Mind Sieve 10/20/14

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Spent the weekend at the Dallas Comic Con Dan Days 2014 so this will be a quick one. :)

In the Heart of the Sea Official Teaser Trailer – Moby Dick! Booyah! This looks GOOD!

Get Santa Trailer – this looks too cute!

Dying of the Light Official Trailer #1 – Looks good and messy. Should be exciting. :)

Have fun!

Picture Kaleidoscope 10/15/14

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Morning!

This was a total surprise. lol. But looks great! Make sure to look at it with the bigger pic. Perfect for this time of year. lol.

This year has been great for sky shots. :)

Look at that gold!

Isn’t he purty?

The sun being shy.

Love the different cloud layers.

Almost looks like a UFO. :P

Hm, wonder if this is what they mean by a “Tequila Sunrise”?

Like layered colors.

Have a great Wednesday!

Mind Sieve 10/13/14

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MindSieve

Fan Fun

Tomorrowland Teaser Trailer – Ooooh this looks awesome!

Focus official trailer #1 – this could be fun. Looks very slick. :)

My daughter has bit into the latest streaming craze which is playing games and talking to people while doing it. She’s doing the game “The Binding of Issac”. Here’s Episode 5.

Big Hero 6 Official US Trailer 2 – Oh this is going to be so much FUN!

Author Platform/Social Media

5 Ways to Benefit From Twitter Ads by Antonio Calero at The Social Media Examiner. Probably too high end for us authors, but it’s nice to know the options.

10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Marketing by Cindy King at the Social Media Examiner. If I only had the time to look at all this stuff!!!!!

Writing Advice

Frustrated With Slow Progress? Join the Crowd by Jami Gold. Realistic and unrealistic expectations for authors.

Dearest Writer: Nobody Owes You Shit by Chuck (NSFW) Wendig – more reality for us writerly types. :)

Have an awesome week all!

Virtual Tourist – TERA 10/12/14

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Morning all!

TERA

Eldritch Academy

Isn’t this just an awesome sight?

Ack, hate those giant spider things!

More cuteness!

Down in the cellar.

The reason for all this

Cool machine too!

Poporia (Yep, finally found the names!)

Aren’t they CUTE?!?!?!

I so love all the detail. :)

Different angle

Back on the Pegasus

Love these things!

Aurum Road 

Pegasus shots.

So arid!

Central town for the section

Some definitely cool rock formations~!

Local bad guys.

Nifty looking ruins.

And that always awesome sky!

Have a great day!

Movie Review – Dracula Untold

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Dracula Untold

Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Diarmaid Murtagh, Paul Kaye, William Houston, Noah Huntley, Ronan Vibert, and more.

Directed by: Gary Shore Written by: Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless Based on Characters Created by: Bram Stoker Cinematography by: John Schwartzman Music by: Ramin Djawadi

Premise: When the Turks demand Vlad adds a thousand children, as well as his son, to their yearly tribute, Vlad Tepes decides it is too dear a price to pay. Killing several Turks, he turns to Broken Tooth Mountain where he’d glimpsed something evil and very powerful. It is this power he hopes to gain to allow him to save his people. Yet the power has a cost. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Luke Evans was perfect for the role – waxing from stern, to concerned, to loving husband and father, to hungry predator with ease. Charles Dance brought great presence to the Master Vampire. Sarah Gadon as Vlad’s lovely and perceptive wife, made for a nice foil and wove in well into the themes of light and dark.

2) Special Effects – Thumbs Up: The film had a lot of nice effects. The different ways bats were used were very cool – both in the giant waves and the more personal combat moments. Some neat uses of dark and light as seen through vampiric eyes. The first vaporizing sunlight effect was fantastic. Some of the others weren’t as well done, but still looked very good.

There’s a nice scene done almost exclusively through the reflections of a sword. What I loved more was the POV being kept on the man holding the sword till his end. A very nice touch.

The art in the priest’s book was fantastic! The detail was superb.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Down: Is this film in any way historically accurate? Not much. But the fact the supernatural would be involved does give a clue this would be the way of it, so it didn’t hinder my interest. Bad writing, however, is a whole other matter.

Aside from Vlad, his wife, and son, there was no development of any of the other characters. The Turks were all cardboard villains. Those around Vlad about the same. And for one or two of them, if you blink while watching the film, you’d miss the only clue to their personalities that you were given.

