Tag Archives: fantasy

Get a #FREE #Kindle #ShortStory every day in October from M. R. Mathias

The whole month’s schedule of #FREE M. R. Mathias Shorts

is compiled here, by James of HBS

http://hbsauthorspotlight.blogspot.com/2017/10/mr-mathias-hbs-authors-spotlight.html

 

I am offering a free short story every day in #October.

Today’s featured #FREE short story is:

**Crimzon & Clover II – The Tricky Wizard**

Please post a #BookReview if you read it!

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We review the FireTV version of: Maleficent “Does not disappoint. 5 Stars” – MR

Maleficent (2014 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Maleficent
Maleficent poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Stromberg
Produced by Joe Roth
Screenplay by Linda Woolverton
Based on
Starring
Narrated by Janet McTeer
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by
Production
company
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • May 28, 2014(United Kingdom)
  • May 30, 2014 (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $180 million[2]
Box office $757.8 million[2]

Maleficent (/məˈlɛfɪsənt/ or /məˈlɪfɪsənt/) is a 2014 American dark fantasy film directed by Robert Stromberg from a screenplay by Linda Woolverton. Starring Angelina Jolie as the eponymous Disney villainess character, the film is a live-action re-imagining of Walt Disney‘s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, and portrays the story from the perspective of the antagonist, Maleficent.[3]

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, with Angelina Jolie as an executive producer, principal photography took place between June and October 2012. Maleficent premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood on May 28, 2014, and was released in the United Kingdom that same day. The film was released in the U.S. on May 30, 2014 in the Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D formats, as well as in conventional theaters. The film was met with mixed reviews from critics, but was a commercial success, having grossed over $757 million worldwide and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2014.

Plot

An elderly narrator tells the story of Maleficent, a powerful fairy living in the Moors, a magical forest realm bordering a corrupt human kingdom. As a young girl, she meets and falls in love with a human peasant boy named Stefan, whose love for Maleficent is overshadowed by his ambition to become king. As they grow older, Stefan and Maleficent grown apart, and she grows into the role of protector of the Moors. When King Henry tries to conquer the Moors, he is thwarted by a mature Maleficent, forcing him to retreat. Fatally wounded in the battle, he declares that whoever kills Maleficent would be named his successor and marry his daughter Leila. An older Stefan hears this, then goes to see Maleficent in the Moors. Stefan drugs Maleficent but cannot bring himself to kill her, so instead he cuts her wings off with iron – a lethal substance to fairies – and presents them to the king as proof of her death. Maleficent awakens to find herself wingless. She rescues a raven named Diaval, whom she gives a human form, to serve as her confidant.  Maleficent, deeply saddened by Stefan’s betrayal, declares herself Queen of the Moors, forming a dark oppressive kingdom with Diaval as her only companion..

Some time later, Diaval informs Maleficent that Stefan, who is now king, is hosting a christening for his newborn daughter, Aurora. Bent on revenge, Maleficent arrives uninvited and curses the infant princess: on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, which will cause her to fall into a deep sleep from which she will never awaken. When Stefan begs for mercy, she offers an antidote: the curse can be broken by true love’s kiss. A paranoid Stefan sends Aurora to live a trio of pixies until the day after her sixteenth birthday, while he destroys and burns all the spinning wheels in the kingdom and hides them in the deepest dungeon in the castle. He sends out his armies to find and kill Maleficent, but she surrounds the Moors with an impenetrable wall of thorns.

Despite her initial dislike for Aurora, Maleficent begins to care for the girl when the incompetent pixies fail to do so. After a brief meeting with the young Aurora, Maleficent watches over her from afar. When Aurora is 15, she meets Maleficent for the first time and she calls Maleficent her “fairy godmother”, as Aurora recalls being watched over by her all of her life. Realizing she has grown fond of the princess, Maleficent attempts to revoke the curse, but she cannot. Aurora later meets Prince Philip, and the two are smitten with each other. On the day before Aurora’s 16th birthday, Maleficent, hoping to avoid the curse, allows her to move to the Moors. When the pixies inadvertently tell Aurora of her parentage and of Maleficent’s true identity, a furious Aurora runs away to her father’s castle.

