Post-“Raven’s Ladder” Browser: Catching up. Dawn Treader! Catching up on summer movies. Joe Henry. More.

Having turned in Raven’s Ladder, I’m excited, exhausted, and eager to enjoy what little bit of summer remains. I’ve spent these beautiful months laboring over a hot laptop to finish the third book in The Auralia Thread, and I hope to read some great books and see some great films (not to mention eat great meals and spend time with great people) to re-fuel.

So, here’s an assortment of news, links, and highlights from my re-entry into “the real world.”


Lo… the Dawn Treader…



This week, three different people have asked me, in person or by email, for tips on becoming a published writer.

When I responded with the question I’ve learned to ask first — “Well, what do you write?” — all three answered, “Well, nothing yet. But I want to….”

Okay, tip #1 is… oh, never mind.


I’ve seen two films that will likely end up in my short list of 2009 favorites at the end of the year: Lorna’s Silence, by the Dardennes Brothers, and a smart, riveting thriller called Tell No One that weaves The Fugitive together with Vertigo and The Bourne Identity. I also saw The Soloist, which, despite winning performances by Downey Jr. and Foxx, was another case of potential being crushed beneath the weight of Hollywood razzle-dazzle.


I watched trailers for Avatar, The Wolf Man, and Gentlemen Broncos. As far as trailers go, if I were to rate them as to whether or not the footage presented makes me want to see the movie, I’m surprised to say that the Avatar trailer places a distant third.


I’m still savoring the new Joe Henry album, Blood from Stars. I’m also applauding Paste Magazine’s post on five of Joe Henry’s favorite books, a lit that includes both Alice Munro & Flannery O’Connor.


Sara Zarr got a Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly for her third novel in as many years: Once Was Lost.


I ran into my friend Craig Detweiler… sort of… as we were both quoted in this Collide article on the value of criticism.

Reforging the sword: Now “Excalibur” (1981) is getting a remake. By Bryan Singer (“X-Men, X-Men 2”). The original starred young Helen Mirren, and marked the film debut of Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, and Ciarin Hinds. What legends will rise in this one, I wonder.

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  • After watching the Broncos trailer, I felt like I’d seen pretty much the entire movie. The same thing happened with the trailer for Brothers (the one with Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal).

  • Johan

    Congratulations on finishing the editing round on your manuscript. Hard work indeed!


  • Did Tell No One just open in Seattle? It played in Vancouver in 2008 (and it was originally released in France way back in 2006!).

  • Gene Branaman

    I thought Bryan Singer was going to remake the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Hmmm . . .

    Gentleman Broncos looks great, IMO. I’ve thought for quite a while that Michael Angarano is one of the best actors of his peer group (which might not be saying much but he’s better than that, too). Avatar . . . well, I’m not so sure yet. It looks great but there’s really nothing there we haven’t already seen, is it? It did make me itch for Peter Jackson to work up films based on the Temeraire books he’s purchased the rights too (alternate Napoleonic wars historical stuff with dragons).

    And the Dawn Treader looks quite Dawn Treaderish! I’m anticipating this one ‘cos of Apted, mostly. Interesting to see what a different director will do with it.

  • You are spot on with Tell No One. One of the smartest films I have seen in a while!

  • Excalibur was my first R rated film. I loved it, but I’m not sure how it has held up under repeat viewings. Something that HAS held up is Siegfried’s Funeral Music which was used in the film. It’s one of my favourite pieces of classical music.

    It seems no one posting here or on Jeffrey’s Facebook page liked the Avatar trailer but me. I thought it looked brilliant. Yes it did look a bit video gamish. I would guess that appeals to me because I’m such a fan of video games. One of the great rules of video games is that video game adaptations of films are awful. I find one of the more fascinating aspects of this movie to be the fact that same 3D models are being used in both the film and the game. The game and the movie may both suck, but the melding of the two genres should prove to be an interesting study in the merging of interactive content with film.

  • I thought maybe I was just being a malcontent, but everywhere I go, I read a general disappointment with the Avatar trailer. Too bad. I had expected my first glimpse of the first Cameron film in 12 years to be a little more…awe inspiring. Instead, all I got was a giant video game.

  • Jeremy Landes

    really enjoyed that Gentlemen Broncos trailer, though I’m not a big fan of the other Hess films. The preview reminded me of Rushmore a little bit.