Monday, January 9, 2023

Short Stories Make Awesome Movies, 1899 Review, Best Movies and Albums of 2022, and New Releases

Today I am kicking it off with a special guest and longtime friend, author Annalisa Crawford!

Short Stories Make Awesome Movies

If you’re hanging around Alex’s blog, there’s a good chance you love movies. And, as you probably already know, the best literary adaptations come from short stories rather than novels!
Why? Well, there’s just too much stuff in a novel – just compare Keira Knightley’s Pride & Prejudice with the 1995 BBC adaptation of ultimate perfection, and you get my drift.

(Note: when researching for this I realised ‘short story’ can be a very loose term, occasionally used for stories up to 50,000 words long—I have no idea what people are thinking, because my most recent novel was only a little longer than that!!)

Personally, I think there are at least two stories in my new short story collection, The Clocks in My Mother’s House that would make great films, in the very best of gritty British film tradition (Ken Loach, call me!), so to celebrate the launch, I thought I’d share some short stories which have already been there and done that.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Birds by Daphne du Maurier
The Sentinel by Arthur C. Clark (2001: A Space Odessey)
Memento Mori by Jonathan Nolan (inspired his brother’s Memento)
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (so many films, but obviously A Muppets Christmas Carol is the best)

What are your favourite short story inspired movies?

The Clock in My Mother’s House

(Pub date: 10 January 2023 – tomorrow, eek!)

Life can change in an instant, but that’s not always a bad thing.

A hotel explodes leaving staff and guests in peril; a woman retrieves an old clock from the attic with disturbing consequences; one man leaves heart break behind him, and another arrives to bring adventure.

In this haunting collection, Annalisa Crawford creates characters who will charm, captivate and intrigue you.

Buy The Clock in My Mother’s House here.
Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall, UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, and canine writing partner, Artoo. She is the author of four short story collections, and two novels.
Find Annalisa at her website, Facebook, and Twitter

New Releases

25 Impossible Tales of Survivors, Flawed Heroes, and Annoyed Villains: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Collection by Tyrean Martinson

No matter how hard circumstances are, there is hope for survival, even if it means making one simple choice in the right direction or standing up in the face of impossible odds.
But the question remains: What is the right direction and which way is up?

Find it at Amazon and Smashwords

The Blue Bar by Damyanti Biswas

A serial killer. A missing dancer. A Mumbai inspector on their trail.
Cold-case murders in Mumbai are unearthing decades of dark secrets.
Dead or alive, he must find her. He can’t put the past to rest until he solve
s it.

And she will be a guest here in just two weeks to tell you more about her second release!

1899 Review

A ship encounters a ship that's been missing for four months and strange things begin to happen.
Ramps the weirdness to eleven.
They do a great job slowly unveiling the mystery.
It’s a very complex cast of characters and the actors portray them with believability.
It’s a quality production – the ship, scenery, everything looks amazing.
Unfortunately, I can’t say much because then it would get into spoiler territory and ruin the experience for everyone.
And sadly, this was to be three seasons, but Netflix has cancelled this popular show. However, do not let that deter you from watching it – there is some resolution.
Highly recommended!

Top 2022 Movies and Albums

In two weeks I’ll cover the best shows, but for now, here are the best movies and albums this past year.

Top 2022 Albums (Taking into account my taste in music, which leans toward prog rock and Scandinavian metal.)

Wilderun – Epigone
-Best album of the year. It encompasses everything I love about music.

Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying, and the Dead – Another solid effort from Dave and a bit heavier than recent albums.

Muse – Will of the People – One of the most varied and entertaining albums of the year. There is something for everyone.

Dynazty – Final Advent – Almost every song is an earworm. It’s a metal album with pop sensibilities.

Star One – Revel in Time – Super fun album. Really corny and cool at the same time.

Devin Townsend – Lightwork – Coming after Empath, this is a more restrained effort. It’s mellow and relaxing.

Threshold – Dividing Lines – After many, many albums these guys are still putting out great music. A solid album.

Visions of Atlantis – Pirates – My vote for most surprising album of the year. Very catchy and entertaining all the way through.

Amorphis – Halo – Great at times although it falls just short of their previous, brilliant effort.

Top 2022 movies

The Batman
– My favorite film of the year. It’s not a Bruce Wayne film – it’s a Batman movie wrapped around a mystery and totally brilliant.

Avatar: The Way of Water
– My second favorite. (I must have a thing for three hour movies.) Fans of the first will adore this one, and it's breathtaking in 3D.

Black Adam – Really solid DC film. It was great to see the Justice Society on the big screen.

Prey – Another favorite and the surprise of the year. The concept and setting are stellar.

