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Okay, I have not even begun to settle back in from Launchpad, but I have a lot of updates and not enough time to write thoughtful intros for them (or for anything, ever), so we'll do this list-style and then I promise to bore you sometime later this week with the awesome details about making s'mores with people using only starlight for heat and marshmallows we harvested ourselves.

(This did not happen. Wyoming has no marshmallow trees, as they only thrive in the Pacific Northwest.)

1. First, fiction news! My short story "The Zeppelin Conductors’ Society Annual Gentlemen’s Ball" is up at Lightspeed Magazine!

2. I saw Inception opening weekend. I had to wait until I was in New York to do it - I dropped my suitcase at my apartment and went straight from there to the theatre - but I saw it. I will be writing more (a lot more) about this movie later, but for now, my SPOILERY review is up at SPOILERS. It says so in the cut-tag, but I'm direct-linking, so SPOILERS. SO MANY SPOILERS. THE TITANIC SINKS. DARTH IS LUKE'S DAD. SO MANY SPOILERS.

3. Launchpad was great. I wrote up an intro post here, with some handy links, and followed it up with Four Fun Things About the Universe, for values of "fun" that include the knowledge that if you get close to a black hole you'll be torn to shreds by gravity. Whee!

Tomorrow I should be caught up and ready to blog again. I hope. (I might just go home and sleep 12 hours. It's reverse altitude sickness!)
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Okay. This is the big Eclipse post.

Ten Things About Eclipse has covered the bases.

Yesterday, my piece about The Decline and Fall of the Twilight Empire went up at There, I discussed the fact that as the fandom grows, the quality of actual filmmaking seems to sink like a stone.

(I will be honest, though, looking at my notes for New Moon, I'm not sure if endless music-video tracking shots are any worse than establishing shots with voiceover that then cut to a different location/scene entirely. Still, Eclipse had more to work with and did less with it, so it's probably still the worst movie of the three. I'll have to think about this.)

But first, as always, there was The Line.

Stampede-free, Burger-King-crown heavy. )

I still think the line winner was the girl in a Cullen crest shirt, looking very displeased with her friends: "I was here early IRONICALLY."

These kids speak for all of us.

And then it was time for the movie. Oh, was it ever. )
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(You have to use all the 'o's. Everyone in the movie does.)

Over the weekend, as ordered, I actually told a ticket taker "Jonah Hex, please!" and saw it.

We all knew it was going to be bad. But I honestly could not have predicted the scope of awfulness here. This was no ordinary awful. It was almost magically bad. I snickered uncontrollably pretty much nonstop.

I also made this face a lot.

(Michael Fassbender, you put this movie down RIGHT NOW.)

Check out the details at, but be warned that the written word cannot do justice to how sublimely, accidentally hilarious this movie is.


Jun. 15th, 2010 05:55 pm
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People often use the phrase, "Ambitious, but flawed" to describe a movie. I use it a lot; it helps hint at a film that was trying to be more complex than The Blind Side or something, and depending how you put the emphasis, it can mean anything from "there were a few things that didn't sit quite right" to "what a magnificent collection of moving images that had no discernible narrative cohesion". (Oh, Sunshine.)

Splice tries very hard to be a Frankenstein for our times; a CGI creepfest; a meta-horror; a complex dissection of parenting norms; a parable of nature vs. nurture. At the same time. (You can see already where we're going to have problems.)

As for how well it did at any or all of those things…how big can I make "Flawed"?

And 3D, if you have it. )
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This weekend, I saw Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time. It was exactly as good as people have said, which means it was a complete wreck.

The saddest thing is, even if you get over the whitewashed casting, and the nonsense plot, and the laborious action scenes (save the first big one during the city raid, which was genuinely exciting), there's still nothing there. It's all so calculated and flat and recycled.

The other saddest thing is watching this cast try to sell what they had to know was a total dog. Richard Coyle managed to do a lot in his three minutes of screen time, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arterton were trying SO HARD, but it was just never going to happen. I'd like to see them in something else. (Particularly in something else that is not the sequel to this movie. Ever.)

Thing I can't find photo proof of but which is totally true: the Alamut CGI looks exactly like Mont-Saint-Michel.

Not sure why, but we'll go with it! (This was said a lot during pre-production, I expect.)

Check out the whole thing over at
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Up at Fair Food Fight Films this week is Soylent Green, everyone's favorite pretend-you-saw-it sci-fi potboiler.

