Monthly Archives: January 2021

Movie Review – The Vanished (2020)

Keep an eye on your kids at all times, 3.5 readers.

BQB here with the new Netflix film, “The Vanished.”

It all starts out happily enough. Mom and Dad (Anne Heche and Thomas Jane, both a little long in the tooth to have a young kid but I assume they were big gets for Netflix so just go with it) pull into an RV park with their young daughter, ready for a fun vacation of camping and fishing.

Alas, Dad takes his eyes off his kid for one minute to oggle the wife half of the young couple in the RV parked next door and daughter goes missing.

Twists and turns ensue, and as Mom and Dad go nuts, they make the situation so much worse.

Jason Patric stars as the noble yet troubled sheriff, looking chubbier and unrecognizable from his Speed 2 days. Not knocking the guy. Happens to all of us.

Definitely a lot of random plot points stuffed in a blender, but the film rests on fakeouts – i.e. it introduces to a host of weirdoes, makes us think each weirdo did it, lets the weirdo off the hook, then moves on to the next weirdo. Even weirder, people who are seemingly norms will be discovered as weirdos and it just goes to show that you should suspect everyone of being weirdoes, whether they show outward signs of weirdo-ness or not.

BTW I always confuse Thomas Jane with Christopher Lambert of Highlander fame and always expect him to start speaking in that Lambertian French accent. He never does because he is not Chris Lambert, but I think there should be a movie about how they were twin brothers separated at birth.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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GET A FREE BOOK!

Hey 3.5 readers.

My twisted short, “When Superheroes Quit” is totally FREE! That’s right! It’s FREE! You pay zilch, zero, nada!

Just mosey on over to Amazon and grab your FREE copy which you won’t have to pay for because it’s FREE!

Horrendous City is under attack! Will the Righteous Champion save the day? No, for he has retired. He is moving to California to chase his dream of becoming a pop star. Somehow the city will have to figure out how to fight evil on its own.

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Get My New Short!

The Second Death, the sixth installment in BQB’s Twisted Shorts, is now available on Amazon.

“They count as quite forgot;
They are as men who have existed not;
Theirs is a loss past loss of fitful breath;
It is the second death.”

  • Thomas Hardy, “The To-be Forgotten”

A social media starlet’s botched plastic surgery. A bizarre dance routine no one wants to see. A fiery blaze that puts a box full of adorable kitties at risk. A bank robbery gone haywire. A mafia hitman turned state’s evidence. A plot against the President of the United States while the fate of a nuclear arms reduction treaty hangs in the balance.

Determined to obtain his fifteen-minutes of fame at any cost, attention seeking wacko Gary Bryson has mapped out a series of strange schemes, each one more twisted than the next, all designed to attract the mass media coverage that he so desperately craves.

It all adds up to the day from hell for FBI agents Rick Nash and Ramona Cruz. Will they be able to force Bryson to take a bow before the final curtain call?

Inspired by Thomas Hardy’s classic poem, “The To-be Forgotten,” “The Second Death” is the sixth and final installment of the first volume of BQB’s Twisted Shorts. Do you like “The Twilight Zone?” Do you like “The Outer Limits?” Do you like “Black Mirror?” Well, BQB doesn’t have the budget to make shows as awesome as those, but his self-published journey toward creating an episodic anthology has begun.

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BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – The Living Daylights (1987)

Oh, oh ah oh…The Living Daylights!

BQB here with a review of this old Bond film.

Timothy Dalton did two Bond flicks in the 1980s and in my opinion, after watching one and a half of them, they are criminally underrated. When it comes to Bond movies, at least in the past few incarnations, I’ve found that there is at least one Bond film per actor that is absolutely stellar (i.e. Goldeneye for Pierce Brosnan or Skyfall for Daniel Craig) and then the others are acceptable or subpar (i.e. Tomorrow Never Dies for Brosnan or Quantum of Solace for Craig – really, the villain is stealing water?)

Dalton only did two Bond flicks and while I haven’t finished the second as of this post, both seem pretty solid, so I think he should have gotten at least a third. Oh well. Can’t have it all. (Coming this Summer – James Bond in “You Can’t Have It All.”

“The Living Daylights” captures the Cold War paranoia of the 80s but doesn’t go all out in silly 80s pageantry. Aha does the cool theme song (I think a rare case where a man sings it instead of a woman but I could be wrong) but there aren’t any real “OMG this movie is so 80s” moments ala “You’ve got the touch! You’ve got the power!”

Moving on. Bond has been dispatched to help Soviet general Koskov defect to the West, bringing all his secrets with him. After a silly, unlikely yet sort of ingenious escape plan is hatched, Bond cozies up with cellist Kara (Maryam D’abo) looking for answers as to why a clueless, non-professional was trying to kill the general.

Twists, turns and double-crosses ensue, all culminating in a showdown at a Soviet era base in Afghanistan (wow various countries have been at war with Afghanistan for a long time now). There’s a very cool scene at the end where Bond and a henchman fight while clinging to a large sack of opium bags dangling out the back of a military plane. (The sack contains a bomb about to explode, upping the ante.) It’s worth watching for that scene alone.

