Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

Jurassic Park, by Michael Crichton: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

There have been a series of mysterious animal attacks in Costa Rica.  No one can figure out just what is causing them.  Including the attack that left a worker on a nearby construction project dying and another that left a young girl at the edge of death from a severe allergic reaction. 

Meanwhile, paleontologist Alan Grant and paleobotanist Ellie Sattler are contacted by another scientist about the attacks.  They hope the pair may be able to confirm or deny that one of the attacks was made by a Procompsognathus, a long extinct chicken like dinosaur that walked and attacked on two hind legs often in large packs.  Before they are able to work on the identification, they are whisked off by billionaire John Hammond to visit his latest project- a unique biologic nature preserve that will be full of animals that no one has ever seen before.

Located on an island…off the coast of Costa Rica.

When the pair, Hammond, his company lawyer, and a chaos theorist Ian Malcom, arrive at the preserve and are joined by Hammond’s grandchildren, they are presented with what is actually going on at Isla Nublar.  The Park is extremely unique.  So unique in fact the animals have been extinct for millions of years.  The name of this zoo, preserve, biological project and theme park?

Jurassic Park.

Featuring a variety of sweet as well as highly dangerous genetically recreated dinosaurs, the concept seems incredible and awe inspiring….that is until a storm blows in and the entire island is thrown into the dark.  What happens to the island when all the electricity is out?  What will the dinosaurs do?  And will they all make it out alive?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction

-Author: Michael Crichton

-Number of Pages: 448

-Main Characters: Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, John Hammond, Ian Malcolm, Donald Gennaro, Tim and Alexis ‘Lex’ Murphy, John Arnold, Henry Wu, Robert Muldoon, Ed Regis, Gerry Harding, Dennis Nedry, Lewis Dodgson

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I am so glad I finally read this book!  I was so scared of reading it.  I have had a lot of issues in the past with both adult literature and straight science-fiction stories but this one was absolutely stunning.

Michael Crichton is able to explain complex science concepts without being condescending while simultaneously mixing it with character and world development.  The result is a complex and witty narrative that is nonetheless accessible to most readers.

I fell in love with this book.  It is multi-layered and diverse with relationships that have more depth and compassion than what we got to see in the film adaptation.  The characters are funny, witty, snappy, sarcastic, narcissistic, and often full of themselves, sometimes with good reason.

And the world.

The step-by-step walk through of how the park was built, how the dinosaurs were created, their genetic defects and a variety of other details would have been clunky and difficult to read in another author’s hands but Crichton handles all of it with a grace that gives even the most under educated reader the chance to not only understand but to also enjoy.  I am not into biology but have a decent head for chemistry but the ideas behind genetic manipulation are far beyond me.  Crichton made it not only accessible but also make sense without the reader feeling inadequate or stupid.

The habitats, the animals, the rides…the theme park…they are all described with an incredible awe as if you were actually there not reading about an imaginary land that doesn’t exist.

Its just a beautifully written novel and one that I can highly recommend.  I literally picked the second novel right up after finishing the first and was honestly disappointed that there wasn’t a third novel in the series.

I’m even thinking of reading more of Crichton’s works like Congo.  This one was just that good.

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, based off the book by Douglas Adams: a Film Review

Synopsis:

On a dreary normal Thursday morning Arthur Dent is going about his day when he realizes that this is the day that his house is meant to be torn down to make way for a bypass…something he only just found out about even though the plans have been on file for over a year.  As he lays in front of the bulldozers his friend Ford Prefect shows up.

Dragging Arthur away from the scene he tells Arthur everything over a few pints of beer.  Nothing matters, not his house or looking like a drunk for having three pints of beer at lunchtime…because the Earth will be destroyed in 12 minutes.

When Ford hitches a ride off planet in the moments before Earth is rendered nonexistent, he brings Arthur along for the ride.

Between killer aliens, an improbable spaceship, a depressed robot and a maniacal president of the unverse will Arthur and Ford be able to take the advice from the most popular book in the universe, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and remember: DON’T PANIC!

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: based off the book by Douglas Adams

-Length: 109 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Anna Chancellor, John Malkovich

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

You can’t really go too wrong when the author of the book WRITES THE SCREENPLAY!

I know that this movie got a lot of flack for the fact that it is just a silly and ridiculous, over the top kind of comedy.  That it wasn’t accurate to the book its based on.  That it isn’t good because the writing wasn’t good.

