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“Back to the Future”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s already been 25 years since the greatest movie ever made was released in theatres. That’s right! Back to the Future is celebrating its twenty-fifth birthday this year, and yes I said greatest movie ever made! For those of you that know me, I would imagine that that statement comes as no surprise to you, but for everyone else this movie was a huge deal to me growing-up. I went to see it in the theatre two times, which doesn’t sound like much these days, but when you’re talking about a 12 year old kid in 1985, and add to that the nearest theatre was a whole thirty-five minutes away, it’s kind of a big deal. To help celebrate the anniversary earlier this month, some theatres around the country and even the world, showed special screenings of Back to the Future once again on the big screen. As you can probably already guess, I was there to gladly get a third theatrical screening under my belt.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with this movie, I will kindly ask you to remain nameless, for I value our friendship, and wish not to judge you. In Back to the Future, a teenager named Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) worries that he’ll never amount to anything. He also, like most teenagers, can’t relate to his parents and can’t even fathom them ever being his age. Well, that is until early one morning on October 26, 1985, when his good friend Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) introduces Marty to his latest invention… A time machine made out of a DeLorean!? Finally, a time machine with some style! After a series of unforeseen events, Marty finds himself unwittingly transported to November 5, 1955, and face to face with none other than his own teenage parents. Pretty heavy, huh? To make matters even worse, he may have also inadvertently stopped his parents from ever meeting, which as you can image doesn’t bode well for Marty’s future.

I think one of the things that makes this one of the greatest movies, is how amazingly well it holds-up. No matter how many times you’ve seen it, you still get tense at the clock tower scene; as if you thought the movie might end differently this time. Also by labeling 1985 as 1985 and not the present, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are able to preserve the movie as a period film no matter when you watch it. The only thing they have to worry about is the future, and they’ve got another 5 years before that’s a problem. Let’s just hope someone can invent the Hoverboad before then, but we’ll get more into that in about 5 years. Let’s get back to the first movie, Back to the Future did a great job of telling an amazingly creative story with a lot of humor and heart. Sadly, a movie like that would never be made today. It’s too big of a chance. Hollywood doesn’t take chances like that anymore. They like to play it safe. Let’s just make sequels and adapt already existing material. Do you realize that filmmakers these days are writing comic books in hopes of maybe being able to get it turned into a movie?! They can’t just write an amazing script anymore. They have to turn their movie ideas into something they’re not, so that someday it might be turned into the movie they wanted to make in the first place. That’s fucked up, people!! Back to the Future would never get made today, and that’s crazy because it has two successful sequels! Exactly what Hollywood wants from a movie these days! We need creative filmmakers now more than ever, and they’re out there. They just can’t catch a break, when the studio executives just want something exactly like that other something that just made money for no reason. Unfortunately, as long as there are sad little “yes men” writers out there, that are more than happy to write whatever they’re told to, the next generation of Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, and Tim Burton’s will never be heard. Wow, that got really depressing there. Back to the Future greatest movie ever made! See it if you haven’t! See it again if you have!

Rating:

(of course)






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“Hot Tub Time Machine”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Seriously, how can a movie called Hot Tub Time Machine not be good? From the first time I saw the trailer, to the very moment I was convinced it wasn’t a joke, I was completely hooked. And why wouldn’t I be? Any movie with John Cusack, the 80’s, and skiing, is a sure fire winner in my book. The fact that they managed to work in the “I want my two dollars” line, and an obscure Manimal reference, is just icing on the cake. I for one am so glad that movies like this can still get made. Original movies are so far and few between these days, with remakes and based on source material movies, that it’s nice that Hollywood still takes a chance every once in awhile. I think Hot Tub Time Machine has The Hangover to thank for its release, but whatever the reason I’m just glad that this movie got to see the light of day.

In Hot Tub Time Machine, four friends, who are disappointed with the way their lives have turned out, spend a weekend at their old high school ski trip stomping grounds, which much like their lives, is nowhere near as sweet as they remember it being. But, that all changes when a simple mishap with a hot tub, transports them back to 1986. This could be the ultimate mulligan, or the biggest slap in the face, as they have to relive the very events that change their lives in the first place. It’s a lot of fun, but if you’re looking for any logic in this movie you’ve completely missed the point. This isn’t one of those time travel movies that covers all their quantum bases. But, why would it? It’s called Hot Tub Time Machine! It’s not like it was written by Carl Sagan. If you don’t know who that is, maybe you should Lougle it. Look, it’s about a hot tub that travels in time. Just enjoy it for what it is. The one thing I wasn’t expecting at all from this movie was it’s sincere moments; and there were a few, which was a nice surprise. It also manages to raise the age old question, how many ways could a man loose his arm? It might not happen the way you think, but the waiting is the hardest part. Overall, Hot Tub Time Machine is just a fun ride that doesn’t ever try to be something it’s not. Having grownup with a health diet of 80’s films doesn’t hurt either.

Rating:


Doctor Who – BBC Books Collection 1
a review by Darby O’Gill

BBC Books release three new Doctor Who books at a time. Therefore, I will be reviewing them in sets of three, and labeling them as collections. These are really nice books. They are small hard covers, kind of like the old Hardy Boys books from when we were kids. The size is perfect. Just a little bigger than a normal paperback, so you can easily take these books with you on the go; and the hard cover makes them really durable.


