Good Morning Sunday 30th December 2018

I’ve had a few days off from blogging. Mainly due to Christmas to be honest. I have written a bit over the festive period but not as much as I’d have liked. I was off Christmas Day and Boxing Day but back to work on the 27th. I have done a bit of writing but not as much as I’d like. At the start of the month I set myself a target of about 30k but I’m sitting at about 16k at the moment. So I’m going to aim for two 2k days and hit the 20k. I do have yesterdays word count to add into the spreadsheet so its a little under 4k that I need but I’m still aiming for 4k in two days.

Books I got for Christmas

On Boxing Day I did have quite a productive day. I wrote about a thousand words during the course of the day but also did some work on a blog post listing my top ten reads of 2018. I was probably working from about 10am till 10pm, just slowly with the odd break for food or things like washing the dishes.

 

Graphic Novels I got for Christmas

I am looking at the next year, but not making any 2019 goals or resolutions. It’s just these are the next projects I want to be working on and trying to improve my focus and discipline. I’m not a believer in New Year resolutions as when I’ve made them I’ve failed by the end of January. What I’m looking at for next year both with writing and what I want to do to improve myself and my life next year are all things that I’ve been working on for months, and for years. Making resolutions for the coming year work for some, for me they don’t.

Movies I got for Christmas

It’s time for me to get the day up and running. Have a good day, everyone.

Advertisements

23th of December 2018

I’ve had a few busy days between work, our works Christmas Party and a few bits and pieces that needed to get done today.

I have written a few words in the last few days though, not many but a few. Friday I didn’t write anything, but I did watch Bird Box on Netflix which is based on the book by Josh Malerman. I listened to the book a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, and I think the film is a good adaptation of the book. The odd change felt a little unnecessary but it still worked overall, and it stayed loyal to the ending of the book.

Yesterday I managed to get 260 words written, god knows when because it was a damn busy day and then the Christmas Party. I’m not much of a drinker but did have a fair few last night, but no hangover today! So that’s a win if you ask me.

Today I had a bit of running around to do so didn’t really have a lot of time to spend at the keyboard but have managed 386 words for the day. I probably added another hundred or so but did some editing which meant a few words were deleted but I’m happy with what I did today.

I tried to read a DC Rebirth comic the other day, and I just couldn’t get into it. I was only a few pages in but it just didn’t hook me. I’m a comic book latecomer and I’ve liked some of the Marvel and DC stuff  I’ve read but the last few pieces I’ve not been gripped by. This is something I’ve been thinking for a while, that Marvel and DC comics really aren’t for me. I’ve got a few on my to-read shelf so I will check those out, and I really want to re-read DCs Hush again next year.

I’m not giving up on comics though, I’ve really enjoyed the 2000AD ones I’ve read, mainly Judge Dredd ones so far but I’ve begun Insurrection by Dan Abnett and Colin MacNeil. I’m a huge fan of Dan Abnett and I like that this one is set in the Judge Dredd universe but I don’t believe he appears in it. So far I’m really enjoying it and looking forward to really getting stuck in over the next couple of days.

Book Review: In Ashes Born by Nathan Lowell

I’ve listened to all six preceding stories of the life of our protagonist Ishmael Wong and I have pretty much loved each one.

With Nathan Lowell’s handling of these books I know I’m getting a quality story. What makes them really stunningly crafted is the fact that rarely does something hugely dramatic happen. In Ashes Born is no different. It’s just the next part of Ishmael Wong’s life and I was hanging on every word! In another writers hands none of these stories would work. Lowell keeps the same pace, tone, and quality of the previous six novels.

This is a solid continuation of this story, and I am looking forward to the next chapter in the life of Ishmael Wong.

I will just say I was worried about having someone other than Nathan Lowell narrate this universe, but Jeffrey Kafer got it absolutely bang on perfect!

Alien:Covenant

This film has been on my mind a fair bit since its release. I had mixed feelings going into it due to Prometheus. Prometheus is a movie I think is very beautiful to look at and has some decent bits in, but overall is a bit of a mess. It feels like it’s trying to tell two stories by two different camps from the production standpoint. In one camp you’ve got the urge to make an prequel film for the Alien franchise, and the other camp want to make a film about creationism. Add in some daft elements in the script (run off to one side!) and we’ve got a film which is hard to love, also the technology is massively advanced compared to the other films. I know the Prometheus is an advanced space craft but they could have easily made the tech look like that of the previous films (Sorry, this is something that really bugs me!).

