Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Oblivion (a short review)

So, last week I got to indulge in one of the few simple pleasures that help keep me sane these movie day with a good friend of mine. The hardest part each time is deciding what film to see. I always find it difficult to decide if I should see something that has just released, or if I should catch something that might be leaving the box office before I completely miss my chance to see it on the big screen. With the help of my good friend, we decided to watch Oblivion. Now for those of you who know me, it is no surprise that my first instinct was to avoid Tom Cruise at all cost. I take nothing away from his talent, or the scope of his career, but I just don't seem to enjoy him as much these days as I did in the past. I am a huge fan of "Risky Business", "Legend", "Top Gun", and some of the "Mission Impossible" films, but not all. Alas, Tom Cruise aside, I gave in and bought the tickets to Oblivion and prepared myself to be underwhelmed. Now, for those of you who have not seen the film, or have not heard anything about it, here is a short synopsis. Earth has been completely destroyed by an alien force...ok, it wasn't really destroyed by an alien force. Humans destroy earth when we use nukes to take out the alien force during the invasion.  With the earth now uninhabitable humans have taken to the skies, or one of the moons of Jupiter to be more precise. Jack (Cruise) and his lovely partner Victoria (Andrea Riseborough) are the last humans left on earth guarding machines left on the planet to harvest water from our oceans. With only two weeks left before Jack and Victoria are finished with this job and leave the planet mysterious things begin to happen that make Jack question his past along with what might be happening on the planet. I will stop here with my synopsis to avoid spoiling the film for anyone who has not seen it yet (I hate spoilers). This film is actually a pretty solid science fiction film. The story is compelling, and the cinematography is no less than amazing. Coupled with the incredible special effects this film has the makings of what should have been one of the best films of this year. The acting performances are great and the action sequences are incredible, but some where along the way I felt as if the story lost itself in the message. Clocking in at 2 hours and 5 minutes the film is just way too long and a bit predictable. Pacing is a big issue in many films and I believe it was the problem for Oblivion. Each twist that was thrown my way was little to no surprise simply because the director allowed me more than enough time to figure it out between action sequences. Don't get me wrong, I like a well thought out plot and I love a long film that takes it's time building characterization, but all this can be overdone when you have only a few characters to begin with and the plot isn't complex at all. That being said, I recommend that all scifi fans go see this film in the theaters so that we can discuss it once again after "Elysium" releases in August.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Search

It has been a long week. Not too busy, but long. The reason it has been so long is because I find myself looking for a way to get back to the basics and recapture my convictions. It isn't the easiest thing when the path you started on in now far behind you and hidden in a thick fog of regret and bad decisions, but each day reminds me that in the end the struggle is always worth it. I have never been the type to run from a challenge and I hate to be dared by anyone to do anything, so even in the face of depression and failure I have to keep a positive attitude and push through the latest barriers placed in front of me. This blog post will be a little different. When I turned my computer on I had a different idea of what I wanted to write today, but I decided to put a challenge out there, a challenge for myself and anyone else who wants to take it. This week I will commit to writing 3 blog entries. I promise this weeks blog entries will not be preachy and melancholy, but they will be my commitment to myself and you the readers. I challenge you to commit to something that is important to you this week, no matter how big or how small it may be. Oh, by the way. A friend of mine told me that she thought my blogs were too long. Some of you may agree or disagree with this. In this age of Facebook and Twitter where everything needs to fit into a space of 150 characters or less reading can seem inconvenient at times. So I apologize if it seems like I am trying to monopolize anyone's precious time by asking you to take a minute and read  a little, so I will take a moment and let you know that I will not be in the least bit upset if you do not read every single word of my blog, and who cares if you skip an entry or two. I will however take a moment and say that I would be sad to see literature go the way of the dinosaur simply because we decide to stop taking the time to pick up a book, kindle, tablet, magazine, or whatever it is you like to read. Once again, the written word can be a powerful tool, or a deadly weapon even in this day of digital technology. So in honor of my friend (you know who you are), this will be the shortest blog entry you will ever see me write. Thanks again for stopping by.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What's next?

