Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekly Book/Movie Round-Up & Blog Links to Share

Another week has come and gone. The highlight, for me, was taking a trip to the beach with my son. I rarely get to spend one-on-one time with him, without his sisters. On the positive side, the beach was perfect. The weather was gorgeous, and the waves were just right.

On the negative side, we ran into seven traffic jams, due to roadwork, on the way home. I'm here to tell you, folks: there is a virtual orgy of roadwork going on between Virginia Beach and Richmond. In all the confusion, I missed a few exits. Therefore, Murphy -- who rules my universe -- dictated that the GPS would stop working. A 3.5 hour drive took 7 hours.

Otherwise, it's been a fairly ordinary week, though I didn't have time to do nearly as much reading or movie viewing as I would have liked.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, and it's a good chance to blog about books I've read and movies I've watched throughout the week, to touch base with other bookish bloggers, and to find out what other people are reading.




Movies Watched this Week (Links Lead to Our Reviews):



Thor -- I didn't see this, but my daughter watched and reviewed it. In her typical tongue-in-cheek style, she wrote "I'm pleased to report, despite my apprehension -- and, dare I say it, pretensions -- Thor exceeded my expectations considerably. Yes, there was dewy-eyed romance, bazillion-dollar special effects, and perfectly physiqued A-listers (all the things I hate in a movie -- bah Humbug!) It's actually one of the first big-budget action/adventure movies I've really enjoyed in a long time."




Raising Arizona -- I re-watched this movie because my husband wanted to see it. I am a huge fan of Joel and Ethan Coen's films, but I disliked Raising Arizona the first time I saw it. I often have trouble warming up to screwball comedies. Maybe I have to be in just the right mood for that sort of thing. Also, I dislike Nicholas Cage. I don't really know why -- I just do.

I did find the movie much funnier the second time around, though. My favorite performance, by far, was by by John Goodman. He is a wonderful and under-rated comedic actor. Casting him in so many of the Coen films was sheer genius.




Boy A -- The best role -- by far -- in which I've seen Andrew Garfield. I gave this movie a very positive review, partly because I've found the story and characters difficult to get out of my system.









The Producers (1968) -- Though I'd seen the remake, with Nathan Lane, I'd never seen the original. Dick Shawn was insanely funny in this.

 








Books (Link Leads to My Review):



A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read -- I do love discovering a new mystery series!











Other Posts:

  
22 Memorable Movie Sociopaths -- I loved the comment/discussion thread on this blog post! As is often the case, it was better than my original post. :-)


Some of My Favorite Posts, by Other Bloggers, This Week (In No Particular Order):
  • Chris at Movies & Songs 365 wrote a thought-provoking post, which sparked a great discussion, titled Should a Director Explain Their Film? He wrote: "I hate to admit it, I actually love director explanations of ambiguous films. The question is, does it ruin the mystery and ongoing discussion, if for example we got all the answers to why the Mona Lisa is smiling?"  
  • I have to confess that sometimes I love a scathing review of a really bad movie, and Rodders's Review of Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star made me laugh out loud.

  • Marcela at Best of the Past wrote a wonderful article on the media's changing perception of female beauty and how it impacts women's self-esteem: 50 Shades of Beauty.

  • Margaret wrote a wonderful Review of Carrie at Cinematic Corner. I was fascinated by her detailed analysis of the movie's themes and the way cinematography was expertly used to make the movie chilling and compelling.
     
  • I am fascinated by history and historical fiction. I was really intrigued by this guest post by David LeRoy, author of The Siren of Paris, shared by Naida at ...the bookworm... This article reveals how passionate the author of a historical novel becomes about his subject and the tremendous amount of research that goes into creating historical fiction.

  • I also loved another article by LeRoy, titled Who Is the Siren of Paris? shared at Cheryl's Book Nook.It looks at the flip side of the French Resistance to the Nazis. What prompted French citizens to turn members of the resistance over to the Nazis? Was it simply greed and cowardice? Or did they have other motives? It's important to remember that while their actions aren't justified, they didn't have the benefit of hindsight. To many citizens, the Nazis didn't seem any worse that various other threats they saw around them. When thinking about those who betrayed their fellow citizens to the Germans, it's also worth remembering that theirs is also a tragic story.

  • I was thoroughly excited about Ana's post on All Things Firefly at things mean a lot.  First of all, Firefly is just the best damn television show in the 'verse. And Ana is a deep thinker and eloquent writer who always helps me look at things from different angles. The discussion in the comments section is also terrific.

Currently Reading: 













 

Dracula by Bram Stoker (Nook) -- Because the classic Dracula is awesome. Not some angsty douchebag who sparkles.


Probably Reading Next:




Boy A by Jonathan Trigell (on Kindle) -- I'm looking forward to reading the novel and comparing it to the film adaptation.

Entertainment Weekly Review: Jonathan Trigell's haunting debut (loosely based on a real 1990s case) follows a nine-year-old who commits a gruesome murder and gets dubbed by politicians and news-papers ''The Evilest Boy in Britain.'' Fifteen years later, Boy A - a.k.a. Jack Burridge, an alias chosen to hide his identity from the still-outraged public - wins release from prison and re-immerses himself in a world that's unforgiving but strangely tantalizing in Boy A. He discovers the opposite sex (''a new species: of legs, of lips, of breasts, of hips, of eyes, of thighs''), while still tormented by violent urges and the fear that his past will be discovered. Trigell masterfully builds sympathy for Jack, the story's ending leaves a bittersweet ache for more.




