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Monday, February 16, 2015

Movie Review: Jupiter Ascending




Jupiter Ascending was one of those movies I did my chair dance for when I saw the very first trailer in theaters, and unlike with most movies, I also squealed like a little girl just about every time the previews came on TV. I don't think I had ever been so excited for a movie until this one. I know, I'm a giant dork. But if you're a regular that's probably why you're reading this review in the first place. :p If you're not a regular, fear not. This will be more than just fangirling.

Knowing how much I wanted to see this movie in theaters, my wonderful husband gave me $20 for my birthday back in December, assuring me that we would be seeing it. I grew more & more excited as the time to see it grew near, & finally, on Valentines Day weekend, we went to see it. I thought I might die of a heart attack resulting from the epic-ness of the movie, but I tried to stay calm, & here I am, alive. LOL, obviously we loved it, but of course as others have said, it's not the best movie ever made. But although the plot is slightly lacking, the visual experience totally makes up for it.




Andy & Lana Wachowski have wowed us before with brilliant films like V For Vendetta & Cloud Atlas, & of course the epic & mind-bending Matrix films. While I loved those films & their intensity, I also loved Jupiter Ascending, but in a different way.

So many people are bashing this movie, saying it's not good because it's not as intense & brilliant as the Wachowskis other films. But Jupiter Ascending is much more of a "blockbuster movie" & I believe it's geared more toward the younger generation, so if you look at the film like that, without expecting it to get too deep & without comparing it to other films, it IS a good movie.

The best thing about Jupiter Ascending is by far the visual effects. I was completely mesmerized for about 90% of the film. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's probably THE most beautiful film I have ever seen. The elaborate worlds & costumes are only part of it. Usually fight scenes tend to bore me after a minute or two, but with this movie I was so enthralled by the artistry of each laser & angle & explosion that most fight scenes sped by, leaving me breathless in awe.

Of course, there were some downsides of the film, & one of those downsides was that some of those fight scenes, while gorgeous, could have been cut to make room for more back-story. Sure, there was enough back-story to get a glimpse of what was going on, but it just sort of felt like an info-dump every time that back-story was mentioned. This could have been remedied with a couple flashbacks (which they obviously had the means of doing, since the film was by no means lacking in the visual department). Another downside was the repetition of certain elements, such as Jupiter falling from a building & Caine showing up out of nowhere just in time to catch her before she hit the ground. Once was cool, but after three times, it felt a little bit unbelievable. I mean come on, nobody's THAT perfect.

Obviously I'm not a fan of Channing Tatum, but while his character was hard to believe at times, & could have also used some more in depth back-story, Tatum actually did a good job in this film. & I have to agree with my mother in law, who said that the wolf look did him some good. & some of the ladies will probably enjoy the fact that he spends half the movie without a shirt. But the main thing is that while I was worried Tatum would ruin the film for me, & although I personally would have cast someone else to play his role, he still carried it well, capturing the tortured & heroic wolf-splice almost perfectly.

Of course, Mila Kunis was the star of the show. I knew I would love her as Jupiter, because she's great in everything I've seen her in (still waiting for a "Book of Eli" sequel with her character in the lead, BTW). She did a great job at encompassing the versatility & diversity required of her by the role, morphing from a helpless & tired modern woman to a strong willed & powerful force to be reckoned with. I don't know if they are planning a sequel or not, but I hope they are because I would love to see where her character goes later (not to mention some more of those glorious special effects).

The rest of the cast also did an amazing job, & you really got the feeling that Eddie Redmayne & his "partners in crime" had lived thousands of years, through make-up but also through their facial expressions & voices & stance. Again, I would have liked to see some more back-story on these characters, as well as some more about the splices, but I honestly can't think of one bad performance in the cast.

While the plot left me wanting more (especially back-story), & a few scenes were a little predictable, this film is a must-see in theaters, for the visual experience alone. So I hope you see it in theaters while you can, & I hope you're holding your breath & gripping the arm of your chair in awe, like I was. Bottom line, don't expect to be wowed by the plot or a glorious twist ending, but do expect to be wowed by the visual aspects of this movie. In fact, brace for it. ;)


2 shots of me geeking out over the poster, taken 2 months apart.


