Brain in slow meltdown, with nothing to report. Here’s a robot I doodled which shows the quality of my thinking right now. So much for a book review today.

Iron Man 2

I went to see Iron Man 2 last night and I would say that it’s mixed and fragmented. Some moments are superb, others lackluster. The action didn’t live up to my expectations, there were too many baddies and the story seemed to drift around without real urgency (perhaps a bit too much set up for an Avengers movie?). I guess I like my action flicks simple – one big threat, escalating danger and lots of stuff blowing up. When I start noticing continuity glitches (the angle of the box of strawberries on the table) then I know I’m not fully engaged.

The highlights, however, were anytime Robert Downey Jr and Gwyneth Paltrow were on screen together – the dialogue is busy and natural, their characters so real and fluid: those scenes alone made the movie worth seeing.

Certainly some of the effects are extraordinary, but given that just about anything can be done digitally now I guess I’m getting harder to amaze. I went with a mate, who loved it, says it’s better than the first, so it’s all just opinion anyway.

Date Night – maybe not

No writing for reading post this week – my reading is just going way too slow and I’ve been hard at work on a 5000 word story with a deadline of tomorrow, and trying to do that review.

We thought about going to Date Night – should be a good date movie right? I think Steve Carrell and Tina Fey are both amazing. But then I read that it’s their performances that save mediocre material. Uh-oh. Then I saw that the director also directed Night at The Museum. Now that’s one of the few movies I’ve stopped watching, and fairly early on at that. Usually I can stand almost any old dross, but Night at The Museum just didn’t work for me at any level. I’m perhaps the only one, since it made a ton of money, enough apparently to justify a sequel. Anyhooo, I’ll save my $14.50 and maybe check out Date Night on DVD in six months.

To double feature or not.

Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. So I watched Alien versus Predator, which, although a bit light and breezy (and filled with factual inconsistencies) still has some cool elements. Then, right after that I watched Aliens versus Predator Requiem.

Hmmm. So AVPR has its problems, but does have some cool elements too – I do like the dark forest with face-huggers. I’m not sure that it works so well as part two of a double feature. Maybe I should just watch it stand-alone with the commentary.

Another time I watched Pitch Black – one of my favourite low-budget movies. Again it has some problems and some logical inconsistencies, but it’s fun for what it is. Then I watched The Chronicles of Riddick. Hmmm, again. Riddick has its problems and its cool elements (I like the opening chase, with the bearded Diesel, and some of the prison scenes), but as a double with Pitch Black, I can’t recommend it.

What would I recommend? We stayed home to watch Stone of Destiny followed by Moon. Both intense, character studies, but wildly different – different enough that it’s easy to stay engaged. Another time, last year, I think, we saw The Hangover, followed by Inglourious Basterds. We had meant to see Bruno, but had misread the movie schedule, but had organised the time, so chose The Hangover – probably enjoyed it more since we had low expectations and it was better than those. When we got around to seeing Bruno, didn’t like it as much. Hmm. Anyway, back to that combo – Hangover then Tarantino – certainly no boredom, both such different movies, and both above average (though I struggle with Tarantino at any time … though he did do the Grindhouse thing, which I never saw). I wonder how that mixing up would work though for movies I’ve seen before and want to revist on DVD? I guess I’ll try it sometime – Bull Durham and AVPR, or Pitch Black and Wedding Crashers. Or maybe not.

First round of tutoring complete

This is just a general “what’s up” post. If I understood Facebook, I’d probably post this there.

I mailed back the student portfolios yesterday, so, barring something showing up unexpectedly, I now have a few weeks to study up and prepare for the next portfolio, and to work on some stories and other writing.

The novel – The Rotated is complete and I have submitted that to the editor. I have another YA novel I wrote a while back but had put aside. So, with more confidence having completed the adult novel, I’ll be coming back to that – Octane (working title) – for rewrites and revisions.

I’ve had two story rejections and one poetry acceptance in the last few days. It has been nice to have had some stories published recently – quite a cluster really – and have the poetry contest placing, but rejections still feel huge and hard. I do seem to get more acceptances these days, but still the rejections feel a bit off-putting. Questions come up like “What’s wrong with my story?” when really it’s just that that particular editor is perhaps looking for something different, or the style didn’t quite gel (or maybe that there is something wrong, but hey). So, those stories will continue to circulate until they find the right editor or so much time passes that I will look over them and wonder what I was thinking to write such schlock.

Literally … figuratively

Pedantic hat on, I guess, but I seem to notice that often when people use the word “literally” they mean “figuratively”. It’s just lazy writing (or speaking).

“The car literally took off like a rocket!” No, it figuratively took off like a rocket. Even the word “like” is a clue there – that means it’s a simile.

“The opening band literally blew the main act off the stage.” What? You mean after they were done with their set they came back with some of those big Hollywood fans and made a little windstorm? I guess it’s really a metaphor – the opening act was so good that the main act struggled to hold the audiences attention. It’s an okay metaphor, but don’t tell me that it’s literal. If you need to emphasise it, use a better metaphor.