It’s crazy to think it’s been a year since I released my first novel, “The Bones of the Earth.” Hannah and I did a little comic to commemorate the occasion. As you all know, Book Two, “The Three Heretics,” will be releasing, hopefully, in the next month or two.
To celebrate, we are hosting two giveaways, one on Goodreads and the other through Facebook/Instagram. Running from 6/10-6/20, the winners of these giveaways will receive a signed copy of “The Bones of the Earth.” And maybe some other secret, special goodies. Like the next novel. Who knows!
High-Rise is an adaptation of the J.G. Ballard novel by the same. It was directed by Ben Wheatley and written by Amy Jump.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I sat down to watch High-Rise. I had seen Wheatley and Jump’s Kill List, and while, in the end, I ended up really enjoying the movie, it took me awhile to warm up to it. The same applied to Crash, another work of Ballard’s that was adapted by David Cronenberg. And while these types of movies (the supposed decay of a supposedly civilized society) are interesting to me, they tend to follow a familiar course. They kind of write themselves, and in lesser hands, write themselves in a way that, while intriguing, end up being forgetful.
Fortunately, High-Rise, while following many familiar beats, does enough differently to differentiate itself from its depraved brethren.
So what exactly is this movie about? Well, it’s about Dr. Laing (Tom Hiddleston), who has recently moved into a London skyscraper that, in a way, is a world all its own. What follows is an observation of his experiences inside the skyscraper as the lower levels and upper levels begin to clash with one another over limited resources and perceived differences between both groups. Simple enough.
So what exactly separates this movie from others of its ilk? A lot of things! The End!
Just kidding. The acting is this movie, while, at times, over-the-top, is well done. Beside Tom Hiddleston, it also stars Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elizabeth Moss. Each actor and actress do a great job in bringing their characters to life. You may not and probably won’t like them, but they do leave an impression.
The movie is also impeccably directed. The framing of scenes and overall atmosphere creates a constant pace that ensures the story, slow as it can be at times, is never boring. Set and costume design are stylish and seem to do a good job recreating the look of the 1970s. The music, as well, was very well chosen and compliments the film and the horrors on screen nicely. It’s a combination of classical music, popular songs for the time, as well as modern pieces.
But a movie can great feature great acting, music, and direction and still fail if the core of it is not solid. It’s hard to say that High-Rise is an enjoyable movie to watch, because it often isn’t. It’s a movie about class warfare, featuring a relatively unlikeable group of already most likely deranged individuals. What saves it, however, is some of the sheer absurdity of the events that unfold and the barely-veiled, biting satire that permeates every scene. While it’s pretty obvious how the movie will unfold, it’s these moments of madness that make the journey worth it (assuming you have the stomach for it). Also, the movie features a great sense of very dark humor that helps introduce some balance to what could have been an overly serious film.
If you’re looking for a film of this nature that justifies its characters’ descent into lunacy, this is not a film for you. The descent is gradual, but it is a montage that acts as a transition into the disgusting lives these people slip into. Why it happens really isn’t all that important. We already know it is going to happen. And, really, how many ways are there for it to happen? The cause isn’t that interesting. It’s the scenario. It’s the what happens next, when people give into their impulses, when people have made this building their whole existence and have come to terms with their squalid, filthy, and repulsive lifestyles. They could leave at any time. There is a city on the outskirts of the High-Rise. But they don’t, because this isn’t that kind of movie. They don’t want to escape, anyways. There’s no hint that they’re not actually unhappy with what’s happened. They just want what they think they are entitled to have.
High-Rise isn’t a movie for everyone. Opinions appear split on it. It’s a disturbing movie, and to some, a pointless movie. It’s not a feel good movie. And it’s not one you can connect with on a character level. It’s a movie you appreciate for the visuals, the talent, the black humor, and themes. It’s an awesome movie, but only if you let it does its thing and are happy with the fact you may be unhappy at its end.
(Also, some have said the movie is incomprehensible. That the story is almost impossible to follow. The story is very basic. The events, to the sane mind, are incomprehensible. Some do not seem able to differentiate between the two.)
Recommended: Yes, but watch the trailer and read some reviews first.
It’s Friday the 13th! If you’re not watching a horror movie today, you’re bumming me out!
Best Friday the 13th movies:
1. Part VI: Jason Lives
2. Part IV: The Final Chapter
3. Part I: It’s good, but honestly, it is kind of a boring movie, sometimes
4. Part II
5. Part VII: The New Blood
6 Part III
7. Part V: A New Beginning
8. Jason X
9. Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
10. Part IX: Jason Goes to Hell (both this and Manhattan are terrible, terrible movies)
Freddy vs. Jason is somewhere in there, but I don’t know exactly.
I’m on vacation! And when I say vacation, I mean that I’m going to sitting on my ass for a week. And it’s going to be glorious.
However, I do want to be productive, so here are my goals that I hope to achieve across the week.
- Finish “The Gravedigger’s Dilemma.” This is Part II of “Three Heretics.” I’d say I have about 4-6 chapters left of it.
