Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: Disney's Into the Woods Review

Disney, the master of musicals, does not disappoint as their director, Rob Marshall, brings us a pitch-perfect cinematic adaption of one of the most unique and biting Broadway productions of our time.   Marshall captures all of the quick and dark humor of  Sondheim's wonderfully warped, more literary accurate, harmonious retelling of some of the most beloved and despised fairy tales.   The stellar cast effortlessly brings all of the life, lasciviousness, and lament of his original characters, so much so, that anyone's living or rec room instantaneously becomes a vicarious visit to the theater.  I have seen many musical masterpieces retooled to fit in the limited proportions of the silver screen, or in this case, the flat screen.  But few have had the impact, energy, engagement, and effectiveness of this newest upstart.  Kudos to the Mighty Mouse for truly honoring the magic of such a contemporary masterpiece.  4 out of 5 Kernels; now to the daunting task of finding a way to repel the incessantly snappy and delightful tunes that now beleaguer both my waking and unconscious hours.  I guess there could be far worse repercussions.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

They bled on the sands of foreign lands
Shed tears over fallen friends that  took their last breath so far away from home
Sweat as they carried the wounded and helpless beyond the gates of hell
Ached as soul and body gave every last ounce of strength and resolve to see the work was done
Dreamt of loved ones unimaginable miles away as they slept just feet from unspeakable chaos 
Pressed on through the noise and horror of war, the screams of havoc that chill even the devil's bones
Served with a divine selflessness to protect the liberties of strangers who will never comprehend the magnitude of their sacrifice
Faced death at every turn with a defiant stare, choosing to advance rather than retreat
Defied the odds of battle, bringing swift and determined justice to those whose evil deeds required their intervention
Stood in the hallways of Hades without fear or remorse
Protected liberties the entitled so carelessly take for granted
Preserved the honor of those who came before, whose bodies form the foundation of our freedoms
Asked for nothing, gave everything, wishing only for a hot meal, warm bed, and a peaceful smile
Died for our children, and their children's children, without the consideration of pause
These are the men and women who fight for all we hold dear
These are the soldiers whose brave breath keeps our flag waving
These bring hope to the hopeless, life to the damned, and shield and sword in defense of the innocent and desperate
They are the men and women in uniform, the truest of heroes
The guardian angels of our emancipation and democracy
The proud, the humble, the mighty, and strong
One day cannot contain the potency to memorialize them
They are owed a lifetime of respect and remembrance
And nothing less!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

#TheCrux Ronald J Rossmann Jr Author Website is now online

#TheCrux  Ronald J Rossmann Jr Author Website is now online.


#JustaQuickiePlease: Birdman Review

Pretentious, absolutely pretentious in every manner possible, and that is from one of the most die hard fans of the Keaton.  From the opening scene to credit roll this script finds new and irritating ways to be precocious.  Now, the most committed denizens of the theater will cream their collective bloomers at this overtly critical and annoyingly contrite perspective of the purity and suffering of stage versus the contemptible capitalismic crap of cinema and its braggadocios, soulless blockbusters.  But for us peons, this ends up being a self-indulgent and arrogantly artistic piece that serves no other purpose but to create ire and resentment toward every character and line of its vainglorious script.   Despite trying with all of my heart, I was unable to derive the slightest iota of sympathy for any individual member of this ensemble as each one tries to best the other in self-righteous pomp and detest.    The only redeeming facet of this psychological and cynical drama, are the talent and performances of the troop.  Keaton delivers an odious, decrepit, and defunct celebrity who slowly and assuredly loses his mind and every relationship that he may or may not have held dear.   Norton gives all of himself, as I fear his portrayal may have been more of and about him than he would care to admit.  The remaining cast does the best it can with this egocentric script, but there are only so many eloquent ways you can present the myriad of F-Bombs that plague this farce.  Add to that incessant drum beats meant to generate an avant-garde and soulful feel but instead simply irritate and repetitive dialogue that prolong the story far more than necessary.  I end this review with a pain that reaches deep down into my spirit and tugs with all of the remorse and care of a psychotic dentist removing a rotten tooth without the aid of anesthetic or preparation as all expectation and fandom was excavated with that level of vim and violence. 1 out of 5 Kernels: This Oscar gold loses its shine and shimmer quickly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

#TheCrux New Characters Preview

#TheCrux: What do I do while waiting for the final proof of my novel to arrive...invent new characters for the sequel...of course!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Just a Quickie Please: Age of Adaline

