Potted Film Review: Fractured (2019)

MV5BZTE0MWE4NzMtMzc4Ny00NWE4LTg2OTQtZmIyNDdhZjdiZmJhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzY0MTE3NzU@._V1_UY268_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Starring: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe

Sometimes movies try to be too clever for their own good, and the writers will throw up any number of roadblocks and red herrings just to ensure the viewer doesn’t figure out what is going on.

Fractured is a psychological thriller and could very easily have been one of those movies, but instead it kept me on the hook right until the end, even if I had pretty much (mostly) figured out what was going on before the credits rolled.

Although it does change things up a bit, what’s on offer here is not an original concept – and to say too much about the plot would be to spoil it, so I won’t – but it’s all done very well, to the point where the movie is thoroughly engrossing throughout.

Recommended ⇑

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The Less Famous Comic Called Russell…

Last night I went to see the British comic, Russell Kane. I have only seen a handful of comedians perform on stage because I can be quite particular about who I find funny, but I’m glad I went. The guy is pretty good.

He took to the stage at 7.30 (at the newly refurbished Music Hall here in Aberdeen) and maybe a hundred thousand words later, he was out of there by 10. No support; no elaborate stage. Just him and a microphone.

You see, Russell Kane likes to talk. And talk. And talk. Now that would just come off as annoying if he didn’t have anything interesting to say, but thankfully Kane has a lot of stories to tell, most of which had me laughing and nodding in agreement – whether it was the misuse of social media, the (un)importance of greeting cards, or his wife’s drunken antics.

Recommended if he comes to your town, and you’re short of a smile.

What I’ve Done This Week #41…

I used to print out my stories as I finished them but somewhere along the line I stopped, and as a result the only hard copies I have of my work exists in the magazines and books that I have via their publication.

At least, that was until this week…

I decided that I wanted to have everything there in front of me, filed away on paper. Yeah, it’s a little old fashioned, but there is something satisfying about stories on the page, as opposed to double-clicking a word document. It also means I don’t have to boot up my laptop to look at something I’ve written.

So, I bought a couple of ink cartridges, a heap of plastic pockets, a few lever-arch ring binders, and a shit-ton of paper, and started the process.

And it’s a long process.

I am working back in time and have gone through two cartridges of ink already, which has only got me the last seven years of work… so I’m going to need another trip to the supermarket soon.

But it’s nice to have a physical record of what I’ve been doing. On that note, I discovered that I was missing a first draft of a story I wrote in 2013. Can’t find it anywhere. Fortunately, I have the redraft stored (and now printed), so all was not lost.

Night Shift #6 – The Boogeyman…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 4,900

As I am discovering with a lot of the stories in Night Shift, The Boogeyman is very straightforward, which I am sure has a lot to do with how young and inexperienced King was when he wrote these. No matter, such literary limitations often makes for a more focused tale, and the narrative here is pretty solid as a result.

The Boogeyman is set entirely in a therapy session with the central character taking the blame for the death of his three children, because he believes that he has allowed the titular boogeyman into their home. What follows is the conversation between doctor and patient as they both try to work through what has actualy happened.

This is a simple story that is possibly a little longer than it needs to be – because there isn’t much meat on the bone – but it’s a fun read, and worth your time if you want to dig in to the collection.

Recommended ⇓

Potted Film Review: Backtrace (2018)

Starring: Matthew Modine, Sylvester Stallone

I am an unapologetic Stallone fan, but he has made a lot of less than stellar movies. Backtrace – in which he plays a supporting role as a cop still working a case from the best part of a decade earlier – is one of them.

His performance (for what there is of it) is fine, as are those of the rest of the cast, but from start to finish this by-the-numbers crime thriller feels like a movie you would find at the bottom of the bargain bin in your local supermarket. It’s not a terrible movie, or a great embarrassment on anyone’s resume… but it’s just a completely forgettable ninety minutes.

Not Recommended ⇓

What I’ve Done This Week #39 (and #40)…

Last night I finished writing the short story I first mentioned three weeks ago. From first word to last it’s a fairly quick turnaround for me. After my initial struggles I found a title that fits what I was trying to accomplish. It’s called More of a Wednesday Girl.

The tale comes in at just over 2000 words, which – give or take a word or two – is exactly the length I had anticipated, and that’s another thing that is unusual for me, because I’m very good at grossly underestimating just how damn long my stories are going to be.

It’s good, and I’m happy with it, but I let The Fiancée© read it about five minutes after I put it down, and she made a suggestion about the way the story unfolded that I am annoyed never really crossed my mind. Sometimes it really is a case of not seeing the wood for the trees.

Oh well… maybe in the next draft.

Night Shift #5 – The Mangler…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 7,000

An industrial laundry press is possessed and kills anyone who gets too close to it. Yes, the premise of The Mangler is very silly, which is not to say that silly ideas can’t work, but it does mean the story is already fighting an uphill battle even before we turn the first page.

This would not have been so bad had it been well written, but unfortunately I can see the immaturity and inexperience of the author in the words. Actually, King does name-drop the titular model of laundry press as a Hadley-Watson Model-6 Speed Ironer and Folder, so there is something approaching research in here, and an attempt to ground the story in the real world – as much as such a ridiculous idea can be – but the dialogue is painful in places and some of the narration is equally awkward.

Such is the absurdity of the story, The Mangler would have been much more acceptable as a spoof. If I thought that King was trying to make us laugh, this would at least have some merit, but I don’t think he is in on the joke.

Not Recommended ⇓