5 Things I’ve Done Since I Last Posted on My Blog

Philip HarrisChatter, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since I last posted here, over a month in fact. I’ve been very busy during that time, but here’s a few highlights to get me back on the blogging horse… 1 – Wrapped up Siren’s Call At least, I’ve wrapped up the fourth draft which is the last draft before I send it off to Ellen Campbell, the editor who’ll be whipping it into shape. I’m really happy with how the book turned out. It was great fun to write and feedback from the people who’ve read it so far has been excellent. I can’t confirm the release date just yet but you shouldn’t have too long to wait. 2 – Saw Kieran Strange and The Doubleclicks Perform Live Neither of us were familiar with Kieran Strange but we enjoyed her show. Anyone with a song called Merry Undead Christmas must be good. This was the first time we’d seen The Doubleclicks live and they were predictably awesome. Their brief rendition of the Doctor Who theme was worth the price of admission on its own. 3 – Watched Mad Max: Fury Road If I get some time, I’ll post my thoughts on the film but suffice to say, I loved it. So much that I’m tempted … Read More

Only Lovers Left Alive

Philip HarrisMovies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

My wife and I almost went to see Only Lovers Left Alive during a trip to Calgary last year but the showtimes didn’t quite work out, and we didn’t know anything about the movie beyond the fact it had a cool poster and starred Tilda Swinton. She can usually be relied on to put in a memorable performance and her films often hit the style and substance sweet spot, at least for us. We Need To Talk About Kevin was one of my favourite films from the 92 we watched in 2013. We finally got around to watching Only Lovers Left Alive last night and it didn’t disappoint. In fact, I kind of wish we’d made time to watch it on the big screen. Although it’s ostensibly a vampire film, it’s really a fantastically stylish and subtle romance that positively drips cool. Everything from the characters to the music to the set design and wardrobe is perfectly pitched. Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston are superb in their roles but the whole cast is excellent. The soundtrack is great as well, I’m just about to head over to iTunes and check out the album. It’s a slow burn of a movie that really reminded me of The Hunger with David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and … Read More

Still Alive, Still Writing

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Movies, WritingLeave a Comment

It’s been a while since my last post. I guess time flies when you’re having fun. Or in my case – time flies when you’re having a root canal retreatment. My day job, a running injury, the aforementioned root canal and a whole load of editing of Leah may have curtailed my blogging but the writing streak continues. Although my daily word count numbers have dropped significantly because I’ve been revising and editing, I’m currently at 533 days with no plans to stop. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve made the last few revisions to Leah, wrapped up the first draft of Reg vs the Martians and started a couple of new chapters that will replace a chapter in Glitch that I’ve never been happy with. I’m not convinced this new stuff is much of an improvement but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll probably rewrite it again next year. I also outlined the sequel to The Zombie Book (working title). I’m heading off to England next week and I had originally planned to spend some time on the final revisions of Glitch. But I’ve come to the conclusion that editing on the road doesn’t really work … Read More

Tusk Equalizing

Philip HarrisMovies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

Monday was a holiday here in Canada so my wife and I decided to spend the afternoon watching a couple of films. First up, Kevin Smith’s Tusk. This one is tricky to recommend. It’s a mix of comedy and cringe inducing horror and it’s a very odd film. For me, the early comedic elements fell a bit flat. Wallace Bryton, played by Justin Long, is co-host of an all too believable podcast called the Not See Party Show (say it out loud a couple of times). That’s about the level of humour you get in that part of the film. But as things progress the humour gets just a little bit smarter (or at least more subtle) and the creepiness ratchets up until the film transitions into some quite effective horror. Michael Parks is superb as the deliciously creepy Howard Howe and Guy Lapointe gives a suitably over the top performance. We enjoyed it but it’s not going to be everyone’s idea of a good time and I can certainly see why it’s not getting a good reception. I love the poster though. Next we headed up the road to see The Equalizer. I don’t remember much of the original TV series starring Edward Woodward (other than that it … Read More

Beating the Blerch Part Two

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

When we left our hero, he’d travelled to Seattle, spent four hours in a line to get his bib and book vandalised by The Onion and become one of the last people to watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the cinema. When I was training for my first marathon, I was given some advice for the final days before a race – “Don’t stand when you can lean. Don’t lean when you can sit. Don’t sit when you can lie down.” Basically, you want to rest as much as possible for a couple of days before the race. So, spending the Friday before a race standing in a queue and the Saturday morning wandering aimlessly around the Seattle waterfront was not the best way to prepare for race day. Saturday started with us tracking down breakfast at Le Panier – A Very French Bakery near Pike Place Market. It was recommended to us by one of our fellow marathon runners (a Saturday runner whose marathon bib number was 1!) and proved a perfect place for breakfast. The apricot croissant and pain au chocolat I had were both delicious, the bread looked and smelled equally good and the prices were excellent. If you’re in … Read More

