Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the tag “entertainment”

Misleading packaging: why reviews matter

FarCry

There is nothing worse than picking up a book, movie, whatever, expecting to be entertained based on the cover. The above example is the movie Far Cry, starring Til Schweiger, in what looks like a cool action flick. The description even makes you look past the fact that this is a video game adaptation, promising a slick action-eer:

An ex-special forces soldier turned boatman is hired by a journalist to investigate a top-secret military base on a nearby island.

The problem with this packaging is that this is a film by Uwe Boll. Til Schweiger is a fantastic actor and a major box office draw card, especially in his home country of Germany. He was also the driver behind one of my favourite films of all time, Knocking on Heaven’s Door. Yet not even Til can save us from the worst director of all time.

One of the things that amazes me about Uwe Boll is not so much the fact that he is still making films (petition to stop him making films) but the fact that he is able to attract the money and star power to his movies. You would think that actors would be keen to avoid working with Uwe so that they don’t sign a career death note. But Til, Ron Perlman, Burt Reynolds, Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Eric Roberts, Christian Slater, Stephen Dorff, Claire Forlani, Leelee Sobieski, John ‘Gimli’ Rys-Davies, and Ben Kingsley (although, Kingsley may be an Oscar winner, but he has appeared in some truly awful films), have all lined up to appear in a Uwe Boll production. Why!?! Rys-Davis has implied that the money is good and Uwe is easy to work for. No mention of exactly how good Uwe is to work with; I’m going to assume running hot and cold hookers and blow.

This speaks to the underlying problem with picking good entertainment. We can be easily mislead with a cool blurb, impressive trailer, a spot at the front of the store, a stand that tackles you to the ground and forces you to buy the movie/book. It is why movie stars are paid big money, because they have a brand that audiences recognise, and that can guarantee box office sales. In publishing you have name brand authors like James Patterson occupying the front of the store because they are reliable bestsellers. And Lee Child was recently shown to have the strongest brand in publishing, with fans following him from book to book more than any other author, because of his reliably entertaining books. Uwe Boll is the opposite of this brand of success and reliability.

Essentially media consumers like us are less likely to try a new author, or watch a film by a new director, or one that stars actors we haven’t heard of, because of the Uwe Boll’s of this world. We want our entertainment to be entertaining – I know, not much to ask really – and we hate being mislead by slick tricks. We see a cool poster or cover, we see a big name actor attached, or read a cool blurb, only to be sorely disappointed. So instead of trying something new, we stick with what we know and trust.

I guess that is why I promote books I’ve read and liked on this site. That is why we need people to review books, movies, TV shows and music. That is why we need to find people with similar tastes to make recommendations to us. If we can’t stop Uwe Boll making films, at least we can tell people about the films that are worth watching.

How Is Technology Changing TV Narrative?

This latest video from the Ideas Channel raises an interesting point about how there appears to be more complex narratives in TV shows now.

Of course, there are several problems with this idea. The first is perception. For every Breaking Bad and Justified we have CSI Whatever and the banality of reality TV. So without some hard data on the number of shows and relative audiences, it is really hard to say how real that perception is.

The second problem is that TV shows run a continuum from pure episodic shows, where everything is wrapped up in an episode and the next episode has little to no changes evident to the characters or larger show, through to serials, which have more complex plot lines that often take at least a season to develop and resolve with character arcs building over the course of the entire series. The key word is continuum, as most shows have some aspects of the serial and episodic about them. Again, without breaking down each show on this continuum, and then comparing shows now versus the past, we don’t have any idea of what has changed, if anything has changed.

The third problem is the good old sample or selection bias, especially as it relates to our favourite shows and the shows we remember. E.g. Survivor has been running since 2000 (or 1997 if you are in the UK), yet without looking that up I’d have had no idea when the show started, let alone whether it is still running. I don’t remember it because I’m not a fan. But I will still complain bitterly about the cancellation of Firefly. My frame of reference is biased, so I’m going to remember some shows more than others and think more favourably of some of the ones I remember than others.

