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The Godzilla Groupie Effect: A REVIEW of Godzilla

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Film Review:  Godzilla (2014)

My Rating:  1 craft beers on a 6-pack scale

Genre:  Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller

Rating:  PG-13

Runtime:  123 mins

Directed by:  Gareth Edwards

Writers:  Max Borenstein, Dave Callaham

Stars:  Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe, David Strathairn

Godzilla

Did I miss something or are there a lot of Godzilla groupies out there?  When Godzilla first came out it had pretty good reviews on IMDB.  Of course the folks that go to the theaters in that first week or two are the true fanatics and tend to give a blockbuster type movie high-praise even if it is far, far from warranted.  The decline is usually a point-and-a-half drop after the first week.  Godzilla was absolutely NOT the exception to the rule here.  How it ever had an 8+ rating though, even after that first fanatical rush months and months ago (May 2014), is beyond me.

This movie sucked.

I gave up drinking for the month of January for no other reason than to see if I could.  I could and it wasn’t that bad.  That being said today is February 1st and it is also Super Bowl Sunday so I think I’ll be imbibing once again.  The only regret I have for not drinking in January is that Godzilla is one of those movies you need to be inebriated to enjoy unless you are a masochist.

This movie sucked.

I hate writing bad reviews for something I have not and cannot do.  I have not made a major motion picture and I very much doubt I ever will as it’s not anywhere near the top of my rather boring bucket list.  I feel much better writing critical reviews on books because at least I’ve written one and offered it to the public.  Something I believe all critics should keep in mind.  First write a book yourself and subject it to the gauntlet of peer review prior to eviscerating the work of others.  “Put up or shut-up” is the expression I’m looking for.

godzilla-2014-nuclearOh…yeah, the review of Godzilla.  See how I got off track there?  Well, that is an example of just what Godzilla was; an off-track monster.  It had such potential (NO SPOILERS – if it appears spoilerish it is taken from a trailer or commercial so they did it first) such as explaining all the atomic tests conducted in the South Pacific during the 50’s and 60’s.  The Godzilla bastardized cannon has explained the birth of Godzilla via those atomic and thermonuclear tests.  In this iteration the detonations in the Pacific were an attempt to KILL Godzilla not an after effect mutation of an iguana or something that would later grow, and grow, and grow until it decided it would swim all the way around the world to destroy New York or something.  I liked the idea very much, that the military attempted to destroy Godzilla after finding him but then you much pay attention to this part of the backstory if you subject yourself to this film.  This cool idea becomes a headache of a flaw when the director or studio decide it’s enough backstory and now it’s time to turn on the smoke machine and CGI computers so viewers can enjoy “spooky” fog-filled train rides, explosions in Hawaii, and skydiver heroes trailing cool red flares.

This movie sucked.

ken_watanabe stunned scientist GodzillaI really wanted to like Godzilla.  I hope one day a writer will be allowed to tell a compelling story that will not be destroyed by the wanton need of CGI destruction and explosions.  This film actually had a cast that would have been able to carry on a pretty good story had there been even a remote hint of one.  Watanabe is an absolute favorite of mine (he’s steadily removed Liam Neeson from my heart because…political reasons that I’ll leave alone) but he is wasted here.  He can pull off the stunned-scientist-that-pulls-it-all-together-when-given-the-proper-data-that-has-been-there-all-along-face really, really well.  Shame that he doesn’t do much more in the movie though.  As for Cranston…this was a near crime against humanity.  He was beyond wasted.  Beyond wasted.  I’ll leave it alone at that.  David Strathairn (I can never say his name—can you?) is the admiral in control of a naval fleet that seems to be able to travel vast distances in minutes.  He too is pretty much wasted by playing the part of the clichéd hard-assed admiral who has to look pissed-off all the time.  He could have been better utilized.  More backstory or something.  And then there is Aaron Taylor-Johnson…or whatever.  He was simply there so the camera had some continuity for this trainwreck.  He adds absolutely nothing to this movie.  He’s kind of a hero of course but only because everyone else seems to be really, really stupid.

