2018 Preview

Happy New year loyal reader and welcome to 2018! My blog is back for what will hopefully be the biggest yet for my writing.

‘They’ do say it takes 5 books to finally ‘feel’ any success towards being an author and so 2018 will see the arrival of not 1 but 2 more books to the back catalogue. That puts me 1 away from being a modern Tolkien right? We’ll see I guess but first before I talk about my books I want to address the white elephant in the room!

Star Wars – What were they thinking?

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This review will contain spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the Last Jedi, scroll on or don’t see it, I stand in either choice right now…

That bad? Well thinking about it and having let the whole thing sink in after xmas, yes. Now not all of it was terrible and as a casual (didn’t see them fully until my teens) fan I found myself wondering what the hell they were doing along with ‘hey that was pretty good’. There were some parts of the Last Jedi I did really enjoy, I could count them on one hand and on the other hand all of the bad or shall I say unnecessary plot arcs, events and characters that took up too much of the long run time.

It felt as if all the great work and promise from the force awakens seemed to be completely ignored or dashed by new the director Rian Johnson (the now voldemort of films). We didn’t see anywhere near the screen time needed for both Finn and Poe Dameron. Instead we are introduced  to filler characters. Some of which are trying to make an already richly diverse universe even more so. This time around the whole diversity thing just felt pushed. I mean the world is obsessed by such a thing which the original Star Wars had. Princesses that were strong and could fight, different skin tones and accents, its all there in a new Hope.

I cant get my head around why they cocked this up but they did. And for those who had waited 40 years to see their master Jedi return, you will be disappointed by Luke Skywalker, the recluse who spends a film ignoring Rey.

What interests me the most is an impending doom of where they will go next. Maybe Rock ‘the Dwayne Johnson’ was right by releasing Jumanji at the same time…

Let’s talk my books 2018…

Loyal followers will know this year will see two books come out.

The Teleporter

In a world where there are already too many super heroes, comes another super hero…

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Okay that may be a bit broad, but the Teleporter, arrives this April/May and promises to be of novella length. This short mainly comedic piece will see one layabout drunk guy accidentally acquire the ability to Teleport! Some other stuff happens and he tries to save the day and get drunk….

Sounds fun huh? Well I enjoyed writing what is a departure from horror and took my time to create something which will hopefully be a barrel of laughs. There will be more teasers like the one on the left soon. You can find more information here.

 

Cemetery House

‘Survival was only the beginning…’ 

The long awaited sequel to Open Evening arrives this Halloween and sets out to tell the story of those who survived that night in Haddington. We will see an extended origins arc for Twister who has to ‘go home’, this time around he’s not alone. Here’s the teaser trailer…. 

Cemetery House will also connect with Darke Blood resulting in a crossover coming 2019!

 

 

Power Rangers Review

It’s been over twenty years since many people of a certain age would have first seen the Power Rangers. I was in my second year of school when the first film arrived and before then the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers in all its 90’s greatness was probably the first television show I followed as a child.

pr 2.PNGBack then it was everywhere seemingly, and the merchandise that went with it was of course always sold out including the original mega zord or those dolls which you could flip the head. But things move on and times change. One thing that remained and carried on through many different versions was indeed the Power Rangers. Whether it be Turbo force, Dino Thunder or Zeo, the power rangers series has managed to cultivate and capture generations of kids imaginations all looking for their Saturday morning fix of heroes.

To me the idea of a rebooted Power Rangers film (about the first series) has been something I have been waiting a very long time for. The concept of 5 teenagers chosen by destiny to save the world was very much lost in the cartoon style of the original and of course we shall try to forget the disappointment the first film came to be. So for a 90’s kid like me I was in full support of this reboot which is in fact much more than that. It’s a re imagining and expansion of  the original concept story and has been given the modern cinema treatment.

The films opens with the back story of old. Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) betrays Zordon who’s dying act is to send her packing deep below the ocean. This happens in what later becomes modern day Angel Grove.

