In discussing films, there might be spoilers. Sorry!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Another of those Writer Moments ... Rod Serling ...

Another one of those moments, when I listened to the dialogue and thought ... "Damn ... why can't I write shit like this ..."

"There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.
—Rod Serling

My dad met Rod Serling once at a bar in Beverly Hills. Said he was a real nice guy. Man, what I wouldn't give to trade my dad that hour of his life!

Incepetion Reviewed...

In case you don't know what Inception is then here is a brief description: it was the movie on the summer of 2010 that blew people away. It may be hard to follow the first time you saw it, by the second it was making sense and you were moving along with the cast through a labyrinth of the inner mind. A place that we call dreams, where they sneak in to make a profit.

The story follows Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) working with his team for corporations, on the run from a crime he didn't commit, hiding in Europe while his kids grow up thinking daddy will be right back. He is looking for that one last job, the big one that will get home back to the States, back to the family he has left. He will infiltrate a mark's dream, he will share what they know to serve his purpose, plant what he needs and extract their most precious secrets from their subconscious.

Cobb: "Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."

Arthur, Joseph Gordon Levitt's character is as important to Cobb's work as breathing.

You do not take on a role like this, the side arm in a Chris Nolan film, and think "I am going to steal the movie from Leonardo DiCaprio." But that is exactly what JGL's character, Arthur, did.

Dom: "I've got things under control."
Arthur: "I would hate to see you out of control."

Joesph Gordon Levitt plays Arthur, point man, right hand, side arm ... he is the kind of man that has your back no matter what kind of trouble you may have gotten in to. Whether in reality or dream, Arthur is the man who is going to get you home. He will find a way and he will bring you back. He also brought new meaning to the suit, tie and vest. No matter what the circumstances, what they were faced with -- a dream collapsing on itself, captured inside the dream and held hostage, finding a way to save the rest of the team when there is only him left -- he did it with his suit, his vest and without a hair out of place, not a drop of sweat to mar his brow.

Arthur is the ultimate in cool. He didn't come up with the plan, that was Cobb. He didn't use big guns - Eames. He isn't even the architect who creates the world of the dream. That would be Ariadne. Arthur is one who is one step behind them, making sure their jobs are done, their consciousness safe.

As I have said before and will say again, if you are in trouble, it is Arthur you want on your side. If you have to get into a lifeboat, you better make sure he is already there, holding your seat, promising he will make sure everything goes to plan and he will keep you safe. Because trust me, Arthur will.

Trivia: Take the first letter of each of the main characters and line them up: Dom, Robert(Fischer) Eames, Ariadne, Mal, Saito ... what does it spell? D-R-E-A-M-S

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Batman, Will & Grace and Matt Damon with a ROCKIN ASS ...:)

Actors like to have fun, too. It’s a break away from the heavy roles that take months to prepare for and a chance to just have a good time on a TV sit-com. No broken hearts, bleak despair or edge of the seat endings.

In the 1960’s, the show of choice to beg, borrow and plead a guest spot on was Batman staring Adam West. In it’s brief, three season classic run, actors such as George Sanders, Roddy McDowell, Liberace, Ethel Merman and Zsa Zsa Gabor just to name a few who found ways to hang out windows, be a second string side kicks/villain or even just to do a walk on with a two line guest appearance.

It was cool. It was fun and apparently everyone wanted to do it.

Will & Grace is the 21st century Batman celebrity equivalent.

Kevin Bacon, Cher, Michael Douglas, Madonna, Glenn Close, Gene Wilder, Elton John – these are **heavy** hitters – Ellen, Minnie Driver … and Matt Damon appearing as Jack’s arch enemy in “A Chorus Lie” where Damon’s character, Owen , a straight man pretending to be gay, wants Jack’s place in the Gay Man’s Chorus.

Acting and characterization present by an Academy Award winning star? How about some great lines as when Jack tests Owen by giving him a hung.

