Film

Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi - Thoughts and Reflections

Last night my wife and I got a rare date night away from the kids, and so we decided to go and see a movie. And when Star Wars comes out, really, would you go see anything else?

Very little preamble needed here. We saw it, so here is my SPOILER-FREE thoughts on the film. Although, as this is the mid-part in the new trilogy, I will be discussing details from the first 30 minutes of the film, simply because if I devoid this article of any specifics, it'll be quite a boring read. Anybody who read my thoughts on The Force Awakens - and later on Rogue One - will likely have a good idea of what to expect from this article. But for those of you who haven't, or those of you who just like to read me ramble on, I'll pen them as well. There are enough new ideas in here to make it worth your time, I promise.

Movie Review

Rogue One: Thoughts and Reflections

While it is difficult to get to the theater as often as we would like, my wife and I made sure we took the time to go and see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when we could. It was the first film I've seen in theaters since Daredevil, as shortly thereafter my son was born and the regular rhythms of my life were thrown into a nearly constant state of change. However, now that things are finding their own routine once more, I can now provide you with a SPOILER FREE review of Rogue One. Enjoy!

Movie Review, Video Game News

Warcraft: A New Era of Video Game Films

The time is finally upon us, and even though I heard of it years ago, it's hard for me to believe that we're actually getting a live-action Warcraft feature film. Thoughts and feelings of its expected quality aside, Warcraft stands on very important ground. The ground has been broken before, but we've never gotten very deep in it, and the war between Orcs and Humans has the potential to send us deeper than ever before in the world of video game films.

Sure, we're getting the Ratchet and Clank film, which by all rights looks excellent, but it isn't doing much to separate the traditionalist expectation that video games are for children, or adults who haven't grown out of being children. Much like comic books before the films Batman Begins or Iron Man proved, on a very successful level, that the stories within the illustrated pages of a graphic novel could be enjoyed by anyone, many people still see video games as a time-waster for kids. Though that belief is diminishing as years go by and the success of sites like Youtube and Twitch become ever more present. I'm still waiting for the day when Pew Die Pie or someone in a similar position will purchase a mansion across the street from Kanye. That's when we'll know we've reached the point of true video game acceptance into our culture.

Movie Review

The Phantom Menace: Lump of Copper in the Rough

I have not made my distaste of the prequel films a secret to anyone. When I watched Star Wars: Episode One back in 1999, I loved it. There were some cringe-worthy moments, even that 12-year-old me noticed in my naive state, but overall I found it very entertaining, exciting, and fun. It wasn't until I got older, and I started to hear from others what I shouldn't like about it, and then I started to adopt the popular, hate-filled view of it.

Now, however, I've been thinking a lot about Star Wars: Episode One, and thanks to a podcast called The Star Wars Minute, I've come to realize that I don't hate The Phantom Menace. No, instead, it is actually my favorite of the prequels. Sure, there are some terrible moments in it. But there is a lot of good in it, too, a lot of moments and points that were so close to being exactly what we wanted and needed in a Star Wars film.

In this blog post, I am going to posit what I would do to The Phantom Menace to make it the true beginning of the saga that we all thought we deserved.

Movie Review

Ignoring What We Don't Like: The Aliens & Jurassic World Belief

We live in an age of nostalgia. The people who are entering the entertainment industry now are those who grew up with a 'modern' entertainment industry. Film, television, animation, computer graphics, these were things that all of us in our 20's and 30's had - in a very modern way - as we were growing up. This means that, as we enter the entertainment industry, we try to create, and recreate, the things that are most important to us. This is primarily why we're seeing such a strong resurgence of old franchises. Jurassic ParkStar WarsAliensTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers, just to name a few, are among the most popular franchises in our current age, and these same ones graced the small and silver screens decades ago when we were young and impressionable.

But how much leeway, and how much leniency, are we granted when handling these intellectual properties?

Movie Review, Featured

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Thoughts and Reflections

SPOILER FREE REVIEW!

What can I say about Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Did it meet my expectations? Was I surprised at the plot twists and reveals? Am I excited for the eventual release of Episode VIII?

