Micro Reviews


January 2016

The Big Short (Theatrical Film) - This made me angry. People knew we were going off a cliff and did nothing to stop it. People should have gone to jail.

Youth (Theatrical Film) -There are some really good character bits but very light on plot.

Planetfall by Emma Newman - A stranger is found on a colony. This brings up issues hidden since planetfall. The main character is dealing with a severe mental illness. Newman treated this illness very seriously and was relatable.

Cat's Eye (Anime TV Series) - Three sisters are cat burglars are trying to retrieve their fathers art collection. Hitomi the middle sister is in love with her boyfriend Toshi, the police officer persuing them. It has a great combo action and romance.

Princess Knight (Retro Anime Series) - Tezuka's story of a princess who pretends to be a boy to protect her kingdom. Interesting ideas for its time. The dub is a bit irritating though.

Carol (Theatrical Film) - Two woman trying to have a relationship in a time when that was difficult. A friend pointed out that Therese and other characters were underdeveloped. Still what is there is compelling.

Spotlight (Theatrical Film) - This also made me angry. Again people knew something was wrong and did not fix the problem. Certain people deserved to go to jail and worse for what they did.

The Man Who Fell to Earth (Theatrical Film) - A wondefully weird film. Bowie was a great part of it.

The Bridge of Spies (Theatrical Film) - Sometimes there is little reward for doing the right for doing the right thing. One has to fight for the right thing. Donovan fights the good fight and great things are accomplished.

Creed (Theatrical Film) - The first film with an African American romantic lead to make $100 million. A great way to extend a famous franchise. The film looked great, kudos to the director Ryan Cogler.

Gene Mapper by Ta iyo Fujii - Something is attacking a genetically modified crop. Gene mapper Hayashida must investigate and solves the problem. What he discovers could change the world forever. A lot of cool concepts with genetics and distributed computing and the ending is very original..

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez - In a pulpy world, a robot tries to find his neighbor. A fun noir novel with all the wonderful aspects of action and romance. Fun.

Trumbo (Theatrical Film) - A look at a dark time in America. When taking a stand could cost one a career. Trumbo struggles and overcomes the blacklist. At times it is a challenge to sympathsize since Trumbo could be an ass at times.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders - Are science and nature at odds. That is central question. Two childhood friends are trying to save the world. Laurence is working for a science firm. Patricia is a witch using her powers to help people. A disaster hits and their world is shaken up. Can the world and their relationship survive? I may write a more detailed review in the Event Horizon. August Event Horizon.

Brooklyn (Theatrical Film) - Skillfully done but I did not like the color pallet for costumes (too much yellow). Great seeing this type of romance from a woman's point of view and it was great all the suitors were upstanding men, There was little tension and it flatlined for me..

February 2016

The Revenant (Theatrical Film) - Poweerful visuals. It bothers me the liberty they take with some real people but a good story.

Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez - Humans interact with divine beings and funny things happen. A light hearted story with a satorical edge.

Anomalisa (Theatrical Film) - Some intersting ideas but I would like to know why this happens to Michael Stone. Why does everyone look the same to him?

Deadpool (Theatrical Film) - A funny superhero movie. There is also a sweet romance.

Radiance by Catherynne Valente - What if the Solar System was like it was described in the old pulp stories. What kind of documentaries could you make in this world? Combine the old pulp worlds and old time Hollywood and you get this book. We follow the life of Severin Unck. It goes into fascinating places and it is great ride.

Where to Invade Next (Theatrical Film) - Michael Moore shows how other countries are doing things better than us. There is hope that we can be better a country by embracing some of these ideas.

Son of Saul (Theatrical Film) - Nazi concentration camp prisoner Saul tries to give a dead prisoner a Jewish funeral. This is filmed from over the shoulder shot. It is a powerful but painful film.

Read all the short story nominees for the Nebula and a few of the novelettes.

March 2016

Helen and Troy's Road Trip by A. Lee Martinez - Helen, a minotaur, and her friend Troy are cursed and must go on a road trip. They are pursued by orcs. There is action, adventure, wild things and love. Fun is had by all.

