Thursday, March 30, 2006
Monday, March 27, 2006
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
"To the Mountain of the Beast--The Wild West and the wilder outer space collide for a fast-paced romp." – Simon Wood author Working Stiffs
“To the Mountain of the Beast is a quick-paced amalgam of western adventure and science-fiction. For pure action and suspense, this novella outpaces many full-length novels. You won't find needless descriptions of alien political systems or discourses on post civil war America. Instead you'll find cracking Winchesters, cattle rustlers, slaughtered livestock, steamy romance and -- above all -- a collision of technologies and cultures that is both violent and captivating. If you enjoyed classic suspense science fiction movies like Alien or Predator -- or if you always wondered what Louis L'Amour might do with aliens -- give this one a read. Christopher Stires is a consistently entertaining and consistently suspenseful writer.” – Daniel E. Blackston, Senior Editor Pitch-Black, LLC and Managing Editor SFReader.com
"Chris Stires has written a whip-smart novella that allows his talents as a writer to shine: dynamic characters, intelligent plotting, and a writing style that drives the reader from chapter to chapter." – Jason Sizemore, author and Publisher, Apex Science Fiction and Horror Digest
Monday, March 20, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
MY FAVORITE SEXY MOMENTS IN THE MOVIES
Lovefilm did a survey and named their top ten sexiest moments in film (http://www.contactmusic.com). Number One was the spanking scene in Secretary. (Which was pretty good I have to admit.) I decided to list some of my favorites. Also decided to limit the list to films I own on DVD. That’s why Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in the surf in From Here to Eternity and Ursula Andress walking out of the surf in Doctor No aren’t on the list. (If I did, they would be.) By the way, sometimes romantic is sexy, sometimes erotic is sexy and sometimes it’s just plain sexy. Boy, this is a mixed bag.
Anyway, here we go (in alphabetical order):
Casablanca – the flashback, in Paris, when Bogie kisses Bergman. “We’ll always have Paris.”
Entrapment – Catherine Zeta-Jones, waking, nude, to discover Sean Connery sitting in her dark hotel room.
Friendly Persuasion – Phyllis Love chasing Mark Richman down the road as he’s riding off to join his Civil War command. She stumbles and falls; he finally hears her crying out his name.
The Quiet Man – In the empty cottage, wind blowing, John Wayne pulling Maureen O’Hara into his embrace.
Pretty Woman – Julia Roberts in the red evening gown.
Rear Window – James Stewart waking to Grace Kelly kissing him.
Rob Roy – Liam Neeson saying to Jessica Lange – “Do you know how fine you are to me, Mary MacGregor?”
Some Like It Hot – Marilyn walking along the train platform past, in drag, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis. Lemmon: “Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it's a whole different sex!”
Thunderball – Sean Connery taking Molly Peters into the steam room.
Working Girl – Melanie Griffith vacuuming her boss’s apartment in only panties and high heels.
This is such hard work on some days.
Monday, March 13, 2006
Sunday, March 12, 2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
A MacGuffin, sometimes McGuffin or Maguffin, is a plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, particularly one whose importance is accepted completely by the story's characters, yet from the audience's perspective it is usually not the main center of interest, might be minimally explained or may test their suspension of disbelief if it is scrutinized. The device, usually an object, is common in films, especially thrillers. Commonly, though not always, the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act and declines in significance as the struggles and motivations of the characters take center stage. Often the MacGuffin is all but forgotten by the end of the film. The term "MacGuffin" was invented by writer Angus McPhail (never heard of him either) but developed more fully by Alfred Hitchcock (I’ve heard of him).
Okay, I knew that but it’s sometimes a good thing to reread what you know (or think you know). I started making a list of cool MacGuffins – the black bird in The Maltese Falcon, the actual Ten Commandments in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the actual Declaration of Independence in National Treasure, the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the ring in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I remember one movie called The Formula where the MacGuffin was more intriguing than anything else in the story. The formula everyone was after was the formula Nazi scientists had developed to make synthetic gasoline. Can you guess who the modern-day villains were?
Usually, the MacGuffin is a more “serviceable” object. Gold usually works. It needs no explanation. But it’s a heavy object to transport in major quanities. Diamonds and cash are also good. Easier to move around, too. Drugs are another popular whatsit.
Those wouldn’t work though. Our story needed something explainable but unique. So I kept researching and hoping that something would give me an idea. In Cellular, it was a cam recording of a murder. In Charade, it was where the murder victim hid the stolen cash (in case you haven’t seen this Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn film I won’t spoil the hiding spot – it’s cool). In The Thomas Crown Affair, it was a priceless painting. In The Untouchables, it was the Capone accounts ledger. And in Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia the object everyone is after is revealed in the title.
Good and servicable objects but not what I was looking for.
Then: In Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, the villains are attempting to flee the country with secret microfilm. What’s on the microfilm? We never find out. In James Bond’s second adventure, From Russia with Love, everyone is after a Lektor decoding machine. What does it decode? Never expained. In Barton Fink, there’s a mysterious suticase. What inside? We get a hint but never find out for sure. In the film noir, Kiss Me Deadly, there’s a suitcase that glows when opened. We’re told its something atomic but what exactly isn’t explained. That film is where Tarantino got the idea for the glowing-but-contents-never-revealed suitcase in Pulp Fiction.
Okay. Think. Object is valuable. A very wealthy and powerful individual wants it and sends a ruthless man to retrieve it. Bad man gets it. Then our hero takes it away. Our hero, along with her mentor, examine the object. Crucial plot moment. Because, upon seeing the object, the mentor immediately packs his bags and leaves town. But our hero, surprising herself, decides that something has to be done and these people have to be stopped. What is it.? What would make all the characters’ actions believable? Piece of cake. Yeah. Uh-huh.
What is the MacGuffin in Distraction? Ideas are lining up. All are waving to be noticed. Which will be the last one standing? Which will work the best? We’ll see. Just hope it turns out to be something cool.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Monday, March 06, 2006
Sunday, March 05, 2006
I’m going to list who I think will win. It’s not necessarily the best in the category. I may not have seen the movie yet (and I haven’t seen very many of them this year). It’s who I think will win. Okay, perhaps, in a couple instances it might be who I’d like to see win because I’ve admired some of their work in the past. Whatever.
BEST MOVIE: Brokeback Mountain (Haven’t seen any of the Best Pic nominees. Going with the odds here.)
BEST ACTRESS: Reese Witherspoon – Walk the Line (I’ve actually seen this movie. Any man in his right mind would’ve fallen in love with her.)
BEST ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix – Walk the Line (Hoffman will probably win but I felt the passion and agony in Phoenix’s Johnny Cash.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Michelle Williams – Brokeback Mountain (Going with the odds on this one, too.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matt Dillon – Crash (I keep remembering the scene in In and Out when Dillon wins the Oscar and “outs” his high school teacher (Kevin Kline). A wonderful little comedy. If Dillon wins he won’t thank “Mr. Brackett”, but wouldn’t it be cool if he did.)
BEST DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg – Munich (Ang Lee will probably win but I haven’t liked a single movie he’s ever done and I’ve even liked most of Spielberg’s failures. Lousy reason but hey.)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Josh Olson – A History of Violence (Missed it at the theaters but I will see it in a week or two. My kind of movie.)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco – Crash (In the wake of a Brokeback sweep this is where they’ll honor this film.)
All done. Got the pizza, popcorn, and Mountain Dew ready. Hope Jon Stewart does well. Hope he’s channeling Billy Crystal and not David Letterman. Okay, the envelope please.