Category: Reviews (page 1 of 11)

Movies by the Numbers!

An Atomic Moo Movie Review of Blade Runner 2049!

The opinions expressed in the following review of Blade Runner 2049, do not necessarily reflect those of AtomicMoo.com, its staff, or its sponsor, Pan Am.

We find ourselves living in dangerous days. In today’s entertainment industry, creativity is uncreative. Originality is unoriginal. All too often, companies heartlessly reimagine, rebrand, relaunch, and rehash beloved old brands, viewing them as nothing more than “intellectual properties” ripe for monetization. But only someone extremely skillful or excessively vain would think himself capable of making any kind of worthwhile sequel to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic Blade Runner. And yet, Blade Runner 2049 is now playing in theatres everywhere. It’s too bad it can’t possibly live up to any expectations — but then again, what does?

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Escapology!

An a Atomic Moo Book Review!

Okay El Moochadores, I’m back to review another Titan Books classic. Well, new classic. Actually, it’s not that new. Titan sent me this book sometime ago to review, and I just recently finished it. d’oh. No disrespect to Titan Books, just my crappy life takes some maneuvering. And speaking of crappy lives: Let’s talk about Shock Pao! First, here’s a proper synopsis:

Shock Pao is not just any Haunt—he’s the best. There isn’t a system that he can’t crack into, no virtual lock he can’t pick, nothing he can’t steal for the right price. Outside virtual world the Slip, though, he’s a Fail—no degree, no job, no affiliations to protect him from angry ex-customers. Of which he has quite a few. So when his ex brings Shock a job which could help him escape his miserable existence, he accepts, little realizing that it will turn out to be his most impossible, illegal and incredible assignment yet.

Amiga works for Twist Calhoun, one of the toughest crime lords in the Gung, as a Cleaner—assassin. Trapped in a world of kill-or-be-killed, she wants out. But when Shock’s war comes to her, she doesn’t have a choice: it’s her job to bring him to Twist, dead or alive—or it’ll be her head in a bag in Twist’s vault.

Escapology really reminded me of mid-1990’s science fiction. Movies like Johnny Mnemonic, Virtuosity, (maybe) Hackers, or any thing else from that time that tried to cram young-ish punks, dystopian futures, and a crazy version of “future internet” into one story. I do (actually) dig those kind of stories, I can’t argue that they are any good, and the same goes for Escapology. Though Warom’s story starts out great with the introduction of (what I’m guessing is) a future hacker who also has massive self esteem/drug abuse problems, the story quickly starts to serve up a series of “what the fuck” moments.

There’s no real order to my list of gripes with Escapology, so this is going to be a ramble. Starting with: The world has been shattered, and now has giant floating land ships and pirates, but somehow kept, major cities, the internet (Future Internet!), and self abusing teenagers. Then (Spoilers!!!), somehow holograms from the unreal world can leap out of Shock’s eyes and start killing the really real people, even though they are holograms. Made of light. Then there is the inclusion of the now almost standard issue (for every fucking story now… go social justice!) female bad ass, Amiga. It seems in 2017 you can’t create a story with out including a little ninja chick to prove equality among the sexes. Which sucks, because Shock was already this interesting character stocked with tons of diversity, and “fuck the norm” attitude, that deserved way more attention than weird future sailors, and off the shelf feminism complete with a crossbow. Finally (again Spoilers!!!), there’s the big rally at the end of the story where all the groups come together to take down the big baddies. Just like in the 90’s future internet stories I mentioned before! Well, except virtuosity. Denzel mostly just outwits Russel Crowe, but it’s still worth a watch! Seriously, Crowe eats glass, Denzel get’s his arm blown off, and the world is denied easy made robo-whores in the worst way possible! Vituosity rocks!!! Wait… where was I?

Despite all of this; I still think Warom is a great writer, and has a lot of potential for future stories. Sure, I felt like Escapology “face plants” a bit, but it also demonstrates a ton of imagination for both character development and world building. Shock Pao by himself is a great read. As well as his interactions with his ex-lovers and past experiences. I feel it is a bit unfortunate more attention wasn’t paid to Shock and his problems. Instead, a shark jumped out of his face. Okay, I’m still a bit bugged by that one. Though if the story had been called “boy who shoots killer sharks out of his eyes” I would have loved it from the beginning, because I was expecting a kid who… yeah you get it.

I do have a copy of the second novel in the series, Virology, and I’m hoping some of the stuff like people eating holo-sharks, will be explained. You can get your own copy of Escapology at every major book seller, or online now at Titan Books. Now, everybody writing science fiction go rent (fuck, I am old…) download, or, stream Hackers and Johnny Mnemonic and then don’t do any of that in your story!

