Monday, January 27, 2020

Reviews – Picard, Togo, The Aeronauts; Top Movies of the Decade, War Movie Trivia Answers, New Releases, and Ninja News

Last Friday, I was a guest on Scott Coon’s site for the Little Create Interview – five simple questions, five interesting answers. Check it out!

I also posted at the IWSG site - Ten Tips for Handling Bad Book Reviews.

Movie and Show Reviews


This show debuted on January 23, picking up with Jean Luc Picard twenty years after the last Next Gen movie, Nemesis.
It was a great first episode, snagging you from the opening scene. And it doesn’t let go. It’s very nostalgic without pandering. They don’t force-feed – it comes through sweet and natural.
The special effects, sets, everything – top-notch and movie quality.
And as much as I hate CBS for making me pay for this, they have my money for the duration of this show…
Highly recommended!

The Aeronauts

Inspired by a true event, this film depicts the first gas balloon to go beyond 23,000 feet in 1862.
Felicity Jones is daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren and Eddie Redmayne is scientist and meteorologist James Glaisher. Both are battling demons – she lost her husband in a balloon accident and he is fighting to prove the weather can be predicted.
The cinematography is amazing. The view from the balloon, the sight of the balloon in the clouds – all impressive.
The leads do great in their roles. The story begins with the balloon launch and then is told in flashbacks to show you where the characters came from and why this flight is so important to both. There are plenty of scary moments, as well as some painful ones when they hit ice. (Always bring the moleskin!)
While not historically accurate, it’s still a fun adventure tale and a look at a world we no longer know. Created by Amazon Studios, they’ve proven they can produce a big theater film.


The true story of the real sled dog hero in the 1925 Nome, Alaska diphtheria serum run. Willem Dafoe plays musher Leonhard Seppala as he and his team, led by the aging Togo, race to get the serum during a storm.
Those of you who’ve seen the animated film Balto only know part of the story. Also one of Seppala’s dogs, he was the lead dog of the team that reached Nome with the serum – and therefore got the glory. However, that team was one of nineteen who ran for approximately thirty-one miles each. Seppala and Togo covered over two hundred and sixty miles!
It’s told in flashbacks, going from Seppala and Togo’s run through the storm to the beginning when man and pup met – and it was not love at first sight! Togo was a runt and Seppala wrote him off, but Togo proved to be smart, fast, and one amazing escape artist, and eventually he won over Seppala and became his lead dog.
There are plenty of tense moments, such as when they cross the frozen sound. The settings are beautiful and closeup special effects really good. (Just ignore the obvious matte paintings in the background of the sweeping shots.)
At its core, Togo is about the close relationship between man and dog and what happens if they push each other too far.
If you’re a fan of adventure, animal, or survival stories, you’ll really enjoy Togo.
Highly recommended

Ninja News

#IWSGPit went fantastic! There were more Tweets than ever before.
Thanks to everyone who participated or spread the word.
Any success stories from #IWSGPit, please pass them along. We want to feature you in the newsletter!

Spurred by a post by Anne R. Allen, I finally started being more active on Book Bub. My profile was set, but not every book had all the links, I wasn’t following many other authors, and I hadn’t reviewed any books. I am rectifying that now! If you have a Book Bub presence, please follow me – and I will follow back. And I am going to spend time every week reviewing new books.

The authors featured in the five IWSG anthology books have a website they run - IWSG Anthologies. With Voyagers: The Third Ghost coming out soon, you can visit the site each week to learn more about the authors and read a snippet of each story.

New release-
Moving Through Disclosure: The Handbook I Wanted During My Husband’s Pornography Addiction Disclosure by Elsie Amata
Find it on Amazon

And to give you a little chuckle…
I was watching a RiffTrax movie.
Man and woman watching the news on television.
The man gets up and says ‘No time for news now.’
One of the RiffTrax guys responds – ‘CNN’s new slogan!’
Yeah, almost too sad and true to be funny…

Top Ten Movies of the Decade

Here are the top ten, best-reviewed, and of course my personal favorite movies of the past decade, in no particular order. (Without commentary – sorry, I was running out of room in this post!)

