Micro Reviews

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January 2012

Zone One by Colson Whithead - Reviewed in the February 2012 Event Horizon.

Heartless by Gail Carriger - Alexi Tarabotti is pregnant and still has to protect England form the paranormal. This was as fun as the others. Interesting seeing a pregnant heroine.

The Seventh Seal (Theatrical Film) - A Swedish knight seeks answers to the big questions while playing a chess game with Death. This is a man desperate for answers for the big questions of life and will do almost anything to get the answers. Despite his situation, he is still looking out for others.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Theatrical Film, English version) - From what I hear this is a bit closer to the book. It is worth watching despite the fact is the same story as the Swedish film.

Alcatraz (TV Series) - All the inmates and staff of Alcatraz disappeared in 1963 and now they are coming abck. I do hope they have a plan for this show. I hope Hauser lightens up. Jorge Garcia is great as Soto.

Lost Girl (TV Series) - A nice version of the fae on television. It is cool that the best human friend is not dumb and kicks ass.

The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card (Readers' Group Choice) - Danny North is from a family that interdimensional aliens. Danny discovers he has the ability to make gates, a power which is taboo in his community. He becomes a runaway and learns how to use his powers by other outsiders. In another world, a gate maker is causing problems to a royal family. Good balance between character and plot.

The Killers (Theatrical Film) - A group of men plan to steal the takings at a race track. It is a very intricate plan. This was one of Stanley Kubrick's early films. This is an intense plot. You are left wondering until the end are they going to get away with it.

February 2012

Reamde by Neal Stephensen - A simple Internet scam quickly gets out of control. It involves the Russian mob, an Islamic terrorist oraganization, a MMORPG, and American survivalists. It is great story. Very Clancy-esque. There is not really any science fiction in this book. There is nothing really fantastic in the novel. Still a gripping ready.

The Secret World of Arietty (Theatrical Movie) - This is a story of friendship. Arietty and Shawn help each other. Carol Burnett is great as the villian. Nice to see new directors coming from Studio Ghbli.

The Artist (Theatrical Movie) - This was a well made film. There is a classic story. There is a smart dog. It was interesting seeing a predominately silent film but I ask why did they do it.

Yukikaze - Reviewed in the March 2012 Event Horizon.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos (Theatrical Movie) - This was fun. Al and Ed try to help a new freind from repeating mistakes they made. Good action and thrills.

March 2012

Justice League: Doom (Direct to DVD movie) - Reviewed in the April 2012 Event Horizon.

Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds, Sensei and Student, Between Dark and Dawn, The Battle Within (comics) - Some real great comic book stories featuring women. These are all written by Gail Simone. She knows how to write action and knows how to down shift for some charcater based stories.

God's War by Kameron Hurley - Inhabitants of colony planet brings back old hatreds. There is a war between progressives and conservatives versions of a common faith. Nyx is asked to recover something which could change the war. It brings her a lot of trouble and pain. There is a lot of good action in the novel. There are some interesting ideas in how science is used in this world. there are also some interesting politics.

The Ouroboros Wave by Jyouji Hayashi - Reviewed in the April 2012 Event Horizon.

 

April 2012

Mr. Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells - John Wayne Cleaver is still dealing with demons, both the real and inner kind. New killers show up in John'sdown and it becomes clear that they are the same kind he enocuntered before. He must control his sociopathic tendancies and face the threat. At the same time he tries to develop closer connections to people. The books are incredibly plotted. There is the possiblity with more stories of John Wayne Cleaver.

Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey - Reviewed in the May 2012 Event Horizon.

Slum Online by Hiroshi Sakurazaka - Reviewed in the May 2012 Event Horizon.

Cabin in the Woods (Theatrical Film) - A great explaination of the logic of bad horror films.

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire - Verity Price is cryptozoologist keeping an eye on the supernatural creatures of New York. Something very powerful seems on the verge of rising from the depts. Can Verity handle this, her job and an overzealous monster hunter? This was an interesting take on the supernatural creatures. There is an attempt of understanding rather than just stamping them out.

May 2012

The Avengers (Theatrical Movie) - These are Earth's mightest heroes. It was great to see the set up and execution. I question the use of the Hulk since he was never part of the team for very long. AVENGERS ASSEMBLE.

God Bless America (Theatrical Film) - A dark comedy. A beaten man and a snarky girl take on the stupidity that seems to dominate the national airwaves. Go up against the nasty side of society. This is not for everyone.

