Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Insecure Writer’s Support Group. April Movie Preview, Revolution 2050, Ready Player One Review, and More Movie Reviews

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

April 4 question - When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Sometimes I think I just drown. In a lack of inspiration. Music is usually what pulls me out of it. Whatever is on my radar at the time or pounds hard and fast to inspire a scene.
What do you do?

I’m also looking for some assistance. My publisher sent me a library request form for Dragon of the Stars - and for CassaStar. If you’d be willing to share it with your library, send me an email or leave a comment and I’ll email you the pdf files. The files contains everything a library would need to know to order and stock my books. All you need to do is email it to your library or print it out and drop it off next time you visit. Thanks!

Are you following TheIWSG on Instagram? Here are the prompts for April:

We need co-hosts for the coming months! If you can co-host on May 2, June 6, July 3, or August 1, please leave a comment below or send me an email. It takes at least four co-hosts each month to keep up with everyone. Thanks!

There’s also a Self-Publishing Conference coming up on April 14 and it’s free to register for it.

Revolution 2050!

Hi, Alex—thanks for inviting me! And hello ninja army!

My dystopian novel, Revolution 2050, is my take on where the increasing polarization of today’s American culture may be heading.

After a brief but bloody civil war, the North American Commonwealth dominates the eastern half of the former United States. The NAC is controlled by a totalitarian regime called the Directorate. The Directorate controls the media. It enforces its ideology through fear, intimidation, and the ever-present brainwashing. Sam Moore is a Directorate member and high school “teacher” in what is little more than a government run indoctrination center. By 2050, a whole generation has lived under the Directorate’s iron fist, and one wonders if there is any spark of freedom left?

The western portion of the former U.S., called the Western Alliance, is populated by liberty-loving souls. I couldn’t write the story without including the natural clash of ideologies, which I believer mirror today’s political world. However, the story’s focus is on loyalty, love, family and a fight for freedom.

Revolution 2050 includes elements of Red Dawn. I can’t think of any modern movies that the story mirrors. But then again, Hollywood’s not known for originality these days, which is why I’m no longer a big movie goer. Now, if a modern version of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 were to hit the big screen as was rumored… While writing Revolution 2050, what came to mind most was a five-part 1987 TV miniseries titled “Amerika.” Somehow, I now feel even older…

Alex, thanks so much for the invite and allowing me a few words with your ninja army!

I'm a former long-haul trucker and live in East Texas. I graduated from the University of Texas at Tyler with a Bachelor's degree in history and minored in English. I've taught high school U.S. history and American Government for the past 20 years. I'm also a private pilot and when not teaching or writing, I'm in the air.
I’m on Twitter @jay_chalk, Facebook, and reviews are at Goodreads.
Find Revolution 2050 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Movie Reviews

Ready Player One
I had a little trouble getting into it at first and worried I wouldn’t enjoy it. (I also worried that I’d reached an age where I couldn’t enjoy anything anymore!) However, as the film rolled along, my enjoyment rose.
Interesting way to sell a movie – a young man playing a video game. In the beginning, I literally thought I was watching someone play a game and wondered if that was all the film would be. But as the movie got me involved in the characters – real as well as the avatars – I was swept up in the story as only Spielberg can do.
There are a billion references in the film. It will be fun to rewatch and catch more of them. Mecha Godzilla, Firefly, Batman – it’s all there!)
In this day and age, we expect the animation to be great and it was spectacular.
So, despite my hesitation at the beginning, it turned out to be a great film.

Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle
This movie came out at the end of December and I was stunned by all of the good reviews. And the fact it made almost a billion dollars. A billion!!! So I finally had to check it out.
And you know what? It was actually a really fun movie.
The board game morphs into a video game, pulling in a kid from the mid-2000’s. Twenty years later, four more teens are pulled into the game. They have to win the game in order to return to the real world.
Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart were both in Central Intelligence, another movie I didn’t expect to like. But I did. Now throw in Jack Black and Karen Gillan and it’s a ton of fun. The four must learn to work together if they hope to get out alive, and in a realistic fashion, they do.
In the wrong hands, this could have been a train wreck. But the director balances all of the elements – the action, the humor, the stars – perfectly. It’s not deep, but it’s funny and enjoyable.
Highly recommended.

The Shape of Water
This film won Best Picture and Best Director, so of course I was eager to see it.
Unfortunately, I’m still not quite sure what I think.
I liked it. The imagery and sets are so incredible. They have del Toro all over them.
There are a lot of uncomfortable elements. And the director put them in to highlight what would be taboo in the sixties. They aren’t there for shock value or because the director felt compelled to include them. They simply show a side that no one wanted to admit existed.
Woman falls in love with fish. Well, there is a reason and validation for that. You just have to watch until the very end.
Many years ago, del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth was up for best picture. And while I consider it to be the most depressing film I have ever seen, it was also brilliant. I also think it was a better film and more deserving of Best Picture than this film. As far as enjoyable, I think his Hellboy films are far more fun and certainly more watchable.
I’m glad I saw it, but it’s not a film I’ll watch again.
Recommended to those with an open mind.

