Micro Reviews


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January 2007

Sarah Jane Adventures (TV Series) - This was fun. Much better than Torchwood. I like the idea of Sarh being a mentor to these kids. The bane were great. Always nice to have a non humanoid alien. Nice to have K-9's cameo. Cannot wait for the show to come out.

Dungeons and Dragons (TV Series/DVD Release) - Reviewed in Feb 2007 Event Horizon.

The Android's Dream by John Scalzi - Reviewed in Feb 2007 Event Horizon.

Ill Wind by Rachel Caine (Readers' Group Choice) - Joanne Baldwin is a weather warden. Their job is try to keep the weather from being destrcutive. Joanne finds herself on the run from the other weather wardens. She is trying to get to Kansas to find a friend who may be to help get out of a very big mess. She can trust no one. It was OK. The way the magic was set up was plausible. It just did not engage me. Another renegade magician on the run from hostile magicians. There were some good twists. Doubt I will read the rest of them.

Letters from Iwo Jima (Theatrical Film) - A very good but brutal film. Its interesting to see both sides of the same battle. We saw the American side with Flags of Our Fathers. It is disomforting seeing doomed men. They even knew it. It was also well down that they showed all levels of Japanese society. I think it deserves the Oscar.

The Dresden Files (TV Series) - This seems promising. It seems to capture the chaotic nature of Dresden's life. I was not clear if the world is as it is presented in the books (I only saw the first episode). Seems very interesting.

The Children of Men (Theatrical Movie) - The design of this film is exquisite. The ruined England is incredible. I read they took some liberties with the book. I wish they could have made it clearer why there was a backlash against immigrants in England. They fight sequences are some of the best I have seen in the movie. They are awkward and brutal. Theo is a great reluctant hero. This should get a Hugo nomintaion.

Jane Eyre (TV Mini-series) - I never saw this ebfore or read the book. It feels right. I can see the appeal of the story. It is a classic story of staying true to oneself, no matter what the world throws at you.


February 2007

Ghost in the Shell-Stand Alone Complex: The Lost Memory by Junichi Fujisaku - Young children are causing horrible crimes for no apparent reason. Section 9 looks into it. This takes place in the middle of the first year. Its intresting. This world translates well into book form. The characters and story feel right. Will look for forward to other book in this series.

The Dream Team: The Rise and Fall of Dreamworks:Lessons of New Hollywood by Danile Kimmel - An interesting story of what was going to be a paradigm shift in Hollywood. Kimmel clearly explains the entertainment business and gets you into the story of Dreamworks. I like the bit where Kimmel mentions the 2000 Worldcon.

El Laberinto del Fauno aka Pan's Labyrinth (Theatrical Film) - This was a beautiful film. It was somewaht personal to me since my father said my grandmother detested the Spanish facists. It also a bit of downer when you realize the brutal regime on screen will be around for 30 years. Ofelia finds an escape, or has she found a better world than the one she is living. The ending you will figure it out for yourself. It can go one of two ways. Choose the one that suits you best.

March 2007

Invincible Iron Man (TV Movie) - A nice take on the classic character. The story with the Manadarin was a bit convoluted. Should have kept it simpler.

Mosaic (TV Movie) - An interesting new world created by Stan Lee. It was fun. Nice to explorer an artistc personality asa hero. I like that they used the voice actor who does Miroku on Inuyasha. This could be a fun series.

Seeker by Jack McDevitt (Readers' Group Choice) - A pair of treasure seekers look for a lost colony. In the process the take a trip in the future designed by Jack McDevitt. This is a fun future composed of fascinating aliens and other wonders. Its is a big detective story. Will our heroes find a clony lost thousands of years? It was fun to find out.

Haunting Sarah (TV Movie) - A scary little film. The lead actress does a good job of playing twins. The horror elements starts of slow and builds. OK for a movie of the week.

