Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW: “The Battle For Terra.”

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One of the nice things about being a basically hypercritical and negative individual like myself is that when your opinions turn out to be wrong, you’re almost invariably pleasantly surprised. “Well, that’s it: we’re all gonna’ die,” I say, and it’s kind of hard not to be happy when you’re proved to be wrong. I feel sad for all the stupid hippies of the world, who constantly aspire to great and glorious things, only to have ugly stupid reality and traffic jams and famines and coffee stains bring them down.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Dollhouse: “Briar Rose” (Episode 11)

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If you’d told me two months ago that a show as crappy as Dollhouse would end up mesmerizing me, I’d have called you a liar, a filthy, Buffy-obsessed Whedonite liar. The show was a turd. I mean, go back and read my early reviews. I stand by ‘em: it stank. And yet a bit over a month back, the show instantly rocketed in to position to claim the “Most Improved Student” award. It really is compelling and occasionally amazing TV, way better than the final season of Galactica.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Iron Man Armored Adventures: “Secrets and Lies” (Episode 3)

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As we know, origin stories always suck, and last week wasn’t really any exception. In fact, not only were they saddled with an origin story for Iron Man, they were also saddled with having to retcon/reboot war profiteer/womanizer/drunken Tony Stark in to a Peter Parker-esque teen with a heart of gold. To be honest, they didn’t fail nearly as bad as I’d anticipated, even if the whole plot felt artificial and silly.

This week was much better, shorter on the action, longer on the character-based story. Still not great by a long shot, but not terrible, and better than last week.

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BOOK REVIEW: “The Enchanted Island of Yew” by L. Frank Baum (1903)

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NOTE: “Oz” and everything pertaining to it is not Science Fiction, it’s Fantasy. However, the books had a profound influence on the early masters of the genre like Heinlein and Bradbury, and they have an immensely complex interior world they developed, so I’ve decided occasionally to mention them here, not because they’re SF, but because they’re part of the intellectual soil from which SF grew.

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EPISODE REVIEW: Lost: “Variable” (Season 5, Episode 14)

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The hundredth episode of Lost gives me something that few shows can say this far in to their run: “Well I didn’t see that coming.” Granted, Lost has managed to do that for us fairly consistently through its run, and this season in particular has been pretty much a case study in dropping a hard plot twist sixteen times per season, yet still managing to keep a coherent story. Even so: I didn’t see that coming.

Play by play:

In 1977:

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TV MOVIE CAPSULE REVIEWS:Babylon 5:”Legend of the Rangers” (2002), “River of Souls” (1998) and “A Call to Arms” (1999)

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Babylon 5: Legend of the Rangers: To Live and Die in Starlight (2002) – yet another TV Movie, intended as a pilot for yet another B5 spinoff. This one was stillborn, but watching it again for the first time in 5 years or so, I rather liked it. Not great, but I think maybe it had more potential than the quickly-cancelled Crusade. As with nearly all pilots, it’s really exposition-heavy. The acting is all rather stiff, and it’s a crying shame seeing the late Andreas Katsulas in his last-ever appearance as G’kar without him having someone solid to play off of.

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EPISODE REVIEWS: Dollhouse: “Haunted” (Episode 10)

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There is a not-very-narrow line between ‘acting’ and ‘putting on a show.’ It’s fairly broad, but it’s also occasionally hard to delineate exactly, and dependent somewhat upon culture, period, and venue. On the one hand, acting is acting is acting, right? But on the other hand consider Noh drama in Japan which moves at a speed that makes glaciers seem freakin’ sonic, and uses this staid unreality to emphasize the emotional elements of the story in a sort of hyper realized fashion. To a student of Japanese drama, a particularly slow performance can be moving, brilliant, more real than real.

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MOVIE REVIEW: “Monsters vs. Aliens” (2009)

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I was holding off seeing this movie because Republibot 1.0 didn’t like it, and usually we’re of a mind on these sorts of things - I mean, hell, it’s a Dreamworks CGI movie - how good could it be? Their products are, well, more products than films, and they’re uniformly terrible to boot.

I’m happy to say I was wrong about this one, though, it was a good, solid, fun movie. My first clue this might not suck as much as Shrek XXVI: Colon Blockage was when the cloying Dreamworks logo came up, and then one of the space ships from “Earth Versus The Flying Saucers” came by and blew it up. Hooray!

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