Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My top ten films, and the best of 2016




Time for my annual top ten movie list. This is something I’ve been doing since 1985.

As far as other 2016 pop culture stuff:

The Ellie Goulding concert was the best live performance I have seen since the mid 80s.

I have been enjoying the “Supergirl” TV series, as well as Eric Kripke’s new show on NBC, “Timeless”. 

“Fear of the Dead” is now a better drama than the show it spun off from.

 And this past summer’s Olympics were super awesome.

“Homeland” took a year off (perhaps to digest the horrifying events unfolding in real-life politics). But for me, the best show this past year is not on any network, premium channel, or cable station. Is the adaption of Phillip K. Dick’s alternate history masterpiece, “The Man In The High Castle”, produced by Amazon Studios and streaming on Amazon Prime.

Actress of the year is hands down Amy Adams for her one two punch of "Arrival" and "Nocturnal Animals". But Elle Fanning's electrifying work in "The Neon Demon" must also be mentioned here (because no one else will give this brilliant girl her due, given the film's polarizing David Lynchian nature).

My favorite scores; Rupert Gregson-Williams soaring strains for "The Legend of Tarzan", and Michael Giacchino's two space opera franchise scores for "Star Trek: Beyond" and "Rogue One".

As for the year in film…
 

2016 Ten Best List

The Neon Demon (Nicolas Winding Refn)
De Palma (Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow)
Arrival (Denis Villeneuve)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford)
Rogue One (Gareth Edwards)
Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi)
10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg)
The Legend of Tarzan (David Yates)
The Shallows (Jaume Collet-Serra)
Nerve (Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost)


Best for each year for the 2010’s

2015 – The Age of Adeline (Lee Toland Krieger)
2014 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves)
2013 – The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
2012 - Argo (Ben Affleck)
2011 – Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt)

2010 – Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Stocking stuffers, the gift of imagination



Here is a list of my 2016 releases. These are epic, intensely personal works, created and written to entertain, enlighten, and transport you beyond anything you could have possibly imagined. I hope you or someone on your Holiday shopping list enjoys them.





"The B Girl"

A queen bee takes human form in this spectacular, heartfelt, dramatic science fiction adventure.






"Caitlin Star: The Trilogy" 

Part animal. Part legend. All woman. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy, is a collection of the first three action-packed books in the controversial Caitlin Star series, collected in one volume for the first time ever. All three books are newly edited and contain brand new, never before read scenes. Also included is a ten page sketchbook of illustrations by the author, all exclusive to this special-edition collection. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy is an addictive, riveting, hard-edged, YA dystopian action adventure that will blow you away and leave you begging for more.





An illustrator at an ad agency creates a drawing of a woman taking a selfie for a smart phone ad campaign. Then, he comes across a real-life, living version of the exact same woman and image. 

In the tradition of "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", and "Amazing Stories", "The Selfie" is a bold, shocking, romantic, unforgettable short story from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and “Caitlin Star: The Trilogy.” 








Angela is seeing things. Strange things. Dangerous things.

Angela relocates to Pittsburgh and is haunted by intense visions of a menacing attacker clad in a welding mask who abducts her and takes her to an abandoned steel mill. The visions escalate, crossing the line into reality, and she soon learns the secret to stopping this Steel Phantom, may be buried in the dark mysteries of the forbidden past of her new home town.

“Steel Phantom” is an award-winning 2002 supernatural horror screenplay from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and the “Caitlin Star” series. 




Kronos is one of the last of his kind. A descendant of the Neanderthal who once thrived throughout Eurasia, his people crossed the same ancient land bridge as the original Native Americans. They have roamed Pacific Northwest forests for thousands of years, and their occasional sightings by humans have become the mythic stuff of the Bigfoot legend.

One day Kronos spots a helicopter with hunters, swarming down upon a family of wolves, including his friend Lucca. Kronos runs to the scene, trying to stop the slaughter. But then, the guns of the humans turn upon him. He is wounded, cut off from the rest of his family, and pursued by the hunters.

All seems lost, until he comes upon a human teenage girl Ella Marshall. Ella and her family want to help Kronos, and a deep, emotional bond forms between them. But soon, the danger becomes even more deadly as trigger happy hunters, weekend warriors, and even the government itself, begin to move in from all sides.

The Last Neanderthal is a harrowing and heartfelt adventure from the vivid imagination of James J.Caterino, author of Steel Phantom, The B Girl, and the Caitlin Star series.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Books, 2016 releases (video)

Video recap of my five 2016 releases; "The B Girl", "Caitlin Star: The Trilogy", "The Selfie", "Steel Phantom", and "The Last Neanderthal".



