Movie Reviews: A Bigger Splash

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As many who know me can attest, I am a fan of foreign films. Usually, I would even admit that English films that take place in Europe usually get a pass from me for effort. In some regards, it is even more relatable to watch the cultural fish out of water story than something more authentic and locally made. You can read my review of Lost in Translation as an example of this. It had an impact on me that a Japanese made film with Japanese actors could not.

To a certain degree, most Science Fiction works this way. We want to see humanoids battle space dictators and enter light speed. Seldom are the protagonists in film a six foot one-eyed blob called Qloip.

Simply, we want to relate.

A Bigger Splash basically throws those principals out the window. Most of the characters are so unlikeable  an uninteresting that they might as well be Qloip. I was incredibly bored most of the movie, despite the effort Ralph Fiennes put in to try to make it entertaining. There is a limit an eccentric character can save a film if it isn’t a comedy.

Then, there were the flashbacks as if it would reveal some secrets that audience couldn’t infer from the acting and dialogue.

Tilda Swinton, despite being a decent actor, is pretty unbelievable as a rock star. Matthias Schoenaerts is pretty unforgettable in playing the boytoy boyfriend that represents a physical outlet.  Dakota Johnson is just as convincing as she was in Fifty Shades of Gray.

Ralph Fiennes is decent, and maybe it would have been a better story if it just followed him  in his POV the entire time, even to the splashy ending.

This movie simply will be flushed from my mind, which is a rather difficult feat with an interesting environment.

Movie Rating: 2/10 splashes

Movie Reviews: London Has Fallen

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London Has Fallen directed by Babak Najafi

Just in case moviegoers were confused whether or not London Has Fallen was a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the marketing folks made sure to clarify that. With White House Down, Air Force One, the last season of 24, and Vantage Point all telling similar stories, the movie populace could have easily confused this for one of those Redbox Ripoff movies. You know, the low budget films shot for under a million bucks in an attempt to bait and confuse people.

To me, I think I might have been more entertained with the Redbox Ripoff flick.

I mean, how many times can a President be put under siege with the only guy to save him is his best friend and secret service agent. What are the odds? And let’s be honest, what is the point of it all when there is a line of succession? (Ironically enough the plot of the latest Jack Bauer Keifer Sutherland TV show) Heads of State are important people, but in Democracies, there is really little point.

I know, the classic “Revenge at all costs” plot makes it clear that logic isn’t the point of motive.

If you want to watch this film, go ahead. Turn off your brain. You might as well play some Call of Duty in my opinion because at least that has some inventive storytelling.

The movie does have some pretty kick ass special effects, mostly in the attack sequence. But with that said, some of the effects were downright CGI-ish. Morgan Freeman was pretty good playing himself. Gerard Butler picks up another paycheck. I assume he has pretty much given up trying to be a real actor. Aaron Eckhart plays the typecast role that was predominant of the 80s and 90s.

I did beat Call of Duty Advanced Warfare on the same night I watched this. Kevin Spacey made for a better villain.

Movie Rating: 2/10 London Bridges

On Writing: Missed Deadline

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Writing frustrations are about in my life.

The sheer stress and workload of my day job is consuming a portion of my life as expected. After moving, having to find a new place to live in a new state as well as learning a new job and new people and new responsibilities has interrupted my writing.

My tweeting is down.

My blogging is down.

My planned youtube series is pushed back.

And as a result, my stats have collapsed on twitter and wordpress. Additionally, my submissions to agents have stopped and my writing contest submissions have been impacted.

This is a difference than 3 months ago. I had a quasi-agent who had agreed to submit my stories, although on a conditional basis with a weird plan to submit to half the publishers, then get feedback, then to revise and submit to the other half. My blog was taking off. I had up to 800 views a day at a certain point. I was interacting with other writers. I had hired a freelance editor to proofread my completed manuscripts. I had submitted two short stories to writers of the future and a screenplay to The Blacklist. I was editing and curating the Midnight Traveler story collaboration with other writers. There was some minor cost to all of this, but generally, I was only out a couple hundred bucks, mostly through website hosting fees. I balanced all of this with my daily life and a full time job.

Then, I moved, while starting a small company on the side. This side business generated income so fast (up to $4k a month in gross sales) that I spent more time on that after my day job. The money was too good, especially after I moved. The art would have to wait.

My writing essentially stopped. I was making $0 from writing (maybe losing money and time). Some people I know in the new business make fun of writing in a way. They say Amazon publishing is dead. That was in maybe 7 years ago. The first mover advantage is gone. It is yet another industry where 1% get 90% of the income.

I don’t know. I have dreams. I want to do everything and don’t want to waste time.

Then my phone got destroyed by batteries plus and I lost 100 outlines to stories.

I could have given up. Why chase the writing dream?

For most people the answer is simple; because I enjoy it.

No. I fucking love it.

I was a weirdo who daydreamed stories in school instead of paying attention. I get bored watching movies knowing what will happen next. I get annoyed when things are dumbed down and exposition is there to spoon feed audiences. I read novels that are utter garbage. I get annoyed at big name authors who have every damn story ghostwritten for them because they don’t give a shit anymore about anything but the income stream. I get really annoyed at estates and publishers who pump out ghostwritten stories of dead authors.

I began writing again a few weeks ago. I had a few weeks to hit the quarter deadline for writers of the future. Out of the gates, I wrote a solid outline and wrote the first few thousand words like it was nothing. Then the story expanded. New characters were introduced until I reached a point a week ago that I admitted there was no way I could fit the entire story in 17,000 words. I spent a few days trying to deconstruct and simplify but it was all for naught.

The deadline was Friday night and I missed it. I spent Friday night playing XBOX and drinking Guiness because I deserve it.

I might have lost the battle, but I hope to win the war. I’ll keep my full time job. I keep my side business. I’ll be more efficient with my time and make a few hours for writing each week. Stories will get finished.

Deadlines will come and go; keep charging ahead and writing. Write for yourself. Write for your dreams. Write to bear your soul. Write to get famous. It doesn’t matter what your motivation is, just don’t quit. If you see other writers struggling on twitter, maybe spend a second away from spamming your self published kindle story and say hi to someone new. Share some trials and tribulations. They are not the competition. They are fellow writers with dreams like you.

Movie Reviews: Haute Cuisine

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Haute Cuisine directed by Christian Vincent

Currently streaming on Netflix, the story of Haute Cuisine answers the age old question of what happens when a country bumpkin chef who strives for the very best is thrust into the high visibility position as the personal chef of the country’s most powerful man. What you get is a foodie coming of age story that is coincidently enough told in mysterious flashback.

The story begins with her in Antartica and story dangles intrigue in the promise of answering a question.

After 90 minutes, the question is answered but to be honest, is a bit of a let down.

Was this only based on a true story?

The riddle is confusing when you pay attention the penultimate scene in the movie, which begs the audience to decide for themselves.

Were some things left out?

Was it all about the food?

With the true money shots of the film showing the close ups of the food, I would surmise it was the choice of the director and screenwriter to focus on the Haute Cuisine.

Be warned, the movie is French, so you’ll have to get your glasses on to read all the subtitles.

Movie Rating: 5/10 Truffles