Absolutely without question, this is my new best thing. A handful of people have recommended this and every time I’ve ignored them. I started on it the other evening and now I’m almost two series down. It’s so gentle and lovely – an absolute credit to Mackenzie Crook who writes and stars in it, and the amazing Toby Jones who plays Lance.
My personal favourite character is Becky, Andy’s teacher girlfriend played by Rachael Stirling. Such a babe and funny as all fuck.
JESUS. This show is crazy involved and gripping af.
Jessica Biel is Cora Tannetti, a woman who one day commits an act of extreme violence on the beach. While there appears to be no connection between her and the victim, Detective Ambrose (Bill Pullman) isn’t about to let Cora just go down for the crime, no questions asked – and does everything in his power to help her unravel the truth, which is lodged somewhere inside that brain of hers. And boy, do they unfurl a story!
This is a very dark series and it was brilliant as far as I’m concerned. Biel really impressed me, while support from both Christopher Abbott (from Girls) and Nadia Alexander was pretty decent. It’s such a sad tale.
I mainlined this in one day and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes their mysteries dirty and deep.
And I might now own all of the above… what? It is my BIG BIRTHDAY MONTH!
Week 2 of Films That Remind Us of Each Other and Jill chose this. Which I was kind of excited about – my girl gets me.
Men suck and some even more than others. Predatory men for instance, which is all too topical at the moment. That makes this an interesting pick for reasons beyond me being into the Final Girl Trope. But is it good though? Find out below!
A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. Later she is approached by a group of sadistic teens who kill blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.
Veronica is five when her parents pass away. It’s at this age that she meets a mysterious (creepy) man called William. When he questions her about their deaths, her pragmatic approach impresses him. When she displays total recall memory skills during a couple of tests, he recruits her for a special project for a special person. He also reveals that his own family were killed by a Very Bad Man, which one would assume is his raison d’être though it is never mentioned again so who knows, eh?
It’s all very enigmatic (and creepy, did I say creepy?).
Fast forward 12 years and Veronica is now a young woman with an impressive collection of prom style dresses. She’s also in love with William but we’ll come back to that later (boy will we). There are a handful of training montages which are somewhat satisfying as I live for a training montage.
We witness several hardcore exercises William puts his protégé through in order to mold her into the ultimate killing machine. In the last test, he injects her with a truth serum/DMT cocktail that reveals her darkest fears. Her nightmare turns out to be letting down William by not being good enough. Aw and also Grrr.
Done with training and finally ready for action, William and Veronica rock up in a small town where some teenage turds have been ‘hunting’ women in the woods. You may wonder how the fuck they know this is going down but let’s suspend our disbelief for the sake of this review for a moment.
Before we go into all that though, I need to mention the icky atmosphere between V and William. In a hotel room before the action gets started, V asks if she can lie on the bed next to him (she’s wearing a towel, he’s being all brooding). William says no until he begrudgingly (but with little persuasion) says yes and might I remind everyone that that the girl was five when they first met.
WEIRD and FUCKING CREEPY.
Back in small town America, and gang ringleader Jameson and his fuckhead buddies Daniel, Nelson and Shane are luring pretty blond girls into the woods and then hunting them down. Each of these heinous douche bags are literally the worst and you will hate them with the fire of a thousand suns and it’s okay – they won’t last long.
Veronica, predictably, goes down like pizza on a Monday night with the boys and arranges a date with Jameson for the following evening. He tells her to wash her hair and wear red lipstick. How she refrains from stabbing him in the neck right here is beyond me.
V also finds time to meet Shane’s girlfriend at the diner, a sad brunette who she really seems to bond with. The two discuss love and relationships over vanilla milkshakes. Alas, this might be a film with a Girl Power-esque message but, apart from a very brief chat between the two women, Veronica never interacts with any other live female (maybe a waitress). I wish that had been different.
Anyway, the rest you can imagine, I’m sure. Veronica is driven out to the woods by Jameson and his dick swinging pals and even though she knows full well what they have planned for her, it is very uncomfortable to watch. I felt protective of V despite the fact I already knew she could kill a man with her bare hands – these bastards!
Once the group gets to the woods, they play Truth or Dare and enjoy a beverage, thoughtfully provided by V. Jameson refrains from partaking as designated driver. T&D is a tiresome affair with no surprises – but after a couple of rounds the real games begin.
One by one the tables are turned on each of the boys, as it becomes clear they’ve ingested the very concoction Veronica herself has previously taken (SHOCKER). Each of their worst nightmares come to life and it doesn’t end well for any of them. They have underestimated the power of a small blond girl and that is their ultimate downfall. Oooooooooh!
