Alita


Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American cyberpunk action film based on Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Gunnm, also known as Battle Angel Alita. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez, written by James Cameron and Laeta Kalogridis.

Rosa Salazar stars as Alita, a cyborg, with supporting roles portrayed by Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson.


There are some amazing graphics in this film. Fortunately that’s not all as there is a good story. Sure, it’s taken a lot of tropes and cliches from other science fiction, but it is well done and there are plenty of unexpected turns. At one point near the end I though it was going to take a very schmaltzy ending. Fortunately that was avoided and end ending left scope for sequels.

 

Renegade

Renegade
(Jet #13)
by Russell Blake (2017)

Jet must risk everything to foil a kidnapping that threatens a diplomat’s daughter in the wilds of Africa.

This one is more on the big scale multi-plot genre favored by Tom Clancy. Lots of players roaming the world undertaking dubious schemes and plots. For the first time, a pharmaceutical company is involved (and not in a good way). There is an entire plot thread that is not really resolved.

The best thing is the main plot involving Jet that takes its time and provides plenty of twists and surprises. Another great book as the series reaches its end.

Cantankerous Carcass

The Case of the Cantankerous Carcass
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage #9)
by Howard of Warwick (2017)

How is a medieval monk supposed to investigate a death if the corpse keeps complaining all the time?

When his beloved old Abbot arrives at Wat the Weaver’s workshop asking for his aid, Hermitage cannot refuse. He only has one beloved old Abbot, after all. But this one comes with a web made by specially tangled spiders.


This departs from the established narrative in that there are (initially) no dead bodies to investigate. Brother Hermitage and his gang walk around the country, following a trail of clues. It’s the usual stuff, and in the end he does work it all out, however the ending is rather abrupt.

 

ST:D 2.04

Star Trek Discovery 2.04 An Obol for Charon

A mysterious sphere takes Discovery out of warp while the ship was en route to intercept Spock’s trail that was given to him by Number One. The sphere locks Discovery in place. The fungal parasite latches on to Tilly during the chaos caused to the ship while in status.


This episode just seems so pointless. It’s like a throw-back to the original series where the enterprise encounters a menace battles it, only to find it’s not what it appeared to be.

The bug and Tilly was also weird, so much for conservation of mass, as the thing is both on her arm and then encloses her. Maybe she has gone for good.

It also looks really weird to have Captain Pike in an orange command uniform, walking with officers in more modern looking uniforms.

 

STD: 2.03

Star Trek Discovery 2.03 Point of Light

Amanda Grayson arrives onboard Discovery with a stolen copy of Spock’s medical records from the psychiatric facility he has voluntarily entered.

Captain Christopher Pike orders Commander Michael Burnham to decrypt the files. The files include Spock’s drawing of a “red angel”, an image he often drew as a child.

Klingon Chancellor L’Rell introduces Ash/Voq to the baby son she and Voq had together. Klingon House leader Kol-sha threatens to kill Ash/Voq and L’Rell but they kill Kol-sha instead with the help of Philippa Georgiou.


This on really feels like some in-between episodes with multiple plot threads being set up for later pay-back (hopefully).

ST:D 2.02

Star Trek Discovery 2.02 New Eden

with Jonathan Frakes (director)

Discovery, following another mysterious stellar signal, uses the Spore Drive and arrives at a planet with a previously unknown human population; evidence suggests that their culture dates from the time of World War III.

An away party including Captain Pike, Burnham, and Joann Owosekun investigate and discover a primitive society with a religion combining multiple human faiths; a few citizens preserve tales of the war. Much of the action takes place within the settlement’s church.


A better episode, this captures some of the spirit of the original show and Next Generation.

 

ST:D 2.01

Star Trek: Discovery 2.01 – Brother

En route to Vulcan, the USS Discovery receives a distress call from the USS Enterprise. Captain Christopher Pike takes emergency command of the Discovery, explaining that the Enterprise was investigating seven mysterious signals when it was catastrophically damaged.


New season, new combination of characters. However it all feels a bit stilted and lacking in energy. Hopefully things will pick up.

 

Rogue State

Rogue State
(Jet #12)
by Russell Blake (2017)

From Israel to China to Jakarta to North Korea, Jet tackles her most demanding assignment yet, pitted against a terrorist with a master plan to destroy her country, and hunted by a triad killer bent on revenge.


This episode has Jet entering North Korea (twice) amidst an international terrorist threat on Israel.   Jet is on her own most of the time, there is more narrative than talk in this story that the previous ones.

Things ramp up to a good ending, however somewhat spoilt by something that happens by coincidence within a few minutes.

Lego 2

Everything is (still) awesome

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

The sequel to The Lego Movie (2014), it is the fourth film in the franchise, following the release of two spin-offs, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie (both 2017).

The film is directed by Mike Mitchell, with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (writers and directors of the first film) returning as producers and writers.

Reprising their original roles are:
Chris Pratt (Emmett)
Elizabeth Banks (Lucy)
Will Arnett (Batman)
Nick Offerman (Metalbeard)

At the start Lucy and her gang are captured by an alien and taken off-world. Five years later, it comes back and prompts Emmett into action. He is going to get the girl and save the day. However as the plot progresses, it becomes apparent that it’s not about this at all. The story is about siblings competing. There are ideas thrown in from just about all Science Fiction franchises and movies like ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Inside Out’. The roles of the major protagonists change and soon the story changes from the predictable.

Then, near the end the the Judge enters:

Maya Rudolph as Mom

 

Maya Rudolph as Judge Hydrogen in ‘The Good Place’

 

Mark Kermode explains how awesome the movie is:

And ‘that’ song…

 

Plus a new one:

 

Curious Corpse

The Case of The Curious Corpse
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage #8)
by Howard of Warwick (2017)

Brother Hermitage is compelled to yet another investigation by the sight of a most curious corpse. Helpful compulsion also comes in the shape of a dozen well-armed Norman soldiers and the King’s man Le Pedvin, who will probably stab him if he doesn’t get on with it.


This time Hermitage has to prove that the King didn’t kill an important businessman. Not easy when the cast of conspirators and potential murders expands from the Welsh to Sicilians.

Still, Brother Hermitage persists and in the end the in a moment of Deus ex machina only a humourous novel could pull of.