That is all wrong in my opinion but it is something I hear a lot when it comes to turning novels into film…and its not the last time I’ll write about it in a review.

I don’t think you can argue that a movie “isn’t good because that’s not how it was written” when the author of the book is the one who writes the screenplay… the things they changed were their choice…and that is ok.  Because sometimes screen and novel don’t translate well together.  Different media is different.

However, this I just brilliant.  It captured all the wonderful snark from the book.  The characters fit so well.  The actors did such a great job with the characters.

The costumes and sets are over the top in the kind of way that fits in with the book.  I mean…how can you go wrong with a character that is dressed to the nines, another that wears a bathrobe the whole time and another that carries around a towel and uses it like a security blanket…

And Alan Rickman as the depressed robot.  Just perfection.

I really do love watching this film.  Its funny and lighthearted while still pondering the great questions.  And it captured the feel of the book in a tremendous way.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Read Me

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams: a Novel Review

Synopsis:

Arthur Dent is having a very bad day.  His home in West Country, England is set to be bulldozed to make way for a bypass…which will run right through his home. As he lays in front of the bulldozer his friend, Ford Prefect, shows up and drags him away to the pub.

He explains that Arthur’s house being torn down is the least of his worries as the entire Earth will be destroyed in about 12 minutes.  When a group of aliens show up in Earth’s atmosphere they announce that Earth is to be destroyed to make way for an intergalactic hyperspace expressway…or…a bypass.

As the Earth is destroyed Ford hitches a ride on one of the ships bringing Arthur along for the ride giving him a copy of The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy to help him handle the strange new world he has been thrown into.

Afterall, it has great advice written right on the cover in big friendly letters: Don’t Panic.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Comedy

-Author: Douglas Adams

-Number of Pages:

-Main Characters: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphd Beeblebrox, Patricia “Trillian” McMillian, Marvin

-Where to Read: support local booksellers (many can order items that may not be in stock) or look for it at your local library! If you love audiobooks, you can find it on Audible (with subscription) or on library apps like Libby (to borrow it from your library).

-Page of Reference in RP1: 49

Review (contains spoilers):

So maybe I just need comedy with my science-fiction…because this book is so much fun and so easy to get through.  Douglas Adams doesn’t even try to explain the science behind anything. Not really.  Its just assumed that it exists.

Because in a world where a book with the words “Don’t Panic” on it in big friendly letters outselling every other book in the UNIVERSE….honestly, anything is possible.

The world is wonderfully diverse and detailed without anything actually being described in excessive detail.  Adams has a way of getting the picture of things across in the action and how the characters see the world.  We don’t get long winded descriptions of how the world or ships they are on look unless it has some sort of humorous reasoning.  What we do get are conversations that brand new whales have before they hit the ground and are no more.  Or what the dolphins did before they left earth.

Or the fact that the Earth was created as a computer program to find the question to the answer of the life, the universe, and everything…which is 42.

The characters are snarky and egotistical, irritating and absolutely human.  Guide is one of those books where even if you don’t love a character (like Zaphod and his idiotic ego) you still WANT to know what is going to happen to them.  That is really hard to do for an author.  Its hard to write characters that are neither villain nor hero yet still are interesting and full of depth and that the reader wants to keep hearing about.

Adams achieves this in every single page.

I’m so glad I revisited this story when I was older (more around the age of Arthur and Trillian).  I don’t think I found the books as enlightening and hilarious as I do now when I was a teenager.  There is just a level of life experience that you need to have to really appreciate these books.

I’m so excited to read the rest of the series again!

Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Universe, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

Icarus Base is located on a remote planet as part of the SGC.  The current team run by Dr. Nicholas Rush believe that they could extend the range of the Stargate by utilizing the naqudria located in the core of the planet that is currently powering the Stargate.

To date only 7 chevrons have been used with regularity on any Stargate allowing travelers to pass through to other planets within their galaxy.  Adding an 8th chevron allows for travel to another galaxy but takes on a huge amount of power usually from something like a ZPM (a very powerful battery).  To fathom a 9th chevron is seen as boarding on insanity.

When Dr. Rush creates a video game to try and find the most brilliant minds across Earth to help him solve and test his theory he is presented with Eli Wallace, a mathematics genius.  Rush is joined by Wallace as well as Chloe Armstrong (the daughter of the Senator funding the Icarus Project) and several of the military members on the base in order to solve what the Ancients have laid out as a possibility.

