2019 In Film – A Preview – September

It: Chapter 2

One of my favourite books, I enjoyed Chapter 1, and this sequel will focus on the adult version of the kids from Chapter 1, thirty years later. The first one was quite funny, though lighter on scares than most wanted, it’ll be interesting to see how that balance works out this time around.

Downton Abbey

I don’t watch the show, I don’t do period costume dramas, I can’t stand monarchy or titled stuff, and Maggie Smith pisses me off. I’ll never see this.

Spies In Disguise

Another Blue Sky Studios animation – they’ve been successful but I cant say I’ve ever been interested in any of them. This one has Will Smith as a Man In Black or Inspector Gadget or something.

The Kitchen

If it’s not Banana Yoshimoto, I’m not interested. It’s another Melissa McCarthy movie, but wait! It’s a serious one this time, also starring Elizabeth Moss and Tiffany Hadish. Seems similar to Widows – wives of criminals take over from where the husbands left off. I’d be more keen with a different cast and I’m not a big fan of Irish crime movies anyway.

Abominable

I’m always concerned when you give your movie or book or album a name like that. It’s just begging for lazy critics to use it in a damning review, right?

The Hunt

I’ve no idea, there seems to be a tonne of different movies and shows called The Hunt coming out this year.

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

I enjoyed the book when it was released and always wondered how it could be translated to film given that it’s through the eyes of a dog. Decent cast, not a director I’m interested in.

Judy

If it ain’t a Twin Peaks spin off, I ain’t interested. It’s not, but it is a Judy Garland, one of the first stories of a child star’s torrid transition to adulthood. Plus she’s one of the most famous movie stars of all time. I’m not a massive Garland fan and these types of films tend to hit the same notes, pander to the Awards too much, but do offer good performances. On the casting side, Renee Zellweger would have been one of my last picks for this, but the more I think about it there definitely is a visual similarity. Recent Biopics really go all in on making the actor look as close to the real life counterpart as possible, so Renee’s resemblance will help. I like Rufus Sewell, but overall it doesn’t look like the sort of cast to make a huge splash. The Director is used to exactly this sort of thing – it just so happens that it’s not my sort of thing.

Which films are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!

The Art Of Racing In The Rain- Garth Stein

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

Garth Stein’s novel ‘The Art Of racing In The Rain’ is exactly as the majority of reviews here claim: funny, touching, sad, heart-warming, and thankfully brief. There isn’t much esle to say about the book: these are all reasons to recommend it. Any reader who feels this book may not be for them should reconsider as there is something here for everyone, and Stein’s easy going and free flowing style ensures that the pages flutter by quickly. For what may sound like a tough read: a dying dog relates his life to us, including the death of his master’s wife, the book is full of light moments, largely involving the antics of Enzo, our storyteller- the dog who wishes he was human.

Enzo has lived with his master Denny most of his life. As the story begins, Enzo has accepted that he is ready to die. Thanks too many hours and days watching TV though, he believes that his purpose in this body has been served and that his soul can move on to a new body, and a new life. He then describes his life and loves- watching TV alone while Denny is at work, and particularly watching car races with Denny. Denny is a struggling racer, an expert who needs a break in life, a chance to prove his racing ability. Through all of this Enzo has learnt a great deal about racing, and about human nature. He shares his thoughts on life and using metaphors from the race-track; he shares his thoughts on human nature with a wry humour and desperation from the futile inhabiting of a dog’s body.

Enzo’s life with Denny is as happy as it could possibly be. Then Denny meets and marries Eve. As expected, he doesn’t appreciate sharing Denny’s affections. He is however a dog, a good dog, and knows his place. Their family grows again with the birth of Zoe, who Enzo becomes infatuated with, and becomes protector of. The story takes a darker turn though, as Eve becomes sick, and the family starts to fall apart. Tragic though it may be, this event is necessary as 300 pages of witty dog observations would wear thin quickly. This gives the story a boost and helps the reader feel there is a purpose to it all. However, the following section of the book slows down with the involvement of Eve’s parents, and the accusations aimed at Denny. This I feel is the main negative aspect of the book. These events feel too dragged out when we want Denny to be happy. Along with the ending which feels almost dreamlike, and certain passages which shift from narrative to thought, the book isn’t perfect. There are enough funny moments and enough hope in the darkness to make this one of the best books of the year.