Russ’ Top Ten Movies of 2010

Hey Gang. A little later than usual this year, but at last I’ve compiled my Top 10 Movies List of 2010. As always, please note that this list is a combination of the movies I simply enjoyed the most, and would want to watch again, fused with those that I thought were technically superior. 

 

With that, here’s my list:

 

 

10. Inception: For a movie that has multiple mind- and time-bending layers, the narrative is surprisingly easy to follow. Crazy special effects fused with a journey through mind and spirit, Inception requires multiple viewings to follow all the threads and symbols. Some of the scenes dragged on too long, but it’s a crazy, fascinating ride.

9. Cyrus: A quiet and understated movie in which John. C. Riley and Jonah Hill (who really acts in this one) square off for the affections of Marisa Tomei (Riley’s new girlfriend; Hill’s mother). On the surface it’s pretty simple, but the nuanced performances make this a compelling watch that drew me in from start to finish.

8. Black Swan: Natalie Portman’s Golden Globe was well deserved. This psychosexual thriller takes you through the fragile mind of Portman’s ballerina, who unravels as the pressure of leading Swan Lake comes to a head. Dark, trippy and intense.

7. Kick Ass: For pure adrenalized fun, this is my favorite movie of the year. Geeks trying to be superheroes with an actual story, wicked fight scenes and a breakout star in Hit Girl. Not for everyone, but if you like the genre, this one’s a keeper.

6. The Social Network: Slightly overrated, it’s still an awesome window into the evolution of Facebook and the players that pulled it all together. How much is fact and how much is fiction, I suppose we’ll never really know, but Jesse Eisenberg carries the movie, with a script that unfolds more like a legal thriller than an historical document — in an era that is still defining itself.

5. Ghost Writer: This mystery thriller from sick pup Roman Polanski starts out being one movie — Ewan McGregor is hired to “ghost write” the memoirs of Pierce Brosnan’s questionable former British Prime Minister — and as it unravels, very much becomes another. Stick with it until the very last frame. You won’t be disappointed.

4. The Kids are All Right: A family dramedy for our strange modern times about a middle-aged lesbian couple, whose teenaged kids track down the donor father they never met and disrupts their lives. The performances are pitch perfect about a family that is anything but. Hilarious and poignant, this movie resonates on multiple levels. A winner.


3. How to Train Your Dragon: One of the best animated movies ever. Thrilling and fun, Dragon is a rip-roaring adventure that had me laughing, cheering and calling out for more. A classic.

2. True Grit: The Coen Brothers did it again. They have mastered the art of juxtaposing silent tension with abrupt violence, with just enough pauses in between to let you breathe. There’s nothing complicated about this tale of revenge, but it was amazing to watch the determination of 14 year old girl win over a craggy old gunslinger to bring justice to those who deserve it.

 

1. The King’s Speech: Colin Firth gives an amazing performance as a quiet man thrust into the radio spotlight — while forced to overcome a tormenting stammer — all as the specter of World War II hovers. The characters don’t know just how devastating Hitler will one day become, but as the audience, we do, and that tension puts this otherwise character driven tale over the top.

 

Just missed:

 

The Town – Another good effort from Ben Afleck, who has now proved that he’s a total pro behind the camera. An action packed hiest movie with great performances. Could have easily cracked my top ten. And on a second viewing, it just might.

Green Zone: Matt Damon delivers again with this political action thriller that brings the intensity of the Bourne movies to the international chaos of the Middle East. Heart pounding battles in a dark desert maze that’s continually tied in knots.

The Fighter – Christian Bale gives a great performance, although overall I found this to be Rocky without the theme music. A quality movie for sure, but not as rousing as I had hoped.

Worst of the Year:

 

The Expendables – I truly wanted to like this movie. 80s action stars blowing stuff up real good. What’s not to like? And yet …

I’ve heard all the talk that it’s supposed to be a wink-wink to those cheesy classics we loved with Arnold and Sly and Bruce Willis, but this is just a loud, horribly acted, horribly written dud. One of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time.

The Love, Sex and Lust of Finders Keepers

Hey Gang-

Here’s my newest guest blog for Wattpad, discussing the love,  sex and lust of Finders Keepers.