The final problem I see is assigning time shift technologies and marathon watching as the driver of a change in our demands for more complex narratives. The idea itself is sound, as I can’t think of thing less interesting than watching the same episode with minor changes in a marathon. That would be like watching 9 hours of hobbits walking. The recording, DVD buying, streaming and subsequent marathon TV show watching would indeed favour shows that have more to them, that more complex narrative that will keep you pressing play on the next episode.

I don’t know that the time shifting, or recording, or DVD buying, or other methods of marathon watching, is driving a demand for more complex narratives. As I said above, I think the more complex shows lend themselves more to the marathon than other shows. But if we assume there are more of these shows worth grabbing a blanket and a couch dent, then I still think there are other things at play. I think we’ve seen more avenues for creativity come to the fore, such as Youtube channels, computer games, and the like that didn’t exist a decade ago as they do now. As a result, entertainment such as TV shows have a need to engage the audience on a deeper level. So while episodic shows like CSI Whatever are still huge, they don’t attract the same devotion and fan adoration as a good serialised show. Plus, the advantage of the more complex narratives is that it allows for more interesting characters, plot lines, etc, which is turn allows for better acting, direction, writing, etc, which creates a feedback loop that may one day cause fandom to implode due to awesome achieving gravitational singularity. I’m assuming this will happen when Netflix reboots Firefly.

NB: I hate the term binge watching and as such haven’t used it in this article. Binge implies that there is something wrong with what you are doing. There is nothing wrong with watching a TV show or movie series you enjoy, so we should stop implying there is something wrong.

Total Recall: the movie, the movie, or the book?

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At the moment there is a lot of talk about Paul Verhoeven’s ‘trilogy’ of sci-fi movies being remade. I think the terms used to discuss the remakes are stupid, banal, and facile. Verhoeven made three fantastic social satires, that were also science fiction action films: Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers*. Okay, only two were fantastic, Starship Troopers was stupid. They were also all made at a time when you could make a grossly violent film and not be shunned by cinemas and TV in favour of PG13 violence – you know, the violence that is heavy on explosions and pew-pew noises, but light on the consequences of that violence, which raises kids to believe that violence doesn’t hurt anyone.

Robocop: The Reboot has just hit the cinemas, spurring people the internet over to complain about a movie they haven’t seen (new Robocop), a movie that hasn’t been made yet (new Starship Troopers – not to be confused with Super Troopers), and how terrible the recent Total Recall movie was. Anyone would think that Colin Farrell had personally shagged Arnie’s housekeeper the way they talk about the Total Recall remake.

So I did something unthinkable: I rewatched the remake, the Verhoeven/Schwarzenhamneggnburger version, and read the Phillip K Dick short story (or is it a novella?). The reason for doing so? Because these remakes were being derided so heavily. Nothing inspires people to touch wet paint like putting a wet paint sign on it.

Let’s start with the Total Recall remake. It is an action film: good start. It is a sci-fi: in that it doesn’t have a talking dragon in it, thus it can’t be fantasy, despite the lack of ‘science’ in the science fiction, making it closer to fantasy. It has half decent actors in it: I’d watch just about anything with Kate Beckinsale in it since seeing Shooting Fish, as long as the movie doesn’t have Ben Affleck in it – yes that one, let us not speak it’s name. It also appears to have a plot: I could be mistaken.

As a film the Total Recall remake is fine. All the right things explode, all the good guys live, all the bad guys die horribly, most of the needless violence is against robots so we don’t get caught up in the mass genocide that the hero performs. As an adaptation of the short story, you could be forgiven for thinking the film makers only read the first few pages; much like the original movie. As compared to the original Total Recall, it is a pale, facile shadow.

