Saturday, December 7, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
I love to watch Judi Dench in historical British movies. I think I've seen her in one contemporary movie several years ago and she was awesome. She always seems to play a hideously, mean woman! Lol...the role of Philomena Lee is a complete 180 for her. Philomena is a soft-spoken gentlewoman and it was refreshing. I didn't miss that "old meanie" one bit! Ha!
Philomena is based on a true story; the 2009 book called The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. Philomena had a child out of wedlock in 1952 Ireland and was disowned by her very Catholic family. She was sent to a convent for unwed mothers where she gave birth to her son, Anthony. Let me tell you, that place was scary. It felt like a prison. More than one mother and child lost their lives there---and remember, this was a true story---Unbelievable. The mothers were allowed to see their kids for an hour a day. When Anthony was a toddler, about three, he given up for adoption and it wasn't really done with Philomena's consent. That happened to a lot of the mothers there. It was horrible. Imagine bonding with your child for several years and they're suddenly gone. The convent was selling babies to couples in the US.
Philomena eventually moved on with her life, but she never forgot Anthony. She was obsessed with wondering if her son ever thought of her. She eventually met a journalist named Martin Sixspence. He decided to write a "human interest" story about her. The saga ends up with them in the US trying to track down her son.
It's a tearjerker. I heard more than a few sniffles in the theater and shed tears myself. I don't want to give away a major spoiler. I'll just say that Philomena's son became surprisingly accomplished. I'll leave it at that...
I came away from the movie with one important lesson: Mercy. You have to extend mercy if you truly know God. The nuns at that convent showed an amazingly lack of it. And again, it was all true...*sigh*...
Go check out PHILOMENA.
It's worth it.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and liked the movie. I REALLY loved Catching Fire---both book and movie! When I was reading it, I couldn't wait to see how they were going to adapt it for the big screen. I'm happy to say I was not disappointed.
This second installment of the Hunger Games saga is so much richer and deeper. The characters displayed a real depth of emotion about death and dying; about the destruction of people by their government...It really makes one think about what could happen in the world when people are powerless.
I always like the Peeta character in the novel, but wasn't too keen on the selection of Josh Hutcherson as the actor to play him. I think he kicked it up several notches this time around, so I liked him a lot more, but I still couldn't stop focusing on how short he is compared to Katniss and pretty much everyone else in the film! Lol...
In the book, Finnick Odair, one of the competitors in the Games is described as having "extraordinary beauty", so I was looking forward to seeing an awesome hottie...didn't quite happen...lol...the fellow chosen was nice looking (see fellow below on the right), but far from extraordinary or swoon-worthy. He did start to look better the longer the film went on...lol...They probably didn't want the guy to overshadow Peeta or Gale! At least they showed more of Gale this time!
Catching Fire will totally leave you "hungering" for Mockingjay. I still have to read it! I haven't read the reviews of the book, but it's my understanding that some people were disappointed with the conclusion to the saga...uh oh...well, I 'll find out soon enough. In the mean time, go see Catching Fire. It's good---real good!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Friday, November 22, 2013
The congress has also changed filibuster rules so that the minority party--whoever they may be--will have less power and ability to affect issues. Not a good thing. After all, the minority party represent people too.
Now people don't have to enroll in the health care plan until after the midterm congressional elections. Now why do you think that is? Could it be that if people saw what the insurance plans consist of, they'd reject them and the congressman that voted this into law? Are people really that ignorant that they don't grasp this? Apparently the government seems to think so. Boy, I hope they're wrong.
When changes happen slowly and in small measures people don't notice. It's called incrementalism. By the time they realize something is wrong (like with the recent health insurance changes), it may be too late and they find out they don't have as much choice or control over their lives.
Pray, people. Pray and ask the Lord to open the eyes of your understanding. It may take time, but I believe dark days are ahead. Pray to survive them.
Posted by June G at 8:57 PM
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Your Writing Sanctuary and/or Shack
by Bryan Cohen
I sat on the blacktop of my dorm's basketball court, surrounded by construction noise when I realized that I could write anywhere. I don't know what it was I was scrawling on a piece of looseleaf that day, as my fellow classmates looked at me like I was crazy, but the machines were doing their work and so was I. That was over a decade ago, and yet it was one of the most important lessons I ever internalized. I didn't write my first book in an office. I wrote it in other peoples' offices during temp jobs. I put together some of it in my "economy studio" in which my office was the same room as my kitchen and my bedroom. I later put the finishing touches on the book on top of a luxurious $100 table my wife and I bought from Target. My writing time was inconsistent and erratic but I got it done wherever I could.
