Showing posts from July, 2013

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

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 English Girl by Daniel Silva (♦♦♦♦)

A young English woman named Madeline Hart disappears from her vacation in Corsica supposedly kidnapped by low Marseilles’ criminals. The demand –left at the door of the British prime minister’s press secretary--is simple: seven days or the girl dies. With such short time, the young British prime minister, counseled by his powerful and Macchiavellian chief of staff, phones Graham Seymour, MI5’s deputy director, for a personal chat.
On behalf of the PM –and unbeknownst to him--, Graham travels to Israel to meet Gabriel Allon to request as a personal favor that he takes the case and finds the woman. Madeline, a rising star in Britain’s ruling party, had been right until her disappearance the mistress of the prime minister.
With no other trails to follow, Gabriel starts his investigation in Corsica. Accompanied by old nemesis Christopher Keller and backed by Keller’s employer Don Orsati, Gabriel finds his first clues in the low life who spirited Madeline away from Corsica in his high speed …

Darkness, My Old Friend by Lisa Unger (♦♦♦♦½)

Teenager Willow Graves has recently moved to small New England town The Hollows from New York City accompanied by her bestselling-novelist mother Bethany. Willow is unhappy in The Hollows and is seeing a psychologist due to her anger issues.
One afternoon, in which Willow is feeling particularly vulnerable after a joke gone wrong in class, she cuts her next class and flees school. Taking a shortcut through the woods, Willow hears a thumping noise and against good judgment gets close, finding an enormous man digging a hole in the ground. Scared that she has witnessed someone burying a body, she runs, but loses her cell phone in the process, which is recovered by the digger.
Bethany and Willow later receive a call from the stranger in the woods, wanting to return Willow’s phone. The man’s name is Michael Holt, and he tells Bethany, half joking, half serious, that he was actually disinterring a body, and he tells her a legend surrounding the iron mines below the Hollows Woods.
Soon people i…

Heartbroken by Lisa Unger (♦♦♦♦)

Elderly matriarch Birdie Burke came from old money. She grew up going every summer to vacation on an island, in the middle of an Adirondack lake, nicknamed Heart Island after her family’s last name. Birdie’s siblings grew up resentful and wary of one another and when their parents died, after a bitter battle for the inheritance, Birdie kept Heart Island, which was the place she loved most in the world.
Birdie was an angry woman. Not only she was jealous of her parents’ affections for her siblings, but she also overpowered her husband and children in hurtful ways. Her tongue was like a sword. No wonder for the latest summer vacation her son Theodore didn’t want to visit the island. Kate, on the other hand, never said no to her mother’s request so she was always her victim, until now.
Kate has been planning a family trip to Heart Island, as every summer. Because of work, her husband Sean can’t travel with Kate, her daughter Chelsea, and Lulu—Chelsea’s friend—to upstate NY. Sean stays behi…

Dear John (♦♦♦♦)

Former troublemaker--now a sergeant in U.S. Special Forces--John Tyree (Channing Tatum), is on two weeks leave from the army in the North Carolina coast. Quite by chance, John meets college student and do-gooder Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried), and after a few dates they fall heavily in love. But when the two weeks are up John must go back to his mission and by then the summer is over, so Savannah must return to college.
Over the following year John and Savannah exchange letters while he is on humanitarian missions all over the world, but right when his tour is about to end 9/11 happens and changes the course of their lives for John re-enlists, while Savannah gets to worry about him.
During his tour in Iraq, John receives a letter from Savannah breaking up their relationship because she’s gotten engaged to someone else and John decides to make a career in the army even after he gets shot in the battlefront.
When I watched The Vow, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, I didn’t th…