Thursday, January 29, 2015

Films I'm looking forward to: Jupiter Ascending - "Reign of Jupiter"

Jupiter Ascending, I've mentioned this film before, a time or two.

Here's the synopsis: Jupiter Jones was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Years later, Jupiter still dreams of those stars but wakes to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets. Only when Caine, a genetically engineered alien bred to hunt, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along - her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos, and that there are forces out in the long dark of space who would kill entire planets just to possess her.

Love it.

So, for some reason (a complete disconnect from the world/audience/reality), Warner Brothers thought debuting this at Sundance would be a good idea. As a result, whether or not the film turns out to be good or bad, there's currently no shortage of sneering and snickering about it on Twitter. What a surprise, right? Who would've thought that the Sundance crowd wouldn't be into a giant Space Opera sci-fi action flick by the people who made The Matrix and Cloud Atlas? Not Warner Brothers apparently, which means they are now super nervous about the film's release, obviously because they're run not just by dumb animals, but panicky ones as well. And all of that, is how we've now ended up with this, a three minute long "Extended Look" Trailer mere days before the film opens.

It's basically a show-off reel/explain-o mini-version of the film.

Sounds good to me. Let's watch...

Seriously... A new Space Opera? I am so in. I don't care what anyone says, this looks fantastic.

Can't wait,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Heat vs Repulsion

Today we have an animated short by a 19 year old Chinese kid named Optical Core. I'm pretty sure that's not his birth name, but I do wonder if he self-applied, or if he has a different nickname and this is just the result of the translation from Chinese to English.

Not that it matters, I guess...

Anyway, Heat vs Repulsion is the story of two undefined Gods on a rocky shore just beating the unholy crap out of each other. I added the "undefined Gods" part for reasons that are probably already at least partially apparent from the pictures I posted above, the rest of which will become clear after you actually watch the short. In a nutshell: Not big on Narrative. But don't let any kind of underwhelmed initial impression dissuade you from checking this out, it's pretty kick ass.

Let's watch...

Pretty cool, huh?

Turns out Purple was the bad guy, I guess. I knew it. He just seemed like a jerk right from the start, right? Green had heart. Plus, he rallied to win the fight to the beat of a pretty rockin' Asian Pop Song, so yeah, obviously he's the good guy. Or at least, that's my take.

What's yours?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Phoenix 9

Phoenix 9 is the debut of German film-making team of Amir Reichart (director and editor) and Peer Gopfrich (writer and producer). Apparently, the idea behind this short film is that it would act as proof-of-concept for a feature length screenplay by Peer Gopfrich. Now, maybe it's just me, but... has this idea ever paid off? Has a proof-of-concept short film ever sold a movie? I don't see how it could. It seems like the lack of real resources--the unavoidably amateurish result of DIYing a high concept sci-fi film--would only muddy up the vision of how it would work as a studio film. It really seems like this proof-of-concept idea mostly only pops up because people sometimes get too eager to get to their dream, they lack the patience to wait and put in the work, to do their time, and they end up jumping the gun. To me, it seems like you'd be better off in the long run if you just focused on making the script as tight as you can, rather than trying to reach the sun with a stepladder, y'know?

But whatever... what do I know?

Anyway, here's the synopsis: After a global nuclear war has turned earth into a scorched wasteland, a struggling group of survivors discovers a secret installation that offers a new beginning - but not without a catch...

Oh, a catch, you say? Let's watch...

Not bad, I guess... but for 22 minutes, I honestly saw very little in the way of any characters or world-building stuff that really stood out. I did like some of the tech stuff the characters casually used, that was done pretty well, but otherwise...? What's the hook? And does the movie start from the ending, after the twist? Or would the way the short film ended be the actual ending of the movie as well? I think it's fair to say that the most interesting part of the entire short film would be the reaction to, and the fallout from, the twist at the end, but could that drive a whole movie? And if so, doesn't this all end up as wasted time basically? I don't know.

We'll see, I guess,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Updates: The Work continues...

