12/14/12

Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit review by Matt TomerlinThe main problem with movie critics is that they’re doing a job. Many of them were clearly paying more attention to their watches than The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Personally, I relished the time spent in Middle Earth. The leisurely pace allows every scene to flourish and breathe. This is old fashioned cinema.

Martin Freeman does a good job as the intentionally stilted Bilbo, who is far more courageous than he knows. Freeman never goes over the top with his performance, and he’s somewhat of a relief from the oh-so-innocent Frodo. However, my favorite character was Thorin. Richard Armitage was perfectly cast. The relationship between him and Bilbo is the heart of this movie, and it builds toward a wonderful payoff. If this hadn’t worked, nothing else would have.

I don’t think any narrative magic would have me reciting all of the dwarves’ names on command, but they are all visually distinctive, and they feel like individuals. They are constantly moving and talking, and I’m sure I missed a lot of what they were saying because their dialogue is not always focused on. Every once in a while I’d catch some hilarious bit of background dialogue.

The cameos were nicely done, especially Bilbo and Frodo (Elijah Wood does not age). I loved that the older Bilbo sequence takes place *right* before Fellowship begins. Christopher Lee’s scene mostly foreshadows coming events with Saruman, although he already seems so dark that it’s kind of strange no one sees his betrayal coming.

The movie is not as emotional as any given Lord of the Rings movie. Dramatic beats are not milked for everything they’re worth, and the camaraderie never gets as hammy as it could get in the previous movies. I found this to be a welcome relief.

Most of the effects are a step above Lord of the Rings, which makes the bad effects all the more jarring. Azog The Defiler looks surprisingly awful, as if he wasn’t finished. I’m honestly not sure why this character was CG. The Goblin King, on the other hand, is exceptionally detailed (with a chin that will have parents exchanging nervous glances). The warg effects are pretty much just as flawed as they were in The Two Towers (especially when they’re running around in a field in broad daylight).

Despite some questionable effects, this movie was very easy on the eyes. The detail and scale of Goblin Town (which was the inspiration for Pirate Town in The Devil’s Tide, FYI) blew my mind. I can’t wait to watch this part again, because there’s so much going on. Gollum and his cave look great. Rivendell is absolutely stunning. I wanted to pause the film at times just so I could drink in every detail of an image, even though Peter Jackson kindly lingers on establishing shots.

A 6.3 Earthquake jolted our theater in Anaheim right as Bilbo was posing his final riddle, but no one made any move to leave their seats. In fact, I heard this exchange: “Was that an earthquake?” “Yes. Shh.”

The action scenes in the final half are excellent, although I found the thunder battle somewhat tedious, and I’m not sure it even needed to be in the movie. Sure, it looks cool, but it didn’t serve much of a purpose. The physics are more cartoony than Lord of the Rings. Characters can survive falling from ridiculous heights or being crushed by debris.

Howard Shore’s score is like a familiar warm blanket. Themes from Lord of the Rings seep into several scenes. The heroic dwarven theme is so stirring that I wanted to jump into the action and fight alongside these guys. I’m guessing Shore will add more themes in future installments.

The final moment is touching. Again, Jackson never gut punches you with emotion in this film, but I did get a sizable lump in my throat when Thorin finally sees Bilbo for who he is.

12/11/12

Check out WORDPRENEUR’S feature on my novels:

Wordpreneur did a nice write up on my publishing history:

When he was between jobs several years back, Matt started researching pirates in great detail and decided to write a dark and realistic pirate novel. He had always been fascinated with pirates, and like everyone is a huge fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean Disneyland ride. He finished a rough draft, let a few friends read it, and then forgot all about it after landing a new job.

He did not revisit the book until 2011, when he noticed the ebook industry was booming. He quickly began polishing the novel, adding detail where he felt it moved too quickly, and wrote a few more chapters. “It was helpful to have a fresh perspective on it after so many years,” he says. Later that year, he published The Devil’s Fire on the Amazon Kindle platform and watched it gradually build momentum in sales. It wasn’t long before enthusiastic readers were demanding a sequel!

Click here to read the entire article, and see my advice to future indie authors!