Meanwhile King Stefan, mad with paranoia, sits in his castle talking to Maleficent’s wings, and even refuses to see Queen Leila on her deathbed.

 

Cast

Angelina Jolie (left), Sharlto Copley (center) and Sam Riley (right)

Our Thoughts

This is a well portrayed movie, with superb acting and stellar effects. I was expecting more of a kids/chick flick type of story, but this was actually a great twist on the old Cinderella tale; dark enough to keep an old Conan the Barbarian fan interested from start to finish. This one does not disappoint.  – MR

 

Find Maleficent and see a free movie trailer here. 


We review: Taken 3 “3.5 stars for great action and fight sequences.”- MR

Taken 3

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Taken 3
Taken 3 poster.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Olivier Megaton
Produced by Luc Besson
Written by Luc Besson
Robert Mark Kamen
Starring Liam Neeson
Forest Whitaker
Famke Janssen
Maggie Grace
Dougray Scott
Sam Spruell
Leland Orser
Music by Nathaniel Méchaly
Cinematography Eric Kress
Edited by
  • Audrey Simonaud
  • Nicolas Trembasiewicz
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
(International)
EuropaCorp Distribution
(France)
Release dates
  • 16 December 2014(Berlin premiere)
  • 9 January 2015(United States)
  • 21 January 2015 (France)
Running time
108 minutes[1]
Country France
Language English
Budget $48 million[2]
Box office $9.5 million[3]

Taken 3 is a 2014 English-language French action thriller film directed by Olivier Megaton and written by Luc Besson andRobert Mark Kamen. It is the third and final installment in the Taken trilogy, and the sequel to the 2008 film Taken and the 2012 film Taken 2. The film stars Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen and Forest Whitaker.

Principal photography began on 29 March 2014, in Los Angeles. In North America, 20th Century Fox released the film on January 9, 2015.[4]

Synopsis

Bryan Mills, an ex-government operative, is accused of the murder of his wife Lenore “Lenny” Mills. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills again brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name.

Cast

Our Thoughts:

Liam Neeson isn’t into the role anymore and it is clear in this film. Forest Whitaker saves the day with his clever, non-chalant acting ability.  The biggest problem with this movie, and the plot in general, is that there is no sense of urgency. The stuff Mills is doing had no reason to be rushed. There is no pending death, or doom. There is the police trying to stop him, and it was entertaining. Still, save the cost of a box office ticket and wait until it is out on Amazon Prime, or cable. 3.5 stars for great action and fight sequences. MR

 

Find Taken 3 and see the new movie trailer here.


Review of ‘Mirror Mirror’ Amazon Streaming Version: “Easily as dark as Snow White and the Huntsman!” – M.R.

Review of ‘Mirror Mirror’ Amazon Streaming Version

From Wiki:

Mirror Mirror is a 2012 comedy fantasy film based on the fairy tale “Snow White” by the Brothers Grimm. It is directed by Tarsem Singh and stars Lily Collins, Julia Roberts, Armie Hammer, Nathan Lane, and Sean Bean. It is unrelated to the Gregory Maguire novel Mirror, Mirror.

Our Take: This version of Snow White is easily as dark as Snow White and the Huntsman. And just as visually stunning, (in parts.) Julia Roberts plays a good evil step mother. Snow White is played well too, as are the seven dwarves. It is the male characters here that were lacking. Again, Amazon streaming delivers hi quality.

I recommend this for fantasy loving guys to pick as a sofa date movie. Enough romance for the gals, enough dark twisted fun for everyone else, especially the kids.

3.5 stars.

 

Find Mirror Mirror at Amazon

 

 


More Summer Fantasy Giveaways #Win a Whole Trilogy of signed copies! #FREE eBooks too!

