Wednesday, August 27, 2014

[Movie] Magic in the Moonlight

This movie was directed by Woody Allen.  We had originally gone to see a Most Wanted Man but it was at another theater.  We ended up seeing this  It was delightful.  It was also delightful that Woody Allen wasn't in it.

The basic plot of the movie is that the world's greatest magician who dresses in chinese yellow face, is also the world's greatest debunker of the supernatural. His college, who is only moderately successful invites him to check out a 'real' psychic he thinks is fake but needs help proving it.  This is, at heart a love story, but I want to avoid spoilers.  Just because I saw what was happening fairly early on, doesn't mean everyone will.  That's the delightful thing about this movie, it is a surprise and yet familiar enough to make the plot comprehensible.

The setting in a castle/manor is set in the south of France and is utterly gorgeous.  The costumes for the period, set at the turn of the century, are also fantastic.  The acting is excellent but the cinematography is one of the best parts of the movie.

I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

[Book] Silkworm by JK Rowling

This is the second in the Coromander Strike series.  It is a very good book.  Normally, I don't have much use for stories about writers since it seems like so much literary masturbation to me, but in this case it works.  The mystery is about a writer who has written an autobiographical smear of literary pretentiousness that slams everyone around him.  At first, Strike is just to find him but when he finds his target dead, it becomes a murder mystery.

The characters are interesting in this, particularly the highly complex relationship between Strike and his assistant.  Strike is not the normal lantern jawed handsome white guy who solves mysteries, he's a flawed person but a real person with contacts and contracts and obligation.  Rowling does an excellent job at hinting at the rich and complex backstory that Strike has, without wallowing in it.  90% of the prose in the book is about the mystery, and more importantly, it is highly believable how he solves it.

I highly recommend this book to both mystery fans and those who like Rowling.