reading/watching Wednesday

Aug 28, 2019 13:00

I've been procrastinating HARD on an exchange fic that's due soon, and I've been dealing by reading a lot of things and watching a lot of TV.

Movies
Widows (2018). This was the most tense and intense heist movie I have ever seen. Even calling it a heist movie is kind unfair; it's mostly a drama about some women in Chicago making the best of what life has handed them, set against a backdrop of violence and general political corruption. It was great to see Michelle Rodriguez in something again. Elizabeth Debicki was absolutely fantastic. It was neat to see Cynthia Erivo again, although her role was pretty small and she was the least developed of the troupe. Overall I think I liked it? After all the tension, the ending felt a little anti-climactic. I did enjoy that after all the back-and-forth between the two alderman candidates, the election was decided off-screen. It kind of reaffirmed that this was not their story, even though they took up some space in it now and again.

Scream (1996). This was so much more meta and so much less bloody than I was expecting. There's still some blood and gruesome death, but I was basically expecting the whole movie to be what we got in the first ten minutes, and it really wasn't. By aggressively ignoring all horror for the first 25 years or so of my life, I also was completely unspoiled for the plot. I enjoyed Neve Campbell a lot, and it was fun to see Skeet Ulrich in another of his teen heartthrob roles, since I encountered him in Riverdale first. And hi there, Henry Winkler! I feel like Principal Flutie in Buffy had to be at least partly inspired by Principal Himbry in this.

Books
The Girl in the Well (2014) by Rin Chupeco. YA dark fantasy about a 300-year-old Japanese avenging spirit who gets interested in a modern boy's curse, from the perspective of the spirit. If you like semi-friendly ghosts who still have an edge to them, this is for you. I'm interested to read the sequel.

A House Possessed (1961) by Charity Blackstock. The owner of a Scottish inn decides an exorcism is necessary to rid the house of its ghosts, and this has repercussions for a disparate group of travelers staying there. I nabbed this from the Gothic romance shelf at a local used bookstore I just discovered. I'm a sucker for stories about groups of strangers thrown together, and I really enjoy following the different threads of their backstories and how they intertwine in the present. (No surprise that I also love murder mysteries set at English house parties.) So I enjoyed this a lot on that level, it also reminded me a lot of all those genteel murder mysteries from this era that I read in my teens - lots of Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth, in particular.

I was disappointed that there were in fact no ghosts, and there was a purely non-supernatural explanation for the events. It made all the heightened tension surrounding the exorcism, especially on the day of, seem kind of by authorial fiat, since most of the guests didn't care at all about the exorcism.

I did like how the romance plot between former broken-hearted ingenue Barbara Haynes and her one-time romance Dick Ingrahm played out - they reconnected and apologized, they had a kiss, they each independently rediscovered themselves over the course of the novel, and they ended with the hope of maybe seeing each other again in London at some undetermined point in the future. It was a great example of a relationship progressing without having to end it with an "I love you" or tie up the happy ending with a bow, which I was rather afraid it was going to do.

I also appreciated how the big cathartic climax hinged partly on people being kind to one another and coming to understand one another better, even if only for a little while.

For my next attempt at Gothic romance I think I want to aim a little more squarely at the center of the genre - spooky old house, sinister relations, etc. This was kind of just a mystery, and I feel like it might've been mis-shelved.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (
DW replies)

topic: movies, topic: books

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