Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review of Nigel Williams' Unfaithfully Yours

I've always been a fan of Nigel Williams, so I was very pleased to review his new novel, Unfaithfully Yours, for the Financial Times. Here it is.

Friday, 16 August 2013

The Fun Parts by Sam Lipsyte: review

Sam Lipsyte: inventive
Hello there. I've reviewed Sam Lipsyte's short story collection, The Fun Parts, for The New Humanist. Read it on their website here.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Breaking Bad: Final series review

Morning all: I've reviewed the new episode of the last half of the final series (lots of "ofs") of Breaking Bad, for The Telegraph. You can read it here.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Kick Ass v X Men

I watched, at the weekend, the first X Men, followed by Kick-Ass. I remember when the first X Men came out - it seemed fresh, at the time, with a serious cast (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan; an excellent Rogue, played by Anna Paquin, and nice turns from James Marsden, Famke Jansenn, Hugh Jackman, et al.) It had quips, and wit, and wasn't too full of itself. But now, after the slew of portentous superhero movies that have come after it, it seems to have lost some of its lustre.

Unfair, perhaps; but far more exciting, sweet, involving and clever was Kick-Ass, starring Aaron Johnson, and with the unforgettable Chloe Moretz as the super-cool eleven-year-old foul-mouthed assassin, Hit Girl. Even Nicholas Cage managed to be good. It has a fabulous conceit (for those of you who don't remember, it sees a geeky boy try to become a real life superhero, only to become embroiled both in organised crime, and in a revenge plot led by Hit Girl's father.) The direction is sparky and aware of its comic-book status; the violence, though perhaps extreme, is leavened by the fact that we know it's all a silly dream.

Unfortunately, there were trailers for Kick-Ass 2 in the ad breaks. It looks like the film has become more of a straightforward action movie. Let’s hope that Johnson’s endearing goofiness, and Moretz’s totally ice cold moves, endure; that it won’t become yet another boilerplate, doom-laden action flick, whose momentous images leave nothing behind when you’ve finished watching. Let's remember that in real life superheroes don't exist; so they may as well make us laugh.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Horace and Me by Harry Eyres: Review in The Telegraph

Horace: a poet of the middle age
I seem to have forgotten to put up a link to my review of Harry Eyres' book, Horace and Me, an amiable reflection on the poet Horace and his own life. I did it for the Telegraph, donchaknow: here's the link.

At university I must admit to not really liking Horace as much as I loved Ovid, Virgil, Propertius, Lucretius et. al., but Eyres has persuaded me to have another look at him. Another book on the pile of things to be looked at again, or read for the first time... Currently I want to read Jane Austen again; Samuel Richardson's Pamela (for the first time), finish Pepys' Diaries; and that's not to mention the 100 odd books I have on my "To Be Read" pile, still less the children's books I've got going for the Costa Book Award... Oh, and there's Ford Madox Ford, as well. And I'm trying to catch up on Hilary Mantel and Don DeLillo's backlists. Wish me luck...