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Everything posted by NBooth

  1. Ok, so I'm going to try this year to generate discussion about some books in this section. Since last year, I've been trying to read more new books--keep abreast, as it were, of whatever's going on out there. And that year, as with this, I started out with a Dave Robicheaux novel by James Lee Burke. Now, I know that other people on this board dig Burke--MLeary, for one, if I recall--so it seems sensible to have a thread on him. For myself, I've now read three Burke novels: Crusader's Cross (2005), Robicheaux (2018), and now The New Iberia Blues (2019). I've got handfuls of the other novels both with me here and back home in Alabama and I plan--eventually--on getting around to reading them. I'm going to go ahead and drop my reading journal entry (lightly edited) on The New Iberia Blues below: I’m not sure how I feel about this. Crusader’s Cross, which I read years ago, was really good (as I recalled); Robicheaux was a weird experience that I don’t remember much of, in part because I read it on a thirteen hour flight from China to the U.S. So this one—hmm. Ok, so there’s some stuff I really didn’t care for: 1. Old men getting it on with young women, with their [the young women's] enthusiastic cajoling, is—I guess not unheard of, but it feels a lot like an older man’s fantasy (lots about these last two novels feel that way, including the fact that these sixty-or-seventy-year-old-men apparently have arms like cantaloupes and can take beatings that would kill men even a third their age. But, ok, that’s a generic thing). 2. Characters who aren’t Dave or Clete (or Smiley, the halfpint assassin, I guess) are pretty opaque and inconsistent in the way they act. Everyone seems to be picking fights with Dave, including his adopted daughter. After all this time one would think she would know better. 3. There’s a definite tinge of old-man-yells-at-cloud to all Dave’s talk about Hollywood and the New America, etc etc etc Things I liked: 1. I don’t think I appreciated it enough before, but Burke’s crime fiction really does hit that same spot that Hannibal, for instance, does in its interposing of quasi-supernatural events onto a crime narrative. It was stronger here than I remembered in the previous novel. 2. The epilogue was really good. There’s a sense of trying to find some kind of happiness or solidarity in a world that is (in the case of the Louisiana coast, literally) falling apart, which seems very of-its-time. 3. Burke writes beautifully, of course. So--thoughts, anyone? Any Burke aficionados? Has anyone else read the new book?
  2. I'll bump this thread instead of starting a new one (for now). It seems to have flown under my radar, but back in October it was apparently announced that Thomas Harris had a new novel coming out. Now it has a title: Cari Mora. It's out in May.
  3. NBooth

    The Predator

  4. NBooth

    True Detective

    So two episodes of season 3 are out. Anyone catch them (I mean, I did, but anyone else)? In a way, this season feels less bold than season 2; it's back to the South, back to the flashback structure, etc etc etc. I have no idea how occult it's going to get, but so far the series isn't doing much with that angle, either. But I'm digging the fact that we're juggling three time periods now, with nested flashbacks. And Ali is, of course, great. On the whole, I like what I see (though, granted, I'm an easy sell here).
  5. Here's a thread for 2019.
  6. NBooth

    2019 Reading Journals

    Nonfiction bold. Usual disclaimer about time finished. (Also, since a lot of this reading is for teaching or for writing, no representation is made that I'm cozying up with fifty-odd books a year and absorbing every word). January Winters, Ben H. The Last Policeman Mahaffey, James. Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder—A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science. Burke, James Lee. The New Iberia Blues
  7. NBooth

    House of Cards

    That’s just embarrassing.
  8. NBooth

    Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

    My companion and I found the movie kind of dark (or muddy) in the early sections, but it really pops at the climax, which exhibits a creativity that's sadly lacking in most superhero outings these days. I loved this movie to death. Best superhero movie of the year--sure. Best Spider-Man since 2? Almost certainly. But here's what's interesting: it feels like its own thing. The best parts of Homecoming felt like they had been ripped from the Raimi films. This one--even when it directly quotes the Raimi films--never feels like anything except itself. And itself is very good indeed.
  9. NBooth


    I went in expecting to love this movie, but I actually kind of hate it. If it were trashier it would probably be more interesting; as it is, you could pop in any one of James Wan's overbaked melodramatic horror movies and find lots of stuff that's more interesting, more thematically acute, and more visually arresting than the thin gruel this flick offers. I'm particularly angered by the fact that So that's a nope for me.
  10. NBooth

    The Miseducation of Cameron Post

    I got tired of waiting for Boy Erased to hit streaming, so I went ahead and watched this (I had been planning on doing a double-header). I liked it well enough; it certainly captures a particular kind of subcultural kitsch, unrelated to the conversion therapy stuff. For the rest--well, as Joel points out there's problems with characterization here. Namely, no one in the movie except Cameron has much of a personality (which is an especial problem when, late in the film, a not-unexpected tragedy occurs). I would have liked to see some more development on that end. For her part, Cameron comes into the movie already pretty unconflicted about her sexuality (save for a couple of mid-movie scenes), so she doesn't have much of any journey, herself. Which is--well, it's a problem insofar as she gets to play the role of disaffected outsider looking in at the funny kids who really believe this stuff. I suppose if she did buy into the conversion therapy thing it would be a much darker story, but I found myself wishing that she at least bought it a little for the sake of having some dramatic tension. That said--the performances are pretty delightful, when they have stuff to do.
  11. NBooth


