Tag Archives: sci fi

Movie Review – The Tomorrow War (2021)

Aliens! Time travel! Chris Pratt’s Aw Shucks Everyman Demeanor!

BQB here with a review of Amazon’s latest (first?) sci-fi blockbuster.

In its early days, streaming media brought us a new age of golden television, with a lot of hits coming to the forefront that would have otherwise been lost. Lately, in the past few years, IMO, streaming service generated movies and/or TV have been rather stale, stagnant – devised by committee tripe designed to appeal to the widest possible audience without really achieving anything.

In my further opinion, Amazon has been the worst at creating its own content. At least Netflix gave us House of Cards and Stranger Things. Hulu gave us The Handmaid’s Tale, though it looks like they’re going to milk that for all its worth and never come up with something new.

Amazon has had a couple of interesting flicks here and there. While I would never watch it again for fear of being swept into a depression coma, Manchester-by-the-Sea was a sad, poignant study of how sometimes a man can screw up his life so badly that a happy ending is simply not possible. I also enjoyed 2019’s The Aeronauts, about a death defying flight in a hot air balloon in the 1800s.

But by and large, Amazon really stunk it up. I finally ponied up the dough for their streaming service in March to watching Coming to America 2 and while it had its fun moments, it was sad, watching the great comedian Eddie Murphy, who no doubt still has plenty of funny left in him, be proverbially chained up like a captured tiger in a cage, unable to roar and make us roar with laughter because, OMG, he might offend someone somewhere and Amazon can’t have that. Someone might get so offended they might go to another service that will allow them to buy a toothbrush and a tin drum of popcorn and a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers and have them delivered the next day by a minimum wage worker who has to pee in a jar because they aren’t allowed pee breaks.

Where was I? Oh, right. A movie review. Anyway, I’d been thinking about getting around to cancelling Amazon Prime because the movies weren’t worth the monthly cost, and sure Prime allowed my fuzzy bunny slippers to be delivered earlier, but I’d rather wait and save the dough. But I’ll admit this movie was pretty good and thus I’ll wait a bit longer to cancel the service.

Chris Pratt stars as an Iraq War veteran turned high school science teacher who dreams of doing something big with his life, but can’t catch a break. He’s married to hottie Betty Gilpin and has a daughter but he dreams of doing great things with science. One wonders, if he dreams so much of being a great science, why he doesn’t go study more science, but it is a movie.

Time travelers from the future arrive to inform us that in 30 years, the world will be overrun by freaking scary ass aliens. A debate ensues as to whether or not present folk should venture forth into the future to assist future people in the fight. Some say yes because these people are our collective kids. Some say no because, you know, the aliens aren’t attacking us now so eff the future people, it’s their problem.

The debate becomes moot when a worldwide draft is handed down, and literally everyone and I mean everyone is drafted. Dark humor ensues at the start of the film when Pratt is drafted and with his soldier training, most lead a rag tag group of civilians against an alien horde. You’ve got people showing up to fight in regular clothes, grandmas struggling just to put their boots on, people who have never handled a gun before, it’s a mess. But that’s how bad the problem is – doesn’t matter if you’re old or incompetent at fighting, if you have a pulse, the govt will stick a gun in your hand and demand you travel to the future to fight aliens.

Amidst this chaos, Pratt meets his daughter, all grown up (Yvonne Strahovski.) They could have played up the father/daughter working together while they are the same age angle more, maybe even for laughs, but they did it very straight here, Pratt’s character mostly following her orders out of respect for her position though occasionally breaking rank at times where, hey, he’s not going to let anything happen to his kid, rules be damned.

Rounding out the cast is JK Simmons as Pratt’s estranged father, who is given a chance to redeem himself in the fight.

Overall, it’s a good movie that somehow survived Amazon’s design a film by committee so as to appeal to everyone and not offend anyone strategy and if theaters were open to full strength, it would have been enjoyable to watch this on the big screen with surround sound. As with many action sci-fi films, a lot of suspension of disbelief is required and there are dumb moments, but hey, it’s got guns and aliens, so it’s worth a watch.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy, but I still haven’t forgiven Amazon for muzzling Eddie.

