Thursday, July 26, 2012

Midnight in Paris

Movie:  Midnight in Paris
Like/Don't Like:  Yeah, I liked it

I never quite get the allure of a Woody Allen film.  I think my west coast, non-neurotic sensibilities makes him sort of just okay in my book.  But I aside from the usual unrelatable characters that are always in his films, I thought this one was totally charming.  Mostly because it's set in Paris, partly in the 1920s which means it's filled with Hemingway and Gertrude Stein and Picasso and Cole Porter.  And the whole thing was warmly lit and had lovely jazz music in the background and, well, I watched it like 2 weeks ago which means that it has completely slipped out of my mind.  But it counts if I remember that I liked it, right?


Book:  Unbroken
Author:  Laura Hillenbrand
Like/Don't Like:  Like, if only to learn that you should never go to war against the Japanese.

You should read this book, because it's a ridiculously good story told by an amazing writer and you'll be so grateful that you have never 1.) been lost at see for 40+ days, 2.)  been captured by the Japanese and put into a POW camp, 3.) what, you need more to be grateful for than that?

It's the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic mile runner and WWII vet whose plane went down in the Pacific, which he and a fellow crewman survived, only for the current to sweep them right into enemy territory.  You will want to shut the book when you get to the part about all the torture they went through in those camps. Those Japanese were hard core when it came to brutality.  There were several times I had to shut the book and  breathe slowly and imagine fields of daisies because it was just so horrific.  But it is a testament to how resilient the human spirit is.

And I have to give it up to the author.  Laura Hillenbrand wrote Seabiscuit and I was floored by how much a story about a horse sucked me in.  So I wasn't surprised by what a gripping story-teller she is.  I generally stay away from non-fiction because all I really care about is a good story told well and most non-fiction writers have the good story but forget that they are not in a lecture hall.  Hillenbrand moves things along and gives you just enough facts and data to keep you feeling like you're actually learning something while being entertained.

And if none of that has piqued your interest you should know that somewhere in the south Pacific, while they're floating along, exhausted and starving, Louis decides to get even with the sharks who have been stalking them the whole time.  So he kills one with his bare hands.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Movie:  Brave
Like/Don't Like:  Like.  I was suprised by some parts.  But in a good way.

I've never been envious of a cartoon character's hair until I saw Merida's red curls.  Pixar should get an oscar just for how glorious they looked.  In other news:  this was a sweet movie.  All I've really heard about it was that the animation was amazing.  And I totally agree.  Let's all move to Scotland!  But the story was really good.  And suprising.  You don't often find a movie that deals almost exclusively with a mother/daughter relationship, but especially an animated one.  Because most mother's are dead or abscent in animated Disney films.  And you definitely don't find a Disney movie without a love story.  This didn't have one at all.  And it was kind of refreshing.  I was genuinely surprised by the twist this had (no, I won't tell you ) and was kind of put off at first but then went with the flow and saw that it was a really tender story.  It still has everything you expect from Pixar, it was funny and sweet and had a lot of depth. And Merida made a great heroine.  It was pretty solid.