Monthly Archives: June 2014

Review: Chef

ChefChef, Jon Favreau‘s return to the smaller films which initially made his career, is a (insert complimentary food pun here). It’s been 13 years since he last wrote and directed something (Made (2001)) and his return to full on creative control is a little bit miss but mostly a lot of hit. Continue reading

Categories: Films, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Worst Things Written About Transformers: Age Of Extinction

 

The Worst Things Written About Transformers: Age Of Extinction

The Worst Things Written About Transformers: Age Of Extinction.

I think this is a little bit disingenuous. Yes, it’s a funny article but I’m trying to figure out the point of it. Almost all of the reviewers here are name critics working for big time publications. You can’t tell me ANY of them went into this movie thinking they were going to get Death of a (car) Salesman. They’d all seen the last three films in the franchise and knew what they were getting themselves into. Continue reading

Categories: Art, Cinema | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

They mocked her “science fantasy.” Then she wrote Empire Strikes Back.

 

They mocked her “science fantasy.” Then she wrote Empire Strikes Back..

Categories: Cinema, Science Fiction | Leave a comment

When did “money” become a bad word?

photoActually, it’s not even about money. We all like money. We can all appreciate money. Hell, we all want money. No, the issue recently isn’t about money itself, it’s about getting paid. It’s about how we get the money that’s coming into question. I first thought of this when I saw Sean Penn‘s adaptation of Jon Krakauer‘s Into the Wild. In the film (and book, but I hadn’t read the book then), there’s a scene where Chris McCandless decides to burn all the money he has because it’s not “honest” money. He didn’t earn it himself, it was given to him and so he didn’t feel entitled to it. Now, he understood the need for money, he gets various jobs along the way, but that was honest money, necessary money, so it was okay. Continue reading

Categories: Art, On Writing, Personal | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Shambling Towards Hiroshima

Shambling Towards Hiroshima
Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James K. Morrow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I admit it, here, now and of my own free will, I love monster movies. I love the good ones and the bad ones and I most certainly love the classics. Evidently, so does James K. Morrow. This book is a love letter to the monster films of the Hollywood of the 30s and 40s, the ones starring Karloff and Lugosi, Lorre and Chaney. And Syms J. Thorley.

Who?

 

Continue reading

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14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time it Takes to Eat Lunch – PolicyMic

14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time it Takes to Eat Lunch – PolicyMic.

Often attributed to Hemingway, the quintessential shortest story ever is “For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.” 6 words and you get a complete tale. The shortest horror story ever, attributed to Fredric Brown, is “The last man on earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock at the door.” For a few years, several friends of mine (in particular Gregory Crosby and Troy Darling) wrote 13 word horror stories around the time of Halloween.

All of this is to say that a piece of literature doesn’t have to be long in order to be brilliant – as pointed out by the recent article PolicyMic. In it they list “14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature” which are all short enough to be read after you polish off a sandwich but before you have to get back to whatever it is you’re meant to be doing. More importantly, they provide links on where to find them for free.

So here ya go, lunch time reading for the next three work weeks (You can take that last Friday off, you deserve it).

Then come back and tell me what you think. Any you particularly liked? Any you didn’t?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Categories: Art, Books, Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors

This is a great list of quotes.

It’s interesting to me that because most everyone learns to write at some point in their lives, just to exist in society, they all think they can be “writers.” Telling a story with words is a completely different skill set than just being able to convey a simple message but most people don’t see it that way. they figure that since they can string words together for an 8th grade English class (Thank you, Mrs. Mullally) that they can write a book or even a short story, and a good one at that, right out of the gate.

Writing is work. Like all work sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s easier, but it always takes effort to get good at it and these quotes just point that out.

21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors

Categories: On Writing, Personal | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

No Extroverts on Mars, Please

 

No Extroverts on Mars, Please.

Bell said that usually extroverts are good on teams because their tendency to speak up and engage with others makes planning easier. She added that because extroverts are outgoing, they know more about their teammates — their strengths and weaknesses. That helps team coordination.

However, the unique properties of long-haul, confined missions add new elements to that usual dynamic.”

Basically, if you talk to much, in a small space, people are gonna wanna kill you. And since I’ve gotten yelled at for talking to people in an elevator, this may just be the end of my dreams of interstellar travel.

Categories: Adventure, Personal, Travel | Tags: , | 2 Comments

An Apple a Day

An Apple a Day

photo credit: Auksė Vabalaitė

On Final Exam day, one of the first students finished came up with their finished exam, handed it to me and then cheekily gave me an apple. It was cute. Then another student handed in their exam… and an apple. Then a third. Eventually, about 150 students all handed in their exams and an apple.

