Thursday, October 29, 2009

Edward James Olmos speaks about Battlestar Galactica THE PLAN

Being a huge fan of Battlestar Galactica, I have ordered the US DVD release of The Plan which went on sale this week to much anticipation.

Movieweb have a feature interview with Edward James Olmos who plays Admiral William Adama -

Written by series writer Jane Espenson, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan begins before the attack on the 12 colonies and will show events mainly from the perspective of two Cylon agents. The narrative largely follows multiple versions of the Cylon models One (Dean Stockwell) and Six (Tricia Helfer), who have infiltrated the remaining humans, both on the planets, and those who have escaped into space. From there, the events of the television series are shown from a Cylon perspective, and their underlying plan is revealed in a way that will change your outlook on the new Battlestar Galactica series forever. Also starring Michael Trucco, Aaron Douglas, Dean Stockwell, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, Rick Worthy, Matthew Bennett, Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Hogan and Rekha Sharma and directed by Edward James Olmos, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan blasts off on DVD and Blu-ray on October 27th.

Read More Here

Reviews are appearing all over; such is the popularity of Battlestar Galactica, and because of the frenzied anticipation, the word on the street though positive, is tempered due to the brilliance what came before THE PLAN -


There’s plenty of eye candy in The Plan, too: The space shots, nuke attacks and havoc wreaked on the colonies’ 12 planets are on par with the rest of Galactica’s gritty CGI look. There are also a few bits of gratuitous nudity, both male and female, that will doubtless be cut from this unrated DVD version when the movie airs on Syfy.

What The Plan doesn’t have is much in the way of heavy revelations. It also lacks a strong, standalone narrative. Perhaps most disappointing, the characters who made the series so compelling — Olmos’ steely fleet commander William Adama, Katee Sackhoff’s unpredictable fighter pilot Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, Michael Hogan’s irascible
Saul Tigh — barely appear in The Plan. When they do, it’s usually in recycled scenes that will have fans of the series flashing back to the show’s glory days.

Galactica completists will eat up the tiny insights into the Cylon POV: the knowing smiles of skinjobs as mushroom clouds bloom over Caprica, the way
Leoben (aka Cylon Number Two, played by Callum Keith Rennie) obsesses over Starbuck.

But there’s not much that would make sense to viewers who haven’t already seen Galactica. It’s hard to imagine, for instance, what a BSG virgin would make of the Beat-poet babble spewing from the mouth of the
hybrid in the bathtub aboard the Cylon basestar.

If you haven’t seen all four seasons, explore the
complete series and file The Plan for future viewing. If you’re a Battlestar Galactica fanatic, don’t place too much hope in this mediocre coda. Watch it like you would the deleted scenes on a DVD, and don’t let it scrap your memories of one of the most ambitious sci-fi shows of all time.

At New Jersey Entertainment

Fans of "Battlestar Galactica," like fans of most great science fiction (and, let's be honest, lots of mediocre to bad science fiction) tend to be a ravenous bunch — always eager for more from their favorite show.

So even though the series came to a very definitive conclusion back in March, and even though a prequel series called "Caprica" will debut on Syfy early next year, the "BSG" fandom is understandably psyched for today's DVD release of the new movie "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan." But the finished product, which mixes original scenes with archival footage, at times feels as if it meets the bare minimum requirements to qualify as new material.

Because the series finale (which many fans are still not happy with) closed off most avenues for a sequel, and because the series had such a tight story line, there isn't really room to tell a new story about these characters. Instead, writer Jane Espenson and director Edward James Olmos have to content themselves with filling in a lot of blanks — specifically, with showing the events from the series' first few seasons from the point of view of the Cylons instead of the humans.

So instead of Olmos' Admiral Adama as our central character, "The Plan" (which will presumably air on Syfy sometime next year) is built around Dean Stockwell as malevolent Cylon leader John Cavil, who we learned late in the series had engineered the genocide of humanity as an act of rebellion against his human-loving creators. We see Cavil and most of the other Cylon models (Lucy Lawless doesn't appear as D'Anna Biers) preparing for the destruction of all of humankind, then desperately scrambling once they realize they failed to kill everybody.

