jafwords

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Love Will Dream Forever - 48 Hour Film Project Glasgow 2015

Yet another film competition year has passed for the 48 Hour Film Project and once again our film group managed to make another wee gem of a film. The Genre we pulled this year was Romance - a bit of a challenge we made nice we film and I am delighted to present it to you here.

Well done to all the film-makers who took part this year. The competition was tough!

Happy Watching my friends!

Jafwords.

The Martian landed and it was good...

Andy Weir did what I could only dream of at this point. He wrote a book, published bits for free, then adapted it for Kindle and then with a loyal fan base along comes a publishing house and picks it up. Then Hollywood knocks on the door and we get “THE MARTIAN” starring Matt Damon.
I have got to admit I haven’t had time to read the Martian yet, although I know a man who has and part of his description - “it’s just one of those books you could miss your train stop for as you just don’t want to put it down.”
 But it’s the film I want to talk about.

Ridley Scott, the creative mind that brought us films such as Alien, Blade Runner & Gladiator brings this novel to life on the silver screen. With such an impressive catalogue films under his belt it must be hard to make a film better than your last, but with “The Martian” I think Mr Scott has achieved something special here. I won’t say it is his best, but it is certainly up there as a great.
So what is the film about? Well the basic idea – and I have to admit I have seen this description fluttering around the good old interweb, (yes I know it’s called the internet, just a joke) - Robinson Crusoe On Mars (and yes being a scifi geek I also know about the 1964 film). Although, the very basic idea of the film maybe similar, we actually have something altogether different and entertaining. Instead of thrashing out remake after remake (which I am very critical of the Hollywood machine constantly doing), they have taken a good novel, scripted it very well in an engaging manner and produce a film that holds your attention in the most positive way.
I am sure Sheldon Cooper (The Big Band Theory) would have a field day with the fact that the main character is a botanist. However, putting the jokes aside the film could very well be seen as a great advert for the sciences. I am always looking for ways to promote science education and this film could be seen as a real advert for that. I am sure NASA will also be happy with their role in the film; and if they wanted a way to push their appeal for further space exploration then they have got just that in this film.

The acting was “out of this world” (too much of the space puns?) Matt Damon, who takes on most of the screen time really does sell the loneliness and isolation of his character. From very early on you start to route for him and feel like you are sharing his journey. You celebrate his achievements but you feel his pain with things go wrong. Then he started the message to be delivered to his parents and I could feel myself welling up. I don’t need to be a student of acting to understand what great acting is all about – if the actor brings out the correct emotional response in me then I would say it’s a job well done.
Now pour in the rest of the talented cast and we get something special. The science in the film was reasonable, I am sure by now there was been someone who is picked it all apart but ultimately, this is still scifi (Science FICTION in case you weren't sure). Hollywood is allowed to suspend reality in favour of something that looks good on film and I approve. (can a wind storm on Mars blow over and structure….mmmm…not sure about that).

So its rating time. ****, there you have it. It’s a must see film…I am not sure if it will be a DVD purchase as I think the nature of its impact is best seen on the big screen. However, you must see this one.

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Improvements to be made

I really do have to be honest with myself, I lack focus and direction when it comes to my writing.

However, the question should then be asked "is this a good or a bad thing?"

Let me tell you where I am just now. My second novel is still currently sitting with a status of "Currently Editting", which I need to admit is dreadful as its been like that for ages (I promise I will do more today). I am also now into creating my second issue of a comic which has the working title "Gates of Hell". The title works for the moment as it describes what's going on but I suspect I will change (simply becuase I don't like it). I see this comic stretching into 4 issues with around 25 pages in each. Keeping with the comic theme I created the first issue of a comic I called "Elysium Rising". I haven't  returned to this comic yet but I do intend to as I love the idea I created. The plan for this will be a simple three part but we shall see.

Keeping up?

Then novel number 3 has been started with the adventures of Captain Walsh MacKenzie and then finally I have started to jot down some ideas for a fairytale story but it not be aimed at kids.

Do you are my point about focus and attention. So what are the pros and cons?

Cons are obvious. It's taking me an age to complete one thing. Which, in turn, leads to a bit of frustration on my part. The creative journey is extended and along the way you can easily fall into the mode of self doubt -that my friends is hard to shake. Ideas can get mixed and then you can loose track of what you doing

Pros? Yeah there are many. Mack lack of planing allows me to maximise my  creativity. Oh and that mixing up of ideas I mentioned actually works for me, as it allows me to try different things with other stories; which often works. With so many projects on the go I find it helps beat that nasty writers block, and I am loving the fact that my ideas are flowing.

So really I need to meet the compromise and be realistic. My planing and timescale has to be completely abandoned in favour of promoting the inspirational side of writing. Trust me though, I  will get there and have some cool stuff for you to read.

Happy reading my friends.

Jafwords.

A Video I helped to make...For my Jambos fans, this is for you!