The Arnie version worked as both a straight up action movie, but also had a much better secondary plot about whether it was all happening or all in his head. This part is what makes the original movie closer to a Phillip K Dick adaptation than the new movie. Although the original movie being closer to the source material is probably because the screenwriter and Verhoeven had read the dust jacket of the story, whereas Len Wiseman and his screenwriter just took Verhoeven’s word for it that there was an original story to base the movie upon.

Dick’s story actually has a really funny and interesting twist ending, which neither movie used because the movies and story diverge at about the time when Doug Quaid (Quail in the book) arrives home after visiting Rekall. In fact, We Can Remember If For You Wholesale bears so little resemblance to the movies that you’d more call it an inspiration for them rather than source material. I don’t have a problem with this, as long as they handed Dick a great big check, maybe a signed picture of Arnie to go with it, maybe some Planet Hollywood shares as well.

The movies are both good fun, both are entertaining, both are well made, both had dubious understandings of physics. There is nothing wrong with the new movie as a piece of entertainment. But it won’t last the way the original movie has. This comes down to Verhoeven’s handling of the secondary plot, which might as well not exist in the remake. I certainly look forward to the even more facile Total Recall movie that will come out in another 20 years, which will probably not even have a three boobed woman in it.

* I could write an entire essay on how Heinlein’s original novel differed from the movie and how its social comment was far deeper and insightful than the movie.

Love it or Hate it

To read genre or not to read genre: that really isn’t the question.

With surprising regularity there are articles written explaining why people should be reading certain types of books. It isn’t just books, of course, but I’m trying not to be distracted…. puppy! The thing that these articles have in common is snobbery.

From a young age we are given lessons in snobbery, certain things are cool to read, certain things have value or social importance. These are the things we should be reading. By definition this means everything else isn’t of value and often becomes termed our guilty pleasures. I agree with the sentiments of this article that mentions guilty pleasures as being one of the phrases that makes people hate you.

The idea that something is a guilty pleasure implies that we should feel bad because we enjoy something. Well that’s just stupid. Either we enjoyed reading the book or we didn’t. Do we really have to impress others with our cool choices in reading material? I’d argue that you can enjoy whatever you like and we need to stop with the snobbery and pretence that some books are more highbrow or worthy of reading. I’d also argue that we aren’t in high school anymore and you don’t have to be cool. And reading is cool…. no, you can’t have my lunch money.

Now I don’t want to get into the argument about reasons why people read. Some people read for pleasure, some for entertainment (I’m defining those two categories slightly differently), some to explore social issues, some to learn about a topic, some to experience emotional stories, and on the list goes. For example, I don’t read scientific papers to be entertained, I read them to learn things, but the novels I read are meant to entertain me. So some people will be snobby about what they read because of why they read. I’m more interested in addressing the other type of snobbery about reading things of worth, value and not the guilty pleasures.

A lot of this snobbery comes from English Literature academics, authors, devotees and columnists. They are regularly telling us that we shouldn’t be wasting our time reading genre fiction, we should be reading the important books. You know, the ones so important that the author didn’t bother to make them entertaining. They would have us believe that reading is too important to be just entertaining, that we can’t read a science fiction, fantasy, thriller, romance or similar genre book because that would mean we haven’t read the worthy books.

Is Terry Pratchett worthy? How about Heinlein? They put more social commentary and sophisticated language into their novels than most of the literature I’ve ever read (yes, I was a literary snob at one point). And here is the problem with the snobbery argument: they are closed minded to the idea of genre books having value and thus miss out on entertaining books that also happen to do a better job of being literature.

This is also why we see 38% of people responding to reading surveys saying that they finish a book, not because they are enjoying it, but because they feel they should finish books they start. This is that snobbery having an extended impact upon our reading habits. We’ve been trained/taught to finish books that aren’t entertaining or enjoyable because of the message or value of the book, which we will only truly appreciate by wading through the boring stuff between the book covers. It will make you think, we are promised. Sure. I always think, What a waste of time, I could have read several other books instead of drudging through this crud.

