December 28, 2014

How The Future of the Chronicles of Narnia Could Work

At the moment, the future of the Narnia film series is in limbo. Yes, pre-production is happening, or beginning to happen on The Silver Chair but truly, to me, unless I see a trailer, or a poster etc. a movie simply does not exist. Remember all those false starts on Ghostbusters 3, and even The Hobbit? Exactly. The movie could get canceled tomorrow (I hope not, but I'm going going somewhere with this.

So, with that in mind, I have an idea, or a few ideas, on how Narnia could get rebooted and work all the way through so that all seven books will finally make it to onto a screen.

Here it is.

BBC self-reboots Narnia.

Before the splendid 2005 live action film, BBC in the late '80s – early '90s made The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair as...movies I guess? I saw them – they weren't too bad. Old, and a little low budget but enjoyable (I prefer the more recent live action films myself overall).

Given the popularity and quality of BBC programs lately (hey, I may not like Dr Who, but it seems to be doing something right if it has so many fans) another shot at Narnia could very well work.

First of all, I would prefer if the books were adapted in the order they were written, as opposed to the chronological order, but it truly does not matter that much, so long as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Voyager of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair occur in that order as they seem to follow an overall story connecting one from the other.

Anyway, each of the seven books could be it's own min-series, with a few 'movie length' episodes per 'series'. Example: if the The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe gets made first, it could have approx 3 episode or so, each being about 90 minutes.

I suggest this method that way the series can get the time it deserves to develop over time and not have to worry about the runtime of a film, nor making its budget etc. Besides, BBC is esteemed so viewership is almost a certainty, and the source material familiar and popular.

But I really hope that The Silver Chair along with the rest of the series. Should the films not continue, I would like to see this or a similar approach taken.  

December 23, 2014

"A Christmas Dinner"

Early Dickens Christmas story describes a Christmas dinner at the home of Uncle and Aunt George. Originally published in Bell's Life in London in 1835 under the name Scenes and Characters No. 10 Christmas Festivities.

A Christmas Dinner
Charles Dickens 1835

Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused - in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened - by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you thatDecember - CruikshankChristmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes - of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune. Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world, who cannot call up such thoughts any day in the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire - fill the glass and send round the song - and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it off-hand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it's no worse. Look on the merry faces of your children (if you have any) as they sit round the fire. One little seat may be empty; one slight form that gladdened the father's heart, and roused the mother's pride to look upon, may not be there. Dwell not upon the past; think not that one short year ago, the fair child now resolving into dust, sat before you, with the bloom of health upon its cheek, and the gaiety of infancy in its joyous eye. Reflect upon your present blessings - of which every man has many - not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. Fill your glass again, with a merry face and contented heart. Our life on it, but your Christmas shall be merry, and your new year a happy one!

Who can be insensible to the outpourings of good feeling, and the honest interchange of affectionate attachment, which abound at this season of the year? A Christmas family-party! We know nothing in nature more delightful! There seems a magic in the very name of Christmas. Petty jealousies and discords are forgotten; social feelings are awakened, in bosoms to which they have long been strangers; father and son, or brother and sister, who have met and passed with averted gaze, or a look of cold recognition, for months before, proffer and return the cordial embrace, and bury their past animosities in their present happiness. Kindly hearts that have yearned towards each other, but have been withheld by false notions of pride and self-dignity, are again reunited, and all is kindness and benevolence! Would that Christmas lasted the whole year through (as it ought), and that the prejudices and passions which deform our better nature, were never called into action among those to whom they should ever be strangers!

The Christmas family-party that we mean, is not a mere assemblage of relations, got up at a week or two's notice, originating this year, having no family precedent in the last, and not likely to be repeated in the next. No. It is an annual gathering of all the accessible members of the family, young or old, rich or poor; and all the children look forward to it, for two months beforehand, in a fever of anticipation. Formerly, it was held at grandpapa's; but grandpapa getting old, and grandmamma getting old too, and rather infirm, they have given up house-keeping, and domesticated themselves with uncle George; so, the party always takes place at uncle George's house, but grandmamma sends in most of the good things, and grandpapa always WILL toddle down, all the way to Newgate-market, to buy the turkey, which he engages a porter to bring home behind him in triumph, always insisting on the man's being rewarded with a glass of spirits, over and above his hire, to drink 'a merry Christmas and a happy new year' to aunt George. As to grandmamma, she is very secret and mysterious for two or three days beforehand, but not sufficiently so, to prevent rumours getting afloat that she has purchased a beautiful new cap with pink ribbons for each of the servants, together with sundry books, and pen-knives, and pencil-cases, for the younger branches; to say nothing of divers secret additions to the order originally given by aunt George at the pastry-cook's, such as another dozen of mince- pies for the dinner, and a large plum-cake for the children.

