Saturday, August 19, 2017

'War for the Planet of the Apes', the novelization review




Sensational novelization of Matt Reeve’s heartbreaking, epic masterpiece “War for the Planet of the Apes”, based on the outstanding screenplay by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves.

There are three things that make a novelization work.

Number one, extra scenes and possibly even plot threads not in the movie. Most novelizations have this because the writer often works from an early draft of the screenplay, or even if it was written late in the process, a very rough cut of the film before the final edit.  Author Greg Cox gives us plenty of these extra goodies, and a few of them are very significant to the plot.

Two, a novelization has to be a novel. And by that I mean it must read like a novel and feel like a novel, not a re-typing of the screenplay in a different format. This book does indeed read like an epic novel, full of wonderful visual descriptions that present a strong sense of time and place.

And finally—and most importantly—a truly great novelization has to give us a lot of strong, insightful, revealing character interior monologues with precise and clear narrative viewpoints. This is where Greg Cox really excels, taking us into the mind of the characters and their thoughts, especially Caesar. All of those harrowing, intense emotions that we felt when watching the film, we feel them here too. On top of that there is a wonderful sense of what came before as characters muse about the people no longer with us such as Will, and we find out what happened to Malcolm.


Bottom line: “War for the Planet of the Apes” is the best film of the year and this novelization does it justice. A must own for any fan. Also recommended are the two prequel novels by Greg Keyes. “War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm”, as well as Alex Irvine’s novelization of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stuff about me

About the author (updated 08-16-2017)







James J. Caterino is a freelance writer based in South Florida. The wildly controversial scribe is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Action/Cut school of directing. He is the author of "Technicolor Dreams", "Battle of the Network Superheroes", "The B Girl", the "Caitlin Star" series, "Steel Phantom", "The Selfie", "The Last Neanderthal", "She", "Action Figure", "All About Amy", "Video Noir", "Among the Stars", hundreds of essays, movie, television, and music reviews, screenplays, short stories, and much more. Please visit Jamescaterino.com for more 


Published works

Technicolor Dreams 

Battle of the Network Superheroes 
Just Imagine: The Sketchbook of James J. Caterino
Among the Stars
She
The Last Neanderthal
Steel Phantom
The Selfie
Caitlin Star: The Trilogy
The B Girl
Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians
Caitlin Star and the Guardian of Forever
Caitlin Star
Sword of the Bull Mongoni
Rise of the Bull Mongoni
Action Figure
Video Noir
All About Amy
Gunner Star


Non-profits

Fight back against evil humans by supporting these wonderful causes

Favorite stuff

Films

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) 
E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)
Videodrome (1983)
Falling Down (1993)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
JFK (1991)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)
Enchanted (2007)
Robocop (1987)
A.I. (2001)
The Age of Adeline (2015)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Exotica (1994)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Love Actually (2003)
The Abyss (1989)
The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (1959)
Back to the Future (1985)
The Girl in the Gold Boots (1968)

TV

24 – FOX (2001-2010, 2014)

The X-Files – FOX (1993-2002)
Unsolved Mysteries – NBC (1987-1997)
Mad Men – AMC (2008-2015)
Star Trek – NBC (1966-1969)
Homeland – Showtime (2011-present)
The Simpsons – FOX (1989-present)
The Walking Dead – AMC (2010-present)
Fringe – FOX (2008-2013)
Bewitched – ABC (1964-1972)




Writers

Robert E. Howard
John Jakes

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Joan Ellis
D.C Fontana
Harlan Ellison
Kristin Hannah
Sloan Brittain

Richard Matheson
James Wong & Glen Morgan

Music

John Williams
Jerry Goldsmith
James Horner
Michael Giacchino
Hans Zimmer
Garbage
Charli XCX
Lana Del Rey
Chvrches
Ellie Goulding
Giorgio Moroder


