Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Last Thoughts for 2016

What a year it's been! There seem to have been more losses in the film world (not to mention the "real world") than are either usual or warranted. For Babylon 5 fans, the loss of Jerry Doyle hit especially hard, and the fact that he and Garibaldi had so many similarities is a cause for great sadness.

I know that I have not been a faithful correspondent this year and I vow to do better in 2017. This year was just cram-packed with things that took me away from this blog, which is - in the final analysis - a labor of love, rather than a paying gig. And bills (like pipers) must be paid. That being said, Rogue One and Moana - I loved you both and you deserved full write-ups.

However, 2016 also brought the delayed-by-cancer completion of Dreams Given Form. Ensley and I are in the copy-editing phase, having sent off the publication catalog blurb. We still have work to do, but we are firmly in the final stages and Dreams Given Form will be given form in 2017! And really - I cannot say enough good things about ECW's support for this project. There are some publishing houses who would've reacted to my diagnosis by saying, "That's awful! So you can't make the contract deadline. Hmm - well, you get better and we're passing on the book." ECW never wavered in their support and I hope the book sells truckloads to reward them for their loyalty. (Do what you can on that, won't you?)

In the final week of 2016, I hope to see both Fences and Hidden Figures. And how great was it to come out of a store after making a candy cane run to have someone holler at me from a parked car, "Fences. Yeah, Fences. Worth seeing?" When I said I hadn't seen it yet - Meet Me at the Movies doesn't get advance screenings - he cheerfully asked, "Okay, then. What about Rogue One?"

Movies bring people together. So please - watch us on TV19! New episodes every Friday and you can watch us anywhere in the world through streaming! Just go to and select CTV19 at the top of your screen. That'll take you to all the fabulous TV19 shows that stream - we're the first one on the left!

And Merry Christmas to you all! May 2017 be wondrous to all of us!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Stunner of a Film

In the last several weeks, I've seen a number of films, but haven't gotten around to writing them up. Well, that'll happen sometimes. Suffice it to say that most of what I've seen (from Dr. Strange to Edge of Seventeen) has been okay, but nothing that totally made me glad I'd seen it on the big screen. Other critics have mooned over these while I just -- didn't. Maybe it's end-of-semester doldrums; I don't know.

But there was an exception. Hacksaw Ridge. If you are old enough (do NOT take children to this - it's a "hard R" for graphic war violence, on the Saving Private Ryan opening scene level), go see this, then immediately put it on your "must buy" list.

Heaven knows, I've got my problems with Mel Gibson (one movie I've recently seen and loved was Peter Weir's Gallipoli, which stars a shockingly young Gibson), both in his on and off screen efforts. Let's limit this to onscreen - the man likes violence and has a penchant for lovingly filming horrific violence being done to his characters (Braveheart, I'm looking at you. You, too, Passion of the Christ). What lets him do this is the fact that he knows how to tell a story effectively and in Hacksaw Ridge, he's in top form.

Hacksaw Ridge tells the slightly fictionalized story of Desmond Doss (played so very well by Andrew Garfield), a Seventh-Day Adventist who enlisted during WW2 to become a medic. Due to his faith, he refused to so much as touch a gun, which made basic training very, very difficult. During the lengthy hellscape that was the Battle of Okinawa, Doss showed his courage time and time again as he rescued dozens of wounded men from certain death. In fact, some of his story is left out because the actual facts seem too incredible to believe - I encourage you to click here for the details comparing the movie to "real life." For his efforts, he was awarded the Medal of Honor, which they do not give out for perfect attendance.

In short, Doss held tight to his belief that it was both wrong to kill and imperative that he serve his country during wartime. How to balance those two competing beliefs makes for a compelling story.