5 Reasons You Should Be Watching Game of Thrones

Unless you hid in a cave or buried yourself on purpose you heard of Game of Thrones. With a huge fan base and a 9.5 rating on IMDB it is hard to deny this behemoth TV series. Even with great reviews, millions of unenlightened persons living on earth still have not seen this series. Possible you know a close relative, coworker or even yourself might fall into this group of unconverted viewers. This could be due to lack of interest in fantasy or a dislike for all the graphic blood and sex scenes. Still if you are holding out for a reason why you should be watching Game of Thrones, here are five reasons why.

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A well written series of books. George R.R. Martin delivers some of the best fantasy fiction to date on this show. If you read books, this should be in your collection. If it isn’t then you must look in the mirror to see if you are still human. If you look at all of the awards George has won you can see all five novels for A Song of Ice and Fire received nominations or win awards. The TV show based on this aforementioned book series deserves all the praises it gets. Currently Mr. Martin’s series is the fourth bestselling fantasy series of all time with over 58 million books. Only C.S. Lewi J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling hold higher all time sales.

 

According to the Los Angeles Times:

 

“Martin’s brilliance in evoking atmosphere through description is an enduring hallmark of his fiction, the settings much more than just props on a painted stage.”

 

Let us be clear. The show is excellent and SO ARE THE BOOKS. Yes some details changed. But you are translating a device called a book into a totally different format for consumption. No, you do not have to be a reader to enjoy the TV show. That is why they made the show. But if you read, then your eyeballs need to sink down into the words and see what is truly going on in George’s head.

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Excellent actors and casts. Currently the show and its cast have over 510 total nominations on various award shows with 86 of them being Emmy nominations. The critical praise and support alone should tell you something. Peter Dinklage holds 35 nominations and eight awards including Outstanding Support Actor in a Drama series TWICE. Other actors such as Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams and Lena Headey all took home awards in various categories. Watching these actors deliver their lines is a treat alone. But a treat reserved for people who watch the show. Fans of the book watch with awe as their characters leap to life. You could too if you subscribed to HBO. Their character portrayals are unlike any other TV or movie series to date.

 

The most infamous character on the show is Tyrion Lannister. A noble dwarf, shunned by his peers from birth, he seethes with rage at the world and uses his wits and desires to overcome his foes. One scene from season one stands out to this day, illuminating the character and his philosophy.

 

“Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”

 

And this line here.

 

“A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.”

 

As the show progresses, Tyrion’s part in the game shifts from whoring nobleman to a loftier position under the king. By season 4 he goes on trial for his life and his best speech comes out of him. This line below burns right through you like a fiery pepper.

 

“I wish I was the monster you think I am! I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you! I would gladly give my life to watch you all swallow it!”

 

The casting directors deserve all the praise for bringing such a talented cast together. The cast make the series what it is. And you must watch it to find out.

 

Great suspense. If you are a fan of suspense and intrigue, this show has it in spades The twisting plots stem from the prose of George R.R. Martin. So if you want to read his books and cannot stand the idea of hot sauce on your food, maybe you should go read Harry Potter again. The writers and cast do an excellent job bringing George’s special spicy dish to HBO. Walking Dead, another show you should watch, also has its own spices that might be too hot for some viewers. Both shows deliver an air of ambiguity towards the life expectancy of each character. It is this dangling on a thread of fate which packs the potent punch of suspense. Anyone can and possibly will meet a horrible fate. Some fans decry several plots twists in the show such as Eddard Stark’s Fate and The Red Wedding.

 

A show with gritty realism needs to have this suspenseful atmosphere. No character is truly sacred. Even main characters such as Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow could meet a cruel fate. We all want to know what happens now with Season 6 upon us. Go get caught up now on HBO Go.

 

Fantastic special effects. This show relies more on its drama and acting than special effects. But sometimes you need a dragon, an undead army or even a giant! This show would not reach its lofty heights of adoration without an excellent feast for the eyes. This Game of Thrones team won several Emmys including Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Special Visual Effects in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. They also won several awards with the Visual Effects Society. If you are not convinced, check out this awesome scene of the Undead Army fighting the Wildlings and the Night’s Watch in Season 5 Episode 8.

 

 

Now you should be hungry for more GoT.

 

If you are still not convinced to watch this show then here is the sixth and final reason.

