PKD flashback: ‘The World Jones Made’ (1956) (Book review)

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he World Jones Made” (written in 1954, published in 1956) is among the least clunky of Philip K. Dick’s 1950s sci-fi novels. It blends the political rise and fall of the titular precog with single-celled alien drifters with quasi-human colonization of Venus. It’s wackiness quotient is lower than with most PKD books, and while Jones’ personal situation is fascinating, the political conflict is a little bland.

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The top 25 ‘Buffy’ and ‘Angel’ comic book arcs (Commentary)

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or 21 years, from 1998’s short story “Maguffins” through 2018’s Joss Whedon-penned “The Reckoning,” Buffyverse stories unspooled in comic books – with Buffy always having a home at Dark Horse and Angel and Spike making a brief foray over to IDW in the middle years. For most of this time, four-color “Buffy” and “Angel” stories were fans’ lone source of further adventures.

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Period SF flick ‘The Vast of Night’ is a gripping, stylish debut from Patterson and his team (Movie review)

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sually when a director drops his calling card, he has a few minor credits on his IMDB resume before that. But Andrew Patterson’s resume is empty other than “The Vast of Night” (Amazon Prime); the same goes for writers James Montague and Craig W. Sanger. The film itself shows few signs of being helmed by first-timers, and not only in the sense of professionalism, but more importantly in its original sense of style.

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Vin Diesel’s ‘Bloodshot’ inoffensively launches Valiant superhero universe (Movie review)

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don’t know if anyone keeps track of this sort of thing, but Vin Diesel must hold the record for most franchises for a B-list action star. Joining “Fast & Furious,”  “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “XXX” and “Pitch Black” is “Bloodshot,” the first entry in the Valiant Cinematic Universe. An actor who no one hates and no one lines up for, Diesel plays the title character (real name: Ray Garrison) who speaks gruffly and seeks vengeance for the murder of his gal Gina (Talulah Riley).

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An outsider’s take on the ‘Fast’ saga: ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’ (2019) (Movie review)

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hrough the end of May, I’m looking back at the nine movies of the “Fast & Furious” franchise, watching most of them for the first time. Next up is the spinoff movie “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019).

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Frightening Friday: ‘Sleepaway Camp’ (1983) is the creepiest Afterschool Special ever (Movie review)

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leepaway Camp” (1983) is one of the most prominent lakeside summer camp slasher flicks in the wake of “Friday the 13th (1980), and refreshingly its tone is nothing like “Friday the 13th.” If it were made today, maybe by Robert Rodriguez teaming up with David Robert Mitchell, we’d say it’s a masterful homage/parody to the style of the time. Writer-director Robert Hiltzik’s film is often technically bad, sometimes aimless, and inexplicably engrossing.

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‘The Invisible Man’ is more about Elisabeth Moss’ increasingly visible woman (Movie review)

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eigh Whannell was a writer before he was a director, but “The Invisible Man” shows off his directorial skills more than his screenplay-penning talent. This third entry in what was originally intended to be a “Dark Universe” but is now just standalone films (“Dracula Untold” and 2017’s “The Mummy” were the first two) has the requisite moments of Cecelia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) being terrified of an invisible man in the room with her. That’s timeless monster-movie stuff.

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PKD flashback: ‘We Can Build You’ (1972) (Book review)

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hilip K. Dick melds three ideas into one book in “We Can Build You” (written in 1962, published in 1972), but it flows better than overstuffed efforts such as “Dr. Futurity” and “The Game-Players of Titan.” While this is certainly a sci-fi novel, a lot of the sci-fi is silly and/or unnecessary, as if PKD is satisfying an editorial directive to add futuristic elements. An exception is the existence of simulacra of Edward M. Stanton and Abraham Lincoln, who aren’t treated as jokes.

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