And when the exam was over (first session – there were two) they ave me a t-shirt. I’m wearing it in the picture. It’s the best exam question I’ve ever written (and the answer is on the back).

I do love what I do…

Categories: Personal | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

On Film Reviews

critic-RatatouilleOver the last few days, I’ve been migrating old film reviews from the site they were originally on (and where they still reside) onto this here blog. I’m in the process, over the course of the next few months or so, of trying to get all my online writing in one place and this seemed like a good place to start. But the point is that while I was doing this, I had the chance to revisit about 70 or so reviews from april 2007-april 2008. It was interesting. There were films which I really loved which even this short amount of history has proven ultimately forgettable while other films I didn’t care for have become fondly remembered.  Continue reading

Categories: Art, Personal, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Old Reviews

Movie ReviewsOld Reviews

For about a year, from April 2007 – April 2008 (okay, so exactly a year) I wrote movie reviews for a website called FirstShowing.net. They are still going strong and doing some good stuff, but since I’ve got my blog up and running, I figured I’d migrate those reviews over here. So for the next week or so, you may see that I’m posting reviews of movies which are 6-7 years old. Sorry. But If you’re interested in seeing what I thought of the films of that era, feel free to click the link. All of those reviews will be tagged with the FirstShowing tag so they’ll be easy to find and each will include a link at the bottom to the original review so you can see all of the original user comments. The comments on my review of There Will Be Blood are priceless!

Categories: Films, History, Personal, Reviews | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Review: The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

angriest man posterPhil Alden Robinson, who wrote and directed Field of Dreams and Sneakers more than 20 years ago, is back behind the lens after a 12 year hiatus (his last film was The Sum of All Fears) . This time around, he’s helming The Angriest Man in Brooklyn and the question you have to ask yourself is what was it about this film that drew him out of seclusion?

Maybe it was the cast? Led by Robin Williams (in a non-bearded role so the general assumption is this is a comedy) and supported by Peter DinklageJames Earl Jones and Mila Kunis, a cast like that might have piqued his interest. Williams always has potential, Kunis looks pretty and Dinklage is incredibly hot at the moment. Jones doesn’t really count since Robinson tends to cast him in everything he does, almost like a good luck talisman. Continue reading

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40 Years of Improv Comedy: An Oral History of the Groundlings | Vanity Fair

40 Years of Improv Comedy: An Oral History of the Groundlings | Vanity Fair40 Years of Improv Comedy: An Oral History of the Groundlings | Vanity Fair.

One of the first jobs I got when I moved to Los Angeles in November 1987 was working here, at The Groundlings. The first week I was in LA, I was walking along Melrose when I came across a sign proclaiming “Theatre.” Now, I’d been involved in theatre since I was 9 and after a successful run as the Teddy Bear in elementary school holiday play (thank you Mr. Kaiser, for making me audition) I joined the Rainbow Company Children’s Theatre. I grew up on and behind the stage so when I was feeling alone and scared in the big city of Los Angeles, I thought a theatre was the place to be. If nothing else, I figured I could paint sets, usher, do whatever. And I could meet people and begin my Los Angeles Adventure.

Continue reading

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Review: Edge of Tomorrow

Edge of tomorrowI heard a rumor flying around Hollywood years ago, that Beverly Hills Cop was originally written for Sylvester Stallone. As the story goes, Stallone liked the basic story well enough but, you know, being an Academy Award nominated writer, he felt he had to put his own take on things and so re-wrote it extremely, turning the comedy into the action film Cobra. The original went on to be successful on its own with Eddie Murphy. This illustrates the idea, well trod ground in a number of screen and creative writing handbooks, that one way of being creative is to take an idea and swap genres with it. Danny DeVito did it with Throw Momma From the Train and now Tom Cruise and Doug Liman are doing it with Edge of Tomorrow. Continue reading

Categories: Films, Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites | Mental Floss

words words wordsI love this stuff!

25 Words That Are Their Own Opposites | Mental Floss.

These are the kinds of words which make English such a fun language to play with. Interpretation is everything. This is also what makes communication difficult sometimes. I always tell my students that as long as I can understand what they are trying to say, then it doesn’t matter so much about the grammar and spelling… but then if they’re using words like these, I may have no idea what it is they’re trying to say. Continue reading

Categories: Of General Interest, On Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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