The problem of what film is being made carries on into Alien:Covenant. On one side we’ve got a story about colonists wanting to find a new world to settle on, then on the other side we have the urge to look at this creationist storyline. I’ve watched this movie maybe half a dozen times now and I really believe there is a good movie in here, if you take away that creationist element, and some of the dumb-ass choices the characters make. There’s a bit early on about a funeral that shows there is friction between the characters, but it feels ham-fisted. The funeral is forbidden due to repairs needing to be done, but the repairs could wait and the funeral is brief. It feels like it’s there just to create conflict.

If they took away the David storyline, the plot device of wondering off to another planet and just had a story about colonists arriving at a new planet to then find it was once inhabited by an alien race that died out. Then they find an egg and chaos ensues. Why couldn’t we have had that movie? Up until David shows up we’ve got the makings of a really good atmospheric horror movie and then it slips into a psycho-robot-with-delusions-of-being-a-god movie.

When I think about the original Alien movies they were pretty straightforward. Horror and action pretty much, what you saw was what you got. They never really felt like there was a grander story happening that needed to be addressed. They were just what they were. There was social commentary there, but it was subtle. You didn’t feel like you were being hit over the head with it. Maybe that’s what they need to get back to. Imagine the type of social commentary we could of had in this film if it had been about landing on a planet for colonisation only to discover these horrific aliens that had maybe already wiped out an alien species that had been on the planet before.

Where this series goes in the future, I don’t know. There’s rumours that this new generation of Ridley Scott Alien movies is a trilogy and there’s a third part coming, but this movie didn’t do especially well. So I’ve got to wonder if Fox will give it one more go, drop the franchise for the time being, or go in an entirely different route altogether.

Time will tell, but I know how I’d like it to go.

Book Review: Billy and the Cloneasaurus by Stephen Kozeniewski

This book rocked! I described it to a friend as being 1984 meets The Lego Movie! I didn’t really have any idea of what to expect. I hadn’t read the synopsis or any reviews of it. I just knew it was by an author I wanted to check out.
What really sticks with me is the tone throughout the story is pretty level regardless of what’s happening, but that’s just a thin covering of the real tone of the story.

I listened to the audiobook of this one and the narration by Steve Rimpici was perfect for the book. he got the tone just right.

Billy and the Cloneasaurus was right up my street and is a fantastic modern day dystopian that is gripping and memorable. Definitely worth checking out!

Beyond Skyline

Okay, if you’ve been reading my blog for a few years now you’ll have seen the odd post/rant I’ve written about the movie Skyline, directed by The Brothers Strause. Without going into another full blown post about Skyline my biggest complaint was not enough attention was on the live action sequences and too much was spent on the CGI, which granted was very beautiful. It just didn’t fulfil an amazing potential I thought.

Beyond Skyline was not Skyline, it took that potential and made a movie I enjoyed a lot. The CGI looks beautiful, the plot line kept my attention and the actors held the screen well, and more importantly I cared about what happened to them. Frank Grillo and Bojana Novakovic were both very good, and I enjoyed Iko Uwais as well. It was fun seeing Callan Mulvey playing a role which wasn’t a mercenary as well.

I liked how the story went from the events in Skyline and took it further and looked at what was going on in a lot more depth and moves across the globe a little and we see how the invasion is being looked at by another culture. We saw a lot more of the aliens and their little world as well. I really liked the final confrontation at the end of the movie. Not only is there some great CGI action, but some of the fighting the characters do on the ground level is beautiful! The Choreography is very well done.

This is the first film where I’ve seen Iko Uwais and I liked him a lot. He held the screen well and when acting opposite an actor of Frank Grillo’s calibre you need that.

The whole cast was pretty solid I thought, no one felt out of place and none of them felt ‘Meh’ for lack of a better phrase. I thought they felt genuine, we don’t know what we’ll be capable of until we’re pushed out of our comfort zones.

There was a couple of moments where I found my eyebrow raising a little but nothing drastic that took me out of the film any more than a passing second.

I was a little anxious that this was Liam O’Donnell’s directing debut, but I liked where he took the story (he wrote it as well). Some of the visuals were stunning and he got a great balance between the live action and the CGI. They complimented each other very well. Overall I liked his direction and I really hope they do more of these. I will definitely be looking out for what O’Donnell does in the future.

Overall, Beyond Skyline is a film that’s well worth watching. I’m glad I’ve brought it on Blu-Ray as I think I will be re-watching it more than a few times.