Archive for February, 2013

Went to a movie theatre today, after ages of not seeing a movie on the big screen. Which is ironic since people say the biggest difference between movies and shows is: “the big screen” and the “small screen.”

What did I see, you may ask? I saw Warm Bodies. I was a big fan of the book, as I’ve said in a review. And I loved it. My sister and I kind of got annoyed at a few changes from the book. (THE MONSTERS!)

But it was still very good. I liked the ending. Of course, with the ending the way it was, it’s doubtful there will be a sequel. Fortunately, the author has said that there will be a definite sequel to his books. Whether or not there will be a movie sequel is unlikely, but hey. Who knows.

Ah, I really love watching movies in movie theaters. A lot of people think that just watching them on the computer is better. It’s not that watching new movies in the comfort of your own home isn’t good. It’s just that I have a bit of ADD. (More like a lot.)

I quickly pause movies if I have the option to do so, and forget to press play for the rest of the day. In movie theaters, I can’t stop watching. Some may say that the ability to stop a movie whenever you wish is a benefit… In which, I say, pick better movies. When I go to the movies, I make sure it’s the greatest movie ever.

Or at least very, very entertaining. It’s quite expensive, y’see. I think, however, that I’ve waited a long enough time since my last visit. I think it’s been six or seven months.

All in all, it was a great movie. Entertaining, funny, and all that. If anyone is afraid of it being a zombie equivalent of Twilight, I disagree. First of all, this was enjoyable to watch. Not in a, “THIS IS SO HORRIBLE THAT I AM LAUGHING” sort of way. This was very fun to watch.

You could draw some comparisons, of course, but it is head and shoulders above Twilight. So. If you want a romantic comedy/zombie horror flick… Here’s your movie.

 

This isn’t really a review of the movie… I’m just writing about how my day went. But, I guess, if I were pressed to give this a rating, it would have a solid 7.8.

It is a very good movie.

 

~J.A. Romano

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Ah, been waiting to make an Avengers pun. Wait, is it a pun?

Huh, I’m gonna go brush up on my History of Puns.

So, I was thinking about my favorite authors the other day. Brandon Sanderson, Brent Weeks, and GRRM are all huge now. Yes, those are my idols. But, then I thought about their origins. Brent Weeks managed to completely write and edit the Night Angel Trilogy before he found his agent at a convention. (I actually applied to his agent, but got rejected.) Brandon Sanderson actually wrote Mistborn and the Way of Kings (arguably his greatest books) before he finally got published with Elantris. And GRRM’s ASoIaF series was camouflaged in obscurity for years. I know a few that read it when it first came out, but these people were HARDCORE fantasy fans.

Non-hardcore fantasy fans never heard of it in the 90’s. So, I started thinking, “What makes a writer?”

Agh, so pretentious, I know! But, it’s an interesting question. Like superheroes, our origin stories can be boring or ridiculous or awesome. (Superman’s origin story vs. Deadpool’s origin story. War veteran with cancer tested on by a secret Black Ops group beats alien from a dead planet.)

Yet, even if our origin stories aren’t all that, our time as writers can be vastly different. For example, we could have an origin story of being taught by someone awesome like Brandon Sanderson, but we could be horrible writers. (Unlikely, but possible.)

My origin story (I love saying origin story, makes me feel like a super villain) involves watching an anime series, and getting bored after watching every single episode. So, I tried to find a game based on that show, and ended up stumbling on an RP site. RP sites, you see, are basically text based MMORPGS. You just write everything your character does. That’s how I learned. I quit a year ago. I met a lot of cool people, but at the end of the day, it was just another avenue of procrastination. Plus, the community had really gone down the drain.

What’s your origin story? Mine was very unique (yup) because I hated reading. I actually hated reading up until two years ago. So, the fact that I got into writing in the first place when I despised the very notion of cracking open a book? That’s awesome. It became a driving force behind my actions. I knew what I was going to do. I was going to be a writer. I was 11 at the time, though, so it’s not like the deadline of choosing a career path was breathing down my shoulder… But yeah. I wanted to be a writer, and it motivated me to do more things.

Comment below if you’ve got an interesting (OR HORRIBLE, JK) origin story. I really am interested to know how other people started to write. I want to know if I’m the only one with such a retarded origin story. I knew a guy that learned how to write from chatting. It was really strange.

But yeah. Please comment.

~J.A. Romano

Weeeell. Yours Truly was rejected by the agency he applied to. Yes, I know. You’re all extremely sad for me, and I feel sad for all of you.

