Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Reviews – Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Godzilla vs. Kong, April Movie Releases, and New Books


It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.


The awesome co-hosts for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, SE White, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diane Burton!

April 7 question - Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

Definitely not a risk taker or one for controversial stuff. I know what works for me and my readers and I stick with it.

Movie Reviews



Zack Snyder’s Justice League


Streaming on HBO Max.
I’m proud to say I liked Josh Whedon’s Justice League. It was like a comic book come to life. I do understand that if you weren’t a JL comic book fan, the experience might’ve fell short of your expectations.
Having seen Snyder’s other DC films and as a fan really enjoyed them, I thought they were too heavy-handed and lacked any humor at all. So, the idea of a four hour JL movie caused concern along with curiosity.
Keep in mind, this is not an extended version of the original film. This is an epic reimagining with heart, humor, and gigantic action. This is the film my eight-year-old self, reading his first JL comic book, always wanted to see.
All of the characters get screen time and development. Which may seem like a lot, but four hours goes by in the blink of an eye.
Only forty-plus minutes remain from the original film. And that forty-plus minutes has been repositioned and edited so the story is more coherent.
And if you think Darkseid (who gets screen time now) looks a little like Thanos – well, he came first in the comics! Marvel molded Thanos after Darkseid.
This is on The Avengers or Lord of the Rings epic level of film experience.If you are even slightly interested in DC, JL, or a good movie in general, this is a can’t miss event.
Highly recommended!


Godzilla vs. Kong


Plot is simple – Godzilla begins attacking. Kong can no longer be contained on Skull Island. They decide to take Kong to the entrance of a tunnel that will lead to Hollow Earth and hope he can guide them to an energy source that could defeat Godzilla. (Hey, you’re not watching a Godzilla film for realism!)
Similar to the previous film, the humans’ drama takes a back seat. It’s all about the monster fights, of which there are many. And more than just Godzilla and Kong.
In the Japanese movie, Kong wins, which never set with me. Atomic breath lizard equals flambe ape. But in this film, Kong is very smart and resourceful and knows how to avoid it.
The battles are epic. Lots of destruction.
Special effects are also top notch. It’s amazing the range of expression the manage on the two lead monsters.
Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler are the only two returning cast members. They do their best, but it really is all about the monsters.
I’d still place the first one as the best, just because the human element was better handled. They need a director who can bring out people while featuring the monsters. I really liked this one, just didn’t love it.
Watched this first night on HBO Max and will see it again very soon in the theater for the full experience.
Recommended.


New Releases



Rivals by Jennifer Lane

After landing her dream job as head volleyball coach at Ohio State University, Lauren Chase’s career has become a nightmare. Her only hope of saving her job is to recruit a star player to her team. Too bad the player’s twin has signed a football scholarship for OSU’s chief rival, Michigan. And too bad Michigan coach, Jeremy Trent, sends sparks through Lauren every time they cross paths. But no way will she pursue an attraction to a man who represents the university she hates.
Find it on Amazon


Reaching for Roots by Jemi Fraser

Cartoonist Emmy Rivera loves everything about the quirky town of Bloo Moose, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to put down roots. That’s never worked out for her in the past.
Find it on Amazon Apple, and Barnes and Noble,



April Movie Preview


Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for April. As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.


9 -


Voyagers
A crew of astronauts on a multi-generational mission descend into paranoia and madness, not knowing what is real or not.
Director: Neil Burger
Stars: Colin Farrell, Tye Sheridan, Lily-Rose Depp |
They must’ve landed in 2020.


23 –


Mortal Combat
MMA fighter Cole Young seeks out Earth's greatest champions in order to stand against the enemies of Outworld in a high stakes battle for the universe.
Director: Simon McQuoid
Stars: Lewis Tan, Jessica McNamee, Josh Lawson |
All I can hear is the battle cry – Mortal Combat!!!!



Are you a risk-taker when writing? Seen Zack Snyder’s Justice League? How about Godzilla vs. Kong? Picking up some new books? Either April movie interest you?


Monday, March 15, 2021

Movie Reviews, Chevelle NIRATIAS Review, Prog Madness, and New Releases

Movie Reviews


Boss Level


From the IMDB:
A retired special forces officer is trapped in a never ending time loop on the day of his death.
Basically, it’s Groundhog Day meets John Wick/Deadpool. Looping, violent, and very funny.
It stars Frank Grillo, Mel Gibson, and Naomi Watts. Grillo shines as the guy trapped in the loop. Every morning, he wakes up with people trying to kill him. Every day, he makes it a little further, trying to figure out who is behind it all.

There is a lot of humor as Grillo’s character gives a play-by-play of those trying to kill him. Many laugh out moments. It does have a moving story and characters you care about as well.
If you can handle violence and enjoy a good laugh along with a really good story, this is the movie for you. And at ninety minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Recommended.


