Watch it with us: Amazon Prime, Tubi.tv
The Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None was simultaneously one of my best and worst reading experiences of all time. I was thirteen and it was my first murder mystery—I had purchased it through my school’s book order, if I remember right. I settled in to read it before bed and ended up staying awake until 2 a.m. so I could finish it, completely out of my mind with terror. It was such an unnerving experience that I didn’t go near a murder mystery again for a couple of years. The premise is uniquely effective: ten people arrive at a mysterious house on a deserted island, and one by one they begin dying off. Now that it’s been twenty-plus years and I have somewhat recovered my wits since that night in seventh grade, I couldn’t wait to see how René Clair’s adaptation of this pivotal (for me) novel capitalizes on the book’s structure. Continue reading
Watch it with us: Letterboxd
One of the great things about Letterboxd (which I am not shilling for, I just love their site and wish everyone would use it so I would know what all my friends are watching) is its list functionality—users can make lists of movies on any topic. When I logged Always Shine (2016) this morning and saw that it appears on the list “movies where female friendships are the scariest concept on earth,” along with forty other movies, I was surprised more by the frequency with which female friendship is the center of a film than by the fact that it turns toxic so often. There’s something inherently dangerous about women becoming close friends, and filmmakers love to let their imaginations run wild with the myriad ways these friendships can combust. Continue reading
Watch it with us: Filmstruck or iTunes
In addition to my usual indie discoveries, I’m going to start tackling some classics here. Not that they need me to bring attention to them, but when a film endures this long, it’s usually because there’s a lot to talk about. I tried to go see a Harold Lloyd movie at the Film Forum a few years ago but was stymied because, I shit you not, the theater caught on fire about twenty minutes in and had to be evacuated. So Safety Last! was my maiden voyage with Mr. Lloyd, and what a treat it turned out to be. If you’re unfamiliar with his work, this is a perfect place to start. Continue reading
Should 2016 be forgot and never brought to mind…
There are, no doubt, a few people who love Donald Trump, hate music, don’t like zoo animals and despise beloved actors and actresses. For the rest of us, 2016 was terrible.
This calls for distractions. We asked Fiction Advocate contributors to tell us which books they read this year that helped them forget, even for fleeting moments, that David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Gwen Ifill, Prince, and America — UPDATE: and George Michael and Carrie Fisher and her mom, Debbie Reynolds — died over the last 12 months.
In what may be the only happy coincidence of the year, the vast majority of the recommendations below come from a few people who have some of the most important things to say about 2016: Continue reading
Watch it with us: Netflix streaming
Sitting down to watch The Naked Prey last night, all I knew about it was that it scared the bejesus out of my boyfriend when he saw it as a kid. Coming from him, this is a ringing endorsement. The brief narration at the beginning of the film explains that in the harsh landscape of southern Africa, “man… became like the beasts, and their way of life was his.” I was a bit concerned that we’d just had the moral of the film served to us on a platter before the story could begin. But the film that unfolded was far more complex.
Watch it with us: Netflix streaming
I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting off watching this film for a long time. All I knew was the plot summary—a brother and sister in present-day Iran are forced to share one pair of shoes when he accidentally loses hers—and based on that, I was afraid this movie would be preachy or depressing. Instead, it’s a charming family film that follows the everyday adventures that both siblings get into as a result of the shoe mishap. The sister, Zahra (Bahare Seddiqi), is self-conscious about wearing boys’ shoes until she finds that they give her an edge over the girls in dress shoes when her class at school has to practice long jumping. After school, she has to run to meet Ali (Amir Farrokh Hashemian) so he can put the shoes on and run to his own school. (He’s often late even when they both run the whole way.) Zahra eventually finds out who her shoes ended up with, and she has to decide what to do about it. Ali comes up with a plan to win a new pair of sneakers for Zahra by coming in third place in a boys’ long distance race.