Friday, June 29, 2018
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
The pieces were glorious and some of the short film pieces showed ceremonies. Very interesting. I also got a kick out of some Asante folk wisdom and sayings.
My favorite: One should never rub bottoms with a porcupine
(i.e. Don't get into a fight with someone who can hurt you more. )
Monday, June 25, 2018
I went into the new Star Wars prequel Solo with no preconceived ideas. I am not a fanatic and I was fine with a backstory for Han Solo. No - Alden Ehrenreich does not look like Harrison Ford. He’s his own person and frankly imbues the young Han Solo with the right amount of arrogance and bravado. Director Ron Howard pulls out a decent ride in the Millennium Falcon (now we know how it became Han’s ship). Solo is a fun entertaining two hours or so with plenty of air battles, bad guys, good guys, and Han as our intergalactic rogue hero.
Here’s a scrappy young man just trying to live, trying to break free from life on his crappy planet. We find out how he does escape, but what happens to Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) his love? Han hooks up with a band of mercenaries (Woody Harrelson, Thandie Newton) to pull off a heist. Well – drat they collide with Crimson Dawn and that’s not good. Is he reunited with Qi’ra and under what circumstances? Will she kill him? We learn how he meets Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) and begins a lifelong friendship. Who is Lando (a charming Donald Glover)? How did Han get the Millennium Falcon from him?
There’s a lot of double crosses going on, air battles, air pirates, crazy creatures, and of course evil abounds. Through it all, Ehrenreich is earnest and endearing. Oh he’s slick and has his street smarts. He’s a fantastic pilot with mad skills. He’s still a bit trusting, but is learning. He leans toward being a loner….and yet he’s loyal to Chewbacca. And then there’s Qi’ra – good/evil comes in small packages. With her large eyes and soft accent, Emilia Clarke, pulls off her part with panache. She’s a survivor, that’s for sure.
I came out of Solo thoroughly entertained. Frankly it was better than I expected. Thumbs up for my five dollar investment on a summer Saturday morning. Soar with the Falcon!
Friday, June 22, 2018
I found Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews intriguing and annoying. It’s a normal length book but at times I felt I was slogging through the Gulag. Then other times it was fast paced and interesting. I kept reading, skimming, reading because I wanted to know what the heck happens to the girl.
It’s present day Russia and Dominika is recruited to be a “Red Sparrow” – trained seductress, spy, and assigned to American CIA officer Nate Nash. That’s all well and good. I liked her story line and I liked Nate’s . I liked their interactions and what ultimately transpires between them. However, there was a lot of other background material with a lot of Russian names that were damn confusing. Hence, the skims at times.
The writer is a former CIA officer and obviously knows his stuff…maybe too much. To me, there was almost too much about many of the other horrible Russian agents, and then the annoying cat and mouse games. I am committing sacrilege but it’s like reading John Le Carre (always praised by critics). I say – Jesus, get on with the story, man……
The cool things about Dominika is she sees in colors –It’s like an extra sensory skill and that helps her cull out trouble and evil from decent and good. Nate has a purple aura – he’s a “good” guy.
The movie starred Jennifer Lawrence. It got so-so reviews, but after reading the book I’m now curious for it to show up on Netflix. I wonder if they cut out many of the annoying bits and hit the key plot points. A friend lent me this book, so I got to read it for free. That’s the best….so if you think you are interested, go find Red Sparrow at your local library. Da! And a vodka shot for you
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Explosive indeed - this book is filled with richly developed characters with plenty of secrets. I read it in one weekend because I wanted to know what the heck was going to happen to these folks. Archie is complicated and I can't say I liked it him, and yet he truly is human with flaws and flashes of redemption. Maddie - saint or sinner? Kids - Scott and Samantha - have a lot of spunk. Often kids get shunted into cliched writing, but not in this book. I can't write more about the plot line because it goes from tiny pops to huge blasts in no time. I've read the author's blog and previous works, appreciating her humorous takes on life. Explosive Beginnings has a deft touch with some funny quips, but it's far deeper as a family saga with mystery, drama, and plenty of life land mines. I highly recommend Explosive Beginnings by Susan Flett Swiderski for a charged weekend of reading.
Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Monday, June 18, 2018
Ocean’s 8 is a glossy fun goof filled with a great cast, fantastic jewels, nice clothes, a spiffy NYC, the fabulous of the Met, and an awesome larceny. Sandra Bullock, Debbie Ocean, is out of jail but her life is crime and she had plenty of years to perfect the best heist possible. The Met Gala, a Cartier necklace, starlet Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway), and an awesome crew = hi-jinks and a slick plan.
Lou (Cate Blanchett), Rose (Helena Bonham-Carter), Nine-Ball (Rihanna), Constance (Awkwafina), Amita (Mindy Kaling), and Tammy (Sarah Paulson) all bring a skill set – petty crimes, tech guru hacker, street hustling tech support, diamond expert, design, and a swindler. No guys allowed. Well, maybe for part of the fall.
We get some back story. We see the plan pull together. We see a few chances of hiccups, but these ladies are quick on the fix. There’s snappy dialogue, eye popping settings, friendship, and female dynamics. Ocean’s 8 is crooked, breezy, and it’s a joy to watch Sandra Bullock lead a film. They are all good, and Anne Hathaway’s Daphne is annoyingly awesome. You can tell Hathaway had a blast playing her. Summer movie time deserves a chance for the ladies to stretch their legs and pull off a killer heist – no guns needed. No blasting, no death, no destruction. All you need is a blind spot or two – anything is possible.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
Happy Father's Day to all!
I chatted with my dad. My sister is there doing yard work - weeding, mulching, etc. My brother will join her this afternoon to make my dad's place respectable.
I'm the lazy far away daughter. There's one in every family!
Friday, June 15, 2018
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan is a historical novel with a noir feel to it. The world is populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Anna Kerrigan is twelve when she accompanies her father to a meeting with Dexter Styles at his beach home. She senses money, power, and is mesmerized by the sea. Years later, Anna’s father is mysteriously gone. The country is at war and Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Striving hard to become the first woman diver, she encounters resentment in the tough world of the docks. But this is a young woman with a strong character and a commitment to succeed. Meanwhile, she meets Dexter Styles again at his nightclub. He does not recognize her or remember her from his past. She however does and works to uncover the connections with her father, the mysteries of the underworld.
This book had an ebb and flow to it. I liked Anna as the diver and her current situation. When the book went to the past and to the father’s side of the story, I tended to skim. However, Jennifer Egan is a rich writer and Manhattan Beach kept me turning pages.
A rather symbolic passage and good writing –
p. 433 “Look her father said, “Here it comes.”
She was surprised to find him watching the fog. It rolled in fast: a wild, volatile silhouette against the phosphorescent sky. It reared up over the land like a tidal wave about to break, or the aftermath of a silent, distant explosion.
Without thinking, she took her father’s hand.
“Here it comes,” she said.
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Happy Wacky Wednesday. Please let the rest of the week zoom by.....
Monday, June 11, 2018
I like to promote time at a museum. This exhibit has stunning costumes, Buddhist statuary, porcelain, ivory, and jade carvings. Sam and Myrna Myers collected for over fifty years - they appreciated a broad panorama of Asia's cultural heritage and unique customs.
China, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Korea, and Vietnam are represented and honored. It is quite an array of beauty, splendor, and history.
Friday, June 8, 2018
Book Club, the movie, is a good Sunday morning matinee - beat the heat of TX summer – chick flick time killer. I went in with low expectations and came out amused. I like all of the actresses and I try to support “more mature” women. Entertainment Weekly summed it up well – enjoy the novelty of four of the best actresses of their generation splash around in a film that actually lets them live, not just tastefully fossilize in some designated elder-citizen corner of the screen.
