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Yes, I’m aware it’s been almost a year since I wrote a blog post. Sometimes I find I have nothing to talk about, and other times I feel what I do have to say isn’t worthy of a blog post. Hence, no posts. I need to change that, so I’ll be starting up my usual posts of book and movie reviews once more, and possibly some updates on my writing as that happens.
What’s prompted me to break my silence is the fact that I’m making a conscious decision to read more. I can’t think of 10 books I read last year, and that’s sad. So, I’ve put a goal of 20 books up on Goodreads for their “2012 Reading Challenge”. It’s not the 100 book goal that my friend Dawn has made, but I’m a slower reader, but that is actually something I do on purpose, because I want to absorb what I’m reading. Not saying she DOESN’T, but I know that when I rush, I miss things, and I want to give each book the time it (and its author) deserves.
This is my progress:
Won’t you join me in the challenge? Friend me on Goodreads and let me follow your progress! I’m hoping to exceed my goal of 20 books, but I think it’s a worthy goal nonetheless. Expect reviews of my first two completed books, Inheritance by Christopher Paolini and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern soon. But in the meantime, Happy Reading!
Kyle W. Kerr
I don’t get to go to author events often (mostly because of my work schedule, and partly because, even though Boston is a big city, book tours don’t often take authors this way), so it’s a rare treat when someone I’ve read comes to town. This past week, I was able to see David Levithan (whose book Will Grayson, Will Grayson I just reviewed), as well as newcomer Hannah Pittard.
I’ve only read two of David’s books, and the first one was about eight years ago. It was his first novel, Boy Meets Boy, a sort of alternate reality town where gay is okay, cheerleaders ride motorcycles and the quarterback of the football team is a dragqueen named Infinite Darlene who is also elected prom queen. I thought it was a unique story and have held onto it since first reading it, though never really pursued the author.
Cut to a couple of weeks ago when I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I absolutely loved the book and decided to look into the co-authors to see what else they’d written, and what should I find? Not only did David write Boy Meets Boy, but he is also the co-author of another book that was recently turned into a movie, Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist. So of course when I had the opportunity to hear him speak, I had to jump at the chance (I even passed up going to an advance screening of Just Go With It, the new Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston romcom).
I got there early and felt my heart sink, because there was only one other person there. I’ve been to author events before where almost no one shows up, and I can only imagine how I’d feel in a similar situation, so I was really nervous this would turn out similarly. Luckily, the slow trickle turned into a rush of last minute arrivals, and there turned out to be standing room only in the end.
Having come for David, I hadn’t realized there would be two authors, so I was surprised when they put another book on the front table that wasn’t one of his. The novel was called The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard. I’d never heard of it or her before, so didn’t really think about it. I was there for David.
When 7 o’clock rolled around and the two authors took their places, it was Hannah who went to the reading podium first. She’s a tall girl with long, dark hair and a slightly imposing voice, so when she started talking I honestly wasn’t paying too much attention. Hannah explained that her book is about a girl named Nora who goes missing, and a couple of boys fantasize about what might have happened to her. Then she started reading, and I couldn’t take my eyes away from her.
In the portion she read, she unfurled a tale of a girl who got pregnant and fled her small town in embarrassment, and winds up married to an older Mexican man and raising twins. She’s not happy, but she’s not sad either, almost indifferent in the direction her life took. The stability is comforting, and the Mexican cherishes her kids, yet she can’t help but wonder about the people she left behind. It’s a dark tale, one I fully intend to read in future.
Next came David, promoting his new novel The Lover’s Dictionary. In explaining the premise of the book, he said he literally opened a dictionary and picked a word a page, and used the words as inspiration for snippets and insights into one couple’s relationship. The entire book is laid out in these short dictionary entries and follows no chronological order, yet when you finish the book, you’re supposed to have a full understanding of their relationship. The entries range from single sentences to a couple pages, laugh-out-loud funny to heartbreaking. His reading encompassed one word per letter, and the emotions I felt in those few minutes ran the full gamut, fully aided by his masterful reading skills (I’ve never seen a more engaging author reading his work before). Another book I’ll have to buy very soon, because I can’t get it out of my head.
The real treat came when the two sat down to talk. They began by asking one another questions about the other’s work, which brought out some really intriguing insights not normally revealed at such events where questions are audience driven (since the same ones are usually asked, no matter the author… Where do you get your ideas? What advice do you have for young writers?). They’d never met before, but had a surprisingly natural chemistry together that was intoxicating to watch. And both were so articulate about their work, in such a way it almost made me nervous to think of my own (hopefully) eventual book tours and the kinds of answers I’m going to have to come up with. Will I be able to dissect and analyze what I wrote with such intelligence and thought?
Most any author event is worth going to, though not all of them leave you with such inspiration flowing through your veins. I loved hearing David in particular talk about his writing habits, and how he always likes to work with challenges. With Will Grayson, Will Grayson, the collaboration had him and his writing partner writing blind of one another’s work for the first few chapters before they came together to figure out what they had. On The Lover’s Dictionary, he went through the dictionary and pulled out words and formed a fully realized relationship between two people with only these short entries to work with. His next novel is a different sort of collaboration altogether, where a photographer friend of his would give him a random picture and he’d have to form a story around it. He continued to receive random photos throughout the writing and had to incorporate them into the book. David never knew what photo he’d get, and his friend never saw what he was writing, so they wouldn’t be able to influence each other. Brilliant writing challenge, and changing it up with every project helps maintain the freshness of his work, which is surely a factor of his success.
Now I’m going to have to invest in his backlog of work, as well as Hannah’s debut. I truly recommend checking out both. Here’s David’s website, twitter and facebook, as well as a link to Hannah’s book on Amazon (I haven’t found any web presence for her just yet!).
Kyle W. Kerr
I’ve seen a few new movies in the months since my last post, but there’s really only one worth mentioning.
