Showing posts from September, 2010

Circe by Madeline Miller (♦♦♦♦)

Granddaughter of Oceanus, daughter of Titan Helios and sea nymph Perseid, Circe was different from the start. While her siblings discovered their unique gifts very early on and gained their independence—either by claiming their inheritance, like Perses and Aëstes, or by marriage to a wealthy demigod, like Pasiphäe—, Circe remained among her family in the halls of the gods. Her love for young fisherman Glaucus changed everything. Circe used a potion to transform Glaucus into a worthy suitor. Glaucus, seeing his station changed, fell in love with one Circe’s cousins, a sea nymph named Scylla. Out of jealousy, Circe put a potion on Scylla’s bath and, unintendedly, transformed her into a monster. Circe’s confession forced Helios to go to see Zeus, for witchcraft is something that gods fear can tip the balance of power. Zeus declared an eternal banishment for Circe from the halls of the gods to the island of Aiaia.

Exile was not easy but, as Circe learned, it had its advantages; being away f…

"Best" Holocaust Movies

Schindler’s List (♦♦♦♦♦)

Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist made rich by using cheap Jewish labor, bought Jews as factory workers during War World II and, with the help of his accountant, spent his entire fortune saving the lives of 1100 of them.
I had to see this film twice to truly appreciate it. I couldn’t comprehend how Schindler went to fraternize with the Nazis and saved Jews on the side…But then it struck me: he wouldn’t have been able to save so many lives if he hadn’t earned the trust of Nazi officers. In my opinion there are three scenes that make the film remarkable: 1) Ralph Fiennes as the Nazi officer practicing his shooting by killing Jews in the concentration camp is heart wrenching. 2) The scene at the end of the war when Schindler realizes that one of his gold buttons, or any other of the properties he kept would have saved more lives; I still feel tearful when I remember that. 3) When all the Jewish descendants of the ones Schindler saved went to his tomb to…

Tom Hanks’ Filmography (Part I)

Tom Hanks started his career acting in comedies with simple plots but with a lot of heart later to focus on more serious roles that made him become an acting powerhouse. I wouldn’t have believed when saw him in those early roles that he had it in him to excel as a superstar. But he did, and big time! His versatility is displayed in war movies, gangster films or romantic comedies alike. Furthermore, he alone can carry a whole motion picture on his shoulders as in Forrest Gump (♦♦♦♦♦) and Cast Away (♦♦♦).

In Angels and Demons (♦♦♦♦), an adaptation of Dan Brown’s first novel, Hanks stars as Robert Langdon, a symbologist expert called by the Vatican authorities to assist in finding the culprits of the kidnapping of four Papabili during the Interregnum, the period between the death of a Pope and the election of a new one. Victoria Vetra, the daughter of a prominent physicist leading experiments to create antimatter, becomes involved in the investigation due to her father’s untimely and gru…

Tom Hanks' Filmography (Part II)

I truly enjoy Tom Hanks in romantic comedies such as The Terminal (♦♦♦♦♦), You’ve Got Mail (♦♦♦♦♦) and Sleepless in Seattle (♦♦♦♦). In You’ve Got Mail, he has the opportunity to team up again with Meg Ryan after Sleepless in Seattle, and with equally delectable result. In Sleepless in Seattle, both Hanks and Ryan were younger and cuter, and the film has the allure of old cinema. In it, Hanks stars as Sam Baldwin, a widower, father to an eight year old son who, worried about his father not being able to move on, calls a radio station to tell his father’s story to a psychologist. Annie Reed (Meg Ryan), a newspaper employee on her way to meeting family for Christmas, hears the conversation on the radio and realizes she has found her soul mate. But uniting these two star crossed lovers won’t be an easy feat considering they live on opposites sides of the continent and that they have never met. You’ve Got Mail is a contemporary look on the power of modern means of communications, namely th…

