Friday, May 27, 2016

A Bigger Splash - Movie Review

A Bigger Splash (R) 124 mins C
Sun-soaked and the self-obsessed

Starring: Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Dakota Johnson, Corrado Guzzanti and Matthias Schoenaerts

Luca Guadagnino, the director of A Bigger Splash, and I have at least one thing is common; we both think Tilda Swinton is a sex symbol. I was smitten with Swinton in Guadagnino's 2009 film, I Am Love. In A Bigger Splash Swinton is the sexiest in a film that tries sedulously to be sexy. Set in the beautiful island of Pantelleria, it's hard to deny the film's beauty. But, I also can't help but feel like the film relies too much on aesthetics and not enough on plot. I appreciate the humanistic drama of emotions the film is built upon. However, as a piece of dramatic cinema A Bigger Splash screams "rich people problems" sans any empathic characters with whom moviegoers can make a heartfelt connection.

The plot in a nutshell, Swinton plays a rock star, Marianne Lane (think Chrissie Hynde meets David Bowie) who is in seclusion/on a sexcation with her beau while recovering from throat surgery. Their days are quiet and relaxing until her former manager/lover (Fiennes) abruptly arrives on the island with his Lolita-like daughter (Johnson) in tow. I don't think I am giving anything away when I say that one can see the pairing off of couples from a mile away- two former loves reunite, while two young hotties flaunt their bodies until neither can take it any longer.

A Bigger Splash isn't a bad film. If you need motivation to visit Sicily, this is it. But, if you want to see a better film from this director that also stars Tilda Swinton, seek out I Am Love.

A Bigger Splash trailer via YouTube -

I Am Love trailer via YouTube -

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Animal Farm - Book Review

Publish August 1945
Animal Farm - George Orwell B-

"Cute" might be a strange way to describe George Orwell's Animal Farm. But, when I imagine these pigs, horses, donkeys and goats overthrowing a drunk farmer and starting a revolution, it's hard not to smile. This "Fairy Story," as it was initially subtitled, is heavy stuff once you get past the cute and clever animals. By now I suspect everyone knows that Animal Farm, written during the first half of the 1940s and published in 1945, parallels the Russian Revolution. The animals in the book represent people like Karl Marx, Leon Trotsky, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. People, places and things in the book represent religion, Russia, the media, the working class and more. Animal Farm started strong. I was intrigued. But, eventually my attention waned. Overall, I enjoyed it. However, I probably expected too much since it's considered to be a classic. This one might warrant re-reading down the line.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eligible - Book Review

Eligible - Curtis Sittenfeld B+

Published April 2016
I never read Jane Austen, so I'm sure there are unique subtleties in Eligible that I'm missing out on. But, one doesn't have to be familiar with Austen to thoroughly enjoy this modernized reimagining of Pride and Prejudice. I became curious about this book when I heard Sittenfeld was updating Austen's 1813 story by injecting a heavy dose of reality television's The Bachelor. Eligible is the kind of novel that drives me crazy, in a good way. The characters are annoying and simultaneously intriguing. Throughout the novel I kept wondering if I would date some like Liz Bennett (the main character) - she's smart, ambitious and sexy; yet, extremely exhausting and gossipy. Liz's sisters- Kitty, Mary, Jane and Lydia, were okay even though I didn't find any of them particularly exciting. The same goes for Liz's mother (she was dreadful) and father. Ultimately, I was taken with Liz, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Chip and Jasper - they stole the show and kept me intrigued. It almost makes me want to read Pride and Prejudice... almost.

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Good Marriage - Book Review

Published in 2010
A Good Marriage - Stephen King B

The Good Marriage was originally published as one of four novellas in Stephen King's 2010 collection, Full Dark No Stars. The story follows an ordinary wife who discovers her ordinary husband is a serial killer. Inspired by Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, King actually made me question whether or not the wife should leave her psychopathic husband. After finishing the story I can't believe I ever thought the wife had a choice.

This novella was adapted to the big screen, here's the trailer courtesy of YouTube: