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Apologies in advance for how LONG this post is going to be. I haven’t updated in a while, so this is going to be a bit of a ramble. But, considering the title of this blog is A Writer’s Ramblings, I guess I’m allowed.
It appears that I am unemployable. I got a job sometime in June, but that basically ended in flames and I was forced to quit. Of course, that was two weeks before I headed to Honolulu, so let’s just say I’m a bit strapped for cash at the moment. (I had to sell my soul to three people in order to even GET to the conference and retreat! Thank God I have such great friends!) I’ve currently got my resume out to a number of places, and am even applying to some less-than-ideal jobs in the area (the dreaded retail). Please, pray for me.
I’ve seen a few new ones, three of which I saw on the two 8 hour trips between Minnesota and Honolulu. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Okay, I’ll admit that I haven’t seen the first three Indy movies in their entirety yet, but I just have to say that this movie was REALLY hokey. I mean, I love Cate Blanchett, and I’ve recently come to appreciate Shia LaBeouf, but the acting was just BAD. And that ending. Really? I’m usually really good with my suspension of disbelief (I AM a writer, after all!), but that ending was just completely ridiculous. Good lord! Kung Fu Panda: Not much to say about this one. Cute, cuddly, adorable. Jack Black is awesome as usual. I’d watch it again. Skadoosh! Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: I have to say that I really LOVE Focus Features lately. Atonement. In Bruges. And now, Miss Pettigrew. I really, really liked this movie. It’s about a nanny who’s hard on her luck and having trouble finding a job (maybe THAT’S why I connected with her so well! She’s ME!), and ends up stealing a lead from her placement agency after they deem her unemployable. The movie follows her through one day, and it was simply amazing. Plus, I love Amy Adams, too! The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: Awful. It was nowhere near as good as the first two. The amazingness of Rachel Weisz was noticeably absent, the portrayal of the once adorable son (who is magically in his mid-twenties after only a 7 year time gap between films) is that of an arrogant jackass, and the storyline was just WAY too out there! What, you couldn’t find a way to bring back Imhotep for a third round? Whatever. The Dark Knight: Anyone who has seen this movie already knows how amazing it was, so I don’t need to add to everything that has already been said about it. I will say that I believe director Chris Nolan, and actors Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart all deserve Oscars.
I’m currently obsessed with the following three songs (note my seemingly erratic choices! Blame the stress…):
Le Disko by Shiny Toy Guns
I am apparently not allowed to embed the music video for this song (WHY?!), so you can listen to it HERE. This song was offered as a “Single of the Week” through iTunes, so I was able to get it for free. It has such a catchy tune that I haven’t been able to stop listening to it!
Creator by Santagold
I first heard this song on episode 2x02 of Gossip Girl (I LOVE that show!), and instantly downloaded it. It’s been less than a week, but I must have listened to it over 50 times!
An Angel by Declan
This song came to my attention while I was searching for someone else on YouTube (which I talk about below). I don’t know how old this kid is, but I can’t get enough of this song! Just ignore some of the bad lyrics (rhyming “hives” with “hives”, for instance… and using “eyes” at the end of two consecutive lines!) and concentrate on his voice and the music. He reminds me of Billy Gilman, though obviously not singing Country. He has two albums out in the US right now (I think there’s one import available in the UK that isn’t available here), and has such an adorable voice! It’s funny though, because it drops about THREE OCTAVES between this album and his next one.
I’m currently reading The Venetian Betrayal by my new favorite person, Steve Berry! I hadn’t read any of his books prior to having him as a teacher in Honolulu, so I thought it might be a good idea to check him out. I’m just beginning part four of five parts, and I’m really enjoying it so far! He’s definitely a talented writer, and it’s good to know the lessons he taught us can actually be put to good use! I’ll definitely be buying more of his books in the future.