Bridge to Terebithia (Theatrical Movie) - A powerful film. Our hero through a special friend learns about the power of imagination. It helps him deal with the world he is in. He learns how not to let an incredibly horrible experience to destroy something so positive. One of the best films of the year.

The Condor (TV Movie) - A great combo, a Stan Lee idea and a Marv Wolfman script. The technology was a little bit much to be accessible by college students. Still I was into the story. Another good foundation for a story.

Operation Homecoming (Florida Film Festival) - A powerful film about using storytelling to deal with war. The stories here are powerful. It impossible to see this and not be moved.

April 2007

Raines (TV Series) - A nice a little noir series. A nice premise. Not Fantasy or Science Fiction in a conventional sense. I guess it could be pyschological SF. Its actually refreshing we are seeing delusions rather than real ghosts. We are seeing the tinking process of a detective trying to work out a case. Hope we see more of it.

Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan - In post apoclyptic world, young Verity has to go to Cincinatti to help a freind. The city has been overrun by nanotech. Verity encounters a beautiful and dangerous world in this infested city. Can she work out this city. Does she have a special realtionship to the city. This is an intriguing book. This shows the dark and bright side of nanotech. Really invokes that good old fashion sense of wonder.

The Last Mimzy (Theatrical Film) - This film really wanted to be a good film. It tries it hardest. Still parts of it falls flat. The whole heavy handed governement thing feels unncessary. The good thing is the head of investigator is given some depth. There are really great parts like the kids learning from the toys and the closing song by Roger Waters. An A for effort but B- for execution.

Grindhouse (Theatrical Film) - I never saw these type of films in the theater but a freind of mine tells me this pretty much how B movies were looked like in the 1970s. Planet Terror was fun if gross. Thankfully that was the first film, that made it easier to eat afterwards. The trailers were hilarious. Deathproof was ambitious. You think its going to be one film and it turns into another. Great performances by all. A fun time was had.

May 2007

Spider-Man 3 (Theatrical Film) - A little bit too much. It would have been beeter had they cut one villian. Maybe it would have been better had they cut out one of the plot threads. Despite that it was OK. Not great but not a disaster like Batman and Robin. Next film just do one villian.



June 2007

Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge (Hugo Nominee) - Poet Robert Gu is cured of Alzheimer's in the year 2025. he finds himself in a new world with new interactive technology. Gu goes back to school to learn his way in the world. He also gets involved with a group of professors at the University of California at San Diego. This group is trying to prevent the destruction of the traditional library. This becomes part of bigger plan dealing with a new bio weapon. This book depicts the generation gap in technology. How the old tries to adapt with the new. The book shows that the old have a few things that teach the children of this advance information age. A worthy nominee.

Glasshouse by Charles Stross (Hugo Nominee) - This takes place in the post Singulaity world that Accelerando is in. Robin has no real memories of his past. He is being chased by unknown enemies. To evade them Robin signs up for a three year experiment to simulate living in the late 20th/early 21 century. His role is to act as a housewife but is this experiment all that it seems? This was a fun look into a very intricate future. I like how Stross comments our time in this book. There are a lot of surprises here. Makes me want to read more Stross.

Fantastic Four:The Rise of the Silver Surfer (Theatrical Film) - This felt like a Stan Lee and jack Kirby comic book. 'Nuff said.

Nancy Drew (Theatrical Film) - This was fun. There is an interesting old Hollywood mystery movie and teen flick about a girl being herself. A little action and satire.

Blindsight by Peter Watts (Hugo Nominee)- In the mid 21st century 65,000 objects came into earth atmosphere and burned up. Two months later an object was deteced from Neptune orbit. The Theseus is sent to investigate. The crew consists of a linguist with multiple personalities, a biologists augmented biologically and mechanically, a soldier to handle problems, a sythesist who can put the information together and a biological vampire to lead them. The encounter a new form life but can they make sense of it? A very tight novel. Painstakingly researched. Good hard SF.

