An Actual Zombie Jamboree! And Other Movie Notes

What I've been watching.The Gallows. Out now. To call it "bog standard" would be an insult to God's honest bog. This is a haunted-school/revenge-of-the-past flick. Lead actor is handsome and appears able to act. The sets for the school play are terrific, very spooky and effective. Otherwise this feels padded at an hour and a half. Tons of yipping exposition and repetitive arguments from shrill teens; the girls are damsels in distress. Found-footage, which at this point, if you're just going … [Read more...]

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“Love Is a Losing Game”: I review an Amy Winehouse documentary

for AmCon: It’s impossible to describe Amy Winehouse’s voice. Crackly, crimson, fractured and sultry: That’s just the scratchy surface. “Amy,” the new documentary from director Asif Kapadia, delves into the jazz chanteuse’s troubled life and early death, but never forgets to show us Winehouse’s talent and craft—and her gentleness.“Amy” plays like a defense brief. There are villains: Winehouse’s father Mitchell, her husband Blake, and the paparazzi. The movie takes Winehouse’s own narrative a … [Read more...]

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Men, Women, Children and Humans: Some short movie reviews

What I've been watching.Mr Skeffington: Two and a half hours of epic Bette Davis. We start in the 1910s, with Davis as a Scarlett-like belle of the ball who ends up turning down all her suitors to marry the Jewish financier Job Skeffington. She married him only in order to save her beloved wastrel brother from ruin, so although Mr. Skeffington demonstrates his patience and loyalty to her and she does try to please him and work up some fondness for him, things rapidly go downhill for the … [Read more...]

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“Thirteen Songs About Forgiveness”: Mockingbird

with some images of how to do it, when you need to: ...Given its origin in the blues, rock n roll, and pop music more generally, comes by its emotional palette honestly: desire, frustration, hurt, despair, sadness, anger—these are the primary colors of the form. There are gazillions of songs that plead for a second chance (“I Want You Back”), gazillions of songs of repentance and regret. There are gazillions more about standing one’s ground, about enough being enough. But forgiveness itself is d … [Read more...]

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From Lionel Johnson, “By the Statue of King Charles at Charing Cross”

Vanquished in life, his deathBy beauty made amends:The passing of his breathWon his defeated ends. --whole thing … [Read more...]

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From A. Bates, “Party Line”

(yes, I am reading a Point Horror '80s paperback about a 976 teen talk line. My summer is going great) Robbie started over to the Chevy and Mark, relieved, climbed into the Jeep. He'd been hoping for a four-wheel drive for his mother to get to work in the winter, but hadn't figured he had much chance of finding one in their price range. But if there was any hope of getting either of these cars, he wanted the Jeep.It smelled musty inside, reeking of old oil, mouse droppings and dust. The … [Read more...]

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The Literature of Contempt: Some Rambling About DFW and Dostoyevsky

Over the holiday weekend I read through pretty much the entire Mockingbird archive of posts tagged "David Foster Wallace." Meanwhile I'm reading The Idiot for the third time (and finally retaining something other than the "worst thing you ever did" party game, I hope...) and slowly gnawing through Игрок (The Gambler) in Russian class. If you ever want to notice how super-contemptuous (презрительнейший! чрезвычайно презрительнейший!) both of these writers can get about everybody in the entire worl … [Read more...]

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