Today I noticed that I don't really have a lot to talk about. There is plenty to say, but what I mean is that I don't have a political cause that I have championed, or any non-profits that I want to plug, no hidden social agenda or obvious ones for that matter. This alone can make it exceptionally hard to keep a blog going. Alas,  fear not faithful readers, this just gives me more of a creative challenge as well as forcing me to take  a moment to look at the reason why I write at all. All of us have our reasons why we do/enjoy the things that keep us sane, but sometimes we forget, or lose sight of what it is that makes us who we are. I like everyone tend to forget why all the time. My recent journey of self discovery has allowed me to figure out another reason why I have been straying from my path. Flash back to eight year old me, just imagine I have hair, sitting alone in my bedroom window in Philly reading a book. Reading, thanks to my father, has always been a passion of mine. On this particular day there was a pretty big rainstorm and as usual I was mesmerized by the large line of ominous black clouds that was headed for my part of the city. I have always found that watching a storm come in some how prepares your soul. Also row houses in the part of Philly I lived in provided pretty crappy views, so the storm clouds were a welcome break from staring at the back alley and the elevated train. Up to this point reading was my way of escaping the world around me. My imagination was pretty active, but I didn't realize how powerful words could be until I heard the voice of my mother telling me to put my book down and clean my room. Now, as a eight year old boy surrounded by my sisters and mom most of the time I was always escaping to my room to get away from things I thought were way too know, like watching the Music Man or My Fair Lady for the third time or Steel Magnolias, so this wasn't so bad. I figured I would take my time and get a little reading done while I "cleaned". An hour passed and I heard a knock on my door before my mom poked her head in the room to inspect my work. The room was cleaned and I was back perched at the window reading away. My mother complimented me immediately for the great job I did on the room, but I could tell that there was something I missed. Well, I apparently was way more into the book I was reading because the original request from my mother also involved my cleaning the bathroom and getting ready go to my aunt's house. Long story short, my mother and father were a little upset at me for making the family late getting out the house, but I realized for the first time that whether written or spoken words had a constant effect on me. The things we hear, the things we don't hear, the things we read, the things we don't read all effect us. It seems like the very next day I began to notice how all the guys in my sisters drama and acting group always had the attention of all the women when they were reciting the eloquent lines of a play or how poets were making the ladies swoon with a line or two they had written last night, or the way my eyeballs stayed glues to the pages of a good book for hours at a time. Anyway, words became my new weapon of choice and, in my mind, a sure fire way to get in with the ladies. I mean if my mom loved my poems what girl wouldn't? Well the problem is my new found passion for writing and poetry made me a better writer, but it didn't help me with the ladies as much as I thought it would. My biggest discovery to date looking back on my journey into the world of words and phrases was that my passion served another purpose for someone of my particular social ineptitude, it allowed me to deal directly with my feelings. No, I wasn't this wise at eight mind you, but looking back on my life writing was something I poured my emotions into constantly cleansing my soul. This is another of my recent revelations, my subconscious always knew he just decided to keep it to himself until recently. Ever since I started writing again I feel my balance returning and catch myself way before the darkness begins to creep up. Once again this blog is not about me preaching, but I felt I needed to take a moment to share. It is easy in today's society to let pieces of ourselves slip away causing us to change in ways we would never imagine. I challenge every person that reads this to take a moment and think about how we can reclaim these little pieces...who knows, you might accidentally make the world a better place. Thanks again for stopping by!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Where to Start? The begining I guess.

So, here we are. My first official blog. I am exited and nervous because this is the beginning of a journey I have been putting off for a long time. You see, I am a writer who has been avoiding the pen and paper for almost 2 whole years now. I know. What's wrong with me? All my fellow writers are always putting pen to paper, telling incredible stories, and constantly improving the art form they love and are so passionate about. Me, well, maybe I should start with who I am. Simple, my name is Anthony Robinson and I am a long time resident of Greensboro North Carolina. I graduated from Dudley High School, and attended a few years of college, but never finished. I have worked numerous jobs here in the city but never truly felt as if any of them were the type of jobs I could see myself retiring from or even working for more than five years. Most of my life I dreamed of travel, but never really took off on the adventure I wanted because I could never save enough money to do it (or so I thought). About 2005 I met a young lady from another country through a mutual friend and before I knew it I was off to Brasil for my first adventure (careful what you ask for). I figured out very quickly that maybe I wasn't ready for travel...with a girlfriend. Maybe it was all the beautiful exotic women of Rio, or maybe it was the heat, actually it was more like I was still a bit of a single guy trying to be in a relationship, whatever it was should have been a big sign that I was not ready to give up my single life. Signs, they are everywhere. Anyway, lets just say although the trip was great, there were still some things I would have done differently at the end to make it better for my girlfriend at the time. I know you are wondering what happened and I will tell you...eventually, but for now my story moves on. After returning to the States from my Brasil trip I was positive that I could sit still no longer...wanderlust was heading towards full tilt. So about 2 weeks after I returned I was giving notice to my job and trying to figure out what the next move would be to get me the hell off this continent. Now, back to the writer in me. The point of all the previous rambling is to show you how easy it can be to get distracted. Yeah, I had a point if you didn't know. My life has been full of these different distractions that even I in all my 37 years couldn't notice. I have always thought that I was just flexible and could just always find a new direction, but truth is, I just always abandoned my goals and kept straying farther away from where I wanted to be. I would always return to writing and immediately noticed each time how therapeutic and natural it felt, but low and behold I would always allow myself to be distracted. One thing I have learned over the years is we will always have things or areas in our lives that we wish we had more of or could be better at, and watching the people around us makes our shortcomings stand out even more. It is up to us as individuals to say "hey I can always work on those things", but don't think for a second that changing your direction is the way to fix you. Stick to the path you chose because normally it is the right one. The grass is never greener and chances are if your friend, family member, or significant other is good at something you will not be as good (without a ton of work and perseverance) and you are setting yourself up for some frustration. My real reason for writing this is truthfully to keep myself on the path I have set for myself (writing). It is the first of many steps that I feel I need to take to flex my writing muscles. Partially this is a writing exercise, but it is also a way for me to open up and put myself out there (Hence the title)  So please stop by, read, comment, criticize, or curse at me because this advice is just as much for me as any person that chooses to read this, and if you have made it this far...Thank you and please come back!