Sunday, January 1, 2017

Sunday Snapshot Says Happy New Year!

Thor is facing the New Year head-on.

Happy 2017, everyone! Hope you're all enjoying a wonderful holiday season.

Currently reading:

But First, Champagne by David White: Idk, the World War chapters were SUPER boring.

Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers: Could Lord Peter be more British?

I still haven't decided what my first read of 2017 will be; I finished The Chocolate Kiss last night.


My year in books.


Passengers, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence

The starship Avalon is on a 120-year journey to another planet, where its 5,000 passengers and crew–currently in suspended animation–are scheduled to set up a new colony. Then the ship is damaged and one man wakes up, 90 years too early. And, like Adam in the Garden of Eden, he has everything he needs except companionship.

Hmmm. This movie was okay. I really liked the special effects and set design, and Michael Sheen as the bartender android Arthur was just fantastic. But the movie really falls apart when it comes to character development. There are only three human characters in this entire film, yet the screenwriters couldn't be bothered to really sit down and think about their motivations for leaving all their family and friends behind, forever. What kind of a person would do that? That's the real question, and we're never given a plausible explanation.

I mean, look at the people who colonized the New World and their motivations: they were either soldiers or criminals who didn't really have a choice in the matter; people who were completely desperate and had nothing to lose; or, religious nutjobs. And neither of the main characters in Passengers fits those descriptions. JLaw's character (supposedly a smart journalist, yet she can't put two and two together to figure out how she got into this sitch) is going to the colony to write about it for earthlings, and then she's going to return. After 240 years? What's she going back for? Makes no sense.

But JLaw has the backstory to end all backstories compared to Pratt (I can't even remember his character's name), whose single description of his life on earth was that it was "all right." Uh okay? Did have parents, siblings, a goldfish? No idea! And the whole, "In a new colony mechanics can build things," explanation is just lazy, as is repeating ad copy from the colonization brochure.

Perhaps a pair of really excellent character actors–like Sheen, for example–could have added depth to these two, but Hollywood decided to go with ye olde two attractive people who fall in love trick. YAWN. That wasn't the only predictable turn in this film, either. And I would like to add as a side note that I'm getting really sick of these movies where all JLaw does is scream and cry and throw emotive fits, or look pretty. It just really reminds me of high school drama club.

But hey, space!

pride and prejudice and zombies
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, starring Lily James and Sam Riley

Come one, come all, to see one of the classics of women's literature be transformed into a story for men. Because men don't have enough stories.

To be honest, I fell asleep during this one, but even before I fell asleep I decided it was dumb. As an adaption of the original, it's half-assed at best; and while you would think the addition of zombies would make it kooky and/or exciting, it really does neither. I can understand why no one went to see this movie.

jason bourne
Jason Bourne, starring Matt Damon and Alicia Vikander

There are certain things one expects from a Jason Bourne movie: first and foremost, Jason Bourne, obvs. Second of all, exotic locals and kick-ass car chases. And third of all, a menacing and seemingly all-powerful group of government spooks who want to bring Bourne in and make him do their bidding OR ELSE. Jason Bourne certainly had all of these elements, but they felt out of balance. There was hardly any Bourne in it all, 2 car chases, and way way way too many scenes of the spooks watching video of what Bourne's doing, followed by them telling us what he's doing. We can see the screen same as you can, people! As result, the movie as a whole just felt hopelessly muddled and Bourne seemed more of a plot device than a character. Vikander was a standout with her performance of the Agent With Unclear Motivations (I believe that was her title in the script, no?), but that's hardly enough to make me like the movie. Even a Bourne fan could stand to wait for this one to come out on cable.

manchester by the sea
Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges

Lee is an apartment complex janitor who has issues with emotions. Expressing them, recognizing them in other people, etc. When his brother dies he returns to his hometown of Manchester, where we discover what made Lee the man he is today. Spoiler alert: it involves tragedy.

What's this, a movie where I can actually remember the characters' names?!? This film sounds like it's going to be depressing AF but it's not. I wouldn't say it's hopeful necessarily, either, but it's definitely not cynical. There's a lot of humor to balance out the sad parts, and the filmmakers never stray into sentimentality or emotional manipulation, they just make you genuinely feel for the characters. Affleck's performance was completely on point and I loved the character of Patrick, his nephew, even though he is a fat jerk teenager. The gorgeous shots of the bay and the small town were just a bonus. I would be shocked if this movie didn't receive at least one Oscar.

New Year's Resolutions

I enjoy posting my New Year Resolutions even though I rarely make any attempt to follow through on them, and typically forget what they even were by summer. Last year my resolutions were to spruce up my professional writing site (which I did, though not to my complete satisfaction), get back to writing fiction (didn't happen, although I did write a non-fiction cocktail book), and get back into food and drink writing, which I was able to do!

This year I'd like to:

  • Practice my languages everyday. I'm already on a six-day streak with this, thanks to an app on my phone! Will it continue? Eh, probably not.
  • Get outside and exercise more. I'm aware that I need to exercise more, because the life of a writer is fairly sedentary. But recently I saw this video on how exercise is the #1 thing you can do in your life to prevent Alzheimer's. Since my grandmother died of Alzheimer's and my grandfather currently has dementia, this is relevant to my interests. Of course, I probably won't follow through on it because: 1. Winter. Brrrr. 2. Running/walking around my neighborhood is a nightmare since we don't have sidewalks; 3. I'm not going to drive somewhere for the sake of walking or exercising; 4. Imma definitely not going to go to a gym and I think stationary bikes/treadmills are nonsensical. Sooooo that's a lot of excuses. But hey, you never know!
  • Save more money, pay off credit cards. It's that time of the year again when you take a look at your credit card statement and gulp! But, aside from that, I need to make myself more financially secure in the long-term, which means reducing expenses and creating a more substantial parachute fund.
  • Finish The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I started Marie Kondo's tidying up project wayyyyy back in 2014, and got kind of bogged down on the miscellaneous category. But I'm almost done! I just have to do tabletop knick knacks/tchotchkes, stuffed animals and toys (not looking forward to that one), and photos, and then at last my life will be magically transformed /sarcasm.
What are your New Year Resolutions?

I hope you all have an awesome year in 2017! Be optimistic and kind to one another, and always remember to read plenty of books. <3

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