Colleen Houck


“Chapped rats and bats' wings, brandied worms and adders' stings, Goat's wool and owl's hoot, fish's tongue and dog's foot. Into the potion, all you go, add clockwork hearts, positioned so…" The Lantern's Ember

Colleen's blog


  • Movie Review Double Feature: Edge of Tomorrow and The Fault In Our Stars

    June 19, 2014


    Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow

    I always give spoilers so consider yourself warned.

    Colleen’s Movie Review

    Romance: There is something about Tom Cruise and, make no mistake, he is ALWAYS Tom Cruise no matter what the character’s name is that he plays, that makes me smile. Don’t get me wrong. He’s not on my list of favorite people and yet when I watch him on screen there’s a sort of charm that comes across that just makes me want to like him, want to believe in him, and yes, even want to kiss him. The only warmth in the relationship came from Tom and yet it was enough.

    edge-of-tomorrow-2013

    Special Effects: Fantastic. I loved the robotic armor, the planes, the weapons, and the battle. The only thing I didn’t like was the rolling bad guys. They reminded me too much of The Matrix.

    What I Liked: The idea. Tom Cruise. Having his character start off as a coward and seeing him change through the story. The sheer fantasy of it that swept me away into the story so deeply that I thought of nothing else while I watched it.

    What I’d Change: The romance needed more spark. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more backstory and creativity regarding the aliens.

    The Tagline:

    Live, Die, Repeat

    It’s succinct. It works. It’s a bit boring though.

    Hunky Hero: Tom Cruise is always a hero. He’s build more on natural charm and charisma than hunkiness and yet it works for him. Also he has gorgeous eyes.

    The Villain: The robot slash aliens were the villains of the story and they were scary enough I suppose but mostly that was just because they moved fast and killed easily. I can think of dozens of robots and/or aliens that are much more frightening.  Nothing overly memorable about these villains.

    Best Line: My favorite line was a part of my favorite scene. It’s when Cage is getting Rita (which is a dumb heroine name by the way) a cup of coffee and he says she likes three sugars. It was good because it showed the depth of his feelings for her in that moment. Watch the movie and you’ll get it.

    Best Scene: The farmhouse coffee scene and the end when he’s floating in the water. That was beautiful.

    Recommended for YA fans: It doesn’t really sound like I was overly thrilled by this movie but I really, really liked it. One of my top films of the year actually. Go see it!


    Trailer


    Grandma’s Review

    2014-01-19 15.04.07

    Grandma’s Bio: My name is Kathleen and I’m Colleen’s mom. I’m a mother of seven and grandmother of seventeen with one bun in the oven (not my oven). They’re all great. None of my kids are duds-you know, like the popcorn kernels that don’t pop. My father taught me to love science fiction and mysteries. I’m a dreamer whose secret wish was to be an actress and sing and dance on stage. I have lots of things I still want to do. A few of my favorite things include-discovering new restaurants, going to movies, traveling, seeing plays, children, my dogs, Elvis, reading books, The Beach Boys, and Rhett Butler because he doesn’t give a damn AND he can carry Scarlett up the stairs.

    Definition of Kicky-providing a kick or thrill, exciting

    Review: “Edge of Tomorrow” a Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt movie was kind of like “Ground Hog Day” meets “War of the Worlds.” Full of kill-kill-kill action-action-action, again with the action, and more action. What I liked best was the sit at the edge of your seat something constantly going on, no time to get bored thing. Lots of great special effects! When I started to analyze the story I found I was confused and puzzled. The story didn’t make sense. Why were the aliens taking over earth? Why did they have the same battle over and over again?

    Somehow the Tom Cruise character is resetting the clock every time he gets killed. Why did he wake up in a helicopter and the end of the movie? If you don’t think too deeply you can pretend you understood it all. It seems to me, a lot of the movies are the same now days with lots of action and special effects and no real story. Doesn’t anyone put a complete intelligent story together anymore?

    I would have liked it better if the alien creatures were more humanoid rather than squid like creatures (rather unbelievable). Also, why do all the futuristic soldiers have the exo-skeleton body armament on? It was funny at times, like when Emily says to Tom “Your leg is broken” and he says, “ No, I’m good”. That was awesome writing.

