Sunday, May 19, 2019

My Thoughts On...

Moon Master

Vampire she may be, but if there’s one thing Samantha Moon cannot abide, it’s someone who hurts kids. When that “someone” happens to be a centuries old warlock – the Red Rider – with an affinity for dining on those youngsters who display magical talent, well, Samantha Moon takes umbrage and starts collecting information with the intention of doing something about it.

It’s when the Red Rider progresses to attacking 10 year old children that Samantha Moon goes nuclear. Determined to stop him once and for all, she sets off on the hunt of an unlifetime. As she does so, Samantha comes to appreciate that to achieve her heart’s desire she must do something none of the undead has been capable of before: mastering the art of traversing the higher dimensions. And it’s only when she begins to appreciate how seemingly impossible that is she realizes what’s truly at stake.

Yet all is not as it seems. Samantha is being manipulated, and the cost of achieving victory over the Red Rider will have implications she simply hasn’t considered . . .
. . . Not just for her, but for the whole of creation!

How far would YOU go to do the right thing?

Love, Death & Robots

In Love, Death and Robots, you get a serving of short animated stories centered on the theme of sci-fi, fantasy and horror. And boy, variety certainly is the spice of life . . . and love – death and Robots – as the title suggests. The recipe is varied too, from full-on space battles and carnage-wreaking robots, to sexually explicit mind-fxxxs that really strike a chord and make you think. There’s a tribute to the “Butterfly Effect”, cleverly disguised in slapstick comedy as to how history would have been affected if Hitler had died before coming to power, (ingenious). You even have a super-advanced form of yogurt that takes over the world. Excellent stuff!

But how to sum it all up without giving anything away?

Think of a selection of mezzes. Some are short, sweet and nasty. Others are daring, energetic and satirical. Several are poignant, thoughtful and heart-rending. Don’t get me wrong, I found some of the dishes a little bland, but as each dish rarely passes the 15 minute marker, you can put up with them while looking forward to the next course.

For me, Sonnie’s Edge, Beyond the Aquila Rift, The Witness and Lucky 13 stood out above the others. I’m sure you’ll find your own favorites among a diverse, violent and often humorous smorgasbord that portrays a dark and demented view of the world as seen through the eyes of those who have peeked through the veil and realize how tenuous reality is.

Great entertainment. I can’t wait for the second coming.

Friday, May 3, 2019

This Week's Review of. . .

Bright Ruin

Under Lord Whittam Jardine’s rule, conditions in Britain go from bad to much, much worse, and he goes out of his way to inflict tyrannical penalties on those – gifted or not – who oppose him. Yet for all his efforts, the call for revolution gains momentum and rebels resort to ever more spectacular means to drive their message home.

Both sides refuse to compromise, leading to ugly, well reported incidents they’d rather not be associated with.

Yet something stirs in the land; something ancient and long forgotten, involving memories of a former time when a wonder king, magically gifted, was thought to rule. Why? And why now? Is he a creature of myth and legend, or does his reemergence into the hearts and minds of a special few bode well for the future?

One thing’s for sure, the truth – when it’s revealed – is cataclysmic, and will change the world forever.

Full of deliciously detailed historical parallels, compelling characters and moral dilemmas, “Bright Ruin” is an absolutely superb conclusion to a stunning series. You will immerse yourself in its pages and end up rooting for your personal favorites. I know I did.

M. Night Shyamalan is renowned for his psychological thrillers with a twist: The Sixth Sense; The Village; Unbreakable and Signs to name a few. It’s what he does best . . . he keeps you guessing until the very last minute, before pulling the rug out from under your feet.
Well, you’ll be glad to know that in Split, Shyamalan is on top form.
The film follows the exploits of James McAvoy in the character of Kevin, an odd-job worker who suffers from dissociative personality disorder. You see, Kevin is also Barry, Dennis, Miss Patricia, and nine-year old Hedwig, a rather charming little boy who has to share his “time in the light” with twenty-three other personalities.
And not all of them are nice.
It would seem the obsessive-compulsive Dennis and passive-aggressive Miss Patricia have staged a psychological coup in order to prepare the way for ‘The Beast’, a brand new 24th identity with a fetishistic hunger for innocent flesh. (Think Hannibal Lecter meets Mr. Hyde and you won’t go far wrong). This helps you understand why the film begins with Dennis kidnapping three teenage girls out from under the nose of one of their parents and imprisoning them in a hidden lair until it’s time for them to appear on the main menu.
Do the girls just give up and die?
You’ll see. But to highlight one of the trio – Casey, superbly played by Anya Taylor-Joy – who’s clearly a loner with gargantuan reserves of pluck hidden away behind those gothic layers of dark-eyed vulnerability. Now she’s rather good fun to watch, and turns out to be a dark knight in shining armor.
You might sense I’m beating around the bush a bit? 
You’d be right, as I’m being darned careful NOT to give away too much of the plot. Needless to say, there’s an element of “is this 24th character really as bad as the other personalities say he is? Can he actually do the things they hint at?"
That’s the fun thing about a M. Night Shyamalan film. You won’t find out until the very end. But boy oh boy, will it send chills down your spine.
I rather enjoyed this film and will gladly watch it again.