I think some writers put too much emphasis on finding their writing sanctuary: the perfect place to make their novel or non-fiction a reality. There's some merit to locating a place where you feel less distracted and blocked. I wrote part of my first book on an inherited queen size bed I later had to toss out because of bed bugs. I wrote my latest half in my office and half in my favorite, quiet, gluten-free pastry shop. Finding the right locations for writing made an impact, but the major difference between my first and latest book is me.
I grew from writing in all those different places. I improved by putting in more time and absorbing the different energies around me as I wrote. I think I needed to write in that tiny studio with the giant window that let out nearly all of my radiator heat during the Chicago winter. I had to reinforce the knowledge that writing could take place anywhere and under any condition. I still get writers block, like any other writer, but I've learned the lesson that I can find my writing sanitary or shack anywhere. Am I out of inspiration in my office? It's time to go to the coffee shop! Coffee shop too crowded? I'll try taking a trip to the edge of Lake Michigan. Or the back seat of my wife's parked car. Or even a bench located underneath the growling Chicago Transit Authority elevated train tracks.
If you can make your hallowed writing ground anywhere, there's no such thing as writers block. The next 500 words may be right around the corner. All you need to do is move.
About the Author
In honor of his new book, Cohen is hosting the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars" Writing Contest on his website. Click the link to find out how to enter!
Bryan Cohen is an author, a creativity coach and an actor. His new book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is now available on Amazon in digital and paperback format. His other books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, and Ted Saves the World. He has published over 30 books, which have sold more than 20,000 copies in total. Connect with him on his website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, on Facebook or on Twitter.
My sincere thanks to Bryan for his words of wisdom and offering such a generous opportunity to enrich writers and readers.
Monday, November 11, 2013
The entire movie is a one man show of how Redford struggles to survive as his boat takes on water. It kind of reminded me of The Life of Pi, but that had a lot of other actors in it. This one only had Redford. Essentially there was no dialogue either, unless you count a few shouts for "help", an expletive and a few words spoken into a radio that quickly goes dead.
You know, I would have thought that if you're on a boat in the ocean and need to be rescued, if a ship passes by, you're in like flyn. Not so fast. A big ship won't even see you. Shocking but true. If there is no one looking out at just the right moment, they'll pass right by you! They won't even hear your screams. So close, but yet so far...
Redford was pretty amazing. He had no one to play off of except the elements and the dire circumstances of the environment. I didn't know if I could stand spending almost two hours watching one guy who doesn't talk, go about his day trying to stay alive, but it does draw you in. I did get caught up in how he was going to make it--or not.
As the movie ended, a woman in the theater told me she didn't think he made it. She made an interesting argument which I hadn't considered and it made me question my original thoughts. I won't go into detail because I don't want to ruin the film with any spoilers. After all, the hold-your-breath-moment is whether he's going to make it out alive or not.
You decide. Then tell me what you believe!
Thursday, November 7, 2013
You see, part of this problem is what happens when you don't respect money; when money seems to come from a infinite black hole, a bottomless pit. That's why government is so unconcerned and wasteful. They take money AKA revenue from other people. If they don't have enough or screw up, they just take more. The people are a faceless mass. There's no name or intimate knowledge of the people behind those dollars. They're just social security numbers. Pull up the number and exact more dollars when you need it. Or, you could always borrow and/or print it into the trillions.
To be continued...
Posted by June G at 7:44 PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Can you imagine? This is where your tax dollars are spent. They paid millions to a company that did such a crummy job building a health web site for Canada, that Canada fired them. And what's the company's reward? "Hey, you! Come to the US of A and do what you seem to do best (mess up!) here." Um hum. Makes a lot of sense--not!
People in this country seem so oblivious. They're more interested in their mobile phones, computers and reality TV shows than what the people they elect to office are doing to their lives. I'm afraid that by the time they wake up, it'll be too late. Measures will be in place that will bring them under the control of those with less than benign motives. Think it can't happen here? Think again. They're are a lot of changes taking place you couldn't even imagine just a few years ago. Anything is possible.
