Monday, October 19, 2020

Ayreon-Transitus Review; Movie Reviews – Tenet, The Addams Family, Vampires vs. the Bronx; and Princelings Revolution

Movie Reviews


From director Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) comes another mind-twist of a movie that deals with the concept of inversion. A man known as the Protagonist is given one word, Tenet, and sent off to save the world. This was the first major film released since March and I finally got to see it in the theater.

Nolan likes to take your brain and put it in a blender. Like Inception, this is very high-concept science fiction. You really have to pay attention from the beginning to the end. Everything you see ties together in one place or another – it’s very intricate and layered.

It was certainly more humorous than I’d been led to believe. And of course the action scenes were incredible. They have to be seen on the big screen, especially the scene with the airplane crashing into the building. (Which was done in one take!)

The entire cast is great. John David Washington (Denzel Washington’s son) plays the Protagonist and just excels in the role. Robert Pattison is the one who helps him and after seeing him in this role, I can definitely see him as Batman. Kenneth Branagh exudes deadly, cold villainy and Elizabeth Debicki as his trapped wife brings a strong human element to the story. Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Godzilla) rounds out the cast.

The only knock on the film has to do with the background sound/music sometimes overwhelming the dialogue, and in a film where you really have to hear every word, that makes it a challenge. Not sure if that was a production issue or a theater issue.

Definitely one of Nolan’s best, although I’m sure not everyone will love it. I did and can’t wait to see it again. (And I just might since not much else is coming out right now.)

Highly recommended!

The Addams Family

From the IMDB:
The eccentrically macabre family moves to a bland suburb where Wednesday Addams' friendship with the daughter of a hostile and conformist local reality show host exacerbates conflict between the families.
Featuring the voices of Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloƫ Grace Moretz, and Finn Wolfhard.
We watched this with low expectations since there have been so many incarnations of the Addams Family. However, we were pleasantly surprised.
It keeps the feel of the family, their relationships, their home life, etc. while putting a fresh spin on the tale.
There are a lot of funny moments. Keep your eye on their pet lion.
The animation is simple but stylish and the plot keeps moving at a good pace.

Vampires vs. the Bronx

A group of kids who want to battle the company purchasing all the local businesses but what they end up battling are vampires.
This debuted this month on NetFlix and it’s very similar to Attack the Block. Not as good or funny but it tries. This mostly stems from unoriginality and some borrowed scenes from other films, such as Lost Boys.
However, what does make the film enjoyable are the three lead boys. They play well off each other and elevate the quality of the story.
Worth a watch if you’re bored.

Ayreon – Transitus Review

Another double concept album from the brilliance that is Arjen (Ayreon) Lucassen.

The story –
This album departs from the science fiction theme and returns to a Human Equation story. It’s the 1890’s and Daniel, son of a wealthy white man, falls in love with Abby, one of their black servants. The album opens with a fire killing Daniel and Abby believing she is responsible. Daniel finds himself in Transitus and asks the Angel of Death to let him plead his case and clear Abby’s name. The angel takes him to when he first met Abby and then back to the present and everything that happens after his death.

The musicians –

Tommy Karevik, an Ayreon regular, sings the role of Daniel. Cammie Gilbert is Abby and she brings a lot of passion and soul to the role. Tom Baker (Doctor Who!) is the storyteller and does an outstanding job. Ayreon regular Marcela Bouio sings several parts and Michal Mills has fun as the statue. (But what do I know? I’m just a dumb piece of rock!) And for the American fans, they get Dee Snider (Twisted Sister) in the role of the father. Joost VanDen Broek is in his standard place at the keyboards and Joe Satriani even plays on one song. New additions to the vast array of musicians include someone playing a Hurdy Gurdy and the choir Hellscore.

The music –

This is probably Ayreon’s most accessible albums. It’s still prog rock but not as complex as usual. It’s more of a rock opera than anything else.
Disc two has a couple flat spots but otherwise it moves at a fast pace. It definitely sounds like Ayreon.
I got the full boxed set with two extra discs, a DVD, and the full graphic novel. (Which really helps when trying to follow the story.)
If you’re a fan, then it’s a must get!

Visit Arjen Lucassen’s site for more Ayreon information and details.

The Princelings of the East – The Movie

I finished my ten-books series last week/month, with the launch of Princelings Revolution. Of course, now I’m thinking about the movie rights.

The Princelings of the East - the movie
What would it look like?

Imagine if Lord of the Rings met the Aviator and spiced it up with Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines. I think that just about does it.

