Tag Archives: books

Movie Review: Bad ‘Moon’ On The Rise

20 Nov

Read the review of New Moon on Bluray over at ATOMIC POPCORN.

Maurice Sendak talks Wild Things, Spike Jonze, and the new movie!

28 Jul

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July 28th, 2009–

This is really cool. I’ve been a big fan of Maurice Sendak and his work ever since pulling that battered, old-glue smelling copy of Where The Wild Things Are off the school library shelf some 25 years ago.  Over the years, I’ve attempted to keep track of the man and what he’s been up to, but it’s neat to see him here reflecting passionately on his now 40 year old book. It’s also a good sign, and a vote of confidence, that Maurice seems to be just as excited and encouraged by what Spike Jonze has done with the movie. If you are a Wild Things fan, a Sendak or Jonze fan, or just love seeing people discuss their art then this will be a bright spot in your day.

If nothing else, you get to see some Wild Things clips and some great talking head stuff by Sendak.

Check it out HERE.

wildthings

Movie Review: ‘The Half Blood Prince’ is a worthy succesor

23 Jul

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (PG) 153 min.

 

cinemagrade A-Okay, I’ve been sitting on this one awhile. Being incredibly busy and having a ton of films to write-up, I haven’t gotten much chance to post lately and wanted to be able to hit several at once. So, consider this the first of a flood of new reviews rolling out over the course of today and tomorrow. And there is no better place to start than with David Yates’ newest inclusion in the Harry Potter series.

I saw HP6 last Thursday and it took me a few days to parse exactly how I felt about it. Admittedly, it took me a little while to warm up to this new Harry. I have enjoyed all of the Potter movies, including the two that jump-started the series, and I’ve read all of the books. In particular, I remember devouring Half-Blood Prince shortly after returning from my honeymoon; sitting curled up next to my wife in our small but cozy apartment, caught up in this tale of the ‘Boy Who Lived’ and his growing battle with ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’. Continue reading

Fantasia 09 Review: Clive Barker’s ‘Book’ is a Yawn of the Dead

14 Jul

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 Clive Barker’s Book of Blood (R) 108 min. Directed by:  John Harrison Written by: John Harrison, adapted from the Clive Barker stories Book of Blood and On Jerusalem Street. Starring: Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward, Doug Bradley, Simon Bamford, Paul Blair. Cinematography:Philip Robertson   Original music by: Guy Farley.

 

The dead have highways…running through the wasteland behind our lives, bearing an endless traffic of departed souls. They can be heard in the broken places of our world, through cracks made by acts of cruelty, violence and depravity. They have signposts, these highways–and crossroads and intersections. And it is at these intersections that the dead mingle and spill over into our world…The dead have highways….only the living are lost…

cinemagrade c-The above is the entire thematic gist of Book of Blood, the newest film adaptation of the work of horror maestro Clive Barker. In fact, that little bit of exposition is repeated no less than five seperate times in Book of Blood, as if the filmmakers want to constantly remind the audience that their film is about the nature of storytelling and mortality. After the third time, I wanted to shout at the screen “stop telling us and show us already”. This was to no avail. Dabbling in the darker corners of dark fantasy(and this is far more a resident of that genre than straight horror), television director John Harrison brings the framing stories of Barker’s Books of Blood anthology faithfully to the screen but he doesn’t seem to understand that all he brought along was the binding. The pages here are empty. What he fills them with ends up amounting to one of the most notoriously boring thrillers in recent memory.   Continue reading

Vatican no longer troubled by ‘Harry’?

14 Jul

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Usually I’d be ignoring bits like this, as they don’t really matter much in regards to things. People will still see the new Harry Potter film, just as they saw all the others and those who did not because of a potentially negative or occult influence aren’t probably racing to reconsider the actual detriment or effect of a series they banished based upon the word of others. No, the only reason I’m actually linking to this story, which is little more than the Vatican acknowledging the actual value of the story that Rowling took the space of seven books to tell, is that it does show a refreshing sign of actual thought and open mindedness. At least as far as the topic of Harry Potter and Christianity is concerned. Continue reading