Being the movie fanatic that I am, I frequently prowl the back alleys of movie gossip sites and heard about this particular feature a number of years ago. After the success of Titanic, James Cameron basically fell off the face of the planet, and I figured he was suffering from the same fear that plagues all successful artists… how the hell is he going to follow THAT?
But that isn’t what really happened. He spent his time working on a couple of documentaries (low-key, of course), but he’d also started production on something he’d written almost a decade earlier, an idea that was too far ahead of the technology at the time. He wrote AVATAR and ended up putting it away in a drawer, only to pick it up many years later, blow off the dust, and think… Hey, this isn’t so bad!
And so it began. Production started and whispers of a new mega-budget Cameron project started to circulate (even now, no one really knows how much it cost, but many believe it is the most expensive movie ever made, so over $300 million!). People kept talking about the kind of technology being developed and pictures leaked of actors wearing strange costumes. Everyone in the industry was buzzing, and that buzzing eventually turned into a frenzy late last summer when the first trailer debuted.
I have to admit, when I first saw the trailer I thought it looked a bit… dumb. Well, not necessarily dumb, but I didn’t really know what to think of it. Not much of the story was explained (it was a TEASER trailer, after all!), and the visual effects didn’t look right. Little did I know that it was the limited viewing capabilities of our home computers (even though my monitor is high-def) that was the problem. BUT, even though I wasn’t overly impressed the first time I watched the trailer, I watched it again. And again. And many more times over the following months until the theatrical trailer was released, and by that time, I’d started to become a little, well, OBSESSED.
Cut to the week leading up to the release of the movie. Everyone is talking about it, critics are raving, and you can’t turn on your TV without seeing a dozen or so commercials every hour. I talked my friend Francine into seeing the movie in 3D with me on opening night, even though we expected a huge crowd, and I probably lost a good handful of Twitter and Facebook friends because I could talk of little else.
Now, I have a confession to make. I am a HUGE Titanic freak (sounds redundant when you think about it, doesn’t it?), and it is probably the worst kept secret that I am deeply in love with Kate Winslet… Couple that with the fact that the Terminator franchise is one of my all time favorite storylines (T2 is one of the most incredible movies ever, and I WAS named after Kyle Reese from T1 after all), and the fact that he also directed the hilarious True Lies, I was definitely a James Cameron fan. But now, my liking of him has escalated to an unhealthy level.
We went to the theater early (only about 2 hours), expecting to see a swarm of people (I was there for when people were lining up for the midnight release of The Twilight Saga: New Moon back in November, and was expecting similar lines), but was disappointed by the seeming lack of bodies. We didn’t even get in line right away, and opted to sit in the game room for a half hour or so because we weren’t really worried about getting bad seats at that point. All of this was an ominous sign. I knew AVATAR was the most expensive movie ever made, and I feared for Jim’s reputation if it didn’t open with smashing numbers. But then a queue started, and we diligently and patiently waited for it to snake its way into the theater.
I wear glasses, so having to wear 3D specs over them has always been difficult. I’ve never watched an entire feature length movie in 3D, but did see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in IMAX, and the last twenty minutes of the movie were in 3D (which was my first real experience with 3D where it wasn’t kitschy), and it was annoying for that short amount of time, so how would I feel after over two and a half hours?
Honestly? I forgot I was wearing them. Well, after the disconcerting sensation of depth perception for a MOVIE wore off! I was disoriented for maybe the first five minutes, but after…
For those of you who don’t know what AVATAR is about, it follows the story of ex-Marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who is recruited by a company to fill in for his recently murdered twin brother. Jake’s brother was a scientist and worked closely with the avatar program, training for years to operate an avatar body and learning the native language of the Na’vi. His involvement meant millions of investment dollars, and because the avatar bodies are made from the DNA of their host mixed with the DNA of the Na’vi, Jake is literally able to step into his brother’s avatar, something no one else can do.
He is transported several light-years away to Pandora, where he is quickly recruited by the person in charge of security, another ex-Marine, Colonel Quaritch, to be his spy on the Na’vi, to learn their ways and feed him useful information on how they might eventually fight the native population.
But what Jake couldn’t have foreseen was the level of intelligence the “savages” have, or the peace loving and spiritual insight that is their very nature. He manages to get accepted (for the most part) into their tribe, thanks mostly to Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), who believes she can see his good heart and pure spirit. Jake falls in love with Neytiri and the Na’vi People, so when Quaritch decides it’s time to move and destroy the spirit of The People, Jake has a very tough decision to make: stand back and watch it happen, or abandon his own race and fight alongside the Na’vi.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. The visuals are unparalleled. I’ve never seen a movie with so much CGI work look so photorealistic. That’s thanks to the team over at Weta Workshop/Weta Digital in New Zealand (owned by my other favorite director, Peter Jackson, who’ve done visual effects work for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Chronicles of Narnia movies, King Kong, X-Men: The Last Stand, Jumper, The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), just to name a few). They were heralded for their work on Lord of the Rings, but they have progressed to GODS with AVATAR. The transition from real to CGI is seamless, and when you have a human standing next to a Na’vi, neither looks fake. What’s most impressive was the emotion they were able to capture from the actors, from small facial movements, to the depths of their eyes. If any digital effects company in the world could’ve pulled this off, it was always going to be Weta. When I saw LOTR for the first time, I was mesmerized. And if anyone has seen King Kong, pay special attention to the end of the movie when you can LITERALLY see the light go out of Kong’s eyes when he dies. Beautiful CG work. And, being the crazy movie fan that I am, I have watched ALL of the special features for the LOTR movies, King Kong, and The Chronicles of Narnia, so know the depth of detail they put into their designs that we can’t even SEE on screen.
Also, the 3D enhances your experience of the movie tenfold. I haven’t seen the movie in 2D. Hopefully they’ll find a way to release the DVD in 3D as well, because I can’t imagine watching it any other way. The way it just immerses you. Who would’ve thought that just adding depth perception to a movie could create such a difference!
