Archives for posts with tag: Movie Night

After two days’ respite from the Winter Solstice Movie MiniFestival, we kicked back on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a traditional Christmas dinner and a homemade pumpkin pie and viewed four movies: Radio Free Albemuth, based on a novel by Philip K. Dick; Walking With Dinosaurs, an animated educational BBC production following the life story of Patchi, a young pachyrhinosaurus; A Promise, a historical romance based on the novel Journey Into The Past by Stefan Zweig; and Star Trek: Into Darkness, the new franchise helmed by J.J. Abrams.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

2014 has been the first landmark year I’ve had in a long time with two major story sales to a prestigious print magazine that will be published in 2015, the publication earlier this year of a memoir about writing, a trip to New York City, and several other major, beneficial personal and family developments. Wow!

So we kicked back on the Winter Solstice with a homemade pasta dinner and three movies: The Giver, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.

In The Giver, teenagers grapple with a totalitarian government that controls every aspect of their lives—their family units, their clothes, their houses, their food, and their deaths, daily drugs them into submission, has eliminated all books, and suppresses their memories, even their perception of color.

In a graduation ceremony, the government assigns each teen a lifetime job and attendant duties, which makes a lot more sense than Divergent with the rather silly premise that each child is born into a faction, then in a graduation ceremony, each teen can choose to belong to a different faction (what totalitarian government would ever give teens such a choice?).

In TG’s graduation ceremony, a teen boy is appointed The Receiver, an apprentice to The Giver, in this case an elderly man who lives in a vast library (“They’re called books.”) and has access to society’s collective memories, which he imparts to the boy through a visionary telepathy.

When the teen-boy glimpses a vision-memory that offers hope of breaking the government’s control, he sets out on a quest to free the collective suppression.

Recommended. Yet if TG sounds derivative of Hunger Games, Divergent, and even Pleasantville, note that TG the book was published by Lois Lowry in the early 1990s, optioned at about that time, and has been in development hell for something like nineteen years. The book performed reasonably well a decade before Hunger Games was a gleam in Suzanne Collins’ eye and long before Young Adult became the hot new marketing ploy of the Big Five Publishers.

Now that my Omni story Tomorrow’s Child has been in development hell at Universal for fourteen years (with three scripts, including mine), I can well imagine Lowry’s elation that The Giver finally hit the Big Screen, as well as her frustration that the project took so damn long to get there. Probably because it was released in the wake of Hunger Games and Divergent, the film didn’t perform well at the box office. Such is the happenstance of timing in the culture. Who knew the U.S. Marines would liberate the coastal city of Casablanca and make worldwide headlines literally on the day of the premier of Casablanca, a film plagued with script changes, cast changes, and other production delays? Talk about luck!

That The Giver and similar films appear at all in the culture is welcome news that we ourselves are not There—yet. It would be a pity, though, if people have become bored with fictional critiques of totalitarian governments due to a surfeit of films.

My first reading and viewing experiences in life were of talking animals, fantasy and science fiction, and myths: Charlotte’s Web, the Mary Poppins four-book series, A Wrinkle in Time, Myths and Enchantment Tales, Kipling’s The Jungle Books, The Golden Book of Dog, Cat, and Horse Stories, and Alice in Wonderland, all of which remain on my bookshelf to this day. So my Inner Infant (“the I.I.”) enjoys SFF tropes, talking animals, and witty animation. The Garden of Abracadabra, my adult urban fantasy, introduces a magical talking cat who will continue in the Abracadabra Series and will get her own series in the future.

A movie reviewer for The New Yorker roundly trashed Guardians of the Galaxy as derivative of Star Wars and even more juvenile. But since we like juvenile entertainment, we were willing to take a chance. Good choice! We were highly entertained by the ensemble motley crew—a young adventurer Peter Quill, a green-skinned woman (played by Zoe Saldana), a machine gun wielding, talking genius raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a tattooed assassin, and a tree man (the I.I. has loved talking trees since The Wizard of Oz)—and their galactic quest.

