Sunday, 31 May 2015

Poltergeist 2015 3D - remake - Review

Went to see the remake of the classic 1982 film last night and as with all remakes I went in with interpretation - some remakes are good and improve on the original - Robocop and some are a waste of time as don't do anything to improve and usually filmed scene by scene which are pointless. 
Sadly Poltergeist falls into the latter category with a couple of modern tweaks to change it slightly (a flying droid/helicopter with camera goes through to the other side to find Maddy.)

Most of the good things about the original are gone from this film - the midget psychic woman, the ghost in white which floats down the stairs.  Also the ending seemed rushed, the original was a slow burner but in this they get maddy out if the other side too soon. 

Also you may notice the name change the girl in the original was Carole-Ann but now it's Madison.  The Freelings are now called the Bowens and the actors do a good job in particular Sam Rockwell as the father.

The special effects are obviously better and the 3D gave good depth, a few things came out but it wasn't anything special. 

In a modern age where there are alot better horror films out like the Insideous films and Paranormal Activity ones and because it followed the original film so closely there wasn't any real scares.

Overall - a remake too far  - watch the original for better chills and character. 

Score  5/10

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Tor New Voices Event with Lucy Hounsom and Genevieve Cogman 14/5/15

Hi guys

Last Thursday the 14th May went to the above free event at Waterstones Leeds to meet two new debut authors with Tor publishers.  Lucy Hounsom(white dress) and Genevieve Cogman (blue top, glasses).
It was a great and informative event hosted by Joe from State of the Arts who asked questions to the fledgling authors.

The event started with the authors reading from their new novels.  Lucy from Starborn and Genevieve from The Invisible Library.  Both sounded fantastic and I hope to read them when I have the chance.

About the books and authors:

Lucy Hounsom - Starborn is epic fantasy whereby main character Kyndra breaks a family relic and runs off with two sorcerers to find out about herself and the world she lives in.
Lucy tried to put in alot of interesting twists.  Her novel is an ode to her favourite fantasy books including David Eddings,  Trudi Canavan and Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series (the first six books at least).
She is an avid reader and loves coming of age stories like the one she has written.   This is her debut novel but has wrote an unpublished novel before which she wrote  at 15 which was like Harry Potter. 
Lucy advised it's usually the second book that gets published.   She wrote the published book 8 years after first one and at first main character was male but changed to female after editing the novel 4 times.

Genevieve Cogman -  The Invisible Library - about a library in a different dimension which steals(borrows) books from different dimensions which have different versions of novels.  The library acting as a force to control the dimensions. 
Irene the heroine has to steal a Brothers Grimm book in an alternative London.
The novel weaves a lot of different things in which Genevieve likes including steam punk,  Sherlock Holmes,  Chinese dragons to name but a few.
Sherlock Holmes was the first adult book Genevieve read and was a pleasure to add the character into the book.

Genevieve is a freelance writer who worked for Games Workshop which is where she learned to world build and is also used to deadlines.   She made quite a few in drafts.
She writes chronologically - chapter by chapter.

LH -  Also writes chronologically and doesn't know characters well at beginning and likes to learn about characters as she goes along.  She has just handed in book 2 to her editors.

GC - Planned out most of the main events. Writes organically.

LH -  On research - researched a volcano in Hawai by visiting it to look at larva tubes for a part in her novel.  Also researched burns.  Also looked at how far horses can travel in a day and turning leagues into miles.

Both the authors novels are beginnings of trilogies.

GC -  She wasn't planning a trilogy but left the book open ended.  Tor bought the novel as a trilogy.  Books two and three now planned and final book has a strong climax.

LH -  The seeds of Starborn started when she was 18 and wrote the first chapter.   Always thought it would be a trilogy but no more.  Safer in a trilogy instead of loads of books.

Getting published/Agent

LH -  Getting published seems longer than it was.  Book was called Novelty of Light - she sent out manuscript too early wasn't edited enough.  Had a lot of rejections - one said it lacks tension.
Re-wrote and after over 2 years of re-writes and sending out got lucky as was picked out of the slush pile.
It was hard writing a synopsis and covering letter but if had given up wouldn't be here as only need one 'yes'.

GC -  Written 2 previous novels - both turned down.  A published author friend passed her novel to an agent.   Agent wanted it re-written - did and got deal.

First time seeing books

LH -  Works in Waterstones in Exeter and awesome seeing books for first time.   The books were in same box as Poldark.   She always goes to Sci fi / fantasy section.   She loves getting photos of her book.


GC -  Got word on cover design and loved it.

LH -  Surprised got say on cover, got to pick the model on the front.

Q & A

LH -  Didn't go back to Agents once rejected tried to find a new agent.   Went through Artist and Writers Year book where there less and less that take on Sci fi/fantasy.

Both authors intended books to be for adults as harder to write for YA.


