Friday, April 14, 2017


I’m hip-deep in revisions of my latest novel in the Interstellar Rescue series, so I don’t have the time to do full reviews of what I’ve been watching in my spare time. But how about a couple of quickshot recommendations?

--GHOST IN THE SHELL. Set in a hologram-wild and bionic-crazy future Tokyo, this science fiction thriller starring Scarlett Johansson is visually gorgeous, but somewhat short on new ideas. A remake of a classic Japanese manga, the film is slow going at first, but picks up in the second half. It’s supposed to have us leaving the theater thinking deep thoughts about the human soul, but any SF fan has had those thoughts before. Still, well worth seeing, if only for the eye candy.

--COLONY. If you aren’t watching this USA Network SF series starring Josh Holloway (LOST) and Sarah Wayne Callies (THE WALKING DEAD, PRISON BREAK), you’re missing the second -best SF series on television (after THE EXPANSE). Forget zombies and bleak desert-like post-apocalyptic landscapes, this is what life would really be like if aliens invaded. Think Nazi-like concentration camps, gigantic walls cutting off family members from each other, mysterious “factories,” human collaborators, and an unseen enemy with a plan to eliminate the population of Los Angeles. Science fiction is at its best when it operates as metaphor. This one is a doozy!

--FEUD: BETTY AND JOAN. Okay, this is not science fiction, but it does tell the behind-the-scenes story of one of the greatest psychological horror films ever made: WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? (1962). That film, a creepily memorable black-and-white classic of the Sixties, starred two aging megastars—Joan Crawford and Bette Davis—as sisters caught in a psychotic, co-dependent downward spiral. Turns out the director, Robert Aldritch, had only managed to capture the hateful true nature of the actors’ years-long Hollywood rivalry, a cat fight encouraged by film industry good-ole-boys like studio head Jack Warner. In FEUD, all this spiteful history is recreated in trainwreck-like detail by producer Ryan Murphy (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) and fascinating stars Jessica Lange (Crawford) and Susan Sarandon (Davis). Must watch!

What are you watching these nights?

Cheers, Donna


  1. I have to admit to being a tad disappointed by Ghost in the Shell. I love Scarlett Johansson and her tendency to go for kick-ass girl shootin' all the bad guys, but after watching Lucy the week before I felt like I'd seen it all before. It wasn't as visually striking as I'd hoped, the characters had literally been white washed (hijacked Asian brains in Caucasian cyborg bodies), and the whole 'what does being human mean' didn't go deep enough and, as you say, has been done, and IMO done better in films like Bladerunner, with Roy Batty's famous tears in the rain speech. But still, I didn't hate it - just not rushing out for the DVD.
    On the other hand, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 releases next week and we've already booked our seats, I just picked up Star Wars: Rogue One on Blu-ray, Doctor Who has returned, the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been revealed, and we saw Power Rangers over the spring break. Woot! I know you aren't a SW or Guardians fan, but me and my monsters are all excited!

    1. I agree that Scarlett Johansson was much better in LUCY, thanks to action director Luc Besson. And, actually, I'm a big Guardians fan. Looking forward to that one!

    2. I'm actually the Spacefreighter who's not a big Guardians fan, though I am a big Chris Pratt fan, so who knows. May catch it on pay per view. I think I'll pass on Ghost, since I did see Lucy. I did start watching Colony but it moved way too slow in the start to capture my interest. But yes, I'll watch all The Expanse that I can, usually two or three times per episode. Tonight's looks intense, though I think it may be the season finale. *sob!*

    3. Sorry, my bad - it was Laurie who's not the Guardians fan! (I remembered *somebody* in the crew wasn't, lol).

    4. Yeah, I'm the oddball of the group when it comes to GotG. LOL It's kind of weird because I loved Chris Pratt's Star-Lord, loved Rocky, loved Groot (and the clips of Baby Groot), but the storyline as a whole didn't really hold my interest. A bit too superhero/space fantasy for me, I guess.

    5. I'm actually not a huge fan of GotG either, but DID find it to be good fun. It's one of those good meet-in-the-middle flicks for hubby and me, who have different tastes. (So is EXPANSE, which I AM a fan of.)

      FEUD looks fascinating, Donna!

      I recently watched TO WALK INVISIBLE, the PBS Masterpiece historical drama about the Bronte sisters. If you are a Bronte fan or even just a female author, I definitely recommend it. You can rent it on Amazon. In the vein of tough, smart heroines, I also really enjoyed Masterpiece's VICTORIA.


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