‘The Unforgivable,’ directed by Nora Fingscheidt

Movie, 2021 Story of a convicted cop-killer released from prison and trying to track down her sister, who she’s not seem for twenty years. For much of the film, the mood is gritty and grim, though there are moments and scenes which lift the mood. The set piece at the film’s climax is especially well done, so that the viewer isn’t piled with too much … Continue reading ‘The Unforgivable,’ directed by Nora Fingscheidt

‘The October Man,’ directed by Roy Ward Baker

Movie, 1947 Tidy, well-plotted and paced mystery in which a lodger in a house full of oddbeats is accused of murder and struggles, both with PTSD and a doubt over whether or not he actually could have committed the crime in question. While there’s nothing leaping out from the film as being exceptional, and while the received pronunciation can be a little distracting at times, … Continue reading ‘The October Man,’ directed by Roy Ward Baker

‘Attrib. and other stories,’ by Eley Williams

Fiction, 2017 Series of stories which examine and play with the way language works, is used and how meaning and intention can slip in the gaps. Streams of consciousness, digressions and other traits feature heavily and dominate over more traditional aspects such as plot and setting, giving moments of joy and exhilaration, but also a feeling – at times – of irritation, as narratives spin … Continue reading ‘Attrib. and other stories,’ by Eley Williams

‘Don’t Look Up,’ directed by Adam McKay

Movie, 2021 A dystopia set in contemporary America, in which the scientific discovery of a comet heading for collision course with Earth is snatched as a political, media and hugely divisive event. A bold film for the star-studded cast to hook into, and while there’s a didactic tone, the look of the film, including the intercutting of images in montage, make it feel relevant and … Continue reading ‘Don’t Look Up,’ directed by Adam McKay

‘Late Night,’ directed by Nisha Ganatra

Movie, 2019 Story of a complacent and barbed chat show host who, when threatened, begins to mend her ways, sharpen up her act and work with her writers and presentation. The casting of the very British Emma Thompson is a good choice in what, otherwise, feels very slick and American. The main story chugs along and the various relationships and situations look at the role … Continue reading ‘Late Night,’ directed by Nisha Ganatra

‘Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper,’ by Donald Henderson

Novel, 1943 Part charming, part disarming and quite chilling character study of a serial killer, whose modus operandi seems to be brute strength and the desire to be caught and brought to justice. The charm of the book is largely driven through the domestic feel and a London in the throes of the Second World War, and while the boarding houses and social clubs should … Continue reading ‘Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper,’ by Donald Henderson

‘Mean Streets,’ directed by Martin Scorsese

Movie, 1973 Gritty story about mob goings on in New York, focussing on the relationship between Charlie and his steadily unravelling sidekick, Johnny Boy. In what feels like a very visceral, brutally shot production, there’s a good deal going on in terms of family relationships, religious symbols and loyalty, all playing off and out with various levels of betrayal. The clubs, restaurants and bars all … Continue reading ‘Mean Streets,’ directed by Martin Scorsese

‘The Mist in the Mirror,’ by Susan Hill

Novel, 1992 Old-fashioned, but very effective ghost story, written in an almost ‘period tense,’ with a passed-on text from a mysterious protagonist and an array of phantom children, spooky characters, snowfall, spectres and some quite wonderful suspense. A book which may demand that its reader get in the mood and give themselves over to the generic thrills on show. Those who enjoy ghost stories should … Continue reading ‘The Mist in the Mirror,’ by Susan Hill

‘Pompeii,’ by Robert Harris

Novel, 2003 Historical fiction recounting the struggle of its central character, Attilus, as he attempts to repair the Augusta aqueduct, in the shadow of the corrupt officials in and around the Bay of Naples and the rumbling Mount Vesuvius. There’s a good deal going on besides, with a love story, murder plot and a cast of characters drawn from real life, although as the action … Continue reading ‘Pompeii,’ by Robert Harris

‘In The Miso Soup,’ by Ryu Murakami

Novel, 1997 Intense, brutal and disarming novel about an American tourist and Tokyo’s seedier nightlife. On the one hand, the tension builds and there’s a momentum which gives this book a thrilling, almost voyeuristic page-turning quality; on the other, both the chances of Kenji and particularly Frank, and the situations they operate in, feel lonely and hostile and so lend the book an almost meditative … Continue reading ‘In The Miso Soup,’ by Ryu Murakami