Lavender (2016)

lavWritten by: Colin Frizzell and Ed Gass-Donnelly

Directed by: Ed Gass-Donnelly

When she was a little girl, Jane (Abbie Cornish) was the only survivor of a massacre that took the lives of her parents and sister. Their deaths are a lingering unsolved mystery, and it appears that Jane might have been responsible. Now she and her husband (Diego Klattenhoff ) are trying to save their foundering marriage while raising their smart, spunky daughter, Alice (Lola Flanery). Jane struggles with memory lapses and doesn’t remember the night of the murders — and she has to confront the possibility that she might be the killer.

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Closer Than You Think by S.A. Barton

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Closer

 

Ebook

Published December 24, 2016 by Smashwords Edition

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Writing dystopian fiction in this day and age poses many challenges, not the least of which is this: how do you keep up? Many of the dystopian premises we see in literature are already popping up in the news — in some form — and often, as Lord Byron famously observed, truth is stranger than fiction.

That was my reaction this week when the media revealed, not for the first time, that employers are microchipping workers. (One of my dogs has a microchip. But if I hired someone to work for me, I would trust them not to wander off and get lost.)

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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

iWritten & Directed by: Macon Blair

Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is disenchanted with humanity. Snippets of newscasts, in the background, paint a disheartening picture of the world. And in her role as a nurse’s aide, Ruth finds herself at the bedside of a dying woman who is a hateful racist; her last words don’t bear repeating to the family.

Then, to cap it off, someone breaks into Ruth’s house, stealing her legacy from her grandmother and leaving her feeling angry and violated.

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Moonlight (2016) (Mild Spoilers)

cyy-htkvqaadir8Written by: Barry Jenkins, based on “In Midnight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Directed by: Barry Jenkins

At around age nine, growing up in Miami in the 1980s, Chiron (pronounced Shy-rone, not like the mythological centaur) has already learned to take care of himself. His mother (Naomie Harris) is sinking into the quagmire of addiction, and he is relentlessly tormented by bullies, who have already labeled him a “faggot.” He’s too quiet, too sensitive, too gentle — and he’s on the fringes of exploring the fact that he’s gay. In his struggle for self-preservation, Chiron camouflages himself in silence.

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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The Underground RailroadKindle Edition, 306 pages

Published: August 2, 2016 by Doubleday

Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2017), National Book Award for Fiction (2016), The Rooster – The Morning News Tournament of Books (2017), Kirkus Prize Nominee for Fiction (2016), Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction (2016)

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Whitehead’s dark, brilliant novel takes us through the looking glass into an alternative version of the pre-Civil War South — a pastiche of our country’s brutal history of racism, before and after slavery. It is not for the faint of heart. I talked to several people on Facebook who suffered nightmares while reading it. This is, oddly enough, a fitting tribute to this book, which takes you to dark places while enticing you with the beauty of its language.
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Memorable Onscreen Sociopaths

Emotionally shallow, impulsive, and easily bored. Often charming and manipulative. Lacking in empathy and conscience. Potentially brutal. Sometimes as crazy as shit-house rats. Psychopaths, particularly those who are spectacularly violent, offer endless fodder for writers and film-makers.

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These characters vary dramatically, spanning a wide continuum. Some have explosive rages; others are unflappably calm. Some are on the wrong side of the law, and others manage to play within the rules. But they all share lack of empathy and connection to others along with a penchant for some form of cruelty.

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