Blood Drive review–Bloody Good

Blood Drive is a wild and crazy show on the SyFy network.  It’s a brutal grindhouse series reminiscent of the Walter Hill movie The Warriors and Quentin Tarantino flicks.  Unlike Tarantino flicks, and to its credit, it doesn’t contain long spiels of banal dialog.  It doesn’t have time for endless dialog.

The cars in Blood Drive are something else.  You see, they don’t run on gas; they run on human blood.  After all, what can you expect in 1999?  Say what?  1999?  I must have been asleep that year.  Oh well, the first episode was ludicrous fun with a plethora of action, violence, and oceans of blood.  Whether the rest of the episodes can maintain the churning momentum remains to be seen.  (How many times can you watch humans being fed into car engines amid blood splatter?)  But so far, so good.  This show has plenty of energy and brazen panache abetted by a driving rock score, all of which I found refreshing.  And then there’s Christine Ochoa, the most vicious of the bloodthirsty racers.  How can we forget her?

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The Outlaw’s Terminology for Writing Fiction

Character development:  usually an excuse for being boring.

Denouement:  a French term indicating that not a damn thing is going to happen in this story.

Plot:  when a writer falls victim to excessive scheming.

Deus ex machina:  the writer has painted himself into a corner.

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It’s a winner

Bryan Cassiday’s short story “Boxed” was published in the new Darkwater Syndicate anthology Shadows and Teeth Volume Two, which has just won the International Book Award for best horror fiction anthology of 2017.

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Alien: Covenant–I recommend it

I saw Alien:  Covenant. I really like it. How does Ridley Scott sleep at night dreaming this stuff up? Any horror movie that has Wagner’s Entrance of the Gods to Valhalla on its soundtrack has got to be good. And did I mention that thing called Alien? Plenty of grisly Alien attacks, some terrifying silvery dust, and a new white mutant Alien that looks almost human.  I’m not going to tell you how this creature came about.  Suffice it to say, it all fits in with the plot and that cave they go into.  I don’t want to give anything away.

I enjoyed the intriguing ending, too, which keeps you guessing until . . .

No director alive does horror better than Ridley.

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Shadows and Teeth Volume Two–a new horror anthology

Bryan Cassiday’s horror story “Boxed” is included in the new anthology Shadows and Teeth Volume Two.  Don’t miss it.

Prepare for extreme horror. This unique collection of ten stories features a range of international talent: award-winning authors, masters of horror, rising stars, and fresh new voices in the genre. Take care as you reach into these dark places, for the things here bite, and you may withdraw a hand short of a few fingers.

In “Boxed,” a group of strangers trapped in an elevator run short of time and bullets as they attempt to discover who among them is infected with a deadly plague.

Buy it now at Amazon.

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Billions–Season 2, Episode 12 Recap

Chuck may have destroyed Axe, but in the end he has also destroyed himself, though he doesn’t seem to have realized it yet. He threw away $27 million of his and his father’s money just to take down his mortal enemy Axe. Not only has he sacrificed his money, but now his father won’t even speak to him anymore. And Chuck’s lawyer can’t stand the sight of him for throwing away his money to boot, which the lawyer may never recover even if Chuck wins his case against Axe in the courts where litigation will drag on for years. Chuck’s endless scheming against Axe stems from the depths of the blue blood Chuck’s visceral abhorrence of the nouveaux riches embodied by Axe, the billionaire upstart. If Chuck doesn’t wipe Axe off the map, he’ll wipe himself off in the attempt.

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Billions–Season 2, Episode 11 Recap

The plotting in this episode was flawless. It unfolds like a three-dimensional chess game. Just when you think you have it all figured out, the screenwriters pull the rug out from under you with expertly utilized flashback scenes. This is easily the best script yet for this season, not just of “Billions” but of any hour-long show on TV. I don’t see how it can be topped. I’ve seen a lot of TV shows and the vast majority are predictable, but I did not see the end of this one coming–and it was a beautiful thing to behold. It cements my opinion that this is the best series on TV, not just because of the expert plotting but because of the bevy of interesting characters involved in the machinations.

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Billions–Season 2, Episode 8 Recap

This is an interesting episode in which Axe goes up against the local political power structure, represented by Chuck’s father and friends, the clubby Eastern Establishment blue bloods who despise Axe because he is nouveau riche. These Philips Exeter types don’t ever want to allow the piratical upstart Axe to join their exclusive ranks.

Axe is flabbergasted by them when he goes to their club to confront them. They sit there in their clubroom in green leather chairs and smirk at him through clouds of cigar smoke as he bursts into the room, fit to be tied. He wants to know why they’re trying to ruin him. They just sit there smirking, thinking, “You’re not one of us and you’ll never be one of us no matter how many billions you have.” Axe stands there, spitting and simmering, shaking with rage, unable to comprehend why they hate him so much.

Axe doesn’t realize that he has come up against the clubby WASP power structure that hates him for being an outsider. It’s not just about how much money you have, but it’s about your breeding. And according to the blue blood power brokers, Axe has the breeding of a plowhorse compared to theirs of thoroughbreds. The only thing blue about Axe is his collar.

In this scene Axe realizes he’ll never be a member of the club, and the realization infuriates him. This episode cuts to the heart of the problem, the source of the conflict between Chuck and Axe that drives the series.

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Personal Shopper review

This movie doesn’t work for me.  It is a cross between a ghost story and a mystery thriller. The mystery is too easy to solve.  The villain is so obvious a seven-year-old could figure out who it is.  This part of the movie ends abruptly.  The ghost story drags on to the less-than-horrifying ending.  The best part of the movie is the main character, who seems alienated and works for a movie actress as a “personal shopper.”  Her life is not fulfilled.  She says she is waiting for something.  What is she waiting for?  What she ultimately is waiting for is a sign that her life has some meaning.  She is full of existential angst.  But she is lost in a plot that doesn’t deliver.  Does she find meaning in the end?  I’m not going to tell you.

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Shades of Blue, Season 2

I thought this show would fall apart after Woz found out that Harlee was the mole for the FBI in season 1, but I was mistaken.  This season is starting off with a bang, with the battle between Woz and the FBI agent taking center stage and Harlee caught in the middle.  The writers are keeping this show interesting, and Ray Liotta and J. Lo don’t hurt matters either.  All the actors are quite good.  I think Drea de Mateo is especially good and should be used more often.  Good show.

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