Showing posts from November, 2013

Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

Jobs (♦♦♦♦)

In 1977, Steve Jobs together with Steve Wozniak launched the first Apple computer to the market. As the company grew, so did Apple’s problems since Steve’s ego managed to alienate his former contributors and his new employees. As his dreams of making Apple stand out from the competition, Steve began to see his role in the company he founded diminished until he was voted off from it by the Board of Directors. After several years and many corporate woes, Steve Jobs was brought back to the company he founded to steer it in the right direction.
Jobs lets the human being behind Steve Jobs, the Apple founder, shine, and we get to see creativity and a genius in the making. His irreverence was both annoying and endearing. Rather than finding the man disagreeable, I found him blunt, and his brain possibly beyond the wavelength of the normal, square box thinker. Jobs did justice to an original thinker who proved that it’s not by making things better but by doing them differently that we ultimate…

Blackfish (♦♦♦♦½)

Blackfish is a documentary, part exposé, part eye-opener about the incredibly lucrative industry of Seaworld parks. Half emotional journey and half business-like, Blackfish presents interviews with former Seaworld trainers who admitted having been part of a culture that misleads the public repeating factoids surrounding orcas such as how most male orcas develop collapsed fins even in the wild and how orcas live for 25-35 years when in reality male orcas can live up to sixty years in the wild while females are known to live up to 100 years.
Blackfish explores the beginnings of Tillikum as a bullied young calf separated from his mother and put in a dingy pool about 20x30 feet with two dominant females in a sea park in Canada, until Tillikum as a young adult kills a trainer for the first time and his subsequent transfer to Seaworld as a breeding bull, where he was kept in more isolation and with little stimulus.
The counterpart to Tillikum and other orcas' incidents involving animal tr…

Rebelión en la Granja (Animal Farm) by George Orwell (♦♦♦♦½)

In Farm Manor, Mr. Jones’ farm, the animals, discontent with the treatment they receive from the humans, rebel and rid the farm from them. But what starts as a dream of equality and prosperity for all animals, devolves into a system where the smartest and the fiercest—pigs and dogs—rule and impose their wills. Years go by and the oldest animals no longer remember if their lives were better before or after the rebellion; meanwhile the pigs become the mere enemies they meant to defeat.
When I first heard of Animal Farm, it was a banned book. My father borrowed it secretly from a friend, and I lent it to a friend in similar fashion. I didn’t read it until many years later when living in the U.S. I could freely buy a copy and I suddenly understood why the book was banned. I’ve read Animal Farm again and again over the years and I find it poignant, bittersweet, right on target and just plain genius. I wish I could write that way!
At first glance Animal Farm is just a fable describing how “ab…

Eye of The Needle by Ken Follett (♦♦♦♦)

It's 1944 and the Allies are putting the last touches on the invasion of France via Normandy. The Allies have orchestrated a massive deception with a faux army to fool Hitler and his generals when reconnoitering from the air. The deception seems to be working until a ruthless German assassin and spy code-named The Needle obtains photographic evidence of the Allies' plans and travels through England and Scotland to rendezvous with a U-boat in the midst of the North Sea.
Heavy on The Needle's scent are well known scholar Percival Godliman and Frederick Bloggs-- formerly with Scotland Yard-- now with military intelligence. Thanks to the spy's crimes, Godliman and Bloggs are able to chase him all the way to Scotland. Little do they know that it'll be up to the inhabitants of a small island in the middle of nowhere to stand their ground and defend England and the Allies' secrets if they're to win the war.
Eye of The Needle is pulse pounding suspense. In the first…