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax!

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An Atomic Moo Book Review of Andrew Cartmel’s New Novel!

Andrew Cartmel’s The Vinyl Detective almost abates my hatred for hipsters. Almost. I don’t think anyone can stop hating hipsters. It’s just too easy to despise those bearded, coffee obsessed, man bun toting, shit bags that clog our beach streets with Fiats and Vespa scooters, but somehow (weirdly) Cartmel crafted a story that makes a coffee chugging – vinyl obsessed – hipster kind of cool. With a solid mystery to boot! Wow.

Written in Dead Wax begins when the nameless vinyl detective (later nicknamed “Chef”) is hired to find a rare Jazz LP by a now defunct 1950’s publishing label. Up until this point, Chef has eeked out a living by scouring London’s charity shops (I’m guessing that’s either like a pawn shop or a 2nd hand store…?) for rare records to sell online, or add to his vast collection. Then one day he is contacted by a foreign company’s very beautiful representative, Nevada, to help track down an incredibly rare jazz album, Easy Come, Easy Go, but finding the record won’t be easy. There just happen to be a pair of murderous blonde athletes also hunting the album and then there’s the dark mystery hidden in the record it self!

The thing is, I really enjoyed this book. Cartmel did a wonderful job of making his characters (though still disgustingly hipster-ish) likable and fun. Chef is an excellent detective, in a sort of not being a detective kind of way. He’s the total underdog hero, and as a geeky outsider myself, I can’t help but root for the underdog. I think the stories unique way of unfolding a mystery is also what makes the book such a great read. Written in Dead Wax takes it’s readers deep into the world of music, and (even better for geeks) collecting. I honestly have no opinion on what sounds better, CD or LP, but I’ve got a closet full of vintage Star Wars figures. I could easily tell you about the backing card, year produced, or existing variants of any of the collectible action figures (not dolls!) safely sealed away in the many containers which are piled to the ceiling in my closet. I can even spot reproductions and cheap knock offs. I don’t know why, but reading about collectors, and a mystery that goes deep into their respective world, was really refreshing. I honestly think this is one of the best mystery stories since The Big Lebowski! And yes, that was a mystery too. In fact; I’m almost willing (grudgingly) to consider the likes of Chef and Tinkler as geeks. Almost. ‘just have to lose the cats and any opinion about coffee.new16oz-coffee-cup Seriously!? What grown man keeps cats and gives a shit about the taste of coffee!? Coffee should be black and burn just as hard going out at as it did going in! That’s it. Its there to get the job done. You drink it, stay awake, and lose a year or so of unwanted life expectancy. When I put a $1.29 of hard earned cash down on the counter for my 7-11 what ever brew, I need it to do its goddamn job of keeping me upright and lucid for the next few hours. Not brag about its “aroma”, or what part of India a child laborer had to pull it out of. Coffee should be burly, stalwart, and humble. Just like my women. ‘merica.

Anyways… I’m very much looking forward to the release of the next book (The Run-Out Groove), and even if Titan doesn’t send me a review copy I’ll probably go pick one up. Yeah, I’m willing to spend my own money on the next edition. That’s how much I enjoyed this. Below I posted a copy of The Vinyl Detectives official synopsis. However, visit Titanbooks.com to get a copy of your own.

Cheers!

He is a record collector — a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others.
Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording — on behalf of an extremely wealthy (and rather sinister) shadowy client.
Given that he’s just about to run out of cat biscuits, this gets our hero’s full attention. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

Bookies Episode #3!

Bookies

Alright El Moochadores, check out episode #3 of Bookies, a podcast produced by our Brethren Moo, Ser Brandon Noel. Bookies is a book review podcast (and I do love me some books… in a normal book loving way. Get your head out of the gutter…) and this week they’re a review’n Don’t Point That Thing At Me, by Kyril Bonfiglioli. Don't Point Which, I just learned, was turned into a movie starring Johnny Depp. Groovy. Check out the podcast below along with the official synopsis. Also, try clicking the link above to check out some of Brandon’s comics.

All good.

The deliciously nasty, highly entertaining, comic masterpiece of a thriller-a cult favorite of Stephen Fry and Julian Barnes. A cult classic in the UK since its first publication there in the 1970s, Don’t Point that Thing at Me is the hilarious and dark humored crime thriller featuring the Honorable Charlie Mortdecai: degenerate aristocrat, amoral art dealer, seasoned epicurean, unwilling assassin, and general knave-about-Piccadilly. With his thuggish manservant Jock, Mortdecai endures all manner of nastiness involving secret police, angry foreign governments, stolen paintings, and dead clients, all just to make a dishonest living—while decked out in the most stylish garb and drinking the most bizarre alcoholic cocktails. Don’t miss the brilliant mixture of comedy, crime, and suspense.

