Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Movie Cave - Insidious Chapter 2

As in true fashion, the critics didn't like it so much and I loved it.  It's the perfect sequal.  I'll admit that it's not as scary as the first movie, but there are still plenty of jumps and screams.  A movie like this needs to be seen with others in the theater to make it even more enjoyable.  Chapter 2 gives us some back story for both the good guys and the bad guys that we didn't get in the first installment.  The family is still dealing with everything they went through.  The emotions and the characterization are real and you will cheer for the family to get out of this nightmare. James Wan is perhaps the best horror director working at the moment and some of the most chilling parts are due to his keen directing.  Wan also teamed up with the original writer, Leigh Whannell, which is why the characters are in depth and true to their original characterization.  Thankfully, the story doesn't take off on some tangent from the brains of another writer.  The one thing I did miss was the demon from the first one.  I don't think you can have such a strong, spiritual evil as portrayed in this movie without demonic influence.  To sum it up, if you go in expecting this to be better than the first movie, you will be disappointed.  If you go in with an attitude of, "Okay, let's see what you've got."  You will enjoy this movie.  I give it 4 out of 5 bats.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Movie Cave Review: You're Next

I'm going to post movie reviews from my movie cave.  Here's a thing about me and the movies.  If the critics like the movie, chances are that I won't like it.  If the critics hate the movie, chances are that I will like it.  I don't know why that is.  As with any form of art, a lot is a matter of taste.  That being said, reviews will be based on my take on the movie.  Take it with a grain of salt.  Please respond with your own opinion of the movie.  I try hard not to give spoilers, so please don't give any in your comments or they will be deleted.  A person can only see so many movies at the theatre, the rest of the time we have to wait months for the DVD/Blue-ray release.

You’re Next looks like an intriguing movie from the previews.  A family comes together for a weekend in a secluded country home when they are attacked by people wearing animal masks.  That’s about where the intrigue stops.  Once the movie opens, you realize this is a B level movie with substandard acting.  The plot doesn’t quite make sense with how the people react to the deaths of loved ones and the terrors that surround them.  There is definitely a problem when the audience moans at yet another act of stupidity from the characters.  One redeeming part of the movie is that you do find yourself cheering for the hero/heroine.  The problem is that you’re not sure who that is until about halfway into the movie.  The movie serves as a platform for splatter scenes of flat characters that need more development for us to care about them.   Don’t waste your time and money on this one.  Save it for the Blue-ray when all of the movies you want to rent are checked out.  This movie gets 2 bats out 5. 


Sunday, September 08, 2013

A Dirge for the Malice Coming Soon

I'm amping up for the October release of my debut novel A Dirge for the Malice.  The story is set in my hometown of Science Hill, Kentucky.  The first half of the book centers around a group of friends and their adventures on Halloween night 1987.  The second half of the book has them dealing with the consequences of invoking a witch's curse. 
To the right is a picture of the back cover of the novel.  I'm reading through the digital proof right now and I just received an email this morning that my hard copy proofs have shipped.  Once I go through those and make the appropriate changes (let's hope there aren't many), the book will be ready for the public.  On a personal note, let me say that I really enjoy this novel.  Even though I've been through it many times now, I still laugh at some of the things that happen and I feel the tension the characters feel as they try to overturn the curse.  I labeled the book as horror, because there really wasn't anything else to call it.  It reads more like a piece of Southern fiction with dark twists along the way.  Horror is my genre of choice, but there is a lot in this novel to appeal to most people, except for those looking for romance elements.  It's written from a 19 year old male's point of view.  So, you can guess where the "romance" lies with him and his friends.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

James A Michener Insights 4

from The World is My Home: A Memoir by James A Michener

“For whom did I write as I sat night after night fighting the mosquitoes with those little bombs of insecticide the Navy gave us and pecking out my stories on the typewriter? Not the general public, whom I did not care to impress; not the custodians of literature, about whom I knew little; and certainly not posterity, a concept that simply never entered my mind. I wrote primarily for myself, to record the reality of World War II, and for the young men and women who lived it” (266).

Who do you write for? Who is the audience in the back of your mind as you weave your tale? Is it family? friends? colleagues? the literary world? God? yourself? The list could go on and on. This really is a loaded question, because the answer to it determines your goals and aspirations. If you’re writing for other people, you may never find success. People are fickle. What they like today, they discard tomorrow. If your goal is to please God and yourself, then you will find more satisfaction as a writer. And if other people also enjoy what you have written, then that is just cherries on top of the sundae. Don’t try to please others to the point where you lose yourself and your purpose. Write what is in your heart to write.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

James A Michener Insights 3

from The World is My Home: A Memoir by James A Michener

The next paragraph that I want to discuss has two major points. So I’ll discuss one today and one tomorrow.

“What I did was what I would do in all my later books: create an ambience that would both entertain and instruct the reader, invent characters who were as real as I could make them, and give them only such heroics as I myself had experienced or found credible” (266).

What does he mean by ambience? Ambience refers to the atmosphere of a setting. It has to do with the environment and the vibe it gives off. Every story must have a credible setting that puts readers into that scene. If you’re at the ocean, then let the readers hear the water break upon the beach, smell the salt-filled hear, and feel the hot sand beneath their feet.

Characters should always be real. Real people have faults and hurts and joy and goals and a host of other things. People are not one dimensional. Characters in a story should be well rounded and readers should be able to relate to them. Why is Spiderman more popular than Superman today? Because we can relate to Spiderman. We understand that being a hero is a curse for him. We understand that he must deny some of the things that he wants just so he can be this hero. Who can relate to Superman? Nothing can stop him, except kryptonite, which is some rock from outer space. Superman has no other fear. He has no faults. He is perfect and is therefore unrealistic.

The heroics part is completely up to you. It depends on the purpose of your story. If your hero needs to discover the ark of the covenant and beat the Nazis while he’s at it, then more power to you. The story calls for it. But if your story is a real life tale, which is what Michener wrote, then your stories have to be real. Stories don’t have to be fantastical to be great, but they do have to be real.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

James A. Michener Insights 2

from The World is My Home: A Memoir by James A Michener

“But at nine-thirty each night I would repair to my darkened Quonset hut, light a smelly lantern . . . and sit at my typewriter, pecking out with two fingers the stories I had accumulated as I traveled the Pacific” (166).

If you want to be a great writer, you have to have some type of writing routine. It may not seem like a lot to write, let’s say, two hours a day. Do that for five days a week and you have 10 hours at the end of the week. At the end of the month you have worked 40 hours on your writing. You can get a lot done in 40 hours. No matter your schedule, the important point is that you write. Write as often and as much as you can. Some days will go better than others, but that’s okay. That’s part of the process.

Monday, February 15, 2010

James A. Michener Insights 1

from The World is My Home: A Memoir by James A Michener

“Years from now the men who complain most loudly out here will want to explain to others what it was like. I’m sure of it, so I’m going to write down as simply and honestly as I can what it was really like. And then I reassured myself: No one knows the Pacific better than I do; no one can tell the story more accurately” (165).

Be confident in the stories you write. If what you are writing is something that you must write, something that is deep in your soul, then be confident that you are the one to write it and that no one can write it as well as you can. This is why it’s important to be true to yourself. Write what you know - to a certain extent. Write what you like to read and what you want to write. Don’t write what the world expects you to write. You have to write what is in your heart, what is buried in your soul. Only you know what that is, and only you can write it most accurately.