Movie Review: Hereafter

Over the weekend, my loving wife and I sat down to watch a movie. We chose Hereafter, starring Matt Damon and a bunch of other people I’d never heard of. And that guy who used to be in the Pepsi “Brown-‘n’-Bubbly” commercials and was in The Ghost Whisperer. Remember him? (His name’s Jay Mohr, if that helps you. It wouldn’t help me, I can say that.)

hereafter-movie-image-0It’s about a series of events which lead to the lives of George Lonegal, a gifted psychic, and Marie Lelay, a French journalist and newscaster, intersecting. George only needs to touch someone for a moment or two (ala The Dead Zone, IIRC) to get a “connection” with them. And that means a link to their dead loved ones, who will then speak to the person via George (which is more like The Ghost Whisperer or Medium than a psychic, isn’t it?).

Sometimes things are exactly what they should be. The person is told they’re forgiven, or they hear the encouragement to pursue something they couldn’t before, or they hear they’re going to be all right.

Other times, though, George has to deliver a shocking blow. Something deep and hidden, something the person receiving the reading didn’t want anyone – including George – to know. And despite warnings from George, and despite his insistence that he doesn’t do that anymore, he doesn’t want to do that anymore, they just keep coming to him. Especially after his brother Billy (Jay Mohr) can’t take the hint and keep his big mouth closed. See, Billy wants George to go back into the “business” of being a psychic. But George doesn’t want anything to do with that. He just wants to live his life – a normal, regular-guy, I-drive-a-forklift-in-a-sugar-factory normal.

And as for Marie Lelay (Cecile De France), well, she’s got an interesting story. She was a hot commodity, a famous journalist and newscaster on the rise, with many bright options in her future. But on December 26, 2004, her life changed forever. And on the encouragement of her boyfriend/producer, she steps aside to write a book and take some time to deal with what happened to her. But that turns out to be both a horrible mistake – and a blessing in the long run.

There’s a third story about Marcus, a twin with brother Jason, who lives a tragic life with a drug-addicted mother and social services breathing down their neck. When tragedy strikes, Marcus goes on a quest to find someone – anyone – who can help him deal with his loss. His final destination will lead him to George.

Hereafter is interesting on a few fronts. First, because Clint Eastwood also wrote the original music for the movie. Second, because the whole thing is backstory, pretty much. It’s like the entire movie is set up for the final act, rather than the first act being set up for the rest of the movie. (That’s not actually true, if analyzed correctly, but the movie can be viewed that way easily.)

Most of the movie is comprised of stories which lead each of the characters on a journey that brings them to the same place, for vastly different reasons. A very interesting format.

I felt it dragged a little at 2:09, but honestly, this isn’t a movie with much for pace. It has to unfold. And I was interested most of the time. Most.

I gave it four stars. Well acted, well written, but a bit slower than it had to be. I think some celluloid could have been saved and still gotten the movie across. Then again, I’m working for a living instead of making movies, so what do I know?

Before we closed out of Vudu, we rated Hereafter 4 stars. Your mileage may vary, but if you’re into paranormal movies more about character than ghosts, this is your ticket.

Enjoy.

-jdt-

“Masters” of Horror, Indeed

I’ve been cruising through some horror offerings lately, some written, some viewed. During my vacation, as I previously blogged, my beloved spouse indulged my horrific whims with movies and permissive blind-eyeing. So, one of the things I wanted to check out was an old series on Showtime (I think) called Masters of Horror.

MastersofhorrorIt aired back in 2005, and brought together 13 masters of the horror genre who directed a one-hour short film. I’ve seen two so far: Deer Woman and Sick Girl.

Either one is enough to turn me off the series for good.

John Landis did great with An American Werewolf in London, but his entry to the Masters of Horror episode was a disaster. It was boring, comical and not at all what I’d hoped. It did have a beautiful topless woman, though, and I have to say, even that couldn’t save it.

Sick Girl is a lesbian-commentary piece about being different for most of its run. At the end it actually becomes a predictable and laughable body-horror entry, and again, the topless shots (of a fairly mediocre-looking actress) didn’t help. In the end, it fell flat and was a bit ridiculous. Oh, and predictable.

Now, I don’t want to give up on this series just yet. The whole reason I started watching it in the first place was because of a discovery I made last month that a horror comic from the 1970s (I think) was the basis for one of the episodes. It’s called Jenifer, and from what I can see they stayed relatively true to the original story. It was only about ten pages long originally, so we’ll see how they choose to fill the space.

If that one is disappointing, I quit. On to something else. I’ve seen a lot of good movies and read some interesting stories, but you can’t win ‘em all.

If anyone’s seen Jenifer, no comment-spoilers please. Unless it’s really bad. Then please save me from myself.

Hope you all had a good weekend!

Reader Reviews

Reader reviews can be hard to take. For one thing, sometimes the review isn’t about the book, it’s about Amazon. Or the delivery timing. Or stuff way beyond the control of the author.

But sometimes, the reader simply doesn’t like something about your story.

When I wrote Scales of Justice, I was excited about how the story turned out. I thought I had a fairly rich character set, if not my stoic and secretive protagonist. My antagonist had legitimate reasons for why he is the way he is. And of course, I had cowboys and dragons. What more could you want?

Well, according to one reviewer, quite a bit.

A lot of negative reviews can be dismissed. There’s no accounting for taste after all. But sometimes the review is spot on with the critique. And this time, I took a bullet between the eyes. The reviewer’s remarks were pointed and correct, and I wanted to crawl under my desk and vomit. Then wallow in it.

What they said wasn’t bad. It wasn’t hurtful. But it did hurt. Because if I had been a better storyteller, a better writer…those things couldn’t have been said.

Some of you helped me with the story, and I appreciate it. But I guess there’s something to be said about having more eyes on the pages. Critique partners might have been helpful, or maybe giving more time before publication for a few trusted sources to continue sounding off and letting me know what was wrong with the story.

Unfortunately, the reader did it for me.

Next time, I’ll do a bit better.

I hope.

How about you, fellow writers? How do you respond to feedback which isn’t stellar?

-JDT-

Chapter Six is Ready

If there are any beta readers out there interested in reading for me this week, I’d love to have you. But with Thanksgiving just a day away, I don’t think I’ll have any takers. Which is fine, I understand how busy you all are.

I’m really looking forward to this time off and being with family for this holiday. I’m so glad I took the extra time away from work. I haven’t been so relaxed in a long time.

Tuesday sorta sucked, though, because I had to address a nasty, fast-progressing headache threatening to hit migraine threshold at full steam. By the time I took enough OTC meds to kill it, I was exhausted and zombie-esque. No fun, and no writing for another day. On the upside, we finished watching Star Trek: Enterprise. I have to say, the end of the series was a disappointment, really. They had a lot of potential. I guess they also felt the need to tie back into other ST franchises, which probably didn’t do a lot of good for the show. Only the nods to the previous series — and Voyager got screwed there — made it sort of a wink-nod thing. But it’s not a big wonder to me the show failed.

With that off my chest and with ZERO interest in Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (I tried, I really did, but UGH — suckitude a-plenty!), I guess I can re-focus on what’s important. And baby, it ain’t Star Trek.

Nothing else to say, really, so sign up below if you’re interested in what will likely be the last chapter I send out on this book. I’ll only send out chapters by request after this. I want to get serious and finish it, but Lord knows, I’ve had a lot of trouble there.

God bless and if we don’t talk before, Happy Thanksgiving. Or Happy Thursday to my friends abroad. 🙂

-JDT-

Thanks, Readers!

Hey, Guys, thanks so much for getting involved and helping me with reading the first chapter of my new book. I really appreciate it.

If you’re a reader and want to provide me with your feedback, just drop me a note from the contact page on my blog and I’ll fire off a copy of it in the word processor format of your choice. PLEASE be sure to tell me which one, though. For all I know, your email systems are blocking what I send you because you aren’t able to receive more than one attachment from the same person. I dunno.

Anyway, if you can all get back to me by Sunday evening (US CDT) that’d be much appreciated. Meantime, I guess I’ll press on.

Have an awesome day and thank you again.

God bless,

-JDT-

Copyright 2011 DarcKnyt, All rights reserved