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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Movie Review: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip $$$

92 Minutes

Starring: Jason Lee, Josh Green, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney.  

Directors: Walt Becker.

            The Chipmunks return for another family film.
            I was disappointed with the last offering in the Chipmunk franchise so my expectations were not high. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the latest installment.
            Dave (Jason Lee) introduces the boys, Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler), and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) to the new woman in his life, Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley). Getting a mother isn’t so bad, but she has a son, Miles (Jesse McCartney) who is as opposed to being related to a bunch of rodents as the chipmunks are to being saddled with an obnoxious human who delights in making their lives miserable.
            When the boys discover that Dave is taking an engagement ring on his trip to Florida they set aside their differences to break up the impending marriage. The Road Chip was funny and contained a good family message in the end.
            This is how I rated The Road Chip.

1. Fun – Absolutely. I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end. Lots of music. Lots of laughs. Lots of chipmunks running around doing what chipmunks do best. I gave it a full MB for fun.

2. Story – This is a Chipmunk story. Which means it’s fairly light on content and heavy on laughs. I didn’t find any blaring holes in the plot which would distract from my enjoying the film, but let’s be realistic—it’s the chipmunks running around and getting into trouble. I gave it half a MB for good chipmunk mayhem.

3. Technical – The animation was up to the typical standard you expect from a feature of this sort. However, I think they could have done more with the musical numbers to really make the movie POP. I gave it a full MB for fun chipmunk animation and some catchy tunes.

4. Acting – Jason Lee does well with the role of Dave Seville. Jesse McCartney is both likeable and unlikable at the appropriate moments doing a great job of portraying a teen who learns to embrace his new family. My favorite character in the film was Tony Hale as Agent Suggs. It would have been nice to have more direct interaction between him and the boys. Overall, I gave a half MB for acting. These are not Oscar worthy performances, but neither are they painful to watch either.

If you like the Chipmunks then I recommend you see this film. I suggest watching it as a matinee. The material was funny enough for me to watch again so purchasing a DVD is a possibility. Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip scores a very respectable 3 Movie Bucks from me. See it and have some laughs.

                        Randy’s Rating System

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

     Just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and heartfelt wishes for a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Writing Prompt #5


             This is probably the most common writing prompt that I’ve encountered. The human mind is very adept at making connections and that principle comes into play as you select five random words and attempt to make sense them in story form.
            Nouns works best, but verbs and adjectives are fine as long as you keep them to a minimum. One method of randomly selecting the words you will use it to leaf through the newspaper and take the first noun, verb, or adjective you see. You can also flip through the channels of your television or radio and just copy down whichever word catches your attention or ask five people for their favorite word.  
            Once you have decided on the number of words you can look them over. If a story idea doesn’t immediately jump out to you select one word at a time and determine if it represents a character, a placed, a motive, or a goal in the story. By the time you finish assigning a role to all of the words you should have an excellent idea what the story is all about.         

            Here are five words I selected by flipping through the television channels.


            Based on these five words I generated this following elevator pitch.

Hunger Strike – Joe Carson’s dreams of a daring career in the FBI vanished on the day they assigned him to be a supply clerk in a dead end post. Now the lead investigators in the office have mysteriously eaten themselves to death and Joe is the only person with a lead on what they were investigating when it happened.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Writing Prompt #4

            PROMPT 4 – LYRICAL MUSE

            Songs are a great source of inspiration for story ideas. Not only can you generate ideas from the title, but the lyrics seem ideally suited for coming up with interesting story concepts. The music itself often translates directly into mood and setting.
            Listen to a few songs. If you have a rough idea of what you want write about you can even pick songs that have a tempo appropriate for the story. Since lyrics are interpreted differently by each individual the chances are good that it will lead you to create a unique storyline. I think the trick to this method is to think outside the box. Most songs have a message that is easily followed (when you can understand what they’re singing), but ignore that and really stretch your imagination on what it could mean.
            Here are a portion of the lyrics from a few songs.

1. Children of the Sun by Billy Thorpe

The people of the earth stood waiting
Watching as the ships came one by one
Setting fire to the sky as they landed
Carrying to the world children of the sun, children of the sun

2. My Generation by the Who

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

3. Holiday by Green Day

There's a song sounding out of key
To a hymn called Faith and Misery (Hey!)
A plead, the company lost the war today

I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies
This is the dawning of the rest of our lives
On holiday

4. Savin’ Me by Nickelback

Heaven's gates won't open up for me
With these broken wings I'm fallin'
And all I see is you

5. The Look by Roxette

She's got the look.
She's got the look.
What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue.
When everything I'll ever do I'll do for you
and I go: la la la la la

            Based on the lyrics above I generated the following elevator pitches.

Based on “My Generation” is a pitch for a YA book. Most teenagers complain about their parents, but Jerrod may have the coolest parents on the planet. The problem is—they’re too cool. How can he convince his friends to pay more attention to him than his parents?

Based on “Holiday” is a pitch for a dystopian book. After a brutal war, the Holy Voice has brought peace and harmony to the nation as it recovers from near annihilation. But when Sunflower’s parents mysteriously disappear she discovers a diary that chronicles their activities with a secret society intent on overthrowing the government. And that’s when the Holy Voice takes notice of her.