Jack: "Ew. Interesting. You gave me the straight-guy-double-pat-on-the-back-no-hip-contact hug."
Owen: "Actually it was more the gay-guy-feel-the-delts-bend-at-the-waist-check-out-the-shoes hug.”

Did it take an enormous amount of acting? We saw Mr. Damon with a smile on his face, we saw him singing and having fun. We saw him check out one chick then offer up himself to help Grace out of a slump with a killer, "ROCKIN ASS" make out session on the couch.

Owen: "You don't have any proof."
Jack: "I have photos."
Owen: "There's no film in that camera."
Jack: "Of course there is."
[He rips the film out of the camera]
Jack: "See? Like I'd be stupid enough not to put film in my own camera."

This wasn’t Jason Bourne. Nor was it Linus Caldwell(Oceans) or Will Hunting(Good Will Hunting) … all of them exceptional Matt Damon roles that I think we will visit soon. No, Will & Grace wasn’t a serious part. It was one actor among many having fun in a place not expected where he was in very good company.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Time has Come to Speak of Positronic Brains, Cabbages and Kings

By H.E. Curtis

I don’t think anything literary has captured the hearts and minds of the public more than movies of Romance and Science Fiction. In many ways it is almost prophetic the early Science Fiction Writers such as Asimov, Bradbury, Sturgeon, Brown, Vogt and others were writing of things that today we take for granted because they have become reality, almost second nature to us or at the very least within the grasp of reality. Who could have guessed such works as, Liar!, and I, Robot, would have spawned a whole study of robot psychology which we would later see the influences in movies such as Blade Runner,(Harrison Ford) and I,Robot (Will Smith).

The above two mentioned movies encapsulate the field of Robot Psychology very well. While Blade Runner doesn’t touch upon the three famed laws of robotics, it does touch upon the deeper nuances of Asimov’s and other works looking at the underlying fear many had of robots becoming more human, making the transition from slave labor into integrated members of society who hold positions like the detective R. Daneel, The Caves of Steel . Understandably we come to the point of facing the question of our place in the universe, and the responsibility of having a non human race living among us. Not a race of living matter, as we define it, but a race of circuit boards, electrical currents, sensors etc…. but with emotion and, dare we say it? A Soul. Are they alive and what does that really mean, and what are the repercussions of such awareness?

In her book, Frankenstein, Shelly worked with the reanimation of flesh and blood, but Robotics involves no re-animation but rather creation: whereas reanimation involves something which was once alive, and the process of reversing or cheating death. The Robotic vision involves the creation of life itself, in fact a redefinition of it. But once we create a life, what do we do with it, especially when it embodies the perfection many strive for, the immortality of a body which fails very slowly and a consciousness that lasts for centuries? In essence we create the gods and than let them loose upon the world, expecting them to serve us and fearing they will demand service of their makers.

Each of these films and books are ripe with philosophical query. Where does consciousness come from? How does one know what they know? If there is a soul what is the nature of it and how does it influence us, for good or for evil? Are we destined or free to choose? If there is an underlying, unseen word beyond what we see, how can we reach it and what is life like there, if there is any life at all? Is technology going to enslave us, or will we become a better race because of it? We are human beings, and manifest destiny has now extended beyond our realm but to carry that out we have to look internally at our own self and at our own society for good and ill. Perhaps the animosity toward the robot is they highlight the profundity and depravity of our world and having come new to it, managed to avoid some of our own pitfalls.

The question of course is how did the authors and filmmakers come to receive their vision, and at the time they did when magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction, and others were being born in garages and bedroom typewriters. What did they see than what we are missing today?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lady Gaga, Norman Reedus and Judas ...

Being more into classic rock than modern pop, I haven't followed Lady Gaga's career too closely. I have been so distant from it, in fact, that the Judas Video completely missed my radar until I got a message today from one of my former exchange students (Thanks Rom!!): "Saw that Lady Gaga video with that Norman dude in it ..."