The Witch (Theatrical Film) - A family is sent out to fend for themselves in 1600s America. There is something out there. Can the daughter, our POV character, survive what is coming after them? This is honest horror. The director Robert Eggers based this on what was believed at the time. Tomasin is smart and sympathetic. This family should not be here and they are in danger. This is terrifying and a compelling story.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin - In a continent known as the Stillness, people know as orogenes can control the elements of the Earth. Orogenes are respected and feared by the people. In this world there is a disatrous time called the Fifth Season which reoccurs every century or so. Life is scary in the Stillness. We follow the story of women with this ability and there search for family in this world. The world is interesting and one cares about the characters. Will checkout the sequels..

Erased (Anime Series) - A young m,an has the ability to go back and time a few minutes and fix things. After his mother's murder he goes back to his nine year old self. Can he save his mother and a young girl in the past? This has a very Quantun Leap feel. Great ending.

Lupin III Part 4 (Anime TV series) - Lupin and the gang are in Italy.We get a new blue jacket Lupin and he is charms and steals in Italy with the whole crew. Beautiful art and animation. Rebecca Rosellini is a great addition to the cast. A great addition to the Lupin legacy.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice- Reviewed in the April Event Horizon.

Mermaid (Theatrical Film) - A Chinese Science Fiction by Stephen Chow. An businessman Liu Xuan's venture is endagering the habitat of some mer-people. They send the beautiful Shan to eliminate him but they fall in love. Xuan tries to stop the project but is opposed by elements of his company. Can they save Shan's people in time. This a great combo of action, romance, and comedy.

April 2016

Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Dawn by Yoshiki Tanaka - There are some really great prose here. World building is up front. Scary that some things in the book reflect current times.

April and the Extraordinary World (Theatrical Film) - This feels like a homage to Ghibli. More world building upfront. This is a sad world which April can save. Talking cats are fun.

Black Wolves by Kate Elliot - A complicated multigenerational world. Great characters. I like how some are trying to save something great going bad. Elliot has some nice bits to ease the tension. There are plots within plots. I found hard it to follow who's who in the power fight.

Embers (Theatrical Film) - A world where people have lost long term memory. It is a scary world. Still there is kindness and love in this world. Great production values. Needs a wide release.

Slash (Theatrical Film) - A view of the fan fiction community. A friendship is formed and a teen age boy is trying to find himself. Parts are questionable. There is an adult who acts like an adult where other films would have gone the other way.

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made (Theatrical Film) - A bunch of young boys remade Raiders of the Lost Ark in their youth. They come back together to do the flying wing scene. It is about the love of of piece of art and learning how to make your own.

Belladonna of Sadness (Theatrical Film) - A strange film with beautiful images. Deserves a rewatch.

Phantom Boy (Theatrical Film) - A different type of superhero film. A boy gets-like power while getting cancer treatment and helps fight a fiend threatening New York. Light and serous where it needs to be.

Whose Afraid of Virginia Wolf (Theatrical Film) - A disturbing film to watch but powerful. Great performances from all concerned.

Two for the Road (Theatrical Film) - A look at the ups and downs of a marriage. Audrey Hepburn rocks this. She plays a woman at different stages of life. Great changes in timeline.

The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells - John is now working for the government fighting the paranormal. He is getting help with his issues. Things get intense. Great continuation of John's story.

Every Heart is a Doorway by Seanan McGuire - A school for children who return from a portal fantasy adventures. Something happens and they have to come together over their problems. A good mix of characters. This is the rarely shown part after the quest ends.

May 2016

Captain America: Civil War (Theatrical Film) - I am team Cap but Tony is trying to do the best he can. Unlike earlier superhero films. The villain's plan makes sense. A great way to fight the Avengers. Great to see the Black Panther and he gets a character arc.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (Reader's Group Choice) - In world where human's live alongside dragons, Seriphina is a court musician who thurst in a royal murder mystery. Can she solve the mystery before her world erupts in war. Seriphina is a resourceful and interesting. Nice to see someone with a different job in fantasy novel rather than just a soldier, knight or royalty.

Saw about 30 shows at the Orlando Fringe Festival that I dicussed on Facebook.

June 2016

Sing Street (Theaterical Film) - A teenager in Ireland forms a rock band to impress a beautiful girl in the 1980s. The band's songs and videos are great and fit the time. Great stuff about big brothers.

