Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Movie Reviews – Aquaman, Rebel Moon, Chicken Run, and January Movie Preview

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 January 3 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Olga Godim, Diedre Knight, and Natalie Aguirre!

Welcome to 2024! Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays.

January 3 question: Do you follow back your readers on BookBub or do you only follow back other authors?

I confess, I am not great at keeping up with BookBub. I follow back everyone though.

And #IWSGPit is on hold while we search for a new platform. We just don’t have enough admins to cover Twitter anymore and are looking at other social media platforms as well as hosting it on the main IWSG site. We will keep you posted.

Movie Reviews

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

Directed by James Wan, Jason Momoa is back as Aquaman and Patric Wilson as his brother.
Critics have been hating on this film for months and still not sure why. The film as a whole is an enjoyable adventure. The second half is better, reeling us in for an adventurous romp.
It is a bit derivative, taking from a lot of other movies and offering no big plot surprises. And sometimes it’s a bit too much tell rather than show.
But if you enjoyed the first one, you will definitely enjoy this one.
Highly recommended.

Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

Having pulled off an escape from Tweedy's farm, Ginger has found a peaceful island sanctuary for the whole flock. But back on the mainland the whole of chicken-kind faces a new threat, and Ginger and her team decide to break in.
Voiced by Thandiwe Newton and Zachary Levi as Ginger and Rocky, now parents to Molly, this grand adventure is as fun as the original and featuring the same great characters.
Hard to capture the innocence of the first one, but this sequel comes really darn close. If you liked the first one, you’ll enjoy this one.
Highly recommended!

Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire

When a peaceful settlement on the edge of a distant moon finds itself threatened by the armies of a tyrannical ruling force, a mysterious stranger living among its villagers becomes their best hope for survival.
Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Sofia Boutella – take one heaping tablespoon of Star Wars, add another heaping tablespoon of The Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven, add a pinch of Firefly and a dash of Inglorious Bastards and you have Rebel Moon.
Having said all that, the film is enjoyable. It’s a fascinating mess to watch.
It certainly did not live up to my high hopes nor is it as dismal as the reviewers say.
If you’re in the mood for a derivative science fiction adventure with great production values, this is it. 

January Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for January. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

5 –

Night Swim
Director - Bryce McGuire
Stars - Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle
A woman swimming in her pool at night is terrorized by an evil spirit.
It turns out it was just a Baby Ruth floating in the water…

12 –

The Beekeeper
Director - David Ayer
Stars - Jason Statham, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Bobby Naderi
In The Beekeeper, one man's brutal campaign for vengeance takes on national stakes after he is revealed to be a former operative of a powerful and clandestine organization known as "Beekeepers".
Sorry folks, not a lot of good BUZZ on this one…

19 –

Director - Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Stars - Ariana DeBose, Chris Messina, John Gallagher Jr.
When a world war event occurs on Earth, America and Russia, both nations secretly contact their astronauts aboard the ISS and give them instructions to take control of the station by any means necessary.
Not sure why controlling the ISS makes any difference – you’re not going back to a nuked Earth!

26 –

American Star
Director - Gonzalo López-Gallego
Stars - Ian McShane, Thomas Kretschmann, Nora Arnezeder
An assassin on a final assignment in Fuerteventura, to kill a man he has never met. When his target is delayed, he finds himself drawn to the island, people and a ghostly shipwreck.
It’s not a Tom Cruise biopic…

Who do you follow on BookBub? Seen any of the movies? Looking forward to any movies this month?


nashvillecats2 said...

Great post Alex, some interesting movies and books, I am not planning to see any movies for a while..... not until my eyes are better.
Thank you for your support to me over this episode in my life.
Take care.

Ray Rousell said...

Looking forward to Rebel Moon, I put it on last night, but fell asleep after 10 minutes or so. Nothing to do with the film of course!!!

Happy New Year to you and yours Alex!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Happy New Year, Alex!

