Thursday, February 28, 2019

Irre(x2) Table of Contents, February 2019

No, you didn't miss something.  I put this table of contents together after realizing that the drop-down menus on Blogger cut-off after 100 posts.  I did a similar table of contents for December of 2018 already, and it looks as though I'll have to do one for March of 2019, too.  I'll be limiting my monthly posts from now on.

Here are the posts from February, 2019, categorized for your further convenience.

Movie Irreviews (Irrewind)

Music Playlists

Irreverent Irrelevancies

Creative Writing

Book Irreviews

Irrespectives

Television Irreviews

Miscellaneous

Movie Irreviews

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

On Quiet: An Irrespective



***

I can't turn my brain off.  It's sitting there, boiling like a kettle that whistles too loudly, waiting for someone to rush into the kitchen and turn the flames off.  But nobody is around.  So it's going to whistle until all the water is steam.  And then it's going to burn the house to the ground.

At least there's a Cœur de pirate concert tonight.

There will be wine.

On défie l'ennui du monde, nos grès
Le soleil s'éteint sur nos destins
On court à l'essaie, à perdre au pire
J'ai cru que tu m'aimerais pour un temps

Mais laisse-moi tomber, laisse-nous tomber
Laisse la nuit trembler en moi
Laisse-moi tomber, laisse nous tomber
Cette fois

Et oublie moi
Parcours ces flots, efface mes pas
Car c'est le temps
C'est le temps qui nous guidera

J'ai vu tes peurs
Se cacher près de notre passé
Et laisse-moi seule
Laisse-moi loin de tes côtés

De nuit on vit, sous cette lune on danse
C'est à ces moments qu'on sent nos vies
La verve qu'on avait reste dans les fonds
D'un fleuve qu'on n'atteindra plus jamais

Et laisse-moi tomber, laisse-nous tomber
Laisse la nuit trembler en moi
Laisse-moi tomber, laisse-nous tomber
Cette fois

Et oublie-moi…

Monday, February 25, 2019

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Saw

Originally reviewed on Facebook, February 6, 2014

***

I will admit that I have never seen a SAW movie until tonight. I get it, and I get why it's a successful franchise, but it's a film with a weak script and even weaker acting. Like, seriously... worst. acting. ever. Should I watch SAW II?

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I have yet to see another film in this franchise.  I'm thinking Saw is enough.  But then there was this Jigsaw movie and marketing got me all curious and shit.

Should I?

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Cockneys vs Zombies

Originally reviewed on Facebook, February 3, 2014

***

Kinda funny. Kinda stupid. But in a good way.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

There's really not much more you can say about a movie called Cockneys vs Zombies.  I will say that the mash-up claim this poster makes (Shaun of the Dead and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) is bullshit.  Sure, Cockneys vs Zombies is funny.  But it's no satire.  And it has an actor or two from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and maybe one them is also playing a gangster in this movie.

That has to be a paid endorsement.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Warrior (2011)

Originally reviewed on Facebook, February 1, 2014

***

Wow. I have no idea why I waited so long to watch this... fucking Nick Nolte... just, wow.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Seriously, Warrior rates up there with Rocky as far as dramatic movies about combat sports go.  This thing was wonderful.  And that Nick Nolte scene I'm referring to... I haven't seen this movie since this viewing and that scene still rocks me.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Death Watch

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 31, 2014

***

A little long, a little slow, and maybe a little forced... but the fact that this was made in 1980 makes it intriguing to watch. Not the best film, not the worst. Certainly interesting.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Well... when this popped up to repost, I had to watch the "trailer" on IMDb to see if could remember any of it.  Honestly, I can't... not with any confidence.  Death Watch (original title: La mort en direct) is simply not in my memory.

Guess that means I'll have to watch it again.

The 91st Academy Awards: Review


***

The Academy Awards has proven their critics right.  They're dying.  Nobody cares.  What should be the Super Bowl of film awards is now just another exhibition game.  The Oscars are for the elite.  Not - as this new batch of Oscar voters wants to make them - for the egalitarian.

Granted, one ceremony is not a trend.  So, I'll keep my optimistic fingers crossed and see what happens in 2020 and 2021.

***

Anyway, let's score my picks!  Remember, if a film that I haven't seen won the category, it doesn't count against me.  It doesn't count for me, either... but it doesn't count against me.

Without further ado...

BEST PICTURE, Green Book.  I picked The Favourite.  But, I haven't seen Green Book.  Score: 0/0.