I’ll be back when I’m done watching “License to Kill” but suffice to say, I think Dalton deserves more Bond cred.

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Movie Review – Honest Thief (2020)

He’s a thief…who is honest!

BQB here with a review of Liam Neeson’s latest attempt to reclaim his Taken glory days.

The plot is unlikely. For the past ten years, Tom Carter (Neeson) has been robbing banks and getting away with it. He has amassed a fortune of 9 million dollars, and his meticulous ability to get in and out of bank vaults without being caught has earned him the nickname, the In and Out Bandit.

When Carter falls in love with Annie (Kate Walsh), he decides to go legit. He doesn’t just swear off robbing banks. No, he calls the FBI to turn himself in. He loves Annie so much that he doesn’t want to hide any secrets from her, so he wants to come clean, do his time, and resume his relationship as an honest man.

Would an undetected bank robber actually turn himself in? Probably not, but hey, it’s a movie.

The plan goes awry when corrupt FBI agents (Jai Courtenay and Anthony Ramos) decide to abscond with the cash for themselves and frame Carter for the murder of their boss (Robert Patrick), Carter goes on the run, hunted as a wanton fugitive while trying to clear himself of false charges, dodging the efforts of a tiny dog loving FBI agent (Jeffrey Donovan) who will stop at nothing to bring Carter in.

Overall, it’s a cookie cutter mystery/thriller, kind of slapped together to keep Liam Neeon’s tough guy image going. You have to suspend disbelief at moments but it’s worth a watch.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Movie Review – Greenland (2020)

It’s the end of the world as he knows it and Gerard Butler isn’t feeling fine.

BQB here with a review of this disaster flick.

This a good movie and definitely worth a rental. Sad it was released in the COVID era as it most likely would have put butts in seats in movie theaters. The effects were made for the big screen and the twists and turns are perfect for munching popcorn to.

Butler stars as John Garrity, a structural engineer estranged from his wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin). Personally, I’d never let myself get estranged from that but Gerard Butler gonna do what Gerard Butler gonna do. The man’s like in his 50s and I can only assume still bagging mad babes.

But I digress.

A comet is on the way and about to crash in an extinction level event, similar to the one that killed the dinosaurs. Due to Garrity’s job as a structural engineer, he and his wife and son have been selected for relocation to an underground shelter, joining a collective of people with skills and training necessary to rebuild the world.

SIDENOTE – I wonder if I’ll get chosen to go to the shelter in the event of an incoming comet collision. Surely, the post apocalyptic world will need blogs that are only read by 3.5 readers, as well as the bloggers who blog them.

But I digress again.

Many disaster movies only tangentially touch upon the sheer panic that would ensue during a catastrophe. Here, the dark side of humanity that comes out in desperate times is put on full display, warts and all. John and Fam will have to navigate rioters, looters, crazies, weirdoes, murderers, double-crossers and so on just to get to safety.

Thus, this film gets an A from me for realism – as real as a movie like this can get, anyway. It’s a dog eat dog world even on a good day, so when the world is only given a precious few days left, all hell breaks loose and no one can be trusted. Seriously, stop trusting people. I found myself shouting this at John and Allison throughout the movie. “STOP TRUSTING PEOPLE!”

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Hello 3.5 Readers

Just a quick hello. Are there still 3.5 of you?

Movie Review – News of the World (2020)

News…of the World!

BQB here with a review.

Of all the jobs in the Old West, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) has the coolest. He is the world’s first social media platform/news aggregating service. In other words, he wanders from town to town, reading articles from newspapers to townsfolk in exchange for their donations. In these pre-Netflix days, assembling to listen to a man read from a newspaper was apparently the height of entertainment.

During his travels, Kidd comes across a busted up wagon. An African American soldier has been attacked and hanged. His charge left to fend for herself? Johanna, a young white girl in Native American garb. She had been raised by the natives who attacked and killed her family. She speaks no English and her native family is the only family she has ever known.

Kidd takes it upon himself to go on a long trek to return the girl to finish the soldier’s mission and return her to her last known relatives, though it is a harrowing journey for sure. Kidd must fight his way through a vast assortment of Old West a-holes, from a pseudo-warlord trying to carve out a slice of Reconstruction era America for himself, where he serves as a type of cruel king, to a band of vile perverts who want to kidnap Johanna and sell her into a life of forced prostitution.

The captain, old, tired, and feeling as though he wasted his life and missed out on time with his wife to fight for the Confederacy during the Civil War, would prefer to live his remaining years in solitude, doing most of his talking during his rousing news readings, only to reflect quietly when he is alone on his failed goals and lost dreams, his wish for a family of his own that never came to fruition.

He’d rather remain stuck in his rut, but he is the only one in this harsh world who cares enough to see the child gets to safety, and the skills needed to do so. His greatest adversary in all of this? Johanna herself, who is trapped between two worlds, unable to trust anyone, often running away, leaving her old caretaker with no choice but to chase after her.

Overall, the movie is Oscar bait. A history piece with some insight into the Reconstruction Era South. The Union Army weren’t fans of the Southerners they were sent to keep watch on. The Southerners felt likewise. In short, everyone was quite angry, yet against this backdrop, Kidd yearns for a sense of personal peace.

