Sunday, February 28, 2016

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Film Review


90 Minutes


Nuclear Powered Bitchslap

(Spoilers for the previous three Superman films are below).

After the flop that was Superman III, Christopher Reeve felt the series was becoming too campy and chose to shy away from doing another sequel. However, after being given the power to help shape the story, he quickly changed his mind. With Lawrence Konner and Mark Rosenthal, Reeve developed a story fit for a Man of Steel adventure as well as something that would appeal to the fans. Unfortunately, the studio didn’t have the same reverence for the film and barely supported it throughout filming and post. The result is a unfinished, unsatisfying mess of a film.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Film Review


It’s hard not to laugh at the title of this film.  The idea of the 16th President of the United States battling vampires; the American Civil War being symbolically turned into a battle by humans trying to save themselves from an undead doomsday; these are the two primary creative rewrites of American history that this film has to offer audiences.

Snow White and the Huntsman Film Review


127 Minutes


Mirror Mirror on the Wall – Kristen Stewart is Not Fairest of Them All

I’m sure when most people hear the word Snow White they immediately think of first animated movie made by Disney, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney didn’t originate the Snow White story, but they gave it mainstream exposure. The before mentioned film is a classic, and subsequently any future attempts of telling this story through any visual medium will have to face the scrutiny of being compared to the Disney version of the story.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Film Review (Non Book Reader)


(Contains spoilers from the first Hunger Games film. This review is being written from a non book readers perspective, we will also be posting a review from a book readers perspective).

We all fear what it would be like if the Nazis had won the war, or in an even worse scenario, if some new evil regime crushes the voices of the people and forces them into an oppressed lifestyle. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy explored this idea and made some relevant connections between our current geopolitical state and that of her fictional land of Panem. Hollywood, once again capitalizing off the hard work of others, has begun making the novels into full length features. The first Hunger Games film was a massive success, and not bad to boot, and now the second film has been unleashed upon a Jennifer Lawrence/ Dystopian Sci-Fi hungry audience.

Oz The Great and Powerful Film Review


Oz the Great and Powerful is Disney’s adaption of a prequel to Frank L. Baum’s Oz series.  By association it is also a prequel to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Oz is a high budget risky gamble by Disney, as it attempts to go back to the land of Oz, a land that many people feel is sacred in film due to the elite status of the 1939 film.  Nevertheless, Disney had to have a lot of courage to make this film, and that is admirable.  So the question, simply put is, does Oz the Great and Powerful live up to its high expectations?

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Ten Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2015

by The Wanderer


Ranking of 2015’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction Books

This is our third year reviewing and writing about everything that’s related to fantasy and science fiction.  Admittedly we tend to focus heavily on reviewing movies and books, so we will be providing best of lists for each of those for 2015.

As the primary book reader at ATG Reviews, I wish I could have read everything I wanted to, but alas time isn’t unlimited. Nevertheless I took up as many reading projects as I could manage – both classics and newer books.  Our Top 10 List was made using the following guidelines:

  • Books must be related in some way to the genres of fantasy and science fiction.
  • Books must have a word count longer than 40,000 (So no novellas, short stories or anthologies).
  • Books must have been published for the first time in 2015 (Sorry classic SFF books and translations … looking at you The Dark Forest).
  • Books that are published from the same series are limited only to the best book in that series (Looking at Joe and Jo on that one).

Don’t agree with our list, feel free to list your favorite fantasy and science fiction books of 2015 in the comments below.

Star Trek: Into Darkness Film Review



Boldly Gone

In 2009, J.J. Abrams brought a reboot of the beloved Star Trek series to the silver screen. It turned out to be a critical and commercial success. With a plot that not only reinvigorated the franchise, but payed homage to it and made sense within the continuity of the entire series, Trekkies around the world rejoiced. Now, Abrams returns to the director’s chair to try and outdo himself.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Film Review


I am fire! I am death!

This article features spoilers for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

After a long wait, fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit finally get to see a big screen version of the classic tale that features one of the most memorable characters the author ever made, Smaug. But, does Peter Jackson’s film adaptation live up to the massive expectations from fans the world over? I think so.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Film Review


As the fires of the Tomb Raider franchise burned brightest, and the frenzy for all things Lara reached a Beatlemania high, some Hollywood bigwigs in a burst of creative brilliance found something that people liked that they could turn to profit. Throw in a blossoming, beautiful American actress and a pair of shiny pistols and the Tomb Raider train was ready for it’s big screen premiere.

