September 2009 Archives

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Ebert:”Material is sanitized and dumbed down for a hypothetical teen market that is way too sophisticated for it”;Link

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Teasing with odd, existential potential, the tight French thriller ‘Tell No One’ sadly picks a worn, logical path. A lovely ending, though.

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‘Flight of the Conchords S2’ shows what happens when your great ideas got used up the first time. Often amusing but random and kinda stupid.

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‘BSG S3’ starts bracingly and ends depressingly shittily. New Caprica gave me hope; ‘Watchtower’ felt like 6 hours of agony. Vexingly uneven

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little-stranger.jpgThe narrator of The Little Stranger would tell you that this tale is about grave misfortune, not a haunted house.

His name is Dr. Faraday, and in Sarah Waters’ agonizingly patient gothic novel set in post-World War II Britain, he has a dismissal available for any odd happening at Hundreds Hall. You’re tired. It’s an old house. Those must have been there for years. He seems the opposite of the classic unreliable narrator — he’s too reliable, and at points in the book he so tediously rules out the supernatural that you want some apparition to shove a hot poker up his ass.

If this sounds like a criticism, it’s a mild one, as this is surely the effect that Waters sought, anatomical specificity aside. Faraday is so sane and logical that he has no credibility in the context of this story; rational explanations do not make for good horror fiction, and that’s the baggage that readers bring to the book. His refusal to accept the supernatural as even possible is the novel’s primary source of tension, and in the end is critical to its wickedly satisfying ending.

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