 

It is a show about the human condition. Game of Thrones earned its popularity because the show does not hold back on the graphic, sometimes barbaric nature of humanity. People die in droves. Treachery broods in the hearts of over 90% of the characters. Humans are complex, dramatic creatures, not following a script but moving randomly through life. Often we follow our passions and go where we must, at the cost of many things we love. Letting go of the past is painful and this show brings the drama to life. George R.R. Martin’s prose draws heavily from the patron saint of theater, William Shakespeare. We find love, hate, revenge and betrayal running rampant through the show. Sometimes the show gets ugly, but we cannot look away. To turn your head from the horrors of this show makes you question how human you are. We all suffer and go through highs and lows in life. This show shows that often we have to bring our own meaning to life. We must give our word and keep it.

 

Now you have tasted some of George’s Special Recipe for making awesome, memorable stories. If you are sitting around, bored and want magic in your life, rent Seasons 1-5 on DVD, or online. Do not skip around and start with season 2 or any other episode. Head straight for season 1 episode 1, turn off the lights, get some popcorn and watch the magic of Westeros unfold.

American Gods Film Casts Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday

Yes I am geeking out.

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More concept images for the movie here.

One of my all time favorite novels will be adapted as a movie. Ian McShane as reported by Hollywood Reporter will be Mr. Wednesday (aka Odin All Father of Norse Myth). He did an incredible job as the bartender in Deadwood and fits the part perfectly. Not too sure about Ricky Whittle playing Shadow but honestly anyone can play shadow. It takes a lot of charisma and charm to pull of Neil Gaiman’s character. I am looking forward more and more to this film made for Cable TV.

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This book ranks as one of my all time favorites. Hopefully this movie should live up to the book with this casting.

Written by Richard Leon

Star Wars Clone Wars Seasons 1 and 2

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Need something to do on a Sat night besides partying? How about visit your old friend Genndy Tartakovsky and his take on Star Wars Clone Wars. The series which came out in small 3 minute segments take place between episodes 2 and 3.  This is the same guy who directed one of my favorite cartoons, Samurai Jack.

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In my humble opinion this EPIC micro series blows away the Disney Star Wars Rebels and the 2008 The Clone Wars. Watch it below here. Go to around the 35:30 minute mark and check out Mace Windu kicking ass like he should. I won’t bore you with any more details. Go check this out for yourself here.

 

 

4 Reasons You Should Watch The Shannara Chronicles

 

I just finished watching Episode 9 of the Shannara Chronicles on the MTV website. Yes I am over 40 and despite the network I find this fantasy TV series to be THE BEST on television right now. Everything from casting choices, writers, costumes and excellent story development delivers.

I want to hate on the show, but in all honestly I cannot even begin to dislike anything accomplished here. The show does differ from the books, but in a good way! This is a great retelling of a classic story. I will explain in detail below.

For those of you not familiar with Terry Brooks, you need to go and buy all the Shannara Chronicles books. Currently this season covers the Elfstones of Shannara. From what I hear Terry is happy with the TV adaptation.

Pick up the book here.

Original Cover  I read in High School here.

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Season preview below

Now with that out of the way I will tell you the four reasons why you should be watching this show.

Excellent Casting Choices

I believe the casting is top notch. Every character is believable in their role. Some people might call them too pretty. I do believe their genuine enthusiasm for the project shines through in their roles. Plus some top notch talent is on board to carry this fantasy epic to another level in John Rhys-Davies as the Elf King. For me personally my two favorites are Manu Bennett as Allanon and  Ivana Baquero as Eretria. You can find the complete cast here.

FYI Ivana played the main lead in Pan’s Labyrinth. She grew up to be an incredibly beautiful woman.

” I leave you alone for a couple of hours and look what happens. You completely fall apart.”Eretria-aka-ivana-baquero.jpg

Miles Millar and Alfred Gough

I am not sure what else needs to be said about these two. If you liked Smallville then you might like this show as well. These guys know what they are doing. This writing team is an excellent choice by MTV. The sexual tension and drama between the main leads comes off well. You can see Smallville in the writing.

Top Notch Costumes and Special Effects

If you just like shiny and bright things, then you need to see this show. Everything from the demons to the Elven capital, Arborlon recreated perfectly. The make up effects on the Gnomes worked well. Even the ears on the elves looked real. Some pictures below for your eye candy.