Be the lightning,


}i{



Monday, February 2, 2015

Frozen Creek Studios


"Hues Of Blue"


Some of you know about the budding photography company my husband and I are trying to get off the ground, but I wanted to have a link everyone could come to and find all the details about it. Plus, we've really been struggling with getting the word out there, so hopefully this will help with that too.


Cincinnati Panorama

Frozen Creek Studios focuses on capturing beautiful still shots (mostly of nature and wildlife), which my talented husband takes himself, as you can see in the collage of BTS shots below. But we're at a bit of a standstill right now, until he can get a new camera. So please donate here if you can, and spread the word.




But FCS is about so much more than just photography. We also do cinematography, video editing, photo editing, graphic art and more. Below is a list of all the services we currently offer (from the FCS Facebook page). It's hard to put a set price on said services, since prices range anywhere from as low as $10 to $100 or more, depending on how much work and time the job entails - but as a general rule, the services are listed in order from cheapest to not as cheap. We will always give discounts for friends and family though, so check them out and please let us know if you have any questions:



Photography: 
 

8x10 prints now on sale for $15! 
Order 10 prints & get free shipping & a free print of your choice! We have over 200 prints to choose from here.


Photo Restoration:
 

Old family photos that are water-stained or ripped? We can restore old or damaged photos to look like new.
 


Graphic Design:
 

Need a logo for your business? 
Need original art for your website, book cover or album cover? We can create almost anything you can think of. 


Video Editing:
 

Want to remember a special occasion in a unique & heartwarming way? We can create slideshows of past events, & we can capture future events through video &/or photography & create a slideshow or music video to keep for memories & to give to friends/family. We can also create book trailers, ETC.


Please contact us to discuss pricing and to ask us anything at all. 

We will always respond. :)

-Eric & Kylie
Frozen Creek Studios




There you have it! I know this is a bit different from what I normally post here, but we needed a place to direct customers to, so I donated my blog for the task. I hope you'll check out my husband's beautiful photography HERE and follow FCS on Facebook and Twitter.

By the way, the book trailers are a fairly new development. Of course I've made trailers for my own books and my husband's books (I will let you know when they're up), but it never dawned on me that I could be offering my services to other authors too, until our good friend Stephen Zimmer asked me to make one for his newest book, Heart of a Lion. I had lots of fun putting the trailer together and hope to make more for other authors in the future. Below is the trailer as an example. Enjoy, and feel free to check out the book too!




I leave you with some before-and-after shots of our photo restoration work.






Stay Frosty,
 Kylie Jude.


}i{


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

New Beginnings - first cover and first logo!



Hey, sorry it's been a while but I've been reeaalllyy busy. And this is one of the many things I have been busy with.




 They say when one door closes, another opens. So, while the Middle Earth saga may be over (at least for now), in this first month of 2015 my husband and I are opening new doors. Not sure where they will lead, if anywhere, but we are opening them nonetheless ;)

Most of you know I've dabbled in music over the years, but most of you probably didn't know I played the penny whistle. 



The penny whistle is a traditional Celtic flute (also referred to as a tin whistle) and is not to be confused with a recorder. 

I started playing the penny whistle when I was 16 (around 13 years ago) after being inspired by Celtic music such as the Titanic soundtrack and a band called The Corrs

I have taken lots of breaks from the penny whistle, as other forms of music as well as writing and editing have stolen a lot of my attention, but I always seem to come back to this instrument. I guess I just love the history and culture associated with it. 

While I have written a few original songs on the penny whistle, most of the time I am learning other people's songs on it. Soon after I heard the Misty Mountains song in The Hobbit films, I decided to try learning it on the penny whistle. And by the time the final Hobbit movie came out, an idea was brewing in my mind. An idea to start making cover videos and posting them online. Now I know this is something lots of people do, but hopefully the addition of the penny whistle will spice it up a bit. I do plan to do more covers in the future, so keep an eye out for those, and if you fancy yourself a singer or musician and want to collaborate in the future, please let me know! (I also mixed the audio and love mixing music whether I am in it or not, so I'm open to all kinds of collaborations) - oh and the song at the beginning and end is "The Edge Of Night" (also in the films) so I guess it's not just a cover but a bit of a mash-up too. ;) 

BTS shot from our hike to the rocks (background)


BTS shot of me getting into position on top of the mountain.