There was nothing whatsoever to support the request for a thousand children. (If you have an army of over a hundred thousand strong sitting around, what difference would an extra thousand untrained soldiers make?) The fact Vlad and the Turkish ruler had been close friends made the whole thing that much harder to swallow.

Vlad has fought countless wars, created strategies, killed thousands before ever taking on supernatural powers – yet not once were any real tactics or thought, for that matter, ever presented by him. After the slaying of the first group of soldiers once he gained his powers, why didn’t he fly straight to the main encampment and kill the ruler in his sleep? The main problem would be gone, his army and people thrown into disarray at the death of their leader, and if they didn’t get the hint, he could have come back and slayed the lot without a single fellow countryman ever placed near the danger. I have more on this issue, but will stop here.

The next major affront was the ruler knowing how to combat supernatural Vlad. Since seemingly no one in the country of Transylvania knew about vampires except one priest, how the heck would the Turkish ruler have a clue? The Turks killed everyone they got a hold of. They didn’t question or take any prisoners. The one they did take wouldn’t hold told them, and didn’t know all that much in the first place. And sadder still, they took a being with his incredible power, put him in a place that made him weak, and instead of having him step outside, pick up a spear, and using his magnified senses and superhuman strength to torpedo it through the cloth and into the chest of his enemy, you have him stay inside and “fight” it out. (Yes, they did do some cool things with visuals during that fight, but still…)

And last, but not least, why the heck would Turkish scouts go to the most desolate mountain to scout for a possible invasion anyway? Now, if they’d mentioned the Turkish ruler having heard rumors of who was trapped there and wanted it investigated to see if he could give himself power, that could have been a fun angle. But, alas, no…

No real surprises or plot twists other than the delectable bit at the end. (Though I realized later that shot was all in sublight – so…huh????)

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of fancy and destructive stunts by real people and CGI. Integration of both were pretty flawless, making for lots of combat fun. There is some shaky cam action, which always feels like a cheap tactic to me, but most of it wasn’t, so that was good.

5) Locations/Cinematography – Thumbs Up: Lots of lovely sweeping views from above or panning shots over open fields in the day and the night. It all plays beautifully with the CGI bats. The land looks mostly unspoiled by people, making for lovely terrain shots and closeups.

My one complaint was the lack of Transylvanian/Wallachian style to the castle or monastery. Wallachia and other Carpathian locations have their own look and local flavor. Yet none of that really came across in the film. They just seemed typical, generic. Too bad.

Conclusion: If you turn of your logic circuits and possibly a couple of others, “Dracula – Untold” is an entertaining film. Some cool special effects and fight scenes as well as some great acting on the part of Lucas Evans, Sarah Gadon, and Charles Dance.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price To See Again.)

Picture Kaleidoscope 10/8/14

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Morning!

Trying to stay on schedule this week!

Found this at a shop at the mall. Just like the one in the painting. And it actually is a working clock! Isn’t it awesome?!

Side view. So cool!

Sheep in the sky!

I was trying for something with this, just have no idea what! lol.

Cool striations, no?

The light was bouncing beautifully in the back.

Giant eyeball peeking in out direction

The clouds seemed like poured liquid.

Clouds!

Sweevil actually not terrorizing Mythril. You can see her behind and to the side. Heh.

Have a great Wednesday!

Mind Sieve 10/6/14

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I need to do something to get back on track.

RL work has really messed up all my usual schedules. Bah!

Fan Fun

Batman Evolution by the Piano Guys. 50 Years of melded Batman music. Sweet!

Inside Out Teaser Trailer – should be cute!

Blackhat Trailer 1 – could be interesting!

Jupiter Ascending Trailer 3 – I am PUMPED! Looks great!

Author Platform/Social Media

 

Facebook Relaunches Atlas: This Week in Social Media by Cindy King at the Social MEdia Examiner.

10 Tips to Organizing a Kick Ass Online Book Event by Angela Ackerman at Kristen Lamb’s blog.

 

 

Writing Advice

 

Writing Struggles: Waiting For News from Jami Gold. I’ve always said the biggest skill one has to have for writing is patience. But sometimes it is so very,very hard to wait!

