Film Review: The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Fox Searchlight Pictures, Bull Productions, Double Dare You, R, 123 min) Starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, and Michael Stuhlbarg. A Brilliant and Brackish Mélange The cascading arpeggiated melody, on an accordion sets the stage for a magical film to come. Slippery, the melody meanders like a tributary to a bigger concept to come. As this melody pushed me into Guillermo del Toro’s world of The Shape of Water, I kept feeling like I was viewing a spiritual descendant of Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, despite no thematic similarities in the surface. Much like Tim Burton before him, Guillermo del Toro’s The… Read More →

Book Review: Nocturnes

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 240 pp) Born in 1954 in Nagasaki, Japan, Kazuo Ishiguro moved with his family to England in 1960. Ishiguro attended the University of Kent receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1978 and continued his education at the University of East Anglia obtaining a master’s degree in creative writing in 1980. A celebrated novelist, Ishiguro has been nominated four times for the Man Booker Prize, winning it in 1989 for his work, The Remains of the Day. Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, was adapted to a full-length film featuring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. In 2017, Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize in Literature…. Read More →

Film Review: Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (Focus Features, Annapurna Pictures, Perfect World Pictures, R, 130 min) Starring Vicky Krieps, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Lesley Manville. Daily Routine When the topic of dignified work enters a discussion, Victorian Era seamstresses in the West End offer a case study in “how-not-to treat your workers.” Long hours and slight wages created harsh conditions and some early investigative journalism shone light on this situation, to the outcry of those reasonably minded. One small side note from this revelation was the daily routines of these overworked women. Many, sewing stitches for hours on end, would continue the motions of sewing even after their shifts concluded. This phenomenon earned the name the phantom thread,… Read More →

Book Review: The Idiot

The Idiot by Elif Batuman

The Idiot: A Novel by Elif Batuman (New York: Penguin Press, 2017. 432 pp) Elif Batuman holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from Stanford University. She has been a writer in residence at Koҫ University in Istanbul, the Sidney Harmen Writer-in-Residence at Baruch College, and a fellow at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars at the New York Public Library. Her work has been published in n+1, and The New Yorker. Freshman Feelings Freshman year represents the nexus between adulthood with its responsibility and adolescence with its singularity of the moment. For those of us seeing increasing space between the present and those college years, that brief era feels like the glory days. These early moments outside the parent’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: BoJack Horseman: Season 5

BoJack Horseman Season 5

BoJack Horseman: Season 5 created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg (Tornante Company, ShadowMachine, and Netflix) Starring Will Arnett, Amy Sedaris, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, and Paul F. Tompkins. A Matter of Change Can we really change? And, if not, what does that mean for society? Almost everything we do in the modern world operates under the assumption of change. We study, and our knowledge base grows; we practice, and our skills refine. If these external indicators point toward a changing state, doesn’t it stand to reason that our inner lives change too? And yet, certain schools of behavioral psychology argue differently. These theories posit that most elements comprising our internal selves are innate, hard-wired and incapable of change. We are who we… Read More →