LH -  Novel about 133,000 words.  Didn't do too much world building.   Built the world around the characters and pace.  She applied for Masters in Creative writing was told to write general fiction and not Fantasy to complete her MA.

GC -  Wrote fan fiction.


GC -  Not got a creative writing background just kept the pace and character going and kept things moving.

LH -  Not a plotter, had an idea of the ending and just had characters - no plot point - just sat down and wrote it - best not to think of word count, writes chapter to chapter.   She has an aim for in each chapter for the characters. Helps to build tension.

Chapter Length

LH -  Writes around 4000 words a chapter usually but depends on the style.  Has each chapter like a mini story.  Easy to write from a chapter perspective.

GC -  Around 3000 words a chapter and has readers she trusts read it chapter at a time.


GC -  Already started book 2 but more pressure as she has a schedule now.


LH -  No good  at writing short stories as every word has to count. Don't start with short stories as harder to get published.

GC -  Write what you love and build.

LH -  Write what you would like to read.

Overall a great event with some good tips for budding writers and insight into the new authors.   Hope to see more of them in the future as it's important for our Literary future that we have more new writers come along.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Cleckheaton Literary Festival - 1 week on

Hi guys

I haven't posted on here for a while as I've been busy stewarding for the first Cleckheaton Literary Festival for 4 days plus posting on their blog.  See below.

It was an amazing event which everyone involved in it should be proud.   It was a total success from the Andy Kershaw event which was packed to the crime panel with Alison Taft,  Helen Cadbury and Leigh Russell (who I invited on Facebook).

Saturday was a great event where adults and kids enjoyed the events including my daughter Bel who wouldn't come out of the spin a story tent!

It was great meeting the talented authors some of which I had heard of to be big names including Joanne Harris,  Justina Robson,  Mark Wright (Dr Who author), and some new faces including Jason Hewitt and Lauren Owen.   Plus some excellent workshops including a Sci fi one from Ian C Douglas. 
There was a very funny event held by Luke Wright - dandy poet.

Visit the Cleckheaton Literary Festival blog above to see reviews (a couple I may repost on here).

So roll on Cleckheaton Literary Festival 2016.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Avengers 2 - Age of Ultron Review *Spoilers*

Hi guys

Well this Bank holiday managed to get to see the most talked about film this year seeing as most of it has been on the Internet in trailers which I gave to admit dampened my experience of the film.

Although I did enjoy it a lot and thought it was better than the first 2012 film.  The ensemble cast grew bigger and as always the main guys impressed - Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as Hulk with support from Scarlet Johansen as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye.

They all did a great job with help from Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her (twin) Quicksilver and not forgetting a chilling voice over from James Spader as the evil AI robot Ultron.
Also Paul Bettany arrived in person on screen as Vision after many a Marvel film being the voice of Iron Man's computer Jarvis.

Other than great acting and sparkly dialogue between the team thanks to writer/ director Joss Wheddon there was plenty of action and set pieces between the story which had the Avengers retrieving Lokis staff from Hydra and Tony Stark discovering an AI embedded in it which he hoped to bring world Peace with the Ultron programme.

Unfortunately Ultron believes the Avengers and humanity need to be wiped out in order to bring about a new world with him as God.

And this is where the set pieces come in as Ultron tricks Scarlet Witch to break the team apart with her powers with the help of Quicksilver.

The best part of the movie has her making Hulk go berserk in a city and start rampaging with only Iron Man and his Hulk Buster to stop him.

Had a few nit picks like the romance between Bruce Banner (Hulk) and Black Widow which in it self was fine but felt forced in.
Plus I'm a huge action fan yet the action was ongoing and relentless which is great but by the end even I had action fatigue.
The end where Ultron raises a city to destroy the planet was very good but some parts as they thought the Ultron clones felt like I'd watched it before in first film with the alien attack on New York.

Overall a great film which could have been slightly smaller running time but guess they had alot of new characters to add in plus from the first film it's a bigger story with a few more layers including Hawkeyes secret family.

It also had some excellent special effects including Quicksilver running, the Hulk fights and my new favourite character (till Spidey arrives anyway) Vision.

My theory is that Scarlet Witch didn't brainwash Hulk it's that Black Widow looked in his pants and said it was no bigger and he went into a rage - lol.

Anyway I digress my score is 9/10 - better than the first film (just) and can't wait for Captain America - Civil War.



Monday, 4 May 2015

Leigh Russell Crime Novelist coming to Cleckheaton Literary Festival

I’m just about to start reading Cold Sacrifice – the first DS Ian Peterson novel in the series by crime author Leigh Russell who will be attending the Crime Panel along with Helen Cadbury and Alison Taft at Cleckheaton Library on Friday 8th May from 6pm.
Will write a review once I’ve read it but I’m not the fastest of readers so may not be in time for the festival (or next year’s – lol).
So anyone wanting to read our authors work and post a review please do on this blog.