Movie Review: St. Vincent

StVincent

Details from IMDB:

St. Vincent (2014)

102 min  -  Comedy | Drama  -  24 October 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 7.4/10 from 11,625 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 79 user | 139 critic | 39 from Metacritic.com

A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.

Director:

Theodore Melfi

Writer:

Theodore Melfi (screenplay)

Stars:

Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

Ahh Bill Murry, he’s been someone I’ve enjoyed from way back when I first saw Ghostbusters (first one is a classic, don’t bother with the second). He’s had some other great roles too (and some crappy ones) but I’ve found that for the most part he winds up in good movies. I had heard good things about St. Vincent and with it on Netflix (in France that is, I used Unlocator which I’d recommend) I decided to watch it.

Main Points:

I like Naomi Watts as well and while I’ve never been a big fan of Melissa McCarthy, I have to give her credit for a fine performance here. Really though, this is Bill Murray’s movie and he truly shines. His character, at first glance, is a miserable, penniless and we assume lazy and dirty. The wonderful part about this movie is how well Murry takes on the role, you grow to love Vince as the layers are slowly peeled back and you see what he is really like, you see what he’s been through.

The movie is a great take on reality (I’ll admit not so much as I know but what I’m sure rings true for many people), the feeling that you just can’t win, that life (and people) are only out to screw you and you have to take whatever you can get just to make it. As the movie progresses he begins to have a friendship with the young boy next door (whom he is often paid to babysit) and you find yourself liking the kid and rooting for these two to win.

I don’t want to give the whole plot away, there are some interesting (and sad) twists that really put Vincent and some other characters to the test. It’s a movie about the seeing the good in a person and having the courage to not give up on someone. It’s a movie about sacrifice, love and the meaning of life and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Final Thoughts:

Bill Murray could win an Oscar for this role, he is just amazing. There is one particular part near the end that I found very emotional and touching. I strongly recommend this movie (though as usual not for small children). It’s a damn great movie and I give it 9/10. If you have Netflix (France) or it’s still in theater you should really check it out. Until next time (will be my thoughts on another movie I just saw today).

Movie Review: Interstellar

InterStellar

Details from IMDB:

Interstellar (2014)

169 min  -  Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  7 November 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 8.9/10 from 329,512 users   Metascore: 74/100

Reviews: 1,565 user | 530 critic | 46 from Metacritic.com

A team of explorers travel through a wormhole in an attempt to find a potentially habitable planet that will sustain humanity.

Director:

Christopher Nolan

Writers:

Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan

Stars:

Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie, lately Matthew McConaughey has been doing some amazing acting and of course it’s Christopher Nolan (I enjoyed all the Batman movies and Inception) so I plunked down $17.50 for IMAX and went with a friend last week.

Main Points:

The movie is an interesting mixture of science and science-fiction, along with some great performances and a study of human nature and our behavior. The special effects (once they leave earth) are amazing, Nolan has a talent for doing these wide shots that can really bring out the beauty and majesty of a scene. In this movie really look out for when the spacecraft goes by Saturn, it looks incredible and the ship is so small it really helps but man’s insignificance in perspective.

Mcconaughey shines in this movie with a truly interesting character that goes through a lot. Michael Caine is quite good as is Anne Hathaway (who plays his daughter in the film). As it’s in credits I don’t mind saying Matt Damon is here and also is quite good in a smaller role.

Enough about the story and performances though, so there are ideas that leave you to think about long after you’ve left. How much damage have we really done to the earth? Will there come a time when humanity will have to leave? Will governments try to re-write history for our supposed benefit? (This has already happened several times in history). What would a wormhole be like? What would a black hole be like close up? How far away are we from putting people in suspended animation for a long trip? (Or to extend their life)

What will robots look like in the future? The movie has a robot that is basically one solid block with two other blocks on each side for moving (it can extend arms from all pieces as well). The robot is very functional and has an important part to play at several points. Is there dimensions that we can’t perceive? (Like a time dimension for example) While the movie answers a couple of these questions (and it’s fictional context) the rest I don’t know, I hope that we do better as a species to preserve the earth and eventually explore more of the solar system but sometimes with the state of the world I have doubts.

Final Thoughts:

This was getting really long so I’ll stop. Overall I really enjoyed this movie and would highly recommend it (though not for young children). Some of the concepts are wacky and strain credibility of the movie and it is on the longish side at almost 3 hours (all of Nolan’s movies are long though). I give it a strong 8/10. Next will be my thoughts on St. Vincent (which was on Netflix France), until then.

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses 2

HorribleBosses2

Details from IMDB:

 

Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)

108 min  -  Comedy  -  26 November 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 7.1/10 from 8,930 users   Metascore: 40/100
Reviews: 51 user | 119 critic | 36 from Metacritic.com

Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor, prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme.