April Movie Preview

Here are the upcoming theatrical releases for April! As always, descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

6 –

A Quiet Place
A family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound.
Director: John Krasinski
Stars: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Noah Jupe, Millicent Simmonds
I hadn’t heard anything about this film until recently – it was probably in a quiet place…

20 –

Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent gorilla who has been in his care since birth. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry transforms this gentle ape into a raging monster. As these newly created monsters tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with a discredited genetic engineer to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.
Director: Brad Peyton
Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Will Yun Lee, Malin Akerman
And hot on the heels of my post about video games to crappy movies…but maybe Johnson can save this one.

27 –

Avengers Infinity War
The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Directors: Anthony Russo | Joe Russo
Stars: Karen Gillan, Josh Brolin, Letitia Wright, Chris Evans
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!!!

What do you do to keep writing during dark times? Can you co-host in the coming months? Picking up Revolution 2050? Did you see Ready Player One yet? Seen Jumanji or Shape of Water? And what films excite you this month?

With the A to Z Challenge in full swing this month, I’ll be taking some time off since I’m not participating. Look for my next post in two weeks when I have a special guest who was involved in the movie industry.


Elephant's Child said...

I am always awed at your supportive self. And surprised (and sorry) that you ever feel you are drowning.

Suzanne Furness said...

Yes, drowning is a good description of how it feels sometimes! I have started to come out of one of those phases so hoping it will continue.

nashvillecats2 said...

Music is certainly good for inspiration Alex,


Sarah Foster said...

I think drowning is a good way to describe how I feel about my writing right now.
When people asked me about The Shape of Water, I said it was "good but weird."

Pat Hatt said...

Let's hope Johnson can save it more than he saved Baywatch haha

Good to know Ready Player One as good. Still haven't watched Jumanji, but on my list. The whole fish sex, not sure I will though haha

Revolution 2050 sure is plausible, which has to make it all the better, at least for fiction. Let's hope it never comes to pass.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, ALex!

Seems like 2050 will be here by 2020 or even sooner. Based on your reviews I am curious to see Spielberg's Ready Player One. The Shape of Water is also must see for me. I tend to like "uncomfortable elements."

Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Alex!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Congrats to Jay - I've seen the cover floating around my social media haunts!

I've resisted Jumanji, but if you're recommending it, I'll give it a go. I like the cast, and the trailers have made me laugh.

Erika Beebe said...

Music helps me too Alex. Thank you for the reviews on the movies. I had seen the preview for the shape of water and wondered about it. Something in the trailer seemed too familiar and I decided not to watch it. I am excited to see Jumanji though, and like you Yay for the Avengers Infinity War! Have a great rest of your week. And on cohosting, could you share the rules with with me? I might be able to swing August 1.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Happy to help out with co-hosting in May or June, as well as send a request to my local library. My email is thecynicalsailor (at) gmail (dot) com.

Congrats to Jay on his release.

Cheers - Ellen |

Lynn La Vita said...

I wonder what actually sparks inspiration? Is it rest? Is it an environment that support time to write? I hadn't considered music but love the idea and will give it a try.

Jennifer Lane said...

Congratulations to Jay--the book sounds interesting! A regime that has taken over the media? Hasn't that already happened? :-D I hear Ready Player One is set in Columbus, Ohio, where I live, so I want to see it but I hope to read the book first. I'm not interested in seeing The Shape of Water from what I've heard.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thank you, Elephant's Child.

Sarah, that's a great way to sum up the film.

Pat, nothing was saving Baywatch...

Annalisa, you will really enjoy it.

Erika, I will send you an email!

Ellen, thanks!

Lynn, please do.

Jennifer, it is set in that town.

Joanne said...

dark times can inspire some crazier writing. Sometimes you have to go to that dark place...maybe it's a Quiet Place. I'm curious to see this movie - I like Emily Blunt. I read Ready Player One and it was not in my wheelhouse, so will probably skip the movie. Ray and I also just caught Jumanjii - funny! But the Rock's latest looks pretty cheesy.
Hope spring is springing in your neck of the woods. Ssshhh. be quiet!

L.G. Keltner said...

Listening to music also helps me with my writing.

I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle with my family a week or so ago and was pleasantly surprised by it. Definitely better than I thought it would be.

Jan Morrison said...

