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State of the Blog – November 2015

As happens, the inexorable passing of time has continued unabated, so it is time for another sobering and disappointed recounting of the previous month at my movie blog. There were still a few cool things that I got up off the ground last month, and also plenty to look forward to in November – including a couple of great outside projects that both look incredibly fun and should increase traffic towards my little online moviespace. So, let’s get to it!

After a second straight month where I felt my production here at Plot and Theme was a little wanting, I am going to try to change a few things up and stick to a more explicit schedule. As it stands, I have spent the last few months largely winging it here on my movie blog, and sometimes that has worked fantastically. I will get an idea or two in my head (often spurned on by seeing a cool movie or thinking about a cool one I had seen before) and then write something about it. As I start to fill my time with other projects (podcasting and short story writing), work-related things (grants, papers, experiments and other associated sciencing) and also waste time watching sports and such, I am losing the ability to play by ear, so I am going to try to set up a more explicit schedule.

The schedule is going to be pretty simple at the start, and I will see if I can add to it later. First, I want to post a minimum of three movie-related posts per week: A review of a newer movie (either in theatres or something that I have just gotten around to seeing) on Monday, a longer essay or multi-part piece on Wednesday, and a review of a classic on Classic Review Friday. Every now and then, I hope to toss in a trailer reaction, news piece, or opinion thing in there as well, but these three posts will happen every week – starting this week with a review of Steve Jobs, Part 2 of the Don Bluth Animation Retrospective, and a Classic Review Friday featuring Pleasantville. Expect them, they are happening. Hopefully I get to react to the Warcraft trailer on Friday, to boot!

Even though it is my disappointment with my own production these last few months has been the inspiration for this more scheduled posting pattern, I am pretty happy with a few of the things that I have made this last month. The Don Bluth animation seems to be a hit, and I am working hard to finalize the second part. Denis Villeneuve week was awesome, and might be up there with some of my favorite stuff ever (Especially Incendies and Polytechnique). And, finally, The Martian will likely end up on my Top Ten list by the end of the year. All that being said, there is room for a lot of improvement in November, and also lots to be excited for.

It may not look like it, but I am actually getting closer and closer to publishing a couple of big essay pieces, and beyond that there are a number of cool flicks to look forward to this month. At the top of the list is Spectre, of course, but don’t sleep on The Good Dinosaur from Pixar. And I am sure I will get out to see Mockingjay Part II, and will likely post reviews for both it and part one in quick succession (I actually haven’t even seen Part I yet, as I wanted to wait). There’s also a bunch of smaller Indie fare that I am seeking out in the smaller theatres: Trumbo looked great from the trailer (which I reviewed once upon a time), so I am on the lookout for that one. Spotlight is the current darling of critics everywhere (it is a brutal look at the Catholic Church and its cover-up of abuse), and Secret in Their Eyes is an American remake of a brilliant Argentinean film that I have rented recently in hopes of comparing the two. Lots to look forward to in theatres!

And, I would be remiss not to hype up the Criterion Blogathon which I will be participating in later in November. I have chosen to review Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971), which will actually serve as a jumping-off point for another series that I am going to do: Five different versions of The Scottish Play! Polanski get’s first billing on account of being the inspiration for the idea, but I will also tackle three very different versions: Orson Welles’ famously “doomed” 1948 adaptation, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood (1957), and a 1978 TV Film of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Other Place production staring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench! Of course, closing it all out will be the new version staring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, which is finally released in the United States on December 4th. So, if you’re a Shakespeare person, or just like the idea of five different reviews of the exact same story – make sure to pay attention in the latter half of the month.

Let’s get to work – November is going to be the month where I pull it all back together and produce more quality content than you can shake a stick at, so strap in!

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Derek Jacobs

Chicago,IL 60606

A website

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