Next comes the gradual and detailed introduction of the five main characters; the rangers. Jason, Kimberly, Billy, Zack and Trini. All of them high school kids and all them with the many problems that come with that age. You could even call them a group of misfits that don’t really like one another and that’s where this film becomes interesting. Back in the original there was a hell of a lot of less detail about why these kids were actually friends.

The film succeeds in displaying what modern age kids are like and some of the struggles they have to deal with, such as bullying and just trying to fit in. Jason a once star football player has to face not being that anymore. Billy; the clever kid on the ‘spectrum; Kimberly who just had a rough break up and is involved in a photo texting scandal. We also see Zac who’s mother is sick who he has to look after and of course Trini who’s always the new girl in town.

I thought the introduction of these new kids as the iconic parts previously played was vitally important to get right and the young actors and actresses very much did that along with giving these characters a depth I never thought they had.

After some time they find 5 previously buried colored rocks known as power coins which teases they eventual stumbling of their way to the command center; a crashed space ship in which Zordon (Bryan Cranston whom voiced characters in the original series) is somewhat imprisoned in the ships computer. Of course we see the re-imagined robot Alpha 5 (voiced by Bill Hader) and things start to roll towards these five misfitting kids becoming friends.

Rita Repulsa finds her way back to land and to life and so the real threat becomes apparent. The five kids must become Power Rangers to save the day.

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Verdict

I have only chosen to mention selected parts of this film so I don’t spoil it for anyone wanting to go and see it. I recommend it highly and so comes my verdict.

For any fan of the old show you will indeed like this film if you are willing to wait and see everything unfold. The action doesn’t get going straight away and this is a slow burner which works towards these kids becoming the rangers. When the action does happen its explosive and sort of like a controlled transformers action sequence. Fan boys and girls will smile at the homage to the original opening sequence of the TV show as the zords arrive.

The power ranger suits I thought looked modern and was a far cry from spandex and the helmets of old. Above all what I enjoyed the most was comradery of these 5 kids who are chosen unwillingly to save the world. Bryan Cranston although mainly a voice impressed and inspired with his performance. Elizabeth Banks played Rita without the cartoon- esque demeanor her character is known for and very much impressed me. Overall this film was enjoyable and although it didn’t hit number 1 in the charts this is probably because Beauty and the Beast was released at a similar time and was equally as impressive. 

Go go power rangers and hopefully soon we shall hear the announcement of a much needed sequel.

Fantastic Beasts Review

The year 2016 seems to have zipped by, sometimes without any remorse and even with a political brutality, but waiting for the end of November to roll around actually felt like waiting forever. It has also felt like an eternity since we’ve had a new film based upon the magic of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and all I can say is… ABOUT DAMN TIME!

Fantastic Beasts is suited to an audience who have all graduated from the school of wizardry and Witchcraft and are now finally set free into what is a fully expanded world of magic.

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We go back to New York city in the 1920’s and in convincing style with wonderfully constructed detailed sets, costuming and camera work. Immediately an aura of threat and mystery is teased as themes along with elements of a classic crime thriller. Watching this film for some of it didn’t feel like just a magic film with spells and wands, it had a sometimes gritty and even dark tone which has allowed me to name Fantastic Beasts a magical crime thriller in genre.

Having a ministry of magic in the UK which is indeed underground and away from the prying eyes of ‘muggles’ is very much a semi -realistic thing that could be covered up. But having a separate American magic society under the watchful eyes of millions of New Yorkers, well that’s a great feat JK Rowling has pulled off. Realistically those who aren’t magically inclined are given another name, no-maj. And it is with details like this that I really appreciated of course with the other big stuff.

Eddie Redmayne leads a very much star-studded cast as Newt Scamander and plays him as an endearing eccentric you can only get behind and want to succeed. He has arrived in New York after just completing a global excursion to document an array of extraordinary creatures. He quickly crosses paths with a no-maj known as Jacob Kowalski and after a mix up of brief cases the film begins to roll and unfold. They develop a friendship along with trying to track down many of the mistakenly released creatures Newt had in his swapped brief case.