DVD Showcase: Strong, vibrant cast bring ‘Inkheart’ to life

23 Jun

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June 23rd,2009-

cinemagrade b- I have to admit up-front, I was surprised by Inkheart. I’ve never read this particular fantasy series, but I am familiar with some of German author Cornelia Funke’s other works like The Thief Lord. Funke combines elements of high adventure and Victorian mystery when creating her detailed fantasy worlds and although children are always at the heart of her stories, she frequently gives her readers strong and worthy adult characters. When Ian Softley’s film version was released back in January, I thought it looked rather generic and uninvolving; another Brendan Fraser vehicle with plentiful fx and scenery but no substance. When I watched Inkheart to review it for the site, the first twenty minutes or so did nothing to suggest I had been wrong. Continue reading

Scene Selection: Attack of the Meatloaf Bear!

20 Jun

 

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June 20th,2009-

This is something new I’m trying at Cinematropolis. Nothing fancy, just a series of stills capturing a scene from film history. I’m heading out tomorrow to join some friends camping in Virginia and I thought it apropriate to begin then with one of the more haunting sequences from my childhood movie-watching. In 1979 director John Frankenheimer made a film called Prophecy (not the Chris Walken angel war thingee) based off a novel by the author of The Omen.  It was an environmental knee-jerk thriller with Robert Foxworth looking like Bob Ross (please don’t cut down the happy little trees), Talia Share as his wife, and Armand Assante….as a Native American. This motley crew discover mercury poisoning in the water in New England and its aberrant effects on the local wildlife. The film’s heavy is a result of the mercury mutation; an enraged mother bruin that looks like what would happen if you threw Gentle Ben and a meatloaf into the Brundle Machine and hit ‘deepfry’.  Continue reading

‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ trailer knows where I’ll be on August 14th

13 Jun

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June 13th, 2009-

Chick flick fans and sci-fi fans find their paths converging again with the upcoming release of The Time Traveler’s Wife, the new drama starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, based off the book by Audrey Niffenegger. A few weeks ago, in an article about the top anticipated sci-fi films of the summer, I said this about the film:

Based off a captivating novel about a man whose own genetic make-up causes him to time travel involuntarily, this film has the opportunity to improve upon that original work. Hopefully excising some of the creepier and ill-advised segments from the book, including a sexual encounter between the protagonist and his younger self, The Time Traveler’s Wifecould potentially become a summer movie romantic sleeper. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams look to be appealing as the couple at the core of the story who struggle to weather the personal devestation that Bana’s time traveling jaunts can cause. Playing with alot of unique time travel concepts(Bana’s character shows up without any clothing or protection when he jumps), and telling a heart-wrenching tale about human love and devotion, Time Traveler’s Wife might be the one flick that offers something for a wider audience beyond the typical sci-fi geek. Continue reading

Serkis, Weaving and McKellan all back for ‘Hobbit’, of course

12 Jun

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June 12th, 2009-

Well, I think most of us just assumed this would be the case, and if it weren’t I think some eyebrows would have been raised. But, anyway, now it’s official and proof that The Hobbit really is starting to move forward. Ian Mckellan, Hugo Weaving and Andy Serkis will all be returning to their roles as Gandalf, Elrond and Gollum, respectively. The Guillermo Del Toro directed and Peter Jackson produced adaptation of Tolkien’s pre-LOTR tale is currently in the process of casting it’s Bilbo, which will be a far more interesting announcement whenever it is made. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for Martin Henderson but that doesn’t seem so likely anymore. And no, de-aging Ian Holm is not a likely or viable option.

 Here’s the original announcement from Empire which can be read HERE.

Here’s one to file under, “Well, duh! But also good”. Guillermo del Toro told Radio 5, as picked up by The One Ring.net, that Sir Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis and Hugo Weaving would be appearing in The Hobbit.It won’t come as any great surprise to, well, anyone, but it is welcome news that those members of the Lord of the Rings cast who also appear in The Hobbit will be playing the roles they originated in Del Toro’s sort-of prequel to Jackson’s trilogy.We’re due a Bilbo casting announcement any day now, but we hope that this tidbit of almost-news will keep you going until then.