Not my style of music, but nice short bit and probably a lot of fun to be apart of. All that dancing, singing and partying going on, making it all look real. And if you think about it, same type of acting limitations as in Conspirator: actions, facial expressions. We get to see and feel and not hear and feel. There were no words to convey emotions. Just a cold stare, eye to eye as she held a gun to Reedus's chest before drawing in harlot red across his lips and face. Takes a lot in reality to keep your gaze on the eyes and not on the gun as guns tend to make people nervous.

Take a look if you want to see some fun, leather jackets, a little weaponry and some extremely hot bikes. Not to mention some high energy entertainment with a subtle message woven throughout.

And villain and dead? Not this time ... :)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Real Life Invades Movie Blog ... :)

Moving along in the procession of who's who we are in the process of wrapping up JGL, while introducing Academy Award winner, Matt Damon. I always think that is sorta funny, the fact he is listed in his movie roles as Academy Award Winning when in reality, he won the award for his writing skills ... Good Will Hunting, to be exact, which he co wrote with Ben Affleck.

Matt did win 50% of the votes here, so I guess that says something about what a People's Choice is like.

In the meantime, as I start to write up JGL while looking for photos of MD, enjoy this little bit of every day humor. It's not like each and every one of us cannot relate to filling our gas tanks. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Matt Damon discusses his demise and George Clooney's boyfreind ... :)

Matt Damon appears on Letterman where he discusses his death that very morning, the rumor of George Clooney's boyfriend, Brad Pitt's exhaustion over repeated press questions and practical jokes!!


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hugo and Sabatini at the Cinema By H.E. Curtis

Being the old fashioned codger I am, I grow more attached to books as I grow older, finding my life long preference for books never leaves me. Nothing is like the smell of leather books, feeling pages beneath my finger tips, or sensory overload from walking into a library seeing filled shelves of books. Wooden shelves being best, with rolling ladders, oak tables and over stuffed chairs, tiffany desk lamps and at least one large fire place with a mantle around it lorded over by an ancient portrait. It’s not I don’t like movies, on the contrary my wife will confirm I am an old classic movie hound who enjoys tracking down old obscure movies, especially ones I grew up on and were introduced to by my wonderful parents.

Immediately two books made into movies come to mind. Not surprisingly they are French authors and both take place around the French Revolution. Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini and Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. Being the traditionalist I am I will never be reconciled completely with the movie industry making books into movies. It just isn’t the same and often too many liberties are taken or too much is excluded.

While our main character, Andre Moreau, reluctantly takes on the persona of Scaramouche, both movie and book portray this transformation very well. Scaramouche, the comic and tragic clown is a good fit for Andre who portrays the same qualities in more sophisticated form. In Jungian terms Scaramouche is an Archetype. The dazzling final sword fight of the movie, which is one of the longest sword fight scenes in movie history, while absent from the book, doesn’t detract from the book at all; what the book lacks in cinematic presentation, it more then makes up for in setting, intrigue, backdrops and twists and turns no cinematic endeavor could capture . However book and movie are very enjoyable indeed.

Les Miserables, however, will touch your heart strings in any form. It will not only touch them, it will pluck them and play them, it will call up the deep well of emotions and exhaust one emotionally while still yearning for more. Admittedly the movie versions struggle more to accomplish this, but the theatric and novel itself always at least once or twice force me to pause dramatically and take a few moments to catch my breath. Now, as a father with two daughters, I find I identify even more with Jean Valjean and share the same jealousies he does concerning my two young girls who will eventually turn into women, and in turn acquire suitors (selfishly I hope not soon). While Scaramouche produced laughter, absurdity and irony, even in moments of danger and outrage, Les Miserable, will always give you deep sorrow and longing mixed with constant striving to be a better person, allowing you the bitter sweet choice of doing so even in the midst of turmoil and a collapsing world around you. The one major difference between the two is one has been set to music, and that added element always procures a deeper emotional response, but as always doesn’t replace the written book itself. If anything, for me, I have a better appreciation for it and the author. Both books are historically important for writer and film maker alike. To not study these I think would add an imbalance to the skills and insight and make one remiss in embracing a history rich and powerful and living. At times in moments of free musing, I sometimes wonder what Sabatini and Hugo would think of the film versions of their books.


