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Month: January 2011

Welcome to Hoth, R.I.

Part of me cannot wait to get out of January.
Inverted Journey blogger and flyer Chris has had a harder time than most, imagine trying to get some instructional time during all this?
We’ve had snow roll through once a week since Christmas and several times up to 10″ or more.  Now, you may say: It’s New England dummy it’s supposed to snow! Sure, it is. But, I’m starting to set my watch by it.
I don’t know if I can’t stand the snow or just the way DOT has been plowing our street.  Either the pine bushes at the end of the drive are coming out this year or I’m putting up little markers to show the plow drivers where our driveway ends since I have two large buttresses of snow that extend out five feet from my driveway. If I was really bored I’d go buy some snow Storm Troopers and recreate Hoth in my front yard.
The Worcester Writers Meet Up was canceled due to it and now I’ve canceled the Rhody Writer’s Meet Up since a clipper system will be coming through and hitting us around 3pm. Better to err on the side of caution then drive home, it’s not the snow that’s bad, it’s the drivers. I saw an accident last Tuesday of someone tried to drive into the parking lot of a insurance company only to get t-boned because people have no clue how to drive.
If it snows at the end of February and somehow manages to screw up the Providence Writer’s Workshop so help me.

On the writing front, things are progressing well.

And, most of it doesn’t suck. Thankfully, this is not another page one start from scratch and hope it sticks to the wall.

Review of The Cape…

“Justice takes time.”
So far, NBC’s The Cape is slowing growing on me. If I was more fickle person and judged it by it’s pilot then it’d be doomed. The rapid storytelling and the blantant rip off of several scenes from Batman Begins and the fact the rapid story telling to get a flimsy two hour plot into a flimsier one hour show kneecaps it even further.
So far, this is no Heroes. Granted, it’s not supposed to be. Vigilante’s and Superheroes are two different breeds.
The general rundown: Vince Faraday played by David Lyons is a cop in Palm City and witnesses the Police Chief’s assassination first hand by the villain known as Chess played by James Frain.
Palm City has several other problems on it’s hands beyond corrupt cops. Arc Industries CEO Peter Fleming also played by James Frain wishes to take the police force private meanwhile a cyberhacker known as Orwell played by Summer Glau is publishing the truth on her website.
Vince is offered a job at Arc and after a few investigations he finds out Arc is bringing in the same explosive that killed the chief.
Unfortunately, Chess has other plans for him and decides to frame Vince and manages to make everyone thing he’s the real Chess and after a quick run through the train yards by Arc Police it looks like he dies after a fuel tanker he crawled under for cover blows up.
Vince survives and is taken in by the Circus of Crime led by Max Malini played by Keith David and after several productive bank heists Vince decides he needs to clear his name and protect the city. And, with Max’s help you have a fairly honest training montage minus the 80’s music.
The Circus of Crime has three characters that are memorable and as one reviewer already pointed out: Did NBC create the circus just to reuse sets from Heroes last season?

Overall, The Cape is your a-typical vigilante set up minus the whining Bruce Wayne about losing his parents and no mega millions to throw into R&D to build the toys.  The only thing Vince has is a cape and the circus tricks.  During the first three episodes, Vince manages to find a location for his Bat Cave and begins to build the place up which is one of the better plot lines.
The good things: All the actors work with what they’ve got and it turns out okay for most.  James Frain and Summer Glau get the short end of the stick for the first few episodes while Lyons and David get the brunt of the good scripting. Lyons isn’t a pretty boy so the vigilante idea works and David’s supposed death scene speech in episode 2 was great.
Personally, I’m loving Keith David’s mentor character and it’s great to hear him (without the Disney animation) on a weekly basis. BSG’s Bear Mccreary‘s music missing from Human Target can now be found here and I’m liking the theme music.
The problems unfortunately are many: The story does not break any new ground.  While Heroes turned into a unmitigated mess during the final seasons, the lightning in a bottle from Heroes Season 1 is nowhere to be found.  The editing of the first five minutes manages to have a body count of two people. The whole privatization of the Police Force didn’t work for OCP and the villains like Chess and Scales are okay, nowhere near as interesting as villains from Heroes.