“The Clockwise Man”
by Justin Richards

The book opens as so many Doctor Who stories do, with the 9th Doctor and Rose arriving in 1924 London, with plans of visiting the British Empire Exhibition. But of course, the second they step out of the TARDIS they are instantly sucked into a series of strange events and mysteries that only the Doctor and Rose could possibly solve. Ultimately saving the world, yet again. Although unlike most Doctor Who stories, the Doctor and Rose do in fact make it to the British Empire Exhibition before trips end. Well how about that!

This book has a little bit of everything; conspiracies, revolutions, exiled dictators, bloodlines, black cats, and a painted lady and her mechanical Clockwise Men. Author Justin Richards does a good job of capturing the voice of the characters, which I feel is really important when writing a book based on characters, when the reader already knows the way they speak. More notably, Richards makes sure that you hear the 9th Doctor’s voice clearly. You can really tell that this is Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor. Actually, that can be said for all three of the books in this set.

The story keeps moving, but at times can seem a little slow. Overall the pace is good. At no point did I put the book aside and move on to something else for awhile, which is really saying something, because my ADD usually has a tendency of getting the better of me. I don’t think any of the twists and turns are going to fool you, but it’s an entertaining read none the less. Now, some Doctor Who fans don’t like to read the books because of continuity problems. I don’t really have a problem with this, because it doesn’t happen very often, and I also enjoy reading new stories to fill the time waiting for the next season of Doctor Who to air. It’s also nice to have some more stories with the 9th Doctor after only having thirteen episodes with him. However, there is a continuity issue in this book. Rose does come in contact with Clockwise Men in the book, but will meet them for the first time on the show with the 10th Doctor in the second season. Really not a big deal, but maybe for some. A moment that might possibly make-up for that slight continuity problem, is a scene in which Rose has a conversation with one of the servants in the Imperial Club, and the girl makes her think of Gwyneth, who appeared in the season one episode, “The Unquiet Dead.” Here’s a quick fun fact about that episode, the part of Gwyneth, was played by Eve Myles, who would later go on to play, Gwen Cooper on Torchwood. Sorry, back to the book review. The climax of the book in the clock tower of Big Ben is fantastic. I think the greatest part of this book is that it really manages to give you that sense of time and place, the way only Doctor Who can.

Rating:

3 Little People


“The Monster Inside”
by Stephen Cole

To be honest, when I read the description on the back of this book, I really wasn’t looking forward to this story. But, I’m really glad to say I couldn’t have been more wrong. The TARDIS gets forced to land on Justicia, a prison system consisting of over six planets. The 9th Doctor and Rose are instantly split-up as they are sent to different prison planets. A human prison for Rose, and a labor camp for highly intelligent aliens, for the Doctor. This is the part I thought I was going to have a problem with. The thought of the Doctor and Rose being separated from each other for the whole book, just instantly turned me off. But you know what? Stephen Cole does a fantastic job of going back and forth between the Doctor and Rose. I also enjoyed the way he chose to intertwine the two stories, and have each of their prisons hold different pieces to the puzzle.

This story marks Rose’s first trip to an alien plant. Although, it doesn’t seem so alien at first, maybe more like a scene out of Stargate. Upon their arrival, the Doctor and Rose ascend a hillside to find what seem to be slaves building a pyramid, but turns out to be more like a Justicia chain gang.

I think it’s great that Cole chose to isolate Rose from the Doctor on her first trip off world. It really gave Rose’s character a sense of fear. Not only was she in prison, but she was on a whole other planet. She has no idea what has happened to the Doctor or whether he’ll ever be able to find her again. I really like this concept. What would you do if you got separated from the person that you traveled though time and space with, and thought you would have to spend the rest of your life on an alien planet, in prison no less?  I’ve got to say, for a book I didn’t even want to read, this is a real fun read.

While in the Justicia prison system the Doctor and Rose once again find themselves dealing with the Slitheen. This might not mean anything to you if you’re not a Doctor Who fan, but we find out in this book that the Slitheens are not the only family on the block of Raxacoricofallapatorian. We meet their arch rivals/cousins the Blathereen for the first time.

Now, this isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it is definitely the best out of these three. If anything this book is just one more reason to not judge a book by its cover, or dust jacket in this case.

Rating:

4 Little People


“Winner Takes All”
by Jacqueline Rayner

In the final book of this set, the 9th Doctor and Rose return to present day London, to visit Rose’s mum Jackie, only to quickly learn of this new marketing campaign that’s sweeping the nation. People are randomly winning video gaming systems with the game “Death to the Mantodeans,” or all expense paid holidays to an exotic resort, just for buying the things they already need at their local shops. One scratch-off ticket for every item you buy, making it virtually imposable not to win. The Doctor, not liking the concept of something for nothing, enlists Mickey Smith, Rose’s former boyfriend, to help get to the bottom of things. I got to tell you this was not one of my favorites. There is not one single original idea in this entire book, from The Last Starfighter, to Harry Potter, even upcoming movies like Gamer, and Surrogates (more on those later this year). This story just doesn’t make you really care about what’s going on. That’s truly not a good thing, when you’re talking about a Doctor Who storyline. Also, I don’t know which was written first, but this exact same story appears in one of the season one episodes of The Sara Jane Adventures. But even so, it’s still a really lame storyline. I mean the evil aliens, the Quevvils, are gait porcupines. They don’t just kind of look like porcupines, they are literally giant porcupines! It’s really disappointing because the first two books in this set were so good. I really did have high hopes for this one. However, I’ve got to say it didn’t effect the readably of this book. Even though I wasn’t into the storyline, it was still a rather quick read. Jacqueline Rayner writes a few more books in this series and I hope the next one is better. Her writing style and technique are good; I just think this story structure could have been much better.

Rating:

1 Little People