This movie sucked.

I could have easily turned this review of Godzilla into an Easter-egg hunt in flaws and goofs.  But it’s not much of a hunt if the treasure is so easily found, right?  Long story short here—if it comes to you via stream it’s something to have on in the background while you vacuum, fold the laundry, or paint the room.  If you have really good genetics and are healthy, think you may live to be 100-years old, then please, waste 2-hours of your life watching this.  Because I know I probably won’t see 70, I’m pissed I watched this thing because it’s time I will never get back.  Will there be a sequel…let’s hope not.  Please, join me in prayer!

Cheers!

J.W.

I’ve been absent for a little while in my writing of movie reviews.  I’ve been REALLY busy working on a couple writing and editing projects.  Love writing.  HATE editing.  That’s all I’ll say on that subject.  I look to be writing more reviews in the near future so stay tuned.

To Amazon.com US Store  KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com US Store KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com UK Store  KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com UK Store KindleUnlimited friendly!

Star Wars trailer review: Scratching my head a bit, I am.

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Okay…so I get up this Black Friday morning thinking that I may browse some of the deals online before I get to work on my daily writing goal.  Maybe while “window” shopping I’ll come across an interesting writing prompt to get me warmed up.  I come across the new Star Wars trailer so of course I watch it a time-or-ten.

My reaction? ( Note: it is vitally important to remember that my personal reaction weighs oh so heavily on the Internet and its ultimate well-being).

My reaction is “huh…”  So it appears JJ Abrams is doing what I expected him to.  He’s turned Star Wars into a grittier world much like another movie franchise…now what was that one called again?  Oh, yeah, Star Trek!  Now just throw in a couple of redshirts (color the white stormtroopers red maybe), warp drive, phasers, and teleporters now because they would not be entirely out of place after seeing and hearing the trailer.  Even the voiceover guy, talking about the “awakening force” and whatnot, sounds very much like it could have been recorded for a Star Trek movie trailer.

We did get to see the Millennium Falcon so that was pretty cool.  What was completely missing was any other recognizable character – unless of course you consider tie fighters, storm troopers, and x-wings characters, which I suppose they kinda are.  Where is Luke, Leia, Han, all the hyped up returning folks?  Where is the wookiee roar! For goodness sake?  Where are the stars of Star Wars!?  Where are the stars for that matter?  Everything takes place over sand dunes, a dark forest (I have to admit the bad guys red light saber looks cool – it has to be difficult to imagine a usable bad guy sword for every new Star Wars movie I suppose), and there are even x-wings screaming over what appears to be a lake.  Nothing in space.  Nothing.

So after viewing the trailer I am neither turned on or turned off (okay…maybe there was a little hair standing up on my arms when the Falcon zipped by – been missing her for more than 30-years!) for the upcoming mega-blockbuster-cashcow-in-waiting.  I left more scratching my head trying to swallow the pill that this is Star Trek with the force and guys sweating like crazy under their stormtrooper armor.  Just not entirely thrilled with the initial feel (love it for Star Trek but it has been done!) and not super excited about the look at all.  Even the stormtrooper blasters look wrong.  And what the heck is with the beach ball droid??!!  I hope that droid isn’t a major player because I have a feeling he could be a mechanical Jar-Jar or something.

star_wars_7_movie_poster

Yes, Disney, I’ll pay to watch it…I’ll pay for the Blu-ray to follow most likely.  But I’m not going to say right now that it looks like I’m going to like it.

Just be prepared for the inevitable Star Trek crossover in the future everyone.  Seriously.

Cheers!

J.W.

To Amazon.com! KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com! KindleUnlimited friendly!

NEW PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT

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This will be brief.