Have fun!

http://blog.wattpad.com/post/2844016844

 

Russ’ Wattpad Guest Blog: The WHAM-O! Effect

Hey Gang-

Over the next few months I’ll be doing some guest blogs for Wattpad, an online site that helps authors get their work promoted through an e-reader format.

Wattpad has quite a global reach, with 5 million new visitors a month.

Here’s the first of my guest blogs for them, this one discussing the WHAM-O! Effect and its role with Finders Keepers.

Have fun!

http://blog.wattpad.com/post/2715466745

Russ’s Newsletter Vol. 4, Issue 11: Publishers Weekly Digs Finders Keepers!

Hi Gang-

Wow. What a year it’s been. Two incredible kids, a new book and more adventures to come.

And as this is my final newsletter of the year, I wanted to share some especially good news that’s unfolded recently. Finders Keepers has been getting some excellent reviews. In particular, I’d like to point out these three:

“Finders Keepers is a rollicking novel. … This book should be read and promoted.” –Science Fiction & Fantasy Association of New Zealand

“Hilarious. … Touching. … Thrilling. … If ‘On the Road’ had sex with ‘Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ it would be [Finders Keepers]!” –Amazon.com
 
“Unique and funny [with] … style and panache. … [Finders Keepers is] a strong debut from a very imaginative writer.” — Publishers Weekly
 
What makes the Publishers Weekly review so important is the publication’s role in the book industry. For those of you who don’t know, Publishers Weekly is read by agents, publishers, distributors, reviewers and … bookstore owners — i.e., people who buy books in bulk to carry in their stores.
 
And there’s more! Publishers Weekly liked Finders Keepers so much that they’ve asked to interview me about my book for a special Q&A next week!
 
So … getting a thumbs up from Publishers Weekly is getting the book industry Bible’s stamp of approval. And that’s worth something, with the potential to open a lot of doors.
 
* Speaking of Finders Keepers … with the year coming to a close, the 3 Finger Prints special holiday sale will only last another week, so for those of you who want to get this ‘rollocking’ adventure at the best price in town — and I know that you do — jump on the Finders Keepers sale while you still can!

http://www.richkoslowski.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=233
 
* And for this very special shout out, I want to thank my wife Liz, who makes all the wonderful elements of my life possible. She’s kind and supportive, beautiful, has a great sense of humor and is a terrific mother to my bundles of joy Nate and Abby (and my best dog Simon, who’s still on the mend from his busted leg). And beyond all else … Liz is my girl. I can’t think of a greater gift.
Okay, folks. That’s all she wrote for this edition. I’ll be back in 2011 with all new updates about Finders Keepers, Crossline (yep, still working on that bad boy) and a few new tricks up my sleeve.

Happy New Year!
Russ


Russ Colchamiro
Author of Finders Keepers, published by 3 Finger Prints
www.russcolchamiro.com
www.richkoslowski.com
@findkeepnovel (Twitter)
Follow me on Facebook
 
To buy Finders Keepers:
http://www.richkoslowski.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=233
 
To buy the Finders Keepers e-book:
http://bit.ly/fshMh7
 
To see my video interview at the NY Comic-Con:   
http://bit.ly/bfA7oL
 
To read the Finders Keepers prologue, free:
http://bit.ly/9w5moZ

Publishers Weekly Hails ‘Finders Keepers’

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY HAILS ‘FINDERS KEEPERS’
 
Calls Sci-Fi Backpacking Romp ‘Unique and Funny … with ‘Style and Panache’

        –Adventurous Buddy Story from Author Russ Colchamiro   
                  Captures Spirit of Vonnegut, Adams, Pratchett–
 
SANTA CRUZ, C.A., January 12, 2011 – There’s a new galactic buddy story in town—and its name is Finders Keepers.
 
