8 x 45 min.
Ik kijk/keek een boel televisieseries met vooral vrouwelijke (hoofd)rollen. Best lekker is dat, en dan valt het ook gelijk op dat je met vrouwen ook gewoon allerlei verschillende verhalen kunt vertellen (choquerend!).
Deze keer gaat het over een stel hoeren ergens rond Middeleeuwen. Er is concurrentie, religieuze fanaten en familieproblemen als slagroom op het dagelijks leven binnen een bordeel.
Op den duur wordt dat zelfs een beetje herhalend, maar gelukkig zijn er genoeg karakters die de boel opfleuren, letterlijk en figuurlijk want de aankleding is geweldig. En die vijfenveertig minuten zijn net genoeg om het fris te houden. Door het vlotte tempo en hoeveelheid verhaallijntjes, is het wel makkelijk om je niet heel begaan bij ieder te voelen. Ja, zij is de slechterik maar dat komt door een grotere slechterik en hoeren zijn ook mensen met karakters en wensen, maar hoe en wat dan precies?
Er is een tweede seizoen; misschien gaat iedereen daarin iets meer de diepte in. Tot dan is het mooi en vermakelijk. Wat ook mag.
Harlots, Hulu 2017
I like to think I know what death is.
There’s a kind of story that is elevated by the surroundings its in. Even though this is the case in Sing, Unburied, Sing, it isn’t always saved by those surroundings. The story is dark and muddy, and there’s no air bubbles to be found in this morass.
Here’s a small, hurting family in the societal backgrounds of the USA. They hurt because of deaths past and future, addictions and crimes. Jojo is the young teenager who the story evolves around, but his drug addicted mother gets to share her angle as well.
If there’s not enough unhappiness around these two, death starts interfering with the living, and the story starts to feel like something the ancient Greeks would use as an example for hell. No matter what you do, misery will follow.
I’m slightly disgruntled because of having read this. Not because it’s badly written or a sloppy story, solely because it’s just full of disgruntlement, big and small. You could read it for the slice of depressing life, but don’t expect any uplifting experience.
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward, Scribner 2017
As Amar watched the hall fill with guests arriving for his sister’s wedding, he promised himself he would stay.
Finally, a story that grabbed me again. One of those that makes you ache for the characters involved, making you wish that you could reach out to them and shake some sense into them.
At first, I got a bit frustrated by the lack of chronology; a story line is never finished before a memory (from another character) intervenes. It took me until much later that this is how humans work: our bodies might follow a chronology, our minds are always connecting things to thoughts past and future dreams. You learn so much about this family because of all the things they remember, worry about and wish for. But gosh darn it, why don’t they just TALK to each other?
Maybe it’s because it’s a Muslim family that uses their traditions as a wall, a shield and a safety net. Maybe it’s because they’re immigrants in the USA, some of them growing up during and after 9/11. Maybe it’s culture and surroundings and character and fears.
But gosh darn it, do you root for them. Do you wish for more pages to set things right, because surely a happy ending is in order here. Until then, you’re stuck with a lump in your throat.
A Place for Us, Fatima Farheen Mirza, Penguin Random House 2018
Batshit crazy, pretty much the entire story and the people involved. But in such a stupidly entertaining way.
Besides that, there’s jealousy-inducing wardrobes involved, Anna Kendrick showing that she can act and that Blake Lively can’t play anything other than the Serena Woodsen – good thing her character isn’t the emotional type.
Super mom Stephanie befriends super cool aloof power woman (whom happens to be a mom as well) Emily. Emily has some weird habits, but look at the house and the outfits and the martinis! And then she goes missing.
During what follows, pretty much everyone is a suspect, red herrings and embellishments are thrown out left and right, and the women are well dressed (and Henry Young’s character as well).
Could all this have been cut down to a brighter Gone Girl? Very probably, but the two hours would have been far too much then. Better to just keep it as a sugar rush roller-coaster.
A Simple Favor, Lionsgate 2018
Once upon a time, before the whole world changed, it was possible to run away from society, disguise who you were, and fit into polite society.
It’s the book that your mother loves. Or, like, the book the mothers love in movies about small, sleepy towns and antagonists that dream about a more exciting life but are told by those mothers that you shouldn’t want that because look what could happen. If someone would have told me that this book was written in the nineties, I would have believed it. It’s absolutely stale, and I don’t even mean this in a very negative way, but just because it feels like you’ve seen this movie a hundred times already. It’s comfortable, but never thrilling.
The Rules of Magic is the (“long awaited”) prequel to Practical Magic, which was a book before it was a movie with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. Both are about a family of witches, The Rules is just a few decades earlier, so you get New York city of the sixties and seventies, which might be one of the things that make the story appealing. The Owens family is cursed to destroy those they love, so it’s moping about that, destroying (unwittingly) and avoiding anything remotely looking like love. Although it seems to only be about romantic love, else there wouldn’t have been a family at all.
Anyway, there’s nothing wrong about this book, it’s not just very exciting. I wasn’t eager to read on and stay up late, and it’s been a while since I had that with a book which might have made me more impatient.
The Rules of Magic, Alice Hoffman, Simon & Schuster 2017
Remember how it took me little over a year to watch Lore? I’m pretty sure I’ve had this movie on a HD somewhere for the past four – five years. And it being from 1992 – not because it was such a recent production that it was to acquire.
But anyway, to the ballroom. This is a movie by Baz Luhrmann, the Moulin Rouge, Australia, The Great Gatsby man, but before he had the budget (or care) to go as colourful all-out as we’re used to. There’s dancing and bright outfits though, plenty of the both of them.
In a small Australian town, dance hero threatens to lose his shine because he dares to go down barely trodden paths (gasp!). He can’t win the championships like this, and what about the name of the family dance school, but luckily there’s a few female dancers that are still willing to bring him back into the fold Luckily there’s an odd one out, a young talented woman that just needs a chance to shine.
It’s sweet, and quite silly. Right now the romcoms are slowly returning to us, but if you need a real nineties romantic comedy, Strictly Ballroom can definitely help you out.
Strictly Ballroom, Beyond Films 1992
Six hundred published posts, that is. And I don’t even make a post about anything I read or watch. Damn. Anyway, on to the next 600
(if only I had a follower for every post I made)!