I spent two weeks (one in July and one in August) away from work as I made the most of the sea, sand and beach. Then last week, I went on a self-made writing retreat as I stayed with my grandmother where I pretty much just worked and caught up with my grandma. Oh, and I watched movies.
So without further ado, this is some of what I did post-vacation and during/post retreat. (Please note that this post contains affiliate links.)
Interests, Education, Location & More: How to Catch Those First Clients with What You Already Have on Be a Freelance Writer.
Dear Women (and Men) Who Don’t Want to Have Kids: You’re Not Alone on my dating blog.
Mustafa Hakkinda Hersey starring Fikret Kuskan and Nejat Isler
I’m not the biggest fan of Turkish cinema as many films tend to try the same old plots over and over again, but All About Mustafa is a breath of fresh air. While it might not be the most original story out there, the plot elements, pacing, music and acting take it up to another level.
Starring two of my favorite actors Fikret Kuskan (Mustafa) and Nejat Isler, Mustafa Hakkinda Hersey is a dark drama thriller worth watching:
Mustafa supposedly has the perfect life as a successful businessman, and a great father/ husband. He loves his gorgeous wife and is expectedly devastated when he loses her in a fatal car crash, where she was with a cab driver named Fikret (Nejat Isler).
Deadly curious to find out answers, Mustafa kidnaps Fikret a short time after he is released from the hospital, and the torture begins. As Mustafa shows us he is more than a privileged city boy, we get to know more about his upbringing – which might tell us why he doesn’t exactly seem so mentally stable right now.
And while we might feel sympathy for Mustafa’s pain and get pissed off some of the nonchalance coming from Fikret, it’s easy to change sides as we see more of Mustafa’s dark side. After all, there is a big chance whatever Fikret was doing with his wife, she was a willing participant…
So who the hell is Mustafa, anyway?
Thoughts on Mustafa Hakkinda Hersey:
Strongly recommended. Written and directed by the famous Turkish director Cagan Irmak.
Bicaksirti (Roughly translated: Back of the Blade)
Rewatched, because it is one of my favorite Turkish series, and if we ignore the sometimes overdone music, one of my favorite series of all time.
Again starring Nejat Isler and Fikret Kuskan, alongside Melisa Sozen (Winter Sleep), Mehmet Gunsur (Hamam) and Vildan Atasever, is a solid drama with strong thriller and romance elements that deserves its own post in my Great Story Conflicts series.
I’ll try to summarize the main plot as well as I can:
Nisan (Melisa Sozen) and Orhan (Kuskan) are an unhappily married couple living in a mansion with their young son Murat, Orhan’s father, Orhan’s younger brother (Mehmet played by Mehmet Gunsur) and the family’s loyal helper of 25 years.
Nisan and Orhan have a secret that they keep from everyone: Murat is not their biological son. When they found out Nisan was sterile, Orhan paid money to a doctor so that they can pass a newborn baby as their own son. Since the mother died during birth and the father was sentenced to life in prison for her murder, it was a life-saving deal for all.
Except the biological father Ali (Isler) is not guilty, and after 10 years, his lawyer/younger sister Gunes (Atasever) finally manages to prove his innocence and get him released. And when he finds out his baby is actually alive and calling two strangers parents, he decides to take him back. But instead of shocking the kid with the news, he confronts Orhan and gets hired as their driver so he can be close.
And if you think things will get complicated because Orhan’s wife Nisan and Ali will soon fall for each other, and Orhan will stop at nothing to protect his secret and fatherhood, you are right. Oh, and Ali’s sister will of course fall for Orhan’s brother because their lives were so simple…
Yeah, I know, I should have drawn a diagram.
The music, and sometimes the not-so-interesting sub-sub-plots might be its flaws, but it is still a great show with constantly stellar acting, especially from the leading characters.
Sleeping with Other People starring Alison Brie and Jason Suedekis
Starring Alison Brie (Community) and Jason Suedekis (SNL, Hall Pass, Horrible Bosses), Sleeping with Other People is a fun, sex-focused romantic comedy where most of the raunchiness comes from the language.
Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Suedekis) lose their virginity to each other and never see each other again until a sex addicts’ meeting many years later:
Lainey is obsessed with the now married old flame Matthew (Adam Scott), and Jake would rather screw his relationship up by sleeping with other people instead of having a honest break-up speech.
After the meeting, they meet up and decide to be friends. They keep on dating people and having sex, but not with each other. They become best friends and build the kind of true intimacy most couples lack. But how long can this arrangement last when it is obvious they are in love with each other?
Co-starring Marc Blucas and Amanda Peet. Featuring Adam Brody.
Thoughts on Sleeping with Other People:
In addition to featuring two actors I don’t see enough of (Blucas, Peet), Suedekis and Lainey make a lovely couple. Sure, you probably wouldn’t want to date either of them as their issues are well…deal-breakers for most people, they are honest, funny and just damaged enough to make wonderful characters.
Please focus on the genre romcom when you are predicting your ending.
Written and directed by Leslye Headland. Give it a try, just not with anyone conservative or overly sensitive around.
Dead in Venice (spec screenplay, written by my friend Fiona Leitch)
Logline: A successful crime novelist travels to Venice to cure her writers’ block, and finds herself embroiled in a murderous plot involving carnival masks, ghost stories and an Interpol agent with a passion for cheese and a tragic past.
Thoughts on Dead in Venice
Dead in Venice is a page-turning drama, crime, thriller with really funny aspects and some (un)expected darker turns. I had a blast reading it, though I did not predict just how tragic the past of the agent will be. It will be rated R in its current version especially for its crime scenes, which is appropriate for the genre. Oh, and it is romantic too.
Priceless (spec screenplay, written by my friend Fiona Leitch)
Logline: A hopelessly romantic security guard and a downtrodden cleaner steal the world’s most famous painting, but when they realise that a life of crime is not for them and they must return it, Fate seems to have other ideas.
Thoughts on Priceless
Priceless is lovely crime, comedy and romance that combines art theft, soccer fandom and love. It also has a heart when it comes to looking at the life of its protagonists, and it is definitely lighter than Dead in Venice if we are comparing. I strongly recommend both scripts, though Priceless is the obvious choice when you want something less dark.
Riding Aristottle (spec script written by US screenwriter Jon Meyers)
Logline: In 1908, a month prior to her performance review, the country’s first female dean struggles with a private club invitation, while keeping an extra-marital flirtation under wraps from everyone at the university – – especially the jealous Vice Provost.
Thoughts on Riding Aristotle
Riding Aristotle is a dark comedy set in 1908 offering plenty of surprises. It’s a refreshing story,especially with what the private club entails, and a nice blend of what 1908 was, and what the author recreated it to be.
Riding Aristotle offers plenty of external and internal conflicts and obstacles, an ensemble of highly interesting and mostly modern characters (with the exception of the antagonist of course).
Read: Screenplay of the movie Ex Machina, written and directed by Alex Garland
Talented hacker Caleb (Domhall Gleeson) is chosen to spend a week at his genius/billoinare boss Nathan’s (Oscar Isaac) house for a mysterious project. The project/mission turns out that Nathan wants Caleb to “test” the AI he has created named Ava (Alicia Vikander): Can Ava pass for a human despite Caleb knowing she is AI?
As Ava proves more intelligent and seemingly emotional than Caleb has predicted, he starts falling for her. But can she really feel, or is she just good at manipulation? And whatever happens to her if she fails the test?
Thoughts on Ex Machina:
Ex Machina is a well-crafted, original and intrguing script (as well as a worth-seeing movie.) Even though I was hoping for another ending from the moment Caleb checks whether or not …… (blank, because I want to avoid spoilers), I mostly liked the movie.
So this is it from me for now. What have you read, watched and published? Let me know in the comments. It’s okay if you have rewatched, reread and republished! : )