I just starting watching Rebel Moon last night. It was exactly how you described it. The critics have been putting down Aquaman, but now, after your critique, I'll have to watch it.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Happy New Year, Alex! I don't do anything on BookBub. I follow authors on Goodreads so I get a notice when their new books are released. I hope you figure out how to do the Twitter Pitch in an easier way for the administrators to follow. It's a great service to writers.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

Happy New Year!

People are mad at Aquaman because DC's already announced that it's no longer "canon." Plus the whole Amber Heard thing.

Really want to watch Rebel Moon but I haven't had a good opportunity. It's been family movie night every night for the last two weeks and nobody else wants to watch it. :-(

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

Not sure I'll be watching any of these movies... Snark highly appreciated :-)

Ronel visiting for IWSG day An Author’s Goals for 2024

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for the reviews, Alex. My husband saw Rumble Through the Dark last month and said it was one of the top 5 best movies he'd seen in 2023. That's high praise coming from him. Happy IWSG Wednesday 2024, Alex. Best to you and your family.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I follow authors I like on BookBub.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

My work keeps me from doing anything else these days. Like Natalie, I do not utilize BookBub. Rebel Moon was enjoyable. Were the critics expecting Hamlet? Have a great New Year.

Nick Wilford said...

I have a handful of followers on BookBub, including your good self when I checked, but I need to be doing more on there. Happy New Year!

Toi Thomas said...

Happy New Year and Happy IWSG Day.
I like posting book reviews on BookBub but I guess it's also good for finding followers.
Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom looks good. I'll see it eventually.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is a must-see for me. I love stop motion. Rebel Moon: Part One - A Child of Fire sounds a bit much. I may check it out at some point.
Not sure I'm excited about any of the new movies.

Liza said...

Happy New Year, Alex. Thank you for all you do for other writers. I'm not on BookBub, so can't really comment.

PT Dilloway said...

I don't know how long they could survive on the ISS without support from Earth even if they weren't trying to kill each other. Too bad they couldn't get Sandra Bullock in it.

Rebel Moon sounds like Sucker Punch in that there was some cool stuff but it just didn't fit together great. Studios should have learned by now: never go full Zach Snyder.

Diane Burton said...

From your review and others' comments, I'm going to check out Rebel Moon. Hope you have a great year!

Pat Garcia said...

Happy New Year, Alex.

I'm in Book Bub but don't ever use it.

Have a great year.
Shalom shalom

Lynn La Vita said...

I'm impressed with your vision and the various ways you support writers. I manage a small group of writers and recognize volunteers as critical.

I wish you an easy solution to the Twitter platform challenge.

Happy New Year to IWSG from Lynn

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yvonne, just glad to have you back.

Cathrina, go enjoy Aquaman.

CD, I think that's exactly why critics are hating on it.

Joylene, I'll have to check that one out.

Toi, you will really enjoy the second Chicken Run.

PT, full Zach Snyder is a rare hit.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I already have Night Swim on my list - I'm down for most things creepy like that.

I don't know if I've ever seen the original Chicken Run movie, but the title of the sequel totally cracks me up. :)

Happy New Year, Alex!

Nancy Gideon said...

I confess, I haven't gone out to see movies at the theater in a loooong time (despite my love of theater popcorn!). Too hard on the ole back and knees to sit that long. But once in a while there's a must see on the big screen. Last time I went to a matinee I think there were 3 other people there.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I loved Chicken Run and its sequel. Aardman Studios can do no wrong.

diedre Knight said...

Happy New Year, Captain!

I'm not familiar with BookBub, but I plan to get acquainted. Chicken Run sounds delightful! I still haven't seen the first Aquaman, but I've transferred it to this year's to-do list. I saw a trailer for Night Swim just yesterday, and I have to say it scared me half to death! Bees are not among my favorite creatures, but I once knew a (nice) beekeeper.
Thanks for all you do for us.
Happy January!

Jennifer Lane said...

Baby Ruth, LOL. I too am not great at keeping up on Book Bub.

Meka James said...