Songs

So Close - Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz performed by Jon McLaughlin (2007)
Gods and Monsters – Lana Del Rey (2013)
Viva La Vida - Coldplay (2008)
Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)
Push it – Garbage (1998)
Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks (1981)
Love Me like You Do - Ellie Goulding (2015)
Kokomo – The Beach Boys (1988)
American – Lana Del Rey (2013)
Make That Move – Shalimar (1981)
I See You (Theme from Avatar) – James Horner and Kuk Harrell performed by Leona Lewis (2009)
Take On Me – ah-a (1985)
What's Going On – Marvin Gaye (1970)
Temptation Waits – Garbage (1998)
Love Lives On –   Bruce Broughton, Cynthia Weil and Will Jennings, performed by Joe Cocker (1987)
Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey (2012)
Love Theme from Flashdance - Giorgio Moroder (1983)
Summer Days - Tony Romeo, David Cassidy, performed by David Cassidy (1971)
Break the Rules – Charli XCX (2014)


Film Scores

Total Recall (1990) - Jerry Goldsmith
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) - John Williams
Poltergeist (1982) - Jerry Goldsmith
Deep End of the Ocean (1999) - Elmer Bernstein
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - John Williams
Obsession (1976) Bernard Hermann
Legends of the Fall (1994) - James Horner
King Kong (1976) John Barry
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Michael Giacchino
Batteries Not Included (1987) James Horner
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) Bruce Broughton 
Friday the 13th (1980) Harry Manfredini


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes




“War for the Planet of the Apes” is a searing, intense, and emotional conclusion to the story of Caesar and the new “Planet of the Apes” reboot trilogy. With this final chapter, these films have achieved a level of artistic and storytelling brilliance unmatched by any other franchise in the 2000s—or any franchise ever for that matter.

“Rise of the Planet of Apes”, directed by Rupert Wyatt and written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, was a late summer August release in 2011 that took everyone by surprise with its heartfelt “E.T.” meets “Escape From Alcatraz” storyline anchored by a knockout performance from Andy Serkis as Caesar. Director Matt Reeves and his writing partner Mark Bomback took over the franchise for 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of Apes” and created an epic, Shakespearean Godfather-ish drama that stands as one of the all-time great sequels, acclaimed by critics to be in a class with “The Godfather II” and “The Empire Strikes Back”.

Part threes of any series are always are an uphill battle and following “Dawn” seemed to be an impossible task. Reeves and Bomback returned but vowed they would only make the movie if it broke new ground and was even better than its two outstanding predecessors. And guess what? They did it. They brought the Apes trilogy to a visceral, heart-breaking, emotionally rich conclusion, and created a modern cinema masterwork in the process.

As was the case in the previous entries, the movie is a mix of classic films and genres. This time it is the western that Reeves draws upon the most, particularly the revenge western, as well as biblical epics, war movies and the prison camp sub-genre. Reeves has mentioned “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “The Bridge on the River Kwai” in interviews. The latter being of special note because “Kwai” was directed by the legendary David Lean and “War for the Planet of the Apes” (shot in the sumptuous Arri Alexa 65mm format) looks very much like a David Lean film—almost as if David Lean were directing a spaghetti western.



And then there is the score—that utterly amazing sonic soundscape created by composer Michael Giacchino. It is a soundtrack that is in many ways as avante-guard in today’s super-restrained film scoring environment as Jerry Goldsmith’s classic score was for the original in 1968. And even though much of the score is atonal, and even experimental in parts, it packs an emotional wallop when Giacchino gives us his heart-breaking melodies during the intensely emotional scenes.

But as technically brilliant as this movie is, it is about so much more than knockout cinematography, haunting production design, movie homages, and an instantly classic soundtrack. This film is about Caesar’s long, winding, often painful, journey, and the journey of the people he leads. People he once freed from the captive cruelty of humans—a captive cruelty they once again find themselves facing in this movie at the hands of a sadistic Colonel (a brilliant and disturbing Woody Harrelson). In the face of this new danger and tragedy, we see many of the characters grow, including Maurice, Rocket, Lucca, Lake, and two fantastic new characters—“Bad Ape” played by Steve Zahn, and a Nova, a young human girl who reminded me of a young Dakota Fanning. There is a scene between Nova and Caesar in this film that packs more emotion that a hundred films. It will break your heart, and it will inspire you.


