DC Movie schedules…

Curious as to what’s going on with the DC movie schedule… after, that is Wonder Woman ’84 and Shazam!…?

Then check out this article presented on i09.com and written by Germain Lussier:

Three DC Movies are coming summer of 2021

The big news is that one of the films, The Batman (or whatever it will be called when all is said and done) will not feature Ben Affleck in the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Looks like his days in the role are officially finished.

I enjoyed Ben Affleck’s foray into the role but can’t say I’m surprised or terribly unhappy he’s done in the role. Nowadays and with so many films featuring recurring characters, I’ve reached a point where I know actors won’t be tied to a role forever and there is a good chance we’ll see others take the role on, for better or worse.

Now… what’s going to happen with Henry Cavill’s Superman? Will we soon hear about a reboot of that role, as well?

Speaking of other roles/movies: The other two films mentioned in the above article are The Suicide Squad and DC Super Pets. The former is the film James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) wrote and may direct and which, according to the article, is not beholden to the first Suicide Squad film and may feature a mostly new cast. The later, I strongly suspect, will be an animated film of some sort.

Also not mentioned is the Birds of Prey movie (which appears to be filming right now and features the return of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn), and the Joaquin Phoenix Joker film (which concluded filming a few weeks back). Also not mentioned, nor has filming begun, of The Flash and New Gods film.

Stay tuned!

Oh my…

Ran across this article by Patrick Redford and presented on Deadspin.com yesterday:

The sports highlight of the day

The header is pure sarcasm, the topic is this video:

After you watch the video, check out the article which offers some pretty funny comments about this wonderful neighbor row. I especially loved this line:

New highlights pop up every time I watch this video: the 11-second gap between the peacemaker trying to break things up and grabbing a plank of her own

Yeah, that was my favorite part as well! đŸ˜‰

Winter Weather…

Apropos of nothing much at all:

The other day day, there was much ridicule heaped at the folks in/around the area I live in for things like this:

Image result for miami weather warning temperature

This is a Channel 10 weather “alert” that notes we’re about to have a “weekend winter blast” with morning temperatures “Near 50” and afternoon temps in the 60’s.

This provoked much ridicule by the folks from colder climes up north, who scoffed at the idea that you needed a “coat” for such temperatures, that in their neck of the woods, such temperatures didn’t merit a long sleeved shirt, much less a “coat”.

Or, to put it bluntly: Jeeze, you guys are freaking wimps!

Here’s the thing:

When I was very young, I lived in Nova Scotia, Canada. I LOVED the winters there, and recall at least a couple of below zero blizzards that passed through and caused the city I lived in to essentially shut down for everyone’s safety.

Back then, I was easily one of those folks who, upon seeing a graphic like the one above, would have scoffed at the idea that weather “Near 50” would cause anyone any trouble.

Thing is, the human body adjusts to the climate they’re in.

After Canada, I lived a while in Venezuela (pre-current craziness) which had a suffocating (for a winter boy like me) tropical climate. I eventually moved to Florida but, for my first year in college, I chose to attend the University of Ottawa in Canada.

I froze my ass off that year, the first time in nearly a decade I once again encountered a genuine winter.

Luckily for me, I had the option of continuing in Ottawa or transferring to a University in Florida.

I chose Florida.

This one time winter boy had acclimated himself to the warmer climate and switching to such cold proved incredibly difficult.

The point is this: Don’t laugh too hard at us, friends from the north. Your bodies are adjusted to take the colder climate and, trust me, if you spent a year or two in Florida or any other more moderate/warm setting, your winter weather body will also adjust to the warmer climate.

And, yes, when the usual temperatures around 80-90 degrees drop to 50, you too might find it quite uncomfortable once your body adjusts to the warmer weather.

I know… I know…

Doesn’t matter.

We’re wimps. đŸ˜‰

Breaking (political) News…

POLITICS… BEWARE…!!!

