Friday, October 31, 2014

Movie Review - John Wick

John Wick


Starring: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Daniel Bernhardt, Omer Barnea, Toby Leonard Moore, Bridget Moynahan, and more.

Directed by: David Leitch and Chad Stahelski Screenplay by: Derek Kolstad Cinematography by: Jonathan Sela Music by: Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard

Premise: John lost his wife to a disease, and though they'd know the end would come eventually, he's still not prepared for it when it comes. His wife, knowing he would need an emotional anchor, ordered a beagle puppy to delivered after her funeral. Trying to deal with this new wrinkle, he's approached by a man at a gas station who wants to buy his car. He tells him 'no' and they part ways. But that night, they assault him in his home, kill his new dog, and steal his car. But there's something they don't know about John Wick - John is a retired assassin. And for their disrespect, someone will pay. (Rated R)

Review:

1)  Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Keanu as John Wick was an excellent choice - from wounded husband to avenging angel, you never doubt what's on his mind. Michael Nyqvist as Viggo Tarasov was another marvellous choice - a man who knows the choices he makes may very will be the end of everything, but does them anyway.

A master stroke was getting Adrianne Palicki to play Ms. Perkins - she was all sorts of delicious goodness in the film. (Supernatural fans - meet a new and deadly Jess. She's also been making waves in this season's Agents of Shield! Scrumptious!) Aldie Allen does what he does best as the mob boss's son Iosef. Lance Reddick was fab as the Hotel Manager! Best straight face in the business!

And one who would not normally get credit - the beagle puppy, Daisy. Most adorable thing EVER!

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: As the previews imply, there is a boat load of gun play and destruction. People shot in all manner of ways with minor splatters of blood all over the place. Great work all around.

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The premise for the film is simple and could have easily been glossed over and just used as an excuse for the mayhem. Films of this type normally go in that direction, not really bothering to get the audience invested. But not this one. These guys sell you into it. They let you see John's pain and grief and the glimmer of possible hope brought to him by his dead wife in the form of a puppy. And they were smart enough to get the most evilly adorable creature imaginable. So the audience is right there with him when things take an unexpected turn and you want them to pay for what they've done as bad as John. Super kudos on how they played this!

If that wasn't enough to amaze, they used the right reason to support why these mobsters didn't hand the offender over on a silver platter, the idiot is the boss's son. His only son. Half the fun of this thing is watching each rung of men realize who it is that the idiot Iosef picked on and how he may have just signed a death warrant on them all. Heh heh.

Lots of small reveals about John and who it is he's coming after and how this is one giant cosmic joke or a case of karmic vengeance. And John Wick is wickedly efficient. He very much believes in the 'double tap' principle. Totally awesome. And they had to reload! Yes! They even had a competent head of security to slow John down - the guy was awesome.

And then they give you more. John goes back into a world known to only to a select few. A world with rules and stringent codes of conduct. Things you do and things you don't. It added another fabulous layer to the entire enterprise. And Ms. Perkins - so loved the character of Ms. Perkins. lol.

Also, after you've seen the film, think about John's reputation, and then who it was that helped him. I got the definite impression this was not the first time this game was played. Priceless.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The stunts were phenomenal. Tons of hand to hand combat, close range shooting, speed driving, all the fun stuff of which action movies are made. And they did it phenomenally - several scenes almost seeming like a ballet at times due to the awesome timing and smoothness of the choreography of those involved.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Great locations for all sorts of mood setting spots: the Red Circle with the club within a club, the hotel combining old and new and its own unique clientele. And the cinematography showed every one of them in lovely detail. Then showed them as chaos came to rule. Visually stimulating.

Conclusion: "John Wick" was an action packed paradise with a solid story raising it that much higher above the fold. Definitely a fun ride all around. Subject matter might be a little too strong for younger kids.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)  

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Picture Kaleidoscope 10/29/14 - Foodie Issue!

Morning all!

