Friday, June 27, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction

For the first time, in the whole time I have been a Cinephile; this is the first film I can sum up in one simple word, and that word would be excessive.   Well, that's not entirely accurate, I would have to add the verbiage, "horrid disappointment," to truly express my absolute disdain for this fourth installment that literally personifies the concept of metal recycling. This film is so bad; I can't fully define it without providing spoilers.  So I am tasked with the arduous task of treading ever so carefully to describe what a steaming pile of celluloid excrement this is.   However, a few quick lessons I learned in this cinematic tragedy; high-tech cosmic robot warriors and specially trained military personnel with state of the art weaponry apparently can't hit their marks even when their targets are like two feet in front of them.  Advanced scientific minds who successfully decode extraterrestrial technology and then develop a superior race of Decepticons decide the best name for the groundbreaking material that makes up the alien life forms up should be called, ready for this,  Transformium, really, Transformium.  And finally, Optimus Prime can defeat giant mechanized monsters twice his size with ease, but has an issue with enemies who are about the same height and weight.  Gone is all of the quick wit and endearing humor, character charm, originality, and jubilant, childish fascination of the first two films, replaced by three very long hours of sub-par performances, a fragmented and insanely nonsensical story, and overtly gratuitous slow motion sequences of stuff blowing up; buildings, Transformers, cars, the plot, my expectations, 180 minutes of my life, ect.   It is an exhausting movie, so much so, that by the time the Dino-bots make their debut you no longer care, and apparently, neither do the actors on screen as there is little if any reaction to their presence.  Not even a "Hey look, giant prehistoric robots, there’s something you don't see every day."  In fact, the actors' portrayals are so phoned in, you would think the entire production was funded by AT&T, and that would not be a surprise with the sheer glut of product placement throughout this venture.  So much so, I am surprised the Auto-bots weren't required to be operated by NASCAR drivers.  Of course, it will make like a gazillion dollars because the mindless masses will ignore any hope or even facsimile of substance in return of the orgy of CGI vulgarly paraded across the silver screen.   0 out of 5 Kernels; as much as it pains me to say as a Fan-boy, please, for the love of Pete, let this franchise finally reach its own extinction.  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Saving Mr. Banks

They call them Moving Picture, but how few of them really are?   It is a rare thing that a film actually moves people and it is a pure joy when one is discovered.  It is an elusive gem that reminds the audience of the inspired storytelling and elegant art form that the cinema once was.   Director, John Lee Hancock, The Blind Side, does just that, masterfully crafting a film that is a beautifully told and deeply emotional tale regarding the true back story of the jewel in the crown of Walt Disney's near legendary live action achievement.   I am not a fan of Hank's politics, but there is no disputing that he is one of the finest actors of the modern era.  His portrayal of the genius and humanity that Disney possessed is simply breathtaking blurring the lines between reality and reenactment.  Thompson is exquisite as author P.L Travers, whose resistance to Walt's twenty year obsession to put her famed literary heroine onto the silver screen for all to enjoy exposes her painful past and burdensome adoration for her emotionally and physically unstable father.   And, in the end, reveals glimpses into Disney’s own damaged family history and drive to bring happiness to his own offspring and children around the world because of it.   The remaining cast is magnificent, their performances are so authentic you forget you are watching a movie and instead, share a moment in history that we all would have been poorer for had the man with a mouse and dream not been so annoyingly persistent.    Disney tried to be the father he wished he had, and because of it, he brought pure joy and wonder to his generation, the next, and all to come.  The cinematography, setting, and costuming is absolutely genuine, enhancing a well balanced plot that is so intensely dramatic in scenes that it is nearly impossible to view without eyes haunted by tears.  You will never watch Mary Poppins again and, thankfully, will be richer for it.  5 out of 5 Kernels; thank you Walt, for keeping a twenty year promise and for truly saving Mr. Banks.  

JUST RECEIVED MY SECOND 5 STAR REVIEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Grudge Match

This is the quintessential "guy" film but unlike many of its ilk laden with guttural jokes, overt sexual innuendo, gratuitous nudity, and regurgitated slapstick, this film has true humor and heart.   Bypassing all of the rigmarole of its genre, this flick transcends much of the juvenile, formulaic tactics of its brethren and instead creates a truly engaging, funny story with authentic performances.   Director, Segal, who has both hits and misses contained in his cinematic legacy, delivers large with the tale of two former champs coming to terms with aging, family, relationships, and egotism.   In my view, it is nearly sacrilege to star De Niro in any film unworthy of his on screen power and presence.  Of late there have be a few flicks guilty of that blaspheme.  But this movie, features De Niro as a stripped down, gruff but likable, very human character who feels like an everyman struggling to find his place in a modern world while obsessed with recapturing a bit of his glory days.  Stallone brings us Rocky without the brain damage, which might have been a better characterization of his iconic creation that spawned five films.   And Holy comebacks Batman, Basinger is simply delightful as the long lost love.  The rest of the cast is excellent playing off each other so naturally and fluidity you forget you’re are watching a movie, and instead, feel like you are sharing the conversations and experiences of close friends.  The story is well told, with some quiet twists and turns that brightens the script rather than overshadow it.  Look for some subtle, well placed jabs at the two stars legendary boxing silver screen ventures.   4 out of 5 Kernels:  this is Testosterone Tale that rises above the belt and lands every comedic and dramatic punch with the grace and strength of Ali.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