The new year is well under way, and as per usual, I am a little behind on this blog, and on my writing in general, but that's about to change. Hopefully. Maybe. Probably not, to be honest... but God damn it, I'm gonna try! Actually, I feel pretty good about where I am at the moment. I have a good routine, I have some solid projects on deck, and I'm feeling the itch. The coming year should be good.

And all of that means that it's time once again to do what I occasionally do here...


Let's do this...

I've got a few things piling up for the blog. There will be the usual random movie trailers and TV stuff (2015 looks like it's gonna be a fun year at the movies), as well as some new short films I liked, so I'll be sharing all of that with you in the coming days, weeks, and months. However, for those of you who might be looking forward to the tradition, I'm currently debating whether or not to even bother writing up anything for the Oscars this year. I usually do some predictions and reactions and what-not, but this year just feels so unexciting. More so than usual, it feels like the expected crop of Oscar pap is even more bland and formulaic than in previous years. I don't know, I guess I don't really have any major specific complaints about all--or at least some--of the nominees other than it seems like a lot of the really exciting films this year were at best under-nominated, but most were just out right ignored... So, I don't know. I haven't decided yet, but at the moment, it's looking like: Nope. Besides, right now it's pretty obvious it's gonna come down to a foot race between Birdman and Boyhood, which isn't too bad a choice given how dull and crappy some of the other nominees are, but that's not very exciting as far as Oscar-watching is concerned.

In the "here's a big shock" category, I still have some Final Draft work to do on Gunslingers of the Apocalypse, but I'm in no real hurry there. Maybe by the end of the year. We'll see. Other than that, this has been a not too bad year for me, as far as writing is concerned (other stuff too, but... we're focusing here). I had two short stories published this year, and that was awesome. Yay me. I've talked about all of this before, of course, right here most recently, but you can also find all of the details on what, where, and how over on the sidebar to the left. You should check it out, it's fun stuff, and at only $2 or $3 a pop, it's not like you can really go too wrong, right?


Also, on the good news front: Little Ms. Super Cute Wife has finally abandoned all pretense and has admitted publicly before God and Congress and Country that she has no intention whatsoever of ever using her office space up in our half attic. "It's cold," she says, which immediately tells me two possible things: 1. The half attic might be haunted. Or 2. Little Ms. Super Cute Wife has an unhealthy addiction to Space Heaters. Either way, the half attic is now mine, and mostly cleaned up and de-wifed. Soon I will be going up there a couple of hours each evening and attempting to get some writing progress done. This will be a new thing for me. I've never had a "writing space" before, I usually do my work wherever's clever, y'know? So, we'll see how this experiment works out. I've got a good chair and table and some nice art to hang, I think it'll be good.

Fingers crossed.

As for my writing itself,  much like my life, it continues to progress. As some of you may or may not recall, after the death of my last WIP, I've been working on a First Chapter project. The idea was to take four ideas that I have clamoring for attention in my notes and write up their possible first chapters. It was fun, and since each one was different, it turned into a kind of challenging creative experiment. At least for the first three. The first three went really well, I think. I came out the far side with some viable starting points with real characters and real hooks, the type of things I could return to, polish, and then leap into the rest of the story from. All in all, I'm really happy with them.

The fourth one though, the fourth one has been giving me fits. The beginning I intended? Not working out. I've tried a couple of times, some different angles, but... nope. It was gonna be this thing that started in space and ended up back on Earth, a Space Opera-ish idea with a parallel Broken Earth plot, all of it spinning out of a couple of old short story ideas, but now I'm thinking that's all wrong, so I'm gonna give this recently out-of-the-blue new idea a chance.

We'll see where it goes.

At the same time, I recently blurted out the first draft of a short story. It's rushed and rough, of course, but I think it turned out all right. Now I just have to go back over it and kind of tease out the theme and stuff, while re-writing and shaping. This, and that last First Chapter idea mentioned in the previous paragraph, will be what I'll be spending the next couple of weeks on.

And after all that stuff is done, then comes the second draft of Agatha Ironhand...

And that's my year, friends.

How's yours looking?