Category Archives: The Cubicle Escapee

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: CARS 3

Everyone knows that Pixar’s Cars series is basically a prostitute of the highest order. It is an unashamed sell out whore in all of the Disney company. These films are made specifically to cash in on the toy market. Little kids love the damn Cars toys more than they do the actual movies. And this wouldn’t really matter, if the Cars films were actually any good (the first one kind of is, the second one is abysmal trash). And so we are given a Cars 3, before we even get an Incredibles 2, which is bullshit. And while Cars 3 is a lot better than the STD infested Cars 2, it is so utterly predictable and filled with recycled plot points, twists, and storytelling devices, that if you take your kids to see it, you might want to use protection.

I don’t think Disney will appreciate that I’m comparing their Cars series to disease infested prostitutes but I don’t think anyone at Disney will ever read this review. Let me give you a brief insight one why the first and second Cars movie don’t really work. The first Cars movie is a personality redemption story that had been done too many times before it. Ego-driven person/place/thing ends up as a fish out of water at a place they’ve never been too and redeems his/her/itself by the end of the film and everyone/everything involved comes out the better. The voice talent, effects, and some of the emotion saved that film from being complete drivel, into something halfway decently watchable. The 2nd film made the mistake of taking it’s focus from character Lightnin’ McQueen and instead shifted it to the more annoying Tow Mater, the Jar Jar Binks of Pixar. And the fact that it tried to move that character into a stupid predictable recycled spy storytelling plot was even more ludicrous and lame.

So now we come to the third Cars movie, and while it does right by the switching the focus back to Lightin’ McQueen, it films acts like it is really Cars 4 or 5, recycling the “I’m so old story but I can still make a comeback/be kickass” plots we have gotten from Indy 4, Rocky Balboa and Creed, Live Free or Die Hard, basically any movie franchise well past the third movie where the actor/actress has gotten old and have to prove themselves. And by doing that, everything about Cars 3 is predictable. EVERYTHING. The movie starts out by this new race car name Jackson Storm winning the races over McQueen, and McQueen gets so frustrated by this he tries too hard one race and ends up crashing pretty badly. He then wants to use the non-racing season to get back to what he once was and even better, just to beat Jackson Storm. See where this is going? Even Jackson Storm and other racers start to use the “new technology” storytelling angle to be better racers, while McQueen prefers the old school, analog way. The only really exciting scene in the movie is where Lightin’ McQueen and his new trainer Cruz go to this Demolition Derby (shhhh, they don’t know it’s that, they think it’s a regular race) and compete not to get smashed.

If you don’t see the ending coming, then you don’t go to enough movies. Going down this road and being this predictable doesn’t make the film not watchable, because it is, but it makes it kind of lame and not really all that exciting. Which for a Pixar film, is a crime. The only other Pixar films that are in league with the Cars films for being okay and not that great are probably Monsters University and The Good Dinosaur. Both of those combined with the Cars films are definitely on the very bottom of the Pixar greatness totem pole.

The effects are good and the voice acting is solid, and I like the way they basically made Tow Mater’s role in this akin to Jar Jar Binks in Attack of the Clones, but none of that is enough to sustain this film. We need more original Pixar films (thankfully one called COCO comes out this fall). We don’t need Toy Story 4, or a third Finding Dory, and depending on the quality of Incredibles 2, we might not need that either. What happened to great story ideas like Inside Out? That film is a masterpiece and isn’t a sequel? Can’t we just keep doing original content and go back to doing what Disney did in the 90s and if there is a sequel make it inside different animation studio owned by Disney and make it direct-to-video (thank God they did that with Planes)?

Disney/PIXAR, if anyone is reading this, please for the love of God don’t make a Cars 4. I’m tired of these non-original entries from your company. John Lassiter needs to go away and you need to hire new writers and directors with fresh ideas. We need great films from you again like Inside Out, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Up, and so on. Stop making these films just because you are killing it in the toy market. Parents, stop buying your kids Cars toys so we stop getting this mediocre schlock from Pixar! Buy them Hot Wheels (which are better toys) instead. If we keep going down the same road, we are going to get the same results. Time to take a detour.

Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: 47 METERS DOWN

47 METERS DOWN was an okay one time watch….until it broke THE NUMBER 1 CARDINAL SIN OF MOVIE MAKING!!!! And it is a cardinal sin of the highest order. Movies stopped doing this in the 90s it was so bad, and the only other movie that has done it (that I can remember) in the 2000s was Repo Men starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. Aron Seeley, if you are reading this you know exactly what I am talking about. And it bugs me that I can’t tell you this sin, as it is a major spoiler for the film and really the only twist that the movie had to offer. I will give it credit for not just ending on that said twist and for going on a little bit longer to wrap some things up, but the twist was still a cardinal sin. And because of it I cannot recommend this film, at all.

And that’s a shame, because there are a lot of things to like about the movie. Claire Holt and Mandy Moore are actually really good in this (even though when Mandy Moore is freaking out and breathing hard it sounds like sex noises). The shark effects are the best I have ever seen. The movie does bring about real tension even though that tension is cliched and has been dumb before. And at 85 minutes, the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome.

That being said, along with the cardinal sin that it makes in the movie, there is a lot to not like about the film. Even though the acting is good, the characters are extremely fucking dumb. They make so many dumb God damn choices in this movie I didn’t want them to make it out of their situation alive. The beginning was slow and the movie set up a relationship divide between the two sisters that really didn’t pay off in the end (the cardinal sin is partly to blame). There is a little fling with the two guys that get the girls on the boat to go shark sight seeing that really didn’t pay off either. Didn’t establish any relationships with them and after the girls go into the water they aren’t really seen all the much again. And when they are it’s again part of the cardinal sin.

The cardinal sin also ruins some of the great tension that the film brought along with it. Not all of it mind you, but about 10 minutes of it. If you’ve seen Repo Men or have followed the context clues I have given you, you can probably figure out what the cardinal sin is. If you have no clue, and see the movie, you will know when it happens, and then shake your head in shame.

If they can take those shark effects they used in this film and put them in a better film, it could be one of the best shark films ever made. In my mind, there are only two shark films worth seeing, JAWS and DEEP BLUE SEA. Never has a shark film even come close to beating those two classics in the ocean thriller genre. The Shallows, which I did not care for, is better than this film. And you know what all three of those sharks movies have in comparison to this one? They didn’t break the cardinal rule of film making/storytelling. There were many ways that this film could have went without having to go that route, and I can’t believe they didn’t take them. I can’t recommend this film because of it. And unfortunately I will never forget this film because of it either.

A dark Journey into the light by Josef

Author: Josef
Series: Standalone
Genre: Autobiography
Publisher: Self – Published
Release Date: Sept 17 2016
Edition/Formats: eBook
Blurb/Synopsis:
A dark Journey into
the light
is an interesting and thought provoking read for anyone who has
questioned urges and desires familiar to us all. I spent sixty years of my life
in “limbo” trying to understand what was driving me to explore every fantasy I
could find. We all enjoy sex but the book provides interesting insights into
the workings of the mind of a sex addict. We are much more than what we feel,
and less than what we think. This book explores what is possible when we find
balance between the two. This is not a story of finding redemption through
“finding God”. It’s simply the story of finding myself.
Available for Purchase NOW 
Book Links
Amazon
Australia
Amazon
Canada
A Dark
Journey into the Light was a lifetime in the making and more than 2 years in
the writing. One of the biggest issues in life is sex and people usually make a
choice. They either follow their desires, or they don’t. This book looks at the
issues that arose, and the conflict of emotions I had to deal with when I chose
both, although it more correctly felt like they
chose me. Life became an exercise in
learning about myself by exploring what “lies beneath” as it reared
it’s head and found it’s way to the surface. There was no way around the
exploration because the battle for supremacy raging between the two was inside
me. What was the war all about and what would become of me? This book is about
my journey of continuing self-discovery as I move through the mystery we call
life.
The book is
an autobiography so it’s pretty much all about me and who I am. I suppose there
are a few small things that aren’t covered. For instance, I like dogs and
horses and I love gardening. I’m a country boy and grew up with spiders and
snakes, and although I’m not keen on spiders if one crawls up my trouser leg
they don’t freak me out either. A snake up the trouser leg though would be a
different story! Think “a hillbilly version of River Dance.” I love long hikes
over the mountains or across the plains. Just as long as I’m walking somewhere,
but at times I wonder if I’m just trying to leave something behind.
A Dark
Journey into the Light is an interesting and thought provoking book for anyone
who has ever questioned urges and desires familiar to us all. It provides
interesting insights into the workings of the mind of a sex addict. We are much
more than what we feel, and less than what we think. This book explores the
healing that is possible when we find balance between the two.
Author Links
Facebook Author Page
Facebook Personal
Note from the Author
 
