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Profile for Jason M O'Brien > Reviews


Jason M O'Brien's Profile

Customer Reviews: 24
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Jason M O'Brien "justjason" RSS Feed (Portland, OR, United States)

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As Dreamers Do: Amazing Life of Walt Disney
As Dreamers Do: Amazing Life of Walt Disney
DVD ~ Olan Rogers
Offered by Sparks DVD Sales
Price: $8.49
35 used & new from $1.99

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Keep your expectations in check., October 4, 2014
Well, it's a movie? I had pretty low expectations going into As Dreamers Do. I was thinking the quality would be on par with a Lifetime movie, over-acted, shallow, with at least a whisper of production value. Instead, As Dreamers Do starts out feeling like a high school drama production. Thankfully, the beginning of the movie is so bad I found myself crying with laughter, which actually kept me wanting more.

It wasn't until Olan Rogers comes on screen where things began to feel like a college drama production. Better, but still not close to what I was hoping for. Olan does a fair job. There were moments where I thought he nailed Walt's mannerisms, but overall his performance lacked nuance. In fact, all the performances lacked nuance. I couldn't be sure if the problem was the writing, the acting or both.

If you go into this movie expecting five star quality, you will be bitterly disappointed. However, watching the Behind the Scenes featurette clearly illustrates this was a labor of love and is a pure example of indie filmmaking. It's a situation where you begin to like someone you previously didn't like because you realize they have a family that loves them. With that said, the movie is still terrible, but I like As Dreamers Do because I love the spirit in which it was made. For some, that alone is worth supporting.

United Moon Colonies
United Moon Colonies
Price: $2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, quick read., January 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you're not familiar with NaNoWriMo then let me brief you. Every November folks around the world take part in National Novel Writing Month. Each of these people make it their goal to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This is Mr. Merritt's novel from 2006. Unfortunately, that's how it reads. The idea of NaNoWriMo is to get your novel out of your head and down on paper. It's a first rough draft of your first draft. Albeit United Moon Colonies is far more polished than that, and undoubtedly he worked on it quite a bit before publishing it. However, even after all the polish, I felt I was reading an abridgement of a much bigger story.

One of story's biggest downfalls is in character development. There were a lot of characters, but I never got a sense of who they were. We know that President Chong is a bisexual but Mr. Merritt gives no basis as to why this is important for us to know. Is being bisexual important to President Chong? Mr. Merritt made a point to say that President Chong thought he and Lawrence might hook up. But is Lawrence also bisexual? If not, then why would President Chong think that? Did something happen in the past that would make him think it might be possible? The most frustrating thing is, President Chong being a bisexual is probably the most interesting thing about the man, and it's addressed in only one paragraph.

Another downfall is the story felt rushed. United Moon Colonies deals with a lot of complicated topics like faith, government policy, war, cloning, space travel and the colonization of the Moon. To do this story justice it needed to be longer. There were a couple of chapters in which he takes excerpts out of books which lists some facts and gives some general back story and history about the colonization of the moon. This is a great NaNoWriMo trick that helps pad your word count, but in the case of the story, it came across as author's notes. It would have been nice to see these facts be better incorporated as part of the story instead of supplemental material that should have been relegated to the Appendix.

All these gripes should be considered compliments, United Moon Colonies is a great story, I couldn't put it down. It has that Battlestar Galactica air, it's smart, well thought out and has plenty of intrigue, I just wish there was more of it to read. Maybe in the future Mr. Merritt will come out with an Unabridged version of United Moon Colonies. No seriously Mr. Merritt, do us sci-fi nerds a favor and write an unabridged version.

From Light to Dark
From Light to Dark
Price: $0.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Fantasy, November 21, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I just finished reading From Light to Dark and I was pleasantly surprised. I was surprised because Fantasy Romance is not a genre that I gravitate towards, nor do I believe the book's target audience is men in their 30s. Regardless of these two personal hurdles, this book is excellent. Marrying the inspiration of one of the greatest love stories ever penned, Romeo & Juliet, with the Greek mythology of Icarus, you have a killer story combination.

My biggest obstacle when it comes to Fantasy are character names. I don't understand why some authors choose to make them super complicated to pronounce and how that enhances the story. When it came to From Light to Dark, I didn't mind them at all! In fact, I was actively on the lookout for new character names and how they represented and added depth to the character. It wasn't just names of characters but also names of food and creatures too. I won't spoil it for you, but read About the Author and it will open an entirely new layer of the story to explore.

This book has it all, love, action, magic, mythology, some violence, fantasy, puzzles, riddles and great characters. What it doesn't have and I very much wish it did, are instructions on how to make a Liber Flower out of construction paper. What the heck?

For $.99 this book is a steal! Considering the world Irene created here is rich with history, I am hoping there is more to come. I would love to read a book about the Governors. OMG, the Governors!!!

Amazon Kindle Touch Leather Cover, Black (does not fit Kindle Paperwhite)
Amazon Kindle Touch Leather Cover, Black (does not fit Kindle Paperwhite)
2 used & new from $14.35

96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slick, November 16, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Overall it's a nice looking cover and does it's job well. It's simple, elegant and slick. When I say slick, I don't necessarily mean cleverly devised, I mean slippery. The smooth leather provides next to no grip on the cover. I have a tendency to hold things lightly, so I can just imagine this repeatedly slipping out of my hand. Sure it doesn't have a band/clasp/etc to keep it closed, but neither did Kindle 2's cover, and neither does nearly every book ever published.

It's too expensive. I don't understand why Amazon is charging so much considering they'll be offering another cover with additional functionality for half the price (AmazonBasics Leather Folio Cover with Multi-Angle Adjustable Stand for Kindle Touch, Kindle (Black)). What the heck?


Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2012 4:15 AM PDT

Pokemon Puzzle League
Pokemon Puzzle League
Offered by PNP Games
Price: $93.95
68 used & new from $6.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An addicting puzzle game with a Pokémon theme., April 7, 2001
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Pokemon Puzzle League (Video Game)
Pokémon seems to have taken over the world. Just when you thought they have run their course, Pokémon comes out again with a new, and this time entirely different genre of game. We have seen the RPG, Collectible Card Game, Tournament Fighter, and now puzzle genre. What's next?
Pokémon Puzzle League is like Tetris, but more akin to Dr. Mario in that you must match up colors or symbols to create chains and combos by clearing lines. Another difference that PPL has over the other classic games is the scrolling up of entire rows instead of the falling bricks or pills. This innovation makes the game much more intense and maniacal the faster the wall builds. Soon you will be in a trance as you find yourself clearing lines faster than the wall can build, a truly wonderful feeling.
With all this intense action comes the mystical world of Pokémon. Depending on the trainer you choose, you get the choice of 3 different Pokémon. The Pokémon serve no purpose but as background wallpaper or in a 2-player game, a tally of sorts, they are nice to have around. Since you do have to stare at these saccharin sweet pictures throughout your game experience, it would help to be a fan of the series.
One complaint I do have about the game is that once I start, I can't stop playing. Like Tetris it will keep you occupied for long periods of time, the result being visions of chains and combos long after you stop playing. And don't even think about trying to go to sleep without seeing or playing imaginary games of it. Definitely worth your time if you are a puzzle fan, a great game to get you started in gaming. You'll realize just how much strategy and excellent eye-hand coordination is need to play these and other genres of games.

Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel
Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel
by Arthur Golden
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.52
1380 used & new from $0.01

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I didn't know writing could be this beautiful., April 5, 2001
I like reading books; the only problem is that I don't have a lot of time, with school, work and other activities. Needless to say there are more books unfinished than finished, so when I wanted to read something, I bought "Memoirs of a Geisha." I had heard a lot of great things about this book, so I went in with hopes held high. Never would I have imagined what I was in store for. I became entranced by the creative, clever and beautiful writing of Arthur Golden who paints a beautiful landscape with interesting and unique characters that you love, hate and love to hate.
You follow the life of a young Japanese girl, Chiyo as she is ripped from her family and sold into a lifestyle where every glance, word spoken, piece of exposed flesh has meaning. Where their virginity is auctioned and their existence is nothing more than being a mistress to a wealthy businessman. You experience her love, her hate, her friendships, her broken heart and her transformation into Sayuri, one of the most notable geisha in Japan.
You will find yourself reading for hours, only to look up with bleary eyes and wonder where the time went. The writing recreates Sayuri's world with such faith that it is difficult to remember that this is a work of fiction; the best fiction I have ever read. So much so that I often had to look at the back of the book to read the "Fiction/Literature" label in the upper left-hand corner of the back cover. "Memoirs of a Geisha" is one of few books that I never wanted to end. This important piece of literature should not go unnoticed and if I could give it 10 stars I would with ease.

Playstation2 Family Value Pack
Playstation2 Family Value Pack

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PlayStation 2 Review, April 5, 2001
I went out and bought the PlayStation 2 the day that it was released; sure I had mine reserved since mid February so I was guaranteed one. I walked into Toys R Us to a sign that said that there were no systems available to the public that had not already reserved one. This was a blessing seeing as there were no lines to get the system. So I just looked around a little bit in the "R"Zone picked up Tekken Tag Tournament and took my pre-sells up to the counter and purchased my system and games.
Throughout the whole PS2 launch fiasco in Japan with the games not holding up to the expectations of most, I was a bit weary of the system's potential. I had seen the less than stellar movies and screenshots of the games and saw the comparison between DOA2 on both the DC and the PS2. At that time the DC version looked remarkably better with the anti-aliasing. So I was waffling whether to even worry about the PS2 and wait for the Gamecube and XBOX. When in February I saw that Toys R Us was pre-selling the system I thought that I should just pick one up and then decide later if I wanted it or not. At least I would have one reserved if I decided to get one.
During the eight months that followed I still wasn't sure, I still hadn't found that the games were anything spectacular, nor did I find the graphics to be anything I haven't seen on the Dreamcast. So now it was the day I picked up 2 games, SSX and TTT. Took them home and set the system up put SSX in and turned the system on. SSX had great graphics, good control, and nice concept, nothing unfortunately that I would call spectacular. I then popped in Tekken Tag Tournament, my impulse buy. Nice big characters, great graphics, and Tekken 3 control. This is what you would call a safe bet, you know exactly what to expect, nothing innovative just a tried and true formula.
I then decided that I would play around with the menus in the system, kinda see what did what. I set the time and looked at the PlayStation settings, popped in Resident Evil Survivor, and not even the PS2 could save that game. Got a DVD it played without a problem, a CD, the same. But I felt a little cheated, with almost 30 games available at launch, I was able to find 2 that I thought I would enjoy. I was really hoping that I would find at least 5 must buy right now titles much like I did with the Dreamcast. It just doesn't seem right. Overall, it makes a good CD player, DVD player and PlayStation, but so far not a good PlayStation2.

The Cell (New Line Platinum Series)
The Cell (New Line Platinum Series)
DVD ~ Jennifer Lopez
Price: $5.00
258 used & new from $0.01

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Cell Review, February 6, 2001
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Jennifer Lopez stars in this suspenseful psychological thriller about a woman that must enter the mind of a serial killer in order to locate a missing victim. The ride that follows is one that will leave you wondering why you spent 107 minutes watching what could have been a great film.

