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Showing posts from January, 2006

Millions

I liked this movie quite a bit. The main character, Damian, is a little boy who reads and knows everything about Catholic saints, and sometimes he converses with them, always greeting them with their name and dates of birth and death. It made me want to read more about the saints. The story is good, too. Damian finds a huge duffle bag full of money, and he and his brother hide it and have very different ideas about how to spend the money. There is a very interesting but strange portrayal of LDS people in the movie. I wonder if they were included just because of the Saints thing, and if it's based on someone's brief contact with missionaries or something. There are three youngish men who live together in a house in the new development the boys live in. They're dressed like missionaries and one of them carries what looks like a Book of Mormon in one scene. No nametags, though, and one of the men explains at one point that they live in a special "community" with …

Your Oasis on Flame Lake by Lorna Landvik

I read a Lorna Landvik novel every now and then just for fun. It's fun while the book lasts, and then I pretty much forget it. This one I read in just over 24 hours. I don't know what's wrong with me. Why do I think I can spend so much time reading while the house falls apart around me? Well, at least everyone got fed. At first I wondered if I was going to finish this one, since the characters are fairly mean to each other. But I liked the 11-year-old daughter character (the story is told by five different narrators, which I enjoyed), so I kept going. And it did get better. I guess it was okay. I think Reading Group Discussion Guides, found at the end of many books these days, are pretentious and annoying, though, and this one had one. I can't quite keep myself from reading them, though. Jon thinks the cover is one of the worst he's ever seen (although the cover of Orson Scott Card's new one, Magic Street, is much worse, in my opinion. And the book is horrib…

Fear X

This is a psychological thriller about a mall security guy (John Turturro) whose wife was murdered in the mall parking lot, and now he's obsessed with watching security tapes and trying to figure out who did it and why. The cinematography is very good, and I liked the music. It's pretty slow-moving, but it managed to scare me. But I'm a wimp when it comes to scary movies, so that probably doesn't mean much. The movie does not have a definitive ending, and while there are some interesting possibilities about what really happened, I was discouraged to read later that the director (a Danish guy who also co-wrote it) admitted that there's no ending. I'd like there to be a right answer, so that after Jon and I discuss it, we can check to see if we were right. Apparently that can't happen with this movie. (And actually, while I'd like to have right answers to things, there often aren't, if there's any ambiguity at all. Jon and some fellow Mamet fa…

Monster-in-Law

This was mildly amusing and pleasant enough to watch. Wanda Sykes was surprisingly funny. The character of the guy was sort of invisible, but I think that was intentional, since it's about J-Lo and Jane Fonda. Well, about the characters they played, anyway. Though it does seem that J-Lo movies are made for us to look at J-Lo and all her pretty clothes. We can never resist the special features, and they were good on this 2 DVD set (is two DVDs really necessary for such an inconsequential movie?). Even the section called "Documentaries," which confused us at first, (because what is there to make a documentary about?), had some great stuff in it. The various actors are funnier in their interviews than they were in the film.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

I finished it! All 980 pages of it. And I enjoyed it. I guess I've been out of escape fiction mode for a while now, so it took me some time to get into it. Over 200 pages, I think. Originally I thought that her most recent books just needed better editing, and maybe they do, but now I think the problem is also that I've forgotten how to read that kind of immersive, detailed writing. It can be a really fun way to read, if you want to escape into another time and/or place. I guess that's why I call it escape fiction. But these days it seems cumbersome and sometimes cliched to me. Don't get me wrong! I still want to escape sometimes, but I guess I've learned that it doesn't really work: after reading for 8 hours, all the kids and housework are still there and in worse shape than before. So instead of doing the marathon reading thing I used to do, I took my time finishing this one. One thing I thought was odd: a couple of scenes that were like The Three Stooges …

