Movie Review: Fury

Details from IMDB:

Fury

Fury (2014)

134 min  -  Action | Drama | War  -  17 October 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.1/10 from 32,556 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 190 user | 201 critic | 47 from Metacritic.com

April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Out-numbered, out-gunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

Director:

David Ayer

Writer:

David Ayer

Stars:

Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I’m something of a WWII buff, I’ve never written a paper on it but I’ve read several books, seen lots of documentaries and even done History courses just to learn more about the time in history. So I’m always interested when any movie comes out set during WWII and of course Fury is one of those films. Top that off with I have always enjoyed Brad Pitt (and it got good reviews) meant that we went to see it a couple of weeks ago.

Main Points:

This is set near the end of the European part of WWII, Hitler committed suicide (no I don’t believe he faked his death) on April 30th so this film obviously takes place early to mid-April of ’45. I have to say right off that I was immensely impressed with the attention to detail and accurateness of this film. Big things like an actual German Tiger tank (borrowed from a British museum) all the way down to the uniforms and medals in this movie are authentic and in many cases actually worn/used in the war.

So the movie has some excellent action scenes. Be prepared though, several are quite gory. It shows the effect of war on all sides, the Germans fought tooth and nail at the end, even making children fight. The civilians whose lives were torn apart, houses destroyed or just killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps the most interesting part of the film is it shows the mental effects on the American soldiers. While some cling to religion for comfort, others become hardened and emotionless while others become twisted and almost unable to function with regular people anymore. There is a scene where the "Fury" tank members describe a battlefield experience where they killed thousands of horses to some French women, it is quite disturbing and shows just what the war has done to their mental states. The idea presented is that even good people (one character was just a typist in the Army who is suddenly thrown in a tank) are destroyed inside by war and violence, that you can’t come through such an experience unchanged.

It also makes you wonder can some people actually enjoy war? Are their people so dark already that war only brings out what was already inside them? The movie never answers these questions. Ultimately there is a final showdown and the idea of courage and bravery are also strongly presented. While there is no argument that Hitler was a monster and the concentration camps was perhaps the greatest tragedy of the 20th century, it leaves room for you to think about the regular German soldiers. They followed orders just as the Allied troops did and aside from the SS (who personally did terrible things including running the death camps), fought as any solider does in any war.

Final Thoughts:

Well this turned into a rather lengthy review. Suffice it to say I loved this movie, I give it a strong 8.5 out of 10. I’ll also say that while generally I don’t like Shia LaBeouf, I must say he surprised me here with a good performance. Brad Pitt was also quite good along with the rest of the cast. Please don’t take a child to see this film, I think this should only be seen by ages 17+ for the extreme violence. If you want to learn about history and what war really does to people I do strongly recommend it. Until next time all (not sure what that post will be), talk to you soon.

Movie Review: Doc of the Dead

Doc of the Dead (2014)

DocofTheDead

81 min  -  Documentary  -  14 June 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 6.6/10 from 477 users
Reviews: 4 user | 31 critic

The definitive zombie culture documentary, brought to the screen by the makers of THE PEOPLE vs. GEORGE LUCAS.

Director:

Alexandre O. Philippe

Writers:

Chad Herschberger, Alexandre O. Philippe

Stars:

Charlie Adlard, Joanna Angel, Steven Barton | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

This is a movie I watched on a plane on my way to Las Vegas, it was short and I do love horror movies, so I gave it a try. While I didn’t do a Halloween post this year I decided today was an appropriate day to put this up, so Happy Halloween everyone! Try to get a good scare, or at least a good treat somewhere.

Main Points:

This movie goes through why zombie movies have become such a huge hit and interviews many of the stars/directors/writers currently involved with it. I thought the interviews were excellent (some were quite funny) and I got to learn a few things about Robert Kirkman and George Romero that I didn’t know before. I found it funny that Kirkman almost seems to be disappointed that the Walking Dead TV show has done so well, I hope he was just kidding! Also I had no idea that Romero actually did a movie with a zombie who was the hero of the film! I thought this a very original idea.

The movie also shows conventions, a massive zombie walk (which was pretty cool) and of course obsessed fans who take their love of zombies a little too seriously. I also enjoyed how Max Brooks points out how mainly people in society have become so obsessed with their phones/tablets that they almost behave like zombies anyway! It was both funny and sad as I’ve met people who could not carry on a conversation for more than a few minutes without looking down at their phone.

