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A blog for poetry, prose, and pop culture.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 8

My first stop of the night was back at Annie's place. I grabbed the spare key out of the loose piece of molding where she stashed it, and let myself in. I had a computer, an ancient piece of shit that I had bought when I first joined the force. The thing actually plugged into my phone line, but I hadn't really paid the bill since I had gotten a cell so I rarely used the archaic piece of shit. Annie had a nice set up; DSL, processing power, web cam and the like. She sometimes ran some side business on the web stripping and such on a pay site for some extra cash. It was another one of those things that we should probably talk about but didn't.

I only had one lead, Roger Horner, as Else Lomack's last known boyfriend. There were a couple of people I could talk to, but the easiest thing to do was hit the Internet first. I grabbed a cold beer out of the fridge and ate some stale pretzels out of a bowl on the counter before I settled in. As I fired up her PC I grabbed my cell and made a call to Mike Cruz, my former partner.

Mike was one of the few guys on the force that didn't turn on me after the trial. We had been partners in Vice for a long time, him having been assigned to me right out of the Academy. We were the youngest team on Vice at the time, and we always looked out for one another. After I had passed the detective exam, we still stayed close, though he hadn't the tenure to take the exam with me. After the trial....and all the other stuff that went with it, Mike had stuck by me. He eventually did make detective on his own and we still touched base every once in a while. I sent him information that would help on cases, sometimes he'd run the Police Database for background stuff for me. I figured this was as good a time as any.

After the computer finished loading, I took a pull of my beer and started digging up all I could on Roger Horner. Mike also answered his phone and promised to meet me after his shift at our usual haunt, so that meant just after the midnight changeover. It was perfect, a few hours with Mike, hopefully grab a few leads, then I could pick up Annie and make up for fucking up last night so royally. If only it had been that easy.

End of Line.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Hey all,

I wrote a quick poem tonight about life and the journey you lead. I had read a story on the Internet about a man;s best friend dying and I was kind f moved to write a poem about the journey of life, and why some people die early, and why some people seem to bring brightness into a room. I hope you like it, this poem really only took about 30 minutes or so, very fast for my usual style. Thanks for reading!


What is life but counting days,

Falling off in so many ways.

Like that of some great candle,

Dripping wax upon the handle,

Tall and thick the tallow's rend,

To the golden base in which it tends.

Light the wick and life takes start,

The melting max shall fall apart.

Pooling drops fall like years,

And sooner comes the day one fears.

For as long as your flame does flutter,

The life you lead shall find no stutter.

Some choose to end in one great puff,

Other ride it far more tough.

Many light the other end,

And burn out quick, cannot defend.

Some burn brighter than those around,

Fewer still snuff out with no renown.

Yet longer now the times does pass,

'Till soon the days end, alas.

The flickering wick all but out,

Growing cold like so much doubt.

As the final fires turn to ember.

Look back on a life remembered.

When you looked down upon the world,

As life's challenges lay unfurled.

But in the end you look upon the high,

A black unknown awaits your last goodbye.

A life so brief in fanning flame,

Of happy days and guilty shame.

Burning bright in fullest vigor,

And waning then from life's hard rigor.

When I die then I'll embark,

Without life's light I'll face the dark.

End of Line.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Movie Review: The Hangover

Hey all!

Headed out this morning to watch The Hangover, the new comedy by Todd Phillips (of Old School fame) starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis. I have to say that I enjoyed this movie a lot more than I thought i would. It was a comedy that didn't blow all of the humor in the trailer for the trailer for the film like so many comedies, it saved some for the actual picture.

It starts off with four friends heading to Las Vegas two days before one of them is about to get married to celebrate the groom, Doug (Justin Bartha) bachelor party. His friends, Phil (Cooper), Stu (Helms), and Alan (Galifianakis) grab a suite at Cesar's Palace and prepare for the greatest night of their lives. They start by celebrating with a shot from the roof of their hotel overlooking all of Las Vegas. The picture then flashes forward to the next morning, with Phil, Stu , and Alan waking up with the worst hangover they have ever had and discovering that Doug is missing.