The thing that I liked most about the movie is the thing people have spoken about least, and that’s the acting. Sam Worthington as the lead is great. This was the first movie I’d seen him in (he was previously in Terminator: Salvation, but I wouldn’t see that until after AVATAR), and I was impressed with him. He’s great with the action, but he could also be passionate and sensual when needed. He’s a commanding presence, so it takes no stretching of the imagination to see him leading a Na’vi army against The Sky People.
But the person who most impressed me, the performance that stayed with me long after the credits stopped rolling, was that of Zoe Saldana playing Neytiri. It’s a testament to her performance that I FORGOT I was watching a nearly naked, ten foot tall alien with yellow eyes and a zero waistline. The raw emotion that radiated from her, the sadness in her eyes, the joy on her face, the power of her voice… whatever the scene, she never gave less than her A-Game. AVATAR was just nominated for NINE Academy Awards, yet Zoe wasn’t nominated for best actress. I think this was a HUGE oversight. EVERY SINGLE SECOND of Neytiri’s performance was done by Zoe. They didn’t record voices for this movie and then Weta spent the next three years doing the animation, these actors suited up and motion-captured their entire performance. Meaning Zoe had to train for months beforehand so she was lithe enough to be a believable Na’vi, had to learn their native language, had to fight, to cry, to love. Every miniscule movement on their faces was captured and 100% reproduced on their Na’vi counterparts thanks to the amazing technology James Cameron and his crew invented. Don’t believe me? Check out this video:
All in all, a worthy movie of all the attention and money it is making. This was truly a magical experience for me, and if anyone hasn’t seen it in 3D in theaters yet, you cannot imagine what you are missing.
Film Score: 12 out of 10.
Kyle W. Kerr
What do the two of these have in common? Nothing, apart from the fact that I’m going to discuss both of them in this blog post.
I never read the comics when I was younger, but I did watch the cartoon, so there was definitely a certain level of anticipation on my part when the first of the X-Men franchise was originally slated for release. Though I’ve deemed the X-Men films as the movies where good actors go to get a break from acting, they’ve served their entertainment purposes and I’ve liked all three of them.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is supposed to be about the—er—origins of, well, Wolverine, if the title wasn’t obvious enough. It starts off when he’s a kid and he finds out he’s half-brothers with Victor Creed (aka Sabretooth), goes through a choppy montage of clips with the two of them fighting in every war imaginable in recent history, to the point where they’re both recruited to become part of William Stryker’s personal SWAT team of mutants. That’s all in the first five minutes. To say that this film is roughly edited and moves at too quick of a pace is an understatement. I had a connection with Wolverine because I’ve already been through three other movies with him, but it didn’t leave me enough time to bond with the other characters.
One of my favorites has always been Gambit, but the eight minutes of screen time he had wasn’t nearly enough for me (though they were probably the BEST eight minutes of the movie!). The whole storyline was a bit contrived and I left feeling disappointed. It was entertaining, don’t get me wrong, with some decent action and a look at a bunch of new mutants we hadn’t been privy to in the earlier films in the franchise (and some of them, like Gambit and Deadpool, already have Origins spin-offs of their own in the works), which was cool. But the acting in this installment was particularly bad, even on Hugh Jackman’s part, which pains me to say.
And there’s also the fact that they CHANGED Wolverine’s origins for this movie! Like I said previously, I didn’t read the comics, but even I know that Logan didn’t have his claws UNTIL the metal was added to his bones… they were a sort of perk of the operation. In the movie, young Jimmy (I don’t know WHY he’s called Jimmy in the beginning and throughout the film by Sabretooth and is now Logan, but whatever) gets mad and the claws come out of his hands as bone, and he goes through all the wars and most of his life with the bone claws (which I actually found kind of disgusting for some reason) that turn into metal during the operation. And since when does Sabretooth have long life like Wolverine? He also seemed to have healing powers of some sort, because he never seemed to be hurt, no matter how he was shot, stabbed, cut or impaled. Anyone know anything about X-Men that can let me know about this?
Basically, it’s a pretty mindless movie with some decent action and cool special effects. Hopefully the Wolverine 2 movie that is already being planned will be a little better in the story and acting departments, because this one was definitely lacking in both. Go to see it in theatres if you like (mostly because the SFX will look better), but it’s not really necessary.
Score: Not great, but didn’t want to throw myself on Wolverine’s claws… 6/10.
Neil’s name has popped up over the past few years, but I never picked up one of his books. Most recently (if you call two years ago recently), I saw the movie Stardust, which is based off of one of his novels, and I really liked it! Now, I still haven’t read any of his books, but I subscribe to his Journal on his official website and I also just followed him on Twitter.
There are some authors that I love to read but who can be fairly boring people. There are others that I don’t particularly like their books but I LOVE to read them talk (meaning, anything BUT their fiction, ie. blog posts, interviews, etc…). Stephen King is one of the latter. I HAVE eighteen of his books and I’ve read exactly four of them. They’re okay, but don’t have me itching to pick up the next one (then why do I have eighteen of them? I have mentioned my compulsive book buying before, haven’t I?), but his On Writing book is incredible, I read every Entertainment Weekly column he writes, and every time I see an interview or anything with him I have to read it. He’s just an incredibly interesting and intelligent person whose brain I love to get a glimpse into.
This is my problem with Neil. Not a problem, per-se, but definitely a predicament. I love reading him talk so much that I’m afraid to pick up one of his books! Take his latest Journal entry for instance (read it here… trust me, you’ll enjoy it!). A very well thought out response to a question that plagues most published authors, but also an answer to an email from a fan! As a heavy reader myself, I like to see instances where authors take the time to communicate with their fans, and Neil does that on a daily basis through email, his Journal, and on Twitter. It’s very frustrating when some of your favorite authors don’t even have a WEBSITE, let alone a blog or Twitter account or Facebook page. A great amount of interaction isn’t necessary (they do have to have time to actually write the books we so love!), but a little would be nice, and a bit more is always appreciated.
