Monday, May 9, 2022

Reviews: The Northman and Doctor Strange, A to Z Challenge Favorites, and New Releases

This Wednesday, I’m visiting Shannon Lawrence!

Movie Reviews

Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness

Dr. Stephen Strange casts a forbidden spell that opens the doorway to the multiverse, including alternate versions of himself, whose threat to humanity is too great for the combined forces of Strange, Wong, and Wanda Maximoff.
This is how the movie is being billed. This is not the movie at all!
Without giving anything away, it’s another solid if a bit underwhelming entry into the Marvel Universe.
I was a bit disappointed with the main villain. (No spoilers.) And for whatever reason, I just wasn’t as fully invested as I was in other Marvel films.
Sam Raimi directorial style lends itself well to this horror-tinged Marvel entry. He throws in a lot of Evil Dead references.
There are a ton of surprise guests that relate back to the Disney+ television shows. And even more than that. (And one Sam Raimi regular that will make you smile.)
There were not enough multiverses. They flash through dozens on the first venture, but there are only two they dwell in.
Overall I liked it, and everyone did a great job in their roles, but I didn’t love it.
Recommended for fans and for fun.

The Northman

An action-filled epic that follows a young Viking prince on his quest to avenge his father's murder.
This is the original Hamlet, based on a Norse story. (Shakespeare wrote his Hamlet after reading this story.) Alexander Skarsgård is Hamlet, Nicole Kidman his mother, Claes Bang his murderous uncle, Ethan Hawke his father, and Anya Taylor-Joy is Olga, his love.
If you know the works of director Eggers, you know this is going to be a bit strange. Go into it thinking art house meets action film.
Skarsgård is perfect as Hamlet. A hulking Viking figure. On a noble quest that goes horribly awry.
It really had the feel of an epic Viking tale. From the haunting soundtrack, the strange musical interludes, and the incredible cinematography. And a special mention to some of the camera shots which I have no idea how the director got them.
This is a film for anyone who is in the mood for something different, something other than the standard Hollywood fare.
If the above review hasn’t scared you away, then I highly recommend it.

A to Z Challenge

Those of you who participated in the A to Z Challenge, did you have fun? I participated the first year and for many years afterwards as an admin, but I know it would overwhelm me now. Life changes.

There were some fun themes though. In case you missed them, here are some I enjoyed. (Being the geek that I am.)

Diedre Knight’s posts focused on design, namely unique designs of buildings around the world. Every day was fascinating. Most of the places I’d never heard of but would love to visit someday.

J.S. Pailly did a series on Our Place in Space. In his words - I’ll be taking you on a partly imaginative and highly optimistic tour of humanity’s future in outer space. And it was a fun and educational adventure.

P.T. Dilloway posted his collection of action figures, which is impressive considering he covered every letter! Since I’m a DC guy, some of the Marvel character he posted were new to me.

Carrie-Anne paid homage to famous people from Ukraine, really giving in depth history into their lives. Amazing the talent that came from that area.

And Challenge founder Arlee Bird posted about his remaining vinyl collection. Want a trip back to the 60’s and 70’s? Check it out and thank him for starting the A to Z Challenge.

New Releases and More

Particular Passages 2: East Wing
Featuring The Killing Tree by Shannon Lawrence

15 Stories 15 Authors
Down another forgotten hallway lie more unexplored rooms.
Each room contains another world waiting to be discovered.
Some are wonderful and beautiful, others are dark and terrible.
You won't know which until you step inside.
So take a deep breath, and open the door...

Find it on Amazon

The Omen of Crows Nest by Cathrina Constantine

No blood. No body. No murder.
That's what the police found after Penelope spun her bizarre tale. In a hysterical state, she said her father was butchered and eaten by a mob of birds ~ in her bedroom.
They claim she's crazy.
That she suffers from delusions.
Penelope is dead set on proving them wrong.
After being institutionalized for eight months, Penelope is out and more determined than ever to find answers to her so-called hallucinations. With her father's untimely disappearance, she's convinced her family is hiding something sinister.

Find it on Amazon

And finally, the IWSG was asked to do a podcast and Diane Wolfe represented us. Check it out!
Voice America

Have you seen either movie and what did you think? What were some of your favorite themes during the A to Z Challenge? Picking up new books?

Be sure to visit Shannon Lawrence on Wednesday!

My final tour stop will be Friday, May 27 at Armed With a Book. Outside of that, I’ll see you June 1 for the next IWSG!


Natalie Aguirre said...

Can't believe I'm the first to comment. Sorry you were disappointed with Dr. Strange. Congrats to Shannon and Cathrina on their new releases.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Yeah, I've been hearing this Dr. Strange isn't as good as the first. Hubby's looking forward to it, but I'm pretty sure my father-in-law (he's 94) won't be impressed. lol

Birgit said...

