George R.R. Martin... where have you gone?

Here’s a quick, spoiler-free review/summary of the previous four installments in this series:

Game Of Thrones: The first book in a series is usually the best. Like the tv show LOST, about which everyone claims the first season is the best because it establishes the whole world and at that point, the possibilities are endless (and about LOST, that’s incorrect. The second season is the best because we begin to learn about the Dharma Initiative. I’ll fight you if you say different). A Song of Ice and Fire is a rich world, filled with interesting characters, and it’s more a political thriller than a fantasy series. Yes, there are dragons and undead things, but they're essentially for flavor, more than anything else. This is the first fantasy story that could have wider mass-market appeal. Then, near the end of this book, there’s a plot twist that is so unexpected (but believable), now we know that this is storytelling as we've never seen before. We’re hooked.

 
 
Dreamcatcher, directed by Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark), written by William Goldman (All the President's Men), and starring Morgan Freeman (that one movie about penguins), flopped like a chubby kid on a diving board. The craptacularness of the final product baffled me, because with so much talent shoehorned into one project, how could it go wrong?

Fast forward a decade, and we have Dreamcatcher's spiritual successor. Take Cormac McCarthy, author of two of my totes fave novels (No Country For Old Men, The Road), add Ridley Scott (Bladerunner, Gladiator), throw in some talent like Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem... sounds amazing, right?

 
 
Two of my short stories, "The Melancholy of Darby James," and "Damn You, Bobby Finch," (I love full names in titles, apparently) are headed for publication in the near future. Darby James will be published by Drunk Monkeys Journal, and will be available online on April 11th. Bobby Finch will be published by the Owen Wister Review, and will be available in the Spring issue. Links to read/buy will appear on my Short Fiction page when they are live.
Anselm Hannemann in einer kurzen Pause by PUBKON 13, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License  by  PUBKON 13 
I have no idea what this picture is all about. I just searched flickr for "published", and this is one I found. I'm sticking with it
Also, I've decided to retire The Harshest Critics You Know. Yes, yes, it's very sad. But I've taken my most popular blog posts and inserted them into this here website, so don't you fret. Click here to view all my reviews.
 
 
If you're a fledgling writer and you want to know how to write "voice," read this book. Chbosky throws you inside the head of teenager Charlie, and as a reader, you feel what he feels, see what he sees. I haven't before experienced an author who does this with the same level of skill.

The story evolves through a series of letters from Charlie, and they sound like an actual teenager wrote them. In the early letters, there are run-on sentences and awkward phrasing, then as he progresses through the school year and works with a mentor/english teacher, his writing improves and he starts to use more complex words. The meta here is so thick you could sop it up with a biscuit.


 
 
When I first heard of Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, I was surprised that the studio was releasing it in early March, given that Jan-March is the dumping ground for shit movies. Then, when it was being released only in small theaters (The Harsh had to drive 10 miles to see it. Not cool.), I was even more worried. Why aren't Anderson's movies released during awards season? Why doesn't it get a chance?

 
 
I've been working on some new Beastie Boys remixes (this time, all tracks from Hot Sauce Committee Part 2), but in the meantime, I uploaded a few tracks to youtube. Give them a click:

 
 
An indie author I met on twitter once sent me a copy of his self-published book, saying "be as harsh as you like!" as long as I reviewed his book for this blog. Then I spotted a grammatical error in the first sentence in the book. On page 1, he introduced five or six characters. I stopped reading, and didn't contact the author again. Why? While I have no problem unleashing my full fury on some of the crap that gets published traditionally, I am loathe to denigrate indie authors struggling to make ends meet one $2.99 Kindle download at a time.

Which makes me glad that I so enjoyed Hugh Howey's WOOL. Self-publishing success stories make me warm and squishy inside like that time I got 11 McNuggets when I ordered a 10-piece. Sometimes, the universe is good.

 
 
Watching The Dark Knight Rises for the second time was a mistake.

I saw The Dark Knight rises in the theaters when it first came out summer of 2012, just like the rest of civilized America (+New Jersey). I remember liking it, although not as much as The Dark Knight & Heath Ledger As Joker (that movie's full official title), and wanted to see if that still held up.

The things I liked about it were still present: The action-packed climax. Michael Caine chewing up the scenery. JGL's solid young-inner-city-cop-with-a-heart-of-gold performance. The plotty twistiness in the last act. The Christopher Nolanesque ambiguity of the ending.

The things I didn't like about it were still there: The super-fast scene cuts. Oh, and Bane's ridiculous accent and amplified voice. I mean, c'mon. Am I wrong?

WARNING: spoilers below. Don't say I didn't warn you. Because I just did. Also, if you hold this movie in some kind of Utopian fanboy reverence, you may not want to read on, either.


 
 
My epic review of the most epic epoch of all epicness

Chock-full of spoilers, so you've been warned


 
 
Couple weeks back I uploaded 4 remixes of Lady Gaga's song Paparazzi, because I liked the melody but thought the music was dumb. Well, maybe that was too much Gaga. So I'm back with remixes of Paparazzi, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, and Wrecking Ball by the Miley of Cyrus. Make fun if you want, but I had fun taking crappy pop songs and putting fun grooves behind them. Check them out here