Grand sweeping vistas, princelings George and Fred travelling from castle to castle, battling misunderstandings, pirates, intrigue and self-interest. Fred eventually gets promoted to king, with all the trouble that brings, while George continues the mad inventor trope, developing from basic biplanes to super-sleek flying boats, all running on strawberry juice fuel.

Who would be in it?
I’ve always imagined Fred as Ewan MacGregor, even if he (like me) has got a lot older in the last ten years. Viggo Mortensen would still cut a dash as the noble Prince Lupin of Buckmore. Ann Hathaway as Lady Nimrod, Keira Knightly as Princess Kira. I’m not sure who would play George, but maybe Ewan could double up, as they are twins, after all.

Ready to sign them up?
If you want the movie rights, get in touch, otherwise buy the books (ebook, paperback or audio).

Buy Princelings Revolution at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords
Find Jemima Pett - Blog, Website, Twitter, and Facebook

Anyone else venture out to see Tenet? Heard the latest from Ayreon? (So many great musicians!) Seen The Addams Family or Vampires vs. the Bronx? Want to see a Princelings movie?
I will be back on November 4 for the next installment of the IWSG!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Enola Holmes Review, October Movie Preview, and New Releases

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 Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!

Need IWSG co-hosts for November! At least four, five is even better. (We have none at the moment.)
And two more for December and hosts for January. (Which is when we’ll announce the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest.)
Leave a comment or email me if you can host any of those months.

October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

Good question! I picture a working writer as someone who makes a good portion of their income from their writing. (It could mean a writer who is still working a job, but that doesn’t sound as fun.) As for me, unless I’m writing after retiring (which isn’t too far away), being an author will remain a side project.

Now, guitarist in a prog band – I can picture that!

Enola Holmes Review

From the IMDB:
When Enola Holmes-Sherlock's teen sister-discovers her mother missing, she sets off to find her, becoming a super-sleuth in her own right as she outwits her famous brother and unravels a dangerous conspiracy around a mysterious young Lord.
Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter, and Louis Partridge
Based on a young adult book series.
This debuted on NetFlix last month and certainly rates as one of their best productions. If you enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr., you will enjoy this film. Definitely a lighter version, though – more family friendly. It’s a blend of Young Sherlock Holmes and the Guy Richie films.
It’s quirky, fun, and Enola breaks the fourth barrier several times. Brown is perfect in the role as Enola and very resourceful. Cavil’s reserved Sherlock is more true to the books, so don’t expect Robert Downey Jr. craziness.
The production values are excellent and you really feel like you are in Victorian England. This is top notch cinema from NetFlix.
Highly recommended.

New Releases!

Psycho Hose Beast From Outer Space by CD Gallant-King

Gale Harbour hasn’t seen any excitement since the military abandoned the base there thirty years ago, unless you count the Tuesday night 2-for-1 video rentals at Jerry's Video Shack. So when a dead body turns up floating in the town water supply, all evidence seems to point to a boring accident.

Find it on Amazon, Amazon CA, and Amazon UK

Frozen Crimes by Chrys Fey

Beth and Donovan are expecting their first child. Life couldn't get any better...until a stalker makes his presence known. This person sends disturbing messages and unsettling items, but it isn't long before his menacing goes too far.

Find it at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Google Play

October Movie Releases

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for October. (And our theaters are open now – I can finally go see a movie again!) As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

9 –

Honest Thief
Wanting to lead an honest life, a notorious bank robber turns himself in, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents.
Director: Mark Williams
Stars: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan
Neeson says ‘Give me back my son!’ while being attacked by wolves on a train…

16 –

When an outbreak hits, Aidan barricades himself inside his apartment and starts rationing food. His complex is overrun by infected Screamers, and with the world falling apart into chaos, he is left completely alone fighting for his life.
Director: Johnny Martin
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Tyler Posey, Robert Ri'chard, John Posey
Isn’t this plot the year we’ve just lived through?

23 –

Two New Orleans paramedics' lives are ripped apart after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.
Directors: Justin Benson | Aaron Moorhead
Stars: Jamie Dornan, Anthony Mackie, Katie Aselton, Ally Ioannides
I like a movie that scoops out my brain with a melon ball and plays with it.

What does a working writer look like to you? Seen Enola Holmes yet? Ready to hit the theater again? And who can co-host in the coming months?
 I’ll be back October 19 with a guest, movie reviews, and a review of Ayeron’s latest double concept album, Transitus. (Hint- it’s awesome!)