Summer Glau, last seen as psychological damaged River Tam and a badly, boring written Terminator can now play a real person and has been saddled with a mysterious backstory (I’m going with Chess’s daughter) and is relegated to playing an Oracle rip-off at first but as of Episode 2 she’s put into the line of fire.
In the end, it’s no Heroes but thankfully most of the trappings from the 60’s Batman TV Show have been pushed to the background as of episode 3. If it gets better I’d watch after Chuck instead of on the NBC website.

Review of The King's Speech…

“My husband’s work involves a great deal of public speaking.”
The King’s Speech is what a 90’s Miramax Movie was all about. A focus on the character themselves while history rolls by but not focusing on the history itself to make it seem boring or bloody.
The overall plot: Before King George VI played by Colin Firth became King George, he was Prince Albert, Duke of York. Prince Albert has a hard time with public speaking and is burning through coaches like Murphy Brown burned through secretaries. Until his wife, Queen Elizabeth played by Helena Bonham Carter is introduced to Lionel Logue played by Geoffrey Rush. Meanwhile, his brother, David played by Guy Pearce will soon be the next in line for the throne until an ailing King George V played by Michael Gambon dies and David takes the throne only to be told: Guess what, you can’t marry Wallis Simpson, the twice divorcee from the USA unless you advocate the throne. Throw in David Jacobi as Cosmo Lang and Timothy “Wormtail” Spall as Churchill for good measure and you have yourself a movie.
Everyone involved in this movie works. Everybody. The pacing is perfect without being slow and the history lesson is not boring.
I mentioned it not being bloody, the R Rating is for swearing during speech therapy lesson. No sex, no nudity and no violence. I honestly surprised The Weinsteins didn’t push for a PG-13 to get the butts in the seats. But, judging from the amount of people in our showing on a Saturday, it’s doing quite well for itself.
The only thing you’ll have to worry about is the poor sap behind you falling asleep and snoring throughout the entire movie which actually happened to us.
And, in case if anyone is interested in reading the script.

[Plotting About] Synopsis of things…

So, a new year is upon us and how goes the writing?
NaNoWrimo has been over for nearly a month and half, I haven’t looked at either my WIP from 2009 or 2008. This isn’t because I decided to heed several suggestions given by most about dumping it in a drawer for two months and come back to it.
Instead, I found out I needed to introduce the characters better than they had been in my 2008 WIP.
This was an excellent idea: how did our heroes get together? It’s a pilot episode as it were. Introduce them before and hopefully without the Avenger’s Assemble type of shenanigans while laying groundwork for the other novels.
I’m about 33 pages (double spaced) into a synopsis so far, no dialogue per se just putting down scenes that will lead towards the end and then the fateful: “What else are we going to do with our lives?” post-fallout talk and lead into the next book.
So far, I’m finding the synopsis helpful since I’m trying to break the whole: Let’s write by the seat of your pants and see where it takes us! vibe.
While I hammer that out, the sinking of Borders is happening quietly enough. Waldenbooks going under was one thing but Borders? If it happens, we’re left with Barnes and Noble and any of the mom and pop places that are still surviving.
I wondering if Joe Konrath‘s approach to publishing it yourself (obviously once you format it properly and edit the livin’ snot out of it) is worth looking into.
He’s been having several posts from different authors about self publishing over on his blog that’s worth looking into.
His Newbies Guide to Publishing is a good read.
One week until Worcester Writers Meet Up.
Two more weeks until the Rhody Writing Group Meet Up.