H.E. Curtis resides in the Sierra Nevada Foothills where he spends most of his time barefoot among the wildflowers, oaks and pines. He dreams of returning to Scotland and Ireland with his manacle-wielding wife, three invisible children (Not me, I don't Know and Nobody), three visual children and a twisted sense of humor and imagination.

He writes mostly Fantasy, Poetry and dabbles in Science Fiction, but will attempt almost anything once, twice if it isn't illegal. He has been published in Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Romantic Fantasy. Tribunal of the Rose is his latest release.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Pre Thor with an added Norman Bonus ...

I knew Norman Reedus had done this short film, but I didn't realize Chris Hemsworth (Thor) was Chad. I saw it in his credits after seeing Thor this weekend.

Extremely excellent short film where the kid steals all the scenes, but the views are still worth watching ... :)


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Four Days with Joe Hamster, here.

My next four days .... weeeee.

Husband's birthday is today.
Mother's Day tomorrow.
My birthday on Monday.
My son's birthday on Tuesday.

And yes, we celebrate each and everyone to the fullest extent, giving every one of us our own special day.

It's friggin' exhausting. LOL

Do you know it sneaks up on us every year. We are never ready for it. It's as if we go through April in denial, thinking "Naw, it will never happen and then "Ahhh ... it's May I need a gift I need a gift NOW!!"

My dad, who passed away in 1997, was hugely big on birthdays. Every year he got me roses. Sometimes in a bouquet, sometimes on a card or drawing. He always made sure to get them to me. He taught me "Birthdays are your own special day that you never have to share with anyone. You only get a finite number so suck every one of them for all it's worth!!"

Happy Birthday -- and Mother's Day -- to everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stop Loss Compared to The Lookout ...

One actor, taking on two different roles within a year of each other. Both roles drastically different from one another while addressing similar personal traumas.

and The Look Out -- two films about the effects of brain injury and devastating ways it effects the person and the ones they love.

Stop-Loss is a military film about President Bush's "stop loss" program of military personal during times of war. It's a film that carries a back story of one of the young men they brought home, Tommy(JGL). With the horrors of a last mission and friend they couldn't save still in his head, Tommy has come home with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. His life, his marriage, everything he knows comes unraveled as his own behavior becomes erratic, unstable. The conclusion of this sub plot was painfully expected and still, not any less devastating because "you saw it coming." Lives were changed forever, regrets now a constant companion. For the hero of the story it was the exclamation point to his struggle. He was fighting a loosing battle against stop-loss and there would be no happy ending. This was not a movie about Tommy, not a staring role, but his influence on the rest of the characters was profound.

The Look Out was a film with a different message, with a different set of circumstances. It was not military heroics which took the staring life that was Christ Pratt(JGL). It was a stupid high school game on a dark road, resulting in the permanent disfigurement of the girl he had wanted and the death of two friends. His brain injured in the car wreck that could have claimed his life, all of Pratt's former glory on the hockey ice is gone. He works at a dead end job with a pad of paper in his pocket to help him remember to "Get up, take shower, with soap ..." He lives with his mentor Lewis (Jeff Daniels), gives up contact with a family forever disappointed in his mistake and he goes to school to relearn what he can never have again. It's not enough and he longs for more. When petty thugs ask him to be their look out at the bank where he is a janitor he grabs for the chance ... until he realizes he never really had a choice at all.

Two movies completely different, one a political thriller challenging and succumbing to a no win scenario; the other about a kid making bad decisions as he tries to grab onto the glory he used to be: "You're Chris Pratt," he gets told. "I was three years ahead of you and even I looked up to you."