Giveaway one is for Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle then you can still take advantage by getting one of Amazon’s many FREE reading apps, for Droid, iPad, Blackberry, PC, etc…

Confliction Compendium is FREE  for Kindle at Amazon HERE July 13th, 14th, and 15th. AND again July 21st and 22nd. No entry required. Just go get yourself three great fantasy novels, a novella, and two short stories all in one download.

YES…..  THE WHOLE Dragoneer Saga TRILOGY IN ONE OMNIBUS DOWNLOAD FREE for ANYONE who wants it.

Now that’s cool on a HOT day, and it’s all courtesy of M. R. Mathias’ newest release, the conclusion to his Wardstone Trilogy. (see image below)

The next Three Giveaways are idenidenticalu can enter three times to win the 3 Dragoneer Trilogy Books signed by the author from Goodreads vie their drawing system.

The following titles are linked to the respective giveaway.

The Royal Dragoneers

Cold Hearted Son of a Witch

The Confliction

Good luck and enjoy the summer. More movie and classic fantasy book reviews to come!


The Deed of Paksenarrion – Reviewed “Long, slow, but if you stick with it, a very rewarding epic masterpiece.” – M.R.

From Wiki:

The Deed of Paksenarrion is an epic fantasy saga by the American author Elizabeth Moon. The Deed of Paksenarrion was originally published in three volumes in 1988 and 1989 and as a single trade edition of that name in 1992 by Baen. The three books included are Sheepfarmer’s Daughter, Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold. Sheepfarmer’s Daughter was awarded the Compton Crook Award by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society for the author’s first fantasy novel.

A single volume prequel about the life of Paksenarrion’s guiding saint was published in 1990, and followed by a sequel tying characters from both works together.

Our Thoughts:  I read this in jail of all places. The full “three-book-in-one” volume we had was held together with rubber-bands. All of the pages were there, though, save for one corner of page 735.  I remember the soldiering scenes from these stories. Paksenarrion spent long trudging months training to be the warrior depicted on the cover, or did she?  She is one tough woman, and I tell you what. She has inspired many a fantasy female character.  (Zena, Sheena, maybe even Brienne of Tarth? I think very much so on the latter. )

Props to Elizabeth Moon. When in an open jail tank (with 30-some-odd people running around) if I could read my way out of the moment, the author was one I considered great. Moon did that. I can still remember the dark elf scenes and the wild way the story twists, toward the end, even now.

4  stars – Highly Recommended.  –  M.R.

Sadly you cannot find The Deed of Paksenarrion for Kindle or Nook.

Please visit this Amazon page    In the box under the cover image click that you would like to see this novel for Kindle.


“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” – Tad Williams Fantasy Trilogy reviewed.

From Wiki:
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is Tad Williams’s epic fantasy trilogy, comprising The Dragonbone Chair (1988), Stone of Farewell (1990), and To Green Angel Tower (1993). The world and story draw upon many sources from history and folklore. Several characters’ elements and experiences mirror the legends of Great Britain and other lands (e.g., King Arthur and Sir Lancelot, Alfred the Great, Baba Yaga, and Amaterasu). The dominant Erkynlanders resemble the medieval English, with Anglo-Saxon/Biblical-sounding personal names in addition to the usual castle-based feudal/agrarian setting of stock fantasy. The other peoples of Osten Ard also have identifiable real-world parallels in their names, cultures, and native tongues.

Our Thoughts: I read this trilogy some years ago and three scenes stick out in my head. Simon facing the dragon in the snow. Tad William’s description of the dragon’s approach was so well written that I stopped and reflected on it. Also the flooded plains frozen over. Loved some of the battle strategies portrayed there. The Sithi city in the forest, with the strung up cloth art and vividly different culture. I enjoyed these books a lot. My ONLY gripe about this trilogy is that it is 4 books long. Book III – To Green Angel Tower was so big that the publishers split the paperback in two. Having to buy the 4th book was irksome. Luckily, these days we have ereaders and the title fits in a single file just fine.

