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MF GALAXY

MF GALAXY is a weekly podcast powered by four mighty engines: * Writers on writing: the craft and the business * Pop culture including TV, movies, graphic novels, and more * Progressive politics, activism, and social enterprise * Africentric change-makers, histories, cultures, art, and more! Mixing brand-new interviews with classic conversations (from my archive of 23 years in broadcasting) with famous and dynamic figures in the arts, Hollywood, and politics, MF GALAXY will take you to places you've never been before, and deliver fresh insights on the places you've been.
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Now displaying: Category: WRITERS - FILM REVIEW
Dec 30, 2017

I don’t need much of an intro to today’s topic. We’re talking Star Wars: Episode Eight – The Last Jedi. JJ Abrams and his writer-flunkies are out for this one, but they’ll be back for number nine. This time the writer-director is Rian Johnson. Or is it Reean? Or Ree-Anne? Who knows. He’s done acclaimed work including Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper, and three episodes of Breaking Bad including its third last episode “Ozymandias.” In other words, buddy knows a thing or two about storytelling.

But how well can he do Star Wars? To help answer that question I’m joined today by two old friends: Stephen Notley, video game designer and the creator of Bob the Angry Flower, and Fish Griwkowsky, arts journalist and filmmaker. We’re all lifelong fans of Star Wars and we met three days after the opening of the film, December 17, 2017 at Edmonton’s Route 99 Diner to hash out The Last Jedi. And yes, today’s discussion is 100% SPOILERS. Listen at your own risk.

In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, we discuss:

  • How the film inevitably creates its own meta-movie, since we all know that Carrie Fisher is dead and that Princess Leia can’t come back
  • In what ways The Last Jedi is worse or better than The Force Awakens
  • The film’s theme that the only hope for the future is to let go of the past, or destroy it—and the cost of doing either
  • The ways The Last Jedi changes our understanding of classic Star Wars characters and events, and adds to its universe, and
  • The tragedy of Luke Skywalker

You can hear the full-length discussion, a bonus 40 minutes, for free! Just go to patreon.com/mfgalaxy. You’ll get to hear us yammer endlessly about:

  • The awesomely destructive death toll from Poe refusing to listen to women
  • The best destruction scene in Star Wars, ever
  • Porgs!
  • The chemistry of the actors and the characters—is it an improvement over The Force Awakens?
  • The sad fates of R2D2 and Luke Skywalker
  • How Snoke compares as a villain to Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine
  • Where the hell is Lando Calrissian, and…
  • The power of smaller stakes and the true awakening of the Force

 

THE WOMEN OF THE LAST JEDI – BE PART OF THE DISCUSSION ON MF GALAXY!

Coming up next episode, join science fiction scholar Lisa Yaszek, Lady Geek Nite convener Sylvia Douglass, and science fiction novelists Jennifer Marie Brissett and Natasha Deen! We’re looking exclusively at the women of The Last Jedi: Rey, Rose, Vice Admiral Holdo, Maz Kanata, Captain Phasma, Paige Tico, and of course Princess Leia! Want to include your voice in MF GALAXY? Entries must be in by Friday, January 5, 2018!

WHAT TO DO:

Give me your opinion about any of the female characters from The Last Jedi: who they are, what they do, and how well the script and direction treat them. You can comment on any aspect you like, just one character, any combination or comparison, or all of them.

HOW TO DO IT:

If you choose to contribute, please record your answers into your phone or other audio device as a decent mp3 (preferably 192 kbps or higher, but if you don't know what that means, don't worry about it) and send it to me by Dropbox using mfgalaxypodcast at gmail dot com.

PLEASE REMEMBER to introduce yourself by saying, "I'm (your name). I (describe yourself). I want to talk about women characters in The Last Jedi because...." (and then answer whatever questions above you want, or your own ideas).

DON’T READ A SCRIPT, but feel free to use notes. Sounding unrehearsed is key. Rambling is just fine. Go as "inside baseball" as you like. Anything under 4 minutes.

I can’t guarantee your entry will make it onto the podcast, but I’ll listen to everything and include the most original answers that have broadcast quality sound.

Happy recording!

WHEN TO SEND IT:

Entries must arrive by Friday night, January 5, 2017. 

May 8, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy came out in 2014 and blew me away. I’ve called it the best Star Wars since Star Wars of 1977 for stunning imagery and action, and the feature film version of TV’s FarScape, for its gonzo humour and pop culture self-awareness.

And like both of shows, Guardians has outrageous, memorable characters that make fans wish we could hang out with them. That film made a billion dollars globally and now the sequel is out, and as of recording today on May 8, 2017, just four days after opening, Volume 2 has already earned $430 million dollars around the world.

Guardians is a giga-successful series and if we’re lucky, will bring the fun, great characters, and wonder back to science fiction filmmaking. Returning to the show today to discuss Volume 2 are author Krista D. Ball and filmmaker Ben Dobyns.