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE, Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk.  I picked Rachel Weisz for The Favourite, but I also wrote that "I love Regina King (seriously... love), but I haven't seen If Beale Street Could Talk."  Score: 0/0.

COSTUME DESIGN, Ruth Carter, Black Panther.  I picked The Favourite.  Score: 0/1.

DIRECTING, Alfonso Cuarón, Roma.  I wanted The Favourite to win, but I wrote that "Alfonso Cuarón is coddled by Hollywood, so don't be surprised if he wins" and "probably Cuarón for Roma," so I get credit for this one.  Score: 1/2.

FILM EDITING, John Ottman, Bohemian Rhapsody.  I picked Barry Alexander Brown, BlacKkKlansman, but I'm not surprised Ottman took the trophy.  Score: 1/3.

PRODUCTION DESIGN, Hannah Beachler, Black Panther.  I am appalled by this.  Score: 1/4.

SOUND EDITING, John Warhurst and Nina Hartstone, Bohemian Rhapsody.  I am also appalled by this.  Not because Bohemian Rhapsody didn't sound great, but because A Quiet Place was all about its sound.  Fucking bullshit, this one.  Score: 1/5.

SOUND MIXING, Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, John Casali, Bohemian Rhapsody.  Picked it.  I still think the Academy should combine the two categories.  Score: 2/6.

VISUAL EFFECTS: Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles and J.D. Schwalm, First Man.  I picked the Avengers movie, but I haven't seen First Man, so... Score: 2/6.

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY): Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, Green Book.  Haven't seen it.  Score: 2/6.

Final score: 2/6.  That's my worst pick performance in years.  Maybe even ever.

***

Highlights of the ceremony for me were... well... the In Memoriam segment seemed an improvement this year, but that's not saying much.  And Olivia Colman's win and acceptance speech was fantastic and fantastically charming.

Sadly, never have the Academy Awards seemed less relevant.

We'll see what happens.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Shopping

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 31, 2014

***

I remember the "controversy" when this came out and have wanted to see it ever since. After seeing a few Paul W.S. Anderson movies, however, I decided against seeing any more, so I put SHOPPING aside. I wish I'd have left it there. Seriously, Paul W.S. Anderson must be the nicest guy on the planet, because there's no other possible friggin' reason this guy keeps getting work.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Paul W.S. Anderson.  I don't think it's a stretch to claim that Shopping is the best film he's made.  That's probably all I need to say, but... Shopping definitely lives up to the advice you hear around the indie film world: If you're going to make crap, make sure you piss someone off with it.

I still don't get why this was controversial.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Unfinished Sky

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 28, 2014

***

A depressing love story set among the fucked up world of human trafficking. Nothing too profound, but a solid, solid movie.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Yeah... Unfinished Sky stuck with me.  Highly recommended.  One of the better serious Aussie drama/love stories I can recall.  Probably rate this one just behind Japanese Story.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Crawlspace

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 28, 2014

***

The best parts of this unabashedly rip off ALIENS. The other parts are so amazingly awesome, it kept me stubbornly engaged for 43 minutes (out of 86) before I gave up and one-starred it on Netflix.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

That's sarcasm up there.  Crawlspace sucks.  I so very much wanted to like it, but...

1/10.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): The Bounty

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 27, 2014

***

A superb cast (seriously, it's like a who's-who of who's famous now) and one of history's most famous nautical tales makes for a pretty good film. Not quite as epic as MASTER AND COMMANDER, but definitely worth seeing.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I remember going down a rabbit hole on the Internet after having watched The Bounty, learning about the descendants of Fletcher Christian, the Pitcairn Islanders.

Fascinating stuff.

Anyway, I love movies like The Bounty.  Even better when I learn a bunch of stuff I didn't know.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): The Conjuring

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 27, 2014

***

Excellent atmosphere. Other than a by-the-numbers ending, this thing's pretty damned good.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Not counting Aquaman (which is making a shitload of money), James Wan is a pretty solid director.  I hadn't expected to like The Conjuring, but I did.

And I just face-palmed why Patrick Wilson is in Aquaman.  Not that I mind.  Patrick Wilson should be in everything.

Speaking of Wan, though... I admit to liking Dead Silence and never having seen Insidious.  But, I also like Saw and Death Sentence.  The man knows his genre.  Which is not Aquaman.  Never saw Furious 7, so I can't comment on that particular franchise.  Actually, I haven't seen any of those car movies beyond the first one.