Available to booksellers through publisher 3 Finger Prints, the hilarious debut novel from author Russ Colchamiro is getting rave reviews:
 
“Unique and funny [with] … style and panache. … [Finders Keepers is] a strong debut from a very imaginative writer.” — Publishers Weekly

“A rollicking novel.” — Science Fiction & Fantasy Association of New Zealand

“Funny and adventurous … A great reminder to live life to the fullest!” — Rob Magnotti, Comedian, Late Show with David Letterman

“Fantasia in print!” — Thomas O’Callaghan, international best-selling author of Bone Thief and The Screaming Room
 
For fans of hilarious science fiction and fantasy classics such as Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, plus TV shows and movies such as Time Bandits, Quantum Leap, The Big Bang Theory and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Finders Keepers is a character-driven adventure that mixes chapter-to-chapter cliffhangers with humor, pathos and time-bending, galaxy-twisting pratfalls.
 
Caught in that netherworld between college and a career, novice traveler Jason Medley and adventuresome Theo Barnes stumble through hash bars and hangovers; religious zealots and stalkers; food poisoning and thunderstorms; saucy girls; overnight trains—and the specter of adult responsibility!
 
But when a jar of the Universe’s DNA accidentally falls from Eternity, these new friends find their loyalties put to the test—unaware that a motley crew from another realm is chasing them across the globe, with the fate of the Milky Way hanging in the balance.
 
You can also look for an exclusive Publishers Weekly article about Russ Colchamiro and Finders Keepers, by interviewer Casi Graddy-Gamel, to appear later this month on the Publishers Weekly web site.
 
To carry Finders Keepers, visit 3 Finger Prints at www.richkoslowski.com, or email the3geeks@aol.com.
 
Finders Keepers is the first in a planned three-book series.
 
Length: 301 pages.
 
ISBN: 978-0-9794801-4-0
 
NOTE TO EDITORS: REVIEW COPIES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
 
About 3 Finger Prints
3 Finger Prints is owned and operated by award-winning comic book artist and writer Rich Koslowski. His impressive collection of work includes the ongoing series, The 3 Geeks; award-winning docu-style Three Fingers; Elvis-themed The King; Santa Clause-meets-Die Hard romp, The List; and the newest project he illustrated, the blues themed BB Wolf and 3 L.P.’s, a re-imagining of the classic tale. Rich is also a regular contributor to Archie Comics, and is a licensed artist for Family Guy and The Simpsons. Please visit RichKoslowski.com for a complete listing of 3 Finger Prints titles.
 
About Russ Colchamiro
With the launch of his debut novel, Finders Keepers, Russ Colchamiro is now at work on his second novel, Crossline, and has plans to write at least two more novels in the Finders Keepers series. A former journalist, Russ co-wrote the supernatural comic-book miniseries, Timespell, and has had short fiction published in Moose Bound Press Anthology, Illya’s Honey and Fast Food Blues. He lives in Queens, N.Y., with his wife, Liz, twin babies Nate and Abby, and their gregarious dog, Simon. Russ encourages you to email him at russ@russcolchamiro.com.

 
Media Contacts:
 
Amanda Marsh
3 Finger Prints
(631) 647-0834
Amanda@buzzmaestro.com

Rich Koslowski
3 Finger Prints
the3geeks@aol.com
                              

Russ’s Newlsetter: Special Holiday Edition — Finders Keepers + Milo on Sale!!!!!!!

Hi Gang-

With December underway, Finders Keepers publisher Rich Koslowski and I have kicked off a festive holiday sale for you that I think you’re really going to enjoy — for both you and the kiddies!

So ….. with some ho-ho-ho and a plate full of latkes, here goes:
For the month of December, you can get your signed, personalized copy of Finders Keepers for just $10! That’s right, just ten bucks.

And there’s more!

For an additional $5 each you can get a copy of Milo’s Friends in the Dark and Milo’s Trip to the Museum with Grandpa, two terrific children’s books illustrated by Rich Koslowski himself.

In fact, my baby girl Abby absolutely LOVES the Milo books, so much so that every time I read them to her — and show her the pictures — she laughs and smiles and we have a grand ole time.
 
And as always, there’s free shipping in the U.S. on all books ordered through Rich Koslowski.