I truly admire Edward James Olmos for promoting the importance of "humanity" being united, as well as his work with underprivileged youngsters. It was good of the UN in conjunction with the SyFy Channel to welcome Olmos and many of the cast and workers from Battlestar Galactica to ehe United Nations on Humanitarian Issues committee.

So if you haven’t explored Battlestar Galactica – it’s time to behold one of the greatest TV series every filmed – and available on DVD.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dennis Lehane’s sHutTEr iSlAnD

As the excitement mounts for the film version of Dennis Lehane’s sHutTEr iSlAnD a new trailer has been released, and a big follower of Lehane’s work here’s some interesting videos relating to Lehane and Shutter Island.

I was fortunate to interview Lehane on one of his rare trips to London, and found him a most modest and insightful writer.

Enjoy -
ShUtTeR iSLaNd Trailer # 3

ShUtTeR iSLaNd Trailer # 2

ShUtTeR iSLaNd Trailer # 1

Emily Mortimer interview about Shutter Island

Dennis Lehane on The Late Show

Dennis Lehane interview

Dennis Lehane and Tess Gerritsen with Selina Walker in London

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Dr Lehane please arise

Lehane Reads from The Given Day

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lehane opens up on sHuTteR iSLaNd

I consider Shutter Island one of the greatest gothic thrillers written in the last ten years, and was somewhat dismayed to read that the film release has been delayed until 2010. Dennis is a busy guy, working on a sequel to Gone, Baby, Gone [the original novel was filmed to much acclaim by Ben Affleck]. Now he’s on the road talking about the PB release of The Given Day as well as the Akashic Books collection Boston Noir that he edited.

I was delighted to read this comprehensive two part interview with Dennis Lehane from Peter Keough of The Boston Phoenix, from which these interesting nuggets are revealed –

PK: I think a big reason Boston is becoming such a setting for this type of movie is clearly your success in film. What do you think is cinematic about your books? You look at them and they're very dense in terms of characters' psychology and the writing is very fine, it doesn't seem the kind of thing that would translate immediately into movies.

DL: You know, I totally agree with you. I've written one original plot in my life and that was "Shutter Island" and even that is wearing it-the homage is on its sleeve-I'm not a real strong, I'm not an original plot guy. You know, "Mystic River" is the plot of an old 1930s RKO movie, so I don't know what started it, what originally brought people to work. I know now, and I flavor them up, and so I produce a laundry list and everybody's like, "Ooh that could be a good movie, could get an Academy Award out of that." I think the success of my movies is very clear on what it is and it is to me. There were no extra cooks in the kitchen and in each case I had sort of auteur theory in play and you had Clint Eastwood, Brian Helgeland, that's "Mystic River," that's it, end of story. "Gone Baby Gone" was Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard, end of story, the Weinstein brothers left them alone and Martin Scorsese comes in and he's a 500 pound gorilla and he says "This is what I want to do," so none of my films have a lot of fingerprints on them.

PK: What's the story with "Shutter Island?" It's been
postponed until February; is that something we should worry about? I was disappointed to hear that it wasn't coming out in November.

DL: No, you shouldn't worry about it, I can say this without ego because I had zero to do with the production of that film, I mean I'm an executive producer, yeah, you know, but I had zero-my fingers are not anywhere near that outside of the book and so I can say having seen the film that it's brilliant. I think the story that they put in the press is mostly true which is that they didn't have the money, the market and in a year in which very solid films, like "Public Enemies" and "State of Play" clearly under-performed, I think everybody's scared. So they said, they want to go back, they decided let's have a really good marketing plan before we pull the trigger on this.