I know that snobbery is very important, because those literary people would be out of a job otherwise, but can people just keep it to themselves, please? It would be nice to see more than 40% of the population being avid readers (a book a month or more). It would be nice if we bought and read books based upon what interests us and not what would look most impressive to be seen reading or have on our bookshelves. Changing this mindset would stop memes like this one:

Stupid meme is stupid.

Stupid meme is stupid – can we just agree that a book is a book, DTB, ebook, clay tablet, whatever?

It’s great that people want to impress others with what they are reading. Currently my toddler has a really impressive array of books scattered all over the house. They make for fantastic things to trip over, stub your toe on, or make us look particularly well read on the adventures of small, overly cute animals. I’m sure all the other toddlers are impressed. I still can’t wait for him to stop impressing everyone and just have them all on an e-reader. We should be reading to enjoy reading, not to decorate our house, impress others, be worthy: no guilty pleasures, just pleasures.

12 Extremely Disappointing Facts For Geeks

Stolen from BuzzFeed.

1. The Twilight series has sold more than the Wheel of Time series, the Dark Tower series, the Song of Fire and Ice series, and the His Dark Materials series COMBINED.

TA: Not to mention how crappy the Twilight films were.

The Twilight series has sold more than the Wheel of Time series, the Dark Tower series, the Song of Fire and Ice series, and the His Dark Materials series COMBINED.

2. Star Wars: Episode I has made more money than Star Wars: Episode IV.

TA: Lucas can’t direct or write, just comes up with good ideas. The first series was saved by Harrison Ford.

Star Wars: Episode I has made more money than Star Wars: Episode IV .

3. Firefly lasted one season, and had terrible ratings. The Big Bang Theory is in its sixth season, and has incredible ratings.

TA: Firefly and Serenity are the best. Period. I can’t watch TBBT as it is just one great big stereotype. Although, Mayim Bialik, who plays Sheldon’s girlfriend, is actually a real life neuroscientist with a proper PhD.

Firefly lasted one season, and had terrible ratings. The Big Bang Theory is in its sixth season, and has incredible ratings.

4. The Matrix is the worst-performing film of the trilogy.

TA: The sequels should have been great, but someone took the brain dead approach to screenplays.

The Matrix is the worst-performing film of the trilogy.

5. The Resident Evil movies have made far, far more money than the Resident Evil video games.

TA: One reason – Milla Jovovich.

The Resident Evil movies have made far, far more money than the Resident Evil video games.

Image by http://vgsales.wikia.com/wiki/Resident_Evil http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/series/ResidentEvil.php

6. The original Indiana Jones movies did worse in their combined opening weekends than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

TA: Biggest shark jump in history.

The original Indiana Jones movies did worse in their combined opening weekends than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull .

7. The movie Doom made more than the video gameThe Ultimate Doom in the U.S.

TA: I played a lot of Doom as a teen. I loved FPS. The movie, meh.

The movie Doom made more than the video game The Ultimate Doom in the U.S.

8. The 2001 Planet of the Apes starring Marky Mark made far more than all the original films combined.

TA: I didn’t like any of the films.

The 2001 Planet of the Apes starring Marky Mark made far more than all the original films combined.

9. Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.

TA: Fuck Michael Bay and Fuck Shia LeBeouf.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the sixth highest-grossing film of all time.

10. 2006’s Superman Returns is the best-performing Superman film.

TA: All the Superman movies have been kinda meh.

2006's Superman Returns is the best-performing Superman film.

11. Super Mario 3 is the third most popular video game of all time. Nintendogs is second.

 TA: showing my age here, but the only Super Mario games I ever really played were Donkey Kong and Super Mario Land (Gameboy). 

Super Mario 3 is the third most popular video game of all time. Nintendogs is second.

12. M. Night Shyamalan’s films have made more money than Joss Whedon’s films.

TA: Joss could direct a movie of Summer Glau and Nathan Fillion making toast and it would be fantastic.

