Legion Pilot – A (Mostly) Spoiler-Free Review

The newest addition to the ever-growing series of television shows based on Marvel properties arrived last week, with the FX show Legion.

Legion

The show, co-produced by Marvel and Fox, is the first live-action adaptation of Fox’s X-Men and mutant roster. (At the moment, it’s unclear if the show is going to tie into the X-Men Cinematic Universe or not.) The show follows the life of lead character David Haller, based of the Marvel character of the same name, who’s comic alias also gives the show it’s name. At the start of the show, David is a middle-aged man who has been diagnosed with  a severe case of schizophrenia from a young age — he constantly hears voices and sees things that don’t exist. David is currently being housed in a long-term mental health facility, where he meets the show’s lead female protagonist, a mysterious young woman named Sydney with a severe phobia of physical contact.

As the show progresses, David begins to form a relationship with Sydney, who largely rebels against the hospital’s treatments. Things go awry, however, when Sydney is set to be released, setting off a chain of events that leads David to start to believe what we, the viewer, probably already knew: that he’s not crazy, but he (and Sydney) seem to have super powers.

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Powerless – Pilot

Follow the staff of an insurance company, specialising in products to protect defenseless bystanders from the collateral damage of Superheroes and Supervillains. – IMDB

Powerless, starring Vanessa Hudges as Emily Locke, Alan Tudyk as Van Wayne (Firefly, Conman), Christina Kirk as Jackie, Ron Funches as Ron, Danny Pudi (Community), and Atlin Mitchell as Crimson Fox is set in the DC multiverse.

Emily Locke is a brand new employee of Wayne Security, run by Van Wayne at the behest of Bruce, moving from a quiet “fly over town” (where superheroes never stop) to Charm City. On her first day into work riding the train, Jack-o-Lantern attacks the city and the train is derailed, only to be stopped by Crimson Fox. An amazing experience for Emily, but an annoying and all too common experience for everyone else on the train. She’s the new head of R&D, but everyone appears to lack motivation, it will be up to Emily to make this team successful.

I thought the opening title sequence was pretty clever, showing classic superhero panels and zooming in on citizens in the background. Emphasizing that this show is about the everyday citizen, and not the super-powered people around them. Superman and Batman are explicitly named, so we know they exist in this DC universe, but I imagine we’ll never see them. Most of the funny lines were spoiled in the trailer, but there were still a couple of clever things that I hadn’t already heard. Danny Pudi delivers his familar deadpan lines, and the other team working for Emily appear to all have something to contribute to the humorous mood.

Overall, I think this might be the nice lighthearted superhero comedy it is trying to be.

Assassin’s Creed – A (mostly) spoiler-free review

It has become more than a cliche — almost a tautology — that movies based on video games are never good. The latest attempt, Assassin’s Creed, makes a strong effort to disprove that claim… but ultimately fails. Judged against others of its ilk, Assassin’s Creed is among the better video game movies, an eminently watchable two hours of simple fun. Unfortunately, it misses the mark on two of it’s most crucial audiences: die-hard fans of the game will complain about all the things wrong with the story, and (in a year that gave us Captain America: Civil War and Star Wars: Rogue One and Deadpool), the science fiction movie fan will probably find it falling to the bottom of their list.

Overall, I would give this movie a fairly mediocre 5/10 (its better than it’s RT score would indicate, but not much), and probably recommend you wait for RedBox. I saw the movie in 3-D in the theater, and there wasn’t much in it to justify the added cost. (If anything, seeing it in a theater may ruin the fun, as we’ll see later).

Here is a mostly spoiler-free review of the movie; though, fair warning: if you have never played an Assassin’s Creed game, those will be spoiled heavily here. To see where this movie did well, and where it floundered, read on…

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Timeless – Pilot

An unlikely trio traveling through time to battle unknown criminals in order to protect history as we know it. – IMDB

Timeless Pilot

The show opens with the death of the Hindenburg, showing one hypothesis about how it met its gruesome fate.

Now we cut to the present day with Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer) teaching a lecture at some University. She tells a story how once when questioned about the Vietnam War LBJ unzipped his pants and displayed his member “this is why!” As her lecture ends she meets up with some guy who tells her she won’t be receiving tenure. She is really angry, but she also appears to be a history teacher who spends her time talking about former president’s junk. So maybe it isn’t totally out of line. She goes home to her sad life where her sister and her both live in her mother’s house because her mother is on the brink of death.

Meanwhile, somewhere else, a group of men bust into a large warehouse, shoot up a few people (mostly guards) and kidnap a few more and jump into a large machine centered in the middle of the space. The machine spins up (literally) and then disappears.

Back to Lucy, she’s complaining to her sister about not getting tenure when the doorbell rings. Someone identifies themselves as Homeland Security and Lucy says “I don’t know what you are selling but I’m not interested.” I guess in her neighborhood sales people pose as Homeland Security all the time. Despite this, she ends up going with this person and ends up at the facility where the machine disappeared.

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A review of the Stonewylde series

I first discovered the Stonewylde books one Beltane a few years ago, and was immediately captivated by the magical story. It’s a strange kind of fantasy: set in a fictional secluded village in the English countryside, and rarely containing much palpable magic, preferring instead a subtlety which makes the magic, mainly based on ceremonies and meditation, hardly perceptible. A pagan believer might even argue that this isn’t fantasy at all. But I’m going to go with assuming it’s on-topic here; indeed, since the so-called Outside World is hardly involved in the story at all, much of it feels like it could be classic LotR-style fantasy, set in an entirely imaginary universe rather than an esoteric enclave of the real world.