18 Days of my Kickstarter Campaign left

18 Days left to help me make my novel The Lost Road to Hope an epic success.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1142590609/the-lost-road-to-hope-promotional-project …
#TheLostRoadtoHopeKickstarter
#TheLostRoadtoHope
#Dontsurvivelive

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Friday, June 13, 2014

My First Five Star Review

My first review from Amazon:

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 
A nicely woven story about humanity June 10, 2014
By H Skinner
Format:Paperback
While this is a science fiction novel it does not feel like science fiction. The story has effectively intertwined the themes of sickness, health, hope, despair, and determination in to a spiritual and emotional self-examination. The story of each character is so deeply explored that you feel you know everything about them and the decisions they are making. The author does a good job of writing from both a male and female perspective (every other chapter is told from the perspective of one of the male and female characters). He also balances dialogue of explicit detail and nature with messages of hope and spirituality.

The bond of the characters at the start is they all have cancer. The story cleverly uses sci-fi as it applies to their diseases. It is user-friendly to the point where someone who likes Star Wars, romance novels, or philosophy could all relate to it. Again, it does include dialogue of an adult nature provided mainly by a character with a deeply troubled past so if sections regarding sexual abuse and very detailed descriptions of it aren't for you then be warned. However, the story uses those moments to emphasize the points of redemption and faith.

For a first novel I found it to be written with formidable skill.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Kickstarter Campaign begins

My Kickstarter campaign begins today. The campaign runs until 7/6/14. This is to fund the promotion of my novel The Lost Road to Hope. Please check it out and pledge. Spread the word.  If successful this will fund everything I need to propel my book. The website is below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1142590609/the-lost-road-to-hope-promotional-project

#TheLostRoadtoHope
#TheLostRoadtoHopeKickstarter

Book Signing Information

My first book signing and paperback sale at Lake Wylie Bowl and Bounce on Sunday, July 13th 2014.

4034 Charlotte Hwy, Suite 105, Lake Wylie, SC 29710

Call 803-831-2553 for details.

#TheLostRoadtoHope #Dontsurvivelive #713BookSign


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ronald J Rossmann Jr.: A Brief Autobiography of Sorts

     Who am I? I am everybody and nobody, and I know how exceedingly pretentious I sound. I firmly believe in the simplest of life’s goals, being a good father, loving husband, and loyal friend. I have enjoyed performing and writing throughout my life, even at a young age.  Literature and cinema are escapes into my own gardens of peace, sanctuaries of pure joy.  My persistent desire is to construct epic tales of trial and tragedy, heroics and morality, crushing fears and triumphant emotions.  To create characters that face incredible obstacles and challenges, forever molding and shaping who they are as they forge an undeniable legacy, whether or not they achieve the goals or victories set out before them.  One of the few, of a nearly extinct species, who enjoys writing happy endings but leaving the definition of happy to be loosely interpreted.

     I am living proof of the undeniable effects of can and will, proving each day that past cycles can be broken through God’s grace and strength. A hopeless romantic who embraces the ideas of chivalry, as well as, the total value of ethics and integrity, lamenting the idea that I may have been born in the wrong century.  I have always had an elaborate imagination and, from the beginning, a “go big or go home,” mentality.  There are seven key principles that make up who I am: 1) God is in control,  2) however; you and you alone are responsible for the legacy you leave behind,  3) honesty is always the best policy (lying requires too much memory), 4) common sense is not common at all,  5) don’t shit where you eat, 6) one person can make a difference and forever change history, and most importantly, 7) faith is not revealed at the end of the journey but in how it's traveled.

     I was born on November 3rd, 1971, to Ron and Rosemarie Rossmann.  My mother's family emigrated from Italy.  My father's lineage included descendants from Germany and a North American Indian tribe called the Lenni Lenape.  Growing up in Toms River, NJ, my dad was a code enforcement agent, my mother, an English teacher, and sister, a lovable pain in the rear end.   To say I was a unique child would be a tremendous understatement.  An example of this, while some might have just one imaginary friend, I, on the other hand, had an entire posse.  Each day I would work out epic scenes with them from some of my favorite movies and TV shows, directing each moment until choreographed perfectly.   With all of the hard work, long hours, and retakes I am surprised my invisible counterparts didn't demand to unionize.  Even then I knew I wanted to be the next George Lucas or Steven Spielberg.  