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BQB’S Classic Movie Reviews – They Live (1988)

I’m here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, 3.5 readers.  And I’m all out of bubblegum.

So, the obvious downside of the coronavirus is that it has left the world in utter turmoil.

But hey, the good news, is I’m watching a lot of movies I never would have had time for.

One such flick is “They Live,” the 1988 B-Sci Fi cult movie that really, really deserves more props than it gets.

It stars infamous wrestling heel, the late Rowdy Roddy Piper as Nada, a homeless drifter who wanders into town, looking for work.  He’s been downtrodden his entire life, from a shitty upbringing, to being constantly laid off and out of work, despite trying his best and never turning down work when he’s lucky enough to find it.

When he finds a construction job, it looks like he might make it, thanks to a church that provides food and help to the homeless.  While taking advantage of the church’s help, he meets Frank (the infamous and awesome Keith David), another down on his luck construction worker who had to leave his wife and family behind just to find work.  He lives the homeless life so he can send money back home.

Both men commiserate, lamenting how hard it is to get ahead.  While Nada still believes in the American dream, Frank argues the whole system is a scam.  If you aren’t born into wealth, then you’ll spend your whole life working hard and getting little in return for it, as though the system is a parasite that feeds off you.

Turns out, Frank was right but not how he thought.  Nada learns that the church is a front for a group of underground freedom fighters, people who have discovered that the world is actually run by aliens!  Yes, “They Live” among us, having perfected a means to hide their hideous alien forms by appearing human.

The human freedom fighter group has created a special pair of sunglasses that allows them to see the aliens for what they are, as well as the subliminal messages hidden in advertisements, billboards, and on TV.  When Nada pops these shades on, he realizes that the whole world is a lie, that alien bastards run it all and that elite aliens are sucking up all the world’s resources, turning big profits while lower class humans work their lives away, never getting ahead.

It’s all basically an allegory for the way the world, more or less actually works.  Funny, the movie was basically considered the silly, over the top Sharknado of its day, but for a flick headlined by a wrestler, there’s a lot that rings true, even today.  The movie’s entire premise, if you forget the aliens, is that the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the working middle class never fights it because they want their piece of the pie, so they help the upper class do things that hurt the planet for fear of losing their income.

There are scenes that are downright crazy.  Plotholes abound and Nada pretty much goes on an instant murder spree when he puts on the glasses.  He starts gunning down every alien he can find, never even taking a second to think about possible strategies.  He doesn’t even take a second to think about whether it is moral to kill beings just because they are aliens.  It’s just, “Boom!  These guys are ugly!  They have to die!”

Cheesy lines?  “Lady, your face looks like someone shoved it in the cheese dip in 1957 and left it there.”

Ah, good times.  But seriously, whenever you heard anyone say something like “I’m here to pass out candy and ass kickings” or something to that effect, this is where that line came from.

Not to mention the absurdly long fight scene between David and Piper that goes on way too long, that was eventually parodied by South Park.

Anyway, it’s fun and despite overt silliness, has a message about corporate greed and how we all might be complicit in it because we all eventually sell out and take our little sliver of pie and turn a blind eye to the evildoings of our corporate overlords for fear of losing that sliver.

Piper is stiff, almost comically so, but somehow fits the character.  The irony is if this flick had starred a Schwarzenegger or Stallone, it would probably be constantly watched even today.

It’s funny.  I remember when I was a little kid, my local video rental store (Those places once lived) had a poster for this movie hanging up for the longest time.  As a kid, it looked scary to me, so it’s funny it took me like 30 years to finally watch this.

One last compliment – as the film went on, it got towards the end and I felt like, “Hmm, this was a lot of exposition without really going anywhere” but then sure enough, there’s a great ending that is shoehorned in out of left field and I can’t think of a better way this could have been wrapped up.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

Robots vs. Monsters!

BQB here with a review of “Pacific Rim: Uprising.”

The original “Pacific Rim” was just that – something original amidst a landscape of reboots and sequels that we were sick of even five years ago.