The boys must retrace their steps from the clues in their pockets to find their friend in time to get him to his wedding. From a tiger in they find in the bathroom to a baby left behind in the room, they must put the pieces back together to find out what happened to Doug, but also what happened to their memory. I don't want to ruin the film but based on the previews you discover along the way they meet Mike Tyson, Stu gets married, and the boys generally get the crap beat out of them. From strippers, to hospitals, to owing some bad men large sums of money, the boys realize that the greatest night of their life has turned out to be the biggest mistake they have ever made. In the end though, the movie is about the bonds that friends share, and the importance of learning who you can depend on.

The casting of the movie was great. Cooper is a star in the making with definite leading man potential that I hope more studio bosses notice and get him cast. Ed Helms deadpan delivery is great, from his time on The Daily Show to his current gig on the Office, Helms is perfect as the put upon boyfriend who doesn't know how sad his life is. Galifianakis plays the role of idiot savant to a tee, bringing in the dark horse factor to the humor and really rounding out the cast. A minor role for Heather Graham is nothing of note, but Tyson delivers some laughs with his take on Phil Collins.

The comedy itself finds a nice balance between over the top gross out humor and the great physical comedy of Helms and Galifianakis. The way they throw themselves into the role they really sell the beaten down and "hungover" aspect really well. Another thing I especially enjoyed was the bachelor party pictures they ran over the credits, they are just as funny as the whole movie.

The only downside is the story really. While being very funny, some of the elements are a bit of a re-tread of other comedies. Galifianakis and Helms are very similar to the kind of shtick that Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell have respectively, and the movie does play like it is aimed at re-capturing that. Even some of the plot elements, like the Vegas wedding angle, come from other familiar sources (the Simpsons anyone?). Still the film manages to turn itself around from that based on the performances of its three leads, who channel enough of the spirit of the films intent to keep it funny and enjoyable throughout.

Overall I enjoyed the film a lot and I definitely think that it is worth your movie dollar. It has plenty of laughs and the story keeps moving, from one crazy plot point to the next, all in a manner that makes you really grow to like and root for these guys to win. Check it out, The Hangover, by director Todd Phillips and starring Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, its worth it.

End of Line.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

On.... Writing

Hey all,

Just wanted to drop a line on my last Flash Fiction post, Seven Years Later. This marks my 100th Flash Fiction entry on the sight, the first way back on December 2, 2007. So 100 posts in about a year and a half. I am not sure if that is good production or not, but I am proud that I am sticking by it. I have written several different stories over the years, some fictional, some based on truth, some just meant to tell a story. For my 100th post I wanted to do something along the lines of my first short story attempts, something in a more serious literary vein that western zombies or stripper dating private eyes. I wanted to tell a sad story.

I don't usually preface my stories with bits of inspiration or story element origins, simply because I think stories are less an element of interpretation than poetry. Not that it can't be, but for the most part the author of a story tells the story he wants to tell, the author of a poem leaves room for interpretation. Seven Years Later is very much based on a true incident that happened to me a few weeks back, though with some elements fictionalized. For my 100th post on the subject I thought I would take a few moments to talk about the story, about how I felt.

It really did kind of happen this way, where I told a girl how I felt and she shit me down. I didn't really talk to her after that, though I did see her at her own wedding and watching that was a lot harder than I would ever have admitted to. These days she doesn't cross my mind as much, but seeing her like that dredged up some emotions I thought long buried.

Anyway I hope you like the slightly different flavor of story. Stay tuned as I will be approaching another anniversary in a few months, my 100th poem! I also have actual plans to get back to The Darkest Dawn Next month with my vacation up, and I am planning on a doing a bit of work with my best friend, hopefully set in a world that anyone who has read this blog might be familiar with. Thanks for sticking with me through 100 stories. Hope to see you in another 100!

End of Line.

Flash Fiction: Seven Years Later

Seven Years Later.

I told myself that it wasn't her. There was no way it could be. It just couldn't, but I knew that it was true. Tara Benton, the first girl to break my heart. I hadn't seen Tara for nearly seven years, since her wedding. Yet here she was, as big as life and just as lovely. She came bounding up to me, arms thrown wide, a huge smile on her face, the kind that still lit up her face like Christmas morning. She threw her arms around me into a great hug and buried her face into my chest.

