Snowpiercer: The Best Science Fiction Film of the Year (that Hollywood wanted to fail)

snowpiercer_ver20_xlgIf you’re a fan of film, especially science fiction and film, you may have heard of this low budget “art” film, Snowpiercer. Describing it as an art film may insinuate this dystopian action-suspense film carries with it an air of pretension, but give me a moment here. Based on a French graphic novel, a South Korean director assuming the big chair, and featuring an international cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Kang-ho Song, and Ah-sung Ko, Snowpiercer could be one of the most outstanding films of the year. Terrifying, daring, and compelling, this stunning work of science fiction, hailed by critics and science fiction fans, was initially released in eight theatres.

Yes. Eight. As in, not ten.

What. The Hell?!

At the end of this review, this dark tale—in its own way—offers you, the moviegoer, a happy ending. So read on. Continue reading

Edge of Tomorrow: Concerning Tom Cruise, Pacific Rim, and Something Original

Last Thursday, Pip and I went to see Edge of Tomorrow, currently playing in theatres. This is the latest summer blockbuster featuring Tom Cruise in what may are calling a sci-fi spin on Groundhog Day. One look at the trailer might make you think that, but there’s also some influences of Starship Troopers, Aliens, and even a nod to D-Day.

hr_Edge_of_Tomorrow_9Yes, the Allies’ Invasion of Normandy. In a Tom Cruise summer science fiction blockbuster.

Edge of Tomorrow, based off the novel and manga, All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, follows Public Relations officer Major William Cage. Tom Cruise’s Cage is the Tom Cruise we know very well—very polished, brilliant smile, and slick in his approach and handling of situations thrown at him. He’s the “face” of the war against Mimics, alien invaders who seem to have an uncanny ability to predict exactly what the United European Forces unleash on the battlefield. This Tom Cruise graces the movie with its presence…

…for about ten minutes.

Much like Cary Grant in North by Northwest, Cruise’s Major Cage is suddenly thrown a curve that lands him in the middle of battle, something his Public Relations job allows him to avoid. After finding himself on the wrong end of a taser, he wakes up at Heathrow Airport, the training camp for the United European Armed Forces. Strapped into an exo-suit, Cage joins J Company in a massive amphibious landing happening on the western coast of France. Led by the inspiring “Full Metal Bitch” Rita Vrataski (played by Emily Blunt), Cage stumbles through the battle only to find himself out of ammo and facing a Mimic up close and personal. The monster leaps on top of him, but (more out of futility and desperation than heroism) Cage takes the alien (and himself) out of commission with a landmine sandwiched between them… Continue reading

Endless Possibilities Blog Tour 2014: Nick Kelly on Crossing the Line and How Far to Cross It

Today on the blog, I host the kind of writer that is truly metal. No, really—he is metal. He’s a musician. He’s a security expert. He’s a health professional. AND…he’s a writer. If you’re a listener to The Shared Desk, you recognize the name: Nick Kelly. Fellow comic book geek. Fellow movie buff. Fellow cybersecurity believer. As he and I have shared opinions on just how far to go in your writing, I encouraged him to share his thoughts with you on the boundaries and just how far you can push them.

Nick, welcome to my blog. The stage is yours.

IMG_4643“Remember, honey, these aren’t your normal readers. Tone down the gore.”

Words of wisdom from my blushing bride and co-author, Stacia D. Kelly. I don’t remember the first time she told me this, but she’s repeated that comment several times while we were writing Ichi together. Our shared story is an urban fantasy featuring a 1,000 year old samurai demon hunter and a D.C. homicide cop.

When I’m not collaborating with her, I write a series of dystopian cyberpunk featuring a hitman and lots and lots of psychotic robots. I may have a contest among my readers to see who can most accurately report the body count.

That raises the ultimate question – How much is too much? Continue reading

Thank you, Peter O’Toole…

Yesterday, a star fell. He’s always been one of my favorite actors, and with a biography entitled Loitering with Intent, you know he got up to some shenanigans.