Happy new year! I also don't keep up with Bookbub. For a while I was trying to gain more followers, but now it's largely forgetten about. Hope you can find a new home for the pitch event soon.

Lidy said...

Before this month’s IWSG question I didn’t have a BookBub account. Now that I do, I’ll see if I can keep up with it.

I’m looking forward to Aquaman 2. And waiting for part two of Rebel Moon to come out to watch them together. In the meantime, I’m counting down the days until Avatar: The Last Airbender Book One premiers on Netflix on February 22nd. Which is, sigh…50 days from now. Where’s a time machine when you need one?

Happy New Year!

cleemckenzie said...

I really miss Twitter. It was easy to use and easy to keep in touch with a lot of groups and individual writers.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I liked Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom quite a bit. However, it was pretty cheesy. The part where Aquaman’s kid is missing and the parents along with Nicole Kidman all lose it outside the home was a perfect example of bad acting. I excuse Nicole Kidman because she has to overact now due to her many face surgeries that have made it impossible for her face to move. It must be terrible to have body dysmorphia (which she probably has due to being so pretty when she was young).

I also liked Rebel Moon, but it was definitely a movie where content took precedence over substance to the point that substance was left crying in the corner.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I’m not on Bookbub. Looking forward to more live theater in 2024 and a production of my play.
Cheers to you in 2024!

Gwen Gardner said...

I found I had created an account on BookBub about five years ago. LOL. Didn't remember it at all. But I updated my profile and will look into it again. The one thing I noticed is that you were a follower ;)

P.S. I've spoken to Angela Brown, and she was thrilled that you reached out to her. She is such a special person :>)

Sandra Cox said...

Hey Alex,
I want to see Aquaman and enjoyed Rebel Moon.
Happy New Year.

Arlee Bird said...

I don't have any plans of looking into BookBub at the present time, but I've been in a pretty lackluster place about doing things online these days. Maybe I need a new project to fire me up.

Don't see any of these films you've mentioned as something that I'd be greatly interested in seeing. Since I don't go to theaters anymore and don't subscribe to any streaming services it is unlikely that I'll see any newer movies that what gets shown on my satellite stations. I don't feel like I'll be missing that much.


Jean Davis said...

I enjoyed Rebel Moon for what it was: a sci-fi action movie. Was the writing fabulous? No. But the effects were good and the actors were easy to look at.

Having read your review of Aquaman, I'm more willing to give it a try.

Best of luck with your writing in 2024!

Olga Godim said...

Have you noticed that most new movies these days are speculative fiction? Nothing about quiet life of ordinary people. I wonder if those all migrated to the many streaming services.

J E Oneil said...

When I first heard the name Rebel Moon, I figured it was a Star Wars project. I'm not entirely sure I'm wrong. I also have to admit I never heard of BookBub before this month.

Rhonda Albom said...

Happy New Year Alex!

Dare I admit, I don't know BookBub.

Rebel Moon looks like a winner.

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! I hope that you are enjoying the day. Thanks for the movie reviews. I haven't seen any of the movies. I recently saw "Killers of the Flower Moon" after reading the book. Great movie, same story, but from a different point of view. The book was better; but, the, books are nearly always better. And on New Year's Even Terry and I saw "Oppenheimer." That was fabulous! I knew all the science, but not the politics. Now we're finishing "The Crown." Take care, my friend!

Birgit said...

Baby Ruth made me laugh because I suddenly thought of the music from Jaws. Aquaman looks like a fun mess and don't take ot too seriously. I'm not sure about the other flicks. I never heard of Bookbub...sometimes I think there's too many platforms out there.

PJ Colando said...

First of all - you posted at 1:00 a.m.?!

Happy New Year to you and. may all be well in your life!

Lisa said...

I know I missed your comment on Godzilla (The BEST ever IMO, and not like any other). I'm not super keen on any of the films in today's post, got disgusted on the ISS one, just because they could have done something really cool with it, but chose this instead... and yeah, sure, not a TC biopic! lol
Happy new year!!!
Gotta check out BookBub I think...?