- Scan the new map for the universe. Hannah’s sister, Jacquelyn, created a map for me of my world for Christmas. It’s amazing, and it will be used here on out for all the books.
- Send a copy of “The Bones of the Earth” to both Guillermo del Toro and Clive Barker. I think I found an address to send fan mail to? I don’t care. I doubt they’ll read it, but I have to try.
- Finish letter for anthology. Nope, not my anthology. Someone else’s. Wait, what? Hmm. Stick around for an announcement in the next few weeks.
- Finish setting up “Bones” on Ingram Spark so that I can distribute to bookstores. More importantly, so I can distribute it to my local Joseph Beth, who take on local authors.
- Clean car. Womp womp.
- Keep an eye on magic the gathering modern crap to make sure my deck doesn’t get banned out. Womp wompppp.
I’ll make another post next week to share how much I accomplished.
Hello there. Been awhile. “Three Heretics” has been keeping me pretty busy lately, and I figured it more productive to plug away at that than on here. But it’s good to keep things balanced, so here’s a list of some of my favorite movies from 2015, in no particular order, because that’s just how I roll.
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
I saw this movie last night and loved every single moment of it. I’ve always enjoyed all of Tarantino’s work, but prior to watching it, I did have some worries about its length and limited locations. I’m happy to report those worries were not realized.
The cinematography was beautiful, the writing was sharp, the acting was on point, and the plot itself was extremely captivating. The music, oh the music, was a lot of the unused music from “The Thing” soundtrack, and it fit the movie perfectly. At times, given what was happening on screen, I felt as though I were watching a horror movie.
I loved it. The movie is populated by terrible people doing terrible things, and the tone changes wildly, but I like things like that … things that cannot be pinned down, that make you laugh one moment and cringe the other. If you like Tarantino’s other movies, in particular slower ones like “Jackie Brown,” it’s definitely worth checking this one out.
I became a huge fan of this director’s work after watching “Prisoners.” And while “Sicario” isn’t on the same level as that movie, it’s pretty close. Like “The Hateful Eight,” the cinematography is disgustingly good, as well as most everything else. It’s an incredibly intense movie, too, with some absolutely awesome build-up before all hell breaks loose.
The plot is very interesting, not necessarily the content of it, but how it is executed. This is a movie determined to keep the audience at arm’s length, just like Emily Blunt’s character. In a way, it’s frustrating, because there isn’t necessarily a huge pay-off (there is and there isn’t), but at the same time, I liked it.
I didn’t know much about this movie other than it sounded like a really bad idea. Apollo Creed has a son and Rocky is going to train him? It seemed as though they were trying to cash in one last time on a franchise that had, more or less, ended well.
Good thing I didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about!
“Creed” was so good. Like, one of the best in the “Rocky” franchise good. It was so well made, with such passion. The audience I saw it with was absolutely captivated and invested into Creed’s journey. Whether you like the “Rocky” movies or not, you owe to yourself to check this one out.
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Star Wars, doe. A little too similar to “A New Hope,” but other than that …
Star Wars, doe.
Okay, if I had to pick a best movie of the year, this may be one of them. I’d heard about this movie off and on. It had Kurt Russel (beautiful man), and it was a western horror, so I knew I had to see it. And I did. And I loved it.
It’s wonderfully well-written. The actors kill it. The direction is just right. And their journey is simultaneously beautiful and disgusting. I hope to see more of Zahler’s works. In fact, he’s a self-published author (or maybe not self-published?), and I’m thinking about picking up some of his books.
It also features one of the most fucked-up kills in a movie in a long time. See it, and add that notch to your gore belt.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD
I’m going to be lazy on this one. It’s insanely good, and praised so highly for a reason. This is a movie almost anyone can appreciate it. Watch it.
Okay, so, Guillermo del Toro is the man. I want him to be my friend, and I want him to work with me and direct my series. His vision, his passion. His desire. His most intimates of intimates …
“Crimson Peak” is a gorgeous movie. Probably one of the best looking movies to come out this year. It’s a movie I could probably thrown on at anytime and never tire of. The story is familiar and not terribly surprising, and most of the time such a thing would piss me off, but … the atmosphere and everything more than makes up for it. I can live with the familiarity if it means I get to enjoy all the other aspects of this delicious, gothic horror/romance tale.
I really enjoyed a lot of these movies as well, but I’m I’ve got dishes to do and books to write, so let me just list them instead. I’ll make a note for movies I haven’t seen but expect to be awesome.
GOOSEBUMPS (YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT)
BEASTS OF NO NATION (NEED TO SEE IT)
STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON (NEED TO SEE IT; SORRY ABOUT CAPS)
THE REVENANT (^)
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART II: XKATNISSSUPERMEGAULTRALIZARDEDITIONX (REALLY LIKED THIS MOVIE A LOT. MAYBE MORE THAN MOST OF THE SERIES. AMG, THE CAPS)
WE ARE STILL HERE