This is the story of my life. It has not been fabricated,
exaggerated, or embellished in any way. It’s the raw truth and I’m not really
sure why I’m writing it, but my therapist thinks it’s a good idea, and I can
understand her reasoning about that. Writing down my life’s story might simply
be a part of the healing process, so I can finally move on with my life and
live it like a normal person.
All my life I’ve wished for nothing more than just to be
normal, as I’ve looked around and envied other people’s untroubled lives. At
least that is how they appear on the surface. We can all be quite certain that
most people harbor some secrets in their lives. Those secrets might be small
things they regret or feel ashamed about. I wish people did not need to have
secrets and live in fear and guilt about their lives, because most things people
hide from are not worth the stress, but I guess I’m the same.
Maybe I should be able to shout from the rooftops, and tell
the world I’m not afraid or ashamed of my life, but in my heart I know many
people will stand in judgment of me. At the same time, I know deep down a lot
of people would applaud my courage if I did so, even if their own fears
prevented them from supporting me publicly. Therein lies the problem.
If you stand outside society’s norm you stand alone, through
social judgment and fear. Maybe I should just include it all in the category of
fear, and leave judgment out of it, considering all judgment has its roots in
fear.
Fear; the prime mover for almost every expression in our
lives. What would it be like to be free of fear?
Everyone has their problems, and people go through a great
deal of pain and suffering. I personally know people I would not trade places
with for anything on earth. We are all plagued by similar run-of-the-mill
issues, such as marriage breakups, financial problems, health issues, and
everything else that goes with living on this planet, as we try to coexist with
a whole lot of people. With most of them we have almost nothing in common,
except a pattern of similar reactions that maintain a reasonable level of
“sanity” in society. And it is all bound in fear.
It doesn’t sound like much of a way to live, but if you
question people about their lives and propose the idea that they are living in
fear, almost all of them will disagree. Some will even become angry, and
possibly violent, if you dare to start a debate with them on the issue. The
cruel irony is they won’t see, even then, that their reaction to the idea of
their lives being based on fear is in itself a fear-based reaction.
So why don’t I tell people about my life? Why don’t I stand
up, step out of the shadows society creeps around in, and put my trust in
people to accept my life?
Simple. People cannot be trusted.
Everyone knows this because everyone has a secret. The only
variable is the size of the secret, and mine would attract a massive excess
baggage fee if I packed it in a suitcase and boarded a plane.
I’ve experienced, or still do to some degree, all those
problems I spoke about: divorce, health, finance, and so on. I’m not saying my
life is difficult in the main, and in fact I often count myself lucky, giving
thanks for my life and the many things I enjoy, because unlike some others, at
least I have my health. I can walk, talk, eat, see, and hear. I also have a
brain that works well enough, which gives me the opportunity to make something
of myself, and do something with my life. I really cannot complain, so what
makes my life so different my therapist thinks it’s a good idea to write it
down?
I don’t think the aspect of my life in question is
particularly unusual, or different, from that of a large percentage of the
population, so I guess it comes down to a question of degree and scope. When I
consider those factors I can’t help feeling my life has been a little unusual
to say the least, and a lot unusual to “say the most”.
There’s no doubt my life could, and would, be summed up by a
lot of people with words like sick, deviant, gross, pathetic, abhorrent,
disgusting, depraved, and so on.
These words are not new to me. I’ve tarred myself with every