Both parts taken on by a talented actor who became two separate men with minds in need of attention, affection, understanding and a chance to move forward. One made it. One didn't.

Still, even with sorrow, great watches on both movies.

Guest from Cassidy: Anticipation: Why We Wait ...

Richard Castle: [clears throat]

Kate Beckett: [turns around to face Castle, smiling] Well, I guess this is it.
Castle: Oh, it doesn't have to be. We could go to dinner, debrief each other.
Kate Bec
kett: Why, Castle? So I can become another one of your conquests?
Richard Castle: Or I can be one of you
Kate Beckett: It was nice to meet you, Castle. [extends hand]
Castle: [looks down and shakes hand] It's too bad. It would have been great.
Kate Beck
ett: [bites bottom lip and whispers in Castle's ear] You have no idea. [walks away] "

“Pilot.” Castle. ABC. 9 Mar. 2009. Television.

(Starring Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle and Stana Katic as Kate Beckett)


Whether in books, television or movies, it is those moments of anticipation that capture us, lure us in, and drag us kicking and screaming through the mud, guts and glory all the way to the end.

Think of some famous movies, and then think of them without the juicy, sometimes terrifying moments of anticipation that make them unique:

· What would Alien be without the thrashing, choking anticipation of what is happening to the crew member on the table just before the alien bursts out of his chest in crimson spurts of blood?

· Would Titanic be as heart-wrenching and tragic if we didn’t share Rose’s heartbreak as Jack slowly freezes to death in the ocean?

· What about the tense anticipation of the hammer scene in “Misery?

· In Jaws – the teen swimming scene when the music taunts us… you know it’s coming, but when?

· The Fifth Element (1997), will Milla Jojovich and Bruce Willis stop the world from being destroyed?

· In Van Helsing (2004), when (Kate Beckinsale) fights to reach her love to inject Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) with the werewolf cure.

These movies (and many others) wouldn’t be quite the same without the anticipation, would they? Writers know this, and tend to build it into their stories. Creating drama, introducing danger or loss—it makes for good stories all around.

They came, they saw, they left.

What excitement does that build? None at all. Most people would probably walk out of the theater, put the book down, or turn the television off if all of our favorite stories left out the ‘wait’ we have come to love. In thrillers, suspense movies, action shows, and even romances, we love the idea of what might be just around the corner.

It is hard-wired in our brains, along with the fight for survival, the search for love, the search for food. If we had no hope of finding these things, or looking forward to something unknown in the future, we’d be doomed as a race. Ages before writing, oral stories passed from teacher to student, teaching the rewards of perseverance, patience and hope, as well as the dangers of jumping in too quickly, or not following the rules. We watch, we listen and we learn.

We are told that all good things come to those who wait. And if that waiting gives us pleasure, a temporary fright, or some type of thrill, we learn to seek that stimulation out again and again. No matter the genre or the medium, tense moments of anticipation keep us on the edge of our seats, or keep us quickly turning pages for the ultimate satisfaction or scare that we crave.

What’s your favorite moment of anticipation?

Cassidy McKay lives in Northern California, nestled among the pines of the Sierra Nevada foothills. After a rather unique childhood where learned to deal with emergency veterinary surgery, firefighting, dog training and washing clothes in creeks, she worked her way through a career in law enforcement, four children and two marriages. She entertains herself studying the local history and spends her nights writing spicy, erotic romances after the kids go to bed. She amuses herself bantering and brainstorming with her husband, fantasy writer H.E. Curtis, while traveling for research, family entertainment, and her never-ending search for sanity. When she is not writing romances or harassing her husband, Cassidy enjoys reading almost anything she can get her hands on.

Visit Cassidy’s website at http://www.cassidymckay.com, or for sweet romance visit her alter-ego Ashlyn BarrĂ© at http://www.ashlynbarre.com.