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Nerdy Special List May 2018

May 14, 2018 – 6:49 pm | 3 Comments

Even though it’s not summer yet, I was inundated with May books that seem intended to be read in one sitting, as if we’re on vacation or something. And if we’re not, we’ll just have …

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Weekend Watching: KILLING EVE, A QUIET PLACE & BLOCKERS

April 8, 2018 – 7:54 pm | 4 Comments

I had a lazy weekend—well, lazier than usual—and ended up watching lots of TV and movies. Good thing they were mostly entertaining. Here are some brief thoughts on the ones worth mentioning.

Killing Eve

I’ve been salivating for this since I heard about it back in February. BBC America’s comedic thriller stars Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer and is written and exec produced by Fleabag‘s brilliant Phoebe Waller-Bridge, whom I’ll follow anywhere (she’s next up in Solo).

Oh plays Eve, a bored MI-5 agent on the trail of Comer’s international assassin, Villanelle, and the two actresses are great foils for each other. Eve is messy and quirky but razor sharp when it comes to work. Villanelle is a slick sociopath, but Comer’s performance and Waller-Bridge’s writing manage to add ink-dark humor to the brutal kill missions. Even the soundtrack is funny.

The adaptation is much better than the novellas—all gathered in Codename Villanelleby Luke Jennings, who, while depicting two strong female protagonists, still wrote them from a male POV. Plus, Eve is white and 29 on the page; I love that Oh got the part. She, Comer, and Waller-Bridge bring the women vibrantly and gleefully to life.

A Quiet Place

This thriller about monsters who track their prey by sound is watching-through-your-fingers suspenseful, and its 6-person cast, including John Krasinski (also the diretor) and Emily Blunt, gives fantastic performances, almost entirely without dialogue.

My two quibbles are 1) we see too much of the creatures too soon and 2) we don’t know what their motivation is. Monsters need motivation, too. Take something like Aliens and it’s clear why the mother alien is hostile. A Quiet Place‘s creatures seem nasty for nasty’s sake.

But if you like fine acting and being kept on the edge of your seat for almost an hour and a half, this movie is worth a look.

Blockers

Three teenage girls make a sex pact to lose their virginity on prom night. Their parents find out and set out to stop the kids. Hijinks ensue.

I appreciate the questions Blockers poses—if boys are celebrated for losing their virginity, why can’t the same go for girls? Why is sex even bad?—but the movie still subjects viewers to really crude gags involving butts and balls. You’ve been warned.

Bottom line, I found more to cringe at than laugh at.

What did you watch this weekend?

Book Review: RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas

February 28, 2018 – 1:20 am | One Comment
red clocks

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, coeditor of the literary online magazine Da Mau.
In Leni Zumas’s lyrical yet unsparing novel, red clocks symbolize the identity crises, haunting wombs, ticking time bombs of five female …

Book Review: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron

February 23, 2018 – 12:07 am | One Comment
this is what happened

Mick Herron’s standalone This Is What Happened begins in medias res, with 26-year-old Maggie Barnes hiding in a bathroom in a high-rise building during a dangerous spy mission.
Until recently, she was working in the corporate …

Nerdy Special List February 2018

February 15, 2018 – 11:42 pm | One Comment
sunburn

It’s Friday before a long holiday weekend for some. And after yet another school shooting.
When I’m heartsick, I turn to books to save me, and they always do.
Here are this month’s recommendations.
From Jen at Brown Dog …

Nerdy Special List January 2018

January 12, 2018 – 12:33 am | One Comment
chalk man

Hello, how is everyone? You’re all looking wonderful and that outfit totally suits you.
I hid from the internet for about 3 weeks over the holidays because I wanted to reclaim my mind space. Choose what …

Favorite Reads of 2017

December 8, 2017 – 11:46 pm | One Comment
IMG_4426 2

Though 2017 has been in the rearview mirror for almost a month, with skid marks I left on my way out, I wanted to look back to review my reading stats. Last year was rich for …

Nerdy Special End-of-Year List 2017

December 8, 2017 – 1:36 am | 4 Comments
9781501154591

While all the TV shows and commercials are depicting snow, here in L.A. it’s raining ash and debris. Happy holidays!
Because a smoke advisory is in effect, I have to stay inside and read. Luckily, cabin fever …

Mini Movie Reviews: Holiday Season 2017

November 26, 2017 – 9:41 pm | 2 Comments
Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 7.13.34 PM

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! My Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing and the only drama occurred onscreen, with my trying to catch up on movies being touted as award contenders. If you’re wondering what …

Movie Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE

November 16, 2017 – 3:44 pm | 3 Comments
JLeague

I’ve been attending lots of award-season screenings and am behind in reviews, so I’ll do some in this format. Below are my quick thoughts on Justice League.
What you want to know up front: I liked …

Nerdy Special List November 2017

November 7, 2017 – 8:50 pm | 4 Comments
woman in camphor trunk

It blows my mind Thanksgiving is in a couple of weeks and Christmas is next month—I’m still wearing shorts!—but this is my favorite time of year so I say bring on the holidays. With time off, …

Book Review: THE CHILD FINDER by Rene Denfeld

October 18, 2017 – 8:47 pm | One Comment
child finder

As the titular character in Rene Denfeld’s The Child Finder, Naomi does exactly what her job description says: find missing children. Madison disappeared three years earlier, at the age of five, and her parents have …

This is Spinal Crack: Joe Ide’s RIGHTEOUS

October 15, 2017 – 10:14 pm | 4 Comments
Joe books

Here we are doing another Spinal Crack chat already. Lauren and I are shocked it didn’t take us another 1.5 years.
We were motivated by a book we both loved, Joe Ide’s Righteous (out Oct. 17), the …

Nerdy Special List October 2017

October 6, 2017 – 12:52 am | 2 Comments
we're going to need more wine

October is one of my favorite months. The leaves change colors—well, not in L.A. but back east in pictures from family. The weather is cooler so I don’t have to sweat my back off every …

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