Not a Blog

At the Irish Film Institute with Robby the Robot

September 12, 2019 at 10:59 am
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One of the highlights of my time in Dublin was my visit to Altair IV, courtesy of the kind folks at the Irish Film Institute.  The IFI has an impressive facility there in Temple Bar, and as part of the celebrations of worldcon, they invited me to present one of my favorite films, and speak about why I loved it.   I was delighted to do so.

No one who knows me or has read this blog for long will be even remotely surprised by the movie I chose: the MGM science fiction film, FORBIDDEN PLANET, from 1956, a classic whose influence on all the SF films and television shows that followed was profound.   Starring Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Robby the Robot.

((I couldn’t bring Robby with me to Dublin, alas, but I did bring Commander J.J. Adams and Altaira)). 

Maura McHugh joined me afterwards for a discussion of the film, and some Q&A with the audience.  Listen in, if you’d like (sorry, it’s audio only).   And then go out and watch the movie again.   It’s still great… and I hope to hell that they NEVER remake it.   They’d only mess it up.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Two Fanboys

July 1, 2019 at 12:16 pm
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Leonard Maltin, a legend among film critics, and his daughter Jessie Maltin were in Santa Fe last week, for a visit to the Jean Cocteau Cinema.   I taped a segment with Leonard for his podcast, and afterward Leonard and Jessie did a talk, a Q&A, and a booksigning at the theatre.  Great fun.

We discovered that Leonard and I sprang from the same roots.   We were both Jersey boys who got involved in fanzine fandom at an early age.   While I was writing superhero stories (Manta Ray!  Dr. Weird!  Garizan the Mechanical Warrior!!!) for the comic fanzines of the 60s, he started his own film fanzine.

You can hear our whole conversation on his podcast, Maltin On Movies http://maltinonmovies.libsyn.com/george-rr-martin

Leonard also blogged about his fanzine days and his visit to the JCC.   You can read the full text here:

We filmed the talk by Leonard and Jessie as well, and will be uploading that to the JCC website soon.

Meanwhile, for all you Leonard Maltin fans out there, we have autographed copies of four of his books available from the Jean Cocteau website — along with signed books by Alan Brennert, Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, Marlon James, John Hodgman, Lisa See, Diana Gabaldon, Carrie Vaughn, Melinda Snodgrass, Robert Jackson Bennett, Rebecca Roanhorse, Daniel Abraham, and many many more… along with yours truly.  Check out the full listings at:

https://jeancocteaucinema.com/shop/

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Stuff and Nonsense

May 4, 2019 at 9:24 am
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Just a few jots about various things going on these days, in my life and in the world at large.

Saw the new Avengers movie last night.  ENDGAME is amazing.  Kudos to the writers and director.  I cannot believe they got all those characters into one film, and still managed to do them all justice.   The final battle was epic, exciting, thrilling, full of twists and turns… and strangely beautiful.  But the character scenes earlier in the film really made it for me.   The opening with Hawkeye, the Ant-Man scenes, Tony Stark’s moments communing with his helm… so many more.  There’s plenty of action here, but this is not just A Big Dumb Action movie, of which there are far too many these days.   Stan Lee would have been proud.  Could he ever have dreamed that all those characters he and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and the rest of the Marvel team created in the early 60s would one day come to dominate global culture?  There’s an amazing story for you.

Oh… and yay for the rat.   The unsung hero.   They should make him an honorary Avenger.

On other fronts… my imaginary history book, FIRE & BLOOD, had a good long run on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller List, hanging on for more than three months in the top ten before finally sliding off.   But hey, hey, hey, as of this week, I’m back!   My Targaryen history has reappeared at #9 on the hardcover fiction list, up from #12.   You can’t keep a good dragon down.

(You can get autographed copies of FIRE & BLOOD from the bookstore at my Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.  We also have signed copies of all my other books, as well as novels by many other writers… most recently, Alan Brennert and Marlon James).

The graphic novel of STARPORT, adapted and drawn by the talented Raya Golden from a television pilot I wrote in 1994, is also out, and doing nicely.   Raya did a beautiful job, and there’s a chance that there will be more STARPORT graphic novels coming your way in the future.  ((Based on my world and characters, but no, not written by me, I don’t have the time, so calm on down)).   Who knows?  Maybe even the TV series it was originally meant to be.  And wouldn’t THAT be wonderfully exciting.

