“The Hearing Trumpet,” by Leonora Carrington

Novel, 1974 A blast of a novel, which promises a little more than it delivers, perhaps, although there are flashes of crazy playfulness and sinister goings on along the way. It’s hard to follow what should be a pretty easy thread of a narrative; of an old woman being committed to an old persons’ home-cum-asylum, but there are a number of asides which hang heavily, … Continue reading “The Hearing Trumpet,” by Leonora Carrington

“Sixty Six,” directed by Paul Weiland

Movie, 2006 Story of a young man in 1966, looking forward to and particularly planning his bar mitzvah, against the backdrop of a dysfunctional family, and the unexpected success of England’s football team in the World Cup. While most modern films about the plucky underdog facing an uphill struggle tend to feel cloying and grotesque Sixty-Six  wins through; possibly through looking at a minority community, … Continue reading “Sixty Six,” directed by Paul Weiland

“Moxie,” directed by Amy Poehler

Movie, 2021 Enjoyable film about the political awakening of a gawky student, under the influence of her mother Saud student secretly sets up a Riot Girl inspired feminist movement at her high school. If some of the set-ups and character interactions feel just a little obvious and contrived, there is nonetheless a warmth in this film, which is looking at one cultural issue, also brings … Continue reading “Moxie,” directed by Amy Poehler

“The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox,” by Maggie O’Farrell

Novel, 2006 Story of two sisters, and principally, the titular Esme, whose life is grabbed away from her when she’s committed to a mental asylum in the 1930s. In a book whose narrative slips between the two sister’s and Esme’s niece’s points of view, the overlap and interplay of very different views of the same story can be a little confusing, especially early on, although … Continue reading “The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox,” by Maggie O’Farrell

“Chinese Roulette,” directed by Rainer Werner Fassbender

Movie, 1976 Perverse, enthralling film about the psychotic relationships within and involving a married couple and their disabled child. Most of the action, which is built around infidelity and a set of cracked, often spooky characters, takes place at the family’s country lodging. This setting, the crisis ensuing after the husband and wife’s affairs are unmasked, and the various quips, asides and actions build a … Continue reading “Chinese Roulette,” directed by Rainer Werner Fassbender

‘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

“Walkabout,” directed by Nicolas Roeg

Movie, 1971 Arthouse cinema tackling all manner of coming of age experiences, whose main feature seems to be the breath-taking scenery and particularly the fauna of the Australian outback. The main, lavish part of the film is bookended by a couple of scenes showing a sterile, inhuman western mode of living, but the removal from this environment for the two English children is difficult. The … Continue reading “Walkabout,” directed by Nicolas Roeg

“Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve

Movie, 2016 A Close Encounter-tinged movie, in which a Language Professor is tasked by a gruff and not-too patient military, to translate alien messages. This basic framework, in a film which is darkly lit and mumbled, uses many sci-fi tropes and devices to inject significance and tension. A film, really, which tries too hard and doesn’t quite deliver, with everything about if feeling old-fashioned and … Continue reading “Arrival,” directed by Denis Villeneuve

“Heartburn,” by Nora Ephron

Novel, 1983 Account of a marriage and relationship in crisis, told at a frenetic pace by Rachel, the pregnant narrator. Rachel’s story is interspersed with recipes here and there, which rather than get in the way, provide a respite from the fast paced, often hilarious pitch and attack, mainly on her husband, the hapless and not very likeable Mark. A really fresh, funny read, full … Continue reading “Heartburn,” by Nora Ephron

“The Bicycle Thieves,” directed by Vittorio de Sica

Movie, 1948 Simple story containing a load of social reflections and morality, particularly as reflected through the film’s central focus; the father-son relationship between Antonio and Bruno. The plot, essentially, is of how a man has his bicycle stolen and follows the steps he takes to try and recover it. As the action develops, senses of justice, pain and an unfolding unease as Antonio becomes … Continue reading “The Bicycle Thieves,” directed by Vittorio de Sica