I only wanted to share that besides the Sigma Draconis sci-fi project and The Bellerophon: Ambush related novella, I will also begin work on a short novel in honor of my dog Sasha who passed away this past weekend.  Upon her departure she left me with a final gift: inspiration.  I miss her very, very much (just going through the motions at work right now) and I hope to honor her memory with a story that will be lasting.  This will be a YA/Sci-Fi story concerning the loss of a beloved pet.

The Sasha!
The Sasha!

Lots of writing and it’s driving me crazy!

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Sigma Draconis update:

Sigma Draconis threatens to end me, I swear it!  I’m about 55K into the story and it wants, calls, to be split into a two parter!  This was a project that originally started as a novella mind you so perhaps you can understand my trepidation and concern.  Well…it’ll get done for no other reason than I’m super excited to begin my other projects.  I really wish this is what I did full-time!

Novella update:  I’m aiming for 30K with this one.  A fast, fun, and exciting piece centered around one of the characters of my first book.  It’s coming together.  I hope to have this one done soon before Christmas and then Sigma early into the New Year.  If I could devote the time I want, that it deserves, to this project I’d already be done!  It is what it is…

Thanks to all those that have supported me by downloading my first novel.  I hope to get more out to you soon!

To Amazon.com!  KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com! KindleUnlimited friendly!

Cheers!

JW

Thanks Australia! Writing Update: Sigma Draconis and Other Projects

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Writing Project(s) Update:

First off I’d like to thank my readers in Australia.  October was a pretty good month for downloads there.  I taught my students the awesome song Waltzing Matilda weeks ago so obviously that news made it’s way from Washington State to the land down-under and thus the uptick in downloads there.  I love that song…perhaps the best unofficial national anthem ever.  The real one, “Advance Australia Fair,” is the official anthem but the one everyone really knows is Waltzin’!  Love it!

To YouTube:  John WIlliamson - Waltzing Matilda
To YouTube: John WIlliamson – Waltzing Matilda

Sigma Draconis is coming along.  Not as quickly as I’d like but it’s coming along.  The trouble is not the writing.  It’s finding the time to do the writing!  Holding down a full-time job with a commute that’s more than an hour round-trip really cuts into my writing and brain-working time.  I’ve changed things up this week writing at home a couple hours before I leave for work.  This worked well for me while I pecked away at The Bellerophon: Ambush last spring.  I tried to change things up this year by writing after work but then people saw my light on which then obviously meant I was there to answer their questions…so I stopped that this past week.  When your door is closed and your classroom lights are off and the only light on is your desk lamp that should say something.  Many are deaf to this however.  So from now on,  when it’s 4pm, I’m out!  If I’m still in the mood when I get home I may be able to put another 500+ coherent words for a current writing project (Sigma Draconis novel, TBA short story/novella) or to outline a new story.  I have dozens and dozens of those.  Writing story outlines is almost as addictive as writing the actual stories!  Perhaps even more so in fact.  Wouldn’t it be great to have an 8th day of the week that was all yours?!  I could go with that.  No wonder folks that work 4 ten-hour days instead of 5 eights are so much happier.

Long story short…the writing update for SD:

Despite the change in writing schedule, a crazy work week, and my brain outlining new projects seemingly every day, I managed to get Act/Part 1 done yesterday.  The draft comes in at 50K words and without looking through it yet (which will change what I say next most assuredly) I’m pretty happy with it.  It is different than my first book TB:A but I promise it’s still great fun.  I’m more excited for this piece than TB:A in fact.  The plan is to start Act/Part 2 tomorrow morning and see where that goes.  What it looks like right now is that for sure there will be 3 overall Act/Parts and possibly a 4th.  If it goes to a 4th Act/Part it will probably mean it’ll be split up into two releases so I can hit my self-imposed deadline.  I’m happy either way that goes.  The only problem is that it may push back the direct sequel to TB:A just a little bit but I promise it will be a month delay at most.  I hope to get that done by this late spring.  Stay tuned for more on that!

