“Tales of Muffled Oars,” by Magnus Mills

Novel, 2020 Familiar Mills territory, with groups of men meeting in pubs. In this book, they’re following history, with seemingly and mysteriously time travelling Macauley, Hogarth and Swift delivering talks in which England at peace is discussed, to the exclusion of any conflict or murder. This simple idea is backed with clear, simple writing, all of which covers and discusses some hefty questions about the … Continue reading “Tales of Muffled Oars,” by Magnus Mills

‘Run,’ directed by Aneesh Chaganty

Movie, 2020 Pretty solid, fairly standard psychological thriller, featuring a dysfunctional mother/daughter relationship. While there’s a degree of knowing what’s coming next, and genre tropes are dutifully ticked off, this is nonetheless well done and watchable. A new moments, perhaps, of unintended humour here and there, but a good watch for genre fans. The two main actresses are excellent throughout and rinse as much tension … Continue reading ‘Run,’ directed by Aneesh Chaganty

“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”, directed by David Dobkin

Movie, 2020 Parody and rags to riches story of Icelandic Eurovision entry and the emerging relationship between the two members of the band. While some of the set ups and jokes are funny, there is a fundamental issue at the heart of this film – namely that it’s difficult to parody something which already expertly self-parodies. At times, the film either feels a little too … Continue reading “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”, directed by David Dobkin

“The Trial of the Chicago Seven,” directed by Aaron Sorkin

Movie, 2020 Courtroom drama, reflecting on true events and the reaction and attempts of a staid, conservative judge to deal with the 1960s radical elements involved in a civil protest. A film which very clearly wears its heart on its sleeve, and one in which the viewer senses the judge isn’t going to come out well. There are, however, some nuances in the developing views … Continue reading “The Trial of the Chicago Seven,” directed by Aaron Sorkin

“Rebecca,” directed by Ben Wheatley

Movie, 2020 Sumptuous though rather flat adaptation of Du Maurier’s novel, which despite a few fresh touches here and there, never quite comes down as either a full-on romance nor creepy horror. It fails, too, to escape from the shadows of Hitchcock’s classic. Some nice moments, particularly the contrasts between the breezy early scenes on the Med and the claustrophobic atmosphere of Mandalay, although the … Continue reading “Rebecca,” directed by Ben Wheatley