Emma Thompson's Filmography

Emma Thompson’s performances never go unnoticed. She displays an economy of gestures and just the right show of emotions that say so much sometimes saying nothing at all. I believe she is the female equivalent of Anthony Hopkins. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (♦♦♦♦) and Love Actually (♦♦♦♦♦) are not Emma Thompson’s movies in the absolute sense, but her contribution to both films is duly noticed. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (♦♦♦♦), Thompson stars as the professor of Divination Art, who reads a bad omen, namely the Grim, in Harry Potter’s cup. Potter meets this professor after class, and she gets hold of a spirit and foresees things that will happen in a short time. Love Actually (♦♦♦♦♦), with an all-star cast led by Hugh Grant, is a series of vignettes that portray how all the characters in the movie have fallen in love or show love in any way. I adore this film! It’s hysterical and romantic at the same time…And what better occasion to show all that love than…

Unforgiven (♦♦♦♦)

After two drunken cowboys cut a prostitute’s face in Big Whiskey, Wyoming, the group of prostitutes working at the Billiards Saloon collect all the money they own and offer a handsome reward for whoever kill the guys who disfigured one of their own. Retired assassin William Munny is recruited by a youth to kill those two men and collect the reward. Munny doesn’t commit, but goes to his former partner Ned Logan to offer this last job. Both Munny and Logan find the youth on their way to Big Whiskey and all three decide to split the profits, but soon things get complicated for Little Bill, the town’s sheriff, and his deputies won’t allow anyone to bring firearms into their town. Outstanding performances were delivered by Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman, who won an Oscar for that role. Good musical score too! The script is also brilliant and casts the Old West in an otherworldly light, for sometimes villains have more honor than the men of the law.

Movie: The Agony and The Ecstasy (♦♦♦)

In this motion picture stars Charlton Heston as Michaelangelo Buonaroti, which I think is an excellent choice of actor because he imparts the strength of character that must have been Michaelangelo’s trademark. The first few minutes of the movie occur in a documentary style, describing Michaelangelo’s development as a sculptor rather than a painter. That sets the tone for the start of the movie when already in Rome, after a war campaign to extend the Papal States, Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) commissions Michaelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michaelangelo opposes because he is a sculptor, but the Pope insists and eventually gets his way. In the film’s first hour, Michaelangelo debates whether he should go to Rome to paint the frescoes or go to Turkey to build a bridge. He escapes Rome after destroying the first two saints he has painted on the ceiling, and the Pope sends envoys to bring him back. Running away from the Pope’s envoys, he reaches the summit of a mou…

Movie: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Swedish, 2009 (♦♦♦♦)

Journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently found guilty in a libel case against a powerful financier, is richly commissioned by retired businessman Henrik Vanger to investigate the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, his fifteen year old niece, occurred forty years ago. The teen disappeared during a business summit of the Vanger group, whose members were mostly family. Henrik Vanger has reasons to believe that his niece was murdered and that someone is still playing a sick joke on him. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four year old troubled computer genius, joins the investigation and with her help, Blomkvist breaks the case.
I have read comments of people who say that Lisbeth is a rip-off of Abby from NCIS, but the Lisbeth in the movie is entirely different, a character with Abby’s computer abilities, yes, but also with an inner, complex life of her own.
This movie is not only long, but as graphic as it gets. There are sexual crimes (at least two instances of rape) and violent images of murdered…

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson & Liza Marklund (♦♦♦)

I liked this book, though I was exhausted after I finished it, probably because it is a very easy read and I wanted to know how it ended. It could have been better though…It had a great premise, but it lacked something, though I don’t know what.
In many of Europe’s most important capitals there have been gruesome murders, resembling famous works of art, preceded by postcards sent to relatively unknown journalists in every one of those cities. The suspects are a handsome young man and a beautiful woman. They are likeable, well-off and easily seduce their victims, always young couples on their honeymoon trips. Jacob Kanon, an American detective travels to Europe in search for the killers. He has a very personal interest in their capture, but when Swedish authorities set the suspects free, Jacob will stop at nothing to find them and bring them to justice.