Are we too connected? Only time will tell, but I enjoy the communication and is something I plan to do myself when I finally get published. I mean, how else would I have known that Christopher Rice finished his fifth book last week if I weren’t friends with him on Facebook? I know he has no clue who I am, but it’s nice to have that little connection.
But back to Neil. I have been enjoying his Journal entries for months now and think it’s finally time to venture into his world of fiction. Are there any fans out there who could recommend a first read?
And if you haven’t checked out his Journal, definitely take some time to do so!
P.S. Follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already!
Kyle W. Kerr
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
06/22/08 | Awesome, Books, My Writings | 3 Comments
It’s been a month since my last update. Why? Because I don’t really have anything to say. The writing honestly hasn’t been going very well, and I just haven’t wanted to talk about it. It’s not that what I’m writing is bad, but the fact that I’m NOT WRITING. I’ve tried to figure out what my problem is, but the truth alludes me. I don’t know what’s wrong. Hopefully, it’ll correct itself soon, and I can finish my book at some point.
One of the things keeping me sane in my little bout of no writing is my work on the film news site, Filmonic. It was actually an outlet I never knew I needed, not until I had it. I love movies, more than any person I know. I’d go to the movies several times a week if I could afford it. I’ve even watched the special features on some movies MORE TIMES THAN I’VE WATCHED THE ACTUAL MOVIE. Anyone who knows me knows that I have ambitions of writing a screenplay. It sounds hokey, but I love everything about writing, and most forms of it. I’ve written a novel, many short stories, and even a short screenplay. They are all satisfying to write, and immensely challenging in their own rights. With a novel, you have to have a good storyline, intriguing characters, and sustainability for 80,000+ words. A short story needs the same first two characteristics, but you need to do it in a much more condensed form. Screenplays, along with all of the characteristics of a novel, coupled with a little shorter format (about 90-110 pages) and more of a visual impact, has its own challenges. Challenges I’m very much willing—and eager!—to undertake…!
All of that being said, I love movies. I love finding out little tidbits about movies in production, all of that behind-the-scenes stuff, and I’m a self proclaimed Movie Trailer Whore. The day I set foot on a movie set is the day my life is complete. (Well, I’m assuming that I would have already published a novel by that point! )
What’s cool is that the site has already been recognized by IMDb and PerezHilton.com (whose plug sent so many viewers to the site that it crashed our server!). It’s on its way to becoming a great site, and that’s a good thing. I’m hoping that, once the site gets big enough, that I can apply to the Broadcast Film Critics Association (since I do all of the movie reviews for the site), which would bring a great credibility to the site! We just have to hope that the site continues to grow as rapidly as it has been!
IN OTHER NEWS:
On July 10, I’m heading to NYC to attend ThrillerFest. NO, it’s not a Michael Jackson gathering, but a convention for thriller writers! Now, I’m not a thriller writer, but I do read thrillers. Plus, why would I give up the chance to rub elbows with some of the best known authors in the world? Some of the people I’ll be meeting? Maybe you’ve heard of them: JAMES PATTERSON, SANDRA BROWN, JAMES ROLLINS, STEVE BERRY, DAVID MORRELL, LEE CHILD… the list goes on. If I don’t die on the spot, I’ll have to work on my vocal skills… ie, making sure I can talk, and not simply squeak or drool at them. I’m sure they’re used to that reaction, but I’d rather avoid it if I could!
There are going to be two days of sessions, ranging in all topics about writing, storytelling, and publishing, and then an awards banquet at the end of the second night (which I’ll also be attending)! I’m super excited about it!
I’m actually reading my first ever James Patterson book right now, and it’s really good! It’s called When the Wind Blows, and it’s about genetic experiments on children that turn them into super smart halfbreeds. You heard right, they’re half human, half bird (they have wings). About 100 pages in and it’s got me hooked. And, it’s a pretty quick read!
Also, Entertainment Weekly has released a list of 100 Best Books Published Since 1983. You’ll find that list below, but I have to say… I’ve only read EIGHT of the books! Well, eight and a half (I never finished William Gibson’s Neuromancer). I’ll highlight my pitiful reading list in bold. How many have you read?
1. The Road, Cormac McCarthy (2006)
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling (2000)
3. Beloved, Toni Morrison (1987)
4. The Liars’ Club, Mary Karr (1995)
5. American Pastoral, Philip Roth (1997)
6. Mystic River, Dennis Lehane (2001)
7. Maus, Art Spiegelman (1986/1991)
8. Selected Stories, Alice Munro (1996)
9. Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier (1997)
10. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami (1997)
11. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer (1997)
12. Blindness, José Saramago (1998)
13. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (1986-87)
14. Black Water, Joyce Carol Oates (1992)
15. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Dave Eggers (2000)
16. The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1986)
17. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez (1988)
18. Rabbit at Rest, John Updike (1990)
19. On Beauty, Zadie Smith (2005)
20. Bridget Jones’s Diary, Helen Fielding (1998)
21. On Writing, Stephen King (2000)
22. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Díaz (2007)
23. The Ghost Road, Pat Barker (1996)
24. Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry (1985)
25. The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan (1989)
26. Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984) (never did get to the mancer part! LOL)
27. Possession, A.S. Byatt (1990)
28. Naked, David Sedaris (1997)
29. Bel Canto, Anne Patchett (2001)
30. Case Histories, Kate Atkinson (2004)
31. The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien (1990)
32. Parting the Waters, Taylor Branch (1988)
33. The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion (2005)
34. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold (2002)
35. The Line of Beauty, Alan Hollinghurst (2004)
36. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt (1996)
37. Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi (2003)
38. Birds of America, Lorrie Moore (1998)
39. Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri (2000)
40. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman (1995-2000) (This is technically THREE books!)
41. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros (1984)
42. LaBrava, Elmore Leonard (1983)
43. Borrowed Time, Paul Monette (1988)
44. Praying for Sheetrock, Melissa Fay Greene (1991)
45. Eva Luna, Isabel Allende (1988)
46. Sandman, Neil Gaiman (1988-1996)
47. World’s Fair, E.L. Doctorow (1985)
48. The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
49. Clockers, Richard Price (1992)
50. The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (2001)
51. The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcom (1990)
52. Waiting to Exhale, Terry McMillan (1992)
53. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)
54. Jimmy Corrigan, Chris Ware (2000)
55. The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls (2006)
56. The Night Manager, John le Carré (1993)
57. The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe (1987)
58. Drop City, TC Boyle (2003)
59. Krik? Krak!, Edwidge Danticat (1995)
60. Nickel & Dimed, Barbara Ehrenreich (2001)
61. Money, Martin Amis (1985)
62. Last Train To Memphis, Peter Guralnick (1994)
63. Pastoralia, George Saunders (2000)
64. Underworld, Don DeLillo (1997)
65. The Giver, Lois Lowry (1993)
66. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, David Foster Wallace (1997)
67. The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini (2003)
68. Fun Home, Alison Bechdel (2006)
69. Secret History, Donna Tartt (1992)
70. Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (2004)
71. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Ann Fadiman (1997)
72. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon (2003)
73. A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving (1989)
74. Friday Night Lights, H.G. Bissinger (1990)
75. Cathedral, Raymond Carver (1983)
76. A Sight for Sore Eyes, Ruth Rendell (1998)
77. The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)
78. Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
79. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell (2000)
80. Bright Lights, Big City, Jay McInerney (1984)
81. Backlash, Susan Faludi (1991)
82. Atonement, Ian McEwan (2002)
83. The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields (1994)
84. Holes, Louis Sachar (1998)
85. Gilead, Marilynne Robinson (2004)
86. And the Band Played On, Randy Shilts (1987)
87. The Ruins, Scott Smith (2006)
88. High Fidelity, Nick Hornby (1995)
89. Close Range, Annie Proulx (1999)
90. Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl (2001)
91. Random Family, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc (2003)
92. Presumed Innocent, Scott Turow (1987)
93. A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley (1991)
94. Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser (2001)
95. Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman (1998)
96. The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown (2003)
97. Jesus’ Son, Denis Johnson (1992)
98. The Predators’ Ball, Connie Bruck (1988)
99. Practical Magic, Alice Hoffman (1995)
100. America (the Book), Jon Stewart/Daily Show (2004)
Kyle W. Kerr
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe took the world by surprise. Not many thought that the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Harry Potter series could be repeated, yet it happened again with The Chronicles of Narnia. The first movie went on to gross over $730 million worldwide and left audiences all over the globe wanting MORE.
In Prince Caspian, the world of Narnia has been ravaged by time and the harsh rule of a race of humans called the Telmarines, a people who do not believe in magic. In the 1300 years since the Pevensie siblings left Narnia after serving for years as Kings and Queens, the Telmarines invaded and managed to drive Narnians almost to extinction.
The King of the Telmarines is dead and his son, Prince Caspian, is waiting for a time when he can take the throne. In the meantime, Caspian’s uncle, Miraz, serves as Regent of the realm. However, when Miraz’s wife gives birth to a son, Caspian’s life is suddenly in danger and he is forced to flee in order to survive. In the throes of his escape, he blows a horn with a mysterious past, and in doing so summons the Kings and Queens of old to help in his plight.
It has only been a year for the Pevensies, yet the transition from royal adults back to ordinary “children” hasn’t been easy for all of them. Peter, for one, hates being treated for his age and starts fights with other school-aged boys just to prove his manhood. Yet one day they feel an strange pinching in their stomachs as they’re waiting for the train to school, a pinch that feels oddly like magic. In the blink of an eye, the children are back in Narnia and they are faced with fighting two battles: the advancing Talmarine army, and their waning faith in Aslan and in themselves.
From the moment I stepped out of the theater after watching the first Narnia installment, I instantly wanted to watch the next one. It has been two and a half years, and six months longer than the original release date, and I’m very pleased to say that the wait has been well worth it. Through most of the two and a half hour movie, I literally had chills running up my spine. This movie, in my opinion, is even better than the first.
What makes it so great is that director Andrew Adamson didn’t try to recreate the look and feel of the first movie. This is a much darker movie, one with severe moral undertones about acceptance and prejudice, and it shouldn’t feel as fluffy as the first one was. A number of reviews I read about the movie complained that there wasn’t enough magic in this one, yet what did they expect? The Pevensies come back in an age where magic is all but gone, so there naturally wouldn’t be any magic to see. There are still a number of Narnians left: from centaurs and minotaurs, to talking badgers and mice to dwarves. There was plenty of magic in that respect, and certainly enough action, to let the audience leave feeling satisfied.
Another interesting element of this movie is the level of emotion that the young actors were able to bring to their roles, as well as the feelings the characters themselves were feeling. In the first Narnia, it’s obvious that it was their first real acting job. Yes, they did the best they could at the time, but they have all grown as actors, resulting in much more three dimensional characters this time around. They actually FELT like they were the Kings and Queens of Narnia past stuck in the bodies of teenagers and children. It was something in their eyes, a sense of knowledge far beyond their years, and the very way they held themselves that made it so believable. They have all grown, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.
My favorite transition was in the character of Edmund who, in the first movie, betrayed his family for his own gain. In Prince Caspian, you can tell he is still trying to make up for this betrayal and will do anything for his family. Not only does he defend his brother, stick up for Lucy when no one believes that she’s been seeing Aslan when none of the rest of them has, but he’s turned into a calculated, badass warrior. He’s very confident in his position as a King, gets right into the thick of battles, and even slides down a roof to kick a Talmerine soldier over a balcony. He is able to stand in front of the Telmarine usurper, surrounded by enemies, and shoot off a witty sort of banter that lets Miraz know exactly who Edmund is: a Narnian King. Not to mention how much older he seems, considering actor Skandar Keynes’ voice dropped about three octaves!
