Arrival – Movie Review

Hi everyone! I hope you’re having a great week. Today’s blog post was supposed to be yesterday’s blog post but, Netflix is an addiction sometimes…whoops. Anyway, today I will be reviewing the movie Arrival, which I have been waiting to see since the trailer came out. We were supposed to see it in theaters, but never got around to it. It was finally available on Vudu, so my husband and I watched it the other night.

**As always, I will attempt to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but it’s best to watch the movie before reading if you want to go in blind.

Synopsis:
(Taken from IMDB)

When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

I have never seen an alien invasion movie done like this. If you’re going in thinking this is going to be filled with explosions, gun fire and excitement, you’re incorrect.It’s exciting in its own right, but it’s much more intelligent and thought provoking, with a pretty fantastic twist I never saw coming.

Arrival-Teaser-Trailer.jpg

Arrival sets itself up to be a film about aliens invading Earth,but it’s more about the human race than the aliens, touching on themes like general public manipulation via media, science versus culture, and how easy/difficult it is to jump over language barriers.

Language is the foundation of civilization.It is the glue that holds a people together. It is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.

This movie has a deliberately slow paced building of tension, which I absolutely love. I LOVE when movies can keep you on the edge of your seat while making you think. This is not a movie that relies on sex or violence. The small bits of violence are not gore fests, and serve a purpose other than to gross or shock the audience. There is a romance subplot, but it doesn’t overtake the movie and it’s not something you focus too much on – it’s more of a background piece that keeps the same slow pace the rest of the movie does, making it a much more realistic.

You know I’ve had my head tilted up to the stars for as long as I can remember. You know what surprised me the most? It wasn’t meeting them. It was meeting you.

The visuals in this are absolutely stunning. There are some scenes that just blew my mind. Those alien space ships were so realistic looking, I forgot they weren’t real sometimes. It’s not a very vibrant color pallet, and I think the muted cinematography brings forth an element of realism other alien invasion movies lack. As with the slowed pace of the movie, the muted tones help keep you in the zone, thinking your way through a complex and beautiful plot.

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I LOVE this movie. I haven’t been this excited about a film in a long time. I highly recommend it.

RATING: 5/5 ☆

Thank you for reading, I appreciate all the support! Let me know if you’ve seen the movie. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

I still haven’t taken down Chapter One of Alter Reach – you can read that here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Until next time –
Jessica

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Writing Resources I Find Useful

Hi everyone! Happy weekend!

I thought I would do something a little different with this blog post. I have a few books/websites/YouTube channels I frequent pretty often when I am trying to figure out how to write certain scenes, or get a little inspiration. As a reminder, these are just a few of the MANY resources out there for writers. I just picked a couple I use on a regular basis, in no particular order. 🙂

1. Master Lists for Writers – Bryn Donovan
This is such a fantastic resource. It has so many useful lists that I use on a regular basis to draw inspiration.

2. Bryan Donovan’s website
So, when I started putting together this list, I found Bryan Donovan’s blog. She has a lot of fantastic resources and lists you can look at on her blog. I enjoy having the Master Lists on my desk, but I’ve now also bookmarked her blog.

3. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression – Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
If you get on Amazon and check this book out, look down at the recommended books – you’ll notice there is a whole series of thesauruses that look super useful. The only one I own currently is the one linked, but I definitely recommend checking out the others. The linked book is a great resources for “showing not telling” emotions…which is such a struggle sometimes.

4. How To Make A Living As A Writer – James Scott Bell
I want to be a full time writer, and make a living off doing what I love to do. This book has given me some great tools and ideas on how to make this a reality. I definitely recommend checking this one out – BONUS it looks like it’s free on Kindle right now. 🙂

5. Jenna Moreci’s YouTube
Jenna Moreci’s YouTube is jam packed with advice on writing, marketing, and Q&A’s. She also answers your questions through twitter and Tumblr.

6. Kim Chance’s YouTube
Kim Chance is another YouTuber who dishes out super useful advice on the writing world.

7. Well-Storied
This site has fantastic resources – some that are free and some you can buy. Free writing tutorials, novel planning, and a Facebook group (which I have joined) where you can connect with other writers, ask questions and give advice.

8. NaNoWriMo
The NaNoWriMo site is always a great place to go, even when it’s not November. The forum is still pretty active and people are very friendly and willing to give out advice/inspiration/etc.

9. AllPoetry.com
This is a fantastic place to go if you’re writing poetry. It has loads of useful resources on publishing and writing, and you can post your poetry and receive honest feedback. If you click around, there are places to write short stories as well to get some feedback on.