Minions: The Rise of Gru – Super entertaining and fun film. It’s what you’d expect although they keep it fresh.

The Northman – When art house film meets violent action movie, it’s very entertaining. Plus the cinematography is amazing.

The Adam Project – One of the better direct to NetFlix films. Reynolds plays Reynolds but it’s a fun science fiction romp.

Spiderhead – Another direct to streaming. The story was intriguing and the leads did a great job.

What are your favorite short stories to movies? Did you watch 1899? What were your favorite movies and albums of 2022? Don’t forget #IWSGPit is January 25.
I will be back in two weeks with Damyanti Biswas, some more reviews, and the bets shows of 2022!


Annalisa Crawford said...

Thank you for hosting me today, Alex.

I loved The Adam Project - I'm all in for a bit of silliness 😊

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - lovely way to start this week with the introduction by Annalisa - I was really interested learning about the short story movies Annalisa lists. Yes I agree with her ... Ken Loach and similar film directors, screen writers should give her a call.

Also I'll be fascinated to see what Damyanti has to say ... her book, The Blue Bar, is just brilliant, while good luck to these two and to Tyrean ... great start to 2023 - cheers Hilary

Elephant's Child said...

Huge congratulations to all the featured authors. I know I am in the minority, but I really don't do movies. Books on the other hand...

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex and Annalisa!

I needed to cheat and Google a list, and upon doing so concluded that my favorite film adaptations based on short stories are: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), All About Eve (1950), Secretary (2002), Blow-Up (1966), Brokeback Mountain (2005), A Face in the Crowd (1957), (Vincent Price as) The Fly (1958) and Rear Window (1954).

I have Netflix, and intend to watch 1899 based on your recommendation, Alex. I have not seen any on your list of top films of 2022, but they all interest me. Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I had forgotten that "The Birds" was a du Maurier short story! Interesting list of great films and shorts.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I didn't realize that short stories were made into movies. How did I not know this?

I definitely want to see the new Avatar movie after reading your review, Alex.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The Muppet Christmas Carol is the BEST adaptation! We watch it every Christmas Eve.

I love Visions of Atlantis. One of my favorite bands and I even got to meet them.

Truedessa said...

A lot of interesting information. I am always amazed at your musical selections. I will have to give some a listen. I am about lyrics what is the message the artist is sending.

I did not watch 1899 but sounds compelling.

Congrats to those with book releases.

I’d like to see Dragon of the Stars made into a movie.

Have a great week!

Computer Tutor said...

You do a great job with reviews, Alex. I always enjoy reading them even though our taste in music and books is... quite... different. What the heck is prog rock and Scandinavian metal??

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Annalisa, you're welcome!

Shady, 1899 is so intriguing, you will be hooked.

Natalie, it is breathtaking - see it! 3D is best.

Truedessa, that would be cool to see it as a movie.

Jacqui, listen to the top songs of most of the bands I listed and you'll know what those genres are.

Joanne said...

Congrats to Annalisa as her blog tour begins. I liked her list of short stories to movies. I think some Stephen King ones have become flicks too.
As for best of - our musical tastes are polar opposites. I don't know anyone you listed. I won't make you cringe with my choices (Grin!)
As for movies - tough year. Tar with Cate Blanchett was awesome, but not mainstream. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was delightful. And I liked Top Gun Maverick a lot.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Hilary - now that would be a lovely start to 2023

Shady - I haven't heard of some of those on your list, Google didn't even tell me about them. I'll have to look them up.

Natalie - I think they're a much more natural length, and the director probably has a lot more wiggle room with the interpretation.

Diane - Yes!

Joanne - quite a few Stephen King short stories have been adapted, but I haven't seen them, so they didn't make my list.

Janie Junebug said...

I agree with you regarding Pride & Prejudice. I do not like the adaptation of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It doesn't capture the spirit of the story. I read The Birds long ago. The movie adaptation by Hitchcock is effective, although I can't say I like it because it terrifies me!

Janie Junebug

Liz A. said...

Movies are more like short stories. Novels should be made into multi-part series. I was going to start 1899, but then I heard it had been canceled, so I didn't begin. So many other things to watch.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joanne, our differences in music does not surprise me. I wanted to like Maverick more but I know too much about military airplanes and that blew the reality.

Liz, watch it anyway! There is a partial ending so you at least know what was happening.

G. B. Miller said...

Not sure if it qualifies, as I think it was part of a novella, but I like "The Shawshank Redemption".

Nilanjana Bose said...

My favourite short-story-to-film choices are both British and super ancient I'm afraid. Number one is Don't Look Now, which is a horror film based on Daphne du Maurier's short of the same name. The other is called The Small Miracle based on Paul Gallico's novella. Though it's called a novella it's only around 40 odd pages, so definitely a short by present standards. Maybe publishing definitions were different in the 1950s.

