“Babylon”: Damien Chazelle’s Hollow Ode to Hollywood
I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but Damien Chazelle likes movies. Babylon, the director’s latest celebration of his own art form, is a monument to the indulgence of early Hollywood, documenting the seamy culture while celebrating the magical products that it produces. The result is an uneven and haphazard slog of over three hours, as we watch what amounts to a fever dream on a truly cinematic scale.WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?
“The Whale” Devastates with a Timeless Look at Choice, Forgiveness, and Love
The Whale fucking destroyed me.
With about fifteen minutes to go, I felt the lump forming in my throat. After a tiny plot twist, things started getting blurry. During the climactic scene, the tears started flowing freely, and by the time the credits rolled, I was an absolute mess. I wasn’t the only one, as I heard sniffling from two others in my row. My tears continued on the way out of the theatre, down the escalator, on the walk home in 10-degree weather, and as I feebly attempted to explain to my wife why my eyes were so red. After calming down over the next hour, I was left with one question: how the Hell did The Whale do this to me?
A24 Films available on Amazon.would you like to know more?
The Knives Out and Glass Onion Double-Feature Film Review
The “whodunit” style of mystery story has experienced a renaissance over the recent years with updated versions of the classic Agatha Christie stories like Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile having reasonable success with audiences. More thriller-style mysteries like Gone Girl and Where the Crawdads Sing have been adapted from popular novels and experienced similar success. Even original screenplays like See How They Run and Amsterdam have joined this party. Mystery is back, and perhaps the most-celebrated examples comes from director Rian Johnson and his two Knives Out films featuring Kentucky-Fried detective Benoit Blanc. With the second film available on Netflix as of December 23rd, this feels like the perfect time to look back at these two films and see what elements have resonated so well with audiences.Would you like to know more?
Avatar 2: The Way-off Water
Avatar 2: The Way of Water is a three-hour Disney ride more than an actual film, and it feels as though the creators believe that’s plenty. Characters are drawn broadly and their motivations even more so. Plot elements are convenient, shoe-horned, and repetitious retreads of the first film, at least when they aren’t completely nonsensical. Themes are unchanged from the original, an afterthought at best. This is a movie that is more about the experience of watching it than the actual content of the movie.(more…)
Project Announcement: “Viral Agents” – A Science Fiction Novel
Since about 2015, I have been keeping jottings on various creative writing projects. Some are probably best suited to short stories, but I felt that others had a good chance to become full-fledged novels. In November of 2017, I wrote the opening scene to one of these projects in a fit of inspiration and creativity. Then I set it aside for almost four years. Partly this was because I wasn’t prepared to focus on it, and partly because I knew I needed to learn a lot more about plotting, writing, and everything else that comes along with turning a blank page into a complete work. I read books on writing (a post for a different day, I’m sure). I plotted out my story. I developed my characters and themes, and at some point the only thing left to do was write.(more…)
National Novel Writing Month 2022 – a NaNoWriMo Victory Tale
For those of you not in the know, November is National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo”. Created by the nonprofit organization of the same name, NaNoWriMo promotes creative writing throughout the world by sponsoring content, providing tools for writers, and hosting platforms for writers to record and share their progress towards writing 50,000 words in the month of November.
This year I participated, and now I have the first draft of my first novel to show for it.(more…)
State of the Blog – March 2020
March is underway, and it is time for a quick update here at Plot and Theme. As usual, February is a pretty slow movie month, so there wasn’t a lot that I saw, but hopefully that will be balanced with the plethora of interesting movies set to debut in March.
Plot and Theme’s Very Favorite Films of 2019
Now that we’re squarely into a brand new decade, and I’ve had enough time to reflect on the films and flicks from the past year and draw up a preliminary Top 10 List for the year. Plot and Theme turns five years old in 2020, and while I am sure that some of my opinions from those first few reviews have changed a bit by now, I still like putting forth a contemporaneous “Best of” list while still grappling with what these newest films have to show us. So, that’s what we get here.