Botttom line: “War for the Planet of the Apes” is a part three that defies the odds and brings the trilogy to an unforgettable, emotional conclusion. A masterpiece and the best film of 2017 by a mile.


Friday, June 16, 2017

The best of James J. Caterino

The essential James J. Caterino

“I was thinking of reading one of your books,” she said. “So which one do you recommend the most?”

This was a question someone asked me on Instagram. It is one I often hesitate to answer unless I know the person’s tastes, passions, likes, and dislikes. But in this particular case I did know from the potential reader’s profile and posts that she loved animals and nature and lived in the Pacific Northwest. So this was a lay-up. I steered her toward “The Last Neanderthal” and she absolutely loved it. Happy reader. Happy author. A win win.

But it occurred to me that I had no such “which one of your books do you recommend most?” strategy in place—in the broader, more general sense. And since I often do top ten and top five lists here on all sorts of things, I thought it was time to turn my critical eye onto myself and choose my top five published works.

Of course, all self-evaluations are extremely subjective.But I like to think I am pretty self-aware and astute at self-analysis. I know when something is good regardless of who wrote it. But just to balance this list out, I also heavily relied upon reader feedback, especially from a few trusted souls whose opinions I respect.

So here it is:





This contemporary, dystopian action adventure is probably the signature James J. Caterino work, and certainly the most ambitious and epic. In an elevator pitch I describe Caitlin Star as “Tomb Raider” meets “Tarzan”. But be warned, it can be a very intense read. If these were made into films, they would be rated R.





This recent short story is clever and creative and a lot of fun. Seriously, this story is a blast. You will like it. If you are a “Supergirl” fan or any kind of athlete you will really, REALLY like it.






“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.

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








I love this book. Perhaps my personal favorite James J. Caterino book.

This modern day Bigfoot story can be described as "King Kong" meets "Harry and the Hendersons".  A suspenseful and moving coming of age adventure story that you will really enjoy.





Back to the Future meets Somewhere in Time in time travel thriller Technicolor Dreams


Brimming with suspense, heart, and humor, “Technicolor Dreams” is a delightful, entertaining, time travel romantic thriller.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

'The Last Neanderthal' a thrilling adventure with heart




"King Kong" meets "Harry and the Hendersons" in James J Caterino's moving coming of age adventure story, "The Last Neanderthal".

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.

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."


Monday, June 5, 2017

'Back to the Future' meets 'Somewhere in Time' in time travel thriller 'Technicolor Dreams"


The Scoop:

Brimming with suspense, heart, and humor, “Technicolor Dreams” is a delightful, entertaining, time travel romantic thriller from the acclaimed and wildly controversial author James J. Caterino, the visionary imagination behind the “Caitlin Star” series, “Steel Phantom”, "The Last Neanderthal”, and “Among the Stars”.

The Synopsis:

On June 7th 1969, four year-old James Bava was saved from death and pulled from the river by actress Kara Stone. Four days later, Kara was the first victim of the Oakland Butcher, a notorious Pittsburgh serial killer who was never caught.

James went on to have a career in Hollywood as a stuntman. But he never forgot his angelic savior, and decides to make a movie about Kara Stone. While doing research for the film, James accidentally discovers a way to travel back in time to 1969. This time he will be the one saving Kara. At least that is the plan. 

But James soon discovers that stopping a serial killer and changing the past is far more difficult, and dangerous, than he could have ever imagined.


Now available in paperback and on Kindle.

Friday, June 2, 2017

'Technicolor Dreams', a time-travel story



My 20th published book, "Technicolor Dreams" is now available in Kindle and paperback.

