However, in an effort to recharge the creativity, I've done a lot of reading. Last night, I finished the latest entry in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series, A Matter of Justice by Charles Todd. As always, a good mystery filled with intriguing characters. I own copies of each book in the series, and have read them several times.
I also stocked up on movies from the video store. Last night, I viewed The Orphanage (El Orfanato) and Eagle Eye, and this afternoon is for Rails & Ties and Hellboy II:The Golden Army. Most of the viewing time last night was spent lying on the couch, trying not to fall asleep; today, I did the same but with better results. The sleepiness was exhaustion, not the movies' inability to keep my attention. Yeah, sleep would have been a better prescription than forcing myself to stay awake, but I'm always up for a story.
The Orphanage: The rental DVD was worn out, and so I missed some material at the beginning (the disk paused then skipped), and the sound disappeared about thirteen minutes before the end, so I missed the music, but that didn't detract from my enjoyment. Excellent storytelling--in the script, the acting, and the overall look and feel of the film. The ending is slightly ambiguous, but not to anyone who's paid attention. I wouldn't recommend this to viewers who need everything spelled out for them, or who don't like to read subtitles, since this film is in Spanish.
Note: This was director Juan Bayona's first feature film, and I will definitely be interested in his future endeavors, as well as writer Sergio Sanchez's other projects.
Eagle Eye: Improbable, yeah. Similar to other paranoia-filled government-secret chase films, yeah. But a lot of fun. If I have a complaint, it's the sentient supercomputer premise. It's been done and done, and done again, and scary as the thought might be--that the creation might overtake and control the creators--it almost bores me, perhaps because I don't believe such a thing will ever truly happen. But Shia LeBeouf and Michelle Monaghan are strong in the leads, and there are several solid actors in the supporting roles (Michael Chicklis, Rosario Dawson, Billy Bob Thornton, Ethan Embry, and more).
Rails & Ties: An emotional (and, some reviewers claim, improbable) story of a train conductor and his dying wife who take in the son of a woman who committed suicide by parking her car on the tracks, forcing the conductor to make a decision: hit the emergency brake and possibly derail his train full of passengers, or hit the car and take a life. Kevin Bacon stars as Tom Stark, the conductor; Marcia Gay Harden plays his wife, Megan Stark; and teenage newcomer Miles Heizer is excellent as the orphaned boy, Davy Donner. Some reviews call this a Lifetime movie with better acting, but since I don't have cable, and probably wouldn't watch Lifetime even if I did, I have no comparison. I just know I liked this film, with its restraint and quiet honesty. Warning, though: It might make guys choke up a little, or at least form a tear in the corner of the eye.
Hellboy II: Haven't watched it yet, but am getting ready to do so. I watched the first one only last year (or perhaps early this year), and liked it better than I expected, so I'm looking forward to this one.
After all the lounging around, reading, and viewing, I hope the next episode of Thieves' Honor just scrolls across my computer screen or rolls out in black ink across the page, but nothing will happen if I don't just sit down and write.
Addendum: I've just finished watching Hellboy II, and it was freaky, but I was entertained. The one laugh-out-loud scene involved soon-to-be-drunk Abe and already-worse-for-wear Red singing along with a Barry Manilow song, "Can't Smile Without You."
In an above paragraph, when I referred to "last year" and "this year", I meant 2007 and 2008, respectively. 2009 still hasn't sunk in yet.