Monday, 27 February 2012

Culture Clash Blog 27/2/2012

Hi all, welcome to my belated first blog of 2012,my cultural musings this week are...
We Need to Talk About Kevin

I'd been meaning to start reading this book since the beginning of last year after I caught one chilling episode of it being serialised on Radio 4 but unfortunately in the middle so I had no idea why I was so unnerved. I finally got round to beginning it around Christmas and although a usually speedy reader its taken me almost two months to finish it. The main reason being that this book is so harrowing you do have to step away from it for more than a few hours after reading a couple of chapters. It’s not just the story of a boy who performs a terrible atrocity but it is the chronicle of a tortured woman who rehashes events to try and work out who is to blame.In examining the events leading up to Kevin's actions interspersed with almost stream of consciousness style recounting of her life in the present we see how her life has been irrevocably changed not just by what Kevin does but by his birth itself. The novel also appears to be a staunch critique on the postmodern society that we live in.The notion that only performing an act so atrocious can get you noticed in a world where everyone is obsessed with television and making it big but also one where no-one appears to be happy with the hand that they are dealt.
Lionel Shriver has created a book that can't help but make the reader examine the way that they think about their own lives and the factors that influence their decisions. There is ableakness in the twist at the end that plays on your mind way after putting the book down.
I was excited to find out whilst reading the novel that a film adaptation was being created by Lynne Ramsey. I have to say that having watched this adaptation it is a crime that it has not received more recognition at the Academy Awards and at the BAFTAS. Tilda Swinton and Ezra Millar  turn out chillingly convincing performances and despite having a difficult novel to adapt considering it is  written in letter form Ramsey has utilised the key elements to make an artistic and atmospheric film where large parts of the storytelling are left up to the cinematography and movements of the actors rather than relying on dialogue pulled straight from the novel. The novel and the film are very different experiences in terms of how the story is told but both are definitely worth look perhaps more for those who like a gritty read and aren't afraid of having their perspective on life challenged.

Man or a Muppet
I think it’s great that Brett McKenzie’s song writing talents have been recognised with an Oscar this week for Best Original Song from the new Muppet movie. It shows that good song craftsmanship can come in many forms, and one of these is definitely comedy! Hopefully Flight of the Concords will gain a few more new fans through this, and perhaps decent niche comedy will come back into the fore rather than all the canned laughter fuelled shows that have started to reappear.

Incidentally the new Muppet movie is also well worth a look! With some amazing cameos from Whoopi Goldberg, Dave Grohl (dressed as one of the best Muppets in the world ever!) and Jim Parsons (Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory), and the general Muppet mayhem it’s amazing for both children and adults.The best thing about it if you’re a massive Muppet geek, is references to previous films and series that have gone before – the jokes about road movies that refer back to the first movie for example, and of course the reprisal of Kermit singing the Rainbow Connection with Piggy! i’m a closet Muppet...or am I am
In other news:

Images of Benedict Cumberbatch in the new Star Trek film have been leaked, and he looks like he’s taking a serious beating...Vulcan death grip anyone...