As much as I would like to give everything away in what I thought was a breath of fresh air for a Harry Potter style film, I won’t provide any spoilers. And I say a breath of fresh air because the magic element of this universe has so much potential for expansion beyond Hogwarts and that is what Fantastic beasts delivers upon. We are shown creatures never before seen in this world and there is one particular sequence in which we see Newt introduce Jacob to this group of said beasts, which left me somewhat open jawed and feeling like a kid again.

We see magic in completely different scenarios, ones where it is fully out in the open. The hustle and bustle of New York wont stop the magic, it only heightens and somewhat romanticizes it.

Credit must go to a cast with great depth, appearances from Colin Farrell and John Voight. And I must give credit to Katherine Waterston and Dan Fogler who did support Eddie Redmayne through out the film. Any reservations I had about Redmayne have very much been put to bed now. His character provided the ultimate mix of mystery and ‘your not the run of the mill every day hero’.

So my conclusion…

What I enjoyed the most was the freshness of this new story with a familiar magic theme. Seeing wand vs wand action is indeed something with a lot of action potential. And saying that the action was spread out, well delivered and well-paced along with everything else in the film. This to me felt like Harry Potter grown up, with a real crime type feel that even looks more towards an adult audience which is what this universe is cleverly appealing to. Kids will enjoy it too as I feel there is something for everyone in this film although some elements are a little dark, but no darker than the exhaling ways of the dark lord who won’t be mentioned.

For what is the beginning of Christmas Blockbuster season Fantastic Beasts and where to find them will definitely heavily contend for film adventure of 2016!

Attention Readers: 

I shall use this opportunity to tell you that very soon I plan on sending out FREE reading material in relation to my future books. You will only receive this stuff if you sign up to my mailing list and give me your email (trust me the next few books I’m sitting on don’t want to be missed), so sign up today!!!

 

 

The Conjuring 2: Horror done right

And I’m back for my second ever Saturday blog post. The last one worked so well I thought I would do another some months later. Things are about to get a little spooky and jump scary as we delve into a review of the Conjuring 2.

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I know for many people horror isnt your film genre. Understandably, there are many terrible horror stories out there, the monster gets revealed too quickly or you can see the ghost is actually a guy dressed in a bed sheet. Or you’re the other type who doesn’t like the potential heart attack, again understandably.
Myself, the jump scares and loud bursts of music have become something I can live with for the sake of seeing a decently put together story unfold.
So if you are familiar with the Conjuring and Annabelle (the latter in which I reviewed on here before) you will grasp the format. If not, well, there’s this couple, Ed and Lorraine Warren. They are paranormal investigators and work closely with the church. They take on cases of ghosts, ghoulies and possessions. Loosely they are based on a actual people, that’s always nice and adds to the horror.

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This time out they are faced with the ever so famous Enfield haunting. Of course this is after their most famous case back in the states, Amityville. The film introduces us to the aftermath of Amityville whilst slowly building up Enfield and the events that happened back in the 70’s. You can really feel the sense of build up and the story taking its time, something in which most films of this genre rush and fail at.
The two hauntings either side of the Atlantic have one thing in common. The potential to be hoax, even now it isnt really known if either are. Another contribution to the horror, mystery and sense of realists. Again boxes are being ticked here.
Eventually things start to get pretty damn poltergeisty (if that’s a word) in London and the media catch on. Events and the setting cling pretty close to the real story, with the Hodgson family being very well cast and convincing throughout. So it isnt long until the famous Warren’s are invited by the church to see what the damn hell is taking place.
I don’t give much away in my reviews, especially if this is a film I incline you to see, and it is. This conjuring 2 is a re-telling of a famous ghost story and built around just that. Of course the truth is merged with imagination and I couldn’t help but enjoy the build up of jump scares which were consistent and not over done.
Director James Wan has done a fantastic job with this beautifully shot creep fest. You can see they spent time and money on making this film look good on screen. This is of course a cinema film, especially if you want the sounds and sights. Even when somebody came down the aisle of the cinema I found myself on edge. In fact the whole audience behaved, something which tension will do to an audience. A rarity these days.
Both Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as the paranormal investigator couple pick up exactly where they left off and built upon their already rich chemistry and characterisation. This isn’t just a horror story but a trip back to late seventies England. Something in which older viewers will enjoy.
Whilst it’s still at the movies, go and see it.