The Avengers
Rogue One
Mad Max: Fury Road
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The Hobbit trilogy
Super 8
Wonder Woman
Fast Five
Guardians of the Galaxy

And special mention to Aquaman and Star Trek: Into Darkness

Movie Trivia Answers

War movies – name the movie from the three actors and the year.

Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy, Barry Keoghan, 2017 Dunkirk
Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, 2009 Inglorious Basterds
Casper Van Dien, Denise Richards, Dina Meyer, 1997 Starship Troopers
Jeremy Irvine, Davile Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, 2011 War Horse
Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, 1979 Apocalypse Now
Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, 2014 Edge of Tomorrow
Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, 1986 Platton
Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, 2001 Black Hawk Down
Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Bronson, 1967 The Dirty Dozen
Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, 2016 Hacksaw Ridge
Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, 1964 Dr. Strangelove

Did you watch Picard? Seen Togo or The Aeronauts? Participate in #IWSGPit? On Book Bub? Did you get any of the trivia right? And what are some of your favorite movies from the past decade?


Mason Canyon said...

Picard was a great show. I’m looking forward to the next episode. I like your list of top movies.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wow all of the movies and shows look good. My husband doesn't know about Picard, I don't think--I'll let him know!

Joanne said...

I like Patrick Stewart but I won't be paying for any more streaming. I have enough to watch and I still want to read books. Not enough time for everything. I enjoyed the Aeronauts - good acting and yes the filming was quite excellent. I gasped a few times at some stunts. Fave movies - probably some of the "little" artsy ones - I'd have to go back and review my lists.
Wonder Woman is a standout amongst the big boy films - she's the best!

Cathrina Constantine said...

It was a fun #IWSGPIT!!! A lot of writers helping writers by retweeting.

Aeronauts was entertaining. I'll have to check out Picard.

I am on BookBub Alex. I'll find you and ... Here's my link:

Toi Thomas said...

There is a lot of good stuff to watch right now. Thanks for the reviews.
I think I'm on book bub but have never done anything with my account. I guess I should.
I only got three of the movies right and they were the only three I've seen. I count that as a win.
Can't wait to see where movies go movie forward.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mason, Picard is a show for the fans!

Elizabeth, he'll enjoy it.

Joanne, she's my wife's favorite. Already paying extra for Disney+ so I won't be getting anymore streaming channels.

Thanks, Cathrina!

Toi, you should definitely do something with your account.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I loved Togo. What an amazing story.

Consulting Writer said...

I'd love to see Togo, but only if I'm alone in a dark room to hide my tears. I'm terrible when it comes to dog movies...well, I was good with Cujo, both that was different. ;)

I'd read one reviewer say (regarding Picard) that it was really good. He thought Discovery would be good, but it was garbage because they never let Patrick Stewart do a cameo. Uhhh... I was so tempted to respond. Still am.

Anyway, my friend has pestered and pestered, so I'm finally watching Discovery, but I'm only half way through season 1. Other ST fans may say its bad, but I don't care. It's fun for me and I'm loving it, the ship, and Lorca way better than anything on Voyager (couldn't not get far in that series).

Besides, after Nemesis, seeing Data in 'Picard' will only make me sad.

kaykuala said...

The Aeronauts should be a good bet,just so to appreciate good cinematography. View from the the clouds should be spectacular.
Togo appears to be educational, good for the kids


Stacy McKitrick said...

Won't stream CBS, so I'll just wait until Picard comes out on DVD (like I do for Star Trek Discovery). I'm in no hurry to watch them anyway. Got too much other stuff to watch/read/write. :)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I liked Star Trek Discovery at the beginning, but ultimately did not. I won't pay CBS just to watch Picard as I did not pay for Disney+ to watch only 8 thirty minute episodes of the Mandalorian. I already own everything made by Disney that I want to see. I'm walking away from the streaming wars.

