Detective Pikachu (2019) – Review

The image shows a cartoon image of Pikachu (a small yellow Pokemon with long pointy ears) with its mouth open and eyes wide in surprise“Do we really need another childhood nostalgia movie?” I asked, as we wandered through the park on the way to the cinema. “Haven’t they all been done by now?”

The picture on the left is my face, 5 minutes into the movie.

It turns out that we do need more childhood nostalgia movies – or at least, more movies like Detective Pikachu. Against all the odds, against the entire track record of live-action movies about cartoon characters, Detective Pikachu is a really great film. Let’s get into it.

Continue reading “Detective Pikachu (2019) – Review”

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First Man, Hidden Figures, and the Race for Space

Buzz Aldrin Apollo 11 Moon landingThe latest bout of 20th century nostalgia has been taking us back to the 1960s. Something about violent social conflicts, the constant threat of international war, and egomaniacs spending millions of dollars on space travel seems to strike a chord with artists and audiences in 2019. I wonder why.

Snark aside, I like this trend. The story of space exploration is a story of disasters, near-misses and over-spending. But it also brings out the best in us: adventure, imagination, and collaboration. In this post, we’ll look at three different ways that story has been told.

Continue reading “First Man, Hidden Figures, and the Race for Space”

We Still Kill the Old Way (2014) – Review

stillkillWhen his brother is killed by a teenage gang, a retired East End mobster gathers his old crew to settle the score.

Normally I’d go into more detail here, but that’s pretty much the entire concept. It’s a battle of old versus new, hoodies versus suits, respect versus modernity.

Continue reading “We Still Kill the Old Way (2014) – Review”

Death Wish (2018) – Review

220px-Death_wish_2017_posterWhen the police can’t protect a surgeon’s family, he takes the law into his own hands; with his wife dead and his daughter paralysed, Paul Kersey (Bruce Willis) becomes the “Grim Reaper”, a hooded (technically hoodied) vigilante. Continue reading “Death Wish (2018) – Review”

“The Quality of Mercy: Women at War Serbia 1915-1918” – Monica Krippner (Review)

Quality of Mercy Serbian Women pic“In 1914 a large number of British women doctors and nurses formed their own medical units for war service; but, as women, they were rejected by their own authorities so they volunteered for service with Allied armies, and nowhere were their courage and fortitude put to the test more savagely than in Serbia where bitter campaigns raged between 1914 and 1918 in circumstances the equal of those faced by Florence Nightingale in the Crimea.” Continue reading ““The Quality of Mercy: Women at War Serbia 1915-1918” – Monica Krippner (Review)”

Joy to the Earl – Nicola Davidson (Review)

51i2JAjY6EL.jpgJack Reynolds does not remember why he was in the carriage. All he knows is that he was pulled from its wreckage by the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.

Rosalind – a widow with a scandalous reputation – is not expecting another Christmas guest, particularly not a mysterious, devastatingly handsome Yorkshire carpenter, but she has no intention of sending an injured man out into the snow.

Continue reading “Joy to the Earl – Nicola Davidson (Review)”

Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata (Review)

Convenience Store Woman Convenience Store Woman has been a bestseller in Japan since 2016, and was released in English last year as a translation by Ginny Tapley Takemori. So, because this is a blog for book nerds (among other types), we’re going to review both the story and the translation.

The story goes like this: Keiko is a woman who doesn’t understand the rules. Nobody seems to like the way she is, so she watches other people to see how they behave, and then copies them. She finds work in a chain convenience store because they have an employee manual that tells her exactly what to do. How to stand, how to say hello, how to move.

But it’s still not enough; she still doesn’t fit in. Everyone wants her to get a career, a husband and a baby. And when she meets a man who is desperate for a girlfriend and a place to stay, she thinks she has found the solution. Continue reading “Convenience Store Woman – Sayaka Murata (Review)”