Sons for the Return Home by Albert Wendt – Book Review *Slight spoiler*

This is the autobiographical story of Albert Wendt whose family moved from Samoa to New Zealand when he was a child. As a young man, he is trying to find is place in a world that’s not quite his.

While story feels very much of the sixties/seventies, it could easily be today, though hopefully some of the attitudes have changed. There is also the problematic issue that there is some domestic violence in this and it just kind of gets skated over. It’s a tricky one, because my expectation is that if this type of thing happens, there should be some kind of, I don’t know, at least regret. But here it happens and life goes on, and that’s a bit difficult. And of course something written twenty years ago shouldn’t be changed to today’s expectations, but it can be a bit hard to take.

Generally, the book is beautiful and heartbreaking and poetic. And given that I don’t think any of the characters were given names, at no time was I confused about who was being written about or what was happening.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – Book Review

Eleanor Oliphant has worked in the same job since she left college, keeps to herself and likes her life the way it is. However, things start to change when she meets someone and decides it’s time for her to move into the next phase of her adult life.

I loved this book. Honeyman drip-feeds the information, which kept me reading, desperate to know more. And I loved that it was from Eleanor’s perspective, so that we really knew what she finds absurd and strange and why. I couldn’t put this book down – I read it in a weekend. Beautiful.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

Isle of Dogs (2018) Film Review – *spoiler alert*

In a fictional future Japan, a cat loving dictator exiles all dogs to an island. One young boy goes on a mission to save his dog.

I really wanted to like this film. It’s beautiful and sweet and the animation is adorable, and I’m a bit of a Wes Anderson fan. But. So many problems. There’s a bit of cultural issues (my key one being the one non-dog and non-Japanese character – felt a bit “Thank god there’s an American to save the day”). Then there are the female characters. On the surface, there almost seem to be a couple of semi-decent females, just don’t look too close. Especially at the dogs. Apparently, female dogs are small breeds with pretty hair, whereas male dogs are big and strong. Perhaps someone needs to tell Wes that dogs don’t work that way. I just wish films would do better.

Leave a comment

Filed under Film Reviews

Atypical – TV Review

Sam (Keir Gilchrist) is an eighteen-year-old  high school boy on the autistic spectrum who sees a counsellor, Julia (Amy Okuda) who encourages him to explore the possibilities of finding love. His mother (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who has been protective of him for his whole life, and struggles with Sam’s quest to find love. Along his journey, he finds a different relationship with his father (Michael Rappaport). Then there’s his sister, Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) who is struggling with her relationship with Sam. She’s mean to him in the way that only sisters can be to sisters, but she also takes care of him, and needs to figure out who she is away from him.

I really liked this show. I feel like it is a pretty accurate representation of one experience of autism. I like that Sam takes a lot of notes and tries to figure out love – something that we all struggle with. How do you know when you’re in love?

Leave a comment

Filed under TV Reviews

Africa Screams (1949) Film Review

I’ve never seen a whole Abbott and Costello film. I’ve enjoyed seeing short routines like ‘Who’s one First’ and ‘7 x 13 = 28’, but a whole film? That’s a lot of Abbott and Costello. I actually have no idea why I had this DVD, but I felt I had to watch it before taking it to the op shop. Yes, the relationship between the two of them is pretty fantastic, but overall, unsurprisingly, it’s… shall we say, of its time? (Read racist and sexist – especially massively racist – oh my goodness, so massively so!). Mind you, there is some early special effects that are… we, there. And then there are a lot of animals, and you just know that these animals wouldn’t have been treated all that well.

I’m happy to leave these type of films well and truly in the past.

Leave a comment

Filed under Film Reviews

The Enemy by Lee Child – Book Review

The Enemy takes us into Jack Reacher’s past, back to when he was a Military Policeman and dealing with a most unusual case. There are people dying, and at the same time, army officials are being moved from base to base across the globe. Reacher is suspicious, and once he finds a couple of people he can trust (unsurprisingly one being a highly attractive woman), he gets to work figuring it out.

Oh, so good. Young Reacher, Reacher’s brother, travelling the world, it’s all happening. At school, the mum of one of my mates used to call these types of books chewing gum books – in the same way that chewing gum tricks your stomach into thinking that it’s about to eat, reading these books trick your mind into thinking it’s about to get some knowledge. (Actually, the Reacher books are a lot better than the rubbish I was enjoying back then, but similar). I like to think of them as palate cleansers – just to get me ready for another mental meal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Reviews

The Room (2003) Film Review

Publicised as being the worst film ever made, I had little interest in seeing it. But I have some interest in seeing The Disaster Artist, and given that I believe it is about the making of The Room, and especially as it was available on SBS On Demand, I thought I’d give it a go.

It’s terrible. It’s a ridiculous story, poorly written, terribly acted and just totally shit. There were no redeeming features at all. It was a total waste of time.

And then I talked to friends who loved it, and I couldn’t help quoting it, and laughing at particular scenes, and reminiscing about how appalling it is, and I suddenly get it. It’s not about the seeing of it, it’s about laughing with your mates. I see why there are cult late-night screenings, and why people are obsessed by it. I never want to see it again, but I’m glad I have seen it the once.

Leave a comment

Filed under Film Reviews