2015 Films: “Inherent Vice”

Who’s In It: Joaquin Phoenix as “Doc” Sportello; Katherine Waterston as Shasta Fay Hepworth; Josh Brolin as “Bigfoot” Bjornsen; Owen Wilson as Coy Harlingen. 

Who Made It: Paul Thomas Anderson directs and produces from his own screenplay, based on a novel by Thomas Pynchon. Also produced by JoAnne Sellar and Daniel Lupi and distributed by Warner Bros. in cooperation with Ghoulardi Film Company and IAC Films.

What It’s About: Convinced that his ex-girlfriend has gone missing, private investigator “Doc” Sportello inadvertently wades deeper and deeper into a complex set of intersecting criminal conspiracies.

My Take: This is the first film I’ve seen in a theater this year, and I sorta hated it. While beautifully shot, it is narratively incoherent. The characters are all so disengaged from reality and unconcerned with the goings on around them that its hard to assess whether or not the performances were just phoned in or really good representations of people phoning in their lives. It’s too long, too boring, and too dense to be enjoyable. Anderson’s earlier films, like Magnolia, grew on me with repeat views. This one was such a dreadful experience that it won’t get that chance. Skip it.

For More Information: Inherent Vice on Wikipedia.


I know, I don’t really post much here

Between my fiction writing for the Twilight Storm series, and my fantastic professional position, I don’t have a great deal of time to write on this site. In fact, I haven’t posted in this journal for almost three years! I plan to change that in 2015. Look for more movie reviews, and perhaps some tech punditry, in coming months. More importantly, look for the launch of “Phobos Rising”, my next novella, which is coming very, very soon!


2012 Films: “The Avengers”

Who’s In It: Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man; Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America; Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk; Chris Hemsworth as Thor; Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow; Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye; Tom Hiddleston as Loki; Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

Who Made It: Joss Whedon directs from his own screenplay, based on a story by Zac Penn and Joss Whedon. Produced by Kevin Fiege and distributed by Paramount Pictures in cooperation with Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel.

What It’s About: A fairly direct sequel to two films from last year, Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger, this film deals with the formation of the Avengers super hero team as the Earth faces an invasion led by the Asgardian demigod Loki.

My Take: Marvel has beaten DC in making the sort of super hero team film that Warner Bros. should have released more than ten years ago. The Avengers is more than just a good super hero action flick, it’s a flat out good film. Joss Whedon deftly juggles four larger-than-life main characters, and manages to keep a film about living gods, genetic mutants and flying air craft carriers grounded in something like reality. The Avengers is a success as a film, and as the climax of the longterm Marvel film game plan. It took years to roll out the films needed to lay the groundwork for The Avengers, and the pay off is definitely worth it.

For More Information: The Avengers on Wikipedia.


2012 Reading: “A Feast for Crows”

The fourth book in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Feast for Crows is very different than the first three books. Whereas they dealt with the events of the War of the Five Kings, by the start of book four the meat of that war is over and the rulers of Westeros face the dual challenge of mending the damage to their realm as winter approaches and stamping out the last bits of rebellion.

This book was controversial amongst ASOIF fans, as it dealt with only about half of the characters familiar from the first three books; the remaining characters get their own book in the coincident follow up A Dance With Dragons.

I consider this to have been a fairly strong entry in the series, and a worthy successor to its predecessors.

Click to purchase: for Amazon Kindle; for Apple iBooks; for Barnes & Noble Nook; for other ereader devices.


2012 Reading: “Ready Player One”

If you like video games, this book is for you. If you like science fiction, this book is for you. If you think American culture peaked in the 1980s, and it’s all been downhill since then, this book is for you. 

Ready Player One is the best book I’ve read in years. Sure, I can nitpick the story here or there. Yes, there are times I think the author should have beefed up the suspense a bit more. But this book powers through those incredibly slight flaws to deliver a story that is engrossing, intriguing and, most importantly, immensely fun. 

Read this book. Seriously. Read. This. Book.

Click to purchase: for Amazon Kindle; for Apple iBooks; for Barnes & Noble Nook; for other ereader devices.