She spoke a mile a minute, but I didn't catch any of the words she had said. My heart was still lumped in my throat and the words could find no breach. She looked up at me, her deep blue eyes catching mine and sweeping me away again, just like they had in years past. She grabbed my hand and walked me over to one of the benches, telling me about her life and what she was doing.

We sat down and I think I made the appropriate gestures and nods, but I don't remember ever saying any words. I just remember what it was like to feel that way again, to feel a way I hadn't felt in a long time. To hurt in a way I had tried to forget all those years past. The taste of tears and the empty hole in my heart seemed a little fainter, like they had happened to someone else. Things long buried seemed to want to surge to the surface, yet all I could do was drink in Tara and re-discover what facets I had forgotten.Finally she seemed to take a breath and I realized that she was talking to me, expecting a answer.

"Edward, It has been so LONG! Why didn't you ever call me? I called you and called you and you never called me back. I missed you. I STILL do. What happened to us?"

I sat there for what felt like a long time. Her eyes, so blue, her hand so soft still clenched in mine. I remembered every inch of her, the fall of her hair over one eye, the cleft in her cheek when she smiled, she even smelled the same. After all this time, she was still the first girl I had ever loved and I remembered why I had fallen so hard. I placed my free hand on hers and cupped them together, running my fingers over hers, remembering. But then I felt it. I felt the thing that had hurt so much then, felt what had taken her from me. As cold and constricting as ever. Colder than her rejection of my proclamation seven years ago, and colder than my heart in the years that followed. I felt her wedding ring.

"Because you broke my heart."

I let her hand go and stood up, watching her eyes go thick with tears and walked towards the rest of the party. I waited for a tear of my own to fall, but it never came.

End of Line.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Word Balloon: Criminal

Hey all!

For this month's edition of the column I wanted to look at a comic book called Criminal, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips published by Marvel/Icon. Icon is an imprint of Marvel Comics, an imprint designed so that some of their exclusive creators and big named talents can create their own work and retain rights for themselves while staying under the Marvel banner. Icon doesn't publish a lot of work, currently only Brian Michael Bendis Powers and David Mack's Kabuki.

Criminal is a series of self contained stories about the cliches of the crime genre, while maintaining a believable and realized world. Each arc is a single story, but when read together create small links to each other arc. Brubaker is a huge crime and pulp aficionado and has created a very deep world, full of gangsters and hard nosed antagonists who aren't always on the side of the angels. It is very much a book dedicated to the dark underbelly of America's crime obsession. Brubaker's writing style is very dynamic, creating fully formed characters, flaws and all, all within the trappings of a huge criminal caper.

Sean Phillips art is a perfect fit for the book. Dark and murky, he never the less gives each character a distinct and tough look. It's nothing like the clean lines and colors of a super hero book, very much a blurred and muted world, the same world that the antagonists he draws inhabit. Not the flashiest artist, he tells the story in the characters expressions and in his panel work. He truly has a style perfectly suited for this noir style story.

There are currently four volumes of Criminal in print, with a 5th arc slated for the end of the year. I recommend volume 1: Coward. Coward is the story of Leo Patterson, a second generation criminal who works by a very specific set of rules, rules designed to keep him alive. He works alone, but when a crooked cop cons him into pulling an armored car heist by attacking his one weakness, he agrees. The cop, Seymour, recruits Greta, a beautiful but damaged single mother to convince Leo, whom Leo knew from his early days working as a criminal, from before things went south and he adopted his rules. Seymour is working for a drug kingpin named Roy L.T. and as such, Leo and Greta suspect a double cross. From there the story delves into the intricacies of planning a heist, and the back stabbing and double dealing that always seem to be involved with the criminal underworld.

There are several great subplots running through the book as well, that really broaden the universe that Brubaker and Phillips have created. When read in conjunction with the rest of the series, it ties Leo and the cast of characters into both the past and the future of the series. Leo was partially raised by Ivan, a friend of his fathers, who is now addicted to drugs and suffers from Altimers Disease. Leo has to manage that and his penchant for picking pockets. Ivan has ties to characters that eventually show up in future tales but is contained nicely in this story. You get a peak into the local crime bar, the Undertow, that characters frequent in both the past and the future of the series.

