Category: Reviews

Movie Review: Apollo 18

It’s been a long time since America has been to the moon. Hell, at this point even the Chinese have sent a lander there, if not actual taikonauts yet. The last moon mission was Apollo 17, back in 1972.

Or was it?

The found-footage film Apollo 18 aims to show why we haven’t been back. And if this film is to be believed, there’s a damn good reason.

Film Review: Chronicle

I’ve always enjoyed superhero stories — I’ve written a superhero novel and a couple of short-stories, and I’ve seen a lot of superhero TV shows and films. I recently saw Man of Steel, and I have to say that I may actually have enjoyed Chronicle — the story of three friends who gain superpowers — more than that huge-budget film.

Film Review: Despicable Me 2

This review contains spoilers for Despicable Me.

In the first Despicable Me film, super-villain Gru is bent on taking over the world, but somehow ends up becoming custodian to three young girls. As a result he learns to be a father and decides not to be evil anymore.

It’s been a while. But that’s the gist of it.

Now Gru and the girls (and the Minions, and Dr. Nefario) are back in Despicable Me 2, and this time it’s the good guys who want Gru to stop a new menace to society.

And then some other things happen.

Book Review: Affliction by Laurell K. Hamilton

This review contains spoilers for the first 21 Anita Blake novels.

You’d think after 22 books, most of which made the New York Times bestseller list, that editors would swoop in and get a very popular author to fix some of the stuff that’s… let’s say “not optimal”… about her writing.

You’d be wrong.

I just recently finished Affliction, the latest Anita Blake novel by Laurell K. Hamilton, and while it had a lot of really good action sequences, some of the problems that plague the other tales are just as evident in this one.

Book Review: Dodger by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is well-known in the world of genre writing mostly for his Discworld series. However, in the decades he’s been active, Pratchett has written several different stories outside of the Discworld. The latest is Dodger, a historical fantasy with all the charm of Discworld and none of the thousands of pages of background a new Discworld reader might need.

Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane is ostensibly his first novel for adults in eight years. Though, to my mind, I don’t classify it strictly as such. I think the point of view was the issue — told through the eyes of a man remembering what life was like when he was a seven-year-old boy. Never let it be said that Gaiman makes things easy for his readers. (And that’s a good thing.)

It was a good book. Just, hard to explain in one short teaser paragraph. Here — read on.

Film Review: Man of Steel

Superman is arguably the American superhero: an immigrant from another land (in this case, another planet), raised in a small town by honest people with a strong value system, eventually grows up, moves to the big city, and makes a difference while succeeding in his career and never forgetting where he came from.

So, to tell the story of Superman, you need a big movie. And with Man of Steel, we certainly got that.

It’s just… maybe there’s such a thing as too big.

Film Review: Monsters University

This review contains spoilers for Monsters, Inc.

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I’ve seen Monsters, Inc. exactly once. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite Pixar film — that honor lies with The Incredibles, but, with the exception of what I felt was somewhat overly-action-oriented storytelling in the climax, I did like MI.

Now, twelve years later, I have a six-year-old daughter who’s just the right age to be seeing Monsters University. So I did what any parent who doesn’t want to be trapped in the house on a Friday night and doesn’t want to pay a babysitter should do: take my kid to the movies and end up spending…

…well, actually, probably more money than my babysitter would’ve charged.

Her rates are very reasonable.

Anyway, Monsters University.

Book Review: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

In this age of smartphones, tablets, personal electronic devices, and connected TV, it’s nice to see children reading a book or two every now and then. Maybe the book is on an electronic device, but at least it’s a book, right?

My daughter is six. She’s very bright. I determined that she was old enough for me to read her one of my very favorite books growing up, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. We finally finished it last week.

Fan Film Review: Star Trek Continues Episode 1, “Pilgrim of Eternity”

Despite the furor over the reboot universe and the sci-fi landscape’s love for the later iterations of Star Trek, there’s still something about The Original Series that keeps bringing people back. And one way they come back is with fan films.

One such venture is Star Trek Continues, produced by Farragut Films and DracoGen Strategic Investments. It aims to pick up, in their words, “right where the original left off” with their first episode, “Pilgrim of Eternity”.