Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks 2014

     Like last year and all the years before it, the world is a complex place, filled with big things to be thankful for and not.  As in posts past, though, here is a list of some small things that are worth feeling good about.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes - A riveting police procedural involving one of the most bizarre homicides in literary memory alternates with the perspective of the lead detective's teenage daughter, whose own life is flying apart at the seams.  Written with both intensity and humor, Beukes creates a tone of deep uncertainty both by setting the story in the teetering city of Detroit and by suggesting a sense of the supernatural pushing in at the edges of reality.  This would be a great choice for fans of HBO's True Detective.

The Hole on DVD and Blu-Ray - An outstanding example of that seldom attempted hybrid: the family horror movie.  Joe Dante directs this story of the new kids in town who discover a hole in their basement that . . . well, the nature of the hole is part of the fun, but let's just say that it isn't where the hole leads that's the key, but rather where the hole leads you.  Hinging on a great, creepy idea and making sparing but effective use of scary images, this works for ages twelve through adult and turns out to be a movie that uses its chills to really explore its characters.

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan - A haunting story told as a list of rules to help two brothers navigate the bizarre dangers of their summer vacation, this is anything but a simple picture book.  Both creepy and sweet, surreal and symbolic, the remarkable Tan creates an intricate link between his minimal words and his lush illustrations to create a narrative of surprising emotional depth and complexity.

     Happy Thanksgiving and don't leave without your free turkey joke.

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