Guardians of the Galaxy

Philip HarrisMovies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

We really are living in a golden age of science fiction and fantasy movies and TV. The (relatively) low cost of computer generated imagery coupled with the suitability of genre blockbusters for 3D conversion (and the associated additional income) have created an evironment where it’s finally feasible to create pretty much any ridiculous scenario authors and screenwriters can come up with. And…It’s wearing me out. I can only take so many explosion laden blockbusters before I retreat to the subtle charm of an indie character piece. I pick and choose which of the big films I go to see (no Transformers or Turtles for a start) and this year I’ve seen three – Lucy (which I talked about here), Edge of Tomorrow (which I thought was surprisingly good but neglected to mention at the time) and now Guardians of the Galaxy which we watched in 2D. I have to say, I’m happy with my choices so far. Guardians is quite different to both Lucy and Edge of Tomorrow but I enjoyed it just as much. It’s fast paced and doesn’t take itself at all seriously. The 80s vibe worked really well for me and I was reminded of The Last Starfighter (although I … Read More

All Alone in the Night

Philip HarrisMovies, TelevisionLeave a Comment

News hit recently of a possible Babylon 5 movie reboot. Despite it sometimes feeling like a poor man’s Star Trek, at least as far as fandom goes, My wife and I have been fans of the show since it originally aired in the UK and “It can be a dangerous place” is still part of our shared vocabulary. It’s safe to say we’re up for a reboot, particularly if J. Michael Straczynski is running things. Babylon 5 was the first TV show that I watched that had a true ongoing story. Most shows I paid attention to back then followed the standard sitcom approach where the world at the end of an episode was essentially the same as when that episode started. My science fiction viewing prior to Babylon 5 was generally limited to Star Trek (Original and Next Generation), Doctor Who and Blake’s 7, and you could watch the episodes in pretty much any order. You might wonder why Tasha Yar wasn’t on the Enterprise that week but other than that, you’d be able to follow what was going on. Even a series with an ongoing plot like The Invaders could really be watched out of order with very little problem and the early episodes of The … Read More

Lucy

Philip HarrisMoviesLeave a Comment

Lucy is a dumb movie. Let’s get that out there right from the start. Do not go to this movie expecting anything resembling a plausible plot. It’s not enough just to suspend disbelief – you’ll also have to suspend your belief in the laws of physics, common sense and your desire for there to be any sort of internal consistency to a film. This is not a movie that will make the world a better place. But I enjoyed it. Especially the first fifteen minutes or so. The opening scenes build a real sense of menace and Scarlett Johansson gives a raw, emotional performance that was definitely the highlight of the movie for me. The Besson magic is in evidence and it starts to look like a film that is much more intelligent than the trailer would have you believe. And then it all gets a bit silly. The plot bounces from set piece to ever more ridiculous set piece, mixing classic Besson car chases with effects laden computer graphics sequences until it gets to rather bizarre climax that’s hard to really comment on without spoiling anything. It’s a wild ride and completely implausible, even perplexing in places. At one point I … Read More

They Had Me at Max

Philip HarrisMoviesLeave a Comment

Too bad we have to wait until next year.   [They Had Me at Max by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 27th July 2014]

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Philip HarrisMovies, ReviewsLeave a Comment

Every now and again, I read about a movie or see a trailer or even just a poster and something clicks and I’m suddenly completely confident I’m going to enjoy that film. Moonrise Kingdom was one of those and so was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the Stephen Chbosky film based on his novel of the same name. We finally watched it Saturday night and I was not disappointed. Perks is a classic coming of age story, the modern equivalent of those John Hughes movies from the 80s, and I’m a sucker for films about misfits trying to find their place in the world. This one has some dark corners to it as well which only served to make me like it even more. And it has a fantastic soundtrack. We’re not watching a lot of films at the moment so arguably there isn’t a lot of competition but The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the best film we’ve seen this year. A great script, great characters and great acting. My only regret is waiting two years to watch it and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth a look. [The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 30th June … Read More