Mel’s movie madness September 2016 edition

I actually watched most of these earlier in the year. I caught cold twice, once in February and again in March. Aside from watching Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel, which I’ve since convinced Phil to watch so I could enjoy it again, I watched a few movies.

I’m just going to go over four here, but I’ve also caught The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 2, The Scorch Trials, and The F Word. I enjoyed them, but they weren’t provocative.

These were:

Snowpiercer

Holy dystopia, Batman.

When an attempt to reverse global warming backfires, the world is left a frozen wasteland. The only sanctuary is a train that continually circles the earth and contains the last survivors of mankind.

The movie started dark and only got worse. The protagonist is an antihero who starts in the caboose, the poorest section of the train. Abuse, murder, and the theft of children set him on a desperate mission to reach the fabled engineer and mutiny.

Progress through the train is measured in death and several scenes are almost Gilliam*-esque in their quality. Absurdity and grotesquery only serve to reinforce the nightmarish existence of the people on the train.

When our “hero” reaches the engineer, Wilford, the rebellion is revealed to be another planned part of life aboard the train. Population needs to be controlled and small children are required to act as replacements for worn out parts.

The train is a self-contained ecosystem. Everything must be controlled.

Oooh. This one was dark. But it made me think.

*Not incidentally, the hero’s mentor is named Gilliam.

Jupiter Ascending

This movie has been trashed by the best, and I don’t disagree with the criticism levelled at it. But it was fun.

I enjoyed it despite all the ridiculousness.

Check out Emily Asher-Perrin’s review for Tor.com for a much more thoughtful take 🙂

Kill Your Darlings

I wanted to watch this one because it was about the beat poets.

I know the facts were fictionalized for the screen, but it was a well-written, well-acted, and compelling story.

And, of course, it made me think, not about the beat poets, but about the characters and their various journeys on screen. That, for me, is what makes a movie, when I forget what it’s supposed to be about.

The Danish Girl

Eddie freakin’ Redmayne.

The Danish Girl is a lush period piece about Dutch painter Einar Wegener, as he uncovers his identity as female, becomes Lili Elbe, and seeks a doctor compassionate enough to help her become fully female.

This movie tore my wee heart.

As tragic as the ending was, the movie was about love that transcends gender as Einar’s wife, Gerda, and their friend Hans, support Lili to the end, and negotiate their various relationships through the journey that is transition. None of them are perfect, but the movie is all the more heart rending for it.

So beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by to read my thoughts on these movies.

I’ll catch you up on the rest of the midseason follies in a bit.

Mel's Movie Madness

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 3-9, 2016

Some very interesting posts and articles this week 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 52: stagnant story conflict. Helping writers become authors. Becca Puglisi guest posts later in the week with four ways to choose the right story setting. Kate returns with more lessons from Marvel: how to transform your story with a moment of truth.

Must you have conflict in every scene, disaster in every act? Roz Morris says, yes, and no. Nail your novel.

Kathryn Craft shares ten ways to add a spark of fire to your fiction. Writer Unboxed.

Donald Maass explores how to stay ahead of yourself . . . and your reader. Writer Unboxed.

Heather Bouwman writes (in the) happy middles. Writer Unboxed.

Annie Neugebauer begins a new series for Writer Unboxed. The query letter, part one: the pitch.

Sara Letourneau looks at the protagonist-antagonist relationship in DIYMFA’s developing themes in your stories series.

Data mining reveals the six basic emotional arcs of storytelling. MIT Technology Review.

“The six basic emotional arcs are these:

A steady, ongoing rise in emotional valence, as in a rags-to-riches story such as Alice’s Adventures Underground by Lewis Carroll. A steady ongoing fall in emotional valence, as in a tragedy such as Romeo and Juliet. A fall then a rise, such as the man-in-a-hole story, discussed by Vonnegut. A rise then a fall, such as the Greek myth of Icarus. Rise-fall-rise, such as Cinderella. Fall-rise-fall, such as Oedipus.

Susan Spann busts some popular copyright myths. Writers in the storm.

Hugh Howey writes about an idea, broken. The Wayfarer.

Shakespeare and music.

 

Underwritten female character: the movie. (Bwahahahaha!)

 

What Mallory Ortberg learned about heterosexual female desire from decades of reading. The Toast.

Ted Ed: What makes something Kafkaesque?

 

Airship Ambassador interviews Colleen Anderson in four parts: part one, part two, part three, and part four.

Jen Doll explains how A Wrinkle in Time changed science fiction forever. One of my formative reads. Who’d a thunk it? Mental Floss.

Shawn Taylor wonders why Hollywood is ignoring Octavia Butler. Fusion.

The New York Times called this guy daring for “daring” to tackle slavery through science fiction. (Includes the author’s response.) J. Hotham for Slate.

Jonathan Barkan celebrates 30 years of Big Trouble in Little China. Bloody Disgusting.

Emily Asher-Perrin: Jupiter Ascending is a chilling look at our future, in more ways than one. Tor.com

Phil and I are looking forward to checking this one out. Netflix’s 1980’s science fiction throwback Stranger Things is must (binge) watch TV. i09

Until thoughty Thursday!

Tipsday