Some books that I’m really looking forward to their releases are Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr and JK Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard...! Brisingr is the third book in Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, formerly the Inheritance Trilogy because he decided to make the series four books instead of three (which I’m not complaining about!). I absolutely loved the first book in the series, Eragon. The second book, Eldest, I didn’t think was as good as the first, but was still very good (enough to get me to want the rest of the series!). That book comes out in about a week, which I’m really excited about. The Tales of Beedle the Bard was mentioned in Jo’s last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was a present from the recently deceased Dumbledore to Hermione as a clue for Harry on how to defeat Voldemort. Only one story from the book was mentioned in Hallows, but Jo created a set of seven copies of this book, each handwritten by herself and bound in beautiful leather and encrusted with precious stones. Six of them were given away to people who were intricate to the success of Potter (I’m guessing her agent, editors, etc), and one was auctioned for charity. Amazon.com bought the book for a reported $4 million, and teased us with pictures of the book and reviews of all the stories within. We thought we’d never get to see inside, when they announced that they were going to publish the book and give all the proceeds to charity! They have a standard paperback of the book available, but I’m interested in THIS one! A replica of the one Amazon won, which is selling for a mere $100. Well worth it, I say!
There are a bunch of things I’m watching nowadays. We’re halfway through the fifth season of Project Runway. I have to say I’m really disappointed with this season. I don’t care for any of the designers. Every time someone gets voted off the show, I’m not particularly bothered. And there’s no one I’m really rooting for to win, either. In fact, most of the contestants annoy me. Suede, with his referring to himself in third person; Blayne, who can only think about tanning; Keith, who’s only capable of sewing together strips of fabric and calling it fashion forward… the list goes on. Gossip Girl season two just started recently, and I’m happy to report that it’s as scandalicous as last year, and hopefully the ante gets upped even more! The Sarah Connor Chronicles had its season two premiere on Monday, and it was amazing. You all know how much of a Terminator fan I am (I’m named after Kyle Reese from the first movie, after all!), and this show has not disappointed (too much). John Connor finally has some of his balls back, Cameron could have been bad but ended the episode on the side of good, and they’ve brought in a female version of the T-1000 (the guy from T-2 who was basically liquid metal)!!! It’s going to be an amazing year. Now, I just have to wait for the premiere’s of Grey’s Anatomy and Heroes…!!! TV JOYGASM!
Some NEW shows that I’ve been watching include Skins and Fringe. Skins is basically Dawson’s Creek on CRACK! It centers on a group of 7 British teen friends, and involves a whole bunch of drugs, sex, swearing, eating disorders, manipulation, fights, suicide attempts, a possible sexual relationship between one of the friends and a teacher, parental abandonment, and that’s only in the FIRST FIVE EPISODES! It airs on the BBC America channel on Sundays at 10PM, but an unedited/uncensored version of the show is available on iTunes. I don’t know what it is about this show, but it is completely addicting. The kids are really great actors, and the storylines are simply explosive! Love it. The other show, Fringe, just premiered on Fox the other day, and stars Dawson’s Creek alum Joshua Jackson. It’s an X-Files-like show that centers on the unnatural, but doesn’t involve aliens (at least, I don’t think it does) and actually revolves around science. The first episode started a little slow, but I was completely hooked by the end of it! Now I’ve got another show to set up on my DVR!
I’m only going to put two on here, and it’s a complete coincidence that the main actors for each movie are schtupping one another.
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
I first heard about this movie about a year ago, and it’s been on my mind ever since. When I finally got to see the teaser trailer above, my first reaction was HOLY FUCKING GOD! It looks really incredible! And, it brings together a number of my favorite actors, including Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. This movie is definitely on my list to see this winter.
After seeing what he could do with Million Dollar Baby, I can’t pass up the chance to see another Clint Eastwood drama. Not only is the concept completely horrifying, but it’s actually a TRUE STORY. Besides, it doesn’t hurt that Angelina Jolie is in it.
The following video I first saw on an episode of Oprah. This is the video I mentioned earlier, the one I was searching for on YouTube when I came across Declan’s song. This is of a boy named Andrew Johnston trying out for Britain’s Got Talent, which is exactly like its American counterpart. You MUST watch the entire video, from the start, or else the song and his voice won’t be AS powerful (though, they’re powerful on their own as well!). I would suggest turning up the volume as loud as you can, preferably using a set of good headphones if you’ve got them around. I swear on all that is good and holy that I actually teared up listening to his voice, and he hits a note right in the middle of the song that sent a jolt right through my body.
I would also highly suggest listening to this in hi-def, which you can see HERE. The faces on the judges say it all. Absolutely stunning, and I can imagine him singing for movie soundtracks in the very near future (they have used boys choirs in recordings for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc… LOTS of work for these kids!)…!
And the last thing I want to talk about is the lawsuit of JK Rowling and Warner Bros. vs. RDR Books, a company who wanted to publish a Harry Potter Encyclopedia based on the website The Harry Potter Lexicon. I’m not going to go into the reasons behind the lawsuit—you can read about it HERE—but just comment on the outcome. Thank GOD the judge sided with Jo and WB, or else we might not have seen the comprehensive Harry Potter Encyclopedia that Jo herself is writing. We’ve been hearing about this book ever since the publication of Deathly Hallows last summer, and it would have been a real travesty had she felt forced to give it up. Justice sides with good once more, and hopefully we get our hands on that book sometime soon!
I’ve made a vow to keep up with my blogging from now on, so you won’t have these ridiculously long posts to sort through anymore. Thanks for listening, though!
Kyle W. Kerr
Members of WGA Vote by 92.5% to Lift Strike
To Our Fellow Members:
On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. The strike is over.
Writing can resume immediately. If you were employed when the strike began, you should plan to report to work on Wednesday. If you’re not employed at an office or other work site, call or e-mail your employer that you are resuming work. If you have been told not to report to work or resume your services, we recommend that you still notify your employer in writing of your availability to do so. Questions concerning return-to-work issues should be directed to [...].
The decision to begin this strike was not taken lightly and was only made after no other reasonable alternative was possible. We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries. Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.
We hope to build upon the extraordinary energy, ingenuity, and solidarity that were generated by your hard work during the strike.
Over the next weeks and months, we will be in touch with you to discuss and develop ways we can use our unprecedented unity to make our two guilds stronger and more effective than ever.
Now that the strike has ended, there remains the vote to ratify the new contract. Ballots and information on the new deal, both pro and con, will be mailed to you shortly. You will be able to return those ballots via mail or at a membership meeting to be held Monday, February 25th, 2008, at times and locations to be determined.
Thank you for making it possible. As ever, we are all in this together.
Writers Guild of America, East
Patric M. Verrone
Writers Guild of America, West
Thank GOD that’s finally over and done with! Writers prevail!
Kyle W. Kerr
According to an article from CNBC.com, a deal has finally been reached between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
According to Disney CEO Michael Eisner: “A deal had been made, and [the writers] will be back to work very soon. I know a deal’s been made. I know it’s over.”
The proposed deal will be revealed to WGA members on Saturday, with both coasts holding conferences for their regional members: one in NYC, and the other in LA.
If the deal is approved over the weekend, the writers may be back to work as early as Monday.
What does this mean for us?
New episodes of all of our favorite TV shows, and a less likely chance that the Fall 2008 TV season and 2009 movie season will be affected! This is GREAT news.
And, according to sources, the two groups were able to come to amicable terms over such hot button issues as New Media and online advertising revenue royalties! This means more money for the writers, who, as we’ve seen, are the backbone of the industry!
Kyle W. Kerr
01/28/08 | General, Idiot Mode, The Industry, TV Shows | 5 Comments
(This post is a prime example of why “Rambling” is in my Journal’s title… so be prepared for a little rant!)
I just read this article. It talks about the FCC fining ABC $1.43 MILLION for airing a “woman’s naked backside.” Oh, did I mention that this was from an episode of NYPD Blue… from 2003?
The episode in question depicts “a nude woman [who] is surprised by a young boy as she prepares to shower.”
FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate had this to say about the fine:
“Our action today should serve as a reminder to all broadcasters that Congress and American families continue to be concerned about protecting children from harmful material and that the FCC will enforce the laws of the land vigilantly.”
The “indecent” video is below:
(If ABC can get sued for this, I’m guessing you shouldn’t watch it at work… just saying!)
I don’t know about you, but there is nothing sexual in nature about this clip. It’s an embarrassing situation that happens all the time, and they were just using it for comedic effect. Besides, NYPD Blue had been on the air for ten years prior to this episode airing, and the show was known for its racy scenes… scenes that depicted naked people (women AND men) either having sex or in some sort of erotic scenario. This was tame compared to other scenes they’ve aired.
