Friday, July 13, 2007

June's Books & Movies

At long last I am listing my June 2007 Books & Movies. Yes, I'm a slacker.

Books

Rip It Up & Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 by Simon Reynolds - 402 pages - I loved this book. If you are the least bit interested in the postpunk movement, then this is the book for you. It gave me all sorts of ideas of new CDs I needed in which I indulged in Austin at Waterloo, the coolest record store since Switched On.

33 1/3: Unknown Pleasures by Chris Ott - 117 pages - I had read bad reviews of this book at amazon.com, but when I saw it at Waterloo, I couldn't resist and I bought it. This book sucked royally. I should have heeded the reviewers at amazon.com, but being the Joy Division freak I am I had to check it for myself. What a load of crap was this book!!!

Alibi by Joseph Kanon - 405 pages - this was a very good book which took place in post WW-II Venice. I was completely sucked in early on, then I didn't want to read it because I didn't like the way it was headed. In the end, I quite liked this book. I've read two other books by Kanon (Los Alamos & The Good German) and now need to get the book before this one. He's not what I would consider a conventional writer as he as interesting twists in his books, but not contrived. I think he's quite a good writer.

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich - 310 pages - I hadn't loved the last book as I was kind of over her blowing up a car every freaking book, but I think Ms. Evanovich figured out that had gotten a little trite, so no car explosions this time around. And for that I was thankful. She got me back with this one. If you've read one, then you know the deal, if you haven't and you like to laugh out loud while reading then check Stephanie Plum out. They're a very quick read, so it's not like it'll take a chunk out of your life. I finished this one in one evening.

A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger - 266 pages - The author of The Perfect Storm this time around tells a story which includes the Boston Strangler. I found it exceptionally intriguing and I knew next to nothing about the Boston Strangler. He theorizes that a man who worked in his home back in the 1960s was the Boston Strangler and could possibly have killed an elderly woman who didn't live more than a few blocks from his childhood home. I haven't read The Perfect Storm, but I might have to think about it.

Book of the month was Rip It Up & Start Again, although I have to say that all the books I read this month (save one) were excellent. I definitely recommend them all.

Movies

Stargate SG-1: Season 8 - I was positive that I wasn't going to bother with Season 9 since Richard Dean Anderson isn't in them, but I was wrong, I guess I got sucked in enough that I'm now watching Season 9 from Netflix (when I'm not watching the Tour de France).

Time After Time (N) - 85% - 1979 - I can't remember what made me put this movie on my list, but I did even though movies made in the 70s I find to be a bit suspect. Malcolm McDowell plays H.G. Wells who uses his time machine to follow Jack the Ripper to modern-day (1979) San Francisco. He hooks up with Mary Steenburgen and she tries to help him find Jack. I definitely recommend it.

Volver (N) - 91% - 2006 - A Pedro Almodovar film with Penelope Cruz and that means it was in Spanish and subtitled (the preferred format for foreign films - dubbing is so hideous as to be ridiculous). It reminded of Erendira a movie I saw years ago with that touch of magical realism which Garcia Marquez introduced to the world. And for some reason, I think it only works in Spanish-language films. I had no problem with the mother returning as a ghost. It made perfect sense to me. I think I would have called the police after my daughter killed my pig of a lover, but it wouldn't have made such a good movie, would it? I'm a big fan of Almodovar, although Talk to Her was a tad weird and I don't think I liked that one.

Brick (N) - 77% - 2006 - I do not agree at all with the 77% approval rating at all. I thought this movie was fabulous. It was described as a film noir sent in high school of the present day - which doesn't even begin to describe it well. I loved the lead character. I just thought it was brilliant. If I remember correctly, I got the recommendation from MyUtopia.

Mysterious Skin (N) 82% - 2005 - I put this on my queue because the lead actor from Brick was in it. It was a good movie, but I'm not sure I could recommend it without some caveats. It was different and a little, um, discomfiting, as it was a story about child abuse - not by parents, but by a little league coach and how it affected the two boys. It was sad and a little hard to watch, but worthwhile.

The Italian Job (FX) - 73% - 2003 - Yes, I know, I've seen it a jillion times, but it was on TV and I needed something light and frivolous since it was the day after the Libertarian dumped me.

Maurice Richard: The Rocket (DFT) - 2005 - Not enough reviews at rottentomatoes.com, probably because it's a Canadian film. Anyway, you know that whoever made this film did a good job when I end up rooting for the Montreal Canadiens (which never ever happens). If you're a hockey fan, this is a must see. I thought it was very well done and quite interesting - I would think even if you're not a hockey fan. Definitely check it out.