The book club meets monthly – federal judge Sharon (Candice Bergen), widow Diane (Diane Keaton – my fave), chef Carol (Mary Steenburgen), and hotelier Vivian (Jane Fonda). Vivian decides to liven up the club with E.L. James Fifty Shades of Grey – shocking. The group protests and groans but end up reading it secretly embarrassed and yet fascinated. From there, we have sensual re-awakenings, however contrived. Diane meets a pilot (Andy Garcia) on a trek to AZ to see her daughters who are convinced mom should move to assisted living. Sharon tries on line dating and meets Richard Dreyfuss – a normal schlumpy guy just trying to connect. She realizes there is more to life than her cat. Vivian runs into an ex (a very scrumptious Don Johnson) and learns that maybe she should not just love ‘em and leave ‘em. And Carol works to put some spark back into her marriage to Craig T. Nelson. He’s newly retired and has issues of his own.
There are funny lines, lovely homes and décor, and great fashion. The ladies look great and aren’t plastic scary. There are some poignant scenes along with some silly stuff. This is fluff – plain and simple. I think critics gave it a solid C. I’m more generous and was entertained – I’ll go with B. B for Book Club
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Cut! Costume and the Cinema is an exhibit at the Arlington Museum of Art (www.arlingtonmuseum.org). Thanks to Cosprop Ltd - England for sharing a fabulous exhibit. Over 43 costumes from 27 period films - many Merchant Ivory winners. Phantom of the Opera, Sherlock Holmes, The Prestige, and more.
The detail and sewing is stunning. And the waistlines for these actresses are tiny.
They did have a two leather coats from Daniel Craig in Defiance. One was quite fresh, the other had been beaten with a hammer and aged for late in the film. Nifty to see.
Beat the heat at a museum and feast your eyes on treasures of any sort.
Monday, June 4, 2018
Curtis Sittenfield hit the world with Prep, American Wife, and Eligible. Now her short story collection brings to life modern day characters with interesting flaws.
Cover blurb – Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I’ll Say It, Sittenfield upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided. In “The World Has Many Butterflies” married acquaintances play a strangely intimate game with devastating consequences. In “Vox Clamantis in Deserto” a shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life. And in the “Prairie Wife” a suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie.
I enjoy Curtis Sittenfield’s writing and she is quite deft in striking to the heart of an issue, stroking it with finesse, and completing the full story with grace. Her dialogue is current. Her characters are well developed. From the promise that was Prep, this author has emerged as a strong American writer who commands her art with wit and depth.
Friday, June 1, 2018
Deadpool 2 is NOT for children. Do NOT even think about taking kids to this flick. If you liked Deadpool, you will be very happy. Even had a debate with my husband. He liked this second one even more. I felt the first was fresher, but still felt that 2 was worthy – rude humor, snark and more snark, and just laugh out loud inappropriate at times. Clever snappy dialogues and monologues keep this film a hoot. There are lots of references to current flicks, Ryan himself, Canada takes a few kicks, he jokes about Marvel vs. DC, and sometimes talks to the camera. The movie is ridiculously ultra-violent and fast paced. It’s definitely in its own league in the action hero arena.
Basically Wade (Ryan Reynolds) as Deadpool grieves his dead wife and wants to die. However, he does come to help Russell (Zazie Beetz) a teen mutant who can create fireballs with his hands. A soldier from the future, Cable (Josh Brolin) is trying to kill Russell because he knows what the kid does as an adult and how it affects his family. Despite Deadpool’s supposed jaded spirit, he convinces Domino, Colossus, and more to join forces and try to just stop the kid. Turn him away from his future. This all gets very convoluted. As I read this paragraph I realize I am not conveying the urgency of the situation. Just go with it and trust me.
You will laugh, groan, and laugh some more. Leslie Uggams as Blind Al is a hoot. The credits are hysterical, and stay for the bonus two extras during final credit time. Deadpool 2 kicks off summer movie season with a blast. Enjoy air-conditioning, big screen, popcorn worthy entertainment. And yes, it’s all SO wrong….keep laughing.