If you want to learn more about these great holiday deals for you and the kiddies, here’s a link from Rich talking more about the sale and how you can order your books for the holidays: http://www.richkoslowski.com/blog/

We hope you enjoy the goodies …
 
Happy shopping.
Russ

Russ Colchamiro
Author of Finders Keepers, published by 3 Finger Prints
www.russcolchamiro.com
www.richkoslowski.com
@findkeepnovel (Twitter)
Follow me on Facebook
 
To see my video interview at the NY Comic-Con:   
http://bit.ly/bfA7oL
 
To read the Finders Keepers prologue, free:
http://bit.ly/9w5moZ
 
To buy Finders Keepers:
http://www.richkoslowski.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=233
 
To buy the Finders Keepers e-book:
http://bit.ly/fshMh7

Russ’s Newsletter: Vol. 4, Issue 10: Finders Keepers Goes e-book! + Holiday Contest!

Hi Gang-
 
Last week Liz and I celebrated our very first Thanksgiving with Nate and Abby in tow, and it was a smashing success. Nate had his eyes on my pecan pie and Abby looked pretty interested in cranberry sauce, but in the end they settled for Thanksgiving formula (that’s regular baby formula served on Thanksgiving).
 
Now … in the spirit of the holiday season, here’s the latest on Finders Keepers:
 
* First off … Finders Keepers is now an e-book! That’s right. I’ve gone techno, baby! For all you Kindle-type readers, Finders Keepers is now available for download through the gang at DriveThru Comics … no matter what e-reader you use. And because there’s no printing or shipping charges, it’s only $4.99!
 
Whether you have a Kindle, iPad or any other device that reads e-books, Finders Keepers is just a click away! That’s right. We serve ’em all! To order your e-book version of Finders Keepers, click here: http://bit.ly/fshMh7
 
* Speaking of the holidays … what better time to get a FREE, SIGNED copy of Finders Keepers? That’s right. It’s contest time! For the month of December only, you have the chance for a free, personalized copy of Finders Keepers, plus other goodies. To join the fun, click here: http://bit.ly/f1JqWj
 
* And for this week’s shout out, I did a guest blog exchange with fellow sci-fi writer and all around nice guy Mark Oetjens. On my site, he wrote about his Star Wars addiction (http://bit.ly/hr276s) and I wrote on his site about how Finders Keepers ties into H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine and an episode of The Big Bang Theory (http://wp.me/pw8Qe-2h).
 
As for my best dog Simon, he’s healing quite nicely. We had his leg scanned a few weeks ago and the surgeon said he’s looking great. Will probably be another few more weeks still until he’s back to full Simon mode, but his tail-wagging mojo is back in force, he’s eating up a storm and he’s just dying to get out there and chase some squirrels. We’re hoping that by the New Year Simon will be 100 percent.
 
That’s all she wrote for this time around. I’ll be back before year’s end with some final holiday wishes and what’s in store for 2011.
 
Thanks!
Russ
www.russcolchamiro.com
@findkeepnovel (on Twitter)
Follow me on Facebook
 
To see my video interview at the NY Comic-Con:   
http://bit.ly/bfA7oL
 
To read the Finders Keepers prologue, free:
http://bit.ly/9w5moZ
 
To buy Finders Keepers:
http://www.richkoslowski.com/Details.cfm?ProdID=233
 
To buy the Finders Keepers e-book:
http://bit.ly/fshMh7
 

Contest: Win a Free, Signed Copy of Finders Keepers

Hey Guys-
  
So you’ve read the Finders Keepers prologue, seen the great reviews and devoured all the goodies on my Web site, and now you know you want a copy, but for some reason, you haven’t picked yours up yet — or you’re dying for a copy inscribed just for you.

Well, I can help. What you have to do is:
  
1- Friend the Finders Keepers Facebook page (http://on.fb.me/hfEejF) or follow me on Twitter @FindKeepNovel;
 
2- Post a note on your Facebook wall or on Twitter about Finders Keepers with a link to the purchase page (http://bit.ly/9HzqQT), and
 
3- Send me an email at russ@russcolchamiro.com and let me know that you posted the link. In your email, please tell me that you would like a FREE, SIGNED copy of FINDERS KEEPERS made out to you.