M. Night Shyamalan's films have made more money than Joss Whedon's films.

Unfunny Comedians

Earlier this week comedian Stephen Colbert was able to make a tragic event funny, touching and uplifting, all in the same monologue. For that moment the world was a little brighter. Then I accidentally clicked on a Steven Crowder Youtube video and I immediately despaired for humanity that this man could call himself a comedian. He is to comedians what Norman Bates is to hotel/motel owners. In the interests of the interwebz, I’m compiling a list of “comedians” whose performances may cause lasting damage to your sense of humour.

Steven Crowder
His only funny moment was when he tried to pretend he didn’t pick a fight with a union rep at a rally.

Dane Cook
I’ll be fair to Dane, he has turned in some halfway decent acting performances (E.g. Mr Brooks). Pity he can’t act like a comedian. Even his Twitter feed ‘jokes’ make you question why he isn’t limited to less than 140 characters.

Adam Sandler
I’ll admit it, I have a copy of one of his comedy CDs. Of course, jokes about peeing your pants and lunch ladies have an expiry date of seconds after the joke is told.

Jay Leno
The unanimous decision of the interwebz is that Coco is the comedian, not Jay. A real comedian, Bill Hicks, had some interesting things to say about the Jay Leno Show.

Carrot Top
Ranggers already have a tough time in this world, Carrot Top made it worse.

Dave Hughes
The funniest thing about Dave Hughes is that he has managed to forge a career as a comedian in Australia.

Choosing a location for your story

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As much as I love America, does every crime and thriller novel written have to be set there? Wouldn’t it be great if more stories chose some other locations?

Before anyone jumps on me, yes, I know, there are plenty of stories set in diverse locations. My comment is more about the way writers are so often told that people only want to read stories set in the US, that it has to appeal to the US market. I think we all know that this is a presumption on behalf of the industry for us readers. Let’s try and push for the more challenging locations in the stories we read.

Perth Writers’ Festival 2013

Another year has come and gone for my local writers’ festival. Once again I joined my fellow reading nerds and aspiring authors to descend upon the grounds of UWA. This year there were 30,000 of us who felt the need to spend three days of lovely weather discussing books.

This year I spent a lot of the three day in writing workshops and less time at discussion/interview sessions. There is always room for improvement in writing, so what better way than sitting down with an expert and two dozen peers to discuss and practice. I’d like to thank the various experts who all had some interesting insights and tips: Susan Midalia (short stories – literary focus), Belinda Castles (finding your voice and turning that story into reality), LA Larkin (thriller writing, great tips and she is also running a longer course with the Sydney Writers Centre) and Parker Bilal (crime writing, developing the characters and structure).

This isn’t to say that I didn’t get the chance to see any talks. The discussion of Antarctica was fascinating and puts it on the list of places I’d like to visit before climate change has its wicked way with it. The discussion with Major General John Cantwell and former WA premier Geoff Gallop about why it is necessary to help remove the stigma around mental illness was fantastic. John managed to pretend he wasn’t suffering PTSD for 20 years, which is just amazing considering some of the the ramifications it was having on him. Another great session was with David Petrarca, Sue Masters and James Bradley discussing how TV storytelling now rivals cinema and literature. It is quite clear that subscription TV and services like Netflix are changing the game for production of TV, which is why we are seeing great writing, great acting and decent budgets to give us programming I actually want to watch. James Bradley made a very poiniant comment: we have to stop ragging on Master Chef and other boring and mindless TV shows, their popularity allows decent TV to be funded. Finally, on Sunday I was introduced to two new (for me) authors in the panel discussion on thrillers with Andrew Croome, LA Larkin and Steve Worland. I’m looking forward to reading Andrew and Steve’s books, and of course Louisa’s new novel Thirst.

But, now the festival is over for another year. This picture sums up the take home message for me from this year’s Perth Writers’ Festival:

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Movies that needed claws

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Hugh Jackman is a genuine movie star and his recent Oscar nomination for his role in Les Miserable is well deserved.