10. GoodReads


Not exactly a writing resource, but as a writer you should be an avid reader as well. I love Goodreads – it allows me to set reading goals for myself, share what I am reading, review and read reviews, etc. It’s a great place to find some new books to read and challenge yourself to be a more avid reader.

That’s all I have for you today. If you have any useful books/sites/etc you use for inspiration or tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

I still haven’t taken down Chapter One of Alter Reach – you can read that here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Until next time –
Jessica

An Author’s Life For Me Tag

Hello! I hope you are all having a great weekend!

I found this author tag on YouTube (As some of you may know, I follow Jenna Moreci on YouTube and she tagged whoever wanted to participate…so here I am. For Jenna’s video, click here.)

*An Author’s Life For Me Tag*

1. What kind of writer are you?

Currently, I’d call myself a Fantasy/Adventure writer. I intend to branch out into the SciFi genre eventually, but Alter Reach has my full attention at the moment.

2. When did you start writing and what made you want to try it?

I’ve been writing my whole life. When I was little, I wrote all sorts of stories. As I got older, I delved into the world of poetry – and spent most of my high school years writing lots and lots of poems. I always told people I wanted to write a book someday, but I didn’t actually start doing that until NaNoWriMo 2015. That was the birth of Alter Reach, and here I am today, finishing that up and getting ready to send it out into the world. 🙂

3. What inspires your stories?

Alter Reach came from a very strange dream and developed into what it is today. Most of my inspiration comes from life, and a little from the things I like to read and watch. I like to stay as authentic as possible, but I think everyone draws inspiration from things they are exposed to.

4. Are you a “plotter” or “pantser”?

For those of you who aren’t aware: a “plotter” plots and outlines before starting their novel and a “pantser” flies by the seat of their pants (doesn’t really plan or plot, just starts writing.) I wish I was a plotter…but I’ve never been one. I used to write essays for school the night before and ace them…I’m just better under pressure and winging it…plotting turns me into an obsessive freak, and I never actually start writing. …. I don’t suggest you follow my example if you can help it though.

5. Where are you in your writing journey?

Soon to be published! While I’d love to tell you when, I am not giving myself a deadline. I want Alter Reach to be the best it can be, so I’m giving it the attention it deserves. This is my first novel, and while I know it won’t be perfect, I want it to be something I am proud of. 🙂

6. Have you entered any writing contest? Did you win/lose them?

When I was writing a lot of poetry, I wrote on Allpoetry.com and I entered many contests on that site. There weren’t real prizes, you won a virtual first/second/third/runner up trophy, but it exposed your work to more people on the site for more feedback. Allpoetry is great for feedback – rarely, did I run into dirtbags, everyone was just there to give you constructive criticism. Other than that, I have entered NaNoWriMo two years in a row, but that isn’t really a contest…it’s more of a contest with yourself.

7. Who are your writing heroes?

Steven King. If someone were to force me to pick a favorite author, it would be him. I love everything about what he writes.

8. What are you top 3 tips for newbie writers?

Tip #1: If you want to succeed in the writing world, you want to make sure you publish something that is clean and well written. PLEASE do not skip over the editing step so you can “save money.” I’d rather someone just not like my story, than bash me because I have spelling/grammar errors littering every page.

Tip #2: Write every day. It’s that simple. If you want to be a writer, you have to write…even when you don’t feel like it.

Tip #3: Screw the haters. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again – not everyone is going to like/understand/care about you. Those people do not matter. Keep the negativity out of your life and don’t let people who are jealous get you down. You’re doing something that is so unique and awesome – keep at it, and live your dream!

 

That’s all the questions I have to answer. I hope you enjoyed reading and I tag you if you want to participate. 🙂

I am working on another movie review for the blog, so keep an eye out for that.

I still haven’t taken down Chapter One of Alter Reach – you can read that here, and if you’re interested in any of my poetry, you can find that here.

As always, if you want to stay up to date with me, you can follow me on Twitter & Instagram @JessicaInspired, and like my facebook page.

Until next time –

Jessica

Haters Gonna Hate

Hey all,

Two blog posts in one week? Whoa. Happy Friday! I haven’t written an advice piece in a while, but I feel like this is something I have learned over the course of writing my first novel and I’m hoping it might help someone else.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the perceptions other people have about my dream of being a full time writer. I know I have plenty of people cheering me on, but I am sure there are an equal number of people who think I’m wasting my time.

You see, when you chase a dream that isn’t part of the status quo, people just assume it’s so impossible, you will never make it.

You want to be a writer? Psh. You’ll never get published.

I am sure anyone pursuing an “out of the ordinary” career has run into less than supportive people.

It’s unfortunate, but at some point you’re just going to have to accept not everyone is on your side. And that’s okay. This negativity and hate could come from jealousy or just down right nastiness.

What matters is you and your dream. It is okay to be you. In fact, it’s awesome. Keep working at your dreams because we only get this one life, might as well live it being as happy as possible!

On another note, I have a three day weekend ahead of me. Lots of that time off will be spent writing, but I will also be enjoying time with the hubby and watching the Superbowl with my family.

I hope you chose to start making yourself happy instead of everyone else, and have a fantastic weekend doing something YOU think is worthwhile.

Until next time –

Jessica

It Follows – Movie Review

Hi everyone!

Before I get into this review, I just wanted to start by mentioning, I haven’t taken down Chapter One of Alter Reach yet. I initially intended to leave it up for one week, but I haven’t felt the need to remove it yet. (I was concerned about copyright, but so far, I haven’t had anything to worry about) Not sure if I will take it down or leave it up, but that means you should go read it now while you still can. Thanks for all the support so far. On to the review!

**As always, I will attempt to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but it’s best to watch the movie before reading if you want to go in without an ideas.

I have been waiting to see It Follows for a little over a year. Two Halloween’s ago, my husband and I were searching for a horror movie to watch. We stumbled upon It Follows while browsing Vudu (which is a movie renting service, kind of like red box, but you don’t have to leave your living room). For those of you who don’t know, my husband is not a fan of gore, so we have to be kind of careful about the movies we choose, because somethings really get to him (and me. I’m not into hack and slash films either). We debated renting It Follows, but decided we didn’t want to spend money on a movie that we weren’t sure we could get through. Fast forward to a couple days ago when I found It Follows on Netflix! I was so excited. I asked my husband if he wanted to see it, and he said no, so I watched it alone.

Synopsis (taken from It Follows Facebook Page):

For 19-year-old Jay, the fall should be about school, boys and weekends at the lake. Yet, after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter she suddenly finds herself plagued by nightmarish visions; she can’t shake the sensation that someone, or something, is following her. As the threat closes in, Jay and her friends must somehow escape the horrors that are only a few steps behind.

I spent a good portion of this movie freaked out. I felt this sense of dread, paranoia, and fear and it almost had me wanting to turn the movie off. The plot set up has this poor main character in a predicament with no means of escape. There are ways to prolong the inevitable, but the entire time you’re watching the events unfold, you’re just waiting for Jay to meet “It” and die.

I will give this movie some major props. There are hardly any jump scares…which is definitely an awful plot device that riddles the horror genre. “It,” can be anyone, at any time and “It,” is always there or not far behind. You spend a lot of your time trying to figure out where “It” is. That’s the part that is really freaky…never really knowing when “It” will come.

The movie is shot really well. There is some really incredible camera work, and the lighting, colors and wardrobe give little clue as to when this film is actually taking place. I think that helps create an atmosphere of unknown and adds to the dread you’re already feeling when you realize there really isn’t any hope. I’ve read a few reviews that rip on the actor performances, but I’m going to disagree. Much of the negativity I read centered around the characters being boring and stupid decision makers. I actually think that adds to the atmosphere of the movie. These kids are 18 and 19, barely out of high school, and all of a sudden one of their friends is being stalked by “It” because she had sex with some dude. They are making stupid decisions because they are barely out of high school age kids who aren’t well equipped to deal with this situation. (Not that anyone would be. You’d probably do some pretty stupid stuff to try to get away from a monster that could be anyone at anytime too.)

Where this movie fell short for me was some of the scenes that “It” was revealed itself. There is a particular scene where “It” kills someone and it was just so disturbing, and out of nowhere, that it left me very confused. The first scene where “It” kills someone is so vastly different than this scene that I was left scratching my head. I found it out of place, jarring and it ruined the atmosphere for me a little.

At first, the ending had me wanting to throw my remote at the TV. It was so anticlimactic and I was so lost, I had zero patience to sit and think about it. I just spewed hate to my husband about how he dodged a bullet watching this movie.  Now that I’ve had time to think about it, and I’ve actually thought about this movie a lot since I saw it a week ago…the ending has grown on me a bit. It fits with the rest of the movie. It leaves you with questions and an uneasy feeling…much like the rest of the movie. It Follows makes you think about the movie long after the credits roll.

Was this entire movie a commentary on casual sex and STDs? I’m not really sure. I can see why your mind would take you there, but it could also have other meanings. I think that kind of thought provoking is what makes this movie okay. Unlike many horror movies which just runs down the road of hack and slash, jump scares, this movie explores another side of fear; paranoia, dread, and a sense of no hope for a happy ending.

I can’t say I’d buy it on DVD and watch it a bunch of times, but I’m not left thinking I wasted 2 hours of my life either. Let me know if you saw it, and what your thoughts on it were.

RATING: 3.7/5 ☆