Tyrean Martinson said...

I went into Rebel Moon with low expectations and found it to be a fun watch. I will definitely check out the next installment when it comes out. I went to see Wonka with friends and loved it - it's a sweet story, and I'm a fan of decently done musicals - so it hit all the right spots. I also went to see Boys in the Boat and I enjoyed it more than the book (shh) but found it funny the local theater didn't realize it would be packed. I live in Washington State so, a story with a University of Washington State crew team going to the Olympics after beating the Ivies? It's a popular movie here. All the better because it's based on history - so lots of cheering and clapping in the theater.
We also picked up a cheap version of Hulu for cyber Monday, so my family and I are now hooked on Only Murders in the Building and Artful Dodger.
Hope you are having a great January, Alex! Let me know how if I can help out with #IWSGPit.

Jen said...

Happy New Year, Alex! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas.

I honestly have never heard of BookBub so I don't have an answer to this month's question :)

As for the movies, I've heard of a few of them. Rebel Moon keeps popping up on Instagram and your description of it being a mess pretty much sums up the preview I saw. I wasn't totally unsure what it was supposed to be about but the effects looked pretty cool.

Have a wonderful January!

Liz A. said...

I did not know of BookBub. I've fallen out of the writing community quite a lot. If you're thinking of Bluesky for IWSG, I have some invite codes...

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Happy New Year, Alex. I must admit, I haven't been to a movie house in years. My one daughter likes to attend the comic book type movies. The Dawn of the Nugget looks interesting. Have a healthy 2024.

Sarah Foster said...

I did a double take when I first saw the Chicken Run sequel on Netflix. I loved the original when I was younger.

Patricia JL said...

I'm the same. I forget it exists until I get a follower notification.

Pat Hatt said...

Guess the beekeeper should just buzz off then, huh?

Chicken run 2 was enjoyable indeed. Snyder barely makes anything coherent. So nothing new there lol

Yeah. Bookbub I barely bother with too

Botanist said...

Looking forward to Chicken Run. Always been a big Aardman fan.

Jemi Fraser said...

Aquaman looks like another fun film. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

This month's question reminded me I have a BookBub account. I kind of forgot. I really appreciate your movie reviews. You usually like the ones I would like whether the critics do or not.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nancy, that's why we like to hit matinees!

Lidy, want to borrow mine?

Michael, that was a cheesy moment.

Gwen, I had to reach out - really miss her.

Olga, almost all the top twenty-five biggest money-makers are speculative fiction. That's just what people go to see.

JE, you're not wrong - it was a movie Snyder proposed about the time of Rogue One.

Louise, Oppenheimer was amazing. Will watch Flower Moon soon.

PJ, it was scheduled.

Tyrean, I bet the theater was really busy!

Liz, thanks.

Susan, haven't seen it yet.

Susan, glad I make good recommendations.

Loni Townsend said...

We watched Rebel Moon. It seemed to be stuck in backstory, character collecting, and slow-mo scenes. But I went in with low expectations, seeing the large number of 1-star ratings. It wasn't too bad, but not my favorite.

Truedessa said...

Happy New Year Alex!

I read some negative reviews from Aquaman but, I still plan to go see it. I did enjoy the first one and the visuals were great. Hope this doesn't disappoint. said...

I’m not on Bookbub, and I haven’t seen any of those movies. So, I’ll leave you with hopes you have a great 2024, Alex.

Rebecca M. Douglass said...

My, they are digging far back for things to make sequels of! Still, I loved Chicken Run, so I may actually look at the sequel. I hardly ever watch movies so no promises :D

As for Book Bub, I'm not there but this month's posts are making me think I should be.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Happy New Year, Alex!

I.S.S. sounds like it might be interesting. It seems to be right on the edge of science fiction and maybe war/espionage adventure.