Oh, and speaking of television, don’t believe everything you read.   Internet reports are notoriously unreliable.  We have had five different GAME OF THRONES successor shows in development (I mislike the term “spinoffs”) at HBO, and three of them are still moving forward nicely.   The one I am not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT will be shooting later this year, and two other shows remain in the script stage, but are edging closer.   What are they about?  I cannot say.   But maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories.

Purely as a viewer, no connection whatsoever, I am enjoying the hell out of the new HBO drama GENTLEMAN JACK.  Only two episodes in, but it’s very well done.  And of course, VEEP is as funny as ever… much funnier than real politics.

Out in the real world, I was pleased that Joe Biden finally announced his candidacy for president.   There are a lot of good Democrats running, maybe too many, and I’d probably vote for any one of them over the present blot upon the Oval Office.  The main things I want in a nominee, however, are twofold: (1) someone who can beat Trump, and (2) someone who would actually be a good/ great president.   Biden qualifies on both counts.  Also, the speech he gave announcing his run was kickass… and so, so true.  I wish him well.

Lots lots more going on, but I have pages to write.   ’nuff said.

 

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

GRRM Talks JRRT

April 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm
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Modern fantasy would not exist without J.R.R. Tolkien and LORD OF THE RINGS… and that most definitely includes my own A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.   Tolkien’s work redefined fantasy, and all of us who have followed in his footsteps owe him a profound debt.

But who was the man behind the Shire, the Hobbits, and the One Ring?

TOLKIEN, the new motion picture about JRRT’s early life, aspires to answer that question.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m heading out to LA for the premiere, May 8 at the Regency Westwood Village.   After the film, I will be moderating a discussion and Q-and-A with stars Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, and director Dome Karukoski.

 

For those of you who cannot make it to the premiere in person, have no fear.   We’ll be streaming the Q&A on Facebook.

 Head to the TOLKIEN Facebook page (@TolkienFilm) and tune into the Live Stream that will start at 9PM PST. Here is the link to the Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TolkienFilm/  

See you in the Shire!

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Yay for Captain Marvel

March 11, 2019 at 10:25 am
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The newest Marvel movie, CAPTAIN MARVEL, is a lot of fun.

As an old (very very old) Marvel fanboy, I am a little saddened that they dropped the original Captain Marvel (not counting Fawcett’s Big Red Cheese), the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, from the continuity.   THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL was one of Marvel’s classics, way back when.   Maybe that’s just me, though.   I am kind of a purist when it comes to adaptations.

Considered just on its own terms, the movie is hugely entertaining.   I look forward to seeing how the Marvel teams uses the captain in the forthcoming Avengers movie.  Once she comes fully into her powers, she is far and away the most powerful character in the MCU.   She could eat Iron Man for lunch and have Thor for dessert, with a side of Dr. Strange.   Thanos is in trouble now.

Be sure to stay to the very very end of the credits.   The film has TWO Easter Eggs at the end, not just one.   In the theatre where I saw the movie, most of the audience left after the first of those, and missed the second.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Coming to Santa Fe

March 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm
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We have some really cool events scheduled for the Jean Cocteau in March and April.

On Monday, March 13, we’ll be screening the second season premiere of HAP & LEONARD, and Joe R. Lansdale his own self will be returning to Santa Fe to host the show, talk some, and scrawl in some of your books.

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Then, just a few days later, on Thursday March 16 and Friday March 17, H.P. LOVECRAFT will be returning from the dead, to our stage. That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die. Aiee aiee shub niggarath, the goat with a thousand young…

On Saturday, April 8, we have a special screening of the classic animated film WATERSHIP DOWN. We’re doing this one in connection with Rabbit Rescue, who will be offering free pet bunnies for the attendees to take home. C’mon, boys and girls, help Hazel and Bigwig find a new warren.

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On Saturday April 15, JOHN NICHOLS, author of the MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR and many other great titles, will be visiting us for some conversation and booksigning, and we’ll be screening the film of his novel in honor of his visit.

Just two days later, on Monday April 17, JOHN SCALZI will be in town on his COLLAPSING EMPIRE book tour. We’ll talk, he’ll sign, a good time will be had by all.

And on April 21-22, we’ll have a return visit from the magician FRANCIS MENOTTI, who stumped Penn & Teller and filled the JCC the last time he was in town.

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A number of these events are a good bet to sell out, so if you’d like to join us for any of them, I’d advise going to our website to secure your tickets now.

GENIUS

January 29, 2017 at 10:20 pm
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A few posts down you’ll find my Hugo Award ruminations for the Dramatic Presentation categories, where I opine at some length about the best films and television shows I saw last year.

Much as I love SF and fantasy, however, not everything I read or view falls into those categories. I wanted to say a few words about another movie I saw recently, and loved.

It’s a film called GENIUS, a period piece set in the 1930s about the relationship between Maxwell Perkins, the legendary Scribners editor, and his most troubled (and troubling) writer, Thomas Wolfe. (No, not Tom Wolfe, the 60s journalist of THE RIGHT STUFF fame, Thomas Wolfe, the doomed 30s novelist of YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN). Stars Colin Firth and Jude Law, both of whom gave brilliant performances. Scripted by John Logan, directed by Michael Grandage.

GENIUS came and went last year almost unnoticed. It was certainly unnoticed by me, else I would have tried to book it for the Jean Cocteau. But it’s running on HBO right now, so all those who missed it (virtually everyone) now has another chance to see it.

I hope you do. Especially if you’re a writer, or an editor, or have any interest in 20th Century American literature, Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Maxwell Perkins.

The movie got very little notice from the world at large, but I loved loved loved it. Maybe because it’s a writer’s movie. The period is wonderfully evoked, the acting is fine, and there’s one ten minute scene in the middle of the movie… from when Wolfe delivers OF TIME AND THE RIVER till when Perkins gets on that train… that I thought was just hilarious, heart-breaking, poetic, painful, and just all-around… blue. A blue that was deeper than blue, a blue such as never before…

Well, let’s just say it was a great scene in a fine movie.

Lots of fine movies came out last year, in our genre and out of it. Many of them have been nominated for various Oscars. GENIUS was not, but if I were in the Academy I would certainly have nominated it. Much I loved ARRIVAL and MOANA and some of the other big movies of 2016, I think GENIUS was my favorite film from last year.

This, That, and t’Other Thing

November 6, 2016 at 6:10 pm
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Another football Sunday has come and gone, with mixed results for yours truly.

The Giants won, hanging on by the skin of their teeth to defeat the Iggles of Brotherly Luv. Gifted with an early 14-0 lead by two Carson Wentz INTs, they still almost managed to blow it. Eli threw his own INT just when it looked as if Big Blue was about to put the game away, but fortunately the defense saved him. Biggest worry coming out of the game was an injury to Victor Cruz, which I hated to see. He’s one of my favorite players. I hope he’s back next week.

The Jets, meanwhile, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After trailing for most of the game, they seemed poised to take the lead in the fourth quarter, only to have Fitz throw a devastating pick in the end zone. Yet somehow they managed to get the ball back, and this time Fitz redeemed himself, tossing the go-ahead touchdown. But the joy did not last for long. On the ensuing kickoff, the Dolphins ran the ball all the way back for a TD, and that was that. Gang Green now has as many losses as they did all last year. The season is effectively over. Bryce Petty looked pretty good in the short stretch they had him in after Fitz got clocked. I hope we get to see more of him in the game to come. Much as I like Fitz, we have to start thinking about the future.

On other fronts…

The election still has me in a state of high anxiety. I am not sleeping well, and I think I check 538 about three dozen times a day, hoping for some good news. Tuesday cannot come fast enough for me. I think I speak for a lot of Americans when I say that I desperately want this thing to be over. It has been SO ugly. Come Tuesday night, I will either be relieved or suicidal. I think I speak for a lot of Americans about that as well.

Oh, and speaking of that: the Trump PACs have rolled out two new television ads in New Mexico this weekend. Both attack ads, natch. One is a cartoon with animated Bill and Hillary characters rolling up to the White House unpacking boxes of scandals. The other features an actress badly made up to be Hillary, in wig and pants suit, destroying phones and hard drives with hammers, drills, chain saws, and the like. Both ads are stupid and offensive, and both confirm and underline the main point I made in my “Simple Observation” post. Hillary’s ads feature real footage of the real Donald J. Trump saying the things he really said. These Trumps ads, on the other hand, have to resort to cartoons and over-the-top impersonators because they can’t actually find any real footage of Hillary saying or doing anything reprehensible, comparable to the stuff Trump has said.

I cannot possible imagine that any actual voters will be swayed by this stuff. “Hell, damn, I’m going to vote for Trump, did you see what Cartoon Hillary was doing?” But what the hell. Even Honest Abe admitted that you could fool some of the people all of the time…

I’m still excited about Emily St. John Mandel coming to the Jean Cocteau tomorrow. If you’re in the neighborhood, come join us.

