Beyond Skyline

All the way back in 2010 a movie called Skyline came out. It was an alien invasion movie which I felt had a lot of potential but it really didn’t live up to the potential it had. Skyline didn’t do well, but the directors, The Brothers Strause, said at the time there would always be at least one sequel. Now, after seven years it looks like that is finally happening. Beyond Skyline is listed on IMDB as being released in 2017, and is being directed/produced/written by Liam O’Donnell. Produced by The Brothers Strause and Matthew Chausse. It’s also starring Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, The Purge:Anarcy).

Now, I have a real love/hate relationship with the first movie. Skyline was a film that as I watched it I could see a lot of potential in it, but it never fulfilled that potential. I’m hoping the sequel does go some way to building something special with what was created in the first film. The fact that Frank Grillo is in it does go a long way to assuring some of my fears. I’ve not seen Grillo in much more than I’ve listed above but he definitely demands attention when on screen. I am worried that Liam O’Donnell has no other directing credits on his IMDB page, but I’m not writing him off just yet. Everyone has to start somewhere, and he did write the first film, and produced it. So he’s been around this world and these aliens for some time.

I’m not someone that likes to see people fail, and I really want to go into this film (when it’s released) and enjoy it, and have that side of me that loves these alien invasion sorta films/shows satisfied.

 

11th January 2017

Each time I write the date in the blogpost title I keep wanting to write December (yes I put a post out the other day having done just that). It’s a little hard to believe that it’s almost halfway through January already.

Anyway, to today’s progress. I wrote a damn good 652 words during my lunch break today, which I am really impressed by. Writing an action scene is always a lot of fun.

This evening I was at a Write-In, but nothing got written. It was more of a chill out evening and a lot of fun. I am about the halfway point in the edit now, and have a bit of momentum going.

Short and sweet tonight, I’m gonna finish watching Alien and then off to bed.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation is the fourth film in the Terminator series and takes place after Judgement day. John Connor is not commanding the resistance yet, and is viewed by some as a prophet for his knowledge of the machines. We see his efforts against Skynet, and as he’s trying to find Kyle Reese, and as he’s trying to deal with the Marcus Wright character. Wright is trying to discover why he’s alive after being executed decades before.

I seem to be in a minority when it comes to Terminator Salvation, in that I like it. I love the post-Judgment Day setting, it was something that we got teased in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day and it was always something that I wanted to see more of. Although what we see here isn’t the post Judgement Day world we saw in the first two movies I still liked what I saw. It’s set in the early days of the war against the machines and there aren’t a lot of terminators roaming the ruins, there seem to be more aerial hunter/killer drones that probably locate any survivors and then send in the ground based terminators to deal with them.

From what I can make out this was meant to be the first in a new trilogy of films in the franchise but it just did not do well enough for the next two to be made. This is something that I’m genuinely gutted by as I would have really liked to see where the story went. I’d imagine they would have ended up with the discovery of the time displacement equipment and sending Kyle Reese back to protect Sarah Connor. To me that would have been a beautiful way to end the trilogy.

To the film though, I do like it but it does have its issues. One of the biggest is that it didn’t feel like the director was able to put his stamp on it.  I was worried about McG directing Salvation as I’d seen his Charlie’s Angels films and wasn’t impressed, that said I was surprised with what I saw from him here. Some of the shots were beautifully put together and the look of the film was very good, very genuine. The action looked good too. It just felt a little safe, a little by the numbers. Now I’m not sure if it’s a case that McG hadn’t quite got the directing chops to put his stamp on it, of if the studio or others involved in the film reigned him in too much. Either way it didn’t have a strong identity which I felt left the film missing something to make it stand out.

Christian Bale was good as John Connor. I thought he showed good intensity, and the pressure from what he knew, well. I liked that they didn’t make him too cold and isolated. There’s a couple of sweet scenes between him and Bryce Dallas Howard, who plays his wife Kate Connor, that shows that he doesn’t carry all of this burden himself. She’s become his rock by this time and although Howard doesn’t have a lot to do in the film, what she does she looked natural doing.