Hmm...dark place? I've been writing a memoir of our time in Labrador (our fifth winter) and it morphed into my whole life so I've been intentionally visiting some dark places. Now, as the days lengthen and the five foot drifts of snow begin to slowly collapse, I'm revising,which takes me into the realm of seeing how those dark places helped form my diamond of a life. Dark places, joyous sunny days, all excellent for the writer.
As to movies, I'll have to wait til we move home to Nova Scotia for big screen fun. I want to watch Quiet Place, but I will not! Too scary for me...

Natalie Aguirre said...

Not surprising that music helps you with how much you love it. I'd be glad to send your info to the Ann Arbor District Library for you.

Sorry not to volunteer to co-host yet, but my mom is moving to where I live the end of the month. I need to get her adjusted first and then I'll volunteer to help co-host for sure. I've been wanting to, but life's been pretty crazy.

Unknown said...

Glad to know that you have a solution and you don’t let negative feelings overwhelm you. Thanks for all you do for iwsg

Ellie Garratt said...

Music is always an inspiration. I admire the idea of pounding away on the keyboard until the words flow.

I really want to see Ready Player One. I read the book and loved it. Like you, I think it will be a film you should see more than once, just to pick up on all the nods.

Yolanda Renée said...

Great reviews! I think the Rock can save most anything. He's on fire!

Have a great break!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I bet dystopian is a good seller in today's climate. Smart choice!

Hm. Shape of Water. That was on my list to watch, but I usually don't do 'uncomfortable' well.

Christine Rains said...

Thanks for the reviews. I was surprised how much I liked Jumanji too. Maybe Johnson can save Rampage if they add in enough humor. I haven't seen The Shape of Water yet. I've read mixed reviews of it. But I'm really looking forward to the new Avengers! :) Congrats to Jay!

Crystal Collier said...

My hubby is dragging me to A Quiet Place this weekend. Oh boy. I'm not so awesome with the intense films, but I suppose that's a testament as to how much I love him.

We laughed and laughed over Jumanji! Oh. My. Goodness! Loved that movie. I'm waiting for Ready Player One. One of my book clubs is reading the book, and I can't decide if I should watch the movie first or read the book. So conflicted...

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

So much is going on it's hard to keep up with it all.
I'd be happy to co-host May, June, or July.
Will also give the library request to my local library.
Beverlysmcclure (@) aol (dot) com

Have a great week.

Anonymous said...

I've seen both Jumanji and The Shape of Water. Jumanji in 3D was awesome! TSoW was good, but like you, wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I'm stoked for Infinity Wars, which I'll also be watching in 3D... Love you Twinny.

Nicki Elson said...

Congrats to Jay! What an interesting background he has - I'm sure it makes for some very interesting story telling.

So...I think I could do the July 3 IWSG as a co-host if you need somebody. :) My email is - please also forward the library request forms for your books.

Jen said...

I always enjoy your movie reviews. The only one of these I've seen is "The Shape of Water". I really loved it, but I love dark fairy tales. And you're right about the shocking elements. Thank you for pointing that out. It makes more sense when you can understand the why behind an element that you'd otherwise wonder, "Um..why am I watching this???" I don't recommend it to everyone but it was beautiful. I must admit, I loved Pan's Labyrinth way more than this one, but I'm very glad I saw "Water".

As for writing in dark times, it helps me to turn on some music. I have two playlists that I created for two very different stories. I listen to them interchangeably, depending on what work I'm doing. The music helps set the scene and the tone which helps me get back into the story. I'm currently creating playlists for another story which I hope will serve the same purpose.

And I totally forgot about the A-Z Challenge. Wow. April really sneaked up on me this year...

Arlee Bird said...

Wishing Jay well with his book. This does sound like a timely topic and it will be interesting to see where he goes with it. Western Alliance populated by liberty-loving souls? As one who lives in Southern California I'm not sure I see that coming. This place is turning into a repressive creep-out.

After reading about Shape of Water in some other places I lost most of my interest in seeing it. The movie just sounds weird and not weird in the way I like my movies.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Juneta key said...

Music can also inspire me.

I can host any of the months you need me.

I have not seen or read the Shape of Water but I have looked at it several times.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joanne, funny!

LG, it was.

Natalie, thanks! I'll email you.

Elizabeth, and it has a lot of uncomfortable moments.

Beverly, thanks!

Eve, good to hear from you!

Nicki, double thanks.

Jen, it did sneak up.

Lee, you might be right.

Juneta, thanks!

Mary Aalgaard said...

My boys liked Ready Player One, and they read the book. They said the references were interesting. I have a similar reaction to The Shape of Water. Beautiful film, curious story, excellent soundtrack, but the fish-love? Anyway. Great question this month for IWSG.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for the reviews, Alex. Glad you enjoyed Jumanji. I agree, it was fun to watch. Mr. Johnson did a good job. Congratulations to Jay. The cover is fascinating. I'm going to be without internet for the next few months, so I'll have to rejoin once we get settled. Best to you.

