Star Trek Into Darkness – review

star trek

I grew up with the original Star Trek series and regard it as one of my all time favourite science fiction space opera sagas.  Nothing can compare with the original series, but I do like Next Generation and I sort of enjoyed the first 3 movies.  With this history as a trekkie, I was looking forward to getting Into Darkness on DVD, as I quite enjoyed the first of the new ST movies, even though they totally screwed around with the historical facts, ie New Vulcan.  I watched every single episode of the original series and not once did Leonard Nimoy mention “New Vulcan,” but still, I digress.  Back to Into Darkness.

My uneasiness at this new crop of ST movies has grown as a result of watching Into Darkness.  This is due to two things.  The first is the constant stealing of original plot lines and I was, quite frankly, shocked and distressed as I sat through the ‘radiation room’ scene.  How dare they steal such a poignant scene from Wrath of Khan.  The only thing that was missing was the “the needs of the one,” speech.  That shows me that the movie makers lacked enough creative ability to come up with something new and original and I can do nothing but condemn them for it.

The second thing is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch as Kahn.  This has to be the worst casting in movie history.  All trekkies know there can only ever be one kahn, Ricardo Montalban.  Not only did they cast an English speaking actor in the role, but he’s also white and thin.  They could at least of got an actor with a mediterranean complexion, an accent and some pecs.  They even had Spock yelling “KAAAAAHHHHHHHN.”  Oh please, just shoot me now.  The characterisation of Kahn was way off too.  This new one was totally cold and calculating, whereas the real Kahn had wit and charm, as well as being sexy.  Benedict’s Kahn was more of a robot than a humanoid.

I saw a few reviews for this movie when it first hit the cinemas, but I wanted to wait until it came out on DVD and give it a chance, being a trekkie myself, but I have to say, I’m totally disappointed in it.

I give Star Trek Into Darkness, 2 out of 5 stars, and that’s just for the special effects and the pleasure of seeing Karl Urban again.

Acts of Life release party and giveaway



Announcing the Acts of Life release party and giveaway event.

Over on my facebook author page I’m running an event to celebrate the release of Acts of Life.  I’m combining the event with an easy, fun competition to give away ten e-copies of the book.  In order to take part, follow these simple instructions.

Go to the event here and join.

Write a story in no more than 300  words and post it on the page.  Your story can be any genre and have any storyline you choose but it must centre around a celebrity.  Your chosen celebrity can be a real one (alive or dead) or one you’ve made up.

On Friday 21st June I shall pick ten winners who will each win an e-copy of Acts of Life.

If less than 20 take part in the competition, it will be cancelled, so get your stories in as soon as possible to be in with a chance of winning.  It’s fun, its easy and the prize is worth a little effort.  One participant has already posted  his story, so hop on over to the event now and join up.

My first audio interview with The Bookcast

Today, my very first audio interview with Bill Thompson of The Bookcast went live.  The interview was about my book, Floxham Island.  I’ve never done an audio interview before and I was really nervous about it.  I’ve done quite a few written interviews and they’re fine.  You get an email with questions, you write your answers at your leisure and send them back, voila.  With an audio interview you don’t know that the hell you’re going to be asked, it’s all right off the cuff.

I needn’t have worried though, Bill is lovely and put me at ease right away.  He’d very obviously read the book, some of the questions proved that and our conversation was so different from the usual interview questions.  He gave me an opportunity to talk about how I write and why I write the way I do, my thinking behind it and my feelings about it.  I felt it was an interview as much about me as about the book.

Here’s the link to the interview.  Scroll down the page a little and click on the media player.

If you’d like an audio interview with Bill at The Bookcast, click on the ‘contact us’ link at the top of his website and then click ‘request an interview.’


Sam Sinclair gives his first ever interview

floxham final blog size


I’m delighted to be able to announce that Sam Sinclair, star of Floxham Island ~ Sinclair V-Log AZ267/M has dropped by to give his very first interview.  This was an exciting moment for me as Sam usually shuns the limelight but he was open, honest and friendly during our conversation.

In the interview he gives us more insight into the experience he recounts in Floxham Island and gives us a teaser of his next scheduled video log release.