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Incredible Character Development

This is something I would be vocal about. As a writer myself, not to see the characters develop over the season would turn me off. As of now I want to see more seasons. Finish this book and extend it more if you need to. Add some chapters and drag it out a bit, just like Smallville. This show going off the air might make me sad.

I will enjoy watching the season final next week. Full review coming possibly next week. I have seen some of the negative comments about this show. But I went in with a clear mind and decided to enjoy myself for once. Currently this show ranks as one I can watch again and again like Lost or Battlestar Galatica. MTV, do not slip and let this show go downhill. It has too much potential to be great.

Gods of Egypt: Preview and Casting Choices

Hollywood is notorious for creating sequels and rebooting old franchises. Taking a risk on a new intellectual property can be the death knell of a movie studio. Only large studios can afford to even attempt such grand leaps in investment. So now we have something possibly NOT a rip off but a new intellectual property. It is good to take calculated risks in life. If you create something new, do it with passion and forethought.

Gods of Egypt by Lionsgate Entertainment hits theaters in less than ten days. Other than a few trailers no one has any idea what the movie is about. You can see for yourself action and handsome men and fair ladies abound in this tale.

Gods of Egypt Official Trailer

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So from this preview we know Gerard Butler plays Egyptian God Set who has taken over Egypt from Horus played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The story is about the struggle for Egypt’s throne and these two play the main title characters. I really like this idea…

But only if they played Norse, Greek, Roman or even Celtic Gods in a different land. Yup this is bad casting. If you are telling a tale of Egypt you need to have Egyptians or someone who looks Egyptian play the main roles. Tons of talent exist out there who could carry this movie. I have to call this one like it is. This really makes me sad for the movie as I like both actors. Both excel in playing strong male leads.

For right now this has set my mind with preconceived notions. These thoughts consist of this whole universe is not believable. At all. The main goal of any movie is to get you to believe in the world it creates. By ignoring this main goal you you defeat the whole purpose of creating a movie.  To take you somewhere magical, yet real enough that you believe, down inside of you that it is real. This main goal is also applied to fantasy and science fiction. You have to make a world believable. When you choose, CHOOSE to get an audience to BELIEVE in a world that exists NOW (you can look Egypt up on a map RIGHT NOW!), you take on a HUGE responsibility. This means you get the casting done right. You actually go to Egypt and view the land. You need to do your homework to make it right. This includes getting the casting right. Yes it was set long ago. But the people who populated the land still exists there.

I  want to see this movie but this detail is a strike against it. Mainly for the fact neither one of the main leads is believable as a person of direct Egypt descent. Gods should represent the people they rule, an amalgam of different skin colors, mental states of minds and ideas.

Other leads in the movie include Elodie Yung playing Hathor a Goddess of Love. Yes this casting works. FYI she plays Elektra for Daredevil Season 2 on Netflix. But a stronger casting could be made.

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Brenton Thewaites plays Bek, a thief of legend. Again this feels hard to swallow as a realistic character. Poor casting choice, not because of skin color, but the look and feel of a hardened thief. If you are a legendary thief, something needs to be in your face or demeanor noting this. A cocky swagger which shows.

This is not that face.

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We will move on to another character, Thoth God of Wisdom played by Chadwick Boseman. I want to say this is a good choice, but sadly this does not work either. Why? Too young and well you want a god of wisdom and magic to be MUCH older. Right now I do not feel any of the casting works. It seemed like they approaches this project, not to whitewash it, but to seriously not care about the mythology or source material. If you wanted to dump on Egyptian Mythology in a big budget movie, this is one way to do that.

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Geoffrey Rush plays Ra, a HUGE deity in Egyptian culture. THE sun god. Again, I love this actor, but do you want a pirate for a sun god? Seriously?

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The main plot consists of Horus losing his eyes to Set and the throne of Egypt in a battle. Bek, thief of legend steals the eyes back and we all know what happens next. No, they do not set up a party barge on the Nile and dance all night long. (That would make a better ending by far.)

I want to see more original ideas come out of Hollywood. But this idea falls flat on its face in the preview alone. I cannot get past the casting and action packed nonsense to even care about the characters, story arc, or anything else really. The CGI looks cool but further counts against the suspended belief factor which barely exists in the first place. This movie’s preview turned me off. And that is sad, because I like most of the actors in it.

One of the producers and film director is none other than Alex Proyas, who worked on I Robot and The Crow. A director with these films under his belt should know better. This movie might sink his career down further than N. Night Shyamalan.

