Category: Dark Neighborhood (page 1 of 3)

Elle– a gripping, thoughtful and controversial movie

It was not what I expected from the reviews and comments I’d read. This movie is not viewed easily and takes time to digest. In fact, I know I have to watch it again because the flow was  unexpected in so many different ways.

The Director was Paul Verhoeven, whose career includes such films as Robocop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Showgirls and Starship Troopers. I thought the last one was simply awful; a terrible adaptation of Heinlein’s book so I wasn’t optimistic. Not that Showgirls was much good either. I thought Robocop was better than a lot of people critiqued it– something that we will see coming true. Basic Instinct– eh, not too thrilled.

But this was different than all of them. Very psychological. While the core of the movie is rape, I think it’s much more complex than that. It’s about people. All of them bringing their ego and narcissism to the table, yet also bringing an ability occasionally get out of themselves. Like real life. There were some scenes I didn’t buy off on, but since I’m a man, duh, I’ll refrain from commenting, although my wife agreed with me. And she’s smarter than me.

I was surprised to read that it was initially considered for filming in America. I just don’t see that. I thought it very much a French film. Isabelle Huppert was superb in a very difficult role. Definitely deserved her Oscar nomination.

What we take out of a book or show or film is tainted by what we bring to it: our perspective. One thing striking me lately is the ability of people to get out of themselves at critical times. When someone else is in crisis. The ability, or lack of it, at those times, is an insight into true character. I believe we get to know who someone really is in a crisis. This movie had many of those moments.

Lots of twists and turns in the plot. Definitely worth watching.

The key to the film was honesty. I showed people, as they really are. And that can be very disturbing.

Two paws up from Cool Gus.

Thoughts While Waiting On My Jeep Maintenance– some free audio

I’m wrapping up Valentines Day (Time Patrol),  which takes a nice zig-zag in the series, but I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. I’ll have it out next month. My web site is being completely redesigned and hope to have it live next week.

I’ve also put together a Readers Guide with all my books, in order, with some author notes, and all links. That will be out shortly. Talk about tedious. With around 70 titles or so, multiple platforms, etc. I had to do every single link by hand. I’m having someone else who is better at tedious check my work today. ‘m not good at tedious and detail work, which my wife will be glad to tell you about.

She came home from the food store yesterday and had me unpack the bags because she knew if she did it, I would have no idea what she bought, nor would I look. I’d simply starve. Well, not exactly. I do have my Soylent. Which is not a great name for a product, but it supposedly contains everything you need to live. A drink that looks pretty nasty, but doesn’t taste too bad. Drink a cup of that and eat a banana and your system will be cleansed. Full disclosure– Deb would say ignore me on the Soylent.

Anyone ever put an ipad or ipad mini in their dash? All I’ve got a GPS in the Jeep is my small iPhone which, while worth the same as my health insurance, is really hard to see.

My wife, who is smarter than I, came up with an idea for a new book. From Gus’s point of view. I kind of like the idea. Especially given the fact the cartoon on the right is true. Anything about Cool Gus gets a lot more hits on social media than I do.  Actually it would be a series of short stories that Gus would tell. More to come.

Nine-Eleven is now live on audiobook here. I’ve got around 10 free download codes for it so I’ll go with the first ten who email me for those. But you do know you can get it for free if you don’t have an Audible account just by signing up for one for free? Then if you don’t want to pay anything, just cancel the account?  It’s a thought.

Deb and I are also looking for a new, funny, TV series. We do Big Bang and Modern Family. We watch Santa Clarita Diet’s season and that was different. We’re thinking of going back and re-binging something like Frasier. But anything new? Any suggestions? 

Passengers– an intriguing scifi movie with a moral question mark at the center

First, Jennifer Lawrence was paid 20 million to star in this while Christopher Pratt got 12 million.  When I think of Jennifer Lawrence, I always go back to Winters Bone, a superb movie, which was one of her breakout roles. If you haven’t seen Winters Bone, check it out. The way she stalks those hills– superb.

Anyway. This movie was not well received from the reviews I’d read and the overall reaction. So I have to be contrarian and say I really liked it. I actually liked it better than Arrival, which was well reviewed and everyone thought was the cat’s meow, whatever the hell that means, and Cool Gus doesn’t like cat’s meowing anyway. That’s just my weird brain, which we’ve discussed.

I think the core problem with Passengers is the decision Pratt makes. When I workshop writing I talk about how redemption is the strongest character arc, but there are times when the hero isn’t redeemable. A lot of people think his decision fell into that category. I think its on the fenceline. The bottom line is, the way the story played out, he was certainly redeemed; twice.

Maybe it was just me the writer– I liked how it was obvious the writers had really looked at a lot of issues and answered them one way or another. Some people might not have liked the answers, but at least they were addressed. The climax felt a bit cliche, but it’s sort of like writing a thriller– you’ve only got so many ways to threaten everyone.

I also liked some things that weren’t done. No children at the end. That was interesting. I knew what the crew would see walking out after they woke– told my wife about halfway through what that would be, but I was wondering about kids.

One thing is that science fiction allows us to showcase moral issues in unique ways. Reality is grey. Decisions are hard.

We watched it in our new den, with the fireplace going and Cool Gus snoring at our feet so maybe that helped too. Cool Gus makes anything better.

I’ve currently got my web site being rebuilt and am excited about that. A cleaner, simpler look, where you can find books in order, links, and the key info. No bells and whistles. Just the deal.

Also, I’ve been redoing and adding a bunch of slideshares. I put all the years from the Time Patrol missions sort of together and have been linking things and cleaning them. Feel free to check out the free slideshows here.

I’ll be presenting for the Chattanooga Writers Guild on Tuesday evening if anyone is nearby and wants to stop by.

Nothing but good times ahead!

 

 

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