Newcomer Ben Barnes as Prince Caspian only added to the great cast. The only thing I was confused about was his accent. He’s British, yet he had some sort of Italian accent in the movie, which didn’t exactly match up with the rest of the Telmarines. Other than that, I’m glad we’ll be seeing more of him in the upcoming The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader movie in 2010.
Overall, really incredible movie. The action is enough to keep anyone’s eyes glued to the screen, but the sarcasm and wit will keep you in your seat, and the emotion will leave you longing for more. This is one of those movies that you really need to see in theaters, and one you’re likely to see multiple times (like I’m surely going to do myself!): 10/10.
GO SEE THIS MOVIE.
Kyle W. Kerr
As I was looking at new trailers, I stumbled across these! Behind-the-Scenes featurettes for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!
Anyone else looking forward to this as much as I am?
Kyle W. Kerr
I haven’t posted any trailers in a while, and what better one to restart with than Narnia?!
Kyle W. Kerr
It’s probably one of the worst kept secrets that I love all things Harry Potter, and the author herself is not exempt from this. The last book in the series came out last July and, for the year preceding that day, Jo was followed around by a camera and a documentarian (is that a word?). It was shown on ITV in the UK, but hasn’t found its way State-side yet, though has recently popped up online. I found it really interesting, so I figured I would share with all of you. Below are five videos, each about 10 minutes long, documenting a year in the life of JK Rowling (including the moment she writes the last line of the book!). Enjoy!
Kyle W. Kerr
I had one of the most amazing nights of my life last night. For about two hours, I was in the presence of one of the most critically acclaimed authors in the country: Michael Cunningham.
Michael has written some truly amazing books, two of which I have read, including The Hours, which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie starring Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, Specimen Days, Flesh and Blood, and At Home at the End of the World, which was also made into a movie, this one starring Colin Farrell.
We started planning for this event about six months ago, originally intending to bring in either Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon) or Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club), but both of them had to decline because of conflicts with their touring… which actually turned out to be a blessing.
How is one supposed to act around someone like that? I mean, here I am, 22, working on finishing my first novel, pretty much trying to stay sane in my last few weeks of college, and I’m supposed to interview a PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING NOVELIST?! How cruel is fate? But he was more than generous, and it was an immense pleasure to even be in his presence. He was kind, he was surprisingly humble, and he was an all around nice person. Never before have I seen an author take so much time to talk to his fans during a signing.
Probably the most amazing part of the night was when, right after Michael and I had left the stage, he asked me how my novel was going. Like, he was genuinely interested! And there’s me, and the first word out of my mouth sounded something like, flablneble. What could I POSSIBLY have said to him?! It was all I could do to, you know, not pass out.
Definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.
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
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
I’m really excited to announce that the comments have been enabled for all of my Journal entries! Finally, you can tell me what you think about the topics I post...! And I would LOVE to hear what you have to say about them…
All you have to do is click on the title, or the word “Comments” in the post heading, scroll down to the bottom and fill out the form! For those of you who read my posts through an RSS feed, just click on the title of the post and you will be brought to the appropriate page… Simple!
Anyone and everyone is welcome to comment…! According to FeedBurner, my RSS service provider, there are at least 216 people who subscribe to this Journal, so I hope to hear from some of you!!! Use this post to introduce yourselves! And be sure to check back often for updates (I make several a week)!
I am working with my web developer to implement a more convenient way of posting, but how it is now will work for the interim.
Just remember, if you do comment, this is something that agents and editors may see, so be professional (ie. try to stay on topic, no cursing, etc…)!
I hope you are all doing well and that I see some comments from you soon!
Kyle W. Kerr
It’s probably the worst kept secret these days that I am in love with the movie Atonement.
In the movie, there is one of the most amazing tracking shots I have every seen; a five minute long shot through complete and utter chaos… there are soldiers marching, singing, fighting, shooting horses (obviously, they didn’t really shot them… but it looks incredibly realistic!), and pretty much just going stir crazy all over the place. It’s a right miracle that they were able to pull it off in one go.
I am posting two clips below. The first is the actual scene from the movie. I honestly don’t know how long this clip will be up for, so you should check it out while you have the chance. The second clip is a little piece on how they created the shot.
(The behind-the-scenes Dunkirk footage runs the first five minutes of this video.)
Again, I can’t stress how amazing a movie this is. It is being released in more theatres every day, so check your local theatre for show times.
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
12/27/07 | Awesome, Genius Mode, My Writings | 0 Comments
I have declared 2008 to be the Year of the Book…!
(Feel free to post this on your own site! Just click on the picture for links.)
This is the year I will finally finish my book. I will finish it, get an agent, and sell it to a major publisher. I also want to start my second book, which has been percolating in my mind for years.
This is not a New Year’s resolution, because those are useless and never work. Think of it as if I’m from the future, coming back to write this post for things that I have already done (because I will).
May all of my Ohana have a similarly successful year. The same goes for all of my favorite writers as well. Remember, this has already happened, so I’m just reporting the truth! (I swear I’m not crazy...!)
2008, I’m coming. Watch out!
Kyle W. Kerr
This post is all about some BIG NEWS… Some really amazing things that I thought I should share with you all… Of course, none of it is about me, but all of it excites me to no end!
The first thing is about my friend Dawn, who I have mentioned in the past. She recently finished her first book and sent it off to an agent who expressed interest in it back at the Maui Writers Conference… Well, she just got an email from said agent that was very encouraging! I’m not going to go into it until Dawn gets some definite answers, because I don’t want to jinx it… I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you Iusey!
