Saturday, May 24, 2014

Days of the Future are Here.

So I got up bright and early this morning and went and saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. When I first heard of the film and saw the previews and trailers, I thought that it would be dreadful, but after my experience today, I discovered that was not the case. Bryan Singer directed the first X-Men film, and second, and should have directed the 3rd and spinoffs as well. Between him and the writer Simon Kinberg, they produced one of the most excellent Marvel based films I've seen. It is dark, well written, a fantastic cast along with fantastic acting, and well filmed. I really enjoyed the film. Honestly, there isn't enough good things that I could say about the film currently. Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, and Evan Peters (Quicksilver) all contributed to make a rather splendid film. Peter Dinklage played a great villain, although I occasionally thought of Tyrion Lannister when he spoke. The best part of the acting scenes involved Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman; very well written. I do have to say that I was impressed. The Sentinels from the future were impressive both visually, and also as villains in the film; they came across as deadly, vicious, and effectively intelligent being essentially the perfect villains. The action sequences were dynamic, impressive, well done, interesting, and done tastefully. The music by John Ottman was equally good, and it was delightful to hear some familiar themes that he composed for the 2nd X-Men film. He also did a fine job of editing; of bringing two concurrent timelines seamlessly together. As far as action.adventure, and comic book adaptations go, I highly suggest watching this film. It was very enjoyable, but also very dark (which is how I like them) but it really makes the journey that much better. All of the films are weaved together into this one, so that was a nice touch. I'm curious to see what the new film will be like. Oh, and don't forget to stay until the credits are over as there is an interesting foreshadowing of things from the past which will impact the future. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about the British Foreign Minister expressing his disappointment and disgust with China and Russia for vetoing a U.N. Security Council Resolution for indicting both the Assad regime and the rebel for war crimes at the Hague. He said something to the extent that it was a travesty of of justice that these two countries opposed this course of action. I'm sure that the rebels fighting Assad are concerning themselves with what the world considers war crimes, and the same for Assad. Both factions are fighting for survival, and human behavior has shown time and time again that when the chips are down and one has everything to lose, the rule book goes out the window, as does morality and ethics. You don't have time for such civilized constructs of reality when you are fighting against a ruthless foe that is determined to utterly, and ruthlessly destroy you. Syria has become an inexcusable, violent mess of which there is no good way to solve the civil war. Egypt is still uncertain, as is Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and also more recently Thailand. There is so much evil and hate in this world right now, no wonder films like Marvel comic book heroes are so popular; everyone wants to escape reality. God help us all.

X-Men: Days of Future Past clip

Bryan Singer interview

Lucy trailer (looks very, very, very intriguing)

Friday, May 23, 2014

What A Hustle!

In a way the month of May has gone by very fast, but at the same time it has gone by very slowly and thus long at the same time which of course doesn't make any sense but there you have it. I spoke to one of my co-workers today who had a rather fascinating story about someone she saw. So this kid had a friend of his with him, which he pulled a chair out for and pushed in, he was shouting at this friend and telling him what to do, and was freaking out when the friend was getting angry. This is my job, this is what me and my co-workers get to deal with potentially on a daily basis. Makes life so much more interesting. So I watched American Hustle tonight and about fifteen minutes into the film I was bored out of my mind and had thought 40 minutes had gone by. I contemplated stopping the film, but I pushed through, which isn't entirely true. I got on my tablet and played Magic: The Gathering card game and every now and then looked up to see what was going on. Almost two and a half hours long of nothing but shouting, searing, people getting hysterical, and a lot of dramatic nonsense about love, money, and power. All of those themes are great in a story and film, but honestly this film was written very poorly. Christian Bale's character was very interesting and could have been something much more awesome, but it was written terribly. The same thing with Amy Adams and her character; both together had the potential to be amazing, but fell horribly short. Don't honestly know if it came down to chemistry, acting, or truly the writing but that is what I am choosing. Bradley Cooper I wanted to strangle the entire film from the moment he walked on screen to the moment he stepped off. The best part of the entire film, which was a breath of fresh air was Jennifer Lawrence and her character, who was interesting and well written to boot. Why couldn't they have done that with all of the characters. Jeremy Renner's character was boring and ridiculous, but of course had potential. David O'Russell, who wrote and produced the film, has been hailed as a great for this film, which was also raved about by critics and audiences alike; God only knows what they saw in the film as I saw nothing. Don't recommend this film, and I doubt that I will ever watch it again. Not certain how many of you are keeping up with Game of Thrones but it seems that Lannisters are not the only ones keen on paying their debts. Season 4 is shaping up to be the best season yet, possibly because it may have the least amount of flagrant sexual content, but also the story is moving much more fluidly, not as much focus on pointless characters, and the stories are becoming more dynamic and interesting as are the story plots for what is going on. It is also shaping up to be the season where a good number of villains are dying, which is a great change for once. I think the show writers are finally coming up to the fifth book, so it should be interesting to see how George R.R. Martin finishes up the book series or rather contends with the fact that the writers are catching up to him. Well good night everyone.

