Monday, October 19, 2020

Ayreon-Transitus Review; Movie Reviews – Tenet, The Addams Family, Vampires vs. the Bronx; and Princelings Revolution

Movie Reviews


From director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) comes another mind-twist of a movie that deals with the concept of inversion. A man known as the Protagonist is given one word, Tenet, and sent off to save the world. This was the first major film released since March and I finally got to see it in the theater.

Nolan likes to take your brain and put it in a blender. Like Inception, this is very high-concept science fiction. You really have to pay attention from the beginning to the end. Everything you see ties together in one place or another – it’s very intricate and layered.

It was certainly more humorous than I’d been led to believe. And of course the action scenes were incredible. They have to be seen on the big screen, especially the scene with the airplane crashing into the building. (Which was done in one take!)

The entire cast is great. John David Washington (Denzel Washington’s son) plays the Protagonist and just excels in the role. Robert Pattison is the one who helps him and after seeing him in this role, I can definitely see him as Batman. Kenneth Branagh exudes deadly, cold villainy and Elizabeth Debicki as his trapped wife brings a strong human element to the story. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla) rounds out the cast.

The only knock on the film has to do with the background sound/music sometimes overwhelming the dialogue, and in a film where you really have to hear every word, that makes it a challenge. Not sure if that was a production issue or a theater issue.

Definitely one of Nolan’s best, although I’m sure not everyone will love it. I did and can’t wait to see it again. (And I just might since not much else is coming out right now.)

Highly recommended!

The Addams Family

From the IMDB:
The eccentrically macabre family moves to a bland suburb where Wednesday Addams' friendship with the daughter of a hostile and conformist local reality show host exacerbates conflict between the families.
Featuring the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, and Finn Wolfhard.
We watched this with low expectations since there have been so many incarnations of the Addams Family. However, we were pleasantly surprised.
It keeps the feel of the family, their relationships, their home life, etc. while putting a fresh spin on the tale.
There are a lot of funny moments. Keep your eye on their pet lion.
The animation is simple but stylish and the plot keeps moving at a good pace.

Vampires vs. the Bronx

A group of kids who want to battle the company purchasing all the local businesses but what they end up battling are vampires.
This debuted this month on NetFlix and it’s very similar to Attack the Block. Not as good or funny but it tries. This mostly stems from unoriginality and some borrowed scenes from other films, such as Lost Boys.
However, what does make the film enjoyable are the three lead boys. They play well off each other and elevate the quality of the story.
Worth a watch if you’re bored.

Ayreon – Transitus Review

Another double concept album from the brilliance that is Arjen (Ayreon) Lucassen.

The story –
This album departs from the science fiction theme and returns to a Human Equation story. It’s the 1890’s and Daniel, son of a wealthy white man, falls in love with Abby, one of their black servants. The album opens with a fire killing Daniel and Abby believing she is responsible. Daniel finds himself in Transitus and asks the Angel of Death to let him plead his case and clear Abby’s name. The angel takes him to when he first met Abby and then back to the present and everything that happens after his death.

The musicians –

Tommy Karevik, an Ayreon regular, sings the role of Daniel. Cammie Gilbert is Abby and she brings a lot of passion and soul to the role. Tom Baker (Doctor Who!) is the storyteller and does an outstanding job. Ayreon regular Marcela Bouio sings several parts and Michal Mills has fun as the statue. (But what do I know? I’m just a dumb piece of rock!) And for the American fans, they get Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) in the role of the father. Joost VanDen Broek is in his standard place at the keyboards and Joe Satriani even plays on one song. New additions to the vast array of musicians include someone playing a Hurdy Gurdy and the choir Hellscore.

The music –

This is probably Ayreon’s most accessible albums. It’s still prog rock but not as complex as usual. It’s more of a rock opera than anything else.
Disc two has a couple flat spots but otherwise it moves at a fast pace. It definitely sounds like Ayreon.
I got the full boxed set with two extra discs, a DVD, and the full graphic novel. (Which really helps when trying to follow the story.)
If you’re a fan, then it’s a must get!

Visit Arjen Lucassen’s site for more Ayreon information and details.

The Princelings of the East – The Movie

I finished my ten-books series last week/month, with the launch of Princelings Revolution. Of course, now I’m thinking about the movie rights.

The Princelings of the East - the movie
What would it look like?

Imagine if Lord of the Rings met the Aviator and spiced it up with Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. I think that just about does it.

Grand sweeping vistas, princelings George and Fred travelling from castle to castle, battling misunderstandings, pirates, intrigue and self-interest. Fred eventually gets promoted to king, with all the trouble that brings, while George continues the mad inventor trope, developing from basic biplanes to super-sleek flying boats, all running on strawberry juice fuel.

