Friday, November 22, 2013

Solid noir for today: Dead Man Down

Dead Man Down. Collin Farrel and Noomi Rapace 

   When the advertising for this movie was playing last year, I remember seeing the star,Farrel, running around shooting. So when I started the movie, its what I expected, however that is not what I got for most of the film.  One hundred and fifty minutes of a noir revenge thriller, that is with the exception of the last ten minutes.  I have to admit that the two main characters, Farrel and Noomi, enthralled me and I actually cared about what they were feeling.

   This movie had it’s moments that sent me back to a black and white era all the while increasing my heart rate. I thought the movie was evenly paced with a steady growth of characters considering there is only about two hours worth of film here.  

  I have to say I was disappointed with the ending. (Spoiler ahead)

  The cliché big shoot out was waiting at the end of this movie. I would have liked to see something more simple yet more satisfying. Over all, due to what movies are out there, I have to say this is a modern noir that will leave you content with the two hours you gave it.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dirty jeans can be faked

   So I’m sitting here watching  Nirvana Live at the Paramount on the music channel Palladia. Standing with little movement other than a hand strumming a guitar, is Kurt in his green sweater. I noticed his jeans are dirty.

   A question I have always held is whether these “performers” (be it rock stars in most cases) dress themselves or does someone else dress them? And how much thought do they put into it? I wonder if the morning of the show, Kurt woke up and put on the same pair of jeans he used to tend his garden. A secret admission here to you now is that I do put thought into what I am about to wear. I’ve done book signings in the past and I thought about what I wanted to wear. So maybe he did reach for his dirty jeans and say “Tomorrow at the show I’m wearing those.” Maybe not.
   I'm not calling Kurt a fake. I'm sure what started as dirty jeans because he played a show straight from work carried over to a time when he no longer had a day job. I remember once going into a prominent clothing store and having a clerk tell me $80.00 oil stained jeans were on sale. The best part was they were stained with "real" oil. I said, "I have a pair just like that. Last weekend I changed my oil pan gasket." The clerk walked away. I never bought jeans there again.
  As the Sci-fi Con season begins and I hit the road to promote my book, The Five, I will be sure to back my bag carefully. I have a pair of dirty jeans I wear when working on my truck, but I doubt I will be signing books in them.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Don't get fooled

     I've seen a couple of fake emails and facebook posts about "today" being the day Marty McFly travels to the future. Every time I am confronted on this I know it is 2015. But incase you forget check out this website I found to remind you.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Finally! Here is something new in Science Fiction.

I am so happy to finally announce my latest book, The Five Episode I Salvation's Curse is out for sale as a ebook!  This book has been such a process to get out to readers. It is worth the work and the wait, trust me. Already some of the early feed back has been terrific.
   For a limited time copies are being sold at $2.99, but this price won't last long. At Amazon just search key word: artaxlives

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Seeing Double

   Skimming movie preview websites I came across White House Down a new movie starring Channing Tatum as a Capital Police Officer who shoots the place up to protect his daughter and kill off the bad guys. It got me thinking of a similar preview I just saw, Olympus Has Fallen.
   Now this movie stars Gerad Butler as an overly trained Secret Service Agent who will kill all the bad guys while trapped in the White House. Seems very familiar.
   I bet if you spliced both these trailers together you would get the same movie. I don't know why movies with very similar plots get made and released at the same time. A couple years ago we had "No Strings Attached" then later got "Friends With Benefits" Both movies deal with a guy and girl who start out just wanting sex then realize they are in love with eachother.
   Every couple of three years this happens. Tombstone and Wyatt Earp. If we aren't getting the same movie in the same year, we are getting more recycled crap. I'm just going to stop right now before I go into the Hollywood remake laziness. I even read an article based on a rumor that Twilight was getting a re-boot. But don't puke just yet, its only a rumor.
   There are fresh ideas out there just waiting to be discovered by the right producer/director/actors. We just have to wait or do it ourselves.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Writing Crime Fiction & Sci-Fi

  With the upcoming release of my science fiction epic, The Five Episode I: Salvation's Curse, I will be delving back into the world of science fiction. I have mostly used this blog to look at crime fiction and of course my random thoughts.
  I really enjoy the two genres. My first novel, Division Six is a great mix of both crazy science fiction and a classic PI tale. I enjoyed writing that book and hope to eventually finish the series.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finding time to write

