Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Review: Personal Shopper

From IMDB:
'A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.'

I watched Personal Shopper last night, and I'm still figuring out what I think about it. I went into it expecting a fairly simple horror film, albeit one with an odd name. Still, the first act plays out much like a horror. I found the first ghost that we see more funny than scary, but it does have some genuinely creepy moments throughout.
Even when it started to shift in tone, I thought we were getting into The Babadook territory, that it might have some depth and something to say about grief. In fairness to the film, it does tell the story of Maureen's grief very effectively. The problem I had on the whole was there were so many shifts in tone that every time some momentum built from the unnerving scenes, it would be followed by a scene that could put me to sleep. Maybe that's a little harsh, with a little tighter editing I imagine it would have been fine.
A lot has been said about the scenes that revolve around Maureen texting with a stranger, and that was impressive. Kristen Stewart is fantastic throughout but especially in those scenes. If anything I think I would have enjoyed this film more had she been alone more. Those were the scenes in which she really shone. She tends to receive negative comments, especially because of Twilight but it's films like this that really show her talent.
Without getting into spoiler territory, there's an odd section in the middle in which the stranger she's messaging with encourages Maureen to explore a particular activity that she is afraid of. I found that to be a little disconnected from everything else, though it's possible it's something that went over my head.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Review: Sparks by S.J. Adams

S.J. Adams
Published by Flux

This is one of those books that I just happened upon while browsing Amazon one day. I'd never heard of the author before. It sat on my shelf for a while since I've read more Kindle books this year than anything else. I finally got around to picking it up this week and I'm so glad I did.

"There was no point in trying to cover up the fact I'd been crying. 
My face was probably as red as a monkey's butt." 

This book is unusual in ways that it really shouldn't be by now. Mostly because of the happy, healthy, well-adjusted lesbian protagonist. Debbie is a brilliant character, she's funny, unsure of herself but one thing she knows is she is deeply in love with her best friend, Lisa. Her voice is beautifully written, endearing and often hilarious without trying too hard. Now, I can't say I understood Lisa's appeal exactly, but the author does a great job of giving the reader a sense of their friendship, so it didn't really matter.

"Broken hearts are fucking gross."

There are a lot of Full House references, and while I imagine that it does add something to the reading experience if you're familiar with it, I don't feel like I missed out by not having watched it. I thought it was sweet how Debbie could relate to it so much and knew it so well.

"Will you stop staring at me? Haven't you ever seen a lesbian 
having a panic attack on a toilet before?" 

Much more interesting than Lisa are the friends Debbie makes during the story. We get to know them well throughout the quest. Speaking of the quest, it was so much fun to read that I wished I could tag along. The various locations the quest took them to are perfectly described. At times it seemed like another world, like ours but just a little different. It was definitely an interesting place to go for a while.