    Overall, I enjoyed the movie in spite of its shortcomings. I will give it 8 out of 10 kicks.

    Karate Girl Sticker Car Window Decal Fight Woman Kick Neat Gift Vinyl Black Belt


    A Guy’s Perspective

    2014-02-01 22.54.02

    Bio: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    Review:

    On Edge with Edge of Tomorrow

    Like him or hate him, forget everything you know about Tom Cruise; Forget the fact that he stars in a sci-fi flick that’s supposedly doomed to box office failure; Forget the familiar franchises that are supposed to roll out long-awaited summer blockbusters; Forget everything. Just remember one thing only: Edge of Tomorrow IS the must-see film of the summer. Once you’ve seen Edge of Tomorrow it will stick in your mind like an annoying decal on your car windshield. Without question, I can flat-out say it’s the best and most original film I’ve seen in perhaps the last three to five years.

    The best non-spoiler way to describe this film is that it is like a virtual video game that you play repeatedly (after dying numerous times) while expecting different results as you learn from your mistakes and advance through the levels of the game. Lest I divulge anything more and ruin the element of surprise, expect to be taken on a journey like an obsessed video gamer with no idea of what will happen next. This was Cruise at his best. Unlike his usual roles, he plays an anti-hero with no interest in fighting the enemies—eerily reminiscent of The Matrix trilogy machines–invading the planet. Along the way he meets war hero Rita (Emily Blunt) and the two develop an unlikely connection with convincing chemistry and they bring the movie to a satisfying conclusion.

    Edge of Tomorrow is a smart, smart film. Smart screenplay, smart directing, smart editing, and smart action. I loved the supporting cast, the humor peppered throughout, and the impressive CGI/visual effects. I do, however, have a couple of quibbles with the plot, but not even these can diminish the film’s awesomeness. I give this film 10 Hulk Smash Fists. Brad

    hulk fist

    Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars

    I always give spoilers so consider yourself warned.

    Colleen’s Movie Review

    Romance: The romance between Gus and Hazel was really, really well done. Some of the best teen acting I’ve seen in a long time and it felt real. Like it was authentic and actually happening right before our eyes. Very believable and very good.

    image

    Special Effects: There weren’t any special effects to speak of in this film. The setting was nice though, especially in Amsterdam.

    The Tagline:

    There were two.

    1) One sick love story

    and…

    2) Based on the #1 bestseller

    I’m not sure the second qualifies as a tagline though it’s listed as one on IMDB. I don’t like ‘One Sick Love Story.’ I don’t think it does justice to the book or the film. It makes light of the depth of emotion these two actors bring to the table.

    Hunky Hero: Alright people. I’m just gonna put it out there. Gus is more hunky than Four. There. I said it. Let the storm of angry comments commence. Now, I’m not going to argue that Four is more physically hunky. There’s no question about muscles here. I’m just going to say that in the romance department, I was swooning so much more for Gus. Loved him! Now in the next Divergent film it’s going to be awkward for me because the actor playing Gus is Hazel’s brother in that franchise and seeing these two as brother and sister is going to feel just wrong after this movie. And, don’t worry about the cigarette. It’s a metaphor.

    Hazel and Gus,TFIOS - the-fault-in-our-stars Photo

    The Villain: The villain in this film is cancer. It’s a sick twisted villain and the most devastating scene to me was when Gus was in the car at the gas station and called Hazel to come and help him. My heart broke for him in that scene.

    Best Line:

    Hazel Grace Lancaster: “But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

    AND

    Gus: “I hope you realize, you trying to keep your distance from me in no way lessens my affection for you.”

    Best Scene: Hazel giving her eulogy.

    Recommended for YA Fans: Absolutely. A Must See!


