Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Movie Review: BladeRunner 2049 ('As Clear As Dreaming')

I reviewed BladeRunner 2049 on the Skiffy and Fanty website soon after the movie premiered. It was not a perfect movie, but I did think it was great in many ways.


I think this, the conclusion of my review, is probably the best single sentence I wrote in 2017:
You can keep refining the tests and moving the goalposts for who gets to matter or make decisions or be seen as one of you, but only at the risk of losing your own humanity.

*I'm really posting this on Jan. 10, 2018, but back-dating it to when the post went live on Skiffy and Fanty. Remember, the best way to keep current with my creations is to follow me on Twitter.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Wonder Woman review

I wrote this review of Wonder Woman on the Monday of opening weekend, but I'm cross-posting here to keep it with my other creative endeavours:


I grew up reading Marvel comics, not DC, so most of what I know about the lore of Wonder Woman is what I absorbed from the 1970s Lynda Carter TV showplus vague memories of the Super Friends. I’m aware that the character has had many reboots and reinterpretations, but my perspective is that of many viewers who come to the movie with only a small amount of background knowledge. I think most of them, like me, will love it. (Spoilers, with a warning, appear about halfway through this review.)
“Wonder Woman” is a very satisfying film, even if it isn’t perfect. I have some logical quibbles with some of its elements in the beginning, and it is not exactly subtle; however, the notes it hits ring true all the way through. By the end, tears of both sorrow and joy were trickling down my cheeks.
There’s a lot of building up and following through, from the quiet, simple, opening narrative to the firm statement of purpose at the end. It doesn’t have the snappy patter of many Marvel movies, but the emotional payoffs are pretty great.

Follow the link for the full review.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Roundup of my podcasts

I've been a big fan of podcasts as a medium since I discovered them about eight years ago. There's a huge variety of them, from fact to fiction, single narrator to full casts, and many of them are free (with advertisements and/or requests for support). Unlike TV or reading, you can listen to a podcast while driving or walking around and doing chores. This is also true of audiobooks, of course, but most podcasts have an episodic or even standalone nature that allows you to listen for a limited amount of time and then go on to do other things.

I started volunteering for the Skiffy and Fanty speculative fiction fan website back in 2014, first as an occasional reviewer, then as a review editor. In 2015, I started appearing on occasional podcasts, too, as my schedule allowed. Half of those so far have been "Torture Cinema" episodes, when we take a bad movie and have fun dissecting it; another was a discussion of a good, or at least really interesting, movie; I also co-interviewed an author, and participated in the 2016/17 roundup episode. In 2016, I even did the audio editing for one of those episodes.

Also in 2016, Librivox released an audiobook for which I had narrated a couple of chapters (and did my own audio editing). "The Secret Power" by Marie Corelli is a 1924 novel, featuring a female protagonist in a steampunkish science fiction setting. The writing is a bit old-fashioned, but it's worth checking out, for anyone who is interested in the history of the literary genre.

Toward the end of 2016 and into 2017, I also started appearing fairly frequently in the Supergirl Supercast, part of The Incomparable's network of podcasts. I've even been the host a couple of times. I don't claim that Supergirl is great television, but it is fun to watch and discuss its features and flaws with other fans.

I've been tweeting out links to projects as they've been released, but I've never gathered them in one spot before. By popular request (two people just last week, and other people previously), here's a list of podcasts and other audio projects in which I've participated:

Crimson Peak movie discussion

Barbarella Torture Cinema

Sarah Kuhn author interview

Aeon Flux Torture Cinema

2016/17 roundup

Fantastic Four (2005) Torture Cinema

The Secret Power, via Librivox (Chapters 14 and 15)

Supergirl S2 E1-2

Supergirl S2 E7-8

Supergirl S2 E9-10

Supergirl S2 E11-12

Warnings: The Torture Cinema episodes definitely contain lots of NSFW language, and some of the other episodes may contain some too. The Crimson Peak discussion includes references to horror and sexual situations. The 2016/17 roundup starts off with a few minutes of unhappy political discussion, although we quickly move on to talking about movies/books/etc. that we enjoyed in 2016 and are looking forward to in 2017. The Supergirl Supercast is unabashedly pro-feminist and pro-diversity, and the 0217 Skiffy and Fanty podcasts are occasionally angry or bitter about real-world politics.

