A list of the… best disturbing novels

Tuesday, 21 April, 2015

Richard Eyre’s 2006 film, Notes on a Scandal, starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett, could certainly be classified as disturbing, but the book of the same name, by Zoë Heller, upon which the movie is based, is, by all accounts, even more so.

Novels that invite you inside the minds of dangerous obsessives, unaware of their own toxic natures, always leave me very unsettled when done well. I wasn’t expecting that the narrator of Zoë Heller’s Notes on a Scandal to be quite as malign as she is, and the hatred lurking inside what she thinks is love for her beautiful young teacher colleague left me rattled for days.

It is one of twelve novels deemed by The Guardian to be most disturbing, a list that also includes “American Psycho”, “Blood Meridian”, and “Beside the Sea”.

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“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, the second teaser/trailer

Monday, 20 April, 2015

Behold, the second teaser for the new “Star Wars” film, The Force Awakens. I’d say it’s aimed more at fans of the original movies, with its nostalgic overtones, the Mark Hamill voice over, and a brief appearance by Han Solo and Chewbacca.

Feel like weighing into the discussion as to what Luke Skywalker means when he says his father has the force, rather than had it? Hmm.

I suspect the arrival of the first trailer, as opposed to the two teasers we’ve seen so far, is going to be quite the event, whenever that happens.

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When movie recommendations become new job recommendations

Friday, 17 April, 2015

Netflix, an online movie download service, recently arrived in Australia. While its impact on cinema attendances, if any, remains to be seen, the workplace may be another matter.

And, no, I’m not talking about people watching movies, or TV shows, from their laptops when they’re supposed to be working, but rather the Netflix algorithm that recommends films for viewers based on, presumably, things like past downloads and search histories.

Seemingly this technology has been adapted, and will somehow bring employees who appear to be considering jumping ship, to the attention of management.

For example, it sifts through years worth of HR data, ranging from time between promotions, time at current job, and number of job functions. It then combines that with job posting data from sites like Indeed.com to gauge the market demand rate for certain employees. Based on that, Workday can come up with the employees at risk of leaving and how much it would take to replace them.

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Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, you better believe it

Friday, 3 April, 2015

Possibly the best thing to come from the forthcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice movie, due for release in 2016, is the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, the story’s villain.

Eisenberg might not be the first person you’d think of to play the supervillain, but he did have experience portraying a morally challenged billionaire in The Social Network. And this edition of the follicularly challenged megalomaniac taps into a similar hyperintelligence mixed with malignant straight shooting. “Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake,” says Snyder. “He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.”

Don’t underestimate Eisenberg’s ability to play the bad guy, I say. The streak that featured in his portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network, was dark. Deceptively dark, if you ask me.

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Movie dream sequences, sequenced

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015

To accompany the clip I posted last week, comparing the first and last frames of numerous well known films, here are a collection of dream sequences from some recent movies.

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Taking a closer look at the first and final frames of well known films

Wednesday, 25 March, 2015

Filmmaker Jacob Swinney takes fifty-five well known movies, and juxtaposes their first and last frames, or scenes. Aren’t the Birdman scenes interesting. As are Somewhere, and of course 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I think I’m going to start paying a lot more attention to these particular frames from now on.

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I’ve been back in time with you and didn’t it change my life or what

Tuesday, 24 March, 2015

Back in Time is a documentary that takes stock of the not insignificant cultural impact of the Back to the Future films. This I am waiting for. In the meantime, here’s the trailer.

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Heard, but unheard of, that’s film sound effect the Wilhelm Scream

Monday, 23 March, 2015

This is what I love about the interwebs, you learn at least one new something every day… for instance, a sound effect called the Wilhelm Scream, a kind of comedic shriek, is practically a stock standard sound effect, that has been used in numerous movies and TV shows, including the “Star Wars” films:

The Wilhelm Scream has made an appearance in more than 300 films, television shows, and video games, and has cemented itself as the inside joke of the industry’s best sound editors. Most frequently used when someone falls to his death, is shot, or is thrown aside by an explosion, the Wilhelm is often cited as cinema’s most-used sound clip.

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Houses and buildings that are literally UP in the air

Thursday, 12 March, 2015

Image by Laurent Chehere

This collection of images by French photographer Laurent Chehere, reminds me of at least one relatively recent film, but how could they not?

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“Mr Holmes”, a sequel of sorts to the story of Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, 10 March, 2015

Mr. Holmes, trailer, sounds like the sort of Sherlock Holmes movie I could enjoy. Starring Ian McKellen in the lead role, and set in 1947, years into the renown detective’s retirement, the story centres around an unsolved case from fifty years earlier.

The premise, in that it is a sequel of sorts, brings to mind a prequel, an eight part TV series, Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House, set in 1871, while Holmes was still at high school, or in this case, home for the holidays, from high school.

It was made in 1982, but I saw it, on video I think, about fifteen years ago. Here’s the opening nine minutes. It looks like the whole series might be on YouTube now, if you’re interested in seeing it.

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