If you're a believer, pray. And if you're not, pray to become one. Become what? A believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as savior. He is a help in your time of need. Of course this is just a suggestion and you're free to believe what you want. I'm not like your elected officials. I won't force you to take what you don't want or feel you don't need.
It's getting scary out there...and it's later than you think.
To be continued...
Posted by June G at 8:56 PM
Monday, November 4, 2013
“Nearly every creature who lives here was once loved by a child of Earth, and loved the child in return. That bond was so strong that when the animals died, they woke up here in Sylver to live a second life.”
This quote so aptly captures the magical wonder of The Twistrose Key, the debut novel by Tone Almhiell. If you’ve ever loved a pet that has passed on, and are willing to partake of more than a little adventure, this jewel of a story will capture your heart and your imagination.
Eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist discovers a mysterious key when an unexpected parcel arrives to her home. She immediately connects with it and wouldn’t you know it, it opens the door of the cellar that’s been locked ever since her family moved into their rented home.
Hidden behind that cellar door lies Sylver, a world that is more amazing than even the creative mind of Lin Rosenquist can dream up. And what makes it the most amazing of all, is the discovery that her beloved Rufus is there. He’s the pet she lost in death and lies buried under the rosebush in the yard…or so Lin thought!
Now Rufus and Lin must join forces to save the inhabitants of Sylver, but saying it won’t be easy is an understatement. Malicious forces are doing everything in their power to see that they don’t succeed. Can Lin fulfill her destiny and conquer the evil that threatens to overwhelm her, dearest Rufus and her new compatriots? You’ll have to enter the majestic, magical world of Sylver to find out.
And a magical world it truly is. The author exhibits a rich and fertile imagination, an ability to enchant both young and old. Age is no impediment to enjoying this story. The tale is as crisp and zesty as the cold and crystalline environ in which it is set. Readers should take their time and read with care to fully grasp and decipher the fresh mythology of the land of Sylver. It’ll leave you gasping, laughing and maybe shedding a tear or two.
Having lost two of my beloved girls, Boozie and Sweetie, I especially loved the premise behind this story. I don't know if the author has ever suffered through the death of a pet, but it was like she was in my head and knew how much one longs to see them again...and then she did something about it! It struck just the right note...*sigh*
Sunday, October 27, 2013
For those who don't keep up with the news or forgot, the story behind the movie is about when Captain Philips and his crew were accosted by pirates from Somalia and taken captive in the hopes of scoring a big ransom. These renegade pirates were in the news a lot a few years ago for taking big ships hostage and demanding payment from the country where the ship is based in order to get the crew back safe and sound. Countries paid up and these crooks made millions! I believe Captain Phillips and crew were the only Americans to fall into this situation.
The movie is based on the book Captain Phillips penned about what happened. Before seeing the movie I read a review that said this movie has major tension. Truer words were never spoken. I'm telling you, I could barely stand it! I was exhausted and I hadn't moved a muscle! LOL!!! I couldn't wait for the movie to be over because I couldn't stand not knowing what was going to happen next. How much hell is Captain Phillips going to have to endure? Will the crew be found in their hiding spots?! Which one will lose his life? How? The captain and crew don't carry weapons because they're not a war ship, they just transport cargo. They were at the complete mercy of the pirates. It was terrible! It was freaking AWESOME. I see Oscar nomination for Tom Hanks again.
This is the first movie I actually joined the audience in applauding.
OMG. Don't miss this one...if you dare! LOL!!!
Toodles, ya'll! *wiping sweat from brow* Lol
Thursday, October 3, 2013
There's a cool little movie theater near me that shows movies that are kind of artsy-craftsy and off the beaten track. I can usually predict which films are going to be shown there. They're not the big blockbusters, but have a "boutique" sensibility. A lot of elderly Jewish people patronize it. I joke that I'm often one of the youngest people in the theater. I join the old folks during the matinee, so I can pay the cheapie price. There have been some really good Israeli films there. This place is vintage and may have been built in the 30's or something. I really need to investigate it. I love this theater! When I saw Salinger, the documentary was playing there, I went over to check it out.
The previews alluded to Salinger being a big mystery man and I wanted to know the deal. I read Catcher in the Rye when I was in high school, but don't remember a lot about it.