On Christmas-eve, grandmamma is always in excellent spirits, and after employing all the children, during the day, in stoning the plums, and all that, insists, regularly every year, on uncle George coming down into the kitchen, taking off his coat, and stirring the pudding for half an hour or so, which uncle George good-humouredly does, to the vociferous delight of the children and servants. The evening concludes with a glorious game of blind-man's-buff, in an early stage of which grandpapa takes great care to be caught, in order that he may have an opportunity of displaying his dexterity.

On the following morning, the old couple, with as many of the children as the pew will hold, go to church in great state: leaving aunt George at home dusting decanters and filling casters, and uncle George carrying bottles into the dining-parlour, and calling for corkscrews, and getting into everybody's way.

When the church-party return to lunch, grandpapa produces a small sprig of mistletoe from his pocket, and tempts the boys to kiss their little cousins under it - a proceeding which affords both the boys and the old gentleman unlimited satisfaction, but which rather outrages grandmamma's ideas of decorum, until grandpapa says, that when he was just thirteen years and three months old, HE kissed grandmamma under a mistletoe too, on which the children clap their hands, and laugh very heartily, as do aunt George and uncle George; and grandmamma looks pleased, and says, with a benevolent smile, that grandpapa was an impudent young dog, on which the children laugh very heartily again, and grandpapa more heartily than any of them.

But all these diversions are nothing to the subsequent excitement when grandmamma in a high cap, and slate-coloured silk gown; and grandpapa with a beautifully plaited shirt-frill, and white neckerchief; seat themselves on one side of the drawing-room fire, with uncle George's children and little cousins innumerable, seated in the front, waiting the arrival of the expected visitors. Suddenly a hackney-coach is heard to stop, and uncle George, who has been looking out of the window, exclaims 'Here's Jane!' on which the children rush to the door, and helter-skelter down- stairs; and uncle Robert and aunt Jane, and the dear little baby, and the nurse, and the whole party, are ushered up-stairs amidst tumultuous shouts of 'Oh, my!' from the children, and frequently repeated warnings not to hurt baby from the nurse. And grandpapa takes the child, and grandmamma kisses her daughter, and the confusion of this first entry has scarcely subsided, when some other aunts and uncles with more cousins arrive, and the grown-up cousins flirt with each other, and so do the little cousins too, for that matter, and nothing is to be heard but a confused din of talking, laughing, and merriment.

A hesitating double knock at the street-door, heard during a momentary pause in the conversation, excites a general inquiry of 'Who's that?' and two or three children, who have been standing at the window, announce in a low voice, that it's 'poor aunt Margaret.' Upon which, aunt George leaves the room to welcome the new-comer; and grandmamma draws herself up, rather stiff and stately; for Margaret married a poor man without her consent, and poverty not being a sufficiently weighty punishment for her offence, has been discarded by her friends, and debarred the society of her dearest relatives. But Christmas has come round, and the unkind feelings that have struggled against better dispositions during the year, have melted away before its genial influence, like half-formed ice beneath the morning sun. It is not difficult in a moment of angry feeling for a parent to denounce a disobedient child; but, to banish her at a period of general good- will and hilarity, from the hearth, round which she has sat on so many anniversaries of the same day, expanding by slow degrees from infancy to girlhood, and then bursting, almost imperceptibly, into a woman, is widely different. The air of conscious rectitude, and cold forgiveness, which the old lady has assumed, sits ill upon her; and when the poor girl is led in by her sister, pale in looks and broken in hope - not from poverty, for that she could bear, but from the consciousness of undeserved neglect, and unmerited unkindness - it is easy to see how much of it is assumed. A momentary pause succeeds; the girl breaks suddenly from her sister and throws herself, sobbing, on her mother's neck. The father steps hastily forward, and takes her husband's hand. Friends crowd round to offer their hearty congratulations, and happiness and harmony again prevail.

As to the dinner, it's perfectly delightful - nothing goes wrong, and everybody is in the very best of spirits, and disposed to please and be pleased. Grandpapa relates a circumstantial account of the purchase of the turkey, with a slight digression relative to the purchase of previous turkeys, on former Christmas-days, which grandmamma corroborates in the minutest particular. Uncle George tells stories, and carves poultry, and takes wine, and jokes with the children at the side-table, and winks at the cousins that are making love, or being made love to, and exhilarates everybody with his good humour and hospitality; and when, at last, a stout servant staggers in with a gigantic pudding, with a sprig of holly in the top, there is such a laughing, and shouting, and clapping of little chubby hands, and kicking up of fat dumpy legs, as can only be equalled by the applause with which the astonishing feat of pouring lighted brandy into mince-pies, is received by the younger visitors. Then the dessert! - and the wine! - and the fun! Such beautiful speeches, and SUCH songs, from aunt Margaret's husband, who turns out to be such a nice man, and SO attentive to grandmamma! Even grandpapa not only sings his annual song with unprecedented vigour, but on being honoured with an unanimous ENCORE, according to annual custom, actually comes out with a new one which nobody but grandmamma ever heard before; and a young scapegrace of a cousin, who has been in some disgrace with the old people, for certain heinous sins of omission and commission - neglecting to call, and persisting in drinking Burton Ale - astonishes everybody into convulsions of laughter by volunteering the most extraordinary comic songs that ever were heard. And thus the evening passes, in a strain of rational good-will and cheerfulness, doing more to awaken the sympathies of every member of the party in behalf of his neighbour, and to perpetuate their good feeling during the ensuing year, than half the homilies that have ever been written, by half the Divines that have ever lived.Copyright © 1997-2014 David A. Perdue, All Rights Reserved.