Who would be in it?
I’ve always imagined Fred as Ewan MacGregor, even if he (like me) has got a lot older in the last ten years. Viggo Mortensen would still cut a dash as the noble Prince Lupin of Buckmore. Ann Hathaway as Lady Nimrod, Keira Knightly as Princess Kira. I’m not sure who would play George, but maybe Ewan could double up, as they are twins, after all.

Ready to sign them up?
If you want the movie rights, get in touch, otherwise buy the books (ebook, paperback or audio).

Buy Princelings Revolution at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords
Find Jemima Pett - Blog, Website, Twitter, and Facebook

Anyone else venture out to see Tenet? Heard the latest from Ayreon? (So many great musicians!) Seen The Addams Family or Vampires vs. the Bronx? Want to see a Princelings movie?
I will be back on November 4 for the next installment of the IWSG!


nashvillecats2 said...

Another great post of news and reviews Alex, How well I remember The Addam Family of my younger days.

Have a good week.

Elephant's Child said...

Even my non movie going self thinks these sound like a bit of much needed fun.
Huge congratulations to Jemima.

mail4rosey said...

I would go see the Nolan movie. They always make you think and stay with you for a bit. Congrats to Jemima. Movie rights would be a wonderful bow on top of the finished package!

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

Thanks for reviewing Tenet, a thinking man's sci-fi flick. I like Denzel and appreciate challenging plots with twists and subtle clues to follow. I totally agree that too many films are heavy-handed when it comes to the background music. When will they ever learn that less is usually more?

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Mason Canyon said...

Congratulations to Jemima. Sounds like Tenet will be an exciting movie to watch. I'm old school (or just old) and miss the original Addams Family.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Sounds like I might have to jot notes down if I watch "Tenet!" I can get easily lost with Nolan's work, although I really enjoy it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - I was going to see Tenet in Cineworld in town, but they've shut it ... so that solved that problem. Thanks for the review and notes for us ... However our local new cinema in the Towner Gallery ... is opening for the film society and smaller films - which is wonderful ... I've booked three so far - and have another 3 lined up to get tickets. Lucky me - or us in Eastbourne ...

Well done Jemima - a series of ten ... and then consider the movie ... yes I say: good luck to her. Thanks Alex ... great round up - and enjoy Tenet on your second visit ... take care - Hilary

kaykuala said...

Hopefully, we get to see TENET on Netflix. They do come fast over here. Yes, the Addams family was quite entertaining during its time. It rekindled memories


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Rosey, it will make you think!

Hilary, hope you get to see it.

Joanne said...

Well, we disagree. I'm glad you liked Tenet. I really wanted to, but as I said in my review - I just couldn't care about the characters or why they were doing what they were doing. Oh well. Glad you could get to the movies - isn't it kinda weird? Speaking of weird, I will check out the Addams Family - always did like them and this version sounds fun. Take care and have a good week.

Chemist Ken said...

I think the volume problems with Tenet was a production issue. The same thing happened at our theater.

To be honest, I was a little disappointed with the movie. In Inception, Nolan did a good job keeping us up to speed with information doled out throughout the movie. Even if we didn't totally understand something, the characters would discuss things enough that we were able to follow along. In Tenet, it seemed Nolan was trying to increase the confusion factor by having everyone talk cryptically, like robots only allowed so many words in a scene. Too many times, IMO, revelations would be vaguely presented to the main character, and he would just kind of nod his head like he understood and move on, leaving the audience thinking WTF?

There's no question the story was difficult to turn into a movie, and I salute Nolan for trying. He just needed to trust the audience more and let them figure out what was going on without trying to add false mystery.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for Jemima - love the movie lineup!!
Tenet sounds intriguing - but I think I'll wait until I can see it from my living room :)

Jemima Pett said...

Thank you for all your good wishes! I really must get out there now the series is finished and catch up with these movies!
Thank you for having me today, Alex :)

Birgit said...

I have not seen any yet but I have heard good and bad things about Tenet. I will give it a try because I do like most of his films...they do keep you on your toes.

Computer Tutor said...

What a collection! I loved the Addams Family as a TV show. I don't know why I never watched the movie. Hmm...

Toi Thomas said...

I've heard good things about Tenet and look forward to the day I can see it. Glad to hear the latest Adam's Family adaptation is pretty good. Yeah, it's going to be hard to top Attack the Block in a genre like that, but glad to hear Vampires vs. the Bronx isn't a complete letdown as long as your expectations aren't too high.
Congrats to Jemima Pett on the completion of her series.

Annalisa Crawford said...

My husband and son saw Tenet and enjoyed it. I was supposed to go with them, but bailed at the last minute in a I-don't-want-to-socialise-with-viruses kind of way. I have a feeling it would have triggered a vertigo attack, so watching it on the small screen at some point will suit me perfectly.