Monster Hunter


From the IMDB:
When Lt. Artemis and her loyal soldiers are transported to a new world, they engage in a desperate battle for survival against enormous enemies with incredible powers.
Directed by Paul W S Anderson (Resident Evil series) and staring Mila Jovovich – and that alone should let you know what type of movie you are in for.
It’s passibly entertaining. The effects are great, but they were obviously more focused on those effects than an actual plot. This results in a shallow experience that’s forgotten the moment the credits finish.
Props to Mila – she’s in her forties and still doing the tough action films. However, the amount of punishment her character endures is ridiculous. (We’re talking Harrison Ford in the fridge level.)
It also stars Tony Jaa and Ron Perlman, and props to Tony as his character was very entertaining.
If you're bored and just want some giant monsters, leave your brain at the door and watch this one.

Chevelle – NIRATIAS Review


This is a very solid album and a stronger effort than the last one, North Corridor.
From their website:
The album draws on Pete's fascination with space travel, simulation theory and a healthy distrust/skepticism of the unknown. NIRATIAS was recorded over 2019 and 2020 with their long time producer, Joe Barresi. After almost 5 years between releases, Chevelle decided that they needed to put music out again, even if the landscape for music is difficult and uncertain. "We decided that pandemic or not, we are a rock band and writing and releasing music is just what we do. Even if it's just for our mental health, it's reason enough to put NIRATIAS out and feel some normalcy and pride in what we have been working on. As music fans, we appreciate this from the bands we follow and we hope our fans will appreciate it too."
Pete Loeffler (lead singer/guitarist/writer) does a great job on the riffs. It’s very creative guitar work.
Highlights are So Long Mother Earth, Peach, Test Test Enough, and Endlessly. The two standouts are Piistol Star and Remember When. Pete knows how to write them. Obviously, as the band has been around twenty-two years now!
Some have accused them of not growing. But they sound like Chevelle and that’s all right – no one else does. (And it’s a rare band that can say that.) This album is very fresh sounding, though. There is more ambient noise and interesting things going on in the background than with any other album.
Obviously, the theme is science fiction. And NIRATIAS stands for Nothing is Real and This is a Simulation.
Highly recommended!

Get Your Prog Madness Bracket Now!

That’s right – the prog bands face off this month and it starts today. So, grab your bracket and get in the competition - The Prog Report
Yes, I am voting Rush all the way through to number one.



New Book Releases


The Upside Down of Nora Gaines by Cathrina Constantine

Nora has visions of horrific things. Things that lurk in the shadows and feast on bones. After moving with her mother into an old farmhouse, Nora discovers a blank journal that fills itself with an ominous warning. A cursed beast is coming for her and time is running out. When the blood moon rises, so shall the beast.
Find it on Amazon


Guns of the West, featuring The Scarred One by Tyler Boone, aka Charles Gramlich

Published through Sundown Press, this collection is available on Kindle for only 99 cents.
Find it on Amazon


Critters and Crises by Jemima Pett

In ten years of short-story writing—mostly flash fiction of 1000 words or fewer—there are definitely favourite themes I return to.
Find it on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo



And finally, the A to Z Challenge kicks off April 1! Blog the letters of the alphabet every day but Sundays. See the site for details and to sign up.




Have you seen Boss Level or Monster Hunter? Are you a Chevelle fan? Playing Prog Madness? Picking up some new books? And are you participating in the A to Z Challenge this year?
Next post – April 7 for IWSG day!

And I will be mostly offline the last two weeks of March.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Big News, March Movie Preview, and Movie/Music Trivia Answers


It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.


The awesome co-hosts for the March 3 posting of the IWSG are Sarah - The Faux Fountain Pen, Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!

March 3 question - Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

My preferred genres are science fiction and fantasy. I do read outside of that though. Some thrillers, horrors, non fiction… And I’ve found some gems in those genres.

Now, my big news…

I submitted my latest manuscript to my publisher mid-January – and they said yes and sent a contract!

CassaDark (title at the moment) will be my next published book.

Yes, it’s been a few years since my last published story. I didn’t think it would happen again. So, I am really excited. And I get to expand the Cassa universe. Big thanks to my critique partners for helping make the story better – Ken, Tyrene, Teresa, and Joylene (who really kicked my butt!)


March Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for March! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.


5 –


Raya and the Last Dragon
In a realm known as Kumandra, a re-imagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization, a warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon.
Directors: Don Hall | Carlos López Estrada | Paul Briggs | John Ripa
Stars: Alan Tudyk, Ross Butler, Awkwafina, Gemma Chan
At what point does Raya fight Sho’nuff?



12 –


Cosmic Sin
Seven rogue soldiers launch a preemptive strike against a newly discovered alien civilization in the hopes of ending an interstellar war before it starts.
Director: Edward Drake
Stars: Frank Grillo, Bruce Willis, Brandon Thomas Lee, C.J. Perry
Vegas odds have Bruce in this movie plus or minus five minutes.



