This post’s title is a bit vague. Someone familiar with my interests might suppose it has something to do with the Well World series by Jack L. Chalker — I’ve posted about it before. I won’t draw out whatever suspense you might have — the well in question is humanity’s wellspring of stories.
The revisiting is our love of nostalgia in all the sequels, serials, remakes, reboots, adaptations, borrowings, homages, parodies, and pastiches. To name but some. And make no mistake, all stories have elements of other stories. Boil stories down enough and the reductions begin to look similar (the infamous seven plots).
But I find myself bemused by how obsessed we get about drinking from the same well over and over when there are so many other interesting wells.
8 Comments | tags: reboots, remakes, sequels, storytelling | posted in Books, Movies, TV
In the last post I mentioned watching a fun double feature this past Friday night. As described in that post, the party ended up having some interesting, albeit minor, consequences, but no harm done to tarnish the memory of these two comedy movies from Thailand, The Bodyguard (2004) and The Bodyguard 2 (2007).
No connection whatsoever to the same-named high-cheese American film with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. That film has its moments but also earned seven nominations in the 13th Golden Raspberry Awards.
Last Saturday I watched a different unrelated The Bodyguard (2016), this one a poignant drama from China starring and directed by the great Sammo Hung.
3 Comments | tags: comedy, Martial Arts Movies, Mum Jokmok, Sammo Hung | posted in Movies
Back in March I posted about the Japanese manga/anime franchise Lupin the Third (aka Lupin III aka Lupin the 3rd). And about my love of stories about clever thieves, a love clearly shared by many given all the stories and movies made over the years — from Robin Hood to Inside Man (2006) and beyond.
Because I’ve been watching various Lupin III anime TV shows, Amazon Prime’s mighty algorithm suggested a Japanese live-action spin-off, Daughter of Lupin (2019; 11 episodes). It’s quirky, silly, exciting, delightful, romantic, and fun. Definite thumbs up!
I also have some movie double-features to tell you about.
6 Comments | tags: Daughter of Lupin, Donnie Yen, Iko Uwais, Lupin the Third, Martial Arts Movies, Tony Jaa | posted in Movies, TV Tuesday
I’ve been a fan of Japanese anime since the 1980s, but in the last decade or so I’ve come to appreciate it even more (because what’s been coming out of Hollywood lately so often has little redeeming value). As fans of the genre know, anime can be as creative and engaging as any form of storytelling you care to name.
Lately, I’ve begun exploring the Japanese media franchise, Lupin the Third (aka Lupin III or Lupin the 3rd). It began back in 1967 and comprises multiple manga, at least six anime TV series, over a dozen films, and other related media.
It taps into our love of master thieves. The fictional monkey-faced Lupin III is acknowledged worldwide as the greatest (and most fun) thief in the world.
13 Comments | tags: anime, Japanese anime, Lupin III, Lupin the Third, thieves | posted in Books, Movies, TV
I don’t usually write two Friday Notes posts in one month, but I was dog-sitting my funny little “nephew” Bentley for a week, and every time I don’t post for a while it’s hard to get back into blogging mode. In fact, it’s harder each time. I increasingly find social media less and less interesting or rewarding.
Some of that is on me, but more of it is disappointment and disgust with social media and technology companies in general. A bit more on that below.
Mostly, though, I wanted to — at long last — post the last two notes that have been lingering on my Apple Notes app for years (in one case, since 2018).
17 Comments | tags: Bentley, Donnie Yen, entropy, gravity, Ip Man, Major League baseball, MLB | posted in Friday Notes, Movies
It’s not often that a modern movie really grabs me. Especially a modern science fiction movie. Extra especially any science fiction movie involving time travel (because time travel makes no sense at all). When that movie is a first-time directorial effort with almost zero budget and shot on iPhones, it’s really something very special.
And when the story, despite time travel making no sense at all, exudes a sense of sheer joy and fun to carry it along (despite time travel making no sense at all), and delights even on a second viewing — where one can pay attention to how it was shot to appear as one long 70-minute take — it gets an enthusiastic Wow! rating from me.
I’m talking about Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (2020).
2 Comments | tags: science fiction, science fiction movies, SF, SF Movies | posted in Movies, Sci-Fi Saturday
I still haven’t gotten used to writing “2023” — it feels like a misspelling. Perhaps in part because it’s an odd number. It’s not prime, and it’s kind of cute that it’s the product 7×17×17=2023. Lucky triple sevens! And a full house, sevens over aces. (Numerology would be another of those things that are fun but which I don’t believe.)
My 2022 plan for Serious Spring Cleaning didn’t end up nearly aggressive as planned. There’s still too much junk. And still too many (piles of) notes and notebooks.
So: Serious Spring Cleaning, take two, and another edition of Friday Notes.
16 Comments | tags: Ally McBeal, Chelsea Handler, Knives Out, Lilyhammer, Mission: Impossible, Octavia E. Butler, Tom Cruise | posted in Books, Friday Notes, Movies, TV
I’m generally not one for traditions or custom. I tend to see these as the enemies of thought and imagination. (Ralph Waldo Emerson: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”) I have always craved the new, the roads I haven’t yet traveled. Trying a new restaurant is more fun than revisiting an old haunt.
That said, tradition and custom can act as an anchor, a reference point, or just a comfort. I do have a few customary comforts. For instance, my bottle of champagne on the Solstices (one for sorrow, one for joy). Also, for New Year’s and my blog anniversary.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, it’s watching as many versions of A Christmas Carol as I can.
18 Comments | tags: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart, Scrooge | posted in Books, Life, Movies
This weekend I had the immense pleasure of watching all three extant John Wick movies. Part of the pleasure was watching them over the course of only two evenings. While the first film, in multiple ways, stands alone, the latter two (and presumably chapter four coming out next year) tell a single story.
If you like gun fu action thrillers and somehow haven’t seen these, you’ve missed something rather special. The attention to detail, the tactical reality of the fight scenes, and a whole lot more, place these movies, especially the first, among the best of their kind.
They’re a wonderful contrast to what movies seem to have turned into.
15 Comments | tags: assassin movies, John Wick, Keanu Reeves, Quentin Tarantino, The Matrix, Tom Cruise | posted in Movies
Over the last nine posts I’ve been pondering the topic of Who Can Play Who when it comes to adaptations of existing works. To wrap things up, and because ten is a magic number to us humans, it seems reasonable to try to boil it all down to something coherent. If that’s even possible.
I find myself conflicted sometimes between what I’ll call a stage play sensibility that allows huge latitude in casting actors versus my sensibilities about live-action adaptations of well-established existing properties.
I think that changes the equation.
14 Comments | tags: actors, adaptations, characters, gender, race, women | posted in Movies, Opinion, Society, TV