Jennifer Hawes said...

Of course, I had to watch Ready Player One. It was fantastic! I'd be glad to co-host any of those dates.

Carrie-Anne said...

Sometimes it's best to take a little break from writing if the words aren't coming easily, or focus on a different kind of writing till the inspiration naturally returns. Other times, changing to a slower writing pace than usual can help to gradually revive writing mojo.

Tamara Narayan said...

I haven't seen any of these film yet, but would like to see A Quiet Place. I've heard it scored 100% on Rotten Tomatoes for what that's worth.

I'm not participating in A to Z this year either. I need to be writing my new novel. It's a slog. I'm not sure how to get back on track, but I think writing anything, even if I end up deleting it all, is better than avoiding the computer like the plague.

Tamara Narayan said...

...And you can add my name to be co-host for any of those months if needed.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you for featuring Jay's book.

I didn't like The Shape of Water. It was just too odd and unsettling.

Sadira Stone said...

I always enjoy your movie reviews, Alex.

Michelle Gregory said...

we loved Jumanji. Jack Black as Bethany... oh my gosh!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Jumanji was awesome. Jack Black was awesome. I saw Player One and I liked it, loved the nod to the 80s, though should that make me fee old?

Shape of Water. You were nicer than I was. I suppose I'd have had the same take away from it if it hadn't won best film. It wasn't the best. It was at best a meh movie I'll probably never watch again.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - I haven't seen the movies ... but might keep my open for them if they turn up here ... quite a lot seem to get to this small town (which calls itself a city) in various venues ... I suspect I'll see Shape of Water ... Sally Hawkins was so good in Maudie - the Canadian artist ... I hadn't realised she's English. Lots going on ... cheers Hilary

Birgit said...

Music always calms the soul and that helps me and I will even dance if I don't throw out my hip:) The Avengers film sounds amazing but unsure about the other flicks. I like Dwayne Johnson and actually watched that disaster flick which was fun. I want to see The Shape of Water but I have heard that it is good but not worth an Oscar...typical really. Have fun being off line and looking forward to your return

T. Powell Coltrin said...

To prevent drowning, use one paddle (dog preferred). ;)Music saves me too!! Glad to see that you like Ready Player One. Would like to take the grandkids to see it.

cleemckenzie said...

I love those library notices. They're a great idea. I almost saw The Shape of Water, but got tied up with visitors and missed the last day at our local theater. Have to track it down.

I'd love to host May 2. It would be a good time just after one release and before the next. Head spinning here!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

My hubby wants to see Jumanji, so I'm sure we'll watch that one, but neither of us has much interest in The Shape of Water. It sounds a little too weird for me, and that's saying something.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, I always had a feeling that music would be your inspiration :) don't know why I get the feeling that you have a spiritual connection with your music.

I want to see The Shape of Water.

Al Penwasser said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing The Avengers.
On a related note, I finally saw "The Justice League" On Demand. While I was entertained by it to some degree, I couldn't help but feel that DC has wicked "Marvel Envy."

Sandra Cox said...

Jay's book sounds intriguing, especially considering our current tribalism.

Chemist Ken said...

Saw Ready Player One this weekend and loved it. Definitely better than the advertisements made it appear. I'll have to see it again to catch all the references.

Gwen Gardner said...

Hi Alex! I'd be glad to share your library request with my local library. Send them my way!

Have a great week :)

Unknown said...

I get SO much inspiration from music. I love listening to it while I write.

I still need to see The Shape of Water! It seems really good.

Sherry Ellis said...

I haven't seen Jumanji. It sounds good, so I may have to check it out.

Mark said...

I'd be happy to help with _Dragon of the Stars_ at my local library. Send me what you got and I'll see what I can do:)

Anonymous said...

Classical music, jazz, or a thunderstorm sound track works for me in terms of visualizing scenes. I don't want words with the music, because it interferes with my thought process.

I'd be happy to drop off a library request form. I'd also be happy to host July or August, if you're looking for a newbie.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joylene, bummer!

Jennifer, thanks!

Tamara, it is indeed perfect on Rotten Tomatoes. And thanks!

Michelle, that was really funny.

Elizabeth, it's a shame his Pan's Labyrinth didn't win it instead.

Teresa - funny!

Lee, that would be great timing for you.

Ken, it begs for repeat viewings.

Gwen, I'll email you!

Mark, thanks, I will!

Lee, double thanks.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Alex!

Can you believe I totally forgot about the A-Z?!!!! When you mentioned it, I was like.... WHOA! I did three of those and they were amazing! How could I forget what happens in April? Guess I got all giddy about my new work project and it flew out of my mind...

GOOD LUCK to all who are doing it!

Love the sound of The Shape of Water.... the title really drew me in. I hope to see it. I don't get to movies much....