When I think of Peter O’ Toole, I think of this film. I saw it at the Ridge Cinemas with my dad. We had heard it was supposed to be funny, so we went one afternoon, my dad and me. There was maybe twelve people in the theatre with us, but my dad and I laughed for a full house worth. It was a terrific afternoon, and a movie that really made an impact on me.

my-favorite-year-original

Thank you, Peter O’Toole. for giving my father and me such a wonderful memory. From Lawrence of Arabia to The Lion in Winter to The Stunt Man, you gave everything you had in every role. Good movie or bad, it was a gig, and you showed up and did the best you could. For your incredible work on stage and screen, thank you.

“May flights of angels sing thee to they rest.” — William Shakespeare, Hamlet

STEAMPUNK GOES MAINSTREAM…and other things for geeks to panic about. Again.

First off, I’m sorry everybody. It has been far too long. Where in the name of clocks, gears, and cogs have I been?

Let me drop a few quick teasers as to what has been going on in my life:

  • Got a new job. Social Media Coordinator. And the best part, it’s very close to home with telecommuting thrown in as a bonus.
  • After a month, got a promotion at the new job.
  • Then, conducted interviews for the job that I was originally hired to do. (Being on the other end of the interview table? Woah…)
  • Got a new car. I’m driving a Nissan LEAF right now. LOVE IT!
  • Jumped back on to the Medifast train. My weight was out of control again.
  • Christmas.

Some of these things I intend to talk about later on this blog. (Stop laughing. Seriously. I am!) I also have to keep in mind, though, I have a novel to finish. I’m still on board with a steampunk reboot of MOREVI, so Rafe Rafton will be returning to the oceans this year.

It is this very subject — something that, I’ll admit, people are coming to me more and more about for an opinion which feels pretty good — from where this rant finds its core. So let’s turn back the clock to January 15, Tuesday, 10 a.m. At my new day job, a friend sends me a link to AdAge about IBM’s fascination with steampunk. I ran the article on my Facebook page as this truly was the convergence between my day job and my writing career. IBM is tracking “steampunk” in order to find patterns between trends and fads. I also posted it on the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Facebook page and between the two, I got a whopping 6 shares. So maybe it wasn’t as cool as I thought.

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Steampunk is Dead …and Other Stupid Things You Might Have Heard This Week Concerning a Justin Bieber Video

So this week, you might have heard from SyFy’s Blastr that steampunk is dead, and let’s face it — when it comes to really knowing what fans of Science Fiction think, you can’t really argue with the same people who cancelled Farscape, Eureka, and Stargate Universe to make room for reality TV and professional wrestling…

…but I digress…

From high profile blogs like Gawker to passionate fan sites like Stellar Four, the death bell tolled for my beloved genre of gears, cogs, and steam. It was all over. Time to dismantle the analytical engine, box up the boater hats, and put your goggles away. Steampunk, a genre created back in the Eighties due to a group of authors that challenged this boundaries of imagination, had officially been ruined, all due to a single music video from a beloved pop star.

My own response to this?

Seriously? Seriously?! Steampunk is dead because of a Justin Bieber video?

I think the guy who’s face truly is next to the definition of steampunk, Jared Axelrod, said it best:

“If having a teen heartrob play your sandbox ‘ruins’ it, then it probably wasn’t your sandbox to begin with.

If you haven’t seen the video, I insist you watch it. I will say this much — it’s a step up from Rebecca Black’s “Friday.”
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Sucker Punch: The Title Says It All

[WARNING: While this review does not contain spoilers, the Comments do. You have been warned. Now…read on…]

Director and Writer Zack Snyder can really make a beautiful movie. Snyder set his own style with films like 300 and Watchmen, but has also come under fire for making movies that lack depth or are very “comic book” in their almost balletic approach to graphic violence. When you consider his last two films were pulling from (wait for it!) graphic novels, it makes you want to bitch slap critics. Perhaps this is why critics (and perhaps, some moviegoers) have been overly critical of Snyder’s latest film, Sucker Punch.

On reading some of these reviews, though, I have to ask “Did you see the same film as I did?” I not only loved Sucker Punch, I am here to tell you that missing this on the big screen would be a crime. It is original. It is surprising. It is intelligent.

What is isn’t is what the critics are making it out to be: Geekboy Titillation.

Now there’s no denying it: Snyder covers all of the bases in this flick. Sucker Punch offers up zombies, steampunk, dragons,  WWII bombers, and katana swordfights. And yes, all of the gunfire and swordplay is happening with women who all just happen to be hot. Continue reading