Writing again

I’ve been watching things.

Procrastinating with entertainment.

I’m in the middle of some Epic Fantasy, (NK Jemison, wooooooo!) but I’m not finished, I’m writing & revising but that’s boring to report on, and my baking adventures are getting their own posts.

SO. This episode of Sometimes I Do Other Things is all about the viewings of the last few weeks.

Exodus: Gods & Kings. A movie just as long as the Charlton Heston epic, minus two major subplots and without the golden calf sequence, with Yahweh inexplicably appearing as a small child throughout and also a lot of dramatic scenes of people glancing significantly at each other. OOF. I recommend AGAINST this one.

Atomic Blonde. Brilliantly-directed classic spy thriller, gritty and grounded in its time with a stunning use of period music. Wowza.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I have nothing good to say about this beyond, “Yes, I laughed at the funny bits and enjoyed it.” I also appreciated the moviecraft that went into the action sequences and the set design & cinematography were brilliant. Otherwise, from concept through character design to plot it’s a terrible, horrible, no-good,  scrub-out-your-brain-afterwards mess of septic tropes and poisonous cliches. Also the writers got simple bourbon-making facts wrong. SHAME. In short, a typical grand mess of a Hollywood blockbuster sequel.

Dunkirk. In many ways it reminded me of The Thin Red Line.  That is not a compliment. It’s all about insisting that the full scope of human experience can only be appreciated against a backdrop of  The Horrors Of War ™ Both movies looked at the same topic from different side. Instead of humanizing the grim bleakness of victory the way tTRL did, Dunkirk dramatizes the uplifting side of defeat. Or something like that.  Sorry to grump all over a movie that was super popular and beloved of critics. I’m glad I saw it. I just…I dunno.  I don’t need a lens of bloodshed and grit to celebrate humanity’s better angels.

Despicable Me 3.  An emotional palate cleanser after Dunkirk. Animated fun with all the elevated humor of a rowdy class of second-graders. Pretty sure that’s the target market, but like all the best cartoons, there’s plenty of higher-level fun for grownups to enjoy. Plus Agnes, Edith, and Margo are always fabulous.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard. I was hoping to add a movie to my growing “Hitman Comedies” list with Grosse Pointe Blank and Red, but nope.  It isn’t bad. I enjoyed it. I Won’t ever need to see it again, though.  Ryan Reynolds & Samuel L Jackson were both good, & Salma Hayek was excellent, but the plot intensity wobbled between The Whole Nine Yards and In Bruges and never settled anywhere.

Flatliners. Not sure why this got bumped onto Hollywood’s remake list. This is a solid take on a movie that wasn’t brilliant the first time. Far too much stalker camerawork, and even more too-muchness in the long lingering reaction stares and pointless telegraphed jump scare categories, but it stayed true to the original premise and only got a little muddy on plot.  Kieffer Sutherland’s cameo was the highlight for me.

Pirates of the Caribbean: something something something. What is this? #4? #5? Anyway. I’m sure many people adored it. Best I say nothing beyond SERIOUSLY WTF WHY WHY WHY…ahem. Sorry. You may safely infer I was not impressed. What a waste of so many things. Not my time, though. I folded laundry, came and went, played with my new iPad pencil and enjoyed the CGI. The graphics were marvelous.

Cloverfield Paradox. It was a space horror movie. Can’t recommend, can’t understand the hate it gets either. Compared to most of that sub-genre, it was

Altered Carbon. (Netflix original series) Holy fucking hell. Boom. This lets me wrap up on a high note. There’s an admantium Bladerunner skeleton under this show’s slick, modern, glamorous techno-skin, and the writing is full-on phenomenal. Some big gaps in plot, but I’m all about forgiving those when the premise is plausible and the internal consistency is there, and this show nails it.  Extra happy points for going equal-opportunity on the nudity (within the limits allowed by the annoying TV ratings system.)

It gets all my recommendations–with the caveat that it depicts a violent & bloody world where savage things happen…and gets moderately graphic about it.

Upcoming? OLYMPICS. Full television schedule bookmarked: check. Empty DVR: check. Food & beverage & power cord for the laptop: checkcheckcheck.

I record and time-shift the shit out of NBC’s commercial-soaked, propaganda-diluted fluff-piece-infested coverage. Comparing the number of jingoistic interludes & nationalistic melodramas to the number of actual events shown keeps me entertained.  And the internet gives me BBC & CBC clips. Huzzah for balance. And yay, sportsing!



By K. M. Herkes

Author, gardener, and cat wrangler.