Movie Review: ARRIVAL – Sci Fi with a strong emotional core, and satisfying payoff at the end.

arrival

This year’s Hopes Thanksgiving Movie was markedly different to last year’s choice – Spectre – and more enjoyable for a variety of reasons, but not entirely successful.  I’ll start by saying that I’m a huge Denis Velleneuve fan – his last four movies (including Arrival) have shown a real sense of diversity both in content and tone, and I consider that to be the mark of a confident director.  I’m eagerly anticipating his Bladerunner sequel – as I said in my reviews of Enemy and Sicario, I can’t think of many directors out there right now that I’d be as excited to see directing it.

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Short Fiction: COLD WIND TO VALHALLA

Blazing camp fire at night with orange flames reaching into the sky on an outdoor vacation of adventure and exploration

Like everyone around him, Eddie stood looking up at the TV.  The mood inside Stornoway Airport was a palpable mix of despair and fear that seeped into the very bones and grew like mold.  Even though it was only 4:30pm local time, it had grown dark outside the small terminal, and rain lashed against the windows.  Eddie looked around at the passengers who had traveled with him from Glasgow on the short, turbulent flight.  A tall man comforted his wife and two small children, three teens with earbuds stared vacantly at up the news reader.  The elderly couple who had sat across from him on the plane were locked into a silent debate, pinched mouths making the shapes of words that Eddie couldn’t hear.

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Movie Review: VAMPYRES (2015) – remake that’s light on depth and heavy on languid lesbian softcore. If that’s your thing, go for it!

vampyres

If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a shitty vampire movie.  I’ve gone over this before in my reviews of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Only Lovers Left Alive, and What We Do In The Shadows, all three of which are very good additions to the subgenre.  These movies are all very different to each other, with vampires being one of the only two elements that connects them.  This is the sign of a very flexible subgenre within horror, something I hadn’t explicitly considered before, though in saying that, I have maintained for years that horror itself is perhaps the most flexible of any of the genres.  I feel that there are very few aspects of the human condition that cannot be explored within it, and it is my preferred genre to write in exactly because of that.

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Movie Review: DOCTOR STRANGE – Marvel’s latest sticks to the format, but Cumberbatch is typically great and the visuals are nice.

dr-strange

As well as having written for Marvel Comics in the recent past, I’ve been a Marvel Comics fan for as long as I can remember.  My interest in their comic books has waned dramatically over the last couple of years, but I still have a soft spot for the company.  One of my first memories of reading any kind of material was the first issue of Spider Man from Marvel UK in 1973.  I was hooked, and the characters and stories became a huge part of my life for decades to come.  This isn’t going to be a giant retrospective about Marvel Comics, but I couldn’t really start a review of Doctor Strange without a self-indulgent opening, right?

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Movie Review: HACKSAW RIDGE – surprisingly lightweight everywhere, but the war scenes are typically intense Gibson set-pieces

hacksaw0001

In these days of keyboard #outrage, it’s easy to be shamed by association, and even by not taking a public position against certain things or people.  The single-mindedness of the insulated social justice warriors of the internet draws crude inference from expressed lack of opinion, drawing associations where none are present.  I’ve seen it on Facebook recently where if one does not publicly condemn Donald Trump or Brexit, you must, therefore, stand for them and all the terrible things associated.  It’s a divisiveness that is nothing but self-serving.  I haven’t been a victim of this, but I read a very brief review of Hacksaw Ridge the other day that went along the lines of “if you pay to see this movie, you’re supporting the racist, misogynist views of Mel Gibson”.  This guilt-by-even-tenuous-association is disgusting, but it speaks more of the mindset of the “writer” than it does of the other party.

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Movie Review: I ORIGINS – nice performance by Michael Pitt, but the movie lacks the courage of its conviction.

i-origins-movie-review

There’s a somewhat interesting story behind I Origins – the movie itself, not necessarily the movie’s story.  Mike Cahill, writer and director, unable to resolve story issues during development phase of his follow up movie to Another Earth, essentially scrapped the draft and turned to writing, instead, an origin story for his original concept.  Hoping it would allow him to address the story issues of the first draft, I Origins was produced as a prequel to the main concept, which was set up at Fox Searchlight sometime in late 2015.

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