Book Review – The Grip of It

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The Grip of It by Jac Jemec

the grip of it

Julie and James feel a strong need to leave their urban apartment and purchase a home in the suburbs. They find a large house that is surprisingly affordable but even during their first walk through something is off. There is a hum coming from somewhere beneath them, inside the walls, never becoming too loud but always ringing in their ears. The couple shakes it off and goes on with moving in and making this home their own. Things just get worse though, rooms that didn’t exist before suddenly appear, stains appear on the walls that won’t seem to go away, and even the neighbor and boys playing in the woods nearby start to become figures of menace and dread. James and Julie start lying to each other which only increases their paranoia and disconnect, leading to a horrific conclusion.

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Movie Review – Loveless

Loveless (2017)
Written by Oleg Negin & Andrey Zvyagintsev
Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

loveless

Zhenya and Boris are in the final days of their acidic and hateful marriage. When they are forced to be around each other in their Moscow apartment, they fill the bitter silence with mouthfuls of venom spewed at each other. One thing that is agreed upon is that their twelve-year-old son Alyosha is going to be sent to a “boarding school” that will primarily act as an orphanage. Zhenya wants to move on with to her new life with an older, wealthy and established man while Boris has already gotten his twenty-something girlfriend pregnant. Alyosha is destined to be forgotten. One morning, Zhenya discovers that their son hasn’t been to school in two days and appears to have not been in the apartment during that time either. They realize he is missing and contact authorities. The subsequent search forces these two hate-filled people to spend hours together, but don’t expect a reconciliation.

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Movie Review – Suburbicon

Suburbicon (2017)
Written by Joel & Ethan Coen
Directed by George Clooney

suburbicon

It’s 1959 in the city of Suburbicon, USA, and the first black family has moved in. This event is causing quite the stir, and the “well-meaning” people of the town just don’t that black people are ready to live in their neighborhood yet. When The Mayers don’t seem to get the message the citizenry begin to escalate matters. Meanwhile, the next block over Nicky Lodge’s life is turned upside down when two strange men barge into the house in the middle of the night. They end up killing Nicky’s mother leaving his father, Gardner, a widow. Thankfully, Nicky’s aunt and his late mother’s sister Margaret is there to help.

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Movie Review – Happy End

Happy End (2017)
Written & Directed by Michael Haneke

happy end

Teenager Eve Laurent is suddenly thrust into the home of her estranged father and his family after her mother overdoses on antidepressants and ends up comatose. Thomas Laurent, her father, is married to his second wife who has just had their first child together. He’s also involved in an obscene affair with another woman. Anne, Eve’s aunt, owns a construction firm that has come under litigation after an onsite accident has left one of the workers on the verge of death. Anne’s son, Pierre works as the foreman on the site and appears to have emotional issues that might have led to the dangerous conditions on site. Finally, there is the patriarch Georges who is slipping into dementia and contemplating suicide to avoid what this condition will do to his mind, notably forgetting his late wife. Did I mention this is a dark comedy?

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Movie Review – The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin (2017)
Written by Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, and Fabien Nury
Directed by Armando Iannucci

death of stalin

In 1953 Moscow, General Secretary Josef Stalin is riding high. He is in the midst of The Great Terror, a purging of intellectuals and dissidents he suspects of being disloyal not just to the Communist Party but to himself. Aiding him in these exploits is head of the NKVD Lavrentiy Beria, Deputy General Secretary Georgy Malenkov, local Moscow party leader Nikita Khrushchev, and Foreign Secretary Vyacheslav Molotov. One night while listening to a performance of Mozart on Radio Moscow while writing up a new list of citizens to be abducted and tortured, Stalin phones the station and demands a recording of the performance. When he receives the pressing later that night a note inside from the pianist rails against him as the cause of her family’s deaths. He has a sudden aneurysm and is found on death’s doorstep the next morning. What ensues in the backstage machinations of his corrupt cabinet of officials. They jockey and scheme, all trying to be the one person who comes out on top during this power vacuum.

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TV Review – Dark

Dark (2017, Netflix)
Written by Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese, Martin Behnke, Ronny Schalk, and Marc O. Seng
Directed by Baran bo Odar

dark netflix

In 2019, a local teenager goes missing in the small town of Winden, Germany. Police officer Ulrich Nielsen is reminded of his own brother’s unsolved disappearance in 1986 and keeps promising the parents he will find their son. Then Ulrich’s youngest, Mikkel vanishes in the night and the next morning turns up the body of a third boy, dressed out of the 1980s. Meanwhile, Jonas Kahnwald is dealing the suicide of his father two months prior. He returns to school but finds the girl he liked is dating his best friend. Police Charlotte Doppler senses history repeating itself with not only the disappearances but also flocks of birds falling from the sky dead, just like they did in 1986. As characters travel down this winding path of secrets and mysteries, they uncover a profound and shocking truth about Winden that transcends the laws of time and space.

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Movie Review – Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Written by James Ivory
Directed by Luca Guadagnino

call me by your name

Elio is the son of academics living in northern Italy. He spends his days consuming books and composing piano pieces. He is also in friendship with local girl Marzia where the beginnings of attraction are forming. Summer looks to be a monotonous season until Oliver arrives. Oliver is an American doctoral student who has come to get the aid of Elio’s father in revising his dissertation. Elio finds himself drawn to Oliver and even feeling pangs of jealousy when it appears the older man fancies a woman in town. As Elio explores and discovers himself in this formative year, he becomes aware of his feelings for Oliver. First, with some anger, he tries to push them aside, and finally, he confesses all of this to Oliver who reciprocates.

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