Writing is not my only creative outlet. For many years I have also been an amateur film maker. Around May of this year I was asked if I would help to make a video for the Foundation of Hearts and Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

Okay automatic confession, I am not a Hearts Supporter - but I was  delighted to be asked to help make this film. Most of the Camera work is me with some bits lifted (with kind permission) from STV. The film was edited by Nick Walker and he has managed to create a very emotional advert for the Jambos!

So even if your not a Hearts fan, sit back and enjoy this wee film about the club recovering from the brink of destruction.

Pixels - the Arcade Fights Back

I was born at the start of the 80s and so fortunate enough to know computer games when they were really "COMPUTER GAMES"! If you never played things like Manic Miner, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man then your childhood must have been utterly empty. Thankfully, along comes Adam Sandler, the directing power of Chris Columbus and the writing talent of Tim Herlihy and we get all our old favourite games on the silver screen. First of all let's give credit to the original idea - a short film called "Pixels" by Patick Jean. If you haven't seen this then do this film maker the favour of checking out the short and from it you will see the numerous elements that were carried over into the feature film...so well done Patrick!
But wait a minute! Pac-man is the bad guy? NO WAY!!!!

 A few days ago I went and saw Pixels and with Mr Sandler involved I knew I was going to be in for a good time. I have to admit it I do love Adam Sandler films (and yes I am of the opinion there really isn't a bad one). So you can imagine where the rest of my simple review is going to go.

So the premise of this one. Aliens encounter arcade transmissions of old games in outer space and interpret these as a hostile declaration of war. So they create giant real life versions of the games and send them to Earth to fight.
Okay so you know the story is miles out there and totally beyond belief but it's meant to be that way. So what where the positives  - well for me Adam Sandler gives his usual solid performance. Admittedly, he kind of plays the same recurring character type, but that is his strength and he is really good at it. Kevin James always teams up well with Sandler in these types of films and so we get a fairly decent turn out from him, perhaps not the best role I have seen him in and he didn't give his many laugh out loud moments but his character did have a more serious role in the film I suppose. The next positive, playing Violet van Patten, was actress Michelle Monaghan. Very little you could fault her on this. her pairing with Adam Sandler was effective and you got a good sense of chemistry between the two characters.

Negatives - funny thing is with this...that bits that irritated me were to do with a characters personality or trait which I am sure was designed to be annoying and hence a credit to the actor who played them. Peter Dinklage is by far one of my favourite actors. The man is gifted and if you are a fan of Game of Thrones you will know what I mean. His character in this film, Eddie Plant, is imaged after gaming champion Billy Mitchell (at least that is what I have heard). However, he is set up as Sandler's enemy and as such you can't help but hate him.

So what is my real opinion of this film. It was good - and its worth seeing. You will leave the cinema smiling after this one and so I give it a two thumbs up. Its not ground breaking but it doesn't set itself up to be like that at all.    
It gets my **** rating and just a fraction away from my ***** rating. I liked it and it will be a film I will purchase when it hits the DVD shelf (I do have to complete my Adam Sandler collection after all).

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

A brilliant Trainwreck of a Comedy

The summer comedy Trainwreck finally pulls into the cinema station and after watching it last night it's time to give it my completely in depth and insight review (are you laughing yet?)

So let's start off with the right tone straight away - if you want to laugh, then you must go and see this film. You pretty much know what you are getting when Judd Apatow is involved; either as director, producer or writer, he brings a solid pedigree of good comedy along with him. Mr Apatow steps behind the camera as Director/Producer and the writing credit is handed to the film's star Amy Schumer.

The film is a romantic comedy which follows Amy Shumer as 'Amy' a Men's magazine writer who looks to be pretty much on a road to self-destruction (hence the title). That is until she meets Bill Hader's character, surgeon to athletes 'Aaron Conners' after being assigned to write a story on him for the magazine. Amy then starts to face a life she is totally accustomed to or prepared for.

So that is the basics of the story. What about the actual writing? To be honest I don't know too much about Amy Schumer, we don't get to see much of her here in Scotland. However, just based on this film, it is clear she has an absolute wealth of talent. I am looking forward to seeing her write more. I am sure Judd Apatow experience has helped polish this film but it can't be denied that it has started off from an extremely strong position to begin with.

The acting in this film is top notch and Amy really has created a lead character that you will go on an emotional rollercoaster with. Bill Hader is his usual brilliant self. I could go on forever about how good he is as an actor and comedian (but  I don't want to bore you) - he is great in this film.

Amy Shumer and Bill Hader really work well as a onscreen pair and after seeing this I am pretty sure we will see them together again onscreen. You will laugh, you might cry and I am sure you will walk out that cinema hall with a smile on your face.

The directing is great, maybe not as brilliantly done as I have seen Apatow do in other films but the slight roughness around the edges I think adds to the tone of the film and I suspect Apatow's plan from the start.
 
Yes its finally time I break out one of my top recommendations and give this film the full ***** rating. So if its date night, or friends looking for a decent film or you just want to go to the cinema to feel that little bit more uplifted then this is the film for you! 

