Sunday, 25 June 2017

Review of Suicide Squad the movie

Pop culture is such that we often know something about a movie before we've even watched it. As is the case with Suicide Squad. Recently at SupaNova Sydney, there were many Harley Quinn and Joker characters walking around. I hadn't yet seen the movie but I knew who these characters were.

I finally got around to watching Suicide Squad, a movie based on DC comics antiheroes, directed by David Ayer.

Main stars:
Will Smith, Margot Robbie, and Jared Leto. I'm an Aussie so it's always wonderful to see an Aussie actress like Margot doing great in Hollywood. Watching it, I'm like "Go Margot" like I know her personally or something. It's an Aussie thing. Like that's "our Russell" or "our Margot" or "our Nicole". Go Margot!!


Plotline:

In the aftermath of Superman's death, an elite squad of dangerous criminals is created to fight the metahumans and save the world from a powerful threat, in exchange for reduced sentences.

First off. Whoah. Superman is dead. I was trying to get over my most loved super hero character being dead when the movie started. Talk about going blindly into this. But I told myself to put that aside and enjoy the story. Take deep breaths. Superman can't die. Okay, get over and move on.

So the story is that a secret agency sets up a task force of criminals it considers dispensable in order to be ready if a bad metahuman - a version of Superman who isn't decent - decides to attack Earth. Then a witch, who is under their supposed control of this secret agency, sneaks off and creates an army to destroy the world. Now the criminal antiheroes are called in to rescue an important person trapped in the city where the witch is creating her destruction.


My review:

Overall, I enjoyed Suicide Squad. It has a lot of action. And it showed some of the backstory to a few characters that I wasn't aware of. I didn't know Harley Quinn was Joker's psychiatrist. It comes with the typical DC comics mantra of 'we aren't born monsters, we're made monsters'. I must admit that her 'Daddy's Lil Monster' t-shirt I've seen her wear had me envisaging another way she'd been made bad. So it was a delight to be totally wrong on that point. And it shows how out of touch I am with some of these comic book characters.

But the movie also a lot of the same old, same old. Thousands of warriors against a small number of saviours. I like action, but I do tire of the endless, facing-insurmountable-odds-yet they-win battle scenes. Then everything is destroyed and don't these people know how long it takes to rebuild a city and nobody is held accountable? But that's me. Defender of the office block.

Adding to the DC mantra of 'we aren't born monsters, we're made monsters' is the plotline of the same person who set up the task force is the same person who created the whole need for rescue mission in the first place. It's classic villain profiling - control the beast and then send in someone to kill the beast when it bites you. I'm still not sure I like this storyline. Surely it was to be expected. Anyway...


Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn played an incredibly fearless character. Jared Leto as the Joker was also pretty fearless. I can see why Harley Quinn got more of a role in this movie than the Joker. Not that the Joker in this movie is a dud, but we've seen this character before. And there were so many other characters that there simply wasn't time to spotlight them all for too long. I can definitely see more movies and side movies following, because of the number of characters. With the popularity of anime, Katana could have a series of her own. I'm sure it's already underway.

Director David Ayer had 6 weeks to write the script, given that the date of production was set. And we have to be introduced to the characters which takes time. As a side note here, I'm an author and we're often roasted over the coals for taking too long to get to the story. Yet Hollywood can do it over and over, especially with these remakes of DC characters. This works if there is one or two characters, but there are many in this that all seemed to need a back story. In fact, there are dozens of characters in the Suicide Squad. They will need to find a way to get to the 'how' if they are to introduce any more characters.

I can imagine how hard it would be to condense so much back story and story into one movie, and apparently there were many scenes cut from the final film.

It was a good antihero film. Superheroes are enjoying a rise in popularity but like everything, their light may fade and we may see the rise of more antihero films.

I'd give it 3.5 stars, maybe 4. It was good, not brilliant. And I'd watch the whole series though and hope that the next director has a bit longer than 6 weeks to write the script.

