Film Review: Under the Skin

Under The Skin

Under the Skin written by Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, directed by Jonathan Glazer (Film4, British Film Institute, Silver Reel, R, 108 min) Starring Scarlett Johansson. In Appreciation of Art Jonathan Glazer cut Under the Skin from a different cloth. To approach this film as you would any standard movie from Hollywood is to miss the point categorically. Therefore, this review needs to pivot in order to capture this piece of art well. So let’s get plot out of the way. We won’t need much more than a paragraph as Under the Skin intentionally withholding in its plot; it’s not the point of the movie. A Broad Sketch As a broadest sketch, Under the Skin reveals an alien female life… Read More →

Book Review: Unbecoming

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 9.02.44 AM

Unbecoming: A Novel by Rebecca Scherm (New York: Viking Press, 2015.  308 pp) Rebecca Scherm holds an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan, where she currently teaches. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Jezebel, Subtropics, The Hairpin, Hobart, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Fiction Writers Review. Fraud The art world has so often been plagued with subtle intricacies which to the average viewer are unnoticeable. Pen strokes, color palettes and the like tell the authoritative art expert whether or not a piece is a fake. So, too, can it be with people. Rebecca Scherm’s debut novel Unbecoming is the story of Julie from California. Or, is it Grace from Garland, Tennessee? Grace is a world class fraud. She is… Read More →

Book Review: Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men: Steinbeck Centennial Edition by John Steinbeck (New York: Penguin Books, 2002; originally published in 1937. 320 pp) Born in Salinas, California in 1902, John Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. In 1919, he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years, he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City. He published his first novel, Cup of Gold, in 1929. After a marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, California, Steinbeck continued writing novels. Popular success and financial security came with Tortilla Flat in 1935… Read More →

Book Review: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel by Ben Fountain (New York: Ecco, 2012. 320 pp) Ben Fountain is the author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara. He has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Award for Fiction, a Whiting Writers’ Award, an O. Henry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and two Texas Institute of Letters Short Story awards, among other honors and awards. His fiction has been published in Harper’s, the Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, and Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times and the New York Times Sunday Magazine, among other publications. His coverages of post-earthquake Haiti was nationally broadcast on the radio show This American… Read More →

Film Review: Boyhood

Boyhood

Boyhood written and directed by Richard Linklater (IFC Productions, Detour Filmproduction, R, 149 min) Starring Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, and Ethan Hawke. Parenthood As a new parent, I’m already concerned with how quickly time passes. Having been thoroughly warned, I’ve spent the last 9 months cherishing every second with my little man—and the milestones fly past at 100 miles per hour. My boy will grow up. And it will happen faster than I will expect. This principle causes me to resonate deeply with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Boyhood Filmed for a week at a time over the course of twelve years, Boyhood tells the coming-of-age story of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a six-year old boy who lives with his mother,… Read More →

Book Review: State of Wonder

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

State of Wonder: A Novel by Ann Patchett (New York: First Harper Perennial Olive Edition, 2014; originally published in 2012. 448 pp) Ann Patchett is the author of six novels and three books of nonfiction. Notably, she has won the Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books. The Power of Story Classically, the power of story resides in its ability to present a character that overcomes the odds. It might be the lowly knight that slays the dragon, the outcast in high school that gets the girl, the hard-working genius that pulls herself out of the standard stereotypes to be a… Read More →

Television Show Review: Broad City: Season 1

Broad CIty: Season 1

Broad City: Season 1 created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (3 Arts Entertainment, Jax Media, Paper Kite Productions) Starring Abbi Jacobson, Ilana Glazer, John Gemberling, Hannibal Buress, and Arturo Castro. Quasi-Adolescence Growing up isn’t easy. Post-collegiate life, for many, represents a turbulent period. People have difficulty finding work; the support of parents—financially, mostly—dries up; friends get married, move away, and start families, which raises its own stressfulness. While some young adults seize their opportunities and become the movers and shakers becoming media darlings as the future of our country, most young adults try their very best to remain in a quasi-adolescence. They’ve exited the nest, but that doesn’t mean they want to fly long and far in search of… Read More →