Friday, June 29, 2012

Freaky Friday: Alien

*Warning: This post is full of spoilers. If you haven't seen the movie...wait, you haven't seen the movie?*
After reviewing the prequel Prometheus a few weeks ago, I knew it was time to rectify my decades long dilemma. I had to watch Alien...finallly. But, here's the problem. I saw Alien this past weekend with the expectations of a 2012 movie viewer - high suspense, killer graphics, pumped up CGI. And...Alien is not those things. Don't get me wrong, the actual Alien creature is wicked cool (see I can pull off 90s slang). But...
I spit acid. Beat that!
It's weak. Don't throw rocks yet. Let me explain. I LOVE, adore, and consume old horror movies. Slasher flicks from the 70s and 80s, yes! Black and white Nosferatu, and silent screamfests from the 20s, heck yes! (Max Schreck's performance still creeps me out.) But, sci-fi thrillers with spacecrafts run off a Commodore 64, not so much.
I pilot spaceships and let you play Jumpman, just not at the same time.
In fairness, I get that the film premiered in 1979. Even though, Star Wars hit theaters two years earlier with the same $11 million budget and had better graphics, I can forgive the subpar sc-ifi space technology. Sorta. But, the beginning that sludged on for over an hour with no aliens, no suspense and no foreseeable scariness, meh. When we get to the good stuff...
Common sense, the downfall of humanity.
Oh look, a distress call. Despite the fact that we are a commercial spacecraft with no military training whatsoever, we must uphold the law and find the source. It doesn't matter that it's origins are on an unidentified planet, we must go. Okay, fine. Go, then. But, don't be surprised if it's a...oh wow, it's a trap! How did we not see that one coming? I don't know maybe, the five hour space landing - apparently the Commodore 64 can't land well - coupled with the hostile environment and alien eggs clued you in.
Do I have something on my face?
Crap. Extra-whose-name-you-shall-forget (AKA the guy in the red shirt) has an alien plastered to his face. Let's get him inside. Wait, what? If you were a space captain, encountered an alien that likes to attach itself to your crew and bleeds acid, are you letting that thing aboard? EXACTLY! Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, is all "hell no, you ain't bringing that thing in here". But, alas, she is shot down, because she's second-in-command, not the captain. (Aside, how do you NOT let Sigourney be the captain?)
The cat and I will be in the containment area. Y'all have fun.
The alien takes a journey down Extra's throat, pops out his stomach, spits some acid blood, mutates into a ginormous monster, and goes on a rampage killing the crew one at a time. Unfortunately, by the time the movie arrives at this point, I'm all kill 'em all and let's end this. So, despite the lackluster flick - maybe, my expectations were too high? - I still have to see the sequels. Because who can resist Sigourney with a shaved head hunting down aliens?

Rating: C+

PS GAH! Blogger ate my original review, which was so much better. Alas, this one will have to do. *sad*

What did you think of the Alien film? What am I in for with the sequels?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Social Media's Positive Powers

Social media needs to be used with the larger audience in mind. When it is easy to engage in conversations with friends over the internet, we forget that others may be looking at our conversations. Thus, we often see meltdowns or controversies of authors, agents or editors behaving badly. In a world that is closer together than ever before, it's so simple to spot the negative actions and sometimes they overshadow the good. Today, for this Writer Wednesday, I'd like to highlight some of the positives I found around the internet superhighways.

Crits for Water

Run by the amazing Kat Brauer, Crits for Water is an online project running from March 31, 2012 to June 30, 2012. Writers pledge a donation to charity in return for a critique from authors, agents or editors. All critiquers donate their time to the auctions or raffles. The goal for 2012 is to raise $10,000 to help bring clean water to people in need.

BE HERE NOW

BE HERE NOW is a documentary by the late Andy Whitfield, star of the hit show "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" season 1. It highlights his life and raises awareness for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer. The auctions raise money to ensure completion of the film. Run by wonderful YA writer, Kathy Bradey, up for auction are critiques from tons of writers and agents. Yelena and I found the project so worthwhile, we jumped at the chance to be involved.