The series consists of five books … wait, did I say five? I meant three. It’s a wonderful trilogy consisting of three books. OK, there are also two more books, set some thirteen years after the first three, but DO NOT read them. The first three books form a magical and beautiful story, like a delicate flower whose love and innocence shines through the darkest of times and uplifts the reader’s soul. The last two are a sickening blot, ugly and brutal in their betrayal of the franchise, like a crippling disease that consumes from within and slays slowly and without mercy; they leave a foul taste in the reader’s mouth. So most of this review will completely ignore the last two books and focus only on the first three. I will avoid spoilers as much as possible, although there will be a short section at the end which covers the last two books and necessarily contains spoilers from the first three.

stonewylde

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The Rise of the Red Shadow – Prequel to the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo Review

The rise of the red shadow

As promised, here is the review of the prequel to The Book of Deacon Trilogy and all I can say is that it is one of those rare things. A prequel that is leagues better than the original series. However much I may have enjoyed the Deacon series I enjoyed Rise of the Red Shadow more.

In this novel we follow Lian as he becomes the famed assassin that we all knew from the original series. We get a brilliant view into the history of the story as well as a great action and emotion packed set up for one of the best characters in the series.

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The Book of Deacon trilogy by Joseph Lallo (spoilers)

The Book of Deacon series covers

So I have just finished the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo. All in all I enjoyed it hugely. It was a nice quiet light fantasy with all the favorite magical elements, Dark, Light, Grey, Elemental, a little bit of Healing and some scary crystals and really bad dudes. I feel that it was a good solid trilogy that makes a nice filler between heavy series or just a nice holiday series when you don’t want to think too much. You can just read the story and let the events unfold in front of you. There were some issues with the series but I will get into that in a little bit!

The characters are all mostly likable (Ether being the exception) and even though the bad guys are truly evil, one can’t really hate them. They are all simple characters that are easy to understand (maybe a little to simple but…) and in the case of Myranda and Deacon, easy to get behind. You feel for her point of view about the war and about what it has done to her homeland. This being the driving factor for her as a Chosen.

Personally I rather liked Leo/Lian, he was for me the most well drawn character and the one that I felt that the series could easily have been based more on (on a side note I am looking forward to the prequel Rise of the Red Shadow as it follows Lian). He was certainly the most complex character, with his past as a slave and career as a famed assassin turned reluctant hero.

But I may be a little ahead of myself! I have not even told you what the series is about… shame on me! Let me put that right, right now.

There are two countries, the Northern Alliance and Tressor. They have been at war for about a hundred and fifty years… During that time things have gotten a little out of hand with evil beings from another set of worlds having come through a portal and slowly setting themselves up to take over this world as well. The only issue is the Chosen, Five heroes that were touched by the gods and made for the purpose of protecting the world. So the story starts as we follow the Chosen as they find each other an slowly all agree about what needs to be done. We have have Ivy, Myn, Leo/Lian, Ether and Myranda.

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Fant4stic: A Review

I originally wrote this review earlier this year, but have been inspired to post it by our latest Movie Night.

Loosely based on the Marvel characters of the same name, 2015’s Fantastic Four is a bizarrely dark version of their origin story. The film marks Fox’s third attempt at the franchise, and the 2015 reboot manages to fail even more than the first two. Fantastic Four is 100 minutes of boredom and poor creative decisions.

Fantastic-Four-2015-Movie-Poster-Wallpapers
Alternative names: “Fantastic Bore,” Fantastic Snore,” “Fail-tastic Four,” “Not-a-Single-Fan-tastic Four,” “Fantastic Fourgotten” and “Terrible Piece of Trash Movie.”

The film begins with Reed Richards, played as a child by Owen Judge, being mocked for his scientific aspirations. This is the film’s best part, as there are no obvious plot-holes or cringe-worthy creative decisions. Additionally, Richards’ flying car plans are a nice reference to the original comics.

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The Martian Novel by Andy Weir (Spoilers)

The Martian by Andy Weir

After seeing the movie was I was all hyped to read the novel, I thought that it would be great! I was wrong. Here follows why and yes there is going to be mentions about the movie throughout because I just can’t help be compare the two. They are joined in my mind and the movie is what got me reading this novel.

It was a perfect example of why the first person does not work for a whole novel. In places maybe but for a whole novel? Nope. The characters were cold and besides the many and long rants about how much of what and science stuff (more than there needed to be) there was little to entertain the eye around the story. Mark Watney did not make up for this lack. Without a face to show emotion or a third person narrative to show the reader the emotions there was nothing much to connect to. In truth, I was bored. It just ran along in a dull day to day entry log that was filled with stuff that had could have been said with half as many words and gotten to more interesting things faster. In a way this was a novella stretched to the length of a novel. For the worse I feel.

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Review – Star Trek Beyond

The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. – IMDB

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond opens nearly three years into their five year mission to explore deep space. Except for the occasional bout of failed diplomacy, life on the Enterprise has becoming fairly routine. One might almost say boring. Fortunately for them they are getting some much needed ship leave and they head off to the newest Federation Space Station, named Yorktown.

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