Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Few Reviews

I am putting on my amateur critic’s hat and giving you my review of some movies and books I have recently seen and read.  Inasmuch as very few people agree with my opinions and views as to any subject, this blog entry will have limited appeal to anyone except the criminally insane.  I doubt the criminally insane will agree with my views but since they are in fact insane that may find appeal in just reading them and discussing them with the voices inside their head.   The “Bud Rating Scale” is a 0 through 10 point scale as opposed to the normal 4 star scale the professional critics sometime use.  With that preamble here we go:

Midnight in Paris.  This movie was written and directed by Woody Allen.  Woody does not act in the film.  I have wanted to see the movie for quite a while but for some reason I never took the time to see it at the theater.  I watched it on cable on demand over the holidays.  I loved the filmt but the Lovely Sharon thought it was just “ok”.  I give Midnight in Paris 7 points.  I liked the opening of the movie which was several minutes of shots of Paris accompanied by Sidney Bechet's jazzy “Si Tu Vois Ma Mere”.  I like the movie’s sound track which includes songs by Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, Louis Armstrong and Glen Miller among others.  I like the midnight time travel to the 1920’s Paris.  Paris in the 1920’s has always been one of my favorite time periods and locations.  I have read a number of books and articles about the artists, writers and philosophers who congregated in Paris between World War I and World War II.  Ernest Hemmingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald (and his wife Zelda), Salvador Dali, Josephine Baker and other personalities from Paris of the 1920’s are characters in the movie.  I liked the cinematography and I liked the dialogue.  I liked the movie so much I am going to buy the dvd and also download the sound track from Itunes.

My Week with Marilyn. This film is based upon two books written by Colin Clark about his interaction with Marilyn Monroe during the 1957 filming of the Prince and the Show Girl.  This was another film I ranked a 7 Pointer, almost 8 points.  I have been to England 5 or 6 times and it is one of my favorite destinations.  So I am inclined to like things English.  I loved the period automobiles in the film. I have been watching Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theater.  The actor who plays the head butler in Downton Abbey, Jim Carson, plays the pub owner in My Week with Marilyn.  Now that is interesting.   Michelle Williams portrayal of Marilyn is terrific.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I have not read the book but I did see the Swedish version of this film and have now seen the English language version. I thought Daniel Craig and the rest of cast did a fine job, but the plot and the cinematography were equally dark.  I suppose the film is a favorite of the professional critics but for me I give it 5 points.  The tattooed and body pierced investigator, was smart but seemed to have had a dark and miserable life.  The whole thing was depressing for me.

Lucking Out (My Life Getting Down and Semi Dirty in Seventies New York) – James Wolcott.  Mr. Wolcott writes a column about film, books and other cultural events for Vanity Fair Magazine. He is a good writer and I enjoy his magazine columns but this book gets 3 points from me.  I was glad when I arrived at the last page.  There are no chapters in the book, instead there are several long sections so even the layout of the book was a source of irritation for me.  The book was a description of Mr. Wolcott’s interaction with various writers, critics, musicians, theater people and dancers during the 1970’s when he wrote for the Village Voice.  I suppose if you were one of the in-crowd of these cultural “giants” the book might have been more significant.. But for this Podunk lawyer from Utah, the 1970’s was the time I graduated from high school, graduated from college, graduated from law school and started law practice. I was very busy in that decade.   Pauline Kael, the film critic for the New Yorker during the 1970’s, who is the subject of an entire section of the book, was not someone I knew of during this period and now that I have read about her, it strikes me that I did not miss much.  The book has significant section describing the punk music scene and the porno scene in 1970’s New York.   I have read a few reviews of this book that were highly favorable, I did not particularly like it, did not feel it enhanced my life and did not find it entertaining.

No comments:

Post a Comment