Monday, October 22, 2018

MST3K Live! Plus Hotel Transylvania 3 Review, Scary Technology, IWSG, and New Releases

MST3K Live

We’d seen the RiffTrax crew perform a live show, so when I heard the new MST3K crew was hitting the road, we had to see it. Road trip time! And it did not disappoint.

The film was Deathstalker II. A cheesy 80’s sword and sorcery movie that lacked all the blood, boobs, and carnage of the first one. (Of course, it was edited for the show, but it was still incredibly tame.) The sword fights were so slow, it was as if we were watching them in slow motion. The sets were clearly plastic. Plus it was filled with pop culture references, hairstyles, makeup, and everything else from the 80’s. Not to mention that it lifted many scenes directly from other movies. It was the perfect movie to riff.

The show was exactly like the television series. The clone of Pearl Forrester filled in for the missing mad scientists, Kinga Forrester and Max. It kicked off with an invention exchange and during breaks from the movie, there were segments with the characters.

The best was when Pearl went into the audience for a Q&A with Crow and Tom Servo. People asked the craziest questions. One woman was just days away from her wedding (and wondering if she was making the right choice) and another a college student skipping studying for finals. Crow thanked them both for ditching major life events to come see them.

The riffs were of course hilarious. So many good one line zingers that you wished you could remember afterwards.

The show continues for the next month – if they are coming to a town near you, I highly recommend you go see them.

Added bonus – the next season of MST3K will debut on NetFlix on Thanksgiving Day. Turkey Day returns!

Don’t forget to visit the souvenir stand and get a t-shirt or two!

Movie Review – Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

We didn’t see this in the theater so I indulged my wife with a rental. Because there were so many unanswered questions from the second movie…
Dracula, his family, and the whole monster clan take a vacation on a Monster Cruise Ship. This voyage spells danger though as the Van Helsing family is in charge of the ship.
This movie, like the previous two, never achieves great. But it does entertain and has some good laughs. The voice cast is impressive – all the originals return – and comedian Jim Gaffigan and icon Mel Brooks joins them.
The cruise ship gives the characters a new environment. The werewolf couple discovers a little freedom when they realize there’s a daycare on board and they dump off their fifty-plus kids. Dracula of course finds a love interest.
There’s a good message about family and friendship as well.
If you liked the first two films, you’ll enjoy this one – recommended.

New Releases

Festival Stories Through The Year by Rachna Chhabria
Releases October 25 from HarperCollins Children’s Books
Find it on Amazon

Detoured by Pat Hatt
After a battle for their family's survival, Emma and Martin decide to pack up their five kids and drive across country, each seeking the return of their normal life. Their wish quickly comes to fruition until on one dark night they are forced to take a detour. When an accident brings their trip to a halt, they quickly learn that the darkness within Follit's Cove runs deeper than any night.
Find it on Amazon

Slightly Spooky Stories II by Patsy Collins
Find it on Amazon

Bankrolled by JL Campbell
Strong-willed and independent, Bo 'Spice' Casserly will do what's necessary for her family’s well-being.
Find it on Amazon


Thanks to those who offered - we are covered the next three months with co-hosts. If you want to volunteer for next February, let me know. Appreciate you guys!
The ever-amazing Anne R. Allen is visiting the IWSG site today! Get the low-down on critique groups.

Less than two weeks left to submit to the IWSG Anthology Contest.
Young adult romance is the genre and masquerade the theme.
Entry is free, just need to be a member of the IWSG on some level.
See the site for details.

Terrifying Technology Trends

This infographic comes courtesy of Amanda at Enlightened.

Fan of MST3K or seeing the show? Seen Hotel Transylvania 3? Picking up some new books? Any of that technology scare you? And can you co-host next year?

Due to work and a home project, I will be offline a couple days next week. So I'll just save my next post for November 7, IWSG post day. See you then!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Chinese Movies, Write…Edit…Publish – Voodoo, Sicario: Day of the Soldado Review, Con Photos, and More!

Chinese Movies by Sherry Ellis

Thanks for having me as a guest! My new book obviously has something to do with China. Since movies are a big thing here, I thought I’d post about Chinese movies. This required that I put on my thinking cap. What actor makes me think of China? After about ten seconds, I came up with one: Jackie Chan! Martial arts expert. Perfect for the Captain Ninja’s blog. I’ve selected two movies to tell you about. One for the adults. One for the kids.

Kung Fu Yoga was released on January 27, 2017. Jackie Chan plays the role of an archeology professor named Jack. (I suppose it was easy for Jackie to remember his character’s name!) Jack and his team are on a quest to find a lost Indian treasure. Unfortunately, the bad guys are after it, too. It’s a race around the world to beat the bad guys and save an ancient culture.

This is a typical Jackie Chan movie. Full of martial arts action and slapstick comedy. Perfect for Jackie Chan enthusiasts.

Monkey King: Hero is Back was first released on July 10, 2015. Jackie Chan is the voice of the Monkey King. The film won numerous awards including the 2015 Golden Dragon Award for Best Animated Film and Best Director. It was the highest grossing animated film in China until it was surpassed by Zootopia and Kung Fu Panda.

