It appears WordPress cannot handle scheduling anymore. I’m not tech enough to figure out how to fix the problem without adding extra plugins, so no schedule for me after all. Well, maybe organic blogging is better suited for me anyway.
This week I finally finished reading City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, a very enjoyable fantasy that mixes modern technology, myths and legends reminiscent of ancient Greek and Arabian and Slavic myths and tales, glitching architecture and a plot that goes from a murder mystery to the protagonist Shara Komayd turning around to change the world.
For me the most enjoyable aspect was the thought provoking world building and the authenticity of characters. If Bennett keeps up the quality of these in the next two books of the series, he’ll have cemented his spot in the top of my favorite authors.
After finishing City of Stairs I took up a small self-assigned reading project. I’ve kept thinking and saying I want to reread one or the other book, so I’ve picked ten books that I loved in my childhood, to reread now as an adult.
My first was Bibi, by Danish author Karin Michaelis, about a spunky little girl Bibi who as the stationmasters daughter has free rides on trains and goes exploring Denmark of 1920s on her own, and she reports back to her dear pa by writing letters riddled by grammar flaws, drawings of people and landscapes, and her own free spirited character. By the end of book one the plot moves her into the care of her estranged grandparents (who belonging into high-nobility have previously disowned their daughter for marrying Bibi’s bourgeois father) and in the beginning of book two Bibi and her super-rich grandparents embark on a journey to Germany and Silesia, and it’s most interesting how post-WWI Germany is depicted through Bibi’s eyes.
While I love going to cinema, truthfully I haven’t been for a while, the last movie I watched in cinema was Wonder Woman some two months ago, so it’s surprising I went to see two movies this week, one on Wednesday, the other with a friend on Thursday.
My first movie was Valerian and the City of a thousand planets, which plot wise isn’t exactly a good movie, but sports a beautiful and imaginative world filled with more silly and funny aliens than even the first Star Wars trilogy had (and now that I think of it.. the new Star Wars movies have toned the non-human aliens down a lot, keeping only one droid for merchandising per movie, is this the favor Jar-Jar Binks has lent to the franchise in the prequel trilogy?).
I loved and was highly amused by the beginning sequence, that started with 1975 US/Soviet mission and goes from friendly astronauts and cosmonauts greeting each other on board of the space station, with David Bowie’s Space Oddity playing in the background, and then friendly human nations coming on board, and later thousands of different alien shuttle’s joining to the station called Alfa and eventually evolving into the City of a Thousand Planets. Fun fact, apparently director Luc Besson had written a 600 page book containing information on all the aliens.
And while Dane DeHaan, an actor I’ve not seen in any movies before even though he does seem to have quite a list of movies under his belt, performed the main character Valerian in a slightly wooden way, something about him and his droopy eyes was very fascinating.. I dunno.. I just liked him, even though his acting wasn’t good. He is instantly my fan-cast for Colonel Roy Mustang if Fullmetal Alchemist ever gets a western live-action adaption, solely based on his (or shall I say Valerian’s) looks.
I also liked Cara Delevingne, and actress whom I’ve never liked before, strangely because her eyebrows have been super-distracting on screen. She’s had them un-bushed a little and I think the role of a sci-fi agent suited her well, even if the character Laureline, much like her counterpart Valerian, was underdeveloped.
Overall, I enjoyed the movie, despite it being far from a masterpiece plot and character development wise, it was just a fun and silly flick to watch after work for unwinding, nothing to take seriously, but just lean back and enjoy, visually very beautiful. And it did accomplish it’s goal, by making me interested in reading the source comic book “Valerian and Laureline” and watch the anime adaption.
The second movie I watched was Les Fantomes D’Ismael (Ismael’s Ghosts), and this one.. left me wondering. It started as a soft drama with beautiful beach scenes as Ismael, a film director, is on holiday with his now-girlfriend as his wife that has been missing for 20 years suddenly re-appears. This alone would have made for a fantastic and thoughtful movie.
Strangely though, the writers and director of Ismael’ Ghosts also decided to add clips from the movie Ismael has been making, apparently about his diplomat/spy brother, and flashbacks to a few years ago, when Ismael first met his now-girlfriend, and then a bit of a crazy sequence during which Ismael shoots his producer by accident… The promising and quietly profound beginning of the movie spiraled into a confusing mumble-jumble, with the protagonist making crazy-eyes at every chance.
I’m not saying it’s a bad movie, nor that I didn’t enjoy it, but I felt that the movie didn’t know what it wanted to be when it grows up.