Hurts so good…

House of the Rising Sun – A Review of Sorts

So, last night was a night just like any other night where, at 8pm(ish), I shifted the butt from the office chair to the recliner and happily fired up the new Fire Stick (a Prime Day upgrade (half-price and 2 free months of HBO!) from an old stick that had been rode hard and put away wet if you know what I mean) and the big screen and, with much hope and anticipation, began yet another heroic search through the multitudinous movie apps for something fun and entertaining to watch for the night.

You feel me?

(I recently finished watching The Wire (for the third or fourth time, can’t exactly recall) so I’m still feeling a bit Omar-esque. Hence the, “You feel me?,” if you know what I mean).

Long story short, it wasn’t long before I surfed upon a flick starring Dave Bautista and immediately had to put on the brakes.

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Midsommar Review

So, I’m reblogging this Midsommar movie review by Michael Van Zanten (cool name) for two reasons…

The first reason is because it is a very will-written and informative review for a movie that I am very interested in seeing.

The second reason is because Michael, the author of the review, regards the director Ari Aster as an “auteur” — high praise indeed — and I wonder, can a director who has released only two feature films, with the second only being just released and still yet mostly unseen by the general movie going public, be deserving of such high praise as auteur?

My instincts tell me no, that two movies aren’t enough to put him up there with the likes of the greats such as Wells, Kubrick, Bigelow, Lee, Hitchcock, Kurosawa and others who truly were/are the auteurs – the authors – of the movies they created.

But to me a director is not deserving of the honor just for having such an influence on his or her own movies. To me, he or she must have such an influence on the entire industry.

But that’s just my opinion and what do I know? I’m just an old guy probably a bit too suspicious of the present and far too overprotective of the past…

But seriously, go ahead and check out this review of Michael’s I’m reblogging here and all the other reviews of his. He has a great site.

Film Sentinel

midsommar4.0.jpgHorror has a new name, and that name is Ari Aster. After possessing the minds of Sundance-goers with his unsettling directorial debut Hereditary in 2018, the auteur’s breakout hit enjoyed a wide release under A24 and turned out to be the most profitable release ever under the label. Now only one year later, A24 is banking on the director once again to disturb viewers with Midsommar, Aster’s horrific follow-up centered on a Swedish Pagan death cult. Midsommar definitely isn’t for everyone, but it’s a magnificent and refined piece of distressing cinema, and further evidence the genre has a new king.

Unleashed to unsuspecting theater patrons in June of last year, Hereditary shunned popular horror conventions in favor of scares that were more psychological in nature. While there were still instances of common genre tropes such as Ouija boards and demonic possession, they were present in a script that was…

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While Waiting for the Release of My Next Novel…

Now that you’ve pre-ordered a copy of my latest novel The Good Kill

Uhm, you have pre-ordered it, right?

Right?!

Of course you have.

Anyway, while you impatiently await the novel’s release on July 1, 2019, may I recommend that you fill the time between now and then by reading my first novel, Inside the Skin?

It’s a good read…

At least that’s what two out of three of my children tell me.

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It’s Deja Vu All Over Again: TREE OF SMOKE by Denis Johnson, a Review (of sorts)

As I sit and watch the surreal press conference between Trump and Putin after their so-called historic summit, where, after recently treating our allies like dog shit, Trump behaves like a sycophantic lapdog to a murderous dictator who wants nothing more than to destroy and subjugate the U.S. of America in retribution for how the U.S. of America destroyed and subjugated his beloved U.S.S.R., I am reminded of how I felt, or better yet, how my fuzzy, nightmarish memories leave me feeling from the surreal and tumultuous times in the U.S. of America during the late-Sixties through the mid-Seventies, you know, the era of national madness beginning with the Tet Offensive through the Watergate break-ins and subsequent hearings to Nixon’s humiliating yet palliative resignation and ending with America’s humiliating yet palliative retreat from South Vietnam.

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The Lullaby Effect of Carter & Lovecraft versus When Nietzsche Wept

I’m only a so-so fan of HP Lovecraft. I guess I’ve read as much of him as I have more out of a sense of allegiance to the horror genre than a sense of loyalty to his literary acuity.

Which is why I was somewhat surprised when I found myself selecting Jonathan L. Howard’s CARTER & LOVECRAFT the other night when cruising my Overdrive app looking for an audiobook fix for which to fall asleep to…

Which, to me, is the primary purpose of audiobooks – literary lullabies.

And most of the audiobooks I listen to do a great job of it.

In fact, they do such a great job of it that most audiobooks I listen to, I don’t finish because each night I always have to go back to the last point in the book I can remember before drifting off to sleep the night before, which is, more often than not, only a minute or two after I started listening.

And the books I do manage to get through before the loan ends I often only remember in sketchy patches…

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Slowing Down the Synapses

Or, Speeding Up the Reviews

Not the primary reason but one of the reasons I decided back in April to take a hiatus from the web was because I wanted to give my brain a break from all the nonsensical chatter that was cluttering it so.

I have been having what I collectively call chemo brain issues for quite some time so I thought it may do me some good to lay off for a while all the hyper-clicking and attention-span deflating skim-reading that the web so sweetly and successfully induces us into doing and which studies have told us is altering our brain and its ability to focus on and process information.

To counter what seemed to me to be my lack of focus and ability to process effectively process information (perhaps less a result from all my web time and more a result from all the chemo and prednisone I used to be strung out on years ago (and, in the case of chemo, which I still take daily dose addiction of)), I decided to turned off the web for a while.

Which, for the most part, I did surprisingly enough.

To fill the time I no longer spent on the web, much of which had been dedicated to this blog, I mobilized the pen and cracked open the books pretty hard.

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A First-Rate Fish Tale of a Thriller: USA, Inc. – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | THRILLER
USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1)
by Larry Kahaner

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
 

When acclaimed and prolific author, investigative journalist, and private investigator Larry Kahaner reached out to me to see if I would be interested in receiving a copy of his latest thriller, USA, Inc. (A Mike Wardman Novel: Book 1), I was at first skeptical, for the last two books that I read that were pitched to me as “thrillers” – one which I reviewed here and, the other, because I won’t review here any book that I cannot honestly give at least a Three-Star rating, I wouldn’t review – turned out to be less like thrillers and more like romance novels.

However, I was intrigued by Larry’s proposal after checking out his impressive bio; and then, after reading the book’s synopsis and preview, I was hooked, completely, and quickly wrote back to him to accept his kind offer.

And I’m truly grateful that I did because I found in Larry’s book a Five-Star Story that is fresh, fast, topical, and, yes, quite thrilling to read.

Literary fiction is my natural space for my literary endeavors; mostly, because I find they instruct me about life in ways foreign or less apparent to my way of living and thinking, often while set in surreal, nightmarish environments completely alien to my own. And the literature I like best (Kafka) instructs without the pedantry (Dickens) and overbearing, lifelike details (Balzac) that I look to literature to escape from in the first place…and which I too often find in genre fiction.
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