In the intensity of getting words written, I feel as though I’ve slowed down on reading. In some cases, I’ve even been avoiding it in lieu of more mentally easy story consumption through TV and movies. Not always the best thing, since reading words is a part of what inspires me to write words. So toward the end of the month, I tried to get outside, setting into an easy chair by the pool, and delve into some much missed words.
This is the lowest number of books I’ve read a half year, probably ever. Nothing to highlight this month, except All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders, which I’m still in the progress of reading. The story of a a naturalistic witch and a young mad scientist is charming is beautiful so far.
1. The 2016 Rhysling Anthology (poetry), edited by Charles Christian
2. The BFG by Roald Dahl
Still in Progress: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders and Chain of Evil: Journalstone’s Guide to Writing Darkness by Michael R. Collings
Total books for the year: 24
A lot of movie watching happened this month and I’m not entirely sure which one I want to focus on, because there were several that were standouts.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, directed by Lorene Scafaria, is a brilliant exploration of the ways people could react to the end of the world — no hope of salvation, no miracle rescue, just the knowledge that everything human is going to end. Some riot, some engage in all the sins they kept restrained, some seek moments of profound beauty and companionship. Steve Carell is fantastic, able to maintain a balance between being both funny and soulful at the same time, and Keira Knightly is wonderful, too.
I was prompted to finally see Seeking for a Friend after listening to the Black List Table Reads podcast, in which director Lorene Scafaria discusses this movie as well as her new film The Meddler with Franklin Leonard.
Other notable movies include Moon, which presents the story of an astronaut (Sam Rockwell) serving a three-year term working a power station on the moon, who through an accident begins to find things are not what they seem.
10 Cloverfield Lane is a far better movie than its predecessor, a tense, tightly paced story of a young woman who wakes up inside a survival shelter. She’s told by the owner that the world outside has been destroyed and that her survival depends on staying within, but she’s not sure she can trust him.
Turbo Kid is great simply for its nostalgia value. It draws its costuming, special effects, and filmmaking style from 1980s cinema to tell the story of a post-apocalyptic future, in which water is scarce and violent gangs run amok and everyone rides BMX bikes to get around. It’s strange and fun and bloody.
Jodorowsky’s Dune presents the imagination, the vision, the art of an unmade adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. It’s a grand epic vision, managing to pull together the likes of Mick Jagger and Salvador Dalí, among many other visionary artists of the time. This documentary made me long to see a film never made.
1. Half of a Yellow Sun (Nigeria, 2014)
2. From Beyond (1986)
3. Ghost Town (1988)
4. Turbo Kid (2015)
5. Trainwreck (2015)
6. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)
7. Ever Since the World Ended (2001)
8. Moon (2009)
9. Whistle (short film, 2002)
10. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
11. Eraserhead (1977)
12. Jodorowsky’s Dune (documentary, 2013)
13. The Lobster (2015)
14. Nightmares in Red, White and Blue (documentary, 2009)
I polished off the second season of Penny Dreadful this month. I love the dark aesthetic beauty of this show, but it’s kind of hit and miss in terms of story. There are moments I adore and moments that feel flat. I don’t quite love the show as much as I wish I could, but I like the characters in general and I’m invested in their journey enough to grab up the third season as soon as I can.
There was no other serious TV watching this month, other than the usual flipping of channels.
Part I of Alice Isn’t Dead finished up this month, with events growing from the usually eerie and surreal tones to frightening levels of danger for the main character. The season ends with every thing unsettled. Has she finally achieved her goal after all the dangers of driving the strange backroads of the American landscape?
I can’t wait until they come back with the second season of this storyline.
A new podcast also started up from the creators Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead, called Within the Wires. It is presented as a series of odd relaxation tapes that have more of the tone of brainwashing. Listeners become a part of the story in the sense that they are the subjects being treated. It’s a strange one and not as compelling to me yet as Night Vale or Alice — but I’ll keep listening to see where it goes.
Here are some of the most memorable listens from this month.
Alice Isn’t Dead: Part I, Chapter 8: The Other Town
Alice Isn’t Dead: Part I, Chapter 9: Go Home Again
Within the Wires: Relaxation Cassette #1
PodCastle: Hatyasin by Rati Mehrota
PodCastle: James and Peter, Fishing by Anaea Lay
PodCastle: Braid of Days and Wake of Nights by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
Lightspeed Magazine: Kevin Jared Hosein – Hairanyagarbha
Nightmare Magazine: Gwendolyn Kiste – Ten Things to Know About the Ten Questions
Uncanny Magazine Podcast #10B
Welcome to Night Vale – Who’s a Good Boy? Part 2
Imaginary Worlds: Then She Fell
Imaginary Worlds: The Year Without a Summer
Imaginary Worlds: Undertale
Here Be Monsters: Lying in a Stranger’s Grave
Here Be Monsters: 048 Barrie’s Metal Tempest
Slums of Film History: Episode 16: Rabies!
Slums of Film History: Episode 17: Vigilante Veterans
Slums of Film History: Episode 18: Freakshow
Slums of Film History: Episode 19: Satanic Panic
Scriptnotes Podcast: 252 – An Alliance with House Mazin
Scriptnotes Podcast: 253 – Television Economics for Dummies
Scriptnotes Podcast: 254 – The One with the Kates
Scriptnotes Podcast: 255 – New and Old Hollywood (interview with Billy Ray)
The No Film School Project (several current and back episodes) — This was also a new discovery, presenting weekly updates of news and technology, as well as upcoming submission deadlines for the independent film community.
That’s it for me! What are you reading? Watching? Loving right now?