Here is a list of my 2016 releases. These are epic, intensely personal works, created and written to entertain, enlighten, and transport you beyond anything you could have possibly imagined. I hope you enjoy them.






"The B Girl"

A queen bee takes human form in this spectacular, heartfelt, dramatic science fiction adventure.






"Caitlin Star: The Trilogy" 

Part animal. Part legend. All woman. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy, is a collection of the first three action-packed books in the controversial Caitlin Star series, collected in one volume for the first time ever. All three books are newly edited and contain brand new, never before read scenes. Also included is a ten page sketchbook of illustrations by the author, all exclusive to this special-edition collection. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy is an addictive, riveting, hard-edged, YA dystopian action adventure that will blow you away and leave you begging for more.






An illustrator at an ad agency creates a drawing of a woman taking a selfie for a smart phone ad campaign. Then, he comes across a real-life, living version of the exact same woman and image. 

In the tradition of "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", and "Amazing Stories", "The Selfie" is a bold, shocking, romantic, unforgettable short story from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and “Caitlin Star: The Trilogy.” 








Angela is seeing things. Strange things. Dangerous things.

Angela relocates to Pittsburgh and is haunted by intense visions of a menacing attacker clad in a welding mask who abducts her and takes her to an abandoned steel mill. The visions escalate, crossing the line into reality, and she soon learns the secret to stopping this Steel Phantom, may be buried in the dark mysteries of the forbidden past of her new home town.

“Steel Phantom” is an award-winning 2002 supernatural horror screenplay from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and the “Caitlin Star” series. 




Kronos is one of the last of his kind. A descendant of the Neanderthal who once thrived throughout Eurasia, his people crossed the same ancient land bridge as the original Native Americans. They have roamed Pacific Northwest forests for thousands of years, and their occasional sightings by humans have become the mythic stuff of the Bigfoot legend.

One day Kronos spots a helicopter with hunters, swarming down upon a family of wolves, including his friend Lucca. Kronos runs to the scene, trying to stop the slaughter. But then, the guns of the humans turn upon him. He is wounded, cut off from the rest of his family, and pursued by the hunters.

All seems lost, until he comes upon a human teenage girl Ella Marshall. Ella and her family want to help Kronos, and a deep, emotional bond forms between them. But soon, the danger becomes even more deadly as trigger happy hunters, weekend warriors, and even the government itself, begin to move in from all sides.

The Last Neanderthal is a harrowing and heartfelt adventure from the vivid imagination of James J.Caterino, author of Steel Phantom, The B Girl, and the Caitlin Star series.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Queen Bees, Bigfoot, a Steel Phantom, and so much more

Here is a list of my 2016 releases. These are epic, intensely personal works, created and written to entertain, enlighten, and transport you beyond anything you could have possibly imagined. I hope you enjoy them.





"The B Girl"

A queen bee takes human form in this spectacular, heartfelt, dramatic science fiction adventure.





"Caitlin Star: The Trilogy" 

Part animal. Part legend. All woman. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy, is a collection of the first three action-packed books in the controversial Caitlin Star series, collected in one volume for the first time ever. All three books are newly edited and contain brand new, never before read scenes. Also included is a ten page sketchbook of illustrations by the author, all exclusive to this special-edition collection. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy is an addictive, riveting, hard-edged, YA dystopian action adventure that will blow you away and leave you begging for more.





An illustrator at an ad agency creates a drawing of a woman taking a selfie for a smart phone ad campaign. Then, he comes across a real-life, living version of the exact same woman and image. 

In the tradition of "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", and "Amazing Stories", "The Selfie" is a bold, shocking, romantic, unforgettable short story from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and “Caitlin Star: The Trilogy.” 






Angela is seeing things. Strange things. Dangerous things.

Angela relocates to Pittsburgh and is haunted by intense visions of a menacing attacker clad in a welding mask who abducts her and takes her to an abandoned steel mill. The visions escalate, crossing the line into reality, and she soon learns the secret to stopping this Steel Phantom, may be buried in the dark mysteries of the forbidden past of her new home town.

“Steel Phantom” is an award-winning 2002 supernatural horror screenplay from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and the “Caitlin Star” series. 