Really what Brubaker and Phillips have done is bring to life the great noir and pulp books of the 1940's and 50's. Influenced by the likes of crime authors like Richard Parker and the gritty street cop films of the 60's and 70's, like Bullitt with Steve McQueen and Point Blank with Lee Marvin. Dark, urban films about tough bad men doing the things they needed to do. With this tone they bring to life the dark underbelly of the crime world.

Another great staple of this series is the endings. Especially in Coward, Brubaker lays out a story that you know is going to end badly, a story where bad things happen to bad people, but you never know how he is going to take you there. To Greta and discovering how she got damaged, to really delving into Leo and finding out why everyone thinks he is such a coward, the book is constantly turning from the predictable to the unknown, taking the underpinnings of a once familiar setting and and turning your expectations on your ear.

I heartily recommend Criminal for someone looking once again to stay outside the norm of capes and super heroics, and to discover just what lurks in the criminal shadows around us. Ed Brubaker has quickly and efficiently broken into my top five writers of all time, joining easily the likes of Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, and Brian K. Vaughn. Writers who can easily switch between the world of heroes and find relevance and stories off the beaten path. Phillips brings a quiet quality to the story, art that perfectly fits the mood and tone of the series. Both creators are perfect on this book, and it is can't miss. Check it out, Criminal: Volume 1: Coward by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, published by Marvel/Icon.

End of Line.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 7

I followed Annie into the Lucky Lady and watched her head back to the dressing area through the revolving mirrored door. Tiny, the bouncer, was on duty and watched her walk all the way to the door before throwing me a dirty look. I gave him a smile out of the corner of my mouth and walked over to the bar and had one of the girls give me a bottle of beer. No hard stuff for a while, at least tonight, I had to start getting some pieces moving on this case. Tiny kept his eye on me as I nursed my domestic and leaned against the counter.

Tiny was big, bald, and black. He had arms like tree trunks and legs like stumps. He was all muscle, and that included his brain. He was the guy that could always out power his opponents, and the fact that I had once broke his nose pissed him off. I think he genuinely loved Annie, but that love was unrequited. Tensions were high between us, but I honestly think he was a little scared of me. He'd never lost a fight before me, and hadn't lost one since. Truth be told, I didn't want to push my luck in another fight, I'd outsmarted him with speed and quick thinking last time. The last few years hadn't exactly been kind to my body and I didn't know if I could do it again. Then again, I am to much of an asshole to apologize now.

I waited until Annie came out. It was weird watching Annie work. Part of me hated the fact that this is what she did, grind on Johns like this to make money. The other part of me loved her spirit though. She was tough and knew what she wanted. I know forbidding her would just make her do it more. I think, deep down, that I knew that at the end of the night, she would come home to me. Was it love, or was it because we didn't know how to love anyone else as much as we hated ourselves I don't know.

Annie was wearing black heels with soles at least a foot thick and long black fishnet stockings, the kind of netting that showed off the skin underneath. She wore black panties and a short black shirt that hung off her shoulders. It was cut just under her breasts and she wore long black matching fishnet stockings for her arms. You could see all of her tattoos, her quarter sleeves beneath the stockings on her arms and the one on her lower back that led into the trailing vertebrae, with the tips of the wings poking out over her shoulders. She looked dynamite. She gave me a kiss, a mixture of tongue and metal from her piercings that made my blood boil. I also knew it would make Tiny jealous as shit. She told me she was getting to work and I promised I would be by tonight to pick her back up. I drained the last of my beer and headed out into the night to catch a cab. The wind had picked up and I had an heiress to find.

End of Line.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Assorted Nuts

Hey guys

I was severely lax in updating this week but I thought i would drop a few notes about things on the blog. One is that I am bringing back Flash Fiction Sundays. With the shorter format of the Noir Story posts I am going to get back to what I was doing when I first started, and that is post new Flash Fiction every Sunday. That doesn't mean that I won't also post it throughout the week as well, but you will always get new Flash Fiction every Sunday, starting tomorrow.

