We’re back to the cinema for The New Mutants

With the cinemas in Canberra reopening, my husband and I decided to be adventurous and see The New Mutants at our local Hoyts.

The cinema experience was essentially the same as before the pandemic except for: the seating arrangements, with the tickets sold so people are seated apart across the cinema; the extra cleaning; and, the lack of cinemagoers.

We found ourselves in an unintended private screening as we were the only people in the cinema. And I may add it was the cleanest cinema I’ve been into in many years. I was surprised at how loud the sound felt, which shows how long it has been since I’ve been in an environment louder than a room with a television.

Onto the movie…

Set in the same Marvel comics movie universe as the X-Men, The New Mutants is a coming of age story about five teenagers who have extraordinary abilities as a result of genetic mutations.

The story follows Danielle Moonstar, a first nations girl who wakes up in a mysterious facility. Dani is told that everyone else on her reservation was killed by a tornado and the facility is her new home. What follows is a story of Dani and the four other teens in the facility learning about each other, the realities of their abilities, and the dangers in their current life.

The New Mutants is billed as horror action which is true but I feel it misrepresents the movie somewhat. While there are scary moments, they’re reminiscent of a very impressive scary episode of Doctor Who, The X-Files or Buffy the Vampire Slayer rather than a full-on horror movie.

The story hangs together well, the script is good, the acting is strong and the special effects are well done.

Recommended for teens and adults – far too scary and adult for pre-teens.

His rating: 3.5 out of 5, what I expected and enjoyable.
Her rating: 4 out of 5, would happily watch it again.

Science Fiction documentary

James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction is an exploration of movie, and to some extent written, science fiction. The history, themes and key protagonists of science fiction are examined across six 41 minute episodes.

The documentary includes discussions between James Cameron and other sf movie directors including George Lucas, Steven Spielburg, Christopher Nolan, and Ridley Scott. As well as other science fiction writers, creators and actors.

This documentary series provides an engaging overview of the topics with some analysis but not a lot of deep analysis – which is understandable given the length of the episodes.

The series is broadcast on SBS Viceland and streaming on SBS On Demand.

James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, 8.30 pm Thursday on SBS Viceland.

Sometimes ‘superhuman’ means just getting up in the morning

Doom Patrol season 1

Doom Patrol reimagines some of DC’s most unique Super Heroes – Robotman, aka Cliff Steele (Brendan Fraser); Negative Man, aka Larry Trainor (Matt Bomer); Elasti-woman, aka Rita Farr (April Bowlby); and Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero) – led by the Chief, aka mad scientist Niles Clauder (Timothy Dalton). Each suffered a horrific tragedy that left them scarred and disfigured, but with superhuman abilities, so the traumatised misfits band together to support each other while they investigate bizarre phenomena. When the Chief disappears, Cyborg, aka Vic Stone (Joivan Wade), offers the reluctant heroes a mission that’s impossible to refuse. In 15 intriguing and powerfully funny episodes, these superpowered freaks battle Mr Nobody, aka Eric Morden (Alan Tudyk), in hopes of saving a world that, honestly, wants nothing to do with them. DVD blurb.

Doom Patrol is an off-beat dark comedy that is more about the journey rather than the destination. It is a refreshing show in the DC world which focuses on three-dimensional flawed, mature characters that are often overwhelmed by the ordinary world. The show reflects the quirkiness of its characters in non-standard storytelling with heavy layers of dark humour. Some aspects of the tv show reminded me of Dead Pool with it’s mix of violence and absurd humour.

The strength of Doom Patrol is the cast of highly talented actors who each make the most of each line and situation, and stories that examine body horror in ways that are both sad and at times funny. However, if you’re after a detailed adventure with a fulfilling conclusion then you will be disappointed.

Strongly recommended for those of us who enjoyed Dead Like Me, The Middle Man or Dead Pool.

Doom Patrol is available in Australia on DVD and on Foxtel.

Potter and trivia

Quizzic Alley, the Harry Potter store in Fyshwick, has been repaired after some (ponders to think of an appropriate term) dunderhead ram raided the store. The shop is now open on Wednesday afternoons, Friday and Saturday, and online.

As they can’t hold Quiz events and theme parties at the shop at the moment, Quizzic Alley are holding a Wizard’s Worldwide Pub Quiz via video on facebook from 7.30 pm each Wednesday. For everyone at home, the shop’s site includes a downloadable answer sheet.

Update on Canberra region conventions and fairs

The pandemic mitigations have impacted the Canberra region genre conventions:

  • Conflux 16 has been postponed a year to the weekend of 1 to 4 October 2021, with the theme and guests of honour etc remaining the same. According to the announcement on their website: some digital events are planned for October 2020; and full refunds will be offered to anyone who has bought tickets for the 2020 convention.
  •  Gamma con has been postponed from its 1 and 2 August 2020 dates to an unconfirmed date which their post indicated could be sometime in late 2020.

Across the border:

  •  The Streampunk Victoriana Fair at Goulburn Waterworks is still scheduled for 17 and 18 October 2020. As an open-air event it has more likelihood of going ahead than an indoor event.

If you have news of any other science fiction and fantasy related events please let us know.

Isolation friend game

A Quarantine House game has begun appearing across the internet. The idea is to assume you are living in a share house and the occupants you choose to share your isolation. Your house should three ‘good guy characters’ and one ‘villain’.

Which fictional characters would you like to share your isolation time with? And who would you find frustrating to share a home with?

From Star Wars I would like to house share with Leia, Lando, Yoda and Boba Fett as there would be conversation, card games and Yoda could clean up after us with the Force. But I wouldn’t want to be locked up in isolation with Finn, Jar Jar Binks, C3PO and Kylo Ren as there would be no peace and quiet – assuming Kylo didn’t kill everyone immediately.

An inspiration for this post is the Verity Podcast episode Doctor Who Quarantine Houses. (Audio only 37 minutes)

2020 Worldcon goes virtual

The chairs of the 2020 science fiction world convention, ConZealand, have announced that the convention will now be the first virtual worldcon.

Faced with the options of cancelling, rescheduling or being innovative, the chairs have decided to make their worldcon into an interactive virtual convention. This will be the first fully online worldcon, with convention members attending via computer. If you have paid for an attending membership it is not becoming a paid membership for the online event.

The new online membership rates are expected to be announced by 15 April. The memberships for the virtual convention are expected to be lower than the attending memberships.

To help the convention with their costs for realigning the event, ConZealand is asking fans to consider not asking for refunds for the difference between paid attending memberships and the virtual memberships.

Further details are available on ConZealand’s website.

SF fans unite – although perhaps not in person

Hi there CSFS members.

How are you? Are you OK? The world is a challenging and worrying place at the moment, with experiences we would rather remained only in fiction.

With social distancing in place and quarantines etc, most of us will be spending more time at home with our favourite fiction. For some people this may be a burden but for we science fiction and fantasy geeks this is an opportunity.

Although we are all keeping our ‘social distance’ please check in with your friends by phone or digital device (or telepathy if you’re lucky enough to have it). Keeping in touch is something we can all do to support and help each other.

Some ideas for things to do
– Reread your favourite books, comics etc
– Watch or rewatch a TV series you’ve been meaning to catch up with. SBS has Project Blue Book on their streaming service and on TV.
 – Read through Baen Books library of free ebooks or buy some of their ebooks
– Listen to audio books, for example Audible or Big Finish (by the way, the older Big Finish productions cost a lot less to download)
– Online gaming
– Dig out your oldest computer and try to get it to work again
– Write some fiction or poetry for one or more of the many writing competitions in Australia this year 
– Or if you’re feeling less formal write some fanfiction
– Organise your Collection
– Assemble a spaceship model 
– Learn to crochet a robot 
– Build your own space armour

What are you planning on doing with all your geeky time?

Hmmm, maybe I’ll crochet myself a storm trooper helmet

(The restaurant meeting will be on tonight, 19 March, for those who wish to attend).