Supergirl S2 E15: Alan Yu and I have an in-depth discussion of "Exodus," particularly in regards to ICE raids, aliens, and journalism.

Get Out discussion: Skiffy and Fanty regulars Michael R. Underwood, David Annandale, and I discuss the movie "Get Out" with guests Faridah Gbadamosi and Andrew Hackley, in general terms for 20-30 minutes or so and then, after a warning, with spoilers. Instant spoiler: We thought it was great.

Signal Boost: Two short Skiffy and Fanty interviews, Jen's of Feliza Casano and mine of Sarah Gailey. Sarah and I start talking about 18 minutes into this show, mainly about her upcoming novella, "River of Teeth."

Betsy Dornbusch interview: Jen and I double-team the author, mainly about her new-ish book Enemy, the last in her Seven Eyes trilogy. Probably mainly for fans who have already read the books.

Supergirl S2 E16-18: Michael Gabriel, David Schaub and I discuss Star-Crossed, Distant Sun, and the so-called "Ace Reporter" and have fun doing it.

Supergirl S2 E19: Michael Gabriel, David Schaub, Dan Drusch and I discuss "Alex" who is a badass and the rest of the episode, which has logic problems.

Supergirl S2 E21: David Schaub and I discuss the penultimate episode of Season 2, "Resist."

By the way, all the Supergirl episodes can be found here:

Torture Cinema: Fiend Without a Face:  David Annandale, Shaun Duke and I had a great deal of fun discussing this 1958 B-movie (I gave it a C minus). Too bad we weren't recording yet when we discussed King Kong and fake memories, but enjoy the Tesla-Edison digression and others!

Reading Rangers #2: Barrayar: I discuss the second book (by internal chronology, if you don't count Falling Free) in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosiverse with some other members of the Skiffy and Fanty crew: Paul Weimer, Stina Leicht, and Kate Sherrod.

Torture Cinema: Judge Dredd: Paul Weimer, Julia Rios, Daniel Haeusser and I discuss the 1995 Stallone movie. I've seen worse, but there are better things to do with your time.

Supergirl S3E1: Girl of Steel: The Supercast is back! David Schaub and I discuss the season premiere.

Supergirl S3E2: Triggers: David Schaub, Jess Viator, Scott Grizzle, Alan Yu and I discuss it. Our biggest Supercast yet, and we promise not to do that to wonderful sound editor Seth Heasley again.

Supergirl S3E4: The Faithful: I missed episode 3 but returned here with Mandy Self and Brianna Taeuber to discuss one of the most interesting episodes this season.

Supergirl S3E5: Damage: Probably the most mature story about a breakup that Brianna Taeuber, Jess Viator, David Schaub and I have ever seen on a CW show.

Supergirl S3E6: Midvale: Alan Yu, Brianna Taeuber, Scott Grizzle and I discuss the flashback episode and its framing.

Reading Rangers #4: The Vor Game:  Paul Weimer, Kate Sherrod, Anne Lyle and I discuss the first book I read in the series, the fourth in the internal chronology of the Vorkosiverse (not counting Falling Free). Later, I went back and added several paragraphs of commentary to the podcast page about how sexual exploitation is addressed in the book.

Supergirl S3E7: Wake Up: David Schaub and I talk about some good plot stuff, plus the beginning of the reifying of the long-awaited Reign plotline.

CW's Crossover: Crisis on Earth-X: We break our promise to Seth Heasley and have 5 people discussing the four-part miniseries for about 90 minutes. Poor sound editor! Consensus: We all loved it. Taped Dec. 3, with Michael Gabriel, David Schaub, Brianna Taeuber, and Jess Viator.