Upload is the best thing streaming right now!

 

 

The writing on this show is fantastic. It is seriously funny, perfectly cast and really hits the feels in just the right way.

In the near future you can upload your consciousness to a virtual reality that is still interactive with the living to some degree. But it ain’t free. And our protagonist is in for a ride when his wealthy fiance funds his account. I can’t wait for season two!

A Perfect Film to Watch During This Pandemic

The_Guernsey_Literary_and_Potato_Peel_Pie_Society
Theatrical Release Poster

My wife had heard about the film, actually has the book, and had read part of it. It got great reviews and is playing currently on Netflix. It’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I know the title sounds pretentious, but I had a visceral reaction to the story, as a writer, and as a person going through the pandemic with the rest of the world. The story really puts things in perspective. When considering what the people of Guernsey, and much of the rest of Europe, went through, having to live with the Nazi occupation and seeing loved ones killed with little regard for life, it made sitting on my couch, eating too much as I quarantine, or having to wear a mask in public seem like very little to ask.

The story takes place mainly in 1947 in the aftermath of WWII. A successful British writer, Juliet Ashton, played by Lily James, gets a letter from a man in Guernsey, Dawsey Adams, played by Michiel Huisman of Game of Thrones fame, because he found her address in one of the books their literary club had read. The club itself emerged from a confrontation with Nazi night watch when they were returning from a get together to eat forbidden pork and drink homemade gin. Drunk and terrified, the name of their club came out of desperation to cover their tardiness in getting home under curfew. They literally lied to save their lives, but as a result the literary club was registered and had to be continued with a Nazi chaperon. At least for a short time, until he gets bored with their meetings, where they read and dissected literary works.

The Juliet is intrigued by the notion of their club and decides to invite herself down for a visit. There she meets the member of the club, minus one, the instigator of the club, Elizabeth McKenna, played by Jessica Brown Findlay, had been arrested a few years before hand and nobody has heard anything about her since. Juliet wants to write a piece for the London Times about the group, but they are extremely reticent, and it starts her down a path to find out why. There are several side stories that add conflict, including her engagement back in London to a Major in the US Army, and a young girl, being raised by Dawsey, that is the daughter of the missing Elizabeth. The story is wonderfully written and really sucked me in from start to finish. I am a sucker for a good love story and ultimately that is what this is. A love story wrapped in a mystery, with all the bells and whistles that would make a writer absolutely love this tale.

The four of the actors are veterans of Downtown Abbey, the two female leads and the motherly figure of the group, and Juliet’s literary agent, played by Mathew Goode, who is incredible in everything he does. The entire cast is wonderful. My wife and I really connected with the story on many levels and things like this just refresh our love for each other, as pithy as that might sound.

I cannot express enough how perfect this film is to watch right now.

A Marriage (Divorce) Story

a marriage storyShortly after this show went live on Netflix we heard so many good things about it. Getting nominated for lots of awards and starring two of my favorite actors, Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver. A couple of reviewers did a best of list for 2019 and they both had A Marriage Story in their top 5. They both mentioned that it was funny.

I’m not sure what movie they were watching but neither my wife nor I found anything funny about the show. It started out warmly, with each partner writing down all the things they liked about each other. Then of course, the wife refuses to share and off we go on a course, that in hindsight I should have predicted. The title of the show threw me off. So did the movie poster. They look happy don’t they? I thought this was going to be about their marriage. They both have a hand in the union getting to where it had, to a point where the movie opens with the pair at a marriage counselor. Spoilerish stuff follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, Johansson and Driver were both fantastic in their roles. The writing was good to a point, but the plot . . . awful may be too strong a word, but we found very little to endorse other than the acting. It was one bitter, mournful scene after another. We kept waiting for something good to happen, even one thing, but no. It kept spiraling down, chapter after chapter, to a heartbreaking ending. Two narcissistic protagonists, one openly self-centered, the other keeps her narcissism covered up until things get out of hand. Although, both actors are great at their craft, the characters they portray are sad and unable to communicate with each other in any way that matters.

