Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Sport and a Pastime - Book Review

Published in 1967
A Sport and a Pastime - James Salter B
The French Connection

A Sport and a Pastime is a great title and one of my all-time favorite book covers. However, immediately after I finished the novel I wasn't sure if I liked it, or if I just liked the sex (which is very poetic if not a little misogynistic). I didn't necessarily feel any connection with the characters, although they were definitely intriguing. The story's narrator, a nameless American living in France, is the omniscient guide to what becomes an erotic journey between Dean, a "coolguy" Yale drop-out and Ann-Marie, a nineteen year-old French sexpot with bad breathe. This novel was a slow burn, yet once it seeped into my head I found it hard to think of anything else. The tone of A Sport and a Pastime is slightly reminiscent of The Great Gatsby (one of my favorites). Furthermore, The way Salter wrote about sex was inspiring and compelling. The way he wrote about race, not so much. Nonetheless, this well-written sexcapade is interesting and highly worthwhile.

For more on this novel check out this great piece by Alexander Chee

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Amy - Movie Review

Amy (NR) 128 mins B+
Love and Other Drugs

I've seen the Kurt Cobain (Montage of Heck) and Elliot Smith (Heaven Adores You) documentaries within the last year. Neither left me feeling as sad as Amy, the new Amy Winehouse doc directed by Asif Kapadia.

I was aware of all the hype surrounding Winehouse when she was alive, but I figured it wasn't my thing and I never listened to her music. Turns out, she was more charismatic and more talented then I ever imagined. Gone to soon.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Overnight - Movie Review

The Overnight (R) 80 mins A-
It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing 

Starring: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godreche

Alex (Adam Scott), Emily (Taylor Schilling), and their five-year-old son, RJ, recently moved from Seattle to Los Angeles. The young parents are excited about their move, excited about their new beginning, but have yet to make new friends. Enter Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), the ultimate LA hipster and all-around nice guy. Kurt befriends Alex and Emily when he spots his kid playing with their kid at a local park. Kurt invites Alex, Emily and RJ over for dinner/play date. But, the real play date begins after the adults put the kids to bed.

I'll admit, The Overnight feels more like a tremendously delicious guilty pleasure rather than a great film. But, I loved it nonetheless. I purposely didn't seek out too much about the plot prior to seeing it, and as a result I was surprised at every turn. The film is a little raunchy, a little ridiculous and slightly awkward. Directed and written by Patrick Brice, The Overnight is the best sex comedy of 2015 so far.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ex Machina - Movie Review

Ex Machina (R) 108 mins B-
Pretty Little Robot
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Issac, Alicia Vikander and Sonoya Mizuno

Calab (Domhnall Gleeson), is a talented young programmer and dedicated employee. He works at an internet-search company, sort of like Google, and has been selected to spend one week with the company's reclusive CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Issac). Nathan lives and works in a remote mountainous area where he develops new technology- everything is top secret and highly secure. Calab's job for the week is to test/interact with Nathan's latest creation, an artificially intelligent robot named Ava (Alicia Vikander). I don't think I am giving anything thing away by saying Ava is cute and Calab is horny... I mean vulnerable.

Directed by novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland, I found the film more interesting than exciting. The techie stuff is cool and all, but the mind games are the best part. The less you know about this film, the better. Fans of this genre will probably appreciate Ex Machina more than I did; I thought it was a little slow at times. Stephen Hawkings once said, "artificial intelligence could end humanity." Whether you agree or disagree with Hawkings, this film will definitely provide food for thought.

The Newsweek's Article mentioned above