high art ‘n other stuff

::books i’ve read this year::
currently reading:
super sad true love story, by gary shteyngart.

how to read the air, by dinaw mengestu – not as good as his first novel, it drags in places, but redeems itself in the end.

everything ravaged, everything burned, by wells tower – stunning collection of short stories, a real gem.

their eyes were watching god, by zora neale hurston – this was jaw-dropping, and i wished i’d had the opportunity to read it in school like so many others. the dialogue is slow going at times, but the whole book feels fresh even though it’s almost a hundred years old.

drown, by junot diaz – this collection of stories blew me away just as much as his novel did. absolutely can’t wait to read more from him.

brooklyn, by colm toibin – i had high hopes for this novel about an irish emigrant to mid-century brooklyn, but found nothing really gripping about it. good, but only just.

tipping the velvet, by sarah waters – i was looking for a good historical novel, but found this lacking. meh.

the long song, by andrea levy – this was brutal to read in places, (or rather, the brutality was hard to read about) but a wonderfully rich story.

a visit from the goon squad, by jennifer egan – this was fantastic, totally lived up to the hype, and i loved the novel’s structure, it wound me around its finger.

the red tent, by anita diamant. i wanted to like this more than i did, because it’s been on my “to read” list for a long while, and recommended by good friends. it was good, but not great.

my booky wook, by russell brand. yeah, i read it. and i liked it. so what?

banana: the fate of the fruit that changed the world, by dan koeppel. fascinating history and anthropological biography, and a compelling argument for genetic modification.

unbearable lightness, by portia de rossi – i have always been pulled to biographies of eating disorder recovery, given my own past experience. this was better than expected.

life, by keith richards. just as mad as you’d expect, his voice comes shining through.

just kids – patti smith’s tender and loving account of her early nyc roots and relationship with robert mapplethorpe. beautifully wrought.

the lacuna – oh my – barbara kingsolver has done it again. wonderful, evocative story of a gay mexican/american writer coming of age in revolutionary mexico and mccarthy-ist america.

the ask – cynical, wry and funny novel of a guy trying to learn the secret to success in life. it was also my first kindle book!

::films i’ve seen this year::

it’s kind of a funny story - quirky little movie about a suicidal teen who finds meaning in life. but i am well and truly tired of zach galifianakis.

never let me go – lovely, ethereal, depressing. but a film based on a book by ishiguro where people’s organs are harvested, is probably going to be.

due date – more meh.

the green hornet – meh.

middle men – interesting account of the start of internet porn.

the joneses – a surprisingly refreshing plot and take on the cynical consumerism of america

frankie and alice – you’d think a film where halle berry plays a stripper with multiple personalities would be more interesting. but it wasn’t.

happythankyoumoreplease – i couldn’t really remember what this was about, when all was said and done.

welcome to the rileys – you can kind of see where this is going from a mile away. that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it. and melissa leo is wonderful.

blue valentine – oh, my heart. so broken.

jack goes boating – unsettling film about what goes unsaid in relationships. just… unsettling.

conviction – this year’s “erin brockovich”

stone – disappointing, especially since i love edward norton

the king’s speech – lovely film, not sure if it was entirely oscar-worthy, but colin firth was amazing

the company men – a surprisingly moving film about the impact of the recession

love and other drugs – started out very funny and promising, but quickly went downhill.

127 hours – what little i could see through my fingers was very good!

true grit – oh, coen brothers, you almost never let me down, and you haven’t done so here. could watch this a million times. and jeff bridges is my new favourite actor.

the fighter – another massachusetts based movie. a scrappy, raw, and somehow feel good flick. christian bale metamorphoses again.

casino jack – kevin spacey as jack abramoff gets his comeuppance. decent enough.

buried - spolier: it’s ryan reynolds. in a box. for the whole movie.

cyrus – i wanted to like this, but it was one of those films that makes you deeply uneasy, and not in a funny way.

somewhere – i loved this sophia coppola film. but i love vague, beautifully ethereal films with hanging endings.

howl – brilliant, brilliant interpretation of the biographical ginsberg poem. wonderfully, captively done.

black swan – i’m an aranofsky fan, but this felt too obvious and manipulative to me, even with natalie portman’s performance.

restrepo – why do i keep watching war documentaries? shattering.

the town – another ben affleck vehicle, interesting and solid performances. but once again, he pronounces “quincy” wrong and just riles me up.

read in 2010

a heartbreaking work of staggering genius, by dave eggers. true to the title. the writing is just astounding.

freedom, by jonathan franzen. eh – it had its moments, and some really well explored themes which were interesting. but i just didn’t find this as gripping as everyone else, and it definitely went on a bit long in parts. also, i kinda hated the ending – sorry!

girl with the dragon tattoo, by steig larsson. i must be the only person in the world who did not like this. misogyny dressed up as entertainment, with a “heroine” that isn’t feminist in the least. blech – thumbs down.

collected stories, by john cheever. i honestly don’t know how i’ve never read john cheever before – he was born and raised in my hometown, he does classic short stories that are so “of a time”, it’s as if you are there. i’m currently halfway through this (it’s over 900 pages!) and i am savouring each and every one of them.

noah’s compass, by anne tyler. anne tyler continues to be one of my favourite ever authors, simply because she gets behind the small dramas of everyday life. ultimately that’s our existence is all about, and she treats them with reverence.

water for elephants, by sara gruen. eh, i read this on the advice of my sis, and while it was a quick and interesting read, i wouldn’t seek out anything else by the author.

the help, by kathryn stockett. while i was uneasy reading a book in which two of the three protagonists are black maids as written by a middle class white woman, it totally won me over.

too much happiness, by alice munro. i love short stories and alice munro is a master story-teller at her finest.

starting over, by tony parsons. eh – perhaps i just have a hard time taking a book about the male mid-life crisis seriously.

kafka on the shore, by haruki murakami. delightfully odd exploration of the metaphysical, but an unsatisfying ending.

seen in 2010

gasland – a horrifying must see. an important issue which is brought to light well without hyperbole.

the social network – loved the way sorkin set this out, and it felt extremely true-to-life.

please give – as far as i’m concerned, catharine keener can do no wrong. this was a lovely little film.

the kids are all right – mark ruffalo: fwhoar! oh yeah, the rest of the movie was pretty good too.

rabbit hole – quiet, honest, unexpectedly moving. the scene with the husband and the dog just killed me.

mother and child – really interesting (although the ending was too pat). i don’t believe that everyone who gives a child up for adoption regrets it, but some definitely do.

eat, pray, love – i really should be forced to surrender my feminist card for having watched this. also, it was bad. my only excuse is that i was sick.

i’m still here – i went into it knowing it was a hoax, but it still made me cringe all the way through. i hate cringing.

despicable me – laugh out loud funny, and oddly touching

inception – thought it was too clever by half. at the end, i didn’t care whether it was real or not.

good hair – funny and fascinating look at the african-american hair industry, and the stereotypes that persist in communities

the diving bell and the butterfly – claustrophobia inducing, but powerful. life as seen through one eye.

winter’s bone – stark and bleak. but in the best possible way.

scott pilgrim vs. the world – i wanted to like this more than i did. i think michael cera was miscast, would have been a lot more entertaining

man on wire – compelling documentary of the guy who wirewalked between the wtc towers. i have permanent vertigo

exit through the gift shop – banksy continues to surprise, the most subversive thing i’ve seen in years.

toy story 3 – i loved toy story one and two. this was a a bit of a letdown – i was promised i would cry. i did not.

shutter island – well done psychological thriller, pure scorsese.

green zone – i’ve come to the conclusion i’ve watched far too many iraq war movies this year.

nowhere boy – i’ve long had a fascination with lennon, and it was an interesting exploration about his very unorthodox relationship with his mum.

kick ass – does what it says on the tin.

youth in revolt – another one i wanted to like more than i actually did. it had moments, but not enough.

iron man 2 – it was a summer movie. it was fun. it had stuff that blowed up.

greenberg – i wanted to like this, i really did, because i’d like to see ben stiller pull a jim carrey and do some interesting serious roles. but this was just pretty self-consciously awkward, and not in an interesting way.

the informant – i’m told this was pretty decent, but i wouldn’t know since i slept through it.

hot tub time machine – ah, the 80s. just as stupidly funny as i remember them. also, have i mentioned i love john cusack?

date night – a barely passable comedy in which tina fey takes a backseat to steve carrell. annoying.

