Advertisement

KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Editors' Picks

Editors’ picks for January: How to Be a Woman, The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project, Gone Girl

by Kill Your Darlings , January 16, 2013Leave a comment

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran — Imogen Kandel, Online Editor

I have to admit books were not high on my list of priorities over the holiday break. In fact books sat somewhere between sipping wine and cleaning the bathroom.  Let’s be honest, they were on the same level as cleaning the bathroom. Yet despite my complete and utter lack of brain power, I did manage to lazily pick up a copy of Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman.

How to Be a Woman is full of Germaine Greer-level feminist enthusiasm without the prerequisite of having to sample your own menstrual blood. Moran covers all the big topics with a heavy dose of humour and sass: puberty, boyfriends, work, weddings, births, motherhood, abortions, Lady Gaga. Drawn from her own life experience, Moran’s pearls of hard-won wisdom make reading this book like travelling back in time to read Dolly Doctor: entirely illuminating and at times, downright terrifying. While Moran does let her temptation to rant get the better of her at times, I can hardly fault the woman for sounding a bit pissy about the cards dealt to the ‘fairer’ sex.

A pee-your-pants funny look at the highs and lows of having a vagina, I can confirm that reading How to Be a Woman is definitely a better way to spend your time than cleaning the bathroom.

The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project by Lawrence Dai — Stephanie Van Schilt, Online Editorial Assistant

I’m a pretty punctual person in life, but when it comes to pop culture I don’t mind getting to the party late. Bands, movies, books – I don’t care if they’re no longer ‘cool’, so long as I’m charmed when I encounter them. So I am hereby declaring, in an insanely ‘uncool’ move, that my latest magnificent obsession is a three-year old blog. Yep, in Internet years that’s got to be older than the collective ages of the Golden Girls, and more dated than that reference.

Anyway, I’ve recently been mass consuming, chortling, choking and cry-laughing at The Lawrence/Julie & Julia Project. In 2010, college student Lawrence Dai adapted the premise of Julie & Julia – the Nora Ephron film based on Julie Powell’s 365-day challenge to cook 524 of Julia Child’s recipes and blog about it – by watching the film every day for a year…and blogging about it.

This is meta-magnificence at its best. Beyond the feat of viewing the film 365 times, Lawrence’s reflections are both relevant and irreverent as he finds various inventive ways to approach (or reproach) the film, and rapidly goes a little crazy.

His comical depiction of this monomaniacal fixation – which, commenced in 2010 gained him some press and internet fame – is a cackle-inducing fun-fest. It is a cannily written intimate affair that charts the ups and downs of one man and his love/hate relationship with a movie. And I love it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn — Emily Laidlaw, Marketing Co-ordinator

It’s almost impossible to write about Gone Girl in any meaningful way without giving away any spoilers. So if you haven’t read it yet and still want to maintain the element of surprise, avert your eyes now.

Gone Girl was continually recommended to me over the holiday break as light summer fun and I wasn’t disappointed. Gillian Flynn must have had a ball writing this high quality potboiler about married couple Amy and Nick, whose outwardly picture perfect marriage implodes when Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary.

I was alerted to the fact there was a major plot twist (which in itself is a bit of a spoiler, right?), leaving me to second guess a lot of the action. So when it was revealed Amy had faked her own disappearance and was masterminding the whole police investigation, I wasn’t too shocked. What did shock me, however, was the level of sympathy I still felt towards this – to phrase it nicely –‘psychopath’. While there’s something endearing about Amy’s naive, sweet-as-pie diary entries which make up the first half of the book (a technique I usually despise but here works well) there’s something more appealing about her crazy revenge fantasies which spew forth in the second half. Angry at her philandering husband, Amy rallies against a culture which pits women against other women in the pursuit of men, which teaches girls to be nothing short of perfect, to resign to a life of ‘cleaning and bleeding’,to always standing by their man.

For the most part, Gone Girl is schlocky entertainment but these feminist undercurrents turn this page-turner into something more. Gone Girl has also given me a taste for exciting, sharply written detective fiction – something I hope to read more of in 2013.

 

 




9781408857175

Lou Heinrich

To see each other’s innards: Intimacy in Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress

In Stone Mattress, Atwood’s stories make a remarkable study of intimacy, of seeing each other’s innards, in different partnerships. Through the domestic details she describes, her masterful characterisation and her sharp tone, Atwood crafts the mundane into the profound. Read more »

9781863957120

James Tierney

Dissonance and Tradition: Andrew Ford’s Earth Dances

Earth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive is a vivid and rarely less than astute history of the debt modern music simultaneously owes to the inheritances of tradition, and the texture of dissonance. Read more »

monroe

James Tierney

Survival and Contradiction: Jacqueline Rose’s Women in Dark Times

This book’s most impressive trick is in the way it pulls together seemingly disparate figures. In this fierce, insightful and wide-ranging collection, Jacqueline Rose calls for nothing less than a reformulation of feminism. Read more »