Here's the thing: Soylent Green gets a reputation (rightly) as being one of Charlton Heston's most insufferable performances in a SEA of insufferable. And the last few minutes, with him bellowing "Soylent Green is made from people," is one of the top movie twists of all time, delivered so badly that it's become a punchline for unappetizing foods or movie "surprises" we all saw coming.

I remember seeing this movie as a kid and thinking it was TERRIFYING, but whenever I thought about why I couldn't really place it, because Sol's death scene and the final five minutes, which were the parts people kept suggesting to me as the scary ones, didn't bother me in the slightest.

Sol was treated with more dignity than most people today can hope for, and I thought listening to your favorite music while you die painlessly after a long life was the best possible way to go. And the Soylent thing seemed like a great idea to me. You have limited resources but an abundant source of meat; why the hell wouldn't you package the nutritious parts? It's not like people are inedible, or that life in that city is precious. I mean, be real.

On the rewatch, I realized why it was so terrifying - it's basically a documentary about the future, and even as a kid I must have recognized how easy it was for women to be stripped of their rights (again), for the planet to finally collapse under the weight of overpopulation, for the food supply to just suddenly stop forever.

So yeah, this movie is terrifying, and it's worth your time despite Charlton Heston being in it. There are so many little things about it that are chilling to see, because it looks straight-up like today's news. And that's good social commentary, and it's fantastic sci-fi.

Check out the full rundown here.
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[This is the second of three movie reviews that were won in the [ profile] con_or_bust auction, which assists fans of color who want to attend SFF conventions, principally WisCon.]

So, the first movie I was given for this auction was The Vampire Effect, which was horrible in sort of a whimsical, amusing way. (Plus, we learned an important lesson about the importance of banana extract in the vampire canon, so you can't say the movie isn't handy.)

The second movie, I had every reason to expect from LJ comments on the auction, would be Peter Coyote's second-rate softcore disaster Bitter Moon. However, [ profile] squirrel_monkey was apparently playing me like a violin, because her actual request was the literally and figuratively apocalyptic Left Behind.

I knew nothing about the movie when Kathy assigned it to me, except that it was Kirk Cameron's right-wing wackadoo vanity project.

Now, I know way too much.

I can't possibly go through this movie beat by beat (it's too painful for all of us), so I watched it twice (TWICE), and have made a representative sample of data points, so that no one else ever has to see this movie, because seriously, nobody should.

Ten Things You Should Know about Left Behind. )
glvalentine: (omg no)
So, as promised, I reviewed Riverworld for

It was...plentiful? I don't even know what to say about it. They somehow managed to undercut most of their good points by accident (though every once in a while my jaw would hit the floor when something egregious stereotyped through the frame).

They did try very hard with the casting, which is generally passable and occasionally enjoyable. Sam Clemens and Allegra the courtesan did very well for themselves, and of course, Peter Wingfield never met an outdoor set he couldn't halfheartedly stage-fight his way across. (I also suspect he had a contract rider that stipulated he be making out for at least 40% of his screen time.)

I'd be surprised if it makes it to a long-term series, only because renting a riverboat like that must be expensive, and because they burned all four hours of it on a Sunday night in April, which doesn't speak much to their confidence about holding an audience from week to week.

But here's the thing: I tease SyFy (and rightly), but I do think that with all this "reimagine-classic miniseries" stuff they're getting closer and closer to something good that they can sustain. I mean, sure, Tin Man was a disaster. And Alice had a decent first half and then kind of imploded, but the cast was actually surprisingly good, and I enjoyed it quite a bit whenever I could forget the WORST PLOT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. Frankly, if SyFy could have come up with a better premise, I would have tuned in to that show every week, no problems. A nice pulpy hour every week full of actors I like? SOLD.

This one had a multicultural cast (thumbs up) who are mostly sci-fi TV veterans (thumbs up!) in a script with an ensemble feel (thumbs up), in a setting where they can be held hostage by Vikings at any moment (thumb sideways), and a standard Chosen One quest plot (thumbs down) where the hero is looking for his impossible, dull, virginal girlfriend (thumbs down), and where blue aliens manipulate you with cryptic messages and sometimes tie you to a table and taunt you for no reason and then let you escape from your prison and then transport you a hundred miles away from the prison anyway, making your escape moot and leaving you staring at your costar in the middle of the Vancouver woods. (Uh, thumbs down.)

They managed to strike gold for a whole season after the BSG miniseries. (And then three more, which were like brass.) Someday soon, they'll get it right again.