    This show is still bonkers, by the way. Season 3 hasn't been quite on the level of the first two, but it's got some really good stuff going on in it (last week's episode was among the best they've done, in spite of the Veronica plot).
  12. NBooth


    This is a real thing. For comparison, this is a [not neccessarily safe for work] parody thing from a few years ago: Indiewire: Link to our thread on the Archie vs. Zombies movie. Shannon Purser (Barb from Stranger Things) is playing Big Ethel. I don't see any way this could be good, particularly after that trailer, but it intersects with a number of my interests (small town stuff; nostalgia; murder-mystery; etc), so I'll be checking it out anyway.
  13. NBooth


    I fell way behind on the show, but I’m caught up now and even managed to write a piece on the whole thing.
  14. NBooth


    I’ll add this: there are some really beautiful shots in this movie. And some wonderfully strange ones.
  15. NBooth


    This movie opens this week in China, so I went to check it out. Somewhere in here there’s a really good movie, as opposed to a barely adequate one. As it is, this flick is way, way overstuffed. It could easily lose thirty minutes and a whole plot-thread and wind up being a stronger movie. But it has a certain shaggy charm, all the same.
  16. NBooth

    Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

    Rick Riordan has memories of this movie.
  17. NBooth

    Boy Erased

    I've not seen this movie (and won't until it hits streaming), but I found this conversation between Kevin Garcia and Garrard Conley to be interesting.
  18. NBooth

    Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald

    The real crime here is this movie. It’s bad, y’all. Really bad. The plot is so over-complicated and under-explained that it makes the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks look minimalist and clear. Character motivations appear and disappear out of thin air. There’s about as much dramatic tension as an episode of Saved by the Bell. Outside of a few reliably-solid actors (Jude Law, for instance, or the again-underutilized Ezra Miller), pretty much nothing in this movie works.
  19. NBooth


    It's less effective than a typical MCU movie at doing what it wants to do, for sure; but what it wants to do is much more interesting and peculiar than anything most MCU flicks attempt (all exceptions admitted). So I balance those against each other. One thing I get a kick out of, in retrospect, is the way in which the threat-to-the-whole-globe stuff is basically (at least, in the cut I saw....) tossed out there. There really isn't any particular concern for that aspect; it's almost openly a generic trope that the movie feels the need to include but doesn't really care about (or expect us to care about).
  20. NBooth


    So this came to China (I know, right?) and so I wound up seeing it. It’s about on a level with MCU flicks, tbh. It’s more fun than INFINITY WAR and ANT MAN AND THE WASP. Tom Hardy is really funny. But the last half-hour is incredibly boring.
  21. NBooth

    The Woman in White (PBS)

    I like this book a lot--I read it once in my teens and then once, again, for a graduate seminar. So I'll try to check this out, although the recent adaptation of The Moonstone left me relatively cold.
  22. NBooth

    Silent Hill

    This movie's been coming up a lot recently. First, The Unloved did a piece on it four months ago, which caught my attention (of course): Then the YouTube algorithm decided I needed to see a video from 2014: And then the Now Playing podcast put up a new episode on the movie. So, basically, it seems like I'm going to have to watch this at some point. (Besides which, visually interesting horror set in an American small town is kind of my thing)
  23. NBooth

    House of Cards

    I totally lost interest about the middle of last season. I kind of wanted to check this season out because I've been convinced for a while that the real MVP of the show is Robin Wright, but I haven't been able to muster the interest (or the time).
  24. NBooth

    Should A&F posts have a "Like" Button?

    In addition to the above points, if there's a "like" button it will destroy the sometime-tradition of wishing that the board had a "like" button.
  25. NBooth

    Board Rules and Guidelines (Under Construction)

    I think in general that not having a forum devoted to politics would be the most, um, politic decision possible. I (obviously) don't have a problem invoking politics in discussing art; my whole take on Captain America: The Winter Soldier was basically a political rumination, and I'm sure I could think of other examples (my eventual review of Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven, for instance, derived from politically-inflected thoughts posted here). That said, I think it's probably for the best not to have a place specifically devoted to the arena of politics, for a couple of reasons. First, we're an international board, so there's that to consider. Second--frankly, this is a personal thing, but I talk and think and worry about politics all the time, lately, and it's kind of nice to have a place where I can go and not worry about having to ignore/block/mute/whatever threads. A safe space, if you will. W/r/t the specific issue of homosexuality, it's complicated by the fact that religion and politics step all over each other (at least, in the U.S. they do); people with political reasons for supporting/opposing LGBTQ rights will offer religious reasons and vice-versa. I'll note that we have a thread on "Sexuality and Christian Belief," which started under a more specific title and which is pretty much devoted to discussing LGBTQ issues (similarly, we do have a recent-ish thread on "The U.S. Evangelical Vote," so I guess the "no politics" rule has been flexible for some time).