Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers (TV Movie) - JMS has put together an interesting crew. A great chase story. Overall its nice to go back to the B5 universe. Hopefully this will be the springboard for a new series. Then again if you need a fix of JMS best place to look is in Amazing Spider-Man , Rising Stars, and Midnight Nation.
Daria: Is it College Yet (TV Movie) - Daria and the rest escape. I mean graduate. Its a fun to tie up the series. Like in the last film the characters (of substance) go through some development.
The rest of the Anita Blake series by Laruell K. Hamilton - It took me two months but I did it. Overall we get a character who tries to make the best decisions under the most harrowing situations. They are sometimes the most pleasant choices. Still Anita is always thinks of others particularly her friends and those who depend on her for protection. The other interesting thing about this series is the development of the werewolf culture. I have not seen this before. It is intriguing seeing the whole werewolf (were creature actually) politics. A series worth look into.
Lion's Blood by Steven Barnes
- In this alternate world America has been colonized by Africans. The
book follows the lives of two men as they grow up in this world.
Aidan O'Dere and his family were captured by Vikings and sold into slavery.
They are taken to Bilalistan (North America) and sold to a powerful family.
Aidan then meets Kai, the son of his owner. They bond and start
a friendship. It is a friendship which will be tested due to their positions
in that society. This alternate world is very well developed.
The characters are fully fleshed out. One of the objectives in this
book is to develop three dimensional characters. Barnes sought
to avoid bad characterization of minorities he saw both inside and
outside the SF field. He has succeeded. This is a world which
America the Beautiful by Moon Unit Zappa - America, daughter of famous parents, gets dumped by her boyfriend. She takes it badly. She learns to deal with it and her feelings towards her late artist father. The film reminds a bit of Almodvar's film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. It deals with relationships and all the pain and pleasures they can bring. Hope Ms. Zappa does some more writing.
Ice Age (Theatrical Movie) - Sometimes I feel like Scrat. This film shows the humour pioneered by Chuck Jones will live on. A film which goes nicely with Shrek, Monster Inc. and both Toy Story.
The Quantam Rose by Catherine Asaro - Another story set in the Skolian series. Kamoj, the governor of Argali on the planet Balumil, gets embroiled in intrigue. She is betrothed to Jax Ironbridge, governor to a neighboring village. Vyrl, a mmeber of the Ruby Dynasty who is on Balumill incognito, makes an error in paying off a debt which results in Kamoj being required to marry him. She does and learns the truth about him. They fall in love. They have to deal with struggles both on Balumil and Lyshirol, where Vyrl must face his destiny. Asaro is able to make a romance using the basics of quantam physics as a template. An interesting combination of hard SF and romance.
Clockstoppers (Theatrical Film) -
A fun teen comedy. Seems a bit short. There could have been more develpoment
in Zak and Fancesca relationship. The effect were good and consistent.
Hope we see more films form Mr. Frakes.
Sir Apropos of Nothing by Peter David - Apropos is not born under the greatest of circumstances. He is a pretty cynical individual. He goes through the traditional hero tale which includes a beautiful princess who could be an arsonist. Yet in the end he does the right thing. This sometimes brings him more grief. This is the classic fantasy story told from the view of the antihero. There some interesting tweaks to the traditional fantasy quest plot. There is future story planned but David promises that future books will be self contained. This one was (no cliffhanger).
A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton - Merry Gentry is still trying to bare an heir for her aunt, Queen of the Unseelie court. Her suitors are members of her aunt's Imperial Guard. At the same time she has to help a fairy actress trying to have a baby with her mortal lover, stop ancient powers someone has released into the world and dealing with intrigues from the world of fairy. Hamilton does an excellent job blending the supernatural with the everyday world. Merry does a good job trying to cope. It seems in this book the ante has been risen. Some interesting stuff to be dealt with in future books.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Directors Cut (DVD) - This is DVD that needed to be made. The film now looks as it was intended to. The new opticals looked great. Only the needed footage was added this unlike just throwing everything in like on TV. Commentary and documentaries shed new light on this controversial film.
Warning: Parental Advisory (TV Movie) - The history of Tipper Gore versus the music industry. A classic story of seeming never ending battle for free speech in America. Griffth Dunne brought the great Frank Zappa to life. All the cast was great. Rock on.
Doctor Who: The Five Doctors - Special Edition
(DVD) - This episode is good before this edition.
The new effects were OK. The Cybermen finally got some shots at
the Raston Robot. The new footage added a little to the story. Best
part was the commentary by Terrance Dicks and Peter Davison. Nice to hear
how the story was crafted and why certain things happened. Worth
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (Theatrical
Film) - Ignore the critics. This is a good film. Lucas
and West did a bona fide effort to set up a relationship between Anakin
and Padme. The action sequences are incredible. Nice to see
the Jedi take on the bad guys in mass. It also interesting to see
how the Empire came to be. Only bad thing is we have to wait three years
to see how the films are tied together.
