Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Extraterrestrial - A Story of Romance, Cheating and Alien Invasion


Extraterrestrial (Extraterrestre, 2011) is a funny Spanish sci-fi movie by Nacho Vigalondo, who also created one of the most original sci-fi movies of recent years, Timescrimes.

In this story, a man and a woman, Julio and Julia, wake up after a one-night stand, just to find that the city has been evacuated because of an alien invasion. Luckily, the imminent danger is a good excuse for Julio to stay with the the beautiful girl a little longer.
The situation becomes even more absurd with the arrival of the creepy neighbour, who also did not leave because he was hoping to be able to get closer to the pretty girl. Soon the woman's boyfriend also turns up, and continuously more and more lies are told in order to avoid suspicion.

The movie is not about the alien attack ifself, it just shows us a couple of people and their interactions as they get into more and more comic situations.
The actors were chosen well. Michelle Jenner (Julia) and Julián Villagrán (Julio) were a perfect choice for the lead roles in this incredible and strange love story.

This movie is not for those who want to see action scenes and a lot of CGI. However, Extraterrestrial is both original and funny, so it is highly recommended.

(Trailer, Imdb, Wiki.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Year in Review: 2012


2012 was a good year for me in every respects.
As for my writing, I became busy writing only towards the end of the year, but it felt great.
I had more poems published in English and I also wrote an urban fantasy story, and I managed to submit it to the publisher in time. This also means that I learnt to handle deadlines.
I was also learning more about screenwriting and I would really like to learn more about it later.

In 2012, I also became brave enough to perform in front of people, so I was reading poetry at the Write Like Bukowski contest and I also did stand up for the first time, in a pub, at a charity event. The latter was a so-called open-mic event. (I'd like to do this again some time.)

I also made lots of new friends and got a lot of new ideas that still need to be put on paper.

The year 2012 was a better one for me than the ones before, and I was able to start the next one as an optimist.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Good Sci-Fi Movie from Germany: Transfer (2010)

Transfer (2010) is an exciting, romantic and thought-provoking German sci-fi drama, directed by Damir Lukacevic.

The story reminds you of Freejack at the beginning, but it is different in many ways.
In this story, the mysterious Menzana Corporation offers the possibility for old rich people to transfer their personalities into the bodies of young and beautiful Africans who need the money to support their families and who accept that they can only use their own bodies for four hours each night.
A German couple in their 70s, Anna and Hermann, have doubts about the procedure at first, but after
Anna becomes terminally ill, they end up taking this path. The young Africans whose bodies they get,
Apolain and Sarah, both accept their fate at the beginning, but the first pregnancy gradually changes the situation
and both couples want the baby for themselves. In addition to this, Anna starts to suffer from the feeling of guilt for ruining these young people's lives. The acting is great, and
the movie is exceptionally well-written.

The film is based on a short story by Elia Barceló, and the screenplay is the work of Gabi Blauert and Damir Lukacevic.
According to the Wikipedia page in German, the movie won eight awards including the Best Science Fiction Feature Film Award in Shriekfest, in Los Angeles, several awards in Europe and one even in Tel Aviv.

Transfer is not for those of you who want to see an action movie with some sci-fi in it, but it is highly recommended for those who are interested in good, well-written, thought-provoking sci-fi.


Links:
IMDB, trailer (English subtitles)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Creepy Stories by A Scary Southern Belle: The White Death and Other Ghastly Ghost Stories by Debbie Kuhn

Title: The White Death and Other Ghastly Ghost Stories
Author: Debbie Kuhn
Genre(s) / Subgenre(s):  speculative fiction / dark fantasy, horror
Copyright: October 17, 2012
Formats: electronic: Kindle edition
Rating: 10
URL: at Amazon


Those who like good horror fiction should certainly become familiar with Debbie Kuhn's work, even though she writes in several genres. The White Death is a collection which includes ten dark tales and it is definitely worth reading.

