February 28, 2013
Spent a weird week or so unable to find the right book – usually I have an almost preternatural knack of finding the right book to be reading. So I ended up watching a few films, for a change, until the book magic returned. So you get some film reviews too.
Tohunga: Hohepa Kereopa – Paul Moon
Interview based book with an old Tuhoe tohunga about his life, experience, and practices. Really fascinating and grounding insight into the Maori spiritual world-view.
In The Forests of Serre – Patricia McKillip
McKillip is one of my very favourite fantasists. She writes in a fairytale sensibility and mold, but not self aware and post modern, just alive with the richness of story. Think if Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, etc) wrote in English with an English patina of narrative tropes to draw from. Her prose is gorgeous, her tales vivid and unpredictable. This is absolutely delicious, and my favourite of hers so far; a forest full of magic and enchantments, and many twists in the tale. Ending a little flat maybe, or maybe I was tired. Generally wonderful.
Wise Blood – Flannery O’Connor
Woo. This is a weird one. Set in the post-war American south, we follow young fucked up weirdo losers losing their minds as they try to make sense of their world. Really struck me as the Catcher in the Rye which should have been – a truer representation of finding a place in life, and America. Main character founds the Church of Christ without Christ, speaking such gems as “Where you come from is gone, where you were going to weren’t never there, and where you are ain’t no good unless you can get away from it.”
The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt
Amusing picaresque cowboy noir, set in 1850s America, following two killers on a job. The narrator’s personality, observations, and asides are oddly charming for a psychopathic killer. Read on a recommendation; enjoyable and swift, not quite sure.
Currently on You Are Not a Gadget: A manifesto by Jaron Lanier, in which he is arguing that lots about our current technological design is accidental, badly thought out, and is/will have bad effects on our notion and being of human.
Snow White and Huntsman
Mostly alright until the last 45 minutes. Good atmosphere. Good example of something getting too self aware and post modern (or at least consciously modern) in its treatment of fairytale content.
Cronenberg directs based on DeLillo’s novel. The guy from Twilight is a billionaire travelling across town in his limousine having various interactions as the world comes down. Abstract, visceral, very weird.
Excellent but bizarre film, sort of based on L Ron Hubbard and Scientology, but mostly about Joaquin Phoenix giving a freaking amazing performance as a fucked up sex obsessed alcoholic which he doubtless should win awards for but probably won’t.
(John Dies At The End)
Pretty sure I saw this last month but it is worth mentioning. Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho Tep) directs an extremely entertaining… hard to describe in a sentence, but awesome film. Dudes acquire a black goo drug which gives access to other dimensions of reality. A ride of mayhem ensues. Huge fun, occasional splatter.