Read more here Part 1 and Part 2 of Dennis Lehane being interviewed by Peter Keough of The Boston Phoenix

Photo Dennis Lehane, Selina Walker and Tess Gerritsen in London taken from Rap Sheet Report Part 1 and Part 2 © 2009 Ali Karim

Monday, October 26, 2009


Many of you may realise that I have become totally obsessed by the Battlestar Galactica series. During The World Mystery and Crime Thriller Convention Bouchercon held in Indianapolis – my dear friend Jon Jordan and I swopped DVD’s and Books. I brought over the latest British releases of Ashes to Ashes, Spooks series 7, Spooks Code Red and others, while Jon and Ruth kindly brought the US Ultimate Boxed set of Battlestar Galactica for me. The US set is far superior to the UK set, as it contains features such as the Web-Episodes which were missing from British set. Jon Jordan is also as big BSG fan, and he sported a ‘FRAK ME!’ badge. Even David Morrell remarked on the badge when he met Jon and I, as he too is a big BSG fan. Jon was telling me about when he met Edward James Olmos [Adm. William Adama] at a recent comic convention in the US. Well in peculiar twist of fate, I bumped into British Actor Jamie Bamber who play’s Adama’s surviving son at last week’s CWA Specsavers Dagger Awards in Grosvenor House in London.

I had a great chat with Bamber [pictured on the right with me in fan-boy mode], and we were equally confused why BSG is not as huge in the UK as it is in America. Bamber told me that he felt hugely privileged to be part of BSG as he considers it one of the best acting gigs he’s had. “Working on Battlestar Galactica will take some beating” he said, and he’s right because I feel it is one of the greatest TV series I have ever watched. Each episode is like listening to the dials of a ‘safe’ click open, as the elements of story, acting, visuals combined with the theological / moral / quasi-religious themes make it completely hypnotic.

Now the countdown for ‘The Plan’ is ticking, which is due for release tomorrow reports The Philadelphia Daily News -

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: THE PLAN. Blu-ray, DVD and digital download, starting tomorrow.

"LET'S GET this genocide started."

As rallying cries go, it's no "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
But then "Battlestar Galactica's" Cylon model "No. 1," John Cavil (Dean Stockwell), isn't exactly Ronald Reagan.

For die-hard "BSG" fans, though, the line from "Battlestar Galactica: The Plan" is bound to come across with its full measure of dark comedy. And die-hard fans are the only logical targets for "The Plan," which goes on sale tomorrow on Blu-ray, DVD and through digital downloads.

Written by "BSG" executive producer Jane Espenson and directed by Edward James Olmos, who reprises his starring role as "Galactica's" Adm. William Adama, the 90-minute feature revisits the futuristic series about humanity's struggle against its own creations, the Cylons, from the Cylons' point of view.

Which means that Stockwell's Machiavellian Cavil gets more face time than he probably ever has before, a development that may not sit so well with fans of the more sympathetic - and gorgeous - Cylon No. 6 (Tricia Helfer), who's featured far more prominently on the DVD jacket.

When Olmos told fans at San Diego Comic-Con this summer that "The Plan" would make them want to watch the whole series over again, I'd honestly thought he was just plugging the series DVD.

He's right, though. Because in slicing off the Cylons' version of events, the movie necessarily telescopes large portions of the series, which ran for four seasons on what used to be called the Sci Fi Channel. If you lost track of that action at any point, you're bound to be wandering in the wilderness for long stretches of "The Plan."

Read more about the 2010 spin-off series Caprica

Battlestar Galactica is the best Frakking TV series I’ve ever seen “So Say We All”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Indianapolis Bound

As a devotee of Crime / Thriller Fiction, I always enjoy my annual US trip to Bouchercon and/or Thrillerfest. It takes a lot of planning as I have a very busy life [as well as a lot of understanding from my wife and kids]. My family all know how much I enjoy spending time with my US friends and colleagues who share my fascination with books set against the thriller / crime fiction backdrop. I have a lot of fun talking about books with my friends and colleagues as this photo indicates - of Ken Bruen and I being escorted from the Casino High Roller area [in The Stratosphere Tower] as my impersonation of a Middle-Eastern Prince failed to get me into a $10,000 table. The problem was that Ken Bruen and I had been taking a “pub crawl” along the Las Vegas strip earlier that afternoon…..Probably just as well as I could have ill afforded losing $10,000 in Blackjack.

