CineFix’s Top 10 Most Beautiful Movies of All Time

CineFix’s debuted their Top 10 Most Beautiful Movies of all Time list today and it’s a good one. It’s really nice to see Hero, The Fall, Lawrence of Arabia and Samsara (Terrence Malick should be mandatory on this list, so well done on that, too) included on the list. If you don’t have time to watch the video, which you really should to see the stunning cinematography in these films, here is the full list and description of each film courtesy of CineFix.


Russian Ark (2002)
It’s a single, uncut steadicam shot going through the Russian Heritage museum. Sure, the concept is maybe a gimmick. But it’s amazing.

Manhattan (1979)
Woody Allen’s love letter to his favorite city in black and white ultra widescreen is every bit as impactful as Allen’s own memory of the city as a child.

Citizen Kane (1941)
There may be nothing more emblematic of how to make a beautiful movie that Citizen Kane.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
This entire film is a ballet of heavenly bodies, with carefully composed shots.

The Conformist (1970)
This is, in our opinion, the very best of Vittorio Storaro’s work. And that’s saying something.

The Fall (2006)
Tarsem Singh made a beautiful painting of a film; Colin Watkinson spend 4 years and thousands of miles bringing a child’s imagination to life on screen.

Hero (2002)
This film, which tells the same story from several different perspectives, (and color coded to match), takes a simple concept both in plot and style, and brings it to the next level.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
70mm film, and every frame of it a still image worthy of framing.

The Tree of Life (2011)
The most beautiful of Terrance Malick’s films, and there’s quite a bit of competition there.

Samsara (2011)
There’s no plot, or dialogue in this film, but it tells a story nonetheless – every image tells its own story, and it’s glorious.

Sicario Trailer

Sicario is neither based off a book or science fiction, which is generally what I try to keep film content on this site limited to, but it is a really effective trailer (and not just because it uses a slight variation of the Prometheus trailer siren/screech), so here we are. I’m a big fan of Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s work in ‘Prisoners‘ and the supremely strange, mind bender that was ‘Enemy‘, so for him to once again team up with legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins and cast Benicio, Jeffery Donovan and Emily Blunt instantly makes it must see territory for me.

Admittedly, the rash of cartel material in cinema lately has been pretty uninteresting to me, but the sense of dread in this trailer is just so heavy. It oozes with such a creepy, ominous tone that feels a bit like David Fincher remaking No Country For Old Men. I will be marking my calendar for this one. Sicario hits theaters September 18th.

‘Name of The Wind’ May Get The Movie It Deserves


Good news for fans of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller series. The once worrisome Fox TV adaptation of the bestselling fantasy series is no more. The option with the studio has lapsed, putting the franchise back on the market where it was reportedly in high demand with a number of studios at Comic-Con this past weekend.

This is great news in my opinion. The TV adaptation of this series always troubled me. It most likely wasn’t destined to get the budget and treatment Game of Thrones enjoyed on HBO and this is a series that always seemed better suited for film, where it likely would get the time, care and cast it deserves. Here’s to hoping that when the dust settles on the bidding war over the rights, it lands with a studio that is interested in making a quality product and not just a well timed cash grab with the release of the final book ‘The Doors of Stone.’

New Book Tuesday: Go Set a Watchman and Armada


Today is high profile second books Tuesday, with Harper Lee’s long awaited ‘Go Set a Watchman‘ and Ernest Cline’s ‘Armada‘ set to debut. Lee’s ‘Watchman’ is obviously the more anticipated release since it has been fifty five years in the making and was initially met with some suspicious and controversy when its release was announced. ‘Armada’, Ernest Cline’s long delayed (not really that long when compared to Harper’s hiatus) follow up to his sci-fi bestseller ‘Ready Player One’, doesn’t quite have the same controversy and critical expectations surrounding its release, but sci-fi and genre fans have been anxiously awaiting its release nonetheless.

While neither ‘Watchman’ or ‘Armada’ are receiving glowing reviews out of the gate, I’m sure fans of both authors are still going to buy these new entries in mass, consume them ravenously and form their own opinions about them, which is the great things about books. It doesn’t matter what others say about them. If it works for you and connects on some level with your experiences, that’s all that matters. If you get around to checking out either this week, let me know what you think.

