Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: PHOENIX FORGOTTEN

I think this movie did such little business this past weekend that theaters are likely to forget they even had this and toss it out in a week or two. Which is a shame because it is actually one of the better found footage movies out there to exist. Why? Because PHOENIX FORGOTTEN changes the formula a bit to make things more interesting than just similar like Paranormal Activity or Blair Witch or Cloverfield. And while it isn’t scary (I didn’t watch a trailer because at being only 85 minutes I thought a trailer would spoil it, so maybe it’s just supposed to be sci-fi), it is very entertaining and contains better than average acting for your typical found footage film.

So how does this found footage film change the formula a little you may ask? Because it is only half a found footage film. Half of the film is shot steady documentary, clip, news footage style, and the other half of the film is a found footage film. The whole film uses the 1997 Phoenix Lights real phenomenon that happened and adds a lot of fiction to the proceedings to turn it into a movie. The documentary half of the film follows a sister of one of the three lost people that disappeared shortly after the Phoenix Lights phenomenon happened, and she’s doing a documentary on the whole incident and trying to piece clues to her brother’s disappearance as well.

This part of the film is shot mostly steady style, with clips, and some found footage woven in between to make the film have a documentary type atmosphere. Add the better than average acting and the audience gets something that feels like an actual real documentary. This found footage movie feels real, more real than anything that has come before it. The found footage part of the film comes from tapes her brother left behind in a car that was found on the side of the road, and a “secret lost camera” (you “pffted” didn’t you? So did I but I swear that is really the only laughable idiotic thing in the film) that shows what happened after the tapes that were already in police evidence.

And you know the main problem with found footage movies? They are too fucking clean. Cloverfield is too clean, Blair Witch is too clean (even the original), the Paranormal Activity movies, some of them taking place in the 70s, 80s, whatnot, are WAY too clean. The found footage supposedly filmed in 1997? It actually feels like it was shot in 1997. Grainy sometimes as fuck, and sometimes blurry, it felt like I was watching found footage, and that was the kicker to take this film out of “only another found footage movie territory.” Even some of the CGI added in the 1997 found footage looks amazingly genuine. I was really invested in this entire thing.

It is too bad that the found footage movie genre is almost basically dead. The last several Paranormal movies didn’t do shit at the box office and neither did Blair Witch. And this didn’t make that much money although it should easily retain it’s small 4 million dollar budget. If this had come out at the height of those movies, like around the 1st or 2nd Paranormal pictures, this would’ve done really really well. Maybe it will develop a cult following once it is released on home video. I encourage you to check it out at least once, it is interesting, and might be the cure to your found footage movie fatigue.

Misspelled Paradise: A Year in a Reinvented Colombia by Bryanna Plog

Summary: If you’re looking for a book about Colombia that involves harrowing escapes from FARC guerrillas or tales of drug smuggling… this is not it. In­stead, MISSPELLED PARADISE gives an honest and light­hearted look at the history, culture, and diversity of a country that may be struggling with poverty and a civil conflict, but celebrates its joy with blasting street parties named after the stacks of amplifiers, tiny watery beers, and a never-ending parade of beauty contestants.

As a volunteer middle school English teacher in an impoverished Colombian Caribbean community, Bryanna Plog recounts with dry humor her year traveling Colombia’s cities, deserts, and rainforests (fairly successful ventures), her attempts to hold class on a regular schedule (less successful), and her quest to eat meals that didn’t include rice (a complete and utter failure).

From the high rises of Bogotá, to the small island town of Santa Ana, from the deserts of the Guajira peninsula and the northern-most part of South America to the jungles of the Amazon rainforest far south, learn, be surprised, and laugh out loud as you journey through a reinvented Colombia.

 

I have wanted to go to Colombia since I was 23 and worked with this ridiculously cool kid named Andres.  Andres was from Bogota and he used to tell me how things were different and someday the world would see that.  Andres went off to Purdue and I have not seen in him in over a decade… but his passion for his home has always stuck with me.

Here is the funny thing though, up until about two years ago… I always spelled Colombia… Columbia.  So when I saw this book I laughed the moment I read the title and knew I needed to read it.

This book has be me laughing at 3 am and I could not put it down.   The book touched on some serious subjects like poverty, lack of education and drugs but she did it in such a refreshing way that I felt like I was sitting in front of her having a conversation about her time in Colombia.

The author is a fantastic story teller and I bet after you read this novel you will want to go to Colombia too, or at least be way more curious about this country that you were before you read it.

Such a fantastic read I highly advise you read this one…. asap.

 

A School for Dragons by Amy Wolf

 

A School for Dragons
by Amy Wolf
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release Date: April 11th 2017
Red Empress Publishing

Summary from Goodreads:

Mattie Sharpe—seventeen and bored in L.A. —is getting into trouble. She gets into even more when she’s whisked to Cavernis, a world teeming with dragons. But these are dragons as you’ve never seen them: they are fussy gourmets; work as lawyers & CPA’s; and attend their school ASH, where they take classes like TNS (“Tails, Nails & Scales”).

Reuniting with her childhood friend, Mattie learns why she’s been brought there, and even heads ASH’s rowing team, Skull & Bones. She learns how to be a knight from the mysterious Eli, a small mute dragon…or is he?

 
 
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble  

 

About the Author
Amy Wolf has published 38 short stories, including two in Realms Of Fantasy, and one in Interzone. Her memoir, Don’t Let Me Die In A Motel 6, is a humorous account of her years after the Great Recession (and is available on Kindle).

Amy started her career working for the Hollywood film studios, where she was a script writer/reader. She is currently a refugee from Los Angeles living in Seattle.

 
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Shearwater by D.S. Murphy @Creativindie @yaboundtourspr

Shearwater
by D.S. Murphy
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Mermaids
Release Date: January 26th 2017

Summary:

They found the dead girl on my birthday.
And I’m not entirely sure that her killer isn’t the boy I just tried to kiss.

The longer I spend in Ireland, the deeper my life seems to unravel. Whisperings of a dark secret that caused my mother to flee from her homeland. Run-ins with a pair of undeniably handsome and strangely mysterious guys. A sleep-walking adventure that nearly got me killed. The nearness of the moon and the ocean would be almost romantic, if I wasn’t being hunted for powers I didn’t know I possessed.

Not everything in mythology is just a story.
Not every fairy-tale is harmless.
Magic is very, very real… but so are the monsters from your worst nightmares.

Now I’m being chased by immortals, hunted by wizards, and forced to pick sides in a supernatural war I want no part of.

I might be the only one who can stop it.

But it will mean giving up the one thing my heart can’t bear to lose.

 
Shearwater is on sale for only $0.99! Buy a copy HERE!
 


About the Author

I wrote my MA thesis on Harry Potter and am working on my PhD in literature, while secretly writing YA fantasy novels and designing book covers. I blog about self-publishing, book design and book marketing, and am renting a castle for Nanowrimo 2016. I hope you like my writing!

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GIVEAWAY:
You can enter to win a paperback copy of Shearwater HERE!