Honestly, a better movie than I expected. Ben Affleck played the poker faced autistic genius who does forensic accounting for very bad people for very large amounts of money. In some ways, this movie has a similar theme to Revenge of the Nerds, i.e. don’t piss off the really smart people. Except in this case, messing with the smart kid with the nerd glasses can get you killed. Raised by his father (Army Intelligence spook) not to be a victim, the Accountant is deadly dangerous, and will feel no remorse as he shoots you through the head. The movie actually tells a good story, in which people are not what they appear to be on the surface, but face it, it’s the fight scenes that you are going to rewatch it for. Fast, in close fighting and CQB Gun Fu. Plus some nice long range Barrett Fu. One of the bad guys pulls a knife, the Accountant pulls out his study leather belt. I’ve been practicing martial arts for a long time, trust me, the guy with the knife was deep trouble. Even Anna Kendrick, who also plays an accountant (she wanted to study art, but her dad said that wouldn’t pay the mortgage), gets some good hits in, including bashing a bad guy’s arm with toilet lid. Remember kids, a true warrior uses the weapons at hand (bonus nerd points for identifying the Chuck Norris movie that is from). Kendrick’s character isn’t a dark accountant, she’s just a regular nerd accountant doing cost accounting. I’ve also taken some graduate accounting courses, so if you are going to do accounting, cost accounting is the most fun. Trust me on this one. Trust me on The Accountant too. Fire up the popcorn and enjoy.
“Some folks ask me what the transition was like from NASCAR reporter to political reporter. It’s easy. In one, you try to explain to your readers the significance of grown-ups getting paid exorbitant amounts of money to around in circles indefinitely, always turning left. In the other, you get to interview racecar drivers.”
— Mary Katharine Ham
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction
There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo
This is the first book in John Ringo’s four book Council Wars series. He wanted to to a science based fantasy series. So this series is set in a far future, in a technological utopia. People live for centuries, they can transform themselves into mermaids, whales, humanoids capable of flight, unicorns, etc. Prety much limited by imagination. There are also fantasy creatures created by genetic engineering and nanotechnology, including dragons and Elves. The Elves were designed as ultra-efficient combat troops. Pro-tip, do no screw with the Elves. Of course, things are no perfect in a Ringo utopia. The human population is shrinking, mainly because raising kids is a chore, and a twenty year commitment. The closest thing to a government is a “Council” that have control over “Mother”, the massive AI that controls the planet, and makes the utopia possible. The Council disagrees with how to handle this problem, so one side decides to kill the rest of the Council in order to gain control. The attempt failed, and the resulting conflict between the Council members sucks up all the available power, reducing the rest of the humanity to pre-industrial levels. Mother still enforces her basic protocols, absorbing all energy higher than low pressure steam. Ringo achieves what S.M. Stirling did in his “Dies the Fire” series, by evoking Clarke’s Third Law. I’ve recently reread the series. It’s a fun read. Check it out.
A New Leaf
We’re venturing back to 1971 for this interesting twist on the RomCom genre. Walther Matthau plays a New City City socialite who finds himself in the horrible position of being poor. It’s not some evil twist of fate that caused this, he just lived beyond his means at a rapid pace. His butler suggests an alternative solution to honorable suicide, find a rich woman and marry her. Matthau’s character takes this a step further and plans to murder his wife so he go back to his life of a rich bachelor. Enter Henrietta Lowell, played by Elaine May (who also wrote and directed the movie), a very rich, and socially clueless, young woman with no living family. This film has fine acting, but May’s over the top portrayal of the nearly helpless (except in her chosen field of biology) is a comedic high point. Matthau’s character, Henry, quickly wins her heart, gets married, goes on the honeymoon, and secures his financial security. All that is left is to kill Henrietta. When moving into his new wife’s mansion and estate, Henry finds the staff has been robbing his nearsighted wife blind, all with the help of her lawyer. This offends Henry’s principles, and fires the staff (at gunpoint when needed), and replaces with with a honest and reliable staff. Shortly after that, when Henrietta is about to drown and make his dreams come true, Henry finds that he would miss his wife, who truly loves him, and saves her. A delightful comedy with really first rate acting.