I could have done without the Marcus Wright storyline. It felt forced, like they needed to one up the previous films. Aside from the odd accent slip, I can’t fault Sam Worthington, though. I thought he had a good vibe and showed a decent range as his character tried to figure out what the hell was going on. If the Marcus Wright storyline hadn’t of been there then there would have been no need for the Moon Bloodgood role of Blair Williams. She plays an A-10 pilot who gets shot down and meets Wright and takes him to Connor. Bloodgood was okay in the role, but like the Marcus Wright storyline, her character felt a little forced in some respects. It felt like she was only there to help the Marcus Wright character grow. It feels a little like they wanted her to be the strong female warrior character that Linda Hamilton pulled off so well as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, but the character wasn’t given the freedom to take that mantle.

Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese was good. I liked the youthful urge to fight and rebel that he put into the character. He was jokey and hadn’t been through the toughest parts of the war yet, in fact I don’t think he’d seen much combat at this point in his life. I think that would have come in the next two films and I think we would have seen that enthusiasm to fight diminish as his character saw so much death and suffering. The character of Star really wasn’t needed. She was sweet, but again, felt a little forced into the story.

A minor character I wanted to see more of was that of Barnes, played by Common. I think Barnes may have been Connor’s second in command, but regardless of that I just wanted to see more of him. Common looked good on screen and there seemed to be a lot going on with him.

And just a final shoutout to Michael Ironside. Fantastic actor and I love seeing him pop up in places like this.

Overall, I like Terminator Salvation a lot. It’s a fun film to watch that has more than a few nods to its predecessors and set a few seeds for future films that we never saw. Easily my third favourite terminator movie.

The 2nd Draft is DONE!

Okay, so I should have written this on Sunday, but I forgot and the last couple of nights I’ve been busy.  As you can see by the title of this post I completed my 2nd draft of the vampire collection I’ve been working on and it’s now in the safe hands of Beta readers. I did have feedback on two of the stories from a friend and she said she loved them 🙂 ( I know you’re thinking ‘she’s his friend, she’s meant to love them.’ believe me, this friend would tell me if she didn’t like them).

Now I’m dancing between The Residents and Project Apollo; Chrystalyn and I would like to get started on The Residents soon so we’ll be aiming to up our planning in the next couple of weeks. The story and characters and the world building is pretty well thought through at this point so I think we’ll be focusing on planning and research. Project Apollo is growing well, despite the odd hiccup,  but I’m not sure when Owen and I will be looking at getting cracking with this again as we have a lot to do before we can start writing. We haven’t spoken of schedules yet but I’m not sure we’ll be ready to really jump in this side of December, if not early 2015. If I’m honest I want to spend most of my writing energy on The Residents and be doing the planning bits of Project Apollo around The Residents. This last ten days I’ve been editing the vampire collection and working on developing notes for Project Apollo. This seems to be quite a good way for me to work; having a primary project and a secondary project. I like having two projects on the go as when I get stuck on one I can flitter over to the second and then as I’ll be planning and not writing I can exercise a different part of my brain 🙂

 

That’s all for now, I’m going to shut everything down and get a chapter or two of Old Man’s War by John Scalzi read.

 

p.s. Guardians of the Galaxy was AMAZING!!!!!!!

Cracking On

I’m reading through Earth, After Liberation and I’ve got about forty double spaced A4 pages to go. I’m fairly sure that if I had pulled my finger out then I could have gotten it all read through this weekend but I wanted to make sure that I got some rest over the Easter break as well. I’ve managed to watch some movies and some football this weekend as well as getting some of this read through done. I have gotten to the part where it needs work. It’s getting quite disjointed and I’m not just finding little parts that need adjusting but entire paragraphs, but I knew it got like this about here. So that’s what I’m going to try and have done by this time next week.

Chrystalyn and I had a Skype chat on Saturday evening and we thrashed out some more details for The Residents. I’m getting very excited about this one as it’s such an awesome story and Chrystalyn has such a creative mind its great to brainstorm with her. It’s like when Owen and I brainstorm, just with less immature humour 😛

I’m taking a break from Project Apollo at the moment. I think I’ve overdosed on it a little. Owen is still working on some of the bigger aspects of the story as well as reading through what we already have. This is still a long way off but it’s looking a little more fine tuned now so when we get back to working on it full speed hopefully it wont take too long to get knocked out.

On the private life side of things I’m adjusting to being single again. I’ve focused a lot of my time on writing and watching movies. These two have served as a good release for me in the last six weeks or so. I’ve had great support from friends which has reminded me just how lucky I am to have such good people around me.