The Amazing Spider-Man Film Review


The Amazing Spider-Man is the first film of a 2012 reboot of the original Spider-man film franchise. Again like Sam Raimi’s take on Spider-man in the previous franchise we get the origin story of Spider-man, albeit a different take, and Spider-man has different girl he is chasing this film in Gwen Stacey.

With the reboot of the franchise occurring after Spiderman 4 was nixed, and less than a decade after Raimi finished his trilogy the greedy movie making executive looking to exploit a money making character immediately comes to mind. However, the film does Spider-man justice and ultimately creates the best Spider-man film to date.

With the first film in what is assumed to be another Spider-man trilogy complete, it is safe to say that this franchise reboot may even be able to rival Nolan’s Batman franchise later on down the line. Until then this is an excellent re-start to the Spider-man franchise that has already surpassed the previous trilogy created by Raimi.

The Matrix Revolutions Film Review


The Matrix Revolutions

(Spoilers for The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded are below).

After the disastrous second movie in the Matrix series, Matrix Revolutions looks to redeem the franchise, and bring the trilogy to a worthwhile conclusion.

The film does move the plot forward and fighting sequences in this film aren’t as pointless as they were in The Matrix Reloaded, however the way the story concludes leaves a number of plot holes and moments that make the outcome of the battle between humans and machines feel very artificial, and logically a giant contradiction.

The Matrix Revolutions continues putting the Matrix film series on its path of self-destruction.  Although not as terrible as the previous film, the final installment is anti-climactic and unfulfilling.

The Matrix Reloaded Film Review


Director: The Wachowski Brothers
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Hugo Weaving
Series: The Matrix
MPAA Rating: R
Length: 138 Minutes

The Matrix Reloaded 


(Spoilers for The Matrix are below)

The Matrix Reloaded looked to capitalize off the success of its predecessor The Matrix and continue Neo’s story as he leads humanity in the war against the machines.  In a sequel that really needed to focus on expanding the story about the war effort against the machines, the film instead resorts to more of the same old formulas and tricks that made the first Matrix film great – lots of guns and kung fu fighting scenes.

Unfortunately this doesn’t work as The Matrix Reloaded seems to believe it can win over audiences by upgrading certain aspects of the fighting scenes from the previous film.  Instead of Neo fighting hand to hand combat against enemies, he now fights enemies with SWORDS!  Instead of Morpheus and Trinity fighting enemies in buildings they now fight them in MOVING VEHICLES!

Insidious: Chapter 2 Film Review



Dark Vader 


(This review features heavy spoilers for Insidious).

As far as supernatural horror goes, most recent entries in the genre have been easily forgettable. Even 2011’s Insidious was somewhat disappointing, despite having a solid opening act and brilliant sound. Until The Conjuring, horror fans were best off watching old classics like The Shining and The Exorcist. With such a powerful and positive response to The Conjuring, James Wan alleged that he was taking things he learned from that experience and applying them to his follow up to Insidious. Sadly, it seems he was just blowing smoke, as Insidious: Chapter 2 is a mostly stale exercise in conventional PG-13 horror.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Deadpool Film Review

by The Wanderer

Director: Tim Miller
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano.
MPAA Rating: R
Series: Deadpool
Length: 108 minutes

I'm Going To Do To Your Face What Limp Bizkit Did To Music In The Late 90's

I'm not a fan of Deadpool the comic character, that being due to my ignorance of his existence rather than actually reading his stories. But when I saw this movie was going to be rated R, and that it would be taking liberal use of the language license those movies grant, I got pretty excited.  

The superhero formula has gotten old, and finally there was going to be a movie, that could help revitalize a fun film genre that has been showing signs of stagnation due to repetitive plot formulas and over-exposure to the masses ... so maybe my expectations were a little high, but that's what I was hoping for walking into the theater.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Book Review

 by The Wanderer

Author: George R. R. Martin
Publisher: Bantam
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire (Dunk and Egg 1-3)
Pages: 368

Buy on Amazon!

Bald King Arthur and His Oafish (but lovable) Knight

It's going to be hard to write this review, mainly due to the fact that I had written a nice lengthy review of the three novellas that make up Martin's A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, that was unfortunately deleted a couple months ago. 

But such is life.

We've reviewed collections of stories before and we calculate the score of those compendiums based off the average score of each writing involved. With this grouping of the Dunk and Egg stories, it will be no different. So without further ado, here is the shorter version of the original review we lost, a couple months ago and never originally got to publish.