Phew. I’ve now updated our full listing. See it here: https://metaphysicalfantasy.wordpress.com/events/uk-conventions-and-festivals-scifi-fantasy-and-horror/.
I’m happy to announce that I’ve got a new book out! It’s a collection of short stories written in the sub-genre of sci-fi known as ‘cli-fi’. The tales and their themes are relevant and important, asking the reader to reflect on where we might end up as a species if we don’t start doing something about climate change.
A friend of mine who works as a Risk Manager (Matt Beeson) was the real driver behind the book, and he’s written a wizard, science-based intro. I contributed a story set in Scotland titled ‘Unicorn Rising’, and edited half the collection. Do consider supporting our little project by buying a copy? You can find it on Amazon, of course.
I’m pleased to say my new book is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Hurrah!
I’m pleased to announce that I’ve just had an article published in this new collection of essays about Tolkien. My essay is on Smaug and the literary history of dragons, from the Bible up to the current day! Want a copy? Right here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fellowship-Dragons-Welcome-Francesca-Barbini/dp/1913387984/ref=sr_1_1?crid=O850ZALFISR1&keywords=dragons+welcome+barbini&qid=1657708194&s=books&sprefix=dragons+welcome+barbini%2Cstripbooks%2C64&sr=1-1.
Spike has been awoken from his eternal rest, meaning the apocalypse must be close at hand! It all began to turn south in 2016, apparently, when all the best celebrities died (and dark forces began to arise in the US, presumably heralding the return of ‘The Master’), and now time is running out! Thankfully, Spike (aka Brendan Murphy) is here to save the day, resurrecting all that was good and innocent about us in the times before…
Buffy Revamped is a brilliant stand-up show in which we get a reprise of all seven series of Buffy in just 70 madcap minutes, complete with comedy impressions, a superior retro sound track, odes to all your fave characters (and a few you’d forgotten about!), mini video-lectures (thanks, Giles!), and even Angel trying to steal the show. And. Spike. Is. Not. Jealous. How. Dare. You!
Every member of the audience is issued with chopsticks doubling up as ‘Emergency Stakes’…
… which proves to be very handy! You’re also issued with a damn good time, including laughs aplenty, nostalgia galore, and something for everyone. It was amazing to see the different generations of fans (clearly, the pandemic saw a whole new generation binge-watching our fave vampire-epic), and a timely reminder that there are things that can still unite us all in celebration.
If you weren’t the biggest fan of some of the cornier episodes back in the day, you’ll enjoy this gentle spoofing of it. And if you were the biggest fan, you’ll adore the homage that is Buffy Revamped and you’ll want to rewatch the whole seven series again, just in time for the modern reboot that is rumoured to be in production! It was all fangtastic! Sorry.
You can catch the hit show in London at the mo… and there’s bound to be demand for other venues…
This comedy-horror is destined to become a cult hit like Tucker and Dale versus Evil. Our hero is rushing to audition for a talent show (bit like Britain’s Got Talent), but various bullies and jobsworths contrive to get in his way. Things go from bad to worse and his dreams are shattered. It was his big chance at fame and fortune! Life is so unfair for the little man… until the little man decides he’s had enough and is going to get even, or die trying! Cue all hell breaking loose!
As you might already be able to glean from the above, this movie has important satirical themes concerning class, capitalist society (even the Church is on the make), social inadequacy, social welfare and, well, just about everything else too. It’s not just some idle piece of self-indulgent gore. It’s a film with both smarts and heart.
And the cast is absolutely stellar, including the cream of British comedic actors (e.g. Johnny Vegas, Kevin Bishop and Katherine Parkinson). June Watson (The Lady in the Van, The Death of Stalin, and more) plays Paul’s mum, and she is brilliantly poignant – definitely my fave character… although Mandeep Dhillon as the community police officer (and puts up with no end of grief for not being a ‘proper’ police officer) is equally fab.
