Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 612

11 AUGUST 202 2 39 Latest reviews from The Observer’s film critic SEE IT NOW Mark Kermode BEST BOOK CHOSEN BY JOANNE HARRIS Novelist The Haunting of Hill House SHIRLEY JACKSON Subtle, trippy and älled with quiet menace, this is not just a haunted-house story. The masterly use of unreliable narration; the troubled, lonely heroine’s tortuous relationships with the rest of the cast; the strong feminist commentary running through; and the wry humour all make this simply the best hauntedhouse story ever written. off the rails Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brad Pitt in Bullet Train NEW RELEASES The star-studded action-comedy Bullet Train (in cinemas) is directed by David Leitch, whose CV includes Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2 and some uncredited helmsmanship on the original JohnWick. Yet judging by the endless geezery banter and emptily frenetic action sequences you could be forgiven for thinking it was actually the latest o ering fromGuy Ritchie. Brad Pitt is the hitman with a fondness for trite psycho-babble bon mots (“Hurt people hurt people”), who boards the titular high-speed train fromTokyo to Kyoto. Codenamed Ladybug, he’s been instructed to grab a briefcase full of goodies – a simple task complicated by the fact that the train is full of killers, kidnappers and psychopaths, all of whose fates are twistily intertwined. Chief among these are Tangerine and Lemonade, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry, the latter of whomhas been saddled with an ear-scraping gorblimey accent and a deeply unfunny obsession with Thomas the Tank Engine. Then there’s Joey King’s Prince, Zazie Beetz’s The Hornet, Bad Bunny’s TheWolf, and a host of others, all with kooky names and character quirks, but sadly little else. Adapted fromKōtarō Isaka’s darkly comedic 2010 novel Maria Beetle, Bullet Train is nothing like as clever, subversive or exciting as its makers seem to imagine. Originally developed by Training Day director Antoine Fuqua as an ‘R-rated rock ‘em, sock ‘emactionmovie’, the project apparently ‘became a comedy’ almost by accident, with Taylor-Johnson declaring that: ‘We hammed it up andmade it fun.’ The cast certainly seem to be enjoying themselves, although audiences will doubtless recall the cinematic rule that themore fun people have making amovie, the less fun people will having watching it. Charges of whitewashing the source have some traction and aren’t helped by a waypast-its-tell-by-date gag about amusing Japanese toilets. But the greater problem is the fact none of the film’s sucker punches land, particularly in the later sections, which are rendered risible by some shonky CGI e ects. The result is a noisymess, overburdened with celebrity cameos, but underpowered in terms of entertainment. As with the dumbo 2006 comicactioner Snakes on a Plane (fromwhich this bizarrely filches one of its many sub-plots), Bullet Train makes amuch better trailer than amovie. Fifty years ago, Perry Henzell’s groundbreaking Jamaican feature The Harder They Come helped bring reggaemusic to a worldwide audience. Jimmy Cli plays Ivan, an outlawmusician (inspired by real-life folk hero Vincent ‘Ivanhoe’ Martin, known as Rhyging), whose struggles to earn a living and perhaps achieve stardomare played out in gritty, streetwise fashion. The filmbecame amidnight movie sensation in the US after being picked up by Roger Corman. As for the soundtrack, it has been listed as one of the greatest albums of all time by publications as influential as Time magazine and Rolling Stone. This welcome re-release, backed by the British Film Institute, will enable a new generation of viewers to see this milestonemovie where it belongs – up on the big screen. @KermodeMovie EXPLORE INTERACTIVE ART A joyously colourful interactive exhibition is being staged at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Summer of Love celebrates human relationships and understanding in all its shapes and forms. The centrepiece is the exhibition On Queer Ground (until 4 September), with works by LGBTQIA+ artists examining their connection to the natural landscape. The programme of events includes artist-led Family Love Walks in the grounds of the park in West Bretton, near Wakeäeld, as well as digital art workshops with artist Jason Wilsher-Mills, whose giant sculptures are on show. Look out for the interactive artwork by Roger Hiorns, in which clouds of foam are blown across the landscape, creating temporary ephemeral sculptures. Runs to 22 September. ysp.org.uk a guided tour and cocktail tasting. The package includes breakfast and dinner in the Brudenell’s Seafood &Grill Restaurant – think local oysters, crab arancini with lobster mayo, smokedmackerel Scotch egg or hake with razor clamand squid gratin. Leave room for a lunch visit to Aldeburgh Fish &Chip Shop, rated one of the country’s best. From£350 for two. brudenellhotel.co.uk GET READING Waterstones has launched its first Debut Fiction Prize, highlighting new authors tipped to become big names. The winner will be named on 25 August, and on the shortlist are: Bonnie Garmus’ Lessons in Chemistry, set in the 60s and featuring an unconventional female scientist; Tess Gunty’s coming-of-age novel The Rabbit Hutch; Trespasses, a snapshot of life in 70s Belfast by Louise Kennedy; the science fiction novel How HighWe Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu (left); Vagabonds! A blend of folklore and realismby Eloghosa Osunde (below); and TaraMStringfellow’s Memphis, a celebration of black womanhood. Bea Carvalho, Waterstones head of fiction, says: “Our booksellers have chosen an extraordinary and truly global shortlist of bold, original new voices, which broadens horizons and challenges genre.”

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