Friday, November 7, 2014

Movie Review: "Interstellar"

I wish I had more time to write this review.  I wish I had more time in general, actually, and that's a fitting mood to be in to appreciate Christopher Nolan's new sci-fi flick Interstellar.
Let's back up for a second.  I do not mean to imply anything dire when I saw "I wish I had more time."  I mean, who doesn't wish they had more time?  That seems like a fairly universal concern.  And while I certainly do mean it in the existential sense, I'm referring more specifically to the fact that lately, I simply have not been able to make time for my various blogs.
This particular one has long gone underfed, but I feel the urge to put something -- anything -- down about the movie I just saw.  Thing is, I've got to go to bed or risk getting way too little sleep for the first day on the job after receiving a promotion.
What's a blogger to do?
Answer: toss off something perfunctory.
But that's okay, because I'm not sure I could get into the many feelings I have about Interstellar without delving too deep into plot.  I have zero intention of spoiling anything, so rest easy knowing that this won't be that sort of review.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Look at Some Vintage Magazines, Part 2

Let's continue our examination of a bunch of old magazines I bought:

No offense to director Jack Clayton, but that surely must rank as one of the most boring covers of Cinefantastique's history.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Look at Some Vintage Magazines, Part 1

If you've gotten here via The Truth Inside The Lie, welcome!  You'll notice that this blog doesn't have a whole lot to it yet, but trust me, it will in time; oh yes it will...

Anyways, as promised, here's a look at some old issues of Starlog I recently bought.

Let's start with this one:

I love that cover art.  I've never seen a single episode of Space: 1999, but it's on my list for eventual perusal.  In fact, given enough time, I"ll eventually be reviewing each and every episode right here at Where No Blog Has Gone Before.

Right inside the front cover, there is a photo that will make any semi-nerdy child of the seventies (and probably a fair numbers from the eighties) do that thing where you smile and frown at the same time:

Inside, there are good articles about the just announced Star Trek movie (which later got turned into a new television series, then back into a movie); Logan's Run, Space: 1999, Flash Gordon (PBS had evidently been airing the thirties serials and getting phenomenal ratings with them), The War of the Worlds, and notable sci-fi movie soundtracks.

The art for this wraparound cover is by Ira Gilford; sorry my scanner isn't big enough to take the whole thing at once!

The Star Wars coverage here is marvelous, and here's a fact that will be of interest to King fans: some of the interviews with cast and crew members were conducted by Mick Garris!

Lots of cool behind-the-scenes photos of effects work being filmed; here are two of the best:

Elsewhere in the issue, there are Close Encounters of the Third Kind interviews with Steven Spielberg and Douglas Trumbull, which are very good.

Great issue; I haven't even scratched the surface of it here.

Close Encounters is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.  When I was a kid, I never had this issue of Starlog, but I'd see pictures of it in their back-issue advertisements and sort of pine for it and wish I did have a copy.

Well, by Gan, now I've got one!  Is it all I hoped it would be?  Eh . . . not really.  But it's pretty cool nevertheless.

Let's have a look at a few fun things that popped up over the course of this issue's eighty pages.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Review of "Strange New World" (Star Trek Annual 2013, by John Byrne)

Here is a brief review I wrote of the new Star Trek comic "Strange New Worlds" (the 2013 annual) for one of my other blogs:

It's a double-sized issue in terms of page count; and also, at $7.99, in terms of price, and while such a high price for a single issue of a comic typically annoys me, in this case it feels like it's worth every penny . . . especially when you consider how much effort must have gone into making it happen. 
What we've got here is (as the cover has already told you) a photonovel by John Byrne.  It's a sequel to the first-season pilot episode, "Where No Man Has Gone Before."  Bryan McMillan recommended this issue to me, and it sounded cool, so I picked up a copy while at the comic chop earlier this week.  Bryan's recommendation carries some weight 'round these parts, and this particular recommendation does nothing to diminish that reputation; "Strange New Worlds" is very, very good. In case you don't have a solid grasp on what a photonovel is, conceptually, here are the first few pages: 
The concept of the photonovel is one that I've been familiar with for decades now, but I don't recall having ever actually encountered one.  I seem to recall seeing a few examples of the Star Trek photonovels (which were part of the Fotonovel brand) from the '70s at some point; and I think I read some comic that worked in that style once, too.  But if so, it failed to make a significant impression upon me. 
Not so this time.  Consider me a convert; I thought this was genius. 
Byrne, who wrote the script and also designed the art ("art?"?), has taken a huge amount of care with this story.  At first glance, especially to the uninitiated, it might appear to simply be images from the original Star Trek overlaid with new dialogue to create a brand-new "episode."  This isn't that; some of it is that, but only when the image is appropriate and functional.  Otherwise, Byrne's methods were more like manipulation of the original images to achieve the desired effect.  Occasionally, you can sort of see the join (the equivalent of seeing the zipper on the monster costume); but overall, the effect is startlingly effective. 
As for the story itself, it seems like something that really could have been an episode during a hypothetical season four of the series.  Just as a recent issue of The X-Files: Season 10 [#8, in case you were wondering] struck me as simply BEING The X-Files (as opposed to a facsimile of it), this issue strikes me as being vintage Star Trek.  Undoubtedly the medium (photonovel) has a lot to do with that; but the story has a lot to do with it, too, and without it succeeding, the issue would have been a failure, no matter how well-done the photonovel aspects were on a technical and conceptual level.    
My favorite panel, incidentally, is a cameo that I will not reveal; but it made me grin quite widely. 
At the end, Byrne has an afterword which seems to suggest that more such Trek photonovels might be in the offing.  If so, I'm onboard for them.