Sicko (Theatrical Film) - Michael Moore takes on the health insurance industry. Moore makes some good points and looks at alternatives. The Cuba trip bothered me a little. Still if he can raise questions maybe we can improve the current system.

July 2007

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn (Hugo Nominee) - In the present day Tom Schowerin tries to figure out why a small town in Gerrnany disappeared in 1349. We the see what happened to this town through its priest, Father Dietrich. Dietrich has a top education for his time. What occured was a first contact in the 14th century. Its cool to see how Dietrich faces this situation. It shows that science and theology do not ned to be necessarily at odds. An incredible novel.

Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson - Reviewed in August 2007 Event Horizon.

The Grek Bring Gifts by Murray Lenister - Reviewed in August 2007 Event Horizon.

Silver Surfer: Requiem (Comic Mini series)- Reviewed in August 2007 Event Horizon.

Star Trek: Klingons- Blood Will Tell (Comic Mini series) - - Reviewed in August 2007 Event Horizon.

Transformers (Theatrical Film) - This film did not meet my expectations. I wanted to see noble Autobots valiantly fighting against the facsitic Decepticons. This almost takes over an hour to finally see the battle I was expecting. The action was hard to follow when it did happen. The plot was everywhere. I could not believe in the characters. A bit of mess. The good parts usually involved Prime speaking. Maybe we will get a better sequel.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling - Its the end. And its a good. Rowling did cheat. A little bit slow in the middle. I like the focus on the triad (Harry, Ron, Hermione). There realtiosnships are all put to test here. Very satisfying.

The Simpsons: The Movie (Theatrical Film) - It took 18 years bit it was worth it. The jokes are great. Homer rises to the occassion when it is time. I defintely would like a sequel. (a Futurama movie would be as good)

August 2007

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - In my school honor's students did not have to read this. It easy to see why its a classic. It deals with a very important part of our history. The pace is right for this story. There is a feeling of importance while reading it.

Stardust (Theatrical Film) - A great film. This shows what happens when the creator of a work takes active involvement in a media production and is listened to.

Jekyll (TV Series) - Very interesting. Its incredible how James Nesbitt pulls of playing to distinct people with just a little make up. Cool to see Denis Lawson in this.

Flash Gordon (TV Series) - You should not do Flash Godon unless you plan to use spaceships. Dimesional tunnels to Mongo and criss cross between worlds does not cut it. Either do it right with the right bdiget or do not do it at all.

Gedo Senki:Tales of the Earthsea - Reviewed in September 2007 Event Horizon.

The Masters of Science Fiction (TV Series) - Reviewed in September 2007 Event Horizon.

Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (Theatrical Movie) - Mayumi Tanaka is told her mother has gone back in time to prevent Japan's economic collapse. They have lost contact with her and only Mayumi can be sent to find out what happen to her mother. Mayumi arrives at the height of Japan's "Bubble" economy. Can she find her mother? Can they prevent the mistake which will cause Japan's economic collapse? This is a fun film. Mayumi take on the past and her reaction to it are great.This should get released in the US.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Theatrical Movie) - An interesting take on the classic story. A little darker. Burton as always makes a great looking film. There some nice updates. Still I cannot believe how big those chocolate bars are.

September 2007

Ratatouille (Theatrical Movie) - Another masterpiece from Pixar. It talks about the important things love, friendship, family, courage and good food. I really love the parts with Anton Ego. The film deserves the Oscar for that part alone.

Becoming Jane (Theatrical Movie) - This is a film about finding out about one self. This is made harder due to the restrictions placed on the individual by society. There are victories and defeats. The journey leads one woman to become one of the greatest novelists in English literature. Anne Hathaway was great.

