THE WAVES by Virginia Woolf (First published by The Hogarth Press, 1931)
In her 1928 essay Women & Fiction, Virginia Woolf wrote that she hoped a time would come when novels would “cease to become a dumping ground for personal emotions” and in her diaries at around the same time she expressed the desire to be rid of “the appalling narrative business of the realists : getting us from lunch to dinner”.
These quotes show how Woolf had at this point become totally bored by the relatively conventional structure of popular fiction. She believed that the linear plotlines of contemporary novels were irreversibly flawed in that they bore little or no relation to how we actually conduct our daily lives.
Embracing the Modernist cause, she developed more of an interest in the darker psychology traits of her characters which led to her becoming less and less concerned with describing their actions, interactions and appearance.
This was evident in her masterpieces Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To The Lighthouse (1927) but The Waves represents her most fully realised attempt to deconstruct the novel. It has no recognisable story and the voices of six characters in search of a plot morph into each other in such a way that it’s hard to tell them apart. View full article »
Having spent four days bingeing on the 8 episodes of HBO’s True Detective (season 1) I was left bemused by the weak finale but otherwise in awe of the faultless acting of this superbly sustained TV drama.
The contrasting personalities of homicide cops Martin ‘Marty’ Hart (Woody Harrelson) and Rustin ‘Rust’ Spencer (Matthew McConaughey) create a genuine sense of tension.
The mismatched pair travel down the lost highways of Louisiana on the trail of a demonic cult and ritualistic murderers.
Their long running investigation takes them into the twisted underbelly of American life where superstition and old-time religion hold sway. The moody atmosphere is helped by a magnificent soundtrack of traditional blues, folk, alt-country and hard-driving rock overseen by the ever reliable T.Bone Burnett.
Brilliantly scripted by Nic Pizzolatto and stylishly directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, the power of the gothic drama is undermined by a ludicrously contrived happy ending which sheds false luminosity onto this journey into the heart of darkness. View full article »
LUCY directed by Luc Besson (France/USA, 2014)
Ever wondered what would happen if humans achieved the power to use 100% of their brains? No, me neither but Luc Besson has given the matter some thought and this overblown piece of cinematic nonsense is the consequence.
What makes the movie so unbearable is that you get the impression that Besson takes seriously the debunked scientific premise that humans only make use of 10% of their grey matter. Not only that, but it is packed full of psychobabble and pseudo-spiritual musings that are preachy, absurd and humorless.
Scarlett Johanssson is charged with the task of convincing us that she has undergone this altered state but since she is laden with a truly dismal script she fails miserably. View full article »