Earlybird reviews of the full Atlas Shrugged movie: "Spectacular," "Solid," "Faithful"

Detractors of Atlas Shrugged would never be pleased with any faithful adaptation of the novel, and so this movie’s primary audience is those who enjoyed the novel, are generally sympathetic to Ayn Rand’s ideas, or both. (If their response is positive, then the word-of-mouth buzz should attract the curiosity of many people who aren’t yet familiar with the novel.)
On this front, it looks like Aglialoro & Co. have scored a direct hit. The early reviews are quite positive.
Read the details on the Atlas Shrugged movie blog.

Hans Schantz: I’ve seen it. It’s awesome.

Atlas Shrugged movie co-blogger Hans Schantz and I were offered tickets to the pre-release screening in Los Angeles yesterday. I was unable to attend, but Hans was there and he has posted his initial reactions over at AetherCzar.
He begins:

I just attended the pre-release screening of Atlas Shrugged Part One, and I’d like to share my first impressions. Take this as an initial installment toward the much more thoughtful (but equally enthusiastic) review I’ll compose at leisure over the next few days and publish at the (fan-run, unofficial) Atlas Shrugged Movie Blog.
When I heard my favorite novel was being made into a movie, all the available omens boded ill: a low-budget production, with no-name stars, made independently without the adult supervision of a real Hollywood studio, and rushed into production at the last minute to avoid loss of rights. It sounded like a recipe for disaster. Scratch that. It WAS a recipe for disaster. I mourned the might-have-been movie Iâ??d been waiting my entire adult life to see. I regretted the lost opportunity. I averted my eyes to avoid the painfully unfolding train wreck.
Slowly the evidence began chipping away at my erroneous conclusions.

See his full post for much more.
Also, don’t miss first full review of the movie, by Atlas Society founder David Kelley.

Mini-review of Ayn Rand's "Ideal," playing in NYC

From Don Hauptman:

Iâ??m not writing a formal review of Ayn Randâ??s Ideal, in part because the limited run ends soon, but several people asked me for my comments. The cast and crew, not Objectivists but young people who apparently are recent graduates of local theater schools, treated the material respectfully and enthusiastically. But the play has its problems, as even Dr. Peikoff conceded in his published Introduction. Itâ??s static, repetitive, and lacking a strong dramatic arc. Though many of the performers were admirable, the gal in the key part of Kay Gonda was miscast; she looks like a comedienne, while I suspect that only Garbo would be right for this role. Notwithstanding the negatives, the production doesnâ??t deserves the smears it received from the major New York newspapers. The play does have a brilliantly ingenious and original premiseâ??Rand came up with those in abundanceâ??and it provides some fascinating insights into her early philosophical ideas, which would be dramatized more effectively in her mature fiction. Iâ??ve always said that Rand is a far better novelist than playwright. Still, as I noted archly in my review of her play Think Twice some years ago, even second-rate Rand is superior to a lot of first-rate everyone else.

Buy the complete Firefly series today for $17.99

For some reason, today Amazon is offering the entire first season of Firefly for $17.99.
If you’re not familiar with Joss Whedon’s Firefly yet, well, get with the program.
I’ve heard certain Ayn Rand fans call it “probably the best television show” they’ve ever seen. I would tend to agree. It’s also one of those programs you can re-watch every year, and not get tired of it.

Review of Touched by Its Rays

Dan’s Hamptons just published a great review of Walter Donway’s new Rand-inspired poetry collection Touched by Its Rays:

If sitting under a large, leafy tree with a cool drink close by and a book of poetry in your lap is your idea of a perfect afternoon, then perfection just got even more profound. Through the exploration of topics ranging from love and parenthood to art and politics, Walter Donway’s Touched By Its Rays (The Atlas Society, 2008) takes readers on a thoughtful journey into revelations of the human spirit.
While the larger themes in Touched By Its Rays can seem particularly political and one-sided, many of the poems are intrinsically universal. Every parent can relate to “To Ethan,” and anyone who has ever loved can hear himself in “Knowing You.” “Seven Callers Waiting” explores the intricacies that keep us from reaching out to those we care about. “A Dialogue of Fear and Love” delves into the complex emotions surrounding love and fear of rejection. In “A Sense of Life,” Donway uses language to create lasting images of the sea, love and an artist’s pain.

See the full review for more.
We hope to publish a review ourselves, before much longer.