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

The Legend of Barney Thomson - Review

One of the joys of holding a cinema pass is to go to films which you normally might avoid because of the ever going price of a cinema outing. There will be lots of people who save it for the big Hollywood Blockbusters and I don't blame them. However, I would always encourage the cinema goer to give the lesser known films a chance as you might just end up surprised and end up with a more satisfying viewing experience. After all the less than satisfying flick, Fantastic 4 (couldn't resist the dig again), is proof that a big budget and the Hollywood machine isn't always a winning formula.

So where am I going with this?

Enter the talent of Mr Robert Carlyle and a film with a distinctive Scottish taste and you end up with a wee film that is pretty good and worth a night out at the cinema. This film marks the first big screen directing credit for Robert Carlyle and the man himself takes on the title role of Barney Thomson, a bit of a wet blanket of a man who ends up embroiled in the dark comedic events surrounding the life of a serial killer. It was the fact that Robert Carlyle was in this that drove me to go and see it, I think he is a absolute gem of an actor (I still regret the day I saw him in Toys r us in Govan and didn't say hello to him).

Without the massive budget behind him, Mr Carlyle creates a wonderful stylish film which will hold your attention from start to finish. However, lets not forget the supporting cast in this one. The legend that is Ray Winstone churns out another of his stellar performances as Detective Hold-all, and you will love watching this detective work on the case of serial killer. AND THEN THERE IS Emma Thomson, who has been done up to look like a typical mental Glaswegian chain-smoking, bingo playing Scottish granny. Thomson takes on the role of Barney Thomson's mother and yet again its a performance I will not forget, as she is absolutely brilliant - even the Scottish accent comes out very natural.

I love the fact that this film is set in Glasgow and again shows just what we can do with the Scottish Film Industry - the sad thing is I doubt this film will find a huge worldwide audience simply for the reason I think it won't get a lot of advertising support. If you happen to see it playing in your cinema of when it eventually hits the DVD shelf then do yourself a favour and go and see it. I promise you will enjoy it.

For all its elements, the story, the actors, the fact that Robert Carlyle did this one; I am giving it a **** rating. 

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)          

Writing thoughts for August "Outlining".


Random thoughts for August. I was looking up the old interweb thing and like to do a bit of reading and learning - all with the goal of improving my writing technique (you know so one day I will be famous haha). One of my biggest concerns has always been the notion of "outlining" your work before starting. You see my biggest secret is that I don't outline. I find the process tedious and boring. However, I wanted to know how many writers do and do not do. Basically, I have read books before about getting published etc with the advice - "Outline" and if you don't then you are not a writer. Well the news I will share is that I consider myself a writer (unpublished in the traditional sense) but still a writer - because I write and I enjoy it. 

So the notion of Outlining. Seems there are two side to this, much like the Force with both a dark side and the light side. As far as I can tell the predominate school of thought seems to fall on the side of the Outlining; the REAL writers Outline. Well to let you into my wee secret - I do not Outline my stories. I just can't do it and it does not work for me. I imagine writing as a journey where we meet some characters, get to know them and go on an adventure with them. If I was to Outline my novel, then their story would be told too quickly and I wouldn't get to go on the journey with them. When I sit down to write, its like me entering into a cinema hall and watching a movie for the first time. As I see the imagine in my head I start to write it down and then I get to be on the journey as well. I know after the first two or three chapters if the story is going to work and find an ending. 

I can admit that my method can end up with a lot of false starts, but I like it that way. I think back to my first full length novel I wrote (Star Fantasy). I started writing that using my own method - "write as you think". I eventually reached a dead end with it knowing at that stage in my life I did not have it in me to write a purely fantasy driven novel - my one true love was/is science fiction. 

Eventually, I started to write a book using the same world I had created in my mind, using the same species of characters, and the events which I churned out in those early chapters became a back story for the book that is Star Fantasy: The Voice of Darkness. However, even as I was writing that I didn't plan the ending. I did not shape the characters beforehand (I am sure the professional writer out there is rolling their eyes at me). I simply followed the "write as you think" method and in doing so I created a book which I loved. As I was writing it I could imagine myself in the cinema watching it play out before me. If I plan I think I would end up spending all my creative energy on the project and loose interest in it.  

For the foreseeable future I will continue to create works using the "write as you think" method. At this particular point in my life it works for me and allows me to enjoy the writing process. Write as you think allows me to create interesting first drafts, and although scrappy and in need to serious editing, I end up with a story that has entertained me as much as I hope it will have entertained a reader.

I think its important that writers choose the method that works best for them. Although the published manuals on writing will tell you one thing, don't do something that will ultimately get in the way of you writing your story.

Those books will not tell you how to write number 1 best seller straight away. Every story that is written, no matter what method you follow, will ultimately need a massive amount of editing to make it right. So choose a method that works for you to get that first draft written. 

Perhaps in the future, as my writing matures and I get better at it I might change - but for just now I am simply writing as I think. Which is how I have approached this blog post. Now that I have got to this sentence I am not sure if this was the original point I was going to make - I think it was. :) 

So the exclusive here today - How does John A. Ferguson approach his short stories, novels and comic scripts? ANSWER - I write as I think. 

So be well my fellow creative friends - write and be happy.