In the last couple of weeks or more, hubby and I discovered a couple of fab restaurants. So I am going to share! Heh heh

Wasabi & Wok - Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine.


Unagi Don Buri - Eel Rice Bowl - done a little differently than your usual Unagi Don, but still so delicious! The Martini Glass lit up and had radish spaghetti and other vegetables. Nice!


Beef Fried Rice.


I love these things! So beautiful!


Chicken and Flat Noodle - hubby was doing the whole Scooby Doo and Scooby Snacks bit after he took a taste. lol. 



Adobo Puerto Rican Restaurant



Little place of Beltline in Irving. 


Mofongo - have not had this in forever! YUM.


Hubby got Churrasco - skirt steak and onions. He was one happy camper. The beans for the rice came in a separate cup and were super tasty.


Pernil - roast pork. Also arroz y gandules. 

Sadly, I totally forgot to take a pic of my daughters Canoe - dish I'd not seen before but looked fantastic. (I had a hard time picking!) And they even had tostones. We'll be back!



And now I'm hungry. lol. Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mind Sieve 10/27/14

Morning!


Fan Fun


FenCon Squares 2014 - my first time on this. I'm the short head on the top row. lol. It's a couple of games, so it's long! 50 minutes. You've been warned. :P 



Morganville Vampires preview - release date is 10/27 online at Geek & Sundry. Sweet!






SyFy Channel Ascension Trailer - they had a way longer one at the theater, but this was the only one I found. It's a mini series, so should be fun!




Social Media/Author Platform

Facebook Rooms: This Week in Social Media by Social Media Examiner's Cindy King. FB is looking more like Google +. Though the improvement on pages is a good one.





Writing Advice

Backstory: The More You Know, The Less I Have To - guest post by Piper Bayard at Kriten Lamb's Blog. Good info in there.

Ask Jami: How Many Characters Are "Too Many"? by Jami Gold. It's fascinating how some do go overboard on this. Heh heh



Bwahaha! Blog post is complete! Will wonders never cease? Bwahahaha!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Virtual Tourist - TERA 10/26/14

Morning!

In the midst of Fan Days last weekend I totally forgot to do Sunday's blog. DOH~!

TERA
Aurum Road


Not the most secure stronghold. But wood would be scarce here.


One of the natives


Flying fish!


Totally bizarre costume!


Some really neat ruins in this parts


A safer looking way staion


Really cool details


Impressive, no?


It makes one weep for the lost glory


Just so cool!


Nice outfit!


So massive!


Really hard to get pics of the bag guys. lol. Attempt 1


Failed bad guy pic attempt 2


So freaking breathtaking! 


Flying FISH!!!! (You would not believe how hard it is to get a good pic of this thing!)


Danger zone!


Not creepy or anything. lol.

Have an awesome day!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Movie Review - The Book of Life

The Book of Life


Starring: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo, Carlos Alazraqui, Emil-Bastien Bouffard, Elias Garza, Genesis Ochoa, Grey DeLisle, and more.

Directed by: Jorge R. Gutierrez Screenplay by: Jorge R. Gutierrez and Douglas Langdale Art Direction by: Paul Sullivan Music by: Gustavo Santaolalla

Premise: Some school delinquents on a trip to the museum get taken to a little known part of place by their tour guide, one dedicated to Mexico. There the kids learn about the Book of Life and the Day of the Dead as their guide spins a tale about a bet between the beautiful La Muerte and Xibalba for control of different parts of the underworld. The bet concerns two boys and a girl and which of the two of them she will choose when she becomes old enough to marry. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: A really nice mashup of talent was used to fill the cast of characters for the film. Diego Luna and Channing Tatum made for fun friends and rival suitors. Zoe Saldana was spicy and entertaining as always. Ice Cube was quite amusing as the Candle Maker. Emil, Elias, and Genesis were adorable as the voices for the three children. Ron Perlman and Kate del Castillo as Xiblaba and La Muerte were also a ton of fun. Grey DeLisle as Manolo's grandmother added some lovely touches of fun as well.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Reel FX Animation Studios (from Dallas!) does some amazing work in the film. The 'real world' is done in a realistic CGI art style. The story of the bet is told using wooden dolls, so when it unfolds and comes to life on the screen, all the characters are wooden dolls. The dead too are wooden, yet at the same time have a totally different texture and look to them. Xibalba (based on Mayan lore) and the Candle Maker were different from all of the above.

