Saturday, October 14, 2017

Children's Book Review: Disney's the Haunted House Party

This little book features Donald Duck.  Donald is my favorite Mouseketeer character.  He is invited to a costume party at a haunted house, but Daisy is going with a different duck.  So Huey, Dewey and Louie agree to create some peril so Donald can show himself a hero.  First they come as bats, and Daisy's date runs and hides.  Donald saves the day.  Of course he knows it is his nephews.  then a ghost appears, and Donald again saves the day, and again it is his nephews, but this time Donald didn't know it was them.  He thought they were going to do just one prank.  Fun book if you like the Mouseketeer characters.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Harrison Ford: List of Movies

When it comes to Harrison Ford I like him, and so I give his movies lots of stars.  But so do lots of people because he has been in most of the highest grossing movies.  This list is not complete but will be growing.

***** Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983) Everyone's favorite with action of many different levels

***** Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) The first Star Wars produced

****^ Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) In which Han Solo is frozen

****^  Ender's Game (2013) Plays a grouchy Colonel

**** The Age of Adaline (2015) Portrays the past love, and father of the current love os a woman who doesn't age

**** Sabrina  (1995) A very good remake

****  The Fugitive  (1993)  Great fun with Tommy Lee Jones

****  Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)  A very good beginning to the third trilogy

**** Cowboys and Aliens  (2011)  Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig take on the aliens

***^ 42 (2013) The story of Jackie Robinson

***^ The Frisco Kid  (1979)  With Gene Wilder

***^ Paranoia  (2013)  Industrial espionage

***  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull   (2008)  I liked this movie less than the other Indian Jones movies.  Perhaps because Shia LaBeouf plays his son.

Movie Review: ***^42 (2013)

This film is the story of Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) as the first Black player to play major league baseball.  42 is the number Robinson wore throughout his career.  The owner of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) was looking for a Black player to join the Dodger's organization.  A sports writer suggested Jackie Robinson.  Rickey, according to the film, did this because he was tired of the racism of major league baseball.  Of course there were economic issues as well.  Bringing the black community to the ball park would be good for revenues.  His first year Robinson played with the Toronto Royals, the Dodger's triple A ball club.  This film tells of his success that year, and then the subsequent year with the Dodgers as a rookie.  Robinson had to face serious racial discrimination, at first form his own teammates, who signed a petition not to play if Robinson played, and then from coaches and players on other teams.  This racist vitriol was most poignant from the Philadelphia manager.  Robinson for his part had to learn to keep his place, until he won people over.  Then we could better influence others, and others would sometimes defend him, and he could defend himself.  Robinson proved himself with his bat, base stealing, base running and play in the field.  The Dodgers made it to the World Series his rookie year.
The next year, more teams had black players.  After the ice had been broken, a team was foolish not to draw from this talent pool for his team.  Check out my review of a book about Jackie Robinson with this link.  And here is a blog looking at the veracity of this storytelling of this movie.

Harrison Ford does a good job.  I could hardly recognize him in this character of a baseball owner.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Movie Review: Oliver Twist (2005)

This movie was directed by Roman Polanski.  This is not the musical, but an Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) with a very different ending than from the musical.  This movie is also more strait forward, without speculation as to Oliver's parentage, but he is taken in all the same by Mr. Brownow (Edward Hardwicke, when Oliver is falsely accused of pick pocketing).  However, Fagin (Ben Kingsley), and Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman) are determined to have Oliver back, based on what he might say; and Sykes uses him to rob his benefactor's home.  However the robbery goes awry.    Nancy (Leanne Rowe) the girlfriend of Bill Sykes has a heart, and feels they should leave the boy alone.  She decides to take things into her own hand.  However this only leads to her own murder.  She and Sykes had a strange relationship based on abuse.  The group take to the country, with the police following them trying to get Sykes.  Again Oliver is chosen as the hostage of Sykes, but still things do not go in Sykes' favor.  In this version Fagin does not get away.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Movie Review: ****50 First Dates (2004)

In truth the number 50 is short, because every day is new to Lucy (Drew Barrymore) following a car accident that destroyed her short term memory.  Her long term memory is in tact, but she cannot remember more than a day at a time.  When she sleeps her memory is reset.  Her father (Blake Clark) and brother (Sean Astin) try to rig things so every day will be the day that she can last remember.  They have a stack of papers from that day.  It is always the father's birthday because that is the day, and they always watch "Sixth Sense."  Enter Henry (Adam Sandler) a worker at the aquarium, who meets this young woman and likes her.  Next time he runs into her she doesn't remember him.  He is puzzled, until her condition is explained to him.  However he is determined to have breakfast with her.  Using manipulation and lies, he finally does.  However she is onto him, and nothing comes of it.  He is determined, and starts to have some success over time.  Then she has a bad day.  A day in which she realizes time has past.  Father and brother come to her rescue, and Henry develops a plan to have a relationship with her.  The question is whether or not the plan will work.  He introduces her to the accident, and her history, the very first thing she wakes up in the morning. 
This is an enjoyable movie.  Barrymore is always good.  Sean Astin is in this movie, but this is not my favorite role for him. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

The National Parks on Audiotree Live (Full Session)

Caleb mentioned that he had seen this band live, and so I decided to check them out.  This set goes pretty slow with the interview/narration.  However I think the idea behind their name and their music is that you feel like you are in a National Park when they sing.  I thing the accomplish that.  The lead singer talks about the music scene around Provo which is interesting.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Movie Review: *****Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (1983)

This tar Wars film again introduces us to a new world.  In this case it is the moon of Endor, where the Empire is constructing another death star super station.  The Battle of Endor then has a battle on three different levels, each with its own significance.  On the surface the Ewoks join a small group from the rebellion to battle for entrance into the station so they can destroy the generator and bring down the shield surrounding the death star.  Then there is the battle in space, as the rebellion sends a fleet of fighters to destroy the new death star.  And finally inside the death star, Luke Skywalker battles his father, Darth Vader, and then also Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).  With battle on all these levels taking place at once, this is an amazing series of action and intrigue.  We are not introduced to new characters.  However Emperor Palpatine plays a much bigger role.