Aside from this their are some disturbing/super gory clips which I didn’t enjoy. One in particular Re-Animator features a very disturbing scene where a disembodied living head is held by the body and performs oral sex on a woman. Thankfully they don’t show the whole clip during this film but it’s enough to still freak the average viewer out (including me!).

Final Thoughts:

I have to mention another clip from Dawn of the Dead, it literally shows a man lower half being ripped off and torn apart, very gory and stomach turning. While the movie itself is a classic (can’t say I ever saw it though) if this is the level of gore in it, I don’t think I could ever watch it. Overall I enjoyed this documentary but due to extreme gore, I would give it 7/10 and  a very careful recommendation. This should only be seen by ages 18+ and then only those with a good tolerance for gore.  Oh in case you’re wondering we have two trick-or-treaters (my niece and nephew) so while that’s a little disappointing, it does leave lots of leftover candy! Have a good one all, until next time which will be pictures and my thoughts on our three part trip in October.

Movie Review: Gone Girl

Details from IMDB:

GoneGirl

Gone Girl (2014)

149 min  -  Drama | Mystery | Thriller  -  3 October 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.5/10 from 91,141 users   Metascore: 79/100

Reviews: 387 user | 354 critic | 49 from Metacritic.com

With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.

Director:

David Fincher

Writers:

Gillian Flynn (screenplay), Gillian Flynn (novel)

Stars:

Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

First off, I know it’s been a while. I was on vacation and didn’t have a chance to do a post, another one will be coming this week and then finally a vacation report (had a great time, just super expensive!) anyway on with the review. So I’m a fan of Ben Affleck and I heard lots of great things about this movie, so we went.

Main Points:

This is a kind of a hard movie to review and not because there’s anything wrong with it, just that I don’t want to spoil anything. Excellent acting (including a surprising good performance by Neil Patrick Harris in a minor role), great story and some great surprises. For a longer movie (almost 2.5 hours) I never found it dragged, I was always ready for whatever came next.

I haven’t read the book but Gillian Flynn is obvious a clever writer, I liked a lot of the meta stuff (both of the main characters are writers, there is an important journal and it shows the importance of research and other geeky writer stuff). This movie also really makes you think, how well can you truly know a person? What lengths would you go to for revenge? How would you act in a very stressful (and strange) situation? The movie provides some very interesting answers to most of these questions and leaves you to ponder the rest. I also have to say that while I never heard of Rosamund Pike, she does a great job here of playing a messed up (and really creepy) female lead. Tyler Perry also is quite good as an unconventional lawyer.

Final Thoughts:

So no spoiler alert this time, just a strong recommendation from me to see this movie! (and it’s really not for anyone under 17). Affleck show’s he has really grown as an actor and I think he’s more than capable of handling "Batman" in a few years. I can say this is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. A strong 8.5/10 from me, until next time (which will likely be another movie review).

Atlanti-Con 3, my thoughts

Well it’s October, the leaves are turning, it’s getting colder and it will soon be Halloween but for now my thoughts on Atlanti-Con 3 at SWGC in Corner Brook.

I could tell as soon as I started to set up my table that it was going to be a great weekend. I showed up early (setup time was 6pm and I was there before 5). Jeff Keeping was there already (like always), welcomed me and said to come back in a hour. So I came back later as soon as I arrived Angela Street and Katherine Gallant came to offer help with some of my heavier boxes. Their friendliness and desire to help was much appreciated and helped me to shorten my setup time. I should say at this point that all of the volunteers and organizers (who are volunteers too I’m sure) did an excellent job with every aspect of the convention.

I’ve been to conventions where my name tag/table where not even ready when I got there but Alanti-Con was 100% prepared and organized, I also highly admire and appreciate that. My table soon set up I headed off to dinner with my wife Friday night, looking forward to the next day’s festivities.

I haven’t mentioned Fat Apollo (Mike McCluskey), he did the opening and closing ceremonies (and was a guest, along with doing a panel). He is always funny, has a ton of great stories and great to hang out with. After a good time at the opening ceremony I hurried back to my table for what turned out to be a brisk day of sales. I won’t get into numbers but it was one of the best conventions $ wise I’ve had in years. As usual I found that comics and Magic cards do better than my novels (the fact that book 3 isn’t out yet probably hurt sales a little as well). Saturday night I went to Mike’s panel (which was really funny and well done) and went to a movie with Joanne. I’d also like to say here that I appreciated being invited to King Henry’s Pub that night to hang out with Jeff, all the volunteers and guest but I’m a man of my word, I promised that I would take Joanne to a movie and this was the only night for us to go (we saw "The Equalizer" if you’re curious and it was good, I’ll post my review of it soon). Looking back I do regret not talking with Cara, Robert and the other guests but there’s always next year and I did get to hang out and drink with Mike twice (King Henry’s pub is a nice spot).