Happy reading and happy writing.

Jafwords

Not so Fantastic 4.

I do enjoy writing the odd we film review and I hope you enjoy reading them. Most of the time I am raving about a film I have seen and want to share its general "awesomeness" with you all. In fact I general hate to be overly negative...after all I am sure there are reviewers out there who would jump at the chance of shredding my work! (oh please don't).

So last night we sat down to watch the Fantastic 4. The hype surrounding this film was great and Josh Trank was really one of those directors who had caught my attention with his 2012 Film Chronicle. All the cast brought their own excellence with them and there is not one bad actor among them...I particularly enjoyed seeing Tim Blake Nelson in the role as the snivelling Dr. Allen. However, with so much acting pedigree on the roster for this one, this film simply 'Does not happen'.  So what are the plus point - Visually it has been well shot and the section where we see Dr Doom letting rip some evil in the army base is great. Full Marks for the director and visual team on this one. 

This is an origin story and we get a relationship dynamic built up between Reed Richards, Sue Storm and Victor Von Doom. This is a very loose plus point as I even felt this was somewhat rushed. 
The real problem for me was the path of the story. It has a long beginning, squashed middle and very easy quick end. Almost like it falls victim to yet another Hollywood massacre to appeal to a large audience, yet in doing so ends up just been a poor attempt at a film. It seems to me that they have made a film with the sole intention of packing people into a film screen hall just to get their money, and if it makes some money then they will give the go ahead and make a sequel. What I would like to see is some forward thinking. If you think its going to be a trilogy then write a decent trilogy, spend the time and make the script work. 


Through the muddled mess we end up seeing on the screen, I can see what Josh Trank was trying to achieve, but for me the film didn't reach his expectation or vision - so is this his fault or the fault of others. In truth I don't know. The film may carry the Marvel stamp but you need to remember this is not the Marvel Studio that brings us Avengers and all things Iron Manish - so perhaps Marvel have just got the award winning team to properly adapt comic books and other studios don't. 


Oh and don't wait to see the usual Stan Lee cameo or end sections as it just doesn't happen. 
I'd like to see the same cast attempt a sequel in the future (I think scheduled for 2017) and give Josh Trank another go at it with a little bit more creative control. 


The film wasn't terrible, it wasn't brilliant - it was average. Worth seeing, if like me, you generally like these types of films. But this time it gets a *** rating.


The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

First draft of a new comic...

I have now completed the first draft of issue 1 of a new comic. Now to get started on issue 2. What can I give away about it?  erm...well at this stage very little. However, I will give you more detail in time.

Happy reading my friends. 

Jafwords. 

July Update.

So I have been making some re-adjustments to the website - part of the reason is to accommodate my little comic strip that I have created on Bitstrip - "Secret Agents in Space". Okay the idea of this little thing is not to make millions, in fact its not really to make anything. Its free and its just a bit of stupid fun. 

The Secret Agents own page can be found by clicking HERE!

Have a look here as well. Yes you can find them here as well on the right hand side but in a specific viewer created on the Bitstrip page.

WHERE AM I IN MY OWN WE WORLD OF CREATIVITY?

I am still editing Outriders (my second novel) which I hope I can get out to publishers for a view. If it doesn't find a home in the traditional publishing houses then it will get life as another self-published work.
Then there is the comics...
I am working on two at the moment - Gates of Hell and Elysium Rising. I have already completed issue 1 of Elysium and I want to get issue 1 of Gates finished so that I have established two different comic book worlds.

Still keeping busy...
So happy reading my friends,

@jafwords

A Big Movie, at a Fraction of the Size - "Ant-Man"

Opening night called me to the IMAX - because if you are going to see a movie with Macro size stars, you need to see it on the biggest screen possible. So you know I won't go into the detail of the movie. I just want to share my thoughts on liking it or not. Or to quote Glaswegian Scottish "Are or Naw".

Ant-Man has already received both positive and negative reviews and to be honest I fail to see what is negative about this movie. For a first instalment of what is sure to be a good number of Ant-Man movie (as well as tie-ins with other Marvel giants) we are presented here with a well written origin story which and been filmed incredibly well. From the onset when we get a digitized youthful Michael Douglas, the handling of the special effects for this alone prepared me for a what was going to be a great film.

Yeah I know I am a bit biased towards Sci-Fi/fantasy/superhero but I can only tell you if I liked it...and it was a resounding "Aye" for me. I wasn't a convert to this film until I saw it though. I mean - Paul Rudd, great comedic actor, loved him in all the roles he has done and then I heard he was coming to Marvel - Great here is the person who is going to ruin the line of good films to date and I WAS WRONG. In fact, after seeing Ant-Man Paul Rudd was the perfect choice. He balanced humour, sentiment and good old fashioned believable acting to create the second incarnation of Ant-Man. There wasn't a member of the cast I could fault in this one. Michael Douglas has even joined the Marvel Universe, only making me wish he has done so sooner.

I wasn't convinced Ant-Man was a superhero worthy of a big screen moment, I just didn't think it could work, but yet again I was wrong. It worked extremely well...I only wish Ant-Man had been about sooner so he could have got his creation stamp on Ultron (but let's not go there).