Andy Weir’s ‘The Egg’

I was a little late to the party on ‘The Egg’, Andy Weir’s popular short story that was published before his novel The Martian went on to become a bestseller and soon to be released Ridley Scott movie. Clocking in around a thousand words, The Egg is a quick read that will only cost you the time it would take to watch the thirty second ad that will play before your twenty second cat video on youtube. So, it’s worth your time, whether you’re cat enthusiast, cat casual or cat neutral. I urge you to hop over to his site and check it out. It’s a good one (and has nothing to do with cats. Cat videos are just the best method of measuring time on the internet).

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless.
You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death.

Continued on his site.


If Craigslist Had Existed When Jurassic Park Was Hiring


[In honor of Jurassic World’s release and subsequent success, I am reposting the Jurassic Park entry of my old ‘If Craigslist Had Existed When’ series]

Staff Needed For Completely Safe Island Paradise To Work With Harmless Animals (Hawaii)
Reply to:

Yet to be named island amusement park is seeking staff members for their grand opening to the public. Job will require you to relocate to beautiful Costa Rica where you will be helicoptered into the park past scenic waterfalls, while uplifting instrumental music plays for you.

Duties include zoo keeping, light janitorial work, leading tours of the park, data entry and making sure the animals don’t master asexual reproduction due to the unstable nature of their substituted amphibian DNA.

The ideal candidates are people who can keep a secret if, oh I don’t know, the wildlife somehow mauls one of the dockworkers beyond identifiable recognition (which totally won’t happen). Grave digging and document shredding experience are also a plus.

We are also looking to fill a few research positions after recently experiencing some unexpected vacancies. If you have ever been accused of genetic tampering or have been thrown out of a lab while the administration shouted, “This is not God’s work! They’re abominations!” then we’d love to talk to you!

We’re not really in the market for those overeducated types. The ones who get hung up on things like morals, ethics, common sense or would openly criticize the park’s owner for letting his grandkids take a tour of the park before it was deemed safe.

What’s that? Science makes your head hurt because it’s all so confusing and complicated? Well, we need computer programers, too! We are looking for talented coders and designers. We welcome applicants who may be overweight, chain smoke or have some experience running security grids that would keep the totally harmless and docile animals away from tourists and staff.

So apply now! Don’t listen to that string of slanderous posts put up by widows of ex-employees, claiming that this park is overrun by horrible, horrible dinosaurs, because that sounds like crazy talk to me. You will totally not be working with dinosaurs, because dinosaurs are make believe.

– Be good at climbing fences (in case electric fences suddenly activate while you are climbing them).
– Have a working knowledge of how dinosaurs would hunt you if they were hunting you (again, dinosaurs don’t exist, but it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on their hunting patterns).
– Be a calm personality, who won’t shout things like, “Oh God, they’re testing the fences! They’re getting smarter!” or “They got out! This is how it happened in my nightmare!” if something goes wrong.
– Have experience firing tranquilizer guns at agile, uncontrollable genetically engineered reptiles.
– Not have a problem signing a non-disclosure agreement that says you can never talk about your work, which is again, totally safe.

• Locations: Costa Rica, Isla Nublar, Isla Sorna, other assorted shady islands and B-sites.
• Compensation: Competitive pay, an exciting workplace (much better than the San Diego Zoo!) and the unique opportunity to wipe out an entire species if they free themselves from their cages.
• Please, no undercover investigative reporters applying for positions as catering staff. We do background checks and really, there is nothing to expose here at this completely safe and well thought out park, we swear.

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware of any employer preemptively promising that you will not be working with dinosaurs. It is highly likely that you will in fact be working with dinosaurs, despite their extinction during the late Cretaceous Period. More info.

Donnie Yen Joins Star Wars VIII

3727301-wing+chunIn what has to be the best bit of casting news this week, martial arts superstar Donnie Yen has reportedly been cast in Star Wars VIII. Yen may not be a household name in America like fellow Hong Kong stars Jackie Chan and Jet Li, but his work in Ip Man, Hero, Blade II and Shanghai Knights should lend him some familiarity with stateside audiences.

If not, you should really seek out some of his work (along with the previously mentioned films, Iron Monkey and Flash Point are good ones) and see what you’ve been missing. His ten man fight scene in Ip Man is still a classic of modern martial arts cinema.

Yen’s inclusion in the franchise (along with members of the Raid being cast in Star Wars VII) is a refreshing bit of casting that demonstrates a clear attempt to include some stars of Asian cinema. It’s entirely possible that this is just an attempt to tap the growing Asian market and make the movie more marketable to an international audience, but either way, it’s nice to see some diverse stars in the franchise now with Yen, Iko Uwais, Lupita Nyong’o, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker and John Boyega hopefully poised to take large roles in their respective films.

