Monday, February 28, 2005

Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree -- Book 11

It is a collection of essays that Nick Hornby -- author of High Fidelity and About a Boy -- wrote for the Believer, a magazine.

His monthly column that stretched out just over a year and covered a year of turmoil for a famous author in what and how he decided what to read.

Each column features a list of the books he bought and the books he actually read that month. It is a fascinating trail to follow with an author that has a lot of the same tastes that I have.

I recommend reading it if you are a bibliophile, but this is a very tough book to read for the non-reading geek.

Next up -- A.M. Homes - Jack



Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Aviator

A friend warned me that it could be three hours of my life that I could never get back.

While it is true that I will never get that time back, it was worth it. Leo can act. Cate Blanchett is Hepburn -- it's a little uncanny. The story is engrossing and the three hours flew by.

However, The movie was a little too self-indulgent. Like Gangs of New York, Scorsese likes the material more than we do. And, unfortunately, he leaves so many details out, its hard to believe that movie was still three hours long.

If you like movies, for movies sake, this one is worth it. But "Best Picture" -- nope.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Best Revenge by Stephen White -- Book 10

Not as good as his other books but still worth the read, Stephen White took me on an adventure that made me re-evaluate my definition of a hero. I wish I could give away the major plot twist that transpired half way through the book as it would help me explain as to what and who a hero should be defined as.

Click here for more information on the book I am talking about.

Stephen White has a knack to make you go... "hrm... I didn't see that coming" about half way through most of his books...and he did it again.

Read this book without any reservations or thoughts about what is real. It will surprise you.

Next on tap -- Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree

Upcoming Rants

I do not have the time to write now.

But here are two tirades coming down the pike......

1. Ellitot Smith / Bright Eyes / "Indie-Pop" -- why is all the new music such crap? And why do the so-called critics fawn all over this garbage?

2. Mass Market Paperbacks vs. Trade Paperbacks -- the small books for $7.99 or less and the big books that have the exact same content for $12.99 or more.......

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Million Dollar Baby & The Stepford Wives

Muh wife and I have been watching a ton of movies recently. The last two that we watched were Million Dollar Baby and The Stepford Wives.

They are an interesting study in contrast.

1. Million Dollar Baby is a well made movie that ends in a fashion that just hits you like a ton of bricks. As SZG said in his quip, we are not sure what we were expecting, but it was a lot different than we expected. It was a well made movie and I would certainly have voted for Hillary Swank to take the award this year if I was allowed to submit a ballot. She was incredible. I was also really impressed wiht the power of Clint Eastwood in this film. I don't want to give away too much, but the last 1/3 of movie is simply beyond explanation. The two of them put on the performances of their careers. That is saying a lot for Clint, but not as much for Hillary. I might even want to go on record as saying that she could very well be the single best actress out there right now. She is so understated and phenomenal.

2. On the other hand, there is the Stepford Wives, which might qualify as the single worst movie of the year. This movie features at least FOUR Oscar Winners (Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Nicole Kidman, and Bette Midler (for music)), a TONY winner (Matthew Broderick) and TWO Grammy winners (Faith Hill and Bette Midler) and this is the crap that they came up with? Jesus... this movie was so bad that muh wife and I flipped around the special features to find something redeeming. We did... the first 30 seconds of the gag & blooper reel.

Horrid.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Books 7, 8 and 9

The trip to Hawaii wasn't as productive as I thought it was going to be in terms of reading books. This is primarilly because I watched FOUR movies on the 11 hour flight to Hawaii instead of reading.

Anyway...

Book 7 was Five People You Meet in Heaven. I decided to finally succumb and see what the big deal was about this book. I think the overall story was nice and an interesting way to look at heaven, but how and why is this book a major bestseller? I just don't get it. For anyone that reads regularly, it is 196 pages and extremely simplistic in its narration. You should be able to finish it in 2 hours.

Books 8 & 9 were the next two books in the Alan Gregory books by author Stephen White. As I stated in an earlier post, I have been reading his books. His books focus on a psychiatrist in Boulder, Colorado that solves crimes with the help of his D.A wife and his Boulder P.D. best friend. The books focus primarilly on his point of view and they strike intriguing chords witht he readers as they develop deeper and deeper in the psyches of some pretty messed up folks. Stephen White isn't a big name talent but he writes books with real and flawed characters and is still able to literally get me to a point where I have trouble putting the book down.

I was able to read The Program. This is a book about Witness Protection Program. Excellent read.

I was also able to read Warning Signs and this also qualifies as another top notch page turner. This book is about the justice system, terrrorism and vengeance. Halfway through the book, I literally put it on the coffee table, looked at my wife and went... "Wow... I didn't see that coming. That was pretty amazing."

I recommend his books. They are smart and entertaining. I would also recommend reading him from the beginning... you can actually see how much better he gets as he goes along. For more information on Stephen White go to here.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Million Dollar Baby

A Clint Eastwood film about boxing?

That's what my wife wanted to see Saturday night.

Not really. Our choice was really about 90 minutes. The Aviator, which is 30 minutes longer than Million Dollar Baby, also started about an hour later. Did we want to wait around for 60 minutes and then stay in the movie theatre an extra 30 minutes?

Not this Saturday night.

And I am glad we did not wait. We were pleasantly surprised. I know, it seems sort of odd to be surprised by a nominee for Best Picture, but we were. I am not sure what we expected, but it was well-told story. A little long perhaps. Maybe a few too many cliches about boxing. But so what? I paid full price and I would pay full price again -- it was worth it.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Book 6 -- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

The Smelmooo and his wife have left for a vacation, so I should have a long list of books that I have finished after that.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a transitional book as I didn't want to read any of my paperbacks befoer getting to vacation.

A 734 page transitional book, but I finished it nonetheless and thoroughly enjoyed it again.

Excellent!

Monday, February 07, 2005

Reader's Block

Some folks have difficulty writing, I have difficulty reading. I can not motivate myself to read. Daily distractions and busy days often keep me away from a book. I know, I know, I need to block out time, just like exercising, devoted to reading. My own little oasis time to escape from everything else. That often works. But, sometimes, it does not matter what I do, I feel like I have reader's block.

What to do? What to do?

Switch books? Tried that. No longer reading Salt. I moved on to, Under the Banner of Heaven. An engrossing look at fundamentalist Mormons based around the murder of a mother and her child. But, Szg, how engrossing can it be if you are not reading it?

Good question. When I am reading it, I like it.

HMaybe I need to stop thinking about it and go do something -- like read.....



Saturday, February 05, 2005

Hotel Rwanda

Smelmooo and I went to see Hotel Rwanda last night.

It was a powerful movie. Powerful for the story it told, and for exposing how little I truly know about world affairs.

I am more than a little surprised that it was not nominated by the Academy for "Best Picture." However, if Don Cheadle were to win for Best Actor, that would lessen the blow of Paul Giamatti not being nominated.

But awards, and who wins them, pale in comparison to the story of this movie. It is more than worth your time, it is your responsibility to see it. We should all know more than we do.


Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Maria Full of Grace Update

As I was hoping, the lead actress from this powerful movie was nominated for a Best Actress statuette.

Catalina Sandino Moreno was tremendous and deserves every accolade she receives for her performance in this powerful film.