Embassytown by China Mieville (Hugo Nominee) - A colony of humans stay on an laien planet. The aliens have a complex way of communicating. Genetically engineered twins are created for the job of interacting with the aliens. Something goes wrong and woman must try to solve the crisis. The is an incredibly complex novel. It demands one's complete attention.

June 2012

Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leict (John W. Campbell Award nominee)- Liam grows up in Northern Ireland during the turbulent 1970s. While dealing with the violence around him, he discovers he is half fey. He is caught up in a conflict between fey and the Fallen. There is also an order of monster hunters who do not distinguish between species of paranormal creatures. Leict makes good use of the setting. It brought to life a section of history I only have a passing knowledge. Leict gets male angst right.

Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord (John W. Campbell nominee) - A woman leaves her boorsih husband and returns to her family home. She acquires an incredible powerful magical object. Unfortunately, someone thinks this power should not be handled by a mortal. This was fun. There are interesting fantastical beings. Always good to see a tale from another culture.

Prometheus (Theatrical Film) - What could have been a thought provoking film is just a dopey romp. People do stupid things and get killed. The film looks good but the story is weak.

Redshirts by John Scalzi - Reviewed in the July 2012 Event Horizon.

 

July 2012

Fables volumes 1-13 (Comics) - Bill Willingham has brought the classic characters of fairy tales and showed that they can fit into other kinds of stories without losing what makes them unique. There is war, romance, spy, comedy. mystery and other genres in the mix.

Wonder Woman::Ends of the Earth, Rise of the Olympian, Warkiller, and Contagion (comics) - Gail Simone takes on the classic character. Diana really goes ringer in these books, but she does keeps her honor and integrity intact. I wish Simone got to write for the character for the New 52.

Amazing Spider-Man (Theatrical Film) - The new take on the Wall Crawler. I wish they did not have to the origin again and just start him in with his career. It was odd not having Jameson. The plot works and I like the direction possible sequels can take.

The Dark Knight Rises (Theatrical Film) - There are as Peter David points out some interesting plot holes regarding the occupation of Gotham, but they can be overlooked for the shear power of the story. It is a great end to the Nolan Batman film series. Anne Hathaway is excellent as Selina Kyle. One her best scenes is her reaction to delivering Batman to Bane. Kyle makes a moral journey in the film. It all fits within traditional Batman mythos.

Book of Heroes by Miyuki Miyabe - A young girl must find her brother. She travels in a world of fiction to find him. It has some real fun bits in the novel, but some part of it drag. Still I am interested in reading Miyabe's other novels.

Harmony by Project Itoh - In the mid 21st century a revolutionary medical system has change the nature of heathcare. Medical particles are introduced into body the monitor the subject's health, and makes changes as necessary. Most see this as a great acheivement, other wonder if this it intrusive. Someone hacks into the system and causes thousands of people to committ suicide. Tuan Kirie, an investigator, has some personal insigths into the case. Her investigation will look at the this world inside and out. There are a lot of thought provoking ideas in this novel. Is the loss of privacy and somepersonal control worth a better life?

Brave (Theatrical Film) - There was a nice surprise in the film. Merida is a great heroine. She can take of herself and solve her own problems. She learns about herself and how to relate to her mom.

Rocket Girls by Housuke Nojiri - reviwed in the August 2012 Event Horizon.

Rocket Girls (anime series) - A good adpatation of the the first 2 novels of the series. I wish they would kept the converasation she had with air traffic control in. I did not think it was necessary to keep the original astronaut as a cab driver. The visuals and character design were great. It recreated the sense wonder present in the books.

Blackout by Mira Grant - The last of the Newsflesh trilogy. There is a big reunion with huge repurcussions. There is too much for spoiler potential. The science seems solid. The ending is satisfying. There is also some good zombie fight scenes.

August 2012

Dark Shadows (Theatrical Film) - Not as campy as I expected. Michelle Pheiffer was a great Carolyn Collins-Stoddard. I like the fact in this version that she was in on the paranormal aspects of the story. Some parts were over the top but it was OK overall.

Kids on the Slope (anime series) - This is a story of a group of Japanese teenagers growing up in the 1960s in a town in the Nagasaki Prefecture. Sentaro and Kaoru play Jazz music to help them deal with the world around them. This is a great slice of life story.

Samurai 7 (anime series) - A science fiction retelling of Kurosawa's classic film. It seems to be following story quite well but taking some creative liberties here and there. The cyborg Kikuchiyo is a trip.

