FROM TIME TO TIME (2009) has a boy living with grandma Maggie Smith in the country during WW II finds himself slipping back a couple of centuries to get involved in family history (or else it’s ghosts showing up in the present—as I using this as a talking lamp, I wasn’t sure) and discover (what else) the location of the Lost Family Treasure that will save the estate. Forgettable. “I may be in for a spot of bother if anything happens.”
John C. Reilly voices WRECK-IT RALPH (2012), the Brute Man adversary of “Fix-It Felix Jr.” in the same-name video game; frustrated with being an outcast living in a garbage dump he sneaks out of his game hoping to find a way to prove himself a hero and ends up trying to help out a little waif (Sarah Silverman) against domineering King Kandy (Alan Tudyk doing what sounds like a good Ed Wynn impression) in a Candyland game. Along with a lot of product placement, this has lots of cameos by the likes of Qbert and Pac-Man and some wonderful visual design; Jack McBrayer (Kenneth of 30 Rock) plays Felix, Jane Lynch is a hardboiled starship trooper and (Jane Lynch plays a starship trooper (“She has the most tragic backstory in game history.”). Really fun. “Doomsday and the apocalypse had a baby—and it’s ugly!”
THE LAST STAND: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Big Horn by Nathaniel Philbrick didn’t grab me anywhere near as much as the author’s In the Heart of the Sea or Sea of Glory, possibly because it’s a Western (not my favorite genre) and gets a little bogged down in troop movements and tactics. That said, it does show well how accumulating errors and missteps on the part of the Seventh Cavalry (including headed hostility between different ambitious commanders, Custer of course included) led to the disastrous defeat, which was probably not as heroic as the classic iconography (the evidence indicates the Seventh broke and fled, possibly with Custer leading the way). Didn’t catch fire—I think more perspective on how the mission and the Last Stand were perceived by the country at large would have helped.
Returning to LJ Smith’s Night World: HUNTRESS has a female vamp working as a vampire slayer for Circle Daybreak assigned to guard a child who may be one of the four Wild Powers needed to save the world, which unfortunately requires teaming up with an Obnoxious and Irritating fellow vamp. This is another that makes me think Stephanie Meyer might be a fan as the protagonist, like Bella’s daughter is a supposedly impossible human/vampire hybrid; good, in any case.
BLACK DAWN has a young woman hunting her missing brother encounter another Wild Power in the vampire ruler of a Lost Valley (in the best romance-novel tradition an Icy Aristocrat whose cruel exterior hides a Tormented Soul) only to discover he’s already signed up with the bad guys.
WITCHLIGHT has a merc werepanther working for Circle Daybreak discover the third Wild Power is an untrained witch oblivious to even the existence of the Night World, and now targeted by a reawakened dragon (established here as the leaders during the era when shapeshifters ruled the world) and engaged to marry a shapeshifter the werepanther realizes is her own soulmate. Good, and Smith does an excellent job making the Nice Girl (the Wild Power) an interesting character. Annoyingly though, this isn’t the last of the series and the capstone, Strange Fate still isn’t out yet.