Monday, February 24, 2020

New Trailers – Diablo 4, Stranger Things 4, and more! Plus Kvelertak – Splid, Movie News, IWSG Anthology Contest, Mini-Alex, and Movie Trivia Answers


Some great trailers for movies, shows, and games in the past couple months!

Diablo 4
Why aren’t the game animators allowed to make a movie? Why?!?!?!?! It would look so amazing.

Stranger Things season four
I knew he was alive!

Black Widow
This looks like a lot of fun. Just forget that she’s dead.

Wonder Woman 1984
And in case you totally missed this one!

Kvelertak - Splid

Here are the ingredients to make your own brand new Kvelertak record:

1 new lead singer
3 guitarists
1 cup of piss and vinegar
A bunch of attitude
1 tbs AC/DC
1 tbs Slayer
1 tbs Sex Pistols
1 tsp of blackened Norwegian metal
1 tsp of progressive metal
Shake liberally

The result is Kvelertak, doing what they do only much stronger this time around. This is their best album since their absolutely stellar debut back in 2010. It’s a party album, a workout album, and a crank it to eleven album in the car.
These guys throw so many musical influences into the blender and it works to perfection. Most of the singing is in Norwegian, so I have no idea what the songs are about (could be evil, could be puppies), but it doesn’t really matter when the finished product is so much fun and crazy.

Movie News

RiffTrax announced their live shows this year!
Hobgoblins on June 11.
Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes on October 21.
The Kickstarter campaign is open for fans to make these films happen. Which they did in just nineteen hours!! Too awesome.

Production begins on season two of The Witcher, adding seven new cast members. According to JoBlo:
The Witcher became an enourmous hit late last year for Netflix with 76 million households watching at least a few mintues of the show. Because of this, the streamer was able to declare it as the service's biggest first season for an original series ever. The show is based on the popular book series of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski and it explores the legend of Geralt of Rivia.

The Golden Schmoes were announced:
Avengers: Endgame was the favorite movie of the year.
Worst movie of the year – Cats. (And it hits DVD next month if you are just dying to know how they could possible screw up such an iconic play!)
Best director – Sam Mendes for 1917. (At least fans got it right.)
Most over-rated film of the year – The Lion King. (Yes!)
Most under-rated – Alita: Battle Angel. (Considering how popular the graphic novel and animated film, this movie really got overlooked.)
Biggest surprise was Joker. And Joaquin Phoenix scored best actor.
And most memorable scene in a film was Captain America lifting Mjolnir in Avengers: Endgame. (With Iron Man’s ‘snap’ second.)
For a full list of winners, see JoBlo’s site.

Knives Out comes out on DVD February 25. This was a great whodunit film – you definitely want to see it. Just buy the DVD – trust me, you’ll enjoy it!

Jumanji: The Next Level comes out March 17 on DVD. Not quite as good as the first, the sequel was still a lot of fun.

Tara Tyler’s Cradle Rock has been re-released!
Why is this movie news?
Because the upcoming Pixar film Onward is really similar to Tara’s Beast World.
And with the re-release of the first two books in the trilogy (her publisher folded and she had to publish the third one on her own last year), Tara is taking back Beast World!
Find Cradle Rock on Amazon
Oh, and JoBlo reviewed Onward and gave it six out of ten, saying it was good but definitely not one of Pixar’s better films.
Hope that gives you a smile, Tara!

IWSG Annual Anthology Contest

This May, we will be announcing the next IWSG Anthology Contest genre and theme. We’ll probably taunt you with the genre the month prior, so be watching in April.

This will be our sixth contest. Sixth! Amazing how far the IWSG has come.

Thanks to all of you for making it possible!

Mini-Alex in Snow

Something strange fell from the sky last week. We almost never see it!

Movie Trivia Answers

It was all about comic book and graphic novel movies – name the film from the tagline, star, and year.

They destroyed everything he had, everything he was. Now, crime has a new enemy and justice has a new face. Liam Neeson 1990 - Darkman
Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what we do. Jackie Earle Haley 2009 - Watchmen
Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Alec Baldwin 1994 - The Shadow
In the absence of light darkness prevails. Ron Perlman 2004 - Hellboy
Believe in angels. Brandon Lee 1994 - The Crow
Last time he fought against his sworn enemies....This time he will fight with them. Wesley Snipes 2002 - Blade II
First contact. Last stand. Daniel Craig 2011 - Cowboys and Aliens
A step beyond science fiction. John Candy (voice) 1981 - Heavy Metal
Judgement is coming. Karl Urban 2012 - Dredd
Still Armed. Still Dangerous. Still Got It. Bruce Willis 2010 - RED
She alone has the power to save paradise. Tanya Roberts 1984 - Sheena
His time has come. Hugh Jackman 2017 - Logan
In the future, the odds of survival are 1000 to 1. That’s just the way she likes it. Lori Petty 1995 - Tank Girl
Freedom forever! Natalie Portman 2005 - V for Vendetta

Any of those trailers get you excited? Ever heard of Kvelertak? Surprised by the Golden Schmoes winners? Ready for another IWSG Anthology Contest? See any snow this year? And did you get any of the movies correct?