The Sithi (which are pre-Sith) are like elves. The other creatures from Tad’s imagination are something else all together, and much terrible fun.

This is a 4 star epic fantasy that I highly recommend. – M.R.

Find Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn on   Kindle   Nook


John Carter (Amazon Streaming Version) Reviewed. “Solid Sci-Fi entertainment. Loved it!” – M.R.

I watch movies on my Kindle Fire a lot. A LOT! So I will be reviewing some streaming movies in the future. I also have an HD projector that I can hook my Kindle Fire up to and watch on my wall on an 8ft wide perfectly clear screen. I saw John Carter in IMAX 3D, but when I saw it on my wall, played from my Kindle through my – not so expensive – projector, I was amazed at the perfect clarity, even with the screen opened up to 8ft wide. For sound, I just ran an 1/8 stereo cord from the Kindle’s headphone jack to my bands sound system.

OK… I’m pleased with my system, and I am not trying to brag, but its pertinent to reviewing a streaming product that you know what sort of system I watched on.  I would consider mine just a touch above average, including my high speed internet connection.

Now to the review.

 

John Carter was like watching Starwars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Alien, and Sherlock Holmes all twisted into one great fantastical story. I was especially surprised by the clever twists at the end. This movie is great. The reviewers who dashed it early on have questionable judgment in my eyes. Even more than the previously mentioned movie greats, John Carter managed to be different than all of those films, and more original than most of the newer Sci-Fi movies I’ve seen.

Great for all ages, with enough, romance, action, and battle to keep adults intrigued, this will be a DVD/BlueRay classic that everyone will at one time own. Buy it in digital format and you’ll only have to buy it once.

Highly Recommended – M. R.

John Carter at Amazon


PROMETHEUS IMAX 3D Movie Review “The aliens blew my mind” – M.R.

Tickets for 2 – $32.00

2 Hot Dogs   – $11.00

2 Diet Dr. Peppers – $13.00

Getting to see PROMETHEUS in IMAX 3D on opening night at the Warren Theater in Moore, Oklahoma – Priceless

Ok…  I really liked the movie. There was a lot from Alien in this sci-fi space travel thriller. A lot. Weird creepy android, a crew waking from cryogenic hibernation, belly bursting creatures, exciting, “Pulse-Pounding” action. The first of the movie had a “2001 a Space Odyssey” feel to it. It graduated, a little slowly, into an arm-rest-gripping, who is going to bite it first, type of theme.

The 3D effects were pointless, save for one awesome scene where we see space (several galaxies worth) all represented in hologram-like clockwork imagery. This scene blew my mind.

The aliens blew my mind.

This is great sci-fi fun, and worth the cost of a premium ticket. If you loved the original Alien, you’ll definitely love this. It had elements of horror, thriller, drama, a little romance, and once the story developed and I know the characters a bit, the action took over and I was enthralled. The ending was a great tie in. I can’t say more about that without being a spoiler.

4 stars – losing one for lack of a truly original story.  It would have been 3 stars, but the special FX, and action sequences carried the movie after the first 30. It was the same 30 minutes of build up I’ve seen in several movies before.

Recommended – M.R.


Snow White and the Huntsman – Review “Stunningly Beautiful… Extremely fantastic FX.” — M.R.

Snow White and the Huntsman – Review

Blood on snow… Love it. The forest scene with the fairies blew me away. The fragmented glass effect with the evil minions was mesmerizing. The liquid white, black, and gold effects were phenomenal. The battle scenes were lacking in that I caught a place where the cloned figures were fighting in the back and there were no enemies there yet. It was absurd to run upon a castle as they did, but that aside the seven dwarves were spot on to the augmented tale. So was the wicked stepmother. The romantic aspect, with two possible “Prince-not-so-Charmings” could have actually been better, and that’s coming from a guy who would rather drop 45 pound plates on his toes than watch a chick flick.

 

4.0 stars for an very entertaining twist on an old fairy tale, but it was almost like watching Game of Thrones at times, thus 4 instead of 5 stars.