No! by They Might Be Giants

On Christmas Eve, we went to our little CD and other music stuff store to buy a CD for Uncle Chayee (that's Charlie to you). It turned out to be one of those shopping trips where we buy stuff we weren't planning to buy. This often happens to us with books and CDs. The CD I chose on a whim No! by They Might Be Giants, a CD for kids that is really great! I am not a big fan of most kids' music that I hear other people playing for their kids. Even though we have six kids, we don't actually own any of that music, so I could be wrong. No Disney soundtracks or Barney crap or whatever it is most parents buy for their kids. We are selfish parents when it comes to music. (This should be no surprise, since Jon is also known as The Musical Tyrant.) This CD is the best gathering of kids' songs I have yet encountered. The kids love it and have been playing it constantly since they discovered it, and I'm not sick of it yet! It's funny and nonsensical and has lots of dif…

Bonnie and Clyde

We watched the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde on Saturday night. I wasn't sure what I thought of it for a while, though I did immediately appreciate the lack of music during many of the more memorable scenes. Sometimes I get annoyed at the blatantly manipulative music in most movies. And I was glad not be thus manipulated in this one. It's about real-life criminals, after all. And not about relatively benevolent ones who just wanted to get ahead or were forced into crime, but about some completely amoral people, who killed a fair number of people during their heyday. It made me think about all the movies about criminals that we watch. Like The Italian Job (criminals who are exacting revenge against worse criminals); Gone in 60 Seconds ("It's our last job, and we don't want to do it, because we're going clean, but someone badder than us is making us do it"); Matchstick Men (conman movie, where "they always give me the money" and that makes it less …

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

This is the sixth in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I loved the first four. The fifth (The Fiery Cross) was way too long and badly in need of editing, which was really too bad, since it was the first one that I bought in hardcover the day it came out. Now I'm trying this one, because I heard that it's much better than the fifth, and I kind of want to know what will happen to Jamie and Claire. But I don't know. I've given it 120 pages so far, and I don't want to read every character's every move. You know, the brushing back of the hair, the cocked eyebrow, the scratching of a belly. (I don't think anyone has actually scratched a belly yet, but Claire has tied off someone's hemorrhoids, with the intended result being that they fall off. Yuck.) Also, not much has happened yet. I have confidence that there is some great action coming up, but I'm not sure I can stick it out. On the other hand, it's kind of a guilty pleasure to read this k…

The Baxter

This is an independent film, I guess, which means it's better than mainstream stuff, right? Well, I don't know, but it was quite good. We enjoyed it. Enjoyable to watch the less-cool people be the main characters. Also enjoyable to see the weirdnesses of the cool people, who would have been the main characters in another movie.

The Book of Mormon

I'd been reading the Book of Mormon because of President Hinckley's challenge, but I was woefully behind schedule on Monday, the day after Christmas. I was planning to give up, but Jon encouraged me to finish, so I did. It was interesting to read it so quickly. Well, relatively quickly. It's not exactly a quick read. The various patterns of war and peace (mostly war), righteousness and wickedness, are much more obvious. I was very interested in Teancum this time around. He was obviously a motivated guy, sneaking into the Lamanite camp twice to kill their leader. I thought it was interesting that Mormon doesn't pass judgment on him, really. He just reports his actions, saying that Teancum was angry with Ammonihah (?) and his brother, figuring they were responsible for all the bloodshed. So he went in and killed them, and was killed the second time. And everyone who knew him was sad, he was a good man. But I don't get the feeling that Mormon thought his vigilante j…

Aerial by Kate Bush

I'm so out of it these days that I didn't know Kate Bush had a new album (her first in something like 13 years) until a few weeks after it was out. And when I did find out (thanks to a friend and my brother, who figured I already knew), I knew immediately what my husband had ordered for me for Christmas. Anyway, it's so great. I love it. It's like all my favorite songs by Kate Bush, only they're new and I've never heard them before, and I can spend hours listening to them in all possible forums: in the living room with all the kids' noise; in the car; on headphones late at night. Yes, I love it.