One movie I have been looking forward to is called Distant, which is about a survivor of a shipwreck on an alien planet who is trying to reach another survivor (I believe). While doing so he is being stalked by alien creatures. This movie hasn't gotten a lot of publicity so I hope it won't be limited to select theatres. It releases the 19th of the month.

Sherry Ellis said...

Twitter Pitch was a great thing. That's how my Bubba and Squirt books got published. I hope you'll be able to find another platform.
I'm on Bookbub, but I don't spend much time there. If anyone follows me, I follow back.
Happy New Year!

Mary Kirkland said...

I hope you had a good New Year too.
I am looking forward to watching the newest Aquaman movie.
At first before reading the synopsis for Beekeepers I was going to say no because I thought it was about mutant bees. lol But it sounds good.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Truedessa, you will enjoy the second one!

Rebecca, watch that one. You'll enjoy it.

Steven, hadn't heard about that one.

Sherry, that's great you are a success story!

H. R. Sinclair said...

I have a bookbub account but I forget about it. As for the movies, I'm sure any of those pique my interest. Hrm.

Al Penwasser said...

I wanted to see "Godzilla." They made me watch "Barbie." Dear Lord.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Al, I feel your pain!

Joanne said...

Not up on Book Bub at all. As for movies - here's what I've just seen: Wonka - fun. Boys in the Boat - worthy of the book. The Color Purple - great singing, acting, and production - just too long. Edit, edit, edit.
For what you listed - um, no. Well, maybe Aquaman. I do like Jason.
Happy New Year!

mail4rosey said...

I haven't seen any of them. I'm so swamped right now that it's hard to find time to watch anything. I did watch Dogs (Tatum Channing) on Amazon Prime yesterday while I was doing something else. An oldie now but I hadn't seen it yet. It was decent. Nothing unexpected but he did a good job w/the role.

Sandra Cox said...

'Lo Alex. I didn't see the first Chicken Run, but I'm now quite intrigued after reading your review of the second.

Sandra Cox said...

Not a lot of good buzz. Heh.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Happy New Year!

I've a lot of catching up to do on the last years' releases, maybe I should put that down as a (non) resolution for 24.

Janet Alcorn said...

Your reviews are always so much fun to read. And I can't believe they made a sequel to Chicken Run. I further can't believe I'm considering watching it :-)

DMS said...

I have Book Bub on my list of things to look into. Seeing it mentioned everywhere this month has me thinking I should look into it soon. :)
~Jess said...

Excuse my delay, Alex.

Never heard of BookBub before.

I saw and loved Wonka this weekend. Because of the positive reviews from some blog friends, I knew it would be good. I didn't know it would be fantastic, though. I really thought it was. Thanks for that.

Be and stay well.

Sandra Cox said...

Hope you're having a good one, Alex. Do you keep up with the Reacher series?

Sandra Cox said...

Not sure about Night Swim. The weather's certainly been interesting. Is it warming up there?

mail4rosey said...

We'll probably see Aqua Man II. I like those kind of movies. :)
Have a happy day!

Maurice Mitchell said...

Baby Ruth LOL I'm assuming that's a Caddyshack reference. Aquaman 2 tries to keep its plot coherent even while it examines themes of leadership, parenthood, brotherhood, and family. The narrative alternates between being a father and going on an adventure with two brothers who have a troubled past. The movie follows a standard superhero plot with erratic turns and scenes. Compared to the first movie, the villain's backstory is weaker, and new characters who transform into superheroes are introduced. Though not as good as the original, the CGI is passable. The film's chaotic events and plot make it hard to predict, and the cinematography is subpar. But the final scene is quite captivating. What slammin' reviews, and I'm wish you a classy day buddy!

Sandra Cox said...

'Not sure why controlling the ISS makes any difference – you’re not going back to a nuked Earth!' Good point.

Sandra Cox said...

So did you see any of the listed movie previews last month?

Sandra Cox said...

Here's to another day of good weather.
Have a week filled with creativity.

Sandra Cox said...

Have you seen American Star? Sounds like it could be interesting......