Monday, March 31, 2014

In March

The Eagles Have Flown, by Joanne S. Williamson ~ This book, about a young boy in the household of Marcus Junius Brutus, was fun and I liked it a lot and enjoyed reading it. It was interesting to hear the story of Brutus' life and career from the perspective of someone living in his household who was basically family to him. 
Cleopatra of Egypt, by Leonora Hornblow
The Body in the Library, by Agatha Christie ~ I like Miss Marple but the book wasn't very interesting and was a little boring. 
The Life of Saint Patrick, by Quentin Reynolds
The Dragon Warriors, by Karis Sellers

*Leap Year
The Monuments Men
X-Men First Class ~ New favorite movie.
X-Men Origins
X-Men 2 ~New other favorite movie.
X-Men Last Stand
Divergent ~ New other other favorite movie. 

tv series:
One upon a Time
Burn Notice
The Hollow Crown

*Books/movies I've read/watched before.
† Landmark Book

What books and movies have you been reading and watching recently that you like especially? 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Man of Steel Review

New Man of Steel poster
Director:  Zack Snyder
Rating: PG-13
Time: 2 hours 23 minutes 
Studio: Warner Bros.
Stars:  Henry CavillAmy AdamsRussell Crowe, Diane Lane, etc. 
Composer: Hans Zimmer (YAY! Isn't this is beautiful?)

It's largely through flashbacks that we become acquainted with Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El and his character. One of these flashbacks is of a young Clark Kent reading Plato in his dad's pickup truck, and then being pulled out of it and bullied by some seemingly older kids. He knows he's much stronger than the kids laughing at him, but he holds himself back with all his might from fighting. He forces himself to take it quietly. I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self. (Aristotle, student of Plato). When the other kids leave we see the fence against which Clark's back had been, and the metal fence post, bent, where he'd gripped it.

For the rest of the movie Clark searches for the answers to a few simple and very important questions, who am I, where am I from, what's my purpose. And he has to decide what he stands for.I haven't seen any of the original Superman movies or read any of the comics, but I'd like to. The basic storyline of Man of Steel is that on the dying planet Krypton Jor-El and Lara have a son, the first natural birth on Krypton in centuries. As Krypton erupts the mother and father send their son Kal-El to Earth where he crash-lands in Kansas and is found and adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, farmers. As a young boy Kal-El (now called Clark) is tormented by the overwhelming amount that his alien senses see, hear, and feel 'there's too much, it's too big'; but his earth-parents, especially Martha Kent, teach him to focus on what's important. I really like the Kents.

One of the things I didn't care for in the movie was how Jor-El kept appearing, as a hologram. But he helped Clark find his purpose. Another thing was how much fighting there was, rather excessive; and the number of buildings (with people in them) that were demolished. Also the acting at the very beginning on Krypton felt sketchy at times.

One interesting theme in the movie that I hadn't expected was the topic of evolution. There was a lot of symbolism, too, which I always think is cool: the stain glass window behind Clark in the church, the crucifix Clark makes at one point, etc.. General Zod makes an interesting villain, what with his deeply annoying haircut and his beliefs about who he is and what his purpose is. “I exist only to protect Krypton. That is the sole purpose for which I was born. And every action I take, no matter how violent or how cruel, is for the greater good of my people.”

Despite the things I didn't care for in Man of Steel I liked it and enjoyed watching it. Oh, and Amy Adams is cute.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Click here for more reviews.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Saving Mr Banks | Review

Director:  John Lee Hancock
Rating: PG-13
Time:  125 min
Stars:  Emma ThompsonTom HanksColin Farrell, etc. 
Trailer: trailer

Saving Mr Banks is ultimately about Walt Disney convincing Mrs P. L. 'Pam' Travers to let him take her story and redeem it. In the beginning however Mrs Travers fears Disney will ruin her 'lovely characters' and make her story into one of his 'silly cartoons,' but her greatest fear is letting go. Disney, on the other hand, thinks Mary Poppins came to save the children, Jane and Michael. But she didn't. Mary Poppins came to save their father, Mr Banks, a character representing Mrs Travers' own father.

That's what Walt Disney comes to realize, at which point he and his team - the two Sherman brothers Robert and Richard and the scriptwriter Don DaGradi - come up with an idea they believe Mrs Travers will like. Their idea was to save Mr Banks - It wasn't something that had happened in real life. 

In the end Walt Disney persuades Pamela to trust him with her story and to let him change it so that Mary Poppins saves Mr Banks, so that she - Mrs P. L. Travers - can be free of the weight and dictation of the past. In a scene near the end of the movie Disney promises Mrs Travers:
"...every time a person goes into a movie house ... they will see George Banks being saved. They will love him ... they will weep for his cares ... George Banks will be honored ...redeemed. ...and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again. Trust me, Mrs Travers. Let me prove it to you. I give you my word." 
Tom Hanks is great as Walt Disney, and the two Sherman brothers with their sweaters, polo shirts, and slicked-back hair creating songs are nice. The taxi driver with his interest in the weather is a wonderful character.