I find it surprising that you have any time to even think about ever feeling like there is no inspiration.... You life is SOOOOOO busy and FULL! But, I guess you are human, too.... LOL.

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks for your thoughts on the Shape of Water. I've been debating watching it. Now I have more to toss into the mix. Will need to be in the right mood, I think.

Congrats to fellow Texan Jay Chalk on his new book!

J.L. Campbell said...

Yup, music is a great source of inspiration. Congrats to Jay on the new release!

Raimey Gallant said...

You have my email, so send me the library request. :) Can I co-host May 2? Let me know. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Infinity War, oh boy, for sure. Haven't watched any of the movies you reviewed. I heard Dwayne Johnson's movies always make good money.

Sandra Hoover said...

Music is definitely an inspiration for me whatever my mood. And if I just need to clear my head, I find long walks through the woods surrounding our home extremely helpful. Thanks for all you do, Alex!

In looking at my schedule, I think I can co-host Aug. 1 if you need me. Just give me a shout out!

Anonymous said...

I can co-host any of those months. said...

Writing gets me through dark times - I allow myself to express it all.
You keep me posted on movies, Alex. I appreciate that. It's interesting to see what's going on in cinema and - mostly - what I'm not missing.
Thank you.
Be well, and have a great rest of the week.

J E Oneil said...

Infinity War! Wooo! Can't wait!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Michael, I am human. Sounds like you will be busy enough without doing the Challenge.

Carol, it will take the right mood.

Raimey, double thanks!

Sandra, thanks!

Patricia, appreciate it.

Patsy said...

Thankfully I've not reached the drowning stage. I just paddle in the shallows and don't do much of anything for a bit. Maybe I should try surfing?

Unknown said...

Thanks, everyone for the congrats on the release of my novel, Revolution, 2050. Yeah, I may have lucked out on the timing of its release. It does seem that the story is happening sooner than I predicted.

And as for "freedom loving souls" fleeing west--stay tuned for the sequel. California has to be "rescued" (the ports are needed) by those very souls.

Alex, thanks again for the guest blog--you've got very astute and awesome ninja army!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Revolution 2050 rocks! Great reviews on the movies (both out and coming).
Please go ahead and send me what I would need to wow the library and I would be happy to help in June.

Lisa said...

Music almost always gets me writing again if I have an issue. Thanks for the movie critiques. I usually read your blog before seeing movies like these!

Anonymous said...

I totally forgot about the IWSG! I was so busy writing posts for the A to Z, I missed it. Sorry about that, Alex.

Jumanji was so funny, I bought it. We didn't see it in the movies, we waited until it's release and when I watched the preview on Amazon, I thought, "This one is gonna be a keeper" so I bought it right away. We're seeing A Quiet Place this weekend. I'm hoping it's good.


Cynthia said...

A friend recommended the book Ready Player One to me. I should read the book first before I see the movie.

Cherie Reich said...

I get the drowning feeling, but it's good inspiration can still be found, even during those times.

Congrats to Jay!

Meka James said...

Music plays a big role in my writing as well and can certainly help my mood if I'm stuck.
My kids want to see Ready Player One because of the video game aspect. We saw Jumanji in theaters and we all enjoyed it. Haven't seen The Shape of Water. Probably won't until it's the HBO feature or something. Rampage is on our to see list.

Fundy Blue said...

Your posts are always so full of things to think about, Alex. Send me the pdf, and I'll get it to my local library. I nearly always read the picture book "Jumangi" that inspired the movies to my kiddos at school. Chris Van Allsburg, the author, is a brilliant writer and understands children. I shared many of his picture books over the course of each year. I'll have to check the movie out! Jay Chalk's book sounds really interesting. Congratulations to him on publishing his novel! Have a great IWSG Day!

Liza said...

Music is key. We all hit dry spells, but no need to drown in it. Just keep plugging. Thanks for all you do, Alex!

Liz A. said...

I actually saw Ready Player One yesterday. I heard good things about Jumanji, but I won't seek that one out. Same for The Shape of Water.

Olga Godim said...

Nothing in those movies inspire me. I want something quiet, preferably with a smile, but Hollywood seems to forget how to make such movies. It is all monsters and dystopia and big special effects. But they make millions, so I must be in the minority. A sad realization.

Jemi Fraser said...

I’ve had that drowning sensation too. Like you, music always helps me resurface

Victoria Marie Lees said...

I'm in the minority, too, Olga. I'm not into all the monsters and dystopia. My children are, though. Hmm...maybe we are the minority. Right now, I satisfy my movie watching with old movies. I finally saw Casablanca. I've been trying to catch that one for a while.

All best to you Ninja chief! Thanks for all you do, sir.

E.M.A.Timar said...

I am hoping to catch Ready Player One soon. I loved the book. I am not sure what co-hosting entails, but I could help May 2. Also, I would be willing to send your book info to my library. Thanks again for the movie updates.

