Let us turn to an under-theorized but much-loved genre, which I have just decided to name “Murderous Shakespearean Teens”.
We’re thinking of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited; we’re thinking Donna Tartt’s A Secret History; at a pinch, we might think of Peter Nowalk and Shonda Rhimes’ How To Get Away With Murder. There are not many more examples, although I suspect there are quite a few Murderous Shakespearean Teens sitting in a YA publisher’s slushpile somewhere.
These stories all share three central traits: violence (physical or otherwise), glamour, and youth.
Continue reading “Murderous Shakespearean Teens: a review of If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio”
I LOVE zombie films. This might come as a slight surprise because I normally leave the horror reviews to Dan. I can’t get through most scary movies without hiding behind the sofa and then having nightmares for weeks.
But there is just something about shuffling, brains-hungry, undead monsters which really works for me, as a movie concept. This may well have something to do with In The Flesh.
Continue reading “Battle of the zombies: In The Flesh versus The Cured”
The Ocean’s franchise is venerable and well-established. First there was the original Rat Pack movie in 1960. Then came the 2001 reboot, which established the modern style: slick, understated comedy, which didn’t waste too much time explaining the heist. You get to watch the characters muddle about and mess things up with insouciance; then you see the double-speed replay where you realize that, actually, they were in charge of the situation all along.
And the formula worked for two whole sequels, until it started to run out of steam. So the big Hollywood directors sat down and thought about how to regenerate the franchise once more.
Continue reading “Oceans 8 (2018): In a world without men”
How do you choose a new book? Most of us start by looking at the title or the cover. Each person has their own private code of colours, typefaces and titles which signal whether a book is bad – consciously or unconsciously.
I like geometric or abstract covers with well-chosen colours; I refuse to read anything with a title that begins “The Girl/Boy Who…” Most of all, I avoid books with one-word titles. These rules of thumb are usually quite accurate. I trust the authors and cover designers to do their job well, and help me find the books I like by creating covers that appeal to me.
But sometimes, you have to break your own rules: because a book comes highly recommended, or you’re in a rush to choose a book before your plane leaves, or because it’s personal. Fen, the first collection of short stories from Daisy Johnson, ticked all those boxes for me.
Continue reading “Fen – Daisy Johnson (Review)”
Young Adelia Wright is left alone in the wild back country of 1890s Oregon to deal with her unpleasant brother, puberty, and not much to eat. So she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to find a better life.
Fog Coast Runaway is in the best traditions of novels from the 19th century. We have a tough young heroine with a kind heart – and she needs to be both tough and kind, because scarcely a paragraph goes by without a birth, death, fight to the death, or romantic gesture.
Continue reading “Fog Coast Runaway – Linda B. Myers (Review)”
“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”
The 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”