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Everything posted by NBooth

  1. Podcast Recommendations?

    My friend and colleague Andy Crank from the University of Alabama has a podcast called The Sound and the Furious: "Two professors use humor, curse words, and hopefully some insight to connect current events with American literature and history." I just started episode one ("Trump, the Dirty South, and the Humanities") and it's quite good. The discussion of how the humanities are perceived vs. how they are in practice is pretty bracing after a year of Atlantic whinging about "safe spaces."
  2. Here we go again. Nonfiction in bold. Usual caveats about time-finished rather than time read. January James, Henry. The Aspern Papers (novella) Bloom, Harold. The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime Baptist, Edward E. The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism. Burke, James Lee. Robicheaux. Woods, Gregory. Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World. February Greenblatt, Stephen. Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. Cassara, Joseph. The House of Impossible Beauties. March King, Stephen. 'Salem's Lot. (re-read; first time was audiobook) Hendrix, Grady, and Will Errickson. Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ‘70s and ‘80s Horror Fiction. Herring, Scott. Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism Russell, Ray. Incubus
  3. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

  4. Star Wars: Han Solo origin story spin-off

    This looks bad.
  5. Jurassic World 2 aka Jurassic Park 5

    It's not a strikingly unique response, I'm sure, but this looks terrible. Like, Jurassic Park 3 bad.
  6. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    Edwin Turner:
  7. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    As a sidenote--I assume this has to do with Star Wars not being all that big in China, but the cut I saw had little text onscreen whenever a familiar character appeared. It was kind of cool, because it reminded me of Shaw Brothers flicks (so did Snoke's throne room, actually--it, and some of the stuff that happened there, could have been the setting for a title sequence by Chang Cheh).
  8. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    Yeah, I liked Rogue One well enough, but I loved The Last Jedi. Like, this is what The Force Awakens should have been--not a reverential retread, but a helter-skelter playing with bits and pieces of the Lucas movies. Hamill is magnificent, as is Fisher, and Dern was so good that I really wish we could get more of her. I have no patience with fan complaints about the arc of Luke's character--the franchise is nothing more or less than the movies that make it up, after all, and Hamill did better work here than he did in the entire Original Trilogy. Visually, I was much more satisfied as well--the scenes at the casino were imaginative and lush in a way TFA and even the visually superior Rogue One never dreamed of being. And there were several shots (including one spoilery one involving Leia) that made me audibly gasp. It's a real shame this gets booted back to Abrams now.
  9. A better film about...

    Not sure it's quite fair--and I liked the newer movie--but the original A Nightmare on Elm Street is a better version of the 2017 It. (For that matter, though for a slightly different reason, so is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge)
  10. Stephen King's IT

    Now streaming on Amazon, so of course I watched it. It's good. Not great--the horror scenes, especially early on, are too perfunctory; they appear out of nowhere and then go away with little impact. But the child actors are engaging and the movie re-structures the narrative so that Georgie is missing instead of known to be dead, which gives the climax a nice emotional payoff. I liked Pennywise's physicality, once I got exactly what they were going for.
  11. God's Not Dead 2

  12. This might be of interest around these parts primarily for the Sufjan Stevens connection (that is, Stevens is providing the soundtrack, so here's a link to our thread): Aciman's most recent novel, Enigma Variations is getting a little positive buzz.
  13. David Peace

