Television Show Review: Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things 2

Stranger Things: Season 2 created by the Duffer Brothers (Netflix, 21 Laps Entertainment, Monkey Massacre) Starring Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, Noah Schnaap, Joe Chrest, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser. Social Commentary One tried and true social cue, at least in my playbook is the “What-are-you-watching” question. I️ pull such a question when I️ want to know more about someone new. Or, I️ even ask the question in deeply held relationships because I️ want some good recommendations for what to watch next. Recently, during a current-viewing-habits discussion, Ozark came up. As I️ often mention at during Ozark discussions, I️ reference… Read More →

Film Review: Green Room

Green Room

Green Room written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier (A24, Broad Green Pictures, Film Science, R, 95 min) Starring Anton Yelchin, Joe Cole, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson, Eric Edelstein, Macon Blair, Imogen Poots, and Patrick Stewart. A Tough Genre to Master When it comes to uncomfortable viewing, the horror/suspense genre takes the cake. The viewer knows most of the characters aren’t going to make it; the question becomes the “why” and the “how” of the demise. The difficulty of the genre lies in replicating realism. Most days, killers aren’t stalking groups of friends a la I Know What You Did Last Summer. The writer and director must think carefully about the best possible way to conjure a scenario… Read More →

Film Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl

Gone Girl written by Gillian Flynn, directed by David Fincher (20th Century Fox, Regency Enterprises, TSG Entertainment, R, 149 min) Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, and Kim Dickens. Celebrity Murder Perhaps the most famous non-athlete from my alma mater in recent years is Amanda Knox. While studying abroad during her time at the University of Washington, her roommate met a tragic demise. As a prime suspect, the case against Amanda was never a slam dunk. The odd twists and turns and the multiple verdicts pushed the case further and further into the general consciousness of the public. Funny how one case, among the multitudes drifting in anonymity, rises to general discourse. Ask anyone… Read More →

Book Review: The Secret Place

The Secret Place by Tana French

The Secret Place: A Novel by Tana French (New York: Viking, 2014. 529 pp) Tana French grew up in Ireland, Italy, the U.S. and Malawi, and has lived in Dublin since 1990. She trained as a professional actress at Trinity College, Dublin, and has worked in theatre, film, and voicover. The Need to Rise above the Noise Sometimes it’s just nice to kick back and read something uncritically. While a book has the power to transform a mindset, or present a compelling argument artistically, depth isn’t necessary. It can be refreshing to sit back and read. Although Tana French’s The Secret Place offers this kind of experience, I would not suggest it rises above the noise. A Murder Mystery The… Read More →

Book Review: The Farm

The Farm By Tom Rob Smith

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2014. 368 pp) Tom Rob Smith was born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and an English father. His bestselling novels in the Child 44 trilogy were international best sellers. Smith has won the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The Day It Changes Do you remember the day it all changed in your family? Do you remember the moment the bubble burst around the family utopia? It might have been early in life. It could be much later after you are out of the house. But it always seems like life… Read More →

Book Review: Gone Girl

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl: A Novel by Gillian Flynn (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012. 432 pp) Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Gillian Flynn earned undergraduate degrees in English and journalism at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University. Flynn wrote for Entertainment Weekly for 10 years—4 of which were as the TV critic. Her first book, Sharp Objects, won two of Britain’s Dagger Awards. Gone Girl has been adapted into a feature film. Page-Turner Sometimes there’s nothing better than a page-turner. I usually shy away from page-turners as for better or worse, I tend to label them guilty pleasures—they aren’t deep, literary fiction. But not all page-turners and New York Times bestsellers are created equal. When… Read More →

Film Review: The Counselor

The Counselor

The Counselor written by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott (Fox 2000 Pictures, Scott Free Productions, Nick Wechsler Productions, R, 117 min) Starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. The Weakest Link There’s truth to the saying, “You’re only as strong as the weakest link.” In business, you could have the highest performing management, design sensibility, and customer service, but if your supply chain is poor, the customer won’t be happy. In sport, you can try your best to hide your weakness but you’ll inevitably need to rely on that part when the season is on the line. Penned by Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott, starring Hollywood A-Listers — The Counselor ought to be… Read More →