I'm rambling.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Gallowwalkers

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 27, 2014

***

If bad movies were a crime, Mr. Snipes would be thrown back in jail. I made it 30 minutes. Can you make 31?

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Man... what I can remember of this, I don't really want to.

That's a lie... I can't remember shit about Gallowwalkers.

Maybe.  I dunno.

Didn't finish it, though, so that means it's a...

1/10.

Television Irreview (Irrewind): Rin ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 25, 2014

***

Peculiarly Japanese... if you can get past the more sadistic aspects of the story, there's a pretty intriguing mythology being created and told. And a weird one. Extremely weird. But kinda cool. And weird.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Rin ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~ was a friggin' trip.  It inspired a story of mine... I think it was "Wine and Poison," but I can't remember and the date I started writing it doesn't match up with the review date here.

Whatever.

Might be time to watch this one again.  See what flits around this whack brain of mine.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Gravity

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 23, 2014

***

Like AVATAR, it's not the greatest story ever told. Also like AVATAR, seeing this in 3D is friggin' mind-blowing.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I remember seeing Gravity with a cinematographer friend... she was pretty depressed as we were walking out of the ArcLight.  She said to me, "I'm never going to be able to shoot a movie like that."  I think I told her to drop the attitude.

As far as the movie itself, my only major gripe with Gravity is the selective use of physics.  Look, I'm not hard-core "reality is drama!" like I used to be, but when the violation of science is so, so, so ridiculously obvious, you need to rewrite the scene.

Beyond that, it's pretty damned good.

7/10.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The 91st Academy Awards: Preview

Well...

I still haven't seen Green Book or A Star Is Born, but I guess I'll play the prediction game.  If a movie I haven't seen takes it, I'm not going to count it in my overall score.  And if I've seen less than half of the nominations in a category, I won't even make a prediction.

***


***

BEST PICTURE


This field sucks.  Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are fun movies, but neither one deserves a Best Picture Nomination.  Vice is just terrible.  And, really, Roma ain't very good.  For me, BlacKkKlansman and The Favourite are as close as this year comes to worthy nominations.  I want The Favourite to win, but it should go to one of these two.

Pick: The Favourite

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE


I love Regina King (seriously... love), but I haven't seen If Beale Street Could Talk.  I have, however, seen the other four performances in this category and with the exception of Amy Adams (who was still very good), any one of the remaining actresses deserved to win.  Marina de Tavira (Roma) was the only highlight of that film for me, while Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were friggin' fantastic in The Favourite.

Pick: Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

COSTUME DESIGN


Hollywood loves a period piece, which is why four of the five nominees are period pieces.  I haven't seen Mary Queen of Scots or Mary Poppins Returns, but if The Favourite lives up to its pre-awards hype, don't be surprised if that one takes it.

Pick: Sandy Powell, The Favourite

DIRECTING


Ho... this is a hard one.  I see all of the nominees but Cold War, so... definitely not Adam McKay for Vice, because that movie sucks and feels lazy.  Maaaaaybe Spike Lee has a shot for BlacKkKlansman, but he gets too direct, too on the nose, and too preachy... I don't see Academy voters responding well to that (then again, they've purposefully changed the demographic of Academy voters, so I have no idea... let me rephrase: traditionally, Academy voters wouldn't respond well to that).  Alfonso Cuarón is coddled by Hollywood, so don't be surprised if he wins, but my favorite is, well...

Pick: Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite (but probably Cuarón for Roma)

FILM EDITING


Hmm... you know, Bohemian Rhapsody was well-edited.  Then again, so was BlacKkKlansman.  Then again, so was Vice.  But, since Vice sucks as a movie, it shouldn't win.  And The Favourite wasn't all that well-edited, so...

Fuck it.

Pick: Barry Alexander Brown, BlacKkKlansman

PRODUCTION DESIGN


Whew... I almost don't want to make a call here, because I didn't see First Man or Mary Poppins Returns, and just from the previews you can tell the production design is on point.  Roma wasn't anything special to me, and Black Panther was par for the course when it comes to Marvel movies, so...

Pick: Fiona Crombie, The Favourite

SOUND EDITING


Seriously, if anything other than A Quiet Place wins, Hollywood needs to quit.

