Jul 31, 2009
Chinatown is one of those classics that I'd never gotten around to watching until the other night. I should have known better.
Despite an excellent cast, this film did not wow me. I blame it on my lack of love for film noir. The characters just left me cold. The mystery was interesting, but I never felt all that invested.
The only noir film I can recall adoring is Brick. Does that mean I should write the whole genre off or is there another hidden gem somewhere I might appreciate?
Jul 30, 2009
Jul 29, 2009
I gave Hospital and honest effort. It's nonfiction - all about the behind the scenes operations of a hospital. My first twinge of doubt was when I opened the book to find a four page list of names and descriptions of who they are. That's a lot of folks to keep track of, but, hey, at least theirs a reference.
Then I read and read and waited for it to get to the interesting parts about what it means to serve a really diverse population of patients from all over the world. What I got was politics and in-fighting. Not a fun or engaging read so I did not finish. I give it a 1 star - cause the title is interesting.
Jul 26, 2009
Now and then I Netflix something that I know is gonna be hard to watch so it sits for far too long on my mantle. But I always get around to watching it.
Waltz with Bashir was one of those. It's an animated recounting of Israeli soldiers' recollections of the Lebanese War. It's brutal and eye-opening and damn hard to watch. Just as it should be.
I give it a 6.
Jul 25, 2009
I have to say that I'm utterly addicted to the show Dog Town, all about dogs in need of homes at Best Friends Animal Rescue in Utah. No matter how much eye-rolling my husband does.
I must admit though that the show equally gives me hope for my bad bad Winifred dog and makes me feel like the laziest pet owner ever. Still, I'm hooked!
I watched the Masterpiece Theatre version of Goodbye, Mr Chips the other day. I firmly believe that the book is better - more charming. However, there's a scene calling out the names of men lossed in the war that choked me up. And Chips' wife is so perfectly cast.
I give this a 6.
Jul 24, 2009
Oh de Lint, what's become of you? You've written such lovely and imaginative stories of Newford for so many years, and now I can't help but feel that there's some grasping at straws going on.
I was pretty disappointed by The Mystery of Grace, but I knew within the first chapter that something was off - like maybe someone watched WAY too much Discovery Channel. The writing is about a woman who is in to ink and hot rods. She is immediately compared to Kat Von D - I am not shitting you. Shortly into the story, Grace, the Kat Von D chicky, is killed and the story is about how she's trapped in an afterlife limbo or sorts and madly in love with a man she can only see twice a year when ghosts can visit the living.
Poor de Lint seems to be trying overly hard to be hip instead of writing what he knows or what he imagines. The constant trend-mentioning in this novel is gonna date this one fast too. Here's hoping that he takes some time to write more true to himself novels instead of grasping so hard for materials. He's still one of my very favorite authors though; I just need to forget I ever read this one. It squeaks by with a 2 out of 10 from me.
In the past two weeks, Winnie, my idiot puppy-brained airedale mix has:
- Chewed up a pair of cute shoes (mine of course).
- Chewed up a small paint sample can and in the process spread yellow paint all over the couch, a side chair, the floor and herself. (Luckily we came home in time to clean it all up. She's firmly back in the crate whenever we're out now too.).
- Finally managed to jump the not-so-short backyard fence in order to get in the face or a very large bull terrier type of dog.
Her badness knows no bounds. She's almost a year and a half. Here's hoping we all survive her bad spree.
Dog number 1, Lincoln, has done no wrong and is holding his standing as the "good one" currently.
Posted by Claire at 5:26 PM
Jul 23, 2009
Pete & Pickles is a kids book that really should be an everybody book. It's fantastic!
The story follows a lonely pig who meets an eccentric circus elephant. The book is so wonderful. The writing and illustrations made me giggle and pulled hard at the heart strings - not bad for 48 pages!
Go read it! I give this one a 10. That's right - perfectly perfect.
Jul 21, 2009
Jul 20, 2009
Southern Comfort should piss you off. This documentary tells the story of a group of transexuals living in the south. The main character's story is such a travesty and a heartbreaker. It makes you want to rail against those in society who can't see past differentness and find some compassion in their hearts.
As the boy said, it would be nice to see the sequel where some asshats get sued for everything their worth and disbarred, and that still wouldn't be enough.