Tom Swift and His Flying Lab by Victor Appleton II
Let’s go back to 1954 for the first in the rebooted YA science series. The Tom Swift Jr. books are a spinoff from the earlier Tom Swift juvenile science based adventures. In the original Tom Swift books (first published in 1910), the young inventor was pushing the science of the day, with his motorcycle, airship, and airplane. So the science bar had to be raised in the mid 1950s. Tom Swift Jr., starts his adventures with an atomic powered VTOL aircraft that includes a full set of science labs, a kitchen for their cook, Texan “Chow” Winkler, and a smaller set of aircraft (jet and helicopter) in a hanger bay. Good fun, with a definite Cold War setting.
The Legend of Tarzan
I was expecting yet another Tarzan origin story, so I was pleasantly surprised by this film. Chronologically, it takes place after the first two books. Tarzan is living in London, he has his title, lands, and is married to the love of his life, Jane Porter. Meanwhile, bad things are happening in the Belgian Congo (which is historically accurate), and Tarzan goes to investigate. Jane is not being left behind, so adventure follows. Really good cast on this. Margo Robbie as Jane, Samuel L. Jackson as an actual historical figure (who kicked ass, and took names), and Christoph Waltz being excellent as the bad guy.
Best of the ‘B’s.
It’s the Last Friday of the Year, so I’m going to to back and pick a film from each year that aspires to be a B Movie.
2008 Gotta go with Oblivion, winner of the 1994 Best Fantasy/Horror film at the Houston International Film Festival.
2009 Bubba Ho-Tep, Bruce Campbell seals the deal for this pick.
2010 Tough choice, but I’m going with Confessions Of An Action Star
2011 Black Belt Jones staring the late, great Jim Kelly
2012 Digital Assassin. The low budget, poorly written Turkey dreams of being a “B” movie.
2013 National Lampoon’s The Legend of Awesomest Maximus. Another tough choice.
2014 Sands of Oblivion
2015 The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
The Muppets: A Christmas Carol
It’s Christmas, so let’s go with a humorous take on a classic. Kermit plays Bob Cratchet and, of course, Miss Piggy plays Emily Cratchet. Complete with two Pig girls and two Frog boys as children. Gonzo the Great plays the narrator, Charles Dickens. He actually plays it straight for the most part. What really makes this movie though is an excellent performance by Michael Caine as Scrooge. Rizzo the Rat as Dicken’s sidekick is pure value add, from a Muppet perspective.
Filed under: Baen Books, Monday Book Pick, Science Fiction
Monster Hunter Memoirs: Sinners by John Ringo and Larry Correia
Oliver Chadwick Gardenier is back. Seattle got a bit “too hot” for him (How was he to know that elf chick was only 40?), so for his sins, he is sent to New Orleans. Vampires, werewolves, and giant naked mole rats. Oh my! As fans of the series know, the job of the MCB is to keep knowledge of monsters and the “supernatural” from the public. This is a problem in New Orleans, since most of the locals already know that “HooDoo” is real. There are enough outbreaks of zombies and ghouls that cemeteries in New Orleans are built with fences and locked gates. Then there is the full moon. Things get really weird then, and very, very dangerous for Monster Hunters. Like any John Ringo book, the action scenes are very well done. It is the little touches that had me giggling through this book. Like the male bonding sessions with Chad and Milo (Milo is on the roof the car, trying to pick off zombies on a golf course, and Chad is rocking the car…something my own asshole of a brother would do (love ya Fred, but don’t try to deny this). There is a also the Cajun member of “Team Hoodoo” that things monsters make good eating. That includes the afore mentioned giant naked mole rat. Monster Hunting in New Orleans is different that what fans of the series have come to expect. For one thing, the MCB publishes a supermarket rag of the local events. Think “plausible denial.” Team Hoodoo are local celebrities, and yes, Chad uses that to get laid. Their “landlord” is a local drug gang, who makes sure nobody bothers the building or their cars. Those drug dealers are out on the streets, at night. Zombies and vampires are bad for business. In all a fun read. The only downside is that there is one more book in this series (The memoirs of Oliver Chadwick Gardenier), and it isn’t out yet.