Monster Hunter: A Movie You’ll Want to Miss

It begins on an alternate world where a group of pirates on an old galley ship battle a leviathan-like SAND CREATURE that weaves its way above and below the waves of sand. Here we meet a badly wigged Ron Pearlman as ship Captain and Muy Thai phenom, Tony Jaa, as one of his crew who gets tossed overboard and is left for dead.


A U.S. military group on a mission to find a missing patrol in a somewhat rocky terrain that I guess is supposed to be Afghanistan. Here we meet Milla Jovovich as Captain Artemis (hereinafter dubbed “The Ranger”) heading her troop and joining in a happy sing-along before a humongous storm whisks them through a portal.


OZ, a.k.a, the sand planet – “Where’d all this sand come from?” asks one astute soldier – where Jaa, hereinafter dubbed “The Hunter” has been camping out all alone. The military unit soon discovers giant bleached sand creature bones and the incinerated remains of their previously missing compatriots.


Another giant sand creature comes calling on them. So, The Hunter leaps into action, firing super long-distance deadly arrows that the soldiers initially believe to be a further assault from cliffs high above their position. They run into caves where giant SPIDERS attack, cocooning and laying eggs in some of them (a la “Alien”), and killing all but one, The Ranger. She makes her way out of the cave, exhausted, injured and frightened only to be beset upon by The Hunter who attacks her for no good reason. He drags her back to his spider-proofed lair where he ties her up and taunts her by depriving her of water as he prays to two figurines on a makeshift altar (a la “Gladiator”).


The Ranger cutting herself free. She and The Hunter beat the shit out of each other and virtually destroy the lair. He tumbles outside and falls partially down a spider-cave shaft and is holding on for dear life when The Ranger decides, for no good reason, to save him. Perhaps she finally figured out that killing the only person who knows anything about the planet and its nasty creatures, where you’re marooned, might not be a good idea. But we’ll never know. In any case, they bond over a few bites of a half-melted chocolate bar (a la “Stargate”).


The friendship strengthens, despite a serious language barrier. He teaches her the way of the fiery doubled-cross sword fighting technique.


They make their way to an oasis where friendly sand-planet DINOSAURS gather at the watering hole. He catches a different nasty beast that attacks from the water and they have a lovely dinner under the stars – when suddenly, there’s a Dino stampede caused by an aerial assault from fire-breathing DRAGONS.


Salvation by way of The Hunter’s friends who save them by dropping in from their pirate ships. The Ranger is once again taken captive and chained in a cell. She’s pissed. She manages to break free and comes face to face with a human-sized GOURMET CAT CHEF (seriously) who’s cooking up a brew of something in the galley.


The Captain explains what the deal is, why he speaks perfect English (because others like The Ranger have been sucked through the portal before, blah, blah, blah) and he’s got to go to the TOWER which is fueled by lava to destroy it to close the portal or something like that. The Gourmet Cat Chef serves the Captain his drink with a hairball in it then winks goodbye to The Ranger.


The journey to the Tower and a giant battle with the fire-breathing Dragons. The Ranger is told they are weakest just before they shoot their flames (a la “Reign of Fire”). She proves herself to be a super-duper hero Dragon slayer.


Just when you think the movie should be nearing an end, it keeps going to the point where you’re now certain a title card’s going to pop up saying “To Be Continued”, but nah, it just ends.

Monster Hunter was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson who also wrote it with Kaname Fujioka (video game series ).

Review by Ginger Marin

Arctic (2018) Movie Review

Director: Joe Penna
Writers: Joe Penna, Ryan Morrison
Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Maria Thelma Smáradóttir, Tintrinai Thikhasuk

Arctic is an engrossing and intense survival tale about a man, stranded in the Arctic after a plane crash, making the difficult decision to leave the relative safety of his campsite to take a grueling trek to a far-off rescue station.

It’s superbly acted by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who masters the screen with his every gesture and emotion from the time we first see him going about his daily survival routines to gently caring for a young woman severely injured in a helicopter crash while attempting to rescue him.

Once Mikkelsen’s character H. Overgård makes his decision to leave his plane, he must haul the woman and crucial supplies, brave a polar bear attack and survive the brutal cold and storms while exhausted and injured. I can’t remember the last time I felt so invested in a film, an actor and the story’s outcome.

It was filmed in Iceland by first-time feature film director Joe Penna who started on Youtube in 2006 making videos as the channel MysteryGuitarMan. Cinematographer Tómas Örn Tómasson gets a special shout out.

The Greatest Showman (2017) Movie Review

Director: Michael Gracey
Writers: Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon
Music: John Debney, Joseph Trapanese; Lyricists: Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya, Keala Settle, Sam Humphrey

The Greatest Showman is inspired by the story of how America’s P.T. Barnum rose in social ranks to create the Greatest Show on Earth – his circus of human oddities and curiosities – with the love and support of wife Charity (Michelle Williams) and daughters Caroline and Helen (Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely, respectively).