Am I the only one who thinks this is completely ridiculous? What’s with the “save the children” routine? Why do we even care if our kids see a little skin now and again? The kid didn’t walk in on two people having sex (which, I can assure you, happens all the time, too). Go to France and you see naked billboards and soap commercials. It’s not harmful for children to see these things, but the media and ultra-conservative parents make is seem that way.
Has the American culture become overly sexualized?
(I felt like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City as I wrote that line just now.)
How have we somehow become more prudish? I just watched the original 1963 adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, and couldn’t help thinking that the same movie would never be made the same way today. Not only are there scenes depicting the usually angelic creatures that are little boys as pure demons, but they run around naked for half of the movie as well (and you see everything).
(I hope this picture doesn’t offend anyone… I was just posting it to prove a point! Me having to add this disclaimer is sort of a point maker on its own, if you think about it...)
Back then, the boys being naked would have been out of innocence and a need to free themselves in a world where adults couldn’t rule over their existance. The saying “Boys will be boys” didn’t come from nowhere, you know. Today, this would be seen as gay or indecent… but you tell me of a little boy who likes having his clothes on. I know I didn’t when I was younger, and I have seen more little boys pull down their pants in front of a crowd than I can count (and little girls pulling up their skirts, for that matter). It’s what kids do.
The 1963 rating of this movie was:
Now, it wouldn’t get anything less than PG-13, or even R, for extreme violence and nudity. The boys kill animals, they kill two of the boys (one in a way that still gives me shivers as an adult), they chant and dance in a ritualistic fashion (as shown in the first image above), they are volitile, they are dangerous, and they have a taste for blood. What parent would take their child to see such a movie today?
In the first season of the ABC Family hit Kyle XY, Kyle gets an erection at the public swimming pool and doesn’t understand what it is, or how to get rid of it. He later talks to Josh, the younger child in the family (who I’d put at 15-years-old during that season), who explains masturbation to Kyle and even proffers a porno magazine for Kyle to use. Why wasn’t the FCC all over that? Was it because they only talk about sex and didn’t show it, or is it because you never actually saw any skin?
I really don’t know, but I think some people are taking this a little too far. Seeing a couple seconds of a naked woman is not going to scar America’s children for life. They know what nudity is, they have seen people naked before. As long as you’re not exposing them to actual sex, I think they’ll be just fine.
Kyle W. Kerr
So, did anyone see the premiere of the new Terminator series on Sunday and Monday?
Guys, wow. It was truly amazing. From the opening sequence, which shows headlights traveling along a road at night (which was the last scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), I was completely hooked. It transitioned into an apocalyptic dream sequence, which was absolutely perfect, and drew you right into the storyline.
I have to admit, though, it took a little bit for me to get used to the new Sarah and John Connor. I mean, how could you ever get better than Linda Hamilton and Eddie Furlong? You can’t, but obviously they couldn’t do it (Eddie Furlong is in his 30s now, and even though I know people play below their actual age all the time, that would have been a bit ridiculous). But after a few minutes, once the action starts, you forget all about it and just go with it. Seriously, it’s that good.
And, with 34 million viewers in two days, we know we’ve got a hit on our hands!
The story starts off about two-three years after T2 leaves off, when John is 15. They’re in hiding, with Terminators and government agencies searching for them. The government actually thinks that Sarah killed Miles Dyson, the original creator of Skynet, who died in the second movie (because the police shot him, by the way). When they move to a new town, all hell breaks loose.
Along as the “good” Terminator is Cameron (named after James Cameron, the creator of the Terminator storyline), played by Summer Glau. I’ve liked her ever since seeing her in Joss Weadon’s Firefly series, and subsequent Serenity movie. She makes the perfect robot. She may look tiny, but she packs a serious punch, and can take one hell of a beating. The new “bad” Terminator is no Arnold, but still menacing.
At the end of the first episode, Sarah, John and Cameron transport themselves from the 90s to 2007, two years after Sarah is supposed to die of cancer (which we found out in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). And, you know what that means! You can’t time travel with anything, including clothes… booty shots!
