Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Roundup: Vacation edition

I'm on vacation this week, off gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest, getting back to my roots while drinking excellent cappuccinos and craft beers and Columbia Valley wines. Hence, this is going to be a quick one.

First up: Glitter Princes. Here's Smitty, the rattiest and meanest of this glamorous gaggle of spies. His cover is an auto mechanic. He doesn't get along with his fellow Glitter Princes (well, except for Rob--everyone gets along with Rob), largely because he assumes none of the others are taking their life-and-death missions seriously enough. He's probably right.

I have trouble with Smitty's hair. Apart from being a glamorous redhead, he needs to have some clean, clear way to differentiate him from the others, especially Etienne and Marcel (Sebastian and Rob sorta have their own visual thing going). I've more or less decided he should always have a shaggy mullet, which he often yanks back into an unkempt ponytail.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Film Review: Tom at the Farm

In deep grief over the sudden death of his lover, Guillaume, a young man named Tom travels from Montreal to a gloomy dairy farm in rural Canada to pay his respects to the deceased’s family. Guillaume’s bereaved mother, Agathe (Lise Roy), welcomes Tom warmly enough, but appears to have no idea who he is; erring on the side of caution, Tom introduces himself as simply a coworker and friend. Guillaume’s brutish, volatile brother Francis (the excellent Pierre-Yves Cardinal, who physically resembles a brooding, Gallic, malevolent Ben Affleck) is desperate to keep the nature of Tom’s relationship with Guillaume a secret from his mother. He enlists Tom’s reluctant aid in maintaining a web of careful lies about Guillaume’s fictional girlfriend, a woman named Sarah. When Tom balks at going along with the ruse, Francis turns nasty. Emotional manipulation and intimidation escalate into vicious physical attacks, and Tom soon finds himself a prisoner on the farm, caught up in the bizarre dynamic between Francis and Agathe.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Miami Vice Mondays: “Whatever Works”

Episode: Season Two, Episode Two: “Whatever Works”
Original airdate: October 4, 1985
Directed by: John Nicollela
Written by: Maurice Hurley

Two cops are shot execution-style, with Santeria talismans left at the crime scene. Crockett and Tubbs investigate the murders and find local crime lords acting unusually wary and trigger-happy around the police, having been deeply spooked by something.

Castillo consults with his old friend Chata (Eartha Kitt, fabulous), a university professor/Santeria priestess, who provides him with access to the inner workings of Miami’s Santeria community. It turns out the slain cops, along with a couple of their comrades, had been brutalizing and extorting money from local miscreants, even going so far as to kidnap the son of Victor Davila (Hector Jaime Mercado), a powerful drug lord and Santeria practitioner. After Davila murders another crooked cop in retaliation, the cop’s partner (Bruce MacVittie) heads after him, guns blazing. Bloodshed and tears ensue.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Roundup: Tom at the Farm, Common People, Attack on Titan, and more Glitter Princes

Happy Friday! Just look at all the fresh content I’ve churned out in July thus far! Not one but two brand-new Duranalyses (Kulture Shock and “Come Undone”), plus a bunch of Miami Vice, a little Kidd Video, and that epic-length Sailor Moon piece. This, for me, is an unprecedented level of summer activity.

Crunching the numbers on my site traffic over the past seven weeks (in which I turned out fifteen new posts), compared to the seven weeks prior to that (in which I turned out five new posts), it looks like the overall number of visitors to this website has… dropped fourteen percent.


Too bad. I’m going to continue to ride this rare burst of summer productivity. Onward and upward!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Duranalysis: “Come Undone”

Like a radio tune I swear I’ve heard before…

“Come Undone” is the second single off of the band’s 1993 self-titled album, which is known far and wide as the Wedding Album, because Duran Duran had already released a self-titled album back in 1981 and life is plenty confusing as it is, thank you very much. The video was directed by Julien Temple, who also directed the classic 1988 comedy Earth Girls Are Easy. It’s a very pretty video (just look at all those bright, colorful, exotic fish! Just look at all those bright, colorful, exotic Durans!), but I’m correct in assuming we’d all rather be watching Earth Girls Are Easy, right?

Monday, July 20, 2015

Miami Vice Mondays: "Definitely Miami"

Episode:  Season Two, Episode Twelve: “Definitely Miami
Original airdate: January 10, 1986
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by: Michael Ahnemann and Daniel Pyne

Crockett becomes involved with Callie, a beautiful bad-news blonde (Arielle Dombaselle) with a dangerous scuzzball of a husband, Charlie (Ted Nugent, yikes). Believing Crockett to be his criminal alter ego, drug runner Sonny Burnett, Callie and Charlie run a scam on him, one they’ve executed successfully many times before: Claiming that Charlie is abusive, Callie seduces shady men and maneuvers them into in sketchy deals with Charlie under the pretense of protecting her, whereupon Charlie murders them and steals their money.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Roundup: Book stuff, Glitter Princes, summer cocktails.

My friend Ray Black just got a great review from Kirkus Reviews for his middle-grade book, Ethan Weiss and the City Between Two Rivers, which I published this year through my company, Luft Books. The review calls his book, "An imaginative adventure in a fully realized alternate world that young readers will surely want to visit", which is an apt assessment. Check out the full review here.

No book giveaways to report this week, but all of my Kindle-formatted ebooks are priced at a very reasonable $2.99 at Amazon. Looking for summer reading? Here's a full rundown of my books, complete with descriptions and purchase links. Still not sure which book is right for you? Take this highly-scientific (if slightly outdated) quiz over at the official Luft Books website, and it should point you in the right direction. Or just start with Bias Cut--that one is generally a crowd-pleaser. Don't have $2.99 to spare? Eh, no worries. Leave me a comment here or Tweet at me, and we'll work something out.