Archive | July 2013

Announcement: This Blog is Moving

I’ve had this blog for a bit over a year now; I’ve gained quite a following. Still, it’s time for me to close up shop here on wordpress … sort of. I’m moving back to my original site: http://www.matthewdryan.com . It’s been a blast on here on A Toast to Dragons, but I’ve decided to centralize my efforts, upgrade the site, and add more functionality. I will keep the domain name: http://www.atoasttodragons.com and simply point it at http://www.matthewdryan.com (I think that’s how it works) so traffic destined for A Toast to Dragons will be redirected to the new site. It’s still going to be powered by WordPress, but unfortunately the followers are not automatically uploaded to the new site. Which means those of you who wish to follow the blog will have to re-follow (Sorry! 😦  ) Hopefully the transition will go smoothly and I won’t lose too many followers. Oh, and did I mention that the new site has a newsletter? You can sign up so you will be informed immediately when my next book comes out.

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Old Movie Review: The Monk (2011)

My friend and I rented “The Monk” (rated R) because it sounded kind of intriguing: A mix of medieval monks, mystery, and sin. The basic plot is that the main character, Ambrosio, is abandoned at the doorstep of a monastery as a child and raised as a strict Capuchin monk. He grows up into a fervent disciple of Christ, renowned for his splendid, inspiring sermons and his great faith. Then, he gets involved with a woman and everything goes to pot (That’s putting it mildly). It is quite a spectacular fall from grace. The most holy monk of his order goes on to commit a whole litany of sins: fornication, incest, and finally murder.

Overall, the movie was interesting; it kept me engaged even though it was a foreign film and all in subtitles. I’m not sure if I should be annoyed at the portrayal of the religious here (I was raised Catholic). It’s set in the 17th century and the church did do some nasty things (like the Inquisition) in medieval times. Still, I don’t know if they would have starved a nun to death for getting pregnant. Maybe they would have. I don’t know (They certainly wouldn’t do that today!). Anyway, they are portrayed as very strict and sometimes, as in the above example, cruel and heartless. That was the backdrop of the movie, and it makes Ambrosio’s ultimate hypocrisy all the more profound. Satan makes a couple of appearances in the film. There’s dark magic, ghostly apparitions, and profound vice. All the elements of a twisted tale, and a twisted tale it was.

Strengths: the acting was good, the script, although twisted, was coherent and logically sound (assuming you accept the premise of Satan, Satanic witches, and what have you). The downfall of the Monk was portrayed quite well. Weaknesses: I think I saw every one of the twists in the movie coming. I mean, they were good twists, it’s just that they were kind of predictable. Again, I remain ambivalent about the portrayal of the church, but since I’m really not up on the history, I can’t really formalize a complaint. Also, the special effects were kind of lacking. I’ve said it before, special effects alone will not make a movie, but they can add to it. Here, they were obviously low budget and not very impressive. Finally, the ending was a little unclear to me. Part of me (most of me) is convinced that Satan wins, but there is a last fleeting image before the credits that made me wonder.

Anyway, I’ll give “The Monk” three and a half, or maybe four, out of five stars.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #20

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, comes to an end today. It is  July 19th, the last day of the tour.  Today

we have: Andi’s Book Reviews (http://andisbookreviews.blogspot.com/) Please check them out and show them your support.

 

And check out the sponsor of the tour: http://www.goddessfish.com/.

Blurb Blitz Blog Tour: Stop #19

My blurb blitz blog tour for my vampire fantasy novel, Drasmyr, continues today. Every day until July 19th, I’ll be visiting a variety of blogs across the Internet where promotional material for my book will be posted consisting of a blurb and an excerpt, or so. At the end of the tour, one of the commenters on the tour (the tour sites, NOT AToastToDragons) will win a prize. Today

we have: Straight from the Library (http://straightfromlibrary.blogspot.com/) Please check them out and show them your support.

 

And check out the sponsor of the tour: http://www.goddessfish.com/.

Movie Review: The Heat

“The Heat” is the latest movie featuring Sandra Bullock. In it, she plays a somewhat arrogant, uptight FBI agent named Ashburn. She’s due for a promotion, but all the other agents don’t like her. She’s a smug know-it-all, and her captain knows it. So, instead of promoting her right away, he gives her a mission to prove her worth; he sends her to Boston to find a drug lord. There she partners up with Detective Mullins (played by Melissa McCarthy), a foul-mouthed, street-fighting, rough and tumble cop.

 

In the beginning, the two do not get along very well. Ashburn steals Mullins’ parking space, and then her case. But Mullins will have none of that. She tries to threaten her way back onto the case—which was originally hers—steals an FBI file, and generally goes about driving Ashburn nuts. Eventually, their superiors pair them together whether they like it or not and they go about looking for the drug lord, fighting all the way. Eventually, though, things smooth out and they become friends. The plot revolves around the ruthless drug lord, a mole in one of the various law enforcement departments, and the developing friendship between Ashburn and Mullins. There’s a few explosions, a few people being shot, and other typical cop-movie activities.

 

Strengths: the acting was good. The characterization was good. The storyline flowed together well; there were no obvious logical flaws that I saw; and there was plenty of humor. Weaknesses: I’m of mixed minds about the profanity. I just get tired of every other word being an f-bomb. That said, the profanity did serve to characterize Mullins quite well, so perhaps it was necessary. There was also a brief spat where Ashburn swore up a storm, which was kind of humorous. And, again, served the needs of the story. Still, it seemed to be overdone some. Also, the character Sandra Bullock played (Ashburn) was unfortunately similar to the character she played in Miss Congeniality years ago. I’m not sure if that’s a weakness or not. There was also a twist in the movie—not one that was too shocking—actually, it was more an evolution of the plot than an actual twist. You knew there was a mole, revealing who it was wasn’t really too shocking. Anyway, although there were no major flaws in the movie, it never gripped me.

 

Ultimately, I will give “The Heat” a rating of three and a half stars out of five.

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