We do need original movies in Hollywood. Original good movies, not poorly cast ones filled with lots of stars but no heart.

Oh, Lionsgate responded to the whole casting decision last week on Forbes.

Alex Proyas: “The process of casting a movie has many complicated variables, but it is clear that our casting choices should have been more diverse. I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by the decisions we made.”

Honestly I am not offended because you “whitewashed” the movie. It be because it is EGYPT and well you did not actually cast anyone who looks like they are from the region!

Exhibit A:

Elham Wagdi Egyptian Actress and Miss Egypt 2009

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Exhibit B: Amr Waked an Egyptian Actor

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Lionsgate:  ”We recognize that it is our responsibility to help ensure that casting decisions reflect the diversity and culture of the time periods portrayed. In this instance we failed to live up to our own standards of sensitivity and diversity, for which we sincerely apologize. Lionsgate is deeply committed to making films that reflect the diversity of our audiences. We have, can and will continue to do better.​​”

James Gunn who directed Guardians of the Galaxy just commented on the success of Deadpool and it rings true. I feel this applies directly to this movie here.

Quote:

“After every movie smashes records people here in Hollywood love to throw out the definitive reasons why the movie was a hit. I saw it happen with Guardians. It “wasn’t afraid to be fun” or it “was colorful and funny” etc etc etc. And next thing I know I hear of a hundred film projects being set up “like Guardians,” and I start seeing dozens of trailers exactly like the Guardians trailer with a big pop song and a bunch of quips. Ugh.

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Deadpool wasn’t that. Deadpool was its own thing. THAT’S what people are reacting to. It’s original, it’s damn good, it was made with love by the filmmakers, and it wasn’t afraid to take risks.

For the theatrical experience to survive, spectacle films need to expand their definition of what they can be. They need to be unique and true voices of the filmmakers behind them. They can’t just be copying what came before them.

So, over the next few months, if you pay attention to the trades, you’ll see Hollywood misunderstanding the lesson they should be learning with Deadpool. They’ll be green lighting films “like Deadpool” – but, by that, they won’t mean “good and original” but “a raunchy superhero film” or “it breaks the fourth wall.” They’ll treat you like you’re stupid, which is the one thing Deadpool didn’t do.

But hopefully in the midst of all this there will be a studio or two that will take the right lesson from this – like Fox did with Guardians by green-lighting Deadpool – and say – “Boy, maybe we can give them something they don’t already have.”

Go see this movie on Feb 26th and let me know how it is. I personally will not step foot in the theater to support this movie. I know Lionsgate makes excellent films. But I highly doubt this film will be among those due to aforementioned reasons above.

Next time get some independent feedback when you launch a new intellectual property. Casting can make or break a movie. If you want to see casting done right, look at Star Wars The Force Awakens.

 

 

Why do some people dislike the latest Green Lantern Movie?

I just finished watching Green Lantern starring Ryan Reynolds and I enjoyed it once again. You would think I had poor taste or just had no sense of what a good movie consists of. My tastes run from Horror to Sci-Fi and beyond (even some Disney movies!) But I feel this movie had a great origin story (not totally faithful to the comic but still solid.) It is a solid entry into the DC Universe. I feel the timing was bad for this movie and it made critics turn on the movie. I think Man of Steel is on par if not worse than this movie. Yup, there I said it.

This movie has solid acting, great performance by Mr. Reynolds and others. Great hero story and something I can watch with my kids.

This movie came out on the 17th of June 2011. The first Iron Man movie came out 2nd of May 2008. You would think America would be ready for this type of movie since several super hero movies came out by this time.

A few reasons cited here Cinemablend

No script written at the time of auditions.

“laboriously navigated some of the obligatory emotional dips in the hero’s confidence”

“Parallax as a mindless creature destructively drifting through space made for a lame first villain”

The first one does not hold water as Iron Man really did not have much of a script. It was an outline. No Iron Man Script I think this movie came together well in terms of dialog and what each character had to do.

Laboriously Navigated is something that is a steep opinion and I felt the hero did well adjusting every obstacle and it was great, not a chore to see him rise up to every occasion.

The whole idea of the main bad guy as Parallax. Did the writer forget about Dr. Hector Hammond?

Some more quotes from critics.

“How many more of these superheroes can we take?” Apparently a whole lot more.