I tried to get my husband to perform this with me, and he almost did, but then he didn't. He did, however, do all the filming and directing, and I think he did an awesome job. We wanted to film in the snow, but unfortunately Mother Nature decided to deny us that, so we went with what we had - trees and rocks. And on day 2 of filming, we hiked to the top of a mountain near our home in order to get certain shots, and while on our hike we were blessed with some shots of ice, so at least we had that. It was bitterly cold though. Playing the penny whistle in 25 degree weather? Bad idea. But we survived, and I'm glad we did it. 

A very cold Kylie between takes. Also a tree hugger.

In addition to this being our first cover, this video is also the first to feature our brand new Frozen Creek Studios logo, created and animated by yours truly :) And it couldn't be a more fitting video to premiere the logo in, since the sound effect we used for the tree shaped crack in the ice was actually taken from footage we filmed for this cover (when you see the staff hitting the ice toward the end of the video - that's where we got the sound from). So Anyway, I hope you like it! Let me know what you think. :) 

Shot from the FCS animated logo

Youtube is giving me issues again *shakes fist* so please click HERE to watch the video. Enjoy!


Be the lightning, 
 Kylie Jude


P.S. I almost forgot, MORE new-ness. My name no longer links to the about section of my blog, but now to my very own official website! Check it out if you haven't, and keep checking back as I not only have my blog there, but all kinds of different stuff. Stay frosty ;) 




 }i{ 


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Dear Santa - A Holiday Journal Entry

When my talented husband D. R. Acula wrote his monologue entry for the new Tentsquare contest #HolidayJournalEntry, I loved the cool and hilarious twist he put on it, but we weren't quite sure how actors would portray it or if they would get the message we were trying to convey with it. But then, a light broke through the clouds of uncertainty. That light's name is Adra Janean.

Adra is an actress with some work already under her belt, which you can find on her IMDB. We were pleasantly surprised to see that she not only read the monologue, but understood completely the message in it, conveying it perfectly and hilariously on film, with some great editing to top it off and make it even more entertaining. And she did it all in one hour! As a dabbling video editor myself, I know how hard it is to complete a project like this in just one hour, but she did it. So that earns even more kudos from me!

At first Adra was worried if a female Santa could work for the challenge, but her take on it as Mrs. Claus was absolutely brilliant, and she even threw in some improv that made the whole thing better. With this video, Adra completely surpassed our expectations, and made a little masterpiece in the process. Watch the magic HERE. You won't regret it. ;) 

If you like the video, you can vote for it once a day, beginning December 13th. If she wins, she'll score some cash and a meeting with casting director Lindsay Chag. So help us show our appreciation for this wonderful performance by voting when the time comes. She so deserves to win. :) 

Be the lightning, 

}i{ 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Boardwalk Empire - Review and Video


(Warning: Mild Spoilers)


A Slow Start: 

I love historical stuff, but honestly I wasn't that impressed with Boardwalk Empire at first. I guess I felt like it moved too slowly and had too many story lines for me to keep up with. But my husband loved it, so I watched it with him, and soon I started getting into it. When the mask-wearing, gun-toting Richard Harrow was introduced, I started getting even more into it, because I loved the contrast of badass and softie portrayed in his character, and felt that he brought a sort of uniqueness to the show. When (spoiler) they killed him off in season four, I was pissed, and swore I would hate the show from then on, but I was pleasantly surprised when season five (the show's final season) began with beautiful and intricate flashbacks of Nucky's young life, giving us a glimpse into both his past and his mind, making me love the show even more. 


A Shocking Anti-Hero: 

Due to the flashbacks mentioned above, Nucky soon became my new favorite character. So, needless to say, the ending floored me. The writers spent all this time showing Nucky's soft side and having him help people, almost to the point of heroism, only to hit us with a huge change of character in the end, which should have made us hate him, but at least for me, it was still hard not to like him. This was kind of clever on the part of the writers, turning the final episode into a sort of psychological roller coaster ride, but it felt a bit rushed, and in a way almost like a betrayal. 