Today’s latest lunacy, from CNN and written by Katelyn Polantz, Sara Murray, and David Shortell:

Mueller indicts Roger Stone

Image result for roger stone
The man himself…

Mr. Stone’s home was raided, he was arrested, and later today he’ll be in court (11 AM, according to the news) for his part in the Trump Presidential Campaign’s dirty tricks… specifically involving Wikileaks, Russia, and the stealing of various Democratic official’s emails and their release.

All designed to bring down/hurt the Hillary Clinton campaign and aid the Trump campaign.

As more and more time passes, I find the whole thing depressing because I’m becoming more and more convinced this was very much an election that was stolen by the use of fake news (which people like Trump are so fond of talking about… projection at its best!), disinformation, and clever use of social media.

It’s taken a while -two years now!- since the election but it seems more and more of the dirty, and illegal, details behind this election are coming to the fore.

The big question is: Now that he’s been arrested and indicted… will Roger Stone flip?

He’s spent many, many months saying he’d never talk, but now that he’s facing jail time, one wonders. It’s easy being brave and talking tough when you’re in your home and environs. It’s quite another thing when you’re facing that cell.

What a cluster… well… you know.

New Horizons and Ultima Thule

Been a little while since we got an update/picture of the Ultima Thule asteroid found in the Kuiper Belt.

That changed yesterday:

This image, from NASA, offers an even clearer view of the mysterious dual asteroid found far beyond Pluto. A fascinating, fascinating look at an incredibly distant object circling just outside our Solar System.

The article I found the photo:

Ultima Thule latest image, John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Fascinating, fascinating stuff!

Netflix Ratings…

Over at Slate.com Willa Paskin wrote a fascinating (to me, anyway!) article concerning Netflix and their recent release of watched program information, something they are often hesitant to do:

Netflix, You, and the Hits no one knows are Hit

The upshot of the article is that Netflix, who as I mentioned before are usually tight lipped about their watched programs, offered some information on their programs such as You, Sex Education, and Bird Box and… the numbers are eye opening, to say the least.

The author rightly questions whether the numbers are totally accurate. After all, what constitutes a “watch” of a series? Supposedly Netflix counts 70% of a watched show as valid, but while that may apply to stand alone movie such as Bird Box, one wonders if that also applies to a series of episodes.

Still, and again as the author notes, the numbers presented, even assuming they are likely inflated (and you can adjust them as you feel), are nonetheless staggering and the comparisons made to other successful feature films or TV shows hint at the very real possibility that there is a whole sub-culture out there that watches things which “regular” networks do not bother with.

One of the things I’ve noted with this new age of information is that sometimes unexpected things bubble to the surface and become popular. It’s almost impossible to predict what will “click” with the masses, but it does once again prove the late William Goldman was right when he said about making movies:

Nobody knows anything… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.

Corrosive Knights – A VERY BIG Thank YOU!!!

At the risk of bragging/sounding like some kind of blowhard, today I went over to my author’s page dashboard at Goodreads.com and found the following:

What you see here is the overall statistics my novels have earned over time. The important stuff is toward the top, which shows people have offered 77 ratings between 1-5 stars (5, of course, being the highest) to my novels and at this point I have a 4.19 average.

And I want to say with all sincerity and humility: THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Not just for taking a chance on my novels, not just for reading them and getting enjoyment out of them, but for also taking the time to offer your opinion on them.

So, to among others, a very, VERY big thank you to:

John Warden in NC, Fred in CT, Thomas (grumpid), Jon, Mike, Jason Naro in OK, John Stephens in TX, Kevin J. Brinkschroeder, Michael in GA, Ken Thompson in NY, Edward Corey, Jonathan, John Sammons in FL, Zachary Goldbeck, “C”, John H. Wise, Jon in Iowa, Cory Rose in TX, Brian Deacon, Cindy Lee Andron (finally, a woman… come on, I know there are more of you out there!), Cindy Lee Andrus (same person? I hope not!), Tim in Oregon, Bob Wolff in IA, Leon in South Africa (hello out there!), Christopher Vairma in MD, W. Gregory Kett in MN, Henrik Sørenson, Brandon Bridges, Philip Heathman, Nicolas C., Brett in WA, Sarah (I know you didn’t like the original Chameleon cover… I must admit I didn’t like it very much myself and of the covers I did, it was my least favorite -even after doing several fix-ups- and the reason I was determined to do the new covers. I hope the new covers are more to your liking!), and last, but not least, Robert S. Feeley.