Pick: Ethan Van der Ryn and Erick Aadahl

SOUND MIXING


A bit like the Production Design category... didn't see First Man or A Star Is Born, and those are genres known for their sound mixes.  I'm going to have to go with the dark horse, here...

Pick: Paul Massey, Tim Cavagin, John Casali, Bohemian Rhapsody

VISUAL EFFECTS


This should be easy, but I have a feeling the Academy is going to throw Spielberg a bone.

That stated...

Pick: Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, Dan Sudick, Avengers: Infinity War (but probably going to Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, David Shirk, Ready Player One)

WRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY)


I sorta feel stupid for not having screened all of the writing nomations in both writing categories, but, ah... let's go with...

Pick: Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, The Favourite

***

Categories I'm not predicting:
  • Actor in a Leading Role
  • Actress in a Leading Role (but I hope it's Olivia Colman!)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Animated Feature Film (just don't let it be Incredibles 2!)
  • Cinematography
  • Documentary (Feature)
  • Documentary (Short Subject)
  • Foreign Language Film
  • Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Music (Original Score)
  • Music (Original Song)
  • Short Film (Animated)
  • Short Film (Live Action)
  • Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

***

I'll make more of an effort next year, I promise.

Now... let's see how this host-less awards ceremony goes, shall we?

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Movie Irreview: Roma


***

I'll be the first to admit that I don't get Roma.  I don't care what it's about.  I don't get why everyone thinks it's so fucking good.  Because it's not that fucking good.  It's barely good at all.  It's fucking boring.  There must have been a sale on LSD during the critics screenings or something.  Maybe heroin came with the popcorn.  I dunno.

I made it 1:27:59.  I wanted to quit an hour ago.  Probably more than an hour ago.  But this slog of mierda is up for BEST PICTURE... so I tried.  I really tried.

Bleh.

1/10.

Movie Irreview: The Favourite


***

In a weak Oscars field for 2018, The Favourite is (so far) the stand-out.  This is a very, very good movie with an excellent script and balls-out amazing performances by pretty much everyone.  There are some strange choices in cinematography that tend to prevent you from fully immersing yourself in the movie, but once you learn to tolerate them, you can let the movie's power affect you as intended.

Olivia Colman remains my not-so-secret crush (dating from her days on Peep Show), and I'm pretty sure I fell back in love with Rachel Weisz and fell in love (for the first time) with Emma Stone.  I can't claim to be intimate with the true story it's based on, but these women seem built for their roles.  Not too sure about that ending, but whatever.

Anyway, lovely movie.  It wouldn't have a chance in Hell at the Oscars in any other year I can think of, but for film year 2018, this should have a pretty good shot.

8/10.

Movie Irreview: Vice


***

As good as The Big Short is, Vice is as bad.

What a boring, aimless, slog of a pretentious movie.  Like, really?  Bad script, bad editing, just... the fuck, dude?

This is the kind of Hollywood proselytizing that the American public hates.  At least BlacKkKlansman is the kind of Hollywood proselytizing that the American public just finds a little annoying.

What a fucktard of a film.

Extra point for Christian Bale and Amy Adams.

2/10.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Stage Fright (1980)

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 18, 2014

***

Titled NIGHTMARES on Netflix... Ozploitation at its worst. Skip this one.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Originally called Nightmares, Stage Fright is just... lots of Aussie stuff.  Over-the-top slasher.  I dunno.  I mostly have impressions.  Not good ones.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Soldier Blue

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 18, 2014

***

Act 1 is slow and annoying. Act 2 is a typical Western, with some political subtext just for fun. Act 3 is brutally violent. I doubt many actually think this is a good film, but its ending is pretty unsettling.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I have a feeling I should've rewatched Soldier Blue during my run of older Westerns prior to writing "Empress."  I may have to revisit this one, regardless.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Humanoids from the Deep

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 17, 2014

***

Are all of Roger Corman's productions about monsters raping women? Needless to say, this is horrible. Had to finish watching, though...

***

Upon Further Irreview:

At some point in the last year, I'd forgotten that I'd seen Humanoids from the Deep, so I watched it again.  It was a weird sensation... like... HAVE I FUCKING SEEN THIS ALREADY???  And then it dawned on me.  Yeah, I have.  Be prepared to see another review for this in the future.

3/10.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Lone Survivor

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 16, 2014

***

Factually inaccurate due to heavy dramatization? Oh, yes. But it's an awesome movie. Even as it relies on established war film tropes, the film's aesthetic manages to make it feel new and refreshing within the genre. Quite possibly Hollywood's best war film since SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

That's a bold statement I made up there.  But, truth be told, I'm trying to think of a war film post-Saving Private Ryan that I like better than Lone Survivor.  There probably is one (or more).  I'll need to give it more thought, though.

An aside... I've yet to see Mile 22 (which I hear is terrible), but how good as the Peter Berg/Mark Wahlberg connection been so far?  Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day... all tried and true Hollywood films.  I'm looking forward to Wonderland.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Lords of Dogtown

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 14, 2014

***

Ultimately saccharine, it's way too glib to be as punk-rock as it wants to be and way too sloppy to be properly sentimental. Not crap, but caught somewhere between mediocre and average.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Even though I'm a terrible skater, there's a little bit of skater in me.  I devour shit like this.  But Lords of Dogtown requires a lot of chewing.  I do recall Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch being extremely good in this.  Between this movie and Lone Survivor (which I saw the day after I saw Lords of Dogtown), I find Emile Hirsch to be quite the impressive actor.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Dororo

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 14, 2014

***

There are many reasons to dislike this film: bad FX, less-than-stellar action editing, inexplicable segues into slapstick (in what is an otherwise morbid movie), the inability of the female lead to pull off 'aloof.' That stated, I quite like it. Fans of demonic Samurai movies, check this one out.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I think Dororo is based on a Japanese comic book.  Maybe a cartoon series.  I don't really know, but it sure as shit feels like it's based on a Japanese comic book or cartoon series.

Oh... there's a writing credit for the comic book.  So... yeah... that.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Frank and Jesse

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 11, 2014

***

I don't dislike Rob Lowe, but he ruins this movie. That, and the writing. And the directing. Made it 32 minutes and there's one scene worth watching. Well, 30 seconds of one scene worth watching.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

It takes a lot for me to stop watching a Western.  And I know I've seen much, much worse than Frank and Jesse.  Maybe I'll give this one another shot.

But, probably not.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): The Keep

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 9, 2014

***

Great concept, good start, and, oh, so sloppy. Kinda makes sense, given that the original cut was supposedly three hours long and the theatrical cut is only 95 minutes. Which means it makes no sense. That stated, it's intriguing enough that I want to read the book.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

The Keep is better in my mind than it was on screen.  I still want to read the book.  Someone should probably remake this.  I should go get the book.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Silent Hill: Revelation

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 9, 2014

***

I didn't think it would be possible to make a worse film than the first SILENT HILL. They proved me wrong.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

It shouldn't be difficult to adapt the Silent Hill franchise into an awesome movie.  I remember playing Silent Hill 4: The Room and having the shit scared out of me.  It was because of that game that I was super-excited for Silent Hill.  That movie started off fine, generally nailing the atmosphere.  And then it kinda fell flat... and that ending, man.  The filmmakers didn't even fucking try.

Anyway, I truly went into Silent Hill: Revelation thinking it couldn't be any worse.

I'm not sure I made it more than ten minutes in.  There was a huge monster fight in a mall or something.  I don't even remember Kit Harrington being in this thing.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Dead Snow

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 8, 2014

***

The rational part of me hates this movie. The irrational part of me kinda likes it. It definitely alleviates boredom, but, boy, is it stupid.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I'm fairly certain the only reason I watched Dead Snow (Norwegian title: Død snø) is because I was curious about Tommy Wirkola, who had directed Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters.  I can't say I'm impressed with the guy.  I'm also now less likely to watch What Happened to Monday given that it's a Netflix-branded film and it's directed by Wirkola.  Might even remove it from my queue.

Ah, who am I kidding?  Morbid curiosity always wins with me.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Dreamscape

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 8, 2014

***

I had never even heard of this film until it showed up as a Netflix recommendation. The FX-heavy third act doesn't hold up well, but it's an interesting watch. I wouldn't mind seeing a remake of this one.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Funny story about Dreamscape... in 2017, the writers of Deja Vu and Liar, Liar were ripping apart a pitch that a friend and I had given.  The Deja Vu writer kept citing this movie in regards to our idea.  Their notes were brutal, but I'm going to take the reference as a secret compliment.

So there.

Movie Irreview: BlacKkKlansman


***

BlacKkKlansman is not a great movie.  Nope.  Sorry.  It is not.

It is, however, a good movie.  It is an interesting movie.  It is an important movie.  It is a powerful movie.  It just, as a movie, falls a bit short.

I've never been a big fan of Spike Lee.  My favorite Spike Lee movie to this point has been Inside Man.  He just never seems to direct actors well, and BlacKkKlansman is no different in that regard.  Now, that's not to say that there aren't some very good performances in this (Adam Driver kills it), but good actors will act, well, good.

I must also admit that I tend to dislike political movies, particularly those that proselytize.  The script for BlacKkKlansman is excellent... while it stays in the realm of the narrative.  The two speech scenes are too heavy-handed, too on-the-nose, and (for me, anyway) fail to have the appropriate effect.  I understand the intent of Mr. Lee and I respect it.  Perhaps this is the movie it should be, rather than the movie it could be.  I would have liked to have seen the latter.

Still... good, interesting, important, and powerful.  You really can't ask for more from a film like this.

7/10.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 8, 2014

***

Awesomely uninspired (odd, given its source material and subject matter), this thing tried so hard to be hip, it forgot to be good. Hell, it never even thought to be good. Probably never even learned what good is. Or how to spell it.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I've been railing on fellow aspiring writers that it's more important to be good than it is to be cool.  Oddly enough (or maybe not), I get argued with a lotHansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is definitely a movie in which the filmmakers thought they nailed the concept.  Yeah, well, maybe they did... but a concept nail ain't shit without a script hammer.

This film irritated me so much, I'm pretty sure it's what inspired me to write my "Snow White & Rose Red" update.  I should get back to that...

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Book Irreview: The Coffee Break Screenwriter


***

I hate this book.  It's ugly to look at (seriously, who type-set this thing?), it's formatting is despicable (see previous question), and it looks self-published despite the fact that it's put out by Michael Wiese Productions.

But, there is great value to The Coffee Break Screenwriter.  Moreso than any other script guru, Pilar Alessandra breaks down the individual ingredients of a screenplay's story, its plot, its characters, its presentation... damned near everything.  Now, this is not the perfect screenwriting book (for many reasons, including those listed above), but its chapters on the Characters, the Craft, and the Final Edit of your screenplay are among the very best chapters on those subjects that I have so-far read.  Alessandra's insights into "trigger scenes," avoiding on-the-nose dialogue, writing "emotional action lines," and describing characters are invaluable.  Additionally, the lecture portions of the book are sound and don't annoy as much as some of the exercise sections.

I don't think you should read The Coffee Break Screenwriter early in your development as a screenwriter.  There are many other books that are better guides during those stages.  However, The Coffee Break Screenwriter just might be the most useful rewriting guide I've seen.

I hate this book.  You should buy it and put it on your shelf.  Refer to it often. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Irrevocabulary, Issue I

Since 2005, I've always kept a dictionary nearby while reading books.  Fiction, non-fiction, whatever... didn't matter.  If it was a book, there was a dictionary.

See, I had a university professor by the name of Nicholas Laudadio.  During one of his classes - perhaps even the first class of the semester - he asked the students what we did when we came across a word we didn't know (while reading, of course).  Now, I don't know if his reaction was rehearsed or otherwise practiced, but the incredulity he displayed at the fact that none of us read with a dictionary nearby was priceless.

Indeed, it changed my reading habits overnight.

The result is that I understand more of what I read while I read it.  A side effect is that I'm even harder to beat at Scrabble than I already was (my girlfriend at the time - a fellow English major - has in fact never beaten me at Scrabble).

With the advent of smart phones, I don't so much consult the dictionary per se, as I do the Merriam Webster app.  And also with the smart phone (and due in no small part to this blog), I even began writing down the words I was looking up.  The intent was that I would practice those words in order to work them into my normal vocabulary.

Sad to state, that never happened.

Sadder to state, since I maintain those lovely records of words that I had to look up (or choose to... very often the words I'm looking up are not words I don't know, but words that I want more specific information on), I've noticed that I look up words repeatedly.  The same words.  As in, looked up a work, comprehended the passage, forgot the word.

I'm rambling, I know.

Long story short, I've decided to do something about it.  Given my growing interest in linguistics and language histories, I figure why not develop my English skills?

So, everyone now and then... once a week, maybe... I'm going to consult these lists I've made and work through a handful of words.  Five or so.  I'll define them, use them, and... I dunno.  We'll see happens.

Anyway, the first words I'm going to use are words that I identified from William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade.  These words are: mellifluous, adroit, jai alai, fronton, lugubrious.