Click here for Sam Sinclair’s first ever interview.

Movie Review – Sunshine

sunshine (3)


This 2007 movie, directed by Danny Boyle, was on tv last night and with nothing else worthy of my attention, I decided to watch it.  I’d never heard of it before but the very brief blurb on the tv guide website intrigued me.  It sounded just sci fi enough to interest me.

It stars Cillian Murphy, Rose Byrne, Cliff Curtis and Chris Evans, amongst others and centres around our own sun, which is dying.  The powers that be, decide to send a nuclear bomb (why do American movie makers think nuclear bombs solve everything?) strapped to a spaceship in the hopes of re-igniting our life giving star.

Also relevant to the story is the fact that a previous mission failed to release the bomb and also failed to return to Earth.

I was delighted to find the action begins right at the start of the film, without any of the boring scene setting.  The inter personal dynamic between the characters is pretty good, if a little dramatic and I was very pleasantly surprised to listen to dialogue that I found believable and natural.

The character of Searle, played by the gorgeous Cliff Curtis, from the tv series Missing,  seems a little suspicious as the movie unfolds and I found myself believing that he would turn out to be a bad guy.  I was wrong and he gives his life to save the others.  They find the original lost spaceship and plan to use it to help them re-ignite the sun but soon discover it has been sabotaged and is unusable.  A video recording made by one of the crew of the original craft seems to indicate that he went nuts and killed his crew members and sabotaged the ship.

The cast also includes Michelle Yeoh, of Babylon AD fame, who plays a character named Corazon.  Her character is a little weak and I feel she had little to bring to the table in this movie.  Another thing that disappointed me was that each character was the only one who could fulfill his/her particular role.  I’d have thought in a real life situation, NASA would ensure many crew members could fulfill different roles, in case of accidents or death etc.  Still, I know it’s a movie so let’s move on.

I really enjoyed this movie, apart from the end.  I found the introduction of the nutjob from the previous spaceship, and his subsequent behaviour, was too silly.  The movie makers went a bit overboard in making him a fully functioning wacko and it made me cringe.

Everyone dies in the end, which pleased me and made up for the fact that yet again, one lone person saves the day with seconds to spare (groan).  The movie is atmospheric without resorting to ridiculously low light levels which is a very annoying habit movie makers have when they don’t want to bother with effects (or can’t afford them).  The dialogue is good and the story simple but well played.

I’d recommend it.

Movie Review – Prometheus



I watched my dvd of Prometheus for the second time last night.  I purchased it as soon as it became available on dvd and was excited to see it.  After the first viewing I was a bit disappointed and discovered that the general opinion ‘out there’ in cyber space was similar to my own.  I’d been led to believe that Prometheus was a sort of ‘prequel’ to the Alien series but my first viewing didn’t really seem to give me what I’d expected – an explanation of what happened before Alien 1.

So yesterday I was bored and decided to watch it again and I have to say, I enjoyed it much more the second time around and I ‘got’ the clues that link it to Alien.

The first big clue comes when the crew of the Prometheus enter a large chamber and find this:-



As soon as I saw it, and in fact even when I first watched it I recognised this scene, I realised that this was in the first Alien movie.  See this pic, taken from Alien 1.



As the story in Prometheus unfolds, we find out that the tunnels and chambers the crew have found is actually a spaceship, piloted by giant but surprisingly human-like aliens who go around the galaxy seeding worlds with the building blocks of life.  They discover that these beings were responsible for creating life on Earth.  These being also take it upon themselves to revisit the worlds they’ve previously seeded with life, to destroy their creations.  We are given no explanation as to why they should choose to do this, but it may be so that they can start over with improved ‘life stuff’ or they may have run out of uninhabited worlds to seed, or any number of other reasons.  We are left to presume that the ‘life stuff’ they use to seed worlds is different than the ‘stuff’ they use to destroy life.

Without giving too much away, it seems that the destructive ‘stuff’ sometimes gets out and destroys the beings themselves, hence the mummified remains of what has become known as the ‘space jockey’ from Alien 1 in the shot above.

