Sunday, August 17, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) starring Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Zoe Salanda, voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel

There's not a lot I can say about this movie that hasn't been said already by Derrick Ferguson Jack Badelaire and  Mark Bousquet (who is also writing a series of character specific reactions) and a lot of others.

I thought Guardians was a clever move by Marvel Studios - it builds on elements introduced in The Avengers (Thanos and The Other) and Thor 2 (The Collector), and does so in a way that takes us beyond what we've seen previously and explores a whole new direction.  The movie opens with the abduction of young Peter Quill from Earth and he's our point of view character in the story.  That opening takes us from the familiar (Earth) and lets us explore the galaxy.

Chris Pratt in a lot of ways reminds me of Harrison Ford's Han Solo (and this probably makes Disney's Han Solo film that much harder). But Pratt's Quill is not the only character who we meet and develop a bond with.  There is one scene that had both my daughters in tears, so much did they come to care about the characters.

Rocket Racoon and Groot are the Jay and Silent Bob of this movie and I would cheerfully plonk down my cash for a movie starring them.

Gamora is an interesting character, in spite of her messed up upbringing by Thanos, she is willing to betray him to do what is right.  The movie offers her in direct contrast with her sister, Nebula.

Drax the Destroyer is a focused character and is literalism is played for laughs, but his partnership with the Guardians causes him to grow.  Actually, that holds for all the characters, alone they couldn't achieve their individual goals but together they move beyond their limitations and become better and more effective in achieving their goals.

The Guardians are getting a major push by Marvel in the comics and appearances in Hulk and The Agents of SMASH and Ultimate Spider-Man animated cartoons.

I loved this movie. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Musketeers (2014) season 1

I heard about the latest version of The Three Musketeers and was interested.  I saw that it would be on the new channel, BBC First, which was billed as a premium drama channel - which left me cursing - premium means "charge you a ton of money".  The Musketeers was a ten episode season, so even if we got a free sample I would only get to see a few episodes.  So I figured that I wouldn't get see the show.

However, BBC First was included in my package, happy days.  Next I find that the first ten hours of BBC First would be the entire season of The Musketeers. Even better. Except for Peter Capaldi (the latest Doctor Who) I'd not heard of any of the actors.  (However, I later discovered that the actor playing Aramis, Santiago Cabrera, had been Lancelot in The Adventures of Merlin)

 It's been awhile since I last read Dumas but this version contains a great deal of expanded information about our four heroes.  I also liked the hints about the shared history between Captain Treville and Cardinal Richelieu, such as Marie de Medici's attempt to overthrow her son the King.

Each episode was a stand alone adventure, and was a crackling good swashbuckling adventure.

With Capaldi, off to play Doctor Who, season two will have to find  a new schemer to work in the background.   I really enjoyed his Richelieu - he is not  only the Cardinal of France but he is the First Minister, and we see something of the drive and ambition of the man - he seems to always be working in the best interests of France.   I suspected in the episode The Exiles, had Marie de Medici offered him a better deal he might have taken it.

Ryan Gage as King Louis was a treat,  the King is this strange mixture of ruler and little boy.  He relies heavily on the council of the Cardinal .

The series as a whole was beautiful and I loved the Musketeer Uniforms.

Well worth watching.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Professor Moriarty: The Hound of the D'Urbervilles (2011) Kim Newman Titan Books

Every now and then there come a fresh idea/perspective that in hindsight is so brilliantly obvious that it comes as a surprise that it took so long for someone to come to that conclusion.  I remember thinking "why hadn't someone thought of that before." when I read the premise for 30 Days of Night.

The same thought came to me when I read Hound of the D'Urbervilles, if Professor Moriarty was the dark reflection of Sherlock Holmes, then it stood to reason that Col Moran was his Watson.  This was something Doyle never used and certainly it hadn't appeared in any of the Moriarty centred pastiches I had read, certainly not in the two John Gardner works The Return of Moriarty and The Revenge of Moriarty.

Kim Newman is a genius.  This fresh perspective on Moriarty and his organisation was a breath of fresh air and Newman manages to make a number of connections to other works of fiction the obvious one from the title is Tess of the D'Urbervilles.  I regret not reading this sooner it was so much fun.  I loved the appearance of Irene Adler, with her getting the better of Moriarty.  "To Professor Moriarty she was always That Bitch" tells Col Moran.

Newman has long been a favourite writer of mine.

If you enjoy Newman's other works, Sherlockian fiction or literary mashups this this book for you

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Green Hornet Casefiles (2011 )edited by Joe Gentile & Win Eckert Moonstone

originally posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 8:01:03 PM

The second volume of short stories from Moonstone based on The Green Hornet TV series. I will repeat what I said about the first volume - this could be considered as another season of the TV series.

The stories are all excellent. Matthew Baugh’s Auld Acquaintance and Howard Hopkins Sting of The Yellow Jacket serve as direct sequels to their stories in the first volume and utilise an ally and an enemy for the Green Hornet with connections to an earlier crime fighting member of the Reid family.

Another theme that runs through several stories is the Detroit riots of 1967. In some stories, The Green Hornet and Kato merely acknowledge the riots happened and in others the crime fighters attempt to become involved. These stories add an layer of authenticity to the world of the Green Hornet.

I enjoyed Ron Fortier’s introduction talking about his time writing the Now Comics Green Hornet series and the afterwords about Raymond J. Meurer.

The one thing that comes through in these stories and the package as whole is the love for the character of The Green Hornet. I would recommend grabbing this (and the first volume if you haven’t already got it)