The Lathe of Heaven

Last week I posted about The Left Hand of Darkness,  a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. As a fiction author Le Guin has won so many awards that if The Purge was real, jealous Sci-Fi writers would make annual pilgrimages to her house to steal all the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus trophies, which I can only assume emerge from the factory already earmarked for her. She’s also the author of the Earthsea saga, as well as The Dispossessed and Lavinia. Continue reading

Man of Tai Chi

Man of Tai Chi

In my quest to watch all the bad martial art movies in the world I ran into Man of Tai Chi, which stars Keanu Reeves as the villain, and a relatively unknown action hero; Tiger Hu chen. As a martial artist Tiger’s career has touched on Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, as well as Kung Fu Hero and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.

So why is he an unknown in the movie world? He was a stuntman and a coordinator, which means he’s really, really good at martial arts. This explains his move from behind-the-camera to hero.

tiger_01In 2013 Man of Tai Chi was advertised briefly in theaters, got a lukewarm reception by critics, and scored 50% by audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. This movie falls into the worst category a movie can fall into. It wasn’t good enough to pay money to see, and it wasn’t bad enough to garner a cult following. It was considered forgettable, and received a resounding “Meh” from moviegoers. Continue reading

Dark Souls - Bonfire

Dark Souls

The Fellowship heads deep into the mines of Moria. On their way, they see the evidence of life that was in this darkened place, now lost. The rooms are filled with abandoned armor and skeletons. The city that once echoed with the steel clangs of a thousand smiths is now eerily quiet. This golden hall of kings is now filled with shadows and death. As the heroes warily go deeper and deeper into the mine, past dusty rock and worn pillars, they find a journal. This Book of Mazarbul explains in vivid detail what happened to the last of the Dwarves before the end. Drums. Drums in the deep. “They are coming.” Continue reading

X-Men Days of Future Past - Professor X and Magneto Dichotomy

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Around the time that I graduated high school, X-Men 2 came out in theaters. That movie has since been universally accepted as one of, if not the, best X-Men film adaptations ever created. It had phenomenal action, from Nightcrawler’s one-man attack on the White House to a desperate midnight battle at Xavier’s school. It was X2 that caused Hugh Jackman’s popularity to skyrocket, as he expertly showed us a Wolverine tormented by his past and searching for answers. The film skillfully explored themes on alienation and identity that are intrinsic to X-Men, yet had never quite translated in the shift to the silver screen. Finally, despite having an immense ensemble cast of mutants of all kinds, it felt like we managed to get an intimate look at each character. This is an impressive task for any movie with an enormous cast. That the director, Bryan Singer, managed to pull this off in a setting where one character can shoot flame from his fingertips and another can create tornadoes at will is an accomplishment that I don’t think many people give him credit for. Continue reading


Cleverbot – My Drunk Chatty Friend

For those of you who aren’t waiting with bated breath for the robot uprising (which I promise is any day now) here is your official update.

While I was hunting around for my next videogame purchase I ran into the Cleverbot mobile app, which is available at the Google Store for a buck. This app connects your phone to the growing Artificial Intelligence known as Cleverbot. And for those of you who are now rolling your eyes and groaning; “But Joe, there’s no such thing as real AI!” Allow me to correct you while simultaneously introducing you to our future overlord. Continue reading

7 Days to Die - Featured Image

7 Days to Die

Pop culture vomits forth an endless torrent of zombies these days. The stories have become so repetitive and similar that it was only a year or so ago that we got the zombie romance, Warm Bodies. Isn’t it a sign of desperation for a fresh story that now we have characters who have literally fallen in love with a rotting, flesh-eating corpse? Video games have followed this trend with as much fervor, offering zombie games of all flavors to those interested. You have the horror of The Walking Dead, if you are interested in a character-driven tale with powerfully emotive writing. If you’d prefer a comedic zombie slaying spree, then spend your time with Dead Rising, a game where you can use stop signs and parking meters to beat the ever-loving snot out of the shambling hordes. And, if you are unreasonably excited by the idea of simulating what life would actually be like after a zombie invasion, play some DayZ, a game where you can wander about, starve to death, and get preyed upon by the other survivors. Continue reading


The Pacific theater of World War II receives a fraction of the attention that the European theater does. My own interest in it stems from my experience visiting Japan when I was younger. For almost two weeks I roamed the busy streets, watching kids walk around them, showing off their latest designer clothing and phones. I climbed the stairs to lonely and windswept temples, and even snuck into the back of one. I marveled at the peculiar mix of eastern culture with western technology, a culture so familiar yet peculiar that it felt akin to walking through Alice’s Wonderland. The Japanese aesthetic and their mythology has always been fascinating to me, particularly given how different it feels from my Western background. Japan is a unique and contradictory blend of pride, pacifism, discipline, and adaptability that has, since World War II, embraced American culture while somehow remaining wholly separate from it. Japan has always been an enigma to me, both past and present, and I always find myself revisiting it and trying to learn more. Continue reading


The Dark Crystal

Over the next few months I hope to cover a few childhood favorites of mine, focusing on movies that had disturbing morals, dark implications, and twisted themes. This may be me subconsciously justifying the dungeon I’ve installed in my basement. Or why my nostalgia reviews dwell on dark stories. Or why the bones I use to decorate my yard on Halloween look so realistic…

When I look back at film favorites and think; “That movie was soooo cool! It had muppets, and neat monsters and magic, and young people confronting evil forces…who drained the life out of the innocent…and plunged the world into dark dystopia, full of genocide and, and wait… wait a moment, that shit was crazy!”

I think of The Dark Crystal. Which was, I’m told, a children’s movie

-- Google Images
— Google Images

“My ass!” Continue reading


The Spectacular Now

I like movies.

Every one who’s met me probably knows this. It’s so synonymous with who I am that a few years back when I ran across a friend from grade school, she sent me a message saying how glad she was to hear from me and asked if I still watched movies all the time.

Why, yes. Yes, I do. Actually, I’m more of a tv show addict with a movie thrown in now and then for variety, but I’ll let it slide. Close enough. Continue reading

Palo Alto - Featured Image

Palo Alto

Since he first came onto the movie scene, James Franco is an actor that has fascinated me. It took me quite a while to figure out how to articulate exactly why that is. After all, this is that one guy who always falls somewhere on a two-sided scale. On one side, you have the goofiest stoner you’ve ever seen with a slight undercurrent of creepy. On the other, you have an actor capable of giving a role this intense and heartfelt performance that always seems to come from a place that is innocent and pure. The weird thing about James Franco, though, is that most of the time he seems to happily stay on that stoner level. He seems to inhabit the persona so completely that many accused him of being high as a kite when presenting the Oscars ceremony in 2011. Thus many people write Franco off as this eccentric nut who, every so often, appears in some blockbuster seemingly without any good reason at all. Continue reading

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