Here’s what it’s about: The all-powerful Monkey King roamed freely between Heaven and Earth. But he ticked off some gods. Not a good thing! The angry gods locked him up in an ice cage deep in the mountains where he stayed for 500 years. He’d probably still be there if it hadn’t been for the monster who attacked a nearby village. A child flees the village and goes into the mountains where he stumbles upon the furry beast. The boy releases the Monkey King, who saves the village from the scary monster.

Kids will like this film for the cool animation. Parents will probably chuckle at some of the humor. A good movie for the whole family.

Have you seen either of these movies? Do you like Jackie Chan films?

It’s a pleasure to be participating in author Sherry Ellis’ BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA Blog Tour through MC Book Tours today.

The author is offering a tour-wide international giveaway featuring five autographed copies of her book. More information on the giveaway is listed below.

Squirt doesn't believe Bubba can dig a hole to China. But when the hole swallows them, the kids find themselves in Xi'an, China, surrounded by Terracotta Warriors…
Available at: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble, BAM, iTunes, and Kobo

For more on Sherry and her writing, you can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, blog, website, and Amazon

GIVEAWAY DETAILS: This tour-wide giveaway is for five (5) autographed copies of BUBBA AND SQUIRT’S BIG DIG TO CHINA. The giveaway is open internationally. To enter, go HERE

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to follow Sherry on her month-long tour HERE. You never know what you might find out.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado Review

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.
The movie was good although not as good as the first one. It missed having Emily Blunt in it.
The premise was to stop terrorists from coming across the Mexican border by starting a Cartel war. That gets a bit lost along the way during the kidnapping and attempted return of a Cartel’s daughter. That issue’s never resolved, but maybe that was the point of the film.
Josh Brolin’s character is just ruthless. Benicio Del Toro’s character meanwhile becomes more human along the way.
The cinematography is amazing and it’s well-shot and directed. The music is outstanding, setting a dark mood so effectively.
A good action thriller – recommended.


The IWSG has partnered with Write…Edit…Publish!

This month’s challenge - Déjà vu or Voodoo. And I have an entry! It even rhymes...

A blogger buddy sent Mini-Alex to me.

But what if he’s more than he seems to be?

A voodoo doll with an evil spell.

Throw him outside and it's flowers I smell.

Put him in the oven and I smell like roast duck.

If Pat Hatt’s Cat buries him, I'm really out of luck.

Stick him in the dryer and I begin to tumble.

Hit him with a hammer and I begin to crumble.

Carve him like a turkey and I get cut.

Oh how can I break out of this terrible rut?

So I gave Mini-Alex to my wife and she watches him so.

And if she accidentally sits on him, it's not a bad way to go!

More Con Photos and Stuff

My publisher sent some more con photos last month and I just kept forgetting to post them.

Just a couple weeks left to submit to the IWSG Anthology Contest.
Young adult romance is the genre and masquerade the theme.
Entry is free, just need to be a member of the IWSG on some level.
See the site for details.

New Release!
Ashes Burn, Seasons 1-7 by Tyrean Martinson
Want a chance to read and review it?
And get the book for free?
See Tyrean’s site for details.
And help spread the word!

Movie Trivia Answers:
He won an Oscar for his role in City Slickers - Jack Palance
Who played Doc Brown in Back to the Future? Christopher Lloyd

Have you seen those Chinese movies? (Or ever wanted to dig to China?) Seen Sicario: Day of the Soldado? Think Mini-Alex is a voodoo doll? (Or are you still stunned that I managed a rhyme?) Ever been to a comic con? And are you entering the IWSG Anthology Contest?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Venom Review; IWSG, WEP, and Special Course; Extended Aquaman Trailer; New Releases; and Movie Trivia

Venom Review

Tom Hardy’s character acquires a symbiote from space while snooping around an eccentric billionaire’s science lab. He and Venom become one.
I had a lot of fun watching this one. The action shots are a bit of a throwback, and the film is a mix of superhero, science fiction, horror, monster, thriller, and action. Add some humor and a dash of romance and you have quite the blender movie.
Now I’ve never read the Venom comics, so I don’t know how close it stuck to the source material. I will say the villain was a bit two-dimensional and could’ve used a bit more empathy and fleshing out.
Hardy, however, was great in the role. He pulled off the physical humor well and it will remind you a little of Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II. It’s Hardy’s performance that sells the story and he was brilliant.
The relationship between Hardy’s character and Venom was great and rather funny. Again, credit to Hardy for pulling it off. The story played the human element right, giving the relationships just enough screen time.
And all head chomping by Venom is done off-screen.
It’s not a great film but it’s definitely a fun way to pass the time. Recommended.

Extended Aquaman Trailer

Over five minutes of awesomeness!


Thanks to everyone who participated last week, including the awesome co-hosts and admins.

Speaking of co-hosts we need some!!! We need two more for November 7. Plus if you can co-host on January 2 (the day we announce the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest), that would be great.
Co-hosts just have to visit twenty blogs in their given range.
Leave a comment here or email me if you want to volunteer. It’s more fun on the host side…

We have a date for the next #IWSGPit Twitter pitch – January 15, 2019!