Any Peter Jackson fans out there? Of COURSE there are! For any of you who don’t personally know me, I am a HUGE PJ fan, and have loved all of the movies of his I’ve seen (including the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong, Heavenly Creatures, and The Frighteners, and I’m sooo looking forward to The Lovely Bones)… Well, Pete and New Line were having a little tiff… to the tune of about $100 million! That’s how much money in royalties NL tried to swindle PJ out of for the Rings trilogy. Because of the success of the trilogy, NL wanted to immediately put into production the film version of The Hobbit, the prequel to the trilogy, though both sides refused to work with each other while the dispute was going on. I don’t blame them… Personally, I don’t see what the problem was. Give him the damn $100M, because you have the potential to make another BILLION dollars if you team up for another movie (that’s the amount each of the first three made on average in box office receipts alone!). Well, they’ve finally settled their dispute, and PJ is back on board for The Hobbit (which, from what I can tell, is going to be TWO movies, shot consecutively and released in 2010 and 2011), but only in a producer role! He’s not going to direct! What the eff?! They’re looking at Spider-Man director Sam Raimi to fill Pete’s shoes… As long as PJ’s there to make sure things stay on track, it should still be good… I hope!
Also, for those of you who enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s vision of Bruce Wayne and Gotham City in Batman Begins, the next installment is coming out next summer! Enjoy the trailer for The Dark Knight below!
It looks even BETTER than Begins! Anyone else notice that Katie Holmes was replaced by Maggie Gyllenhaal? Katie had scheduling difficulties. Yeah, she decided to film the ridiculous looking Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. I’m not even going to put the trailer on my site, because it looks sooo bad… But you can view it here if you so choose… Good choice, Katie!
Focus Features has become one of my new favorite movie studios, after their release of the brilliant Atonement. Here are two new movies coming out by the studio that look really hilarious!
In Bruges (January 17, 2008) - This trailer actually has cursing in it, so you probably shouldn’t watch it at work...!
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (March 7 2008)
Kyle W. Kerr
I know this is the third trailer I’m posting in a week, but these are all movies that I have been waiting a long time for and am very excited about.
Now, here’s the trailer for Inkheart...!
Kyle W. Kerr
Here’s another surprise!
The trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian...!!!
Looks amazing! I can’t wait...!!!
Kyle W. Kerr
Here’s the trailer for Sex and the City: The Movie!!!
Hope you enjoyed it!
Kyle W. Kerr
I would love to say that my favorite debut novels are mine and all of my friends’ who are writers… but, considering you can’t read those (yet), I’ll go with some books that are actually in print. In no particular order…
This book looked intriguing to me; the cover had a bunch of books on it, so it caught my attention, and I knew from the blurb that it was about writing, and writers and books in some way. But I never bought it. I would walk by it, stop, pick it up, and ultimately put it back down again. Yet, one day, I received it in the mail (I’m part of the Literary Guild book club, and they send you books every month), and decided to keep it. Again, I didn’t read it straight away, but let it sit for a few weeks, always picking it up when it came time to read a new book, and, again, always putting it back down. You see a pattern?
Well, I finally picked it up. And let me tell you something… I couldn’t put it back down for the life of me. There is mention of an enchanted book in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that, once you pick it up, you can never stop reading it. Well, I’m pretty sure this was the book Ron was talking about.
It’s the story of a woman named Margaret, whose father owns a bookshop and deals in antique and rare books. She has always associated with this life, and probably gets along better with the fictional characters in her books than people in real life. She gets a letter from a very famous old writer named Vida Winter (someone on the level of, I don’t know, a mixture of Nora Roberts and JK Rowling… in level of fame and skill, not storylines), who wants Margaret to write her biography. The story of this woman’s life, I have to admit, is kind of like following Alice down the rabbit hole. With every new thing Vida tells her, the story gets weirder and crazier, but, at the same time, so very interesting. A truly amazing first novel; her second one can’t come out soon enough.
Okay, this book has been out since July of 1995, but it was still Terry’s debut novel. This is the first book in his Sword of Truth series, which just ended with its 11th book, Confessor (which debuted at #2 on the NYT bestseller list!), last month. As you can tell by the title, this is a fantasy series, which is truly a remarkable feat that Terry got on the NYT bestseller list.
This may come as a shock to some of you, but this is actually my favorite fantasy series of all time, NOT Harry Potter. (I’m just much, MUCH more obsessed with HP… there’s a difference!)
I have to admit that I bought WFR on a whim because I saw a special $2.99 paperback version of the book, and figured it couldn’t hurt.
Richard is a simple woods guide, when he stumbles upon a woman in the woods who is being chased by four men. He helps her get away, and ends up aiding in killing the four men (who ambush them, so it was self-defense). Kahlan (pronounces Kay-lin), is in search of the First Wizard from her own land, which is blocked off from Richard’s by a magic boundary (not going to get into how she got through). Then they go on a perilous journey back through the boundary, almost get killed a million times, and drama, drama, drama. Richard, Kahlan, and everyone he comes into contact with are all destined for great things, and are powerful and wonderful (in their own ways, good and bad) beyond reason. SO good, you guys.
Terry’s books are anywhere from 650-1000 pages each, and they are ALL page-turners. If you are a fantasy fan, or if you are just a fan of unbelievable fiction and superb writing, you should check out this book—and the rest of the series as well!
This book got a lot of attention when it came out a few years ago. Like The Thirteenth Tale, I would walk past it in the bookstores and never buy it. That is, until I went on a book-buying spree one day (which isn’t as unusual as it sounds… these sprees happen quite often).
Lee Fiora realizes that she doesn’t like the public school she’s going to—she doesn’t fit in—and decides that she is a much better fit at a prep school in Massachusetts (—on a side note, it has taken me 3 years to be able to spell MA in one shot… go me—). She comes from a lower, middle class family, and is only able to attend the school because she is granted a scholarship, in a place where “money was everywhere on campus, but it was usually invisible.”
Many people want to liken this novel to The Catcher in the Rye, and I can see why they would want to; Lee is an outcast and doesn’t seem to understand the basic norms of socialization (she never hires a prostitute just to talk, but does other, equally as awkward things). After reading the memoir Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison, it almost seems like Lee has Asperger’s Syndrome, which would make absolute sense.
