California Literary Review


Halloween Home Video #3: V/H/S


October 12th, 2012

Check out the best in horror on video of 2012. This weekend, press play on the gruesome and chaotic horror anthology V/H/S.

Book Review: Good in a Crisis by Margaret Overton


March 11th, 2012

By withholding nearly all the details of her marriage, upbringing, and formative relationships with men (and women), she misses the opportunity for a more genuine self-realization and creates a void of understanding that tempts the reader to see all men in this light. This is disappointing on both fronts. There may be kind, compassionate, thoughtful men out there — one or two even exist in the book — but somehow they are not accessible to her. The question she really never asks is: Why?

The Weekly Listicle Is Rated NC-17


December 2nd, 2011

Censors save the NC-17 rating for extra special cases, and in practice it feels like much less artificial than, say, PG-13. Something about these films transcended the extremely liberal boundaries of the R rating, and in most cases the reasons are still apparent.

Bloody Sexy Things: Adapting Clive Barker


June 28th, 2011

Clive Barker has lent his eyes and hands to virtually every medium, from page to the screen to the stage to the canvas to the console. However, film fans know him particularly as a horror master. There is so much undermined material for gifted fantasy filmmakers that perhaps we could dispense with further Candyman sequels and retire the Hellraiser juggernaut with contented hearts, and enjoy a Clive Barker renaissance clad in all new colors.

Valentine’s Day Fallout, Chapter Two: Love Most Peculiar in My Dog Tulip


February 15th, 2011

It is difficult to describe the feeling that My Dog Tulip leaves in one’s heart once the lights come up. The best answer is that you will probably feel several, which may contradict one another. That, and not really the questionable content, is what makes it a love story for grown-ups.

Movie Review: No Strings Attached


January 22nd, 2011

Studios are beginning to cater to the “hookup culture” people are wringing their hands about. The worst thing about No Strings Attached is its “teachable moment” ending: nobody’s capable of sex without feelings, didn’t you know?

Movie Review: Sex and the City 2


May 29th, 2010

Abu Dhabi, in case you were unaware, is the “new Middle East” and Dubai is “over.” With its blinding ivory dunes, gold-tipped mosques, and shimmering blue oceans, the possibilities for beauty here are endless. But we’re meant to remember that the loveliest things in the frame are the shoes, the clothes, and the four main characters, so DP John Thomas drops the ball on the scenery, opting instead for decorator porn and an “ooh shiny, diamonds and beautiful cars!” sensibility (because, you know, women love the shiny).

Book Review: Wild Romance: A Victorian Story of a Marriage, a Trial, and a Self-Made Woman by Chloë Schama


April 26th, 2010

A secret affair. A scandalous sex-filled trial. A tell-all novel. If it’s any consolation to Tiger Woods and Jesse James, they’re not the first to be stripped down to their Jockeys on a worldwide scale. Welcome, William Charles Yelverton, Victorian seducer.

Happy Birthday, NC-17!


March 29th, 2010

The basics of the MPAA’s rating system (from here). Oh, NC-17. You’re like that friend who’s always getting stupid at parties and killing everyone’s fun. And yet it’s impossible to ignore that person, and when it’s time to blow out the candles everyone shows up anyway. Cinematical notes that this year marks the 20th birthday […]

Book Review: I Don’t Care About Your Band by Julie Klausner


March 2nd, 2010

If the book were a movie, it would be rated R; the author’s got a dirty mouth (or pen, if you prefer) and hormones out the wazoo, and this book is not your mom’s dating guide. But for modern women it’s a refreshing and smart reassurance that they’re not alone in their woes.

Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex


October 14th, 2009

And those names: JenniferBlowdryer, Sinnamon Love. Sebastian Horsely, a male prostitute, of course. Horsely advocates the trade as follows; “The difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex money always costs less.”

Casanova by Ian Kelly


December 3rd, 2008

Ah, Casanova. Men want to be him, and women want to be with him. Or is it the other way around? He’s Romeo with cojones, Bond without the Beretta, a man more sinned with than sinning. In the annals of sexual conquest, there has seldom been a more entertaining and knowing chronicler. Casanova, according to Casanova, was a legend.

Love Junkie by Rachel Resnick


November 12th, 2008

It takes an enormous amount of courage for Resnick to put her life story on the page. Her writing is as stripped, raw and intense as her emotions, and at times you don’t want to read further. But you do, anyway, with a kind of abject horror. The two main men that parade through her life, who ultimately woo, use and abuse her are truly the type of guys your mother would warn you to stay far away from.

Erotic Art of Ancient Pompeii


February 14th, 2008

A favourite theme which recurred again and again in wall paintings was the satyr creeping up behind a nymph to catch her by surprise. In at least one case the nymph, her veil ripped away, turns out to be a hermaphrodite, to the satyr’s theatrical dismay, and the observer’s amusement. Some wall paintings showed homosexual sex and, because African motifs were popular, another depicted picnicking pygmies enjoying a group orgy under a tent.

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan


June 21st, 2007

Repression, fear and even loathing run through her mind as she braces herself for what is to come after their meal. We are told in the first sentence that they are ‘young, educated and both virgins’ and she is unwilling to alter this state. Her only knowledge of sex is derived from a manual and she has convinced herself that she is without desire.

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