Update:  TBA short story/novella

So this is a shorter piece of fiction following one of the crew from the Bellerophon and how he or she came to sign-on with Captain Wray.  I’m experimenting a day a week on writing this.  It looks to be first person which I’m very excited to do for several reasons.  For one it’s great to write in this manner because you get a lot of extra dialogue and character development because you get the internal dialogue and how the character is thinking.  And second it’s my homage to one of my favorite books of all-time, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.  Finally, I’m exploring this point-of-view writing style because it may return for the direct sequel to TB:A.  At least part of it anyway.

To Amazon.com!  KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com! KindleUnlimited friendly!

Thanks for following and keeping up with my notes on this and that.  I watched Snowpiercer on Halloween night and a review on that film is forthcoming.  Let’s just say I’m very glad I saw it.

Cheers and keep the faith!

JW

If you find yourself in Portland, OR try Via Chicago grab some of the best pizza, craft beer, and sandwiches around.

via-chicago_03
Via Chicago. Alberta St. Portland, OR

New Cover Art! Thanks Portland area artist Kevin Reynolds. PLUS other updates.

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Good morning Sci-Fi fans.  I’m very happy to display here, for the first time, the new cover art for my first released book The Bellerophon: Ambush.  The original art was done with the cover art maker software on Amazon.com and it worked for me.  For a time at least.  Then I started to see others with nearly the same cover…so it was obvious that I needed something different.

From time-to-time over the years I’ve chatted with the talented Portland area artist Kevin Reynolds, a friend, brother really, for nearly 30-years (I cried at his wedding which means nothing as I cry at all weddings).  We’ve talked about graphic novel work because I love to write, he loves to draw, and we both love to create.  So here is the cover he came up with.  I think it very well evokes the minimalist environment that is the arena for much of this series: deep space.  I immediately thought of one of the original covers of the Greg Bear book Eon and one of the original covers for Rendezvous with Rama, one of my favorite books by perhaps my favorite author, Arthur C. Clarke.

To Amazon.com!  KindleUnlimited friendly!
To Amazon.com! KindleUnlimited friendly!

I look forward to again work with Kevin Reynolds in the near future on more creative projects.  Hopefully he can find time to fit me into his busy schedule of being a husband, father, co-owner operator of the Via Chicago restaurant (ttp://www.viachicagopizza.com) on Alberta Street in Portland, OR, (stop by and have a slice!) oh and he’s a Senior Art Director for Leopold Ketel & Partners (http://www.leoketel.com) in…you guessed it, that same Rose City.  I need a nap after writing all that.  Again, he’s quite the busy guy!

And an update on how things are going on Amazon.com…

For an Indie-writer I’m as happy as a clam with these numbers.  Never thought I’d write “happy as a clam.”  Ever.  Thanks to all you readers out there.  Now to get some work done.  Also, stay tuned for some movie reviews.  I’ve watched some off-the-beaten path films lately that I thinks folks will enjoy.

Have a great weekend and as always…

Cheers!

JW

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the Downloads, oh…and Pizza in Portland!

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Still going strong my brother and sister readers and writers!  Thanks for giving my book a look.

Currently there are 2,947,025 e-books on Amazon.com.  And The Bellerophon: Ambush is:

I’m writing more stuff as fast as I can.  Tough to get my words in while I’m trying to teach the 6th grade especially when…don’t get me rambling about that!  Anyway…I’m done with Act 1 of Sigma Draconis (FIB ALERT!).  Okay…half a chapter left and then the draft of Act 1 of 3 is done but I’m over 40K words now so it’s looking like a book kinda!  I’ll also be devoting a day a week (I write 7-days a week I do) to working on a novella to get something in the 15-30K realm done before Christmas.  I’m afraid to really get into this though because that was how Sigma D. started!