To date, and unless I missed someone, these are all the fine folks who have offered ratings to my Corrosive Knights novels over at Goodreads.com and, once again, my most sincere, humble thanks for taking the time to do what you did.

The fact of the matter is that writing is a very difficult and lonely profession. You’re competing against an army of other people who are also releasing books and hoping to gain your attention with their wares even as I’m trying to do the same.

The best way to “break through” to a larger audience is to impress people enough with your work that they will, like those fine folks above, give their opinions on the books and, even more hopefully, recommend the books to their friends and so on and so forth.

If you want to see more of my novels on a more frequent basis, its up to you guys to be my promoters. If the books succeed and sell to larger audiences, I will need less time to worry about such things as paying my rent, paying for food, etc. etc. (you know, the little stuff! đŸ˜‰ ) and more time in getting these lovely novels finished.

Again: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR RATINGS.

You don’t know how happy they make me!

Hotel Artemis (2018) a (mildly) belated Review

When I first heard about this movie, I was excited. Written and directed by Drew Pearce (screenwriter for Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and Iron Man 3), the film sounded like something right up my alley: A noir near-future crime/action drama featuring a most curious cast and a claustrophobic setting.

The movie, to my eyes, felt like something a young John Carpenter might come up with.

And, in many ways, it is.

Set in the near future of (if memory serves) 2028 Los Angeles, Hotel Artemis concerns a highly fortified building which secretly houses a medical clinic which heals criminals. The Artemis is run by two people, “The Nurse” (Jodie Foster, made up to look very old and fuddy-duddy) and Everest (Dave Bautista, quite good as the muscle with a heart).

The movie begins with a robbery that goes bad. Waikiki (Sterling K. Brown) and his gang rob a bank during a riot. There is a shootout afterwards and one of the gang members is killed while Waikiki’s brother is injured. The two head to the Hotel Artemis to get healed and meet up with The Nurse and a couple of other clients in house, including the mysterious Nice (Sofia Boutella) and the loudmouth Acapulco (Charlie Day).

As the riots outside continue, electricity is on and off and our cast of characters interact. The pressure rises when Morgan, a police officer (Jenny Slate) appears at the door of the hotel injured and, almost simultaneously, Crosby Franklin (Zachary Quinto), son of powerful mobster Niagra (Jeff Goldblum… if you’ve seen the trailer of the film, which I’ll present below, you’ve seen roughly 1/4th of his total screen time within the film!) calls in that he’s on his way for treatment.

Morgan, it turns out, is known to The Nurse. More specifically, Morgan knew The Nurse’s son, who perished mysteriously (though we’ll soon find out everything about that) and though the Artemis does not take in police, The Nurse goes against her rules and takes her in.

Anyway, Niagra soon arrives and things go sideways in many ways (I’ll not spoil the story) and eventually we reach a conclusion.

Unfortunately, the film is never terribly action filled (except for the opening and closing acts) and the story presented, while interesting, isn’t that interesting. Worse, by the end we’re supposed to find a nobility in a few characters who sacrifice themselves for others but the film hasn’t presented viewers a strong enough reason for us to feel this is anything more than plot contrivance.

In the end, Hotel Artemis is a misfire, IMHO, an intriguing enough concept which could have used a stronger -much stronger- script.

Too bad.

Aquaman (2019) a (on time!) Review

A couple of weeks ago I attempted to get into the theaters and see the film Aquaman and… no dice. It was that packed.

What a difference a couple of more weeks make!

