Ricki and The Flash

101 min.

It’s been a while since Meryl Streep has blown me away in a movie, but it’s still Meryl Streep. And a movie about a loving, but dysfunctional but loving family, can always entertain (until a certain level). That didn’t happen this time around.

Ricki-and-the-Flash filmposterBecause Ricki and The Flash isn’t a movie, or even a story about a family. It’s a decor piece for Meryl Streep with a bad hairdo, singing a bit and being disgruntled. Even the movie seems to think so, ending at what would be considered early, only to attach a few more minutes for ..Meryl Streep’s character to redeem herself a little. Let’s not forget who we’re watching here, after all.

She plays Linda (but she is a Ricki), a mother whom abandoned her family for her dream of becoming a rock star. Her daughter goes through a bad time, and she returns home. Why she does so this time, after many years of missed birthdays, holiday and so on.. call it plot. The family members attempt to add something to the story, but this is the Ricki show.

I guess the poster says it all; just don’t expect rock or love.

Ricki and The Flash, TriStar Pictures 2015

 

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The Girl from the Well

I am where dead children go.

And the third book of the ‘no more than two hundred pages’ theme that I seem to be working with the past few weeks. I feel like 1) it could have been even shorter (just a bit, to tighten it a little, and 2) this one would have been more appealing, extraordinary, without a sequel, but it’s clear that there’s one coming.

The girl from the well in The Girl from the Well is just one of the main characters, a ghost who looks out for abused and murdered children. So why did she gravitate towards the alive Tarquin, and his cousin Callie? And why isn’t the only creature?

The Girl from the Well uses Japanese mythology and turns the trope of the Chosen One inside out. It does so with some horrific elements, because the girl didn’t end up in the well for pleasant reasons, nor is what she recognises in Tarquin very pleasant. But besides that, Tarquin is still a teenager in high school, and Rin Chupeco keeps that nicely balanced.

If you like your ‘quick summer reads’ with some horror dolloped in, this one’s for you.

The Girl from the Well, Rin Chupeco, Sourcebooks Inc 2014

To Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar

109 min.

This had so much more heart than I expected. I was ready to prepare it to Priscilla: Queen of the desert (also drag queens), and had so often seen .gifs of this movie, that I thought it would be a superficial technicolour party. to-wong-foo-thanks-for-everything-julie-newmar poster

All that was present, but then the fish-out-of-water part happens. The three (two queens, once princess, it will be explained to you) get stranded in a very Middle American little town, and here’s where the people come in. Instead of keeping everyone involved an one dimensional cliché, the characters develop into human beings. Drats, even a majority of the bad guys get a clue!

All that while still having fun and not taking itself too seriously. Although it would have been curious to see how Patrick Swayze and Wesley Snipes would have done that.

To Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar, Universal Pictures 1995

The Abyss Surrounds Us

Any other morning, I’d dive into Durga’s observation bay without hesitation, but this is the day before my life begins.

Scifi pirate lesbians with mutant turtles! In the ocean(s)! Honestly, if that’s not up your alley, I don’t know what else to say to sell you on this (again, short) story.

In a world where huge, mutated sea creatures defend all kind of ships, Cass Leung’s maiden voyage as a trainer of one, goes completely belly up. Yes, because of the previously mentioned pirates.

Emily Skrutskie creates a steampunk-ish, Guillermo del Toro-ish (I’m thinking Pacific Rim) world that’s honestly ripe for the taking by any television-bobo’s, it’s such a complete package. Entertaining, different, diverse characters, fun, action, romance, bam bam boom.

Is there going to be a sequel? Could well be. Is it necessary? Not exactly, if you’re looking for a very quick read (again, just 200 pages in the e-reader), you’re more than fine with this one. After that, pay it forward into the direction of the Hollywood hotshots you know.

The Abyss Surrounds Us, Emily Skrutskie, Flux 2016

De bijen

De oude boomgaard lag ingeklemd.

Dit was stukken vreemder dan ik had verwacht, alleen al omdat ik verkeerd had herinnerd dat dit non-fictie was/zou zijn. Gelukkig was het een positieve verrassing.

In De bijen zit de lezer in een huif. De hoofdpersoon is een bij, iedereen is een bij, behalve de spinnen en wespen en andere nare vijanden. Elke bij kent haar plek, maar met Flora 717 gaat het mis en blijft het misgaan. Flora 717 vraagt zich namelijk dingen af, heeft geheimen, en verandert van functie(s).

Zo bloeit het verhaal op als een sprookje met een rauw, donker randje dat dreigt de boel te besmetten. Of de lezer hier iets van leert? In hoeverre het biologisch correct is? Wie het weet, mag het zeggen. Maar vermakelijk, spannend en gruwelijk is het.

De bijen, Laline Paull, De Bezige Bij 2014

Hotel Transylvania 2

89 min.

Hotel_Transylvania_2_Theatrical_PosterIk weet het, waarom kijk je nou niet zo’n film met oogkleppen op? Sorry, dat gaat steeds lastiger. Trouwt de vrouwelijke hoofdrolspeler nu echt op haar achttiende? Is ze zwanger en moeder op haar negentiende/twintigste? Waarom heeft ze nog steeds hetzelfde aan als toen ze een tiener was? Waarom heeft de love interest/echtgenoot helemaal geen aantrekkelijke kwaliteiten en gedraagt hij zich als volwassene nog als tiener? Waarom kan vader/grootvader niet eerlijk zijn tegen zijn dochter, in plaats van liegen en zijn kleinzoon in gevaar brengen door zijn ouderwetse ideeën?

Maar hé, de vrouwelijke karakters zijn deze keer niet alleen vrouw/vriendin van, er is één stoer skate-meisje.

Het blijft een vermakelijk element, dat wel. Hotel vol monsters dat mensen moet dulden, flauwe grapjes over clichés over die monsters. Jammer dat er niet net iets meer aandacht besteed kon worden aan de vrouwelijke kant van het verhaal. En had sowieso die tijdsprong groter gemaakt; welke vampier wil nu zwanger zijn als tiener?

Hotel Transylvania 2, Columbia Pictures 2015

Remarkable Creatures

Lightning has struck me all my life.

I don’t particularly feel like going to hunt fossils right now, but I am curious about the small village of Lyme Regis. Tracy Chevalier has a style in this novel that makes you forget you’re reading digital. The pages take on structures, the story adds a physical sensation, like the book shelters touchable details.

Main characters are spinster Elisabeth, wild and poor child Mary, and the beaches, fossils and water of Lyme Regis. In this short story (under 300 pages, which seems to be a common denominator in last books read), the reader goes along for the fossil hunt and discovering skeletons from creatures previously unknown. This is early nineteenth century England, crocodiles are the height of exotic creatures.

It’s a novel for the senses, filled with a variety of female characters. It’s lovely.

Remarkable Creatures, Tracy Chevalier, Penguin Books 2010