I have scratched together a living, in one way or another, as a writer for more than 50 years now. I was a free-lance writer during the early stages of the Vietnam War. I was the Southwest Division Overnight News Editor for United Press International back when UPI was a legitimate news gathering organization. Following that, I went to the Dallas Morning News where I became the first person to write about rock 'n' roll on a daily basis for a Texas metropolitan newspaper. I later became the News' entertainment editor. Following some stints with a couple of prominent PR firms, I had the extraordinary good fortune to team with two communications legends, Ken Fairchild and Lisa LeMaster, as part of one kick-ass media consulting/crisis communications team. That was followed by short stays with the City of Dallas, as its public information officer; the Dallas Northeast Chamber of Commerce where I had the good fortune to meet and work alongside some of this city's business and political titans; and editorial director for QuestCorp Media until that company went out of business. Now officially retired, concentrating on this blog.
Black Rock **½ Katie Aselton, Lake Bell, Kate Bosworth. Directed by Katie Aselton. Childhood pals Sarah, Abby and Lou’s reunion on a remote island off the coast of Maine turns into a nightmare when they realize a sinister neighbor doesn’t appreciate their presence. Ultimately, it’s hard to shake the sense that Aselton’s picture is a character study bending itself, painfully and unnaturally, into the shape of a nightmare-in-the-boonies horror flick. Is this the only way films about female friendship can get greenlighted these days — by drenching themselves in genre tropes?
G.I. Joe Retaliation *½ Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson. Directed by Jon M. Chu. The elite G.I. Joe assault team is framed for treason by the global mercenary Zartan. Forced into hiding, the surviving warriors form a desperate plan to defeat Zartan’s combined forces. Although this is merely a movie based on Hasbro toys, the action — the real point of all this — feels just as lifeless.
Rushlights * Beau Bridges, Haley Webb, Josh Henderson, Aidan Quinn. Directed by Antoni Stutz. Two delinquent teenage lovers from the suburbs of Los Angeles travel to a small southern town to falsely claim a dead friend’s inheritance. A by-the-numbers thriller that wouldn’t even have made for a particularly good hour-long episode of a weekly crime procedural, never mind an honest-to-God feature-length movie.