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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…

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

Image
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 Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories by Denis Johnson (♦♦♦♦½)

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The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is a collection of five stories varying in themes, styles, and lengths. Some were naturally more successful than others, but all were of great quality. The ones that resonated with me most were the three last ones, curiously the atmospheric ones with more somber undertones. Without further ado, I give you my impressions.
I. The Largesse of the Sea Maiden The Largesse of the Sea Maiden is an introspective and vividly described collection of ten vignettes, some short, some longer, around a central character who narrates the stories, and whom we get to know in stages. His name is not revealed until the final story. Starting with the first vignette titled Silences, each successive one is connected to the previous one and occasionally to the one after, by an underlying theme however tenuous.
I liked some stories more than others, the longer ones in particular, because they allowed fuller development of the theme explored. Accomplices was insightful and very acco…

Snapshots - #34: Goodbye Christopher Robin, Loving Vincent, Dunkirk

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The movies… Goodbye Christopher Robin (♦♦♦♦): The interactions between writer Alan A. Milne and his young son Christopher Robin give birth to the story of the bear Winnie the Pooh and his cast of friends in the Hundred Acres Wood. But, as the book takes a life of its own, it also impacts the family in ways they could not have foreseen. Goodbye Christopher Robin more or less opens with a minimal showing of war scenes to illustrate that writer A.A. Milne is traumatized after his participation in the First World War. He dreads the buzzing of flies and bees, the sound of popped balloons... In that endeavor, the film is moderately successful, as is portraying Daphne, Milne's wife, as a frivolous woman when she points out that no one wants to hear of what happened during the war, or think about the losses. Goodbye Christopher Robin succeeds best when it is not taking itself too seriously, such as in the moments Daphne (Margot Robbie) channels the voices of Christopher Robin's plush ani…

Top Films of 2017 (Available for Rent Up to December 31, 2017)

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I watched an impressive 65 movies available for rent up to December 31, 2017. Out those 65, I wrote mini-reviews of 27 of them in the feature “Snapshots”, with four more mini-reviews pending—two of them already included here—to be highlighted in two upcoming features. Since I didn’t visit the cinema to watch the releases that typically make it to the awards shows, I compiled this list based on the movies that were available for rent up to year’s end. I’ll update it between the months of May and June of 2018 when all the award season titles will most likely be available for rent. This list follows the order in which I saw the movies. A Dog's Purpose (♦♦♦♦): This family drama is a dog-lover dream came true, but, if my experience is any indication, it will make you cry several times during the viewing. The film has heart, and some sugary moments, not many by the way, but you'll likely adore it, as did I. The Founder (♦♦♦♦): This story on how the McDonald's conglomerate came to b…

My Reading Year 2017 in Retrospect

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This year I managed to read 17 books (8 of them published in 2017; one major award-winner and a 2000-year-old classic), meanwhile juggling quality TV series and the latest movies. Four themes emerged in my reading/TV watching throughout the year. Below are the stats of my 2017 reading year:
Books read: 17 Fiction: 14 Nonfiction: 2DNF: 1Re-reads: 0
Genres: (some of these overlap) Historical Fiction: 6Popular Science/Memoir: 1Classics: 5 Contemporary Literature: 4Thrillers/Espionage: 1 History/Biography: 1Mystery/Suspense: 2

Best book of the year: Best Books I Read in 2017 Favorite cover: Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese Favorite new authors (to me): Josephine Tey; George Saunders Most thrilling (unputdownable): Conclave by Robert Harris Most puzzling ending: Minds of Winter by Ed O'Loughlin (Truth?) is Stranger than Fiction: The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey The juiciest: The Twelve Caesars by Gayo Suetonio (Translated by Robert Graves) Most beautifully written: The Beautiful and Damne…