Memoirs of Keladrayia: Jaxxa Rakala has arrived!
Book 2 in the riveting Jaxxa Rakala Saga (check out book 1) takes you on an emotional ride of self-discovery, as all of your favorite characters look deep within themselves to discover who they truly are while continuing their quest to find answers about Stacey’s abduction. Learn More
There’s only one way to say this: I have mixed feelings about Pixels.
Given that I only recently found out that Pixels is actually based on a two-minute short produced by OnMoreProd (and directed by Patrick Jean) on YouTube, when I first read about the feature film, I was extremely excited about the idea of an alien race attacking the planet with eighties arcade games. It’s not only an idea that’s primed for greatness (especially if it could nail the eighties era vibe), but one I wish I had had. And unlike a lot of naysayers and haters out there, I don’t have an issue with Adam Sandler. Have I liked all of his films? That would be a resounding “No!” I didn’t like Little Nicky at all, I wasn’t a fan of You Don’t Mess With the Zohan or I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Jack & Jill was part of my top 5 worst films in 2011. But no one’s ever going to like everything, and because I like a lot of his other films, there’s always the hope that the next one will bring back what made films like Happy Gilmore so good. Add in the awkwardness of Josh Gad (who, like Will Ferrell, I tend to like more as a voice actor), the silliness of Kevin James (who can be super funny if given the right material, which as of late, hasn’t happened much), the awesomeness that is Peter Dinklage, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for success, especially when you have a cook as good as Chris Columbus in control of it all. Read Full Review
When I think of Paul Rudd, I don’t think superhero. With his average-guy personality (and looks, for that matter), combined with his lovingly awe-shucks attitude toward life, Rudd has built a career playing the ordinary everyman with a childish maturity. In other words, Rudd is normal — there isn’t a whole lot that makes him “super.” Trying to picture Rudd running alongside (and/or fighting) any of the Avengers seems outlandish on its face. He’s too gentle to be a fighter; too plain to be a god; too kindhearted to be a badass. But it turns out, those qualities and more are exactly what’s needed to give Ant-Man its voice. Read Full Review
Congratulations to Tatiana Maslany, who received her very first (and long overdue) Emmy nomination today for her killer portrayal of not one, not two, but nine separate clones (so far) in BBC Ameirca’s Orphan Black. Each character Maslany plays is incredibly crafted so as to keep them all very distinctive, whether it’s with the voice, the hair, her cadence or all of the above — to the point that when you’re watching her play multiple characters in the same scene, you usually forget it’s the same actress in each role. Not only that, but Maslany has been able to craft incredibly diverse personalities that keep you engaged no matter who she’s playing, turning in a variety of nuanced performances that allow each one to be someone’s favorite. (For the record, my favorite is Alison!) Read More
Despicable Me was one of those films that took me by surprise. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the film, having gotten a rather mediocre vibe from the trailers. Basically, I didn’t think it would be much good — just another so-so entry in the animated cannon. But then magic happened and I was won over by Gru’s carefully crafted transformation from incredibly despicable (yet lovable) villain to devoted father and hero to his adopted little girls. One of the reasons for the film’s success were Gru’s yellow pill-shaped creatures in blue overall’s who meant well, but were crazily prone to accidents and were far more cute and fun than nefarious. The little guys, known as minions, were so popular, they eventually became Illumination Entertainment’s (the animated studio behind the Despicable franchise) mascots. It was only a matter of time before the little runts got their own movie. But is Minions a smashing success story, or is it missing something important in its formula? Read Full Review
Back in 1984, James Cameron gave us a sci-fi action thriller that seriously messed with our heads. A terminator from 2029 was sent back to kill Sarah Connor before giving birth to humanity’s savior, John, who sends back a fellow soldier, Kyle Reese, to stop it. But it’s only because of these events that John’s birth and judgement day even occur. Basically, the timeline becomes one crazy paradoxical time loop — if Skynet never sends a terminator to kill Sarah, John is never born (because Kyle is never sent back), thus eliminating the need to even consider sending a terminator back; at the same time without ever sending a terminator back, the technology that jump-starts judgement day would never have been found. It was a complex way to say you can’t change the past (or the future for that matter), since doing so would rupture the space-time continuum (as Doc Brown might say). That is unless you decide to add in the concept of alternate timelines, which is exactly what director Alan Taylor does in Terminator Genisys, a resetting of the classic franchise that takes a page from J.J. Abrams in how to alter the history of a franchise while staying true to the original source material. Read Full Review
We all need loyalty in our lives — that innate desire to have a friend or loved who will be there for us no matter what. And in cinema, this type of devoted friendship is often found in stories about a boy and his dog. From Old Yeller to My Dog Skip, a genuine bond is formed between a child and their four-legged co-star that isn’t always possible between two humans, and somehow finds a way to play the heartstrings in a way that even the hardest of men become blubbering children. Max is the latest of these films to hit theaters, and with its quiet release comes a honored tribute to the brave dogs trained for military service, adding a level of heroism and complexity that goes beyond the normal boy and his dog storyline. (And yes, I am aware there are girl and her dog stories (Because of Winn-Dixie) and men and their dog stories (Marley & Me), but let’s face it, the genre is predominantly young males… it’s just how it is.) Read Full Review
Ever since Pixar exploded onto the scene with their game-changing animated behemoth, Toy Story, there’s one thing they have never strayed from — their integrity. It doesn’t matter whether or not audiences are blown away by their stories or are indifferent to them, John Lasseter and his team will defend their product without a second thought. The best example of this integrity was in their decision to delay The Good Dinosaur because they knew it wasn’t ready. Instead of releasing an inferior product, one they couldn’t get fully behind, they pulled it from its release date even though it caused some pundits to claim that Pixar’s magic was starting to fizzle. I’d much rather they take their time and be extremely happy with the final product than to have them shove something into the marketplace simply because that was the plan. It’s because of this integrity (as well as not shying away from the darker, more adult themes that leave grown men crying) that has kept them creatively astute. No matter what you may have thought of something like Cars 2, you can always rest assured there will always be a film like Inside Out just waiting in the wings to prove why Pixar continues to be the reigning champ for high quality entertainment that doesn’t condescend to its audience. Read Full Review
“Yeah, but John, when the Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.” — Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), Jurassic Park
Those words come to full, glorious life in Jurassic World when a flurry of liberated pteranodons dive-bomb the patrons of the now open dinosaur theme park after they’ve all been corralled to the “main street” of the park because the new attraction decided to outsmart its human captors and run amok across Isla Nublar, the island where John Hammond originally established his original Jurassic park. And like the hundreds of guests who ooh and aah the exhibits before becoming lunch, I was engrossed by everything director Colin Trevorrow had to offer in representing Ian Malcolm’s eloquent warnings. Read Full Review
This past weekend, I attended the Temecula Independent Film Festival in the Temecula Valley wine country, and I am honored to have received the Best Grape Dance Feature award for my feature film, Secrets of the Desert Nymph. The grape dance award was given to the best films from filmmakers who live in the Inland Empire (which includes Temecula, Murrita and Riverside areas). Read full Post