BTW - Margot Robbie stole the show. Go Margot!!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

“I’m off to see the wizard” - author heads to the city for pop culture event

Hello from Down Under!
I live in Australia. In particular, on the south eastern coast in a regional area. It’s anywhere from a 4.5 to 5 hour drive to the city. That’s like a plane trip from LA to New York. A road trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. A drive from London to Wales. You get the picture. Australia is a big continent and city life is as busy as anywhere else in the world. Which is why, 10 years ago I decided to move out of the city and head to a coastal town in order to give myself more time to write. I’ve achieved this goal with three YA novels, 2 sci-fi books, short stories and novellas and many more in the works. Coastal life has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages. It’s a long drive to writer conventions and pop culture shows.
That’s why I’m super excited. Next weekend I'm making the trek back to the big smoke to join the overwhelming live circuit of SupaNova. And I can't wait.


When an author friend of mine suggested we share a table at SupaNova, I jumped at the chance. Eagerly we booked our spots like a million years ago, and this may or not have contributed to our location at the event. We are right in front of the Comic Book Super Stars and one of the rooms where the main guests will be appearing. Talk about awesome location for two little indie authors from a coastal town with a population of 16,000.
Mirren Hogan is an author from the same region. We each left city areas to relocate to the coast/country. I say coast country because beautiful Batemans Bay is nestled between the mountains the sea. She’ll be sharing a table because this is a big trip for both of us. To be honest, as excited as I am, I’m also a little terrified. What if it fails? Worse, what if it succeeds and I love it so much it’s all I can think about doing. The reality will be hard to return to.

SupaNova is Australia’s largest producer of pop culture live events for “Supa-Fans” of Movies, TV Shows, Celebrity Meet & Greets, Toys/Collectables, Gaming, Artists, Tech, Apps, YouTube Stars, Wrestling and more. It’s on from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 June 2017. It’s being held at the world fabulous Olympic Park, Homebush, Sydney Australia. They have some fabulous people coming to the show. Chris Helmsworth. Ricky Whittle (Lincoln from The 100). Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher. Plus heaps more great artists, actors and comic book creators. That's not all. 200,000 fans are projected for all of 2017 all venues. Sydney has got to be the busiest, right?

I’m going to meet fans and sell books and merchandise. Welcome to the Apocalypse Book 1 and 2 are available and I want the world to know about it. This series is exactly what this pop culture event focuses on. I'll have merchandise, signed photos, and books. It's difficult for indie authors to get books into the hands of readers. Postage is expensive to ship to book stores, and if you don't back that up with a tour a book can sit on a shelf, sell nothing, then get returned. We've got to take our goods to where they buyers are.
Dorothy never went to see the wizard on her own. She had Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion by her side. I know most of you can’t be there in person, but I’d like you to be there in spirit with me. I'll be in Table 30 opposite the Comic Book All Stars. And if I see Chris Helmsworth, I’ll be sure to say hi from you.

 


 

Monday, 12 June 2017

SupaNova Sydney - June 16-18. Here I come


When an author friend of mine suggested we share a table at SupaNova, I jumped at the chance. Eagerly we booked our spots like a million years ago, and this may or not have contributed to our location at the event. We are right in front of the Comic Book Super Stars and one of the rooms where the main guests will be appearing. Talk about awesome location for two little indie authors from the coastal regional area of NSW.
 
What is it?

SupaNova, Popculture convention.

Australia’s largest producer of pop culture live events for “Supa-Fans” of Movies, TV Shows, Celebrity Meet & Greets, Toys/Collectables, Gaming, Artists, Tech, Apps, YouTube Stars, Wrestling and more.

When is it?
 
Friday 16 to Sunday 18 June 2017
 
Where is it:
 
Olympic Park, Homebush, Sydney Australia
 
Who is going to be there?
 
They have some fabulous people coming to the show.
 
Chris Helmsworth
Ricky Whittle (Lincoln from The 100)
Dean Cain
Teri Hatcher
 
Plus heaps more great artists, actors and comic book creators

That's not all. 200,000 fans are projected for all of 2017 all venues. Sydney has got to be the busiest, right?

Why am I going?
 
To meet fans and sell books and merchandise. Welcome to the Apocalypse Book 1 and 2 are available and I want the world to know about it. This series is exactly what this pop culture event focuses on. I'll have merchandise, signed photos, and books.

