Sympathy — Olivia Sudjic *
Wow, I loved this book. A story centered around sadness, obsession, and longing—for a family, for a lover, for a place. This was very well-written, and compelling, especially for a first effort. Some of the same Instagram ground is covered in this as is in Ingrid Goes West, but this felt more real. It’s also deeply, darkly hilarious, from the description of the awful tech boyfriend, to just how bad families can be for folks.
Invasions — Calvin Gimpelevich
My review. TL;DR it was great. Buy it.
Love & Estrogen – Samantha Allen
I don’t usually read trans memoir–and I have a forthcoming piece that challenges and lampoons it to a degree–but Samantha is a friend and her story is close to my heart because of that. I had the chance to chat with her a lot through the course of part of this love and transition story, and I enjoyed the way she told it. This memoir definitely touched on some of the tropes of the genre, but by also being a wonderful love story, it manages to eschew many more.
The Tea Master & the Detective – Aliette de Bodard **
This was a fun detective tale with a mysterious Sherlock and a spaceship Watson. The setup never quite paid off with its mystery, but I look forward to reading more hooks in the series. I also worried a bit that it would fetishize or exoticize Chinese culture, but outside of the space-protection tea, it largely doesn’t come up.
A spooky throwback to get ready for the sequel. I guess they made a bunch of these and they were all garbage, and the new movie aims to erase them. I think somehow the only one I’d seen was Season of the Witch, which is the 3rd movie in the original set. The 70s were a weird time, and the amount of nudity random “gotta take my clothes off” is just yikes. Jamie Lee Curtis did a great job. I’m hoping the pacing of the new film is more up to modern standards though, because dang, did this feel dated and slow in a lot of ways.
From the preview, I assumed this would be a John Wick knockoff, but it was fun in its own right. Lots of action, Jenny Slate, and a wide array of solid actors. The future is a dismal one, but hey, that checks out.
What if John Hamm’s Mad Men character was a state department guy turned negotiator? 70s Beirut is a trip in the way it’s presented, and knowing a little history, this seems like a wild but semi-accurate portrayal of all the folks who fought over Lebanon during and after the civil war. This is a tonally dark political thriller, and I dug it.
What a perfectly odd anti-hero film. I was a big Venom fan as a kid, and this movie delivered everything I wanted in a Venom movie. Fuck the haters, this is a hoot. I don’t think this should win any prizes for cinema but it’s fun, and provided lots of awkward laughs. The action was exciting, and I can’t wait for a sequel full of carnage.
Sicario: Day of the Solado
Another ridiculous action film about “the cartels” that I can’t honestly tell is meant to make folks dislike the US or root for us. If you want to watch Cable/Thanos run around and shoot things, this is probalby a good movie for you. I don’t find these very clever, but mostly I wish we got an Equalizer-style movie focused on Benecio Del Toro’s character. While I’m hoping, perhaps Demián Bichir can be in the third movie.
A weirdo pyschadelic mess of a movie. I hate that a woman’s death is used as a catalyst, but beyond that this is a bloody, ridiculous revenge flick. The music is great throughout and perhaps we were all delirious, but my theater laughed quite a bit.
Dawn of the Dead (2004/Rewatch)
I could watch this every year. This is an excellent remake of an excellent zombie film. Everyone gives their all, and so many of the deaths, kills, and twists are perfect. A+ work from before Zach Snyder made cruddy films.