Inspired by Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War” (1974) but not copying it, Stephen Goldin delivers a lesser-known but still great treatise on the dangerous intersection of the military, technology and the sanctity of individual freedom in “The Eternity Brigade” (1980 first edition, 2010 revised edition). Although Goldin often has his heroes state the story’s themes in their dialog rather than letting things play more subtly, his imagination clicks on all cylinders as he brings us into a world where soldiers can be resurrected from every battlefield death.
Ironically, the “Buffy” book line ends its 1997-2008 run with a couple of firsts: “One Thing or Your Mother” (March 2008) is the debut entry from Kirsten Beyer, and the first novel set during the Angelus arc of Season 2. That’s surprising at first blush, but in retrospect it’s understandable why tie-in writers had stayed away from this period that’s so perfectly chronicled by the TV show (along with one comic tie-in, “Ring of Fire,” although even that is by a TV writer, Doug Petrie).
Two of Peter’s classmates have a whirlwind romance on a school field trip. Nick Fury is grumpy about his calls going to voicemail. And to Peter’s consternation, Happy and Aunt Mae are flirting. “Spider-Man: Far From Home” flips the cliché of a blockbuster where we marvel at the action sequences and yawn at everything in between. My mind did wander at times during the film, but it was during the bravura special effects – because we live in an age where everything that makes it to theaters has bravura special effects.
American Buffalo” (1996) is a mid-level example of the work of David Mamet, who writes the screenplay based on his 1975 stage play. I found it thoroughly watchable, driven by the performances by Dennis Franz (“NYPD Blue”) and Dustin Hoffman (“Wag the Dog”), but when it was over, I reflected on strange choices in storytelling and what’s emphasized by director Michael Corrente and editor Kate Sanford.
It’s hard to take a movie seriously when the movie doesn’t take itself seriously, and that’s why “Tank Girl” (1995) isn’t good. Still, it is an interesting style piece that does everything it can to portray a dystopian Earth that requires a big budget when the filmmakers clearly have a small budget; it’s sort of a cheap answer to “Waterworld,” also from 1995. Every time panels of the comic flash on screen, it both adds spice and reminds us that this stuff works better in comics.
Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War” (1974 original edition, 1997 definitive edition) is one-third of what I consider to be the trifecta of classic anti-war (or simply “war”) science fiction novels, along with Robert Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers” and Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game.” But it’s the one I remember details of the least, perhaps because it hasn’t been made into a film, so I was ripe for a re-read.
Scream: The TV Series” Season 3, long delayed because of the Weinstein scandal that put the ownership in limbo, isn’t exactly worth the wait, but still, it deserves more attention than it’s getting. It has been dumped onto MTV’s sister station, the celebrity reality show bastion VH1, for a three-night, six-hour airing (continuing at 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday and Wednesday), at a time when everyone is bingeing and discussing “Stranger Things” Season 3.
In the penultimate “Buffy” book from the original run, Christopher Golden takes a noble stab at linking the books up with Joss Whedon’s comics (which started in March 2007) in “Dark Congress” (August 2007). That part doesn’t quite work, but it’s a strong story in its own right, and most notably, Golden allows a goodbye between Willow and Tara that was stolen from them by Warren’s stray bullet in Season 6.
David Mamet is known for writing great dialog, but “The Old Religion” — his 1997 novel about the murder trial and conviction of innocent Jewish factory manager Leo Frank in 1914 Atlanta — is mostly an inner monologue. While the book is based on historical facts, getting into Frank’s head is purely a matter of the author’s imagination. But the directions Frank’s mind goes in as he tries to make sense of what’s being done to him feel accurate.
Similar to “Spider-Man 3” (2007), so much is going on in “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (2014) that – even if all that stuff is pretty good on its own – a viewer can’t appreciate any of it as much as he should. In this sequel that probably was not intended to be the final statement in the “Amazing” series but ended up that way when Spidey got rebooted over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for “Captain America: Civil War” (2016), director Marc Webb and a team of four writers cram in a ton of ideas.