    I can't believe I didn't update the thread. Who Is Patient X? The new novel by David Peace. Not a conclusion to the Tokyo Trilogy--which is now scheduled to end in 2019 (maybe). Another thing entirely, though still set in Japan:
  14. Link to our threads on the movie versions of Red Riding and The Damned Utd. Link, too, to our thread on "Mystery and Detective Fiction" where Peace's books come up. Right, then. All linking being out of the way...has anyone else here read Peace? I'm midway through the Red Riding Quartet, having finished all that's out of the Tokyo Trilogy, and I'm absolutely in love with this man's work. Which is an odd thing to say, given the topics he writes about (and, if anything, his books are darker than the films based on them, as I observed here), but something about his books compels reading. They're not for the faint of heart; even his protagonists do horrible things to themselves and to other people, and the worlds he writes about (Yorkshire in the seventies; Tokyo just after WWII) are decaying and sordid. Things seldom end well; if you're the protagonist in a Peace novel you can bet that you'll end up insane, dead, or insane then dead. And yet, Peace shows the desperation of these times and men so effectively that one can't help but be sucked in. Recently, I came across a 'blog called k-punk, and the author there has several posts on Peace, including this one: "'Can the World be as Bad as it Seems?' David Peace and Negative Theodicy". In that post, the author gets to what I think is the heart of Peace's relationship with the sordid: Peace is, in The Red Riding Quartet, clearly interested in religion; at one point in Nineteen Seventy Seven, Jack Whitehead finds his thoughts about the Yorkshire Ripper and the pornography ring he's uncovered mixing with images of Christ on the Cross; the suffering Christ and the suffering world seem to be linked, but the only way out Whitehead can finally discover is an amateur lobotomy at the hands of an insane preacher. From what I understand of the way the Quartet ends, it's not so redemptive as the filmed adaptations--Peace seems to be a pessimist in many ways regarding the hope for change in this world (of course, his next novel--due out in 2012--is Tokyo Regained, which holds out a promise, at least, of some sort of redemption). [i notice that I've not said anything about Peace's prose style, which I've seen compared to Ellroy in several places. I've run on too long for an introductory post already, so let me just say that I find Peace's voice incantatory, moving--powerfully pulling the reader along toward the final dissolution that replaces resolution in the books]. Has anyone else here read these books?
  15. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    Well, this is actually happening. So I guess we should have a thread. Here's the trailer. Not really impressed. Dench and Dafoe look good, but I don't get much of a sense of the flavor of this adaptation. And Branagh's Poirot--at least, in this little bit we see--is a failure on pretty much every level.
  16. Ok, so not-bad-but-pressing-personal-life-stuff obviously kept me from watching this movie before yesterday. Like I mentioned when the film was suggested, I saw this movie (and liked it) a while back. Revisiting it confirmed that response; this is such a clean movie--by which I mean all the pieces fit together like clockwork. It's tight. The second half of the movie, involving the police-work, isn't what some folks would call exciting (it's procedural in the purest sense), but watching a room full of professionals do their thing well always holds a certain attraction to me. I was struck by how neatly the movie divides into two halves. The first half--which could be a movie in itself (a Hitchcock thriller, perhaps)--is, I think, markedly different in tone and focus than the second half, which is (as I say) much more strictly procedural. And I guess there's a corresponding shift between the high of the wealthy shoe manufacturer and the low of the beat cops and such (and, of course, this is a transition Mifune's character makes between halves as well, though he doesn't wind up quite as destitute as the kidnapper). Obviously, there's a lot to talk about here regarding class issues, and the way the movie ends--abruptly, with the kidnapper (now killer) breaking into hysterical screams--suggests that Kurasawa is at least as interested in that aspect as he is in the cop or thriller elements.
  17. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    Here's my piece on MOTOE, which is really about Branagh's Poirot. One thing I didn't get a chance to explore was the way in which, like the most recent MAGNIFICENT SEVEN remake, this movie shifts the races of several characters and attempts to use that shift to comment on contemporary racial anxieties. The problem, of course, is that the generic demands of the detective story are different, so it's hard to pull off what MAG7 did.
  18. Justice League

    I've blocked it from my memory, so I could be wrong. Looks like it's about manipulating markets, though.
  19. Justice League

    The first two had Luthor going for real estate, though it isn't exactly core in II. RETURNS has the New Krypton thing. MAN OF STEEL and JUSTICE LEAGUE are both about land-grabs on a global scale. So, arguably, that's five.
  20. Justice League

    Oh, and this is by my count the fourth movie featuring Superman to center on some sort of real estate grab.
  21. Justice League

    With the exception of Gadot and a few fleeting seconds where Cavill shows what a great Superman he *could* be with a decent script, this movie is a total disaster. It fails in so many basic ways (like, introducing the villain and building tension and maintaining tonal consistency) that it should be taught in film school as a cautionary example.
  22. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    I'm going to try to come up with something long-form about this movie, but for now: this is a film that benefits *tremendously* from lowered expectations.
  23. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    If I'm not mistaken, this just opened in China, so I'll be seeing it on Monday.

    I have The Entire Mystery. From what I can tell, the Criterion blu-ray essentially replicates the extras in that set (though it's got the essay! of course). There were issues with sound in some pressings of that set, but I never noticed any problems with mine.