As the group tries to figure out how to achieve the connection of a 9th chevron, they get devastating news.  The core of the planet is rendered unstable after an attack from an alien race known as the Lucian Alliance.  Attempting to contact earth Rush realizes that the impending explosion of the planet will just follow them through the wormhole and takes the chance at dialing a 9th chevron.  As it locks the survivors make it through the gate and end up aboard an old starship.

Destiny has its own abilities and mission, only dropping out of hyperspace in order to connect its Stargate to others in the network.  No one can control the ship.  The survivors are at the mercy of the ship itself as it drops in and out of hyperspace for limited amounts of time.

What are the survivors to do when they have no control over the ship they are stranded on?  Will they ever get back to Earth?  And just what problem is Destiny supposed to be solving…

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Military

-Creator: created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 2 Seasons, 40 Episodes (43 minutes each), with an additional 34 Webisodes

-Rating: currently unrated- most likely TV-14 based on other country codes (for mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and other substances, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robert Carlyle, Lousi Ferreira, brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na Wen

-Page of Reference in RP1:

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m only 3 episodes into this series at them moment.  Who ever had the genius idea to make the first five episodes of this show a 3-part episode and a 2-part episode was seriously overestimating the fact that people can or will want pay attention to brand new characters for that long…  it was a bad move on the part of Wright and Cooper in this case. 

Even with SG-1 and Atlantis the first few episodes did introduce new characters but they were amidst characters we were already familiar with from either the film or the previous series.

There just isn’t a lot to say at this point…I really think going with the set up they did with the first season was not only detrimental to the composition of the show but is also difficult for long time fans. Especially on the heels of a BRILLIANT series in the Stargate world with Atlantis.

Season 1:

Season 2:

Rating:

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate Atlantis, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review

Synopsis:

After the (accidental) discovery of a second Stargate on earth by the original SG-1 team, a new team has been studying the technology in the areas around the gate.  They have found that the gate system wasn’t actually created by the Goul’d as originally thought.  Another alien race, called The Ancients, are actually the ones who created the Stargate.

With this information the team working at the second gate finds even more technology and the information that the gate (which up till now has only been able to utilize 7 of the chevrons on the gate) is actually capable of FAR more so long as it has a power source to do so.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir is granted the opportunity to take a team on a mission through the Stargate to another galaxy powering the gate long enough to dial the 8th chevron and establishing a wormhole to the distant Atlantean gate.  As they proceed with the mission it becomes apparent that while the team made it through (one that is quite a bit larger than the teams we are used to seeing go through the gate) they may not be coming back to the Milky Way Galaxy anytime soon.

Pair that with a new big bad and suddenly the reason the Ancients left their beloved Atlantis is vitally clear.  What will the team do? And how will they survive the strange and frightening war they have somehow awakened by simply being in the city?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 5 seasons, 100 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (rare sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and smoking, intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library

-Main Cast: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This was a really great start to the spinoff of the wildly popular Stargate SG-1.  It has a great cast, some familiar and some new which is nice for the transition to the new show.  This season takes place during season 8 of Stargate SG-1 so there is some but not a lot of overlap and while the show can be watched independently of any other knowledge of the other show it is helpful to have some of the background for a full experience.

The new Atlantis team is comprised in a similar format to the team we fell in love with during Stargate SG-1.  You have the brainy scientist, the headstrong military man, a kickass lady and a strong but kind alien who they pick up on some mission.  Occasionally they get joined by other characters.  Mostly the head of medical who adds a sweet but sassy tone to the group.

This season is a lot of set up but not in a way that is condescending or heavy.  We learn as the team learns.  Action and exploration reign over the story which is one of the best parts of Stargate and one of the reasons I love it so much.  It has some serious Star Trek vibes but way more action.  This is a great start to the new series.

Season 2:

Michael…. Oh Michael.  Not really sure what to say about this season.  Between the experiment to change the Wraith to humans and Ford getting changed into a superhuman/Wraith hybrid…thing… there is just a LOT going on.

Rodney has a lot in this season between blowing up a star system, getting someone stuck in his head, getting caught in a virtual reality, gets caught in a sunken jumper and

We get introduced to Ronin and he joins the team.  Hilarity and danger ensue.