Everything I take from external sources, I will italicize.  My guess is that those sources will be the Merriam-Webster, Oxford English, or Collins English dictionaries.

Everything else will be me being cheeky.  Probably.

***

mellifluous - having a smooth rich flow.

Sadly, my voice is far from mellifluous.  I could also write something tantalizingly titillating about the mellifluous properties regarding the body of a Canadian I once dated, but I shall refrain.

Mellifluous is, in fact, a word I was familiar with, but its definition never held in my brain.  In Latin, mel apparently means "honey" and fluere means "to flow."  So... honey-flow, I guess.  Strange that my brain won't remind me what the Spanish and French words for "honey" are.  Lemme look that up real quick.

Well, shit... it's miel in both languages.  "To flow" is fluir in Spanish (which I did remember!), while "to flow" is couler in French.

I definitely need to use mellifluous in a short story soon.  Imagine the erotica!

***

adroit - having or showing skill in handling situations

I knew this one.  I think I looked it up because my brain was screaming "It's French!  It's French!" or some shit at me.  Which I guess means I'm not adroit in identifying individual words of languages.  I mean... I'd like to think I'm adroit, but I am apparently not.  I am, however, adroit in accidental poetry.

Perhaps I will become adroit in using the word mellifluous in stories about hot Canadians.  Perhaps.

***

jai alai - a court game somewhat like handball played usually by two or four players with a ball and a long curved wicker basket strapped to the wrist

I've seen the word jai alai alot over the years.  A part of me may even have known it was a game.  But, the rest of me did not, and I'm going to have to watch a video to see exactly what jai alai is.



HOLY SHIT! I TOTALLY HAD ONE OF THOSE BASKET TOSSER THINGIES WHEN I WAS LITTLE!!!

Also, it's apparently pronounced hai-ah-lai.

***

fronton - a jai alai arena

So, there I was, adroitly playing jai alai at the fronton, moving mellifluously due to my superior athletic training, when I realized that I was full of shit and went on to the next word!

***

lugubrious - mournful; dismal

Realizing that I don't know very many words leaves me in a lugubrious mood.  Seriously, though, when I took the GRE waaaay back in the day, I scored 200 or so points higher on the math/science portion of the test than I did on the English side.

Like... what?

Anyway, as she sang and danced, her body and voice mellifluous, the lascivious nature of her movement and song successfully dispelled the lugubrious atmosphere.

Bowm-chicka-wowm-wowm.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Playlist V, February 2019: Empress Fallen

Well, "Empress" is done.  I guess I should start on the script now.  That's going to be called Anthropy.  I guess.  Who knows?

Enjoy.

***

"Empress, Part 7: The Duchess"




"Empress, Part 8: The Queen"




"Empress, Part 9: The Empress"




"The Regrets of the Philosopher and the Pimp"




"After Empress: An Irrespective"




***

The Complete Playlist 5, February 2019



After Empress: An Irrespective



***

A writer can only hope that it's a good story that escapes onto the page.  Very often it's a mere felon that has succeeded in a prison break, tunneling under walls or climbing enough lashed-together bedsheets to freedom.  By the time those are out, it's already too late to catch them.  Best to let them run fast and far away.  The sooner forgotten, the better.

Sadly, if enough felons do break out, that's all the writer will be remembered for.  Even when a good story is managed, wrought and written with pain and passion, friends will dread yet another criminal, reticent to spend the time to read and provide helpful criticism.  The writer won't know if it's time to bask in a well-earned glow, the shadows of boredom and confusion still blotting out yesterday's sun.  You've already failed.  Pack up.  Go home.  What's the point?

The point is that there are stories to tell.

I can only apologize that I'm not better at telling them.

The Regrets of the Philosopher and the Pimp



***

In another lifetime, they'd be friends.  Perhaps they have been.  Perhaps they are now.

The taller man, the younger man, once a lion in the boxing ring, his hands since failing him and his wallet since failing to replace his hands.  His heart's not in it, his new career focused on temporary and immediate hearts of those who can afford such responsive brevity… read more @ Panoramic Mindscapes

***

Empress, Part 9: The Empress

*Continued from Empress, Part 8: The Queen

***



***

Wilmington wonders what's taking so long.  He understands the systems in place aren't as fast as those at the Côtés's were, but he's certain the download into the flask should have finished by now.

"Pacifica.  Time?" he asks.  He's losing his cool.

