Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Review of 'Resonance and Revolt' by Rosanne Rabinowitz

I just loved this collection of stories. Overall I think they count as 'weird fiction', but I'd say they stay well clear of the 'horror' genre to which that often tends. Instead they are sort of politically engaged urban realism. They are funny, and sexy, and the people are real characters rather than the two-dimensional stereotypes that often turn up in short fiction.

They're from different stages of life too - some coming-of-age, some from other stages - which is great, though I don't remember one about older cis het white blokes who are out the other side of middle age...I guess I will just have to wait for that one. But the politics, and the sexual politics, are well done - not heavy-handed, but not just layered on for colour.

And there's a bit of a psychogeography dimension too, which I really liked - a feeling for 'liminal spaces' and the way that the city changes under our feet.

I won't discuss the individual stories, except to say that the collection is worth buying just for 'The Matter of Meroz' (which I had read before, in the Jews Versus Aliens collection) - kind of like Isaac Babel on acid.

Review of 'Excursion'

A time travel film, and one that reminds me why I generally don't like the genre. Very confusing, and I'm not sure whether my confusion was because I'm a dope and couldn't follow it, or because the film-makers weren't very good at story-telling.

Surprisingly the scientists who have discovered the secret of time travel are in the Soviet Union (in 1986) so there's a lot about the end of Communism, which does make it more interesting. It's unfortunate that the Soviet institute is quite so nasty, and run by a sinister professor and a uniformed thuggish general who quickly resorts to torture with a hammer - surely they could have been more subtle, even on a low budget.

In the end I resented the time I spent on this, although there were some good touches. I don't understand how it seems to have won so many awards, though it will make me more wary of awards in the future.

Watched on Amazon Prime, one of the first to be watched via Chromecast, which Prime now supports.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Review of 'The Upside'

An American remake of a French film with dodgy racial politics, that was an unexpected and somewhat inexplicable success. A rich white guy who is quadiplegic after a paragliding accident takes on an unsuitable Black ex-con as his carer, partly to annoy his business assistant and perhaps also to ensure that he doesn't survive long due to the Black guy's incompetence. But in a familiar trope from the movies, the poor guy turns out to know a lot about life and revives the rich guy's sense of joy through experience.

Despite the thinness of the plot and the dodginess of the premise it's quite enjoyable to watch.

Watched on Amazon Prime.