California Literary Review

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Halloween Home Video #9: Howie Askins’ Evidence

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October 26th, 2012

The most glib and reductive way to describe Evidence is as a hybrid of Chronicle, em>Chernobyl Diaries and The Cabin In The Woods. However, an eager minority are bound to consider that a stellar pedigree.

Halloween Home Video #1: Joe Dante’s The Hole

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October 8th, 2012

Halloween Home Video (2012 edition) is your guide to the unsung scare flicks, thrill pics, and various fright nasties of this year. Joe Dante’s The Hole is a simple, palatable option for families looking for spooky but safe Halloween fun.

Blu-Ray Review: The Cabin In The Woods

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September 19th, 2012

© 2012 Lionsgate This super-secret brainchild of screenwriters Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon came shrouded as carefully as Super 8, surrounded by many a dark rumor but giving maddeningly little away. Goddard and Whedon began laying it out during their time working on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel. Then, in a blaze of energy, […]

True Blood Recap: Season 5 Raises The Stakes

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August 28th, 2012

True Blood has tightened up considerably since the meandering adventures of Season 4, despite the fact that its protagonist is now a background character. Remember how the show used to be about vampires? That is happily the case once more.

Trailer Watch: Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral

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August 9th, 2012

Cronenberg’s target is the cult of celebrity. As ravenously as we seek to expose and share the intimate lives of the world’s luminaries, is it so far-fetched that we might want to contract their diseases?

Trailer Watch: Wreck-It Ralph

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June 11th, 2012

What sounds funnier: a genre-hopping quest across the video game spectrum by a generic galoot drawn in marshmallowy 3-D, or the same undertaken by an two-dimensional Nintendo relic who looks ludicrously out of place in any world but his own?

Book Review: Pure by Julianna Baggott

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March 26th, 2012

Sketching the parameters of Baggott’s palimpsestic narrative is tricky. Briefly put, the backstory of the novel involves a hyperbolic escalation of conservative cultural rhetoric that seeks a return to “traditional” values: restrained, upper-class politeness and hardline gender roles. The maniacal masterminds behind this so-called “Return of Civility” followed a violent effort at social engineering with a wave of nuclear attacks, referred to in the novel as the Detonations.

Blu-Ray Review – Battle Royale: The Complete Collection

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March 26th, 2012

Quentin Tarantino proclaims ”My favorite movie of the last 20 years! I wish I had made this movie.” That is as perfect an endorsement as a film distributor could hope to have, especially when selling a film like Battle Royale to a hungry cult audience.

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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January 2nd, 2012

Magic is all around us, if only we’d pay attention more—if only we’d dream. Maybe then we’d sense its dark secret is really light, a bonfire of belief beyond understanding, but real. The kind of magic—or is it love?—that slays dragons and rescues princesses and lives happily ever after in the imagination of children.

The Weekly Listicle: Celebrating Monstrous Matchups

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November 20th, 2011

“Vampires versus werewolves” is only one of the time-tested feuds that film and television have offered for our amusement. This week, Brett Harrison Davinger and I (Dan Fields) take a look at some other monstrous matchups, scary skirmishes, and curious critter clashes.

The Weekly Listicle: Some Movies Are About Things

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October 14th, 2011

At last, the long-rumored prequel/remake of John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing infects theaters across the country. And I mean that in a good way, because I still hope it will be entertaining, despite persistent pangs of common sense. The trailer, at least, sold it as a pretty faithful re-shooting of the original, though no […]

The Weekly Listicle: Method In Our Movie Madness

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October 7th, 2011

The practice of blessing mass entertainment with the bard’s prose confers a kind of loftiness upon it, or at least that must be the idea. A quick glance indicates that Shakespeare has provided titles for an alarming number of Star Trek episodes, just for starters. This week, lend your ears to Brett Harrison Davinger and me (Dan Fields) as we look at some of our favorite films to borrow a title from the works of Shakespeare.

True Blood Recap: Season 4 Bites Deep (But Doesn’t Suck)

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September 12th, 2011

For those who have not been scared off by now, I think we could all use a stiff drink before tuning in next summer for Season 5. Which I know I will. Season 4 had a few too many stops, starts, and jerky turns, but True Blood seized its bloodthirsty mojo back at the finish line.

A Watchful Eye On… Marvel’s Animated Avengers

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July 28th, 2011

Marvel’s animation division, together with cartoon grand masters Film Roman, is on a roll with The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Currently broadcast by Disney XD for primetime audiences, this relatively new superhero cartoon may amaze you with its depth and maturity.

Trailer Watch: Martin Scorsese’s Hugo

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July 15th, 2011

Martin Scorsese, Hollywood titan, enjoys a special reputation for directing violent, foul-mouthed crime flicks. Admittedly, he does this very well, but the notoriety of movies like Taxi Driver, Casino, and most recently The Departed tends to eclipse the true diversity and scope of his body of work. Even when his choice of material seems misguided, […]

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