JILL WILSON / BOOKS
The examined Life
In Life After Life, British writer Kate Atkinson leaves behind the mystery milieu of her Jackson Brodie detective series for a dazzling novel about a woman who has the chance to live her life over and over, making difference choices until she gets it right. It could be high-concept hokum, but in Atkinson's hands, it's a thoughtful, witty, poignant look at how our experiences shape us, and what's important to us and why.
BRAD OSWALD Ñ TV
Did the President call?
When the HBO comedy Veep returns for its second season (Sunday, April 14 on HBO Canada), fictional Vice-President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) will have her frustration-and-fury index set at an all-time high. And that means more outbursts, more backstabbing, and certainly an even higher level of inventive profanity. As one preview clip puts it, Selina will be "sticking a thermometer up Washington's (behind) to see how much heat I created." Hot stuff, indeed.
RANDALL KING Ñ MOVIES
The balcony is closed
Over the years, I have gossiped about the late film critic Roger Ebert with director Russ Meyer (who assured me Roger, his occasional screenwriting collaborator, shared his predilection for the bosomy), I chatted with the man himself a few times at the Toronto International film Festival (usually about Guy Maddin), and I even suffered his wrath when he tweeted his displeasure at my negative review of Secretariat. Through it all, Ebert acquitted himself with dignity and wit as an ambassador between the realms of cinema and journalism. My hat is off.
MORLEY WALKER / BOOKS
A god among the godless
British philosopher A.C. Grayling doesn't have the name recognition of a Christopher Hitchens or a Richard Dawkins, but he's still a god of sorts among the godless highbrow set. So anticipation is high for his new book, The God Argument: The Case Against Religion and for Humanism. The big question is whether he can frame the argument in a more compelling way than his less academic predecessors.
KEVIN PROKOSH / TV
Following The Following
Now that Bravo has wrapped up the brilliant Season 2 of Justified, attention turns to series like the über-violent The Following which, based on recent episodes, seems unable to fill the void. The once-promising premise of charismatic master of terror Joe Carroll leading a personal army of serial killers is being murdered by lame plotting. The last hope is smiling town sheriff Roderick, who has just been introduced to help former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) recapture Carroll when he is, in fact, Joe's most trusted henchman.