    I never thought I would have trouble finding time to write. I used to skim articles on cramming writing into your schedule and I used to scoff. I could not stop writing; at work, in the car, on my phone, at home, I wrote all the time. Writing was my schedule and everything else came second. I missed a lot of social events, not that I care.
    These days it is much different. I have teamed up with Forker Media and have taken on different tasks for them as well as started other projects. Now I sit and stare at a blinking cursor wondering and wandering. In the last few months I have written a short story that has since been rejected and I have started a new novel that I have not touched in six weeks. Also a screenplay was started and ended, I just need 100 pages of filler. Things get in the way.
    Recently I posted about my book signing. Everything went well but prep work for that needed to be done and a visit from my friend and co-author had us playing X-Box more than plotting the sequel to The Collectors.
    Writer's block? I don't know. I have plenty of unfinished manuscripts and short stories that need editing sitting in files on my computer. I have thoughts and notes on existing manuscripts that need to be entered and my car is littered with note pads and scribbled story ideas. I just can not sink my teeth into anything enough to block out the world and write.
   Most of my writing comes and goes in emails back and forth with cover artists, reviewers/interviewers and co-authors for scripts already written. I'm hungry, I can feel it in my brain, that craving to burn up a keyboard with my thoughts and bring life to new characters.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Signing Day

    So my publisher, Forker Media, did its due diligence and found me a local book store that has an indie author appreciation day. I was in luck that Fountain Book Store is in my current home town, RVA.
    My co-author Jorge grabbed the first flight out of Daytona Beach and came north to a snowy Saturday night. It was a treat for him.
    Our scheduled signing time was from 2-3 pm. Fountain Books was great about scheduling. There were plenty of authors coming to share their books. Fortunately or not, we were so busy talking to customers that I did not get to talk to the other authors. At the two o'clock time slot we are all crime authors.
    I have to admit I was nervous and my signature came out a little wobbly. I did not expect to be so nervous. I was good right up to until we walked through the door.
    Over all it was a great day and we sold some books.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Best of Arnold

So Arnold Schwarzenegger has a new movie out. "The Last Stand" where he plays a small town sheriff who is trying to protect his town as the bad guys roll through. Let me pause to tell you I am not going to review this movie, though I think the drawn poster is awesome. Instead I want to talk about my and your favorite Arnold films.
     I'm in my early thirties which means I grew up watching Arnold and the rest of the cast of Expendables kick ass on VHS I rented from BlockBuster every Friday night. Looking back I use the same filter we all do with Star Wars. (I'm sorry but you do) So which Arnold film do I think is best and lasted the tests of time? Well there is no doubt Terminator is one of the best science fiction movies ever. Its got all the great elements of time travel, robots, car chases and awesome 80's hair. But is this really a Schwarzenegger film?
     I sadly would not classify it as such. Arnold had what two lines in that whole movie. Of course those words are immortalized now (and I will not repeat them). Of the films Arnold stared in I would have to go with Predator.
     Predator is a great movie for a ten year old boy living on a USMC base in southern California. I spent countless weekends with my friends traipsing through the woods dressed in fatigues carrying packs and wooden rifles. We even painted our faces green. We were always on the look out for the Predator.
     No longer a Friday night movie, it does hold up on a Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A little too much of The Duke or maybe not enough

     What do we get when the counter culture is the culture of today? We get the Anti-Hero now the established and expected hero. Gone are the days of white hats vs. black hats. Everyone wears a black hat except for the guy just doing his job like the night security guard or average beat cop. He gets bumped off. I've been writing crime fiction now for about two years. My second published novel Division Six is a sci-fi/mystery sort of a book, and my latest novel Blood Oranges: A Chamberlain Cotton Novel just came out by Forker Media. So as a writer in the genre, I follow the blogs like Shot Gun Honey and read Needle. If you've seen my blog before I have a story up at Powder Burn Flash.
     I can't get into the anti-hero, I just can't. So where has John Wayne gone? My characters are not glimmering white knights and the damsels they save are not always pure as the driven snow but they choose right from wrong at the start. In The Collectors, two brothers are security guards who get jobs as licensed debt collectors for legitimate mobs. Because debt collecting from loan sharks is legit now they have badges licensed by the state of Florida. A badge doesn't make you a hero or on the right side, I know that seeing as how I am currently waiting to hear if I got into the local police academy. That is where everything starts to get grey. Suddenly now we have the crook and the deadbeat team up to exact revenge on another crook and deadbeat and there is your modern crime thriller. Not in my books, not ever. I have to call in John Wayne with a giant pair of sheers and cut out the grey leaving only the black and white.
     So maybe my books won't sell in these grey times of bad guys being the one you root for. We'll see in twenty years if the counter culture finds John Wayne and welcomes him back.