Shepard and the team discover how Wraith became Wraith and Shepard ends up feeling a little bit of how the whole process goes.  He even gets the chance to Ascend…though that doesn’t go as well as one would hope…or maybe it does since he is still with the team.

The Genii come back in and Atlantis comes to their aid. The team messes up a bunch and ends up with a Atlantean warship. And they learn a lot along the way.

Overall a great season full of action and intrigue. A definite push into the third season with some great storylines coming to fruition.

Season 3:

This season was full of ups and downs for the team and for my emotions. By now we have gotten to know the team and things have gotten hairy. It is important to note that this season takes place during the same time as season 10 of Stargate SG-1.

We have a few big things that happen: the ancients appear, the replicators (yes like the ones from Stargate SG-1) have taken a unique form, we lose someone dear to the team, McKay nearly ascends, Atlantis is attacked (as usual), and we end up in a vicious attack that almost ends in the destruction of the entire crew.

Between the explosions and the nanites, the replicators and the general battles that the Atlantis crew must deal with, this show is constantly full of action.  It is one of the most captivating and entertaining science-fiction shows ever created.  And this season didn’t disappoint.

I had to hold off on watching the finale episode because I had the foresight (watching this on Amazon Prime Video/DVD much after the show was over) that this would be a three-part episode and that some very upsetting things happen in the episodes… it took me a while to get into the headspace to watch it.  I’m glad that I did because boy was the end of this season heavy and I’m super glad I didn’t have to wait the summer to get to the next two episodes

Season 4:

So, season four starts off high on the emotions.  With the first two episodes being the continuation of the season three finale, we start the season off on a really nerve-wracking foot.  We nearly lose Dr. Weir…and then we lose her in a different way. We nearly lose Atlantis all together. And they have to find another new planet.  Not exactly the smoothest moments for the team.

The Replicators have become another big bad though Atlantis has reactivated the Wraith attack code in their makeup.  They seem to also want Ascend…which isn’t as easy as it seems for some bits of metal with incredible technology. 

We get more information on Ronin’s past. There is a lot of body hijacking, kidnapping, loss of memory and other diseases…just a lot of general insanity. We get to see how awesome the new head of medical is and how she will fit into the general makeup of the team and everything as a whole.

Rodney’s past comes back, and his sister gets kidnapped to solve a problem on Earth.  He also learns that maybe he isn’t the most adept at things outside of his world of technology.

The gate bridge to get from Atlantis is created and invaded during the course of this season.  Ronin and McKay have to join up to save Earth and Atlantis.

We get more information about Tayla and the missing Ethosians from earlier in the season. Beckett makes a surprise return in an incredibly interesting way (I was super thrilled to see him because his death at the end of season 3 really hit me hard).

This was really a great season. A lot of action. A lot of intrigue. And one of the craziest ends to a season…and I really enjoyed seeing how they solved a problem thousands of years in the future.  I can’t wait to see what happens with the next season.

Season 5:

This feels like the start to an excellent ending of the series though I do believe that the show could have fun for another 2-3 seasons without becoming tiresome or repetitive.  Todd becomes a big character which is incredibly interesting to see, especially as he is a Wrath and normally not someone the team interacts with kindly or well.  We get to see more aspects of the Atlantis team.

Zelinka gets the chance to shine throughout the season as does Dr. Keller.  We get to see the strong character we knew she would become (and know from her performance as Kaylee in Firerfly).  Woosley also gets the chance to step up in, what is my least favorite television trope: the clip show.  It was nice to see him step into the role that was so beautifully performed by both Elizabeth Wier and Sam Carter (of SG-1 fame).

The social interactions of the team as well as things like the reintroduction of Dr. Carson, Michael and Todd are all things that create a solid show.  It really is this aspect that makes me sad to see the show end after only 100 episodes.  Rarely do I wish for a show to continue to past its expiration date but this is one that I do wish had continued on past its final season.

Having watched the season finale I have just two things that bothered me.  One is that I felt the second to last episode was quite out of place with its style.  I understand that it was to set up what happened in the final episode but still…. very odd, yet very well-done CSI episode.  Second was that the final episode should have been at least two episodes long.  There were a few times in the series where a two-part episode didn’t feel needed but then this time it should have and they didn’t.  Just a weird choice in my opinion.

