Thursday, October 25, 2018

MOVIE - The Bookshop

PG (1:53)
Limited release 8/24/18
Viewed 10/25/18 at Carlisle Downtown Theater with Gunner and Sandy
RT Critic: 54   Audience:  48
Critic's Consensus:  A rare adaptation that sticks too closely to its source material, The Bookshop's meticulously crafted world building gets lost in its meandering pace.
Cag:  1.5  Didn't like it at all
Directed by Isabel Coixet
Greenwich Entertainment

Emily Mortimer, Bill Nighy, Patricia Clarkson

RT/ IMDb Summary:  England, 1959. Free-spirited widow Florence Green (Emily Mortimer) risks everything to open a bookshop in a conservative East Anglian coastal town. While bringing about a surprising cultural awakening through works by Ray Bradbury and Vladimir Nabokov, she earns the polite but ruthless opposition of a local grand dame (Patricia Clarkson) and the support and affection of a reclusive book loving widower (Bill Nighy). As Florence's obstacles amass and bear suspicious signs of a local power struggle, she is forced to ask: is there a place for a bookshop in a town that may not want one? Based on Penelope Fitzgerald's acclaimed novel and directed by Isabel Coixet (Learning to Drive), The Bookshop is an elegant yet incisive rendering of personal resolve, tested in the battle for the soul of a community.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

94. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

read on my iPhone
2018 Berkley
336 pgs.
Adult CRF - Romance
Finished 10/23/2018
Goodreads rating: 4.02 - 26,123 ratings
My rating: 5

First line/s:  "I know you hate surprises, Stella."

My comments:  Read this in one big swallow.  A young woman with Asbergers hires an escort because she knows she is so afraid of sex that she is frigid.  A delightful story, really well written, lots of sex - quite explicit, actually -with two very likable protagonists, Stella and Michael.  You know - you absolutely KNOW - that everything is going to turn out like a fairy tale, which makes it even more fun to read. Got to give this one a five for pure enjoyment!

Goodreads synopsis:  A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.
          Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.
          It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...
          Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic..

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

93. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

read by Julia Whelan
Listened through OverDrive - borrowed from Tucson Library
2018 Random House
334 pgs.
Finished 10/17/18
Goodreads rating:  4.47 - 102,590 ratings
My rating:  4.5
Setting:  contemporary rural Idaho

First line/s:  "I'm standing on the red railway car that stands abandoned next to the barn."

My comments:  Well.  This was quite the memoir.  Totally believable, unlike some of the reviews I read.  Extreme religion, Mormonism, survivalism, bullying, huge families, brainwashing, abuse both physical and mental, conspiracy theories, and all sorts of atrocities that are the "will of god" ..... taking place in Idaho, in the same environs as Ruby Ridge.  Tara Westover escapes, but suffers, trying to rebuild and relearn a life that has harmed her greatly.  Powerful.  Memories relived vividly with the help of journals and journaling.  Read beautifully, a really good story to listen to.

Goodreads synopsis:  An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castleabout a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University
          Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her "head-for-the-hills bag". In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father's junkyard.
          Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara's older brothers became violent.
          Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she'd traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
          Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one's life through new eyes and the will to change it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

MOVIE - Puzzle

R (1:43)
Limited release 7/27/18
Viewed 10/16/18 at Gettysburg Majestic
RT Critic: 83   Audience:  83
Critic's Consensus:  Puzzle transcends its quirky premise with honest emotion -- and Kelly Macdonald, whose nicely understated performance proves she's too often underutilized.
Cag:  4.5
Directed by Marc Turtletaub
Sony Pictures Classic

My comments:  An interesting, thoughtful, very believable movie about good people with good intentions, but with different expectations.  One of those movies that make you think a lot.

RT/ IMDb Summary:  PUZZLE is a closely observed portrait of Agnes, who has reached her early 40s without ever venturing far from home, family or the tight-knit immigrant community in which she was raised by her widowed father. That begins to change in a quietly dramatic fashion when Agnes receives a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday gift and experiences the heady thrill of not only doing something she enjoys, but being very, very good at it.

Monday, October 8, 2018

MOVIE - Venom

PG-13 (1:52)
Wide release 10/5/18
Viewed 10/8/18 in a recliner in Carlisle
RT Critic: 28   Audience:  86
Critic's Consensus:  Venom's first standalone movie turns out to be like the comics character in all the wrong ways - chaotic, noisy, and in desperate need of a stronger attachment to Spider-Man.
Cag:  3.5/4
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Columbia Pictures

Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams

My comments:  Very entertaining.  Tom Hardy was wonderful, I don't think Michelle Williams fit her role at all.  It could've even been a little bit more creepy, actually!  There was a bit of humor, I do love humor in these films. Other than that, no complaints! 

RT/ IMDb Summary:  Investigative journalist Eddie Brock attempts a comeback following a scandal, but accidentally becomes the host of an alien symbiote that gives him a violent super alter-ego: Venom. Soon, he must rely on his newfound powers to protect the world from a shadowy organisation looking for a symbiote of their own.

Monday, October 1, 2018

MOVIE - Smallfoot

PG (1:49)
Wide RELEASE 9/28/18
Viewed 10/1/2018 with Tristan
RT Critic: 75   Audience:  65
Critic's Consensus:  Smallfootoffers a colorful distraction that should keep younger viewers entertained - and a story whose message might even resonate with older audiences.
Cag:  2
Directed by Karey Kirkpatrick
Warner Brothers

Channing Tatum

My comments:  Actually fell asleep, a first....

RT/ IMDb Summary  An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, Smallfoot turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn't exist -- a human. News of this Smallfoot throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in an all new story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.