For the foreseeable future I’m really going to focus on writing. As I said in a post last week I went to a Write In at Starbucks in the Bluewater shopping centre last Sunday and that has proved to be very motivating. I was feeling really quite lost with writing, maybe even disillusioned but sitting with the three others who were there and just writing and hearing about what they were working on and learning a little about them was just awesome. I do work long hours but I’m going to make sure that if I have the chance to go to future Write In’s then I’m going. Just that little bit of motivation has fired me up and I’m eager to get working again.

 

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Monday, Bring It On!

Yes I feel like I haven’t slept all night, yes it feels like I’m up to early but it’s Monday morning, and I love the start of a new week.

I’m waiting on Owen’s notes on Project Apollo’s prologue and chapter one. The Residents is still in the planning stages(I have got a few ideas I must write down in the next couple of days).
Tomorrow night I’m off to see the new 300 movie with a buddy and then the rest of the week I’m going to do some housekeeping bits. I’ve got over a dozen ideas on my phone that I need to transfer to paper. I desperately need to tidy up my room, especially my desk and the two book cases that hold my books and movies. I’d like to get really stuck into reading again, I’ve eased off a little over the last couple of weeks unfortunately.

I’m treating this as a bit of an off week for writing which will let me get some bits and pieces down and off my mental ‘To-Do’ list. All off these bits and pieces are items that can be dropped with no consequence if Owen gets back to me this week or Chrystalyn and I have another brainstorming session.

This week is going to be a good one 🙂

What are you up to this week?

Movie Monday: RoboCop

We all know what the general synopsis of RoboCop is, but if you don’t it’s about a police office who, after he receives wounds which have left him all but dead, gets made into a cyborg and goes on to try to rediscover his humanity and who he was before he became RoboCop.

I’ve said in other posts about how anxious I was about this when it was announced they were rebooting one of my favourite movies, and that fear was firmly installed in me until I saw the first trailer. That first trailer blew my mind away, one line that RoboCop says actually made me jump out of my seat! So going into this remake my expectations had gone from all but nothing to incredibly high, and the movie pretty much fulfilled those high expectations.

Joel Kinnerman was pretty good as Alex Murphy/RoboCop. He did have a good charm and looked conflicted as he’s trying to come to terms with what has been done to him.
The new suit looks good, although I think the black and silver of the original is better, in this movie RoboCop is silver and black to start off with but the big boss man (Michael Keaton) feels black would be better, more tactical.
Speaking of Mr.Keaton, he is very good here. I’ve been a fan of Michael Keaton since I saw Batman, Batman returns and then Beetlejuice. I think he holds the viewers attention well and here he plays the role of CEO of Omnicorp very well, he looked natural.
Gary Oldman was really good in the role of Dr. Dennett Norton who creates the technology behind RoboCop and later goes on to be the main human point of contact once RoboCop is awakened.
Abbie Cornish is sweet and lovable as Clara Murphy and I think she really sells the distress of having her husband on deaths door then made into this cyborg.

The storyline is, in my opinion, better then the original movie. It addresses the strain it puts on Alex Murphy and his family as well as solving the crime of who tried to kill Murphy, as well as dealing with the corporate side to the storyline.

Something that is not in this movie from the original is a stand out villain. In the original Kurtwood Smith gives us such a nasty piece of work character, Clarence Boddicker, that is the polar opposite of Murphy/RoboCop and almost steals the show with his performance.
What I did not miss was the over the top violence, there is still a high body count but we don’t see all the blood and gore of the original. I’ve read various articles that have said that Paul Verhoeven  wanted to make a comment about American cinema but I’m glad it wasn’t brought into the remake

The satire is in the remake as it was in the original, mainly from Samuel L. Jackson’s Pat Novak who hosts a current events show and isn’t afraid to show who he’s rooting for. It looked like Jackson had a lot of fun with this character.

Overall I really enjoyed this movie and I’d like to see where it goes if a sequel is made. Is it better then the original? That’s not a fair question I don’t think as the original was a great representation of its time and I think this remake stays loyal to that. I will just add that if Hollywood continues on this course of remaking these iconic movies then this is an excellent example of how it should be done. With RoboCop they haven’t tried to copy the film scene for scene, they’ve made a movie that  is respectful of the original whilst making this movie its creature.

 

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