Written in the screenplay format, "Technicolor Dreams" is a rousing, time-travel romantic thriller, jam-packed with every imaginable delight you would want in a great time-travel story. Below is the back cover copy and a new review posted by a reader at Goodreads.

From the back cover:

On June 7th 1969, four year-old James Bava was saved from death and pulled from the river by actress Kara Stone. Four days later, Kara was the first victim of the Oakland Butcher, a notorious Pittsburgh serial killer who was never caught.

James went on to have a career in Hollywood as a stuntman. But he never forgot his angelic savior, and decides to make a movie about Kara Stone. While doing research for the film, James accidentally discovers a way to travel back in time to 1969. This time he will be the one saving Kara. At least that is the plan. 

But James soon discovers that stopping a serial killer and changing the past is far more difficult, and dangerous, than he could have ever imagined.

Brimming with suspense, heart, and humor, “Technicolor Dreams” is a delightful, entertaining, time travel romantic thriller from the acclaimed and wildly controversial author James J. Caterino, the visionary imagination behind the “Caitlin Star” series, “Steel Phantom”, The Last Neanderthal”, and “Among the Stars”. 


Customer review from Richie at Goodreads (posted with his permission).

"A wildly imaginative (and very well thought out) time travel story written in the screenplay format that plays as both a serial killer thriller and a very engaging romance. One of the main characters (recently retired stuntman James Bava who travels back to 1969 to save the woman who once saved him as a small child) states that "Back to the Future" is his favorite film and one can definitely see that influence, as well as the 1980 movie "Somewhere in Time" and the Richard Matheson novel it is based on. As a matter of fact, the character in this story that invents time travel is named Troy Matheson, not a coincidence I imagine. 

This story has a clean time loop based on solid (if speculative) science, very strong characters, great dialogue, suspense, romance, and even wonderful humor. Mr. Caterino's "Technicolor Dreams" would make for a sensational movie and this book is very entertaining."


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

James J. Caterino: About the author



James J. Caterino is a freelance writer based in South Florida. The wildly controversial scribe is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh and the Action/Cut school of directing. He is the author of "Battle of the Network Superheroes", "The B Girl", the "Caitlin Star" series, "Steel Phantom", "The Selfie", "The Last Neanderthal", "She", "Action Figure", "All About Amy", "Video Noir", "Among the Stars", hundreds of essays, movie, television, and music reviews, screenplays, short stories, and much more. Please visit Jamescaterino.com for more 




Published works

Battle of the Network Superheroes 
Just Imagine: The Sketchbook of James J. Caterino
Among the Stars
She
The Last Neanderthal
Steel Phantom
The Selfie
Caitlin Star: The Trilogy
The B Girl
Caitlin Star and the Rise of the Barbarians
Caitlin Star and the Guardian of Forever
Caitlin Star
Sword of the Bull Mongoni
Rise of the Bull Mongoni
Action Figure
Video Noir
All About Amy
Gunner Star


Non-profits


Fight back against evil humans by supporting these wonderful causes

Favorite stuff

Films

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) 
E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982)
Videodrome (1983)
Falling Down (1993)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
JFK (1991)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Enchanted (2007)
Robocop (1987)
The Age of Adeline (2015)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Exotica (1994)
Love Actually (2003)
The Abyss (1989)
The Fury (1978)

TV

24 – FOX (2001-2010, 2014)
The X-Files – FOX (1993-2002)
Unsolved Mysteries – NBC (1987-1997)
Mad Men – AMC (2008-2015)
Star Trek – NBC (1966-1969)
Homeland – Showtime (2011-present)
The Simpsons – FOX (1989-present)
The Walking Dead – AMC (2010-present)
Fringe – FOX (2008-2013)
Bewitched – ABC (1964-1972)




