Category Archives: Rant and Rave

7*; The Operative (2019)

Particulars:
-Foreign film scores well …
-… as usual

Intrigue and relationships are sufficient to recommend this film to people who like to engage. There’s action enough, but that’s not the reason I would pick to watch this, or most, movies. Story strength is important, and you will find it here.

Diane Kruger is the lead as Rachel. I’m not familiar with her film work , which dates at least to 2002. She conveys “I’m-a-real-person,” which is more satisfying than the caricatures often emanating from the silver screen. Leave the latter to her spy-ring handler.

Continue reading 7*; The Operative (2019)

7*; Pariah: …Sonny Liston (2019)

Particulars:
-Showtime Network
-Documentary or tragedy?

You may not like them, but sometimes you need a doc. This might be that time and that documentary. If you crave information and intrigue, or pugilism and pugnacity, engross yourself for ninety minutes.

Information: Liston was famous, so I’ve heard. I briefly caught the force of heavyweight boxing only in the days of Clay, Ali, Frazier, and Foreman, after Sonny’s time at the top, which now I know.

Intrigue: What better setting than Las Vegas for an infamous death? Was he done in? Who done it? Writer Shaun Assael did not need central casting to compose a character list in Sin City.

Continue reading 7*; Pariah: …Sonny Liston (2019)

8*; Hampstead (2017)

Particulars:
A British Hermit not named Herman
Brendan Gleeson brings glee, son!

Diane Keaton will command any blurb for this film. She does not overact her role. In so (not?) doing she allows the brilliance of actor Brendan Gleeson to shine throughout an effort of solid storytelling.

Get to know Mr. Gleeson. Often unassuming, he acts without flash but with flair for character portrayal in manner and skill I compare to Gene Hackman.
Continue reading 8*; Hampstead (2017)

3*; Closer (2004)

Particulars:
The cast has name recognition.
The film is discomforting.

My previous movie commentary (Yesterday) said, “The acting is good and the casting fantastic.” This film in no way compels that same statement. The cast did not fit; the directing did not impress.

Natalie Portman a stripper? It’s not the “height” of her skills, so to speak. Julia Roberts incessantly wavering? She is often great playing a focused character. Jude Law as the unhinged author? He triumphantly carried this style forward to portray Thomas Wolfe in Genius (2016), but here it was uneven. Clive Owen being a weird dermatologist? He got “under my skin” like the rest of them. Continue reading 3*; Closer (2004)

7*; Yesterday (2019)

Particulars:
The Beatles are scratched from memory
One man works to remember and perform

Creative storytelling! It’s rare that Hollywood would bring a tale to the screen without ridiculous embellishment of chase scenes, gratuitous sex, and off-topic distracting diversions.

Oh! This isn’t a Hollywood flick? Of course, it’s too good for that. Thank you Danny Boyle (Director). By the way, it isn’t epic. But it is original, quippy, and delightful.

There’s a twist near the end that one couldn’t see coming. There are two in the middle that are perfectly positioned. The acting is good and the casting fantastic. Continue reading 7*; Yesterday (2019)

“Leonardo …” -Zip Reads

Leonardo da Vinci -Summary of Isaacson

  • DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

Full book title: Summary & Analysis of Leonardo da Vinci
– A Guide to the Book by Walter Isaacson

Let’s get this point straight: Leonardo da Vinci is “Leonardo.” I learned this important distinction, and took further interest, when traveling to Rome in 2019, arriving for a six-night stay on precisely the 500th anniversary of his May 2, 1519 passing.

I elicited a dark stare by telling a local guide that I was interested in learning about “da Vinci.” A sad, despondent, “Let me explain” shake of the head preceded the reply that I likely meant “Leonardo,” not “da Vinci.”

For why would I express a desire to hear of a small distant town? Surely I wanted to hear about a man, not a place, and his name is “Leonardo,” of (“da”) the place named “Vinci.” The inquiry continues:
Continue reading “Leonardo …” -Zip Reads

“Tenth-Floor Clinic”

Stories from the Tenth-Floor Clinic -by Marianna Crane

  • a DougInNC book review

If one wishes to explore a new world, let author Marianna Crane take you there. Hers is not a galaxy; not a fantasy; not the whereabouts of witches and warlocks. In Chicago exists a universe far, far away from your reality.

The reader will be mystified and startled to discover an assortment of genuine human beings in sub-standard housing clinging to life, unseen but in full view of the broadest shoulders in the American Midwest.
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“Forgetfulness”

Forgetfulness -by Francis O’Gorman

  • a DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

This reader’s summary, is definitely far “more than a review.” You’ll find far more length and far more analysis than even my usual missives on books. Please settle in for an extended ride.

For this book I endeavor to capture chapters 1 to 4. This could free another reader to delve directly into the concluding chapters 5 and 6. Those latter two units have greater philosophical focus and provide ingredients for critical thinking about the implications of Forgetfulness.

My decision to take this approach was an outgrowth of (1) gifting the book to a distant friend having only perused reviews, (2) feeling I should read it myself to be fair to the friend, (3) finding the writing at the outset to be a challenging compilation, (4) hoping to encourage my friend’s pursuit, and (5) seeking a better position to discuss the thoughts of O’Gorman when meeting my fellow reader.

This blog post will recount the essence of those first four chapters. It is therein that the author develops background and constructs his position.

Three parts follow:

Part I. A description of the book, in the author’s words.
Part II. A summary of key subject matter.
Part III. Review observations on selected topics from Parts I and II.

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“Tomorrow’s Bread”

Tomorrow’s Bread -by Anna Jean Mayhew

  • a DougInNC book report
  • “More than a Review”

This is a writer that a writer can appreciate. Anna Jean Mayhew worked eighteen long years to grow her first book, “The Dry Grass of August.” In four years she delivered “Tomorrow’s Bread.”

Another striving author will surely recognize the perseverance and achievement in these endeavors.

Mayhew builds a story from her experiences living in Charlotte, NC, from her late-found interest in one area of the city, and from her research. She adds to the mix by speaking to experts on some elements in this book.

Another writer comprehends all the ingredients in the stew. The reader finds the completed picture in the cookbook takes quite some time to realize from the author’s descriptive pages.
Continue reading “Tomorrow’s Bread”