Friday, September 23, 2016

Highest Grossing Critically Mangled Movies

While many box office hits receive generally favorable reviews, anywhere from 80 to 100%, some movies are box office hits no matter what the critics say.  If something has enough franchise clout, it might still become a box office success.  If a Rotten Tomatoes (which gathers all the critic’s reviews and combines them all to a consensus and percentage) score is below 60%, then it is considered “rotten.”  Here are the top 5 highest grossing (by all time or worldwide gross) critically mangled movies. 
“Minions” was released in 2015, and is the spinoff of the Despicable Me movies.  In the Despicable Movies, aspiring villain Gru had miniature yellow helpers called “minions,” who mumble gibberish and get into cute trouble.  In Minions, the origin story of the minions are told, where they always desire to serve despicable masters.  Kevin, Stewart, and Bob, along with the other minions, start to serve the completely evil Scarlett Overkill.  The movie received 56 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus read: “The Minion’ brightly colored brand of gibberish-fueled insanity stretches to feature length but in their self-titled Despicable Me spinoff, with uneven but often hilarious results.” However, it grossed $1,159,398,397, #11 at the all-time box office.
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” is the third in the series of Transformers movies, released in 2011.  Transformers, alien machines that can transform to things like trucks and cars, form two factions, the good Autobots and bad Decepticons.  In the third Transformers movie, the machines try to race to the moon to find a Cybertronian spacecraft capable of ending the war between the two factions.  The movie only received a 35% percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.  The consensus read: “Its special effects and 3-D shots are undeniably impressive, but they aren’t enough to fill up its loud, bloated running time or mask its thin, indifferent script.” However, it grossed $1,123,794,079, #13 at the all-time box office.
“Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the fourth in the series of Transformers movies, released in 2014.  In this movie, a CIA black ops division along with a bounty hunter hunt down the Autobots; who turn to a new cast of characters, different from the previous three movies, for help.  The movie received an incredibly low 18% on Rotten Tomatoes.  The consensus read: “With the fourth installment in Michael Bay’s blockbuster Transformers franchise, nothing is disguise: Fans of loud effect-driven action will find satisfaction, and all others need not apply.”  However, it grossed $1,104,054,072, #16 at the all-time box office.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” is the second movie in the series of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, released in 2006.  In this movie, Pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, along with his friends Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann and his band of pirates, try to find the Dead Man’s Chest, belonging to Davy Jones, while Will Turner is on a mission to acquire Sparrow’s compass.  The movie received a 54% score on Rotten Tomatoes.  The consensus read: “Gone is Depp’s unpredictability and much of the humor and originality of the movie.” However, it grossed $1,066,179,725, #19 at the all-time box office.
“Pirates of Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” is the fourth movie in the series of Pirates of the Caribbean movies, released in 2011.  In this movie, Jack Sparrow teams up with Angelica to find the Fountain of Youth, but standing in his way is the Pirate Blackbeard.  The movie received a 32% score on Rotten Tomatoes.  The consensus read: “It’s shorter and leaner than the previous sequel, but this "Pirates" runs aground on a disjointed plot and non-stop barrage of noisy action sequences.”  However, it grossed $1,045,713,802, #20 at the all-time box office.

All of these movies are sequels or spin-offs, building off of previous franchise installments’ successes.  It also proves that sometimes, safe, loud action movies (or, in the case of Minions, comedy animated movies) do bring in box office results, regardless of critical opinion.  I could recommend you check out these movies, but you’ve probably already seen them in theaters already.  