You’ll be treated to excellent acting by all, dialogue transitioned seamlessly into snappy and emotionally laden songs, and wild and joyful choreography, including a well-executed aerial dance with Zendaya and Zac Efron.

There is nothing not to like in this masterful musical. The lyricists are Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote for “La La Land”, a film I absolutely detested (an incompetent film musical on all levels). Their showstopper song this time around is “This Is Me” which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Overall, the decision of the filmmakers and music composers to update the film’s setting from the mid 19th century with the use of pop/hip hop style music to tell this story was one that sends this film over the top. Bravo to them all.

Review of “251 Things to Do In Tofino”

Review by Ginger Marin as posted to Goodreads in July 2016

251 things to do in tofinoOkay, I’m pretty certain I’m ready to pack my bags and head off to a fabulous long-term stay in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada after reading Kait Fennell’s “251 Things to Do in Tofino”.

Her book is a wonderful resource guide of the community and environs, including that of its indigenous peoples. It’s part history, geography and delightful visitors’ guide listing everything from what you can expect at different times of the year, best beaches and hiking trails, restaurants and eateries, places to stay, what to do and where to shop amidst what sounds like a surfer’s and environmentalist’s dream vacation experience.

Ready, set, go! And make sure to take this guide with you.

As Kait explains, Tofino is on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia at the southern edge of Clayoquot Sound which has been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. That should tell you a lot right there. Respect for the environment is high on the list of things you need to know when visiting. As for anything else, well, you just need to read the book if nature, peace and quiet, beautiful vistas, water sports and hiking in an environment that is largely rainforest appeals to you. It all sounds like a treasure of a find if you ask me.

Who knows, you might become lost forever, not so much wandering the woods, but lost to its beauty – that’s how well Ms. Fennel has managed to sway me to Tofino’s charms. I’ve already started using her links to discover some of the fabulous shops that abound in Tofino.

Easy reading and charming graphics also highlight the book.

Review of “Prescription for Life: Three Simple Strategies to Live Younger Longer”

Prescription for Life by Richard FurmanBook Review by Ginger Marin as posted to Goodreads in 2015.


I’ve read many nutrition and diet books and articles over the years and I have to say I was not very impressed with Dr. Richard Furman’s “Prescription for Life” mainly because I was expecting something new. This book, however, reads like a nutrition treatise for the complete novice as it largely advocates a Mediterranean-style diet along with exercise after forcing us to wade through numerous case studies of his patients’ and friends’ health issues, all a result of clogged arteries and high cholesterol.

A vascular surgeon, Dr. Furman’s mantra is to avoid foods with cholesterol at all costs. Maybe that’s the right prescription for some people but maybe not everyone. Some foods like an egg contain valuable nutrients in the yolk which also balance out other nutrients in the white. The good doctor ignores that part of the equation as well as telling us to stop taking vitamins and herbs, even though other doctors have informed us repeatedly that the nutritional value of our produce has declined markedly in the last 50-years. And his advice on the best breakfast of oatmeal with a ton of fruit piled on top would make other doctors’ heads spin – diabetes anyone? That’s a blood sugar spike for sure.

The book is too long and redundant. Dr. Furman also spends 3 chapters on erectile dysfunction and the last part of the book, the actual 21-Day Outline, is roughly 45 pages telling you to go back and read other pages of his book. A disappointing experience.


The Amazing Hacksaw Ridge and Andrew Garfield

hacksaw-ridgeHere it is February 2017 and it’s time for the Academy Awards to be broadcast this Sunday.  The awards’ season opened with people jumping up and down over La La Land for who knows what reason. The movie sucks. I guess people forgot what really good musicals are like. It wasn’t that long ago when “Chicago” hit the screen. Now that was a great musical.

In any case, I could not let this season go by without commenting on the Mel Gibson directed film “Hacksaw Ridge” starring Andrew Garfield. It’s spectacular from start to finish. It tells the story of WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, a true conscientious objector who refused to kill people and became the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. He saved the lives of 75 soldiers single handedly in a feat of determination, strength and undying faith.  This is what a real hero looks like.

Andrew Garfield’s performance demands more than just an Oscar nomination. He deserves the win. He physically and emotionally embodies Doss and when he talks of faith and why he cannot pick up a gun, you believe every word and truly understand the motivation.

Garfield is surrounded by excellent acting from his fellow cast members including Vince Vaughn and Sam Worthington. Exceptional are Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths as Doss’ parents. There is one scene that takes place in the Doss kitchen between Desmond and his parents that is stunning and heartbreaking as the father’s pain is horribly exposed.  It is what turns Desmond into the direction of conscientious objector and becomes the very thing that causes his father to step up and commit to his son’s decision to fight the enemy in his own way, as a medic, working to save the lives of his fellow soldiers.