The film didn’t remind this viewer at all of Star Wars, which the I.I. frankly hated. The magic orb Quill steals reminded us of The Maltese Falcon, a mysterious object people are willing to kill for. The use of early 1980s sappy pop music added just the right humorous touch and reminded us of the latest X-Men film, which we greatly enjoyed. X-Men spoofed early 1970s pop music and clichés, with the opening scene of a Clint Eastwoodesque, sideburned, nude Hugh Jackson lurching up from a tryst on a waterbed while Roberta Flack’s “The First Time” croons on the reel-to-reel tape deck, the same tune Clint Eastwood plays over his nude love scene in a forest pool in 1971’s Play Misty For Me. That the waterbed/forest pool is ripe for a sight gag (Jackman *is* the Wolfman) didn’t make it any less hilarious when the gag arrives a couple of minutes later.

But that’s the latest X-Men (I think the subtitle is Days of Future Past, but I didn’t have time to review it when we saw it earlier this year and don’t precisely recall the full title), which is highly recommended. As for GotG, the distinguished Glenn Close appears in a very minor role as the leader of a good realm. Zoe Saldana has apparently been typecast in SF films—she plays Uhuru in Star Trek: Into Darkness, which we saw on Christmas Eve (I’ll review that over the weekend, if I can). If so, she would make a terrific Ruby A. Maverick in Summer of Love.

In GotG the tree man, Groot, turns out to be one of the most memorable characters with a nicely rendered arc that slowly reveals his powers and personality. He starts out as an inarticulate strongman, introducing himself, “I am Groot.” He repeats this phrase with a different inflection and in different circumstances so that, when tragedy strikes, the viewer truly cares. And when redemption arrives at the end, with another silly 1980s song, the viewer leaves the theater with a smile on her face and a silly song in her heart. I like the use of purposeful repetition that takes on new meaning as the story progresses and use that device in Tomorrow Is A Lovely Day, which will be published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction some time in 2015.

Since the I.I. practically memorized Myths and Enchantment Tales, I admit I was envious of Rick Riordan’s wild success with his reinterpretation of Greek myths as a YA series. Apparently, though, retelling of Greek gods and goddesses is strictly the province of Young Adult. I’ve seen reviews over the years of authors attempting adult retelling of the myths. With their violence, seductions, betrayals, and infidelities, the myths are ripe for adult drama. But somehow none of those books has achieved much success.

Riordan’s Percy Jackson books and the movie adaptations, here Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, are squarely aimed at the teen market and therein lies their limitations for this reader/viewer. When I was fourteen, I was reading Brave New World and The Last Temptation of Christ. As a teen, I would have scorned books like Riordan’s as the shallow end of the pool.

But, as mentioned above, the I.I. enjoys witty juvenile entertainment and animation. One of the best films we saw in 2014 was the 2009 film of Charlotte’s Web, a moving, beautifully rendered animation and faithful adaptation of one of my all-time favorite books. Another excellent animation is the witty Rango, with its sly rapid-fire movie references and a genuinely scary villain.

The high point for this viewer of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters was seven minutes of animation of the ”hippocampus,” a water horse PJ summons to take him and his sidekicks across an expanse of sea to a ship they’re searching for. A team of animators took considerable care in creating this delightful character who has more charm and personality as a horse than any of the live actors.

The rest of SoM is a rather predictable quest story and a touch too teen-boy-centric for this viewer’s taste. That a teen-girl ship’s commander botches her mission and surrenders her command to the teen-boy is not, in this viewer’s opinion, a very good message.

Not that female characters always have to be successful or “good.” But in a culture in which only 15 percent of speaking roles in 2014 films were girls/women according to The Hollywood Reporter’s year-end report, a statistic that has proven true every year going back forty years, when they do appear, female characters need to matter.

It’s interesting that other distinguished Academy Award winning “older” actresses are showing up as dictators of oppressive governments—Kate Winslet in Divergent and, in The Giver, a witchy, silver-haired Meryl Streep. I suppose we should be glad these female roles are of leaders and not, say, of waitresses.

So there you have it, my friends. If you only have ninety minutes for juvenile entertainment, choose GofG and save SoM for another time. Sadly, The Giver is way behind the YA dystopian curve but, if you’re interested in the trope, choose this film and save Divergent for later.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

We celebrated Halloween and All Souls’ Day with a science fiction movie marathon!