The premise?  In the future, monsters (Kaiju) pop out of the sea to destroy cities in an attempt to conquer the world.  Humans respond by creating Jaegers, giant robots that can be piloted by a duo of humans whose minds must be in sync in order to use their brains to control the robot’s movements.  Cue training scenes where main characters must learn to control their angst in order to achieve mental clarity and save the day.

In this go around, ten years have passed since the end of the human vs. monster war.  Peace has broken out, though reconstruction efforts are slow and many cities remain in ruin.  Jake Pentecost, a former “Ranger” (a robot driver) and son of Idris Elba’s character in the first film, has bummed out of the military and exists as a scavenger, snatching up leftover parts from defeated Jaegers who have been left to rot on the depleted battlefields of yesteryear.

Blah, blah, blah, shenanigans ensue.  He and Amari (Cailee Spaeny), a young fellow scavenger, are snapped up by the Rangers, who demand that Amari enlist and Jake reenlist, because…um…apparently people who break the law are wanted for the military I guess?

Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) commands the unit that these two ne’er-do-wells are assigned to.  There are many contentious scenes between Nate and Jake that are reminiscent of “Top Gun.”  Nate takes the Val Kilmer/Ice Man approach of telling Jake that he’s a loose cannon that’s going to get everyone killed.  Jake takes the Maverick/Tom Cruise approach of going with the flow and telling Nate to loosen up.

Is there a plot?  Yes.  Somehow, Jaegers are popping up all over and smashing up cities.  Say it ‘aint so!  How did these mighty robot warriors go bad?  It’s a mystery our heroes will have to solve.

Umm…there’s little more I can get into at this point without revealing spoilers.  Overall, it’s fun, a good visual spectacle, and it’s self-aware – it’s not trying to make us think this is a film more meaningful than a bunch of robots and monsters smacking the crap out of each other.

STATUS:  Shelf worthy.  Worth a trip to the big screen.

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Video Game Rack Fighter – Mass Effect Andromeda

By: Video Game Rack Fighter, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Video Game Correspondent

Hey 3.5 readers.  VGRF here.

I just wanted to share the trailer for Mass Effect: Andromeda.  That’s right, the video game that redefined the whole RPG genre and turned it up on its butt is back in a big way.  Choose your own style, your gender, your team, your gear, your love interests, whether you are good or evil.  There are most likely plenty of blue lesbian space babes.  I know Bookshelf Q. Battler spent most of his 20s staring at the blue lesbian space babes, but he can’t do that anymore because he has a book to write.  Multiple books actually.  He really needs to get to work.

Did you play the original trilogy, 3.5?  I was very impressed with it.  It was groundbreaking for its time, the amount of choices you were allowed to make and how the tiniest deviation could create a whole different game experience.  Even more, the decisions you made in game one carried into two and three.

Impressive stuff.  I’m looking forward to it.  While BQB will be slaving away to entertain his 3.5 readers, I will be exploring the universe and boldly going where no woman has gone before, namely, a nerd’s bedroom.  Zing!

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Ask the Alien – 1/24/17 – How Do Aliens Poop?

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Intergalactic Correspondent/Non-Pants Wearer Alien Jones

Greetings Earth Losers.

Alien Jones here, beaming this column directly to your primitive computing devices from the farthest reaches of the Omekulon Cluster.  I don’t want to disparage the fine folks of this Cluster, but let’s just say, they didn’t invent the term, “Clusterf*%k” for nothing.

How have you 3.5 humans been?  I feel we haven’t chatted in awhile.  I could say I miss it but, you know, the dictatorial regime that presides over my home planet didn’t clone a liar.

As you know, this is the only column in the universe where pitiful humans have an opportunity to ask questions of me, an all knowing alien.

This one comes Shelly Ruckschplittle of Doofendorf, Montana:

Dear Alien Jones,

How do aliens poop?  I have always wanted to know and I spend several hours a day pondering this question.

Several hours a day?  Shelly, I hate to channel BQB’s Uncle Hardass, but seriously, get a job.

The immediate answer is, “It depends.”  All living beings remove waste.  Some just do it more efficiently than others.