“This is a blue-light special version of a superhero movie. This is what happens when they go wrong. This is what happens when they don’t care.” Kinda harsh but sounds like someone had a bad day at the office or a bad night and vented with this review.

I find the Green Lantern Movie does everything well and Ryan Reynolds should not hang his head in shame because of it. It was enjoyable and fun to watch. The characters felt believable and it is a solid addition to the DC universe.

I will say the only thing I did not care too much for was the suit. But it seems a technical thing as there are many movies with worse special effects and still beloved by audiences.

I think Ryan Reynolds’s type of humor started in Van Wilder and which boiled over into Blade 3 grates on people. It is the only thing I can see making this movie hated by so many people.

With Deadpool coming out real soon and Ryan Reynolds once again front and center this type of humor will get on people’s nerves. But others like myself we will embrace it for what it is.

Currently Deadpool is trending at 83% on the Tomato Meter. It seems Deadpool is riding the tide of super hero movie popularity. I wonder what would happen if this movie was released back in 2011?

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow out of Time

If one likes things that go bump in the night or tales of eldritch horrors one must read and digest the works of Mr. Lovecraft. I understand some of the controversy surrounding his personal life. But I do my best to separate the entertainer from his work. I do this in all aspects as it keeps me from being too judgmental.

This is a wonderful little movie that will put you to sleep right here.

The Shadow Out of Time

If you like this little gem please go support this man here who created the video.

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“AS I have said, it was not immediately that these wild visions began to hold their terrifying quality. Certainly, many persons have dreamed intrinsically stranger things—things compounded of unrelated scraps of daily life, pictures, and reading, and arranged in fantastically novel forms by the unchecked caprices of sleep.

For some time I accepted the visions as natural, even though I had never before been an extravagant dreamer. Many of the vague anomalies, I argued, must have come from trivial sources too numerous to track down; while others seemed to reflect a common text book knowledge of the plants and other conditions of the primitive world of a hundred and fifty million years ago—the world of the Permian or Triassic age.

In the course of some months, however, the element of terror did figure with accumulating force. This was when the dreams began so unfailingly to have the aspect of memories, and when my mind began to link them with my growing abstract disturbances—the feeling of mnemonic restraint, the curious impressions regarding time, and sense of a loathsome exchange with my secondary personality of 1908-13, and, considerably later, the inexplicable loathing of my own person.

As certain definite details began to enter the dreams, their horror increased a thousandfold—until by October, 1915, I felt I must do something. It was then that I began an intensive study of other cases of amnesia and visions, feeling that I might thereby objectivise my trouble and shake clear of its emotional grip.

However, as before mentioned, the result was at first almost exactly opposite. It disturbed me vastly to find that my dreams had been so closely duplicated; especially since some of the accounts were too early to admit of any geological knowledge—and therefore of any idea of primitive landscapes—on the subjects’ part.

What is more, many of these accounts supplied very horrible details and explanations in connexion with the visions of great buildings and jungle gardens—and other things. The actual sights and vague impressions were bad enough, but what was hinted or asserted by some of the other dreamers savored of madness and blasphemy. Worst of all, my own pseudo-memory was aroused to wilder dreams and hints of coming revelations. And yet most doctors deemed my course, on the whole, an advisable one.

I studied psychology systematically, and under the prevailing stimulus my son Wingate did the same—his studies leading eventually to his present professorship. In 1917 and 1918 I took special courses at Miskatonic. Meanwhile, my examination of medical, historical, and anthropological records became indefatigable, involving travels to distant libraries, and finally including even a reading of the hideous books of forbidden elder lore in which my secondary personality had been so disturbingly interested.

Some of the latter were the actual copies I had consulted in my altered state, and I was greatly disturbed by certain marginal notations and ostensible corrections of the hideous text in a script and idiom which somehow seemed oddly unhuman.

These markings were mostly in the respective languages of the various books, all of which the writer seemed to know with equal, though obviously academic, facility. One note appended to von Junzt’sUnaussprechlichen Kulten, however, was alarmingly otherwise. It consisted of certain curvilinear hieroglyphs in the same ink as that of the German corrections, but following no recognized human pattern. And these hieroglyphs were closely and unmistakably akin to the characters constantly met with in my dreams—characters whose meaning I would sometimes momentarily fancy I knew, or was just on the brink of recalling.”

The Shadow Out of Time by H.P. Lovecraft