Whether they are humans or ghosts, the main characters are all motivated by basic human fears and desires, and this makes it very easy for the reader to care about them. No matter how scary the story is, you will want to know what is going to happen to them. The ghosts are not always the evil, vengeful ghosts of the typical B movies either. Some just want company, others warn you of imminent danger, and one simply just stays until she can finish her memoirs that she writes using other people's bodies. All of them are different and each story is a surprise, both refined and creepy.

The stories are also set in different locations. A girl is alone in the mountains at night, performing a ritual that can bring back her lover from the dead. The ghost of an English girl is looking for her father during WW2 in London. A guy is driving too fast on dangerous roads in his new sports car to impress women which has tragic consequences. In a pub, a young man sits on the cursed chair of a famous gangster in order to win a bet. These are just a few.
My favourite stories from the collection are Little White Casket and What Happened in the Cellar. In both of these stories, the supernatural is at work, sometimes in frightening ways, but the real danger comes from our world.
The amazing cover art is by an English artist, Danielle Tunstall.

This book is highly recommended for those who would like to read some excellent horror stories.


Links:
The author's website

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Look, What A Funny Lady - Seriously...I'm Kidding By Ellen Degeneres Reviewed

Title: Seriously...I'm Kidding
Author:  Ellen Degeneres
Category: Humor
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Hachette Book Group)
Copyright: June 2011
Formats: paperback, hardcover, electronic, audio
Rating: 7

Seriously...I'm Kidding is the latest book by the much loved stand-up comedian and talk show host, Ellen Degeneres.

This book is a collection of random thoughts and ideas and it includes stories both from everyday life and from the life of a celebrity. There are a lot of really quotable lines in it about success, beauty, marriage, manners, politiness, and some even about gift-giving.

The author also keeps giving advice to the readers on all these issues. It seems she has become both a great comedian and a fine motivational speaker.
However, at places I felt that the text was far too simplistic for my liking. I suppose this is because the book was written for a talk show audience. English-learners might find this a great advantage.

This book is recommended for those who feel like reading something really funny (and for all those who need an easy-to-read book in English.)


Links:
The publisher's website
Quotes from the book (at Goodreads)
Ellen in Wikipedia

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When A Female Serial Killer Is Investigating The Afterlife: Slights by Kaaron Warren Reviewed

Title: Slights
Author: Kaaron Warren
Genre / Subgenre: Horror/ psychological
Publisher: Angry Robot
Copyright: July 1, 2009
Formats: paperback, electronic (Kindle Edition)
Rating: 9

Slights is a very strong debut novel by Australian writer, Kaaron Warren
. It is a creepy, highly distubing and excellent horror novel which was awarded the Ditmar Award and the Shadows Award for Best Fiction.

The main character, a young girl called Stevie, has a near-death experience, and when she comes back she remembers that she was in a dark room full of people. Everyone she ever pissed off was there and these people were torturing her. Later her main goal becomes finding out if this is really the place where everyone must go one day. The girl who had a troubled childhood gradually becomes obsessed with death, becomes suicidal, then starts to kill others in order to find the answers.

The book is a very well-written piece, it really manages to draw the reader in, but it is too gloomy, too depressing to be read too quickly. This is a  psychological horror piece and the author uses a sort of strange diary format to let us follow the events of Stevie's life. While trying to find out more about death and what comes after death, Stevie is also investigating family history and gets into all sorts of conflicts in a seemigly peaceful suburban neighborhood. The latter turns out to be a place where people prefer not to notice the crimes that are committed, because this is much more comfortable for them than any of the alternatives. (Scary, isn't it?)

For those fans of psychological horror who can handle disturbing reads and shocking imagery, Slights is highly recommended.


Links:
Official site (angryrobotbooks.com)
The author's blog
Kaaron Warren in Wiki

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A poem of mine appeared in Illumen magazine


The Best Planet in the World appeared in the Spring 2012 issue of the magazine.

Illumen is a print magazine of speculative poetry, published biannually by Sam's Dot Publishing. It contains poetry, illustrations, articles and reviews.
The featured poet for this issue is Marge Simon and the cover art is by Joshua Gage.

You can order a copy via the publisher's bookstore.