capitalism: a love story – i’ve said it before, but underneath all the hyperbole, michael moore always has a very salient point to make. luckily, it makes it through the bluster.

adam – a rom-com starring a character with asperger’s syndrome. now there’s something you don’t see every day. although the end is predictable, the portrayal is spot-on.

crazy heart – i’ve long had a soft spot in my heart for jeff bridges, and he is just fantastic as a washed up country music star, looking for redemption everywhere but within.

a single man – heartbreaking portrayal of loss, and starting over, colin firth was wonderful.

sex and drugs and rock and roll – moderately interesting, if not entirely captivating biopic of ian dury. quality acting.

couples retreat – yeesh, people paid to see this?? again, i was stuck on a plane with nothing else to do.

the lovely bones – hideously insipid, trite, and cliched. but i was stuck on a plane with nothing else to do.

a serious man – a serious movie by the coen bros. there are so many layers to this, i feel i need many more viewings just to peel them back.

alice in wonderland – i had very high expectations for tim burton’s remake, which were not all, but mostly met.

avatar – did. not. like. trite, insulting crap. with blue people.

i love you phillip morris – this was not my choice of movie, and it was not. good.

sherlock holmes – nothing will ever measure up to the books of my childhood, but robert downey jr. is just too damn charming for this to be anything less than fully entertaining.

whip it – rollerderby ftw!

fantastic mr. fox – love, love, love. wes anderson can do no wrong in my eyes. and i don’t even like animated movies.

it’s complicated – no, it’s really not. still, it’s sweet and amusing. i do love meryl streep.

the blind side – another “feel good” movie about rich white people saving poor black folk. and i’m not sure sandra bullock deserved an oscar.

precious – it is a testament to the movie that such depressing material can still end with the viewer feeling so uplifted. critics seem to think this was too over the top to be realistic. i can tell you, it is not.

up in the air – thoroughly enjoyable. i admit it, i was a bit envious of clooney’s minimalist lifestyle. but i seem to love all movies set in airports.

the road – if there was a point to this movie aside from “the apolcalypse sux”, then i totally missed it.

the cove – i was worried about watching this film, because i thought it would be too disturbing. it’s difficult viewing, but it ends on a hopeful note, and renews your faith in the power of the committed activists.

the messenger
– another war movie about iraq, (even though it’s set in the u.s.) and about the psychic scars and raw wounds war leaves in its wake.

the hurt locker – intense and nervewracking. which is entirely the point.

the september issue – fascinating to see the power struggles behind the scenes of one of the most powerful women in the world of fashion, anna wintour.

invictus – amazing to see what has changed in south africa in 15 years… and what has not. equally interesting to view with someone who lived through that time.

where the wild things are – oh this broke my heart. being a kid is so tough. emotional without being sentimental. spike jonze is genius.

food inc. – this should be required viewing in every classroom. powerful and appalling.

read in 2009

infinite jest, by david foster wallace. tried to read this on my iphone. kinda failed as an experiment, so hope to return to it later perhaps in hardcopy.

the gathering, by anne enright – i loved the language of this book. phrases like “he is full of his own death. his death fills him as a plum fills its own skin.” fantastic use of the melancholic irish candor. highly recommend.

the year of the flood, by margaret atwood – i love atwood, but she creeps me out sometimes with her apocalyptic futurism. this follows on from orxy and crake, but leaves the door open for more.

julie and julia, by julie powell – enjoyable read about the quest for meaning in one’s life, rekindled my interest in julia child!

musicophilia, by oliver sacks – fascinating chronicles of the impact music has on our brain

three cups of tea, by greg mortenson – inspiring, if overly sentimental stuff, about the impact one person can have in this world.

the devil wears prada, by lauren weisberger – what can i say? it was a sunny day in the park, and i needed some light froth.

youth, by jm coetzee – the alienation of losing one’s country and one’s ideals.

what is the what, by dave eggers – a powerful, powerful tale of the “lost boys” of sudan’s civil war, their grueling experiences, exile, and emigration to the u.s.

the brief wondrous life of oscar wao, by junot diaz – the best book i’ve read in a long, long time, by far.  the writing is refreshingly unique and true, the characters so compelling.  i couldn’t get enough.  how can you not love a book with lines like, “and if i could have, i would have broken the entire length of my life across her face…”, or, “nothing more exhilarating than saving yourself by the simple act of waking.”

