Tag Archives: Netflix

The Monday Book-turned-Movie: CLOUD ATLAS

Cloud-Atlas-Actors-Different-Characters

I know, I know, you’re very disappointed in me. But I’m on a crochet deadline, and was  looking for Netflix background–less Netflix and chill than Netflix and hook, but there you go.

So I watched Cloud Atlas because the book by David Mitchell had intrigued me but we sold it before I could rad it. And three hours of movie lets one get a powerful lot of yarn moved into correct position.

The thing about this movie is it was able to add something the book wasn’t: jokes about who was playing what part.

For those unfamiliar, Cloud Atlas is pretty much based on the idea that no matter what century it is, people are behaving pretty much the same. There are good guys, bad guys, hustlers and altruists, and it all moves around in a big circle.

The funniest part is, the hunk hero from 2143 or so is the matron of an evil nursing home from 2012. That part cracked me up. Although the fact that “soylent green is people” was a funny line in 2012 and a real thing about food in 2143 was a bit sobering.

Cloud Atlas runs from the 1800s, when on ships running from Jamaica a bad guy is trying to poison a nice guy who saves another nice guy from getting beaten to death, through the 1970s when corruption in the oil industry is getting nice people killed, past 2012 when it’s the publishing industry and nursing homes that get the scrutiny, into ethical futurist questions in 2100 and 2300 (after the fall a few winters, if that tells you anything) when Earth is back to barbarism. If you don’t take it too seriously, it’s a good film. If you start to ask questions about how people know certain things or can gain access to certain places, forget it. This is a shallow, bright ride.

But it is a ride with some breadth, as the 2100s are shoot-em-up thriller, the 1970s are detective novel, 2012 centers around money, and 2300s is eat or be eaten with a few surprises thrown in. It was as bright and breezy as the afghan I was crocheting while watching, and less knotty if one didn’t ask too many questions.

For escapism or background noise, Cloud Atlas works well. For serious thought fodder, one doesn’t need two hours and 51 minutes of star-studded cast to know that everyone is pretty much after something, for good or ill, and that we recycle stock characters in the parade of our life. History repeats itself because we don’t learn the lesson the first time. Just ask Charlottesville.

 

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, crafting, Hunger Games, Life reflections, out of things to read, post-apocalypse fiction, publishing, reading, Uncategorized

The Monday TV Programs: Rectify and Bloodlines

mermaids 021So here’s the thing, devoted readers: I’ve hit a dry spell on books. I’ve read like four this past week but none of them really set my mind to positive reviewing – and that includes the latest Philippa Gregory, sadly. The White Princess just seemed like a rehash gone bad.

Tsk.

But as I’ve been  whipping out mermaid tails (to cover cat care costs here at the Little Bookstore) I’ve been clocking TV time. We don’t have an actual television machine (a joke from the Dick Van Dyke Show my friend Jenny always brings up) but we do have Netflix. And over the last two weeks I have watched Bloodlines and Rectify.

I had no idea they were still making good, original drama anyplace. There are REAL PEOPLE in these shows, families with motivations, people whose lives circle central themes but who every once in a while just go crazy. You know, REAL people.

The characters on Bloodlines are caught in old family dynamics that never go away. The statute on childhood trauma doesn’t always run out. Four siblings and their parents at a Florida resort find that out the hard way. This show is one long character study, but it feels short because of the swift action, the amazing ways in which people screw up, and the clever ways in which the writers don’t try to tell you what to think; they just lay it all out there in the grey zone. Amazing writing, amazing characters, amazing show.

One flaw: the f-word is so overemployed that when the characters truly get mad, they have nothing left to fire with. In fact, one of the most inspired acting moments comes when the oldest brother is blue-white-heat angry, but all he says is “Oh, okay” because he hasn’t got any f-words left to conjugate. Brilliant acting, but whoever’s writing should tone it down a bit. Noun, adjective, verb, and I think at one point a pronoun? Dude – overused.

Then there’s Rectify. I am still in the midst of it, and it has some harsh moments, and is a bit overly interested in the sexuality of humans, but for the most part it’s a morality play along the same deep lines as Breaking Bad. It’s like a thinking person’s Clockwork Orange. What if… what if somebody did something horrible, or what if they didn’t but got punished anyway? What if all this happened in the South, where morality and Christianity aren’t always kissing cousins? What if the actors were not trying to stereotype anybody, and the writers knew what they were talking about?

You’d have an amazing two-season run of a Georgia-based series about a guy let off Death Row based on new evidence, and how the community and his family reacted to him. And how he reacted to a new life. It’s really compelling. (As an added bonus, while on Death Row the main character was an avid reader, so lots of lit references get thrown into dialogue.)

I’ve made four mermaid tails so far and have two to go, so it’s a good thing I have all of season two on Rectify to watch yet. And yes, I accept that booksellers recommending TV shows is just a little off plumb, but I’m okay with that. Do yourself a favor and check out these Netflix shows.

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