For example, highly refined clones such as myself have been tricked out so that our tummies are essentially spontaneous combustion machines.  Thus, I can eat and eat and eat and never gain any weight.  My food is converted to energy and any excess is burned up with no need for poop.

Therefore, my only orifice is my mouth.  The rest of me is airtight.

Here are how some other aliens poop:

  • Splattavarians poop gold coins.  No one is poor on Splattavaria.  However, banks are very smelly.
  • Fozdavoks poop fire.  Every bathroom is equipped with a titanium bucket and a fire extinguisher.  Chili night has been banned ever since Fozdavok City was wiped out.
  • Mayorps poop songs.  Hilarious yet true.  Just take a Mayorp out to dinner and be prepared for a heartwarming rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”  You’ll cry from the oniony aroma.
  • Hoobavongs poop black holes.  Ironic isn’t it?  Black holes emanating from their black holes.  Many hoobavongian proctologists have been lost.  Where did they end up?  Your guess is as good as mine.
  • Chuzzlefrings can actually transfer their poops to one another.  Thus, if you’re a very busy Chuzzlefring with no time to poop, you can transfer your poop to your assistant.  The most common frat party gag is for everyone to transfer their poops to a sleepy Chuzzlefring, who then ends up pooping a mountain in the morning.

I could get into the beings who poop radiation, disease, famine, locusts, and autographed photos of Justin Bieber, but I won’t bore you.  Suffice to say, there are many aliens who poop in strange, magical ways.

Thank you for your attention, 3.5 readers.  As always, stay on BQB’s back and continue to encourage him to write his novels in order to appease the Mighty Potentate.  (I don’t even want to get into the details of how the Mighty Potentate poops.  I could tell you, but he’d have me vaporized).

All Hail the Mighty Potentate and His Most Glorious, Awe-Inspiring Poops.

Alien Jones is the Bookshelf Battle Blog’s intergalactic correspondent, graciously lending the power of his brain to answer your questions.

Ask the Alien a question and he may very well plug your book or blog in his answer. Ask questions in the comments or tweet them to @bookshelfbattle

Together, we can promote self-published material and ween the masses off reality television, a form of entertainment that Alien Jones’ boss, the maniacal alien despot known as “The Mighty Potentate” despises so much that he’s plotting an invasion of Earth just to stop it.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – The Government Doesn’t Have a Space Alien in Captivity

Hey 3.5 readers.

So this post isn’t meant to be a referendum on Trump.  Complain about politics on your own time.

This is a post about aliens, or more specifically, whether or not that US government has one in captivity.

I always figured that if the government does have an alien, they’d probably show it to the president right away.  A new presidents first days are, I can only assume, filled with all sorts of lackies, henchmen, bureaucrats, operatives etc. coming up the the president and being all like, “OK sir, there are few people in the world who know this and we are now going to tell you and it is going to blow your mind.”

So anyway, if we do have an alien, I don’t think Trump would be able to hold back on that one.  He’d totally get on Twitter and be all like, “Just met Meepzorp and boy is that guy’s head yuge!  He’s a really classy extraterrestrial, let me tell you.  All of my intergalactic beings are fantastic.  Hillary didn’t even get to meet Meepzorp.  #sad.”

That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.  As a nerd, I never knew if we had an alien or not, but if we did, it would not surprise me, but now I don’t think we do because Trump would have posted a photo of himself with the alien by now.

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Ask the Alien -12/31/16 – Bookshelf Q. Battler’s End of Year Stats for 2016 (A Report to the Mighty Potentate)

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Dear Mighty Potentate,

It’s been roughly two years since you have me to look after Bookshelf Q. Battler, the human author you believe possesses so much talent that he will one day write a novel so perfect that it inspires the masses to abandon reality television.

Not gonna lie, I still don’t see that side of him but hey, you’re the Mighty Potentate.

At any rate, I do believe that his blog, despite being only read by 3.5 readers, has convinced humans that reality television must be rejected.  After all, it’s not like America, the greatest of all Earth nations, has elected a reality television star as their ruler or something.  I firmly stand by that statement and also, please don’t watch any Earth television.