Just...not with this one.
glvalentine: (omg no)
[This is the first of three movie reviews that were won in the [ profile] con_or_bust auction, which assists fans of color who want to attend SFF conventions, principally WisCon.]

So, when [ profile] bifemmefatale won one of my movie reviews, I can only assume she picked Hong Kong action flick Vampire Effect (aka Twins Effect, for reasons unknown to me) because she thought it was the worst movie ever and she wished, more than anything else in her whole entire life, to make me suffer.

She must not have been aware that I have been working on getting "shitmazing" into wide usage, as the word to use when something is so spectacularly bad that it passes all descriptions of "awful" and eventually becomes its own sort of surrealist masterpiece that makes you question an objective universe.

With this word in hand, I was more than ready to tackle Vampire Effect: The Twins Effect (even the title's shitmazing). It's a breathtaking kaleidoscope of wonder about a mysterious world in which defeating vampires requires liberal application of banana extract.

For serious.

This is vampire prince Kazaf and his vampire butler Prada (for serious). Here, Prince Kazaf wants this movie to promise something it just cannot promise.

There is, in fact, endless sucking in this movie. )
glvalentine: (omg no)
Over the weekend, I saw Clash of the Titans. As you might be able to tell from my review at, things did not go so well!

Here's the thing about Clash of the Titans and all associated B-movies: I don't demand that they be something other than they are. I watch The Mummy whenever it's on TV, because it's a perfectly decent pulp film, and I don't require anything more from it.

However, I DO require of a B-movie what I require of most movies: that something, at some point, makes a modicum of sense, or is engaging, or is so over-the-top it's comedy gold, or something. It's not much to ask in theory, but it's really baffling how many movies march grimly through the motions, throwing in video-game-standard CGI and half-baked thematic elements and hoping no one will notice the lack of excellence in either. Clash of the Titans is a supreme example of this.

They did succeed, however, in taking one of the few Greek myths that didn't involve rape and adding rape to it. That's something to be proud of, I guess!*

However, Hans Matheson was in it, which was amusing for the duration of whatever cumulative milliseconds the camera accidentally caught him while panning over to Sam Worthington's single facial expression, so that was nice! (Bonus: he wasn't evil! Color me surprised! First time for everything, I guess. You go, Hans. Hope this helps you get a better role elsewhere.)

* It is not something to be proud of.
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This weekend I saw Repo Men so I could review it for

I know there had been some internet chatter about how this film stole its premise from Repo! The Genetic Opera. Since futuristic body-as-commodity stories are not singular, I didn't worry about it. (Plus, if you ask me, someone is welcome to make a movie off Repo!s premise, since it would be nice to see a movie with that concept that didn't completely suck, but that's a different argument.)

Anyway, long story short, it doesn't steal much from Repo!. Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell, and about a dozen other sci-fi films, however, should probably be looking askance at Repo Men.

I tried to give a pretty spoiler-free review, not that you can spoil a movie like this anyway. So, LJ-cut for those of you who are desperate to let this cinematic gem unfold before you unspoiled. (None of that sentence will ever happen.)

The ending of this movie. )
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So, I wrote up Legion for Fantasy Magazine.

You guys, this movie was dismal. It had everything it needed to be ridiculous, but took itself so seriously and was so free of anything over-the-top enough to be amusing that the people in my theatre, who started out talking back to the movie at full volume, were checking emails and talking to each other by the 45-minute mark. THEY IGNORED THEIR ELEVEN-DOLLAR MOVIE, THAT IS HOW BAD IT IS.

Also, I mention that I hope Paul Bettany was in this because he lost a bet. This is NO JOKE. I was MORTIFIED for him. And then I came home and figured out that he's going to be in Priest later this year, directed by THE SAME GUY. HE LOST A TWO-MOVIE BET. (I refuse to let myself think otherwise, because if I imagined he read this script and said, "Man, I am so with you on this! Sign me up for this one, and another one that sounds remarkable similar!" I will have to send him a sharply-worded letter.)

Anyway, check out the whole thing and then rest easy knowing you are eleven dollars richer and considerably more sanguine for not having seen this movie.
glvalentine: (omg no)
So! After I vaguely went to bat for Alice Part One, Alice Part Two aired last night, and now I feel like when a friend is visiting a city and you sort of vouch for an old college friend who lives there now as a friend introduction and they end up in a screaming food fight in a diner; totally embarrassed and sad I didn't see it coming.