Until the very final battle between V and Jameson, there is very little to note about these scenes. It looks pretty, as does V but it’s a very by the numbers ‘thriller’ without the thrills. As Veronica and Jameson square up to each other for the climactic scene, it seems each has met their match.
Will Veronica complete her mission and get justice for all the dead girls, despite this not really seeming to be her main objective? Or will she join the ghosts of the deceased right there in the woods?
You know what to do.
I really did find the so-called sexual tension between William and Veronica weird. Although William didn’t make moves on her, he definitely didn’t put up barriers between them and that’s icky. In the final scene (*Spoiler*) it feels like something shifts between them, suggesting that they do move their relationship forward. EW.
Everything that he has done to her over the years, the robbing her of a fucking childhood and life of her own is repugnant and at no point do I truly believe in either of them. If it had been for something, some dramatic yet justified cause then maybe, but it is not enough for them just to be adopting the vigilante lifestyle because they lost people once. V lost her parents in sad but a non-suspicious way, while William alludes to the bad man but never elaborates on it ever again. So I’m at a loss to understand or care about their motivations.
It’s a misogynistic film that tries to pull out the strong female lead card which is all well and good, but not really when she’s been groomed from such an early age to be just some dude’s machine. Like Jill said in a message to me, it would of been good if she’d turned around and killed William, finally freeing herself. I’d have been pleased if she’d followed that by running off with Jennifer, the girl from the diner truth be told.
The film itself is nice looking but the plot is so full of holes I can’t take it seriously. It’s deeply disappointing as in the right hands, under the right circumstances this premise could’ve been great. I can’t look beyond the cringe of it all.
Abigail Breslin was okay but not great. And that’s about it.
2.5/5. Nope. Not much to write home about.
What did my Final Girl Jillian think of this one? Would she chase it through the woods or kicks everyone’s arse to save it? Find out here, yo.
I thought mother! might be the weirdest film I would see this year but now I’m not so sure.
TKOASD is super strange but also seriously good and full of Yorgos Lanthimos‘ signature black humour. There’s not a lot I can say without giving things away and I think going in with little knowledge can only be a good thing.
Nicole Kidman is brilliant as are the actors playing her children (Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic), while Barry Keoghan plays the part of Martin perfectly: insidious, spookily calm and actually quite repellent. I definitely recommend catching this at the cinema if you get the chance.
I love me a Final Girl. The trope is one of my favourites, even though the rules of being a true FG could make your head spin clean off your neck.
Someone who hates the label though is Quincy Carpenter, the third survivor to join the infamous trio of the media dubbed Finals Girls. Comprised of Miss Carpenter (the amnesiac), Lisa Milner (the original) and Samantha Boyd (the enigma), this group of women share just one thing in common – they were all the last ones still standing after horrifying massacres.
Quincy is doing fine now, thank you very much. She’s moved on from the events of that night and even though there are massive chunks of memory missing, she’s faced her demons and come out the other side smiling. Now she’s a baking blogger in the big smoke with a handsome and supportive lawyer boyfriend and a nice home (paid for by insurance money from the deaths of all her friends, but still).
But are things as perfect as they seem? Given that this is a thriller I’m guessing we’re all here to witness the picture perfect world of our heroine unravel – and unravel it does.
When Lisa seemingly ends her own life one night, Quincy’s world is rocked – and it’s rocked even harder when Samantha Boyd turns up on her doorstep, fresh from a self-inflicted exile. And Samantha brings out a side of Quincy she never knew she had.
Is there more to Lisa’s suicide than meets the eye though – and what about the volatile Ms Boyd? Where’s she been and what’s she been doing with her life since she fought so hard for it all those years ago?
I will say that even though I enjoyed the premise of this story and the setting of Pine Cottage (described to us in flashback), it was very predictable. I am the worst plot-guessing person on this planet and hardly ever figure out an ending before it’s presented to me, so it says a lot that I clocked it from almost the beginning. Go me.
I could have described exactly the very last scene to you too so I think that says a lot. But, it’s still enjoyable, particularly if you have an interest in classic horror scenarios. The massacres take place in quite traditional horror movie settings and although the book is descriptive, it is not gratuitous. It tries to go deeper into the psychology of surviving an ordeal like these women have and I liked that.
It just could, and should have been so much better.
Final Girls Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (13 July 2017) ISBN-10: 1785034022 ISBN-13: 978-1785034022
Bought hardback (new)
I didn’t do so badly with my Autumn Reading List, crossing off all but one of the books I’d planned to read.
I’ve been reviewing them where I can on the #onewomanbookclub tag (which you can access via the menu up there at the top, if you wish). And now it’s Winter and that means I’m even less inclined to leave the confines of my cosy, messy flat unless I absolutely have to – perfect reading conditions.
