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Bill Johnson

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· 17 titles
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Member Since: Oct, 2004

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· A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling

Short Stories
· The Black Widow Warrior, Chapter One, Combat Poets of Maya

· The Calling

· Finding the Right Critique Group

· Bringing the Dead to Life, Notes on Twilight

· Low Cost Book Publicity

· Writing a Novel With a Stuck Main Character

· Stories and Feelings

· Movies as Healing Journeys

· A Hearty Affair

· Ode To Invisibility

· Woman in Blue on Floor

· The Deadly Sheep

· The Parade of Life

· Looking Back

· The One-Upspersonship Parade

· How Is It?

         More poetry...
· My Name is Samuel Clemens

· 4th Edition of A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling Available

· Betting the Karmic House Published by Smith and Kraus

· Kent Mason Wins Writers Digest Fiction Contest

· The Writer's Passion

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Books by
Bill Johnson

A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling

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Blogs by Bill Johnson

Quick Cuts - Capsule Movie Reviews
1/10/2012 9:27:17 PM
Bill Johnson offers capsule movie reviews of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sherlock Holmes, and The Guard.
These capsule reviews of current movies offer a basic overview of what these stories did (or didn't do) to engage an audience.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, directed by David Fincher

This American version of the Swedish novel has opening credits that suggest the movie will be about S&M and bondage. More so than the Swedish film of the novel, this movie is more visual and more compressed. This movie also does a better job of conveying Lisbeth's journey, from anti-social misfit to a woman potentially capable of being in a loving relationship. The Swedish film ended on a strictly plot note, which undercut the power of that film. It left Lesbeth's journey unfulfilled.

The journalist Mikael Blomkvist operates to solve the mystery of the missing girl with Lisbeth. In the novel (and the Swedish film) his goal of saving the magazine he helped found comes across much more strongly.

I'm more removed from the novel than when I did the early capsule review, but I still found Lisbeth to be the more interesting, compelling character.

The movie does have a quality of coming fully to life when Mikael and Lisbeth start working together.

Reducing a novel with a complex web of characters and plot threads is difficult. Fincher and his screenwriter, Steven Zaillian, got the job done.

Sherlock Holmes, a Game of Shadows

Unfortunately, this movie takes the title too far. For most of of the movie, it's not clear what Moriarty is trying to accomplish in the shadows. The result is there's a lot of beautifully staged action, but for most of the film, no sense of an underlying point. What Moriarty is trying to accomplish comes out at the end of the film, but too late to make this a powerful story or an engaging plot (although viewers with an understanding of history will guess what Moriarty is aiming for).

The film does have the easy camaraderie of its two stars.

The Guard

On the surface this film is a fish out of water story, with the fish being an ivy-league, African-American FBI agent sent to Ireland to help intercept a drug shipment. Circumstances force him to work with a braggart, racist cop. The FBI agent can't stand the man, but he also wonders if his seemingly uneducated, vulgar partner with a large sexual appetite for hookers is really much smarter than he lets on.

The plot is generic but the storytelling is organic. What happens, and why, is based on who these two men are, and the choices they make based on who they are. Different characters would change the outcome of the plot, versus action films where the characters are in the service of the plot.

A pleasure to watch.


A fourth edition of Bill Johnson's writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, is now available for $2.99 from Amazon Kindle.

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More Blogs by Bill Johnson
• Capsule Movie Reviews of Lucy & Guardians - Saturday, August 09, 2014
• Review of Maleficent - Thursday, June 12, 2014
•  Focus is on New Media at the Willamette Writers Conference - Sunday, April 13, 2014
• Notes on The Hunger Games Movie & Other Recent Movies - Monday, June 25, 2012
• Quick Cuts - Capsule Reviews of Current Movies - Wednesday, May 30, 2012
•  Quick Cuts - Capsule Movie Reviews - Tuesday, January 10, 2012  
• Capsule Movie Reviews of The Skin I Live In, Submarine, Finding Joe - Wednesday, December 14, 2011
• Notes on Splice, How to Train Your Dragon, Ironman 2 - Saturday, June 12, 2010
• When Minor Characters Take Over a Story - Tuesday, December 22, 2009
• Notes on Knowing, Star Trek, and Sunshine Cleaning - Monday, May 18, 2009
• Notes on Watchmen, Twilight, Revolutionary Road - Friday, March 13, 2009
• Notes on Changeling and Ghost Town - Friday, November 07, 2008
• Notes on Cthulhu, Righteous Kill, Burn After Reading - Monday, October 06, 2008
• Notes on Iron Man, Deception, The Ruins, Young at Heart - Sunday, May 04, 2008
• Notes on The Band's Visit, Spiderwick Chronicles, The Eye, The Golden Compass - Thursday, March 15, 2007
• Notes on The Guatemalan Handshake and The Bridge - Tuesday, February 20, 2007
• Notes on Pan's Labyrinth and The Good Shepard - Saturday, January 20, 2007
• Notes on Flags of Our Fathers, The Departed, Stranger Than Fiction - Sunday, December 24, 2006
• Notes on The Black Dahlia, The Illusionist, Pulse, The Descent - Wednesday, September 20, 2006
• Lady in the Water - Sunday, July 30, 2006
• The Da Vinci Code - Wednesday, May 24, 2006
• Notes on Underworld: Evolution, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Narnia, King Kong, Bee Season - Sunday, January 22, 2006
• Notes on A History of Violence, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Flightplan, and Hustle and Flow - Wednesday, October 05, 2005
• Notes on The Brothers Grimm, The Island, Four Brothers, Mr & Mrs Smith, and The Fantastic Four - Sunday, August 28, 2005
• Notes on Willy Wonka, Dark Water, The Snow Walker - Tuesday, August 09, 2005
• Notes on Land of the Dead and Oldboy - Friday, June 24, 2005
• Notes on Batman Begins - Wednesday, June 15, 2005
• Notes on Hitchhikers, Sin City - Saturday, April 30, 2005
• Notes on The Ring 2 - Sunday, March 20, 2005
• Notes on The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou - Monday, March 14, 2005
• Hitch - Sunday, March 13, 2005
• The Pacifier - Monday, March 07, 2005
• Quick Cuts - Saturday, March 05, 2005

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