It's amazing where the special effects department have come from and just what they can do now. Ant-Man is another one of these films which just highlights the incredible skill and talent that does lie in our film industry at the moment and I want to take my hats off to the ladies and gents that work, sometimes unrecognised, in the back rooms of the large studios - you folks have made this film great as well. The transition from the big to small world in Ant-Man was perfect!

 If you have loved all the previous Marvel outings in the cinema, then Ant-Man will simply leaving you wanting more and with the upcoming Captain America film - Ant-Man is sure to pop up in that.
Marvel just seems to get it right at every turn here and hats off to all the people at Marvel and Disney - they are making some cracking films and long may it continue.

I really liked this film and for once I am giving it the full ***** rating

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest I could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

To Malta and almost back again...


I've not added much to the blog recent. Apart from being insanely busy, I now also find myself at the end of my Vacation to Malta -the only complaint I have is that I am coming to the end of the trip and will soon take the flight back to Glasgow. For a small island, it has  much to see. In our week we haven't managed it all, only the highlights... But the Island has inspired me to return one day and see the bits we missed.

On a personal note, Malta was the location of my mum and dad's honeymoon and it was great to be able o be able to stand in some of the places they visited especially the Church of the Assumption of Our Lady, commonly known as the Rotunda of Mosta. This was the site of a miracle where a German Bomb crashed through the dome but did not explode. The 300 + who had gathered in the church were saved.

I also enjoyed visiting the Popeye village, the location where Robin Williams filmed his 1980 Popeye the Sailor Man film. As it turns out Robin Williams stayed around 500m down the road from where I am writing this blog entry. On the film/TV theme I've also stood on some sights where season 1 of Game of Thrones was filmed...I've included some photos here to show you what I mean.
So when l return home the plan will be simple- get out and about walking, some writing and enjoy what ever weather the good old Scottish climate will through at me.

So keep smiling my friends, be happy and excellent to each other.

Happy reading,

Jafwords

Happy Father's Day


Its nearly been 6 months since we lost our dad to cancer. Today is Father's Day in the UK and I wanted to share a photo of the man who helped me become who I am today. 

Sadly, so many of us have lost our father's far too early and I am sure like me you will find today a bit of a struggle. However, what will get me through is known that I will carry the memory and teachings of my dad with me forever - this means there will always he a part of him with me at all times. 

Since it is Father's day I do hope he has found a great spot up in heaven to participate in a little bit of fishing. 

Thanks for being the best dad to me and my brothers! 

Son of @jafwords Snr. 

Max is Back


From the outset of this review I will tell you the truth - really liked this film - but there were small bits I think I'd do differently (but that is just me!).

So Mad Max: Fury Road burst its way onto the cinema screen and George Miller presents his post-apocalyptic dream of a world 45 years after civilisation effectively broke down. So this film is a reboot, not remake (so we are still dealing with the same Max from the first 3 films).

At the end of the film my wife said she felt like her ears had been assaulted from start to finish (yeah my wife and I have some drastic differences when it comes to films - but bless her soul she still comes to the cinema with me). However, and audio assault is pretty decent way of describing it. The sound helps to immerse you into Max's rather insane world.


When I left the cinema, I felt exhausted! From the outset of the film you join Tom Hardy in a heart-pumping and exhausting ride through the desert sands of a dying world.

The action just does not stop and for this type of film it works so well.

Apart from some of the sandstorm scenes, the use of CGI is minimal. George Miller relies on some good old fashioned filming to make the cinematic adventure work. Parts are colourful, parts are bleak. There are fires and explosions and it is simply awesome.

So the negative parts for me are things which I guess couldn't be changed. Tom Hardy is a good Max Rockatansky but sorry - he just isn't Mel Gibson. For me there is only one Max and its Mel. Tom Hardy does a great job but all the time I was sitting there wishing we had an older version of Max that Mel Gibson would have been awesome at. (Can I just say at this point though - I still really like Tom Hardy as actor!)

Do see Mad Max: Road Fury. Take some chocolate in with you as you will need a sugar boost while watching it!

This film gets one of my **** rating. 


The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

More to say...

If you could just have five more minutes to talk to someone you loved who has gone - what would you say?

A little cartoon of me and my dad - Not sure if he would like that I have made him look like a Jedi Ghost! 

@jafwords

When the ideas stop flowing...

So once again I hit a stumbling roadblock on the road through creativity. So rather than write I just make up weird pictures. This is another one of them. 

Happy doing, whatever it is you are doing.
Jafwords

"Chewie...We're home"


"Chewie...We're home"

Enough said.......

Why must we wait till Christmas. I am so excited! 

Sent from Samsung Mobile

John Wick - Film review

I remember seeing the trailer for this film last year and needless to say I became excited to see how it would unfold on the big screen. The film is directed by Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, gaining them their directorial debut I believe. I think these guys worked with Keanu Reeves on stunt and fight scene co-ordination on the Matrix.  

