Miss, Miss, Hit, Hit

A mixed bag of reviews this time.
I recently went to see Woman in Gold (dir. Simon Curtis, 2015), probably now at the end of its theatre run. Like so many artists and art forms these days, I used to like Gustav Klimt’s work, but he is now plastered (as is drily alluded to in the movie) on ubiquitous mugs and mousepads, and I’d lost interest in him. So I thought this film might reignite my appreciation for Mr. Gold Leaf himself: not so much. As my companion commented, you watch the whole film saying to yourself, “Oh, there’s Helen Mirren…there’s Ryan Reynolds.” You just can’t get swept away by the beauty of the art because (perhaps) the direction is so intentional that it seems to play the main role, like an obvious music score. My bad for assuming it was an art film. I want to escape at the movies, not have a heavy-handed history lesson. The one thing I was impressed with was the singing by Max Irons (yes, son of Jeremy)—and then I read that he had been dubbed. Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany was good however, and it was nice to see the venerable Charles Dance again: he does seem to always deliver. In general protest, however, I've posted a pic of Klimt and not a movie still.

I rented Goodbye World (dir. Denis Hennelly, 2013) on the basis of the LA Times DVD-case review: ‘An apocalypse-themed drama that starts off as The Big Chill and winds up as Lord of the Flies’. Really?? In what universe? I love disaster/end-of-the-world flics, but this one had a weak climax and a lamer dénouement, as if it had been finished by a teenaged writer. Even James Grenier’s pale blue eyes can’t save the day on this commune snorer. Sheesh.

On to the positives. I recently received Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing by Andy Crestodina (Orbit Media Studios, v.3, 2015), which was serendipitous for me as I was working on my website. Not being an expert in this subject, I can’t comment on every point in it, but what I appreciated was the thoughtful layout: white space, simple diagrams and visuals, helpful examples and good explanations and definitions. It’s full of useful tips that even the most luddite of us can implement.  A resource I will refer to over and over, I’m sure.
Finally, I had been holding out for the paperback version of a most desired read: Margaret Atwood’s latest book of short stories, Stone Mattress (McClelland & Stewart, Emblem, 2015). I have read most of Atwood’s fiction, and amazingly that loyalty was not quashed by its high school English origin. She’s my fave CanLit author, though I don’t bother her for an autograph when I see her around town. Usually I don’t like dark comedy (or comedy for that matter), but her dry humour hooked me again. The stories that include vampires or nods to the weird are of course not akin to the current pulp of pop culture but, as good short stories often do, cause a bit of a mind flip, and even boring ol’ me got a kick out of them. And, like all good writing, Stone Mattress left me bereft: the melancholy that comes with finishing a great book.
I have a stack of books coming in from authors and publishers for review, so it may take some time before I post again. But teaser: I’m reeeeeally excited about one in particular. Almost as excited as about new Atwood books….
Photo credits: http://www.wienmuseum.at/fileadmin/user_upload/Presse/Gustav_Klimt/Klimt_Pressefoto_01.jpg ; http://www.asset1.net/tv/pictures/1024/341/movie/goodbye-world-2014/Goodbye-World-LB-1.jpg ; http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41K6SgXo53L._SX397_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg ; http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/237875/stone-mattress


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