Uprooted by Naomi Novick (Nebula Winner) - A teenage girl Agnieszka thinks she we will leave an ordinary life while her best freind will live for a decade with a wizard. The wizard chooses her. She goes to his castle and puts up with his wacky ways. Then a crisis erupts and she will have to use what she learns. Agnieszka is great lead and has great convictions. Nice to have a standalone fantasy novel.

Love and Friendship (Theatrical Film) - Lady Susan will do anything to secure her and her daughter's position. Nice use of titles to introduce the characters. Susan is ruthless but she has to be in this world were options for herself are limited. Odd thing that educated people in this world are not familar with the Bible.

X-Men:Apocalypse (Theatrical Film) - The parts between Scott and Jean are sweet. The plot kind of makes sense but they put a lot of characters in. Good use of Wolverine.

Zootopia (Theatrical Film) - A great world of talking animals. Nice twist in the plot. I like the friendship built between Judy Hopp and Nick Wilde

Warcraft (Theatrical Film) - I predisposed to like this becuase of director and Hugo Winner Duncan Jones. It great that the orcs are shown as individuals and some question their leaders. There seems to be an attempt to have diversity with the humans. If Jones gets to do a sequel I will be there.

Joker Game (Anime Television Series) - The fictional story of Japanese spies before the US entry into World War II. This is realistic spycraft. These men are determine to get the intel their country needs in this unstable time. They could have tried to make the charcacter more distinct or give more of an intro to them.

Lobster (Theatrical Film) - The single must find a mate or become an animal. David only has about a month to find a partner or he will become a lobster (his choice). Can he do it? Should he? With minimal resources this world becomes real. Scary things happen but so do some lovely things. On my Hugo ballot.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation (Theatrical Film) - The film amde by young boys with video cam corders. There is love on the screen. The new scene of the Flying Wing fight is breath taking. These guys need to mek more films.

July 2016

Finding Dory (Theatrical Film) - This is a varition of finding family. Dory wants to know where she came from. She meets old friends and makes a new one along the way.

Stranger Things (Netflix series) - This is a strong story. Taking elements of the 80s SF/Fantasy/Horror films but doing something unique. There are three story threads: the middle schoolers, high schooler and the adults. The Duffers repect their characters. Nobody is a stock character. Let us see where this goes next.

Star Trek Beyond (Theatrical Film) - reviewed in the August Event Horizon.

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (Hugo Finalist) - The moon is detroyed on page one and humanity deals with the problem in the short and long term. There are scientific and political problems to face if humanity is to be saved. It is dense in some parts but interesting.

Ghostbusters (Theatrical Film) - A fun film that shows the twisted evil of trolls. The women are great and I want Kate Mckinnion in everything.

Batman: The Killing Joke (Theatrical Film) - reviewed in the August Event Horizon.

Swiss Army Man (Theatrical Film) - A beautiful surreal comedy. Hank, a man on the end of rope, finds a man's corpse. Hank escapes the island he was stranded on with the corpse who him names Manny. Hank teaches Manny about life. A great twist and ending.

August 2016

Suicide Squad (Theatrical Film) - Odd to make this film now before a Justice League movie. There are some great parts in this and there are some part where one goes "huh". Worth a watch for Afflek, Smith, Davis, and Robbie.

The Witches (Theatrical Film) - A boy finds out from his grandma that witches are everywhere and hate kids. He uncovers a plot of witches and is turned into a mouse. Can he stop the witches? This fun and well done. Angelica Huston is a great villain.

Stand By Me (Theatrical Film) - Great acting from a young cast. Great character pieces.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce - Alanna wants to be a knight. She switches letters with her brother and goes to be knight. It is a very modern take on this story. Pierce makes this world come real. Need to read the rest.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop - In alternate world the para normal (vampires and were-creatures) live side by side with humanity. A young woman with special abilitiesescapes to one of the communities were the Others live. Is she safe? Will her powers be helpful or a burden. An interesting world. Story was strong. Good action.

Creep Con by Kim Firmston - A teenage girl moves to a new town. She finds a kindred spirit in a school mate. She has to go to a con on her own. This shows the good and bad of cons and why we need codes of conduct and incident response team.

The Green Girl (Theattrical FIlm) - A documentary on actress Susan Oliver, who played Vina in the "The Cage" Star Trek's pilot. She was great actress and pilot. She wanted to become a director, but Hollywood at the time blocked her in that area. A great life.