I highly recommend this show.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Stargate SG-1, created by Brad Wright and Johnathan Glassner: a Television Review

Synopsis:

A year after the team gets back from their mission to Abydos through the Stargate the program is nearly shut down.  In fact, they haven’t been able to keep the whole program afloat after not finding another gate address to work.

When suddenly the gate opens.  And the entire team is called back in for questioning, some being recalled to duty after retirement.  As the team gets official recalled and sent back to Abydos to retrieve Daniel Jackson the planet is attacked and his wife as well as her brother are taken by the same people who attacked the Earth gate.

They proceed back through the gate determined to find her and her little brother.  The show follows their adventures as the team goes through the gate to planet after planet to find them and bring them home.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Military Action/Adventure

-Creator: Brad Wright and Johnathan Glassner

-Length: 10 Seasons, 214 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (mild sexual moments and sexual innuendo, moderate violence and gore, moderate science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some alcohol and smoking, intense scenes throughout), please note that on the DVDs the first episode of the show is RATED R for full female nudity that was not in any other part of the series…

-Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube (buy or rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Don S. Davis, Corin Nemec, Ben Browder, Beau Bridges, Claudia Black

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

I defiantly recommend watching the movie before jumping into this show.  While not essential as the cast is different and they do a decent job explaining the gist of what happened I feel like it gives you a good base to go off of.  And the nostalgia of the film is there in the beginning.

I absolutely love that they kept the feeling of all of the characters from the film.  Everyone does a fantastic job just taking what happened and was portrayed in the film and adding to them.  The depth that the new cast draws from and creates in the over arcing story is just wonderful and the new characters introduced fit well and have a story all of their own.

This season is not without its faults or hardships.  Like so many other science-fiction shows (like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Farscape and even Eureka) this first season has its ups and downs.  As a die-hard fan there are many episodes in the first season that I just skip as I feel they add little to the show overall.  These filler types of episodes are difficult to get through and I’m very glad the show got picked up for a second season after the first.

The build of the team is solid and while it plays on some typical science-fiction stereotypes (the geek, the soldier, the scientist, the alien…etc) the writers and actors seem to do justice to the ideas while still finding the unique story telling moments that are needed to make the series thrive.

Get through season one and I promise you will truly get into a series worth watching.

Season 2:

This season has a lot of forward momentum for the show. The ups and downs as well as the filler episodes from season one have been pushed to the wayside for the most part.  Most of the episodes here are important to the formation of the overarching story that will continue to carry through the next several seasons.

We get to meet some key players this season including the Tok’ra, a subsect of the G’ould species, that have morals and a decent head on their shoulders.  They do things differently in that they do not forcibly take hosts but have a truly symbiotic relationship with their willing host for the mutual benefit of both of them. Which is great as Sam’s dad comes into play and eventually becomes the Earth/Tok’ra liaison… as a Tok’ra host.

We discover more about The Four Races found in the information with Ernest. We get information about both the Asgaurd and the Ancients.  Apophasis is finally killed…but we have yet to get back Daniel’s wife.  Its almost worse at this point as earlier in the season we almost got her back.

While there are emotional ups and downs season two is a solid season, setting up much of what we will find happening in the upcoming universe…and the beginnings of the spin off show Stargate Atlantis.

Season 3:

Season 4:

Season 5:

Season 6:

Season 7:

Season 8:

Season 9:

Season 10:

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

REPOST: Weird Science, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Nerds Gary and Wyatt are embarrassed by the popular senior jocks while they swooned over the seniors’ girlfriends.  Rejected the pair decide that they need to boost their popularity in order to win their crushes from the jocks.

While watching Frankenstein a brilliant idea occurs.  They should try and create their own girlfriend.  Using their computer and hooking a doll up to the system somehow their dream comes true.

Now what to do with a hot British girl who can make things appear on command?  Will they win their crushes, or will they just end up grounded for life?

General Information:

-Genre: Teen Science-Fiction Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 94 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, mild violence, moderate profanity, mild alcohol use and smoking)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock, Bill Paxton, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Rusler, Suzanne Snyder, Judie Aronson

-Page of Reference in RP1/RP2: 36/186

Review (contains spoilers):

A solid John Hughes flick.  You have your pretty stereotypical scenarios for an 80s teen comedy.  The nerds vs the jocks.  The desire of belonging.  Outcasts. Parties.  Pretty girls… you know the drill.

If you’ve seen one John Hughes flick you’ve seen them all.

