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Showing posts from August, 2012

Snapshots - #35: Marshall, American Made, The Glass Castle

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The movies…
Marshall (♦♦♦♦): Black lawyer Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) is entrusted by the NCAAP to defend a black chauffeur (Sterling K. Brown) in Greenwich, CT, who has been accused of rape by his white employer. As Marshall is not allowed by the judge as legal counsel because he doesn't hold a CT license, he engages, reluctantly on both sides, the service of Jewish insurance lawyer Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), whom, with Marshall's help, will have to acquire criminal defense experience in a matter of months. But as the case is tried in court, it becomes evident that it is anything but cut and dry. Powerfully acted by Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, and Sterling K. Brown in the leading roles, Marshall treads a fine line between inspiring legal thriller and drama. On both counts it delivers in spades. Based on a true story, with race and bigotry fueling public opinion, before the apogee of the Civil Rights Movement, this accused black man is doomed from the start. A full century…

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (♦♦♦♦½)

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Hector Bowen, a.k.a. Prospero the Enchanter, is a well known magician who has a prodigy daughter named Celia. When Prospero discovers that Celia’s illusionist skills are beyond her years, he begins to train her for a challenge that will forever alter her life.

Mr. A.H., a.k.a. Alexander, used to be Prospero’s teacher, but when Prospero challenged Alexander’s theories and views, a perpetual duel began. Henceforth, Prospero and Alexander kept training students for the fight of their lives, only the rules of the game were never properly disclosed. When Prospero puts forth his daughter Celia as a contender for the latest challenge, Alexander searches for his own candidate. Enters Marco, a nine year old boy who has grown up in an orphanage and is glad to see the world for a change.

Years go by and Celia and Marco are trained constantly with unorthodox methods, each one without ever meeting the other; that changes with the genesis of a unique circus called Le Cirque des Réves or Circus of …

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva (♦♦♦♦½)

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Retired Israeli spy Gabriel Allon is spending time in the Vatican restoring a Caravaggio’s painting, but when the body of a Vatican curator is discovered one morning in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Luigi Donati, Pope Paul VII’s private secretary, secretly asks Gabriel to conduct a private investigation for Donati’s eyes only. Gabriel reluctantly accepts, convinced that the death of the woman is not a suicide but a murder; her broken neck, a missing piece of jewelry and her apparently deliberate barefoot-ness tell him so.

When Gabriel begins to dig deeper, he discovers that the late curator had been calling a phone number outside Rome and he visits the house, only to find the owner has met an untimely, gruesome demise. Enters General Ferrari, an Italian policeman in charge of the Art Theft division, who tells Gabriel the story of the dead man’s true occupation: a capo zona of tombaroli, tombs robbers who deal with valuable antiquities.

When General Ferrari suggests that Gabriel have a talk…