Monkey Business (Theatrical Film) - The guys cause chaos on ocean liner. Great gags.

September 2016

Yoga Hosers (Theatrical Film) - Colleen M and Colleen C takes on the legacy of Canadian Nazis and work on their band. This is fun. These young women can hold their own. Nice to the range of Ralph Goreman's impressions.

Nerve (Theatrical Film) - A games dares people to do things for money and fame. The stakes are constantly raised. Can Vee survive this game? A nice SF idea that is less fantastic as time goes on. Great film work and nice use of lighting and graphics. The directors and writers have respect for all their characters.

The Neverendimg Story (Theatrical Film) - Still looks good and the story holds up. Keep the imagination alive.

The Legend of Tarzan (Theatrical Film) - Tarzan must fight a mercenary or the Congo is doomed. A great reveal of why a tribal chief hates Tarzan. Great use of the mangani in the film Robbie is great as Jane and in the right accent. Jackson is great as always. Very faithful to the source material.

Kubo and the Two Strings (Theatrical Film) - Kubo must stop his grandfater taking his other eye. There are nice characters developement here. A great resolution to the problem. We have a disabled hero and succeeds on his own terms. The look is great. Deserves to be an Oscar finalist.

Rachel Getting Married (Theatrical Film) - A film about addiction, family, and loss. It is beautiful shot and deals with hard issues very well.

A Night In With Audrey Hepburn by Lucy Holliday - in the present day Libby, a struggling actress has a bad day and Audrey Hepburn comes to help her. Audrey helps and some things go bad but others work out. I like that Libby goes for help to a friend when she thinks she is going mad. It is fun little story about love of film and relationships.

The Fifty Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored History of Star Trek volumes 1 & 2 by Mark Altman and Edward Gross - A very in-depth history of Star Trek in all its forms. Learned some new things. A must read if you a Trek fan.

Bitch Planet : Extraordinary Machine (Graphic Novel) - In the future women can be sent to a prison planet for acting out of line. This collects the first six issues. We get some info on the world and characters. Very important work. Writer/artist team Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro created a ground breaking book.

Phantasm (Theatrical Film) - Dated by language and fashions but still an effective piece of horror. The Dune reference were great.

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years (Theatrical Film) - A film that shows what went into those early years of the band. Great footage. It was a beautiful but crazy time. Cool seeing in the theater with the footage of the 1965 Shea Stadium concert.

Self-Reference Engine by Toh EnJoe - A complex story or really a series of stories tied together. There are some funny bits but it is disjointed. Theis deserves a re-read.

Luke Cage (NetflixTV Series) - A complex adaptation of a Marvel comic that deals with the issues of race and class. There is great action and social commentary in this show. A great addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

October 2016

The Obelisk Gate by N.K Jemisin - The stories continue with our characters trying to find a safe place during the Fifth Season. People learn the extent of their powes and prepare to fix their world. A great setup for the finale.

It Follows (Theatrical Film) - A brilliant horror film. The film makers showed what the viewer needed. There was a great score. People have a problem that can be solved.

Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (Theatrical Film(seen on TV)) - The characters are back. There is a new fighter. This was fun.

Phantasm IV: Oblivion (Theatrical Film(seen on TV) - An interesting look at the Tall Man. Some nice bits done on a budget.

Phantasm V: Ravanger (Theatrical Film(seen on TV) - The film keeps you guessing what is real and unreal. A fitting conclusion to the series.

Arkwright by Allen Steele - A science fiction writer provides a trust to make interstellar travel possible. This a multigenerational story of a family who wants to get humanity to the stars. The first part that was set during various worldcons was fun. The rest is agreat hard SF story about reaching for the stars.

Death's End by Cixin Liu - In the future an alien invasion is averted. Or is it? A woman takes part in the struggle to save humanity. Liu has big ideas that he make plausible. One is blown away by these ideas.

Mob Psycho 100 (anime series) - Mob has psychic abilities but is a pretty laid back kid of teen. He gets involved with a fake psychic and adventures happen. Show has a great blend of comedy and drama.

Batman: Return of the Cape Crusaders (Theatrical Film) - The Dynamic Duo are back. This is a fun return to the Batman 66 world. It has all the elements. And there is more to come.

