Man, it seems like ages since I wrote one of these. In spite of the almost frightening lack of quality of this lengthy work of fan fiction I wrote in grade school, I’ve come to miss it a little, like a tweaker yearning for some subpar crystal meth. So let’s jump off the wagon once again and wade into the murky terrain of the Annotated Aliens versus Predator: The Story.
Two weeks ago I jabbered on about which books I like to read leading up to October 31st. This week, I’m composing a variation for that theme. What follows are the three scariest movies I have ever watched, hands down. I’m not talking sudden scares that make me jump and leave me feeling pissed for the following three seconds. I’m talking about movies that stay with me long after they’re over and, if I may be so candid, might necessitate turning on a few more lights when I head off to sleep.
Somewhat to my surprise, former blockbuster star and celebrated Masshole Ben Affleck has become one of my favourite directors as of late. His 2007 debut, an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s mystery novel Gone Baby Gone, was a disturbing and thought-provoking work that felt like the product of an experienced director rather than one behind a feature film camera for the first time. And I have nothing but good things to say about The Town, a robbery thriller that, while seemingly Michael Mann’s Heat set in Boston, stood out by turning an analytical eye on the importance of one’s roots and cultural identity.
Needless to say, I eagerly awaited Argo, Affleck’s depiction of the so-called 1980 “Canadian Caper” that saw a joint Canadian-American intelligence collaboration secret six American Foreign Service employees out of revolution-torn Iran during the infamous hostage crisis of that era. And while it certainly takes liberties with the facts, I’m happy to say that Ben Affleck’s third directorial outing is up to the high standards set by his first two.
Halloween is tied with Christmas as my favourite time of the year, and for the same reason I put on Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack come December 1st, I enjoy reading certain novels during the month of October. I hope fellow Halloween nerds will check these out if they haven't already.
I have to respect any artist who undertakes a massive change in direction: Radiohead with Kid A, Martin Scorsese every decade or so, Steven Soderbergh with literally every movie he makes, etc. With a few exceptions, these moves are almost intrinsically courageous. It’s difficult to move out of your comfort zone, especially when you’ve carved out such a niche there (though, now that I think of it, I’m starting to wonder if Soderbergh even has a comfort zone). J.K. Rowling recently made such a move with the publication of her eighth novel, The Casual Vacancy, which is her first non-Harry Potter related work to date.
In April I mentioned how I finally read the Potter novels in full last summer, in the process seeing how much Rowling developed as a writer. Between The Philosopher’s Stone and The Deathly Hallows, she gradually worked in a greater sense of maturity with each passing book, making the series one you would have to grow up with—or at least be fully grown—to truly appreciate. So by the time I finished the epilogue of Hallows I was more than ready to see where Rowling went next and whether she maintained the maturity she spent a decade building toward. I was not let down.