Entries tagged with “movies”.


kingsman-the-secret-service-taron-egerton-colin-firth

Bullets and bad guys and puppies with sad eyes. And Colin Firth kicking butt–what more do you need? Check out my review of Kingsman: The Secret Service at tabloid.io.

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Maybe this one was just too French for me.

It’s an ambitious film with an interesting structure, but even some solid action scenes couldn’t keep me engaged. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I wanted to like this movie.

It had everything going for it: Scarlett Johansson’s immense talent, a great concept, the always likeable Morgan Freeman, and the promise of tons of action and special effects. But it fell flat.

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It’s been years since I saw a movie in the theater twice in as many days–Guardians of the Galaxy is that special.

An excerpt:
Guardians of the Galaxy throws you in at the deep end and turns away, confident you’ll love what you’ll see, but not really giving a darn if you do or not. And it blasts “Cherry Bomb” on a boombox at you the whole time.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a stunning triumph for motion caption afficionados as it seamlessly integrates new technology to bring the simian cast members to life in a non-distracting why. This leaves the way open to focus on character development and plot, creating a richly realized world.

Planet of the Apes fandom encompasses three different generations of movies, both a live action and an animated TV series, comic books, magazines, tie-in novels–yet there are still more stories to be told.

And in this case, told very well. See my full review at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The world has become a tiny place.

One that has a lot of Planet of the Apes movies in it.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes sits firmly at the top of the heap.

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I’ll be on Mars, well, in Mars, Pennsylvania, starting on Friday (25 July) through Sunday (27 July) for Confluence, at the Sheraton Starpoint.

Here’s my preliminary schedule (*updated to included panel descriptions and add 2 panels):

FRIDAY, 25 July
6pm – Marshall
Is SFWA Still Relevant?
[Panelists: Denise Verrico (m), Sarah Goslee, Elektra Hammond, Christie Meiers]
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America – SFWA is a professional organization for authors of science fiction, fantasy and related genres. With a stated intent of supporting its members in a multitude of ways, does it manage to keep itself open to the needs of today’s writers, or has it become an exclusive club of snobs?

7pm – Pine
Why I’m a Fan
[Panelists: Elektra Hammond (m), Ken Chiacchia, Alan Katerinsky, Larry Ivkovitch]
We love the genres, whether it’s Science Fiction in all its electronic, beeping, gear-meshing wonder, Fantasy and each magical quest or Horror with every shadow lurking behind an innocent façade. How did we get here and what about it all keeps us?

8pm – Board Room
Reading
[Panelists: me!]
I’ll be reading from “In the Form of a Question,” in which Norse Gods play Jeopardy!. It appears in the parody anthology TV Gods–copies will be for sale in the Huckster’s Room from the Fortress Guys.

SATURDAY, 26 July
5pm – Marshall
Why did Steampunk?
[Panelists: Matt Betts (m), Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Elektra Hammond, Jeff Young]
Lately, it is being recognized as a separate and distinct genre of fiction. Why did it happen, what about it captured the imaginations of so many, what about it continues to gather forward momentum (build up a head of steam?)?

8pm – Pine
SF Series – What’s worth it and what doesn’t make the grade
[Panelists: David Hartwell (m), Eric Leif Davin, Elektra Hammond, Charles Oberndorf]
Not specifically SF — all series are fair game here. Writers have done multiple visits to the same worlds/universes. From John Carter and Tarzan to Game of Thrones, which ones are worth the time and which are a questionable use of paper or digital memory?

9pm – Marshall
Movies as Series – good and bad
[Panelists: Elektra Hammond (m), Michael Arnzen, Ken Chiacchia, Jon Sprunk]
Just as there are novels that are series, there are movies that were series. A discussion of good series, bad series and OMG-I-can’t-believe-there-was-a follow-up-to-that-dog.

9pm – 525
There is a book launch (yes, I know it conflicts with my panel!) for Fortress Publishing’s latest endeavor TV Gods. I’ll be dashing there after the panel is over.

SUNDAY, 27 July
12 noon – Marshall
How do you find the Right books to read? (Needle in a haystack?)
[Panelists: Elektra Hammond (m), Tim Liebe, Jeff Young, Alan Katerinsky]
With all the choices available now, where can you find the right mix of Hard SF and character, how about suspense and break-neck plotting, whimsical fantasy and learning from mistakes? You can’t always trust the back blurbs and sometimes the covers have nothing to do with what’s on the inside. Is there a resource or group you can trust?

