Up For Air (Christina Berry)

Up For Air is the first novel in the Lost in Austin series by Christina Berry.
Finished on: 6.5.2021
[I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Give Away.]

Plot:
Ari met Greg and Jake when they were just teenagers. Jake became her best friend, and Greg her husband soon after. Ari has left a very shelterd life that way for 12 years, but a funeral causes her to take stock of her life, and the bottom line is that Ari isn’t happy anymore. She feels limited and suffocated by her lack of experiences. So she asks Greg whether they could open their marriage to try new things. To her surprise, Greg agrees and their decision pushes them both on new paths. But where those paths lead, they could not have foreseen.

Up For Air is a really good read with nice characters and a good understanding of what its story is actually writing about. There were a couple of moments where I wanted to get my own editing pen out, to polish things a little more, but other than that, I really enjoyed it.

The book cover showing a pair of discarded chucks and behind them two feet in fishnet stockings, putting on high heels.
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It Felt Like Love (2013)

It Felt Like Love
Director: Eliza Hittman
Writer: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Gina Piersanti, Ronen Rubinstein, Giovanna Salimeni, Nyck Caution, Kevin Anthony Ryan, Case Prime
Seen on: 4.5.2021

Content Note: sexualized abuse

Plot:
Lila (Gina Piersanti) is spending her summer with her best friend Chiara (Giovanna Salimeni) and Chiara’s boyfriend Patrick (Nyck Caution). While Chiara has already dated a lot and talks openly about sex, Lila hasn’t gone as far. But being the perpetual third wheel isn’t very fun either, and there is a certain pressure for Lila to find a boyfriend of her own. When she hears about Sammy (Ronen Rubinstein), who is older and supposedly sleeps with everyone, she decides to pursue him.

It Felt Like Love is a quiet film that takes an unflinching look at the humiliation and degradations that so often are a part of growing up, especially when a young girl tries to take charge of her own sexuality. It’s uncomfortable – and that’s the point.

The film poster showing Lila (Gina Piersanti) walking, Sammy (Ronen Rubinstein) behind her, out of focus.
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Re-Watch: 13 Going on 30 (2004)

13 Going on 30
Director: Gary Winick
Writer: Josh Goldsmith, Cathy Yuspa
Cast: Jennifer Garner, Mark Ruffalo, Judy Greer, Andy Serkis, Kathy Baker, Phil Reeves, Sam Ball, Marcia DeBonis, Christa B. Allen, Sean Marquette, Mary Pat Gleason
Seen on: 4.5.2021

Plot:
After being humiliated at her own 13th birthday party, Jenna (Christa B. Allen) wishes that she was 30 years already – and it seems that the birthday present she got from her best friend Mattie (Sean Marquette) grants her her wish. For the very next day, she wakes up an adult (Jennifer Garner), in a fancy apartment and working the job of her dreams as an editor at Poise magazine. It’s not easy to get her bearings in her new life, though. Jenna looks for Mattie to help her, but adult Matt (Mark Ruffalo) informs her that they haven’t been friends for a while. And when Jenna realizes more and more that her adult self isn’t a nice person, she decides to make a change.

I must have seen 13 Going on 30 when / shortly after it came out and I had very fond memories of it. Re-Watching it now, those fond memories were proven right: it is a cute, fun film and exactly the kind of thing I want to see when I am watching a RomCom.

The film poster showing Jenna (Jennifer Garner) wearing a nightgown and a jacket as she walks with the skyline of New York behind her.
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Slaughterhouse Rulez (2018)

Slaughterhouse Rulez
Director: Crispian Mills
Writer: Crispian Mills, Henry Fitzherbert, Luke Passmore
Cast: Finn Cole, Asa Butterfield, Jamie Blackley, Tom Rhys Harries, Hermione Corfield, Isabella Laughland, Jo Hartley, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Margot Robbie, Michael Sheen
Seen on: 2.5.2021

Plot:
Don (Finn Cole) is from a working class family. His father died and ever since his mother (Jo Hartley) has tried to push Don to aim higher. When she finds a spot for him at the private Slaugher House school, she convinces him to go. But Slaugher House isn’t quite as fancy as they thought at first, not that it keeps most of Don’t classmates from snobbery. In fact, the school has money problems that the principal (Michael Sheen) tries to solve by allowing fracking on school grounds. But the drilling awakens something underground.

Slaughterhouse Rulez is quite a disappointment. It is supposed to be a horror comedy, but it is neither scary, nor funny. It’s just tired.