Captain America: Civil War, a review

The Hall of information is web slinging it’s way back to you for yet another super hero movie review. Well make rain while the hay shines or something like that as we are in an age of cinema where super heroes are literally falling out of every orifice! Geez just don’t let hulk fall out of me, that could be painful and messy, nevertheless the extended marvel universe is back with its latest offering which you could even call the Avengers 2.5.

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Okay lets straighten things up before we start. I am kind of indifferent/snobbish towards super hero movies as of recent (mainly the marvel ones, there’s just too many okay). They tend to dominate cinema and over shadow things. Marvel are indeed a juggernaut express train rammed full of different heroes but deep down I am preferential to DC (but X-men have my heart).

With that out the way lets get to the movie. I’m not particularly inclined to give away major plot points and spoilers. Let’s just say I prefer to tell you what I liked and what worked, then what didn’t.

We get introduced to some back story about the winter soldier, its all very captain americy to begin with. Soon enough many of the faces new and old from the Avengers film show up and some action happens. Bad guys are fought, CGI is used and then the main theme is presented to us. The morality of the Avengers, are they right to blow up stuff for justice. What would you do if they took out your favourite Maccy D’s?

So a few innocent people’s legs get blown off and the UN aren’t happy.

The film seemed to go up and down in terms of action and talking. Eventually this whole morality thing divides the camp and you get your ‘civil war’. The somewhat absent Captain America, yes he’s absent in his own film, well he goes one way and Iron Man goes the other.

Tony Stark who is perfect by Downey Junior seems to spend the later marvel films in a somewhat conflicted with himself state. So much so, he rubs off on the other Avengers about what is really right or wrong. For quite some time this did just feel like anything but Captain America, maybe Iron Man 4 or Introducing the bug named avengers such as Ant Man. Having missed Ant Man, regretfully because Paul Rudd although his part was cameo esque it definitely left me intrigued about his style.

The angle of Spiderman being introduced was finally revealed, as in Tony Stark tracks him down and takes Peter Parker under his wing. Again, Spidey did play a rather small part in a battle, and he did seem very talkative, but his screen time very much made an impact. He played a relatively comedic role, much like Tony Stark.

I’ve always found the Marvel ‘humour’ to be a little awkward and misplaced, again this seemed the case but saying that there were moments where I did chuckle out loud.

What was good for Lee?

The introduction of extended heroes such as Spiderman, Ant Man, Black Panther. All of them impressed.

Vison and Scarlett Witch having some explorative screen time and their morality being explored.

The action, most of which cannot be faulted.

I liked the sides taken by the heroes, such as Falcon siding with Cap’n and Spidey being introduced by Iron Man.

The token Stan Lee cameo (of course right?)

Final Thought

If you are a marvel buff you will enjoy Civil War. All I can really say in terms of problems they will have is fitting everyone relevant into their films. This wasn’t a Captain America film. This was just an extension of the Avengers and a chance to introduce more heroes as well as show Iron Man contemplating his morality with others. In some ways, the story turned a corner just a bit to tell some of Tony Stark’s history. That’s good and bad.

Bad because the running time will increase and the detail will drop. Too many story arcs will just swamp the whole concept of hero movies and could eventually be its downfall. We shall see. I think after the next two part Avengers films that may be their last outing. I’ve been wrong before though. Guess we will see.

My score is 3.5 out 5. With a not bad rating.

What did you think?

With the Hall of information being quiet for too damn long, I plan to blog all the way up to the release of my book this September. So keep your eyes this way inclined. Thanks for reading.