Scott Frank has long been one of my favourite writers but he only just released his first book of fiction. Shaker is a slice of LA neo-noir that mixes hitmen, child gangsters, disgraced cops and anybody else these types might rub shoulders with – all within days of a massive earthquake. I love it.
I think I love it because the book is clearly an homage – or perhaps (if I am honest) an attempt to replicate – the awesomeness of Elmore Leonard. It is all there: the uncomplicated, straight-talk dialogue, the uneasy mix of trying-to-be good people, sort-of-bad-but-kind-of-good people, and truly bad, scary people. Destiny never plays in an Elmore Leonard novel; it all comes down to luck and luck is usually bad. Sh-t just happens. And in Shaker, it happens all over the place.
Looking for something different from a movie based on a graphic novel? Tired of superheroes? How about a movie set entirely on a massive, long train that travels non-strop around a world affected by a new ice age? “That sounds ridiculous!” you might say. But wait- there’s more! What if it has a politically charged story, with themes of classism, survival, morality, and geoengineering– and, to top it all off, is a great action movie with awesome special effects?
Snowpiercer is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi action film aimed at a mature audience. In this train world, what remains of the human population is split into two main classes: social elites who reside at the front of the train near the Engine, and the lower class that lives at the back under brutal conditions. Continue reading
Along with Downton Abbey, one of my favorite British period dramas is Call The Midwife. It takes place in late 1950s and early 1960’s Britain in the poverty stricken district of London’s east end. The midwives and nuns are based at Nonnatus House, an Anglican nursing convent. The show deals with concerns of the time relating to pregnancy such as abortion, incest and the effects of the drug Thalidomide but also with the characters’ personal lives including faith, friendships, dating and marriage. Some of the episodes are heartbreaking since bad things do happen but many are joyous in the celebration of life, love and relationships. The television show is based on a series of books by a real life midwife Jennifer Worth. If you like the television show, try the books!