The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman - Matt Fuller discovers a time machine while working as a research assistant at MIT. Each time it is used it goes further into the future by a factor of twelve. Matt is in trouble with finances and romance. He keeps go further into the future looking for something better. Fuller finds some futures are better than others. Can he go back? Can he find a time to be his home. I see this a modern take on George Pal's The Time Machine. Haldeman takes Fuller to some futures which are scary and unpleasant. It was a very interesting ride.

Sydney White (Theatrical Movie) - I missed a gym day because of this movie. They used the UCF gym for a whole day during spring break 2007. I felt I had to see the film which disrupted my schedule. it was cute. A clever way to retell the story of Snow White.

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Theatrical Movie) - This is an interesting look into a subculture. One full of heroes and villains. Steve Wiebe is the classic underdog hero. Mitchell should face Wiebe but he does not have to. Its great to see those old video games.

No End in Sight (Theatrical Movie) - The title says it all. I saw most of information on Frontline. It shows the mistakes we made in Iraq told by the people who were there. Very well put together. It shows the dire nature of the situation and of opportunities lost.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler - Six people (five women and one man) form a book club around the works of Jane Austen. This helps them deal with life. I saw the trailer for the film and was intrigued. Looking up the book's entry in the Wikipedia, I found out the the one man Grigg was a convention going fan. I decided to read the book to see how Fowler handled this. It was great and I should not have been surprised since Fowler was a Campbell winner. May need to go and check out the works of Ms. Austen. I really the like the reaction to Austen's work Fowler put at the end of the book.

The War (TV Documentary) - A very interesting look at Word War II. There has already been so much said, I like it that Ken Burns found a new angle. The choices of town represented all of America. Also using color footage, some of which not seen in years, brings additional depth to the film.

Bionic Woman (TV Series) - The only thing that is the same is the title and the name of the lead character. Its OK. I am not sure I am going to be drawn to it every night.

October 2007

Jane Austen Book Club (Theatrical Movie) - A really good adaptation of a book. Knows what to use and what could be changed.

Samantha Who? (TV Series) - This is charming. Everybody is funny in this. Wonder how will they kept it going for the long haul.

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont - Reviewed in November 2007 Event Horizon.

What a Mad Universe by Frederic Brown - Reviewed in November 2007 Event Horizon.

Pushing Daisies (TV Series) - The best new show of 2007. A modern fairy tale. Everything about this is great. My only question is will we find out why Digby is so old?

Journey of Joenes by Robert Sheckley - A man named Joenes, from the Pacific island Manituatua, leaves his home to see the world. On this journey he sees many things. This is Sheckleytaking a satirical shot at the institutions of the day. Joenes and we are amazed and awed at the insanity around us. It was fun. A different side of Sheckley.

November 2007

The Martian Child (Theatrical Film) - I wish this had more elements from the original short work and novel. Still it focuses on creating a family. The cast is great. The soundtrack is great. I hope this encourages people to checkout the source material and Gerrold's other work.

World War Z by Max Brooks (Readers' Group Choice) - This an oral history of a world zombie infestation. We hear from each stage of the infestation from all over the world. It is compelling. Brooks has written a well thought out future history. I cannot believe no one noticed it in the SF community (I did not hear about this in Locus nor did it receive any Hugo nominations) . This a very strong SF novel.

The Poisoned Crown by Amanda Hemingway - Nathan Ward must secure the last artifact, a poisoned iron crown. His dreams take him to a world almost covered entirely in water. In this world there are tensions between the air breathers and the water breathing mer-folk. They are both dominated by a queen who has hidden the crown. Nathan has to face threats from all sides since he is close to securing the crown. Can Nathan, with the help of his family and friends, get it together and save the multiverse? This is the last of The Sangreal Trilogy and a good end to. It follows the traditional heroes tale. Good development for all the characters especially for Nathan, his mother Annie, and his firend Hazel. Each come into their own and contribute solving of the big problem. Hope to see more from Ms. Hemingway.