I would love to see both films especially the Viking one. I hope to go this weekend. I fell on KY royal behind thus yesr with the A to Z and need to xatch up on Arlie's blog. I would love to visit the obes you mentioned especially south the Ukraine. So nany to look a like the stra ge buildings that book sounds so reminds me of a dream I had where I visited different time periods with some dwarves( I must have gad Tine Bandits in my head). We connected to the time eras in Leonardo da Vinci' room where each painting became another Era in history

PT Dilloway said...

The Northman sounds like something I would watch. I spent part of my weekend finishing my A to Z entries for next year on DC action figures.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Alex! I know you have a new email address and I didn't save it to contacts. Would you mind emailing me again? I have an IWSG question for you!
Thanks! ;P

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Donna, probably not.

Birgit, that's a crazy fun dream.

PT, look forward to next year's Challenge theme.

Elizabeth, sure!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I didn't like WHO the villain was in Doctor Strange. I liked that character.

Congrats to Shannon and Cathrina.

Liz A. said...

I did not realize Hamlet was based on another story. Makes sense. That makes me curious to see The Northman, but not right away.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I enjoyed Arlee's A to Z posts so much. He inspired me to dig into my CD collection to see what's there. I did find some surprises.

Elephant's Child said...

Of course I am picking up new books. That is a constant in my life.
A-Z is too much for my lazy blogging self but I do read and appreciate other people's diligence.

J E Oneil said...

One guy I know said of Doctor Strange, "There were parts I liked. There were parts I didn't like. That's it." said...

I blinked, Alex, and the A-Z Challenge went by? Wow.

Have a great week!

Computer Tutor said...

Good movie reviews. I didn't find any I'm drawn to--unusual in your reviews. The books, though--both pretty interesting.

Joanne said...

I am re-watching original Dr. Strange. I've always liked Benedict and no doubt shall go see this new one with revised hopes. Northmen sounds weird - shall probably wait for streaming. (But Skargaard is always a good actor) Thanks for the A to Z faves - I shall need to visit the vinyl collection for sure.
And good luck to all with new releases - I admire their writing fortitude.
We are hot (99) and steamy in TX. Forget spring. It's summer now! Have a super week.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I'll definitely watch Dr Strange...because why not? But I heard the Northman is really good, and I love the setting and premise, so that's a must.

Botanist said...

I'll probably end up watching Dr. Strange at some point, but I won't go out of my way to see it. A lot of the Marvel movies were fun, but it felt to me that the later ones started trying too hard to outdo the previous one and it all gets a bit exhausting to watch. Or mybe I'm just getting old :)

The Northman sounds interesting, though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Liz, Shakespeare did indeed take the idea from the Norse legend.

JE, fair assessment.

Joanne, that is really hot...

Lynda, you'll appreciate that film.

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

Thanks for mentioning me ;-) I did enjoy the challenge again this year. But you're right, when it seems I'd have ample time, I don't. I always follow Arlee's blogs. Dilloway was impressive. I make a point to check in on Less Beaten Paths because I like the travel theme. I found Timothy's Conspiracy Theories theme highly intriguing, and I always enjoy Walking Humbly with my Dog and Ruth blogs

I've never watched Dr. Strange, but you make it sound good. I think I'd enjoy The Northman. Just finished season #1 of Outer Range. It was a bit hard to follow, so naturally, I must ;-)

Both books sound fantastic! Both are on my list.

See you at Shannon's on Wednesday!

Sandra Cox said...

Yay, Diane. Great job! Though no surprise there.
'Lo, Alex:)

Damyanti Biswas said...

The books look very interesting!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Dr. Strange gets a meh from me. But don't tell my husband or kids. They were enthralled.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Diedre, you're welcome! And Outer Range is a mess of fun.

Elizabeth, let them be.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I've bowed out of the Marvel universe. There are just too many stories to follow and links to remember. I've done the same with the Star Wars franchise on Disney+. It's a shame it didn't meet your expectations - maybe the next one will.

Cherie Colyer said...

Doctor Strange is on my list of movies to see if I get the time. You have me curious to see the surprise guests.

Congrats to those with books!

Truedessa said...

I have never participated in the A to Z. I just never seemed to have the time. Some of the highlighted themes are intriguing.

Enjoy, the rest of your week. It's been nice seeing you featured in so many places.

You Rock! said...

Too bad Dr. Strange was disappointing.

Congrats, Shannon!

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh, cool, an IWSG podcast!
I'm glad to see your review of The Northman -- some of the reviews out there had me all confused. Yours makes me want to go see it!

Lynda Dietz said...

Thanks for the links for your favorite A to Zs this year! Like you, I'm finding life too busy to participate anymore, and this year, April was so busy that I didn't even get to visit anyone's blogs to support them. Better late than never. And thanks for the link to Diane Wolfe's guest spot! I'd seen it somewhere but hadn't gotten to listening yet. I'm sure she did a great job.