In Prometheus, we get a similar shot to the iconic scene in Alien 1 with all the alien eggs basking in the mist, only in Prometheus it’s ceramic jars of a black tar-like substance rather than eggs.  Remember that Prometheus pre-dates Alien and the creature we all know and love from the Alien series, hasn’t evolved from this original black substance yet.

The crew of the Prometheus discover that this particular alien spaceship was intending to revisit Earth with the intention of wiping out life and when they find one of the original beings still alive in cryo sleep and wake him up, he tries to continue with his plan.  It is then up to the remaining crew members to prevent this from happening.

We are also treated to another ‘evil android’ in Prometheus like the one in Alien.  This time he’s called David and seems a bit more human in his understanding of emotions but still there’s always something creepy about him that screams “I’m a bad guy, don’t for fuck’s sake trust me,” only the crew do trust him, of course.

Charlize Theron’s character Meredith Vickers is, in my own personal view, totally unnecessary to the movie.  Whenever the character appeared I found myself groaning with irritation and twice used the opportunity to go and make a cup of coffee.  I was so glad her character died, thereby ensuring she doesn’t return in any future prequel sequels.

Another tie to Alien is the sole surviving female at the end of the movie who, carrying the severed head of David, the android who has informed her that this planet has other alien spacecraft waiting to be discovered, decides to take off in one of them and head for wherever it is the giant humanoid beings originated from, which leaves the way nicely open for a sequel to the prequel.

The dynamic between the crew members is a bit hammy and we have the stereotypical testosterone fuelled arguments between the males and the secret evil doings of  David the android and Meredith Vickers, all of which are completely predictable.  There are two crew members who are supposed to be highly educated scientists but both behave like 15 year old chavs on cannabis.  I would expect more of Ridley Scott.  This seems to be a recurring thing in today’s high budget American made movies – little attention to plausible dynamic between characters and dependence upon expensive effects.

If you watched Prometheus when it came out and didn’t like it.  Give it another go and watch a bit more closely.  You might very well enjoy it much more, I did.

One more thing – if this wasn’t connected to the Alien series, I would very probably still hate it.  As a movie in its own right, it sucks cock but as a prequel to Alien with answers to some of the questions we all have about the origins, it’s not bad.

God Save Me From Armchair Pop Psychologists



I saw this on facebook today and was so incensed I just had to blog about it.  It was posted by Tyrese Gibson (the singer/actor?  The black guy from Fast and Furious?).  Tyrese has tried his hand at a few things in order to keep his name in the media, from acting, to singing and even co-authoring a book and the one thing that ties all these these three things together is that he’s lukewarm at all of them.  Never mind, that’s not the point of the blog.

Some time ago he co-authored a book that got a moment of public notice for a day or two.  I bought it and even read it and agreed with some of it.  It was meant to be a man’s eye view of relationships and how to get on in life generally and once you managed to drag yourself through the first half of the book, which was just a biopic of his own life, he and his co-author then gave vent to their own views on how we should all behave in order to better our lives in all sorts of ways.

Today Tyrese posted the above photograph on his facebook page and I was enraged enough to comment on it.

What he’s saying, in essence, is that sexy women are boring and boring in bed.  Whilst I cannot find a single reason to argue with this pearl of wisdom (we women have known this for centuries but men have never listened), it amazes me that he is preaching this stuff as his own opinion.

So if he believes sexy women are boring in bed, whey then has he never dated/married a plain dumpy frumpy woman huh?  He obviously believes that all of the sexy women he’s been seen with are all boring and boring in bed?  Does he have a current girlfriend/wife?  Does she know he finds her boring in bed?  If not then someone please tell her and let me see her reaction.

Perhaps he doesn’t find his current girlfriend/wife (if there is one) sexy at all?  Perhaps that’s why he’s with her, for her wonderful personality and interesting knowledge and experience.  Does she know he finds her unattractive?  If not, please inform her and let me see her reaction.

With the above statement, Mr Gibson is biting off his own balls without having the basic intelligence to realise the idiocy of the statement.  Either all his sexy women are boring, or all his interesting ones are ugly.  Which is it brah..?