Bookies!

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New Literary Fiction Review Podcast from Sir Brandon Noel

Episode 2

Okay El Moochadores, it’s a beautiful Thursday here in sunny San Diego, and I’m just feeling good. So, let’s keep the good vibes going with some geeky book talk. One of our Brethren Moo, Brandon Noel of Destiny Comix has kicked off a new podcast called Bookies and we’re featuring the second episode here. On Bookies, Brandon gathers a small group to discuss… well books.OddThomas Yeah, I know you got there way ahead of me. Anyways, click the link below to listen to their book club like discussion of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. “Koontz”. ‘kind of want to just keeping saying that. “Koontz”. Anyways, hit the link below to listen to episode #2 and we’ll feature more Bookies podcast as they’re released.

Enjoy! (“Koontz”)

The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn

Bookies Podcast

The Atomic Moocast #112!

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November Brune!

Finalmente! We’re back! Well, kind of. Sorry for the hiatus El Moochadores, but we’re back now with a new(-ish) Atomic Moocast for your listening pleasure. On this episode talented artist Nicole Brune joins the show to share a little hope and optimism.NB-headshot-IMG_5344-jan-2015 Also, to make sure we’re working on the stuff we said we’d be working on. I actually recorded this interview with Nicole way back in November 2015 (if you can remember back that far) and yeah, it took me a while to get this one together (sorry Nicole!) but it’s ready and hopefully Jason and I can get back on to a regular schedule of recording and new interviews. Anyways, it was great having Nicole on the show once again and we’re hoping to have back on sometime in the future.

No more delay, let’s get into it folks! It’s been too long! The time is now to heal the ache of your Moocastless ear holes with our soothing audio slather! Get ready for it! So go now and grab that cool beverage from the back of the fridge! Grab a salty snack while you’re there too! Then hustle on over to your favorite comfy spot, plug in, load up, or what ever you need to do, and get the best damn podcast your friends don’t know about rolling across your brain once again!

Enjoy!

Free music used by the Atomic Moo cast is royalty free and was created and composed by Kevin MacLeod and can be found at Incompetech.com. Please support this site!

Songs used:

  • Funk Game Loop
  • As I Figure
  • Who Likes to Party
  • Fast Talkin

Show Notes and Links

  • Nicole Brune
  • Nicole Brune on the Deviant Art
  • Nicole’s Paetron
  • Cherry City Comic Con
  • Scream and Ink
  • PLAY THE ATOMIC MOOCAST BELOW!

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    Hickman final cover

    An Atomic Moo Book Review of The Art of Stephen Hickman

    Hey El Moochadores, now out through Titan Books is a new art book show casing the talented work of professional artist Stephen Hickman. The new hard cover book is a collection of Hickman’s fantasy and sci-fi work focusing on his book covers for “famous (science fiction) authors such as Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein, Anne McCaffrey, and Larry Niven.”

    I actually really enjoyed this book. Hickman’s art is incredible and reminds me of the many (many) hours I spent playing D&D, or reading fiction paperback books, as a kid. The book contains a huge sample of his work along with written commentary by Hickman about the pieces featured. I especially enjoyed seeing his interpretation of Tolkien’s fantasy world. Though I’m still a huge fan of the films made by Peter Jackson, it was interesting to see a different take on the characters, and scenes, from the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. In my view, Hickman has an almost “old school” idea of fantasy, and I liked seeing that come through on his Tolkien work. Check out a few sample images below, but also keep it in mind as a great holiday gift for whatever would be artist you may known.

    Enjoy!

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    The Spice of Life!

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    Or, Parody, Where is thy Sting?

    An Atomic Moo Book Review of the Ellis Weiner Classic!

    Dune (Frank Herbert, 1965) is hardly a gripping yarn. It’s a slow plod through a bizarre, techno-baroque landscape. The language is florid and strange. The characters mumble, misunderstand one another and say things that no ordinary person would ever say, such as “My son is human“, or “Mood’s a thing for making love! Now defend yourself for truth!” I appreciated it chiefly as an adventure novel and an allegory on oil politics, with the hero as a T. E. Lawrence figure.