Admittedly, I did expect there to be some kind of Matrix feel to this film, especially as the main character, John Wick, was a retired hitman out for  revenge. Instead of futuristic, unbelievable fight scenes, we are presented with a more gritty type of fight co-ordination and a lot of gun play. In fact this had me instantly thinking of a modern day western with guns going off right, left and centre. I was reminded of the film "Equilibrium" and its use of 'Gun Kata'. I just educated myself and learned that this is actually called Gun Fu, which is used in Hong Kong action films. 

The film on a whole is pretty decent and the storyline works well. I did feel the Russian characters would have benefitted from actually being Russian. Alfie Allen (yeah Theon from Game of Thrones) plays the same kind of worm character but one minute he speaks Russian and then he has a perfect English/American accent and the Swedish actor, Michael Nyqvist, doesn't quite hit the Russian accent either. Nevertheless, this didn't let things down too much.

What I was disappointed with was the violence - and not from a moralistic point of view. It actually wasn't violent enough. The film was supposed to be portraying a dark underworld where hitmen and mafia life rules supreme. Yeah there was guns and fighting, but that's about it and I was left feeling a little underwhelmed by it. For example, there is one part where William Defoe is capture and beaten. They could have really used some of Quentin Tarantino's style of movie violence to really bring true dark nature of the underworld alive. Maybe they kept it at its present level to ensure a lower certificate rating and boost its audience but I really thought they could have gone for it here to allow the film to really shine through.

The cinematography is great and when John Wick returns to the hitman world on his quest for vengence there is subtle changes in the stylisation to change the tone of the film and I thought this was great. Add to it Keanu Reeves acting and we end up with a fair decent film here and one which is worth watching. 
This film gets another one of my *** rating.

Its good and worth watching but there was elements which definitely could have been better but no doubt the directing duo will come back in the future with more hit films and I will be the first in the queue to watch them! 
Happy watching my friends,
Jafwords.

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)
  

Enter Creativity

While I could never claim to be an artist, I do find an enormous amount of satisfaction completing a bit of art work, looking at it, then being happy it looks like the person I was drawing. 

With a lack of models, I seem to be the main subject matter. I've been creating digital art now for about a year. There is a lot of cheating in the process. To start with I build the image up in layers, edit as I go along and delete-very easily-what I don't like. Can't really do that on a canvas.

Regardless, I find the process very therapeutic and helps dissolve much of the stress I feel. In this work you can see me and so I will call it "Into the face of Jafwords".

What is in you, that you can create? A book, a painting, a comic? We all have something special that we can make which can touch the hearts of people in a very special way. So I would like to set you a challenge, create something in the next few months and watch it make others smile. 

Happy creativity my friends,

Jafwords


Sent from Samsung Mobile

Short Stories

As I mentioned on the previous post I have now included some FREE short stories on my website. However, I have changed the way way you access them which should make it more accessible and easier to read.

First of all, if you are looking at the mobile version of this page and can only see the blog post then scroll to the bottom and click on "web version".

Then you will see the link to the short stories at the top right...ENJOY MY FRIENDS...

and...

Happy reading,

Jafwords.

Additions to the website

Apart from the odd film review, I have added very little to my website over the last few months.

I have been trying to figure out ways to share some of my short stories. So at the bottom of the page, past the blogs you will find one of my stories called "THE VISITOR". I am not 100% with the way it will be shown and I am still trying to figure out a better way to allow people to read the stories. However, it is a working progress.

I have also added some more of my little works or art.

Happy reading my friends.

Jafwords

Sunday Mornings

Spending the morning drinking coffee out of my Star Trek mug. This Sunday lifestyle of the geek! 

Jafwords.

Of all the souls I have encountered....

We are assembled here today to pay final respects to our honored dead. And yet it should be noted, in the midst of our sorrow, this death takes place in the shadow of new life, the sunrise of a new world; a world that our beloved comrade gave his life to protect and nourish. He did not feel this sacrifice a vain or empty one, and we will not debate his profound wisdom at these proceedings. Of my friend, I can only say this: Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most....human.
(James T. Kirk, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan).

I haven't been able to watch this scene yet - I am still a little to close to my own dad's death to deal with the emotions that it would throw up. Yet the words of Kirk I have practically memorized from that film. I even remembering crying when I first saw that film. Nicholas Meyer created a gem of a film and this scene was incredibly heartbreaking. But now...its left the realm of fantasy and film and entered once again into my heart because now we really have to say goodbye to the man who embodied Spock.

I know there was far more to Leonard Nimoy that just one single character he brought to life. He was an actor, director, singer, songwriter and poet. He was a father. But I remember him most as Spock...I am not sure if he would like that or not but as Spock - a Vulcan, torn between two worlds - he inspired me to become a Scientist. Although, I never seen the original run of Star Trek (I am not that old), I fell in love with that universe and those films. I have no idea who introduced Star Trek into my life but it has always been there for as long as I can remember. So Spock has always been there.

I can't help but feel that we have lost someone who made science fiction great and that we are left with a void that can't ever be filled.

