Movie: ‘New Year’s Eve’

Slammed and razzed by the critics, this 2011 Garry Marshall film that follows multiple storylines through the Times Square year-end celebrations got a bit of a raw deal. When I watched it I was in the mood for a simple and unchallenging diversion, and it provided that with a fluffy sweetness. And as bad as it was rated to be when it hit theaters, I’ve seen far worse. I wouldn’t advise seeking it out, but if it happens to be showing and you’re in the mood, it’s pleasant, not just a waste of time. Don’t know about you, but sometimes that’s just what I need.

Book: ‘Lenin The Novel’ by Allen Brien

Since the fall of the Soviet Union the Russian revolutionary has lost some of his stature and glow as a cultural and historical figure. For those of us still interested in the world-changing movement he led, the 1987 fictional account of his life written as a diary is an exceptionally skilled and quite engaging book that colors in the human being behind the legend.

Book: ‘Choice of Evil’ by Andrew Vachss

The author’s detective novels about his far outsider hero Burke, a champion for the sexually abused, are never light reading. But they are still always crackling mysteries. This one plays out around a serial murderer who is taking out homophobes, and it’s the most challenging and morally ambiguous of his books that I’ve yet read. Maybe it’s not the best place to begin the Burke series, but it holds its own alone and is bound to draw you into one of the most original detective heroes in contemporary literature and the chilling milieu he operates within.

From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2014


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