Beowulf (Theatrical Film) - A movie about manly men doing manly things. An interesting interpretation of the classic tale. The 3D was occasionally too much but still watchable. A good use of motion capture technology.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (Theatrical Film) - This was a beautiful film. Its about facing life and death. The store is great. I think people were confused by the fact it did not have a villian. The cast was great. What a family film should be.

The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson - Reviewed in December 2007 Event Horizon.

Making Money by Terry Prattchett - Lord Vetinari has a new task for Moist von Lipwig. Vetinari wants him to fix the Royal Mint. A dog, Mr. Fusspot, inherits the mint from his mistress and Lipwig inherits Mr. Fusspot. Lipwig has to deal with angry relatives, a suspicous cashier and people's distrust of banks. Complicating matters, Lipwig's girlfriend Adora Bell Dearheart have found some ancient goelms with a secret that could cause problems in Ankh-Morpork. Can Lipwig make the mint work? If you need something fun and light, Pratchett is a good choice. The jokes are fun as always. I love Vetinari style of rule. Always fun.

Futurama: Bender's Big Score (Direct to DVD Film) - They're back baby. After a four year hiatus, the Planetary Express crew are back in business. Unfotunately they lose to their stuff to alien Internet scammers. The same scammers take over Bender and use him to steal the treasures of history. At the same time Hermes has lost his body and Fry maybe loosing Leela to head caretaker Lars Fillmore. This was so much fun. It was great writing. The extras are great. And there is more Futurama to come.

December 2007

The Faerie Pathby Frewin Jones - Anita is a young girl living in London. On her 16th birthday she discovers her name is actually Tania and she actually a princess of Faerie. She is reunited with her family. Anita/Tania does not have memories of her life in Faerie. Something seems tto be happening behind the scenes. Can she figure what is going on before its too late. Which life will she choose her life in mortal world or as Faerie princess. This is a good interpretation of Faerie. Tania sisters are pretty interesting. The plots is good. Will checkout the rest of the series.

Tin Man (TV Mini Series) - This was very interesting. The look was cool in a steampunk kind of way. I really like the twist with Azkadellia. I liked that DG mission afterwards was to save her sister rather than destroy her. Zooey Deschanel and Kathleen Roberston were great. I cannot see it working as a series though.

The Lincoln Hunters by Wilson "Bob" Tucker - In the 26th century time travel is possible. A whole instution is devoted to it. Benjamin Steward is one of many "Characters" who are sent back in time to do historical research. Steward is assigned to record a speech Lincoln made in 1856, which has has been lost in time. He will assemble his team and they will be sent to 1856. Can they accomplish their mission? This was well thought out. Steward is a smart mouth wise guy. Still his is quite capable at his job. This was a satisfyling story.

The Golden Compass (Theatrical Film) - This was good adaptation of the book. It had the moments I was looking for. The scene with the seperation machine was a bit of a let down. Pullman just made it so scary in the book. I did like how clean the set was. Hopefully they will make the other books.

I am Legend (Theatrical Film) - Whoever did script for this had no idea what the work was about. Will Smith was great as a last man on earth. The ending is just dopey.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom by Cory Doctorow - In the future both death and scarcity have been eliminated. Technology has improved the qulaity of life. People who have terminal accidents can have their essence downloaded into a new body (provided they made a backup). People are connected directly to the Internet. Money is replaced by Whuffie, a reputation based currency. If one does something of note people can give said person whuffie. Supposedly only the truly deserving have whuffie. This is the Bitchun Society. Our story focuses on Jules. Jules is living his dream of living at Disney World. He is part of a group renovating parts of Disney World. He is faced with a competing group who want to change Disney in a radical way. This new group appears willing to do anything to win including killing Jules. Jules is killed and revived. He goes to extraordinary lengths to win. Is it worth it. Doctorow creates a fascinating world. Jules goes through some interesting changes. Ones questions whether he has lost is grip on what is important. A thought provoking novel.
 


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