Scifi, Fantasy Book & Book Reviews -



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Mania Review: Transcendence by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(April 18, 2014)
There’s an apt line that applies to Transcendence: bad, but not uninteresting. It marks the directorial debut of Christopher Nolan’s favorite cinematographer Wally Pfister, the man who brought Gotham City to life and put the surreal reality into the dr

Knights of Badassdom Blu-Ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(April 14, 2014)

The Spring of '84: Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(April 13, 2014)
Let's start out by addressing the most notable thing about Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter: it isn't a "final" anything. Sure, it's easy to point that out now, with a good half-dozen more entries in place (plus assorted outliers). But in point of fact t

Mania Review: Rio 2 by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(April 10, 2014)
Did you know that the original Rio grossed over $500 million? Neither did I. I mention that because it’s the only really memorable thing about the first film and the only possible justification for a second. The original movie was slight, but serviceable

Mania Review: Oculus by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(April 10, 2014)
The secret to horror movies, as any fan can tell you, is that they aren’t really about monsters or slashers or things that go bump in the night. They’re about fear… and specifically fear that we all feel in our everyday lives. Will I lose my house? A

King Kong vs. Godzilla Blu-ray Review by Robert T. Trate, Columnist and Critic
(April 03, 2014)

Mania Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(April 03, 2014)
We're reaching Everest-level heights here, the kind rarely seen by superhero movies of any sort. Richard Donner's Superman, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, and now Captain America: The Winter Soldier: the best adaptation yet from Marvel Comics' alread

The Spring of '84: Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(April 01, 2014)
I'm not sure why someone decided to deliver a new version of the Tarzan story as a stodgy period drama, but by God someone did. And not half badly either. Though devoid of the pulp sense of wonder that the character thrives on, the serious-as-a-heart-attac

Odd Thomas: Blu-Ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(April 01, 2014)
Odd Thomas is based upon the 2003 Dean Koontz novel of the same name which since has spawned five sequel books. The film had a limited theatrical release before being released on home video. Director Stephen Sommers, most known for big budget films The M

The Spring of '84: Romancing the Stone by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 31, 2014)
Romancing the Stone was originally fed to us as another Raiders of the Lost Ark rip-off, its posters and commercials promising a modern-day variant on Indiana Jones. That does the movie a great disservice. Director Robert Zemeckis -- demonstrating one agai

Mania Review: Noah by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 27, 2014)
Noah is not a film for those who like their belief systems challenged. People who have all the answers -- who know for sure how God thinks and will be happy to correct any assumptions on your part -- will likely find it infuriating. We've seen signs of it

The Spring of '84: Police Academy by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 24, 2014)
I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch Police Academy for the first time since getting my driver’s license. I’ve talked before in these articles about rose-colored glasses and how ugly things can be when you remove them. Police Ac

Mania Review: Jodorowsky's Dune by Robert T. Trate, News Editor
(March 24, 2014)

Mania Review: Divergent by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 22, 2014)
A wise man once said something about counting your chickens before they hatch; once again, Hollywood has ignored that particular bit of wisdom in its never-ending stampede towards a quick buck. With trilogies and quadrilogies and whatever you want to call

Mania Review: Muppets Most Wanted by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 21, 2014)
You've got to hand it to the Muppets: they have a way of diffusing any criticism pointed their way with an easy bit of self-effacement. Witness Statler and Waldorf, constantly putting down the very entertainment the rest of the Muppets worked so hard to de

The Spring of '84: The Ice Pirates by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 17, 2014)
There was a time in life when we thought certain jokes were very grown-up and mature. Like space herpes. Hey, herpes is a sex disease and putting it in outer space? Only fully-formed adults would think that up! The same goes with gags about castration and

Mania Review: Need for Speed by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 14, 2014)
I’m kind of shocked at my fellow critics dumping all over Need for Speed, citing its juvenile plot and cardboard characters as major flaws. If that’s what you guys are interested in, the check out The Grand Budapest Hotel in the theater next door. This

The Spring of '84: Children of the Corn by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 11, 2014)
Hollywood's obsession with Stephen King has produced some great movies. Children of the Corn is not one of them. It starts out with a brief short story as inspiration, then stretches it like saltwater taffy in order to support a 90-minute running time. You

The Spring of '84: Splash by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 10, 2014)
Funny how filmmakers who feel the need to earn “respectability” never seem quite as good as they did in their early works. Ron Howard’s quest for artistic legitimacy made him a paragon of middlebrow Oscar bait long ago: a good director who would do a

Mania Review: Mr. Peabody and Sherman by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 10, 2014)
Mr. Peabody and Sherman arrives as huge surprise: looking for all the world like another cynical studio rehash and ending up as… well, as a cynical studio rehash, but one that abounds with real affection for its subject. The time-traveling dog and his ad

The Shadow Collectors Edition Blu-ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(March 10, 2014)
When I look back at the 1994 film, The Shadow I do so with one part fondness and three parts disappointment over what could have been. As a fan of The Shadow for many years I was especially enthusiastic about the production since it had been nearly 50 yea

Mania Review: 300: Rise of an Empire by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 07, 2014)
300: Rise of an Empire plays like a collection of webisodes on the Blu-ray of the first film: not a movie in and of itself, so much as an elaborate support of another movie. It covers events before, during and after the Battle of Thermopylae, charting how

Thor: The Dark World Blu-Ray Review by Tim Janson, Columnist and Critic
(March 05, 2014)
Of all of the recent Marvel Comics based films Thor: The Dark World is the one that is the least…uhh…comic bookish.  In fact the film is as much Science Fantasy as anything else.  Much of the action takes place off Earth and doesn’t involve a threa

The Spring of '84: Repo Man by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 04, 2014)
Punk and the movies have always had an uneasy relationship at best. The anarchic sensibilities of the ultimate rebel subculture just don't sit well with the kind of money and organization required to create even the most modest piece of filmmaking. The bes

The Spring of '84: This is Spinal Tap by Rob Vaux, Mania Critic
(March 03, 2014)
Comedies rank among the toughest movies to review properly, and the better the comedy, the harder one struggles to explain exactly how and why it works so well. In the end, all that matters is that you laugh. The best comedies make you laugh over and over,

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