One winner will be chosen at random on the weekend following December 31 (and
winners’ names will be posted on my Website, on the Finders Keepers Facebook page and in my monthly newsletter).

 

Again: the winner will receive a FREE, SIGNED copy of Finders Keepers personalized to you.

 

And ….. there’s more than one way to win! Anyone who participates gets an automatic $2 OFF COUPON for your purchase of a signed copy of Finders Keepers …. but only if you buy it from me directly.
 
To do so, email rcolchamiro@gmail.com saying, “I’d like to buy Finders Keepers with a $2 coupon” and I’ll send you a PayPal note where you can pay direct.
 
Can’t wait to see who the winner is.
  
Good luck!
 
Russ

Russ’s Guest Blog – The “Rules” of Modern-World Sci-Fi

I wrote the following guest blog, which appeared on the web site of fellow sci-fi writer Cathryn Isakson …

http://novelexpectations.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-rules-of-modern-world-sci-fi-a-guest-blog-by-russ-colchamiro/

The ‘rules’ of modern-world sci-fi: A guest blog by Russ Colchamiro

Russ Colchamiro's Finders Keepers

The cover for Russ’s book, Finders Keepers

Today I have a guest blog by US science fiction author, Russ Colchamiro. Russ’s first novel is titled Finders Keepers. Here Russ explains how he blended the elements of this hybrid genre story: science fiction, humour, mystery and ‘cosmic lunacy’.

The ‘Rules’ of Modern-World Sci-Fi
by Russ Colchamiro

Mixing science fiction/fantasy elements with the modern world is a dance indeed. It was for me.

My first novel, Finders Keepers, is loosely based on backpacking trips I took through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA.

You know … a quiet family drama!

My goal was to write a multi-layered novel that felt epic in scale, yet was simultaneously intimate, while remaining fun and funny throughout. But not long into the writing process, I realized that I had a big issue to reconcile:

How do I combine the ‘cosmic lunacy’, as I like to call it, with the everyday world that you and I know, and invite the reader to accept that this total environment is plausible?

One key element pulled the threads together.

During the early days of my first draft, I belonged to a writer’s group, as many of us do. I received all manner of feedback, but one comment stuck with me from a writer named Brad:

You need to establish the ‘rules’.

At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what Brad meant. To be honest, deep in my gut I suspected he was right. But I wasn’t yet in a confident enough place to acknowledge and accept this confrontation with a key, structural misstep in my storytelling.

During those earlier drafts, I started the action by introducing the hero of Finders Keepers — Jason Medley, a 24-year-old waiter from the NY suburbs — seeing him in the day-to-day of his humdrum life. My reasoning, as far as I was concerned, was quite sound: introduce Jason at his lowest point so that we get to see him during all the phases of his journey — from bummer to reluctant participant to hero.

Now, I really did want to establish the sci-fi tone right away — you gotta give the readers some idea of what you’re up to early on — so I started Finders Keepers with a two-paragraph prologue that hinted at the science fiction theme. This way it wouldn’t be a shock when it finally appeared.

But I saved the more complex ‘cosmic lunacy’/sci-fi elements until a bit later, as a big ‘twist’. Even though I don’t write mystery novels, per se, I like to include mystery elements. Reveal, pull back and conceal, reveal some more. My intention was to get the reader to say, ‘Whoa! Cool!’ when the sci-fi parts really kicked in.

Seemed pretty good to me. It made sense. Only, it didn’t quite work.

Finders Keepers is loosely based on backpacking trips through Europe and New Zealand, set against a quest for a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA.

The problem was that, by the time I unveiled the ‘cosmic’ portion of the story, the readers weren’t really sure what kind of book they were reading. I simply out-thought myself.

What I finally came to embrace was that it’s easier to start big — FATE OF THE UNIVERSE IS AT STAKE! — and then go small — lonely waiter dude whimpers about having no girlfriend — then to go the other way.

After many drafts, I finally gave in and established the ‘rules’ of the world I created with the very first sentence. And in the Finders Keepers world, there’s a jar that contains the Universe’s DNA, lost on modern-day Earth somewhere, and unless it’s recovered in time, the Milky Way Galaxy might go bye-bye.

