Film Review: A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story written and directed by David Lowery (A24, Sailor Bear, Zero Trans Fats Productions, Ideaman Studios, R, 92 min) Starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara. I Will Follow You into the Dark Reflections on the afterlife can leave unsettling inferences unsaid. If heaven is more than just a place on earth, then what will we do? With whom will we spend time? How does a consciousness known only in the linear encounter and operate in the infinite? In my younger years, I always feared the afterlife my faith tradition composed. The notion of sitting in God’s glory and worshipping forever seems utterly dull. But, compared to eternal damnation, I guess a boring existence is an upgrade? The ghost… Read More →

Book Review: Barabbas

Barabbas by Par Lagerkvist

Barabbas by Pär Lagerkivst, translated by Alan Blair (New York: Vintage International, 1951. 144 pp) Pär Lagerkivst was the author of more than 35 books and was renowned for his versatility as a poet, dramatist, essayist, and novelist. In 1940 he was elected one of the 18 “Immortals” of the Swedish Academy, and in 1951 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1974. Starring in Your Own Story Every minor character in someone else’s story is the protagonist in their own story. The best stories show character depth for everyone because we all lead our own stories. When a film, television series, or novel falters, it tends to unravel in these tertiary characters. The love interest’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: Altered Carbon: Season 1

Altered Carbon Season 1

Altered Carbon: Season 1 created by Laeta Kalogridis (Netflix, Mythology Entertainment, Skydance Television) Starring Joel Kinnaman, James Purefoy, Martha Higareda, Chris Conner, Dichen Lachman, Ato Essandoh, Kristin Lehman, Trieu Tran, Hiro Kanagawa, and Waleed Zuaiter. Let’s Begin Some Thought Experiments Every thought experiment in philosophy begins with a hypothetical. What if we all exist as brains in a vat? What if orange doesn’t exist? What if we never die? Fun, right? If we were brains in a vat, might life feel exactly the same, if images still project scene by scene on our consciousness? How can we know for sure? Better yet, would it even matter? Some philosophers suggest if we have no epistemological foundation for denying it, how could… Read More →

Book Review: The Hole

The Hole by Hye-young Pyun

The Hole: A Novel by Hye-young Pyun, translated by Sora Kim-Russell (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2017; originally published in Korea in 2016. 208 pp) Hye-young Pyun made her literary debut in 2000 winning the Seoul Shinmun’s annual New Writer’s Contest with her short story ‘Shaking Off Dew.’ She has since published four short story collections and two novels. She has received several of Korea’s most prestigious literary awards, including the Yi Sang Literary Award in 2014 and the Hyundae Munhak Award in 2015. She lives in Seoul. Sora Kim-Russell is a literary translator based in Seoul. Her translations include Hye-young Pyun’s Ashes and Red, Hwang Sok-yong’s Familiar Things and Princess Bari, Base Suah’s Nowhere to Be Found, and Kyung-sook Shin’s… Read More →

Television Show Review: The Good Place: Season 2

The Good Place Season 2

The Good Place: Season 2 created by Michael Schur (NBC, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, Universal Television) Starring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Caden, Manny Jacinto, Marc Evan Jackson, and Ted Danson. Do We Owe Each Other? What do we owe each other? Day by day. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. Our actions emerge in the context of relationships to others. Our decisions determine our relational orbits. The choices of a parent influence the expectations of life for the child. The management style of the boss alters the psyche of the employee. So, what do we owe each other when our decisions influence each other so greatly? Well, any movement forward, with even an ounce of empathy,… Read More →