marley and me, by john groban – if you’ve ever loved a dog, you can’t fail to be brought to tears by this book.  no matter how corny or sentimental at times, there’s a truth there that every dog person understands.

cancer ward, by aleksandr solzhenitsyn – surprisingly touching.  the vulnerability of being stripped bare, struggling to maintain some semblance of your core essence in the face of overwhelming cruelty, and the humanity and helplessness of it all (cancer/stalin) is as applicable to the individual as it is to the society as a whole.

reading lolita in tehran by azar nafisi – incredible memoir which deftly illustrates the transformative power of fiction, imagination, and freedom.  anyone whose life has ever been changed by a book will find this narrative resonating deeply.

watched in 2009

transformers 2 – utter garbage.

bruno – meh. not even mildly funny.

julie and julia – cute and sweet, but much less interesting than the book.

the men who stare at goats – i love offbeat, weird movies like this so it was right up my alley, and i actually saw it twice. but i can see how it might not be to everyone’s taste.

grand torino – eh, it was predictable and manipulative, but i still love clint eastwood.

500 days of summer – this affected me in a way i didn’t at all expect.

synecdoche, new york – i generally love the worlds-within-worlds that Charlie Kaufman creates, but this movie was not easy to watch, requiring persistence to see all the threads through to the end. but it is best summed up by a walt whitman poem:

O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I,
and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the
struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see
around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring–What good amid these, O me, O life?

That you are here–that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

big river man – powerful documentary about the world’s foremost endurance swimmer, and his attempt to swim the entire length of the amazon, while facing his own personal demons. excellent.

sunshine cleaning – not as affecting as “little miss sunshine” (by the same producer), but a worth film nonetheless, about trying to muddle through the dysfunction of family and daily life. ultimately uplifting, and alan arkin (as usual) is fantastically crotchety.

the soloist – i wanted to be more moved by this than i ultimately was (having previously read the backstory to the script), but it’s always good to see robert downey jr. back on form, and jamie foxx gives a strong performance as well.

coco before chanel – charmingly sweet biopic which gave me a newfound appreciation for audrey tautou

the hangover – very, very meh. i was expecting lots of laughs, i found formulaic with few genuine chuckles

harry potter and the half blood prince – the best of the lot so far, very dark, impressively polished

anvil! the story of anvil – fantastic documentary that manages to be gently mocking, depressing, and utterly uplifting in turns. the power of dreams, man.

valkyrie – ordinarily, i would never watch a tom cruise movie. but i was stuck for 7 hours on a plane. eh, it wasn’t bad. interesting story.

blindness - horrible, terrible, ham-handed attempt to posit what would happen if the world went blind, and to infer that we “would see human nature more clearly”.  whatevs.

star trek – loved it. geeky, goofy, nostalgic and cool explosions.

the express – a biopic about ernie davis, the first black man to win the heisman trophy. i was sceptical at first, but i have to admit to having a huge soft spot for football hero movies, and by the end was feeling all sentimental.

doubt – explores the tension between doubt and faith with perfect pitch. love phillip seymour hoffman.

rachel getting married – beautifully acted and truthful portrait of the many ways families love, hate, and fail each other in equal measure.

seven pounds – i really disliked this movie. it felt manipulative and cheap, and i hate movies that start at the end and work their way back. the “big plot twist” was hopelessly transparent to anyone with half a brain, and it went on for about 20 minutes too long. also, the music was annoyingly saccharine.

nick and norah’s infinite playlist – surprisingly clever and offbeat for the typical teen flick genre. overall, really cute, with some great music.

revolutionary road – a stunning and unsettling film about the quiet small time dramas of a young, ambitious couple, and what happens when they find themselves smashed up against the limitations of the settled life,

happy go lucky – explores the fundamental nature of happiness and self-identity, and by contrast, sadness and pain.  much deeper than it appears at first glance, i found this gave me a lot to chew on.

australia – i was a bit wary because i’m not a fan of baz luhrmann.  and while it did verge on the edge of cheesy at times, it was entertaining and enjoyable.  and i now have a total crush on hugh jackman.

slumdog millionaire – visually stunning with richly interwoven storylines and great acting – an entrancing film.