19 –


The Courier
Cold War spy Greville Wynne and his Russian source try to put an end to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Director: Dominic Cooke
Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Vladimir Chuprikov
What would Khan do?



31 –


Godzilla as. Kong
Director: Adam Wingard
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall
The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another - the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong - with humanity caught in the balance.
Atomic breath should equal roasted ape…


Movie Trivia Answers

Taglines!


The ultimate in alien terror – 1982 – The Thing
At last, the night has a hero – 1990 - Nightbreed
You'll never know what bit you – 1999 – Lake Placid
Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous. – 1984 - Gremlins
2 Terrifying. 2 Frightening. 2 Much! – 1987 – Evil Dead 2
Some Thing Has Found Us – 2008 - Cloverfield
In darkness, there can be light. In misery, there can be beauty. In death, there can be life... – 2006 – Pan’s Labyrinth
They say there’s nothing new under the sun. But under the ground… - 1990 - Tremors

Music Trivia Answers


Monster songs! Here are the answers:

Feed My Frankenstein – 1992 – Alice Cooper
Bark at the Moon – 1982 – Ozzy Osbourne
Godzilla – 1977 – Blue Oyster Cult
Dream Warriors – 1989 - Dokken
The Thing That Should Not Be – 1986 Metallica
Circle of the Cysquatch – 2006 – Mastodon
Nightcrawler – 1990 – Judas Priest
Living Dead Girl – 1998 – Rob Zombie



What genres do you read? Seeing any new movies? Get any of the trivia right? Think it’s about time I had another book?

Monday, February 22, 2021

2021 Movies, Monster Movie Trivia, and Monster Music Trivia

2021 Movies

Here are some of the big movies coming out this year, most of which were delayed from last year. (Information from the IMDB.) We kick it off with a monster film I’m very excited to see after the recent trailers:


March 31

Godzilla vs. Kong
The epic next chapter in the cinematic Monsterverse pits two of the greatest icons in motion picture history against one another - the fearsome Godzilla and the mighty Kong - with humanity caught in the balance.
Director: Adam Wingard
Stars: Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, Brian Tyree Henry
Coming out on HBO Max same day.

May 7
Black Widow
A film about Natasha Romanoff in her quests between the films Civil War and Infinity War.
Director: Cate Shortland
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, Rachel Weisz


May 28

F9
Cypher enlists the help of Jakob, Dom's younger brother to take revenge on Dom and his team.
Director: Justin Lin
Stars: Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Martyn Ford, Charlize Theron

July 2
Maverick
After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy's top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jean Louisa Kelly

Minions: The Rise of Gru
The untold story of one twelve-year-old's dream to become the world's greatest supervillain.
Directors: Kyle Balda | Brad Ableson | Jonathan del Val
Stars: Julie Andrews, Steve Carell, Lucy Lawless, Michelle Yeoh

July 30
Jungle Cruise
Based on Disneyland's theme park ride where a small riverboat takes a group of travelers through a jungle filled with dangerous animals and reptiles but with a supernatural element.
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Emily Blunt, Jesse Plemons, Edgar Ramírez


September 17

A Quiet Place Part Two
Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.
Director: John Krasinski
Stars: Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Cillian Murphy, Noah Jupe

October 1
Dune
Feature adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel, about the son of a noble family entrusted with the protection of the most valuable asset and most vital element in the galaxy.
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Josh Brolin, Rebecca Ferguson

October 7
No Time to Die
James Bond has left active service. His peace is short-lived when Felix Leiter, an old friend from the CIA, turns up asking for help, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Stars: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malek, Ralph Fiennes

Movie Trivia

Monster movies! Continuing with the theme. Guess the title from the tagline and year.


The ultimate in alien terror - 1982
At last, the night has a hero – 1990
You'll never know what bit you – 1999
Cute. Clever. Mischievous. Intelligent. Dangerous. – 1984
2 Terrifying. 2 Frightening. 2 Much! – 1987
Some Thing Has Found Us – 2008
In darkness, there can be light. In misery, there can be beauty. In death, there can be life... – 2006
They say there’s nothing new under the sun. But under the ground… - 1990


Music Trivia

More monsters! Name the musical artist from the song title and year.


Feed My Frankenstein – 1992
Bark at the Moon – 1982
Godzilla – 1977
Dream Warriors – 1989
The Thing That Should Not Be – 1986
Circle of the Cysquatch - 2006
Nightcrawler – 1990
Living Dead Girl – 1998



What delayed movies are you excited to see? (Yes, I will see Godzilla vs. Kong both in the theater and at home.) Know any of the movie trivia? How about the music trivia?
Next post will be March 3 for IWSG day – and I have some great news I’ve been sitting on!