 

September 2012

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson - In the year 2312, most of the inner and outer solar system are colonized. Mars is terraformed. Venus is slowly being terraformed. There is a human presence in the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Asteroids are hollowed out and turned into spaceships and nature preserves. There is a mobile city on Mercury. Swan, a Mercuiran, investigates her grandmother's work after her death. Part of that work has do with fixing a damaged Earth. Swan's investigation takes her all over the solar system. It is a fun trip in the solar system which has the classical sense of wonder.

Queen of Versailles (Theatrical Film) - The life of David and Jackie Siegel. They set out to build the biggest residential home in the world but the economic meltdown put an end to that. An interesting documentary by Lauren Greenfield. The Siegels seem like nice people who have hit a big bump and try to deal with it as best they can.

Revolution (Television Series) - An interesting idea, but the writing will have to match the idea. The characters will have to come together to keep me interested for the long haul. I hope there is a plan for this series.

Fahrenheit 451 (Theatrical Film) - A very well done adaptation of the novel. It has most of the key scenes of the book. I wish the Captain's speech was closer to the book's. With limited resources Truffaut created a future world. Julie Christie does a good job of playing two roles, particularly since those roles are polar opposites.

Dredd (Theatrical Film) - This was a tight story. Dredd and Anderson have to survive long enough to escape this high rise slum. Lena Headly is excellent as the crime lord Ma Ma. The plot and characters are strong in this. Urban does a great job acting with the helmet on all the time.

Ruby Sparks (Theatrical Film) - A neurotic writer creates his ideal girlfriend and can change her by the typing on a typewriter. It is disturbing. The lead character gets off to easy at the end. There should have been more repercusions or at least a more sincere apology.

Elementary - Holmes in New York and Watson's a woman. It could work. I wish they said Watson was there under Mycroft instruction rather than the never before heard of father of Holmes.

Tiger and Bunny (anime series) - A new take on superheroes. One whats to avenge his family and the other just wants to be a hero to his daughter. They are some great arcs in the series. All the characters get their turn in the spot light. The partnership develops naturally.

October 2012

Arrow (TV Series) - A great take on a DC Superhero. Good use of DC characters. Everything that Smallville was not.

Beauty and the Beast (TV Series) - Its odd having a human looking Vincent. I hate the JT character. He is really annoying. I hope they tone him down.

Nation by Terry Pratchett - A wave devastes an island. A young boy named Mau and shipwrecked Daphne work together to survive this environment. The humour was more subdued that it is in the Discworld books. Both the characters are outsiders in their world yet in is becuase of that they solve the problems they face.

November 2012

Argo (Theatrical Film) - A great story although they amped up the tension by added some plot elements (the bazaar scene and the chase at the end).

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Theatrical Film) - A teen movie for the new generation. A film shows how people survive high school, through close friends. Great performances from all involved.

The Siren and the Sword by Cecilia Tan - Kyle finds out he has an aptitude for magic and gets enrolled in magical university which at Harvard. This is an adult and American Harry Potter. The charcaters represent American diversity. Kyle has a problem in the form of mysterious attacks in the university and dealing with this new world. I need to read the rest of the novels. One cares about Kyle and his friends.

Skyfall (Theatrical Film) - A great entry in Bond series. A nice nod to the past. Worthy of the 50th anniversary.

Lincoln (Theatrical Film) - Speilberg figured out how to make the American legislative process enagaging. A great story of American History.

December 2012

Wreck-It Ralph (Theatrical Film) - Best animated film of the year. A nice homage to old fashion video gaming. There are a lot of nice Easter Eggs for the audience. I like the movie message about finding one's place.

The Guild (Web Series) - A nice represenatation of fans. Sometimes it is a bit over the top but the characters are not the butt of the joke.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Sleight - Twenty years ago a young woman disappears in the woods. She returns and does not appear to age. She claims she was with the fairies. Her family and friends have to deal with her return. Some are just happy to have her back, some are skeptical. She is examined by a psychiatrist to find out the truth. The bits with psychiatrist are intresting since they explain aspects of the fairy myth. The novel is about growing older and the consequences of the decesions you have made.

The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 - A great adaptation of a great comic.

Existence by David Brin - Reviewed in January 2013 Event Horizon.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Theatrical Film) - There were some great bits in this. There were parts of it which left me scratching my head. I wish they did not do this as three films. It is intresting to see how the used parts of the background material from Lord of the Rings to fill out the film.


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