But, and there always is a but, Hugh has appeared in some films that could have been greatly improved with one simple addition. I give to you the list of movies that would have been improved if Hugh had popped the adamantium claws and gone berserker.

Van Helsing
Let’s face it, anything would have improved this schlocky mess of a movie. Instead of Hugh turning into a werewolf toward the end, if he had turned into Wolverine and shniketied some vampires, this would have been watchable.

Australia
Wouldn’t it have made more sense to have Wolverine living in outback Australia? Then he could have taken on the invading army during the WW2 scene.

Scoop
Imagine a Woody Allen film with Wolverine in it! Imagine the boat scene with Hugh going Wolverine on Scarlet Johansen’s character, and Scarlet going Mystique on him!

Deception
Imagine if this film didn’t suck. I think adding Wolverine to the mix would have done wonders for this lame movie.

Real Steel
Wolverine versus Robots. I rest my case.

Swordfish
Who else wanted to see Hugh decapitate John Travolta in this film?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Wouldn’t it have been great if Hugh was playing Wolverine…… Wait a minute. This movie sucked even with Wolverine in it.

Book Review: Lockdown by Sean Black

LockdownLockdown by Sean Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometime last year Matt Hilton recommended a few authors to me, one of them being Sean Black. I dutifully downloaded a sample of Lockdown onto my Kindle, just letting it sit there, doing the electronic equivilent of gathering dust. Actually, in the digital age, I wonder if we will develop so many little phrases like “gathering dust” since the electronic medium has a lack of physical presence to have relatable descriptions assigned.

Over a year later I finally started Sean’s first novel, bought the full Kindle version, and plowed through this fast paced novel. I really enjoyed the brisk narrative and I could see similarities to Matt’s writing, which is probably why he was recommending Sean’s work.

Guess now I have to find more of Sean’s books.

View all my reviews

Book to movie revisited

I’ve written before on the lovely job that Hollywood does in translating books to the big screen. This cartoon pretty much sums up the process nicely.

The evolution of concerts

Last night I went to see the best band to come out of Canada: The Tea Party. They rocked!

I’ve been a fan since about 1994 and have seen them just about every time they have toured Australia, even managed to see Jeff Martin’s solo concerts on several occasions. Perth is like a second home to The Tea Party, Jeff Martin’s son was actually born in Perth. Jeff, Jeff and Stuart are a great example of what three fantastic musicians can achieve. Did I mention that they rock?

But something was driven home to me last night. When I started going to concerts it was all about seeing the band live. Then digital cameras came in and the response was to confiscate them before you were allowed into the venue. Now it seems that you don’t come to see a band play live, you come to film the concert on your smartphone to upload onto YouTube. Call me a purist but crappy video, and even worse sound recordings, is just not as fun as rocking out to one of your favourite bands (or artists).

Jack Reacher One Shot Movie

Jack Reacher – 1:2 scale

As any Lee Child and Jack Reacher fan knows by now, Tom Cruise is bringing the book One Shot to the big screen. What some may not be aware of is that Hollywood has had a few financial issues of late. They’ve had to scale back productions and advertising. Paramount Pictures didn’t want to cut back on advertising or budget for the Reacher film, so they halved the size of the main character – Jack Reacher 6’5″ 220-250lbs, Tom Cruise 5’7″ 147lbs.

The good news is that Reacher has been bumped up the release schedule and will be coming out in cinemas in December. This should be great for Lee Child fans, especially as A Wanted Man, the new Reacher novel, will have been released a month prior.

Lets hope that they film Cruise from some very low angles, because I want to see Reacher kick some ass!

Book Review: Temple by Matthew Reilly

TempleTemple by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a little sad. Not because of this book, this book was great. I’m sad because I’ve now read all of Matthew Reilly’s books at least once. I have to wait for his next book to be published: wait!!

If anything, Temple is probably one of Matt’s best books. In typical Reilly style it redefines fast paced and action packed, but this also feels more complete than the Jack West Jnr series. It is also one of his longer books, so plenty of entertainment in this novel to keep you going.