Kronos is one of the last of his kind. A descendant of the Neanderthal who once thrived throughout Eurasia, his people crossed the same ancient land bridge as the original Native Americans. They have roamed Pacific Northwest forests for thousands of years, and their occasional sightings by humans have become the mythic stuff of the Bigfoot legend.

One day Kronos spots a helicopter with hunters, swarming down upon a family of wolves, including his friend Lucca. Kronos runs to the scene, trying to stop the slaughter. But then, the guns of the humans turn upon him. He is wounded, cut off from the rest of his family, and pursued by the hunters.

All seems lost, until he comes upon a human teenage girl Ella Marshall. Ella and her family want to help Kronos, and a deep, emotional bond forms between them. But soon, the danger becomes even more deadly as trigger happy hunters, weekend warriors, and even the government itself, begin to move in from all sides.

The Last Neanderthal is a harrowing and heartfelt adventure from the vivid imagination of James J.Caterino, author of Steel Phantom, The B Girl, and the Caitlin Star series.



Friday, November 4, 2016

'The Last Neanderthal', a Bigfoot story from author of the 'Caitlin Star' trilogy



Three contemporary mythic legends have fascinated me since I was a child; UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, and Bigfoot.

I have written short stories about the Bermuda Triangle and had a UFO project in development for years. But now, I am absolutely elated to announce by Bigfoot story has just been released (as of Tuesday Nov. 4th 2016) in both paperback and  on Amazon Kindle.

"The Last Neanderthal" is my take on the Bigfoot legend and represents my most complete and balanced work to date. It has the action and philosophy of "Caitlin Star" and the emotional character interaction of "The B Girl". In movie pitch lingo it could be described as "King Kong" meets "Harry and the Hendersons", by way of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".

I hope you enjoy this brand new, deeply personal work. 


From the back cover:

Kronos is one of the last of his kind. A descendant of the Neanderthal who once thrived throughout Eurasia, his people crossed the same ancient land bridge as the original Native Americans. They have roamed Pacific Northwest forests for thousands of years, and their occasional sightings by humans have become the mythic stuff of the Bigfoot legend.

One day Kronos spots a helicopter with hunters, swarming down upon a family of wolves, including his friend Lucca. Kronos runs to the scene, trying to stop the slaughter. But then, the guns of the humans turn upon him. He is wounded, cut off from the rest of his family, and pursued by the hunters.

All seems lost, until he comes upon a human teenage girl Ella Marshall. Ella and her family want to help Kronos, and a deep, emotional bond forms between them. But soon, the danger becomes even more deadly as trigger happy hunters, weekend warriors, and even the government itself, begin to move in from all sides.




Tuesday, November 1, 2016

'The Last Neanderthal' just released

Three contemporary mythic legends have fascinated me since I was a child; UFOs, the Bermuda Triangle, and Bigfoot.

I have written short stories about the Bermuda Triangle and had a UFO project in development for years. But now, I am absolutely elated to announce by Bigfoot story has just been released (as of Tuesday Nov. 4th 2016) in both paperback and  on Amazon Kindle.

"The Last Neanderthal" is my take on the Bigfoot legend and represents my most complete and balanced work to date. It has the action and philosophy of "Caitlin Star" and the emotional character interaction of "The B Girl". In movie pitch lingo it could be described as "King Kong" meets "Harry and the Hendersons", by way of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes".

I hope you enjoy this brand new, deeply personal work. 


From the back cover:

Kronos is one of the last of his kind. A descendant of the Neanderthal who once thrived throughout Eurasia, his people crossed the same ancient land bridge as the original Native Americans. They have roamed Pacific Northwest forests for thousands of years, and their occasional sightings by humans have become the mythic stuff of the Bigfoot legend.

One day Kronos spots a helicopter with hunters, swarming down upon a family of wolves, including his friend Lucca. Kronos runs to the scene, trying to stop the slaughter. But then, the guns of the humans turn upon him. He is wounded, cut off from the rest of his family, and pursued by the hunters.

All seems lost, until he comes upon a human teenage girl Ella Marshall. Ella and her family want to help Kronos, and a deep, emotional bond forms between them. But soon, the danger becomes even more deadly as trigger happy hunters, weekend warriors, and even the government itself, begin to move in from all sides.



Monday, September 26, 2016

The story behind "Steel Phantom"




“Steel Phantom” is a supernatural horror script I wrote in 2002 and pitched around Hollywood. The screenplay did receive some good coverage, and garnered some interest from several producers and production companies.

But ultimately the script was deemed too “intense”, far too sexual and violent, and the S&M content was way too risqué for the time. You must remember, this was just after 9/11. PG-13 horror was in and nobody would touch an R-rated horror script with a ten foot pool. Of course, that all changed in the next couple years as torture porn took over the genre. But then the remake obsession began, especially for horror. Hollywood only wanted “sure things”, not original material, and “Steel Phantom” was doomed to go unproduced.


Now, this scary, sexy, suspenseful, supernatural story is available for the first time ever as a published book in the screenplay format.

From the back cover:

Angela is seeing things. Strange things. Dangerous things.

Angela relocates to Pittsburgh and is haunted by intense visions of a menacing attacker clad in a welding mask who abducts her and takes her to an abandoned steel mill. The visions escalate, crossing the line into reality, and she soon learns the secret to stopping this Steel Phantom, may be buried in the dark mysteries of the forbidden past of her new home town.

“Steel Phantom” is an award-winning 2002 supernatural horror screenplay from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and the “Caitlin Star” series. 



Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Introduction to “The Selfie”




A long time ago—many decades in the distant past—before I was an illustrator or a novelist or a screenwriter—before I was a stockbroker or a football player or a musclehead—really, before I was much of anything else—I was a short story writer.

I wrote my first short story at seven years-old, a handwritten mega opus along the lines of, How I spent my vacation. It garnered rave reviews from the teacher and fellow pint-sized classmates who sat at full attention as I stood before the class delivering my debut masterwork. Of course, it wasn’t really how I spent my summer. It was bullshit—or to use the more proper terminology, it was fictionalized drama. It was the first (and ONLY) time in my life where I realized that, “Hey, this might actually be something I am good at.”

And I did keep writing those stories in one form or another, although somewhat sporadically, all the way through the adolescence and into the college years where I took every creative writing class I possible could while still keeping my major “practical”, (Economics).

Recently I went on a Harlan Ellison binge, arguably one of the greatest short story writers ever. It made me want to go back and revisit some of those astonishing tales I spun so many years ago. While the search for many of them goes on (these were handwritten by me and the typed out by my Aunt in manuscript form, and nothing I wrote back then ever sniffed what would have been a very primitive computer at the time). But I did manage to uncover quite a few of these gems. And you know what? I have to admit, I was impressed.

How I managed to write all these stories with everything else I had going on is beyond me. But it inspired me to get back to my roots, to let go of my now fully-ingrained feature/epic mentality, and try to once again tackle the fictional form that was once the place for me to escape to and write the stories that I wanted to read, and nobody else had written.


So The Selfie is the first of many. Even if nobody else ever reads it (a very likely possibility), it will still be the first of many. Because you know what? I want to read them. And just like my seven year-old self said to himself those many decades ago, I really am pretty good at this.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Brand new, exciting short story on Amazon, "The Selfie"



An illustrator at an ad agency creates a drawing of a woman taking a selfie for a smart phone ad campaign. Then, he comes across a real-life, living version of the exact same woman and image. 

In the tradition of "The Twilight Zone", "The Outer Limits", and "Amazing Stories", "The Selfie" is a bold, shocking, romantic, unforgettable short story from the lurid imagination of James J. Caterino, author of “The B Girl” and “Caitlin Star: The Trilogy.” 





Thursday, August 18, 2016

Two from the heart

Here are my two 2016 releases. Two personal works created and written to entertain, enlighten, and transport you beyond anything you could have possibly imagined.


"The B Girl"

A queen bee takes human form in this spectacular, heartfelt, dramatic science fiction adventure.




"Caitlin Star: The Trilogy" 

Part animal. Part legend. All woman. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy, is a collection of the first three action-packed books in the controversial Caitlin Star series, collected in one volume for the first time ever. All three books are newly edited and contain brand new, never before read scenes. Also included is a ten page sketchbook of illustrations by the author, all exclusive to this special-edition collection. 

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy is an addictive, riveting, hard-edged, YA dystopian action adventure that will blow you away and leave you begging for more

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sketchbook: Elle Fanning, Star Trek, Buck Rogers, and so much more



Sketch of Elle Fanning, my top choice to play The B Girl. 






Jaylah from "Star Trek Beyond".







Sketch for "The Selfie". A new short story coming soon.





Wilma and Buck from "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century".






Sketch of Emma Roberts,  star of "Nerve" and "Scream Queens".