Rest in Peace Leonard Nimoy, and although your physical presence may be lost to us, I know your influence and spirit will love long and prosper.

My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

Jafwords.

The Wedding Ringer - My Thoughts on the film.

I was wondering if I should just use my website for reviewing Science Fiction and Fantasy film. Since this website is about me and my thoughts then it would seem logical that I review the things I like, and I like comedy. 

We got to Friday night and I really wanted to go to the cinema. I hadn't given much thought to what I wanted to see. I looked through the entire offerings of films and most came across as too serious. I really wasn't interested in something serious, as it had already been a serious week through work – I was ready for some light comic relief.

The Wedding Ringer caught my eye and with Kevin Hart as the onscreen lead then it seemed I would be sure to get some laughs. The only thing that concerned me was the lack of advertising or hype surrounding the film – usually a sign that you are about to watch a dull dud of a film.
Writer and Director Jeremy Garelick seems to be a relatively newcomer to the big screen directorial chair; in fact from what I have read, this is his first full length feature in the pilot seat. So was it a hit or a miss?

Well here is the premise – Man is getting married, man relatively few to no friends but has lied to his future wife about having friends. Man needs best man and groom's men to make up his side of the wedding party – Man hire's Kevin Hart, the professional fake best man – let the hilarity begin.
Now at this juncture you're probably thinking I am going to say "Then it fell flat on its face." However, I am happy to say the film lifted my mood on the Friday. Okay the premise of the story is a bit far-fetched but not so much that it spoils the film. The buddy pairing between Kevin Hart and Josh Gad was also on a decent level. Both actors played well off each other and the typical nonsense that usually comes along with these types of film struck a chord with me and had me laughing for most of the film.

There were few things I would say the film had to do to make it better ALTHOUGH, I can see from the critics that they don't like it. My advice, I shall be buying the DVD, as its worth watching again! Go and see you. You will enjoy it.     

This film gets another one of my **** rating.


Happy watching my friends,

Jafwords.

The Jafwords rating system.


***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Big Hero 6 - a short review

Disney has had some total flops in the past. Although, most that get total panned by the critics, I end up liking.

Today's film came in the form of a take on Marvel's Big Hero 6. Okay, I have to admit I known zero about this particular comic but from the time I saw a trailer, it was added to my must watch list. The audiance is for kids aged 8 to 180 and I am one of those kids.

Was it brilliant? Well it wasn't ground breaking but it was still exceptionally good. From what I have read Disney animation developed some new software for the rendering if this film and it was done to great effect. Visually the animation is spot on and I was impressed with the entire feel if the film, although I did watch it in 3D and felt it was still a little flat...I would have though computer generation would properly capitalise on the potential of 3D but as yet I am still left unimpressed. 

The story had all I would have expected of a kids film- happiness, sadness and a moral story...the plot was a little too predictable but hey let's remember its a kids film and that makes it cool in my eyes. 

The writers have done a decent enough job here and not surprising as when you check out their last work, Big Hero 6 was not their first outing and they clearly knows what works. 

So Disney are now making films on their own from Marvel content without utilising their Marvel Studio. Well it was to be expected - why buy something and not use it. So its left me wondering what other lesser known comic will get the CGI treatment for the big screen. 

Who knows, but for just now why not head and see Big Hero 6. 

This film gets a **** rating.

Get out there and watch it!
Happy watching my friends,

Jafwords.

The Jafwords rating system.
***** (Awesome)
**** (Almost awesome but with some flaws)
*** (To be honest it could have been better)
** (Struggling to say good things)
* (Dear director give me my money back)

Normality in Death

It is now thirteen days since my dad died, and six days since we buried him. They say "Time is a Great Healer"; I know in some ways that is very true. As time progresses the loss seems that little bit less and life will slowly turn back to an adjusted normality. To be honest I am not there yet.
My mind is not filled with questions of faith; as you know from reading my blog I have faith and losing my father has in no way shattered that. I believe my dad is with God, and it was God who had a greater need for him than we do. (I am sure some will roll their eyes at that notion but others will know exactly what I mean). I am having problems with the physical aspect of death, death on a human level. Surly my scientific brain should kick in and help me adjust...but it hasn't yet.

In some ways I feel childlike. I have a nephew who, in his young age, is still processing the loss of his Papa. He can sense the sadness that surrounds us all, he knows his Papa has gone away but still can't understand why he can't just phone him. Perhaps this is normal - but in many ways I feel the same way. My dad isn't there anymore - the memory isn't enough. Now when I want to see my dad I have to look at a photograph or watch a video I had taken of him. I can't do what I want to do, which is simply sit it a room with him. We didn't have to speak, we just sat - watched TV. Even trying to put it into words is very hard to explain...this will of course lead others to say...he is still there with you. Yes I get that...but the physical loss is still horrible.

