Friday, May 31, 2019

media update: May

CONFIDENTIAL TO G:  Skip movie review #8 as you might want to see it at some point.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; double asterisks are reserved for the creme de la creme.  As always, your mileage may vary.


1. The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry:  Christopher and Hannah decide to adopt an abused little girl named Janie; let's just say the title is ironic.  Incredibly depressing, and it includes horrific animal abuse, so I can't recommend it.

2. The New Me* by Halle Butler:  Millie is 30 years old and having a hell of a time getting her shit together; every time she manages to build up the determination to better herself, she decides to watch Forensic Files and go to bed early instead.  A sharp satire that, to be perfectly honest, hit a little too close to home at this point in my life.

3. A Good Enough Mother by Bev Thomas:  A psychotherapist is shocked by a new patient's resemblance to her missing son, causing her to overstep professional boundaries.

4. Little Darlings* by Melanie Golding.  After giving birth to twin boys, a woman is visited by someone in her hospital room who wants to make a trade.  She refuses; shit goes very wrong.  An exceptionally creepy book that got under my skin.

Warning: if I remember correctly, I have a reader who's got a phobia of graphic birth scenes in books and movies, so I do not recommend this book to you.  You could probably skip the first chapter and still catch what was going on, but there's another chapter shortly thereafter with some descriptions that you'd probably be bothered by, and that one can't be skipped.

2019 total so far: 28


1. The Valedictorian of Being Dead by Heather B. Armstrong:  The author struggled with depression for most of her life, but after a particularly bad stretch, she decided to enroll in an experimental study where doctors used anesthesia to cease all of her brain activity for 15 minutes before bringing her back...and they did this ten times in total.  The hope was that this would "reboot" her brain, much like electroshock therapy, but without the severe side effects.

2. Once More We Saw Stars* by Jayson Greene:  The author's 2-year-old daughter Greta was killed in a freak accident, and this gutwrenching memoir is about how he and his wife dealt with the unimaginable tragedy.

3. Mr. Know-It-All by John Waters:  A collection of essays from the iconic film director and "filth elder".

2019 total so far: 7


1. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars* vols. 1-3 by Michael Dante DiMartino and Irene Koh:  If you were worried the Korra graphic novels would backtrack and make a certain iconic moment from the finale just people being super friendly in a hetero way...don't be.  My trust in the creators was not betrayed.

2. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas by Yoru Sumino and Idumi Kiribara:  Despite the title, this isn't a horror/cannibal/zombie manga; it's about a teenage boy who befriends a terminally ill teenage girl.  (The title comes from a scene where she's telling him how sick people in some cultures will eat the corresponding organ from an animal in hopes of curing their own; she then tells him "I want to eat your pancreas!")  I was going to give it a star until it took a really bizarre turn near the end.

2019 total so far:  20 volumes of manga and 13 graphic novels


1. Escape Room:  Six strangers receive invitations to an escape room (well, technically rooms) that turns out to be a deadly trap.  We weren't expecting much from this, but we enjoyed it; the room designs were great, and it was suitably tense.

2. Green Book*:  A racist man (Viggo Mortensen) is hired to drive an African-American concert pianist (Mahershala Ali) on his concert tour, and eventually they become friends.  I can see why some people had an issue with it, and I don't think it deserved to win Best Picture (I've now seen all but one of the nominees from this year, and my pick would have been Vice), but for the most part I thought it was really good.

3. Happy Death Day 2 U:  To her dismay, Tree (Jessica Rothe, who's excellent) finds herself caught in a time loop again, and must constantly relive the past in hopes of stopping a killer.  It's nowhere near as good as the original, there's an embarrassing "comedic" scene that goes on way too long, and G and I were bothered by something in the stinger, but it does have its moments.

4. The Perfection*:  This is the kind of movie you should really go into without knowing a single thing about it, so I'll just say that it's a trip and a half, but don't watch it if you don't have a strong stomach.

5. The Lego Movie 2:  The citizens of Bricktown face a new threat in the form of alien invaders.  Not essential viewing, but it's cute.

6. Cold Pursuit*:  After his son is murdered by drug dealers, a snowplow driver (Liam Neeson) seeks revenge.  From that synopsis, you'd think it would be a paint-by-numbers Liam Neeson action flick, but you'd be wrong.  You'll need to give it a little time to find its groove, but once it does, it's delightfully weird.

7. Tickled:  This utterly batshit documentary is about a New Zealand journalist who found "competitive tickling" videos online and thought it would make an amusing story.  Instead, he opened a massive can of worms and made a powerful enemy.

8. Brightburn:  An infertile couple living in rural Kansas discover a mysterious glowing pod containing a baby boy who has special powers.  Superman?  Nope; this kid is pure evil.  It had a lot of potential that wasn't fully realized, but it was still pretty good, and included two scenes that made me yelp "JESUS!" out loud.  (Fortunately, it was an empty theater.)

9. The Prodigy:  At the moment a serial killer is shot by the police, his soul is transferred into the body of a newborn, and when the kid gets older, he starts to manifest the nastier traits of his "inhabitant".  Surprisingly entertaining, which is not to say it's phenomenal or anything.

2019 total so far: 40