Bookshelf Q. Battlers End of 2016 Stats are as follows:

WORDPRESS FOLLOWERS: 2,025

TOTAL 2016 VISITORS: 16,389 (I cannot confirm nor deny that most of these were BQB’s Aunt Gertie).

TOTAL 2016 LIKES: 7,502

TOTAL 2016 VIEWS: 27,524 (Most were people who came here looking for directions on how to get away from here).

TWITTER FOLLOWERS: 8,184 (Follow BQB @bookshelfbattle)

FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS: 287 (Though BQB is considering scraping up some cash to use as a bribe to Earth Techno-Lord Zuckerberg to allow him more Facebook friends.  Like BQB on Facebook – @bookshelfqbattler)

Moreover, oh Potent One, BQB continues to seek new ways to bring traffic to his most pathetic blog.  Search engine optimization appears to be BQB’s forte as he has brought in 11,576 visitors this year alone through search engine hits (though again, most were people who came here looking for directions on how to get away from here).

Based on these stats, Mightiest of Potentates, I recommend holding back your invasion of Earth for another year in order to allow BQB to continue working on his writing career.  He’s building a platform, he continues to try, and though he has the attention span of amoeba, I believe 2017 will be the year when he publishes a novel.

As always, it has been a pleasure serving you, oh splendid Potent One, and though there have been rumors to the effect that I feel this job is far, far, far below my capabilities, I gladly accept any and all orders you have with a smile.

But seriously…please don’t vaporize me.

Your humble servent,

Alien Jones, the Esteemed Brainy One

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Who Is Ready for Star Wars: Rogue One this Friday?

Hey 3.5 Scruffy Looking Nerf Herders.

Your old pal BQB Solo here.

Just an informal poll, who is looking forward to the new Star Wars movie this Friday?

As nerds, what needs to be in the film to make you happy?

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Ask the Alien – How to Save Bookshelf Battle from the Yeti’s Furry Clutches

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By: Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

Greetings Earth losers.

Holy bioluminescent space crap.

I walk away from the Thanksgiving table at BQB HQ for a minute to feed the meter next to my space ship and by the time I get back, the damn Yeti has changed the locks and taken over the joint.

Not gonna lie.  This does not bode well for my career, or frankly, my little green life, because as you know, for some strange reason, Bookshelf Q. Battler is the Mighty Potentate’s Chosen One, the one who will allegedly write and publish a novel that is so breathtaking that it will convince all of humanity to give up on reality television.

Personally, I don’t see it. I’ve seen more work ethic in Nyquil addicted sloths than I have seen in BQB, but hey, what the Potentate wants is what the Potentate gets.

And his going to get my vaporized if he happens to check this blog and find out that BQB has been imprisoned and that a damn fuzzy international war criminal hellbent on turning the entire world into a boring place is in charge.

3.5 READERS: How do we save BQB, Alien Jones?

Oh thank the Potentate, 3.5 readers. I’m so glad you asked.

Twitter.

Yetis only love boring things and if this blog starts getting more follows on its companion Twitter page, then that will be just way too stimulating for the Yeti to handle and he will surely bail.

3.5 READERS: Can’t you just vaporize the Yeti?

Really? That’s how it’s going to be? The alien has to do everything?

Bitches, please. Get your asses to Twitter and follow your favorite nerd and save his ass from the Yeti and my ass from the Mighty Potentate…please. Pretty please…with space sugar on top.

BQB’s handle is @bookshelfbattle or you can just go here.

Don’t delay, 3.5 readers, because when it comes right down to it, my safety, er I mean BQB’s safety, is all that matters.

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#31ZombieAuthors Rewind – Day 18 – Deirdre Gould – Maine Prepping and Self-Publishing

With Your Guest Host: Schecky Blargfeld, Zombie Comedian

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Hello again, 3.5 readers.

Fancy meeting you here on a blog that is read by only 3.5 people.

Suppose you were turned into a zombie and then….you were cured!

Happy day!

But wait.  Now you have to come to terms with all those brains you ate.

What happens after a zombie apocalypse?

BQB asked Deirdre Gould about that last year.

Check out that interview here.

And don’t forget to check out The 40th Day, the latest book in the After the Cure series on Amazon.

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