A Quick Death: 

As many have said, the final season of Boardwalk Empire felt rushed, and probably needed more than eight episodes to fully wrap up the intricate and flashback-filled story line, and that theory was solidified with the final episode, as (spoiler) Nucky's greatest sin was suddenly revealed, and he was shot, leading many to believe that he died. Of course, those of us that know the real Nucky's history know that he wouldn't have died then, because in real life he was arrested and later died of natural causes. So I thought it was cool that the man leaned over him and mouthed "We're going to get you to a hospital" which let us believe that maybe the character of Nucky didn't die, but was patched up and then arrested. But even with the open ending, it felt too sudden. This moment, as he teetered on the edge of life and death, would have been the perfect moment to utilize all those flashbacks from the season and have his life flash before his eyes, giving the viewers a little more closure and maybe even a tear or two. I just felt like it ended too abruptly for a series finale, but it was a cool twist nonetheless, as most of us didn't see it coming. 


An Alternate ending: 

I personally think it might have been better to end the show with Darmody pulling the gun out to shoot Nucky, but getting thwarted by the police just before shooting. The police would then arrest Nucky, as they did in real life, but the fact that his arrest stopped him from being shot would have made it sort of bitter sweet. His life could have still flashed before his eyes as he sat in his cell, maybe even coupled with shots of his love interest Margaret and his brother Eli as they heard the news of his arrest. If you have another alternate ending idea, I'd love to hear it in the comments! That's just one of many directions it could have gone. 


A Final Farewell: 

Despite some of the show's unlikeable characters and that shocking twist ending, I decided early into the final season that I wanted to commemorate and immortalize the show and its characters with a music video. This was due in part to my husband loving the show so much - I wanted to give him a little something extra to enjoy after the series was gone - but it was also for myself and for the millions of other Boardwalk Empire fans out there that are undoubtedly itching for a little something extra, especially after that abrupt finale. Even if the real Nucky was as flawed as the show made him out to be in the end, I still wanted to give him and the other characters (and the actors that played them) a final farewell. When I heard the song "Gold" by Sir Sly, I knew right away that it was the perfect song for Boardwalk Empire. The lyrics, the sound, and even the singer's voice were all so perfect for it. So I got to work, and immediately I started noticing that no matter what I did, no matter how much I cut and chopped and rearranged the footage, it always went perfectly to the music. I probably have ten different versions of the video that I kept just because of this creepy fact, but I eventually pushed through the intimidation of its supernatural essence and made a final version. The final version still has some of that creepiness to it though - the opening, the explosion, the gun shots, the actors mouthing the lyrics of the song, and more - none of that was me. I've had videos fall into place before, but never like this. It may sound crazy, but it almost feels like the spirits of Nucky and the rest wanted this video made. I just hope that with this final farewell, I have done them and this beautiful show some justice. I hope you like it!


The link isn't working here yet but you can watch the video by simply clicking HERE.


There it is! Please let me know what you think and please subscribe if you like it. Thank you to the amazing cast and crew (credited in the video) and to the mysterious force behind this video. I had a blast making it, and I hope it brings the fans a beautiful ending to a beautiful series. <3

Be the lightning, 


}i{


P.S. Yes that's me humming at the very end. I wanted to use "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" which had been featured in the show a couple times, but I didn't have it, so I just hummed it from memory. I hadn't heard it in a while, so the tune might not be entirely the same, but my husband said it was haunting, so I used it. Because if this experience has been one thing, I think haunting is the word for it. ;)


}i{



Monday, September 29, 2014

Imaginarium 2014 - Review from a Film Festival Queen.




The first annual Imaginarium Convention is over, and we are both exhausted and exhilarated. It was my first convention, so I don't have much to compare it to, but my gut tells me it went extremely well for a first year convention. Word of mouth seems to state the same, so that's quite exciting. We've also heard ravings about how well the convention area was laid out, with most of the panels and events being centered in the same hallway, making it easy to find the room you're looking for. It's so great to hear that so many people enjoyed Imaginarium, and it definitely makes us excited for the coming years.

When we volunteered to help our friend Stephen Zimmer with this event, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We ended up being deemed "King and Queen" of the Film Festival, a title we will gladly be reprising next year and hopefully for many years to come. Working the Film Festival requires late hours as some of the films run until 1 or 2 A.M. but we don't mind at all because it's so great to be able to sit in on some of the films being shown, and to appreciate people's work with them.