Here are the books I’m planning to devour over the next few months. You might notice a theme:
I’m a few chapters in and this already has me hooked. I bought this because I thought it was the next book by The Girls author Emma Cline. It’s not, and I’m an idiot but it was a happy accident as this is written beautifully and has a sheen of mystique to it that I so far love.
Oh, the synopsis? Ruth Malone is an attractive single mother of two kids who go missing one day in 1965. When the police make a horrifying discovery, all eyes point to the woman in charge of their care – and her provocative appearance and ‘questionable” lifestyle do not go in her favour.
This book had me at ‘The Japanese Stieg Larsson’ tbh. Which is one of the taglines printed on the cover. I didn’t even look deeply into what it was about, just clicked buy and here we are.
For those interested this is Amazon’s synopsis, in a nutshell:
Yasuko lives a quiet life, working in a Tokyo bento shop, a good mother to her only child. But when her ex-husband appears at her door without warning one day, her comfortable world is shattered.
It’s well rated and it’s been compared to one of my favourite authors so I doubt I’ll be disappointed. I’m a massive fan of Asian cinema (mainly Korean) so I’m expecting to be blown away. No pressure, Mr Higashino.
I’m cheating a little bit by including this on the list as I’ve just finished it. I thought it was worth a mention anyway. I’m intrigued always by the concept of the Final Girl and this takes that a little bit further by offering us three real life versions.
When the original FG, Lisa seemingly kills herself, it’s up to her fellow club members to find out what the fudge happened, and why. Given that our main FG, Quincy Carpenter has a massive hole in her own memories of that night at Pine Cottage… she might already have more than her fair share to contend with.
I think I’m going to review this in a couple of days so you can find out if I like it or not. Spoiler alert – it was okay.
This was passed on to me by my lovely friend Alice and I can’t wait to get stuck in. She handed me a pile of horrid sounding thrillers which is both amazing and a little disconcerting. The comfort I get from reading/watching horror/thrillers is hard to explain and sometimes feels like my dirty little secret so when someone else just gets it, it is amazing but odd.
Alex Prévost – kidnapped, beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage – is in no position to bargain. Her abductor’s only desire is to watch her die.
Doesn’t sound like a walk in the park now, does it?
Another Japanese crime thriller that is meant to be unique and fantastic. I couldn’t be more in. Again, I haven’t really done too much digging about this one but I am expecting to be impressed.
For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.
Sometimes, when I see a book has been recommended by the Richard and Judy Book Club it makes me want to avoid it. But this looks too good to pass up. Another book about family secrets and mysterious girls – delicious.
The girls of the Roanoke family – beautiful, rich, mysterious – seem to have it all. But there’s a dark truth about them that’s never spoken.
Last but not least, a book I’ve been intending to pick up for a long time, even before I saw the deeply weird film version. What Page Are You On mentioned it in their episode about book to film adaptations and I took from that that this is far more accessible than the Scarlett Johansson starring movie (which I loved but found very hard going).
I’m not a massive sci-fi nerd really (besides Star Wars) but I think the earthly setting and seductiveness of main character Isserley will keep me gripped. Here’s hoping.
Jill and I are trying something new this month. Picking films that remind us of each other. Which is harder than you think, even when you feel like you know the other person pretty well, even when you have similar tastes.
Ideally I would have found a film that combines our love of sharks and lesbian sex workers but until Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Margaret is made (and it needs to be), I’m shit outta luck. Instead I’ve tapped into Jillian’s love of period dramas and literature (‘cos she’s a librarian, innit?) and chosen this one. I know, right, I’m a genius.
The fact it stars some of the most exciting actors of our generation (Ezra Miller, Mia Wasikowska) and is based on one of my favourite books has nothing to do with it, I swear!
Bored in her marriage to a country doctor and stifled by life in a small town, the restless Emma Bovary pursues her dreams of passion and excitement, whatever they may cost.
A lifetime ago a guy I worked with gave me a dog-eared copy of Madame Bovary and said that I reminded him of Emma. I thanked him, not knowing the full story yet and that was that. Until I read it. That comparison had not been complimentary!
I’ve since revised my feelings on this, as I’ve got to know myself better. I do see myself in Emma Bovary in a very profound way, good or bad and I think it’s okay. It’s human nature to want more from life and although she’s an extremist in many ways, she’s an intriguing character and I love her.
“I will not remain inert, standing in a fever of despair.” ~ Emma Bovary
Emma (Wasikowska) has just been married off to the handsome Doctor Charles Bovary (Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and although the union seems initially promising, it soon transpires that the new bride has a lot expected of her by way of customary behaviour.
The Bovary’s home is a pretty one but it is modest (not by my standards obviously) and Emma seems initially let down by the prospect of her new life here. There’s only so much plink plinking on the piano and needlepoint a person can take. The Doctor is largely absent, both physically and emotionally – and it doesn’t take Emma long to cast her gaze outward.