American Hustle clip

Guardians of the Galaxy trailer 2 (Looks much better now)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Consuming Comic Book Universe.


Back in 1998 the seed of blockbuster comic book film adaptations of Marvel superheroes began with Wesley Snipes as Blade in the film Blade directed by Stephen Norrington. It was successful, and had three sequels but didn't really have the mass appeal that studios were looking to capitalize on. Enter the new millennium and in the year 2000 the first X-Men film was released directed by Bryan Singer with a fantastic cast and launching Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen's acting careers to infinity and beyond. It was this film that truly ignited the summer bonanza of comic book film epics, two films and three spin-off films followed, with another one due out in summer 2014. Some of the Marvel adapted superheroes have paid off more than others; Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Avengers have been the most lucrative. The brand of Marvel has become so successful in adapting films, that the market is becoming saturated with films starring the comic book superheroes, and even super-villains. Not including the films that are still being developed, since 1998-2015 there will be at least 35 Marvel produced comic book film adaptations and it appears that it will only increase from that point on. I was 12 years old in 1998 and now I am 28 years old, and in the span of 16 short years there have been more film made from that same topic than anything else: Harry Potter, James Bond, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pirates of The Caribbean, Underworld, Jason Bourne,The Matrix, or Lord of the Rings. I haven't even mentioned DC comics, which includes all of the Superman films, the 3 different Batman strains (Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, and Christopher Nolan ), and The Green Lantern. Than there are other comic book films like Spawn, Hellboy, and Dick Tracy as well. America's addiction to epic escapism is staggering, but I think it may be related to the peter pan syndrome; not wanting to grow up and become a responsible individual. It is rather interesting (although not altogether suprising) that the majority if not all of these comic book films are targeted towards men, young men, and boys all of whom in American culture on average have been having extraordinary difficulty maturing at young age. A perfect example of America's reflection of American men was a film recently released starring Zac Efron and Seth Rogen called Neighbors. However, that is a discussion for psychological research. I personally believe that Americans will eventually tire of these films, at least I hope. When I was watching the Amazing Spider-Man 2 it seemed boring.....well, kind of like a ride that I've been on several times, and therefore has lost its thrill. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. As long as Hollywood makes money, they will continue to churn out comic book films like a factory. Here is a list of all the Marvel adapted film released since 1998 (I don't think I forgot anything): X-Men, X-Men: United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Fantastic 4, The Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Catpain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Blade, Blade II, Blade: Trinity, Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, The Punisher, Punisher: War Zone, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Why don't you try rating them all from most to least favorite? Films being developed are sequels for several of the above mentioned films, a film on Ant-Man, the Sinister Six (Spider-Man villains), Dr. Strange (which could be great if done correctly), Deadpool, and several others I cannot recall currently. DC is also beefing up as well with A Batman vs. Superman film, the Justice League, and possibly rebooting the Green Lantern. I enjoy a lot of these films, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be....well, I'm sure you can figure it all out. I would personally rate The Avengers as the best Marvel produced film yet followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then Iron Man, X-Men: UnitedThe Amazing Spider-Man, and Thor. Who knows how well the new ones will be, or the films that follow afterwards. One thing is for certain though, these days everyone either wants a hero or wants to be a hero; in other words people want to be someone unreasonably exceptional, or be saved by someone unreasonably exceptional (it's all tied to the difficulty America is having with stagnant social mobility). Have a good night everyone.

X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer

Guardians of the Galaxy teaser

Interstellar trailer (not sure what to think)

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Death Defying Laugh.