But that isn’t to say they are bad in any way.

This one was completely entertaining.  Between the insanity of a Frankenstein woman, two teens that are fighting for love and somehow everything they want can be summoned at the drop of a hat.  And a young Robert Downing Jr. being a complete idiot and bully… which is a quite interesting role for him to play. Definitely a hour and a half well spent.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Week of Love

REPOST: Real Genius, created by Neal Israel and Pat Proft: a film Review

Synopsis:

The CIA is determined to create a new “peace time” weapon, codename Crossbow, that uses a high-powered laser to eliminate potential threats before they become terrorists.  To do so they recruit the help of a well-know college professor to create the laser needed to pull off this accomplishment.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Mitch is accepted to the college for mid-winter term due to his insane intellect.  Rooming with genius and role model, Chris Knight, proves to be vastly different from the idea that Mitch builds up in his head.  Knight is a bit of a prankster and overall chill guy compared to tightly wound genius Mitch.

As the pair find their differences and turn them into strengths to help each other through the difficult final semester for Knight, they work to create an incredibly powerful laser that will be Knight’s ticket to graduation.

But when they are forced to see what possible uses someone would have for a laser that big and powerful they must come to terms with the fact that sometimes, as scientists, you need to think about the practical applications of your creations…and come to terms with the fact that they may not be used for the good and hopeful reasons you would want them to be…

General Information:

-Genre: Science Fiction Teen Comedy

-Creator: Neal Israel and Pat Proft

-Length: 106 minutes

-Rating: PG (for mild sex, nudity and sexual innuendo, mild profanity, mild partying)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Val Kilmer, Gabe Jarret, Michelle Meyrink, William Atherton, Robert Prescott, Jon Gries

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

Such a great comedy and one of my top watched movies of all time.  It is a staple in my vocabulary to quote lines from this film.  And there are plenty of them that are quotable.

I love the story, the quirky characters and the fact that, though the science is incredibly above my head as I know nothing about optics, everything discussed is relatable.  It isn’t about the science.  You don’t have to know anything to love this film.

Witty and sarcastic this whole movie is an absolute gem of late ‘80s comedy.   From the child genius on a college campus (and in a dorm!) to the fact that the bad guy is someone in the faculty…its just an overall ridiculous film that is just as funny after the first watch as the 100th.  Plus, it has a great soundtrack.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Trek

REPOST: Star Trek Beyond, created by JJ Abrams, based on the work of Gene Rodenberry: a Film Review

Synopsis:

After several years of space exploration, the Enterprise has arrived at Yorktown Space Station to resupply and grant some much-needed shore leave for the crew.  As they get the chance to have a bit of downtime the struggles of being away from civilization on a long-term mission start to become clear.  Sulu gets to spend time with his family, Spock and Uhura break up, Ambassador Spock passes away, and Captain James T. Kirk applies to a Vice Admiralship on Yorktown itself.

As the crew grapples with the meaning of their explorative mission amid the chance for a bit of space amongst the crew and civilian contingency of the space station a mysterious escape pod appears out of an uncharted nebula.  The Enterprise is dispatched on a mission to save the crew and ship that the occupant of the escape pod says is stranded on a planet deep inside of the nebula.

Upon approach the Enterprise and her crew are attacked by a swarm of fighters and are overcome with the damage, left to crash into the planet.  As they scramble to save themselves amongst the wreckage of their beloved ship and to formulate a plan to save their crew, they soon realize they cannot do things alone.  They must reunite in order to save themselves and all of Yorktown Space Station from a sadistic and manipulative maniac who only has eyes on the total destruction of Starfleet.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: JJ Abrams, based on the work of Gene Rodenberry

-Length: 122 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity including the incomplete use of the word fuck, some alcohol use and intoxication, some intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Idris Elba

-Page of Reference in RPO: 25

Review (contains spoilers):

By far the weakest of the Kelvin Timeline films.  While the writing is still great and the acting is phenomenal, the plot is just….okay. 

Relationships that should have been strengthened over the years have fallen by the wayside for no really discernable reason (I’m looking at you Spock and Uhura…get it together), our valiant captain is struggling and suddenly there is a psycho out there that is trying to kill everyone.

