Doctor Who (Peter Capaldi) – The Lie of the Land, and Empress of Mars

The conclusion to the Monk Trilogy is our first episode this week. Written by Toby Whithouse, the episode first aired on 3 June, 2017. The Monks have changed history, having assumed control of Earth when power of consent was given by Bill (Pearl Mackie) at the conclusion of last week’s episode, when she had them…

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1989) – Contagion, and The Royale

Captain’s log: stardate 42609.1 Airing on 27 March, 1989, Contagion is a fairly solid story written by Steve Gerber and Beth Woods. In response to a distress call from their sister ship, the U.S.S. Yamato, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) orders the Enterprise to violate the Romulan Neutral Zone. Racing towards the ship, the Enterprise downloads…

Deep Impact (1998) – Mimi Leder

Releasing the same year as Michael Bay’s big budget, small story, extravaganza, Armageddon, Deep Impact got a little lost in the rubble. But with Steven Spielberg’s name attached to it as executive producer, it’s my next stop on the Sci-Fi Chronicles. Eschewing the flash-bang, style over substance, popcorn nature of Bay’s film, Deep Impact, ably…

Hot Docs 2016: Operation Avalanche – Matt Johnson

  It’s right there in the title, Operation Avalanche, it’s a snow job. This faux documentary is played straight, pretending to be a film edited together from film shot by a pair of agents (Matt Johnson and Owen Williams) posing as filmmakers, working on a documentary about the Apollo program at the height of the…

The Martian (2015) – Ridley Scott

  A fantastic book, a top-notch actor, and one of the best technical directors working, what wasn’t to like about The Martian? Clocking in at 141 minutes, my only real issue with the film was that despite the fact that it gave you the number of sols Mark Watney (Matt Damon) spent alone on Mars…

The Martian (2011) – Andy Weir

  I’ve been wanting to read this book since I heard Ridley Scott had been tapped to direct the film, and having finished it, I think he’s the perfect choice. I can’t wait to see what he does with it, and if his film will wrap me up as completely as Weir’s novel did. Despite…

The Last Man On The Moon (2014) – Mark Craig

  The Bloor Cinema/Hot Doc’s 2014 – 2015 Doc Soup is coming to an end, and I couldn’t imagine a better picture to close out this year’s run than this amazing documentary. Back in the early 70s, somewhere between my introductions to Star Wars and Star Trek, my young brain processed the fact that at…

Interstellar (2014) – Christopher Nolan

Sure, it took me a while to get to this one, but it’s been a big month, and for me this is worth the wait. With recognizable influences from 2001: A Space Odyssey (the return of silence to space, and walking, talking robots that resemble the iconic Monolith) and Contact (not the least of which…

An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth – Chris Hadfield

  Usually when I read a book, I am transported to some faraway land and introduced to characters and situations which ignite my imagination and leave me breathless in anticipation of what might come next.  The really good ones have had me scrambling for more from the moment I read the final few lines.  I…

Armageddon (1998) – Michael Bay

  The 101 Action Movies brings us another Michael Bay cotton candy confection of entertainment featuring an extinction level event, too-rapid cutting, cardboard characters, a power ballad, an all-star cast, and a number of well-placed American flags to show how noble and amazing they are. Bruce Willis leads the cast, playing Harry Stamper an oil…