Lilo and Stich (Theatrical Film) - One of Disney's best. Nice to see a realistic girl with issues in a Disney film. Alien design is pretty good. Just a fun film. Hope we see more of this new family.
Minority Report (Theatrical Film) - Speilberg attempts do another serious SF film. This times he uses a short story by Philip K. Dick. There is a lot to like in this film. The future is well designed. The action sequences are gripping. There are some nice slow moments where exposition is carried out well. I like the characterization of Agatha which gives a view of what it is like to be precog (something the original story lacked). All the characters are well played out. There is a major flaw in the plot which propels the film. Despite this one flaw this world is consistent. The movie a looks at the concept of Precrime and shows it value and its weaknesses. The film may have gone too long. The twist at the end is interesting but like A.I. the film may have been better shorter. Last year I said A.I. was Speilberg's most ambitious film. I am pleased to say he has topped himself this year.
Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (Hugo Nominee) - The setting is the city of New Corbuzon, a dark urban metropolis. Isaac Dan de Grimnebulin is an amateur scientist researching chaos theory. His is commissioned to help a Garuda, Yagharek to regain the ability to fly. His wings were amputated by his people for a violation of their law. Isaac researches all sorts of flying creatures. One is a caterpillar which turns into a malevolent creature. It and other like like breed by the government (to be sold to unsavory indviduals) are attacking the inhabitants of New Corbuzon in their dreams. Isaac must capture these creatures. At the same time he must keep his chaos engine away form certain groups who would use it for their own ends. This world is fascinating. This is work of science fantasy since magic or super science are used. Plot is complicated but interesting. Mieville also has some interesting ideas defending socialism using the culture of the Garudas as his platform. Sequels set in this world may be worth reading.
Scooby Doo (Theatrical Film) - A film made in the spirit of the original series (and the continuing series of direct to video stories) while attacking the negative aspects of other incarnations of the show. The characterization is dead on with the exception of Fred. I never perceived him as narcissistic. Would not mind seeing more of these meddling kids.
The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson (Hugo Nominee) - In the early 21st computer programmer Scott Warden witnesses a large structure materialize in Thailand. It is monument to the future victory of someone named Kuin. In the years that follow more monuments, called Chronoliths, appear in other parts of the world. Whole sections of societies are affected by the Chronoliths. Scott finds himself tied to Chronoliths. He is enlisted to help scientist Sue Chropa to find out the secrets of the Chronoliths. His daughter gets involved in a Chronolith cult. Is Scott a key to the secret to the Chronoliths? Who is Kuin? Are his victories inevitable. The books asks questions of predetermination and free will. What happens to a generation given proof that their future is doomed? Is there any hope. Wilson asks these questions and give some interesting answers.
Cosmonaut Keep by Ken MacLeod (Hugo
Nominee) - In the mid 21st century Europe has been conquered
by a socialist Russia. A European Socialist Union space
station, Titov has found evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial
life on a asteroid. In Britain hacker Matt Cairns accepts an assignment
from an American resistance fighter named Jadey. This leads him
to the the Titov which has succeed from the ESU. In future
on an alien planet exobiologist Gregor Cairns helps his family relearn
the secret of interstellar flight. A classic space opera. There is
action, adventure, and romance. There is a little exploration of the
nature of freedom in this semi dystopic world. If you can deal with
the switching narrative between Matt and Gregor's time it is a gripping
Coraline by Neil Gaiman - Coraline is young girl living with parents who do not have enough time for her. She finds a door which leads to a parallel world with copies of her parents. These parents are not as disinterested as her real ones. Coming back she discovers her own parents have disappeared. She also discovers that others are trapped in the parallel world. She has to find a way to rescue those trapped and defeat her mother's doppleganger. Its beautiful. Coraline is smart and brave. She finds within herself they way to overcome the challenges that face her. The classic Gaiman story, ordinary facing extraordinary things and meeting the challenges head on.
Aint it Cool by Harry Knowles (Paul Cullum and Mark Ebener) - The story of fan making good. It interesting to how harry became a mover and shaker by starting a website to deal with temporary paralysis. He has some great ideas on how films can get better. A must read for any movie buff.
Lori by Robert Bloch - Lori Holmes returns for her graduation to a catastrophe. Her parents have died in a fire. Lori finds herself in the middle of intrigue. A psychic dies trying to deliver a message to her. She has dreams about a women named Priscilla who resembles her. She turns to a therapists for help. Can Lori finds the answers before something happens to her. An interesting thriller done by a master. There a few minor glitches (written on the sides by a library patron, how annoying). Good characterization and an interesting subtle injection of a fantasy element.
Austin Powers in Goldmember (Theatrical Film) - If one joke fails another succeeds.
Favorite part was the Osbourne's cameo. I hope they do another
one where go to the 80s and see Myers take on that era.