December 21, 2014

Getting the Fantasy Movie Fix

As you saw; either in theaters or courtesy of my latest blog post, The Hobbit trilogy is finished. Peter Jackson's Middle-earth film saga has concluded.

There are still some things to look forward to, at least on my end of things - the extended edition trilogy on blu-ray, a possible Complete Recordings of The Hobbit... but it seems I am nearing the end of my fantasy movie fix.

There's no real telling of when we'll get the fourth Narnia film, The Silver Chair, but the Narnia chronicles are more light hearted than the Peter Jackson films.

I do, however, see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Enter Warcraft. 

The film, due out in March 2016, is based on the very first PC game, Warcraft. I have played that game, Warcraft II, a bit of Warcraft III, and about a year and half worth of World of Warcraft. That sounds like a lot on paper, but really, I am pretty much unfamiliar with the mythos.

I am quite interested and hopeful about the forthcoming film. I believe that if it is well-done, it can fill the 'hole' some of us my be feeling now that The Hobbit has finished. Also, assuming that the extended edition for Part 3 arrives November at the latest (and my box set), that leaves us with a few months to wait. And if David Fincher made an awesome movie about Facebook, I have faith that Duncan Jones can make a great film based on a video game. It's high-time there was a movie based on a video game that's actually good.

And so, Warcraft will be my next 'hugely anticipated' film. I am looking forward to others, such as Marvel films, and Mockingjay: Part 2 (as of now) but Warcraft will be the next one I follow closely...without watching too much footage. I'll see the first trailer or two, but I do not want to 'ruin' the film.

Before I close, you can choose two sides for marketing, promoting etc. : 

I chose Alliance. Generally, I prefer being 'human' in multi-species games etc. Also, sure the film will tell the tale of both the Alliance and Horde, it seems that the Horde are 'invaders' but I am sure there is more to it than that.

And here's some of the cast....

"The Hobbit: Part 3" Spoiler-Free Review

Well, this is it. Most likely the final Middle-earth film to ever be released. Herein, I shall review the film, spoiler-free.

December 18, 2014

"The Tale of the Children of Hurin" - New Edition

The new 'black' edition of The Children of Hurin by Harper Collins has now been released - in the UK (the release date for other areas, like Canada,  has it listed as February 17, 2015. So the best thing to do, is order it from , seeing as the book's already published, and they offer free shipping.

Possibly Tolkien's last 'new' book set in Middle-earth / Beleriand / Numenor / The Realms & Legends That He Created, not counting anniversary, deluxe, or illustrated editions of works previously published.

Long before the One Ring was forged in the fires of Mount Doom, one man—Húrin—dared to defy Morgoth, the first and greatest of the dark lords to plague Middle-earth. Thus did he and his children, Túrin and Niënor, earn the enmity of a merciless foe that would shape the destiny of all the ages to come.

Only J.R.R. Tolkien, the undisputed master of the fantastic, could have conceived this magical tale of Elves and Men united against a brutal foe. And only Christopher Tolkien, the master’s son and literary heir, could have fit the pieces of his father’s unfinished work
together with such deep understanding and consummate artistry.

The ISBN for this edition is 9780007597338 , so be sure to search by that.

And here are the other 'black' books that are parts of the legends Tolkien created:

The Hobbit ISBN: 9780261103344 

The Fellowship of the Ring ISBN: 9780261103573

The Two Towers ISBN: 9780261103580

The Return of the King ISBN:  9780261103597

The Hobbit + The Lord of the Rings [same as above] boxed together ISBN: 9780261103566

The Silmarillion ISBN: 9780007523221

Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth ISBN: 9780261102163

December 17, 2014

The Return of the Imp

Nope...not the basic peons you fight against in Doom.

Nor is it Tyrion Lannister.

It's the return of "The Bottle Imp" by Beau's!

Last time. I only had one bottle before it was gone. Now, Beau's brought it back. I am not sure how long it will be around for...both this year, or ever.

Russian Imperial Stout • 9.0% alc/vol
The Bottle Imp is a strong, dark, roasty and rich creation. This rendition of a Russian Imperial Stout is also infused with a blend of Mexican and Ethiopian fair-trade organic coffee. Complex and contemplative, and with well-integrated alcohol warmth, The Bottle Imp is best served in a snifter, sipped slowly and savoured.