The crowds at Meow Wolf of late have been astounding. Since we first opened in late March, more than 300,000 people have visited the House of Eternal Return. It’s become one of Santa Fe’s premiere attractions, and I am so pleased to have played my small part in creating it.

Oh, and last night Parris and I went to see DOCTOR STRANGE at the Violet Crown (in part to escape the crowds seeing TRUMPLAND at the JCC). ’twas fun. As many of you know, I’m a Marvel fanboy from way back, and Doctor Strange was probably my favorite single character… well, him or Spider-Man, both drawn by Steve Ditko, whose art I loved. (I say single character because I always loved the group books as well, the FF and Avengers and X-Men). How much did I love Doctor Strange? Well, let me just say, one of the characters I wrote for the comic book fanzines of the 60s was called Doctor Weird, so…

The movie is NOT the best Marvel superhero movie, as I was hoping it would be… it’s more middle of the pack, I’d say… but it looked great, did justice to the character, and had some scenes that were downright Ditko-esque. Of course, they had the obligatory Stan Lee cameo. Now, if they had managed to include a Steve Ditko cameo, that would really have been something. (Yes, I know, I know). I do hope that Ditko saw at least a little money out of this. He was a genius in his own way, and Doc would never have been half as interesting without Ditko’s unique and idiosyncratic vision.

At the Jean Cocteau

November 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm
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TRUMPLAND opened yesterday at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, playing to large and enthusiastic crowds. Whatever you may think of Michael Moore or his politics, he’s never less than entertaining. He makes some great political points in TRUMPLAND, but even if you disagree with every one of those, there are a lot of laughs as well. We’re the only theatre in New Mexico showing the film and we’ll be running it through the election, so do come down and catch it if you can.

We do have one break in the TRUMPLAND screening schedule, however. Come Monday night, we’re having another one of our famous author events. This time the JCC is honored to be hosting EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL, the best-selling author of STATION ELEVEN and other acclaimed novels.

I’ll be doing an interview with Emily, followed by an audience Q&A, and of course a signing. We should have all of her earlier novels in stock, as well as the new paperback of STATION ELEVEN.

Emily St. John Mandel is one writer that I’ve never met before, but I’m very excited that I will have a chance to talk with her. STATION ELEVEN just blew me away when I read it, a few years ago. Actually, it was the best novel I read that year (2014), and I was hoping it might be a Hugo contender, as regular readers of the Not A Blog might remember. I wrote, “One of the 2014 books that I did read stands above all the others, however: STATION ELEVEN, by Emily St. John Mandel. As best I can recall, I’ve never met Emily St. John Mandel, and I’ve never read anything else by her, but I won’t soon forget STATION ELEVEN. One could, I suppose, call it a post-apocalypse novel, and it is that, but all the usual tropes of that subgenre are missing here, and half the book is devoted to flashbacks to before the coming of the virus that wipes out the world, so it’s also a novel of character, and there’s this thread about a comic book and Doctor Eleven and a giant space station and… oh, well, this book should NOT have worked, but it does. It’s a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac… a book that I will long remember, and return to.”

((Sadly, no, STATION ELEVEN did not get a Hugo nomination. The reports of my vast power and iuence within the field seem to be greatly exaggerated. So far as I can tell, my effect on the Hugo nominations is exactly nil. But I’ll keep recommending good stuff anyway. I’m stubborn)).

Anyway… if you’re here in the Land of Enchantment, come down and join us on Monday night and meet Emily St. John Mandel. And if you’re not, well, autographed copies will be available afterwards for mail order. Of her books, my books, books by all the great authors we’ve hosted. (Depending on what happens on Tuesday, we may remember Monday night as the last good time before the lights began to go out. Though I hope not).

Tickets to both TRUMPLAND and Emily St. John Mandel are available on the Jean Cocteau website: http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/

Godzilla Stomps on Santa Fe

October 14, 2016 at 2:20 pm
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The big green guy with the bad bad breath is back… and the Jean Cocteau has him.

SHIN GODZILLA, the first new Japanese Godzilla film in ages, is showing at selected theatres around the country for a limited run, and we’re one of the theatres selected! (The only one in New Mexico, I believe).

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It IS a limited run, though, and we have only two more screenings remaining — Saturday afternoon at 1:00 pm, Sunday evening at 7:30 — so if you want to get your kaiju fix for the year, go the Cocteau website and snap your tickets up now.