    Dune is always walking the thin line between serious and silly. Prophecies and poison and knife fights determine the fate of the universe. The hero rides a giant sandworm through the desert with his overbearing mother in tow. 4d8b72d9383c8 Everything is ponderous and severe, with no levity at all. This is one of the most popular science fiction novels of all time!

    Naturally, a book so puffed-up with self importance needs deflating, so Thank The Maker for Doon (Ellis Weiner, 1984), a parody novel in the tradition of Bored of the Rings. Doon is less a parody of Dune than an improvement. It’s half as long, but all the key scenes are there, and the plot is easier to follow. The jokes are fired off at machine-gun speed, aiming high, middle and low, so even if a few of them miss there’s a laugh on every page. No, I’m not going to spoil them.

    Let me not leave the wrong impression: Herbert’s Dune is brilliant! It takes genius to make something worth making fun of! Doon is such a spot-on parody that the author obviously loves the original, and knows it well enough to really skewer it good! There’s nothing mean-spirited about Doon at all. You’ll never feel bad for laughing, except at the part where the fetus asks its mother for more beer.

    Doon has been out of print for decades. Happy hunting!

    Neko_Bijin is Atomic Moo’s chief historian in charge of out of print, rare & unknown, fiction and fantasy.
    Check out more of Neko_Bijin’s reviews and musing on his website, Neko_Bijin’s Serious Blog! This article was re-posted here with permission.

    Gates of Midnight!

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    An Atomic Moo Comic Shout Out!

    Okay El Moochadores, our internet keeps blink in and out of existence so I’m going to try and do this while I still have access to the web.

    As I stated in a post from a few days back, Chudd and I got loaded up with comics at this last years SDCC 2015, and unlike previous conventions, I am making a real effort to read this great stack of indie stories, and then share these comics with the likes of you (you know who you are!). So; in the spirit of actually getting stuff done check out Gates of Midnight!

    Gates of Midnight, published by Kymera Press, is the story of Raven Alice Moon, a former combat medic who served in Afghanistan (would you believe I spelled that right the first time? Ha!) and has since returned home to live with her father as she deals with PTSD. However; Soon after her father is murdered, Raven begins to learn of his ultra secret life of fighting off portal leaping monsters and demons.310e9240ef136f6118a8de6bb0eb4a4b She then begins the journey to become a new warrior to face off against these creatures!

    Both the story and illustration work for Gates of Midnight are excellent! At first the comic has a real tonal (kind of depressing vibe) but as it progresses (and Raven’s world begins to change) so does the comic. Very cool. The story was written by veteran science fiction author D. Lynn Smith along with the talent work of artist Amelia Woo, and colored by Mirana Reveier. Did you notice that? All girls! er… I mean women. Ladies! No, serious though, Kymera Press is an all female comic company doing a lot to encourage female participation in comics.

    Currently you can pick up all four issues of Gates of Midnight on Comixology for about $1.99 each (as of this post). For more information about Kymera Press visit their website at Gatesofmidnight.com. I’ve posted a few sample pages below along with an synopsis from the site.

    Enjoy!

    GATES OF MIDNIGHT tells the story of the gate that opened in NYC after 9/11 and its new Warrior, Raven Alice Moon. Raven may have done a tour in Afghanistan as a combat medic, but she needs the friends and allies who will support her mission both physically and emotionally. GATES provides a strong yet vulnerable heroine with real life problems that don’t always get her full attention. How can they, when she has to figure out how to get rid of the Hydra in Central Park?

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    Time Keeper IndieGoGo!

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    Help Support Season 3!

    Hey El Moochadores; We were recently introduced to this great new, independently produced, web series called Time Keeper. It’s the story about the world’s most boring Time Traveler, Mitch Manners, who is sent back in time by “future powers” to perform a series of apparently mundane tasksMitch (eat a sandwich, hitch a ride… stuff like that), but every time Mitch performs a small task that changes time, he awakes in the new time line with no memory of what happened in the last. which causes some headaches but is all mostly good until the day he is ordered to kill a person. Then things really get interesting.

    I gotta say, I dug this series. I watched all of season one yesterday (each episode is only about six and half minutes in length) and part of season two (‘would of watched more but I had to go to work. Someone’s gotta pay the bills around here…). The show is made by Yitibit Films, which had independently produced seasons one and two all in Florida (…Florida?!), but now they are looking for funding for season three through an IndieGoGo campaign. The whole series was produced by Daryn Murphy and stars Matt Lunsford as Mitch. Check out the first two episodes below along with the Indigogo pitch video. For more information about the show, or to help contribute to its production, click the handy Indiegogo link above.

    Enjoy!

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