In addition to the wonderful authors we met at Imaginarium, we also met some great filmmakers. And there were plenty of awards given out for the Film Festival during the banquet on the final day of the convention (see the winners HERE). But for us, the winner of most memorable moment from the Film Festival definitely goes to our friend and fellow Eastern Kentucky native, Jeffrey Reddick (creator of Final Destination and much more), who sat in on a short film he wrote called "Paralyzed" (Directed by Aaron Sims) and when we experienced some technical difficulties with the film, Jeffrey handled it like a pro, rolling up his sleeves and joining Eric on the floor to help fix the problem. So major kudos to him and his team for that :)




And I also have to mention Amy McCorkle's film "Letters To Daniel" which, in addition to its announced award, also had the best turn-out of the whole weekend. Also, "Scenes From A Gay Marriage" (Written and Directed by Matt Riddlehoover) which won the most awards, and deservedly so. Its characters were so well written and so well portrayed that you could have sworn they were real. And of course Jackie Gamber's short film "America's Got Superpowers" which was an awesome take on the popular reality competition show "America's Got Talent" and had a surprisingly touching theme.

To those filmmakers who we weren't able to sit with for their films, it wasn't because we didn't want to, but we just had so much to do during those times. In addition to running the Film Festival, we also ran errands for Stephen and his crew, opened doors for people with heavy loads, and other various odds and ends like making and holding up banners.




No matter what we were doing, we had a blast, because not only were we honored to be part of the beginning of something as epic as Imaginarium, but just being around so many like-minded and artistic people made everything awesome. You could literally feel the positive vibes in the air, and I think everyone there got the sense of belonging, which is a rare thing to be felt all around. Kudos to Stephen and the rest of the team for making us feel so at home, and for putting this amazing convention together. We really are excited for what's to come and can't wait to see Imaginarium grow even more epic with each coming year. :)

Speaking of coming years, don't forget to join us for Imaginarium 2015! It's gonna be awesome. I'll add the exact dates when they're revealed. Keep an eye out. ;)

I leave you with some photographic highlights from the weekend: 


 
Some shots of us in our shirts on day one.


On "guard duty" on day one.


Part of the vendor hall.


 
Watching the table for Hydra Publications.


Story time with T. Lee Harris in the smoking area.


Some shots from the Masquerade Ball on night two.


More shots of us working the Film Festival.


The Awards Banquet on the last night.


  The final post, as promised HERE, & a group hug.


See you at Imaginarium 2015!


Be the lightning, 

}i{





Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Imaginarium Convention


You might be wondering...


What is Imaginarium?

The Imaginarium is a convention that will be taking place September 19th through 21st, in Louisville, KY. This is the first year so you may not have heard of it, but if not you will! So I suggest you get in on its awesomeness before it's too late ;)

Who is the Imaginarium for?

This convention is pretty widespread, including great stuff for writers, readers, editors, filmmakers, gamers, publishers, cosplayers... That's right, pretty much everyone. It's like all your favorite conventions wrapped up into one, and centered around all things creative writing.

What is there to do at Imaginarium?

In addition to the great writing panels and guest appearances, the Imaginarium will include a film festival, a gaming room, a masquerade ball, and much more!

How much does it cost?

You can enjoy the entire weekend for $55, or $25 if you just want to come for a day. And if you happen to have a group of 8 or more, the entire weekend is only $35 per person! AND if you have kids ages 12 or under, they get in for FREE! So, convention-wise, it's a pretty good deal. ;)

What am I getting out of it?

If you're a writer, you'll get tons of helpful advice from seasoned authors, and a chance to network with readers and publishers. If you're a reader, you'll get some face-time with some of the coolest authors out there, and the option to pick up some signed books. If you specialize in another field, you'll get to meet new people and have an awesome weekend. And Awesome weekends tend to include unexpected surprises ;)

The hour is nearly upon us, so if you're interested, please register HERE.

Hope to see you there!

Find #Imaginarium on Twitter HERE and on Facebook HERE.

I leave you with a little graphic my husband D. R. Acula made to promote the event. You can find his blog with a lot more cool links on the Imaginarium HERE




Be the lightning,

}i{