Liesbet said...

You are a real film guru, Alex. The movies you recently saw attract my interest more than the upcoming ones. You have me curious about Shape of Water.

If only I didn't live "on the road", I would gladly help out with your library request. In mid-July, I will be in my "town of residence", a short walk away from the library. Would that be too late to contact the library there?

As far as co-hosting, I'm certainly up for that again, but the fall would work better. I'll shoot you an email later this year.

I feel like I'm not spending enough time at my computer writing to be "stuck". Of course, I know the feeling of "less flow" than usually. Changing projects or a walk outside might help in those situations.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I think the thing that got me out of my dark times (lack of writing) was brainstorming with some writer friends. It pretty much kick-started me and got me excited about my project again. But if that doesn't work, reading helps too.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I read Ready Player One and would like to see the movie version of it.

Unknown said...

I wanted to go see that Jumanji movie & I knew before I waste my money to go see my buddy Alex & I'm so happy you gave it a good review! So we're going to see it this weekend. Also, Are you not doing the A to Z game.. I am.. hehehe I just hope I'll remember cuz my memory is starting to disappear on me. ~snicker~ Anyway I hope you & yours had a great Easter. Have a rockin' week. hugs

Truedessa said...

Hi Alex,

Music always lifts my spirits when I am dwelling in a dark place or drowning in a sea of lost dreams.

The Shape of Water is a unique film. I guess, I would call it a sci-fi fairy tale in some ways.

I hope you rise above the water and find a sturdy rock.

Have a peaceful week!

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congrats to Jay Chalk. His book sounds amazing.

I can't write a word when music is playing because I get too caught up in it and I love the dance, so there goes the writing.... But, you've given me an idea, of playing my faves to give my muse inspiration.

Looking forward to watching Jumanji, and The Avengers, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!!! said...

Music helped me out with my first book. I've been curious about about The Shape of Water. I'll keep your review in mind.

Leslie S. Rose said...

Infinity Wars - Doin' the happy dance! Bring it on!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Glad music helps get you through those dreary writing periods. I liked The Shape of Water probably because I went in with low expectations. If I had seen it after all of the hype, I probably would've been a little disappointed. I really haven't gotten excited about any of the movies that have been up for Oscars in the last few years. Thanks for hosting another fun IWSG, Alex!


Nick Wilford said...

I find music really inspires my writing, but oddly enough, I can't have it playing while actually hitting the keys.

Revolution 2050 is one of those books that makes you consider just how likely that scenario could be... and scarily it's often all too plausible. Sounds like a good one, Jay!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I read the book, Ready Player One, a few years ago and loved it and I had been anticipating the film for a while now. Finally saw it last night. I was the same, ie, not sure I would like it after the beginning. There isn't much from the book in there. The book is of course a thousand times better and my favourite bits weren't in the movie. But putting that aside, I really liked the movie after all.

Jumanji was unexpectedly good because it was fun.

The Shape of Water was not academy award worthy. I enjoyed it, but it was a standard, old story that's been done a thousand times before. I did like it's quirkiness, though.

Roland Clarke said...

Congratulations to Jay for an interesting-sounding book - and topical.

Like your reviews too, Alex, even if my viewing is a few years behind. Ever since I saw Pan's Labyrinth - so good, I have the DVD - I try to watch every De Toro movie.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was today's watch as I'm doing J is for Jumanji in my A to Z posts on Games. Enjoyable and one I will watch again. As a gamer, there was so much to ring bells and make me chuckle - and a few nods to other movies. Snakes? Is R for Ready Player One?

Cathy Keaton said...

Other than weathering through them, I don't see how I can write with psychological stormy weather going on. I need to get rid of the storm, not write despite it. That's just me, I guess!

mail4rosey said...

I always like the Avengers movies.
We were surprised with Jumanji too. You described it perfectly. They did a good job with it. I've never seen the original.

Renee Scattergood said...


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jay, you're welcome!

Tyrean, double thanks.

Lisa, I hope I don't let you down.

Elsie, no worries. And I think we're going to buy it as well.

Funday, thanks, and that's cool about the picture book.

Olga, sorry, I'm one of those who gives the movies like that money.

Erika, double thanks!

Liesbet, thanks - July would be fine.

Marie, enjoy it! No Challenge for me this year. I can't keep up.

Julie, most haven't excited me either.

Lynda, didn't the author also work on the screenplay?

Rosey, I think Jungle was better than the original.

Lynda Dietz said...

I can relate to that drowning feeling. Every so often I feel like there's so much going on that I need a good solid bunch of music to clear my head. Music really does it for me as well.

Your movie reviews made me want to find a Godzilla collection once again. We used to have Mechagodzilla on a VHS tape and we practically wore it out. It was such a great, awful movie.