Corner Brook is a beautiful city, I love the walking trail that starts right at the hotel I stayed at (Glynmill Inn) and I made good use said trail walking to the con (which was held once again at Sir Wilfred Grenfell campus) Saturday and Sunday morning. My hotel was only a 10 minute walk to the con, so it was good exercise and not too far.

I’m lucky as here’s the view I had from my table

012  I forgot my camera so I didn’t take a lot of pictures (these were from my iPad) but as always I loved to just sit and watch as cos-players go by. I got to talk with lots of cool people and had one woman ask to take my picture (which was a nice ego boost). I also had a chance to chat with Scott Bartlett (fellow author) and Matthew Ledrew (author and owner of Engen books) I had one kid (he looked maybe 8 or 9) come back to my table 4 times for comics and other people come back for Magic cards several times.

This year there was plenty of food selections (including sandwiches and delicious cookies and cupcakes) plus the fact that it went to a good cause (Scaredy Cat Rescue) made it twice as good.

Security (both campus and volunteers from the con) did an excellent job and were friendly, I always felt my table’s contents were perfectly safe. Also I loved the constant power point (I assume that’s the program) screens that ran on monitors to give people info about the con (and let them know I was upstairs) and was very pleased with the ad I paid for in the program booklet. Jeff came around several times to make sure everyone was doing well and said he would make an effort to get people upstairs to authors/artist alley.

013   Let’s move along though, as with all the conventions I’ve been to, Sunday is the slower day. That was fine as it gave me the chance to pick up an excellent deal on comics (you can’t do much better than 50 cents each!) and a fat pack from the latest MTG set. Arlene Keeping (Jeff’s wife and the treasurer) came up around 3:40pm to tell us the closing ceremonies had been moved up to 4 (from 5). My last customer showed up a little before then and I was happy to pack up and head downstairs.

015  The left is the one picture I took of someone in costume (as Daenerys Targaryen of course). For a look at lots of other great pics, have a look here.

So it’s getting late here and I’m tired, to wrap up a great con, tons of fun, lots of sales, great people, fun guests, good panels, well-organized and a lovely spot. I have heard that next year will be the Pepsi Center, I’ve never been in the place but I trust Jeff and the gang to pick the best location. So to Jeff (who I’m fairly certain will read this) thanks for a great con, all your hard work continues to pay off and here’s hoping for next year to be bigger and better. Oh and I’m happy to give money so you DON’T dress up as slave Leia, I think that’s something everyone can agree on ;) Great job everyone, as always a pleasure to be there, I’ll be sure to attend next year and I’m sure that will be a great one as well. Until next time (which will be a movie review)…

Atlanti-Con 3!

Hi all,

So it’s that time of year again, late September and I’m soon off for Corner Brook and Atlanti-Con! This will be my 3rd year going out and I always have a great time.  Jeff does an amazing job organizing (along with all the other great volunteers) and this year will be better than ever.  As per usual I’ll be selling my two vampire books (third one will be next year hopefully, see this post on why).

NewfoundlandVampire2-coverFRONTNewfoundlandVampire-coverFRONT700.jpg  Aside from my books I’ll also be selling some Magic cards, comic books and giving away free candy! (until I run out). Also this year I can take credit cards through my iPad (technology can be great) along with cash. If you’ve never been to Corner Brook you owe yourself a visit. It’s a lovely little city with a great walking trail, great restaurants and some amazing views.

A few of the great guests this year include:

ApolloFat

Fat Apollo (Michael McCluskey), I’ve hung with him now lots of time and he is hilarious and great guy. He gives great advice and always has great sweets with the proceeds going to charity!

RobertAxelrod

Robert Axelrod (Lord Zedd from Power Rangers).

CaraNicole

Cara Nicole, cos-player extraordinaire.

I could go on and on but I won’t. Instead check out all everything you need about the schedule, guests and vendors at Atlanti-Con, this year they even have an app, how cool is that? I’ll be there all day Saturday and Sunday (September 27th and 28th) and I’d love to see you there.