Mary Kirkland said...

I haven't seen Dr. Strange yet but I want to.

The Happy Whisk said...

Life does change, that's very true. Haven't seen Strange yet so I skipped the review. Wanna be surprised. I really enjoyed the first one.

Michael Abayomi said...

Glad you enjoyed watching both movies, Alex. The Northman was indeed visually-striking. And true about the marketing for the new Doctor Strange being a bit misleading, even though a lot of the actual plot could already be gleaned from the trailers.

Christine Rains said...

I usually wait until the Marvel movies come to Disney+ these days, but the Northman really interested me, and I like your review of it. My movie venture this past week was Kingdom of the Spiders riffed by RiffTrax. :) Congrats to Shannon and Cathrina!

Loni Townsend said...

My husband and I went and watched Dr. Strange 2 yesterday because I took the day off, and yeah, I was a bit thrown by the villain. I too was a little disappointed by it, but I thought the tie-ins to What If... were fun. Oh, and I noticed they got the same guy who played Black Bolt in Inhumans, which I personally thought was a terrible show, but when I looked up the actor, I was flabbergasted that it's the same guy who plays Pike in the latest Star Trek series! Totally wouldn't have figured that one out on my own.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Truedessa, you rock!

Deniz, glad I could clear it up a little.

Michael, very misleading.

Christine, excellent RiffTrax choice!

Loni, he is Pike!

Rhonda Albom said...

Wow, what a busy week. I am impressed that AtoZ is still going. Also, I had to laugh at the beginning when you gave the movie synopsis but said that wasn't what it is about at all. Sadly, I laughed from recognition as I say similar almost daily after reading headlines in the NZ national newspaper and then reading the stories.

DMS said...

I haven't seen any of the new movies- but enjoyed reading your thoughts. I will have to check out those A-Z themes/posts you shared. They sound interesting.

Hope the blog tour is going well! An exciting time for sure. :)

mail4rosey said...

I'll see Dr. Strange just because I'm a huge Marvel fan. I wanted to see Moribus too, but my teen just flat-out doesn't want to go see it. I may have to go alone. I have heard it's awful, but I have to see for myself.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I'd like to watch The Northman, I think. This year I sort of made up my own A-Z format and participated. And survived, sort of. :)

All the best for the tour.

Toi Thomas said...

I've heard a lot of people say that they liked
Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness but didn't love it. I'm still looking forward to seeing it. Glad to know they are connecting it to the TV shows.
I had no idea that's what the Northman was about.
Both these new releases sound pretty good.
Congratulations on the podcast.

SpacerGuy said...

A to Z always provokes good memories and its fun something I enjoy only didnt didnt do this year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rhonda, now that's bad...

Jess, going great!

Rosey, we also skipped Moribus.

SpacerGuy, just good to see you posting - it's been a while.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Alex, thank you for the shout-out!! Congrats to Shannon!

I haven't seen Dr. Strange yet, but in Spiderman's No Way Home, the multiverse came into play, and while I basically liked the movie, the multiverse can get kinda Strange...LOL a pun.

Have a great week.

Melissa said...

I heard Diane's interview. She did a great job!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! Well, I immediately went and listened to Diane's interview on Voice America. It was my first podcast, and I thought I'll never make it through 55 minutes. I'll have to break it up. But I listened to the whole thing in one go. What a wonderful interview! Diane represented us so well, and she demonstrated her experience and credibility beautifully. Diane is amazing, isn't she!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! Well, I immediately went and listened to Diane's interview on Voice America. It was my first podcast, and I thought I'll never make it through 55 minutes. I'll have to break it up. But I listened to the whole thing in one go. What a wonderful interview! Diane represented us so well, and she demonstrated her experience and credibility beautifully. Diane is amazing, isn't she!

Al Penwasser said...

Growing up (well, older), Doctor Strange was never my favorite character so I can see myself waiting. On the other hand, Thor wasn't my favorite either. And I really like his movies (although I hope Love and Thunder isn't a woke piece of garbage).
What to do, what to do?

Lidy said...

I liked Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Elizabeth Olsen nailed her character. Feel like watching her progression/descent into becoming the Scarlet Witch all over again. Starting with Age of Ultron.

Arlee Bird said...

I thought it was a very good year for A to Z. I enjoyed it a great deal. Thanks for mentioning the Challenge and my theme on my blog. There were some outstanding blog posts by the participants I managed to read. I still have to do some catching up.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Cathrina Constantine said...

Weirdly, I made a comment last week from my cell phone. But I don't see it here. Sometimes comments from my cell on FB, blogs, or elsewhere don't get posted. I don't know why. Anywho, Thank You for the Shout Out!!!

Katherines Corner said...

awww rats, I was thinking Dr strange would be a good one. Thank you for always sharing with us. Your reviews are more reliable and beat rotten tomatoes. Hugs