The Lobster certainly qualifies as a movie—er, film?—that I wouldn’t normally watch.
When I’m on planes, I try to watch movies in different languages or genres than the ones I tend to pick up off the shelf or pay to see in theaters. I watch a lot of mainstream children’s animated films and Hollywood action flicks. They’re usually pretty sparkly and happy.
In contrast, The Lobster was a bleak dystopia that had a kind of a science-fiction premise but absolutely zero sci-fi eye candy. The movie exists to make us feel weird about rules governing relationships. Ours as well as the ones on screen.
The premise is that the government does not permit people to be single. Those who separate or whose spouses die are sent to a kind of dating boot camp at a hotel where, if they do not find a ‘suitable’ partner in 45 days, they are turned into the animal of their choice (by means of some scientific process whose results we see but which is largely outside the scope of the film). The name of the movie is the animal that the protagonist wishes to become if he is unable to find a partner.
Parts of the movie seemed (and were probably intended to seem) disturbing. The ending is ambiguous, and felt (and was probably intended to feel) unsatisfying. The movie was interesting in that it was genuinely, uniquely weird (intentionally absurd, in fact), but I wouldn’t recommend it unless your tolerance for grotesqueness is a lot higher than mine, or you’ve got at least five or ten hours of time to pass on a long-haul international flight… and something cheerful lined up to watch next.
This French comedy, the title of which in English is The New Adventures of Aladdin, was the first and best of the ten movies I saw on my latest trip to the US.
It’s a story within a story; the frame story is set during Christmas and is about a guy who is planning an after-hours robbery of the department store where he and his buddy work. Before the time arrives, however, his boss makes him tell a story to a group of kids, and he chooses to narrate a ‘remix’ of the fantasy story of Aladdin.
This version of Aladdin is a mixture of the familiar 1992 Disney cartoon, the traditional Arabian Nights story, and the filmmakers’ own ideas. Some of the new ideas are wry anachronisms inserted by the character who serves as narrator; others are suggested by the children in the audience as the story progresses.
The whole thing is utterly hilarious, and of course there’s a happy holiday ending: the narrator—the proverbial thief with a heart of gold—decides not to go through with the robbery after all.
However, “Don’t leave your handphone & wallet behind”, assuming we find ‘handphone’ acceptable, sounds fine, since ‘handphone’ and ‘wallet’ can easily be considered a pair of items that would be forgotten together.
I would rewrite that as follows.
Records show that 50% of the items reported lost in taxis are mobile phones and wallets.
On the other hand, I like the ampersand on this half of the sign much better. Even if it is crowding the descender on that letter ‘y’.
Although writing is a timeless sort of endeavor, the technology we use for writing and research has changed a lot in recent decades, so much of the discussion of process in this book is laughably out of date. On the other hand, there’s some good information here about the internal mechanics of story.
Genre: Non-fiction (writing)
Date started / date finished: 7-Jul-16 to 13-Jul-16
Length: 258 pages
ISBN: 0898793475 (paperback)
Originally published in: 1968/1989
Amazon link: Writing for Children and Teenagers (only available used)
It’s not a movie that can be easily summarized; it spans six different timelines that are tied together in surprising ways.
I’ve now watched the movie three times: once on a tiny screen on the plane, where much of the subtlety went straight past me; again via iTunes on a laptop screen; this time via iTunes on a huge TV shortly after reading the book.
For more on what I noticed about it this time (including SPOILERS), and ways the movie differs from the book, keep reading.
I was not particularly optimistic about Rise of the Guardians. But I should have trusted Dreamworks. They have made the best clap-if-you-believe-in-fairies movie I have ever seen. I thought I was over the whole childlike-holiday-spirit movie ethos, but apparently not. The movie was amazing. How on earth did it not make a profit? It was way, way better than the creepy adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel Hogfather, which covers a lot of the same ground. There are also maybe some echoes of Epic here, but Epic wasn’t nearly as good.
Apparently, Rise of the Guardians (like that weird, weird mess, Meet the Robinsons) is the brainchild of writer William Joyce. Oh, hey, wait, Epic is his too, actually. Huh. He must really have a thing for hummingbirds.
Anyway, the premise of Rise of the Guardians is that a lonely magical teen named Jack Frost is called in to help four others (Santa aka Nicholas St. North, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sandman) who guard the children of the world because the Bogeyman, Pitch Black, is trying to gain power again by making them afraid. If he succeeds, he could destroy belief, and with it, the guardians themselves, along with all hope and happiness. But Jack is just a carefree punk who doesn’t know where he came from. What could he possibly do?