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Showing posts from June, 2013

Surface Tension: Thoughts on Hannibal's First Season

The first time I read Thomas Harris's Red Dragon was more than fifteen years ago, in the white heat of having discovered and been wowed by its more famous sequel, The Silence of the Lambs.  Standing in such stark comparison to the later book, which takes the elements that Red Dragon innovates--cutting between the points of view of the killer and the FBI agent pursuing him, focusing on the psychology of, and extending compassion to, both of them, featuring competent, multifaceted female characters at every turn of the plot--and does them better, Red Dragon couldn't help but come off badly, and for years I've thought of it as a disappointing work (it probably didn't help that my favorite character in the Lecter sequence, Clarice Starling, does not appear in this book).

Coming back to Red Dragon this week in preparation for writing this piece, I discovered a much stronger book than I had remembered, a smart, engaging thriller with an undertone of melancholy that only seem…

Star Trek Into Darkness

It's only the middle of June, but if there is, this year, another moment of unintentional comedy as richly hilarious as the putative climax of J.J. Abrams's Star Trek Into Darkness, I will be very surprised.  Going into the movie, I didn't expect that I'd find it funny.  Abrams's 2009 reboot of the Star Trek franchise left me genuinely outraged, and its sequel seemed to promise more of the same.  Perhaps because the film has opened so late in Israel, however, I've had the time to realize that more of the same isn't so bad.  It means that I knew what to expect (and what to steel myself against): a barely coherent plot, some fun but ridiculous action scenes, an approach to the original series and its appeal that runs the gamut from incomprehension to outright contempt, a vehement need to undermine and dismantle Vulcans despite the fact that the two films' best character, Zachary Quinto's Spock, is one, a borderline erotic fixation with Chris Pine'…