9807778273_afe6ec792d_z

Rebecca Shaw

Breaking the Celluloid Ceiling

We are still at a point where far less than half the movies we see have a clear female protagonist, even though women are half of the population. If women as an ENTITY are not properly represented, their stories not told, what chance then do women of colour have? Read more »

article-2301242-18FA52E4000005DC-314_470x763

Rebecca Shaw

An Inconvenient Truth: Social stigma and menstruation

If you have heard of menstruation, you would know that it is an essential process in a little tiny thing called the EXISTENCE AND CONTINUATION OF HUMAN LIFE, and it is something that most (not all) women experience for about five days every month for a large part of their lives. It is a topic (besides shopping, lol) that women think about frequently. Read more »

fx-2015-winter-tcajpeg-069cb_c0-146-3500-2186_s561x327

Rebecca Shaw

Billy, Don’t Be a Homophobe

As a non-heterosexual person who has lived my entire life in a heteronormative world, I have a finely tuned antenna for homophobia. Loaded terms, like those used recently by Billy Crystal, are becoming more common, as it becomes less acceptable to state openly that you get an icky feeling when you see two people of the same sex kiss. Read more »

girlwalkshomealoneatnight

Anwen Crawford

Bad Cities

A Most Violent Year has an atmosphere of all-pervading dread, like a film noir, as if the polluted air of New York itself was causing people to act against their better intentions. Even more haunting and more noir is A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, a memorably audacious debut feature from American-Iranian director Ana Lily Amirpour. Read more »

cdn.indiewire

Kate Middleton

On the Trail: Wild and the voyage of the modern woman

Strayed articulates the question that drives so many pilgrimage narratives: ‘What if I forgive myself?’ That same question perhaps suggests why female-driven journeys are resonating with audiences now: self-reliance and the abandonment of a conventional life have long been male-dominated themes. Read more »

Film Review Selma

Anwen Crawford

An Urgent and Motivating Anger: The politics of Selma

How to approach a figure with the reputation of a secular saint? One achievement of Selma – and it is a film of many achievements – is to reanimate King as a living, breathing man; a man of politics, strategy, and absolute, underlying resolve. Read more »

video-undefined-22D54AFA00000578-784_636x358

Matilda Dixon-Smith

Insufferable assholes and grown up Girls

Yes, our girls are growing, learning, discovering. But all they’re really discovering is how toxic and unheroic they are, and how to use that to their advantage. They’re not going to grow out of their asshole tendencies, because they are actually assholes. Read more »

agent-carter-7683

Danielle Binks

Agent Carter and the future of the female superhero

Agent Carter has been described ‘a Triumph for Women, Marvel and TV,’ and heralded as an important new chapter in comics culture. If this supposedly groundbreaking new show fails, does it spell doom for the future of female-led superhero franchises? Read more »

39154_4f8f076801b89b442752af76ac226fc0

Anwen Crawford

Satire and Scandal: Revisiting Frontline

Frontline’s makers could not have anticipated the long, web-based afterlife of their creation, though they might not be surprised that their targets – the rampant egotism and moral hypocrisies of tabloid journalism – remain just as current. Read more »

ss_f6a450fbf737eb04c58b973f72e8817bb2b50285.600x338

Katie Williams

Brain Candy: Are game jams diluting the potential of video games?

In a world where YouTube gameplay videos narrated by hollering amateurs hold as much clout – if not more – than professional game critics, I worry that developers may be swayed to choose an easier, unimaginative, and more vacuous path to success. Read more »

cher_horowitz_closet-010_2

Katie Williams

Fashion Forward: How hidden algorithms are dressing up technology

Though we increasingly rely on technology to simplify our lives, we still want to believe that behind the scenes is a happy, human face, rather than an impassive machine that does the dirty work for us. Read more »

wowx5-artwork-012-full

Katie Williams

Killing Monsters and Making Memories: How virtual worlds facilitate communication

When I hang out with my brother, we joke, make fun of each other, and swap stories about mutual friends. Sometimes, we’ll each pack a bag of stat-enhancing potions and go out to kill large monsters. It’s been well over a year since I saw my brother in the flesh – but thanks to World of Warcraft, I interact with him on a daily basis. Read more »

Before Us_3

Jane Howard

Stuart Bowden’s Unfamiliar, Universal Worlds

It’s hard to classify the work of Stuart Bowden. His one-person storytelling theatre works are at once hilarious and melancholy. They exist in a particular space of fringe theatre: intricately crafted stories built for small rooms & small audiences, they lift and rise that audience, gathering us all up in the magic of stories & the closeness they can breed. Read more »

The-Rabbits-2015-1280x470

Jane Howard

Thinking Outside the Box Seats: The future of Australian opera and musical theatre

If we want to see new work and innovation grow in opera and musical theatre, we need to consider how they might develop within our culture. Read more »

MovingMusicAndreCastellucci1

Jane Howard

The (Sometimes) Beauty of Being Alone at the Theatre

I often go to the theatre on my own. One of the great joys of writing reviews is that even when I attend productions solo, I still get to talk (write) about them at length after the fact. Seeing theatre is a wonderful activity to do unaccompanied, because as soon as the performance starts, everyone is alone in some way. Read more »