Director, Lee Toland Krieger may be the most brilliant man on the planet, well at least when it comes to fashioning together date movies.  So, the rest of you YA acts need to take notes and you might earn a few more million dollars to your uninspired, untalented coffers.  Ladies need to break the internet thanking Krieger for building the perfect equation to satisfy the gals why giving the guys just enough to keep them in their seats.  Okay, on the estrogen side, you have the typical story of an uber rich hipster who gives all of his money to charities, knows how to cook like a veteran chef, looks like a dreamy cross between Jackman and Dempsey, and pines for the perfect mate.  Men, that alone would cause shrinkage even after the largest legal dose of Viagra.   But fear not my testosterone fueled teammates, old Lee got's you covered.   He sideswipes us all by fashioning this sappy love-fest around a mild and coherent Sci-Fi storyline, and for good measure, throws in Han Solo to the mix to keep those male arses glued to their seats.    The script is well written, of course predictable, but the acting is authentic enough to eclipse any, "Oh, I saw that comings."   Albeit, the narration is a bit much at times but it's a necessary evil to keep the plot moving fluidly.   In the end this is one part Gump, one part Benjamin Buttons, and large fraction of every romance feature that will make your partners wonder what the hell they are doing with you.  3 out of 5 Kernels: entertaining, heartfelt, and worth the run time, especially if you want to earn some honey points with the missus.

Just a Quickie Please: John Wick

Neo is back and badder than ever.  This unique take on the rehashed concept of the old dog called back to do new tricks has far more bite than bark.  Keanu is not known for his thespiantic range, and yes I just made that word up, but he actually has a fairly authentic and moving scene in this action flick. Other than that, the martial artistry and well-choreographed fight sequences have Morpheus' fingerprints all over it.  It is a solid story built on a truly unoriginal idea and props to director, Basil Iwanyk, for his thoroughly engaging fabrication of the assassin underworld.  His interpretation and film style feels unmistakably reminiscent of Gibson's, bad guy who's a good guy only because he is the least repulsive of the bad guys, Payback flick.  A.O.S's Bobbi, Adrianne Palicki, provides a cool cameo as a femme fatale and Dafoe interjects his eerie suave into a few key spots as well.   This is a true guy flick so don't look for anything deeper than the surface of the first bullet's entry wound.  4 out of 5 Kernels: I would say this is Reeve's comeback feature, but those hopes have been shot down before.  I am just full of puns today aren't I.

#TheCrux About the Author and Illustrator

This is author Ronald J Rossmann Jr.’s second novel.  His first self-published work is The Lost Road to Hope, an apocalyptic tale featuring heroes who are cancer survivors, inspired by his mother’s three-year battle with the disease.  He is a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy with the genre first introduced to him by his Uncle Phillip.  At sixteen, he conceived the concept of The Crux and after a twenty-seven-year labor of love, involving numerous revisions and evolutions, the story finally came to its complete fruition.  This is the first installment in a six-part series with two upcoming sequels and three prequels.  Ronald studied theology and psychology in college but became thoroughly intrigued by retail and restaurant management which led to a successful twenty-three-year career in those combined fields.  He is currently the general manager at Lake Wylie Bowl and Bounce, a family entertainment center located in Lake Wylie, SC.  Ronald resides in Charlotte, NC with Tammy, his loving wife of 23 years, two children, Jessica and William, and two dogs, Jada, and Sara. 
Follow Ronald on Facebook  @ www.facebook.com/lostroadtohope
On Twitter @LostRoadtoHope
And his blog @ http://ronsnovelidea.blogspot.com

Watch The Crux and The Lost Road to Hope promos on YouTube

Britteny Stanton is a published graphic novelist and designer out of Washington State.  Her works include; Autobahn - The Auto-tron Project and new series, Illuminati 5 - Project Underground.  She is inspired by her mother who owns a private portrait business.  An open-minded artist, with an imagination that is vast as the universe, she hopes to inspire others to chase and catch their dreams.  

#TheCrux Acknowledgements

                I want to recognize the contributions and support of those who I am proud to call friends beginning with my wonderfully skilled illustrator Britteny Stanton and tireless proofreader Stephanie Thiel.  Then there is the amazingly talented Cassie Kelson, Chris Parsons, Gwen Mauney, Christopher Dickerson, Karenmarie Marley, and Chelsea Sofia, who selflessly volunteered to assist me with the production of the novel’s YouTube promo spot. I need to extend a special shout out to Chelsea who has been my ceaseless cheerleader.  Next, Darrin Skinner my boss, and friend, who went above and beyond to accommodate the time needed to complete this and my previous novels, as well as, lending me his ear and help despite his cumbersome schedule.  A special thanks to fellow author La Ron Jenkins for all of his advice and friendship.  Also, I want to express my sincere gratitude to those who were encouraging voices throughout the process: Dottie Cobb, Ashia Hughes, Charlie Davis, Lauren Hennessy, Daniel James, Lizzy Vestal, Ashlee Martin, and, my unofficial nutitionist Ernestine Brown.  Thanks to the professional team at CreateSpace who make the daunting task of self-publishing far more pleasant and efficient than it probably should be.  Also, Adam and Joe Hodge my adopted brothers and two best friends who are and always have been there for me.  Most of all, I want to appreciate my amazing wife, Tammy, who has stuck by my side and endured my insanity for the past twenty-three years.  She gave me the greatest gift I have ever received, my family, I adore you Paradise.  Finally, I want to acknowledge my daughter Jessie, who is my biggest and most vocal fan.  I love you Freckles, you and your brother, William, are truly my heroes. 