 
It's difficult for indie authors to get books into the hands of readers. Postage is expensive to ship to book stores, and if you don't back that up with a tour a book can sit on a shelf, sell nothing, then get returned. We've got to take our goods to where they buyers are.

Who's sharing a table with me?
Mirren Hogan is an author from the same region as me. The south east coast of Australia. We each left city areas to relocate to the country. I wanted more time to write and I have to tell you, the plan has worked. Since I left the city, I've written over 7 books, 5 are published, more are waiting to be published.

Next weekend I'm making the trek back to the big smoke to join the overwhelming live circuit of SupaNova. And I can't wait.


Hope to see you there. I'll be in Table 30 opposite the Comic Book All Stars.
 
 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

June "Super Series" spotlight- multi author event

 
 
Series are popular with readers. Books, TV, Movies...but it can be like walking through a busy market with everyone trying to get your attention to know where to begin with a new series.
 
There's a reason we love series. They take us on a bigger picture journey. But a reader has to invest a long period of their time and the author has to engage the reader over a long period of time.
 
I thought I'd do a spotlight on books in a series. These may be Book 1 or Book 2 in a series, but they are all part of a bigger picture story.
 
This is a small selection, so there's no reason not to click on each and every book to discover if you or your friends would like to join this journey. I hope you find some new series to enjoy.


SCIENCE FICTION - APOCALYPTIC / DYSTOPIAN

Welcome to the Apocalypse - CyberNexis (Book 2)
Getting out of the game was all that mattered. Now all that matters is getting back in.

N Days (Book 1)
In a world gone terribly wrong. Where the monsters of our deepest nightmares have come alive.

In The Horde's Way (After the Collapse Book 3)
Follow Henrietta on a journey that is leads her into the councils of the invaders and chieftains of the tribes that rule the desert land of the Southwest.

Pia and the Skyman (Book 2)
The year is 2401, the location is a farming settlement on the northwest coast of North Island, Aotearoa.  

FANTASY - MAGIC

Crimson Fire (The Magic of Isskasala Book 1)

She had power at her fingertips, but the world had other ideas.


Heart of the Mountain (Under The Mountain Book 1)
Twins Delvina and Retza’s greatest desire is to be accepted as prentices by their parents’ old crew when they stumble across a stranger

The Herbalist's Daughter (Tamrin Tales Book 1)
Anna has her heart set on the young guard at the Palace but he seems not to notice her.


Oath Bound (Silverlands Book 2)

In a land where oaths can’t be broken be careful what promises you make.
To break the binding oath is to risk the very magic of Argenterra.

Rayessa and the Space Pirates

Sixteen-year-old Rae Stroder lives in a hollow asteroid, a defunct refuelling station, with a brain-damaged adult, Gris, to keep her company.

Wind (Drachengott Book 1)

Wendland is a land of dragons, and of magic. The mysterious Drachengott grants magic to his worshippers - but is he truly a god?

SUPERNATURAL - THRILLER / MYSTERY

Nightmares Rise (Dark Shores Trilogy Book 1)

Makani Lau loves her job as a Hawaiian tour guide. When the slow season hits, she tries to drum up some work.

Dead Cell (Revenant Chronicles Book 1)
Enter a world of conspiracy, psychic assassins, and road rage from beyond the grave.

Stake Out (Paranormal Detectives Book 1)

In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge...

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Review of Passengers movie

I finally got around to watching Passengers. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt.



The storyline:

The spaceship, Starship Avalon, in its 120-year voyage to a distant colony planet known as the "Homestead Colony" and transporting 5,258 people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result one hibernation pod opens prematurely and the one person that awakes, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) is stranded on the spaceship, still 90 years from his destination. Written by Eirini

Jennifer Lawrence plays Aurora Lane, a writer.
Chris Pratt plays Jim Preston, a mechanic.

My Review:
It's tagged as Drama / Romance / Adventure / Sci-fi, and it's accurate, the movie contains all four genres.

The sci-fi is plausible and the storyline only works on a spaceship, though my author brain is just now coming up with another way I could do this. (Puts idea into idea bank).

