The word “curmudgeonly” was invented for Ove, the central character in this extraordinary comedy set in Sweden.
Following the death of his wife, Ove decides to end his life. Unfortunately, everyone else’s life seems to get in the way. One person of his neighbours is pregnant and has a husband who is a little useless; another neighbour has a husband who suffers from dementia; and then there’s the neighbour with the annoying dog. Ove hates all of them, and people who drive BMWs.
So what changes him? Well that’s what the story is about. Ove’s life is detailed through flashbacks which are conveniently kept as separate chapters from the present. A simple trick that makes the whole story easy to follow. Likewise, the prose is simple, straightforward and very funny. And I do mean funny; I found myself laughing out loud at pretty much every page. The characters were well drawn and consistent, occasionally unpredictable, but not in a bad way. Sometimes, people surprise us.
Ove is funny and heartbreaking. A brilliantly exploration of life and loss. Definitely worth a read before the Tom Hanks movie lands.
The Marvel Studios MultiPhasic Blockbuster Franchise Factory drops another massive earner onto an eager pandemic-weary public, and as you’d expect, it’s good. It’s really good.
Bizarre, but in a good way.
The successfully understated Benedict Cumberbatch reprises his role as Doctor Strange, Earth’s one-time Sorcerer Supreme (long story) who finds himself locking spells with a former hero turned multiversal megalomaniac. The story, a expertly-blended tale of power, loss, and regret, takes us across several continents, and several universes where we meet some familiar faces from a franchise far far away. Great stuff – just what the good doctor ordered.
What I really liked about this movie (aside from the humour, the action, the special effects) was the sense of growth. The script, combined with Cumberbatch’s performance showed a powerful man trying to prevent himself from being consumed by it – and his own, almost superhuman arrogance makes the ordeal so much harder. And the other characters grow along the way – even the villain.
I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this (then why did you see it, dummy!) because whoever is in charge of grinding DC’s finest heroes from comic books into movies hasn’t quite managed to hit the Marvel Studios level of grandeur and entertainment. Yup, they take themselves far too seriously.
The Batman should be different though; it’s meant to be taken far too seriously. In that regard, they hit the mark: the film is somber (bordering on the gothic), shot mostly at night or in the dark. (Can no one living in the Wayne Mansion remember where the light switches are?)
The writers don’t bother spending an hour or so on Batman’s origin; they assume everyone knows it, and quite rightly so. If you don’t (for some reason) then there are plenty of hints along the way. Besides which, the movie already weighs in at 3 hours – any longer would’ve stretched the attention span of the most ardent Dark Knight fan.