The film is absolutely gruesome in displaying the horrors of war; body parts blown off, intestines exposed; heads blasted; rats feasting on the remains. Yes, it’s sickening but it’s real. This movie deserves much credit this Oscar season. Garfield’s performance deserves the award for best actor.  Hacksaw Ridge is nominated for best film and Mel Gibson for best director but they’ve got some stiff competition, unfortunately also from the aforementioned La La Land.

Article by Ginger Marin. To learn about her acting, visit Ginger Marin’s IMDB page.

New Book Release From Ginger Marin

“Adventures in Avalon: An Offbeat & Quirky Adult Bedtime Story” by Ginger Marin was published in paperback on June 24, 2016. The book is also available in Kindle Format and it can be read for free via KindleUnlimited. Click the link to go straight to the Amazon sales page.


Description:  Intrepid reporter Ginger Marin discovers a lost civilization of cartoon people living in Middle America, in a town called Avalon in the County of Ligature-Upon-Avon … one of those quaint little communities that is somewhat lost in American space, neither here nor there but definitely somewhere.

Her dispatches from the front lines will thrill and excite you as she describes all the crazy things cartoon people do when they think no one’s watching. You’ll read the fascinating, slightly raunchy, true tales of the Avalon Defense Department (a.k.a. police department) where rock star police detective General Schnitzkof, a former British officer, and his trusted assistant, rookie cop WingWing, a rotund little dumpling of a “lad”, solve some of the town’s most absurd crimes such as these: “The Case of the Missing Member or How John Sir Gwaine Bobolini Lost One of His Family Jewels and How He Recovered It … Well Sort Of”, “The Case of the Missing Haunted Mobile Home” and last, but certainly not least, “The Cream Puff Caper”, where you’ll meet some of Avalon’s worst offenders like that pervert Mr. Parabolikos and murderous old lady Wiggins.

Ginger Marin is an actor-writer living in Los Angeles. For information about her acting credits, please visit Ginger’s IMDB Page.  Also follow Ginger Marin on Goodreads.

Goodreads Giveaway for “Adventures in Avalon: An Offbeat & Quirky Adult Bedtime Story”

Giveaway runs from July 9th – August 18th

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Adventures In Avalon by Ginger Marin

Adventures In Avalon

by Ginger Marin

Giveaway ends August 18, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one of 5-paperback copies being given away of the deliciously charming and humorous “Adventures in Avalon: An Offbeat & Quirky Adult Bedtime Story” by Ginger Marin.

James Bond Songs: Book Review

The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late CapitalismThe James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism by Adrian Daub
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

As I was reading “The James Bond Songs”, I kept wondering for whom did the authors write this. For die-hard James Bond film fans? No, it’s too stiff and technical for them. For musicians? Perhaps. For film music composers? Definitely. But even then this book is so specific to James Bond songs that they’ve narrowed the niche of readers to those who want to compose James Bond songs themselves.

I found the book tedious, redundant and not the least bit joyful to read as I was hoping. Since it was written by two music professors, I think it essentially belongs in the classroom. For the general public, not so much.

I received my copy in a Goodreads Giveaway and would have loved to have given it a higher rating. Sorry.

View all my reviews
Visit Ginger’s website
Ginger on IMDB

Free Kindle Book: The 231 Club

FREE CIA MEMOIR E-BOOK TODAY.The 231 Club: My Ten Year Journey From Therapist to CIA Courier and Sanctioned Kills – A True Story” by J Bartell with Ginger Marin.  This book about CIA black ops covert operations discusses aspects of J Bartell’s life, first as a therapist, then as a courier for the CIA and beyond to covert ops.  It has been well received on Amazon.  We look forward to offering a free book today.  If you have KindleUnlimited, it’s free everyday!

The 231 Club Book Cover


What people have said about “The 231 Club“: Here are some EXCERPTS of reviews:

“The 231 Club is an interesting and well told story about how one man became a subcontractor for the CIA during the late 1970s when the organization based many of its operations in Central and South America. As J Bartell tells it, this is not a story that discusses statistics and details but rather one that explores emotions and circumstances. It really reads like an exciting adventure tale.”

“The “231 Club” is an almost unbelievable story…how could this stuff be true? But, it is a great example of how truth really can be stranger than fiction. The author describes activities and scenes from his past as a CIA black operations contractor; and these stories will make your head shake and your stomach curl. His style is direct, first person and clear as a bell; he was instructed to “take out” these people by the US government in the crazy cold war days, and his team did just that in various countries and in various ways.”

“Forcefully written and easy to read, The 231 Club still left me with conflicting emotions of sadness that J went through this ordeal for so many years but, at the same time, relieved that I now know what happened to him.”

“It is rare for me to start a book and read the whole story in one sitting, but I could not put this one down. I was so amazed that a licensed psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, who was so successful at helping people, became a sanctioned assassin, that I purchased a book for myself and a 2nd one for loan. This memoir is a fascinating and probably a very honest account of the author’s experiences and how they altered his entire life. I rate this book a 5+++++. It is not only a very action filled story, but it made me look at the fact that the choices that we make in our lives affect our very souls.”


Visit Ginger’s Website

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