Monthly Archives: June 2013

Old Movie Review: Taken 2 (2012)

I enjoyed the original “Taken” movie when it first came out, so, a friend and I thought we’d take a gander at the sequel “Taken 2.” It stars Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, and a few other actors and actresses I’m not familiar with. Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative, and Famke Janssen plays Mills’ ex-wife, Lenore. They have a daughter, Kim, (played by Maggie Grace).

 

The movie begins slowly. Bryan arrives at Lenore’s house to give Kim a driving lesson. But she’s at her boyfriend’s. This section of the movie serves only to play up Bryan’s aspect as being overprotective (he has a background check done on the boyfriend) and to establish that the main players are leading relatively normal lives in the good old USA. Then, Bryan goes to Istanbul where he has a security job for three days. Lenore and Kim join him after he is done; it is meant as a kind of gift to Lenore who is in the midst of a very nasty divorce. Of course, that’s when things go wrong.

 

In the preceding movie, “Taken,” Bryan wiped out a whole slew of bad guys; it was a ring of criminals who had abducted his daughter with the intent to sell her as a sex slave. Of course, it is an unwritten rule of nature: If you kill somebody, regardless of the reason, someone somewhere else will be upset. In this case, the dead criminals come from a family of criminals, who are now quite irked at Bryan and are intent on evening the score. They set out to Istanbul to do so. They kidnap Bryan and Lenore, and almost do the same to Kim. And then, the real fun begins. There is a lot of killing and violence. Bryan proves himself to be one of the deadliest people alive as he wades through bad guys like a scythe through wheat.

 

Strengths: well, this was a hardcore action movie, with lots of death and hand to hand combat. If you like that stuff, you’ll probably like this movie. For what it was, it was decent. The storyline held together well. The acting was pretty good. And there were no looming plot holes. Weaknesses: in my opinion, this movie was made simply to make more money from the “Taken” concept. It was very short, 92 minutes, and even the storyline seemed to be a kind of straight line from point A (kidnapping) to point B (relentless slaughter of everybody), with very few perturbations from the path. There were no twists or turns; the whole point of the movie seemed to be just an emphasis on Bryan’s skills. He handled the bad guys with relative ease.

 

In the end, I’ll give this movie three and a half out of five stars.

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Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #3

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until July 19th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Dina Rae’s Write Stuff (http://dinaraeswritestuff.blogspot.com/)Please check them out and show them your support.

 

And check out the sponsor of the tour: http://www.goddessfish.com/.

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Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #2

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until July 19th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: Fantasy Powered by Love (http://fantasypoweredbylove.com/)Please check them out and show them your support.

 

And check out the sponsor of the tour: http://www.goddessfish.com/.

BBT Drasmyr Banner

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #1

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, starts today. Every day until July 19th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today we have: fuonlyknew (http://fuonlyknew.com/) Please check them out and show them your support.

 

And check out the sponsor of the tour: http://www.goddessfish.com/.

Old Movie Review: The Factory (2012)

Old Movie Review: The Factory

 

“The Factory” is a crime/action/thriller inspired by true events and starring John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter. The IMDB rating gives the movie 5.4 stars out of 10, which I think is absurd. This is a really good movie, with a killer twist. Of course, it is based on true accounts, supposedly, and truth is often stranger than fiction, or so they say. Regardless, I heartily disagree with the IMDB rating.

 

Anyway, John Cusack plays the main character, detective Mike Fletcher, a rough and tumble cop, and Jennifer Carpenter plays his partner, Kelsey Walker. Together they are investigating a series of disappearances. They suspect a serial killer, but have no bodies, only missing person reports. But the catch is (and the killers mo), all the victims are prostitutes. As a result, there’s hardly an outcry to solve the case; in fact, detective Fletcher is under some pressure to wrap it up and let it go. But he’s not willing to let it go. He’s hell bent on finding out what’s happened to these women and no one’s going to stop him.

 

Then, the unthinkable happens. Mike’s teenage daughter, Abby, goes missing. At the time of her disappearance, she is roaming the streets and dressed, as some teenage girls are wont to do, in rather scanty ill-concealing clothes. Mike fears the worst, and soon the evidence begins to mount that his fears are justified. Now he’s on the case of his own daughter’s disappearance, and he’s running out of time.

 

Strengths: well, the movie held together well; it was easy enough to follow. The acting was fine and the plot was engaging. And, like I said, there was a killer twist. Maybe saying that much gives away too much. But it’s worth watching just to see the twist. I saw it with two other people, and none of us saw it coming. And when they did the flashback sequence to “explain” it, they did drop plenty of hints throughout the movie, nothing too obtrusive, but lots of small things that when taken together came together well. Weaknesses: well, there was one strange sequence which didn’t make sense at first, but was explained by the end. So, perhaps that’s not a weakness. Also, there were a few cases of weak dialogue, but not a lot. Of course, all that said and done, it is kind of disconcerting that it was inspired by true events.

 

Anyway, as a piece of pure art, I’ll give it four stars out of five.

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Announcement: Blurb Blitz Blog Tour for Drasmyr

ANNOUNCEMENT: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a promotional blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” starting on 6/17/13 and running through 7/19/13. It is a strictly promotional tour, meaning that every visit will be limited to excerpts from my book and a book blurb. During the tour, I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur. Also, make sure you check out the sponsor of the whole tour–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Finally, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a Reaper metal miniature, specifically, a Dark Heaven Legends version of Dracula. It is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule

Old Movie Review: The Dark Sleep (2012)

“The Dark Sleep” is a short film based on an H.P. Lovecraft story “The Dreams in the Witch House.” I have only read a couple Lovecraft stories and “The Dreams in the Witch House” is not one of them. So I cannot comment on the accuracy of this particular portrayal or even the quality of the original tale. Still, I have always loved the macabre feel and the notions of alien deities that mention of Lovecraft conjures up. I even played the RPG game “The Call of Cthulu” a couple times back in the day, so I went into this movie with reasonably high expectations. Now, on to the review.