Sketch for "Cassandra", a brand new short story coming soon.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Retro movies of summer 2016 hit the mark

Contrary to what the condescending critics and snarky internet trolls would have you believe, this has been a good, bordering on great, movie summer. While there has not been a genre masterpiece such as 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, the sheer variety of outstanding and entertaining films this summer has been quite impressive.

Here are my top five films from the summer of 2016 (as of July 31st anyway). A few of these will undoubtedly end up on my top ten list come year end.



The Neon Demon (directed by Nicolas Winding Refn)

I love literate cinema that knows the medium’s history and artfully draws on past movie landmarks and applies them to the modern era with a contemporary flair.

“The Neon Demon” takes the exuberance and horror of “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” (1970, Russ Meyer), the mystery and eroticism of “Mullholland Drive” (2001, Lynch), and the gritty psychopathic obsessions of “The Black Swan” (2010, Aronofsky), and morphs them into a surreal journey for the ultra-high stakes, frigid world of high-end fashion modeling.

The electrifying Ella Fanning is simply remarkable. Her ability to display calculating confidence while possessing a core of sweetness and a naked vulnerability is astounding. She has once again proven (as she has since “Super 8” in 2011”) that she is the best actor of her generation.





The Legend of Tarzan (directed by David Yates)

This movie was victimized by some of the most ignorant, misguided, mocking, and just plain lazy reviews of any film in recent years. The critics got this one wrong. I mean, they REALLY got it wrong.

“The Legend of Tarzan” is an exhilarating, emotionally resonant, beautifully paced action adventure that perfectly captures the pulpy, romantic spirit of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s original books and smartly adapts them with a slight post-modern twist for contemporary audiences.  This is the Tarzan movie I always dreamed of when I first read the books as a thirteen year-old boy, lured in my the spectacular paperback cover paintings by Boris Vallejo.
               
Alexander Skarsgård is a terrific Tarzan and Margo Robbie is an absolute joy as the strong-willed Jane. Christoph Waltz as the villain Rom is outstanding. Samuel L. Jackson is strong as always as George Washington Williams (based on a real life historic person), and the scene with him and Tarzan in the nighttime forest with the elephants is pure movie magic. Also of note is the soaring melodic score by Hans Zimmer protégé Rupert Gregson-Williams

“The Legend of Tarzan” is a great summer movie that also has a lot to say about human nature, the way humans seek to exploit each other and destroy the environment, and the beautiful pureness of nature and wildlife.





Star Trek Beyond (directed by Justin Lin)

After an outstanding reboot in 2009, and what was more or less (a key and clever phrase of dialogue in “Beyond” btw) a “Wrath of Khan” remake, Justin Lin takes over the director’s chair from J.J. Abrams, and along with screenwriters Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, delivers an exciting new Star Trek adventure. Make no mistake, this is a great Star Trek movie. Yeah, this is one where the critics actually got it right.

The creation of Jaylah alone would make this an outstanding entry in the series. A GREAT character!

And it is nice to see Trek getting back to its roots, both in terms of social commentary and character interplay. I would love to see more genre films get back to the kind of strong social/political subtext we used to have all the time in SF and horror. It was nice to see this trend return in “Tarzan” and “Star Trek”.

The opening scenes of a burned out Captain Kirk reminded me of Captain Pike in the first act of "The Cage". The dialogue between Bones and Spock was so well done, and the best Spock/Bones stuff since "ST: TMP".

Another outstanding score by musical maestro Michael Giacchino. The music for the Yorktown space station is an incredible cue!





The Shallows (directed by Jaume Collet-Serra)

Two words, Blake Lively.

She gave the best performance of the year last year, in the best film of 2015, the criminally underrated “The Age of Adeline”. In “The Shallows” she appears in every scene, commands the screen, and carries the movie in a way that perhaps no actor has done since Tome Hanks in “Cast Away” (2000).

The film itself is a shrewdly directed thriller with the raw tension of low budget indie like “Open Water” combined with the slick visuals of a modern “Jaws” spinoff. A wickedly fun film anchored by one of the best leads working in movies today.





“Nerve” (directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman)

Like all of the films on this best five list, “Nerve” feels very much like it could have been a movie from summers past. In this case specifically the 90s because “Nerve” is essentially a conceptual update of the Michael Douglas vehicle “The Game” (1997, Fincher), re-imagined for the modern social media obsessed digital age.


Emma Roberts is fantastic, giving a real spark plug of a performance, and has great chemistry with co-star David Franco. Featuring a super cool soundtrack and stylish direction, “Nerve” is a blast.