Crimes of Passion (Theatrical Film) - Kathleen Turner plays a woman who has a hidden life as a prostitute. It examination of relationships in the 1980s. Annie Potts is great as wife who has fallen oput of love with her husband. Some really cool scenes in this.

Blue Jay (Theatrical Film) - Two high school friends meet in their old town by chance. they hang out for a day. They remember about the feeling they had for each other. Sarah Paulson is great in this. There is a sad twist but I think they heal at the end.

Crosstalk by Connie Willis - What if telepathy was real? Would it be a good thing. Willis says no. She also questions social media. Do we know too much about each other. These ideas are wrapped in a romantic comedy. There are some funny bits. I can see why people quetion her conclusions but I think there is enough Willis goodness to make this a book to read.

November 2016

Neon Demon (Theatrical Film) - An stylist and interesting commentary on the fashion model industry. It was compelling and brutal. There are weird twists at the end. A excercise in visual style.

Midnight Special (Theatrical Film) - A man rescues his son from a government lab and gets to a safe place. A nice independent Science Fiction film with a strong story and cast.

Doctor Strange (Theatrical Film) - A fun adaptation of the Marvel Hero. Good use of the ideas from the comic. Good acting.

Moonlight (Theatrical Film) - Powerful. It is the coming of age of a young African-American in Miami. We see the lead character as a boy, teen, and a young man. A must see and deserve as many awards as possible.

The Arrival (Theatrical Film) - A great adaptation of "The Stpry of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. A big contender for the Hugo. This is a film with ideas with some action to satify the needs of major studio films. Amy Adams shows us a dedicated and passionate scientist trying to solve a problem.

When We Were Kings (Theatrical Film) - A story about two men, their boxing match, and how one of them, Muhammed Ali, changed the world.

Birth of a Nation (Theatrical Film) - An uneven story of the first slave rebellion. Parts are real good but it feels rushed at the end.

Nocturnal Animals (Theatrical Film) - There are some great parts in this. Amy Adams and Michael Shannon are compelling in this. The ending is odd.

Miss Sloane (Theatrical Film) - A thriller were the fight is about ideas. How far can one go to change the world? Should they go that far. Jessica Chastain's Elizabeth Sloane dominates. She is smart, funny, and passionate.

Empire Ascendent by Kameron Hurley - The war continues. Plots are prepared. There is plot developments and some great character bits. I cannot wait for the conclusion.

December 2016

Christine (Theatrical Film) - I remember this incident in Harlan Ellison's introduction to his short story collection Strange Wine. We see how a young women would be driven to extreme action. Disturbing.

Manchester by the Sea (Theatrical Film) - A man brother dies and he has to take care of his nephew. The man has already suffered great tragedy. There good use of flashback. Casey Affleck does a good job showing a man who has been through a hard time. There is great work on character for the both the uncle and nephew.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Theatrical Film) - We follow a rag tag group of rebels finding the plans for the Empire's new weapon. The action, story, and characters are great. The CGI characters worked for me. The battle of Scarif was incredible.

La La Land (Theatrical Film) - Two artists struggle to find there way in LA and in their hearts. This is fun and has a sense of reality to it. The songs are great and the dance in space scene is lovely.

Taboo Tatto (Anime Series) - A decent action adventure show.

Yuri!!! on Ice (Anime Series) - A story of going for ones dream and pushing yourself for that dream. Yuri and Victor are wonderful and relationship is believable.

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (Anime Series) - The family goes to a small Japanese town in 1999. Some new characters and stands. A really creepy villain. Interesting color pallet.

Under the Cherry Moon (Theatrical Film) - Prince and Kristin Scott Thomas are the south of France flirting with each other. It is cute and fun. Movie looks good. Prince had a good start as a director.

Famtastic Beasts, and Where to Find Them (Theatrical Film) - Finally we see the American Wizarding World. Newt and Tina seem to have some chemistry. The creatures are wonderful. I wonder where the next films are going to go.

Moana (Theatrical Film) - A young women goes on a quest to save her island. A classic tale with songs from Lin-Manual Miranda. The Rock is a great mentor figure to our heroine. A contender for the Oscar.

I read several novelettes recommended by Lady Business spread sheet.

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