I am honestly dumbfounded that it is getting such recognition. It really is not a story about marriage at all, but the slow shattering of a marriage, that potentially could have been salvaged if they had managed to be honest with each other and talked about their issues instead of letting them fester. Of course, that would have made for a very different movie, one that would have earned the title of the show. This one really should have been called A Divorce Story. I grew up in a house where my parents divorced when I was 6. I’ve been through one myself, but having been married happily for going on 27 years this time, I have an idea how to make one work. The movie was truly cringe-worthy at moments. I can’t recommend this show to anyone.

Review of Altered Carbon on Netflix


I just finished the new series on Netflix, Altered Carbon. Let me say right up front that I loved it!

 

It is 10 episodes packed full of action, intrigue and awesomeness. Think Blade Runner meets Kill Bill meets Star Trek The Next Generation. But you would have to cross that with something graphic, for both violence and sexual content. It is very R rated, and filled with violence of every sort, including torture, as well as a fair amount of nudity. The series is based on the 2002 novel by Richard Morgan, and the main plot follows the original story relatively closely for those that have read it. The book is really in a genre all its own as an adult SF thriller.

Continue reading “Review of Altered Carbon on Netflix”

Review Blade Runner 2049


Many people were expecting an opening closer to $45 -$55 million domestically, and it fell far short of that at $36 million. Did the length scare people off? It has received overwhelmingly good reviews from critics and movie reviewers and fans alike. I don’t get it.

 

Go see this movie before it leaves the theater! You will thank me later. It is maybe the best sequel ever made. The cinematography alone will make the visit worthwhile. Roger Deakins will finally win the Oscar for this film.

Continue reading “Review Blade Runner 2049”

The Ultimate Unsatisfying Ending

So I’m on alert last night and as I often do on alert I found an offbeat movie to watch.  It’s a stranger than normal movie with a combination of subtitles and English speaking parts and a lot of dialogue.  The main characters are two broken people who find each other and start to fall in love despite their shitty lives, but of course they are lying to each other and keeping dark secrets.  ***SPOILER ALERT*** I give away the ending and the movie title at the bottom.  But really you don’t want to waste your time on this one. 
It’s a great writing tactic to let the reader/watcher know what a character should do, but is too stupid or hard-headed to do and you are hoping beyond hope that they will pull their head out and do the right thing.  The writer has two ways to go with this ultimately.  You can give the satisfying finish where they actually end up finally making the right choice and or you can go the crappy way and have it go horribly wrong when they can’t or won’t make the right decision. 

It took me awhile to get into this thing.  The characters were really into wallowing in their self-absorbing pity and loved to talk around their issues.  And boy did they talk.  But it had finally reached a point where their love for each other was becoming evident and they were opening up to each other.  They were on the verge of making that ultimately right choice.  It had a very touching moment between the female lead and her mother, which was shared by the new boyfriend.  It was a validating moment and emotionally charged in all the right ways.  It was really well done.  I even said to myself, “Wow, that was cool.  I wonder where the writer is going to derail this; it’s going way too smoothly.”  I was finally completely bought in.  I am kind of a sap for heroic stories or well done love stories.  I knew there had to be a set back at this point, just to add some drama and tension that would allow for a great conclusion.
Well, I was right, literally the next scene added the drama, but it was a lesson in how not to do it in my humble opinion.  They drove it right off the cliff.  I mean Hindenburg horrible.  This little drama suddenly morphed into a weird variation on Romeo and Juliet where they both end up killing themselves over misunderstandings and lies.  I guess there is a faction out there that thinks it’s more “ARTSY” to have a tragic ending.  You know, I can see a surprise ending being cool, or maybe one of them killing themselves or dying, but the way it was done felt like they were driving down the road and suddenly out of nowhere a stranger just appears in the car and grabs the wheel and pulls it hard left and off a cliff that they were driving alongside.   We knew the cliff was there, they were after all broken characters, but it was abrupt and ridiculous and furiously unsatisfying.  It ruined the few good moments the movie had.   The guy who wrote this was also the lead actor and he has a history of self-indulgent highbrow attempts to be an “important” actor/writer.  He missed the mark yet again.  His acting is fine, but the writing, not so much.  If you haven’t figured it out the movie is After Fall, Winter.  Again I say don’t waste your time.
I’ve said it before, I hate crappy endings and this movie is the king of crappy endings.   I WILL NEVER WRITE A STORY LIKE THI$!!!1111   EVER!  You have my guarantee.
Clear Ether!