My only complaint is the overly-used, cliche-ridden season subtitles. I give this a 6.5.
Jul 19, 2009
A sleepy weekend evening spent on my porch sipping cheap wine and reading Tortilla Flat is a little slice of heaven. For one, you can't read this book without a little bit of wine. The friends' main pursuit is always another gallon of wine.
Many critique this book for its racism since the main characters are mainly hispanic men who steal and don't work. However, I was able to see past that and enjoy the gorgeous writing and the beautiful portrayal of their flawed but loving friendships.
It is a time of quiet joy, the sunny morning. When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds, each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful if not valuable. This is no time for hurry or for bustle. Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.
Tortilla Flat is a slim little book meant for a slow sweet read. It may be the setting I read it in, but I give this an 8 of 10.
Jul 17, 2009
Jul 15, 2009
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle was the pick of an online bookclub I take part in. It's Hamlet retold but with a family of dog breeders and trainers. The Hamlet part is Edgar, a mute teenage boy whose world revolves around his family and dogs. Some parts of the tale are told from the point of viw of a dog which sounds a bit odd but it works - beautifully in fact.
And a particularly good snippet must be shared:
Life was a swarm of accidents waiting in the treetops, descending upon any living thing that passed, ready to eat them alive. You swam in a river of chance and coincidence. You clung to the happiest accidents- the rest you let float by.
This one gets a 7, mostly because it held my fascination even as I knew where it was headed.
Jul 14, 2009
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a brutal little film. It's set in South Korea, and follows a mute trying to arrange an organ transplant for his dying sister. When things go wrong in this film, they go very very wrong.
This is part of a three part trilogy exploring revenge. Old Boy was the first I saw (and it's a stunner) and next up is Lady Vengeance. No idea how I happened into these in the ordr they were made. The stories aren't intertwined - just the theme.
Sympathy felt very very Shakespearian to me. I give it a 7.
Jul 13, 2009
This is the third book in the series and if you haven't picked the first one up yet, I shall start wondering what you are waiting on. In Under the Jolly Roger, Jacky Faber leads readers on yet another rip-roaring adventure chock full of interesting characters and laughs. Each book is wholly unexpected, and I can't wait for the next.
Eight stars of ten from me.
Jul 9, 2009
At the boy's urging, we Netflixed The Good Shepherd, and I'm glad we did. I hadn't heard much about it which is odd since its chock full of seriously popular actors. It's long (almost 3 hours) and rather slow to get going, but I liked the pace. Its about the beginnings of the CIA.
The one big flaw however was the Jolie / Damon matchup. He always looked juvenile next to her. The ages never seemed right to me. Also John Tuturro who I adore is in this and not used a whole lot.
This won't appeal to all, but I enjoyed it and give it 6 stars.
Jul 8, 2009
Within the first 10 minutes I was clued into what dreck The Spiderwick Chronicles was going to be but I stuck with it. And was proven right. My biggest peeve with this film is having the same boy play twins. Why not just hire twins?! There must be some out there. Everytime this boy has to interact with himself the timing in the conversation sucks, there's absolutely no eye contact (like both twins have the worst eyesight in the world), and the acting is bad x two.
Its awfully awful and I'm sorry for Mary-Louise Parker for even being in this. Any why does Seth Rogen have to be in EVERY movie any more? He wasn't bad as the voice of Hogsqueal but I'm feeling a bit overexposed to him.
Only gets a one star in my book.
Jul 7, 2009
For the first half an hour of Happy-Go-Lucky, I was confused about the appeal of the film. Poppy is always making lame jokes and cracking herself up. Its a bit obnoxious. But then I kept going and was rather charmed by this movie. Its not much of a story - more of a character study. But Poppy ends up with more depth than you expect. I give it a 6 of 10.
Jul 6, 2009
Ghosty Men SHOULD be fascinating. The story of two recluses living in Harlem with a houseful of junk. Like a hundred tons of junk. However, the author uses the story of the Collyer Brothers as a platform to talk about his own uncles. I hate when authors do this sort of thing - put out a book seemingly about one subject but really only as a way to discuss their personal stuff. It seems like a disservice to both subjects. Only two of ten stars from me.