December 12, 2014

"The Spider's War" Coming in August

The epic conclusion to The Dagger and The Coin series is coming August 4, 2015.
Lord Regent Geder Palliako''s great war has spilled across the world, nation after nation falling before the ancient priesthood and weapon of dragons. But even as conquest follows conquest, the final victory retreats before him like a mirage. Schism and revolt begin to erode the foundations of the empire, and the great conquest threatens to collapse into a permanent war of all against all.

In Carse, with armies on all borders, Cithrin bel Sarcour, Marcus Wester, and Clara Kalliam are faced with the impossible task of bringing a lasting peace to the world. Their tools: traitors high in the imperial army, the last survivor of the dragon empire, and a financial scheme that is either a revolution or the greatest fraud in the history of the world.

ISBN: 9780316204057

The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham, in order:

The Dragon's Path
The King's Blood
The Tyrant's Law
The Widow's House
The Spider's War 

December 11, 2014

"Exodus: Gods and Kings" - Bad at the Theater....Better at Home?

Unfortunately, one of the movies I am looking forward to seeing, Exodus: Gods and Kings got attacked by 'the critics'.

Generally, that does not affect how I feel towards a film, nor do i pay that much attention to it. But it's at 27% at the moment (top critics) on Rotten Tomatoes. I am sure I will still see the film, but perhaps not in theaters.

Something similar happened with Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven, where the 'director's cut' on DVD was a vastly superior film (thanks to the success and footsteps of The Lord of the Rings extended editions) which in fact, made the film pretty amazing.

Likewise with Robin Hood, although there was not drastic enough difference between the unrated and theatrical.

And, I saw this on Wikipedia:

"In an interview for Access Hollywood, Scott claimed there was a "final" cut of the film that was 4 hours, implying that the version released in theaters was reduced by 90 minutes."

So I shall be on the lookout for that once it hits, and if that version is good, I may pick it up. For the time being, I shall wait for it to arrive on Netflix, or see it through...other means. Like a free movie at the theater, or if a friend loans me a copy.....

So sometimes a better 'version' comes out on DVD/ blu-ray / itunes that is not shown in theaters. This usually the case with comedies ('unrated' editions, etc..), Peter Jackson's Middle-earth films, and the odd random film here and there. 

My point is, no matter what you think of the theatrical cut, should you see it, wait until we all see this 'final cut' Ridley Scott has mentioned before passing 'final judgement' on this film.

It could make it like it did Kingdom of Heaven, or like the case of Troy, no matter what you do it, the film could be terrible no matter what. 

December 10, 2014

Christmas & Winter Beer List

I wrote earlier on when the winter beers started coming out, but I'd figure I would do up another post what with Christmas coming and all. 

The type of beer that is 'in season' now is darker and heavier / heartier beers such as stouts and dark ales etc to help you stay warm during the colder months. 

Here is what I would recommend to fellow beer drinkers to buy for themselves or for others.

- Church Key Holy Smoke Scotch Ale

6.2% Alc/Vol 11 IBU
(not a seasonal, but definitely enjoyed this time of year) A peat smoked Scotch ale. This unique brews heart is that 10% of the malt is kilned over a peat fire, giving beautiful, deep rich smoky tones to the beer. It pours dark brown with a light tan head. It is low in hop bitterness and its profile is dominated by the sweet and smoky malts.

- Beau's Bogwater [winter seasonal] Eastern Ontario Gruit6.6% alc/vol
The inspiration for BOG•WATER came from the Alfred Bog, a truly unique feature of Eastern Ontario. The malt and yeast profile is that of a Belgian Dubbel, a very contemplative and complex ale, and we added an interesting twist: we use wild harvested bog myrtle, an herb used in brewing extensively until the 1500s. Bog myrtle adds bitterness, a sweet aroma and herbal spicy notes. The result is a beer style we can claim is truly our own, an Eastern Ontario Gruit.

- Beau's Tom Green Beer milk stout
5.0% alc/vol
(not a seasonal, but definitely enjoyed this time of year) Beau’s and Canadian actor and comedian Tom Green have collaborated to create The Tom Green Beer. A milk stout, The Tom Green Beer displays flavours of chocolate and coffee, while delivering a creamy, velvety texture, and finishing with a mild sweetness.

- Best of Beau's 2014 mixpack
The BEST OF BEAU’S is a mix pack featuring an eclectic mix of our most sought after one-off creations. All four beers were chosen through popular vote, by those who know best – our fans! Each Best of Beau’s Mix Pack contains one 600mL bottle of... Winterbrewed (Coffee-Amber), Burnt Rock (Vanilla Porter), St. Luke's Verse (Lavender Gruit), and Mission Accomplished (American IPA)!