To begin her desire for something greater manifests itself in her shopping habits (I hear you, girlfriend). When the slick Monsieur Lheureux (Rhys Ifans) comes a-knocking with his fine Parisian wares, promising generous credit, what’s a bored woman to do?
From here, Mrs B’s wandering eye finds itself trained on young idealist Léon Dupuis (Miller) who waxes lyrical about travel and his love of music. Literal heart eyes are exchanged but when push comes to shove, our heroine cannot see it through and rejects him. Which sees Dupuis fleeing from their small town and onto better things presumably.
Dismayed, Emma focuses once again on material possessions and doing up the house, accepting more and more credit from Lheureux. Meanwhile, Charles either doesn’t notice or chooses not to and Emma is left to her own devices. When she meets the dashing Marquis d’Andervilliers (Logan Marshall-Green), sparks fly again for our caged bird – and an affair begins (but only after he pressures her into it first. RED FLAG, Ems).
Drunk in love (or lust) and with fantasies of a richer lifestyle, Emma plans to run away with the Marquis but predictably, at the nth hour, he loses momentum and abandons her instead. Because MEN. Emma is beside herself and you guessed it, shops her cares away.
A chance meeting in the city brings The Bovarys and Mr Dupuis back together, and now much worldlier after her first affair, Emma manipulates her way back into Léon’s heart. Charles trusts his wife so sees no harm in leaving her in Dupuis’ company overnight and that proves a mistake for all parties involved.
Meanwhile, debtors are calling on Emma and she is struggling to keep her affairs both in order and secret from her husband. Charles’ father dies and leaves him a considerable nest egg, which Lheureux suggests could be the answer to all her financial woes. Emma’s not so convinced and goes to the Marquis for money, which he refuses her.
Léon too starts to regret his part in this romance and, choosing his career over his mistress, leaves Emma again. Caught up finally in all her lies, Emma takes drastic action. If you know the story, you know.
Goddamn it. This could be my life story. You know, without all the sexy liaisons and needlework. I love my life but have the worst shopping addiction – although it’s more or less in check now – I have definitely sought solace in new things to add colour and magic to my life in times of stress and uncertainty. Emma’s motivation might be more extreme than mine but she definitely exists within me.
This film looks good, Mia’s central performance is great but it’s a little lackluster if I’m honest. The costuming is sumptuous too. That purple ensemble Emma wears to a funeral is rocking. But the movie itself didn’t set my world on fire.
I think this story is very dismissive of the female right to have her own dreams. Emma is cast as the villainess of the piece for her selfish actions but I don’t see her that way. She’s not particularly likeable maybe but FFS what was she supposed to do? Pretty sure I’d be doing the same if I wasn’t afforded the freedom I have to do whatever the fuck I like.
3/5. Mostly for Ezra Miller’s cheekbones.
How did Jillian feel about this period piece? Would she rack up debts just to impress it or jilt it? Find out here of course.
The other day someone (a dude) asked me why women are so pissed off these days. Instead of punching him in throat and screaming “Because of you motherfuckers!!”, I took a breath and told him to look around him. Predictably I didn’t finish my sentence before my piece was derailed by a #notallmen remark and I’m quite certain none of my points got through his thick skull. Doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying though.
I feel like I’m angry all the time these days. Angry I have to get a bus home after dark for fear of walking home alone, angry I can’t finish a sentence without being interrupted. Angry every time I pick up a paper or log onto Twitter and read another story about another man abusing his position. Angry for every one of the women I know who has a #metoo story.
I’m pissed about all my own experiences. For the time a man told me he could rape me if he wanted to outside Sydney bus station when I was 20. For being followed home more than once but most recently in my own sleepy hometown. For last Christmas when a stranger grabbed my arse at our works do and squeezed it really fucking hard, like it was his right.
I’m angry for all the times my nasty ex told me I was lucky he wasn’t the type to hit a woman. For all the times he told me I needed psychiatric help and my mother agreed with him (she didn’t obviously but he wanted me to believe she did, as if they were in cahoots. As if). And for the time he bullied me into going topless on the beach in Barcelona and simultaneously poisoned my memory of that beautiful city.
Most of all I’m fucking furious he made me hate and blame myself for letting it happen, and for making me question my place on this earth.
I don’t hate men but they make me angry. Of course not all fucking men but every single man has a responsibility to be better and that is a fact. They might not directly hurt women but laughing when their friend makes a Harvey Weinstein joke is part of the problem (and so much more besides). We can all be better and I know I’m not perfect either. I’ve turned a blind eye many times in the past just so I don’t come off as a rabid feminist killjoy.
No more. I will be better and so will the men in my life. I demand it.