I’m not too proud to confess I properly cried in both the middle (sad tears) and at the end (happy tears). Yet I laughed just as much as I cried. Like life, this film is a rollercoaster of emotions. I like ‘light and shade’ in my movies, as it generates that bitter-sweetness that is quintessentially British humour or irony (the latter term, ironically, can’t even be pronounced correctly by certain American critics, LOL!).
I believe the film also represents a bit of a breakthrough for the lead scriptwriter, one Matthew White (https://www.mattwhitescripts.com/), so it’s great to have a bravely fresh British ‘voice’ coming to the screen. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then get your life priorities sorted or die trying! The film scores a deadly 9.9 out of 10 from this enlightened critic!
Phew, so I’ve just updated the listing of conventions, and it looks like a busy old year coming up, apparently unfazed and fearless of the all-powerful Omichron (which is a Doctor Who monster, right?). Anyway, here’s what’s coming up: https://metaphysicalfantasy.wordpress.com/events/uk-conventions-and-festivals-scifi-fantasy-and-horror/!
Well, to answer the question… you know when – with your xmas lunch – you’ve had three large roast potatoes (the first three movies) and you know you reeeally shouldn’t have a fourth? You want it cos it tastes so good, but your stomach already hurts. And so you have it anyway. Then you’ve reeeally had enough! Well, The Matrix Resurrections is just like that extra spud. The tension between desire and fear is actually a theme of this latest movie, too.
Should they have made that fourth one? And should I have consumed it so eagerly? Hard to say. Someone get me an Alka-Seltzer.
Keanu still can’t act. But that was never the point, and it was never really that big a deal, so quit whining already. And, yes, there is an abundance of plot-holes (rabbit-holes would be a more appropriate term, given the White Rabbit theme of this latest offering). And we know that Keanu’s comedic timing is always off, and that he can’t deliver well written dialogue even if Carrie-Anne Moss is managing to get the wooden stage-set emoting more than him. BUT IT’S THE MATRIX! The visuals and high(ish) concepts are what it’s all about.
This new movie does offer some new scenarios, and the machines have had the sort of upgrade even Denis Villeneuve might nod at approvingly. The first 40mins, set in our fake real-world, actually resonate quite well (with the sense of social distancing, isolation and modern working-ennui), even if we do then keep jumping between worlds too frequently for it to be anything but annoying. It’s just a bit pell-mell really, with too many characters squeezed in, and one too many fight scenes. Yet the larger themes and meditations just about see us through.
Neo starts as Thomas Anderson, the famous creator of a game called The Matrix. Sadly, he had a mental breakdown and started to think of the fiction of The Matrix as real! Fortunately, he has an analyst who helps him realise The Matrix is just a delusional fiction. Phew. The end.
It scores 6.5 out of 10 from me!
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This movie was written before the pandemic, which makes it an unsettling coincidence that its main theme concerns an evil mastermind looking to unleash a bio-weapon (virus) upon the world – a ‘smart’ virus that can be programmed to kill certain individuals, certain family lines and certain races! The showdown takes place in The Poison Garden, which is a microcosm of the wider world (God’s creation), in which it is humans who wreak such death and destruction upon both nature and themselves, becoming victims of themselves. Yes, this film is about consequences, individual, social and political. Even Bond suffers consequences for the things he does and has done.
Was the film worth the wait, because the pandemic saw its release delayed by a year or two? Yes, indeed. And it’s worth the wait of the 2hrs43mins running time, too. When you see it, you’ll see why it has to be that long, to tell both the individual’s story and the wider-world’s story. You’ll also see why they insisted it be shown at cinemas (rather than rushing it out on Netflix), because the cinematography is breath-taking.
It’s a great way for Daniel Craig to sign off as Bond. But I reckon I’ll leave it there, to avoid spoilers, init. The movie scores a debonair 9 out of 10 from me. (Why not a 10? Well, Rami Malek as the bad guy has a nonsense of an accent, and some of his cryptic pronouncements were just poor scriptwriting, actually (and clearly not the bits written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge.) My partner actually wants to go see it again, so it was clearly doing something right, eh?