     I read constantly, relentlessly.  My love of literature led me to begin writing numerous stories rich and complex in detail, several I am still developing to this day.   I am enthralled by stories that profoundly affect and challenge you.  I possessed a deep love for classic and unique movies and literature with my favorite authors being; J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Ray Bradbury, and James Thurber. I became fascinated with science fiction when it was introduced to it by my Uncle Phillip a professor of microbiology at the local college where we lived. Together, we enjoyed such classics like The Thing From Another World, Them, and The Forbidden Planet (among many others).  Films I still cherish to this day.   Thanks to my uncle, I also became deeply fascinated with real science, immersing myself in books, articles, and classes about astronomy, biology, and zoology.  I lost him to cancer several years ago.  Although he is gone, he is never forgotten.  I see and hear him in every word I type.

     A loner throughout my younger years, I preferred the solace of my writing to real and social interaction.  I wrote fervently and tirelessly, stories, poems, and even plays, finally putting my novice skills to practical use writing children book reviews for a local newspaper.

     My parents had a remarkably successful youth ministry at our home church for several years. They reached out to both suburban and urban youth and turned strangers into friends, partnerships that seemed inconceivable to the outside world.   I became a Christian at a young age although I cannot remember the exact date and time which apparently is an anomaly compared to others of my ilk.  The commitment to my beliefs was unmistakable, ministering to other children through bible studies, conducting elaborate Christian puppet shows, and clowning for charity events.  Even as young and naive as I was, I longed to reach others for Christ and to serve God anyway possible wanting intensely to be a help to others.  To assist those around me to understand how remarkable they are and how real Christ's love is. It was then that I dedicated my life to building up and helping others, determined to live an authentic Christian life.

     I attended public school up to the sixth grade and then mostly private schools throughout Junior and High Schools.   During my middle school years, my family became involved in the Fresh Air Fund, when Earl, an African American youth, came to stay with us over multiple summers. He quickly became one of my best friends, the brother I never had.  He grew up in a harsh and unforgiving environment, surrounded by crime and drug use, but each summer he was able to escape that reality and hardship and enjoy the fellowship and family of our home.  I remember one of the most remarkable moments of his time with us was when we attended our first rodeo.  He observed a black cowboy, someone, by his own admission, he could not believe existed.  He stared in amazement as he watched him, “bust a bronco” and talked about it incessantly afterward.  After several years of his visits, the Fund lost track of Earl and so we never saw him again. I was devastated; I had lost the dearest friend I have ever had.   To this day I still feel that same way.   My relationship and the guilt and loss of losing touch with him has inspired several of the characters in this first, and many other unfinished novels.

     My family and I moved to Charlotte, NC when I was seventeen, where I finally graduated high school at Paw Creek Christian Academy.  It was there, through church leaders and teachers, I learned what not to do as a Christian and how judgment and piety can be so immensely damaging.  It seemed throughout my life every negative example I encountered, I used as a chance to grow and mature rather than becoming injured or swayed.  The navigation of my spiritual journey was through constant stormy seas, but I never allowed the surging waves to alter my course, instead; I learned to steer through the raging currents and chart a better voyage.  

     It was at Paw Creek, I met my future wife, Tammy, although it would take one extremely rocky road for us to reach that destination.  I fell in love with her at very first sight as she walked across the quad wearing a purple suede skirt supported by two of the most incredible legs I have ever seen.  I chased her for two years, rejected too many times to recall. Finally, by our senior year, I wore her down and she agreed to attend the prom with me, our first date, and so the love story of my lifetime began.  She was and is to this day the embodiment of sincerity, integrity, grace, beauty, and femininity. She is truly my muse, and I find I fall more in love with her every day.   

     Despite my love for writing, I sidelined it in order to seek out a more realistic career goal. Although, I desperately wanted to become an author, actually publishing one of my novels seemed unreachable.  A decision I regret to this day.   Instead, I chose to study to become a veterinarian because of my love for animals. I attended Barton College, in Wilson, NC, to complete all my general courses with the hope of eventually attending North Carolina State University or Clemson. It was there I met one of my best friends, Nick, and we had an unbelievable time. Whether constantly “pranking” our friends and enemies or playing countless hours of billiards, I squandered the academic possibilities and financial support, but made memories I will treasure for a lifetime. 

     With my grades continuing to deteriorate and the girl I loved so far away from home, I decided it was time for a much needed change. I left Barton College to return to Charlotte to attend East Coast Bible College.  Even with a change of scenery, I could not lock down on my studies.  I was such a reliable student throughout my younger years; I was puzzled as to what was happening.  I gradually discovered that I just didn't enjoy college despite the fact I knew I needed a degree.   In the end, I ran through all my financial aid and resources, so I went and joined the workforce.   My hope was to save up enough to return or so I convinced myself. 
 
