Movies They Need to Stop Making Sequels To

It’s not like there aren’t enough original ideas out there. How many amazing books are sitting there just waiting to be made into brilliant movies? Unfortunately, though, sequels make money. And unless they’re a part of a pre-planned series, rarely do they live up to the brilliance of the originals. Sure there are exceptions, but these outliers (Terminator 2, for instance) are not the rule. This blog post from the good folks at House of Geekery lays out some of the movies that need to just give it a rest.

Funk's House of Geekery

Why does Hollywood keep making sequels? Because we keep going to see them. The audience requires less convincing to see it, the development time is less…all in all they’re a better investment. Studios do know that there’s a rule of diminishing returns, especially if they take a long time to come out, so they tend to be rushed and have less creative thought put into this.

Here’s ten movies that have already had a couple of sequels, potentially have more in the works (or actually does have one or more in the works), and really need to cut that shit out. We’ve excluded some films for being more reboot than sequel happy (such as Spider-Man), franchises that have already wrapped up (Saw) and ones where the terrible sequels have all but sunk the series already (Paranormal Activity).

Iron Man

Iron-Man-3

There isn’t a fourth Iron Man 

View original post 1,235 more words

Will we ever colonize distant worlds?

On first glance, that question seems absurd. Humans are an adventurous species, so the thinking is of course we’ll spread out among the stars, especially as word comes of more and more planets that may be close to Earth-like.

Revelation_Space_cover_(Amazon)But Alaistair Reynolds, sci-fi author of great books such as Revelation Space, throws a little cold water on that idea in a new essay.

Reynolds is a strong proponent of space exploration. But he brings up a couple of interesting problems.

First, there’s the issue of time.TV shows such as Star Trek and Star Wars utilize faster-than-light technologies to travel among the stars. These technologies, however have yet to be created. Not only that, not one experiment has uncovered anything that can travel faster than light in nature. As Einstein theorized, it just may not be possible.

ftl

That would leave us with daunting travel times just to reach the nearest stars. We’re talking at least decades for a one-way trip. How would that work, logistically? How could we assemble a flight crew willing for a life-long mission? Would this mission be simply exploration, since there may be no guarantee that there would be habitable worlds at their destination?

spaceship

Then there’s the issue of a target. As out science is refined, would we be blessed with an abundance of potential worlds to visit? How would we pick just one? It sounds like a silly question, but for such a massive undertaking, we might need to collectively focus on a single goal. That may not be an easy task. Look at our exploration of our own puny solar system. we have no lunar base. We have no Mars base. And the plans for manned exploration of the Red Planet are always being pushed back another decade.

earths3

As Reynolds explains, the study of space may be the answer to the Fermi Paradox, which states that if there is intelligent life, how come we haven’t run into it? Reynolds speculates that maybe as other intelligent alien species surveyed the universe, they became less awed by creation, and more content with their own little corner. They’ve stayed silent and hidden to us.

I hope this last bit won’t be true of humans. Knowing our history, I doubt it. Maybe the answer is that humans are indeed unique in their hunger for more, always more.

In Praise of the Original ‘Mad Max,’ a Unique Masterpiece of Low-Budget Filmmaking

mad max

With Max Max: Fury Road coming out this weekend, I’ve been thinking about the original Mad Max movies. I was young enough when The Road Warrior came out (the first one I saw) that it left a huge impression on me. I was maybe 12 or so when I saw it and it was raw and rough and unlike anything I’d seen. This blog post revisits the very first Mad Max, with an impossibly young Mel Gibson. It’s a great take on the novelty that was Mad Max. Give it a read.

Flavorwire

The good-cop-gone-bad trope is such an overused one by now that it’s rare to see a film in which such a transformation is in any way shocking or emotionally involving. With the new Mad Max: Fury Road hitting cinemas this week, though, it’s a good time to revisit one film in which the portrayal of a man’s descent from well-meaning lawman to vigilante remains genuinely powerful: the original Mad Max.

View original post 836 more words

In praise of Neil Gamian

If you haven’t read any works by fantasy writer Neil Gamian, you should. The British-born writer is best known for works such as the comic series The Sandman and books including American Gods. I’ve reviewed American Gods and for anyone into fantasy or mythology, American Gods is a must read. It is sprawling and thrilling, and I can proudly say it has influenced my writing.

neil-gaiman-lantern_2

Aside from novels and comics, he’s also had a long friendship with Tori Amos, popping up as a character of sorts in several of her songs. He’s written a glorious Doctor Who episode titled “The Doctor’s Wife,” and he also gave one of the best commencement speeches you’ll ever hear.

Now Neil Gaiman is taking on another role, one that would seem obvious for a writer: free speech supporter. PEN America, an organization of writers dedicated to supporting freedom of expression, is slated to give an award to the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which lost several members following a terrorist attack. Some PEN members pulled out of the awards gala citing concerns that the magazine was racist. And now, several writers, including Gaiman, Alison Bechdel and Art Spiegelman, have stepped in.

In an interview with Salon, Gaiman was blunt in his reasons for joining: “…for f**k’s sake, they drew somebody, and they [al-Qaida] shot them, and you don’t get to do that.”

Freedom of expression is a bedrock principle of mine. I know what it’s like to be afraid to speak your mind, to express yourself, for fear of backlash in ways small and large. I know what it’s like to feel intimidated. I know what it’s like to feel that I have no voice. Writing has helped me find that voice. It’s given me the freedom to speak my mind and reveal who I am. And I am thankful that when it comes to my fiction, the only barriers in place are the ones that I choose to erect.

I understand the controversy surrounding Charlie Hebdo. But my support of the right to free expression is nearly absolute. And there’s no way I could NOT stand up against violence or government coercion against freedom of speech.

I’m heartened that Gaiman is claiming a spot at the PEN America awards gala. And I can’t wait for his next Doctor Who episode.