Archive for August, 2016

IndieBook Review – Where Have All the Elves Gone?

One of the old adages for a majority of literary and creative writing “gurus” is to write what you know. This can take on different meanings with different people, but to me it means write for your passion; it means write for yourself first and the public later. By doing so you’re able to imbue your characters with the love, the pain and the life experiences that you’ve personally had, which in turn allows them to live and breathe through you while having the freedom to add the wild ideas you’ve always wished to explore as a scintillating garnish. Christian Warren Freed, author of Where Have All the Elves Gone? gives this wise-old adage an interesting spin by not only giving his characters backstories that may correspond in certain ways with his own, but creatively compounds the idea by turning the life we know into something far from what we think it to be. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem -Pete’s Dragon & Ben-Hur

If you’re a follower of my blog, you’re probably aware that I am not the biggest fan of remakes, reboots and all the rest. I’ve previously railed about Hollywood turning their blockbuster machine into a Xerox machine, leaving most original content to wallow and “impress” in the specialty markets and film festivals, testing the waters before going wide. (One of those films, Hell or High Water, is a remarkable film with a great cast; having made over 3 million thus far in its slow burn release schedule, had the studios opened this wide from the jump, it more than likely would have made its budget back and then some opening weekend.) Where the real problem lies is when executives take a look at their company’s back catalogue, see dollar signs with titles that originally made a lot of money and think they can capitalize on that success with an inferior retread instead of looking for those titles with a brilliant premise but which failed because of horrible execution. In other words, instead of attempting to improve a weak product, they harm an already strong property for the sake of the bottom line.

In the last two weeks, there have been two remakes released to theaters. One is an enigma as it falls into a separate category that I will get into in just a second. The other, Pete’s Dragon, is the perfect example of a film that was in desperate need of an upgrade, taking the original idea and improving on it tenfold. Read Full Review

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Movie Mayhem – Nine Lives

If anyone was ever to remake The NeverEnding Story, I would bet dollars-to-donuts Christopher Walken would play the owner of the bookshop Bastian steals from. Alongside his many supporting roles in an eclectic array of films, Walken has somehow become the go-to actor to play “the mystical shopkeeper.” Okay, yes, it’s only been twice now, but in both Click and the new cat-tastrophe (oh my gah… I can’t believe I just did that!), Nine Lives, it becomes clear Walken is a little too bemused by the parody of himself. There’s no life left in his once Oscar-winning persona, a noticeable problem that infects everything else around it. There’s something to be said for an actor elevating a film that seems otherwise thrown together, but when it feels like he — alongside Kevin Spacey, another professional  stalwart that doesn’t belong anywhere near a film like this — isn’t even attempting to give 110%, that not only affects those around him from giving their all, but it telegraphs to the viewer that the film isn’t worth their time.

A good example for this is The Fifth Element, a film that could have been a disaster of Jupiter Ascending proportions had it not been for every single actor just letting loose and going for it, delivering terrific performances as if the film was poised to win every Oscar category. Of course, the actors involved had the advantage of working with a well-written script. Unfortunately, Nine Lives can’t hold up on that front either. Read Full Review

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