Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recharging the Story Bank

This time of year--basketball season--I work six days a week, and that's not so bad, but all the stuff crammed into this past week made for an exhausted writer. In fact, no writing has been accomplished this week. The brain has been sapped.

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.


Phy said...

Heh, not to worry. You're not alone. I've been working on the first scene to chapter 27 of The Adventures of the Sky Pirate since mid-October. I've just completed that first scene, and it's strong. Now to see if I can write the remaining scenes by this time next week. ;)


Hey, Johne! I may have to sit out a month, if this episode doesn't come together.

As for Sky Pirate, I look forward to the next installment. Always great fun.

The Texican said...

I'm working on some neat word verifications for Google Blogger. I have enjoyed yours so much I thought I would create some of my own. Your current example, "tiesserp" or "ties 'er up" for the uninitiated is a real motivation. Pappy


Tex, if only I had some input into the whole verification thing--but, no, Blogger never asked my opinion, and I do have some doozies.

By the way, whatcha gonna do with that coal you got for Christmas?

Carmen Andres said...

that scene with abe and hellboy was one of my favs ever heh. man, I'd love to go on a movie binge like that - sounds wonderful!

Eaglewing said...

A creativity recharge sounds really good. I've got dust at the bottom of my creative well at the moment.

Hellboy II is one I really want to see after enjoying the first one. So is Eagle Eye, but less so. I recently watched The Dark Knight for the first time (yeah, I'm a bit behind) and that was amazing. So was The Wrestler, which is still making me think...


Carmen - My "movie binge" list is far from empty; if there's time and money, I might go on another one soon. At the moment, though, I'm devouring books.

Eagle - The Dark Knight is AWESOME. Haven't seen The Wrestler, though. Might have to look that one up.