Movie Night One: X-Men, Days of Future Past, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Earth to Echo, As Dreamers Do (no, this film isn’t SF).

Movie Night Two: Edge of Tomorrow, begin again (this wasn’t SF, either), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and The Amazing Spiderman 2.

My husband, the artist Tom Robinson, chose the selections and curated them. He’s really good at choosing, so I trust his judgment completely.

Thoroughly enjoyable two nights!

So there you have it, my friends. I’ll write up some reviews in the coming week.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel
is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia..

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series,
is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

When I returned from my whirlwind New York trip on Tuesday afternoon, I kicked back with my husband Tom Robinson with lots of movies and lots of food. Nothing like unwinding from a lot of stress with a movie minifestival!

Here’s what we saw: Divergent, Catching Fire, The Manchurian Candidate, Transcendence, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Silver Lining Playbook, and The Lady from Shanghai.

So there you have it, my friends. Reviews will follow in the next days.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has long been in development in Hollywood. Producers loved the short, short ironic novel by the New Yorker writer O. Henry about a repressed and frustrated ordinary office worker who fantasizes of greatness at the drop of a hat. Finally, with Ben Stiller in the lead, the movie got made—and was a box-office flop.

The blending of Mitty’s fantasies with reality approaches magical realism. Though movies are well equipped to handle such imagery, magical realism proves surprisingly difficult to pull off visually. I can understand how the “average moviegoer” could have been confused by this film. You have to be familiar with another magical realism film, The Strange Case of Benjamin Button (another box-office flop), in order to understand one of the (hilarious) visual gags.

In some ways, the written word handles the form better! It’s helpful to be familiar with the novel before viewing this movie.

That said, I found this updated version of the Mitty story quite enjoyable, though at times I even wondered if the entire adventure would prove to be a fantasy at the end. Fortunately, reality saves the day. Stiller is an accomplished comedic actor and pitch perfect in this role, growing the character in a satisfying way. The final punchline is well worth following all the plot gyrations. Recommended.

Saving Mr. Banks is the delightful Story Behind the Story of how Walt Disney convinced P.L. Travers, the prickly author of the Mary Poppins series, to sell her film rights.

I grew up on Mary Poppins, which was first published in the 1930s but stayed in print for decades. P.L. Travers, along with E.B. White, is one of my childhood heroes. I never knew anything about her, nor had I looked her up online. This film (and my later research) reveals that P.L. Travers was not British (she was Australian) despite that the Mary Poppins books are firmly planted in London soil, nor was she “Mrs. Travers,” as she insisted everyone call her. Her beloved alcoholic father’s first name was “Travers”, and the author never married.

The film flips back and forth between the present-day story of how the movie got made, and Travers’ troubled childhood in Australia. Emma Thompson is perfect as the stubborn, eccentric Travers. She clearly knows Mary Poppins’ territory; she wrote the screenplays for and starred in the two delightful Nanny McPhee films. It’s also helpful to be familiar with the first Mary Poppins novel before viewing this movie.

Tom Hanks captures Walt Disney’s character well. (Walt Disney is another childhood hero of mine.) The final revelation of P.L. Travers’ trouble and what Disney had in common with her is very, very satisfying. Recommended.

I love Stories Behind the Story, such as Saving Mr. Banks and Hitchcock (which I reviewed here about a month ago). I’ve got two of my own, Tomorrow’s Child, my Omni story that sold to Universal Studios, which includes a thirty-day blog about all the twists and turns the project took from inception to movie deal, and My Charlotte: Patty’s Story, about how Charlotte’s Web inspired me as a child to become a fantasy writer and influenced my development as a writer, culminating in my first published science fiction story, “Arachne,” in Omni Magazine, and then Arachne, my first novel published by William Morrow. The ebook includes the Omni story.

So there you have it, my friends. For relief from the barrage of loud, stupid summer blockbusters, you will have an entertaining experience relaxing with The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Saving Mr. Banks.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.
Thank you for your readership!