My only slight complaint is John Connor, but I can understand what they were trying to do. He’s such a little smartass in T2, and I loved that about him. He cursed, he talked back, he had an attitude, you know? But this John is a little too passive and nice. I know that the John in T3 is nice and honorable and all that, so they’re trying to show the transition from smartass to hero, but I kind of miss all of the one-liners and talk-backs. I’m sure I’ll get over it, though.
If you haven’t seen the first two episodes, definitely check them out before the next episode, which airs Monday, January 21st, at 9PM on Fox.
I don’t know if it’s true of not, but my parents told me I was named after the character Kyle Reese in the first Terminator movie. That movie came out in 1984, and I was born in ’85, so I go with it. That may be why I’m so in love with the series… it’s been engrained in me since birth. T2 is one of my favorite movies of all time (probably number two or three, definitely in the Top 5).
Now, a new trilogy is in the works. Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins is slated for release in June 2009, with Christian Bale taking up the role of John Connor after the apocalypse. I am so psyched that this franchise is going to continue for a good long time.
I am making a prediction and a statement to you all, here and now: I WILL write the screenplay for T5 or T6, one way or another. Katie Holmes said she would marry Tom Cruise when she was younger, and look how that turned out for her. This will happen, and it will be one of the highlights of my life. Remember this day.
Kyle W. Kerr
How awesome is this?
There is a TWO NIGHT premiere on Sunday, January 13th and Monday, January 14th on Fox!
I’m soo there.
Kyle W. Kerr
Something has been going on this week that will affect my future (at some point). The Writers Guild of America is on strike. I had to put together some information on this topic for one of my classes, so I’m going to put that here now (so you’ll know the facts):
As of 12:01AM on November 5th, 2007, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) went on strike for the first time in almost 20 years. Writers had been in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP, which represents studios) since July of the same year, though terms for a new three-year contract were unable to be reached. The WGA ordered all of its 12,000 members to put down their pens and take up their picket signs.
Two of the biggest issues are as follows: higher residuals for DVD and New Media sales. The WGA is seeking to double residuals for DVD sales, which are currently at $0.04 per DVD (average retail price $19.99-34.99). Also under negotiation is the percentage of revenue from New Media, which refers to newer ways of displaying video, such as the internet, cell phones and mobile (iPods). The current residual for New Media is 1.2% of revenue, which the WGA is looking to increase to 2.5%.
“It’s an extremely volatile industry,” said Diana Son, a writer for “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”. “There’s no job security. Residuals are an important part of our income. There’s no cushion.” The battle also has big repercussions for the way Hollywood does business, since whatever deal is struck by writers will likely be used as a template for talks with actors and directors (whose contracts expire June 2008), one of the reasons why the AMPTP is being so cautious.
In 2007, consumers are expected to spend about $16.4 billion on DVDs, and studios could generate about $158 million from selling movies online and about $194 million from selling TV shows online.
According to several sources, the AMPTP does not want to agree to the increase in New Media residuals because the market is untested, and they unsure how profitable or unprofitable the new ventures will be. Producers say that they want “the economic flexibility to experiment as consumer habits change in reaction to technology,” which they would not be able to do with the added burden of increased residuals.
The first paragraph of the official 2007 strike rules, as laid out by the WGAe (east region), states that all members “…must immediately stop writing for any and all struck companies. [Members] may not continue to write or complete writing started before the strike for a struck company. [Members] may not start writing on a new project during a strike. [Members] may not perform writing services even if [s/he] work[s] at home or at [his/her] own office rather than at the company’s premises. This Rule also prohibits [members] from attending meetings, or engaging in conversations, as a writer concerning new, pending or future projects or writing assignments with producers, directors or other representatives of any struck company. [Members] may not attend pitch meetings or communicate with a company representative to receive notes on literary material even if [s/he] intend[s] to wait until the strike ends to make any requested changes.”
The above mentioned “struck companies” include all of Hollywood’s major studios, including the “Big Five”: News Corp (Fox), Universal (NBC), Viacom (Paramount, CBS), Time Warner (WB, New Line Cinema) and Disney (Pixar, ABC). The strike will not immediately impact production of movies or prime-time TV programs. Most studios have stockpiled dozens of movie scripts, and TV shows have enough scripts or completed shows in hand to last until early next year.