If you haven’t already downloaded a copy…here you go.  Help a starving teacher transition into the role of a full-time starving writer.  Shameless I know.

Book 1 in the Captive Galaxy Series. Kindle. Amazon.com
Book 1 in the Captive Galaxy Series. Kindle. Amazon.com

Thanks to all my friends in the UK, Australia, and Canada for buying quite a few copies of my work.  Hope you continue to enjoy and tell your friends!

Also, that new cover for The Bellerophon: Ambush is inbound from Portland area artist Kevin Reynolds.  Who, besides being an extremely talented and creative individual, operates Via Chicago which, if you want some good pizza and craft beer (and much more), it’s the place to be in the Rose City.

via-chicago_03

Cheers,

JW

Thanks Readers for a Great October

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October has been awesome!  Thanks!  This has really driven me to continue working hard.  Reviews are coming in and The Bellerophon: Ambush has been enjoyed by many.  Please, if you have read about the ‘Belle and her crew, and had fun doing so, please rate and write a review on Amazon.com.  I’m busy on another work set in the same universe AND I’m about to begin a novella featuring one of the characters from the first book.  Exciting times!

If you like a story that features fast-paced future combat with power armor, plasma weapons, sarcastic characters, and a building mystery involving an ancient race of technologically advances alien life, then this is the book and series to catch.  This is the first book in a series that will include multiple sequels, spin-offs (SEE: upcoming novel Sigma Draconis), and novellas featuring some of the more interesting characters on the privateer Bellerophon.

KindleUnlimited Friendly!

Book 1 in the Captive Galaxy Series. Kindle. Amazon.com
Book 1 in the Captive Galaxy Series. Kindle. Amazon.com

Cheers!

JW

P.S. Updated custom cover from artist Kevin Reynolds coming soon.

Have a great weekend! Pick up a fun read ’cause it’s raining outside…

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Reviews are coming in and The Bellerophon: Ambush has thus far been enjoyed by many.  On this rainy weekend pick up a copy from Amazon.com and enjoy a book that features fast-paced shipboard combat with power armor, plasma weapons, sarcastic characters, and a building mystery.  This is the first of a series that will include multiple sequels, spin-offs (SEE: upcoming novel Sigma Draconis), and novellas featuring some of the most interesting characters on the privateer Bellerophon.

Pretty good rankings:

Book 1 in the Captive Galaxy Series. Kindle. Amazon.com
Book 1 in the Captive Galaxy Series. Kindle. Amazon.com

 

Cheers!

JW

P.S. Stay tuned for an updated custom cover from artist Kevin Reynolds.

Hope people continue to enjoy The Bellerophon: Ambush. Writing update Sigma Draconis.

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Thanks to all the people out there reading and hopefully enjoying The Bellerophon: Ambush (Book 1).  The last 3-4 days have been tremendous.  Downloads have been triple what they were before.  Glad folks are spreading the word.  Being in the Top 100 for the past week in three sub-categories has been…awesome!

Writing updates:  Tinkering with an idea and Sigma Draconis.

I’m tinkering with the idea of actually writing a novella while working on my current novel length project Sigma Draconis.  Why?  Well, because I started Sigma with the intent of writing a short novella to get more entertainment out there quickly for all the folks that have been reading my first book.  Then disaster (???) when Sigma took on a life of it’s own and now 40K words later I’m done with the first of what looks to be 3 acts.  I’ve rightfully allowed Sigma to go where it needed to and thusly it looks to be a larger piece of work than The Bellerophone: Ambush which is kinda scary when I look at the editing and proofing that will then be involved.  Yikes!  So in the meantime I may find a moment or two here and there to write a short novella about some of the characters from my first book.  Some quick action stuff that gives depth to some of the more interesting characters in the first book.  Stay tuned fans!

To Amazon.com and The Bellerophon: Ambush.

If you haven’t downloaded a copy for yourself or a friend yet…click the link above.

Cheers!

JW