I do love short fiction! - as you can probably tell.

And I'm quite astounded that I've actually watched one on your list of best - Avatar!

Congrats to all authors featured today. Look forward to Damyanti's post here. Great to be back in blogland.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Janie - I must admit it's been a long time since I watched the film of Benjamin Button, and although I have the book, I haven't read it yet. I'll hunt it out.

Liz - I completely agree re short stories and novels.

G.B - I think The Shawshank Redemption was listed in a few places when I searched, but I haven't seen it, so I didn't include it. (I know, I must watch it...)

Nilanjana - not ancient, 'classic'. Publishing definitions do seem to vary throughout the ages, but I like shorter novels and novellas - there's less fluff, and I can remember what's happened!

H. R. Sinclair said...

I'd like to see The Adam Project. It looks fun. As for short stories my favorite adaptions has to be "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Both are the old adaptation and the new (but I prefer the older one).

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Annalisa, Tyrean, and Damyanti! 1899 was absolutely fantastic. I was sad to hear it wasn't renewed, but it was very well done. Prey was also super.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Short stories do make great movies!

Congrats to everyone on the new releases. I have some reading to do.

The Adam Project was excellent. Northman is on my calendar for this evening.

Sandra Cox said...

All three new releases by our talented authors sound amazing.
'Lo, Alex.

PT Dilloway said...

The Batman, Prey, and the Northman are on my list of good movies from last year too.

It's funny that a short story can be turned into a 3-hour movie like Benjamin Button.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Christine - thank you

Sandra - thank you

PT - and that's why I don't think a full novel can.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

GB! Good to hear from you.

Nila, good for you! Amazing film, wasn't it?

Christine, it was successful and popular - no idea why they hacked 1899.

Pat, I guess they crammed in every bit of the story...

Sandra Cox said...

Thanks for the review of 1899. I'll have to check it out.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks for the shout-out! :)

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hi, Alex! The Clock in My Mother's House sounds intriguing! I can't think of any short story and movie adaptations, though...

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations, Annalisa!

Annalisa Crawford said...

Elizabeth - I often watch films and realise they're adaptations afterwards.

Deniz - thank you

Mark said...

Wow, I never read some of those short stories, but I definitley will now. Thanks for posting this, Alex :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Annalisa.

The Adam Project was cute. And, yes, it was very Reynolds. If you don't like him, you won't like several of him. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tyrean, You're welcome!

Donna, well put! And he's made a career of playing himself. Why stop now?

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

Thanks Alex and Annalisa for presenting these! My favourite short story based movies are the Edgar Allen Poe ones put out by American International Pictures. There are one or two that are just okay but I especially like the Roger Corman ones with his unique style of directing in the character interactions, sets and surreal celephane-like sequences.

1899 sounds like it has an interesting storyline. I might check it out.

Patricia JL said...

I agree about short stories making better film. There's less to cut and less to screw up.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Weavee - thank you

Steven - I'll have to check those out. I love surreal sequences

Patricia - so true!

The Happy Whisk said...

I am sooooo behind on movies. Did finally see Spiderman and I LOVED it.

Cindy said...

I saw Black Adam recently and agree it's a good superhero movie. One of the things I liked was some of the dialogue from Black Adam said. It was menacing, but could also be humorous. The backstory was interesting too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Steven, you need to watch that series.

Patricia, exactly.

Cinday, hopefully enough to do another one.

Sandra Cox said...

My daughter, SIL, hubby and I went to see Avatar. Of the four of us, I was the only one that had absolutely no desire to see it and I was the only one who liked it:)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I didn't know that Christopher Nolan got the idea for "Memento" from his brother's short story. That's interesting. Also...after Dark...I don't think I can bring myself to watch 1899. Those people make weird shows. And you said this amplifies the weirdness to pass. Unless I want to be confused, which does happen occasionally.

mail4rosey said...

I enjoyed the new Batman. I like all of them but this one was particularly good. The teen wants to see the new Avatar at iMax. We'll head that way soon.

mail4rosey said...

Also, hi to Annalisa!

Blue Grumpster said...

1899.... Loved it!

Hope you're doing fine, Alex.


Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex! I missed this post. It was the day before we flew to Honolulu, and I was buried in things to do. I've been reading Damyanti's "The Blue Bar." It is brilliant! Her first novel "You Beneath Your Skin" was excellent too. Wishing Damyanti, Annalisa, and Tyrean success with their newly released books.

G. B. Miller said...

"Stand by Me" and "The Shawshank Redemption" were part of a Stephen King novella, if I remember the Internet article that I'd read correctly.