Review of Showtime's Episodes

The ant-Entourage is what comes to mind after watching the first two episodes of Showtime’s Episodes. And, it comes with Matt LeBlanc, too!
The plot: A husband and wife writer team from a hit UK show are brought over to the Hollywood to watch their baby get the American treatment.
Considering how many shows from the UK are imported and changed this could prove to be great accident waiting to happen since by the first episode one of the head characters is being changed from Mister Dursley-type to Joey.
These types of behind the scenes shows of faux Hollywood usually only work if you have someone to root for. Entourage started off well then Vince and the Crew always seems to come out on top somehow and then turned into a farce.
So far, Tamsin Greig and Stephen Mangan as The Lincolns are likable and British. Matt LeBlanc comes off well as himself. While some of the locations may remind you of Entourage, like the palace the Lincolns get to stay in they actually explain why which was a nice bit.
The rest of the cast so far are cardboard cut outs, the studio exec w/ the blind wife who has been sleeping with one of his assistants and the Gate Guard (not named Carlton) that constantly forgets who the Lincolns are.
Overall, it was an interesting two episode, hopefully the pace will pick up a bit and the characters will be fleshed out more…

Review: True Grit

I call that bold talk for a one-eyed fat man!
I went into the Coen Bros. movie entitled True Grit with no knowledge of the John Wayne movie or the book by Charles Portis. So, this review will not be in depth as much as it could be.
The Coen Bros. and westerns seem to go hand in hand and overall the movie wasn’t really a western it was more of a young adult book crossed with a road trip movie with smatterings of a Western thrown in for good measure.
The basic plot: Fourteen year old Mattie Ross’s father is gunned down by Tom Chaney played by Joss Brolin and she promptly decides to go after him enlisting the help of Federal Marshall Rooster Cogburn and Texas Ranger Leboeuf. Hallee Stienfeld plays Mattie Ross to a T and is highly enjoyable to watch and if anyone came out of Tron Legacy wondering if Jeff Bridges phoned it in, he’s the exact opposite here and puts a lot of weight into Rooster Cogburn. Matt Damon was fine as Leboeuf.
The beginning and middle of the movie are the strong points, dialogue, sets and acting is superb while the the third act and the end is uneven. Josh Brolin appears just long enough to show that Tom Chaney is not the smartest bulb in the bunch and there is no hurray at his demise. Once that plays out the rest of the movie takes an unexpected turn in Mattie’s direction. I don’t know how the book ended but the movie just sorta petters out and ends.
Overall, it was a good movie, replay value only to catch up on dialogue one may have missed.
Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Raising Arizona had better pacing and makes them the most enjoyable Coen movies in my mind.

Primeval's new season…

When Primeval ended in 2009 it looked like it was going to be forever. Three of the main characters of Abby, Connor and Danny were trapped in the past and the show was canceled.
But, it was resurrected and now is currently on BBC America Supernatural Saturday Nights.
Someone on Facebook asked how it compares to other BBC imports like Doctor Who or Torchwood.
Primeval is what would happen if there was a British version of Jurassic Park. The CGI is well done, the actors sight lines match up, the acting is pretty good and thankfully there’s no screaming children.

1/1/11 and beyond…

So 2011 begins.
2010 ended with friends playing Wii Bowling and watching the ball drop on NBC with Carson Daily. I have to say Bright Night, you are no First Night. Traffic in downtown Providence was absurdly quiet.
Swapped out Halo Reach and Dead Rising 2 for COD: Black Ops. So far, the Multiplayer is enjoyable, better than World at War was.
My Plans for 2011 go so far like this:
1. Get a new portfolio together.
2. Synopsis manuscript and then finish manuscript.
3. Rinse wash and repeat for it’s sequel and sequel after that.
3a. Query agents.
3c. Make money. (Hey, if it worked for the underwear gnomes it can work for me.)
4. Work on project with Paul C.
5. Get Rhody Writing Group off the ground.
6. Continue to go to the Gym.
7. Go to San Diego Comic Con 2011.
8. Play more Xbox.