This Week’s Writing Links: Half A King

Half_a_King_by_Joe_AbercrombieFresh off climbing a volcano and watching an inspiring US Women’s World Cup win, I thought I would get back into the swing of things on the blog. I’ve been working tirelessly on the book writing side of things this year, but have been neglectful on the blogging side, which admittedly, if I had to choose between the duties of a contemporary writer, is how I would prefer it. But now that I’ve finished manuscript duties for the time being, I suppose it’s time to return to contributing to the overall betterment of culture and society by posting Nicholas Cage mashups and soccer videos on my blog.

I’ve also had some people email me asking about when the Exiles of the New World is going to be back in print. That’s something I’m hoping to have an answer to in the next few months. I have to wait and see what happens with this WIP before going ahead with Exiles. Even if this manuscript gets pushed back, Exiles should be back on the market at some point this year. Until then, please do not attempt to buy any of the gouged used copies being sold on amazon. Email me for more reasonable alternatives before buying a $60 copy online.

Anyway, moving on. This week’s writing links features the AV Club’s best in print so far for 2015 (including Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Half a King’ and Noelle Stevenson’s ‘Nimona’, both of which I’ve read a bit of and enjoy greatly), some July must-reads from Flavorwire (including Harper Lee’s much anticipated Go Set a Watchman), Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner’s reassuring advice to struggling writers and some cool maps of fictional literary places.

I’d like to quickly swing back to Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King and talk a little bit more about that novel. I have read some of Abercrombie’s stuff in the past and liked it, but have admittedly preferred the style of his fantasy contemporaries like Rothfuss, Martin and Lynch just a bit more. However, having recently read some of Half a King, I must say it is quite good. The first chapter is a masterclass on writing a very tight, involving opening that grips the reader from page one without plaguing them with exposition or resorting to the more popular crutches of YA fiction like a burst of immediate contextless action or using a prologue or zombies or zombie prologues. Either way, if you were struggling with your opening, regardless of what genre or age group you’re writing for, try to track down that first chapter. It’s a good one.

Speaking of Nicholas Cage mashups (just let this abrupt transition happen), did everyone see the Nicholas Cage as Game of Thrones character mashup? It’s amazing and I love almost everything about it, but my only problem with it is that I honestly thought this post would represent the literal end of the internet. Like I always imagined that if Jeff Bridges’ character in Tron kept driving his blue light bike out of the mainframe and eventually found the end of the internet many years later, it would just be this picture of Nicholas Cage as Bran Stark floating in the nothingness of space, kinda like when they found the edge of the universe in Dark City. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case, as this mashup exists and more internet content continues to be produced. Disappointing to say the least, but we must be strong and forge on.

Anyway, check out some other good writing links below and feel free to share your own.

PS. I have a new release date for Doors of Stone. It’s never.

Just kidding. I’m sure it will come out at some point, but not in 2015 as Rothfuss stated in a tweet, so Doors of Stone watch has officially been pushed back to at least 2016. I’m sure it will be worth the wait though. Can’t wait to check it out.

This Week’s Writing Links:

– Best in Print of 2015 so far (avclub)
– 10 Must Read Books for July (flavorwire)
– Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona (amazon)
– Dune, 50 years on: how a science fiction novel changed the world (theguardian)
– Matthew Weiner’s Reassuring Advice for Struggling Artists (fastcompany)
– Nicholas Cage as Every Game of Thrones Character (io9)
– Cool Maps of Fictional Places (joehill)
– Review of the Paper Towns Film Adaptation (thewrap)
– 7 Books to Read Before Seeing the Movie (kirkusreview)
– Every Time Travel Movie Ever Ranked (io9)
– Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness Avaliable as an ebook (sfsignal)
– How I Got My Literary Agent: Rebecca Phillips (writersdigest)
– How To Tell If Your Manuscript is YA (katebrauning)
– Hank and John Green’s new podcast (hankandjohn)

The Trailer For The Martian Has Arrived

And it looks great. I see no reason why it won’t be solid as long as they maintain some of the book’s humor (which the trailer certainly hints at with Matt Damon’s science line) and avoid giving their scientists Prometheus level decision making skills. So, yeah, should be great. Look for it in theaters November 27th.