"I don't know, all right?"  Truth is, Pacifica doesn't know.  She's never done this without her sister, nor on these… read more @ Museless Propaganda

***

Monday, February 18, 2019

Empress, Part 8: The Queen

*Continued from Empress, Part 7: The Duchess

***



***

Pacifica sits behind her monitors, processors, and drives.  She's completed her setup, but it's the only place in Club Rokyo that she feels comfortable.  Surrounded by the tools that remind her what she's good at.  What she's great at.  And providing a hiding place.  Pacifica has embarrassed herself enough already.  She's fucked up enough already.

Rolling a coin across her fingers, she palms it and studies both sides.  The heads and the tails.  Faded and worn… read more @ Museless Propaganda

***


***

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): House (1985)

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 7, 2014

***

Yeah... that hasn't aged well.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Look.  House definitely hasn't aged well.  But I still chuckle when I think about this movie.  It was kinda fun.  Lots of nostalgia to be had, I suppose.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 7, 2014

***

Whoa, nostalgia.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

As I recall, GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was an excellent documentary, and might've even pulled out a tear or two.

I was one of those kids who caught the brief television life of GLOW back in the 80s.  It was on after the WWE (then still the WWF) cartoon and skit show.  I can't remember how many Mt. Fuji jokes my friends and I told on the playground.

Yeesh.

Has anybody watched the Netflix series?

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): The Day the Earth Stood Still

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 7, 2014

***

Yep. Still awesome.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I wrote "still" after I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still.  I don't think I should have.  The January 2014 viewing of this just may have been the first time I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still in its entirety.

I dunno... one of those pop culture things that seeps into your subconscious.  But, yeah... awesome movie.  Better than the remake with Keanu Reeves, but I think I might have actually liked that one, too.

Bit of trivia: I first learned the whole "klaatu barada nikto" thing from a Star Wars book.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Slugs

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 6, 2014

***

Good movie? No. Did I enjoy the Hell out of it? Oh, yes... yes, I did.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Oh, man... how can anyone badmouth Slugs?  It's just... stupidly fun.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Creature

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 6, 2014

***

One of the better ALIEN rip-offs I've seen. Still sucks. Bonus points for production design, though.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Wow.  My curiosity might make me watch Creature again.  That stated, the BEST Alien rip-off is a movie about a mutant cow.  It's called Isolation.  Check it out.  Trust me.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Starcrash

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 6, 2014

***

David Hasselhoff, I understand... but how the Hell did they get Christopher Plummer to do this??? And John Barry as the composer??? WTF???

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Obviously part of the fallout of post Star Wars science fiction and space fantasy to embarrass the silver screen post-1977.  I'm not certain I managed to finish this one.   I'm betting I didn't... unless Caroline Munro was baring a lot of skin.  And I mean a lot.  Like, all of it.  Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I shut it off.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Dumbo

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 6, 2014

***

Ah... that's better.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I mean... it's Dumbo.  Need I say more?

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Olympus Has Fallen

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 6, 2014

***

I was warned, but this is beyond stupid. If there were a horizon called 'Stupid,' this is on the other side, over the Stupid rainbow, in a Stupid galaxy far, far away. On a side note, does anyone else feel like starting a petition to outlaw CGI when practical effects are available?

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Seriously, guys... how the flying fuck did Olympus Has Fallen get a sequel???

A sequel, mind you, that I have not seen and have no plans on seeing.

Just don't dare me to watch it.  I'm a sucker for that kinda shit.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Jack Reacher

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 6, 2014

***

Two parts awesome + one part ridiculous = good ol' fashioned Hollywood fun.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

As much as I may or may not make fun of Tom Cruise, the man is the ultimate movie star and stuff like Jack Reacher shows us why.  Yeah, the sequel was bleh and some of the other McQuarrie/Cruise collaborations have been double-bleh (I'm looking at you, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation!), but Cruise is usually on it.

We'll not talk about The Mummy.  (Yet.)

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): Phase 7

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 5, 2014

***

Scientific lapses aside, a simple plot allows for a wonderful exploration of paranoia. I quite like this.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

Hmm... I have vague notions of Phase 7 (original title: Fase 7), but I obviously liked it.  Might have to fire it up again.

Movie Irreview (Irrewind): The Rescuers

Originally reviewed on Facebook, January 4, 2014

***

Not too many better ways to end the day, I think.

***

Upon Further Irreview:

I mean... it's The Rescuers.  Need I say more?