Thursday, March 23, 2017

Picture Book review: The tale of two Bad Mice

The tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter, Frederick Warne, London, 1904.
This is a reproduction of the original.  These mice aren't really bad, except that the have a very bad anger reaction when they come upon what they think is a feat, only to find that the food is not real, but plastic food for a doll house.  In their temper they commit an act of vandalism against the doll house.  However, they make up for it later when they help clean up and they leave a coin they found to help pay for repairs.  What is the reason to have plastic food around anyway?
I enjoy these stories.

Book Review: Jack London: Five great Short Stories

Five great Short Stories, by Jack London, Dover Publications, New York, 1992.
These stories are well titled, they are great.  They are taken from some of Jack London's books, Tales of the far North, South Sea tales and The Night-born.  It shows London was a much broader writer than just the Klondike north, although that is were he produced his best work.  The characters in these stories are fascinating.  He writes of the South Pacific, and he writes of the Mexican Revolution, as well as the far North.  He tells the story of a Native, whose wife is stolen and spends his life trying to find her, and when he does, she does not want him back, of two men who are bound to kill each other, of the death of another man on the winter trail, of the guiding of a boat which is on fire, and lastly of a young revolutionary.  I was drawn into to each of the stories and enjoyed them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Movie Review: ****Pete's Dragon (1977)

This is the original Pete's Dragon, and it is a bonafide musical.  I really enjoy musicals so I have to give this movie the nod as to the best Pete's Dragon.  Nora (Helen Reddy) lives with her father (Mickey Rooney) where the tend a light house.  The come upon an orphan boy who is running from his adoptive parents, who mean for him to do their work and they are abusive to him.  Mrs. Gagon, the mother is portrayed by Shelley Winters.  The other two character are a shyster doctor (Jim Dale) and his assistant (Red Buttons).  When the doctor gets word of a dragon he is determined to catch him and chop him up so he can use every bit.  There is plenty to like with this movie, but it is another one of those bad adoption stories.  However the relationship between Nora and Pete is sweet.  She is able to become his new mother.
Reddy sings a very popular song, "Candle on the Water:"
I'll be your candle on the water
My love for you will always burn
I know you're lost and drifting
But the clouds are lifting
Don't give up you have somewhere to turn
I'll be your candle on the water
'Till ev'ry wave is warm and bright
My soul is there beside you
Let this candle guide you
Soon you'll see a golden stream of light
A cold and friendless tide has found you
Don't let the stormy darkness pull you down
I'll paint a ray of hope around you
Circling in the air
Lighted by a prayer
I'll be your candle on the water
This flame inside of me will grow
Keep holding on you'll make it
Here's my hand so take it
Look for me reaching out to show
As sure as rivers flow
I'll never let you go
I'll never let you go
I'll never let you go...

In this version Pete the dragon is animated while the rest of the characters are real.  I have already really loved this show.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Disney Movie Review: ***^Hercules (1997)

Not the best Disney, I must admit.  Hades' side kicks were just too obnoxious.  However that one song, "Go the Distance" makes this a worthwhile experience.  It was sung by Roger Bart even though Hercules was voiced by Tate Donovan and Josh Keaton.  Meg, his love interest is played by Susan Egan, and she also sings the song, "I Won't Say (I'm in Love)."  In this movie Hercules must save the day, but this is after he gives away his heroic strength to save Meg.
The love interest plays a good part in making this movie enjoyable.  Alan Menken wrote the music.  Charlton Heston also has a cameo part.

Movie Review: **The Accidental Husband (2008)

This is a romantic comedy.  Sometimes I think the producers of these shows miss the mark, and consequently I can't give this show high marks.  First the main character commits a crime by hacking some one's data, with the help of a juvenile family member because only juveniles know anything about computers, and makes himself the husband of a radio commentator who he blames for ruining his own chances at love.  And at one time he forces himself on her, despite her repeated requests to stop.  Of course this is one of the scenes if you push hard enough eventually they will like it.  How many rapes are justified with that attitude.  So even though this movie is cute and all, I cannot recommend it.  I was hoping the fiance would win in the end, but I was disappointed.
fireman and hacker (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)
The radio host (Uma Thurman)
the fiance (Colin Firth)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Animated Movie Review: Coraline (2009)

If this movie doesn't, no movie ever will convince you not to creep around the attic.  It also teaches that sometimes things are not what they seem.  Coraline (Dakota Fanning) goes through the attic to meet her other parents.  They are nicer than her real parents, and she is drawn to them, until it is almost too late.  I really like the depiction of the cat.  The animation was very similar to a Tim Burton movie, with its long limbs and skinny bodies, unless the opposite is emphasized.  It was written and directed by Henry Selick.

Music Review: Frankie Valli: Romancing the 60s

There are some songs in this 1960s set that are worth remembering.  Frankie Vlli started with The Four Seasons before launching a solo career.  It appears this was recorded by Frankie Valli in 2007 of songs he like from the 60s.  Most are covers.  My favorite is "What a Wonderful World" but admittedly this isn't my favorite version of the song.   "Any Day Now" is very nice.  I really like the opening, "I'll bless the day I found you."  It is sung with great sentiment.   "Let it be Me" and "Call Me" are also in this same vein, beautiful songs.  "My Girl" is also very nice and has that special feel.  However the cream here is "On Broadway."  This song was an original for the Drifters.  This is a song that gets you moving.  "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway.  They say there's always magic in the air."  This song gets you moving.