Who I am and Why I Write This Blog by Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. I’m honestly amazed anyone would think he fakes this stuff. lol.

 

Hah! An actual complete post for once! Hah! (Been so long!)

Virtual Tourist – TERA 10/5/14

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Good morning!

TERA

For whatever reason I can’t find the names of the places I’ve been the last couple of weeks. :( Nooo!

A gorgeous horse owned by a player

He looks hungry, doesn’t he?

Beautiful, no?

Entrance to a the grounds of a witches school.

The front of the school.

Main entry room. And yes, they use pumpkins in ALL their decorating. lo.

The magnificent ceiling of the main room.

One of the young witches.

One of the grand hallways

More see through ceiling.

The grand clock in the main entry room

Signs of magic!

Look at the awesome tile flooring!

Killer pumpkins!

One of the library rooms. So cool!

One of the dormitories

Looking down into the main entry room

One of the student area.

Have an awesome day!

Movie Review – The Boxtrolls

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The Boxtrolls

Starring: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Elle Fanning, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, Tracy Morgan, Dee Bradley Baker, Steve Blum, Simon Pegg, and more.

Directed by: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi Screenplay by: Irena Brignull and Adam Pava Based on the Novel by: Alan Snow  Music by: Dario Marianelli

Premise: Eggs, a young boy raised by Boxtrolls, encounters a girl as he tries to find his kidnapped friend, Fish. But, Winnie is not the only thing he discover while up in the human world, he also finds out that lies are being told about those who raised him. That the town believes Boxtrolls to be evil and must be eradicated. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Ben Kingsley made a fun Archibald Snatcher, especially when eating cheese. Isaac Hempstead was adorable as Eggs. Elle Fanning as Winnie was a total hoot. Not your typical girl that one. Nice! Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan added a lot of depth to the film and were a lot of fun as Snatcher’s stooges.

2) Artwork/Animation – Total Thumbs Up: Laika just gets better and better. Their combination of physical sets, poseable characters, CGI, and blending of other effects just make for truly spectacular and fun visuals.

The look and feel of the Boxtrolls cavern was scintillating. And the contraptions and beauty they create from human trash endearing. The cavern was even a self contained eco system, with the boxtrolls wondering above solely for scavenging purposes. (They seem to not be able to help themselves!)

I also totally loved the weird town – a steep mountain of houses and shops – a totally isolated little island. And the trolls themselves were utterly adorable.

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: Though the commercials give it away, the film starts in such a manner as to make the audience believe there might be something evil about the Boxtrolls. Their glowing eyes and expressions alone are enough to give anyone a fright.

There are a lot of types of evil represented in this film. It was truly a lovely representation of several kinds, yet it was left entirely to the audiences’ interpretation rather than getting preachy or sanctimonious. There’s the evil of indifferent parents, the evil of selfishness, the evil of neglect with regards to work which affects others as well as family, the evil of assuming you’re good and just rather than think about what you’re actually doing and what it means.

Loved the use of red hats and white hats – a concept tying back to religious infighting amongst oriental monks in ancient times. I also enjoyed the ungirly like bloodthirstiness of Winnie. Her fascination with gore and the horrific – too funny.

The Boxtroll society was fascinating as well, all cogs of the same machine, yet individuals with different tastes and quirks.

Archibald Snatcher was a wonderful bundle of contradictions and surprises. He has a dream and it is worth any price – you won’t believe what he’s gone through and willing to go through for it on a personal level either. Dang!

The conversations between Mr. Trout and Mr. Pickles were brilliant. Like Snatcher, they too believed in things not necessarily true or real, yet clung to them for all they were worth.

Conclusion: “The Boxtrolls” is a very cute film with tons of unexpected depth and food for thought. The animation is great and fun. Lots of stuff for both kids and adults. And there’s a super cool bit in the credits where the curtain is moved aside and the audience can see the magic behind the product as it plays. Nice!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Mind Sieve 9/29/14

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Running super late~!

Kingsman: The Secret Service Trailer 2 – I am so looking forward to this one!

Predestination International Trailer 2 – Had not heard of this one. Looks fun!

John Wick Trailer – do not mess with a man’s ride or his dog.  You never know who they might belong to. Hee hee!

Hope to be back in the groove next week!

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