Visually it is stunning, paying great attention to set design, special effects and mood. There are a couple of instances that seem to deviate from the intelligence of Lopez's character. One point I will mention is on the back of the DVD case, it reads, "The visually haunting world threatens her very existence when she becomes trapped by the terror inside." As she walks through this bizarre and twisted world that is the serial killers head, there is no mistaking that she is in a world that is not her own. While in this world you get the sense that she is in complete control, she can leave at any moment by pressing a chip embedded in her hand, something that is mentioned at the very start, therefore becoming trapped should not be an issue.

From the hackneyed storyline there comes the second rate acting. I do know that normally some of the actors, Lopez and D'Onofrio, have sparks of brilliance but that rarely happens with Vince Vaughn. His character sadly takes on the role of savior to both Lopez and the killer's latest and missing victim. When he must "...rescue her [Lopez] from the killer's nightmare mind..." it furthers the point that the detail was just missing. The writer expects us to believe that Vaugn's character, who has never entered a mind, can successfully rescue anyone?

If you haven't already figured out, I didn't find much that I liked about the movie, including the forced and unimaginative ending. But if you want to see a lot of special effects without the disturbance of a good plot and great acting, or if you want a movie that is loaded with extras including commentaries, documentaries and interactive games then you should pick this movie up. Otherwise rent and be done with it.

Any Given Sunday
Any Given Sunday
DVD ~ Al Pacino
257 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Any Given Sunday Review, January 31, 2001
This review is from: Any Given Sunday (DVD)
Movies based on sports, basketball, baseball, curling...well, maybe not curling, but one of the most interesting sports to make a movie of is football. The blood, guts, girls, drugs, injuries...blah, blah, blah. Any Given Sunday is just that...blah! This mostly impart because of the acting and writing. Al Pacino does a brilliant job of portraying head coach, Tony D'Amato and John C. McGinley, a great character actor, as his biggest critic. Other than that there really isn't anything to right home about. Cameron Diaz, the owner of the Sharks cannot pull off the "She would eat her own children" remark whispered by a colleague, simply because she is all over the board with her emotions. One moment she is screaming at Al, the next sympathetic, so she didn't come off as bad as I think was planned.

Sadly these performances are the result of the writing. I got a little tired of the "this is your last season" hints and the same old arguments over and over again. Where is the variety?!?! Then you have Dennis Quaid's portrayal of Joe Montana...oh, I mean Jack "Cap" Rooney. Puhleez! Just to round up the rest of the review, there was the predictable outcome, unresolved allegations and several bad rap videos.

This is of course the "Director's Cut" but unfortunately it is only of the movie. I would have hoped for some special features. Interactive menus, Notes on the Stars and Director, Theatrical Trailers, Scene Access and subtitles are NOT special features. So really all you get out of this movie is a rap video and a documentary. Where is the commentary?

Even though I have complained about almost every aspect of this movie, the saving grace is the incredible football scenes. If you're into football then you should definitely pick this up, if not, then don't waste you 157 minutes.

Gauntlet Legends - Sega Dreamcast
Gauntlet Legends - Sega Dreamcast
14 used & new from $36.50

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gauntlet Legends Review, January 28, 2001
Arcade games, a genre of game that should be fun and action packed. Gauntlet Legends is just that, fun, action packed and plotless. Well, it does have a small plot but one that you really shouldn't concern yourself with. You can choose from a variety of characters to play as, each with its own special power to go through a maze shooting, destroying and surviving hundreds, sometimes thousands of enemies, collecting gold, food and power-ups. All this in order to collect rune stones and defeat the evil Skorne.

Up to four player simultaneous makes this an ultimate party game. With the 12 characters, all-new levels for the Dreamcast version, cooperative combos and 20 in-game quests you will be playing this along time. There are even levels and characters to unlock. The graphics are awesome and game play mindless and fun, this is a winner.

Unfortunately the camera sometimes makes this a frustrating romp into hell. Also the sound gets repetitive and annoying. So this game is not without its flaws, but all can be forgiven for the fun that Gauntlet Legends gives you.

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