Movie Review: Rush

Details from IMDB:

Rush

 

Rush (I) (2013)

123 min  -  Action | Biography | Drama  -  27 September 2013 (USA)

Ratings: 8.2/10 from 183,716 users   Metascore: 75/100
Reviews: 393 user | 369 critic | 44 from Metacritic.com

The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Director:

Ron Howard

Writer:

Peter Morgan

Stars:

Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

Since "Thor" (and I also remember him from J.J. Abrams "Star Trek") I’ve been a fan of Chris Hemsworth, so that combined with my usual source (IMDB for ratings) and we decided to watch this.

Main Points:

I’ll freely admit I’m not a fan of car racing, I’m just not a sports fan at all (except for any kind of boxing/kickboxing/UFC deal, I’ve always been fascinated with martial arts and combat) so I had no idea who Niki Lauda or James Hunt were, which I guess was a good thing. Chris Hemsworth does a good job here as the partyboy/daredevil race car driver, James Hunt, who dreams of making it big and loves to take chances. While Daniel Brühl plays Niki Lauda, a much more straight-laced/serious/less chancy racer who approaches things almost scientifically and is determined and passionate about racing.

The result is an interesting (and sometimes exciting) movie that goes on a little too long for my taste. Perhaps if I was a fan of Formula One racing I would have enjoyed it a little more. The races themselves do look excellent and Niki and James are presented in equal light as fully realized characters (I know they’re real people, it’s just an expression for this review).

Final Thoughts:

I enjoyed this film and I give it 7.5 out of 10. I’d certainly recommend it to any racing fans or to anyone who likes Chris Hemsworth, I would not recommend it for children as it does have sex scenes, violence and some hard to watch moment with Niki’s time in hospital.

There’s gonna be a change of season…

Hi everyone,

It’s been a little while since I did a more personal post. As the title says it seems like time as summer is turning into fall (at least here in Newfoundland, we’ve already had frost and I’m wearing long-sleeve shirts and sweaters). And yeah the line comes from the Robbie Roberston song "What about now?" (really great song if you haven’t heard it). I don’t know about everyone else but summer is by far by favorite time of the year, longer days, warmer weather, quiet days at work (for me anyway) but it’s almost over. So this summer I made a decision, I decided to leave Penumbra Publishing. I won’t get into the reasons, I’ll just say I think it was the right choice for me. We parted on good terms (Pat, my former editor, is amazing at her job and a great person) and I even have a short-story published with them!

AGFL20 Walter Knight invited Penumbra authors (and I hope he’ll continue to invite me now that I’m no longer one) to submit a short-story to him (and he to Pat) and over a year later, here it is! "Robots" is my first short-story published and I’m proud of it. It’s a tale of a dark future with a lot of humor (and some sex) thrown in. It’s certainly not for children. So if you’d like to help out Walt (and read my story) you can purchase it here.

So what’s next for me? Well obviously my third book in "The Newfoundland Vampire" series The Gathering Dark won’t be out for a while. I have submitted a partial manuscript to another publisher (I’ll tell you who once I have something more concrete, plus I’m not sure if that’s bad form to say). I will say, though, that I know one of the editors at this publisher and she was kind enough to write me a letter of recommendation. So hopefully that will increase my chances of a contract substantially.

In the meantime I’ll continue to work on a play version of my first book "The Newfoundland Vampire" and of course do one of my favourite things, go to a convention!

AtlantiCon3

This will be my third year at Alanti-Con and it’s been a lot of fun so far. It’s in great, open and bright area and is very well organized and lots of fun. This year I’m a vendor and aside from making some $, I enjoy catching up with people I only see at cons, maybe attending some panels and of course the always amazing costumes. Jeff Keeping (the man in charge) does an excellent job as does all the other volunteers. He is always open to suggestions and has been making Atlanti-con bigger and better every year. I also have to say Corner Brook has some delicious restaurants and a beautiful walking trail. I’ll be selling copies of book 1 and 2 of my series along with Magic cards and a small collection of comic books. So if you’re in Corner Brook the end of the month I’d love to see you.

Aside from that I’m looking forward to my shows being back on TV (including a bunch of new comic book ones like Flash, Gotham and Constantine) and to a trip Las Vegas/L.A. and Ottawa. (Not having kids has advantages!) I’ll also get to see Fleetwood Mac, a band I’ve loved for years (and yes with Christie McVie). So I’m tired and I don’t want to bore you. Here’s to a great fall and I’ll post one or more movie reviews this week, cheers everyone!

fleetwoodmac

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