Visit the IWSG site for details.

You don’t want to miss it.

Don’t forget that the IWSG has partnered with Write…Edit…Publish!
This month’s challenge - Déjà vu or Voodoo.
Add your name to the list, write your story, post on your blog or Facebook, and visit others.
And there are prizes!
Full details at the WEP site regarding genre, length, etc.
Déjà vu or Voodoo – do you?

Here are the propts for the IWSG Instagram the next two months:

IWSG member Christopher Votey has created a cool course and program and IWSG members get a discount!
My course is Digital Notes Organizer – Making Your Personal Encyclopedia. The first part will teach you how to put a wiki on your computer that is 100% private and secure and can be integrated with Dropbox for backup purposes and being able to share with others.
The second part of the course teaches you how to use wiki software, great for your installation and for being able to edit any online wiki (ie, Wikipedia, Wikia).
My course is $49.99, but I want to do something special for all of those who’ve show support for this site. When you check out, enter the following codes:
IWSG80 – Get Course for $9.99 (10 Available)
IWSG50 – Get Course for $24.99 (20 Available)
IWSG25 – Get Course for $36.99 (50 Available)
Get the full details at Christopher’s site and take advantage of his generosity!

Finally, this is the last month to submit to the IWSG Anthology Contest.
Young adult romance is the genre and masquerade the theme.
Entry is free, just need to be a member of the IWSG on some level.
See the site for details.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be in a royalty-paying anthology!

New Releases

Elements of Untethered Realms
A supernatural compilation of the anthologies Twisted Earths , Mayhem in the Air , Ghosts of Fire , and Spirits in the Water . These forty thrilling tales feature authors Angela Brown, Jeff Chapman, Cathrina Constantine, Julie Flanders, River Fairchild, Gwen Gardner, Misha/M. Gerrick, Meradeth Houston, Graeme Ing, Simon Kewin, M. Pax, Christine Rains, Cherie Reich, and Catherine Stine.
Find it on Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble

The Alien and the Teacher by Susan Kelley (Gourley)
Gwen is exhilarated to be part of Earth’s first space colony until a handsome alien with his own agenda makes contact.
Now available on Amazon

Raven’s Sight, Willow Harbor #8 by Juliana Haygert
Sometimes in order to let go of the past, we have to fight for our future…
Get it from these retailors


Movie Trivia

Anyone else see Venom? Excited for Aquaman? Can you co-host? Participating in WEP or the anthology contest? Picking up some new books? And do you know the trivia?

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, October Movie Preview, Bleach Movie Review, and Last Man Standing

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 today are Dolorah @ Book Lover, Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

Today’s question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

I’m not sure any life events have really affected my writing. Unless you count the success of my first book leading me to write more! Movies I saw and books I read as a kid affected what I write though. As a science fiction geek, I get to geek out with my writing.

Have life events affected your writing?

Don’t forget the IWSG Anthology Contest is open for submissions!
Young adult romance is the genre and masquerade the theme.
See the site for details.
You have one month! (And please don’t wait until the last minute…)

Movie Review – Bleach

Ichigo Kurosaki is a High School student, living in Karakura town. He is able to see ghosts, as well as hollows. Later, he meets up with Rukia Kuchiki, a Death God or Soul Reaper
Based on manga and anime, I’ve never seen the source material. It wasn’t terribly original, but it had good special effects and action scenes.
One thing I did appreciate was that it was restrained and not stupid and over the top. Often Japanese anime is just plain goofy, but this film kept the goofiness in check.
It also wasn’t bogged down or too convoluted, which meant the story was easy to follow.
It was fun to watch and certainly worth a NetFlix rental.

Last Man Standing

Despite its popularity, ABC cancelled this show.
But it’s back again on Fox.
The premier last week got kick ass ratings.
Plus the first five minutes poked fun at ABC big time. Hilarious and classic.
Way to go, Tim Allen!

October Movie Preview

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

5 –

When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he will have to release his alter-ego "Venom" to save his life.
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Stars: Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson, Jenny Slate
Chews off people’s heads and eats their brains while maintaining a PG13 rating?

12 –

First Man
A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler
Leaving out the American flag and all that, it’s been revised so other countries will feel good about their space programs.

19 –

Laurie Strode comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Director: David Gordon Green
Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, James Jude Courtney
Feel free to blame the first Halloween for every derivative slasher film ever made. Including this one…

26 –

Hunter Killer 
An untested American submarine captain teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.
Director: Donovan Marsh
Stars: Ethan Baird, Jacob Scipio, Dempsey Bovell, Corey Johnson
He’s a hunter. He’s a killer. Can these two wacky roommates get along in the age of modern sub-thermo nuclear war? This fall on ABC!

And the answers to last week’s movie trivia:
This 70’s movie was originally called Watch the Skies - Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Who starred in Tremors and The Player? Fred Ward

Have life events affected what you write? Entering the anthology contest? Have you watched Bleach? Watching Last Man Standing now that it’s back? And what movies catch your eye for October?