The Crazy School by Cornelia Read (#2 in the Madeline Dare series)

from Goodreads: From the acclaimed author of A FIELD OF DARKNESS comes another compelling novel featuring the acerbic and memorable voice of ex-debutante Madeline Dare.

Madeline Dare has finally escaped rust-belt Syracuse, New York, for the lush Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts. After her husband's job offer falls through, Maddie signs on as a teacher at the Santangelo Academy, a boarding school for disturbed teenagers. Behind the academy's ornate gates, she discovers a disturbing realm where students and teachers alike must submit to the founder's bizarre therapeutic regimen. From day one, Maddie feels uneasy about smooth-talking Dr. Santangelo but when she questions his methods, she's appalled to find that her fellow teachers would rather turn on each other than stand up for themselves, much less protect the students in their care. A chilling event confirms Maddie's worst suspicions, then hints at an even darker secret history, one that twines through the academy's very heart. Cut off from the outside world, Maddie must join forces with a small band of the school's most violently rebellious students-kids whose troubled grip on reality may well prove to be her only chance of salvation.

39 comments:

  1. "Because the classic Dracula is awesome. Not some angsty douchebag who sparkles." Ha! Love it! And thoroughly agree!

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  2. Thanks for the mention, Stephanie

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    1. You're welcome! Thanks for writing excellent and entertaining reviews.

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  3. Thank you so much for the link! John Goodman is in Raising Arizona? Oh, I definetly need to see this one then.

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    1. This movie is worth watching for John Goodman alone. His performance is over-the-top, but in a good way.

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  4. Replies
    1. Josh, I do hope you watch and review it. I'd be very interested in reading what you thin of this movie.

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    2. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind. :)

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  5. I've got the original Dracula on my kindle, another one to re-read. Must admit I enjoyed Thor way more than I thought I would. I'll keep an eye out for the Madeline Dare series, sounds right up my alley.
    Have a great week and happy reading :)

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    1. Dracula was a free download for my Nook, which I thought was very cool. If you try the Madeline Dare series, I can't wait to hear what you think. I have a great weakness for mysteries. ;-)

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  6. Firefly is awesome sauce! I NEED to go back and watch all the episodes in order.

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    1. Tanya, I am almost embarrassed to admit how many times my husband and I have watched the whole series. ;-)

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  7. Your blog is so cool, with all the book and movie references - so my thing! I'll be checking out your links to other blogs too!:)

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  8. So nice of you to share other blog posts you've enjoyed this week!

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    1. Thanks. I'm going to try to do that more often.

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  9. Hmmm...Thor looks like eyecandy to me. Raising Arizona is one of those quirky ones, I enjoyed it. I *heart* Nicholas Cage though, the young Cage...back when he was slightly goofy.
    Thanks for the mention! That is so nice.
    Enjoy your week :)

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    1. It does look like eye candy, doesn't it? I never cared for Nicholas Cage -- but so many people love him. It doesn't help that the first movie I saw him in (in college) was Peggy Sue Got Married -- his character was so whiny. :)

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  10. Oooh, I love Raising Arizona! Nick Cage at his finest. Also, Dracula is such a great book! I wrote 2 different research papers for 2 classes on it in college, and still would read it again. It's the standard for a reason.

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    1. I agree that it's the standard for a reason. ;-)

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  11. I also love discovering new series but I also hate it because then I have that many more books I want to read and can't find enough time for!

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    1. I know what you mean. Such a dilemma. :)

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  12. I really should re-read Dracula. It's been so long since I read it, and I just bought a gorgeous version illustrated by the comic artist Becky Cloonan.

    I also looked at your 22 Memorable Movie Sociopaths, and just have mention that I absolutely loved Ralph Fiennes in In Bruges! I'm glad you listed him. (Though I think he leans more toward the psychopath end of things. :) )

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    1. That graphic version of Dracula sounds wonderful! My understanding is that "sociopath" and "psychopath" are synonymous, both referring to antisocial personality disorder.

      However, I agree that the word "psychopath" sounds like a more apt description of that character, somehow. ;-)

      And isn't Ralph Fiennes a wonderful actor? No matter what he is in, I am always blown away by his performance.

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    2. I had learnt that socio- and psychopaths are different, but now that I googled it, it seems that there's a lot of debate / many different opinions on that. Shows what I know. :)

      The Dracula I have is not actually a graphic novel, just an illustrated one. Cloonan is more known for her graphic novels, though. Just in case I wasn't clear.

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    3. Well, I'm no expert either, and psychological terminology is always changing. :-) I'll read up on the socio vs. psycho thing, later, for future reference.

      Thanks for the clarification. Anyway, the illustrated Dracula sounds very cool!

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  13. Hi Stephanie, thanks for commenting over at my blog! Is there a way I can get email notifications when you post something new?

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    1. Thanks, Pete. I think I can set up a widget in the sidebar so you can get e-mail notifications. I'll work on that now.

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    2. Done! "Follow By E-Mail" is in the left sidebar under the "About Us" section.

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  14. I have seen Thor and I think it's just another typical superhero movies ;)

    I am intrigued with that sociopath post...will read it now.

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    1. I'm not a huge fan of superhero movies, in general, but some of them are a lot of fun.

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    2. Same here!!
      I USED TO love superhero movies but I have grown tired of them since I graduated from college and now I only see superhero movies when my brother bought the DVD and I have nothing else to see (which is how I discover THOR)

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  15. Boy A is definitely a great movie and emotionally gripping. I wish I could read the novel too. Thanks for commenting the other day

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    1. I agree about the movie, Andina. I couldn't find the novel at the library, but it is available through Amazon.

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