Jack Callil

In conversation with Felicity Plunkett about Ali Smith

The ABR Podcast
Wednesday, 30 September 2020

In today's episode, Jack Callil speaks to ABR Patron's Fellow Felicity Plunkett about Ali Smith's Seasonal Quartet and her final instalment, Summer. As Plunkett writes in her October issue review, 'Smith's quartet is a work of splitting and mending, repair instead of despair.'

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In today's episode, author and critic James Bradley speaks to ABR's digital editor Jack Callil about David Mitchell's latest novel Utopia Avenue. Mitchell is perhaps best known for his 2004 work Cloud Atlas, a work of sprawling interconnected narratives. In a similar vein, Utopia Avenue traces the intricate lives of four band members during their ascent to fame during the bustle of the 1960s. Yet as James Bradley details, the book is less concerned with history or music then with its own 'metaphysical game'.

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Jack Callil reviews 'Uncanny Valley' by Anna Wiener

Jack Callil
Friday, 20 March 2020

If our technology-infused world were a great beast, the engorged heart of it would be Silicon Valley. A region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Valley is the birthplace of the modern start-up, a mecca for tech pilgrims and venture capitalists. A typical start-up has simple ambitions: become a big, rich company – and do it fast. Think Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Uber, Tinder, Snapchat. Like moths to light, budding computer engineers and software programmers are drawn to the Valley, hoping to pioneer the next technological innovation, the next viral app. If they’re lucky, they become some of the wealthiest entrepreneurs of their generation.

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Uncut Gems 

Jack Callil
Monday, 03 February 2020

There is something fundamentally irritating about Adam Sandler. Whether it’s his two-dimensional characters, mousey face, or nasally voice, he reminds you of that obnoxious guy whose loud voice dominates a party. He is the poster boy of puerile comedy, the SNL-alum visionary of some of the most blasphemously bad films of all time. The sheer offensiveness of his work is unignorable: the homophobia of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007), the racism of Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008), the sexism of … pretty much all of it. Each film generally comprises a character arc of Sandler urinating freely, shouting petulantly, fucking wildly, and then maybe punching someone: The end.

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Sorry We Missed You 

Jack Callil
Wednesday, 18 December 2019

For anyone who has seen I, Daniel Blake (2016), the baked-beans scene is likely to be burnt upon the brain. It is a harrowing moment, one that draws attention to the brutal lives of many people who depend on the British welfare system. The film, which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, tapped into what for many was a daily existence – and even influenced political elections. Now its director, the octogenarian auteur Ken Loach, has returned with Sorry We Missed You, a sort of thematic sequel following one working-class family’s struggle to stay afloat in the gig economy.

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Dogman 

Jack Callil
Monday, 26 August 2019

Matteo Garrone likes to peel back Italy’s skin to expose what writhes beneath. The director’s earlier breakout film Gomorrah (2008), an unforgettable sprawling epic, explores the Camorrah crime syndicate from its bottom-feeding wannabes to its corrupt political élite. Reality (2013), a satirical tale of a fishmonger going to desperate lengths to ...

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Jack Callil reviews Spring by Ali Smith

Jack Callil
Friday, 17 May 2019
Uncertainty is the new norm. Nationalist rhetoric is rife. Donald Trump is running for the US presidency. It’s June 2016 and the Brexit referendum has dazed the international community, heralding the start of the United Kingdom’s glacial extraction from the European Union. Amid the turmoil, Irish novelist Ali Smith releases Autumn ... ... (read more)

Jack Callil reviews Hare's Fur by Trevor Shearston

Jack Callil
Monday, 25 February 2019

Hare’s Fur is about what follows grief. Russell Bass, a seventy-two-year-old potter, lives alone in Katoomba. Adele and Michael, his wife and child, have both died. Time still passes. He wakes early, drinks coffee, visits friends, throws clay ...

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At Eternity's Gate ★★★★

Jack Callil
Monday, 11 February 2019

A man sits on a chair in a field, hands clasped together. He runs into the open grass before collapsing onto the ground. Grasping a handful of earth, he holds it high above his head and lets it fall over his face. He sits up, draws a palm across his mouth, and looks at the sunset. He grins ...

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Supporting the ABC; Jolley Prize; W.H. Auden; Morag Fraser's upcoming biography of Peter Porter; The Peter Porter Poetry Prize; ABR in Perth; Free copies of ABR in select bookstores; Dilan Gunawardana leaves ABR; Jack Callil is the new Assistant Editor ...

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