Entries by Jay Ruud


Mulan Niki Caro (2020) Milan is the latest installment in Disney’s ill-advised obsession with remaking all its classic animated features as live-action films, a trend that seems at best a mistaken reading of current popular tastes as preferring computer-generated effects to animation, and at worst a cynical ploy to recycle previous successes to squeeze every last […]

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Bill & Ted Face the Music Dean Parisot (2020) The cosmic quest of Bill & Ted Face the Music—the duo’s need to put together and perform a piece of music that will keep the entire cosmos from disintegrating and thereby save reality as we know it—is pretty much about as far from the pair’s initial […]

Sophie’s Choice

Sophie’s Choice William Styron (1979) I’ve deliberately avoided this book for forty years. Sure, it was  a huge bestseller in 1979 and won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1980, and yes, it was honored with a spot on Modern Library’s famous “100 Greatest English Language Novels of the 20thCentury,” but I could not […]

Waiting for the Barbarians

Waiting for the Barbarians Ciro Guerra (2020) In the classic 1967 Paul Newman vehicle Cool Hand Luke, the most iconic figure is Boss Godfrey, the “walking boss,” the silent guard who watches the road crew of prisoners armed with a rifle, and so effectively hidden behind his reflecting sunglasses that he becomes known as “the […]

The Mirror and the Light

The Mirror & The Light Hilary Mantel (2020) If you have read the first two books in Hilary Mantel’s epic historical trilogy covering the career of Renaissance English statesman Thomas Cromwell, you are no doubt poised to finish the story by reading the third and final novel, The Mirror & The Light. You should know […]