This is not a quest movie, the adventure is present from the opening credits. They're on a spaceship to an unknown planet. You wouldn't be there if you weren't an adventurist. However, they do have to save the world, in this case the other passengers.

The drama is present from the opening scene all the way to the end. It slowly builds which might not appeal to people who want explosive action for ninety minutes, but this isn't that sort of movie. There is explosive action - it seems to follow the formula of right place right time but what Hollywood movie doesn't.

The romance is nicely done. I think this story is above all, a romance. This is the story of two people who would never have met under normal circumstances, but of course here is where the twist lies. If you took away this element, the movie wouldn't end well, not just for these two but for other 5000 people on board the spaceship. The romance is what makes you root for these characters. Forget the rest, you only care about these two. And the android Arthur is a loveable characters.

For me, Passengers is the epitome of speculative fiction.

I won't give away spoilers, even though the twist is revealed early on in the movie, but it truly does make you wonder, what would you do in this situation? That's what I look for when I read or watch sci-fi. 

I enjoyed it. It's on my "I'm glad I watched it and I'd watch it again" list. 4 stars.


Now for the bits that didn't detract from the movie but stuck in my mind : Warning, this contains spoilers though if you haven't watched it, it won't make sense.

One of the crew members makes a brief appearance. It seems as if this is done purely to get Aurora and Jim access to the bits they need for the part in the movie where they save everyone. A bit too convenient.

Aurora rescues Jim from outside the ship. She would have to drag him all the way to the medical centre (but we don't see this) and lift him onto the hospital bed (we don't see this). Now, I don't know about you, but I have trouble lifting a 20 KG bag of cement. This is one of those things I always notice in films and TV.

Why didn't they have any kids? This was just a question that stuck in my mind and when you get to the final scene you'll understand why.

I did enjoy it. It's worth the watch.






Monday, 22 May 2017

Extract from Book 2 in an exciting new sci-fi series

The countdown is on. June 8 is the release date for Welcome to the Apocalypse Book 2 - CyberNexis. This is my first series. Prior to this, my books have been snapshots of a moment in a character's life, all standalone novels or short stories. When I started writing the story of three characters, Kelly Lawrence, Jack Minnow, and Reis Anderson, who become trapped in a virtual reality game battling a new apocalypse every day, I knew it would take much longer to tell this story than one book. I'm planning to write 4 or 5 novels to tell this entire story. Because there was a reason the computer failed...

books2read.com/u/4N1kVz


Synopsis

Getting out of the game used to be all that mattered. Now all that matters is getting back in.
 
In book one players were trapped in a virtual game. Finally rescued, they're taken to an offsite facility where they'll spend a few weeks recovering from muscle dystrophy and cyber sickness. But not everyone survived.
 
Not only do Kelly, Jack, and Reis have to cope with the deaths of players they've come to respect and love, they'll have to cope with the reason behind the computer malfunction. All the fingers are pointing at the game's creator, CyberNexis.
 
 If you like exciting twists and complex characters, and if fun and entertaining reads are what you're after, then you'll enjoy this second instalment in the Welcome to the Apocalypse series.
 


pRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW.
 
Why pre-order?
 
save $1 when you pre-order, special price $2.99 usd (normally $3.99
 
you get the ebook delivered on the day of release. So it's set and forget.
 
it helps with the rankings on amazon.
 
book one was top 5 hot new releases for 2 weeks.
 
 


 read an extract

 


CHAPTER 1

 

 The internet always crashed at home. Without fail, a quick search for a recipe turned into an epic battle, lasting longer than the Napoleonic War. However long that was; Kelly Lawrence didn't actually know because the computer had crashed the day she'd tried to find out.

The cause of her aggravation was not the plastic box and silicone chips that housed the data. The culprit was a non-sentient thing, capable of wreaking more havoc than a sugared-up toddler in a china shop. The culprit was cyber space. Littered with viruses, worms, malwares, and Trojans.

Why had she placed her life in the hands of a something prone to collapse?

Because it was meant to be a game.

It was also meant to be fail proof.