            To the fans: I hope you enjoyed this launching point for this series and I can’t wait to deliver its subsequent tales with the promise that each one will top the next.  This story freed my inner Fanboy to frolic and roam unencumbered.  The best honor I could receive is that it will allow yours to do the same.   

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: The Mazerunner

Wes Ball brings us his cinematic adaptation of the latest installment in the now tired genre of YA fiction that simply regurgitates the same ideas and characters into new surroundings.  What separates this endeavor from its compatriots is its absolute nonsensical storyline and overly stale, barely lucid performances of its teen troupe.    I can not begin to explain the sheer ridiculousness of the plot without spoiling the film which may, in the end, be more of a blessing than a disservice.   But I will digress to maintain my continuity and integrity.  Instead, I promise that, by the picture's end, you will most definitely scratch your head and scream the same questions and profanities that I did as the credits scroll across the screen.    I don't know much about the source material.  But if this flick holds true, in any way, to its literary predecessor, its is inconceivable how this travesty made it out of the Dollar Tree book aisle to the desk of some Hollyweird producer.  Then again, based on the current foray of films spewing from Tinsel Town's sewers, maybe it isn't so incomprehensible after all.  Even the effects disappoint as the filming is so dark and uncooperative that most of their impact is lost in translation.  0 out of 5 Kernels:  Run as fast and far away from this flick as your little legs will carry you.

#JustaQuickiePlease: A Walk Among the Tombstones Review

Fairly unknown director, Scott Frank, brings us a well-crafted story that is as deeply engrossing as it is disturbing.  Neeson, who has quickly become typecast as the geriatric action hero, takes a much-needed break from his bigger budget throw downs to deliver a subtly sophisticated and poignantly disciplined performance.  In this venture, he is a haunted and shady private eye which becomes enmeshed in a diabolically evil series of kidnappings and murders among a collective of lesser evils by comparison.   His journey is further complicated by the involuntary camaraderie of a young runaway and aspiring detective.  The acting is authentic and convincing.  The plot, although a bit convoluted, is thoroughly engaging, possessing a unique and effective indie styling.   It is a refreshing thriller that keeps one step ahead of the audience until the bitter end.  4 out of 5 Kernels: A dark little picture that deceives with just the right amount of genuineness and hope.

Friday, May 1, 2015

#JustaQuickiePlease: Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

I will avoid any and all spoilers as I proceed, so worry not as you read this review.  Whedon wins again with a superior sequel that succeeds where most cinematic follow-ups fail.  This successor levels up in action, humor, effects, and story with very few noticeable flaws.    Marvel films have achieved what other comic book flicks refuse to, engaging, authentic characters surrounded by a solid script, no matter how fantastic or insane it may be.   Spader's Ultron is simply marvelous, bringing a starkly original incarnation layered with the right amounts of deviousness and quick, biting wit as he savagely challenges the idea of humanity's longevity.   Now, he, by no means, one-ups villain extraordinaire and fan favorite, Hiddleston's Loki, nor could anyone ever.  The history or charm just isn't there.  And where the god of mischief sought to rule, this metal menace seeks to cleanse and renew in the most diabolical and remorseless way possible making his a more terrifying foe.   I also enjoyed the watching the effective and intricate development of Hawkeye, Widow, and Banner.   Renner's Barton was the most refreshing as he got some serious recompense after his mostly zombified role in the original outing.   I only have two quick complaints.  One, The CGI looked a little too CGI in many scenes which were not only definitively noticeable but made some of the combat look too fabricated almost "gamey."  The other is the lack of vibrancy that is a staple of most Marvel fare. That bright and hopeful cinematography is the most notable thing that sets these films apart from their DC competition.  Well, that and honoring continuity, actual role evolution, artfully crafted scripts, and authentic and effective comedy.  Although the darker filming was necessary for Daredevil, I hope that the silver screen ventures won't follow suit.  I know this was a more bleak adventure, but it can be told with the same robustness in sweep and scope as the genre has become know for.  These are comic book movies after all.  With the exceptions of those minor hiccups, this was an amazing journey that not only lived up to the hype but did the rare thing of exceeding it.  Look for a few hints to the Civil War storyline brewing.  A quick foreshadowing of the upcoming Black Panther outing  and a mid credit scene to keep the franchise rolling on to its inevitability.   4 out of 5 Kernels: This is what going to the movies should be like; excitement, entertainment, and stories that make you think and cheer at the same time.  Which is possible Nolan, it is possible!