Jenni said...

I haven't seen Tenet yet. It's one of the only new movies that have come to our town. It sounds really intriguing. I've always been a fan of Denzel Washington. So great to see his son carrying that talent on.
The Princeling book/movie sounds intriguing, with all its mash-ups! It's always fun thinking of who might play the characters in your own stories.

SpacerGuy said...

Christophers Nolans tenet has the hallmarks of a fun movie and I just love it when theres something to stir up the plot. It sounds like got the makings of a sweet cast too so I'll be seeing this one. Ten books for Jemima Pett wowsers, now thats a revolution in itself.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joanne, it's a quirky fun movie.

Ken, that's why I want to see it again and see what I missed. I think there were some clues that we just didn't hear.

Joylene, happy to oblige!

Jemima, you're welcome.

Annalisa, fortunately it's not as world-bending as Inception was.

Ray Rousell said...

Looking forward to watching Tenet. It looks really good.

Andrew Leon said...

I'm sure I'll watch Tenet at some point, but I'm no rush.

Stacy McKitrick said...

If I happen to notice Tenet showing up on HBO or Showtime, I may give it a try. I have no plans on going to the theatre any time soon. And due to lack of movies, some chains have just shut down. Can't blame them.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

All right. Your review of Tenet has made me decide that I need to venture to the movie theater to see this.

J E Oneil said...

I wouldn't feel safe going to a theater, but maybe I'll see Tenet when it's out on streaming. said...

I'm glad The Addam's Family did much better than disappoint. That was always a fun series to keep glued to.

Be well, Alex.

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for the Ayreon reminder, Alex. (Although I felt a little guilty about the price when I placed my order.) When I mentioned the new Ayreon album Terry said, "You mean that weird music you're always listening to?" He doesn't get my musical tastes ~ LOL! Congratulations to Jemma on the release of her book!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad you liked this remake of the Adams family. I remember watching the series as a kid and enjoyed the two-movie remake done years ago.

Congrats to Jemma on her book!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Patricia, you will enjoy it then!

Michael, go!

JE, there were five people in our showing. Safer than going to the store!

Louise, glad you are picking it up!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Supposedly, select theaters in Buffalo will be opened on Friday with a limited capacity of 25%. I'm looking forward to the big screen!

Congrats Jemma!!!

Liz A. said...

I do want to see Tenet, but I don't feel safe in a movie theater yet. Will have to wait for it at home. Besides, then I can stop it and rewind if necessary. And subtitles to catch dialog that I might miss ;)

Tony Laplume said...

Tenet was great! A true filmmaking piece of art, in the way only Christopher Nolan can achieve it.

Truedessa said...

Wow - I have always enjoyed concept albums and rock opera type albums. They are fascinating pieces of art. Thanks for introducing me to this new music.

Theaters open here by month end. I am not sure if I will go or not? I will wait and see how that all goes. Tenet sounds interesting.

Botanist said...

Another take on the Addams Family? That's brave! I am curious how well it comes across in cartoon form though. IMO a lot of the weirdness in earlier movies works so well because it is live action, not animated.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cathrina, I read that! Go and enjoy.

Liz, perfectly safe. There were a whole five people at our showing.

Tony, exactly!

Truedessa, not until the month ends? And I thought we were one of the last.

Ian, it was done really well.

Lidy said...

Congrats on finishing the series Jemima!

My boys loved Vampires vs the Bronx. I like the '91 and '93 Addams Family movies. So not sure about the new animated version. Sure, my sons would love it though.

George Beremov [Nebular] said...

I thought Tenet was far from Nolan's best. Thoroughly enjoyed Vampires vs. the Bronx!

The Liberty Belle said...

Good reviews! I'm thankful for your review of the Addams Family. I'm putting that on my 'watch' list. Have a wonderful day.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I'll have to check out Tenet. Or at least tell the men in my family to watch it. :)

Sandra Cox said...

TENET sounds intriguing and has a great cast.
Glad you finally got to the theater. How did they handle it? Did they limit the theater goers and/or have seats roped off?

Tyrean Martinson said...

Tenet sounds really intriguing! I hope to go to the movies again someday soon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lidy, give it a try. You will all enjoy it.

George, not his best, but certainly came together better than Interstellar.

Sandra, no seats roped off, but what few people were in there were really far apart. Again, much safer than where I work.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I used to really enjoy the Adams Family. Must get back and see what's happening. Thanks for the reminder.

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Anonymous said...

It drives me bananas when the soundtrack to a movie drowns out some of what the actors are saying. I feel like I spend a lot of time increasing and decreasing my volume to adjust it.

Enjoy your time off!


Sandra Cox said...

I've been a Robert Pattison fan since I first saw him in TWILIGHT.