I liked all your top ten. There were too many great movies over the past decade to narrow down to ten for me. I have an unsettling feeling that the fun of the MCU ended with ENDGAME.

I'll look into Book Bub. Thanks for the suggestion.

Liz A. said...

Picard, another reason to get CBS All Access. One of these days I'm going to break down and do it...

Patricia Stoltey said...

Becoming more active on BookBub is also on my agenda. When I get there, I'll follow you, Alex. said...

I wish I could weigh in (in a meaningful way) on any of this hearty post, Alex. I can say that I'm proud of Elsie. Congratulations to her.
Have a good, productive week.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

That's great to hear IWSGPit went so well! I didn't participate since I have an agent, but I did end up signing with her as the result of a Twitter pitch.

I haven't done much on Book Bub. You've inspired me to check it out.

Juneta key said...

I have subscribed to CBSAllAccess since Star Trek Discovery but found they have a lot of great show. Loved Picard. Saw all the movies you mentioned too and enjoyed them.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Consulting, season two is a little better, but they gave the Klingons hair just to appease the fans for no reason. I'm just pretending it's in a really far-flung alternate universe.

Roland, hopefully it doesn't end.

Thanks, Patricia!

JH, that's great!

Birgit said...

I will check out your 5 answers to the questions. Congrats on the posting and hope you get get a lot of feedback at that new place regarding your books. I LOVE Picard!! I am able to watch it on the Sci-Fi channel so I am not paying extra..I hate that! Patrick Stewart is an amazing actor that deserves more accolades than he gets. It's so much better than that STD (Star Trek Discovery). I like your movie picks and love The Hobbit series but I went with these, in no particular order. Bridesmaids, Hacksaw Ridge, Skyfall, Deadpool, Grand Budapest Hotel, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Spotlight, The Impossible, The KingsmanThe whole 23 films of the Avengers series and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Cherie Reich said...

I so want to see Picard, so I think I'll be paying for CBS All-Access at some point.

J E Oneil said...

Seriously, if my mom doesn't get to watch that new Star Trek show soon, I'm the one who's going to go crazy.

Natalie Aguirre said...

The Aeronauts looks good. I'll add it to my list to watch. Picking the top 10 movies is not something I'd try to tackle. Glad you did.

Anonymous said...

Anne inspired me to sign up at BookBub, too. It's on my list of TTD.

I did get eight of the trivia Qs correct. I love war movies. Not sure what that says about me, though.

Susan Kane said...

So many awesome movies on the table right now! We have seen both lists, and for the most part, loved them all.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love the idea of a Picard movie. Thanks for the heads up!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for the awesome reviews, Alex! I am behind and haven't seen any of those yet. Currently, I'm catching up on The Expanse - yes, I'm that behind. My top ten in the last ten years ... that would take me time to put together that list, but I think I would have many of the same movies you do on it.
Like you, I have a barely there presence on Book Bub. Perhaps I should remedy that?
Happy Writing, Alex!

Murees Dupè said...

Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely worth mentioning, which you did. They were just a breath of fresh air.

Pat Hatt said...

Wondered if Picard was good, good to know it is. Great top 10 indeed. Although not sure I'd put the hobbit in mine as it stretched it out way too much with 3. 2 would have been better. I'd probably stick Deadpool in there just because I enjoyed it so much. Bookbub I barely do anything on at all. Only so much time in the day.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Birgit, it is tons better than Discovery!

Cherie, wait a bit and then you can binge-watch.

Lee, that you like history?

Tyrean, I've tried twice to watch that series... And you need to up your presence on Book Bub.

Pat, it only needed two movies, but I soaked it all up anyway.

Botanist said...

We watched Togo last week. Awesome movie! I'm glad they made it because, you're right, Balto is the one that became famous but Togo was the real hero. And Ali and I cracked up at Togo's antics, looking at each other and saying "remind you of someone?" Our husky was an escape artist as a pup.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! I may have to pay for Picard. I enjoyed your Scott Coon and IWSG posts ~ Thanks for the links. Thanks also for the shout out on our IWSG analogy blog. Have a good one!