Someone was whispering in her ear. "It's over. You're safe."

No such thing as safe, she told herself, tuning out the voice floating to her from a corridor that could only lead to her darkest nightmares. She'd had enough of nightmares that charged towards her with blind fury, sending fiery sparks that stung like ant bites and always heralded another battle with monsters that wanted her dead.

"She's slipping away," the faraway voice said. "Come on, Kelly. Fight it."

Some people were born fighters. Others learned the skill. But always, even when you won you lost something.

"Stay with me," the voice beckoned. "I'm not gonna lose you."

What was the point of fighting? Pandora was never going to let her go. Yes, they'd given their cybernetic nemesis a name. Over one hundred people had entered simulation pods to escape reality. When it'd gone horribly wrong, it'd made sense to name their enemy after a goddess who'd unleashed hell upon mankind. All they'd had left was hope.

Even that was gone now.

Kelly let the darkness drag her away.

  

***

 

Kelly opened her eyes and was taken aback for a second. Seated opposite her was her late husband, Matt. Her heart lifted a little. He'd found her. Or had she found him? It seemed she recalled, hazily as if under the influence of a drug, that she'd gone in search of him inside the game, and here he was. He looked exactly as she remembered, with his dirty-blond hair that refused to stay out of his eyes, wearing a green shirt that melded to his body with adoration. He'd be almost thirty-one if he was alive. She was on the downhill side of twenty-six. These details should have mattered.

Instead, something akin to fear grew inside her, building the way a tornado does until she knew that whatever was heading her way could only be dangerous. Like a shipwreck survivor adrift in the ocean, Kelly slapped at the surging darkness to grab hold of the faraway voice. It was gone. She was alone with the ghost of her dead husband.

"The pursuit of happiness is a sink," Matt said, stabbing a slice of toast into the runny yoke of a boiled egg. "You fill the bowl with things that make you happy; shopping, drinking, smoking, eating. Whatever. Then you wake up the next morning to discover that the sink has a hole in it and the bowl is empty. What do you do?"

Too tired to take the bait to an argument so old it could only be interpreted with a hieroglyphics manual, she let her shoulders slump. She cast her gaze around the cafe where she and Matt had spent most Sunday mornings. The rustic decor of copper pipes converted into bookshelves, wine barrels made into tables, old jam jars used as drink glasses...these decorative items had once fascinated her. Now they terrified her. Only Matt could have replicated this virtual world. A world that both touched and saddened her heart at the same time, for this world was a glimpse through a window. Memories were all that were on offer in this cafe.

And yet, the past could only haunt a person if they let it, so why was she?

"Kelly?" Matt was scowling at her with a furious look in his eyes. The real Matt only ever scowled in fierce concentration, never in anger. "What do you do?"

"My addled brain sports neither concern nor clue," she said, quoting her dead husband who'd once spent a month talking like a Shakespearean actor while working on a Mediaeval cosplay website. This version stared at her blankly. Proof that he wasn't real.

"I just want to go home," she said.

The moment the words left her mouth she felt the air shift. The cafe faded and in its place was a war zone. Buildings were on fire, guns were being fired, smoke filled her nostrils.

The window beside her smashed, glass flew into the plate of eggs, and someone - no something - jumped through the opening.

There wasn't anything human about this creature. It had matted hair that was encrusted with dirt and blood. It carried knives in both hands and the hide of a deer was wrapped around its back. Bones hung around its neck and when it caught Kelly's gaze, it growled. The spell was broken. Her reflexes sprang into action. She ran out of the cafe.

Whatever happens next, she told herself, just keep running.

The beast matched her pace, running beside her with its wild hair trailing like a horse's mane. It turned its head and smiled, revealing yellow teeth. In her head she heard a voice yelling at her to go left, and so she did. But she ran straight into another creature.

It held a knife above its head. Staring at it, she noticed it was too small to be knife. A syringe! The beast swung the syringe down into her neck.

Except it wasn't a syringe, it was a computer cable.



 
 
Enjoyed this extract? Why not buy the book? You can buy it here.
 
Haven't read Book 1 yet? No worries, you can buy it here.