The short answer to all of these questions is yes. Though that answer bears different meaning for each one.

Preparing for Scaring, Writing, Featured

Novel Prep: Of Monsters, Madness and Mindscapes

So a full week of daily blog posts is now done, and the Preparing for Scaring series has come to a close. I hope you've enjoyed reading these short, daily posts in the strange and suspenseful. And if you missed them, then feel free to take a moment to page back and check each one out.

In case you're new to the blog, my next project is going to be a Horror novel, though which subgenre of Horror I'm as-of-yet not totally certain. I, personally, am a fan of a very particular kind of horror, or kinds. But are my readers? If I write this book, will it sell? Or will it, much like Cybersaurus and Astral Tides, just be a story I, once again, write because I want to write it, and not because it's what I think will appeal to the public?

Movie Review

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation - Thoughts and Reflections

The Wife and I (that's right, wife is now a proper noun for me. Get used to it) had a rare weekday evening without our daughter home, and so we decided to cash in on one of the various gifts we've received since our wedding shower and go to a movie. There was a collection of films we shared fair to moderate interest in, but we both like to make our trips to the theater count, and so that meant either seeing Jurassic World again, or going to the newest Mission Impossible.

She had been a fan of the series, but I myself had given up on it after the Jon Wu motorcycle duels of Mission Impossible II. I had heard the series got a lot better with the next installments, but I just never made it a point to see them (same with the Bourne series, for some reason). I can't say that I actively stayed away, I just never watched them. So this is my first MI film in over ten years, and WOW, what an impact it had on me.

Let me preface this by saying that when I think of the term "modern spy thriller" only a handful of films come to mind, and of those I can only think of two franchises: James Bond and Mission Impossible. I am very familiar with James Bond. I know the tropes, the beats, the rhythm of a James Bond film like the back of my hand. My initial fears when walking into the theater for Rogue Nation was that this film would just feel like the American James Bond.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

Perhaps it's because of my lack of exposure to the franchise's history other than the first two films, but I connected immediately with Mission Impossible's identity and themes on a different level than I ever did with James Bond. Bond films have always been the epitome of 'Foreign Cool Guy with Gadgets'. He's suave, he's calm, he's what I think of when I think of the term 'masculine', in a classic sense. Yet Mission Impossible doesn't seek to copy that formula, and rightly so. Instead, it provides us with a modern look at styles more akin to spy films of the 70's (again, other than James Bond). The opening credits were amazing, and they had me hooked from the word 'Go'.

I'll keep this review brief, and as always, it will be spoiler free. MI:Rogue Nation is a wonderful film that had me reacting vocally more often than not. The plot is layered, but still fairly accessible. Those looking for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy levels of complexity may be disappointed. But it's story only being a few feet deep makes it easy to jump into, and easy to follow as the cast moves from set piece to set piece, action sequence to action sequence.

And that is where the film really shines. Tom Cruise, say what you will about him, is a good actor and an even better action star. The opening scene with the plane had my jaw on the floor and I struggled to pick it back up again as the movie went on. The motorcycle chase washed out the bad taste that was left in my mouth from MI:II, and the tension of the opera house scene was paramount. It was well worth the price of admission, and even better, it makes me want to go all the way back to the first Mission Impossible and watch this franchise grow and take shape in a way that I had missed doing the first time around.

All in all it's a wonderfully shot, wonderfully acted film with a smart script, gripping action and beautiful cast. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend you make it to the theaters before this one leaves.

Movie Review

Jurassic World: Thoughts and Reflections

With Jurassic World coming out this weekend, it was hard to NOT find the time and money to go and see it. The third sequel to the film that changed my childhood and young-adult life, and what appeared to be a promise to redeem the wonder, suspense, and quality of the original.

As more and more trailers were released for the film, my excitement, and my hope, began to dwindle. The great fire that once burned within me to see the film faded and faded until it was now more of a small flare; it shown brightly, but lost much of its volume and size. However, now having seen the film and gotten over my theater shock, I can give a more level-headed overview on my thoughts and feelings of the film.