Krista D. Ball is an Edmonton-based science fiction and fantasy author who was born and raised in Newfoundland where she learned how to chainsaw and chop wood before getting a degree in History from Mount Allison University. She’s also a tough online brawler against the alt-Right, and is basically the Gamora of Edmonton. She’s also the author of more than a dozen novels and novellas including the Spirit Caller and The Dark Abyss of Our Sins series.

Ben Dobyns is a film producer, editor, cinematographer, composer, writer, and director, and one of the founders of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, or ZOE. While he’s from the US he’s now living in British Columbia, and he and ZOE have just completed their third season of their indie-TV comedy-fantasy series JourneyQuest. They’ve also produced Strowlers, a forthcoming series about a world in which magic is suppressed and regulated by a xenophobic, oppressive government.  

Today on MF GALAXY, we look at the sequel which is not even a week old, discussing the familiar cast of Peter Quill, Gamora, Rocket, Drax, Baby Groot, Nebula, and Yondu, as well as Kurt Russell’s new character, all their interwoven personalities and arcs, modern screenwriting, the music of the film, its amazing cameos, its surprising and hilarious social satire, saving the galaxy, and whether my guests think it’s as good as the original. They spoke with me on May 7, 2017 by Skype.

Note that today’s discussion is 100% PACKED WITH SPOILERS. Listen at your own risk. If you’re listening on community radio and would like to hear the full 80-minute version, go to MF GALAXY.org to download it. Also, please note that Dobyns was Skyping at a public playground where his children were playing—you’ll even hear the sounds of swings later on—so some of his audio was difficult to discern. Therefore my virtual assistant M.O.I.R.A. will be voicing his missing words, as with Dobyns’s very first comment and again later on.

kristadball.com

zombieorpheus.com

 

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Dec 20, 2016

Review the film with me—as recorded live at Happy Harbor Comics—are Suzette Chan, the Features Editrix for SequentialTart.com (a webzine by women who are fans of comics and pop culture), and Stephen Notley, a game designer at PopCap and the creator of Bob the Angry Flower.

This reviews contains MAJOR SPOILERS.

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Jan 12, 2016

Today’s episode is 100% non-stop spoilers. If you haven’t watched The Force Awakens yet, you obviously don’t care enough about Star Wars to care about these spoilers, or you’re in a coma. Either way, on we go.

Stephen Notley and I have been talking with each other about science fiction and fantasy for more than 25 years. He’s the cartoonist who for more the last two decades has written and drawn the genre-hopping, politically satirical, gonzo fanboy comic strip Bob the Angry Flower about an evil, brilliant, and super-enthusiastic flower named Bob, and the panels of Bob frequently geek over everything S F & F. Notley’s put out numerous Bob the Angry Flower compilation books and appeared at many major conventions including San Diego Comic Con. He has a vast following and counts among his fans no less than Joss Whedon, who also blurbed one of his collections.

Of course I’m the author of the Philip K. Dick-shortlisted The Coyote Kings whose pages are bursting with genre references and even include a criminal gang called the FanBoys.

To talk The Force Awakens, this last Boxing Day, Notley and I sat down at Ninja Sushi on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton. They have not paid me to endorse them, but I will say they had great tuna. I also apologise to the couple sitting next to us who had to listen to us talk about Star Wars for 90 minutes. Which isn’t exactly true, because they left after 45.

If you’re listening on radio, strap in for this half-hour edition. If you’re listening via podcast, this is a special 90 minute version. Radio listeners can go to iTunes or mfgalaxy.org to get the Starkiller-size.

Notley and I will debate the following questions:

  • Just how derivative was The Force Awakens?
  • Will it help resurrect the reputation of George Lucas?
  • How much did Lucas’s prequels successfully add to the Star Wars universe without getting any credit?
  • Who’s better in a first movie appearance: Luke, or Rey? And who is more humourless?
  • What’s the role of cuteness in Star Wars?
  • Why isn’t Jaaku simply called Tattooine?
  • When does Star Wars do planets right?
  • How did Starkiller Base actually work?
  • What do The Force Awakens and the original Battlestar Galactica have in common?
  • Why does Han starts talking like Geordi LaForge?
  • Is Poe the new Han Solo?
  • Who’s in love—Rey and Finn, or Rey and Kylo Ren? And how will Disney decide?
  • What’s the love and character arc parallel between The Force Awakens and Avatar: The Last Airbender?
  • What’s the major writing no-no in how the script introduces and develops Kylo Ren, especially with his powers, his mask, and his swordsmanship?
  • Who is Snoke? Why is he called Snoke? And why is he a giant Gollum?
  • What was wrong in the generational values of JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot?
  • The Han-Leia relationship and Han’s decline from general back to smuggler and bad father: well-written or a lost opportunity?
  • Why should you read the novel Darth Plagueis?
  • Does Finn possess the Force?
  • Maz Kanata, Lupita Nyong’o. Is the character a Super Duper Magical Negro?
  • And is JJ Abrams’ greatest Star Wars movie… Star Trek 2009?

Along the way, Notley refers to local journalist and our mutual friend Fish Griwkowsky. I began by responding to Notley’s question, How many times have I seen the film?

AngryFlower.com

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