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January wrap

I'm still not sure how I want to handle a media review blog, but I know a couple of things:

  1. if I set strict rules I'll lose interest,

  2. I'm a cranky media consumer so I'm more likely to post critical and analytical reviews than positive reviews, and

  3. books and movies I like but may not gushingly love deserve some attention, too.

So maybe a monthly wrap is the ticket? Let's give it a brief go.

January wrap-up

Movies: 14. Top recommendation: #LakeMungo (2008)

Books: 7. Top recommmondations: #DeadEndGirls and #Nona

Shows: 1. #ElvisBirthdayFighfClub is _always_ recommended.

I'm trying to break out of my comfort-reread shell, and this month I managed to read six novels - and unapologetically DNF one.

I most enjoyed Dead End Girls, a fun queer thriller by Wendy Heard, and Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May (the rushed conclusion kept this one from being as good as Once and Future Witches, but it's not bad for anyone looking for queer witchcraft-based romance).

I listened to all 18 hours of Nona, and 2/3 of the way through I realized I need to shift my expectations when reading The Locked Tomb. They are long, meaty books focused on slow development and character rather than reliable pacing leading to a strict conclusion. These books are about the ride, not the destination, and put me in mind of reading weighty novels in the 19th century as one's primary form of entertainment and escapism. 18 hours is a long audiobook, but in the end I did love much of it.

I put down Sadie because I can't stomach pedophilia; The Lady's Guide was dull and plodding, a-historical, and an absolute chore to read; Murder Most Actual began as a very enjoyably campy premise with outrageous characters, but who sadly became tiresome as they circled the same locked room, said the same inane things, and no real progress was ever made. The denouement was particularly lackluster, and that the book continued after this moment was tiring.

I had three Four-Star screenings this month:

  1. The Wonder (2023)

  2. Die Hard (1988)

  3. Lake Mungo (2008).

Lake Mungo is a mockumentary that focuses on an Australian family after the drowning of their daughter, 16-year-old Alice. From the very beginning Lake Mungo is compelling, featuring exceptionally realistic acting and extreme yet believable situations. It explores concepts of grief and loss, and the variance in emotional responses: from the father who just wants to bury himself in his work to the mother who can't let go and can't believe to the brother who tries to help both by faking evidence of his sister's ghost. Complicating this story is the discovery of evidence that Alice was having an affair with the parents for whom she babysat, and saw a psychic to evaluate nightmares that foretold her coming death. In the end I would say that the film isn't truly a horror film; it's deeply sad and. raises interesting questions about hauntings and psychic connections to death, but does not offer any form of "threat" as, I argue, horror films "must." The sudden loss of one's teenage daughter would indeed be horrific, but this doesn't make that story a horror film. Still, a very good film with a story that sucks you in and keeps you engaged.

Currently reading: #CemeteryBoys, #TheTruth (my favorite Pratchett and, yes, a comfort reread), #HollowKind, and #TheDaughterofDoctorMoreau

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