- Wychwood's Bah Humbug Christmas Ale 

Tis the season to be jolly - oh no it isn't!
At least you can take refuge from the Christmas shopping with this rich, fruity spiced ale guaranteed to make even the most seasoned party pooper smile.

- Wychwood's 'Beers of Character' mix pack 
2014 includes Hobgoblin, Scarecrow, Dr. Thirstry and Imperial Red

- Muskoka Winterbeard

Our Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is rich and sturdy with roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. Pair that with a slightly higher alcohol content and you’ll find yourself sharing this bottle of joy all winter long.
ABV: 8.0%

...and finally, my favourite beer (year round) deserves a mention:

- Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale(not a seasonal, but definitely enjoyed this time of year) 5.6% alc/vol
Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale is an imaginative interpretation of the Pale Ale style and features a unique northern-inspired medley of ingredients. Sweet Gale, Yarrow, Dried Heather Flowers, Rose Hips, and Cranberries comprise its balanced fruit-and-herb bouquet, while a Maple-Syrup addition rounds out the complex character of the beer. The Nordic pale ale features intricate herbal nuance, moderate hop presence, pleasant dryness, and a crisp finish.

No matter what you choose, enjoy (responsibly of course). I hope this helps, and that you discover new beers. 

And, of course, if Santa is reading this, I would not say 'no' to any of these.

St. Bernardus

Thanks to a video that LCBO posted on their facebook page, I have discovered another beer (or brewery, rather) that I am interested in trying:

St. Bernardus.

The LCBO advertises and promotes the 'mixed selection' 6-pack. Inside of that, you get one of:

- Wit
traditional Belgian white beer developed and brewed in collaboration with the legendary Master Brewer Pierre Celis. This ale is very pale (whitish-yellow color) and quite hazy. The head is white and dense. In aroma, it has a wheaty, apple-like, tartness; herbal-spicy notes with coriander and orangey fruitness and honeyish sweetness. Very refreshing: perfect thirst quencher ! (5,5% ABV)

- Pater 6
a traditional abbey style dubbel, chestnut in color, very fruity with notes of melon and very fresh banana, finishing with slight bitterness.
Delightfully easy to drink. (6,7% ABV)

- Watou Tripel (also exists as 750 ml bottle)
traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic "Triple" style of Belgium's best Abbey Ales. It has a blond to pale amber color with a wonderful head, slightly sweet aroma and the orangey-grassy flavors of hops in the finish. Wonderfully drinkable and surprisingly light (8,0% ABV)

- Prior 8 (also exists in a 750 ml bottle)
a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic "Dubbel" style of Belgium's Best Abbey Ales. It has a ruby to purple color, smooth, creamy richness of texture that is almost oily, and a malt-fruit complexity reminiscent of coconut. (8% alc. vol.)
It finds the perfect balance between sweet, bitter and malty tastes.

- Tripel (also exists as a 750 ml bottle)
a traditional abbey ale brewed in the classic "Triple" style of Belgium's best Abbey Ales. It has a blond to pale amber color with a wonderful head, slightly sweet aroma and the orangey-grassy flavors of hops in the finish. Wonderfully drinkable and surprisingly light (8,0% ABV)

- Abt 12 (also exists as a 750 ml bottle)
Abbey ale brewed in the classic 'Quadrupel' style of Belgium's best Abbey Ales. Dark with a full, ivory-colored head. It has a fruity aroma, full of complex flavours and excells because of its long bittersweet finish with a hoppy bite. (10,0% ABV) Worldwide seen as one of the best beers in the world. It's a very balanced beer, with a full-bodied taste and a perfect equilibrium between malty, bitter and sweet.

The Abt 12 is their 'flagship' beer. I will most likely start with that one in the New Year.

December 5, 2014

My Must-See movies of 2015 (and Beyond)

As 2014 winds down, I am looking ahead to see what movies coming up in the next bit interest me.

So, here is a look as of now...

Give Them The Gift of Reading

Christmas is, shockingly, weeks away, and that is a magical time of year for children and young ones. For some of us grown ups, the inner child that resides in our hearts also stirs up. 

So it is no surprise that I am going to recommend a few classic tales to entertain and entice children and younger readers, be it your own, or someone you know who has kids. Or even yourself if you fancy some post-Christmas shopping. 

December 2, 2014

No More Tolkien Movies - Potentially EVER

There is a strong chance that The Hobbit (Part 3) will be the last-ever Middle-earth movie. Peter Jackson stated this earlier which clears up any fans' hopes for future films (by him) :
"The Tolkien estate owns the writings of Professor Tolkien. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were sold by Professor Tolkien in the late '60s, the film rights," 

"They are the only two works of his that have ever been sold ... So without the cooperation of the Tolkien Estate, there can't be any more films."

So there you have it. As I've known for quite a while, other films such as parts of The Silmarillion, or Children of Hurin cannot, legally, be made.

