Thursday, January 29, 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
Matt Reeves, director of two of my favorite flicks, Cloverfield and Let Me In, gets his feet wet in the sea that is called the Hollywood blockbuster by tackling one of the most beloved science fiction franchises in this sequel to the 2011 critically acclaimed box office beast. Talk about biting off more of the proverbial banana than most seasoned rank and file could chew. But Reeves not only accomplishes the task at hand, but does the unthinkable by creating a far superior feature than its predecessor. The human cast is amazing, sometimes a bit too somber and subtle, but genuine and endearing. But what makes this film rise above the original, get what I just did there, is a combination of jaw dropping, mind blowing, absolutely convincing CGI effects and Serkis' utterly inspired and deeply engaging primate potentate Caesar. Who knew Gollum could come so far so fast? As he has become the redefinition of the remarkable, thoroughly memorable character actor role in ways never imagined before? And mega Kudos to any production team who can make ape speak wholly believable. As far as action goes, wear a helmet, because your mind will be blown as the overall sweep and scope of this film is epically astounding. I can't wait to see what they will realize in the third installment. 4 out of 5 Kernels; This film doesn't monkey...you now what, I am not going there. This is a masterful reboot of one of the most groundbreaking cinematic adventures of our time.
The director of Training Day brings us his second outing with Mr. Washington in this Millennial reboot of the popular 80's series. And as with the litany of films miserably portraying most re-envisionings of fairly well-crafted television franchises I went into this with lowered expectations. I am ecstatic to report that this is not one of those re-imaginings. Washington delivers a subdued by stellar performance as the modern urban interpretation of the man with no name. Mortez is convincing in her more minor role, providing a gritty, genuine, and at times playful, presentation. And Csokas rounds out the cast as a delightfully cliched Russian troubleshooter who spews each deliciously ominous platitude with an inspired dedication and certainty. The action is well choreographed and convincing, adding some unique twists to avoid becoming trite. And unlike most cases anymore, the slow motion sequences are apropos and effective. Although, many would consider many aspects predictable, the script provides enough surprises to keep it fresh and utterly entertaining. It's nice to see a feature where we can root for the good guy again and not feel overindulged because of it. 3 out of 5 Kernels: No one does understated bad arsery like Denzel.
Bar none, this is Eastwood's finest directorial feature and, without a doubt, the performance of Cooper's career. Eastwood has done what few can. He has taken a non-fiction, autobiographical account, that in and of itself, is thoroughly engaging, deeply moving, and, many times, downright terrifying as it accurately depicts the comradery, courage, sacrifices, and overall hell of war. And fleshed it out into an absolutely genuine, exhilarating, and utterly immersive experience. He is able to honor and dignify the heroes of combat and their unimaginable challenges and choices without glorying war. And devolving into an overtly preachy military propaganda piece or painting the brave men and women who preserve and protect our liberties in a typical Hollyweird, barbarically disgraceful light. Cooper presents Kyle in such an authentic and honorable way, that you quickly transcend from an audience member, to friend, and, by the end of the film, grateful family. From the cinematography and effects aspect, it is horrifying and compelling in both sweep and scope. As its accuracy in tension and violence escalates and wanes with such reality, you quickly trade the comfort zone of your theater seats for the edge of them. You may already know the end of the story. But that predictability is eclipsed, erased by the sheer emotion of facing it after struggling with Cooper's Kyle and his family through four grueling tours of duty and its aftermath. The end credits provide a well-deserved homage to his memorial service, and the lack of music afterward, as the credits roll, create a heartbreaking somberness that is stark, humbling, and indescribably sobering. Thank you, Mr. Kyle, for being the man willing to take the shot and carry the weight of every bullet fired to safeguard the soldiers who risk everything for the freedom of strangers. Thanks to all of our American heroes! 5 out 5 Kernels: I am calling it now, this is the best film of 2015.
Sunday, January 25, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Update on #TheCrux: Just don't have it in me to work on the novel tonight but will resume tomorrow. But fear not, Britteny has provided some new sketches to wet your proverbial whistles. As well as an update on the cover. Enjoy. Check out http://ronsnovelidea.blogspot.com/ for more updates and follow me on Twitter @LostRoadtoHope!