Director:

Sean Anders

Writers:

Sean Anders (screenplay), John Morris (screenplay), 5 more credits »

Stars:

Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

Ah the sequel, it can be a good thing but it’s often fraught with peril. I found the first Horrible Bosses very funny (I’ve seen it several times) and this made me want to see the sequel. I have a regular movie critic I read and I check IMDB (usually a movie has to get at least a 7 for me to see it), all signs looked good so we went.

Main Points:

This movie starts off a little different (the guys have no horrible bosses, as they run their own business) but soon gets into familiar terrain of them trying to plan a big crime but fail terribly. I’ll admit there were some good performances (just not by any of the main actors) and Jennifer Aniston plays the super-sexual Julia perfectly (this time with more dirty talk), Jamie Foxx is excellent as Motherf**ker Jones and Kevin Spacey plays the lunatic boss behind bars well.

The most serious problem was the movie gets so predictable and the laughs dry up after the first 45 minutes. Having the characters (well two of them) continue to act so stupid and screw everything up just didn’t do it for me this time. Getting bored during a 108 minute movie is a serious problem. There are a few times I laughed (Chris Pine and Chistoph Waltz are funny at times) but just not enough.

Final Thoughts:

Due to the strength of the other performers and a few parts I laughed out loud I’ll give it a weak 6/10. Unless you’re a huge fan of the minor actors I mentioned and/or are desperate to see what happens next, I’d really can’t recommend this, save your money and see "Interstellar" (review coming soon) or see the last "Hobbit". If you do go please don’t bring children, as this is obviously an adult movie. Until next time! (when I review a much better movie)

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1

Details from IMDB:

MockingjayPart1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014)

123 min  -  Adventure | Sci-Fi  -  21 November 2014 (USA)

Ratings: 7.2/10 from 69,555 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 308 user | 253 critic | 44 from Metacritic.com

When Katniss destroys the games, she goes to District 13 after District 12 is destroyed. She meets President Coin who convinces her to be the symbol of rebellion, while trying to save Peeta from the Capitol.

Director:

Francis Lawrence

Writers:

Peter Craig (screenplay), Danny Strong (screenplay), 2 more credits »

Stars:

Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth | See full cast and crew »

Initial Thoughts:

I’ve seen the first two "Hunger Games" movies (and I enjoyed the first one a lot) and is the case with me, I wanted to see the story continue (I haven’t read the books). So we got a chance to go to this on a quiet Saturday matinee show.

Main Points:

First off I enjoyed the performances of everyone in this film (though Woody Harrelson hardly gets to do anything) and of course I was sad to see one of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s last performances. This movie moves away from the actual hunger games and gets the war/rebellion in full swing against the capital.

I enjoyed how the film gets into the behind the scenes stuff with war. Both sides make propaganda films (though the Mockingjay one is never shown to anyone besides the top rebels) and the rebels realize that they need to show Katniss in the field fighting to make people want to join the rebellion. The movie also shows the horrors of war, dead bodies left in a corridor, a room full of people terribly wounded and then the government bombing the hospital.

The film also gets into torture and brainwashing, so for a film based on a YA novel I was surprised at some of the things they showed (twice there is a scene of burned/charred skeletons that is a little gruesome). There are a couple of twists that I won’t spoil and I like the fact that Katniss is a reluctant hero. She becomes the rebels spokesperson but only after several things happen and when she is injured another rebel is used to give a speech.

Final Thoughts:

Jennifer Lawrence continues to shine and I thought Juliane Moore and Sutherland gave good performances here. While the movie doesn’t show it, I assume that the rebels did cause some civilian causalities and we are shown that war always has its price, no matter how noble the cause. It even hints at the deeper idea that if you believe you fight for justice, what’s the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter? How far would you go to fight for what you believe in?

With those things said I did think the movie drags a little at the beginning and the love triangle bit with Gale/Peeta/Katniss still gets on my nerves. There is one part near the end that is rather predictable but still exciting to watch. Overall though I enjoyed this film and while I can’t see it winning any Oscars I would recommend it for fans of the Hunger Games (just not for children).  A strong 7/10 from me. Next will be more movie reviews, December is when lots of good ones come out!

My new publishing home!

Hi everyone,

So I have some good news, I’m with a new publisher! Earlier this week I signed a contract with the great people at Distinguished Press.

This means that book one of my Newfoundland Vampire series will be re-released along with book 2 and later book 3. I’d love to tell you the dates for these momentous occasions but you’ll just have to stay tuned!

At this time I’d like to publicly thank Catrina Taylor for offering me a contract with DP and being super nice and welcoming. Jen Leigh, for being an excellent editor, for her honesty, for recommending me to Catrina and for taking a chance on this paranormal author. And last, but certainly not least, Karyn Pearson. I’ve known Karyn for a few years, she is a talented writer, a great person and a good friend. She was instrumental in my choice of going with DP and putting in a good word with Jen, thank you so much.

thanks-Skullteeth-voodoo-ani.gif~c200  I’ve also made friends with several of the authors at DP and been welcome by everyone, so thanks as well to everyone at DP!

So to my fans (and I know there’s at least a few of you ;) Please be patient, book 3 is coming and I’ve already go ideas for book 4. Until then, have a great day/evening/morning all and I’ll talk to you soon.

