Monday, February 26, 2018

Black Panther, RiffTrax Live Kickstarter, The Ritual, and Movie News

Black Panther Review

First off, I really did enjoy the film.
However, I am confused by the over the top superlatives and praise. The movie I saw didn’t redefine the super hero genre nor was it different in tone or style from the other Marvel films. The focus was less on the super hero than the man, but that was seen in Iron Man III.
It is a very fun film though. It’s an origins story, not of Black Panther but of T’Challa becoming king.
T’Challa and the Black Panther are actually the least interesting characters. His sister and general more than made up for this though. All three female leads were great. It was also fun to get behind the scenes and see all the tech of Wakanda.
As far as villains, I liked Killmonger, but he was a little too two-dimensional – all hard edge with no compassion.
Overall I enjoyed it. Not my favorite but another strong entry into the Marvel universe.

RiffTrax has two films planned for this summer and have opened a Kickstarter fund to make them happen.

To fund this duo of amazing RiffTrax Live shows, we need your help! The up-front cost to pull it all off is beyond doing on our own; but with a little help from our fans, we can make it happen. In exchange, we've come up with some exciting rewards and VIP packages just for you, including movie and MP3 downloads, creating a new nickname for David Ryder, an exclusive Kickstarter backer shirt, autographed posters, and NEW this year, soft enamel lapel pins!
So, friends - please join us once again and help us make another year of hilarious RiffTrax Live adventures possible: SPACE MUTINY on June 14th; KRULL on August 23rd; both broadcast LIVE to hundreds of movie screens all over the USA.

They are really close to their goal of $250,000. MST3K did Space Mutiny years ago and it was hilarious. And we all know what a train wreck Krull is! Help make them happen and get some free goodies by funding their Kickstarter.

The Ritual Review

A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that's stalking them. A UK movie filmed in Romania.
A review of this at Cinemarvellous sparked my interest.
Lately NetDlix has been dropping some interesting films. This one is built around the framework of a very clichéd plot device in horror movies – the old hikers lost in the woods. But here’s the amazing part – this one actually works.
I can’t say much about the film without spoiling it. It went places I didn’t expect it to go, which was refreshing. Kudos to the director and cast. A scene involving an overnight stay in a cabin is really disturbing. The film builds layers of tension and dread.
Overall, I found it to be a very effective genre film.
Highly recommended

Movie News and More

17th Annual Golden Schmoes Movie Awards - the voting is now open!
The 17th Annual JoBlo Movie Awards (aka The Golden Schmoes) is in YOUR control, so hit the booth and cast your votes! Final voting runs from Tuesday, February 13th through Wednesday, February 28th, with winners to be announced on Friday, March 2nd, just ahead of the Oscars!

JoBlo posted some great news about Aquaman:
Warner Bros. reportedly held a test-screening of James Wan's AQUAMAN last night, and Batman News was able to speak with several of the people who attended. Keep your salt shaker at the ready, but the reaction towards the film, which is obviously still in an unfinished state, was quite positive, with it being described as an "emotional action movie" with elements of humour and horror as well. Compared to WONDER WOMAN in tone, Batman News says that AQUAMAN will also include STAR WARS-like underwater battles and a few scary monsters.
AQUAMAN will hit theaters on December 21, 2018.
Aquaman is my favorite superhero and I’m really looking forward to this one!

Available February 28:
Twin Sacrifice by Jennifer Lane
Psychological Thriller
My twin brother is determined to kill himself, but I won’t let him.
I just discovered the sacrifice he made for me when we were young.
Now it’s time I return the favor. This time I’ll be the one with the secret.

I won’t have a post on Monday so I’ll see you Wednesday, March 7 for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group post!

What did you think of Black Panther? Ready for two more awesome RiffTrax shows? Seen The Ritual? Voting for The Golden Schmoes? And did you enjoy the Winter Olympics?

Monday, February 12, 2018

G3 Concert Review, Cloverfield Paradox Review, and Science Fiction Movie News

G3 Concert

The G3 project was started by Joe Satriani to bring two other extraordinary guitarists together to play mostly instrumental guitar music on a fun tour. Each iteration of G3 is a different lineup. This year, Dream Theater’s John Petrucci and Def Leppard’s Phil Collen accompanied Joe. As a guitarist, this is a dream tour, especially with two of my favorite guitarists performing.