In terms of the rest of the blog, I have noticed a slight increase in traffic which is nice! My goal this week is to catch one of the few movies I am behind on, either Angels and Demons or The Hangover for a movie update and to have a new Word Balloon column by the end of the week.

In other news next month just got super exciting! Not only will I be traveling to Florida (I'll try to drop updates) for work and the San Diego Comic Con the week after that, but a few days after my return from San Diego, I will be off to Chicago for work again! I am excited to visit places I have never been before and to do some exploring on my own through the streets of Chicago and discover a little bit about a brand new city. I was in Chicago once for work, but I never got to explore the city, this time I get two nights in town that I intend to take advantage off.

So I am going to try to get my post count back up to at least every other day on average and keep writing. I also want to point out that I will get back to The Darkest Dawn and to wrap that story up. I truthfully think that I am within 10 posts or so of finishing, its just that the posts got to be so large that they are more of short fiction, less flash fiction, and I need to start writing them over a couple of days instead of one sitting. I will finish it because I love that story. I just have been so burdened at work that the time and energy to write those just hasn't been there, but I am committed to getting that back on track.

Thanks for sticking with me to all (both?) my readers and I'll keep writing.

End of Line.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Hey all,

Got a bit of the poetry bug today so I decided to try my hand at writing something in a strangely different rhyming scheme. Six line stanzas rhyming over 3rd line. I didn't know if it flows as smoothly in some stanzas as it does in others, but it was an interesting attempt that I enjoyed playing with. It's always a challenge to work in a format you have never tried before, even if the topic beats a familiar tune. I'd love some feedback as to whether it worked for you or not....


I hear a hunger,

And the sound is fading in,

Through the soft and silent night.

I begin to wonder,

If this is when it will begin,

Or the start of a fight.

The empty walls beat inside,

Pumping through my hollow veins,

Flowing out my empty heart.

Through a path to wide.

Though I must pray my will abstains,

If not its back to the start.

Echoes bound though lifeless calls,

And I can't find my way out.

So I sit and wait to die.

Wondering how far one falls,

When you are pray to doubt,

And all that's left is to wonder why.

Now the silence sleeps,

Under the day bright light,

Its always easier at the dawn.

Those are the times I keep,

Locked until the twilight,

When I'm once more memory's pawn.

Maybe one day,

I'll know why you left me here,

And all the things I did wrong.

This is the price I gotta pay,

'Cause now I want you near,

You're what I needed all along.

As once hot life flowed through my soul,

Now the warmth has cooled away,

And the heart pumps its frosty beat.

So I feel this gaping hole,

From this losses lingering stay,

Because without you I'm incomplete.

End of Line.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Hey all

A bit of a different post but last night I attended Red Hot Robots 2nd Anniversary Party. Red Hot is the primary source for urban and vinyl art and toys in the Valley and the shop I hit whenever a new piece or toy or urban themed art is going to drop. Last year at the 1 year party the owner, Jason, had a great party planned. There was live music and raffles for prizes, with an assortment of cool and strange snacks, candy, and beers.

This year was more of an Asian theme, with Asian themed beers, including a brand called Tiger beer that I had never had before. I had two. There was a bunch of strange Japanese candy and the DJ was spinning all sorts of music, some off of a CD created specifically for the Red Hot Robot 2 year Anniversary. There was a ring toss game where you could win prizes, including one of 2 grand prizes! I Managed to win a bag of candy and some Silly Putty, which I gave to one of the children that came to the show later that night when they had run out of prizes.

All in all I had a really fun time. My room mate Jason (not the owner) won one of the raffles and got a bag of assorted vinyl toys which was cool, and since no one won the grand prizes at the ring toss, they were raffled off at the end of the night. Autumn won one of those as the very last ticket called. Inside was a limited edition T shirt and a $35 gift card. Truthfully a very sweet prize.

The night was a huge success for the owner, nearly everyone bought a good amount of swag, including me who didn't even need anything. The New Times, sort of the local street scene paper, was there taking pictures for an article in the upcoming edition and took shots of us, so we may even be in the paper. One of the things I like about the owner is that he really goes all out for any parties at his store. He always has a great selection of drinks and wonderfully unique snacks and he always creates great gift bags for random winners. We have been lucky enough to win a couple of times at the different parties he throws, whether it be a trading party for the launch of a new toy line, or an Anniversary Party like last night.