The film poster showing the main characters in a school crest-shape.
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Closing Doors (T.A. Pratt)

Closing Doors is the tenth and final of the Marla Mason novels by T.A. Pratt.
Finished on: 2.5.2021
[Here are my reviews of the rest of the series.]

Plot:
Now that Marla Mason has actually become the God of Death, she needs a mortal companion so the underworld is fully staffed again. But dating as the God of Death when your date is a job interview at the same time isn’t easy. And it’s not like it’s Marla’s only problem: the Bay Witch has called on the favor Marla still owed because there is a mysterious black sand that is threatening the world.

Closing Doors is a really fine ending to a long-running series that I found very satisfying – both the entire series and this particular book in it. I’ll miss Marla and her friends, but with this novel, we got a good good-bye.

The book cover showing a woman with long black hair in a bridal gown sitting on a thorne of ice, thorns and skulls.
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Thunder Road (2018)

Thunder Road
Director: Jim Cummings
Writer: Jim Cummings
Cast: Jim Cummings, Kendal Farr, Nican Robinson, Jocelyn DeBoer, Macon Blair, Chelsea Edmundson, Ammie Masterson, Bill Wise
Seen on: 29.4.2021

Plot:
Jim Arnaud (Jim Cummings) is a police officer who always tries to do the right thing. After his mother dies, shortly after his divorce, he is completely thrown, though. Trying to pay hommage to her by dancing to one of their favorite songs (she was a dance teacher) at the funeral, leads to being ridiculed, though, and marks the start of Jim’s complete unravelment.

Thunder Road is an unusual film and not one that offers itself easily to its viewers. But regardless of what you make of it in the end, Jim Arnaud is a character to be seen and Jim Cummings a filmmaker to watch.

The film poster showing Jim Arnaud (Jim Cummings) in his police uniform stnading in the middle of a street, fingergunning up to the sky with both hands.
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Blue Jay (2016)

Blue Jay
Director: Alex Lehmann
Writer: Mark Duplass
Cast: Mark Duplass, Sarah Paulson, Clu Gulager
Seen on: 28.4.2021

Plot:
Jim (Mark Duplass) has returned to his hometown after his mother’s death to clean out her house. Amanda (Sarah Paulson), too, has returned home to visit her sister. When the two run into each other by chance, they carefully reconnect. When they were in high school, they were a couple, convinced that they would grow old together. But life happened differently for them. Seeing each other again, though, makes them wonder why and how.

Blue Jay is quite gripping, relying entirely on Paulson and Duplass who really are perfect. I was completely taken with it.

The film poster showing Amanda (Sarah Paulson) and Jim (Mark Duplass) holding each other close.
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No Light and No Land Anywhere (2016)

No Light and No Land Anywhere
Director: Amber Sealey
Writer: Amber Sealey
Cast: Gemma Brockis, Jennifer Lafleur, David Sullivan, Kent Osborne, Jade Sealey, Richard Sealey, Deborah Dopp
Seen on: 27.4.2021

Plot:
Lexi (Gemma Brockis) has left London in a hurry. After her mother’s death and with her marriage crumbling, she decided to go to Los Angeles to find her father. He left her mother and her when Lexi was just three years old and she hasn’t seen him since. But there are a couple of breadcrumbs that she can follow. She rents a room in a seedy motel and starts the search.

No Light and No Land Anywhere isn’t always easy to watch but that’s just because it is so effective in transporting Lexi’s emotions. So, even if it isn’t easy, it’s certainly worth to work for it.

The film poster showing a close-up of Lexi (Gemma Brockis) with tears in her eyes, all in shades of pink.
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In The Land Of Lost Angels (2019)

In The Land Of Lost Angels
Director: Bishrel Mashbat
Writer: Bishrel Mashbat
Cast: Erdenemunkh Tumursukh, Iveel Mashbat, Mike Cali, Robert Corsini, Saint Ranson, Sam Bayaraa, Uyanga Mashbat
Seen on: 26.4.2021
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Ankhaa (Erdenemunkh Tumursukh) lives in LA, but his family is still in Mongolia, and in some trouble. They need money, and Ankhaa, having made it to the USA where he says he just got a big job feels responsible to deliver it. But fact is, he doesn’t have a good job. He doesn’t have any money. So he and his best friend Orgil (Iveel Mashbat) have come up with a plan, even if that plan isn’t legal.

In the Land of Lost Angels is a beautifully shot and well-acted film that hasn’t quite gotten its rhythm right. But it’s definitely a very promising debut.

The film poster showing a black and white shot of a man looking at some palm trees.
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