Phil opened the concert with his new blues band, Sugar Shack. Which surprised me – I didn’t know he had a bluesy streak. Don’t think he forgot the rock, though. This was one rocking blues set! I’ve always thought he was an accomplished guitarist, but not only is he versatile, the man’s got some scary fast fingers. Phil ripped through songs and solos with ease while backed up by the only singer of the evening.

Then came John… I’m a huge fan and possibly biased, but he’s one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Backed by fellow Dream Theater drummer Mike Mangini and a bassist, he proceeded to bring the house down with a blistering set of guitar virtuosity. The crowd went berserk! In his own words, he was there to bring the metal. It was mind blowing. He literally humbled an entire room filled with mostly amateur guitarists. If the show had ended with an alien ship taking John back to his home planet, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

Then came Joe… Oozing with coolness and the confidence of a man who has mastered his instrument. Joe is just so much fun to watch. Not only is he an amazing musician but a great front man – he knows how to entertain the crowd. His set contained a lot of songs from his new album which was fine by me as the latest album is incredible. His playing is so effortless. He pulls off runs and fingering that most guitarists would find impossible, but it’s just so easy for him. His guitar is literally a voice that sings every song.

And then came all three… with no disrespect to Phil, watching John and Joe trade licks was phenomenal. They ripped through Highway Star by Deep Purple and Superstition by Stevie Wonder with plenty of time in the middle for riffing and soloing. Judging from the grins of all three men, they were having the time of their life playing together.

I knew I’d enjoy this show but not that I’d love it as much as I did. Truly a guitarists’ dream come true and a once in a lifetime opportunity!

Cloverfield Paradox Review

Due to an energy crisis on Earth, the Cloverfield Station is testing a particle accelerator in space when things go wrong and it opens a portal to another dimension.
Like the last Cloverfield movie, the monsters take a back seat to the people. Most of the story focuses on the crew and their attempt to sort out the strange happenings and get back to their own Earth. It also jumps to the husband of one of the crew members and his attempt to survive whatever is now happening on the ground.
The story is intense. While the film Life was predictable and often just dumb, this one plays it smart and keeps you guessing. The acting is also top-notch.
The special effects are incredible – NetFlix spared no expense. It’s a big-budget movie release and I would’ve paid money to see it in the theater.
Some critics think it’s a weak entry that doesn’t explain anything. I thought it fit nicely with the others (and they are all very different from one another) and added more clues as to where the monsters came from.
My personal theory – all three movies represent different dimensions. The station’s test tore a hole in the fabric of space and time, a dimensional riff possibly even on a quantum mechanics level. All of the films show a different dimension disrupted by monsters and a general breakdown in reality. (That’s my belief until the next movie proves me wrong!)
Streaming on NetFlix, I highly recommend it.

Science Fiction Movie/Show News

JoBlo featured the Justice League Deleted Scene - Superman Black Suit. (You only need to watch the first minute here or on YouTube. ) Justice League hits Digital HD February 13 and Blue-ray March 13.

Recently announced - Stranger Things season three will have eight episodes. They are also giving Will a break. According to SyFyWire:
The other thing fans can look forward to is the show being set a year later. With the time it takes to film a season, and the rate at which kids age, creator Matt Duffer explained the time jump. "It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing," he told The Hollywood Reporter last year. "It's cool, though. The audience is going to be able to watch these kids come of age every year. The closest example is Harry Potter. Watching those kids and actors grow up in front of the camera was, to me, very powerful."

Second Deadpool trailer (which is very funny!):

Fun bit of trivia from SyFyWire – if you play the first and third Cloverfield movies in sync side-by-side, something wild happens:
In the original Cloverfield, the monster-earthquake that signals the start of all the alien creature chaos occurs at exactly the same moment as Paradox’s system-overloading particle accelerator comes to life, tearing open a dimensional rift that sends the crew of astronauts to an alternate dimension.
It’s a jolting moment with character reactions that precisely line up in each film, and it’s easy to believe that it’s something Paradox’s creators meant to do. But, producer J.J. Abrams confessed to fans in a recent Facebook Live Q&A that — while really cool — the whole thing is nothing more than a “bizarre coincidence.”