The last WGA strike was in 1988 and lasted 22 weeks (five months), resulting in a reported $500 million loss for the entertainment industry. A similar strike in 2007, according to Los Angeles economist Jack Kyser, could result in over $1 billion in economic losses. These losses would be the result of television shows being forced into reruns, which, for many networks, will happen in early 2008. Talk shows (such as Jay Leno, David Letterman and Jon Stewart), which rely on current news events, will be affected immediately [and they were, all are off the air as of now]. Losses will be in the form of advertising dollars, which will shrink due to declining viewership due to the reruns.
Here’s a short video to explain all that to you:
As of right now, five days after the strike started, negotiations have not restarted. Bill Clinton has even offered to mediate the process to try and resolve the issue.
People seen on the picket line with the writers: Robin Williams, Jay Leno, the casts of Grey’s Anatomy, Scrubs, and Desperate Housewives, Julianne Moore, Tina Fey, Tim Robbins, David Duchovny, Roseanne Barr, Ellen DeGeneres, Eva Longoria and Julia Louis Dreyfous. Jon Stewart is paying his writers for the next two weeks… out of his own pocket.
Said Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York: “I support the Writers Guild’s pursuit of a fair contract that pay them for their work in all mediums. I hope the producers and writers will return to the bargaining table.”
“I stand with the writers,” Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois said from his campaign headquarters in Chicago. “The guild’s demand is a test of whether media corporations are going to give writers a fair share of the wealth their work creates or continue concentrating profits in the hands of their executives… I urge the producers to work with the writers so that everyone can get back to work.”
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards also backs the strikers.
“These writers deserve to be compensated fairly for their work, and I commend their courage in standing up to big media conglomerates,” he said. “As someone who has walked picket lines with workers all across America and as a strong believer in collective bargaining, I hope that both sides are able to quickly reach a just settlement.”
I completely agree. It is ridiculous that studios are not paying writers adequately for their work. Did you know that they are not compensated for episodes of TV shows aired online? The same goes for the actors and directors of the shows as well, not just the writers. Studios are screwing everyone. It’s disgusting, it’s amoral, and it’s about time that it stopped.
If it were feasible, I would be on the line with them. As many of you know, it is one of my dreams to write screenplays as well as books. This is my future at stake here, too.
I wish all of you the best of luck, and hope that the studios will see sense. Stay brave and stay strong.
Kyle W. Kerr
10/9/07 | Books, Genius Mode, Movies, Music, My Writings, TV Shows | 0 Comments
The rewrites have been going really well. So well, in fact, that I expect to crash and burn any time now… I finally realized what my problem was, and now it’s almost like the book is correcting itself, with minimal effort on my part. (Not saying I’m not putting effort into it! Just saying the work isn’t really work.) And I’m really excited about some new developments that have recently been revealed to me. If you’re a writer, I can’t stress how important it is to LISTEN to your characters! They will never lead you in the wrong direction (unless you have an unreliable narrator, and that’s a whole different tin of biscuits).
In the past few weeks I’ve…
Excavation by James Rollins
I had a conversation with Jim about why his books aren’t classified as Science Fiction. In Excavation, a band of archaeologists stumble upon a lost Incan temple, get stuck in it because someone is trying to steal the treasurers within and causes it to collapse, trapping some of said archaeologists and forcing them to find a way out… and they encounter albino tarantulas and mutated, cannibalistic ape-like beasts (that turn out not to be apes at all!), as well as discover a substance that is some form of nano-biology that is able to bring people back from the dead and regrow human bodies from nothing but a severed head. Sounds pretty far fetched, right? Science Fiction-like, even? Well, to put it bluntly, his publishers said “We can market it as a Sci-Fi novel and sell okay, or we can market it as a thriller and sell 10x as many copies.” Yeah, not a tough decision there. Point being, this book was very, very good. Just be willing to extend your suspension of disbelief a bit more for this one than regular thrillers.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. What the hell am I listening to this emo crap for? Because I love it, I can’t lie. I LOVED DC’s album The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most, and have listened to it religiously since I bought it six years ago… Nothing DC has made before or since has really lived up to that CD, because Chris Carrabba’s vocals and lyrics, coupled with the acoustic instrumentation, just completely took me over. And there are even a few tracks when he gets so into the music that his voice breaks (one of my favorite things in the world… really). Everything else has been more rocker-ish, and less intimate. Until now. In The Shade of Poison Trees, Chris returns to the acoustic songs he does so well, and I’m absolutely loving it. It’s on repeat right now.