However, I can see future films as something like....The Fellowship of the Ring takes places 60 years after The Hobbit. If more films are made between those two timespans, or other elements of the story not seen on film taking focus (especially The Lord of the Rings. The book is vastly different than the films, and there is lots of 'unexplored territory', especially in the Appendices sections). 

However this allows new fans, or 'movie-only fans' to discover Tolkien's works; from The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings to beyond, including The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales (which is ultimately an 'extended Appendices' that connects the two together), The Children of Hurin, and non-Middle-earth material such as The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, and Tolkien's Beowulf.

I understand not everyone reads (shame!) but a resource I recommend is 'The Tolkien Gateway' - it's a wiki, and as far as I've found the best Tolkien wiki on the net: [search in the top-right corner.]

Wii U: Super Smashed

According to Gamnesia, and other gaming sites, there is a major error which can, effectively, 'final smash' your WII U and the Smash Bros U game. Read about it here:

Very scary indeed. Bugs, glitches, crashes are one thing...but something on this scale is worrisome.

I own the game and have been playing it often within the past two weeks, and everything is fine on my end of things. Once I saw the severity of this bug, however, I have decided not to play until there is an update or patch from Nintendo, either for Smash Bros. U, the WII U itself, or both (I'm playing other games in the meantime).

I do have some observations, though:

- I'm one of those people who doesn't like to leave discs in players, drives, consoles etc. So when I finish playing, I always take the disc out and put it back in the case. Which means I don't 'turn off' the console while the game is running. I always press 'Home', then close software. Then I take the disc out, and shut off the console. [it's old habit: my OCD / ADD or whatever of putting things back, as well as being a longtime gamer, I've always taken Nintendo games out of the system when done). So if you insist on playing Smash Bros U, I HIGHLY recommend this practice of a proper shut down.
 I have also noticed that there are moments or spots in the game where you CAN'T press 'Home' - the game does not allow you. This is usually during gameplay. I think menu selection and character selection etc are instances of where you can.

- Since Smash Bros. U is one of those games like Mario Kart that does not have 'save files' (Legend of Zelda, Mario, etc). but constantly auto or self saves; I believe it is gamers turning the system off during these 'you can't go 'Home'' moments' (you are unable to acess the 'Home' menu and get a  that may contribute to the glitch. 

Nintendo, if you're reading this, please recommend my shut down method, as well as look into various areas and aspects of Smash Bros. U to get us all gaming again.

I hope that this is an easy fix (update or patch) and does not hurt Nintendo too badly.   

[for analytical / stat purposes for Nintendo, if they are reading this: my WII U is the 32GB deluxe Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker bundle edition. I have Smash Bros. U as a physical copy, and all of my data is saved onto the WII U itself.]


Apparantly that initial error message has come up a few very rare cases before with the release of other WII U games (Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Hyrule Warriors, etc..) so it's not Smash Bros. U itself that's the problem. Just make sure you're careful online, and you properly shut everything down when you're finished. Also, these could be 'modded' or 'hacked' (by the user) systems. Routinely check the WII U (or any electronic equipment you posses) to make sure it's not too dusty and is properly ventilated. Also handle the discs carefully so they will not get dirty or scratched.

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 Winners

The winners of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards have been announced!

They were selected by users who voted in a serious of rounds.

The winners are:

Landline by Rainbow Rowell ; Fiction 

Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King ; Mystery & Thriller 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ; Historical Fiction 

The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy Book 3) by Deborah Harkness ; Fantasy 

Written on My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander Book 8) by Diana Gabaldon ; Romance 

The Martian by Andy Weir ; Science Fiction 

Prince Lestat (Vampire Chronicles Book 1) by Anne Rice ; Horror 

Yes Please by Amy Poehler ; Humour 

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan ; Non-Fiction 

This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl, Lori Earl and Wayne Earl ; Memoir & Autobiography 

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport ; History & Biography 

Girlsboss by Sophia Amoruso ; Business 

Make it Ahead by Ina Green ; Food & Cookbooks 

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind ; Graphic Novels & Comics 

Lullabies by Lang Leav ; Poetry 

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy Book 1) by Pierce Brown ; Debut Goodreads Author 

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart ; Young Adult Fiction 

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments Book 6) by Cassandra Clare ; Young Adult Fantasy 

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus Book 5) by Rick Riordan ; Middle Grade & Children's 

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems ; Picture Books 

November 29, 2014

"Mockingjay (Part 1)" Spoiler-Free Review

I am not a big fan of young adult material, all that much. I've read, and enjoyed all seven of the Harry Potter books, and also enjoyed the films. There have been a few other YA books and movies since (and during) that, intentional or not, have tried to recreate (or 'cash-in', depending on your viewpoint) that level of quality, immersion and sizeable fanbase. 

I believe that The Hunger Games while possibly not the 'next' Harry Potter, is possibly the best young adult books (and films) since. 

