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Friday, October 23, 2015

Review Roundup October 2015

I have not posted any book or movie reviews of late, but that is because I have been doing them for my old friends over at Slice of Sci-Fi and their sister sites.  Rather than post each one as it went up I decided to wait and post the lost of them at once.


Review Summary:

Listening is a movie that I would rate as average. There is little about it that makes it stand out amongst other movies, within and without its genre. This does not mean that Listening is a bad movie, it simply doesn’t bring much new to the table.


Review Summary:

I have never lived in a tower block/apartment building; part of the reasoning behind this is because I always saw them as perfect havens for disease vectors. This movie plays with that concept to a great degree, along with themes about not knowing your neighbors, fear of authority, isolation, and paranoia.

Nightmare Code

Review Summary:

The way these characters interact and the lack of flashy hollywood computer usage was a welcome change for me. I did my share of code writing and debugging in college and could feel their frustration. Forget the flashy screens and multiple person at a keyboard typing away like mad monkeys, this is what debugging code looks like. Mostly bored folks looking for stimulus as they scroll through line after line of text. Overall this is a great movie, and I recommend it for anyone who is interested in coding, computers and who wants to see a good A.I. movie.


Review Summary:

This is an interesting film, but doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, and most genre fans will spot inspiration from various other films. What I have found most interesting is the nebulous time frame the movie takes place in. The three adult leads will be recognizable to folks from my generation, appearing in numerous genre films since the mid-nineties. It was almost a 90s reunion, which kind of works as the movie appears to be set in the early to mid 90s.

Star Wars: A New Hope: The Princess, The Scoundrel, and The Farm Boy

Review Summary:

Do not consider this book a replacement for the movie, or the original novelization ghost written by Alan Dean Foster. Instead, look at it as a supplement. This book does an excellent job of getting into Leia’s head and really lets the reader/listener (since I am reviewing the audiobook version) know what she felt through this adventure. I almost would have liked the book to tell the whole story through her viewpoint, and those of the others as well.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: So You Want to be a Jedi?

Review Summary:

When most people think about Empire, they consider it one of the best of the Original Trilogy Star Wars movies. It develops greatly on A New Hope and expands on the nature of The Force and the Jedi, and the universe at large. This book tosses out most of that for fairy tale stylings, and adds a trite fairy tale about Yoda right in the middle of the book.

Star Wars Beware The Power of the Dark Side

Review Summary:

Overall the book doesn’t add much to the story, and is an almost straight retelling of the movie but does add new links to the prequel trilogy and also describes a far more desperate rebel fleet then other media has portrayed. The audiobook is quite good and the choice of music good as well, though I would have preferred if they didn’t use the Ewok theme as much. Given that this book tried to portray them as warriors so much more, hearing the jaunty theme from the movie here actually did them a disservice.

Do the Young Adult Retellings of the Original “Star Wars” Trilogy Work?

This was a follow up to my earlier review of these three books where I outlined what they did right, and also their significant failings.

Deadlands: Ghostwalkers

Review Summary:

Throw every trope and genre you can into the mix, it’s here in some form or another. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but made for a fun pre-Halloween read. My oldest wants to read it after he finishes my old HP Lovecraft books. The book also features more than it’s share of violence, and might not be for the squeamish. If a movie is ever made of this, Rob Zombie will probably be involved, let’s put that out there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Martian Movie Review

Go see this movie.  No, seriously, grab a friend, or two, or more, and go see this movie.  5 Stars.  Then come back here and read the review.

Did you go see the movie?

What do you mean no?

Need more of  a reason, here's the trailer:

Grab your keys and your wallet, or someone with keys and wallet and go see this movie, now.

Did you see the movie yet?

Well whether you have or not, spoilers ahead.  Quite simply put, this is the best movie I've seen this year.  Anyone who knows me knows that I hate it when movies deviate too far from the source materials, especially when it's a book.  I hated movies like I-Robot, Starship Troopers, I Am Legend, etc... for doing just that.  On the flip side I have praise the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies.

This movie, while taking certain liberties from the book, stuck to it fairly well.  I understand why it it deviated too, most of the time it was to move the story along at a faster pace.  While there were some scenes I would have liked to have seen, losing them didn't upset me.  Even the additions didn't get my blood boiling.  Yes, there were a couple that were there for the ego of the stars, but they were ok and I could pass them off.  Even the extended ending, compared to the book, worked well in my opinion, it offered more closure.

I could sit down here for hours and dissect every scene of the film, but I won't.  It it simply a great film.  It is smart, it is funny, it is well paced, and it is believable.  They didn't turn any of the characters into mustache twirling villains, and on some level you could relate to almost everyone in it.  

This was a story about people coming together to save a single brave hero.  And, it worked.  It worked so well.  I hope that Andy Weir gets a dump truck full of royalties for this movie.

And for those of you haven't read the book.


Like I said, there are some changes, but they are minimal and fit the new medium.

5 Stars, well earned by all involved.  Now go see the movie if you haven' yet.