That was my first Bouchercon [in 2003] when I went with Shots webmaster ‘Grog’ to Las Vegas. Both ‘Grog’ and I turned 40 that year so we combined the Bouchercon experience with a tour of America’s South West, and California. That was a special time so I took a lot of photographs that help remind me of the time that now resides only in my memory.

I recall spending time [with this years Bouchercon Guest of Honour] Mike Connelly who attended the event, and who used the time to research ‘The Narrows’ – a novel that set Harry Bosch against ‘The Poet’ in a deadly game of cat and mouse on the outskirts of Las Vegas.

I see that the city of Indianapolis is gearing itself for close to 2,000 fans of Crime, Mystery & Thriller genre descending for Bouchercon 40.

Mike Connelly is featured in the Indy Star today –

Is this your first Bouchercon, or have you attended before?

I haven't been to one in at least four or five years. I do think the event's an important tool for writers in the genre. In the beginning of my career, and throughout the '90s, I attended a lot of them. It's a great place to network and meet all kinds of writers, because ordinarily we're spread out doing our own thing. It's not like you see a lot of other writers unless you go to conventions like this.

What will you be doing there this year?

I'll be doing a bunch of stuff. So many writers attend that it's almost all panels. Being guest of honor, you get to have the spotlight for yourself for an hour -- that'll be on Friday. Not being much of a speechmaker, I elected to have myself questioned by another writer for an hour. I'll also be participating on a panel on (Edgar Allan) Poe.

"9 Dragons" is your 14th book in the Harry Bosch series. How is it different from previous Bosch books?

For one, it's a fish-out-of-water story. About a third of it takes place in Hong Kong, where Bosch has to go to find his missing daughter. And as far as his daughter is concerned, it's really a story about Bosch's vulnerability. Harry Bosch is a guy who believes he has skill in rooting out evil, and intentionally bills himself as being invulnerable. But maybe five books ago, he found out he had a daughter he didn't know he had. This is the book where he realizes he could get gotten to.

Read More Here and Here

Meanwhile the Indy Star also features a short piece from Jim Huang, co-chair of Bouchercon 2009. Included in the feature are comments from Terence Faherty, a tremendous PI writer who was on a panel - ‘Social Commentary in Crime Fiction” which I managed to moderated back in Las Vegas in 2003 despite intense sleep deprivation as this photo indicates [Faherty is on my left], flanked by Martin Edwards.

Read more here

Last years Bouchercon in Baltimore was a very special time, amazingly organised by Ruth Jordan and Judy Bobalik. These links explain why Bouchercon 39 in Baltimore was so wonderfully special – The Photos are at The Rap Sheet, and my report is here - Part I, Part II and Part III

I am now packed, and ready to depart for Indianapolis on Wednesday, when the fun starts. I am usually like a vacuum when I leave Bouchercon, as I get very little sleep, and feel melancholic saying goodbye to my friends and colleagues [until next year]. However this year I have the CWA Dagger Awards in London to occupy my sleep-deprived mind on my return.

I will have plenty of photos and stories of my adventures from Indianapolis when I get back – So have fun while The Existentialist Man is at Bouchercon

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's all Larsson & Brown on Super Thursday

When it comes to Crime Thrillers – it seems that Stieg Larsson and Dan Brown are the big guns on Super Thursday reports The Guardian

A deluge of 800 new hardbacks hit bookshops last Thursday but it was a translated crime novel by the late Swedish journalist Stieg Larsson which saw off celebrity autobiographies from the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Kay and Chris Evans to jostle its way to the top of the book charts.