I was pleasantly surprised after reading the first book (and the rest of the trilogy) by the the story, as well as the fact that I enjoyed it as much as I did. 

I was also surprised by the first film (as I was with a few of the Harry Potter films) that a movie this good could come from YA literature - it is a force to be reckoned with, that genre. Without a doubt, Jennifer Lawrence is the best aspect of that first film. 

And, the same goes with Catching Fire, the second installment. For the most part, they improved on The Hunger Games. But now, we approach the end of the franchise. 

First things first. You see 'Part 1' in this review, on posters etc...etc... that is because, like Harry Potter, they have split the finale into two films. So, really, I will let you know how much I enjoyed this film(s) next November. Just kidding. While reading the final book, I thought "this is going to be a long movie, or lots will be cut out, or both." (this was before the announcement that the finale would be a two-parter). So, I was glad that the last book got two films. There is quite a bit that goes on 'behind the scenes' or 'off the page' that warrants a split, dollar figures aside. It seems right that it got two films, the same way that Deathly Hallows, the ending of Harry Potter, did. The decision did not seem to boggle the mind like the ending of Twilight did (why was that two movies? Pure and simple, money, nothing to do with narrative.). My thoughts on The Hobbit getting three films is for another post, though I support it: expanded narrative etc. But anyway...  

The film basically picks up right where Catching Fire left off. In the future, I am sure people will be having four-movie marathons after next year's finale, but I would suggest brushing up on the Catching Fire story shortly before seeing this one. To not waste time, to my joy, there was not much 'recapping'. The film is more drama based than the other entries. It is more on the political side of the rebellion. Because of that, one could argue against the two-movie split, especially due to the 2 hour runtime (make it longer, or close to three hours than you could fit everything in. Then again, things may have had to get cut out of a single-movie Mockingjay to maximize theatrical potential) however it may have felt crammed or rushed, like the Goblet of Fire film did as an adaptation.

The acting is pretty good for a YA film. There are great moments throughout the series and this film, but special mention goes to the " is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!" speech, due the power and emotion Lawrence gives it.

The film ultimately spends about 2 hours to set things up for the finale, Mockingjay (Part 2) due next November. To quote another franchise: "The board is set...the pieces are moving." People who have read the book will definitely appreciate the split to stay more faithful to the source text; to include the non-Katniss scenes. Non readers may not be as 'forgiving', 'accepting' of the split. I have high hopes that next year, when the saga closes, that it will be worth it. 

I will close by saying that I am glad these films have turned out so well in terms of quality. They may not be nominated for any Oscars or high-end prestige awards; but it is safe to say that The Hunger Games on the whole will appear on many favourites, and I think this is one of the year's better films. I hunger for next year's installment, the finale - Mockingjay (Part 2)

By the way - the film ends with Katniss finding out what Snow meant when he said "It's the things we love the most, that destroy us."

(next year I'll review Part 2 on it's own, as well as the film series as a whole)


November 25, 2014

Do Not Weep For the End

"End? No, the journey doesn't end here"

It is now less than a month to go before myself (and my eight companions) see The Hobbit (Part 3), the last Peter Jackson Middle-earth film in cinemas.

Online, when it comes to the comments users have posted for posters, trailers, etc. they mention 'the end' and they oft refer to Gandalf and Pippin talking about death. 

Like Gandalf, I am here to tell you that this is not, indeed, the end. 

So once you see the final Hobbit film, there are some things you could do:

- see it again! If anybody could not make it out to see it with you, offer to take them, or join their group. 
- watch previous Middle-earth films
- look forward to The Hobbit (Part 3) Extended Edition (or, in my case, the 2D blu-ray trilogy box set; both of which should arrive next November) 
- read some Tolkien (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales to understand and appreciate why The Hobbit is three movies) 
- read some MORE Tolkien (Children of Hurin, Tales From the Perilous Realm, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, and Beowulf)
- listen to all the soundtracks 
- look forward to hopefully The Hobbit Complete recordings
- look forward to hopefully The Music of The Hobbit films book
- read some tales that inspired Tolkien to create his own realms by Penguin (Beowulf, The Elder Edda, The Saga of the Volsungs, and of course The Sagas of Icelanders
- play The Lord of the Rings Online
- take a trip to Oxford, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or New Zealand for your own Tolkien (or Tolkien-esque) experiences
- Tolkien was in a writing group called The Inklings with another famous author - C.S. Lewis. You could read the Narnia books (in the order they written, mind!) or watch the Narnia films if you've never seen them. After all, The Silver Chair is in pre-production so that's something else to look forward to. 

Also, just because this could be the last film based on the realms Tolkien created, does not mean that Jackson & co could also film some tales that inspired the professor?

Perhaps there could be another movie (or movie series) of Beowulf? King Arthur? Or maybe even some Legends of the Ancient North, such as Sigurd?   

Once the film arrives, I hope that you enjoy it, but do not despair too much once it ends. 

