Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

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Maybe I’m just old and jaded, but after watching the 2023 movie, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, I couldn’t figure out why the film wasn’t in WalMart’s $5 bin rather than on the racks at $15. This is from a fan not only of fantasy novels and movies, but someone who actually played the game back in the ’70s and has played most of the computer knock-offs since. But the film left me cold. It came across as formulaic, predictable, and flat. Worse, a … click below for more ↓

Barbie: A Review for Conservatives

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Hey there, conservatives (especially you conservative males!), let’s talk about the Barbie movie. Yes, I know nothing makes you want to take your AR-15 to the local Toys ‘R Us for a well-deserved shoot-up than a film about a girl’s toy (please don’t do it!). I mean, how dare anyone make a movie without guns, car chases, explosions, bullet storms, babes in skimpy outfits, and a beefy male action hero like Jason Statham or Daniel Craig to deal mayhem and death to all and sundry? … click below for more ↓

Reviewing Godzilla Films

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To pass the time doing two things I enjoy — writing and watching Godzilla films (and, yes… reading books about Godzilla films…) — I thought I would watch each Godzilla film in order, one per week, starting with the 1954 original, and write a synopsis/review of each one, trying to look at each one from my current perspective and knowledge (no comments about being in my dotage, please). I’m also preparing myself by renewing my knowledge of the franchise in preparation for the 70th-anniversary celebrations … click below for more ↓

Books for the Kaiju Aficionado

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With possibly two new Godzilla films coming to theatres in 2023*, it may be time to refresh your memory and appreciation of the previous films in the franchise. And what better way to do it than with a brand-new book about them? And perhaps re-reading some of the content in your older book and movie collection (especially that Criterion Collection of the first 15 Godzilla films on Blu-Ray — see below — which you can start watching now to build your anticipation for the new … click below for more ↓

That Fake War on Xmas

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In my part of Canada the “war on Xmas” begins in September when some local box stores start putting Xmas ornaments and decorations out, sometimes just after Labour Day. By mid-October there are whole store sections dedicated to pushing gaudy, offshore-made, increasingly tacky lights and displays. Then the canned Xmas music starts infecting shoppers through tinny ceiling speakers. Xmas tree lots spring up in mall parking lots. It’s a cultural virus being spread among us. The Resistance (aka me) comes forward to bravely ignore these … click below for more ↓

The Book of Knowledge: 1

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When I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, having an encyclopedia in your home was the bee’s knees, to use my grandmother’s phrase. It was a sign of sophistication and learning, of culture and wisdom. And being reasonably well-off, because encyclopedias were not inexpensive. I can still hear Jimminy Cricket singing the song (it’s how I learned to spell encyclopedia). Many school libraries had them, although usually only one set and not always the most current or the best. You could find more … click below for more ↓

Godzilla, Mechagodzilla, and Kong

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I’m not sure if I should be elated or disappointed after watching Godzilla vs. Kong (GvK), the latest film (2021) in the Legendary/Universal, Godzilla/MonsterVerse saga. That’s Kong, not King Kong, by the way, because of a squabble over licensing rights, but, yes, it’s that Kong in person if not name. The kaiju formerly known as… Almost two hours of Godzilla and the gang onscreen, with tremendous monster fights, should be a delight for any kaiju aficionado (as readers here know I am…), and I always … click below for more ↓

Musings on Art and Taste

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Many years ago, I had a lengthy correspondence with a friend in another part of Canada about what constitutes art. His basic argument was that art was not neutral or generic, but was the final product of high achievement: real art was “good” art. That is, art was defined by recognized masters and their works. Mona Lisa was art, Picasso was art, Monet was art — solely because they hung in galleries. It took cultural recognition or at least acceptance to make the change from … click below for more ↓

Musings of a B-Film Junkie

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I put a DVD of the 1939 film, The Gorilla, into the player and sat back to watch. Bela Lugosi (above, centre) starred beside the Ritz Brothers (trio above), a popular American comedy trio contemporary with the Three Stooges, Abbott and Costello, and the Marx Brothers. This would be the last year the Ritz Brothers worked for Fox; they stopped making films entirely in 1943. It’s the first full film of theirs I’ve seen, but am not impressed. Lugosi is best known for his starring … click below for more ↓

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

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We recently watched the Darmok episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, my third time seeing it, and I was struck again at how brilliant and quirky it was. Possibly the best of all the ST:NG’s 178 episodes. And, apparently, a lot of other fans agree with my assessment. Wikipedia describes it: The alien species introduced in this episode is noted for speaking in metaphors, such as “Temba, his arms wide”, which are indecipherable to the universal translator normally used in the television series to … click below for more ↓

The Long Read Lost

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“What we read, how we read, and why we read change how we think, changes that are continuing now at a faster pace,” wrote Maryanne Wolf, a neuroscientist, in her book, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in the Digital World (Harper Paperbacks, 2019). It’s the sequel to her previous book on reading and neuroscience, Proust and the Squid (Harper, 2007). In that latter book, Wolf famously wrote, We are not only what we read, we are how we read. Reading — Marcel Proust called … click below for more ↓

Why Science Fiction Matters

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In the past two years, we’ve watched all the Star Trek series (on Netflix) from start to finish, and all the ST movies (on DVD). We just started watching the Battlestar Galactica series on Blu-Ray this past week (which we had seen some years back, but with long gaps between seasons). Both of us love scifi. Although the first ST series was often more space opera than scifi (as the Star Wars series has been), it matured quickly into some complex, adult-oriented storytelling in the … click below for more ↓

Dandelions and civilization

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Whenever I see a lawn with dandelions, I think, “This is the home of civilized people. This is the home of people who care about the environment and their community. This is where bees are welcome.” When I see a monoculture lawn, bereft of weeds or dandelions, I think, “Here is the home of an anti-social family; a place where life is restricted, wildlife discouraged; where community and the environment don’t matter.” I feel the same when I see a lawn sign advertising that an … click below for more ↓

Big G and Me

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One of my fondest childhood memories is sitting between my parents on a warm summer night, on the front seat of the family car, watching a movie through the windshield, above the dashboard. A single, metal-wrapped speaker hung from the glass of the half-opened window on the driver’s side. A box of salty popcorn passed between us, soft drinks too. Around us were dozens of other cars, all facing the giant outdoor screen, their occupants nothing more than dark shadows. Behind us was a low, … click below for more ↓

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