I really enjoyed this movie. What I appreciated about Salinger was his disdain for fame. In the world today, where so many people want their 15 minutes of attention, Salinger could care less! I love that. Authors today have to immerse themselves in so much social media and sometimes arrange there own signings and book tours, or at least they are highly encouraged to do so. Here's Salinger, a phenomenal talent, and he just wants to write his stories and live his life---undisturbed! He yelled at one fan, "Look. I'm a fiction writer, not a therapist!" LOL!!!
It was fascinating to see people's reaction to him. Fan's trying to track him down, the women he hooked up with....Did you know he had a thing for young girls? I mean really young. Like he's thirty and the girl is fourteen! He was married three times I think and one of them was an au pair of an acquaintance. He hooked up with a nineteen year old when he was in his fifties I believe. They moved in together, but he cut her off cold when she wanted children. He already had a 12 yr old son and a teen daughter and said he couldn't be bothered with that stuff any more...Lol...
I didn't know he was in WW2. He married a Nazi and brought her home to the US to his Jewish family. Let's just say that didn't go over too well and the marriage didn't last long! Crazy!
The film made me very interested in reading Catcher in the Rye again as well as some of his short stories that I wasn't familiar with. I ordered them from Amazon and await their arrival.
This documentary is pretty entertaining and enlightening. It's worth a look during a quiet and reflective evening.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
I read a review in the paper that spoke very highly of the movie, PRISONERS, so I decided to check it out. It stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. I've never watched a film with Jackman in it. I do believe he has a new fan. Boy, was I impressed with him in this film. And not only him. The entire cast was awesome. The film was awesome! This was one review that didn't exaggerate.
It's about the saga of two families. One white, one black. They're good friends and spend Thanksgiving together. But, the fun doesn't last long. The two young daughters from both families go outside to play.
And all hell breaks loose.
Hugh Jackman's character loses it. He's the father of one of the missing girls and this man means business. He's going to find his daughter by any means necessary...and I mean by any means! The other dad, played by Terrance Howard of The Butler, is pulled along for the ride...whether he thinks the means of accomplishing the goal is legal or moral.
That's one of the major themes of this film. What would you do for the love of a child? How far are you willing to go?
And what if you're wrong?
This movie was exactly two hours and thirty minutes. It's lengthy, but not a moment is wasted. It's almost agonizing, waiting to find out what happened to the girls. I heard several folks crying in the theater.
As a therapist, I often see the dark side of people. This film goes there and doesn't pull any punches.
You think you know people.
There are people who do things for the sheer evil joy of it. You may know people like this and not even be aware of it. Yes. It is scary.
I could tell people were kind of thrown by the ending. A number of folks, including myself, stayed until the last credit to see if there was going to be a surprise scene or something. If you see the film, you'll know why.
You can't go wrong seeing PRISONERS. It deserves serious Oscar buzz in my humble opinion. If you see it, enjoy!!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Mari Mancusi takes on one of the less common creatures in young adult sagas: the dragon, and goes on a rip-roaring tear with it.
After a family tragedy, it’s just sixteen-year-old Trinity and her grandfather trying to hold it together and they’re hanging on by a thread. Grandpa is sure life is about to change when he finds what he believes to be a rare dinosaur egg, but it just leaves Trinity rolling her eyes. She’s accustomed to her grandfather’s eccentric ways. He’s right about one thing, though. Life is about to change, but in ways neither he nor Trinity could ever imagine. It all starts when Trinity hears voices in her head. Is she turning into her mother or is it coming from that egg? Two brothers from the future have their opinions about the matter and they’re diametrically opposed. Trinity finds herself right in the middle—with a dragon by her side. The only thing any of them is sure of is destruction, of man or dragon, unless someone figures out what to do. And time is running out.
Scorched has clearly infused some of the elements from The Terminator movie and made it it’s own. In case you think you’re imagining it, one of the brothers is named Conner and our protagonist, Trinity, makes reference to the movie several chapters in. Instead of this coming off as a warmed-over rehash, it feels like a cool insider joke. The author has carried you along to that point, eliciting flash points of familiarity. When Trinity casts that thought—something those familiar with the film may be thinking—it makes for a hearty and well-earned confirmation.