Plus don’t forget – Black Panther comes out February 16!

Fan of Joe, John, Phil, or their bands? Have you watched The Cloverfield Paradox? Enjoy the trailers? And did you enjoy all of the IWSG posts about favorite genres?

Since Monday, February 19 is a holiday, I’ll be offline and not posting. (Check my Twitter for my thoughts on Black Panther or wait until February 26 for a review here.) Enjoy President’s Day weekend and the Winter Olympic games!

And I’m visiting Untethered Realms on Tuesday and discussing the realities of space travel!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Insecure Writer’s Support Group #IWSG, Altered Carbon Review, Ant-Man and the Wasp Movie Trailer, and Ninja News

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.

My awesome co-hosts today are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!

Today’s question - What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I write science fiction and I’ve always been drawn to it and fantasy. They both provide a world beyond our own, a place where our imaginations can run wild. The gadgets, new worlds, new creatures – it’s all fascinating and a great way to escape.

But science fiction does more than provide a diversion. It often takes real world issues and places them in a setting where we can better understand and deal with them. We’ll learn as much about our own world and ourselves as we will about the made-up world.

Besides, science fiction has blasters! What I wouldn’t give to have blasters on my car. Or at least some photon torpedoes…

Are you following the IWSG Instagram?
This is the prompt for February:

Altered Carbon Review

In the future, consciousness is stored and can be downloaded into a new body. Kovacs is a former soldier and a prisoner who is brought back in a new sleeve to sold a murder and win his freedom. Available on NetFlix.
This film has a strong noir mystery vibe even though the story is set in the future. (A little like Blade Runner, but it has its own story and tone.) It’s stylish and intriguing. New secrets and elements appear as the series progresses, deepening the mystery.
Really impressive are the special effects. They are movie-quality good. The creators spent some money. The acting is also quite solid.
Altered Carbon has borrowed heavily from Game of Thrones in the violence and sex department, no doubt going for the same audience. (And it’s similar in tone, but not in plot.) Keep that in mind – not for kids or sensitive souls.
You won’t love it the way you love Stranger Things (it’s not that kind of show) but I do recommend it.

Ninja News

CassaStar is just .99 through February 10!
You can download it here: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon UK

Appreciate any help spreading the word. If you’re on Twitter, you can share my pinned Tweet or send out your own –
Amazon Best-Seller CassaStar by @alexjcavanaugh on sale for .99 cents! iTunes Amazon Barnes and Noble #99cents #scifi

WEP Challenge for February:
SUBMIT your name to the Inlinkz list NOW if you wish to participate
CREATE your entry according to the theme - February In Too Deep.
EDIT your entry until it sparkles
POST your entry on your blog/facebook on the dates shown - remember to state
feedback preferences (full critique to general comments).
READ other entries, giving feedback as requested. This is key to the WEP's success.
Open to all genres. Maximum approx. 1,000 words.

Andrea Franco-Cook’s novel, Pawn of the Gods, is up for nomination on Kindle Scout.
The books with the most votes will be selected for publication.
You can vote for Adrean’s book HERE.

New releases:

Bitten by Love Series, books 1-3 by Stacy McKitrick
This box set includes the first three books in the Bitten by Love series: My Sunny Vampire; Bite Me, I’m Yours; and Blind Temptation.
Find it at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and iTunes

Terror on Sunshine Boulevard by J. Q. Rose
Rescuing a naked woman lying in a geranium bed? Investigating mysterious murders? These are not the usual calls in a Florida retirement community for volunteer first responder Jim Hart.
Find it at Amazon and other retailers.

Ant-Man and the Wasp Movie Trailer

In case you missed it last week – the ending is hilarious!

What’s your favorite thing about your genre? Have you been watching Altered Carbon? Picked up CassaStar? Participating in WEP this month? And are you eager to see Ant-Man and the Wasp now?