1pm – Crawford/Venango
Tom Smith Live!
If you’re looking for me–I’ll be here, listening to the World’s Fastest Filker.

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The Purge: Anarchy is ambitious dystopic near future, with a few too many plot lines crammed in. It gives you a glimpse into a frighteningly possible world, from the rich who do whatever they please to the poor who try to survive, and the politicians who run things. My full review is at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
The Purge: Anarchy is bigger than the first film, but not necessarily better. There’s a solid look into the world here, this time focusing on the disadvantaged–those who can’t afford to hide behind expensive security systems, with all the safety money can buy.

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Detcon1, the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) will be from Thursday (17 July) to Sunday (20 July) in Detroit, Michigan at the Renaissance Center Marriot. I’ve got several panels on Friday, and I’ll be spending the rest of the weekend promoting the DC in 17 Worldcon Bid. Look for me at our fan table and parties.

Here’s where you’ll find me:

FRIDAY, 18 July
10am – Mackinac West
Going from Book to Movie: Adaption
[Panelists: Lisa Padol (m), Al Bouchard, Elektra Hammond, Steven Barnes]
Why does Hollywood have trouble translating books, comics, etc. into
movies & TV shows? Is it inherent in the original texts or in the
process/constraints of adaptation? Which have succeeded and which have
failed? What would we like to see adapted?

1pm – Ambassador Salon 3
Writing Humor and Comedy in SFF
[Panelists: Elektra Hammond (m), Jim C. Hines, Oz Wilson Jr., Cath Schaff-Stump, Sam Morgan]
Our panel discusses the challenges of writing humor and comedy in SFF. Is it as easy as it looks? Or as hard as some people say it is?

6pm – Joliet A
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
[Panelists: Elektra Hammond (m), Roberta Rogow, Ellen Denham]
Readings by members of Broad Universe. I’ll be reading from “In the Form of a Question,” in which Norse Gods play Jeopardy!. It appears in the parody anthology TV Gods–and I’ll have copies for sale.

P.S. It’s a popular weekend to be going to Detroit–Joe Biden and I are arriving at just about the same time . . . .

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This summer’s tentpole movies have been kind of hit-or-miss so far, with some high points in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and some serious meh in Transcendence and Maleficent.

Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction, the latest in everyone’s favorite toy robots disguised as cars, trucks, etc. franchise falls solidly on the meh side of the line, but in a very compelling way. Even as you search for a plot, you’ll be distracted by the shiny special effects, numerous explosions, and wholesale destruction. My full review can be found, as always, at buzzymag.

An excerpt:
I love a movie full of explosions and good special effects, but even I want some plot once in a while. There’s some fun here, but it’s pretty mindless. Make that extremely mindless, with whipped cream and an explosion on top.

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I have been terribly remiss in keeping up. Life sometimes gets the better of all of us. Several reviews have gone up on buzzymag.com and I haven’t shared! Here are links for your edification: X-Men: Day of Future Past, Maleficent, and How to Train Your Dragon 2.

Some tidbits–here’s what I had to say about Peter Dinklage playing the villain in X-Men: Days of Future Past:
A man who truly believes that mutants are a threat to homo sapiens. They will lead nations out of war with each other to unite in a common cause to destroy all mutants. He absolutely sells it. Trask Industries is a very real threat to mutants everywhere.

What I had to say about the acting in Maleficent:
Angelina Jolie is definitely the star of the show. She does a magnificent job with what she has to work with. This movie sinks or swims on her ability, and much of its success should be laid at her feet. She is by turns vulnerable, furious, vindictive, tender, naive, protective, and aggressive–the list goes on.

And a nibble about How to Train Your Dragon 2:
A great job showing what being able to travel dragon-back has done for the Vikings of Berk. The world is now a bigger place, growing the focus of the film to more than just Berk, and adding a bunch of characters. And a bunch of dragons. Lots of dragons. Tons of dragons.

Full reviews, as always, available at buzzymag.

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Godzilla plushie

The Toho Japanese monster movies were a staple of my childhood, and my love of them has never faded. This is a really fun updated version and I enjoyed every glimpse of the giant lizard (Blue Oyster Cult’s 1978 hit played in my head every time he showed up). See my full review at Buzzymag.

An excerpt:
All of the traditional characters are represented: the scientist who is looking for answers, the man who knows more than he’s willing to tell, the heroic family man stuck in something beyond his control, the stubborn military man, and even the obligatory cute kids.

Graphic at the top is a 50th anniversary plushie, complete with light-up eyes and Godzilla roar.

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