Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Movie: The Wrestler

This movie features an actor I don't particularly like (Mickey Rourke) and a "sport" I consider abhorrent, wrestling. A former wrestling star, now reduced to performing in low budget venues, tries and fails to reconnect with his long-neglected daughter. Although he realizes that continuing to perform is dangerous, he finds the allure and acclaim of the fans irresistible. Mickey Rourke's performance is as good as people are saying it is, but then, it is the story of his life, isn't it?

My rating: **** (out of 5)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book: "The Story of a Marriage"

This book is about the consequences of misunderstandings between married partners. It also explores the effects of war, sexual repression, and racial relations in 1950's America.

My rating: **** (out of 5)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ski Weekend at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Photos by Dirk. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finished Objects

Pattern: Thorpe
Yarn: Classic Elite Yarns Bazic Wool

Pattern: Clapotis
Yarn: Mountain Colors Merino Ribbon

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book: "The Book of Dahlia"

If a self-centered, pot smoking, overly indulged, marginally employed 29-year old woman gets brain cancer, is it a tragedy? That's the question explored in this caustically humorous novel.

My rating: ***** (out of 5)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On the Needles

Nantucket Jacket, by Nora Gaughan
Yarn: Aurora Karabella 8
Click on photo to get clearer idea of the stitch pattern. The color is much more purple and less blue than the photo indicates.

Thorpe by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Bazic by Classic Elite

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Book: "Netherland"

Hans, a Dutch securities analyst living in New York City, is at loose ends after his wife returns to England with their young son during a rough patch in their marriage. He takes up playing cricket in the outer boroughs with South Asian and West Indian immigrants. He meets Chuck Ramkissoon, a Trinidadian who has a grandiose plan to build a cricket stadium in Brooklyn in order to popularize cricket in the US. However, Chuck's livelihood is based on a less innocent and idealistic enterprise.

This book gives an outsider's view of New York City while exploring the issue of how we view ourselves.

My rating: *** (out of 5)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Movie: Milk

Sean Penn is excellent as Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to a major political office. The depiction of 1970's activism rang true. Milk realized the political importance of coming out as a way to rally heterosexuals to support the civil rights of gays. Once heterosexuals realize that they know and like gay people, they are less willing to tolerate discrimination against them.

My rating: **** (out of 5)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Movie: "Frost/Nixon"

I agree with what several reviewers have said, that although Frank Langella doesn't look like Nixon, he disappears into the role and convinces the viewer that he is Nixon. This movie manages to avoid being a boring talking heads experience and instead is a study in personality and character.

My rating: ***** (out of 5)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Book: "Home," by Marilynne Robinson

The time period of this book is concurrent with Robinson's previous novel, Gilead, and has many of the same characters. However, this book focuses on the Boughton family. Retired Presbyterian minister Robert Boughton is dying. His youngest daughter Glory returns home to care for him, having fled from a romance with a man who has borrowed significant sums of money from her and turns out to have been married. Shortly thereafter Jack Boughton, the prodigal son of the family also returns. Jack and Glory tentatively establish trust with each other. However, Robert Boughton, who wants to forgive Jack for his past shortcomings finds himself unable to do so. Jack, who does not share in his family's faith, tries but fails to reconcile with his father. Underlying all of this is the beginning of the Civil Rights movement, which unbeknownst to Robert Broughton, is relevant to the conflict within his family.

My rating: **** (out of 5)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Movie: "Slumdog Millionaire"

Jamal, from the Mumbai slums, wins big on the program "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire." When the police, suspecting cheating, question him about how he knew the answers, flashbacks from his incredibly grim past reveal the source of his knowledge.

My rating: ***** (out of 5)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

DVD: "Encounters at the End of the World"

Werner Herzog explores Antarctica, its scientists, travel addicted eccentrics, and the weird creatures found beneath the ice. When he films penguins, it's not to show us how endearing they are, but to ask about their sexual peccadilloes and to question whether they ever go mad. The photography is compelling and the music intensifies the eeriness of the landscape.

My rating: **** (out of 5)