Just after finishing it, Cormac McCarthy’s Suttree is already on of my favorite books. I have read a lot of McCarthy’s books and really enjoy his work. His prose is incredibly lucid, beautiful, and very unique. I think McCarthy’s style really shines in Suttree and creates a masterpiece. Like some of his other books, the story is not super complex, but it’s incredibly human and raw. The characters are all unique and relatable, Suttree especially. Following his day to day life, McCarthy really explores human nature and different emotions. This combines really well with McCarthy’s prose. The metaphors and beautiful imagery are truly captivating and make Suttree’s everyday tasks seem magical. While McCarthy’s prose really shined in this novel, the storytelling is also exceptional. Suttrees adventures are enchanting and so simple yet the way McCarthy tells them are just incredible. The scene in the Carolina woods is probably one of the most enthralling scenes I have ever read. The whole book in general is so raw and is super emotionally profound. I don’t think it would’ve been as profound if it wasn’t for McCarthy’s style, but he wrote it and created one of the best books ever. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Brian De Palma’s Sisters is a creative, interesting psychological thriller that had me engaged and entertained. However, the first half of this movie is somewhat boring. The interesting narrative keeps it alive and still captures the viewer with an interesting murder and characters, but there’s not really much beyond that. However, the second half really changes for the better. The story really picks up and takes an interesting turn, and the almost constant suspense haunts the viewer. De Palma also really adds some creative flair in this second half to make this film more unique and grim. He uses split screens in the first half for an interesting touch, but his use of montages of flashbacks toward the end really stuck out to me. They really tie the story together and add to the psychological terror. While these montages added more context and connected everything, the ending was underwhelming, especially considering the action toward the end. In conclusion, the narrative and entertainment value was there. De Palma added to this with some memorable scenes. However, the dialogue was subpar and the first half was nothing special. Nonetheless this movie earns a 3/5 from me. I recommend it if you liked Hitchcock’s Psycho, as these two films are similar.
I was very scared to write this review for Franz Kafka’s The Castle. I was scared because this was one of the most complex books I have ever read. It wasn’t bad, I just felt pretty lost at some points and I feel like a lot of things went over my head. Nonetheless, after further examination I was glad I read it and is definitely one of the better novels I have read. First and what stood out to me the most was Kafkas prose. It was unlike anything I have ever read. The syntax was so strange, it was a little hard to read. His strange use of narration further adds to the surreal and grim atmosphere.
The plot itself is also pretty strange. On the surface, I feel like it’s a tale of rationality vs. irrationality or a critique at government organizations. While these maybe true, I feel like there are more simple and human themes that are just as important. It’s a story of alienation and emotion, K, the protagonist, is a true outsider in an unknown world. There are many more subtle themes but these are the more important ones and honestly the ones I could understand. In conclusion, this was a very strange book but I feel like it was written to be that way. I was intrigued enough to buy his other novel, Metamorphosis, and look forward to reading that soon. I recommend you research this book more before buying because it’s so unique.
Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite directors, and I was excited to watch him direct a comedy, but of course he delivered making After Hours one of my favorite comedies. I’m a hard guy when it comes to comedy. I don’t mind a stupid and immature comedy, but I really don’t get a good laugh out of them. However, After Hours is mature and somewhat dark, but nonetheless colorful and hilarious. Every thing that happens to Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) is funny and nothing gets over used. The narrative is unique and is kind of all over the place but still ties everything together. Scorsese paces the movie well, and makes the movie clean to watch with the emphasis on the story of Paul. This movie gets a 4/5 from me and I recommend to anyone who enjoys a serious yet youthful comedy.
This weeks album of choice is Sweet Trip’s You Will Never Know Why. It’s categorized as a dream pop record, but there’s so many more sounds within this beautiful, bright album. There’s a lot of shoe gaze sounds, but when combined with the raw electronic beats it creates a super unique and uplifting yet hazy sound. Overall I would still call it a pop album, but underneath there’s really a lot more. The beats and vocals are what stand out to me. The mixing of the vocals creates a very pleasant sound, and the male and female harmony adds to this special feeling. The lyrics are actually pretty interesting and relatable, but gets outshined by the overall sound. This is a great album for even someone who usually doesn’t like pop like me.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai has a fun, unique story that was cool and entertaining. I have never heard of this movie, but I after reading the description I had to watch it. As a mafia movie aficionado, a mafia movie with a black hitman who incorporates samurai practices into his life, sounded too crazy to believe. But Jim Jarmusch pulled it off. The story is the highlight. It’s super unique, but also fun to watch and had some really cool scenes and shots. While the storytelling was super enjoying, the screenplay was a little weak. The dialogue and some of the characters seemed inadequate and just didn’t support how cool of a story it is. Nonetheless, it wasn’t bad, but I was a little disappointed. The soundtrack (courtesy of RZA) was also very cool. Overall this movie was really special and enjoying in enough ways to earn a 4/5.
Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is probably the best novel ever written. I fell in love with Russian literature after reading Crime and Punishment (another personal favorite). It’s realism really captured me. So, after exploring more Russian literature and with my Dad’s recommendation, I started Anna Karenina. This book is the epitome of why I read. I read to see others perspectives, live in their head, and just learn about humanity. This book is the most human I’ve ever read. Every relationship, encounter, and thought is so relatable and just simply lifelike. The anxiety and over-thinking each character goes through is something I relate to much, and Tolstoy captures this perfectly. He isn’t afraid to dive into the dark depths of human emotion, which moved me so much. Each characters view on love, family, and life is different but all so relatable at the same time. Tolstoy touched on the best and worst of these aspects to create a beautiful, dark twisted fantasy. The themes of this novel are also things I think deeply about every day including life’s meaning, death, family, politics, philosophy, etc. Tolstoy adds them so naturally and it’s incredible how it made me feel. From birth to dinner parties to death, every scene is filled with raw emotion, it’s just enthralling. This is one of my favorite books ever, if not the favorite, and I highly recommend it.
Jason Reitman’s Juno is a heartwarming, smart, and funny coming of age film that is unlike others in the genre.
While Jason Reitman does a good job as director, Diablo Cody (a.k.a. Brook Maurio) does a fantastic job with the screenplay. The dialogue is so quirky and funny, it truly is special. The story itself is also very interesting. It keeps raw comedy front and center, but with emotional themes. I find a lot of coming of age films corny, but this one really wasn’t. It shows an accurate life of an outsider teen and her relationships that everyone can relate to. It didn’t just show the extreme highs and lows a movie with a teen protagonist often does, it includes all the in-between emotions. Elliot Page does a great job showing this, along with the other characters. Overall, it was very wholesome and unique film therefore earning a 4/5 from me.