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.




Friday, July 29, 2016

Caitlin Star: The Trilogy, now available on Kindle




Part animal. Part legend. All woman.  


Three spectacular, amazing adventures, all in one exclusive book, for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
 

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 (book 1) 

Gunner Star takes on Caitlin as his protégé and trains her in the ways of the Bull Mongoni, a mythic species of hominids that lived long ago. An exciting, brave new world opens up for Caitlin as she discovers a new philosophy, and begins to see the world around her from a new perspective. This is the origin story you have been waiting for. 

Caitlin Star and the Guardian of Forever (book 2) 

Caitlin is called into action by Azrael—a.k.a. the Black Knight—a fellow Bull Mongoni warrior with roots in the Congo. Now she must defeat the White Hand, battle the militia of a ruthless Uganda dictator, and face down a mysterious figure who is manipulating everything behind the scenes for a devious purpose that will threaten every living thing on earth. 

Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians (book 3) 

Caitlin now lives a life of peace and tranquility deep in the rain forests of the Congo among her ape friends, free from the evil and destructive species known as Homo sapiens. All is well until one day a massive cruise ship shows up on the shore carrying hostile invaders commanded by an old arch enemy of Caitlin’s who will stop at nothing to destroy her and the last remaining paradise on earth. 

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.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

'Caitlin Star: The Trilogy' now available in paperback




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 (book 1)  
 
Gunner Star takes on Caitlin as his protégé and trains her in the ways of the Bull Mongoni, a mythic species of hominids that lived long ago. An exciting, brave new world opens up for Caitlin as she discovers a new philosophy, and begins to see the world around her from a new perspective. This is the origin story you have been waiting for. 
 
Caitlin Star and the Guardian of Forever (book 2) 
 
Caitlin is called into action by Azrael—a.k.a. the Black Knight—a fellow Bull Mongoni warrior with roots in the Congo. Now she must defeat the White Hand, battle the militia of a ruthless Uganda dictator, and face down a mysterious figure who is manipulating everything behind the scenes for a devious purpose that will threaten every living thing on earth. 
 
Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians (book 3) 
 
Caitlin now lives a life of peace and tranquility deep in the rain forests of the Congo among her ape friends, free from the evil and destructive species known as Homo sapiens. All is well until one day a massive cruise ship shows up on the shore carrying hostile invaders commanded by an old arch enemy of Caitlin’s who will stop at nothing to destroy her and the last remaining paradise on earth. 
 
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.





Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer sketchbook part 3: Star Trek, Tarzan, Caitlin Star, and much more


WIP, painting of Caitlin Star from Caitlin Star: The Trilogy. Due out in paperback on July 22nd and Kindle on July 29th.






Femme fatale drawing, from a new short story, coming soon.





Gouache painting of Cassandra Gold, from a new short story.




Quick sketch of Zoe Saldana as Uhura in "Star Trek: Beyond". 






Quick sketch of Margo Robbie as Jane in "The Legend of Tarzan".





Brunette on a wall. Inspired by a photo of Erin Gray of "Buck Rogers" fame.






Gunner Star from "Caitlin Star: The Trilogy".





Painting of Chloë Grace Moretz, gouache on paper.





Caitlin Star.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Coming soon, Caitlin Star: The Trilogy

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002F5AKL2

Very excited to present the the 12th published book from James J. Caterino, Caitlin Star: The Trilogy. Due for world-wide release in paperback on July 22nd, and Kindle on July 29th.

From the back cover:

Part animal. Part legend. All woman.

Caitlin Star: TheTrilogy, 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 (book 1)

Gunner Star takes on Caitlin as his protégé and trains her in the ways of the Bull Mongoni, a mythic species of hominids that lived long ago. An exciting, brave new world opens up for Caitlin as she discovers a new philosophy, and begins to see the world around her from a new perspective. This is the origin story you have been waiting for.

Caitlin Star and the Guardian of Forever (book 2)

Caitlin is called into action by Azrael—a.k.a. the Black Knight—a fellow Bull Mongoni warrior with roots in the Congo. Now she must defeat the White Hand, battle the militia of a ruthless Uganda dictator, and face down a mysterious figure who is manipulating everything behind the scenes for a devious purpose that will threaten every living thing on earth.

Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians (book 3)

Caitlin now lives a life of peace and tranquility deep in the rain forests of the Congo among her ape friends, free from the evil and destructive species known as Homo sapiens. All is well until one day a massive cruise ship shows up on the shore carrying hostile invaders commanded by an old arch enemy of Caitlin’s who will stop at nothing to destroy her and the last remaining paradise on earth.


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

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer sketchbook part 2: Blake Lively, Katie Cassidy, Supergirl, and much more



Work-in-progress painting of the fantastic Blake Lively, the luminous star of this summer's super thriller "The Shallows",  and the best film of last year, "The Age of Adeline".





Katie Cassidy as the Black Canary in "Arrow".





Work-in-progress painting for an up coming "femme fatale" short story. 





Sketch of the fall 2016 CW superhero trio - Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl.





Katie Cassidy and me at 2016 Megacon in Orlando.





More Katie and me at Megacon 2016.





Femme fatale sketch I ended up turning in to a painting.






Original sketch of what became the femme fatale painting above.