The plot is more or less just Kidd has to get the kid to safety, but has to fight a collection of a-holes to do so. Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s Mr. Nice Guy, carries the film, as Kidd is a character guided by morality. He could have pawned the kid off on any number of lawmen, church folk, etc. but knows he will be unable to live with himself until he completes the mission.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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BQB on Freebooksy

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal, BQB here.

I bought a Freebooksy promotion, which ran yesterday, and wanted to tell you all about it, seeing as how it was a good experience.

It was for Freefall, my short story about a man who goes on a skydiving trip, only to jump out of the plane and find that his parachute has been sabotaged:

In the past, I have had moderate success with Facebook ads. Sometimes they would translate to 10 or 20 free copies. At times, I have given away approximately 100. That was the highest and I thought that was something.

Yesterday, thanks to Freebooksy, I gave away a mind boggling 1,337 copies in one day!!! Ergo, I am sold on their services. When you buy a promotion, you can plan it for a specific day. They will list your book as free on their website for the day and will send it in their email to their subscribers for that day.

Makes sense, right? If you use Facebook ads, you might reach a lot of people, but out of those, maybe a handful will actually click on the link, and an even smaller amount will actually bother to get a free copy.

Meanwhile, Freebooksy subscribers are serious readers with a passion for the written word. They have signed up for these emails so they can be notified when it is time to snatch up free books. Thus, unless something changes, I foresee myself focusing on Freebooksy in the future as my go to site for advertising when one of my books is free.

Of course, we want to transition to the point where we actually get paid. Rarely happens to me, but I am still relatively new to self-publishing. Part of the problem is you have to collect the so-called “social proof” i.e. you have to rack up positive reviews. I did receive one positive review yesterday thanks to Freebooksy. I thought maybe I’d receive more but one thing I have noticed is sometimes people will get a free copy and then they’ll come back a week, or two or a month later and buy a book or leave a review or a rating. It takes time for people to read your book. They grab your book when it is free but then it might sit on their virtual shelf for awhile before they find time to read it.

I did notice a number of people on Goodreads listed it as a book they have or have read or want to read, etc.

Overall, a positive experience so far. As of this morning, the free copies have tapered off to 48 for today as of the time of this post, but that’s still a lot more in one day that I am used to.

Oh! Freefall also ended up being ranked #2 in 90 minute Literature and Short Fiction reads, #2 in Single Author Short Stories and #2 in 90 Minute Mystery, Thriller and Suspense Short Reads. It is now #131 in the Free Kindle store.

That last one? I have to assume if you can make it into the Top 100 Free, you’d get a lot of free book grabs, so if you 3.5 readers want to grab your free copy and put me over the top, I would appreciate it.

Seriously, what else were you going to do today? Cut your toenails? Wash your hair? Mow your lawn? You can take less than one minute to grab a free copy and be able to go to bed tonight secure in the knowledge that you actually achieved something awesome, i.e. you helped Bookshelf Q Battler inch his way toward the Top 100 Free on Amazon.

Thanks for listening, 3.5 readers. Oh and if you are a self-publisher and were wondering about the cost, it cost me $90 and I consider it $90 well spent. You can go to Freebooksy.com and see the prices for various genres, some of which are lower. It’s a good deal. If you want to do it for one of your books, I’d recommend going to their site to make sure the day you want isn’t already sold out, and then pick a day and set your book to be free on that day and voila, free books.

Will you have similar results? Eh, I can’t say for sure. I mean, look at that cover. It is pretty awesome. And the story is pretty great too, if I do say so myself. You still need to bring your A game to your writing and book production but I would assume you’ll still see an uptick in free copies.

Thank you, Freebooksy.

One more note – Freebooksy also offers Bargainbooksy, where if your book is priced low enough (I forget how low it has to be) then you can also buy a promotion on that. I haven’t tried that yet. I generally find it is like pulling teeth to get people to actually buy books, though I heard a rumor it does happen if you keep putting the time and effort in. Maybe I’ll try that someday. If you have tried Bargainbooksy and want to share your experience, please do so in the comments.

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GET A FREE BOOK – FOR FREE!

I’m Crazy BQB and my prices are insane! My book “Freefall” is priced to move!

ZERO percent interest! ZERO percent APR! ZERO money down! Just click the link below and GRAB YOUR FREE COPY TODAY! BAH HA HA!

Yes, my price on this book is so low that if it were a limbo stick, a rattle snake wouldn’t be able to limbo under it, that’s how incredibly low my price is! My price is so insane I’d better confirm my reservation at the funny farm! BAH HA HA!

But seriously, 3.5 readers. This is a good, short story about a man who goes skydiving only to find out his parachute has been sabotaged. He’s only left with a few minutes to figure out how to save himself and whodunnit.

So, if you could grab a FREE copy, I’d appreciate it. If you want to read it too, that’s even better and if you want to read it AND leave a review, that’s even more better, better-er? Whatever. Get a FREE COPY FOR FREE BECAUSE IT IS FREE!

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