the wrestler – mickey rourke is pretty much unrecognisable from his former self, but both he and marisa tomei manage to make us care deeply about their characters as broken down, worn out people, just struggling for some semblance of dignity.

read in 2008

when you are engulfed in flames, by david sedaris. more sedaris mastery – awkward, laugh out loud funny, unexpectedly touching.

possible side effects, by augusten burroughs. wry in every sense of the word. witty, wrenching, and wonderously addictive read.

unaccustomed earth, by jhumpa lahiri. i usually quite like her, but this collection was a little uneven. there were a few weak points, and some stories were much stronger than others. and i *hated* the ending to her last story, so it ended on a bit of a down note for me. still worth reading.

moral disorder and other stories, by margaret atwood – oh i love me some margaret atwood, and this is her classic stuff. the last story took me ages to read – it was so truthful it hurt my heart, and i had to keep putting it down.

children of the revolution, by dinaw mengestu – i found myself stretching this book out to prolong the ache… that deep down ache of an expat that comes from being a square peg in a round hole. he captures it here in all its sad beauty, brilliantly.

, by j.m. coetzee – excellent, thought-provoking, and offering no easy answers as we grapple with our flaws and failings

last exit to brooklyn, by hubert selby jr. – tough to read in some patches (no other book has made me wince like that!) but written in a really interesting style (almost like a cross between stream of consciousness, hyper-realism and play dialogue) and engrossing.

the golden notebook, by doris lessing – tl; dnf

i’ve put this off for months now – i hate to give up, and i really, really wanted to like this. i’ve been plugging away at this book for months, not allowing myself to purchase any other books, forcing myself through 5 pages at a time. and now, 100 pages from the end, i admit failure. i cannot summon the energy to finish this. i wanted to read it because it’s supposed to be a seminal novel of the 20th century, written by a nobel prize winning author. but i find the themes tedious, the psychoanalysis laborious, and the dialogue and plot unbelievable. i cannot find a single issue with which to identify – it feels as though i’m reading about aliens, and the protagonist’s insistence on dissecting every word and action into gender-specific categories seemed as antiquated as that of victorian times. i hated reading about the “communist struggle”, could not identify with the timid attempts at feminism or sexual liberation, and the main character’s overwrought anxieties were irritating to say the least. i understand she was supposed to be experiencing a breakdown, but *come on*! even the novel within the novel was tiresome, and i simply could not force myself to engage or care about any of it.

purple hibiscus, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – a compelling story of love, family, and religion – the scars they can inflict on the heart, and the healing they can bring to the soul. not as good as “half of a yellow sun”, but an engaging and worthwhile read nonetheless.

the view from castle rock, by alice munro – a poignant series of short stories about a family’s immigration from Scotland to Canada. subtle, wistful, truthful.

half of a yellow sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – five love stories deftly interwoven with the horrors of nigeria’s civil war. remarkable, deeply moving, and thoroughly engrossing.

watched in 2008

milk – a touching and tender homage, with great performances.

zack and miri make a porno – disappointingly formulaic, even if it does star seth rogan, and is written by kevin smith.

burn after reading – the coen brothers can be wonderfully absurdist, and they’re at their best here. their funniest since “the big lebowski”.

how to lose friends and alienate people – i enjoyed the book, which i remember as being completely dry and sardonic. this film was all hollywood slapstick, and ultimately disappointing.

pan’s labyrinth
– one of those movies i’m glad someone made me sit down and watch. i don’t normally go for fantasy films, but the fantasy here is a metaphorical device for exploring the dark and light layers that make up our humanity, and the horrific and fantastical reality we create for ourselves. brilliant.

pineapple express – another apatow gem. my friends can’t believe i like arthouse films *and* stoner action movies. but i do.

paranoid park – i always want to like gus van sant movies more than i actually do, and that’s the same case here. the deliberately long, slow shots, the self-consciously, deliberately incongrous music…yet, i still somehow keep watching. make of that what you will.

forgetting sarah marshall – i think i’ve just fallen in love with russell brand.

the dark knight – thoroughly enjoyable, even for a non-batman fan. yes, health ledger is just as good as they say, if not better. the post 9/11 themes were about as subtle as a sledgehammer, but didn’t detract from the entertainment.

into the valley of elah – quiet movie, with a distinctive performance by tommy lee jones. the moral heavy-handedness was a bit much, perhaps.

