Ghostbusters (2016)

ghostbusters_symbol

No spoilers:

Wow. I went in with more hope than expectations and was totally blown away by how much I enjoyed it. Story line, characters, sfx, comedy – it was all there and it was all good. So many quotable quotes, so many enjoyable scenes. And Chris Hemsworth – he was worth the price of admission alone.

Ghostbuster (2016) respects what came before it, but it isn’t beholden to it. It is its own entity, and this certainly allows the movie to breathe and expression itself while still remaining loyal to the core concept.

Admittedly, it’s not ‘Citizen Kane.’ It’s not the original Ghostbusters either. But it is head and shoulders above Ghostbusters 2 (not that that’s too hard). There are some points in the movie where I was left thinking ‘that seemed a little disjointed’ or ‘where did they find time to do that?’ But, more often than not, I was left laughing a joke, giggling a subtle or over the top sight gag, or sniggering at a skillfully worked reference/homage to the original.

Would I pay to see it again at the cinema? Absolutely. Would I let my seven year old see it – probably not. There are quite a few scary scenes at the beginning which left me concerned for the young children who were in the cinema. A few nightmares may be coming their way over the next few nights!

Overall, I rate this a solid 7/10. Recommended for those who are in the mood for some good, silly fun!

 

Rambling Words – The Newsletter!

Introducing – Rambling Words The Newsletter!

As you may have noticed (if I have set it up correctly) when you logged into the Rambling Words site, you got a pop-up asking you to sign up to the brand spanking new Rambling Words newsletter, written by yours truly!

I would really appreciate if you would consider signing up. The newsletter will be a fortnightly update of news, updates on my current projects, preview art, reviews, links and anything else pop-culture related that has caught my eye.

The first newsletter will be out shortly (when I have ironed out some of the kinks in my understanding of how these things work). If you don’t like the newsletter, it is easy to unsubscribe (or better yet, just delete it when it arrives), or you can email me on travisstunt@travisstunt.com and tell me my newsletter stinks and how I can improve it. Hopefully none of that will be necessary, but it is good to have all bases covered!

Hope to see most, if not all, of you on the subscriber list shortly!

Shameless self promotion: Fractured Scary Tales

Time for some shameless self promotion (if that isn’t what a blog is for, I don’t know what is!).

My short ‘Undead Poet’s Society’ is about to land! Issue two of ‘Fractured Scary Tales’ from Scary Tales Publishing will feature my print debut. Art is by Jeff Sadzinski (Jeff Sadzinski Deviantart link).

Fractured Scary Tales features 40 pages of horror parodies of famous movies by various artists and writers created by publisher (and horror movie producer) Kevin M. Glover. Fractured Scary Tales is on the website now (Fractured Scary Tales) and will be available in print soon for only $US10.

Previews of the other stories can be found on the Fractured Scary Tales website, but here is page one of ‘Undead Poet’s Society’ for your enjoyment. Don’t forget to order your copy today.

Undead Poets Society Pg 001

Anthology – open submissions

Here are a couple of anthologies that currently have open submissions. Both required full art team attached:

Premier Comics:

 

Not Forgotten Anthology

Submission details (taken directly from their website):

Please include the following:

  • Names of those on the Creative Team and their roles.
  • Email address for each team member.
  • Public Domain Character being used with link (so we can verify they are in fact within the public domain)
  • Title (working titles are fine)
  • Page-count (1-10 page comics, please)
  • A pitch that is no longer than one page in length, 12pt Times New Roman font. Be sure to give us the beginning, middle and, end. Don’t worry, we won’t spoil it for anyone.
  • A signed release agreement that you can download here. 
  • While this is not required, you may also submit art samples along with your written pitch and link to an artist portfolio website. 
  • We also encourage you to tell us about yourself! Why are you interested in being in the anthology? Have you done other published work or is this your first possible projected? You don’t have to give us a brief bio, but we’ll read one.

Content Guidelines

  • In the spirit of the Golden-Age comics they come from, all stories must be G to PG-13.
  • Your submissions should be for a 1-10 page self contained stories. No “to be continued…” stories, please. The story, however, can end in a way that’s left open for future installations.
  • You may use any public domain character, create your own characters, mashup characters, reinvent characters, or any number of things.
  • You must include some form of color in your submission. Whether it’s a single color accenting a black and white comic, or a full color story, or something in-between! We’re fond of the old-school four-color style, but that’s just us.
  • Have fun! These are super heroes! We love daring adventures, skulking villains, and kirby-esque weirdness. Show us how you turn the genre on it’s ear! Leave your mark!

Both submissions look pretty interesting. Not sure if I’ll be submitting anything for either, but I think they both would be fun. There are further details on the Premier Comics tumblr page, so if you are looking for more info than has popped up in the above link, head there and check it out.

Writing CV

I added a writing C.V. to the left hand menu on the main page of this blog. It will make it easier for any potential collaborators to quickly see what I have in production or currently available.

Unfortunately, a the time of writing, it is all still in production, so I can’t show any of the artwork I have seen at this time. For now, you’ll just have to take my word – what I have seen looks awesome. Very awesome indeed.

Review: Star Wars – The Force Awakens

It’s been several months now since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in cinemas, so, if you still haven’t seen the film,  DO NOT READ ON. There will be spoilers. I’ll try to keep them to a minimum, but I can’t avoid them altogether.

Let me preface this review with a simple fact – I am a Star Wars tragic. I love it. The movies, the television shows, the books, the action figures, everything. From where I am typing (on my bed – not good for the back, in case you were wondering), I can see the Force Awakens novelisation to be left. In front I can see the ‘Tarkin’ novel which I have just finished. Next to that, on top of my drawers, I can see numerous figurines, a completed Lego ‘Ghost’ spaceship, Star Wars money boxes, multiple Star Wars T-shirts. I love it.

So, as you can imagine, and, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will have noticed from my previous blog posts, that having a new Star Wars movie in cinemas absolutely blows my mind. I was too young to see A New Hope at the cinema, but I recall vividly seeing it at the drive-in, and bringing it home to watch on VHS from the video rental store. These memories are etched into my consciousness and are the types of memories that make me the person I am today.

The Original Trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) are staples of my movie watching diet. I’m talking numerous viewings each and every year. The Prequel Trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith) not so much. I am not a prequel hater, but they do have their flaws. That’s not the say that the original trilogy is perfect – it’s not. It is just when comparing the two, the prequel trilogy is missing the warmth, adventure and sense of humour present in the original trilogy.

It’s this that I think The Force Awakens captures well. The new characters, particularly Rey and Finn, are engaging and accessible. There were several laugh out loud moments, usually resulting from something Finn says or does. Rey is a great lead character, and it is great to see a female take the lead in the Star Wars universe.

The plot revolves around the search for Luke Skywalker, who has gone into hiding after a tragedy involving his jedi academy. The Resistance, led by General Leia Organa, have located the final piece of the map that they believe will lead them to Luke’s hiding place. They send Poe Damaron, the best pilot in the galaxy, to retrieve it from Jakku. While attempting this, he is captured, but his droid, BB8, escapes with the map. He meets up with Finn and Rey and the galaxy spanning adventure starts from there.

Some have critcised the movie as being too derivative of A New Hope, and I can see their point. The plot lends heavily from this film, but I believe does enough to make it stand on its own merits. It also gives enough information to intrigue us into speculation about episode eight – who is Snoke and where did he come from? How did Kylo Ren fall from the light? Was Kylo Ren responsible for the tragedy at the jedi academy? How does Rey fit into the Skywalker family, if at all? How will Chewie and Leia cope with their loss? Has the Republic fallen? So many questions…

Favourite things – BB8 has so much personality. He easily takes up the role of R2D2 from the other films. Finn – great character. Had plenty of opportunity to shine and John Boyega grab every one with both hands. The ships – X-wings, TIE fighters, Star Detroyers – they’re all there, slightly redesigned, but awesome as always. The Falcon is back!

Not so good – the death. I knew it was likely, but it still hit like a tonne of bricks when it happened. The final scene dragged on too long. They could have done the unveiling and left it there. Instead, they filmed an extended scene of two static people really not doing anything. Chewie getting nothing from Leia after the death – no hug, no glance, no nothing. Instead, Leia comforts a girl she has never met before. Interestingly, JJ Abrams has admitted that, with hindsight, this was a mistake. I agree.

Overall, I loved it. It reminded me of my days as a youngling, watching the original trilogy with my mates. The sense of awe and adventure was back.

8 out of 10 for me. A solid return to form for the Star Wars franchise.

New Years Resolutions 2016

It’s time for a reflection of the past year and to lay out my hopes and dreams for the coming one.

Reflections of the Year Past:
Wow. There were some pretty big highs for me this year. And, fortunately for me, the lows were very mild.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens blew my mind. It was everything I hoped it could be. It wasn’t perfect, don’t get me wrong. I had some issues with it. But, overall, it was fantastic. I can’t wait to see it again.

‘Daredevil’ and ‘Jessica Jones’ – both were fantastic shows I binged watched (is that even a proper expression?! Can’t think of the right one off hand). The storylines were great. I’m not particularly familiar with Daredevil (apart from the concept and storyline basics) and I knew next to nothing about Jessica Jones. I loved every minute of both and can’t wait for season two.

‘Making of a Murderer’ (Netflix exclusive series also) was a fascinating look at the life of Steven Avery, a man from the U.S. wrongly convicted of rape, and only exonerated after spending eighteen years behind bars. Two years after his subsequent release, Avery again finds himself accuse of a horrible crime, this time a murder. Avery again plead his innocence, claiming a conspiracy by the local sheriffs department. The series follows Avery from his release and through the new trial. Great stuff if you enjoy true crime. (On an interesting note, internet group ‘Anonymous’ have taken up Avery’s cause and claim to be about to release information proving his innocence.

Writing-wise, I’ve had a great year. I got paid for writing for the first time ($US100! for eight pages). I have artists lined up for two other short pieces which I have previously mentioned here (there is no time line for the release of these as yet). I have also a series called ‘The Phantom Ranger’ coming soon from Hooligan Alley Comics.

I’m finding writing easier now that I have been practising for a while. I still struggle to come up with that ‘killer concept’, but the concepts I am coming up with are stronger and more refined than ever before.

I’d like to improve my pitching ability though. Crafting a good pitch still eludes me – they always feel dry and stale to read. I have a few different stories I’d like to pitch, but whenever I write a pitch, I can’t seem to … create the right hook? I need to read through some to the writing books on my shelves and try and distil the essence of what they are saying.

I have found it difficult to work on projects where the ideas don’t originate with me. I attempted to write a mini-series with a great artist, based on his art and concepts. Unfortunately, the passion just wasn’t there. Without the passion, the words just wouldn’t flow. I eventually had to give up the project because I figured if my heart wasn’t in it, wouldn’t be fair to either party to continue on without dedicating one hundred percent.

Plans for 2016? Continue with the improvement I have been making. Practice pitching. Write. Write. Then write some more. Spend more time with the children – they are growing so fast! I don’t want to miss a thing. Get a promotion at work (pretty sure this is in the bag, but stranger things have happened).

Enjoy 2016. Live life to the fullest. You only get to do it once.