Interview and book promo with KG Stutts

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Interview:

What’s your name (pen if you prefer) and what are you here to promote?

My name is KG Stutts and on the 21st, I am releasing the first book in a new series, Amethyst Chronicles: Winter’s Kiss

Is this your first book or have you been writing for a while?

First in this series. I currently have five books out. AC will be the sixth. My first book, Mirror Image, was released in April. Mirror Image is actually book one in a trilogy. The final book will release in January.

Is this book part of a series?

First book in a five-part series, if not more. I really love these characters so I don’t really see myself stopping the series as long as I have stories to tell.

Tell me a little about the book, what genre, short summary, that kind of thing, also what age group is it meant for?

Amethyst is a quartet of genetically enhanced humans. The leader is Ember Wilson, a badass chick with a serious chip on her shoulder. They must work with an elite Air Force team to defeat Dr. Clayton Rudo, a scientist using a weather machine to freeze Earth in order to take over.

This is a NA sci-fi romance series.

How about a little bit about you? (or a lot if you prefer) What makes you tick? What turn’s you on?

I refer to myself as a loveable nerd, but really, aren’t nerds loveable? Maybe not. I work in a call center for a wireless company. I’ve been with my husband now for 11 years and we’ve been married for five. I love playing video games. I’m a huge Disney geek. I’m into hockey, football, and am a fan of the WWE. I actually use to referee independent wrestling matches in North Carolina until my back caused me to take a break, but I’m hopeful to return soon. Star Wars, Stargate, and Star Trek are my loves. That’s just a bit about me. J

What is the trait you value most in others?

Honesty, integrity, and a sense of humor.

If you could have two superpowers what would they be and why?

The ability to fly and quick healing powers

Favorite movie?

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Favorite TV show?

Hmmm…. Right now, maybe Once Upon a Time or The Newsroom

Marvel or DC?

MARVEL

Favorite band or artist?

Lifehouse

Have you always been interested in writing?

Ever since I could remember. I used to write a lot in high school

What do you think is the best part about being a writer?

Creating a world people would want to be a part of. I had a friend who read Mirror Image and thanked me for it later, because he could get lost in it and forget his troubles for a while.

What’s the worst part of writing?

I don’t really have a worst part. Some authors would say editing but I am a fan of it.

Do you think the future is in Ebooks? Or will print make a comeback?

I love both. eBooks are convenient but there isn’t anything like the feel of a heavy paperback in your hands. I hope print makes a comeback

Do you like your job?

As an author? I love it. In the call center? Declining to answer in case someone from work sees this.

If you could have a different career/job what would it be?

I actually went to college for massage therapy. I wish I had stuck with it.

What are you reading right now?

I love Liza O’Connor’s Adventures of Xavier and Vic series. I just finished the second book, The Missing Partner. I’m getting the third this weekend.

What was the last movie you saw?

In the theater? Gone Girl

What was the last book you really loved?

I love Liza’s books. Catrina Taylor is also an amazing sci-fi author. So are Cathryn Cade and Pippa Jay. It’s really hard to choose. CHECK THESE LADIES OUT IF YOU HAVEN’T YET! You’ll thank me later.

Have you ever met someone you only talked to online before?

Oh, yeah. A few times. It’s common in wrestling.

Do you go to Sci-Fi/Fantasy or any other kinds of conventions?

I’ve been to comic book conventions but not specifically sci-fi. I would love to, though.

Do you ever read comic books/graphic novels?

Oh, absolutely!

How do you feel about promotion? Any tips for other writers?

I’m big on promotion and marketing. Doesn’t serve much good to write a great book if no one reads it. I suggest for authors to branch out. Blog as much as you can. Invite others to your blog and get on some too. I’ve met many great authors who I now consider friends that way.

Favorite author?

I grew up on Agatha Christie so she always springs to mind first.

Favorite person (living or dead)?

My parents and my husband

Would you consider yourself religious?

Yes, but not overly. I keep my opinions to myself, but close to my heart.

What do you think is the biggest problem in the world today?

Greed

If you had all the money you ever wanted, what would you do?

Write and travel regularly

What’s the secret to happiness?

Always be yourself.

Get in touch with Kristina here:

kgstutts.webs.com

Buy her book here:

Mirror Image is now available!  http://goo.gl/kW7boJ

Note from me:

Thanks to Kristina for an excellent interview. She’s a creative, fun and interesting person that I’m looking forward to getting to know better. If you follow this blog (and I hope you do) you’ll know that I’m with a new publisher, Distinguished Press. I’m a friendly guy so I offered my blog to any of the authors with DP who would like to do a guest post and Kristina was the first one to speak up. So check out her stuff! Also feel free to submit something for my blog, you don’t have to be an author (and I won’t guarantee I’ll post it) but I am very open minded and I haven’t said no yet.

What you’re been waiting for, the giveaway!

Four amethyst pendants to be won!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pendant

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.

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