes which reminds me that this was made on quite a small budget.

Almost forgot to mention the drummer playing through a sequence right at the start, just sitting there in the middle of nowhere while drama ensued around him, it was that kind of film.

Thanks Reelgood Roulette, will have to give you a go again as this was actually fun though not great.


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