Once I made this structural alteration, the narrative fell into place.

In the published version of Finders Keepers, the entire 1,457-word prologue is now ‘cosmic’. And then throughout the novel, I slip back and forth between the two major settings:

  • The down-and-dirty details of Jason and his New Zealand buddy Theo Barnes backpacking through Europe — train schedules, hangovers, achy backs, languages they don’t understand, food they can’t identify, girls they want to sleep with.
  • A host of cosmic characters that are in charge of building the Universe’s infrastructure, and are after the DNA jar. Which, of course, Jason and Theo are somehow mixed up with.

The lesson I ultimately learned was this: as long as I show the readers what they’re in for — up front, right away — they pretty much all say, ‘Okay, this is the world I’m in. Universe jar. Check. Let’s roll’.

From the very first sentence, there’s simply no doubt that Finders Keepers is meant to be a fun, sci-fi romp that brings a smile to your face. Establishing the ‘rules’ brought it all together.

Bio
Russ Colchamiro is the author of the humorous science fiction novel Finders Keepers, published by 3 Finger Prints (www.richkoslowski.com). He is now finishing his second novel, Crossline. He lives in Queens, NY, with his wife Liz, his twin babies Nate and Abby, and their gregarious dog Simon.

You can follow Russ on Facebook and on Twitter (@findkeepnovel).

Click here to visit Russ’s website.

To read the Finders Keepers prologue, establishing the ‘rules,’ click here.

And to watch a video interview of Russ at the 2010 NY Comic-Con, where he launched Finders Keepers, click here.

Russ’s Newsletter: Vol. 4, Issue 9 – Finders Keepers Goes International!

Hey Gang-
 
As the holiday season gets underway — with a gobble gobble here and some presents presents there — there’s just loads to report about Finders Keepers, so, as my hero Jackie Gleason used to say, and awaaaay we go …
 
* Finders Keepers launched at the NY Comic-Con just last month and the buzz keeps on building. In just the last week or so I’ve even gotten a half dozen orders from overseas buyers. That’s right. Finders Keepers has gone International baby! Copies have gone out to Canada, England and New Zealand, and who knows what’s next?
 
We’re still working out a few kinks in the system, but for anybody from across the pond who wants a copy, email me direct and we’ll make sure we get one in your hands. Signed by yours truly! Gotta love PayPal.
 
And for all you homegrown (or even imported) Americans, you can order your signed, personalized copy by visiting www.russcolchamiro.com and clicking the “Buy Finders Keepers” tab.
 
* Next up on the Finders Keepers tour is PhilCon. It’s a funky little science fiction convention outside of Philadelphia, Saturday, Nov. 20. So if anybody is in the Cherry Hill, NJ, area this weekend, come on by! I’ll be there with fellow writer (and Finders Keepers endorser James Chambers) meeting new fans and signing copies.
 
* And what’s up with the electronic version of Finders Keepers? Well … I have an official e-book contract! Woo Hoo! If all goes well, Finders Keepers should be available as an e-book before the cranberry sauce even hits the turkey table. Talk about some sweet pumpkin pie! Stay tuned. Coming any day now …
 
* Of course, for anybody who wants a sneak peak at Finders Keepers, the prologue is available — FREE! — by clicking here: http://bit.ly/9w5moZ
 
* And to see my video interview at the NY Comic-Con, click here: http://bit.ly/bfA7oL
 
* And for this edition’s shout out, fellow sci-fi writer Cathryn Isakson generously asked me to do a guest sci-fi blog on her site. That’s right! To read about how I mixed sci-fi elements in Finders Keepers with the modern day world, click here: http://novelexpectations.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/the-rules-of-modern-world-sci-fi-a-guest-blog-by-russ-colchamiro/.
 
Okay. That’s all she wrote for this edition. But I’ll be back soon with updates, including the status of the Finders Keepers e-book, plus another guest blog I did and Finders Keepers contests that will be coming your way soon.
 
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
 
Russ
www.russcolchamiro.com
@findkeepnovel (Twitter)
Find me on Facebook

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