Why Downton Abbey has lost its charm – TV review

MJG Book / Movie Reviews, Life Leave a Comment

For 5 years I have loved Downton Abbey- getting excited weeks before it came on, getting all tremulous when the gorgeous and haunting theme music came on, reading up about it and being on tenterhooks to find out what was going to happen next. But now that feeling seems to be gone, and I’m sad, puzzled, and wanting to know why. Yesterday I turned on the TV and saw on the Guide Downton Abbey? What? I thought it had to be a repeat. No, it was episode 4. EPISODE 4?! How did I miss that it was on? Even in …

Why ‘The Martian’ is not so out of this world – movie review

MJG and how to fix it, Book / Movie Reviews 2 Comments

Have you any idea how many vacuum-packed turds it would take to turn desiccated Martian dust into thriving, bacteria-rich, potato-nurturing soil? How about hydrazine, if you knew what that was, could you turn it into water without burning your face off? Ridley’s Scott’s latest movie The Martian, based on the bestselling book by one-book author Andy Weir, will point you in the right direction: Turds- A lot Not burn off face- Wear a space helmet These are some of the most gripping scenes in the book, a runaway bestseller that started out as posts on Andy Weir’s blog in 2011, …

Why Tom Hardy’s Legend is basically a true story.

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Numerous critics have been slating Tom Hardy’s movie ‘Legend’, about the notorious gangsters Ron and Reggie Kray, on the grounds that it misrepresents history, glamorizes and Americanizes violence and the gangster life, and generally does a poor job of showing the REAL Krays and the REAL social cost of their bloody trail of terror splattered from London’s East End to Soho. But they’re wrong to attack it for that, and I’ll tell you why. ‘Legend’ is a taut action gangster story, full of threat, charm, massive amounts of cocksure grinning, and of course sudden, bloody violence. Yeah, that’s what we …

Why Walking Dead season 5 whiffed, languished, echoed and finally rocked.

MJG Reviews, TV Leave a Comment

I love Walking Dead. I didn’t at first, I’ll admit that- for a few years in the middle I was staring in disbelief at people as they said it was the best show on TV. “What?” I’d declaim. “That bunch of pansies?” It seemed to me that Rick and crew were weak. They failed repeatedly. They were not survivors. But things changed. I gave it another go at season 3, and I liked what I saw. I’ve liked it ever since, and I liked season 5 plenty too, despite a series of whiffs, languishments, and echoes that it took to …

Why ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ gives almost all I wanted – book review

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★★★★ The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey is a perspective-flipping zombie road novel with a very great deal to recommend it. It starts off extremely tight-focused, homed in on one little girl and her experience of her bizarre, locked-box (Pandoran?) school, then explodes outward in a way most zombie stories don’t- digging into the science of the zombie infection, zooming into the epidemic hypocenter, and giving us a haunting sense of closure. All the gifts indeed. Yet- I can’t say I loved it. I’ll get into why after I say everything that was so good. There’ll …

Why The Maze Runner outruns all logic – movie review

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 75 Comments

★★★ The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Dash is a good name for a book about running) is an infuriatingly good example of taking great liberal splashes of all the great stuff that went before (LOST, Truman Show, Hunger Games), and not learning the key lesson from any of them. It is fun, it is rollicking, but by the end (and after reading the synopses of its sequels on wikipedia) I just feel like it’s empty, like a jester’s sad bauble-bladder deflated of all air. Disappointing. But, if you’re not burned out still on the let-down cop-out ending of a …

Why Game of Thrones is a knockout bracket – TV review

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Before the last US election (2012) there was an intensely mad and squabblish Presidential Primary for the GOP, during which a whole heffalump of oddball candidates popped their heads up, beat the crap out of each other in televised debates, then died dramatically politically. At the end one victor was left standing to go up again his highness, Barack Obama, to become King President of all the realm. As it with the GOP, so it goes with the GOT (Game of Thrones). GOP & GOT Perhaps it is utterly obvious that everything we see in GOT is a knockout tournament …

Horns fit for a King – book review

MJG Fantasy, Reviews Leave a Comment

★★★★★ Horns by Joe Hill (son of Stephen King) is a work of pure creative genius, and I loved (almost) every minute of it. Its high-concept ‘sympathy for the devil’ premise is totally fresh, intricate, and delightfully surprising, with the unexpected bonus that its climax shatters the King weak ending curse, with not a hint of deus ex machina anywhere to be seen. Highly recommended. From the moment 26-year old sex-murder-suspect / layabout slacker Ig Perrish wakes up with horns sprouting from his head, and enters the first of many startling, bizarre, and disturbing confrontations with the people he knows …

Why Redshirts should be first to die – book review

MJG Reviews, Science Fiction 14 Comments

★ Redshirts completely sucks. I cannot say it any more plainly than that. Though it has a neat conceit (right there in the title), it is lazily, utterly derivative, ridiculously boring, and every character within it is not only infuriatingly sarcastic and crassly sexual, but they are also completely the same, indistinguishable from each other. I quit reading after about 100 pages, because it just so monumentally uninteresting. I cannot for one moment fathom how author John Scalzi won the Hugo Award, unless the voters were so eager to suck up to Scalzi, now head of the SFWA (Science Fiction …