Monthly Archives: April 2011


What a great movie. Gareth Edwards put together this science-fiction-travel-romance-tragedy on a relatively small budget, but the cash went to all the right places.

Creature effects are rare, but captivating — and eerily beautiful, in a few pivotal scenes.  The plot involves an initially antagonistic North American man and woman who are attempting to get out of alien-infected Mexico and back to the United States.  As is pretty much the case with any film based on getting from point A to point B, their plans to make it home in comfort and safety go out the window almost immediately.  Parallels between the human characters and their alien counterparts are low-key, but poignant.

This isn’t an alien-invasion action film. Instead, “Monsters” is a quiet and mournful tragedy about fleeting connections and people (and creatures) far out of their element.

It’s currently available on Netflix streaming.

Right now in pop culture

A few impressions from having too much time on my hands:

I am really looking forward to the Winter is Coming series on HBO.  The previews have been fantastic, and even though Sean Bean is a good 15 years older than the role he portrays…it’s Sean Bean.  If you want noble + troubled in fantasy, he is a go-to guy.  The rest of the cast as seen in the previews seems fine, if a little too clean and pretty for the grimdarkgrim world George R.R. Martin created.

Having now seen both The Adjustment Bureau and Source Code, I am reminded that the hardest thing a science fiction film can do is nail the ending.  Both of these decent science fiction movies fall short in that department, and though Source Code is a superior movie in acting, directing, pacing & all the rest, the second of its two supposed endings is SO weak that it cast a pall over the rest of the movie that I had previously enjoyed a great deal.  Boo!  I like a twist now and then, but really, stop writing kooky endings that invalidate the entire emotional premise of the rest of the movie.

I have read about a third of Patrick Rothfuss’s immediate bestseller The Wise Man’s Fear, and so far it’s enjoyable, if not as “squeeee” as the first book in his Kingkiller series.  The university bits have a sort of puckish Harry Potter vibe to go with the carousing and magical exposition, and while I’m enjoying it, it’s starting to feel more weighty and less downright entertaining than the last book.  That said, Rothfuss can actually write funny, and for epic, high-faluting fantasy, that’s fairly rare.

Something else I’ve been enjoying:  Michael Stackpole’s At the Queen’s Command, his fantasy retelling of The Last of the Mohicans and assorted other colonial novels and sources.  It’s an alternate French & Indian war with dragons and magick gunpowder, and while the characterization is SO broad (no old country person can do right, though at least a few new country people seem capable of doing wrong), it’s an entertaining treatment of a historical period I’ve always found fascinating.