Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Dork Review: Fright Night

So Saturday I ended up going to see Fright Night in 3D with my friend Jeff. Now, Jeff saw the original while I haven't yet, so he was able to make a comparison between this version and the original while I was not.

Either way, we both loved it.

First off, let me just say that Fright Night makes good use of 3D technology, which is rare for a live action film. To be honest, most of the films hyped as 3D really haven't taken advantage of it, while animated films presented in 3D have.

The film's intelligent use of 3D is make most clear in a chase scene about midway through. I'm not one to geek out about filming techniques (I'm much more into the story behind a movie) but this was well shot, used the 3D to good effect, and was actually scary. The way it was shot made the audience feel the same way the characters did. The drama of that scene was enhanced, so that rather than being just another car chase like we've all seen hundreds of times before, this was viscerally terrifying.

I enjoyed Conan last week, but could have watched it without the 3D. Watching Fright Night in 2D would have taken something away from it. I recommend you go and see this flick in the theater so that you can have the full experience. It is worth it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Dork Review: Conan the Barbarian

"I live, I love, I slay, and I am content."

Those words pretty much sum up Conan the Barbarian and Conan's philosophy on life. The new Conan flick is much closer to the character presented in the books from Robert E. Howard and the comics such as Savage Sword of Conan.

Like the comics, this movie is firmly set in the world Robert E. Howard started and the comics enhanced. There are shout outs to various places in the Hyborean mileau, along with pirates, lusty (and not completely dressed) wenches, and brutal warlords. The world Conan lives in is harsh and unforgiving, much like him.

This is not a movie to take your kids to. The action is violent and brutal, and while Conan is the protagonist he is far from a nice guy. He was born in battle and has a grim outlook on life, rarely smiles, and really is quite good at killing. Momoa does a great job of capturing Conan's essence the putting it out there for the world to see.

So if you want a flick with hot women, brutal violence, and almost constant action, go see Conan the Barbarian. If you don't, well I think The King's Speech is out for Blu-ray (great film but not that many beheadings in it).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Dork Review: Destiny's Blood

I've had the good fortune of meeting Marie Bilodeau a couple times at conventions now. She's a great person and wonderful to talk to and hang out with. Heck, I even went to Polaris for the day because I wanted to show my support for her and the other Dragon Moon Press authors there launching When The Hero Comes Home. So it's about time I actually bought one of her books. :)

I ended up walking away from Polaris with Destiny's Blood and the Heirs of a Broken Land series. The series I'll review all as one piece later, once I'm done the books, and as the title of this post hints at, today I'm going to review Destiny's Blood.

Marie is a storyteller. This comes across in her work, in the words and in the pacing. This book almost cries out to be read aloud, and it has a mythic scope. The fate of races is at stake, not just the life of the Layela Delamores, the heroine. There's magic, love, passion, anger, evil, and sacrifice all contained within and presented at a break-neck speed.

The book does suffer from one thing though. It's too short. I would have loved to have seen more packed into it. Some of the minor characters could benefit from more "screen time", even if it meant slowing the pacing a bit. If the worst thing you can say about a book is that you wish there was more then it ain't doing too bad at all.

Check out more on Destiny's Blood on Marie's site, or order it directly from Amazon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Siege of Fort Erie and A Candelight Proposition

I spent last Saturday attending the Siege of Fort Erie with my friend Jeff. If you don't know what this is, well shame on you! Just kidding. Only history geeks and locals would know, and I qualify as both.

The Siege of Fort Erie was a battle that took place during the summer of 1814 as part of the War of 1812. At least that's what we call it in Canada when were not calling it the War In Which We Totally Burned Down Washington. Not that we're gloating or anything.

No, really, we're not. It was 200 years ago. Get over it.

Every year a few hundred dedicated volunteers reenact the Siege via an afternoon and an evening battle. The evening battle is followed by a candlelight tour of the fort.

So why did I go? Napoleonic history has been a passion of mine for years, enhanced greatly after watching the first Sharpe movie with Sean Bean. (This was before he did Lord of the Rings. Swear the guy has not aged in the meantime.)

If you're ever near Fort Erie when this event is scheduled you need to check it out. Especially if you're a writer, and especially if you ever want to write anything set in that era or involving similar technology. (Someday I want to write a fantasy series with muskets and Napoleonic themes.)

How to describe it? When a musket fires there's this distinct crack, nothing like what you hear from guns in a Hollywood movie. When a cannon fires you not only hear it, you can feel your stomach rattle from the sheer force of it. It really is an experience!

Both the musket and the cannon kick up a cloud of smoke. In the afternoon battle this wasn't too bad. In the evening battle it was much thicker. I can see where the term "fog of war" comes from. The announcer even made the comment that armies could fire off a volley and then retreat through the smoke of their own fire. That's a trick I'll have to remember for my own writing.

The candlelight tour was great as well. It's setup as if the tour group you're a part of is a group of volunteers being led onto the base during a battle. There are screams and gunfire in the darkness, troops running around, and even a makeshift surgery. The volunteers put on a good, if not Oscar worthy, show.

I had a great time, and I'm looking forward to the event in 2012. I know they're going to put on a spectacle for the 200th anniversary of the war.

Oh, and that candlelight proposition? During the tour one of the volunteers asked if I was single, and me being honest I answered in the affirmative. She then suggested I meet her later in the barracks.

Before you get you hopes up, or dashed as the case may be, it was soon obvious this was part of the tour. During the Napoleonic era women could only stay on the base if they were married to someone working there, so if their husband died they needed to find a single man quick or else get turfed. Really sad when you think about it. I'm glad that's no longer the case.

Monday, August 1, 2011

10 Signs The Gym You Frequent Might Be Too Hot

10. There's an ambulance parked out front alongside a few tubs filled with ice, ready for any heat-stroke cases that "may" arise.

9. You look across the room and see a heat shimmer. It's less than ten feet away.

8. You turn the cold water on in the shower area and steam comes out.

7. There are puddles all over the gym floor. They're from people sweating.

6. Your clothing starts to fall off you because of heat expansion.

5. The cook from the restaurant down the way kicks you off a machine so he can use it to fry an egg since his grill is broken.

4. The cactus the owner has sitting in the window is a dried out husk. You saw him water it earlier today.

3. The free weight you're lifting keeps flopping around, as if it's made of rubber. You ask the owner when he got the new novelty weights. He says those are the sames one's he's always had.

2. You notice black, tar-like shoe prints all over the gym, then you realize there melted bits of your shoes.

And the number one sign that the gym you frequent might be too hot:

1. Satan is working out next to you and even he is complaining about the heat.

Have a good night everybody and keep hydrated!