(Wait, that doesn’t make sense…)

But let’s move on. Yeah. I mean. Rejection, we all know the story. (See what I did there?) It’s really tiresome to think about it, and let’s face it, the excerpt I sent to the literary agency wasn’t perfect. It was great ( in my eyes ) but to each his own. There were loads of reasons why the agent didn’t take it. Probably… Hopefully.

But that’s that. I think the most annoying thing about this is I have to find another literary agency that’s just as good to apply to.

-drops to knees-

I WILL NOT SPEND ANOTHER HOUR SIFTING THROUGH A WEBSITE FOR ANOTHER ONE. NOOOOO!

Which is why I’ll outsource it to India. Oh, just kidding. I have an Indian friend. That makes it all right. But I really do. So. When horrible things happen in my life, do you want to know what I do? Well, I tell my family about it (if they don’t already know), I thank them for their support, turn on the Beatles, and write a few more chapters in one of my stories.

That’s the thing. Being rejected has given me lots of inspiration. Is it rage-fuelled? Maybe. Is it most likely going to be incoherent, and will basically be me going, “KILL ALL AGENTS.”

I won’t lie. That is a possibility. But, in the wake of such DEVASTATING TRAGEDY THE LIKES OF WHICH THE WORLD HAS NEVER SEEN, I think it’s good that I can at least be able to write a few more chapters after this horrible writer’s block I’ve been experiencing.

And if you don’t know the story of Rejection… I mean, seriously. You’re just kicking a man when he’s already down. What’s wrong with you?

Shame on you.

Goodbye!

PS: It occurs to me that I’m so much more funnier in a voice conversation. Take my word for it. If I was saying this out loud, you would be laughing. That is to say, if you’re not laughing right now. If you are, good for you. If you aren’t, there’s your reason.

~J.A. Romano

This won’t be a long review about its Midseason Premiere. This is just going to be a short post, telling the tale of how I came to watch the Walking Dead… Yeah. I’d leave now, too.

I started watching the Walking Dead when I had nothing else to watch. Yes, Breaking Bad, Person of Interest, Big Bang Theory, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Nikita, Bones, and Castle had no new episodes to offer me. I was rather hesitant, to be honest. I don’t watch horror movies. I get scared very easily. I do read horror, though, since it’s quite comforting. Everything happening to you seems like rainbows and flowers in comparison to killer clowns and zombie apocalypses.

Anyways. I watched it, and it was… good. It would suffice. I had to skip a few scary bits. Yeah. I’m a coward. Sue me. I really liked the character of Glenn and Rick. Disliked Carl, Andrea, and Lori. But Glenn and Rick made it worth it.

As you know I’m Asian, and there aren’t a lot of shows with Asian characters. I don’t think networks are racist – it’s just that the writers didn’t really have that in mind. No biggie. And no, Indians do not count. They’re technically Asians, but they practically have their own continent, they outnumber most of the other Asian countries, and… Well, we look nothing alike. I just want a few Asians that look like me.

But yeah. Glenn’s one of those few Asians. He’s pretty damn awesome, too. I mean, come on. Have you- Hold on. So. Season 1 was pretty good. Season 2 made me skip half of the episodes and beg for some interesting parts.

I’m not saying there should be zombie killing action per episode, but really… It’s basically just one whole, “Shane might be the Father. Rick actually knows. Carl’s annoying.”

Yeah. Not my type. But season 3… Now it’s getting somewhere. This is now one of the best dramas around. Honestly, the midseason premiere was epic.

Norman Reedus’ character is also one of the reasons I’m still watching the show. I like the tormented characters of Rick and Glenn. It appears Glenn’s maturing, and Rick’s having a bit of a breakdown. Always great to watch.

I want Andrea and Carl to die, though. And considering the very nature of the show, that may just be possible. Let’s hope, huh?

Anyways. I just want to say that you should watch the midseason premiere. You probably are, but I’m still telling you to do it. If you haven’t watched Walking Dead, give it a shot. Won’t hurt. Unless you get a seizure from watching it. In which case…

But yeah. Season 1 was pretty good, season 2 was meh, and now season 3 is great. I’m trying to find another show to watch during the wait, however… Any suggestions?

What? A man can’t review a show about singing anymore? Oh, you’ve never heard of this show? Well… It’s about this elite Navy SEAL team that sing while parachuting into hostile territory. Obviously, there are new characters each episode because they don’t last very long… seeing as how every enemy literally knows where they are because they’re singing Yellow Submarine while trying to rescue some PoWs.

Are there still PoWs?