Writers

Robert E. Howard
John Jakes
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Joan Ellis
D.C Fontana
Harlan Ellison
Kristin Hannah
Sloan Brittain
Richard Matheson
James Wong & Glen Morgan


Music

John Williams
Jerry Goldsmith
James Horner
Michael Giacchino
Hans Zimmer
Garbage
Charli XCX
Lana Del Rey
Chvrches
Ellie Goulding
Giorgio Moroder


Songs

So Close - Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz performed by Jon McLaughlin (2007)
Gods and Monsters – Lana Del Rey (2013)
Viva La Vida - Coldplay (2008)
Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney and Wings (1973)
Push it – Garbage (1998)
Edge of Seventeen – Stevie Nicks (1981)
Kokomo – The Beach Boys (1988)
American – Lana Del Rey (2013)
Make That Move – Shalimar (1981)
I See You (Theme from Avatar) – James Horner and Kuk Harrell performed by Leona Lewis (2009)
Take On Me – ah-a (1985)
What's Going On – Marvin Gaye (1970)
Temptation Waits – Garbage (1998)
Love Lives On –   Bruce Broughton, Cynthia Weil and Will Jennings, performed by Joe Cocker (1987)
Summertime Sadness – Lana Del Rey (2012)
Let the rivers Run – Carly Simon (1988)
Summer Days - Tony Romeo, David Cassidy, performed by David Cassidy (1971)
Break the Rules – Charli XCX (2014)


Film Scores

Total Recall (1990) - Jerry Goldsmith
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) - John Williams
Poltergeist (1982) - Jerry Goldsmith
Deep End of the Ocean (1999) - Elmer Bernstein
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) - John Williams
Obsession (1976) Bernard Hermann
Legends of the Fall (1994) - James Horner
King Kong (1976) John Barry
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Michael Giacchino
Batteries Not Included (1987) James Horner
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985) Bruce Broughton 
Body Double (1984) Pino Donaggio

Friday, April 7, 2017

The essential James J. Caterino

“I was thinking of reading one of your books,” she said. “So which one do you recommend the most?”

This was a question someone asked me on Instagram. It is one I often hesitate to answer unless I know the person’s tastes, passions, likes, and dislikes. But in this particular case I did know from the potential reader’s profile and posts that she loved animals and nature and lived in the Pacific Northwest. So this was a lay-up. I steered her toward “The Last Neanderthal” and she absolutely loved it. Happy reader. Happy author. A win win.

But it occurred to me that I had no such “which one of your books do you recommend most?” strategy in place—in the broader, more general sense. And since I often do top ten and top five lists here on all sorts of things, I thought it was time to turn my critical eye onto myself and choose my top five published works.

Of course, all self-evaluations are extremely subjective.But I like to think I am pretty self-aware and astute at self-analysis. I know when something is good regardless of who wrote it. But just to balance this list out, I also heavily relied upon reader feedback, especially from a few trusted souls whose opinions I respect.

So here it is:





This contemporary, dystopian action adventure is probably the signature James J. Caterino work, and certainly the most ambitious and epic. In an elevator pitch I describe Caitlin Star as “Tomb Raider” meets “Tarzan”. But be warned, it can be a very intense read. If these were made into films, they would be rated R.





This recent short story is clever and creative and a lot of fun. Seriously, this story is a blast. You will like it. If you are a “Supergirl” fan or any kind of athlete you will really, REALLY like it.








“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.

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









I love this book. Perhaps my personal favorite James J. Caterino book.

This modern day Bigfoot story can be described as "King Kong" meets "Harry and the Hendersons".  A suspenseful and moving coming of age adventure story that you will really enjoy.









This, like “Steel Phantom”, is a screenplay. I love writing in the screenplay format. It allows me to focus on the things I do best—structure, pacing, and dialogue.


“Among the Stars”, is an exciting, sexy space opera adventure written for the same target audience as all of my work—my thirteen year-old self. In other words, me as I am right now, forever trapped in a perpetual state of exuberant adolescence.