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Archive for 'Films'

‘Carrying That Weight’: A Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

by Gary Westfahl The original series of Planet of the Apes films took on the character of a cycle, as apes from the first two films traveled back in time to instigate the events that were seemingly leading, in the fifth film, to the emergence of the world of the first film. Dawn of the […]

“If You Get It Wrong, You’ll Get It Right Next Time”:
A Review of Edge of Tomorrow

by Gary Westfahl From one perspective, Edge of Tomorrow is simply the latest, and strangest, in a long series of films about D-Day, strategically released on the seventieth anniversary of the daring assault that led to the Allied victory over Germany. Again, we observe American and British forces landing on the beaches of Normandy, confronting […]

Dinosaur Train Wreck: A Review of Godzilla

Special to Locus Online


Why is it that American filmmakers, blessed with enormous financial resources, state-of-the-art special effects, and long experience in making successful films, have been consistently unable to make a good Godzilla film, a skill long ago mastered by the Japanese?

The Colossus of Northern California: A Review of Transcendence

by Gary Westfahl One of the quirks of renowned magazine editor John W. Campbell, Jr. was his fondness for story titles consisting of a single abstract noun, as illustrated by classics like Isaac Asimov’s “Reason” (1941) and Clifford D. Simak’s “Desertion” (1944) and obscurities like Norman Spinrad’s “Subjectivity” (1964) and Joseph P. Martino’s “Persistence” (1969). […]

“No Easy Way to Be Free”:
A Review of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

by Gary Westfahl Like The Hunger Games (2012) (review here), its wildly successful precursor, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a film that makes few demands on its expected audiences of young viewers. They are expected to bond with plucky heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), whose affections are intriguingly torn between sweet boy-next-door Peeta Mellark […]

Winners and Losers: A Review of Ender’s Game

by Gary Westfahl In several respects, Ender’s Game represents precisely the sort of film that I have been calling for in recent reviews, since it rejects the simplistic and unrealistic world view of melodrama, refuses to divide the universe into virtuous heroes and despicable villains, and explicitly endorses efforts to understand and reconcile with apparent […]

“It’s Time to Go Home”: A Review of Gravity


Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is not only an excellent movie that people should see, but also an excellent movie that people need to see, to learn about what they have mostly been missing in the last half century of films about space travel — namely, the actual experience of living in space.

Heaven Off Earth: A Review of Elysium

by Gary Westfahl Anyone reviewing Elysium must begin, I suppose, by addressing the controversy du jour surrounding its release, namely, the extent to which the film is a disguised portrayal of contemporary America and its political issues. Certainly, despite their protestations, such suspicions of a covert agenda cannot be surprising to writer-director Neil Blomkamp and […]

In the Oceans of Madness – Intelligence:
A Review of Pacific Rim

by Gary Westfahl Perhaps I am suffering from a form of dementia induced by excessive exposure to cinematic explosions and high-tech battles, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching Pacific Rim, despite the very low expectations that I brought to the theatre, and I would heartily recommend Guillermo del Toro’s production to anyone long enamored of science […]

‘This Man Is Not Our Enemy’: A Review of Man of Steel

by Gary Westfahl In the first version of an earlier review, I mistakenly described a moment from a film preview as part of the film itself – an inexcusable error, to be sure, but an understandable one, given the way that all contemporary action films increasingly blur together in one’s mind, each rigidly adhering to […]


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