‘Green Book,’ directed by Peter Farrelly

Movie, 2018 Engaging and emotional film exploring the relationship and social historical situation in the American deep south in early 1930s America. The main characters, both whom are wonderfully acted, are an American night club bouncer and a renowned Indian-American pianist. The relationship between the two men forms the main thrust of the film, though there’s plenty of other themes and currents bubbling under and … Continue reading ‘Green Book,’ directed by Peter Farrelly

‘Property,’ by Valerie Martin

Novel, 2003 A compelling, well-written book, taking an interesting view of the slave trade and its effects on individuals. This is a book about the experiences of a sugar plantation’s mistress, trapped in a loveless marriage, and the relationship she has with the slaves, and particularly with Sarah, with whom her husband has an illegitimate child. This book is bold in taking this perspective, particularly … Continue reading ‘Property,’ by Valerie Martin

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” directed by Adam McKay

Movie, 2013 Crass, disjointed, ridiculous but funny reprise of a gang of newsreaders and their resurrection following their appointment to the fledgling world of ‘rolling news.’ A film which doesn’t take itself in any way seriously and doesn’t really invite much in the way of comment or critique either, but which delivers some high octane, daft action, plenty of throwbacks to the original film and … Continue reading “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues,” directed by Adam McKay

‘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

“Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House,” directed by H.C. Potter

Movie, 1948 Cary Grant comedy, whose plot is pretty much summarised in the title. Grant plays an advertising executive looking to move his family from New York and into the country. Things start going wrong and expenses pile up from the off, as plans fall apart, relationships strain and things get complicated. Not a shining example of any genre, but an amusing film all the … Continue reading “Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House,” directed by H.C. Potter

‘The Cry of the Owl,’ by Patricia Highsmith

Novel, 1962 Terrific psychological thriller, in which a deranged cast of characters get involved and wound up with each other’s affairs. Every one of them ends up in a much worse place than when they started. A terrific piece of storytelling, in which tragic and almost comedically escalating situations involving stalking, ex-wives and vengeful lovers are played out against a backdrop of respectable small town … Continue reading ‘The Cry of the Owl,’ by Patricia Highsmith

“Hidden Figures,” directed by Theodore Melfi

Movie, 2016 The story of the struggle and contribution of black women to the NASA space programme, concentrating on the early 1960s, when Soviet supremacy was putting pressure on the Americans. A well-paced story, which blends its three strands in well and plays elements and nods to the civil rights and segregation issues prevalent at the time. The period detail and space centre shots feel … Continue reading “Hidden Figures,” directed by Theodore Melfi

‘A Walk in the Woods,’ directed by Ken Kwapis

Movie, 2015 Part buddy movie, part road movie, part environmental comment, in which Bill Bryson and his improbably addled friend set off to hike the notoriously unforgiving, 2,000 mile long Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford and Nick Nolte are even more grizzled than the bears they encounter, and deliver a decent, solid if hardly pulse-busting film. Gorgeous scenery, pot shots against all consuming ambition and the … Continue reading ‘A Walk in the Woods,’ directed by Ken Kwapis

“Play It As It Lays,” by Joan Didion

Novel, 1970 Savage novel about an actress whose career and life both appear to be on the skids and which offers little in the way of either relief or comfort. This is a book of alienation and the surface glitz of a shiny, showbiz world, overlaid with real tragedy, abuse and the horror of a life deteriorating. A beautifully written piece as well; Didion’s choppy … Continue reading “Play It As It Lays,” by Joan Didion

“Stoszek”, directed by Werner Herzog

Movie, 1977 Tale of a struggling German street musician, fresh out of prison, and who’s chased out of his home country by a couple of thugs and takes up with a couple of friends in the USA. A story with a touch of Candide about it, in which the well-meaning, essentially good, and entrepreneurial hero is let down by a world he’s ill-equipped to deal … Continue reading “Stoszek”, directed by Werner Herzog