Of course he could turn around and deny that this is his opinion at all, in which case why post such rubbish and put the title of his up-coming book on the bottom of it?  Seriously, does this guy even have a brain?

Tyrese, you’re a good looking dude.  Stick to looking pretty and leave the armchair pop psychology to those of us who actually understanding people huh?

Movie Review – Skyfall



My mother came to stay with me for three weeks in early February to make it up to me for not spending Christmas with me and to help me celebrate my birthday.  Whilst she was here, she bought me a copy of Skyfall, the latest James Bond movie, on dvd.

My parents were always Bond fans and used to go to the local cinema every time a new Bond movie came out and I remember suffering the boredom of having to tag along.  I grew up hating Bond and all that he stood for and have always said that there’s only one Bond film I like – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with George Lazenby.

Despite this fact, and largely due to the fact that I love the title song by Adele, Skyfall caught my attention and I decided that when it became available on dvd, I would buy it and give it a go.  I approved of Daniel Craig’s appointment as Bond and that helped my decision too.  Well, mother pre empted this by purchasing it for me and I watched it a few days ago.

I loved it.

For the first time ever, we see Bond as more of a ‘person’ than a robot killing machine without emotion.  He’s flawed in this movie, he suffers emotionally, he’s human.  Daniel Craig is not bad looking (although I’m not into white men, he isn’t bad) and he has a great body and fabulous arse, which always helps.  We learn about his life before he became 007, his troubled childhood and that helped me connect with him in a way I’ve never been able to before.  Characters who are troubled, who struggle with emotional baggage and still win through, always turn me on and if they’re nice lookers too, all the better.

The only bit that lets it down is Naomie Harris’s character, Eve Moneypenny.  Her acting in this role sucked cock and her character was weak.

I’d give this 8 out of 10.

David The Hayemaker Haye and how he punched me in the face (virtually)

I used to be connected to David Haye’s facebook page.  I say used to be, because I’m not anymore.  I unliked his page this morning because something weird and strangely hilarious happened overnight that once again reinforces my somewhat sceptical view of the morals of most celebrities.

David recently brought out an iphone game app and he’s been spamming facebook with ads for it for a couple of weeks now.  I don’t have an iphone (I’m android) so I’ve not taken any interest and I have to admit that the amount of spam he’s been chucking out about it was becoming a tad annoying.  Anyway, a couple of days ago he posted a comment moaning about how few people seem to have downloaded his new game app and asking “why” we all hadn’t rushed to buy it (yes it’s a pay to download one, not free) and telling us that we should borrow an iphone from our friends or family so we can buy his new game.  Loads of people commented, and some of the comments were uncomplimentary about his new business/money making stance he seems to be taking since leaving the jungle.

I commented that as I don’t have an iphone, nor do I have a family and nor do I have friends who will loan me their iphone just so I can buy and play his new game app, I wasn’t interested.  I think I actually used the term “stick it.”  Not very ladylike I agree but it was extremely tame alongside some of the other comments I read (and laughed out loud at).

This morning I log onto facebook to find he’d banned me from commenting on his pics..!

I must admit I was amazed at that but then I laughed and am still giggling about it now (several hours later) and now I just think, what a self important asshole and how glad I am that I didn’t waste too much time being a fan.  Actually it was only the sight of his naked butt in the jungle that made me aware that he even existed as I hate boxing and think it should be banned, but I digress.  This is no loss to me at all and in fact it’s given me an interesting subject to blog about so I reckon I gained from this hilarious experience.

I often wonder whether it’s the money or the fame that turns what may have once been normal nice people into these self important megalomaniacs.  I then wonder if there is a cure.  I then realise I’m thankful I have the insight and self awareness not to ever become like that myself.

At the end of the day, I’ve been proved correct in my views on celebrities yet again.  I haven’t lost anything and my life will continue just as it always does.  He on the other hand, is famous and should be more aware that people talk to one another.  Word gets around and when you’re famous, you really shouldn’t piss off the folks you’re hoping are going to make you even richer.  He says he wants to become “an established actor” within 5 years.

That’s plenty of time for word to get around and bite him on his cute ass.