elektra: (movie tickets)

It’s been years since I saw a movie in the theater twice in as many days–Guardians of the Galaxy is that special.

An excerpt:
Guardians of the Galaxy throws you in at the deep end and turns away, confident you’ll love what you’ll see, but not really giving a darn if you do or not. And it blasts “Cherry Bomb” on a boombox at you the whole time.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a stunning triumph for motion caption afficionados as it seamlessly integrates new technology to bring the simian cast members to life in a non-distracting why. This leaves the way open to focus on character development and plot, creating a richly realized world.

Planet of the Apes fandom encompasses three different generations of movies, both a live action and an animated TV series, comic books, magazines, tie-in novels–yet there are still more stories to be told.

And in this case, told very well. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The world has become a tiny place.

One that has a lot of Planet of the Apes movies in it.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes sits firmly at the top of the heap.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

The Purge: Anarchy is ambitious dystopic near future, with a few too many plot lines crammed in. It gives you a glimpse into a frighteningly possible world, from the rich who do whatever they please to the poor who try to survive, and the politicians who run things. My full review is at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The Purge: Anarchy is bigger than the first film, but not necessarily better. There’s a solid look into the world here, this time focusing on the disadvantaged–those who can’t afford to hide behind expensive security systems, with all the safety money can buy.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Transcendence is a good idea, with a great cast, that maybe didn’t end up the way the writer or the director visualized it. There are certainly some interesting concepts here, and some of the ideas will keep you thinking long after the movie’s over. For more, see the full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Transcendence is one of those movies that mixes in a lot of philosophizing and responsibility-for-the-future content in with its story telling. Fortunately for the casual moviegoer, it keeps the message well camouflaged, and it isn’t nearly so preachy as Seagal’s archetypic On Deadly Ground.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

In a year filled with sequels and three-qals, Catching Fire was highly anticipated and certainly lived up to the hype. More of all the things that made The Hunger Games a big hit, with a different story to tell, and more, bigger everything. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
A number of past Hunger Games-victors are also brought into play in Catching Fire. Like Haymitch, they have been shaped by their experiences. Particularly of note are Johanna Mason and Finnick Odair, who combine sharp wits and lethal physicality with charming recklessness.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game is in theaters now, a sterile big budget adaption that kills lots of aliens while generating a ton of controversy over whether Card’s outspoken views should influence your choice to attend this movie. it’s a personal decision, and each person needs to do what feels right to them: skip th emovie, balance seeing the movie with a donation to an appropriate cause, etc. The political hot potato and projected sales make a sequel unlikely to follow soon.

Ender’s Game effectively creates a disturbing future, full of hard choices. The cast is mostly effective in their roles, the sets are extraordinary, and it’s easy to believe sequences are happening in space. What was missing seemed to be the introspection from the book–it’s not one I’ve read, and I felt there was something missing. My full review is at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The world’s smartest children have been recruited to fight the war, raised on war games, their quick minds more able to adapt to the possible strategies needed to defeat the enemy. Ender Wiggins is one of these children–intelligent, athletic, well-trained.

This is his story.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Vin Diesel is back in the epic conclusion to the trilogy begun in Pitch Black. See him fight more mercenaries, deal with an even more hostile environment, see him fight against overwhelming odds and . . . my full review is at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Are you afraid of the dark? Are you afraid of the boogeyman? Did you like Pitch Black? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”–you will enjoy the new follow-up to The Chronicles of Riddick, titled simply Riddick.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Paranoia is full of fabulous stars and solid performances, but I couldn’t find anyone to identify with, so it was a real hard sell for me. I go into more detail about way in my reivew at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Adam Cassidy (Liam Hemsworth) is a whiny, entitled, 20-something techie who has spent the last six years working for Wyatt Corp, a major player in the telecommunications industry. He and his friends are impatient that they haven’t advanced yet, to big bonuses and living large.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

SFWA !!

Aug. 14th, 2013 04:15 am
elektra: (sfwa)

I am now an affiliate member of Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA). That is all.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

This a low-budget, well-written, well-conceived well-acted thriller based on some clever manipulations of society. What would good people do under pressure and with no fear or reprisal? It’s an interesting look at a social experience gone terribly wrong.

Sequel The Purge 2 is already in the works, after The Purge made approx $34 million opening weekend, on a budget of $3 million.

An excerpt:
The Sandins are a rich family living in a gated community. This is a near future where the “new founding fathers” have given everyone a way to resolve their aggressive tendencies: once a year, for twelve hours, anything goes. The annual Purge.

The result is a weirdly polite society . . .

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

I was really looking forward to World War Z–from the first time I heard Joe Straczynski was doing the adaption to seeing the first high-octane trailers. It wasn’t what I expected (what ever is?), but it turned out to be a very entertaining movie. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
There are some bits from the book here, in the discussions Lane has with people he meets with, but most of the interesting geopolitical aspects fall by the wayside in favor of high-action zombie setpieces. Those were absolutely awesome. No question. Too many of them were in the trailers, but they still had a huge impact.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Will Smith can be absolutely amazing–just watch him in Men in Black or Hancock. But he took on a bit too much in After Earth–creating the story, and then went from bad to worse by selecting M. Night Shyamalan to fix-it-up and direct. See a more in depth list of what went wrong at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I wanted to like this movie. I really, truly did.