 

The main character of the film is Nancy Peterson, played by Ashley Galloway. She is a recently divorced writer who purchases a house from her ex-husband, Pete, for zero dollars. There is but one stipulation: she cannot paint over the bizarre painting found in the basement. However, once she sets up shop in the house, she is soon beset with strange nightmares and encounters with extra-dimensional creatures. Her concentration goes to pot: she can’t write; she can’t sleep; and she grows more irritable with every passing day. Her sister, Kelley, comes to visit and to lend a hand, but soon she is drawn into the surreal web of macabre construction herself. Can Nancy solve the mystery of the house for the sake of her own sanity and her and her sister’s safety? Watch the movie and find out.

 

Strengths: overall, I thought the story held together fairly well. There weren’t any gaping logical flaws (assuming you can accept the premise of extra-dimensional travel through dreams), and most of the acting, although not stellar, was fine. There were some weak parts, though: most notably a brief scene in the very beginning and the climax at the end, both of which featured the ex-husband. Weaknesses: special effects do not make a movie, but they can add to one. And in this case, I think the effects subtracted. It was a low budget movie and it really did show. That said, the scenery and surreal atmosphere of the dream sequences was handled well; it would have been nice if the effects were up to snuff to complement such, but alas, they weren’t. Another weakness was how the house appeared … well, maybe not. But both my friends and I were expecting an old beat up thing from the nineteen-twenties, or something like that, but it looked like a reasonably modern house. And that just did not fit the tone of the movie.

 

Anyway, I’ll give this film three and half out of five stars.

BBT Drasmyr Banner

Announcement: Blurb Blitz Blog Tour for Drasmyr

ANNOUNCEMENT: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a promotional blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” starting on 6/17/13 and running through 7/19/13. is a strictly promotional tour, meaning that every visit will be limited to excerpts from my book and a book blurb. During the tour, I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur. Also, make sure you check out the sponsor of the whole tour–Goddess Fish Promotions–it wouldn’t have been possible without them.

Finally, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a Reaper metal miniature, specifically, a Dark Heaven Legends version of Dracula. It is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule

Old Movie Review: Red Dawn (2012)

Joining the list of recent 80’s remakes, we have “Red Dawn” starring Chris Hemsworth, a.k.a. Thor. This is based on the 1984 movie of the same name starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen.

 

In the original movie, the Soviets and a few smaller countries (Cuba and Nicaragua) invade the U.S. This time around, it’s the North Koreans (I heard that originally it was going to be the Chinese, but, thin-skinned as their oppressive government is, they raised holy-heck over it and Hollywood backed down, changing it to North Korea. Oh well), which to me, makes the movie somewhat implausible from the get-go. (I mean, really: North Korea? I know they have a nuke, but it still seems like a David and Goliath type of scenario to me). The implausibility is mitigated somewhat by one scene where it is stated that the North Koreans “had help.” And a Russian anti-insurgency specialist does show up later in the movie. Additionally, the North Koreans used some sort of super-weapon: a massive electrical pulse that took out all our power grids. Everywhere.

 

Anyway, that’s the premise of the movie: the North Koreans invade the U.S. And two brothers, one a rough and tough ex-marine (Hemsworth), and the other a football player, lead a group of high-school students and a little bit older people in an insurgency. The movie follows the story of that insurgency. There is blood, death, and explosions. It’s not a very intellectual movie, but I don’t think it was intended to be. It’s more of a story of patriotism and national spirit.

 

Strengths: well, we’ll give it a few points for being patriotic. That’s always a plus. I thought the acting was fine with the script they were given; beyond that, though, nothing stands out. Weaknesses: well, there were several of these. First, there was the premise which I discussed above. Additionally, and more importantly, for much of the movie, it seemed to lack a well-conceived plot. There was nothing more specific driving the characters than insurgency. And that just led to shootings and explosions without much more meat for the brain. For a brief time, they had a specific objective—get the North Korean top-secret case—but other than that it was just too generalized. And I didn’t like that. Additionally, and this is also important, it seemed hard to follow for me. This may have been related to the too-generalized plot, but whatever it was, it detracted from the enjoyment. Finally, and this may have just been the CD, but the action—I mean the actual movement of the characters across the screen—was jerky. This last defect bothered my friends more than it did me, but at times even I was annoyed.

 

Overall, I’ll give the movie three stars out of five.

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Announcement: Upcoming Blurb Blitz Blog Tour for Drasmyr

ANNOUNCEMENT: Goddess Fish Promotions will be sponsoring a promotional blog tour for my book, “Drasmyr,” starting on 6/17/13 and running through 7/19/13. More details will be made available as it shapes up. It is a strictly promotional tour, meaning that every visit will be limited to excerpts from my book and a book blurb. The blog tour schedule is currently under construction. As of this writing, we’ve filled fifteen slots of the twenty available. During the tour, I’ll be posting links to the blog host of the day as they occur.

Finally, I will be awarding one randomly chosen commenter on the tour (for those who comment on the tour sites—not atoasttodragons) with a Reaper metal miniature, specifically, a Dark Heaven Legends version of Dracula. It is excellent for collecting, or to use in gaming.

Blog Tour Schedule