In short, read it.

For those Matthew Reilly fans like me who are awaiting Matt’s next release, it seems he is back writing again after the tragedy last year. Hopefully he is on the mend emotionally as well and can continue to entertain us. Apparently his fans have been out in force to see him at the Supanova events, including the Doc.

A harem of Leias?

Guess this makes Matt the taller version of Marty McFly.

View all my reviews

Neil Gaiman follow up – someone made good art

The speech Neil Gaiman made to graduates has been inspiring many. This cartoon is just one of many, click on it to see more work by Gavin at http://zenpencils.com

Neil Gaiman’s speech to graduates

At my graduation ceremonies we had some bureaucrats being given honorary doctorates for their services to political backroom handshakes. Needless to say, their speeches were less than inspiring. While I’m not a fan of giving away honorary degrees to celebrities, it is good to see they are giving them to some deserving people who can give an inspiring speech to graduates.

Take it away Neil.

Make good art, especially when the zombies take over.

Compulsory viewing for thinkers

The first time I came across Brian Brushwood it was a video on how to escape from hand restraints and using those restraints to shim a door lock. I swear that I was educating myself so that I could write an escape scene in my novel. You can’t prove different!

Anyway, this video is part of a lecture that covers a lot of the scams that are going around and how to spot them. Once you’ve seen this video, check out the rest of the lecture here.

Book to movie

If there is any one thing that Hollywood does well, it is taking terrific books and turning them into terrible movies. When was the last time someone said “Well the movie was better than the book”?

I’ve opined on this issue before: Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher; why movie studios bother with buying a book when they make a movie that doesn’t resemble the book in any way.

And here it is happening again:

Any movie starring Katherine Heigl is always doomed. She ranked in my article on actresses you don’t want in you book adaptation. Clearly Janet Evanovich signed the movie rights before she read my article. So you have to ask what is happening in Hollywood, aside from the hookers and blow?

Clearly the first thing that is happening is the movie rights. Author agents are clearly trying to make some money for their authors so that the author can give up the day job and write more. Sorry, that should read, they want a commission. The movie studio hands over some spare change they have lying around and grab the book. Then they ask a script writer to give them a script, usually in the same amount of time it would take the script writer to actually read the book. So the script writer hands over a script they already have lying around, after changing a few of the character names to match. The studio then launders finds some money from “business associates” to start casting and shooting. The casting agent looks at the budget and sorts through the least desperate actors in the appropriate pay scale, to find the person who least embodies the main characters.

By the time the movie hits cinemas there have only been two people in the entire process who realise the movie is based upon a book, one of whom may have read it. This, of course, doesn’t really matter because the ten people who have read the book that go to see the movie are sitting in a packed cinema with people who don’t read and are generally confused by plots that can’t be explained in a one-to-two sentence monologue from a minor character.

Clearly Hollywood knows what it is doing, I mean, they cast Tom Cruise as Lestat. And authors love getting money from Hollywood, they can actually afford to pay the rent that month. So maybe it is time writers started writing for Hollywood. Oh wait, they already do that….

Magazines and Newsletters that never took off

Our local bookstore is actually the newsagent, so you have to walk past the magazines to find the book (yes, not pluralized). I can’t figure out why some of these magazines never took off with readers.

Particle Physics for the Left-Handed Extrovert

A big field, from what I hear.

American Jihardist Today

The contacts and personal pages must get a lot of attention.

Better than your Neighbour’s Home and Gardens

I believe this has been renamed to Better Homes and Gardens.

TV Shows You Missed

Nothing like hearing about the stuff you missed while you were busying doing something important.

At the Movies with Ben Stiller & Adam Sandler

Why are they still allowed to make movies!?

Outdoor Activities for Agoraphobics

The equestrian edition would be very interesting.

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The news can be funny

Usually the news does little to inform us, but sometimes it can bring us laughs.

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