Through Wolf's Eyes by Jane Lindskold (Readers Group Choice) - A young woman
raised by wolves is believed to an heir to a kingdom. She brought
back civilization with Blind Seer, a wolf and pack brother. Named
Blysse, after the missing heir, she finds herself in middle of intrigue
regarding royal succession. I cannot get into the traditional medieval
fantasy. One of the highpoints of the novel is how Blysse interacts
with other humans. Like the title implies she sees the world as does
a wolf. I also like the image of this beautiful woman being followed
by this large wolf everywhere she goes.
XXX (Theatrical Film) - The
male power fantasy. Cars, guns and women. Does not get more
basic than that. Its fluff. It is fun fluff though. Diesel
maybe one of the new action stars. Great performance form Samuel
Jackson. He is perfect as an M for the 21st century. Asia
Argento is great as a femme fatale.
Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy - This
novel takes place between Patriot Games and The Hunt
for Red October . A KGB communication officer discovers
a KGB plot to kill Pope John Paul II. He decides to defect. Jack
Ryan and his allies must make that possible. An interesting if more
standard tale. More down to earth than he last few novels. Interesting
anachronisms pop up. He has kids watching Transformers a
few years too ealry. Fits well into the Ryan universe.
He Man and the Masters of the Universe
(TV Series) - Surprisingly good. Revamping the series
without trashing the old. No heavy handed morals. A good old fashion
battle bewteen good vs evil. A must watch for the 80s generation.
Simone (Theatrical Film) - A
good send up of Hollywood and our celebrity obessed society. Al
Pacino is great doing comedy. Evan Rachel Wood shows great promise as
Lainey Taransky. A Hugo contender.
Carrie (TV Movie) - The question is why. The De Palma movie was great. There were some nice bits in this. Then that was ruined by the ending. An ending that should have never happened. It was just wrong.
Firefly (TV Series) – OK. A space western and a good one at that. Worth seeing.
Aftermath by Charles Sheffield – Alpha Centuari has gone nova. It released an electro magnetic pulse destroying every integrated chip on Earth in the early 21st century. The story focuses on how people deal with the crisis. The people include a Jewish President of the United States, the first Mars expedition, a serial killer, and a cult. Interesting how these storylines tie in. There are some challenging problems to be dealt with in this world. The sequel is a must read.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Theatrical Movie) - Even better the second time around. A good adaptation at least as I remember the book. Some really good scary bits. Some great lines. A pity the third one will be out in 2004.
Star Trek – The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonian Singh by Greg Cox- Cox successfully places Khan in our real world and remains true to the Trek universe. It is great to see Gary Seven, Isis, Roberta Lincoln, and others mentioned in Trek’s chronicles of the 20th century. Cox does an excellent job capturing the characters described. The plot is gripping and exciting. There are some interesting cameos from inside and outside Trek.
by Stanislaw Lem – Kris Kelvin goes to the planet Solaris and study its
seemingly living ocean. The rest of the scientists
seem to have gone of the deep end. Kelvin meets his
deceased lover on Solaris. Is this a product of the
planet? If so, why does it produce this image? Kelvin
explores these questions. The novel gets dense at
times when Lem explains the scientific history of Solaris.
Still it is captivating. Are we looking for
something new in space or do we simply wish to find the familiar. These are many questions Lem deals with.
(TV Mini Series) – Promising in the early installments. The
ending was a disappointment. The villains were way
over the top. Can the Crawfords be any more vicious?
There were some good scenes but as whole it was
a bit of a jumble.
Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David
Gold - This book give us a look into the life of Charles Carter, a
great magician of the early part of the last century. The main story
is in the early twenties where carter gets wrapped into a pulp like adventure.
A fantastic thrill ride from days gone by. There is not one but
two great romances. There are cameos from the great celebraties of
the age. This book contains more fun and adventure than some offerings
in the movie and visual mediums.
Star Trek: Nemesis (Theatrical Movie) – Has all the strength and weaknesses of any Next Generation film. Tom Hardy was an intriguing villain. Personal quibble, couldn’t they make the Argo’s ground unit look more sophisticated. It is three hundred years in the future, why a dune buggy? This film has interesting similarities with Wrath of Khan. OK overall. Will this be the last Next Generation Trek?
of the Rings: The Two Towers (Theatrical Movie) – Peter
Jackson continues bringing his vision of Tolkien’s world.
It is just as breathtaking and faithful as the first. The Ents are spectacular. Great
battles. Gollum is the best CGI character ever. Why must we wait a year for the conclusion?
Catch Me If You Can (Theatrical Movie) – A great chase picture. A great cast. Interesting to read the real story and see what really happened. A great credit sequence. Again Spielberg should have ended the film 10 minutes sooner. The extra time seems to serve no purpose.
I Will Fear No Evil By Robert A Heinlein - Multi millionaire Johann Smith transfers his brain into the body of his secretary Eunice. The novel shows how Smith and Eunice, who can speak to Smith in his head, deal with this unique situation. It rambled along. No real tight plot. Yet interesting things happened. The future is a fascinating projection of trends from the 60’s. The readers have to determine some elements of the novel for themselves. It is Heinlien. Its worth reading but not for the novice reader.
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