“Baby Driver”, directed by Edgar Wright

Movie, 2017 What starts off as a an orgy of car chases and music doesn’t really develop into much more. But still, Baby Driver is a treat. If the first section and immediate submersion into action is a little tiring, and the love story and set pieces short of originality, there’s an undeniable force and energy in the film which lifts it a little way … Continue reading “Baby Driver”, directed by Edgar Wright

“In a Cottage in a Wood,” by Cass Green

Novel, 2017 Psychological thriller and something of a page-turner, which is largely effective, although very reliant on cliffhangers and a little prone to giving too many hints and clues which dampen subsequent would-be plot revelations. Some of the characters, too, could be a little more developed. But still, some good ideas in a book which packs action and incident enough for a screen adaptation. Doubtless, … Continue reading “In a Cottage in a Wood,” by Cass Green

“Get Out”, directed by Jordan Peele

Movie, 2017 Enthralling horror film which manages to combine some really cheesy tropes with the odd jolt and some strong, powerful themes. As such, serious issues around race and identity are raised within a puff of an entertainment, which is no mean feat. There are, too, a number of surprises and plot twists which may be fairly easy for horror fans to spot, but which … Continue reading “Get Out”, directed by Jordan Peele

"The Best Minds of my Generation," by Allen Ginsberg

Non-fiction, 2017 Write up of 1977 university course, surveying some of the Beat Generation’s most celebrated practitioners. A curious, patchy, though ultimately rewarding mixture of biography (which is great) and literary criticism (a little less so – though probably something which would best work in an actual lecture). Sections on Jack Kerouac are particularly good, although the overall sense is of a serious look at … Continue reading "The Best Minds of my Generation," by Allen Ginsberg

"The Forensic Records Society", by Magnus Mills

Novel, 2017 A book, like others by the author, in which a scene is set – quite an odd, quirky but essentially familiar, humdrum scene – and then nothing really seems to happen in quite brisk, glorious fashion. The establishment, growth and fall of different shades of seven inch¬†vinyl¬†appreciation and their nuances and power struggles within and between give this novel more of an allegorical … Continue reading "The Forensic Records Society", by Magnus Mills

"4321," by Paul Auster

Novel, 2017 Epic, sprawling account of the journey into adulthood of Archie Ferguson, or more accurately, the four alternative Archies, determined by events and subsequent consequences. While the writing is excellent, this is a hefty tome which promises more than it delivers, with Auster’s penchant for coincidence and meta-fictions relegated behind more straightforward episodic story telling which smoulders without ever fully igniting. The attention to … Continue reading "4321," by Paul Auster