See you March 4 for the next IWSG posting!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Birds of Prey Review, What’s Wrong with Discovery, Aladdin Review, Movie Trivia, and More!

Movie Reviews

Birds of Prey

Joker has dumped Harley and she’s trying to find her place in life. In other words, without Joker, Harley is a big target and everyone wants her dead.
This film capitalizes on the best part of Suicide Squad – Harley Quinn. She’s fearless, resourceful, and quite reckless. But it’s still the simple things in life she loves - her pet hyena, Bruce Wayne; an egg breakfast sandwich made to perfection; and smashing people with a bat.
The story is told with some flashbacks (Harley style) and the names of villains blasting across the screen (along with their grievances against Harley) and it lets you know you are in for a fun ride.
Yes, it is rated R. Not as foul as Deadpool. But it is violent and contains language.
Ewan McGregor as the bad guy chews up scenery. He obviously had fun just going for it, over the top and all, with the role.
The film is all about Harley, but it’s fun watching the Birds of Prey come together. Rosie Perez, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Jurnee Smollett-Bell are great in their roles.
And the big rumble in the end is awesome.
I didn’t love it, but I really enjoyed it.


Another Disney cash-grab based on the 1992 cartoon.
This one is a step above The Lion King. A lot of it is word-for-word identical to the first, but they did change it up a little. (Probably to make it longer more than anything else.) It’s very colorful and with great special effects. And Guy Ritchie directs! Now that’s surprising.
Will Smith does his best to do his own spin on Genie, which I appreciated. Ultimately, Robin Williams still did it best.
The musical numbers don’t work as well in this live action version as they did in the animated film. Back in the 50’s and 60’s it worked, but today it just doesn’t.
Another drawback is the monkey Abu. Just like The Lion King, the realistic CGI monkey has no expression. Abu was so expressive and funny in the first movie. Here, he’s just a monkey. Jafar’s parrot was also just a parrot.
And of course, you sit through it knowing all the words to the songs and half of the dialogue and enduring the overwhelming sensation that you’ve seen it all before.
Fun film if you’ve never seen the original, but if you have, just go watch it instead.

Why Discovery is a Dumpster Fire

When CBS announced that Star Trek: Discovery would only be available on a pay streaming service called All Access, my initial thought was no. Or more accurately “Hell no!” Then they announced a new show called Star Trek: Picard and I knew I would have to eat my words.
While being extorted by CBS, I decided to give Discovery a whirl. Here are my ten reasons why this show is a dumpster fire. (Please note that I have only seen season one. I’m told it gets better, but that’s not setting the bar very high.)

1. No likable characters. The characters run the gamut from unlikable to downright annoying. It’s hard to root for these guys.

2. The radical Klingon redesign. This show supposedly takes place in the same universe as Enterprise, the original, and TNG. What idiot thought that completely changing one of the most recognizable races on the show was a good idea?

3. The Klingons mostly speak in their native tongue with subtitles. Look, I’m fine with subtitles, but the mouth prosthetics are horrible and so the actors sound like they are struggling with pronunciation. If you ever wore the full mouth plastic vampire teeth as a kid for Halloween, you know what I mean.

4. Plot holes that the Federation could fly an entire fleet through.

5. Ridiculous advanced tech for the time period. This show exists between Enterprise and ten years before the original. The tech is more advanced than Voyager. Holograms, cloaked fleets, spore Drive, and I could go on. It doesn’t fit!

6. The captain, who follows the orders of Starfleet, has the autonomy to bring a mutineer (who has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison) onto his ship and keep her as a crew member. No one in Starfleet has a problem with this.

7. Cussing. I don’t need it in Star Trek. Just because you can add in the F bomb does not make the show more adult.

8. Where is the humor? It would be great to be a crewman on TNG, DS9, Voyager, or Enterprise. But it is a joyless, soul-sucking experience to be aboard Discovery.

9. Other than Michael, I don’t know any of these characters. It’s like they were so busy trying to tell a mediocre to poor story that they forgot that the heart of Star Trek is rooted in growing familiar and ultimately feeling a sense of family with the characters.

10. I will never re-watch any of these episodes. That’s sad! I’ve re-watched the original series, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise so many times, but Discovery is a misfire in almost every way.

Conclusion – total dumpster fire!

Ninja News

Available February 13 on audio-
Dragonfly Summer by J.H. Moncrieff
Jo Carter never thought she'd return to Clear Springs, Minnesota. But when the former journalist receives a cryptic note about the disappearance of her friend Sam twenty years before, she's compelled to find out what really happened.
Find it on Audible

MC Book Tours
Mason Canyon, who runs Thoughts in Progress, a book review/feature site, also does book tours - MC Book Tours.
She’s putting together tours for two of our friends and their upcoming releases:
Murder, Just Because by Yolanda Renée
Dancing With Dementia by Jemi Fraser
If you can host either author, contact Mason!