I'd love to see if our local library would carry your books! Feel free to send me a PDF as well.

Michael Abayomi said...

I absolutely loved The Shape of Water. Then again I am a huge del Toro fan, so I tend to fall in love with everything he puts out. Pan's Labyrinth was the better movie like you said, but still glad this won Best Picture.

Angela Brown said...

I read the novel Ready Player One so I'm stoked to see how this translates to film. Having Spielberg bless it with his presence gives me hope that it should be a good movie. Your review gives life to that hope.

My daughter and I both loved Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. As a fan of the original Jumanji, I was a bit nervous how this would work having this morph from the ominous board game to a videogame. However, the movie was done well. I'm not a gamer, so my daughter, who enjoys video games more than I do, really liked seeing how aspects of gaming were integrated into the works. I would like to get my own version of the "smolder" lol!!!

I have found that movies that win some of these grand awards are pretty hit or miss for me. I haven't seen The Shape of Water. I've been on an action streak lately.

Speaking of action, my daughter has already asked for us to see Rampage, so that will have to happen. And Avengers: Infinity War is a must.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Reading is my way of coming up for air. Sorry to hear that you feel you're drowning - hope it's brief and the music pulls you out soonest.

I am back being cinefree for sometime - I did see The Shape of Water and liked it. I want to watch Three Billboards but since I've missed it when it was running here don't know when that will be possible. Probably have to wait a long time.

Best wishes always.

Sandra Cox said...

I want to see Jumanji, especially since it has Dwayne Johnson in it. I'm a little on the fence about the other two.

H. R. Sinclair said...

Music is one of those gifts that helps in so many ways.

Debra Renée Byrd said...

I'll have to see how my library handles recommendations. I know they only take hardcopy book donations.

Ready Player One was okay. I liked the book better, but it was a good adaptation. Pan's Labyrinth was also better than The Shape of Water, albeit more depressing lol.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

For all my creative work, I'm running behind always. It sometimes feels like jogging in the mud. Very frustrating.

diedre Knight said...

Hi Alex!

When it gets too dark in the dumps, I just go outside. A walk in the desert or woods does wonders in pointing me back toward the sunny side ;-) Music is great therapy and can easily adjust my mood.
Just saw Jumanji (and Coco) over the weekend - enjoyed them both! I saw the trailer for A Quiet Place and it was riveting!
Best wishes to you, Jay!

Tonja Drecker said...

Music does have a way of inspiring fast. I just saw the international poster yesterday for the upcoming Avenger's movie and found it much nicer than the U.S. one. As for the movie, I can't wait to see it either way.

Julie Flanders said...

I'd be happy to send the form to my library! Very cool your publisher has set that up. I hope you end up in tons of libraries. :)

Jo said...

For a guy who was only going to write one book, you seem to be managing pretty well with the inspiration thing.

Not much in the list of films appeals to me. I saw the original Jumanji with Robyn Williams but don't remember a heck of a lot about it.

Rhonda Albom said...

I loved the original Jumanji, and while I am not a fan of remakes, this one sounds more like a sequel. I have some movie passes sitting on my desk that expires this month. I think I finally picked my movie.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynda, you are too damned cool - Mechgodzilla?!

Michael, I am huge fan of his as well. That one just didn't do it for me.

Angela, I think it was better than the first Jumanji. Wish I could master the smolder. Hope Johnson can pull off Rampage.

Nila, I do want to see that one.

Sandra, Ready Player One was fun, especially for those who remember the eighties well.

Deb, a thousand times more depressing.

Deidre, both good movies. Seeing Quiet Place tomorrow.

Tonja, take that back!

Julie, thanks!

Jo, it wasn't that memorable. Zathura was better.

Rhonda, yes - it's like a sequel.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Sometimes we've all got to drown. I know I've hit that point.

Like you, I enjoyed Jumanji and was unsure on Shape of Water. Haven't see Ready Player One yet, but I did read the book at my son's request, and found it to be pretty good, despite not being a gamer.

DMS said...

Music helps me when I am in a rut too!

I haven't seen Jumanji but have been told how great it is. I am glad to see you liked it too. Based on the previews it doesn't look like something that would really appeal to me- but maybe the elements come together well (sounds like it from your review).

Congratulations to Jay on his new book.

M Pax said...

Sometimes I am drowning in life and I have to let the rest go. I can only do what I can do. My goal with writing lately is just to have fun. Heard good things about Ready Player One. Looking forward to the Avengers.

Magic Love Crow said...

I agree, I love music too! I can't wait to see Jumanji! My mom and brother really liked the Shape of Water. Congrats to Jay on his new book! Take Care Alex!

Susan Kane said...

Loved Reader Player One! And majorly loved Jumanji! Looking forward to Rampage.