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Update on #TheCrux: Another 9 hours another Chapter & 20 pages down. 25 is done, 26 has begun. My illustrious illustrator, Britteny sent me another cover revision, resulting in a total Geekgasm! The last mile always feels the longest & most arduous. But I am nearing the end. Keep checking http://ronsnovelidea.blogspot.com/ for more updates and follow me on Twitter @LostRoadtoHope!
Update on #TheCrux: Britteny just sent me the first full cover attempt. It gave my soul goosebumps. She is simply amazing. Chapters 24 and 25 completed by end of day Tuesday! So very close to completing this 26 year labor of love! Keep checking http://ronsnovelidea.blogspot.com/ for more updates.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Update on #TheCrux: 148K words typed. 9 more hours today and a total of 313 pages completed to date. Chapter 23 is finally done. Chapter 24 finally started. 4 more Chapters to go. Most of the novel will go to the proofreader on Thursday with the rest in two weeks. I didn't quite make my goal but pleased with the overall progress. Britteny just sent me yet another cover update. Penance is really taking shape. Its like she can read my mind. A truly scary thought.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Friday, January 9, 2015
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Monday, January 5, 2015
I am so glad that seventeen-year-olds have not only figured out the meaning of love but have such philosophical depth that they can inspire such YA masterpieces as this stale, sappy, and predictable fare. At least by Hollywood standards that is. And please note the thick, milky sarcasm dripping from every word of my lead sentence. Chloe Moretz is one the most promising up and coming actresses to grace the silver screen in a good bit. But she is starting a trend of choosing some of the most inadequate vehicles in an attempt to drive her career. First, there was that abysmal reboot of Carrie. And now, she plays yet another doe-eyed, lovelorn, deeply insightful femme cliche. One that can be produced on any Tinsel Town assembly line continuing to manufacture this modern day tween fairy tale trash ad nauseam. Her uninspired leading man, Blackley provides all the authenticity of a Kardashian photo shoot. In fact, the overtly stereotyped characters are either so gooey sweet or absurdly unrealistic, that Mortez's mediocre performance appears nearly Oscar worthy. The only bright spot comes in the last thirty or more minutes of this farce. An amazingly poignant scene delivered by the unflappable Stacy Keach as Chloe's emotionally detached grandfather. But it is too little too late as this moment of clarity is quickly lost in a dense fog of disappointment. Look for lots of so called "punk" songs that sound a whole lot alike and more John Mayerish than inspired by cutting edge, rebellious teen angst. Add into that a plethora of those profound one-liners that these films are laden with and known for. At least they are profound to anyone twelve and under. And you will suffer through one of the most grueling, eye rubbing, hand-wringing, clock watching, one hundred and twenty minute running, prepubescent fueled chick flicks. Have you got the fact I really despised this picture yet? 1 out of 5 Kernels; gotta give at least a kernel as props to Keach's attempt at the save. Sorry Stacy, the only thing that could have rescued this waste would have been to never had made it the first place.
Sunday, January 4, 2015
My fourth #5Star review on Amazon!!!
By S. Thiel
A great read for not just lovers of Science Fiction. The author has developed his characters' personalities extensively. The message is of survival and hope against insurmountable odds but there is enough action throughout the book that it would make a great Sci-Fi movie. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.
Prime example of the diluted sequel all though there were some well made and received featurettes and a fairly decent short-lived animated series in between. Absent is all the energy and engagement of the original, replaced by an over-bloated and often dark story that takes far too long, especially for kid fare, to evolve and apex. The acting is solid but feels stale and overtly rehearsed at times. Even when they attempt to pull at the proverbial heartstrings, the effort appears, well, half-hearted, spending way too much time on buildup and far too little on delivery. And although the animation is a superior fare compared to most in its genre, that alone does not carry this or any film, even for the juvenile set. A good bit more violent and dire than its predecessor and parents be prepared to answer some uncomfortable questions about abandonment, death, and mild sexual themes. With all that said, Toothless still does his best to keep this flick from burning up in the throes of its own self-importance. But it was too little roar and not enough rigor. They left room for a third, should have stopped at the first. Some said this was better than Frozen and that is why I still say, "just say no to the drugs kiddies." 2 out of 5 Kernels; despite the quite impressive sweep and scope of the cinematography and artistry, this feature never truly takes flight.