Truedessa said...

I want to see Picard but, I don't think I will as I have to pay for it. I wish they would stop doing that I already pay enough for cable. I am sure it is amazing though.

I am glad to hear the twitter pitch was successful. It's a great opportunity for a writer to get noticed.

Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy would be high on my list.

Heather R. Holden said...

Great answers for Little Creative Interview! Was fascinating to learn how CassaStar came about, and how long it had been shelved!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex – interesting and helpful to read your down to earth interview at Scott Coon’s site. I saw the Aeronauts a while ago – I enjoyed the ‘view’ … while I went because I wanted to ‘learn’ a little more about Glaisher … and knew the storyline wasn’t accurate. It is a little far-fetched, but fun to see. I haven’t seen 2040 – but understand that it looks at the effects of climate change in 20 years … it was recommended by a meteorologist – I just never got out of Eastbourne to see it!

Glad IWSGPit worked well and now that your BookBub profile is being fleshed out … good luck. All the best to Elsie too – a great resource for those in need, or need to understand more.

Thanks for film recommendations via your Top Ten Movies and Movie Trivia Answers … cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ian, that's funny.

Louise, thanks and you're welcome.

Truedessa, I know! We pay for five services now. Too many.

Heather, thanks for reading.

Thanks, Hilary.

Tonja Drecker said...

Well, you just added several more to my tb-seen list. IWSGPit was so fun to watch; tons going on this time!

Andrew Leon said...

I'm not picking up CBS for one show.
I'll wait.

Mary Kirkland said...

I didn't watch Picard but I plan to at some point. I've always liked the whole Star Trek franchise.

Patsy said...

I've not seen Picard, but I'd like to.

SpacerGuy said...

Yes me too! I'm all in with Star Trek picard speaking of which he mentions Dunkirk! Inglorious Basterds, crumbs what a movie. Brad Pitts character really carves out those nazi's. I must watch Togo - sounds like such a trying adventure on the mind and body - makes me wonder could I undertake such an epic and survive Alaska wilds with me and my dog eating fish.

Sandra Cox said...

I'd like to see Picard.
Does Togo have a good ending (for the dog)?

Nilanjana Bose said...

Good luck with Book Bub!

My top films of the decade? Rogue One, The King's Speech, Hugo, I liked The Shape of Water too. I'll have to think about the rest :)

Melissa said...

Picard and Togo sound great. Picard was one of my favorites on Trek.

Jacqui said...

I've heard about Picard. Just assumed it would be done poorly but I'm going to give it a try now.

Loni Townsend said...

My husband and I signed up to watch Picard. Loved the first episode and we're looking forward to the rest of it!

John Wiswell said...

I'm glad you're enjoying Picard so much! It's definitely got a lot of buzz. My Twitter feed is full of people adoring it. I definitely have some nostalgia for the character. I'll have to check it out when I get more free time.

Sandra Cox said...

I saw your follow on BB and followed back. I'm trying to read more Indie buds works too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Andrew, I'm watching some other shows while I have it. Discovery is a dumpster fire, but it's an interesting one.

Sandra, yes! I don't watch animal movies where the animal dies.

Nila, Hugo was great!

Jacqui, it is very well done.

Sandra, thanks!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

Yes, I'm on Book Bub. I will follow you. Some of the movies sound interesting. Might have to see a couple.

nashvillecats2 said...

Better late than never as they say Alex.
A great read as always and always much going on in the world of films and books plus of course blogging.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, Alex! Thank you so much for the unexpected shout out! It's truly appreciated.

I've never heard of Book Bub so it's safe to say I'm not on it.

My husband wants to see Picard but I think we're going to wait until it comes out on DVD. Although, if I tell him you're saying it's this good...who knows?

The RiffTraxx line made me chuckle


Lynda Dietz said...

Picard sounds like a treat. I think of all the Star Trek series, STNG is my favorite, with TOS as a close second. There's something that Patrick Stewart brings to the table that really surpasses anyone else.

