Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Oldboy

Rated R / 1 hr 44 min / Action - Drama - Mystery

What is it about? 

Josh Brolin plays a man who has been imprisoned against his will for 20 years. While he was being held several tragedies happened. The Twin Towers collapsed, the Yankees won a championship, George W Bush was elected, etc.. Oh also he is framed for the murder of his wife. His only connection to the outside world is a small TV. He is able to follow his daughter through news programs exploring his disappearance. His daughter gives him hope for a future outside. He has to start with finding who did this to him.

You will like it if... 

You like movies with lots of twists and turns that are gritty. I enjoyed this movie, but it has one of those endings that can make you cringe. It is definitely not for those who have delicate sensibilities or weak stomachs. This is a remake of an older movie by the same name. I haven't seen the original, but this makes me want to check it out just to be able to compare the two. I found the movie to be entertaining, but the ending will leave a lot of people with a bitter taste in their mouths. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Rated PG-13 / 2 hr 26 min / Action - Adventure - Sci-Fi

What is it about? 

This movie continues the story of Katniss and Peta from the first Hunger Games movie. They are both now celebrities from becoming victors of the 74th hunger games.  The people seem to think that Katniss and Peta's romance was faked, and that Katniss was defying the government.  This is giving them the courage to rise up.  The President wants Katniss to convince the people that their romance is true, or face the wrath of the government.

You will like it if... 

You liked the first one.  It is more of the same, but everything is a bit better in this sequel.  With more experience, both Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence give much better performances.  Jennifer Lawrence was almost like a wooden block in the first Hunger Games.  The special effects are more impressive, and they added some stunning shots of a futuristic airplane.  You can tell that this one had a bigger budget than the first one.  If you have read the book then you know the story and how it ends, but you don't feel any less cheated when the movie ends.  It is a mostly faithful adaptation of the book, and should satisfy most fans of the series. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Creating a Fictional Religion in 4 Steps

A major theme in a lot of popular works is religion.  The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe has religious undertones. Dan Brown has taken his own liberties with religion in The Da Vinci Code as well as his other books.  

This isn't a post about my personal beliefs or what anyone else may or may not believe.  I am not writing this as a commentary on what is good or bad about any one religion.  I am writing this purely from the standpoint of creating a fictional religion for use in a work of fiction. So let's create a fake religion!  Please do not start following this fake religion.  It is NOT meant to be real. The religion I am going to create is based off an idea an old college friend of mine came up with.  He never fully explained it, so I have filled in the parts that I don't know.  The main idea is all his.

1. Figure out a basis

There are many different types of religions across the world.  You can base it off an established religion.  My upcoming novel has a religion that is based off Christianity, but it continues the story after Revelations.  You can build it up from scatch as well, but you need a basis.  What is the main point of the religion?  Monotheism, Polytheism, Atheism, Nihilism, etc.?

 So this religion we're creating is based off The Chickens!  Polytheism at it's best.  There isn't really any singular chicken that controls anything, but this is purely worship of "the chickens" in general. From here on I will call it Chickenanity.

2. Create a hook

All religions have a hook that pulls people in.  They offer a sense of community and stability.  Or they offer answers to questions like "Where do we come from?" or "Why are we here?"  Or they are state mandated by penalty of death.  I don't want to live there!  There are usually multiple reasons for people to follow a religion.  For each character that follows the religion, there is a reason they believe.  Maybe they were taught by their parents at a young age, and never questioned it. 

For Chickenanity there are very few followers.  Actually just one that I am aware of.  He had a traumatic experience as a child, and several chickens saved him.  At least that's how it was imprinted in his mind as an infant. 

3. After Death

The question "What happens after death?" is a major theme of religions.  Some examples of possible answers for a fictional religion: Nothing happens.  Your ghost roams the earth until the energy dissipates. You are transported to a realm of two dimentions where you can be a square, circle, rectangle or triangle. 

Chickenanity maintains that if you are buried in a field that produces food for chickens then you can be reincarnated as one of the chickens and thus obtain enlightenment.

4. Create Lore or an Explanation 

This is basically filling in the blanks.  It's the back story for your deity.  It's the scientific explanation for how characters in your world have their souls removed  from the body before death and then inserted into newborn babies. If it comes up in conversation you want to have an answer that your character can give that doesn't sound like they are just making this stuff up on the spot.  You made it up well before your character could talk about it!  Think of common arguments against it, so your character can address those when they are questioned.

In Chickenanity they believe in the Big Bang Theory.  The difference is that the chickens created an egg which contained the entire universe.  The chickens inside the egg broke out when they were fully mature.  When they broke out of the egg, that was the Big Bang.  The chickens continue to watch over the universe to this day.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Ghost Part 9

The Ghost Part 9 - The Ghost is meeting with The Blind Man to discuss what took place at the Cabal's Castle.  If the Guild's Assassination Squad isn't after her, she is also going to ask for a favor. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 52 min / Action - Adventure - Fantasy

What is it about?

In the beginning there was darkness.  The dark elves ruled at that time. The light came, and the dark elves wanted to destroy it.  They had a power that is called the Ether.  Thor's grandfather attacked, and stole the Ether.  He hid it away thinking that the dark elves had been destroyed completely.  The leader of the dark elves survived, and rebuilt their army hoping to one day reclaim the Ether and destroy the Asgardians.  That day has come.  The hidden Ether has resurfaced, and the power calls out to the dark elves.  Thor and the other heroes of Asgard are the only ones who stand in the way.

You will like it if...

You like other superhero movies. This is a more exciting and interesting Thor movie than the first one.  It doesn't rise to the heights of The Avengers, but not many movies will. The most interesting aspects come into play when Loki (Thor's brother) becomes more involved in the plot.  The complex relationship between the brothers adds tension and intrigue to an otherwise straightforward story.  The usual bells and whistles that come with the recent superhero movies are top notch as expected. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ender's Game

Rated PG-13 / 1 hr 54 min / Action - Adventure - SciFi

What is it about?

An alien species invades Earth, and kills a lot of people.  One pilot finds a path through the chaos of the firefight, and uses his plane to take out the mothership.  Now the military is training kids to run their army because their brains can process more infomation quickly.  Harrison Ford plays Colonel Graff who wants to win at any cost. He believes that a young boy named Ender has what it takes to lead their army and end the war forever.

You will like it if...

You like SciFi and Teen movies mashed up together.  It's a good scifi flick that has enough teenaged angst to make fans of other teen movies happy.  It's like a scifi Hunger Games with kids that are a bit younger.  The movie does get a little preachy in spots, but thankfully it's not over the top.