    Trailer


    Grandma’s Review

    2014-01-19 15.04.07

    Grandma’s Bio: My name is Kathleen and I’m Colleen’s mom. I’m a mother of seven and grandmother of seventeen with one bun in the oven (not my oven). They’re all great. None of my kids are duds-you know, like the popcorn kernels that don’t pop. My father taught me to love science fiction and mysteries. I’m a dreamer whose secret wish was to be an actress and sing and dance on stage. I have lots of things I still want to do. A few of my favorite things include-discovering new restaurants, going to movies, traveling, seeing plays, children, my dogs, Elvis, reading books, The Beach Boys, and Rhett Butler because he doesn’t give a damn AND he can carry Scarlett up the stairs.

    Definition of Kicky-providing a kick or thrill, exciting

    Review:  The Fault In Our Stars was a compelling movie. It had great acting and a heartwrenching story. It wasn’t a feel good movie but it was well worth seeing because it reminds us about what’s important in life. I’d recommend it to everybody, young and old. I loved seeing Amsterdam and now I want to go there on a vacation. It’s a thinking movie, not high action, but that’s okay. I look forward to seeing these young actors in other movies as they are very believable in whatever role they take on. Good job Hollywood! I’d give it 8 kicks out of 10. will giIve it 8 out of 10 kicks.

    Karate Girl Sticker Car Window Decal Fight Woman Kick Neat Gift Vinyl Black Belt

    A Guy’s Perspective

    2014-02-01 22.54.02

    Bio: I’m Colleen’s husband, Brad. I’m the youngest of four kids. I’ve been Deaf since I was five so I watch every movie with caption glasses. I love sports and reading (I’ll admit I’ve read Twilight but prefer thrillers like Jack Reacher). My favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip. I’ll never turn down a taco. I write poetry. My man credentials include: a high school career in wrestling, watching sports every time my wife is too busy to notice, a receding hairline, two repaired ACL’s, and a stockpile of Axe body wash.

    Review:

    Some Faults in Their Stars

    I walked away from this film with mixed feelings, but in more of a good way. This wasn’t a terrible movie. The acting was rather superb—Shailene Woodley (Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (Gus) gave surprisingly likeable and credible performances, considering the amount of emotion demanded of their roles as cancer-stricken teenagers with mortalities fraught with pain, uncertainty, and near-certain death. But that’s pretty much all the movie was about—a meeting of star-crossed lovers crippled by disease, but without the drama and familial animosity.

    Don’t get me wrong—in real life it is inspiring to watch people courageously struggle, and sometimes on film it comes across as forced fodder attempting to emotionally manipulate with over-sentimentalism. However, the genuine acting and a decent non-cheesy script made for a bearable two hours that I didn’t feel manipulated, which I was kind of expecting.

    However, if there was any fault in this film, then the lack of real conflict/drama unfolding was missing, and perhaps it wasn’t necessary, but it would have been more satisfactory to my emotional intellect. Instead, I was left to ponder the purpose of the movie other than viewing a developing relationship that inevitably and predictably ends in tragedy. I mean, by comparison Romeo and Juliet is a tragic classic because there is great conflict/drama that eventually brings the rival families together, and yet, watching Hazel and Gus, I felt like I had just eaten plain vanilla ice cream without the scrumptious toppings.

    This is perhaps the anti-bullying film our society badly needs. Hazel and Gus represent any number of teenagers who are easy targets for bullies and jerks. If anything, they teach us that none of us chooses the hand we are dealt, and that everyone needs compassion, support, and love. Without the brief bedroom scene, I suppose this is a perfect film for middle-grade schoolers and anti-bullying campaigns. Other themes can be gleaned, such as being popular is not required to feel important as long as we are loved by another. I would give this film 7 Hulk smash fists.

    hulk fist

    This entry was posted in A Guy's Perspective, Grandma's Review, Movie Review.

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    Colleen Houck
    Colleen Houck

    New York Times Bestselling author Colleen Houck is a lifelong reader whose literary interests include action, adventure, paranormal, science fiction, and romance. When she's not busy writing, she likes to spend time chatting on the phone with one of her six siblings, watching plays, and shopping online. Colleen has lived in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, California, and North Carolina and is now permanently settled in Salem, Oregon with her husband and a huge assortment of plush tigers.