one of them over the years, and nobody else could project the depth of feeling
in them more strongly than I have against myself. That projection evoked
feelings of shame, guilt, unworthiness, and self-loathing that cannot be
imagined. Even if I told you it’s impossible to imagine the things I’ve done,
and then gave you a hint, you still would not guess at the depth and breadth of
my life experience.
I’ve written about this in a way that tries to depict how I
felt at the time and how I feel now, and can only use words or terms that make
that possible. This book is not for the prudish or faint-hearted, so if you
like your reality painted over and sugar-coated, then this is not for you, and
I suggest you make a nice cup of tea and watch re-runs of Days of Our Lives instead.
I’m not complaining about my lot, and in some strange way I
have even come to appreciate it after all this time. All I want now is to make
some sense of it and possibly enrich the remainder of my life, and maybe even
help someone else with theirs.
*
It all seemed to begin harmlessly enough as a young child in
primary school but when I was a young teenager, an innocent conversation with
my mother raised the idea in me that my turbulent, obsessive journey had
actually begun when I was just a baby. I explore this in chapter 5.
In time I had no doubt about this, and it often led me to
wonder whether it was some kind of karmic load I was unloading, or if I was
building up a karmic load that would crush the life out of my soul.
This question would plague me throughout the decades to
come, but whatever the explanation, I was powerless to do anything about it.
All I could do was hang in, and hang on, as I plunged headlong through a
chaotic world of sensory self-gratification.
Where do I even start to give someone an idea of the duality
of the life I have lived for as long as I can remember? There is that old
cliché about starting at the beginning, and it may be right, but let’s just
skip ahead for a moment, because honestly, if I’m going to write this down I
don’t have time for norms or clichés.
Skipping ahead will also give me a clear reminder of why I’m
writing this, and what I’m writing about. I’ll come back later and try to join
some dots to give a clearer picture of what it always felt like to me: a life
unlived. Is that too dramatic, to call it a life unlived? I lived something,
didn’t I?
We all have some notion of what life should be like, or what
we wish it was like, but in my mind and heart my life never measured up to any
of my wishes. It just never felt like living. It felt like I was trapped in
some kind of time warp, or parallel universe, where I could only watch my life
happening around me as though it was someone else’s. But it is what it is.
Ooops, that sounds like a cliché.

 

Black Blade by Alexander Charalambides

Black Blade
by Alexander Charalambides
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Release Date: June 11th 2017

Summary:

Lance is a hero.

With his friend Megan, he does his best to survive high school in a world that doesn’t always make sense, and is almost never fair.

When their school receives a donation from an anonymous millionaire, Lance and Megan find themselves on an international field trip to England, where the two receive an irresistible call to a supernatural adventure that could change their destinies, and the destiny of the country, forever.

Together with three mysterious adults who all claim to be wizards, Lance must safe-guard the legendary Excalibur. Traveling into a strange parallel world and keeping his friends, new and old, safe from harm at the hands of a malevolent army of magical soldiers, Lance discovers the truth about heroism and the content of his character.

My Review:

About the Author
Alexander Charalambides was born in London and grew up in Berkshire. He studied Creative Writing, and graduated from the Open University. In 2008 he moved to the United States, and now lives in New Hampshire. As a freelance writer Alexander enjoys storytelling just as much as editing and analysis, but often takes time off to enjoy wind surfing, do the sickest of motorcycle flips, wrestle with deadly animals and lie about his hobbies.