Recently, I have read and viewed some things that I don’t feel writing a full, in-depth review, but do want to point out a few thoughts for those that might be interested.
MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – An excellent action movie that is either extremely feminist, or extremely not-feminist depending on one’s perspective and interpretation. The general consensus is one of feminism, but there are plenty of dissenting voices out there. On the one hand, very strong female lead deeply concerned about women’s issues at the end of the world. On the other hand, the very strong female characters must out-male the wicked men, with ultra-violence, and even the “Many Mothers” are warriors and bandits and killers. Many reviewers seem to find this as a feminist action masterpiece. It is certainly an action masterpiece, but I don’t know if it is a feminist movie, exactly. It is definitely better to end slavery and sexual slavery, yes. But, to do so by means of murder and mayhem is hardly a message of social justice. Still, it is the best action movie I have seen in years. The film is so intricately constructed, with a brilliantly-imagined post-apocalyptic landscape, and so kinetic, that it is impossible to get too deeply involved in anything but the thrill of the chase.
VERMILION by Molly Tanzer – Weird Westerns are so much fun. This one stands out in the field because of the character of Vermilion, herself. A cross-dressing, half-Chinese, half-British psychopomp, trapped in between worlds of the living and the dead, and two oppressive cultures. She is a fantastic character, and lots of fun to go on an adventure with. Once upon the adventure, there are some strange notes in the plotting of the text, wherein certain situations just seem too tidy and too perfect. That said, it is easy to overlook them in the fast-paced and interesting world constructed by Tanzer. The book is too much fun to criticize, and looks to be the beginning of an exciting new series of pulp-y adventures.
CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller – A beloved classic that is widely taught in schools is so clever, line-by-line that I found it hard to read again, as an adult. There was so much cynicism and dark wit, line-by-line, that it was difficult to follow anything happening in the text. I was surprised at how little I enjoyed it, when I loved it as a teen. As an adult, perhaps, I am happier and less cynical, and feel no strong desire to be reminded of the horror of bureaucracy and law and society seven times a page. Revisiting the books we used to love is not always a good idea, I guess. Some books are better for the young, some for the old, and some for the happy and some for the sad.