Carrie-Anne said...

The new Addams Family film sounds like a lot of fun, and the Transitus album sounds like something I'd be very interested in checking out.

Pat Hatt said...

Tenet sure sounds like a watch. Yeah, been 50 versions of the Addams Family and yet another coming as a TV Show from Tim Burton. I watched the Bronx vs vampires one. Was okay if bored indeed, but kinda fell flat.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

All these Addams Family remakes. I still like John Astin as Gomez and Carolyn Jones as Morticia best, when Thing [the hand] did NOT run all over the house or outside. Thanks for another interesting post.

dolorah said...

I venture out for work and groceries. I'm on the road so much that being home is a treat.

Congrats Jemima :)

Mary Kirkland said...

Now I want to see Tenet.

Rhonda Albom said...

Tenet actually sounds like a movie I might enjoy. The other two not so much. And congrats to Jemima. It would be pretty cool to see your book as a movie.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

As much as I miss seeing movies in theatres I'm not really ready to go back to them. Especially here in the part of Cal. I live in since Covid-19 cases went up recently. I haven't seen The Addams Family yet (just been watching the old TV series) because I had my doubts but the plot you describe sounds neat.

DMS said...

I will have to check out The Addams Family. Loved the show! :)

Angela Brown said...

Tenet has been on my radar and I really think you're right that this needs to be seen on the big screen. I think I have some movie watching to do soon.

I'm not sure I can handle another Addam's family incarnation. Anjeclica Huston has been the only Morticia for me and Raul Julia the only Gomez so it would take a lot for me to consider trying something new.
Le sigh lol!

Congrats to Jemima on the release!!

Sandra Cox said...

Conformist reality TV host and the Addams sounds like a fun plot. Kudos to the script writer:)
Hope you're having a productive, creative, pleasant day, Captain:)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Jemima!

We've been watching a lot of mysteries lately.

Cherie Colyer said...

I always enjoy your movie and book reviews. I'm curious about the Tenant. I'll be checking it out once it's on DVD. (They keep locking businesses down near me, so I doubt I'll make it to the theater.) And now I have to check out Princelings Revolution.

Take care and stay safe!

H. R. Sinclair said...

I'm glad to hear Tenet lives up to the hype.

mshatch said...

Thanks for the reviews! I loved Inception and really want to Tenet thought I doubt I'll get to see it on the big screen :(

Arlee Bird said...

That boxed set by Ayreon looks pretty cool. Some years ago I might have sprung for this as it sounds really good. These days I don't buy much of anything not only because of being careful with money, but I don't need any more stuff. Got too much now that I'm trying to get rid of.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's interesting how opinions vary so wildly about the movie Tenet. I have a feeling you would've been so happy just to be back in a theater again, you would've been inclined to enjoy the experience, no matter what the movie was. Not sure if I'll watch this one or not... maybe when it makes it to the small screen.

On the other hand, I LOVED "Everybody Dies." Not exactly a title that would've drawn me in without your recommendation, but the vocals and music are both amazing. And it's possible, just possible, that the "maniacal sarcasm" struck a chord with me.

Sandra Cox said...

Ten book series. Wow. Wishing you much success, Jemima.

Did you get any weather, Alex?

Shannon Lawrence said...

I hadn't heard of Tenet and had no idea Denzel Washington's son was an actor. Will have to check it out. Others have recommended Vampires vs. the Bronx, and I'll definitely be checking that one out. Not as much movie watching time as I had before since I usually shut everything off to work on school work after the rest of the family goes to bed, plus during the day.

Kathe W. said...

Alex! First off- thank you thank you for all your so very nice comments- you are unbelievable how you find time to visit soooo many folks! Meanwhile- I am so waiting for our freedoms to return. Let us put politics aside- and just enjoy our freedoms that we still have: breathing fresh air, being able to walk outdoors in the mountains and we always have our 4 legged pals to enjoy and care for! Cheers and love Kathe W.

Sandra Cox said...

Hope your day is creative and pleasant.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I love the animated Addams Family movie. It makes Goth awesome again.

PJ Colando said...

Thanks for inventing this blog hop, Alex - and then sustaining it over the years. As our corona-quarantine lingered, I've thought of you and other movie addicts I know as real movie theaters tank.

My husband and I were able to see 'Tenet' in the home of a friend who was a former cameraman - and rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Mind-boggling as per the director's intent.

I loved this belly button prob of a question... see you next month (I'm an IWSG addict)

Katherines Corner said...

Okay, I just added Tenet and Mortal to my movie list. Thank you my friend. I wish I could find the time to read the 10 book series of the Princelings, it sounds fantastic. Of course, fingers crossed she'll get a movie deal. The reimaging for the big screen is always exciting. Hugs!!