Unfortunately, with death comes business. Sorting out the affairs of a loved one is horrible, as all of as sudden you are thrusted into to deal with their personal business. It is amazing how many things we put our name to as we progress through this world. Passport, driving license, car ownership, mobile phone contracts...the list just goes on and on. However, the worst bit is for the one left to deal with these accounts when you are gone. Not that my dad left anything in a mess...nothing could be further from the truth...both my mum and dad were well prepared people and they sorted out their private business in an excellent way. It is simply the matter of closing or transferring the name of the accounts solely to my mother. Every company I have dealt with so far have been great and understanding - and the policies they have in place for loss and bereavement have been top notch. However, its understanding what they are doing that hurts - They are taking the name "John Ferguson" and pressing the delete button. That seems to be how easy it is to delete the record of my dad's existence. Everything I did yesterday felt like I was eliminating him more and more from this earth.

I know my dad was more than that - but the action still hurts. Perhaps time will be the great healer...it won't be the same but I pray that it will get easier.

I decided to do something today to honour my dad - of course I doubt he will find this funny never the less I did it anyway. My dad just loved to watch sport - even when he was alone I could hear him voicing his concerns to the TV over the style of play of what he watched. With the Australian open coming up I know my dad would have his heart set on watching Andy Murray take another Grand Slam. I guess my dad will have an even better seat in the house to watch the game now and I can imagine him shouting "Come on Andy"...just as he did upstairs when sitting alone watching the game.

So dad...just to let you know...I have put a 'fiver' on Any to win! Can you do us a favour and as the big man to give him a little bit inspiration - or better yet - you give him the inspiration! Cause I know you can.

Sorry about the rant today folks...decided to let my mind wonder and my fingers type.
My love you to you all and happy reading.


Jafwords          

For my Daddy...

I should probably have used this blog entry to write something positive about 2015 but sadly, at this time for me and my family, I need to write something else. You see 2014 was a year that ended in a really hard way for us.

Back in August of 2013 my Dad was diagnosed with a rare form of Bile-duct Cancer - I am afraid I can't actually remember the real name. Originally we had been told that the tumour was on one side of his liver and an operation was to be conducted, which would save his life. Spent that summer preparing for that day he was going to get the operation knowing that the next 6 months would be hard during his recovery.

We came to the end of August/Early September and my dad was asked to go back into for some minor keyhole surgery as the surgeon wanted to have another look. The warning bells had been ringing then but had been ignored until the results of the scope came back and then our lives were changed forever.

I phoned my mum to ask her how it went...She was silent, only giving minor snippets of information...but in the background I heard my dad shout out in his usual laid-back jokey way "Tell John Anthony he won't need to buy a new car." I was told his cancer was terminal and his life expectancy would be a year.

He started to receive chemotherapy as a way to try and extend his life and although the first round had no effect, the second at least showed signs that it halted the progression of the main tumour. My dad was a deeply spiritual man and after a successful career as a Fireman/Officer he had been ordained  as a Permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church. (My wife and I would have been the first couple in the Paisley Diocese to have been married by a father, and probably only the second in Scotland). My dad's faith, along with the prayers of all those around him helped to sustain his life well beyond the year estimate that had been given to him. We were truly blessed and fortunate to have been given one more Christmas with him.

Then last night, Hogmanay as we call it in Scotland, New Year's eve - at 8pm my dad finally let go and gave himself over to be taken by God - my Mum and Dad's faith has brushed off on me.

His last day was spent in relative peace. In fact when I think about it; his life ended in the most appropriate way anyone could hope for. Although, family had gathered in the house we had remained downstairs as my mum had suddenly taken unwell. This prompted her to just go into the room with my dad and sleep. At the end both him and my mother were together in the most calm and peaceful way imaginable. I had come upstairs to check on him and peered my head through the door. I could see my dad's chest was no longer moving and I knew it had happened. I woke my mum and told her that it had finally happened and my dad was now at peace and pain free.

Last night I lost the most important man in my life, someone who taught me all of life's important lessons. I could not have asked to have had a better father and I hope than one day I can even just do a fifth of what he had done. He has saved lives, he protected his children, he loved his grandchildren, he was a minster to a wide faith group, he was a kind and thoughtful friend to so many, he could fix about anything (or at least give it a go), he loved climbing up ladders (always a fireman), he loved his garden and he was a loving husband to my mum...and there was an odd sense of humour there as well. (Sending my mother out on Christmas eve to buy 8  torches for his wife, children and their wives as he saw them on a TV ad and just thought they were really handy to have...we were even told to gather around his bed as if he was about to read out his will to us when he gave us the present - that makes me laugh so much). He never complained much, unless it had to do with Celtic losing, or if he thought the price of alcohol and soft drinks was too high! He was simply a true gentleman...

There is that saying about what the world has lost...but you know what? My Dad didn't live in the whole world...he lived and worked in a parish community in Coatbridge and I know that area of our town has been in mourning since they heard what they have lost. He was my daddy and a daddy to my two older brothers and although his physical body is no longer with us - I know his spirit remains as a watchful guardian over us all.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace. 
Amen

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Normally, I would sign off my blog as jafwords but today I will sign off with my full name, the name my mother gave me so that one of his children would be named after him. The name of my website will always be my personal shrine to him. 

To you all I wish you the very best of peace and happiness in the year 2015.

John Anthony Ferguson.