We The Living band on PerezHilton.com

Regular readers of the Ayn Rand Meta-Blog may remember a singer named John Paul Roney, about whom I’ve blogged before.
John Paul RoneyRoney and his sister, Sarah Saturday, are huge fans of Atlas Shrugged. (In fact, we interviewed Sarah on the subject a few years ago.)
He’s also the remarkably talented lead singer of a new band called We The Living. The band’s name is, of course, a top o’ the hat to their favorite novelist.
I am mid-way through writing a detailed review of their music — including their latest album, the fantastic Heights of the Heavens.
(Their earlier album, from when they still called themselves “The Profits,” is titled Far from You and Your Everyday Noise — and appears to be available only in used copies.)
Today, to my surprise, I learned that the little-known band received a raving plug in — of all places — the celebrity gossip site PerezHilton.com:

If you like Lifehouse or OneRepublic, then you will love this band!
Their name is We The Living and their hail from Los Angeles. [Actually, they’re from Wisconsin.]
The song we’ve been obsessing over is this really pretty ballad of theirs called Best Laid Plans.
It should be the theme song to the new Beverly Hills, 90210 spin-off!!!
Such a pretty song.
Enjoy it below!

I would have to agree … together with “75 and 17,” “Best Laid Plans” is one of the finest songs on their new album.
And PerezHilton.com?? Wow, what a great break for a great band. I hope this helps bring them the attention they deserve.
Like I said … check it out. If you like music in the vein of John Mayer, U2, David Gray, and the like, this album is a pretty good bet.
And how often do you get to buy music by a fellow admirer of Atlas Shrugged?
Incidentally, be sure to buy the version of Heights of the Heavens with the white cover, which is remastered, rather than the one with the black cover.
I just received my remastered copy in the mail today, and it’s a significant improvement over the original recording.

HBO's "John Adams": Definitely Worth Watching

Bob Hessen forwards the following, from a friend in NYC:

If you haven’t already watched the first two back-to-back episodes of “John Adams” on HBO, you must. It’s gripping drama. It is being shown repeatedly, all this week.
The first episode is about the Boston Massacre and the second is on the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I read the book by David McCullough, and it is very faithfully done. Plus, the production values, backgrounds and settings, including the use of Colonial Williamsburg makes it very realistic, visually.
What’s best about it is that the decision to pursue independence was made in the midst of great fear for their lives and property, and the steps were taken in spite of that. They were taking a giant leap into a dangerous unknown. When they finally take the vote on independence and it passes, there is this long silence as they grasp the enormity of what they have done. It’s a great choice by the director.
I’m hoping you get HBO. You don’t want to miss it.
I found that I had this slight anxiety at seeing something so nakedly and unabashedly pro-liberty. As if the overwhelmingly socialist powers that be might see this and do something to stop it or attack it (I don’t know what).
I guess it’s just that seeing it, I’m so taken by the contrast with today’s society. Here is a many-part drama where the characters disagree so vehemently with each other — about the best way to get human freedom. There’s no one thinking about giving anybody a free ride, no one thinking about the poor or homeless, no one talking about universal health care or some such hand-out from the government paid for by taxing us. It’s ALL about liberty.
That’s a bit obvious, but I can’t help being amazed by seeing it. You almost expect Bill Maher, or Al Franken or someone to come on at the end with a commentary that dismisses the whole thing as no longer relevant, but they don’t. I can’t get over it.

Looks like this mini-series may become available from Netflix at some point, for those of us who don’t get HBO.

A Novel Based on Joss Whedon's 'Firefly'

Fans of Joss Whedon’s excellent but short-lived TV series Firefly can now enjoy a novel with the same characters. Per Dave Itzkoff:

…the world of Joss Whedonâ??s space opera â??Firefly,â? which lasted just 14 episodes in the 2002-3 television season (and spawned the 2005 feature film â??Serenityâ?), lives again in Steven Brustâ??s novel â??My Own Kind of Freedom.â? According to the fan Web site Whedonesque.com, Brust, the Nebula-award nominated novelist and short-story author, originally wrote â??Freedomâ? on spec in 2005 for a proposed line of â??Fireflyâ?/â??Serenityâ? tie-in books; various economic realities prevented that from happening at the time. But now, Brust has made the novel available for free at his home page, The Dream Café.

And if you’ve not yet seen Firefly, you’re missing out big time. For an introduction, check out Monica White’s review at the Atlasphere.