-coughs-

Moving on. Smash made a big WAVE. Get the pun? Oh, damn. I meant SMASH. Yeah. It’s funny now.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1825133/

There’s the IMDB page. It’s honestly one of my favorite shows. It’s completely manly, don’t worry. Steven Spielberg produces it. So, I have a perfectly good reason as to why I watch it. Loophole~

Anyways. You’re probably only reading this if you’ve watched the first season already and you’re wondering if season two is just as, if not more, good. I’ll start with the story. Slight spoilers, if you haven’t watched the entire first season.

Karen’s become ‘harder’ in a way, because of all the things Ivy had done in the first season that so affected her. In the previews, a lot of people mentioned how she seemed like a bit of a bitch. To be honest, I think it was the right and logical move. She started out a naive girl, and she’s simply become stronger. If your main competitor for the biggest role in the first musical you’ve ever been in slept with your fiancé, wouldn’t you be a bit of a bitch toward Ivy? You wouldn’t? Wow, you’re a really nice person…

Skip the last two sentences if you would. They’re for the good people reading this, not the…

Ahem. Moving on. Bombshell’s funds have been frozen because Eileen’s ex-husband exposed her boyfriend Nick’s sordid dealings. Apparently, he was a drug lord. Yeah. He’s not a very good one, to be honest. Ivy’s character has improved a lot, actually. She’s sympathetic, and she actually looks like she feels bad about what she’s done to Karen. She may even be likable.

The reviews have come in, and the critics loathe Julia’s (Debra Messing) writing, while loving her partner Tom’s musical numbers. To be fair, what can you do with a Marilyn Monroe story? It’s not really something you can make a comedy out of, and if you do make a drama out of it… Pretty much everyone already knows her story. (If everyone is an American Theatre critic, of course)

So, in all fairness, she’s doing the best with the cards she has been dealt with. There’re no scenes involving her son, by the way. I think the writers realized that they didn’t want to make her any less sympathetic by showing how bad of a mother she is… I mean, dude, she was part of a list called, ‘Television’s Top 10 Worst Mothers.” You would HAVE to be horrible to be on that list. One of the women on the list tried to kill her own son. So, yes. Horrible.

With Bombshell frozen in stasis, Karen ends up drinking at the local watering hole. Well, not really. In the words of one of the characters, “You’ve been watching your ice melt for the past twenty minutes.”

But anyways, she gets kicked out by a bartender after he gets her to sign a pamphlet from his collection of failed musicals. Yeah, I thought it was both inappropriate and amusing at the same time as well. She leaves, but returns because she forgot her phone. The first bartender (who was so rude to her near the beginning of the episode) is playing a song he wrote, and damn. It is good. He’s playing it on the piano. She calls Derek (or is it Derrick? I can never tell with the Brit spelling of things) and lets him listen to the song.

I won’t spoil the rest of the 1 hour episode (Yes, one hour), but you can imagine the drama and all that come after that. The show succeeds in putting the right amount of comedy, as well. It’s surprising, actually. Most shows I see either devote themselves completely to comedy or completely to drama. They’ve achieved the right balance considering the stuff they’ve been dealt with.

Now, the singing… I play the piano, and I like music. But I’m not a musical genius, or anything, so I can’t tell you if Karen was a bit flat thirty seconds into the song, or if Ivy was sharp at the one minute mark. By the way, those two musical terms are the only things I know.

I play the piano, but I didn’t really listen to all of that other stuff. Anyways. The music is honestly AWESOME. Love it. It’s not just the singing by the characters, even. In an earlier post, I talked about how old movies used music to enhance the apprehension of a character when a suspected murderer is climbing the stairs.

Smash uses it to lighten the mood, and it succeeds. It’s pretty awesome. I would watch it based on the music alone, honestly.

My sister doesn’t care for the show much… and I’m trying to convince my parents to disown her for her blaspheme. But, yeah. The show isn’t perfect. Some characters (Karen in season 1) were a bit daft here and there. It’s still a great show, though. Give it a shot.

To Smash fans feeling a bit hesitant about watching season 2, you will not be disappointed. It’s suuuuuper great.

If I were forced to give a rating to this show, it would have to be an 8.7/10. Pretty great.

 

Here’s the synopsis of what I’m about to talk about:

R is a young man with an existential crisis–he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, noidentity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy’s memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and stragely sweet relationship with the victim’s human girlfriend. Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead, and the blurry line in between.

Some of you may have heard of this upcoming zombie romance called Warm Bodies. Actually, in the U.S., it just came out yesterday. Unfortunately for the good people of whichever country I’m in, it will probably be a week or so before the theaters get the DvD and start rolling the tape. Do they still have tapes?