Supporting the IS Foundation 

Heather McCorkle, the super talented YA writer and co-founder of the Writers Road chat on Twitter, will be donating a portion of her book sales to the IS Foundation. Fans of Lost and Vampire Diaries will know the organization's founder - actor, Ian Somerhalder. The IS Foundation supports programs for global conservation, green energy, ending animal cruelty and works with a multitude of non-profit organizations worldwide. To read more about Heather's support of this cause, check out her post here.

Thank you to all of these amazing authors, agents and editors for doing their best to help support these causes. 

Have you spotted a person in the publishing or writing community doing an act of good? Let's talk about the positive.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Freaky Friday: Snow White and the Huntsman

*Rant warning* I want my two hours of life back. I'm not kidding. I'm tempted to sue the creators of Snow White and the Huntsman. Nothing saved this movie. Not Charlize Theron in all of her usual brilliance, not staring at hottie Chris Hemsworth, not even 7 armed dwarfs. Nothing. I honestly thought the worst part would be Kristen Stewart's acting and the rest might be half way decent. Oh my, so wrong, so very very wrong.
Let start with the story...oh wait, we can't! There is no story. It starts out like the typical fairy tale, evil stepmother kills father, becomes Queen and puts little princess in a tower. Okay, fine. Then, little princess grows up i.e. "comes of age" and escapes. Great, I'm on board. Love to see a kick butt princess who saves herself instead of waiting for the white knight to show up. But...
Mirror, Mirror, Let the Queen win!
It all goes to hell. Actually, no, if Snow White would have journeyed to Hell like Dante's Inferno, THEN it might have been interesting. But, no, she travels to a creepy mushroom-inducing hallucinogenic forest, which serves no purpose. Onward to a regular forest, where she meets the obligatory dwarfs, which serves no purpose other than to meet said dwarfs. Then to a pretty forest, enhancted by fairies, and meets a special stag, which all serves no purpose. Noticing a theme yet? Then, we have her traveling over hills like the Fellowship in New Zealand Middle Earth, which...wait for it...serves no purpose. Afterward, we travel through ANOTHER forest, this one snow-ridden, which serves no purpose. To FINALLY, after I don't know how many days, get to the castle of the Duke where she can raise an army to kill the Queen. Here's the kicker...
Look, another forest. Surely, we must travel through it.
The Duke's son, her childhood friend, originally rode to the castle to join the Queen's hunting party and re-capture Snow White. His real agenda is to save her but that's not important to my point. It took him MAXIMUM three hours from the Duke's castle to the Queen's castle and...ready...he didn't have to go through ANY FORESTS!!! AHHH!
This showdown brought to you by the 30 Second Starz Bunnies.
If that wasn't bad enough aka having no purpose, the epic showdown between Snow White and the Queen lasts...oh about thirty seconds. WHAT? You kept me traveling through unnecessary forests for a thirty second climax? (Insert dirty joke here). GIVE ME MY MONEY AND LIFE BACK!
See, easy!
Oh and one more thing, if you put a hottie like Chris Hemsworth in a movie, I better be getting a shirtless scene! Nope. Not with Snow White. Apparently, she's too pure. *Snort* Right.

Rating: Big fat F.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

1000+ Follower Giveaway: Win Books, Gift Cards, Critiques and more!

Thank you so much for everyone who spread the word about the BE HERE NOW auctions. You all are amazing. I am so thankful for each and every one of my followers on Twitter, Facebook and this blog. I love interacting with this wonderful community of readers and writers. I hit one of the big milestones on Twitter last week and reached over 1000 followers. That's 1000 people crazy enough to hear what I have to say. You all rock and rule!

As thanks, I'd live to giveaway some prizes. I was lucky enough to attend BookExpo America in NYC. I ended up with lots of great books, but considering that my bookshelf is falling apart and half of my books are in storage, I think it wise to let a few go. In addition, I'm offering gift cards and critiques to sweeten the pot!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and thank you!

Monday, June 18, 2012

BE HERE NOW: Win a Query and Three Chapter Critique!

My writing partner, Yelena Casale, and I are participating in the BE HERE NOW auction run by the wonderful Kathy Bradey. We are offering up for auction a query and three chapter critique. Yelena and I will both offer our feedback for your review. Two for the price of one!

BE HERE NOW is a documentary by the late Andy Whitfield, star of the hit show "Spartacus: Blood and Sand". Yelena and I first discovered this phenomenal actor in the Australian film, Gabriel. His work inspired our own writing. When he was diagnosed with lymphoma, he invited a film crew into his home and life to document the journey.