Movie Trivia

Going for the comic book/graphic novel movies!
Name the movie from the tagline, star, and year.

1: They destroyed everything he had, everything he was. Now, crime has a new enemy and justice has a new face. Liam Neison 1990
2: Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what we do. Jackie Earl Haley 2009
3: Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Alec Baldwin 1994
4: In the absence of light darkness prevails. Ron Perlman 2004
5: Believe in angels. Brandon Lee 1994
6: Last time he fought against his sworn enemies....This time he will fight with them. Wesley Snipes 2002
7: First contact. Last stand. Daniel Craig 2011
8: A step beyond science fiction. John Candy (voice) 1981
9: Judgement is coming. Karl Urban 2012
10: Still Armed. Still Dangerous. Still Got It. Bruce Willis 2010
11: She alone has the power to save paradise. Tanya Roberts 1984
12: His time has come. Hugh Jackman 2017
13: In the future, the odds of survival are 1000 to 1. That’s just the way she likes it. Lori Petty 1995
14: Freedom forever! Natalie Portman 2005

Since February 17 is a holiday, I won’t be around – I'll post again on February 24.
Seen Birds of Prey or Aladdin? Think Discovery is a hot mess? Helping with either blog tour? And do you know any of the trivia answers?

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, February Movie Preview, Movie Reviews, and More!

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 Lee Lowery, Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Jennifer Hawes, Cathrina Constantine, and Tyrean Martinson

February 5 question - Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

Ironically, I covered this in my December IWSG post. (Double ironic because today’s question is mine!)

So rather than post the Frazetta image that inspired CassaStar again, I’ll go with another artistic inspiration.

Dragon on the Sea by Ayreon is about the Queen of England sending Sir Walter Drake out to meet the enemy. The lyrics gave me the idea of a dragon space ship and a man being sent on a quest. The result was my fourth book, a standalone novel, Dragon of the Stars.

Here is the YouTube video – most of the lyrics fit somewhere into the story:

Need a couple co-hosts for April and May. Leave a comment if you can help either month!

New release from an IWSG member and former Admin!
Wielder’s Curse by Elle Cardy (Lynda R. Young)
Her curse isn’t the only darkness waiting to break the world.
The second in the sweeping Wielder’s Storm fantasy series, this epic adventure is about a fierce young girl, out of control magic, terrifying secrets, and now dark visions and a sinister enemy on the hunt.
Find it on Amazon

Movie Reviews

The Good Dinosaur
While we still have Disney+, we decided to watch this Pixar film since we missed it in the theater.
The meteor misses earth, so dinosaurs don’t die out and evolve instead. The herbivores are farmers and the big carnivores are ranchers. Humans are just now evolving and still run around on all fours, barking and howling like dogs, and the main one’s name is Spot…
What the f***?!
This movie is what happens when writers drop acid. And then forget to edit sober. The film also handles some really adult and difficult themes that hopefully went over kids’ heads. Of course, the poor adults along for the ride were treated to a really juvenile story. And it should have been called The Clumsy Dinosaur – how he lived until the end I’ll never know.
It does have some stunning scenery animation. Very life-like. The dinosaurs – not so much.
It’s a train wreck, but at least it was watchable. Although I may never get the redneck Texan T-Rexes out of my head…
Not recommended

An unemployed family slowly cons their way into working for a filthy rich family.
Since it’s up for Best Picture, we decided to watch it. I’m not sure what all the excitement is about though.
None of the characters are likeable, either the poor family or the rich. They aren’t all complete scumbags, but they are very screwed up and damaged characters. So it’s really hard to care what happens to any of them.
It is fascinating in a creepy kind of way how things start spiraling out of control for everyone. However, there are some plot holes and some characters/plot points that just don’t lead anywhere. Plus the film’s message seems to be that poor people are parasites. Maybe that works in South Korea, but not sure how well that goes over here.
I predict this will not win Best Picture.
Watch at your own risk.

February Movie Preview

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

7 –

Birds of Prey
After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.
Director: Cathy Yan
Stars: Margot Robbie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ewan McGregor, Jurnee Smollett-Bell
Plausible? Who cares? I’m there!

14 –

Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island
A horror adaptation of the popular '70s TV show about a magical island resort.
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Stars: Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Portia Doubleday, Michael Peña
If I don’t get at least one “Da plane!” I will be bitterly disappointed.

21 –

The Call of the Wild
A sled dog struggles for survival in the wilds of the Yukon.
Director: Chris Sanders
Stars: Karen Gillan, Harrison Ford, Cara Gee, Dan Stevens
The dog is CGI. Why?????

28 – 

The Invisible Man
When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
Director: Leigh Whannell
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid
I worry this will make us long for the Chevy Chase version…

Has art inspired your writing? Can you co-host in April or May? Seen either movie I reviewed? And what films catch your eye this month?