Overall we had a blast and it's just a bonus that the owner is such a genuinely nice guy. Thanks for reading guys!

End of Line.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Hey all,

It's been a while since I turned the view inward and analyzed my life. I think I am still troubled by the same demons, the same fears of rejection and fear and remorse but i am learning to temper it I hope. I actually tried to ask a girl out the other day. She turned me down, but it was at least politely. Part of me thinks that I may be better off alone and not trying, but the overall majority of myself thinks that I shouldn't quit.

I've had a couple of conversations about failure and quitting these past few weeks. I never minded failing. Failing meant that I tried and I didn't quit. Quitting is something i have never been good at. I hate to admit that I can't finish something. I keep at it until I succeed or I just wash out. Somehow knowing that I did my best, even if it wasn't good enough, always mattered to me more than if I was successful or not.

I need to keep applying this to my regular life. In the last few months I have had two failed attempts at dating and I guess that could be a positive thing. It's more than I have had in the past two years. Rejection hurts, but I think quitting would hurt more. Somehow I gotta channel this emotion into something more positive and keep at the grindstone.

I already look at one missed opportunity in my life. At a person I really really liked and now I realize that I have missed my chance. That makes me sad sometimes, to think that I may have had a shot, but now so much time has passed whatever opportunity that was there has long since expired.

Don't take this the wrong way. I am glad for the chances and experiences that I have had these past few months. I think that they are helping me grow as a person and as an individual. Maybe soon I will finally break out of the stigmata and start a relationship. Until Then I will try to remain positive and reflect on the learning experiences of the past few months.

Thanks for listening everyone.

End of Line.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Flash Fiction: Noir Story

Chapter 6

I walked into Annie's apartment, rubbing the sting in my cheek. Annie had her back to me, cussing a streak so black that a bottle of lye wouldn't get clean. She walked towards her bedroom saying she had to get ready for her shift. She had on tight leather pants that were cut up the side and a tight white tank top that showed off her curves. You could see the tattoo of her vertebrae work its way out the top of the tank and stretch out to her shoulder blades blending unto a pair of wings. Her jet black hair was streaked with bright red highlights that highlighted the fierce green eyes that burned at me when she looked my way.

Annie was short, but she acted big. Her arms were covered in tattoos, sleeves, a mixture of skulls, flames, and bone that ended just past her elbows and she had more piercings than I had successfully managed to count, today sporting three large rings through her lower lip and another in in belly button. Who knew what lied under those pants. I long ago just accepted that she did these things to get a rise out of me.

I let her rant and somewhere in the mess of swearing and threatening gestures I figured out the real problem. She'd had a private job last night. Sometimes she worked private gigs for heavy rates, those days she would take some muscle with her in case things went to far. I hated those gigs but she would do them anyway, just to piss me off, so I usually agreed to do them. Apparently last night I had fucked up but good and forced her to use Tiny Miller, one of the bouncers at her club, The Lucky Lady. Tiny had a bit of a crush on her and if I hadn't of flattened his nose, he might have tried to make good on it.

I stood there and took the ranting. It was all I really could do at this point. I mean I HAD fucked up. I threw in an apology whenever it felt right to say it and that would spurn another tirade. Eventually she started to wind down though and agreed to let me take her to work. I grabbed her bag an she slipped on a long black trench coat that had seen better days. Once I had bought her a new one but she still kept the old one, to remind her where she came from. We headed out the door and I hailed a cab. I thumbed open a Bronson and we both lit up, the smoke wafting in the cab around her face and I thought to myself how lucky a fuck up like me had to be. If only I knew how bad my luck was about to get.

End of Line.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Movie Review: Up

Hey all!

This past weekend I went to see Disney/Pixar's 10th team up, Up. Pixar continues its constant streak of making just incredibly fantastic films with Up, which may be one of the best films in Disney's long history. A bit of a side note, I actually saw Up twice, one in 2D with my niece, Lexy, who is 4 years old. I got the privilege of taking her to her very first movie and I thought that was great. (BTW she loved it too). Later that night I saw it again with Jason and Autumn in 3D and it was even more incredible!