After his death, the documentary remains incomplete. It needs additional funding for filming and editing to make it a reality. That's where you come in. The BE HERE NOW auction proceeds go to support the documentary, and spread awareness about this disease. For more information check out the auction rules.

To bid on the critique please go here. It is item number 9. Also check out all of the other great items up for bid. But, hurry. The auction closes on Tuesday, June 19th at 10pm (New York EST). And don't forget to learn more about the BE HERE NOW project.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Freaky Friday: Prometheus

Warning: I have never seen the Alien movies. I know! I can't believe it either. It's like a live under a rock or something. I've seen parts of it, particularly the iconic scene where the alien is like an inch from Sigourney Weaver's face.
Bad day?
My hermit-like status in regards to the Alien movies, however, does give me a unique perspective on the pseudo-sequel Prometheus. I have no idea how this film is supposed to tie into the plot of the Alien flicks, and after a lengthy discussion with J. Hubs...I still have no idea. So, here's my completely unbiased review of Prometheus...
W-T-F? No joke. The visuals are stunning, over the top, blockbuster proportions. Loved them. Charlize Theron rocks as usual, but why did she play such a small and ultimately insignificant part? David, the android / robot / whatever held so much of the plot in his inorganic hands, but like his electric parts, the rest of him had no substance. Granted he's not human, but hey, character development? Ah! There's the problem.
We want Data!
Prometheus is not a film about characters. Having three movies in front of it, the requirements are all plot based. They need to have A to go to B to meet C so that Aliens makes sense. The problem...it didn't make sense. We have a movie that questions the origins of life and somehow resorts to...hey, see, THIS is how those aliens from Aliens came into being. See? No. I don't see. Not at all.
Don't drink the Kool-Aid
I'm always a little on the annoyed side when a movie gives me more questions than answers. I don't like open-ended points. I want my plot and character arcs wrapped up with pink bows on top. The one exception is when a story brings up philosophical debates a la The Matrix. But, my main character better have a purpose and some growth by the end...otherwise? GRRR. This is my problem with the heroine, Dr. Shaw, played by the lovely Noomi Rapace. All deer-in-headlights, a quick pass at raising questions of faith, and NO GROWTH. Also...

Spoiler alert. Highlight with your mouse to view: Didn't they do the whole alien out of the stomach thing already?

Rating: B

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Sneak Peek at Corgi Corner and
Results of the Name My Husband Poll

Thank you to everyone who participated in the "Name My Husband" poll. The results ended in a tie, between Agent J and The Hubs. I've let the old ball and chain make the final decision. Since he's never been the most decisive person, he settled on a combination. May I introduce to you...
Guest Blogger: J. Hubs

He'll be featured on the blog with reviews, surprise posts, and a guest spot on a special we've named Corgi Corner. It will be a collection of our escapades with Devil Dog aka the blog's mascot, Chuck. Schedule to be determined, so be on the lookout. Here is a preview of the fun you're likely to see in this new feature:

Puppy Chuck vs. The Swiffer

And J. Hubs wonders why Adult Chuck has issues with the swiffer? Hmm...I believe the "mystery" has been solved.

Don't forget to check in next Wednesday where I'll be doing a giveaway in honor of hitting a milestone - 1000 Twitter followers! WOOT!

What do you think of the new name for the guest blogger? How do you like the preview of Corgi Corner?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Lego + Lord of the Rings = MAGIC!

Excuse me while I flail around like a little kid for the next five minutes. Okay...I think I'm done. Nope, maybe not. But...

LEGO and LORD OF THE RINGS in a video game! SQUEE!!!!!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Lego Star Wars video games. The Hubs and I played these like two World of War craft junkies on a caffeine and chocolate bender. I don't think we walked away from the TV for the entire *cough* hours until we defeated the evil Empire. R2D2 is the droid! So much fun.
Then, we tried Lego Harry Potter. Neither of us was as thrilled with that game play. Little too complicated with all the spells and the jumping. Oy, the jumping! We so needed the Force. Then Lego Batman came along, and...eh, little better, but not great yet. But, Lord of the Rings? Oh heck, yes!
"You Shall Not Pass" - Gandalf
It doesn't come out until the Fall. *pouts* But to keep you entertained until then, here's a look at the trailer from Lego:


How do you like the Lego games? Ever played? If so, which one is your favorite? If not, which one would you try?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Puca Tour with Author
Heather McCorkle

A Puca is invading the blog today! Okay, not a Puca, but the author of To Ride A Puca. A new YA great from one of my all time favorite authors, Heather McCorkle. Please give Heather the stage as she shares the details. Take it away Heather!
"I brought wine and chocolate to celebrate the birth of my new book, To Ride A Puca. Before we get to the other goodies I’m giving away (the ones you don’t have to lick the screen for, or be of age), here is a bit about the newborn. It is a young adult historical fantasy about the last of the druids in ancient Ireland. This one was a bit heartbreaking to write and because of that it became very special to me. I hope it will be to you as well.  Invaders are coming to take what isn't theirs, again.

Neala wants to stand and fight for her homeland, but as one of the last druids, she may be standing alone.

Persecuted, hunted down, forced to live in obscurity, the druids have all but given up. Can the determination of a girl who has barely come into her power bring them together? Or, just when she finally finds her place among her kind, will they end up losing a homeland their very magic is tied to?

Available in eBook and hardback at B&NAmazonThe Book Depository and other retail sites.
 
I’ll be giving away great prizes, a new one, every week for the next two weeks. This week I’m giving away a signed hardback of LACRIMOSA by Christine Fonseca. This book is unique among angel stories and once you read it, you will never look at angels and demons the same again. It is one of my favorite books, trust me you’ll love it! The contest will be open until June 10th, the winner to be announced on the 11th. Stop by my blog to enter.  *passes around chocolate and wine, checks I.D.s… ;)*"

Thanks Heather! If you haven't heard, Heather is a member of The Indie Elite where awesome indie authors come together to share their stories. Check them all out at their home page, The Indie Elite.

And best of luck to Heather and To Ride A Puca!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Take...ahem...Name My Husband

The first Monday in June is here, and I've got a special post for you! So, two Fridays past, my hubs appeared as a guest blogger and reviewed The Avengers. Of course, this mayhem all began since the jerk he saw the movie without me. *grumbles* Anyway...
We could not decide on a name for his blogging identity. Thus far, he has been simply called "The Hubs," which I kind of like. Simple, efficient, does the trick. He had some rather ridiculous interesting ones that he insists I add to the poll. I'll let you figure out which ones they are.
\
Here are some details to help you decide. He's been told he looks like Adam Levine or Stifler. He's got green eyes and brown hair. His name starts with a J.


What shall we rename my husband?
 
  • The Hubs 
  • Agent J
  • Green-Eyed Honey
  • Big Sexy
  • Sexy Green Eyes
  • Other (add comment)
  •  
More polls:
Write-ins are welcome too. Just please keep them clean. Also, doesn't green-eyed honey sound like some awful alien food? *shrugs* Let the voting begin!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Freaky Friday: Men in Black 3

When you wait ten years between sequels and oust one of the main stars, it usually spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r for a film franchise. BUT...Men in Black 3 breaks this mold. My expectations going in were low. I love Will Smith, but the absence of Rip Torn, and minimal screen time for Tommy Lee Jones, didn't enhance my hopes for the movie's success.
SO WRONG. I've got two words for you...Josh Brolin. Brilliant! The man has come a far way from The Goonies beginnings. I swore I was looking at a younger Tommy Lee the whole time.  He got everything right. From the phrasing to the tone of voice to the mannerisms. All of it...spot on.
Josh Brolin vs. Tommy Lee Jones: Can you tell the difference?
Add the cameo pictures of Frank the Pug scattered throughout the film (in fact, it's a fun game to see how many you can spot), the creepy bad alien dude Boris the Animal (played by a guy who doesn't seem so scary without the costuming Jemaine Clement), a zany sidekick Griffin (played by equally brilliant Michael Stuhlbarg) and my main man Agent J (played by the still adorable Will Smith), and you've got a recipe for one fun film.
Say What?
It's not winning any prizes for movie of the year, but if you want to take your family to a cool alien movie that's entertaining for adults too, this is the one. Heck, why not make it a full night and rent the originals for home viewing...Then again, maybe skip MIB II.

Rating: straight A

What do you think about the MIB films? Too corny or a cool spin on alien flicks?