12/6/12

Booksliced.com: Matt Tomerlin’s Dream Cast for The Devil’s Fire

I had the opportunity to sit down with Booksliced.com and discuss my ideal cast for The Devil’s Fire:

The heroine, Katherine Lindsay would require a young, fearless actress who is able to effectively portray the character’s emotional journey and evolution. At the end of the story, Katherine is barely recognizable from the timid girl in the first chapter. A daring, versatile actress like Emilia Clarke, who currently plays Daenerys on Game of Thrones, would be best. Another great choice would be Lyndsy Fonseca, who is demonstrating a lot of range on Nikita.

Several readers have told me they picture Daniel Craig as Captain Jonathan Griffith, and I can’t argue with that one. Griffith is commanding, charming, deadly, and sometimes vulnerable. I think Craig has effectively conveyed all of these qualities in his various roles.

Visit Booksliced.com to find out my ideal choices for Nathan, Livingston, and Annabelle!

08/26/12

Read a chapter from The Devil’s Horizon!

LANCASTER

An impenetrable black plume of smoke lifted from the center of Ranger’s deck into the clear morning sky. The pirate sloop had come to rest in a yawning inlet carved in the center of an island shaped like a horseshoe. The lake sat just beyond a long narrow channel that was flanked by treacherous rocky hills sloping in a steep, uneven V into the water. Apart from a white beach that lined the outer rim, and a few scattered coconut trees, the island was mostly barren rock.

James Lancaster surmised his wounded prey from the quarterdeck of HMS Advance, the tails of his standard issue blue coat flapping in the wind. He lifted his tricorn hat long enough to adjust the stubborn white wig beneath it, and then fitted the hat back in place. The curled locks were heavy with sweat, nudging his powdered cheeks every time he turned his head. The sun was particularly merciless today, especially for early February, and it was only three hours after dawn. Continue reading

07/19/12

Book 2 “THE DEVIL’S TIDE” is NOW AVAILABLE on Kindle!

2_DEVILSTIDE_NEWBook 2 is now available!

Hostage-turned-pirate Katherine Lindsay returns in this action-packed followup to The Devil’s Fire, and the last thing she wants is to go back to her mundane life in London. A young pirate narrowly avoids the gallows when the governor of the Bahamas enlists his aid in bringing Lindsay to justice. A pirate hunter returns to his old ways, with the demons of his past swiftly following his trail. A beautiful strumpet falls in league with Blackbeard, witnessing his despicable crimes firsthand, before she becomes a pawn in his schemes.Colorful new characters are introduced, survivors of the first book return, and a few real historical pirates appear, such as Benjamin Hornigold, Charles Vane, and the infamous Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard. The Devil’s Tide is teeming with adventure, romance, humor, and no shortage of action. As all sides spiral toward a fiery climax, nothing is at it seems, and the odds are in favor of death.

06/29/12

“The Devil’s Tide” will arrive on Amazon Kindle no later than July 31st…

2_DEVILSTIDE_NEWThe final manuscript has been turned in and is currently being edited. “The Devil’s Tide: Devil’s Fire Book 2” will be available on Amazon Kindle by July 31st.

Official synopsis:

A young pirate narrowly avoids the gallows when the governor of the Bahamas enlists his aid in bringing hostage-turned-pirate Katherine Lindsay to justice. A pirate hunter returns to his old ways, with the demons of his past swiftly following his trail. A beautiful strumpet falls in league with Blackbeard, witnessing his despicable crimes firsthand, before she becomes a pawn in his schemes. As all sides spiral toward a fiery climax, the odds are in favor of death, and those few who survive will never be the same.

 

05/18/12

Big changes to the “Devil’s Fire” series

1_DEVILSFIRE_NEWThe “Pirate’s Bane” series title has been altered to simply, “Devil’s Fire”. The books are now titled “The Devil’s Fire (Devil’s Fire #1)” and “The Devil’s Tide (Devil’s Fire #2)”, to help folks easily find the second book. “The Devil’s Fire” cover has been updated with a pulpier look, to give readers a better grasp of what a bloody violent book this is!

“The Devil’s Fire” is currently available on Amazon and “The Devil’s Tide” will be available soon!

In the meantime, be sure to add the “Devil’s Fire” series on Goodreads!