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
Characters are the bread and butter of your story, the glue that holds the plot together, the icing on the… oh, you get the gist. The characters are the emotional center of any written work — they are who takes us along with them on their journey. If we aren’t emotionally involved with the lead character (who may or may not be the narrator), or find the supporting characters boring or nonsensical, the reader will quickly become bored and no amount of plot will bring them back. It doesn’t matter if it’s a young boy who discovers he’s a wizard, a group of kids who band together to fight the evil lurking in the sewer, or a man who builds a spaceship to hunt for his abducted wife, if the characters are weak or underdeveloped, the story will suffer. So how do you go about engaging the reader with compelling characters that they’ll want to follow to the end of the world? Learn the Basics for Character Development
There’s a scene toward the beginning of American Ultra, the new film that once again pairs Jesse Eisenberg with Kristen Stewart, when Eisenberg’s Mike Howell and Stewart’s Phoebe Larson are sitting on the hood of a car in a field, smoking pot and watching the authorities clean up an accident. Mike goes seriously deep as he compares his life with Phoebe as that of a tree stopping a car in its tracks. In essence, he feels he’s a tree, stuck forever in one place, while Phoebe’s the car, and he’s somehow kept her from ever moving on. The scene is a very quiet look into the mind of a man who feels so deeply rooted in an existence of inactivity that he has anxiety attacks when he even attempts to leave the town border. The scene is so well-acted, and incredibly written that it almost spoils the rest of the film, which can’t seem to ever live up to that one five minute clip. Read Full Review
It’s been widely accepted for a long time now — Meryl Streep can do no wrong… at least where her acting skills are concerned (as it’s quite clear there have been a few hiccups along the road to her legitimate crowning as the Queen of Oscar). Whether she is righteously dramatic, vindictively evil, delightfully funny or surprisingly capable of belting out a tune, Streep always remains fantastically believable as a fully-realized, three-dimensional woman. There are very few actors who can pull off what she’s been able to do in her illustrious career, but unfortunately, even her grandiose talent can’t save every movie. There are limits to her powers, and they come in the form of writers and directors, neither of which Streep has any control over (aside from choosing what scripts she accepts). It’s clear that her presence raises the profile of a film like Ricki and the Flash, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a film will translate to a perfect end result. Read Full Review
Unless you’re Fast and Furious, when a franchise hits its fifth installment, it usually signifies a last ditch effort to squeeze a few more dollars out of a dead franchise. At best, franchises this long in the tooth feel a bit repetitive and lazy, mostly because there’s really no story left to tell and everyone involved is simply going through the motions. At worst, slapping a five on the end of the title (or hiding the fact it’s a five through other means) turns the effort into a boring and pathetic cash-grab that pisses all over the treasured memories of a time when everyone cared about the film and its characters. And Hollywood isn’t fooling us when they reclassify a fifth installment as a reboot (or in the case of the Amazing Spider-Man 2, a sequel to a reboot), because usually, they still don’t hold a candle to their original counterparts, leading to the boos and hisses of fans clambering for original material or death to the franchise. That’s why this week was a bit of an enigma in the cinema-verse, as two movies marking the fifth member of their respective franchises somehow found a way (on varying levels) to buck the trend of grating antipathy to deliver on the promise of entertainment. Read Full Review
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