This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I was going through a low point and needed to take my mind off things, so I watched all 60 or so hours of the first three seasons of Grey’s Anatomy… in 4 days. That’s right, I watched disc after disc of that show, and couldn’t have been happier to do so. As sad as it is that I did that, I don’t regret it. And now I’m obsessed. This is one of the best shows I’ve seen in years, and has the kind of characters I can care enough about to WANT to watch new episodes live (I don’t have cable, so anything I watch is either on DVD or I download it from iTunes… I don’t like commercials). Bailey is my favorite (“O’Malley, stop looking at my VA-JAY-JAY!”), I’m totally shipping George and Izzie, Meredith and Derek need to get over their issues, and Christina is just fun. Totally hooked. Though, I have to say, I am totally disappointed that they created the spin-off for Addison. I loved her, and now she isn’t even Addison anymore. Did anyone else notice that her hair doesn’t even look red? Hopefully, when that show fails, they’ll bring her back to Seattle!
Okay, this movie was absolutely insane… Fantastic, intriguing and immensely well put together, but insane nonetheless. Talk about your unreliable narrator! You think this movie is just about a teacher schtooping one of her students, but NO, it has a completely other level of crazy! When they say “A Story of Two Obsessions,” they’re not kidding. It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the world that Cate Blanchett is one of my favorite actors (second only to another Kate!), and what she is able to pull off in Notes is nothing short of brilliant. My love for her grows with every movie I see her in, and the emotion she was able to bring to this role was so tortured, so vulnerable, you couldn’t help but feel for her pain. Is it crazy on my part that I could understand why she did what she did (the character)? Not deflowering a 15-year-old, of course, but her need for something more than the life she was dealt, her need for escape? And Judi Dench’s character is… terrifying is probably the best word. I may just have to pick up the book now.
This movie was produced by Walden Media, the same folks who brought us The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and Bridge to Terabithia (they like the whole making-a-movie-out-of-popular-children’s-books thing). It had a lot of promise, and the trailer made it look really good. To me, it didn’t disappoint. It has a really great premise, the foundations of which were lain down by Susan Cooper, who wrote the book back in the 70s (I say foundation because the book and movie apparently have very little in common. I’m reading the first book in the series—the movie was based on the second book, which has different characters than the first—but I have found a website that lists all of the changes, and they are extensive. If any of you loved the book Eragon and saw the movie based on that book, you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about with this one. BUT, because the movie was my introduction to the world, and not the book, I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was). Definitely worth a buy when it comes out on DVD, though I don’t know how happy the studio is with it at the moment. Opening weekend on the purportedly $60M movie was a measly $3.75M… Ouch!
A sad side note…
If you remember my excitement about the new TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, you’ll know how disappointed I am to find out that Fox has decided to hold off on launching the show until mid-season. Why? Because God hates me.
Kyle W. Kerr
Okay, so I heard about this a while ago and never thought it would ever come into being. I was wrong. And I’m glad I was.
Terminator 2 is one of my favorite movies of all time. In fact, it is one of my favorite stories from my parents: they claim they named me after the character “Kyle Reese” from T1. I don’t know if that’s true (the dates match up, but they could still be lying), but it’s just cool to be able to say!
The show is scheduled to air on Fox, and according to IMDb, they have already filmed 12 episodes. Included in the cast is Lena Headey as Sarah Connor, who played Queen Gorgo in 300; Thomas Dekker as John Connor, who played Claire’s friend Zach in last year’s hit TV show Heroes; and Summer Glau as Cameron (a good cyborg sent to help them, named in honor of James Cameron, who directed the first two Terminator movies), who played River Tam in Joss Whedon’s short-lived but brilliant TV show Firefly and subsequent film Serenity.
It looks like it’s going to be a wild ride. I’m definitely going to be on board!
Kyle W. Kerr