gone baby, gone – i found it interesting enough… until they mispronounced “quincy”. for the affleck brothers who grew up in the area to allow this inauthenticity to pop my bubble of illusion, is pretty much unforgiveable.

be kind, rewind – completely different to what i was expecting. i wanted to like this earnest movie, but in the end, it wasn’t very successful at capturing me.

you kill me – subtle comedy, and ben kingsley with a very strange accent.

sex and the city – i didn’t want to watch this, as i preferred to remember the series as it was. but i’m glad i did.

before the devil knows you’re dead – really good, solid psychological thriller which is elevated by an amazing performance from phillip seymour hoffman, (my new favourite actor) and antoher greta performance from ethan hawke.

persepolis - both positively enchanting and incredibly poignant animated coming-of-age story set against the cultural revolution of iran. the artwork is gorgeous and the soundtrack is emotive. like stepping inside picasso’s “guernica” – beautiful and terrible. brilliant movie.

my blueberry nights – overly sweet, contrived pastiche of several different stories wound into one. the individual subplots work better than the whole. nora jones isn’t strong enough to carry a lead role.

the savages – “family: the ties that bind… and gag.” a wry, wrenching and honest peek at how complicated love and families can be in the face of obligation, sibling bonds, and a life’s worth of history.

the bucket list – schmaltzy “meaning of life” film, though i do love jack nicholson.

el orfanato – spanish twist on the haunted house film. gave me a few genuine chills.

21 - slick flick about kids counting cards in las vegas. bright and glossy and fun.

margot at the wedding - quirky and forlorn take on family dysfunction. alternately funny and unnerving.

evening – sad, sappy, and overwrought reflections on a woman’s youth as she lies on her deathbed.

i’m not there – a complex, multifaceted and ever-changing biopic about the complex, multifaceted and ever-changing artist that is bob dylan. cate blanchett’s performance is stunning. offers more questions than answers… and bob would want it that way.

the notorious bettie page – an interesting and sympathetic (if not very deep) biopic about the world’s most famous pin-up model

into the wild – the romanticised stupidity of youth

walk hard: the dewey cox story – enjoyable mock-biography of a fake legendary musician (johnny cash, jerry lee lewis, and bob dylan rolled into one)

interview – i usually enjoy steve buscemi in pretty much everything, but i found this unbelievable and tedious.

4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days – a striking movie about the grim realities of abortion for women, under the dictatorship of Ceau?escu in Romania, when both contraception and abortion were illegal. the maternal death rate would triple as a result of many women having illegal abortions in the face of rampant poverty. sad and scary.

borat – i know, i must be the last person on earth who hadn’t seen this. it was amusing, but couldn’t live up to the hype.

lars and the real girl – a strangely affecting, quiet movie about love and grief

jesus camp
– scary documentary about the next generation of fundamentalism in middle america. if this film were about islam instead of christianity, people would be in an uproar.

the nanny diaries – mildly amusing froth, not as clever or entertaining as the book

the simpsons movie – rather a disappointment. not nearly as funny as their most classic episodes

there will be blood – wow, is daniel day lewis ever *intense*. the whole movie is an incredibly intense exploration of the depths of obsession, and the dark places it leads the human soul. completely engrossing.

juno - a smart, funny film about teenage pregancy that treats the girl as an intelligent person with agency and control of her life… too rare in the “knocked up genre”.

no country for old men – a classic. masterful building of suspense, and incredible dialogue with quietly perfect performances. you don’t realise until halfway through that there’s not a single extraneous sound in the entire movie. probably their best film to date, even surpassing “fargo”.

sicko - michael moore’s scathing indictment of healthcare in the good ol’ u.s. of a. is it manipulative, simplistic and cheaply sentimental? of course. but that doesn’t detract from the undeniable fact: people routinely die from lack of basic healthcare and/or corporate greed by insurance companies. sick indeed.

charlie wilson’s war – after having recently read “a thousand splendid suns”, this movie just drove home how short-sighted u.s. policy fucks up generations of ordinary people’s lives. not a big tom hanks fan, but he was fantastic in this.

redacted – some of the acting wasn’t great, but it was worthwhile (and brutal) to watch

waitress – a bit predictable, but very cute, with some genuine heartfelt moments

knocked up – more appealling than i expected. i’m just a sucker for seth rogan