Inception, directed by the incomparable Christopher Nolan, was released over a year ago. We saw the film then. The premise is that a means of entering the collective unconscious of dreams through drugs and a technical apparatus has been invented. Dreamers can travel as a group to various layers of dreams and ferret out secret information about political people and corporations. Inception is essentially a gigantic heist, using this technology. The film is so complex and multilayered, we wanted to see it a second time right away. But we held off, savoring the pleasure of seeing it later and exploring the film’s nuances another time.

We weren’t disappointed. You have to buy the premise in the first place, of course—which is very cyberpunkish—or the rest won’t work for you. The cast is excellent, the special effects breathtaking, the smart, complex story never less than intriguing, and a deeply emotional personal story is interwoven with the action that directly relates to the premise. Storytellers, take note.

I became a Chris Nolan fan with his first film, Momento, another masterpiece of psychological and science fictional complexity with a heist, interwoven with a deeply emotional personal story. Guy Pearce, an actor I like very much, is terrific.

I wish I could say the same about Beautiful Creatures, but I can’t. This is yet another YA paranormal romance based on a bestselling book—which I haven’t read—and suffers from similar problems as City of Bones, which I reviewed here in an earlier blog. Both expensively produced films were flops.

Like City of Bones, the complex urban fantasy of Beautiful Creatures is clumsily laid out and consummated. Also like the other film, perhaps most unfortunately of all, the young male and female leads just can’t carry the film. If you ever wondered what movie people mean when they say that, these two films are proof. The young actress who supposedly is born to be one of the Beautiful Creatures is decidedly unbeautiful (sorry).

The best thing about Beautiful Creatures is the voice-over introduction during which the young man, trapped in a dead-end town in the American South, tells how he yearns to become a writer and we see flying by on the screen the book jackets of avant-garde tomes of the late 1950s: Jack Keroac’s On the Road and (gasp!) William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.

So there you have it, my friends. Inception—Recommended. (Memento, too.) Skip Beautiful Creatures unless you want to kill an hour and a half on mediocre YA urban fantasy. I, for one, don’t believe in killing time.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,”on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters.

Thank you for your readership!

Movie night in celebration of the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. We saw Elysium (hated it), The Lone Ranger (mostly loved it), and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (pretty much liked it).

I wanted to love Elysium. The cyberpunk elements were interesting—computer devices installed directly into people’s brains, super-sophisticated computer equipment amid underworld squalor—but there were way too many bulging, tattooed biceps and noisy, graphic violence that didn’t advance the story, and repetitions of story elements. As for the story, it veered perilously close to propaganda. Not recommended.

I expected to dislike The Lone Ranger. The film tanked at the box office, was the subject of a contentious budget fight between the movie studio and the principals, and earned scorn for Johnny Depp’s depiction of Tonto. Instead, the production values were as high as promised and Depp was wonderful—humorous, serious, and ironic as the Injun mastermind who outsmarts everyone, is the Lone Ranger’s staunchest ally and something of a shaman. Plenty of allusions to Little Big Man and Last of the Mohicans. My small reservations were over a lame cat joke and a lamer dead horse joke (I have zero tolerance for jokes at an animal’s expense). The Lone Ranger’s pure white “spirit horse,” who gallops up to save the day on several occasions, was totally wonderful. I love how they engineer equine whinnies and snuffles to sound like the horse is emoting. The rousing finale set to the classic William Tell Overture had us applauding and cheering. Very entertaining.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was another box office stinker but since I read and liked Cassandra Clare’s 2005 YA book and write urban fantasy myself, I wanted to see it. The book, about secretive Shadow Hunters with magical powers who protect humanity from all manner of demons, is very long and complex. Critics complained that the script over-explained, but I thought the explanations were nicely parceled out and, overall, the film captured the book rather well. Tom said several times the story reminded him too much of Buffy and, indeed, the book jacket touts the book as an edgier Buffy. No surprise there. Critics also complained the lead actors were unsympathetic so I expected to see whiny, self-absorbed teenagers and bad acting. Neither was the case. The objections seem to be more superficial. I thought the male lead was well cast as the blond Jace, but Tom thought he was weird-looking. As for the heroine, her too dark, too close together eyebrows distracted from her little face. If you like urban fantasy, you could do worse to while away two hours.

So there you have it, my friends. Don’t believe everything the critics say.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
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Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;

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