19 Apr 2016

Reading & Seeing 28

Fatale - Jean-patrick Manchette (1977)
An excellent noir novella which follows the exploits of a killer, Aimee, as she arrives in a small seaside town and ingratiates herself into the inner circle of its corrupted prominent inhabitants. Our central character is, perhaps at the time it was written anyway, shockingly cold and calculating (less so in this day and age what with the likes of Amy Dunne etc around). It's a lean little book, about 90 pages long, and none of those are wasted filler, it's suspenseful, atmospheric and dramatic.  Unsurprisingly, I finished it within a day and if you enjoy a bit crime noir you probably will too.

The Secret Place - Tana French (2014)
Work's (first) book club choice and a fat old read at that. Set in a girls' boarding school a year after a student from the nearby boys' school is found murdered in the grounds, the story is told from multiple perspectives including the rookie cop attempting to solve the murder and the four teenage girls at the centre of the story. This book was incredibly dense - 5 pages to get a across a paragraph of story progression - which some might find enjoyably descriptive, I did not. I found it really hard going, the girls' narratives quite grating and cringey, and it wasn't until the last 100 pages or that the story picked up any kind of pace or suspense. Just not my cup of tea really.

After the Crash - Michel Bussi (2015)
A plane crashes in the French alps, two babies are amongst the passengers on board - one from a wealthy family and one from a significantly less well-off one - everyone on the plane perishes, except for one baby, but which baby is she? The story is largely set 18 years after the crash where both families and a private detective are trying to solve the mystery once and for all. The premise of this book sounded great but the delivery didn't really live up to it - meandering all over the place with fairly long irrelevant sections - and the 'reveal' at the end was pretty predictable (which says a lot, I NEVER figure out whodunit).

The Circle - Dave Eggers (2013)
Everyone wants to work for The Circle, the company is full of bright young minds, desinging and producing innovative ideas that'll change the world. But it's big thing is social media. Employees are encouraged to comment, like, connect with and record everything, and as the power and reach of The Circle expands, the company's actions and values take a sinister turn. It's pretty easy to see the comparison between our own social media obsessed society and the world described in the book (The Circle itself made me think of Google or Facebook).  I thoroughly enjoyed it - the writing style, the tech ideas, the symbolism, even the ending that left a bad taste in my mouth. I do like unsettling SF which makes me think though...

I've not watched a lot of films at the cinema in the last four months, I basically missed the entire Oscars season which I'm gutted about, there was so much I wanted to see! Mitch and I saw Trumbo on my birthday and it was excellent. I knew nothing about the Black List which ruined so many careers not to mention the lives of those who worked in the entertainment industry. Who knew John Wayne was such an asshole! Bryan Cranston was on top form in the lead role and the styling and costumes were perfection. Sticking with a v.similar theme (communism in Hollywood), we went to see Hail Caesar! last month. It's packed full of excellent set pieces (Channing Tatum's sailor routine, Scarlet Johansson's mermaid, ALL the bits with cowboy actor Tobey) but overall the storyline didn't quite bring it together for me. Too much time was spent on George Clooney hanging out with the communists, although Clooney's speech towards the end is ace (along with his amazing 'reaction to the christ' acting).

The best film I've seen at the cinema so far this year? Zootropolis. It's cute, it's hilarious, the animation is beautiful, it honestly couldn't have been better. Fun fact for you: mitch and I have a fancy dress party to go to next month and I whole-heartedly think we should be Judy and Nick... Staying with animation, albeit a v.different type of animation, we recently saw Anomalisa, Charlie Kauffman's stop motion animated film with puppets! I confess I spent quite sometime wondering how they made the film - how big were the puppets, what were they made from etc - but that's largely because it gets off to a pretty slow start. But don't worry it ramps up the drama and there's some rather creepy and unsettling scenes in the second half (and I'm not talking about puppet sex).

1 comment:

  1. I did love Fatale. It would make a great film - in fact I have an idea about it.

    Love love Zootropolis! In fact - loved all the films (except Anomalisa - not seen it) you saw this month.


Ta v.much :)

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