It seems like the week went by really fast, but was also really long as well. Grad school started up again this week, and thank God there are no statistics involved. Instead I am taking a course in personnel selection and job analysis. I suppose it would sound boring to most people perhaps, but to me it is a rather fascinating subject. It should also be interesting to see my master's project continue to take shape. I have once again given in and now have a Twitter account; merely look me up by name I suppose and voila, there I am. I'm using is mainly to chat about my trilogy, but I've quoted House of Cards as well (how could I not; such an awesome show). It's hard to imagine that May is halfway over already, and that I have a year of graduate school under my belt; I would have never imagined back when I was in high school. So oddly enough on my Netflix queue I had The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, which if you haven't a clue who he is, then that is indeed a bloody shame. He is perhaps most famous for his role in The Pink Panther as Inspector Clouseau, and then Dr. Strangelove in Dr. Strangelove. In this biographical film starring Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers, it was definitely a side of the man I had never thought of before when watching his films. If it is accurate, he was a very manic individual, with a short temper, psychotically selfish, and God only knows what kind of mental illness he had. Rush performed perfectly, and I swear that he actually looked like the man himself, mannerisms, looks and everything; it was rather remarkable. The film was also peppered with greats like Emily Watson as the 1st Mrs. Sellers (he had 4 wives), Charlize Theron as the 2nd Mrs Sellers (I think she was supposed to be playing a French woman), John Lithgow as big time Hollywood director Blake Edwards (a longtime collaborator of Sellers'), Stephen Fry as of some sort of mystical guide to Sellers, and Stanley Tucci playing Stanley Kubrick (he was sublime, even though it was a very small part). A tremendous cast, and it was relatively well written by Christopher Markus based off of the book by Roger Lewis. There were times when there were things in the film that didn't make sense, but overall I'd say it was pretty good; I could see myself watching it again. If you like excellent drama then you would like this film, and to top it off it was produced by HBO. Peter Sellers unfortunately died of a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 54. His comedic skills are still making people laugh, but now you get a glimpse of the man behind the laughter and his struggles. There you have it. It is the weekend, so I am going to relax and enjoy myself; I suggest all of you do the same as well, as best as you are able.

Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Clouseau in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers trailer

 The Flash trailer (looks...interesting)

Gotham trailer (looks like it has potential

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Spider Caught in It's Own Web.

So I saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this morning, and I have to say that I was quite disappointed with what I saw. The special effects were well done, and impressive. The action sequences were....okay, but not as dynamic and invigorating as I had thought that they were going to be. Perhaps the most irritating part of the film was the screenplay; the dialog annoyed me overall in general, but no more so than between Peter Parker and his lover Gwen Stacey. Both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are amazing actors, but they were not given much to work with unfortunately. I don't know how much I yawned or rolled my eyes while the two of them were in scenes together, but it was ridiculous. It was like watching to teenagers whine and complain about why they couldn't be in love and all of the angst that comes along with it. It was dreadful, very disappointing, and not as good as the 1st film. Andrew Garfield was a great Spider-Man in the 1st film, and he still has that certain charm in the 2nd film, but he really comes off as this go-lucky, immature frat boy that simply is going along in life getting his thrills and dating "the love of his life." There doesn't seem to be much growth in the character. The same thing goes for Emma Stone and her portrayal of Gwen Stacey, more growth/depth would have been nice rather than all of the silly romantic crap occurring. Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillon was perhaps one of most enjoyable performances and parts of the film that I would have loved to seen woven through the screenplay much better. He was a great character and well acted, and relatively well written. Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborne was pretty good, although I feel like the character could have been.....better, once again I believe that the character wasn't written that well. I enjoyed the plot tie in to the "Green Goblin" villain, Oscorp, Ravencroft, and the beginnings of the "Sinister Six." The plot involving Peter's father, Richard, and what was really going on at Oscorp was compelling, but not a real central plot point, it seemed more of a superfluous side story. It should have been the central plot to the entire film, but instead the writers focused on the romance and Harry Osborne attempting cure himself; as I mentioned before, very disappointing. It was diverting enough, and perhaps I would watch it again, but I'm not entirely certain about that. I don't know what is going to happen over the next few years with all of these comic book film adaptations coming out; I guess they'll keep on making them until they are unsuccessful and generate no revenue. Honestly if you're looking for a good fluffy flick, and are young then this film is for you. In other new it was a great relaxing day for me, only one more of which I will be able to enjoy before grad school kicks into full blast this coming Monday. I can't believe I have completed one year of grad school already! This year is almost halfway over; time just cannot seem to pause, or slow down as one ages, or becomes more responsible and busy. That's all I've got for now. The world seems to be getting more chaotic and dangerous with each passing day, and apparently (at least in the U.S.) people are acting and displaying hostile and psychotic behavior. I say this working in the mental health field and talking with individuals who also work in this field across the levels of intervention and treatment. I have also spoken with people in law enforcement and they have seen a similar increase in behaviors as well; it is all very unsettling. Kind of like the rumblings before the giant earthquake.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer

"Dishonor's Scourge" about the Characters

"Dishonor's Scourge" about the Story

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Dishonor's Scourge."

So after a very long wait, Book 2 of a Warrior's Tale "Dishonor's Scourge" is now completed and available. The cover is awesome, the story of my characters is amazing, and I now only have 1 book left to finish in the series after starting it so long ago. I'm not quite certain how to summarize the book, so I'll just post the summary that is on the back of the book. My plan was to have more of a blitzkrieg of information to post, but I guess that will have to wait until I have more time on the weekend, or during one of the weeknights.
The 2nd book takes place right after the 1st book, with the exception of the Prologue, which does need to be read. Gash, Sqoe, Shenari, and Naceilia continue on their adventure, while Archous and Siran go on an adventure of their own (so to speak), while Lord Gaul and Overlord Zeinar continue to beat down the remaining armies of Caroth-Nor. There are several underlying storylines going on, and a lot of intrigue that is going on that won't make a whole lot of sense until the third book. There are some new characters as well, one of which was a whole lot of fun for me to write, which I will go into detail more later on this week, and I will also discuss how the characters have grown and changed since Book 1, and possibly where they are headed for Book 3. There are a few surprises in Book 2, but I think I'm saving the majority of those for Book 3. Overall I would say that "Dishonor's Scourge" is better written than "The Curse of a Warrior" and a whole lot more interesting and exciting as well. I am curious to see what everyone thinks of it. Now I just have to start writing Book 3 and finish the screenplay for Book 1. So much to do and no time to do it!

You can find the book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, my book website, and also if you ask a bookstore they should be able to order it for you as well.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"Reponstible Is Not A Word!"

Well somehow I finished surviving the month of April. If it weren't my vacation, I think grad school and my job would have killed me by now. Fortunately, I have one more week of freedom before classes begin again, and I have to once again have that precarious balance of work and school, both of which are incredibly demanding. Despite having most that I want, I would settle for a relatively stress free life at the moment, which appears most elusive currently. I will not waffle on much about my place of employment other than the fact that I am weary of the job mentally and emotionally; it's pretty bad when your co-workers say that you've been getting worse over the past two weeks, and even when your clients make comments about your apparent stress level that is when you know you've got it bad. Even in the world there seems to be nothing but bad news; it's like the 70's (in the U.S) all over again, and what we need is a burst of confidence and invigoration that we got during the 80's. Nothing good is coming out of Ukraine or Eastern Europe with the great shadow of Russia looming over. Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan all seem to be relatively bad news lately. There is some good news that I will be sharing tomorrow evening that has been long awaited. Don't forget to check it out, provided nothing catastrophic occurs. I was finally able to watch Saving Mr. Banks tonight. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney was perfect, and although I am uncertain what P.L. Travers was like in reality, I am certain that Emma Thompson did an excellent portrayal, as her performance was excellent. Thank goodness Walt Disney changed it the way that it ended up being; if Mrs. Travers had gotten her way then I think the film wouldn't have nearly been quite as delightful, regardless of what my sister thinks or claims. It was humorous, moving, and thoughtful; it really shows where writers draw their inspiration from when creating a type of fictional world. I found the background story of where Mary Poppins came from to be quite interesting, a perspective that I never really considered. I definitely recommend the film, and although it isn't meant for young kids, I believe older children could watch it and enjoy it and in that regard it could be considered a family movie. Well I am currently falling asleep, so I bid thee all a fond goodnight.

Saving Mr. Banks trailer

Saving Mr. Banks clip

Rebels trailer (looks good, but I'm still not holding out much hope or expectations).