Diane is able to get teen angst down to a science, and this was a very enjoyable read.
Has anyone not heard of this boy’s story? Well, in case you haven’t, here it is: He was home schooled and ended up graduating from high school at 15. Then, having nothing to do, he decided to see if he could write a book. (What 15-year-old wouldn’t come to the same decision faced with free-time?) So, he plotted out the storyline to what would eventually become the Inheritance Cycle (four books), the first of which was Eragon. It was first self-published for Christopher by his parents, and they went on a marketing frenzy. Eventually, it garnered the attention of Random House, who purchased the series for their Knopf imprint. The rest is kinda history.
This book, honestly, isn’t the most well written in the world, but the ideas and storyline are first class all the way. Eragon is a poor farm boy who stumbles upon, what he thinks is a precious stone, but actually turns out to be a dragon egg. It is one of only three left in the world, all others having been exterminated by the evil king. The egg hatches for him, and Eragon becomes the first Dragon Rider in a century. Now, he is being hunted by the king and his minions, and must flee to the Varden, a group of rebels fighting to overthrow the king and free the land of Alagaesia.
This was one of those books that leaves you speechless. And, for all those who have seen the god-awful movie version, it is no comparison to the book (which is better a thousand times over).
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Sounds kind of boring, doesn’t it? It’s about a historian? Well, sort of. This story is actually about vampires, and one very famous one at that (Dracula… what other famous vampires are there?).
Most of the story follows Paul, a young historian, who gets tangled in the mysterious past of one of his professors. We find out his story as he reveals it to his daughter, who has always been interested in his stories from the past and about her mother, who Paul met on this adventure to find Dracula and his missing professor. The story is also a romp through an ancient Europe, as the story goes far back in time to when Dracula was born.
I actually had the immense pleasure of meeting Elizabeth. It turns out that she worked on this book for about ten years (which makes me feel slightly better about my current six years), since she had to do so much research for the book. Plus, she’s anal, just like me. This book was amazing, and not what you would think upon hearing about it. Just like all of my blurbs in this post (and any other post where I talk about books or movies), my description does not do it justice. Just read it and see for yourself.
Duchess of Nothing by Heather McGowan
So, it’s poll time… who’s heard of this book? In all likeliness, probably none of you. I saw this book one day while perusing Barnes & Noble, and I’m usually wont to do. And there it was, just sitting there, staring at me. It was actually the cover that caught my attention, because I thought it was a really cute picture (the paperback cover is really ugly, though, by the way). So, I bought it, and didn’t regret it. This book is existentialism at its finest, and contains a lot of very dark humor.
The unnamed narrator lives with her boyfriend, Edmund, and Edmund’s 7-year-old younger brother in Rome. The narrator is never named (hence me saying “unnamed narrator”), and Edmund’s younger brother is lovingly referred to as “Edmund’s brother” throughout the text. After the first few chapters, Edmund leaves the two of them, and she is forced to look after the boy. She insists on giving Edmund’s brother an education (of sorts), and brings him around the city teaching him about life (while he looks longingly at a group of school children on a field trip to the zoo). At times she is very juvenile, and 7-year-old Edmund’s brother acts the adult in the relationship.
Through the course of the novel, you find out about the narrator’s past, and exactly how she became the way she is. The story is told from the narrator’s point of view, in a very stream-of-consciousness sort of way (with no differentiation between inner monologue, narration, and speech, which is all combined in large paragraphs). However, as chaotic as it sounds, none of these techniques diminish the book in any way, but only serve to strengthen it. Really great book and, at only 224 pages, a really fast read. And believe me, once you start reading, the narrator’s voice will suck you in so fast you won’t believe you’re reading anything, but having the thoughts yourself.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my favorite debut novels. Do me a favor and check some of them out, and let me know how you like them! Each of the novel titles is conveniently linked to their respective pages on Amazon.com, so what are you waiting for?!
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
I am going to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age today, which I am VERY excited about. In the interim, before I can post a review, here is a movie trailer that got me a little tingly…
Also, some movies coming out/in the works that you just might not know about yet… (Sorry, some of the links won’t provide any information unless you sign up for IMDb Pro, but hopefully that information will be up soon. Some of the movies don’t have links because they aren’t even showing up on regular IMDb.) The movies I am really looking forward to are in italics.
The Dark Knight*
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Sex and the City: The Movie
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (sadly, Rachel Weisz will not be returning)
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Dead Like Me
The Lovely Bones
A Christmas Carol (with Jim Carrey as Scrooge and all three ghosts, Tom Hanks as Bob Cratchit, and Michael J. Fox as Tiny Tim… no lie)
Untitled X-Files Sequel
Imperial Life in the Emerald City (I don’t know what this is about, but it has Matt Damon and is being helmed by Bourne director Paul Greengrass, so I’m intrigued)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Beverly Hills Cop IV
The Birds (remake)
The Power of the Dark Crystal (from Jim Henson Productions)
Sin City 2*
Jurassic Park IV
Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (no Arnold!)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Superman: Man of Steel*
The Hobbit (possibly with Peter Jackson directing!)
Fahrenheit 451 (with Tom Hanks)
Angels & Demons
Stephen King Movies: Cell, Dark Tower, From a Buick 8, Black House, Creepshow, Dolan’s Cadillac, Pet Sematary
Toy Story 3
Life of Pi
Labyrinth (looks like another Oscar for Hilary Swank)
The Subtle Knife
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
The Secret Life of Bees
A Song of Ice and Fire
Red Sonja (remake?)
I, Robot 2
A Spell for Chameleon
Anyone notice the overabundance of Comic Books* being put into production?
Okay, I think that list is quite long enough! Hope some of these got you as excited as they got me (Note: not ALL of these sent me reeling, but most I thought were interesting… again, the ones in italics are the ones I wet myself a little when I saw them, I won’t lie).
Off to see Cate as Elizabeth!
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