The Last King of Scotland (N) - 88% - 2006 - Forest Whitaker did an incredible job of playing Idi Amin's multiple personalities (not saying he was schizophrenic, but he could go from maniacal to charming in fairly short order). It is based on the novel by the same name which was not purely historical, but added in the fictional character of a Scottish doctor. I found the commentary very interesting, especially the people talking about how fabulous Idi Amin was. Um, okay, whatever.

The Boondock Saints (N) 20% - 1999 - I also got the separate disk of extras about which I remember next to nothing two weeks later. Anyway, I disagree completely with the 20% approval rating. I quite liked this movie. Willem Dafoe was good as the gay FBI agent. Sean Patrick Flannery played one of the Irish brothers and Billy Connolly was also in it. It was a tad violent, but I did get the uncut version and it was about two brothers who start killing people they think deserve it, essentially people in the mob. I don't even really like gangster movies and The Sopranos hold no interest for me, but I liked this movie.

Best Movie of the Month has to go to Brick, although Time After Time was very good, as was Volver. It was a good month for movies and books!!!

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12 Comments:

At Saturday, 14 July, 2007, Blogger LL said...

Yes... you're such a slacker I don't know how you didn't get twice as much read and 3 times more watched.

Sheesh... just looking at this list made me ready for bed. ;)

 
At Saturday, 14 July, 2007, Blogger Jason said...

"Volver" is one of the best films I've seen this year. "Last King of Scotland" was very good and Forest Whitaker did an amazing job, but I don't think the film deserved as much Oscar hype as it got. I can't believe that "Boondock Saints" only got 20%. It's a cult classic. I really enjoyed it. Billy Connolly is shamefully unknown in this country other than his stint in "Head of the Class" replacing Howard Hessman. Whatever happened to him???

 
At Saturday, 14 July, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

LL - I meant I was a slacker because it was the middle of July before I listed anything. I'm sure you do stuff all day long that's a bit more energetic than reading and watching TV.

Jason - I loved The Boondock Saints and I've always loved Billy Connolly, just because of Head of the Class.

 
At Saturday, 14 July, 2007, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

I found the book Mysterious Skin to be very powerful and moving and startlingly well written for a debut novel. I found the movie downright icky.

And just a bit fkogshy.

 
At Sunday, 15 July, 2007, Blogger fermicat said...

Hmm, lets see. I've been reading my short story collection for how many weeks now? I am at the next-to-last story so I can move on soon. You and Kelly (MyUptopia) are amazing. I read fast, but can't seem to spend much time other than at bedtime to read.

Thanks for the film reviews. It helps narrow the field of choices.

 
At Sunday, 15 July, 2007, Anonymous Leah Goldberg said...

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At Sunday, 15 July, 2007, Anonymous Leah Goldberg said...

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At Monday, 16 July, 2007, Blogger Sal said...

Volver left me with questions, but they were really silly questions, like what about the restaurant...

Mysterious Skin, was a disturbing (not sure if that's the right word) movie, I know people who admit to seducing older men when they were little boys (yes it really happens) kind of the way Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character did. I've talked to lots of people about this movie and they all walked away with the same sick, confused feeling I did. Since it fostered so much conversation I'd have to say it was a brilliant film.

 
At Monday, 16 July, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - You have a life, I don't. Therefore, I get much more reading done.

Sal - I was definitely disturbed by Mysterious Skin, but I felt for the two boys, even Gordon-Levitt's character. They were both crying for help in their own way. Re: Volver I was glad she got away with it, since she hadn't actually done it, I guess. And I had no problem with the mother, even when we thought she was a ghost.

 
At Monday, 16 July, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

FWG - So, you'd recommend the book even after watching the movie? The movie made me sad and I wasn't sure I needed to be sad again.

 
At Monday, 16 July, 2007, Anonymous Smash said...

Peekaboo! Remember me? Been SOOO long! How ya doin? Smashxxx

 
At Friday, 20 July, 2007, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

Yes. I recommend the book wholeheartedly. It was a good emotional ride. Sad at times for sure but for me I found uplifting moments too. The book got into the heads of 'outsider' teenagers in a very insightful way. Volatile minds full of sincerity and longing impeded by flawed perception, false confidence, cruel circumstance. Very compelling struggle. For me the molestation itself was not critical but just a force to put the youths in the outsider position. If you're prone to empathize with such a position - as I am - you may find the story touching - even charming at times.

 

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