I did, however, go and read the book. Yup. Owned them. They thought they HAD me, they thought they were SO smart… Well. TAKE THAT. So, anyways. I read it yesterday, and I was a bit surprised.

I really liked it. Why am I surprised? Lately, I’ve been having trouble finding a good book that fits my current mood. Warm Bodies, incidentally, fit my mood. I mean. Let me tell you how I came upon the book. I was at the bookstore, and I picked up It, by Stephen King, The Walking Dead: Road to Woodbury, and Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. It and Road to Woodbury didn’t seem to fit my mood, but when  I started Warm Bodies, I couldn’t seem to stop. It was really good.

Interesting thing – for a romance… The protagonists are really not perfect. Of course, that’s already a given considering the male protagonist is a zombie… but the heroine is surprisingly unique and different. I’m not saying that’s really something new. It’s just that she wasn’t really emo or depressing. Most heroines are. Sad, but true.

The writing is actually pretty good. It’s told from the perspective of R, and it’s primarily first person perspective. Zombies, in this story, eat brains because they get to experience the emotions and memories of their victims. R happens to eat the brain of this soldier, and gets caught up in his memories of his ex-girlfriend, the heroine of the story.

The inner thoughts of R, the zombie, vary greatly from what he actually says. Zombies can barely get a few syllables out, but his ‘voice’ is surprisingly intelligent and interesting. This is a pretty adult book. I mean, considering the stuff the characters talk about, everything that’s happening… Yeah, I’d spoil it for you, but I’m told that’s not a reviewer’s deal-io.

Anyways. I’m actually worried about how the movie will handle this. The movie is PG-13, and the trailer already shows a lot of different stuff. That’s not necessarily bad, but like I said, the heroine is kind of… well, unique? Oh, that isn’t the word for it. I mean messed up. R – somewhere near a quarter through the book – notes she has scars on her wrists that could not have been accidents. She also used to do some pretty hard substances, etc.

Long story short, it’s stuff that PG-13 probably would not allow. Get my drift? I also notice that the narration has been sort of toned down in the trailer. I’m not saying I want R to narrate throughout the entire experience (Dear God, an entire movie of narration?), but I mean that his great knowledge of the English language is not so obvious. From the first four pages of the book, you immediately realize, “This guy was smart in his past life.”

From the trailer, you immediately think, “This guy was a stoner in his past life.”

Hey, we’ll see from the movie. I may even review that a bit. Anyways. This is a very good book. It’s rather short, but it’s lots of good fun. And fun’s always good. (Unless you hate fun… In which case, it’s always bad for you.)

I would suggest you read an excerpt of it, see if the style is to your liking. One thing I did not really care for where the memories of the guy R killed. I understand it delivered some more insight into the world, yeah, but the entire time… All I really wanted to do was get back to R and Julie’s story. I’m a bit of a romantic like that. I don’t want to read about the ex-boyfriend, I want to read about the New guy getting the girl.

THAT is how it should be done. But then again, they were still entertaining. Like I said, I’m just biased. You should also check out Isaac Marion’s blog. He’s a pretty funny dude.

http://burningbuilding.blogspot.co.at/

And in case any of you are wondering, I’m not really a fan of zombies. I just read horror because it makes me feel better. How? Well, if you read about how a world has just gotten overtaken by zombies, and how miserable everyone is… You find that the stuff happen to you is relatively… normal. And that is comforting. Get it?

Also, I don’t watch horror movies. Not normally. They scare the living ********************************************** out of me. That was censored by the Internet because it was just so heinous. It was also in a foreign language, making it even MORE HEINOUS. Yeah, I’m SCARY like that. So. Yeah… Read this book. It’s not really packed with gore or action like most zombie books… It’s pretty funny, though, and I have to say… After reading Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor, I like Warm Bodies more.

Final verdict – it is an 8.1/10.

I give books a bigger rating when they manage to pack it with some awesome writing, great action scenes, and hilarious moments. That’s what counts in my book.

Oh. Someone I know suggested I should give Amazon links or something? I won’t link to Amazon, but I’ll just link to Goodreads.

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7619057-warm-bodies

By the way, Stephanie Meyer reviewed this book. NO. DON’T LEAVE. WHY?! Seriously. Don’t get scared away by that if you’re not a fan of her. I didn’t really see her review (on the back of the book) and I only saw it after I’d finished. It didn’t really affect me. The only thing I thought was, “Damn, hope she finally learns how to write a good story after this…”

Doubtful, but I’m an optimist like that. So, don’t get scared away by stuff like that, and just enjoy the book. Yeah? All right. REEEEAD IT.