Balticon 43 hits town this Memorial Day Weekend

22 May

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 Balticon, one of the longest running sci-fi conventions in the country,  heads into Hunt Valley this weekend and promises four days of sci-fi, fantasy and nerdy goodness. I noted on the website there are costume balls and LARPing (live action role playing). All of that was of less interest to me than the potential authors and guests present. Well, if you have got some time and money to burn this weekend and are looking for excuses to pull your latex Khan chest or black trenchcoat and sunglasses out of retirement this looks like your venue. Or if you are just looking to immerse yourself in pure unadulterated geekdom(nothing wrong with that), it sounds like there will be plenty to tickle your fancy. Wow, I used the phrase “tickle your fancy.”

Seriously, if anyone out there attends this lets hear about it. Maybe some pics too?

Ive always wondered whether it’s worthwhile for the more casual fan or similar to Otakon in that it caters to hardcore dedicated fans. To the point: Is there more to this than costumes and niche interest stuff?

These are the details for the convention, taken from the Balticon official site which is located HERE.

 

The Maryland Regional Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention

Memorial Day Weekend      May 22-25, 2009
At Marriott’s Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD

Author Guest of Honor:

Charles Stross

Artist Guest of Honor:

Kurt Miller

Music/Filk Guest of Honor:

Mary Crowell

Special Guest of Honor:

Scott Sigler

Ghost of Honor:

Edgar Allan Poe

2008 Compton Crook Award Winner:

Mark L. Van Name

2009 Compton Crook Award Winner:

TBA

 

BALTICON 43 SCHEDULE:

We have made the Balticon 43 Pocket Schedule available online.

A Four Day, 24-hours-a-day Extravaganza!

Over 300 Hours of Multi-Track Programming featuring authors, publishers, editors, artists, scientists, musicians and other creative SF luminaries. Join over a thousand SF fans for the area’s largest and longest running convention of its kind! Visit our huge art show, dealer’s room, concerts, dances, gaming room, computer room and video room. Everything Science Fiction and Fantasy in one huge package.

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Notice to prospective Balticon program participants. Invitations will start going out by Oct. 17, 2008. If you wish, you may download the survey (in Word) here and email it to program@bsfs.org. A list of potential program ideas is available here. You may send additional ideas to program@bsfs.org. Inquiries received after Jan. 15, 2009 will not be guaranteed a program slot. –>

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The POCKET PROGRAM is now available as a PDF download! Come and get it!

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HOURS OF OPERATION:

 

Most areas of the convention will close at 3:00am each night with the exception of Anime, Video, Filk and the Frankie & Vinnie’s Con-suite. These will be open 24 hours a day or as close to that as our volunteers can manage.

REGISTRATION:

 

Membership rates are

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  • $48.00 for adults and $24.00 for children (age 6-12) till February 28, 2009
  • $53.00 for adults and $26.00 for children (age 6-12) from March 1 through April 30, 2009 –>
  • Full Weekend: $60.00 for adults and $30.00 for children (age 6-12)

 

On-line registration is now available!

Pre-registration is also available by mail. Please send name, address, email address & phone number with payment to:

Balticon 43, PO Box 686, Baltimore, MD 21203-0686 or click here for membership form.

Single day registration rates are now available!

Single Day Rates (at the door only):

Friday: $29 Adult / $15 Child
Saturday: $41 Adult / $22 Child
Sunday: $36 Adult / $18 Child
Monday: $15 Adult / $8 Child
Sunday/Monday: $46 Adult / $23 Child
Monday (Teachers for AboutSF Teachers Workshop only): $11
Balticon 44 Early Registration: $44 Adult / $22 Child
Active duty military receive free one-day membership on Monday

GROUP RATE FOR MEMBERSHIPS:

Buy ten memberships at one time of one type and get the eleventh free. Must provide names and addresses and pay with one check or credit card transaction. Great for fan clubs, family groups or circles of friends. Buy 20 and get two free. For details write registration@bsfs.org or use mail in form. This offer is ONLY available by MAIL. This offer can NOT be completed online.

If you have already pre-registered, you may now check your status online. Please allow five (5) business days for online pre-registration and ten (10) business days for pre-registrations sent in via postal mail. To check the status of your pre-registration, please use our Am I Registered? page.

Balticon Podcasts! There will be Podcasting during Balticon 43, if you need some information before arriving at the con, or if you want to listen to our recent podcast interviews, check out our web site: www.balticonpodcast.org