Saturday, May 29, 2010

Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite again to star in a film directed by Kate's own husband. Playing a couple in the 1950s, the pair struggle to live in the suburbian Connecticut.

My 1st cents: The story was poignant and unforgetable. There was a solemn nature to the film that was echoed in the people and their surroundings. The chemistry between Kate and Leo was profound. I found the range of emotions the pair of them exhibited vast. Kate was beautiful and heartrending. Leo was dramatic and ernest.

My 2nd Cents: I knew going in the R rating was partially due to sexual content. However, it still bothered me. I cannot say that extremity of the scenes were necessary for the mood or the progression of the film.

Final Thoughts: Although I think the acting and writing were outstanding, I did not enjoy the movie. Sometimes a movie can be quality, but not appeal to me. I believe Revolutionary Road is this group.

2.5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 26th and All is Well...or at least mostly well.

Between the modem issues and the end of the school year the last few weeks have been a little light on the blog posts. I have been reading lots of books. However many were unfinished. The Gemma Doyle books had great potential and good reviews. I picked up the audio book of the first book and just could not get into the book. Sadly I returned the book unfinished. I read a book called Rebels and Redcoats. It is the story of the American Revolution written by weaving firsthand accounts, letter, and memoirs with facts collected around the events. While it was well written, it focused mostly on the actually battles and troop movement. I’d rather read biographies and political reasons for the war. I also tried to read a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, called a Curse as Dark as Gold. I only made it 65 pages before I gave up. It may get better, but I just wasn’t enjoying the book. Okay on to some books one can look forward to reading reviews about:
Finding God in the Lord of the Rings by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware
 Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

Saturday, May 22, 2010

2012 Another Epic Disaster Film


2012 is one of those movies where natural disaster's affect the fate of humanity. I love them. I've seen Category 7 and The Day After Tomorrow multiple times. I enjoy more localized films too. Volcano, Twister, and even Armagedden. There is something about watching man against major natural disasters. In fact I don;t care if they are cheesy, as long as the effects are massive. 2012 did not disappoint.

My First Cent: The people were cast well. John Cusack is great to watch overcoming miracles. He has a great deal of lovabilty. I found myself rooting for his survival. His determination to save the people he cared about enabled him to exhibit. I also thought Amanda Peet portrayed her character well. Torn between the man she loved first and the man she loves now. She plays it well, not bitter, rather contemplative.

My Second Cent: The effects were phenomenal. Gigantic canyons created, towering tsunamis flooding, and massive volcanic eruptions all factor into the scenes humanity must overcome or die. In my opinion, the fact that some of the effects area bit over the top was actually play into the threat of total anniliation.  I think this one is going to have to be a purchase as soon as the price goes down.

4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Alanna:The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

And so I have returned again to Tortall. Tamora Pierce is skilled in crafting the story of the young and determined girl. Again, she has taken this strategy. Alanna and her twin brother were being sent off, but not where they want to go. Alanna devises a scheme to instead enter into training towards knighthood. She disguises herself as a boy and begins Page training as Alan. It was wonderful to learn about some early days of Alanna. She appears as an adult in some of the other books and so reading about her formative years is intriguing.

I would suggest reading the Alanna series before reading the Keladry series. Since they are both set in the same location but years apart, some of the young in Alanna's time are adults in Keladry's time. It might be more fun to meet them young and then revisit them as adults.

3 out 5 stars. It is a nice book, but since I had no problem setting it aside multiple times over the last month, I know I wasn't entralled with it as I was her book Trickster's Queen.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Revolutionary Paul Revere by Joel J Miller

The Revolutionary Paul Revere
by Joel J Miller

The Revolutionary Paul Revere was an engaging book, which has inspired me to read more American History, and become more acquainted with the current political scene. I am a fan of well written biographies, and so when asked if I would review the book, I accepted. I had been in a bit of a book slump. I had a stack of recent books not finished from lack of interest or from lack of quality. This book however continues my new trend of some excellent books.

I chose to review Joel Miller’s The Revolutionary Paul Revere, because I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn about a key figure in the American Revolution. I was blown away by chapter after chapter of fascinating particulars. Joel Miller made the life of Paul come to life again. I had no idea smiths created engravings of pictures and songs sheets for publishers. Along with his life, the life of the revolution sprang alive. Thanks to this book, I also more clearly comprehend many nuances of the war I wasn’t taught in school. Already knew things like the stamp act and the tea duty lead towards the war, but now I clearly get why these were particularly a problem to the colonists. The details of the revolution as told centering around the life of Paul Revere is brilliantly crafted, elegantly organized, and brimming with details of the day.