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Revised Version of Romance is for Other People Uploaded - Here's Why

Hi Everyone,
     Today I am uploading a new version of Romance is for Other People to all 3 accounts where the book is available:  1. Createspace (the company that prints Amazon Paperback) 2. Smashwords 3. Kindle Direct Publishing.  NOTE: The new versions make the book temporarily unavailable.   Are there any plot/story differences? No.  It is exactly the same story.
     So why the new version?  Several reviewers have pointed out several major errors in my book (sentences which were confusing, sections which were told from Lydia's perspective (for example) described things happening from Chris's perspective, grammatical errors, etc.).   Nancy Winter was kind enough, without my asking, by the way, to sit down with the paperback version of my book and mark any errors she saw.    I have since corrected all the errors she marked in my book and corrected a few more I saw on my own.
    Also, on October 15, 2016, for one day only, my book will be FREE on Smashwords!  Smashwords contains all the different ebook versions, including epub, mobi (Kindle) and pdf.  It's the best way to release a free online version of my book.
    In anticipation of my Free Day I wanted to have a new version correcting the major errors that were pointed out to me. I know that as soon as I upload the new version, there will still be people who find more errors I missed.   But at least the big ones were taken out.
    I just wanted, you, my blog readers (all 30 of you) to know why a new version of Romance is for Other People was being released.
    If you feel so compelled, please share/retweet my posts about my book being free on Saturday, October 15!
    Thank you, everyone!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Tales of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Quidditch Through the Cursed Child: Official Harry Potter Works beyond the 7 books.

               The official Harry Potter book series ended in 2007 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and seemingly again in 2011 with the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.  But knowing the fans incredible appetite for all things Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has released four separate books (and three ebooks) as a supplement to the seven novels, but only one of which actually continues the stories of the main characters.  
                The first two books were released at the same time as supposed textbooks that Harry Potter studied in Hogwarts, in 2001, in between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.   The first book is Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, purportedly written by Newt Scamander.  In the book, stylized to be Harry Potter’s actual copy (and contains notes from Ron from the time of Goblet of Fire) there are descriptions of over 80 magical creatures throughout the world, including some that have appeared in the books, like the Hungarian Horntail, which appeared in Goblet of Fire.  The book also contains an introduction from Albus Dumbledore and a short biography of the author.  And now, in 2016, there is a new theatrical movie about to be released, about Newt and his dealings with magical creatures in 1920s New York City.  
                The other book released in 2001 is Quidditch through the Ages, supposedly written by Kennilworty Whisp.  This book details the history of the fictional flying broomstick game Quidditch.  The book has 10 chapters, which detail such things as the evolution of the Flying Broomstick, Ancient Broom Games, Changes to Quidditch since the 14th Century and Quidditch Today.  At 56 pages, it is the shortest of the supplemental books (not counting the ebooks). 
                In 2007 J.K. Rowling released 7 handwritten copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard.  One of them was put up for auction, and paid an incredible £1.95 million (or $3 million).  The Tales of Beedle the Bard function as a type of children’s folktales for the world of Harry Potter, and were mentioned in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, with the story of The Tale of the Three Brothers read in full.  J.K. Rowling included that story and added four others, three of which were mentioned as part of the Tales book.  The four other stories are The Wizard and the Hopping Pot, the Fountain of Fair Fortune, The Warlock’s Hairy Heart (the only story not mentioned in Deathly Hallows), and Babbity Rabbitty and her Crackling Stump.  The book also features an “introduction” by J.K. Rowling set in the world of the book and notes from Albus Dumbledore. 
                Since 2013 J.K. Rowling had been working on a stage play based on the world of Harry Potter.  In 2016, the play was finally released to the public in the West End in the UK, called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, parts 1 and 2 (to be watched over one day or two nights).  The story is by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, but the play is officially written by Jack Thorne and the rehearsal edition was released in book form on July 31, 2016.  The plot of the play follows Harry, Ron and Hermonie as adults.  Harry is now an employee at the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus is attending Hogwarts for his first year, both struggling with the past legacy that Harry had left at Hogwarts nineteen years ago.  The play opened to rave reviews and is sold out through the end of 2017. 
                Among the other supplemental stories released by Rowling: a 800-word unnamed short story for an auction, which was a prequel starring James Potter and Sirius Black, and three ebooks about Hogwarts, one being a guide to the place and two others featuring short stories of “Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies” and “Power, Political and Pesky Poltergeists.”

                While any fan of Harry Potter can read just the seven official books and be satisfied, the supplemental books expand on the world of the novels and give it depth and detail, and in the case of The Cursed Child, continue the story of our favorite characters.  Check out these official supplemental books to Harry Potter series.