November 23, 2014

An Observation: Small Works by Big Authors

There is something I have noticed lately - some big (as in famous, high profile) authors that I follow have been writing smaller works lately.

No, this is not a complaint but a trend I have noticed recently, which is most likely coincidence. I am most likely (literally) reading too much into it. 

Some of these works are a part of the world of their more famous writings, other times it is unrelated. Here are some examples.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Great book. My paperback copy clocks in at...178 pages of story, and it begins on page 3.

The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King

This is basically The Dark Tower Book 4.5, but it was written after the seventh book, which is where the story ends. Making this book the 8th one published. my paperback begins on page 3, and is 384 pages. This title is longer than The Gunslinger, though that one is the first book in the series. The rest of the Dark Tower books have are longer than 385 pages. Keyhole is also a 'side story' of sorts - not essential to reading and finishing the 7 main books. But provides more information and 'links' books 4 and 5. Interesting that King wrote a story set in his universe after the main story has already finished and placed it as neither a prelude or follow-up, chronology wise. As far as I can C.S. Lewis did that also, perhaps. 

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The next book in Pat's fantasy trilogy is the third and final one, with the possible title of The Doors of Stone. The Slow Regard is a short story (or novella, I forget which is the proper term that Pat gave it) which takes place in his world - a kind of side story. It is by far his shortest work, and to my knowledge the only title that is not a 'big' (main) book to have its own separate release. Some of his other works have appeared in anthologies, but not individually yet. As I am waiting for the paperback release I do not own it yet. 

The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin

This one kind of counts, kind of doesn't. According to the 2014 re-release by Harper Voyager, it takes place in the same world as A Song of Ice and Fire. Written by George R.R. in 1980, this predates A Game of Thrones, the first book in Ice and Fire series; which was published in 1996. It has been released a few times since. the latest version, is fully illustrated and contains around 130 pages. Since this reissue came out during the Ice and Fire series, it gets a mention. 

The Fall of Arthur by J.R.R. Tolkien 

The Fall of Arthur is an unfinished poem by Tolkien. The book which came out not too long ago presents what Tolkien wrote of the poem, as well as other contents (Foreword, Note on the Text, Evolution of the Poem, and an Appendix on Old English Verse) however the poem itself is only about 45 pages in length.
Poems are vastly different than 'fiction' or 'fantasy', so this is to be expected. However, with the recent releases of The Children of Hurin, and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, the Arthur poem is physically quite a small book. Also, the recently released Beowulf is much longer than it. 

November 19, 2014

Brandon Sanderson NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Brandon Sanderson has written a great pep talk to those participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is great for aspiring writers, such as myself.

To read it, head on over here:

Best of luck to everyone! 

"The Winds of Winter" About Half Done...At Least

Well, there is both good and bad news - George R.R. Martin is about halfway done The Winds of Winter, Book Six of A Song of Ice and Fire

"..."I'm still in the middle of the book..."

Of course, he could have more done and is going back to the middle of the book to write or edit extra stuff in regards to the winners. 

This is all speculation, of course, and is no indication of how much of The Winds of Winter is completed. Bear in mind, he began working on the book in January 2012, and he was already about 200 pages in, which were transferred from Book Five, A Dance With Dragons.

I think it's safe to say that 2015 release date is hopeful, and 2016 is reasonable and realistic. Also, 2016 marks the 20th anniversary of A Game of Thrones, the first book.

Either way, I am looking forward to it. 

Those worrying about the show overtaking the books remember this - George has a lot of input on the Game of Thrones HBO series, and there's a reason why the show has steadily strayed from the books.

My dream, for the show, if it does end at seven seasons, is to split the seventh season in two part, each part consisting of seven episodes. Much like how AMC has split the last bit of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and now, Hell on Wheels. HBO did likewise with The Sopranos

November 17, 2014

Goodreads Choice Awards 2014 - Final Round

It is now the final round for the 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards, so you get those votes in!

Here's who I voted for: 

Fiction: The Bone Clocks 

Mystery & Thriller: Mr. Mercedes

Historical Fiction: All the Light We Cannot See

Fantasy: The Slow Regard of Silent Things 

Romance: Written in My Own Heart's Blood

Humor: Yes Please 

History & Biography: In the Kingdom of Ice

Debut Goodreads Author: Pierce Brown 

Young Adult Fantasy & Sci-Fi: Red Rising 

I'll announce who wins....

Tolkien Christmas Offer

Shortly after my most recent Tolkien post, I nosed around and had a peek here and there at various sections of the site. From now until December 25th, they are offering 25% off of some of their books.... but only on

Here are some of the books featured, and ones I'd recommend especially this time of year...either for a fellow Tolkien fan, or yourself: 

The Hobbit (illustrated by Jemima Catlin) deluxe edition

The Lord of the Rings 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

The Silmarillion 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition