Back Off! Back Off! ARQ’ing Firestarter

firestarter_novelOne of the excellent side benefits of doing the Stephen King podcast is it gives me a vested interest in re-reading his books.  For our next one we will be revisiting Firestarter. Haven’t read this one in a long time and in my memory it sits below his top stuff works. I think my memory became tainted by the Keith David / Drew Barrymore movie. A flawed effort but with some redeeming qualities.

As to the book, it exists in two parts. The first part is a chase movie with Andy McGee and his seven year old daughter fleeing from the minions of the shop. The second half is an escape story. Both halves are pieces of clockwork precision in execution and ratcheting up the tension. But what really sells the story are not the bombastic set pieces but the quiet moments between Charlie and her father as he tries to help Charlie sort out the moral implications of using her powers. There are also small but twisted moments between Charlie and her assasin to be – Charles Rainbird.

Thoroughly enjoyed my re-read and much more than I thought I would. Also one of my favorite King book covers.

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Netflix keeps out pumping new content and one of them was a SF time travel movie – ARQ – that takes place for over 99% of  it, in the same house. It’s Groundhog Day on a three hour loop with plenty of nifty twists along the way. Robbie Amell – Arrow’s Stephen Baldwin’s younger brother and Rachel Hunter – last seen in another Netflix original – Marvel’s Jessica Jones – do great work together as a fractured couple caught in the middle in of a war between a giant corporation and a rebel group. It’s well done and well worth a watch.

Dark Tower movie addendum – a rough print of the upcoming Dark Tower movie trailer leaked for a while on the internet. I’ll defer making any comments on it and will wait for the full fledged trailer expected to drop this Christmas. The quality was terrible and many FX shots were not completed.  I will say that overall the trailer has got me excited with only one sequence causing me doubt.

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Movie Nights

Watched a couple of flicks that are worthy of your time.

Green Room

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Starring the late Anton Yelchin and Patrick Stewart. One of the weirdest Star Trek crossings with Stewart playing a thoroughly repellent SkinHead leader and Anton as a member of a low level punk rock band. A murder occurs, the band members are a witness, and Stewart tries to cover up the murder and lay the blame on the band. A real gritty violent thriller with several tense sequences which include pit bull attack dogs. Definitely worth a watch.

Bittersweet seeing Yelchin here who died recently and suddenly in a horrific and freak car accident. He has a King connection with his role from Hearts In Atlantis.

 

Birdman

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Michael Keaton gives a virtuoso performance as an actor known best for a superhero role trying to prove he is capable of greater things while his inner demons tear down his ability to diffferentiate between reality and fantasy. Keaton heads a great cast with Ed Norton and Emma Stone as fellow standouts.

The direction of this movie is so fantastic that it becomes distracting because there are so many uninterrupted shots that made me focus on catching when the next cut would show up.

Love the ending as it is one that is open to interpretation.

Holmes, Sweet Holmes

I made a determined effort to see Ian McKellen in Mr. Holmes before it disappears from the cinema and I’m sure glad I did.

Once again, Ian McKellan proves the best special effect is, and always be, an extraordinary actor. McKellan deftly switches between Holmes of two time periods – one a frail 93 year old battling senility and the other – a still old but still very hearty 60 something year old. The depth and complexity of emotions he can convey with a look or slight tilt of the head or a tic or a …. well you get the idea – is astounding.

One cool thing the movie introduced to me that I was not aware of previously, had to do with a musical instrument – the glass hormoncia. It is played like a keyboard but sounds like a flute. It makes a most haunting sound.


Laura Linney does well here but the boy – Milo Parker – gets the showy role and acquits himself admirably.

This is very much a character study and a study of regrets so don’t go in expecting a big mystery to be solved. Do go in to see a master actor at work. You will thank yourself afterwards.

I would love see to see McKellen reprise the role of Holmes in a more traditional manner.