Larsson's The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest soared into second position in the UK's book charts last week, selling 34,152 copies in just three days, according to book sales monitor Nielsen BookScan. It came in behind Dan Brown's thriller The Lost Symbol, which remained in the number one spot for the third week in a row with sales of 79,008 copies. Larsson's novel, the third in his bestselling Millennium crime trilogy, follows the adventures of computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. It was one of the 800 hardbacks published last Thursday – 10 times the daily average, which has led to the day being christened Super Thursday by the book trade.

Waterstone's, which changed window displays in its stores across the country overnight on Wednesday, replacing older titles with new books from the likes of Kay, Jeremy Clarkson and Audrey Niffenegger, described the Larsson novel as its "runaway success".

"I saw somebody buy four copies and I heard from one store where somebody bought 10," said spokesperson Jon Howells. "Our Piccadilly store opened an hour early, at 8am, for Stieg Larsson – we're not talking Harry Potter or Dan Brown numbers but there was a definite steady flow of people wanting to get a copy or two."

Read More

Monday, October 5, 2009

Battlestar Fantastica

I have been incredibly busy with work and catching up on my thriller and crime fiction reading / reviewing, my own writing, as well as preparing for my trip to Bouchercon Indianapolis next week. Hence my blogging has become somewhat sporadic and erratic.

Due to my high work load; I rarely watch TV preferring to read in the evenings. The only TV series that have caught my eye and forced me to track down the DVD box-sets have been Spooks [US Title MI5], ‘The Wire’ and previously Millennium. Both those series still haunt me and I regularly watch them when I can. I have never got into the excitement of ‘Lost’, ‘Prison Break’, ‘24’ or many of the recent ‘Star Trek’ incarnations – though when I was younger [and had more time], I was very keen about the original 1960’s ‘Star Trek’ and ‘The Man from Uncle’. Now I stumbled rather late into a TV series that has really rocked my world; a series that dominates my mind and provokes deep thought.

Earlier this year, I went to see Bruce Springsteen at Hyde Park [London] with Stav Sherez and Nick Stone. While we caught up on what’s new in our lives; Stav mentioned how much he was enjoying “Battlestar Galactica”, which made me roar laughing. I was never a fan of the 1978 series, and as I don’t really watch TV, I was unaware of the 2004 series which re-worked the original premise. Stav and I are both fanatical about the work of Philip K Dick and explained that if I liked Dick’s look at reality, I’d love ‘Battlestar Galactica’.

Stav told me that I must watch Ronald D Moore’s re-imagined ‘Battlestar Galactica’, and was truly evangelical about it. But as usual, life and work got in the way; that is until last week when I read amazing reviews in the British press to coincide with the release of the complete DVD Boxset of ‘Battlestar Galactica’. Remembering Stav’s excitement and despite the cost, I ordered the sucker. Within the box-set, were the 3-hour Miniseries, seasons I – IV, ‘Razor’ a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ film as well as many extras.

I have since been watching the entire series [in sequence] and have been devastated by its sheer brilliance. Everything about the series is exceptional, and for my money it is the best TV series I have ever watched. It could be the best TV series of all time.

The premise is sheer poetry, the characters as vivid as real-life, the filming like a combat news-reel, extraordinary special effects, but most of all it resides in your brain as it works through the moral dilemmas that cloak our reality. All day it haunts me until I can get back and watch it late into the evenings. It is the stuff of exhilarating madness.

I would urge you to watch this wonderful series, because it is exceptional and beyond ‘entertainment’.

Following the miniseries, were two episodes that can be viewed online –

‘33’ - This is episode one from series 1

Link: Battlestar Galactica - 33

‘Water’ - This is the second episode from series 1

Link: Battlestar Galactica - Water

All that is left is The Plan – a feature length film due out on DVD later this month and which will be on cable in November.

There is a spin-off series ‘Caprica’ which has recently piloted in the US and available on a US import DVD with the series coming to screen in 2010.

I really don’t want to say anymore, because you really must watch it for yourself, because ‘Battlestar Galactica’ is the best TV you are likely to see – “So Say We All”