      Tammy and I married on August 29th, 1992, one of the greatest moments of my life. We paid for most of the wedding and honeymoon ourselves and resided in a one bedroom closet of an apartment. Our honeymoon had been an utter disaster complete with invading palmetto bugs, pop up crocodiles, and finally my unfortunate contraction of an aggressive stomach bug.   Despite the rough start to our marriage, we just celebrated our twenty-second anniversary, and I fall deeper in love with my wife every day.   

     We were struggling, but we were doing it together, and we never ran short on hope.   Writing, again, became my escape. I had created eleven incomplete concepts with the wanting to become an author stronger than ever.    But the bills had to be paid and that kind of goal seemed more of a luxury than a reality.   So I began a “real” career in retail management, beginning as a green assistant but quickly moving up to General Manager, a position in which continues to this day although through multiple venues. 
After scrimping and saving, we finally were able to purchase our first home.  After years of unsuccessful attempts, our first child was born on August 3rd, 2005, my daughter, Jessica Kayla, who is the absolute apple of my eye. We shared our first dance together the day she arrived home.  She has been dancing ever since.  Then in July of 2008, I received a delightful surprise. My wife gave me a son, William Spencer. He is the original wild child who loves using his father as an organic jungle gym. He is extraordinary, already smarter than I ever will be.

     Around that time, I was presented with the opportunity to work in professional ministry, another lifelong dream, by the greatest mentor of my life, Pastor Mike Gibbons, at my home church. He helped me understand what it truly meant to be a real man, husband, father, Christian, and friend through his example, acute interpretation of the scriptures, and compassionate advisement. I used my performing and writing skills to create a youth ministry that opened the doors to children who may have never heard the gospel before. I developed my own curricula, choreographed elaborate praise routines, and tried to make a real difference in the lives of a diverse group of children.   It was there my Christian life eventually became, just that, a life and not just a struggle. However, all good things must come to an end, and due to inner conflict within the church, I decided to leave and return to the corporate work force. I loved being a youth minster, and my exodus was one of the worst experiences, leaving many wounds that still have not healed.

     I have lost so many family members to cancer, including, most recently, my mother who imparted to me my love of literature and teaching children.  I became involved in the fight against this disease through my participation in the local USBC’s Bowl for the Cure, a Susan B. Komen event, hosting their charity bowling tournaments, and the privilege of MC’ing some of their dinner events.

     I went to work for an independent F.E.C, Lake Wylie Bowl and Bounce, in 2012 which is truly the best job I have ever had besides my ministry work.  I was fortunate enough to find an amazing boss who not only provides me extreme amounts of autonomy, but encourages my creativity and values my experience.   I have an incredible staff that feels much more like an extended family. 

     In summarizing myself, I enjoy the processes and results of uplifting, counseling, teaching, and developing people to succeed in their careers and hopefully their lives.  The greatest achievement in my life is that I have become a real dad to my kids and a devoted husband to my wife.  But there has always been something missing. I needed to write, it is an undeniable part of me, and now with the experience and maturity I have gained, I think I am ready to share this passion with the world.   I believe in writing stories and developing characters that the audience can connect  and identify with and root for. To actually “flesh” out every word, I write, giving my readers something uniquely tangible that I hope will remain with them long after placing the book back onto its shelf or the coffee table.


     If I succeed, it will boldly broadcast to others that an ordinary, everyday, common guy can achieve his dreams and hopefully encourage them to do the same. I do not possess any pedigrees or remarkable and widespread accolades.  I’m just a man, like many others, trying to find a way to own his dream.  As a writer, my stories speak to those who have had similar experiences or the same longing to be more than they are.  I understand literature and the cinema as both an art form and business and the ability to balance the two.  I want to create a product that entertains, engages, and entices. Writing is not just an outlet anymore; it is my soul on display, a reflection of my life's experiences, and a call I can no longer avoid.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I am extremely proud to announce my first book signing will take place at Lake Wylie Bowl and Bounce, in Lake Wylie, SC, on July 13th from 2pm until 8pm. I will be selling copies of my novel, as well as, other very cool items related to the book.
Should have my Facebook store up and running by the 16th.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I have locked down the location for the July 13th signing. Also, working on opening a Facebook store to sell my novel. I hope to have it ready by the end of the week. A couple more items and my Kickstarter campaign should be off and running. Will keep you posted.

Tentative date for book signing is July 13th. Will keep you posted as to time and place.  Also, my novel will be featured on BookDaily.com as of 6/2/14, http://www.bookdaily.com/.