And with the thrown in Mexican folklore and flavor, and Reel FX delivers something entirely unique that stands on its own.

The film gives lots to keep your senses entertained. Xibalba's eyes's red skull pupils were utterly fascinating! Loved how they used then in different facings depending on what he was thinking or feeling. The weird green glowing goo and tar like skin, plus the green flamed candles on his shoulders made him a great treat. La Muerte, too, was dazzling in her red dress and painted face, and her gorgeous glowing eyes.

Make sure to look closely at the center of the universe - loved the juxtaposition of the guitar, the skull, and the mustache. Tons of lovely little touches everywhere. And wait till you see what they do with the skeletal bulls!

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up:  The best stories are those with multiple levels and themes - and this one had plenty. From the pressures and expectations of family and duty, to parents realizing what they think "best" for their children might not be the case, there were plenty of lessons to be learned by all involved. 

While some of the direction the plot takes is expected, there were plenty of other places where it will surprise you. Lots of fun!

4) Music - Total Thumbs Up: The music department likes to play! While layered with a lot of traditional Mexican styles of music, pay close attention to the lyrics of what the characters are singing. If you do, you'll find several of the songs sounding eerily familiar. In a couple of spots, that recognition will make the hijinx going on even more of a treat! 

Conclusion: "The Book of Life" if a color filled, multi layered adventure with fun for everyone. The medium is unique, and the music/lyrics an extra layer of fun.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission to See Again)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Picture Kaleidoscope 10/22/14 - Fan Days 2014 Edition

Morning!

Took a ton of pics over the weekend while at Fan Days 2014. Lots of super awesome costumes!


The daughter and I have a new banner, one big enough to compete with all the artists in the artist alley section. Help us stick out a little more. Heh heh


The calm before the storm.



A furry, not only dressed up as a character from Attack From Titan but doing the actual salute! Floored me. lol. 




The CDC and Military were also in attendance. Playing the Happy song.


Terri was a bad boy.


Hah! Forgot I did this more than once.


Chill Dude, you make it!


Friend Jackie selling her cool hats and drink cozies. The R2D2 cozy is so cool!


Ladies of fantasy


The Three Faces of Cobra Commander! Decisive


Torn


Whimsical? lol


All sorts of heroes came on by!


Wizards too!


Don't they look awesome?


Zoom in on the two fairies. Weirdest hairdos ever. I should have a better pic farther down. 


The costume behind the shield was even more awesome!



School girl demons?



Spy vs. Spy with accessories. heh heh.


Everything is awesome!


Deep sea diver of DOOM. Didn't get a shot of his giant drill. Darn


Aha, here's the two funky fairies!


Captain American better watch out.


You have to zoom in to see the awesomeness of this unusual costume. She has mimicked the old fashioned art style with her own body. Too cool!


And she had a buddy!


Green Goblin and a Storm/Thor mashup!



The Kree came to visit. RUN!


This year's awesome Dalek mashup - The Baroness Dalek by Taylor Lymberry. Sweet!


I thought this one was fantastic! Looked beyond awesome!


Red Skull is in the house!


You'll need to see the bigger pic to see the super cool dots and makeup on her face. Too awesome.



A balloon, dancing TARDIS. Even had sound effects. lol


Davros the creator of the Daleks. He looked fantastic!


Vulcans and tribbles, oh my!


The Captain and friend? :)

And I probably only saw a small percentage of the awesome costumes. Dang!