Movies are meant to entertain watchers. Depression days brought about entertainment during a desperate time. So, I want to enjoy a movie, not look for complex meanings. That said, there are Oscar movies that I ignore.

Avengers: Infinity war--I am doing a happy dance in my mind.

Chrys Fey said...

Congrats to Jay! And a great idea to ask the blogging community to send in library requests forms. I hadn't even thought of that for when I get mine.

Jean Davis said...

Music is great motivator. Unfortunately when I'm down, I listing to depressing music, but after a few days, I'm ready to get back to it. Sometimes we just need to wallow for a while. Characters get to do it. So can we.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Congratulations, Jay. Alex, I could have guessed that your inspiration would be music. So glad I was right.

I really want to see "A Quiet Place" but I know that I never will because it is filled with jump scares, and I just can't handle those anymore. I've got hypertension as is. No need to just elevate that in what's supposed to be a pleasant experience.

I too loved Jumanji.

mshatch said...

I saw Ready Player One and as someone who read the book, I was disappointed by all the (in my mind) unnecessary changes. I think anyone who hasn't read the book would enjoy it a lot more. I have also heard other people say they thought Pan's Labrynth was more deserving an Oscar. I'm not sure. That's a tough call.

Oh, and I'm looking forward to The Incredibles 2 :)

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Looking forward to the special guest!

I think having another artistic outlet, as you do with your music, is so important and valuable. It allows you to switch gears while still being creative.

Loni Townsend said...

Ready Player One was one that I saw soon after it hit theaters. I'd listened to the audiobook, read by Wil Wheaton, and so when my husband told me they were making a movie, we both hopped on board. I wasn't disappointed. I felt it was a good book to screen adaptation, and was okay with the changes to events. I plan on watching it again sometime.

I also loved Jumanji. It was fun and funny.

Mina Burrows said...

Okay, I'd be happy to send that letter to my local library. Sounds exciting.

Thanks for the info on the conference.

Also, I wasn't sure about the Ready Player One, but I might give that one and Jumanji a try. I saw Shape of Water and I liked it--but then again, I tend to like romance mixed with monsters.

Congrats on your book release, Jay. :)

Deniz Bevan said...

That's really neat! I'm hoping to attend the book sale at the English Library in Geneva next week -- I could drop the form off then!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, I agree with you. I mostly want to be entertained.

Michael, it has a lot of tense and scary moments.

Marcy, I think it deserved the Oscar more.

JH, exactly.

Mina, thanks! I'll email you.

Deniz, awesome!

Blue Grumpster said...

Wait... you worried that you’d reached an age where you couldn’t enjoy anything anymore?

Me too. (No, not that me too....

Loved the movie.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks for the movie 🎥 reviews, Alex. The only one I’ve seen is The Shape of Water and I had mixed feelings about it, but the more people ask me about it or the more I talk about it the more I realize I truly loved the film. Yes, it was odd, a little weird, but not too uncomfortable or unsettling to watch. It was a beautiful movie. It was an emotional movie that made me cry. The main characters’ characterization is worth studying and I intend to watch it again and learn from it.
2050 promises to be a great dystopian book and I’m eager to read it. As I was reading the review, I couldn’t help but worry about how closely it mimicked our own political problems we suffer today.
And when I’m drowning, down in the dumps — where do I turn or what helps? I noticed that most turn to music. I’m in the minority, I can’t write with music playing. I wish I could . Watching sad movies and crying it out helps. Brainstorming during long walks often works, and swimming is good for the soul and my darkness. If you’ve never let out a hellacious scream underwater, you should try it sometime. It cathartic ... therapeutic. You can let go of so much pent up frustration, anger and other emotions and no one hears you. When you pop back above water you feel like a fresh new person.
Melissa @
Sugar Crime Scene

Blue Grumpster said...

Lots of reviewers have been searching for a hidden layer in Ready Player One. I'm not sure why but that's one Easter egg they're not going to find. This movie is meant to be fun, not Shakespeare.

Unknown said...

I watched Jumanji, but it wasn't all that fun for me-- especially the last part with the eye which just seemed a little silly. I loved the funny bits though. I want to watch The Shape of Water-- haven't had the chance yet.

I'm happy to co-host if you still need anyone in the coming months.

Thanks, as always, for your continued friendship and support, Alex. much appreciated.

Sandra Cox said...

Hi Alex,
We saw Jumanji last night. Loved it. There were a lot of laugh out loud places.
Hope your weekend is productive and pleasant.

Cockeyed Jo said...

No, no, and no. I just stopped in to say "Hi Alex!

Anstice Brown said...

Revolution 2050 sounds like my kind of book. I haven't seen Ready Player One yet, have just picked up the book as I've heard so many people raving about it. I am not sure if I will like Jumanji or not, it seems far from the original.