I saw the trailers, and I loved the high concept put forth: that humans had left Earth a thousand years ago (for reasons unknown) and now Kitai Raige and his Dad, Cypher Raige, have crash-landed there.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

As a long time trekkie, I had to go see Star Trek Into Darkness, and I so wanted to love it. It’s got a great cast, a hot director, a big budget. And yet–this isn’t my father’s Star Trek, nor is it mine. It’s trying so hard to be a summer tentpole blockbuster that it’s lost sight of what Star Trek is.

I hope they find themselves. The new kid on the block is fun, but not nearly as interesting as that old guy we’ve known for so many years. I miss my father’s Star Trek–my Star Trek.

My somewhat more detailed, yet spoiler-free review is over at buzzy-mag–that was fun to juggle, given the content. Go take a look.

An excerpt:
But Into Darkness? That’s a hard call. Don’t get me wrong–it’s entertaining, it’s fun. High action, great effects, chase scenes, things going boom. But it’s not really my Trek.

Honestly, don’t listen to me–go see it anyway. It has it’s moments–there are seatbelts on the Enterprise. I just wish it had been . . . more.

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Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

I found Tom Cruise’s new film, Oblivion, great entertainment, although not without its faults. The casting was spot on, the effects good, and it’s always nice to see a big budget sci-fi film. See my full review at buzzy mag.

An excerpt:
Tom Cruise zipping through the sky–shades of Top Gun. It worked in the ‘80s, why not try it again? That seemed to be the thought at the heart of Oblivion, Cruise’s new science fiction/action film. But fancy flying and beautiful vistas can only take you so far . . .

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elektra: (movie tickets)

Alien invasion and the oddest love triangle? quadrangle? ever feature into The Host. It’s the 51st movie I’ve reviewed since I started doing reviews last May. Go read the full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The Host is the latest offering from Stephenie Meyer, set in a dystopic future where Earth has been taken over by parasitic aliens, who want to experience and perfect our world. Except for the whole “taking over all the humans” thing.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (book with bookworm)
manny the buffalito

Manny the buffalito in his 3D glasses

Lawrence M. Schoen’s tales of the amazing Conroy and his buffalito Reggie are always fun to read. This latest entry in the series is a collection of shorter works, including new novella “Barry’s Tale.” Prepare to be amazed and entertained as you follow along his adventures. Read the full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Let me introduce you to the Amazing Conroy, interstellar hypnotist and buffalito wrangler. What’s a buffalito? I’ll tell you. They’re an alien lifeform that look just like tiny buffalos–what’s more, they can eat absolutely anything, and then they fart it back out as oxygen. This makes them an incredibly valuable commodity.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)
Argo
Director: Ben Affleck
Writers: Chris Terrio, Joshuah Bearman (article)
Stars: Bean Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Victor Garber

I remember when Ted Koppel was on TV for half-an-hour every night giving updates on the Iranian hostage crises: that would in due time become Nightline, a show he would host for twenty-five years. During the almost fifteen months Americans were held hostage, it seemed things would never be back to “normal.”

It’s been over thirty years. Argo brought it all back.

argo poster

Argo opens with a great historical montage and voiceover describing the critical events leading to the hostage crises. It gives you a great sense of both realism and history, despite the fact that the story has been fictionalized. (For more of the real details, the Wired article that Argo was partially based on can be found here.

Obviously, any “plot holes” have to be forgiven because that was just the way it happened. The idea of legitimizing something by putting ads in Variety, etc.–how could it not be real? The details were simply amazing: that they actually had to option the script, set up an office, etc.

The oddest piece for me was the priority put on incinerating the classified material–didn’t they have shredders? Then later, other documents are shredded. Still later, teams of carpet weavers (some of them children) worked to reassemble the shredded document pieces. I would have called this totally improbable if it hadn’t happened in real life–which can often be stranger than fiction.

Occasional clips of the shah, Ayatollah Khomeini, and President Carter, as well as general stock footage, really keeps this grounded in the period. Kudos to the makeup and costume folks for outstanding work, as well as set design, props, locations–the feel is spot on.

What makes this film stand out is the excellent pacing. It’s a scary time–the “houseguests” were in fear for their lives, and there is a genuine sense of urgency–you practically want to cheer. A good script and fine directing by Ben Affleck clearly come into play here.

There are also some great performances, particularly Affleck as Tony Mendez, and John Goodman and Alan Arkin representing Hollywood as makeup man John Chambers and producer Lester Siegel.

But honestly, how did we live without cell phones back then? It was plain weird seeing spies getting phone calls at someone’s house.

Geek fact: the actual script used was an adaption of Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light . . .

Argo f** yourself.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

Rian Johnson really has a corker in Looper, a time travel tale told from the point of view of someone who doesn’t travel in time. In fact, the mechanics of time travel take a back seat to the characters. The film works amazing well. My full review is up at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), like other young men with limited education, was recruited to be a looper–a lucrative job that deliberately requires no special skills and a distinct lack of morals. He lives like a rock star, with a hard partying life-style. One who occasionally kills people.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

elektra: (movie tickets)

A well-crafted, engaging film–The Master will really get you thinking. It’s got some amazing performances–I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t come up at Oscar time. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I was really looking forward to The Master. Why was I so interested? Word was out that the movie was loosely based on L. Ron Hubbard and the origins of Scientology, and I’ve read a lot about Hubbard–Robert Heinlein and John Campbell talked about him and his theories a lot in their correspondence.

Mirrored from Until Midnight and Occasionally Later.

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