Here is why I recommend the book. When it comes to books, wanting to read another book by the same author is high praise. I will definitely be checking out his other two books. When it comes to non-fiction, authors who inspire the reader to continue delving into a subject are to be counted as successes. I want to read more about Paul Revere, more about the American Revolution, and more about the details of protests against governmental developments. When it comes to biographies, an eagerness to read more rather than put the book aside is a sure sign of superb authorship. Usually I read non-fiction in conjunction with a fiction book, while all my books have been set aside while I read this book. Finally, this book has changed my summer plans. I’ve read loads of books on British history, but spend surprisingly little time study the history of my own country. This book inspires me to become more informed and actively seeking out the truth behind the headlines.

The Revolutionary Paul Revere is Joel Miller’s third book. He also authored Bad Trip(2004) and Size Matters(2006). He has also worked as editor, and He currently is a VP in the non-fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers.

This book was given to me by Phenix & Phenix literary publicists. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

The Revolutionary Paul Revere at Borders
Joel J Miller's Website 
The Coming of the American Revolution by the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Plan B by Pete Wilson

Have you ever read a book that completely overwhelms your perspective on life encouraging you to transform you way of living? Plan B is amazing. By the time I finished the first page, I believed this book was going to be amazing, and it did not disappoint. If you have not come across a time in your life, when things did not go as you planned, then you will. This book doesn't provide band-aids, or neat bows, as Pete put it. However what it does do is echo "me too" throughout the text. By the time I had finished chapter 4 I could list a dozen friends who I want to give a copy too. By the time I finished chapter 11, I knew it was the right book for the Bible study in my church plant group to read together. The book has a resonance with our paradoxical struggle between the reality we seek to dwell within and the reality we dwell within.
Pete interweaves Biblical text, personal life, and the lives of friends and family into chapter after chapter of what people have done when their plan fell through, that is when their life was the very opposite of what they wished it was. One chapter entitled Whiplash deals with Joseph of Genesis and the Paul of Tarsus. My notes around this include, “we assume that plan b equals God’s abandonment.” And “God’s will may be a process not a destination.”

5 out of 5 stars.

Also for a free PDF copy of chapter one visit the Plan B Website.  The website also has an intro by the author. 

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day

Happy May Day!

With the coming of May, I worked for hours in the garden trying to tame wild bushes, monitor baby vegetable plants,^ and round up threatening snails. My reading amount has been minimal, and the books I have read, have been for the most part disappointing.
I did not terrible enjoy The Fairie Path. The Fairie Path had a very predictable plot. I also found the writing a bit tangled. It had mixed reviews. Yet the cover was inviting sitting prettily on the library shelf. Suffice to say I am not sure I want to spend the time trying to write up a full length review about it.

The Chosen One does deserve a review. Although I was not in love with it, there were many merits and so soon I shall share what I did like. Maybe I’ll write that one up this evening.

I am also hard at working helping construct props for the play she is directing. She is doing Alice and Wonderland. I have drawn doors, shelves, animals, and flowers. Now I am in the middle of creating caterpillars’ mushroom for the 12 year old who is playing the caterpillar to perch upon.* I have a round table as the base and am using my paper mache skills to craft much of the mushroom clump. It’s given me a craving for the land of Oz. I did love that series as a child.

I did read one amazing book in the last couple weeks called Plan B by Pete Wilson. Be sure to check out my review on May 3rd. The book comes out May 4th.

School is in the last five weeks and as that happens I know my time will be even more crunched. Between wrapping up the school year at three locations, ramping up for the summer program** at one location and remembering to have fun May will be a busy month. I am quite excited for it. If the books I read are good, there will also be some book reviews and hopefully next week I can continue My 2 Cents Cinema^^ reviews.

Happy May Day. Did anyone participate in May pole dances. I've always wanted to try weaving the ribbons around a pole, but alas I have only watched them on tv. I looked up maypoles and discovered what I always imagine is the British tradition, but all over Europe there are May Pole traditions. I know it has pagan roots. The lure of spring dress and spring flowers on a grassy field still call to me.


^My thriving herb garden: rosemary, oregano, sage, marjoram, mint, and lavender. My vegetable garden: Radishes, which are not thriving. Zucchini, which are up to 4 leaves a plant. Tomatoes, which have the first baby green tomatoes. Peas, which are trailing nicely up the trellis. I am nearly out of room. I had marigolds in the garden but they all fell prey to the relentless snails.
*Do caterpillars perch? I know birds do, however I am not sure that caterpillars do. Maybe they lounge?
**Seriously a computer component all designed by me. This is huge! We are doing an online adventure in different ecosystems and creating an interactive journal of our adventure.
^^How does that sound for my weekly movie review I’ve tried to institute? Usually I have at least two quality things to say. I haven’t seen it anywhere. Actually I was thinking of experimenting with