Anyway, Up is the story about a man named Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner), who decides after an incident that may force him to leave his home and move to a retirement community, to go on the adventure of a lifetime that he had been dreaming of since he was just a boy by traveling to South America. As a balloon salesmen his whole life, he decides to attach balloons to his beloved house and sail away in it. In the process a young Wilderness Ranger named Russell (newcomer Jordan Negei) gets trapped on his porch and joins his adventure as well, to gain the last merit badge he needs to become a senior scout, Helping the Elderly.

They fly into a storm, but with the help of Russell's GPS, they get almost to the spot that Carl has dreamed off since he was a boy, Paradise Falls. Falling out of the house, they manage to tie themselves to the house and will walk the house to the spot like a giant parade balloon (as neither can climb back up the rope). As they walk they encounter Dug, a dog with a talking collar and Kevin, a giant rare bird that both take a liking to the pair. When Carl and Russell run into the owner of the dog, Charles Muntz (voiced by Christopher Plummer) they realize it is the same hero that inspired Carl as a boy to take this journey. Unfortunately, Muntz plans for Kevin aren't in line with the Wilderness Rangers code and Carl must decide to help Russell, or get his house where it needs to go before the helium in the balloons run out.

Up is directed by Peter Doctor, whose last film, Monster's Inc, was really one of the more under-rated films from Pixar. This film though shatters through almost everything else Pixar has ever done. The story is so compelling and poignant, and sad. This is the first film to make me cry since the last Lord of the Rings and I actually cried twice and probably could have cried a third time. The first ten minutes are so powerful, full of emotion and set such a tone for the rest of the film I had tears in my eyes. Carl's story is just so touching in these first ten minutes, and its all told without words, just pictures. Simply beautiful.

The voice cast is small but Asner brings that gruff, crusty good naturedness that fit him so well as Lou Grant in Mary Tyler Moore he is perfect as Carl. What is great about Pixar is that they don't even need voice talent to tell a good story, and every character is just perfectly cast. Bob Peterson keeps the film light hearted when it needs it as Dug the Dog and the voice talent of young Carl and his friend Ellie is some of the best youth voice acting I have ever heard.

I don't know what can be said about the animation other than that it was perfect. whether in 2D or 3D, it is vibrant and lush. Each character design is unique and unlike anything I have ever seen. I cannot say anything bad about the animation. My only minor complaint in the whole film is a small but where Muntz sends his dogs after Russell in a couple of bi-planes. I could deal with the talking dogs as an element of this world they created that works, but i thought the dogs flying was a bit over the top. Don't let this fool you though. Up is quite simply one of the best movies you are going to see this year.

I already predict that this movie is ranking in my top 5 this year and I can honestly say that I liked it better than Star Trek. Go see Up! Go, right now, it is that good. Oh, and bring a Kleenex, cause if this movie doesn't choke you up then you may be dead inside. Up, from Disney/Pixar, by Pete Doctor. This years sure fire best animated movie, hands down.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Assorted Nuts

Happy June all!

WOW! Last month just flew by and I haven't posted as consistently as I'd have liked to, but I am feeling that it may be a running theme on the blog. I have been fighting the effects of a really nagging cold for about a week now and I just haven't been able to shake it, though physically I am feeling so much better. I still have a pretty wicked cough and my voice is just shot, though i feel pretty good.

I definitely am planning on continuing my posts with new Flash Fiction , including Darkest Dawn which was MIA last month and diving deeper into Noir story, hopefully I will run about 20 chapters or so of that one. Also tomorrow will be my review of Up from Disney.

As we dive deeper into the month I hope to really start getting stuff ready for next month. July has a lot of traveling on my plate with stops in Orlando, for a work convention, and at Comic Con shortly thereafter. Con is always fun and exciting, but the work one this year should be cool too, we are going to make quick stops at Universal Studious and Disneyland, very fun.

I still have multiple pieces of vinyl art to work on that I am going to work on later today as well for further Di-Vinyl columns and concert season is picking back up soon. Hopefully I'll make it to one of the upcoming shows this month, either the new Warp Tour or the Yeah Yeah Yeah's next week. Stay tuned guys! More fun stuff to come!

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