Scorched is an excellent example of how one can take a known pop cultural moment, gain inspiration from it and use it to weave a new work into something fresh and different. This novel doesn’t let you put it down for long. The crescendo builds as a consistent thread, pulling the reader along. You have to know what happens! Are one of the brothers lying? If so, which one? Why? Will Trinity regret trusting either of them and will it cost her the ultimate: her life and that of those she loves? You have to keep reading to find out.
This tale ends with a solid conclusion, but it’s clear the story is not over. Wherever it goes, if Scorched is any indication, Ms. Mancusi is sure to keep the excitement and the questions coming.
Scorched released September 3, 2013 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Monday, September 2, 2013
For the few people in the world such as myself, that didn't have a clue as to what The Immortal Instruments is about, let me give you a quick rundown.
My friend, Pattie. of Books, Thoughts and a Few Adventures, told me The Immortal Instruments received some pretty sucky reviews. I was kind of surprised because the previews looked pretty interesting. Well, I've been influenced by reviews in the past and decided not to see some movies. Not this time. I had to know for myself. I'm glad I did.
I had such a good time! It's not perfect, but The Immortal Instruments is certainly entertaining. It made me interested in getting started on reading the books. I really need to do that because I got a little confused about some of the plot points in the movie. The Valentine character is on a quest to find the "eternal cup", but I'm not really sure why or what he plans to to with it. He did talk about it, but I missed some of what he said. There's a guy who was kind of in the role of Clary's guardian, but I'm sure there's more to him as well. I think some of my confusion is because there is so much going on in this movie. To say it's action-packed is an understatement. It was action turbo-charged!
Some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy, but there were laugh-out-loud moments too. I cracked up watching Clary's mother in a fight scene. Let's just say, that woman put a hurtin' on those guys! LOL!!! The Jace character was cute and the focus of Clary's affection. Her best-friend-wanna-be-more, Simon, was good looking too, but in a geekier kind of way. I could tell they had his character wear glasses to take the edge off his cute looks and give the upper hand to Jace.
The film kind of had a Harry Potter feel to it. Maybe it was the magical elements and the scenery. The imagery and set was dark, lush and very rich. The Valentine character reminded me of Valdomort.
All in all, I truly enjoyed this movie. I've heard that those who read the book were disappointed with some changes. See. That's the value of seeing the movie first. I don't have a clue as to what's been changed or left out. I don't have an image of the characters in my head. I either like the movie for itself or I don't. In this case, I really liked it and can't wait to see the next installment!
Friday, August 16, 2013
You may not realize it, dear reader, but a major book store has a lot of influence on a book's cover. If they don't like it, they can refuse to carry the book. That's a huge motivator to get a cover they're more comfortable with.
In this case, I think they're wrong. That's just my humble opinion of course. I'm looking at it from the simple position as a reader. STAINED is greatly influenced by Cheryl's personal experience with abuse. (Search for Cheryl's interview on this blog.) It's about a teen's experience when she is kidnapped and abused by her captor--both sexually and emotionally. Although Cheryl wrote her novel before recent events in the news, it's a ripped from the headlines echo of the crazy story of the man who kidnapped those four girls and held them captive for a decade.
B&N felt the original cover was too graphic. Really? The girl is shown being held captive. You totally know what this tale is about immediately. With the recent kidnapping revelations, it's an immediate draw. It's not like the cover model is showing her nude body. I think they're playing it too safe. Like I said, I know it would definitely catch my attention on the shelf, but I'm not a publishing professional, just a humble reader.
In any case, add it to your reading list. It releases October 1, 2013.
What do you think? Which cover do you like best?
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
I learned of this book from a feature in the newspaper. As a cat lover, I was immediately fascinated! A Street Cat Named Bob is about an awesome cat that lives with his owner, James, in London. James was a down-on-his-luck, hopeless drug addict until he met Bob. James was homeless and played his guitar for money. At the time, Bob was a mess too. He was terribly flea infested and ill. James used what little money he had to get Bob treated and brought him along as he played his guitar on the streets of London. Life began to change---for both of them!
People were very interested in Bob. Look at that face! Wouldn't you be?! They began to give James more money and he was encouraged to better his life---for himself and for Bob. A publishing professional passed by and the rest is history! James and Bob got a book deal and A Street Cat Named Bob was published in the UK. It's now in the US and I can't wait to read it!
I LOVE CATS!! Did I say that before?!? Lol...
A Street Cat Named Bob released July 30, 2013 by Thomas Dunne Books
Get your cat on, ya'll!!