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Hayden Thorpe - Diviner Music Album Reviews

The former Wild Beasts singer embarks on a new direction on his soul-searching solo debut, stripping back his songwriting to a reverent hush.
The British singer-songwriter Hayden Thorpe released “Diviner” in late February 2019, just a year after the final performance of his band Wild Beasts. From its stark opening chords and breathy first line—“I’m a keeper of secrets, pray do tell”—the song sounded markedly personal. With little more than his stately countertenor and humble piano, Thorpe harnessed the energy of quiet solitude and proceeded to pitch that emotion skyward until the music felt bathed in a dim light. After more than a decade with Wild Beasts, “Diviner” pointed to a different direction for Thorpe.

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We Have Always Lived in the Castle Movie Review

Moatworthy

As far back as I can remember, I have loved reading, but it wasn't until seventh grade when my English teacher, Mr. Tenor, assigned the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson that I really loved reading. I didn't know that it was possible to be shocked by a piece of writing and that something written could be so dark.


"We Have Always Lived in the Castle" was Jackson's final novel and having never read it, I can't judge how this filmed version compares to the book. But hopefully the book is better, because this version directed by Stacie Passon, while professional, lacks the tension that is presumably supposed to be here.

The setting is circa-1960 in a small town in America. Merricat Blackwood (Taissa Farmiga) is a teen girl who lives with her older sister Constance (Alexandra Daddario) and her ailing uncle Julian (Crispin Glover) in a mansion on the edge of the town. The people in town dislike them because six years earlier, the girls' parents and aunt were murdered by poisoning by Constance, though she was not convicted at trial.

Merricat has spent her time since then protecting Constance from the townspeople by taking care of all the chores that require going into town. Merricat goes shopping every Tuesday and is taunted mercilessly by almost everyone. Aside from being terrified by the experience, her reaction is to bury trinkets all over their property and cast bizarre spells that don't appear to accomplish much.

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When charming cousin Charles (Sebastian Stan) shows up at the mansion, the entire family dynamic shifts. Does Charles want to help them? Does he have a nefarious reason for wandering into their house? Eventually you find out, but by then I had ceased to care all that much.

All of the performances are okay and the direction is similar in quality. There are a lot of things about the film that fail to excite and nothing that keeps you anywhere near the edge of your seat. There's nothing else about it that makes it anything more than okay. It's not terrible, but a castle without much intrigue is just another house.


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