Movie Review – The Sisters Brothers

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The Sisters Brothers is a 2018 Western dark comedy directed by Jacques Audiard. It is based on the novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt (which I have a review of here). The story follows Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly), two brothers and hitmen who work for the rich and powerful Commodore (Rutger Hauer), hunting down people who “steal” from him. The two are tasked with finding Hermann Kermit Warm (Riz Ahmed), a chemist heading to California to prospect for gold. John Morris (Jake Gyllenhaal) is already tracking the man as a scout, leaving postage behind so the Sisters brothers can pursue. What follows is a humorously strange odyssey through the West, during which their relationship as brothers is tested and they wonder if they can expect anything more from life than danger and death.Read More »

Movie Review – A Ghost Story

Summary

In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife.

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A Ghost Story is a 2017 supernatural drama written and directed by David Lowery. It stars Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as a couple living in a suburban Texas home who are making plans to move. They are awoken one night by a noise they cannot explain and shortly afterwards Affleck’s character (simply credited as “C”) dies in a car accident. His spirit, appearing as a bedsheet ghost, returns home, a place he becomes anchored to.Read More »

Trying to get Refocused

Lately I’ve been taking in just how much I still need to get through, not just in terms of books, but all forms of art and storytelling that have been backlogged for years now. I think part of this has to do with coming into my own both as a reader/viewer/etc. and as someone with critical aspirations. When I was in university, the material I had to learn and write about was provided for me and occupied a lot of my time. Now, I have to be the author of my own progress. The problem is, despite progress I feel I have made as a writer, I’m terrible at managing what content I get through.Read More »

Dissecting my Feelings on Rogue One

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a highly-anticipated film, and its plain to see why. It works hard to recapture the look and feel of the original trilogy, being set just before the events of A New Hope, and it promised a grittier, more war-torn take on the franchise. Force-users and the Jedi are largely absent, instead giving us a better look at everyday combatants in the Rebellion and the insurmountable tasks they had to accomplish against a vast Empire.Read More »

Movie Review – The Babadook

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Recently I watched The Babadook, an Australian psychological horror film released in 2014 and directed by Jennifer Kent. The film follows Amelia Vannick, a single mother who works as an orderly and is struggling to raise her six year old son Samuel. Her husband died in a car accident on the day Sam was born, an event that continues to haunt their small household.Read More »

“It’s Just a Kids Movie” Isn’t an Excuse

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Over the last few months, an argument has been brought to me a few times that I take issue with. My friends and I are fans of a lot of animated movies, so it isn’t uncommon for us to watch a fair amount of movies intended for younger audiences. During one of these viewings we were watching Anastasia, a 1999 20th Century Fox film directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman.

Part way through the first act I expressed that I was not enjoying the film because I did not think it was very well written. A friend of mine simply dismissed my criticisms, however, stating “It’s just a kids movie; don’t think so much about it.” This is a mindset I have always taken issue with. The genre or intended audience of something does not automatically forgive its shortcomings.Read More »

Pirates of the Caribbean & Trilogy Structure

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This past week was a series of impromptu viewings of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, specifically the first three. It was my girlfriend who wanted to watch the movies, so I did not entirely sit through each one. I’m familiar with the series already, but having them on throughout the week got me thinking about trilogies, and the many things the series did right that made it compelling.Read More »

All About Stories

Quite simply, this blog is going to be a place where I will write.

What I write about will vary depending on what has captured my interest. In my academic life I spent a lot of time reading literature, but my focus will extend beyond that. I am absolutely in love with almost all storytelling mediums. To list them more specifically: literature, comic books, films, animation, live action TV, and video games. I try to absorb as much content across all these mediums as I possibly can.

I consider myself quite open-minded, so there are few genres I will outright dismiss instead of giving a chance. Two genres I am particularly fond of, however, are fantasy and science fiction. Although I have much love for more realistic, dramatic stories, it is the extraordinary elements of these genres that particularly captivate me. Perhaps not surprisingly, I have a considerable love for mythology as well. Although at the moment this is limited to classical mythology (Ancient Greece) I intend to expand my knowledge as much as possible to learn more about the world’s different mythologies.

The reason for the broad spectrum of mediums I want to cover is that I have a deep reverence for stories, and I try to enjoy them in all the forms they inhabit. Though I have never truly been a spiritual man, having grown up in an environment where religious practice was absent, I firmly believe in the power of story. All of us believe in a myth of origin, for example, and use this as a means to help understand who we are by using this origin as a foundation. This could be Creation in the Bible, Evolution from the scientific perspective, or anywhere else on the vast spectrum of belief.

Challenge a person’s myth of origin and it is likely to be met with negativity. You may be thinking to yourself, for instance, that your belief is not “just a story.” This is a line of thinking that fails to appreciate the power of story. A story can make you happy, excited, or even miserable over something that never happened. Stories can make you fall in love with or hate someone who has never existed. People fight, die, and/or kill each other over stories every day. People seek each other out, become connected, and/or fall in love because of stories. To paraphrase Thomas King, stories are powerful and flexible, like water. Sometimes the same story can be used to help or it can be used to hurt.

We are affected by stories each day of our lives, even when we don’t realize it, because they are not simply the explicit constructs that populate our books, televisions, and theatres. Stories are the truths and lies we tell to ourselves and others. To perceive, even in some small way, is to tell a story.

Be kind; I am a scholar, but not a philosopher. I hope the above has provided an interesting glimpse into how I perceive the world and the stories around us, and did not come across as rambling. With this blog I hope to analyze, criticize, and review works from different storytelling mediums as I consider and/or experience them. This could be anything from merely sharing my feelings about a work, providing deeper criticism, or digging deep and analyzing its subtext and sharing anything meaningful I might find there.

I also intend to post some of my own creative writing, though this will be less frequent. I idolize writers like Neil Gaiman —I would love nothing more than to experience success across numerous mediums such as he has — but for the most part I envision my creative work will consist of short stories for the time being.

I look forward to embarking further upon this writing odyssey of mine. We must all start somewhere, and it is time I stopped merely absorbing content and began creating some of my own. Come along and muse with me, and let’s see what we can learn.