Of course I still loved the film.  I’m a big fan of the Kelvin timeline.  So that was never going to be a question for me.  I just wish the plot had more substance to it.  I do feel like the writers did what they could with what they had.  They cultivated relationships that had been implied in the original series, introduced some new awesome characters…and repaired some of the damage done in the gap between films.

Decent but not overwhelming.  And it didn’t feel like an ending.  I wish the fourth movie would move forward but I am afraid it may be too late…who knows.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Trek

REPOST: Star Trek Into Darkness, created by J. J. Abrams (based off the work of Gene Roddenberry): a Film Review

Synopsis:

Captain Kirk and his crew violate the Prime Directive by allowing their ship to be seen by a primitive species while trying to both save the civilization and their fellow crew member Commander Spock.  Because of this Kirk is removed from his command around the same time that an unprovoked attack on an outlying Starfleet installation in London is attacked and destroyed.

While Admiral Pike is reinstated as Captain of the Enterprise and Spock is moved to another ship the planet side Captains and First Officers of Starfleet convene to assess the damage to the Starfleet post and the next steps in discovering the culprit.  As they meet the conference is attacked by the same villain who attacked the other Starfleet installation resulting in the death of several members of Starfleet including Admiral Pike.

In light of this (and on the heels of losing a father figure) Kirk asks to be reinstated to go after the culprit who has warped to an uninhabited quadrant of Klingon territory.  As they load up the crew begins to question exactly what is going on with this covert and militarized mission as the Starfleet they know is one of discovery and exploration, not military prowess.

When they capture the man in question and discover the story he is telling may hold more truth than they have been told by their own administration the crew of the Enterprise has to make some big decisions of their own.  Who do they believe in this situation?  Their own superiors or the man who was put into cryo-sleep for 300 years only to be brought back to life?

General Information About the Movie/Series:

-Genre: Science-fiction action

-Creator: J. J. Abrams, based off the work of Gene Roddenberry

-Length: 131 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (science-fiction themes, moderate violence and gore, some nudity and sexual innuendo, mild language, some alcohol use)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube, FXNetwork, DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library!

-Main Cast: Chris Pine,Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Bruce Greenwood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller, and Alice Eve

-Page of Reference in RPO: 25

Review (contains spoilers):

Overall, this is a great film.  It’s a solid sequel to the first of the alternative timeline.  Its an interesting take on Khan’s story from Wrath of Kahn.  But it isn’t without it’s faults.

As I discussed the film with my brother, we argued about the validity of using Khan in this story line.  The idea itself is intriguing: a mysterious spy, someone of power, who is manipulating officers in Starfleet to achieve his own ends.  It wasn’t needed for the character to be Khan.

Yet I do understand it as a further study into the alternative universe theory.  Just like with the first of the Kelvin timeline the overarching plot is a character and storyline study.  It is all about taking a specific set of people who have been developed and have in depth backstories and seeing how they would turn out if things had gone differently leading up to their current place in their lives.  What would Captain Kirk be like if he didn’t have the influence of his father to get him into Starfleet, but instead ran from the ghost of his father’s legacy?  What would Spock be like if he didn’t finish Kolinahr and instead of purging all emotion decided to embrace it in small ways?  What if Noyota Uhura and Spock actually dated instead of their attraction just being alluded to in TOS?

This is a study of the differences in a character 300 years old.  Someone who is set in their way long before the situation that changes so many of the characters that we came to love in Star Trek.  He is a unique moment in this timeline.  His entire personality, the events that led to his cryofreeze and containment we can only assume are the same or very similar to the events in the original timeline.

Therefor the study of his actions is fascinating in this aspect.  He is and remains extremely similar to the person that he was in the original timeline.  He has the same tendacies for homicide and general violence that Khan had in The Wrath of Khan.

What is interesting is the events that lead up to his release in this film.  The same Kelvin timeline issues that lead Admiral Marcus to make the choices he makes in regards to Khan are the ones that shape the crew as we see them now.  The differences in the timelines makes for an interesting take on the events of the original timeline.

Though there are moments in it when I do wish that instead of relying on Khan and the parallels of The Wrath of Khan that Abrams had leaned into his skills as a writer and really created a unique character for the crew to battle as he did in the first film.

But we cant always have a perfect film that goes off exactly the way we want it to.

Once again this timeline is by far one of my favorite take son the Star Trek Universe.  It really speaks to my love of character development and character study in film.

A wonderful sequel to lead into the Enterprise’s first five year mission into uncharted space.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.