Love the RiffTrax comment! Sad but true.

Thanks, as always, for such a thorough post with such a great bunch of variety.

Sandra Cox said...

Wonderful news that the pitch went so well.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I won't even mention Picard to my guys. I refuse to buy another service. I agreed to get Disney if we dropped Netflix, but caved and kept them all.

I'll have to read Anne's post on BookBub. I'm also there but not really using it.

Rhonda Albom said...

Sometimes I feel like you and I live in different planets. although I did know a few of your war movies, I didn't see any of your top 10 from the decade, nor did I see Picard, Togo or Aeronauts. LOL - I always learn about something completely new to me from your blog.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

"Togo" sounds like an interesting flick. (And it wasn't even on my radar before. Like Rhonda, I kinda live under a rock when it comes to new releases.) We're thinking about going to see the new "Jumanji" movie next week. We watched the second one on TV last weekend and enjoyed it so much, now I'm psyched to see the new one, too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks Beverly!

Elsie, let him watch it now!

Lynda, Next Gen is my second favorite - DS9 will always be number one.

Elizabeth, we are dropping Disney soon. Just have a couple more movies to watch.

Rhonda, well, you do live in another country.

Susan, you'll enjoy it!

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

I'm a fan of both adventure films and history so I'd like to check out Togo. I had been strongly thinking about seeing The Aeronauts until I found out it was both a historical and fictional account, in which unless there is something obviously speculative about the story (e.g. steampunk fiction) I normally don't watch or read material that mixes the two. However, as you said, the aerial cinematography looks so great, I may at least watch it on dvd. I understand it was a limited run so I don't think it's playing in any theatres near me in which I'm sure it would look super on the big screen, especially in an Imax theatre!

DMS said...

I have not seen Picard yet. I really want to watch The Aeronauts. Sounds fascinating! I hadn't heard of it- so thanks for sharing. :)

Tony Laplume said...

Thanks for giving a shoutout to Star Trek Into Darkness. Started to seem as if there wasn't any appreciation for it. "Now, shall we begin?"

Yolanda Renée said...

You are one busy man. I've not seen any of that.
I will look you up on Book Bub. I too need to get more active there.
Oh, wait, I did see Aquaman and I did like it! See, there's hope for me yet. :)

Jennifer Lane said...

Great IWSG post, Alex. I tried to leave a comment but I'm having trouble commenting on blogger so it might not show up.

Jemi Fraser said...

Loving Picard!! It's part of our basic cable package here in Canada so we're not having to pay extra - yay!
So many great movies this past decade - we have a lot of similarities :)

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

Loved Togo!!! It was the perfect Disney adventure. Also, your top 10 of the decade is great! Two of these are in my top 10 as well. ;)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Thanks for the review of The Aeronauts. My husband and I watched the preview -- and he gave it a thumbs down. BUT, I'm always looking for something to watch on my own while he's away on business trips, so I'll bump that one up my list!

Sandra Cox said...

Sounds like a lot of interest in Book Bub. Leaving reviews there seem to be on the up tic.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

You've reminded me that I need to get moving on Book Bub too. I have a profile but haven't done enough. I have the Aeronauts on my list to watch. I would watch Picard, but I can't bring myself to pay for the extra CBS shows.

Chemist Ken said...

Picard might be good, but there's no way I'm paying CBS the full fee just to watch one show.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

We saw the first episode of Picard on YouTube, but I don't want to pay for another streaming service.

Kathe W. said...

Thanks Alex for all the nice comments you leave! I am going to attempt the A-Z this year! Fingers crossed!

XmasDolly said...

You have some pretty interesting movies here my friend. The Call of the Wild looks pretty interesting. I may try that one. Well, Mama ended up with the flu so I think I'm going to close my eyes here & get 40 or 80 winks here. Stay healthy my friend and I've drank to cartong of orange juice so far on your advice. :P Don't forget your vitamins....

Sandra Cox said...

Wishing Lynda much success with Wielder's.