No, I didn’t go to an empty theater -there were still many people there- but it took almost a full month since the film’s formal release before I was able to get to it.

And it was a fun ride.

Mind you, the film is very much a “Marvel” type superhero movie, full of spectacle and likeable characters who let out funny quips here and there even as the plot of the film isn’t necessarily something incredibly original or outrageously well thought out.

In many ways, ironically enough, the film reminded me of the 2011 Ryan Reynolds/Blake Lively starring Green Lantern, which I don’t need to remind you many feel was a bust.

Why are the two films similar?

Because they both feature information dumps regarding the titular characters, their origin, all the people around them, along with their first “big” mission. Where Green Lantern failed was that the information dump was handled badly, starting and stopping and sometimes focusing too hard on irrelevant material. I still recall getting to the middle or so of that film and suddenly being presented with the origin of Doctor Waller (her character would re-appear in Suicide Squad). I found myself wondering what would possess the filmmakers to stop everything else that was going on to then waste precious screen time on something that, in the end, was irrelevant to the movie in full.

Aquaman, on the other hand, manages the information dump well. In the opening act, we’re quickly introduced to Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman, quite good) and Lighthouse Keeper Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) who meet one stormy night and quickly fall in love before Atlanna is pregnant and then delivers Arthur Curry (eventually, Aquaman, as played by Jason Momoa).

The movie wisely keeps things moving from there, not lingering on any one point and giving us, by the film’s end, a full accounting of Arthur Curry’s upbringing and the fact that he’s noble yet an outsider to both the land dwellers and the people of Atlantis.

Meanwhile, in Atlantis, Arthur’s half-brother King Orm (Patrick Wilson, quite good as the movie’s main villain) is in talks with King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren… what a delightful bit of casting!), father of Princess Mera (Amber Heard, also quite good as the very independent minded princess who will eventually bring Aquaman to his home) to bring together the underwater kingdoms and initiate a war against the surface dwellers.

King Orm, again to the movie’s credit, makes a point. The surface dwellers are polluting the oceans and his gripes against them are well founded, though his actions prove him to be a little too eager for bloodshed.

Of course, the two will eventually be on a collision course for the throne of Atlantis.

When Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice came out, there were many who bemoaned the film’s too dark tone. Aquaman goes the other way, providing a very bright palette even if, IMHO, the plot is far more familiar than that of BvS.

I’ve defended BvS many (perhaps too many) times before and I’ll do so again: As time passes since its release, it occurs to me that by the time that film was released people were expecting -if not outright hoping- that that film would be a “Marvel-style” superhero movie. It is my feeling (no more than a hunch) that the negative reaction was in part due to the fact that BvS was very much not a Marvel type of movie. Now, it seems that film is experiencing a bit of a re-evaluation, which I suspected might happen, and in time I can’t help but wonder if people begin to understand what director Zack Snyder was doing and realize the film is far better than they originally felt it was.

But that’s an argument for another day.

Warners/DC clearly felt the sting of those early negative reactions and both Wonder Woman and Aquaman strive to create a bright, beautiful world within which our heroes inhabit.

Aquaman may not be among the very best superhero films ever made (for me, the top three superhero films ever made remain, in order, the original Christopher Reeve Superman, Captain America Winter Soldier, and -yes- Batman v Superman), but it is a fresh, enjoyable popcorn film that knows what it is and delivers the thrills and laughs without taxing audiences too much.

Recommended.

Bob Einstein, R.I.P.

This happened a several days ago, but Bob Einstein, brother of Albert Brooks and one of the greatest deadpan comedians (IMHO!), passed away.

His most recent work was on Curb Your Enthusiasm but I’ll always remember and love his work as Super Dave Osborne, the most inept stuntman there ever was…

The Super Dave Osborne skits were always a variation of the same funny concept: A stunt was to be performed and the announcer presents Super Dave and, when he arrives, he explains the stunt and… it goes spectacularly wrong with the “true” Super Dave often letting loose…

Another example:

Funny stuff! One more: