Movie Reviews

Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) has been a major part of geek culture for almost 50 years. The tabletop role-playing game, first developed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arnison in the mid-seventies, has touched the lives of overly imaginative nerds worldwide. Personally, I started playing it when I was eight years old. It kick-started an industry that allowed fantasy-loving geeks to create their own roleplaying games and bring them to market.   

In 1977, Star Wars was released. It was written and directed by a then unknown George Lucas.  The film was the first space opera, a rip-roaring action adventure about a band of virtuous rebels fighting an evil Empire. The rebels had American accents, had perfect aim and were always fundamentally kind. Their leader was dressed all in white.   

Women Talking is a courageous re-telling of Miriam Toews’ 2018 book of the same name. It is based on the true story of a Mennonite colony in Bolivia, which was beset by a series of sexual assaults. The film is directed by Sarah Polley, one of Canada’s best-known independent film directors. 

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the 18th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  

Death is a part of life. The longer we live, the more people around us will die; and it is important for us to accept this reality. However, regardless of how omnipresent death is in human existence, we don’t understand it very well, and philosophers and theologians have vigorous debates about human mortality and what it means to be a human being living and dying on this planet.  

Predator was the first installment in the Predator franchise. It was directed by John McTiernan and was released in 1987, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as the leader of a paramilitary rescue team who encountered a deadly technologically advanced alien warrior in a Central American rainforest. The warrior, known as the “Yautja,” stalked the soldiers in order to take them as trophies. Initial reviews of the film were mixed, but it has since been considered a classic of the science fiction genre. Predator was followed by three sequels: Predator 2 (1990), Predators (2010), and The Predator (2018).   

Harvey Weinstein was one of the most famous producers in Hollywood. His production company Miramax, churned out quality films though the 90s and early 2000s, including Clerks, Pulp Fiction, Emma, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Dogma, and Scream. He also helped to kickstart the careers of distinguished actors and directors such as Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith.

In 1939 Lucille Ball was hired by RKO Pictures to play small parts in a number of low budget films. Her career had little success until she was cast in the 1948 radio show My Favorite Husband which was very successful and attracted the attention of CBS and the cigarette company Philip Morris who suggested the show be adapted to television.

Cyrano’s story has touched the hearts of many people and has been adapted to film many times. Among those to play Cyrano on the silver screen were José Ferrer (1950), Christopher Plummer (1962), Gérard Depardieu (1990) and Kevin Kline (2008). The most memorable modern version is 1987’s Roxanne. Written by and starring a 41-year-old Steve Martin the film also starred Daryl Hannah. The principal character is not a French Army cadet but is instead a small-town fireman named Charlie “C.D.” Bales.

The moon is Earth’s only satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of the Earth, it lacks any significant atmosphere, hydrosphere, or magnetic field, and has a surface gravity about one-sixth that of Earth’s. It orbits the Earth at an average distance of 384,400 km and its gravitational influence is the main driver of the Earth’s tides. During each synodic period of 29.5 days, the visible surface illuminated by the Sun varies, resulting in the lunar phases that form the basis for the months of the lunar calendar.