On the other hand, I called the ending in an email twelve hours before it aired, practically down to the dialogue, so clearly I saw SOMETHING coming.

Too bad it was this thing. has the brunt of my despair, but I'm not done.

Spoilerland. )
glvalentine: (nerd alert)

So, The Prisoner remake happened on Sunday. And apparently it's still happening? I fell asleep, so I don't really know, but I wrote it up at, with the headline, "I am not a number! I am a free bland!", which should pretty much give you an idea of what you're in for.

And now, an open letter to Ian McKellen!

Dear Ian,

I know none of this is your fault. I chose a production still where you look grumpy, specifically to highlight how much this is not your fault. You are doing a very good job with what you have, even if what you have is Jamie Campbell Bower, and for this I am very sorry, because that dude is a creepster who cannot act, and with Jim Caviezel as your leading man you're basically not getting ANY help on the co-star front. I feel for you.

To sum up; I hope we are still best friends. I will fly to England the next time you are in a play! I probably will not be able to get tickets to the actual play, but I will fly over there and sort of wave at the theatre as I walk past it, and if you are looking out the window at that moment you will know that I do not hold The Prisoner against you.

Yours sincerely,

P.S. I hope you got to take home some of those suits. You're the only guy I know who can wear a white suit and not look like an ice cream man.
glvalentine: (omg no)
Someone who wants my blood pressure to go up sent me this:

Sci Fi Channel Wants To Return To Oz With Tin Man Series.

Now, I am not sure how else I can articulate how bad an idea this is. I did all I possibly could.

I genuinely don't understand this. The miniseries was horribly written, all the actors looked like hostages, and the best worldbuilding they could come up with was a literal underground with only one easily-blocked exit. And this is when they had TIME. Heaven help us when they're churning something out every week. And by "us" I mean "people who are not me," because there's a limit, even for me, and on Hour Six of that miniseries, I reached it.


Feb. 4th, 2009 10:44 am
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This morning, I review Coraline for Fantasy.

Let me tell you, it's a strange and unusual thing to review a movie I actually LIKE for Fantasy. Who ever thought this day would come? Certainly not Ian Ziering, who is assembling a baker's dozen men as we speak to come and teach me a thing or two - about how to pose shirtless in my grandmother's housecleaning wig! HEY-O.

Also a plus: the 3-D glasses they hand out fit over my actual glasses. I was impressed, since my glasses are not small, and it meant I could watch the movie without holding the 3-D glasses to my face like a dowager Duchess in an opera house.


Jan. 23rd, 2009 04:02 pm
glvalentine: (omg no)
I saw Inkheart at midnight, so I could write it up for in a timely fashion.

The only place in New York showing the movie at midnight was a tiny movie theatre between Kew Gardens and Flushing. It was a little bigger than the townhouses around the corner (and the shape of the basement looks just like a brownstone, no fooling).

I allowed way too much travel time, which was a good idea in theory, but meant that I was at the theatre ridiculously early. (It's a theme with me.) While waiting, I realized I have become one of those people who cannot handle being in a place where businesses close early. Quiet streets freak me out.* It's only eleven PM; you should not have to take a twenty-minute bus ride to find a cup of coffee! I need tall buildings and a diner RIGHT NOW. (You bet I took that bus ride. This movie is two hours long, and then I had my 90-minute commute back home. I had so much coffee that I think my blood is 7% caffeine.)

* To be fair, there was a small grocery store that was open until 1am, but wandering the aisles of a grocery store for an hour and a half sounds like something from Dateline.
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Okay, the most coherent commentary on Twilight is live at Tor.

More is coming. Oh, it's coming.
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This recap got insanely long. I don't even know what to tell you, except that it should not take three+ hours to distill a show that sucks as much as this show does. I'm duly ashamed.

Eleventh Hour, "Savant", or, "The One That Did Not Suck As Much As the Others Have Sucked." Some kids are autistic, some kids are savants, some kids like action figures, some kids stare vacantly into the camera wishing for a juice box!

Brought to you by TOOTHPASTE brand toothpaste, when no toothpaste brand wants to be associated with your batshit-crazy grape-molesting show.

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My review of Repo! The Genetic Opera is live at Fantasy Magazine. I, um, had an opinion.

There's a second page to the article that has video clips, which you should watch if possible. The theatrical trailer, especially, is an editing wonder. I would love to interview the people who put that together, because having seen the movie? They are artists.


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Genevieve Valentine

September 2010

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