Bitterblooms (1977) by George R. R. Martin

A melancholy, genre-bending tale, with the science-fiction elements seeping out under the fantasy veneer as the story progresses. There’s a strong emotional core at the centre of the story, but it lacks the creativity of stories like “In the House of the Worm” or “The Way of Cross and Dragon”, or the emotional impact of…

The Stone City (1977) by George R. R. Martin

One of the stronger “Thousands Worlds” short stories. The worldbuilding is really strong here; Martin builds up a very strong sense of place and implied history very effectively. It’s an eerie, Lovecraftian story, quiet and lowkey where many of the other stories in the series are more bombastic, leaning heavier on genre crutches. As always…

Starlady (1976) by George R. R. Martin

A grim, confronting short story in George R. R. Martin’s “the Thousand Worlds” setting. There’s not much of a great hook here, and the worldbuilding and characterisation aren’t nearly as strong as they are in some other of Martin’s short stories written around the same period, but it’s a lean, quick short story, and I didn’t…

Rashomon (1950)

A brilliant examination of human nature, portrayed through a fascinating structure that highlights the themes of the story wonderfully. We see multiple characters recount how a day transpired, but unlike the many imitators of this structure, there’s no “true” version of the story at the end. There’s only the many subjective recounts. Just like in…

The Magnificent Seven (2016)

This 2016 iteration on Kurosawa’s 1954 Seven Samurai (drawing plenty more from the 1960 adaptation of the same name) was a fairly enjoyable western, with two stand-out battle sequences, and middling connective tissue between them. The two battle sequences, a shoot-out in the middle of the film and a large-scale battle at the end, are legitimately enjoyable…

Don’t Breathe (2016)

A lean, intense, and effective horror film. The most notable aspects, at least for me, were the sound design, and how well the movie set out the geography of the house. So many movies, horror or otherwise, only do a passable job of communicating geographical information to an audience, but Don’t Breathe did it extremely effectively.…

Shin Godzilla (2016)

A fantastic Godzilla film, very much drawing from the 1954 original in that there’s little focus on franchise-building or riffing off the Godzilla series and monster movie traditions for their own sake, but instead weaving a science-fiction tale that uses Godzilla to comment on actual real-world events and mentalities. Here, Godzilla and his attacks aren’t…