Saturday, October 31, 2015

Music Review: Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton

Her is a wonderful presentation from PBS.  I mean this is very good.  This is mostly orchestral, music for many Tim Burton movies including Corpse Bride, batman, Pee Wee Herman, Alice in Wonderland.  Edward Scissorhands we experience a terrific violin solo, and the music box style music for this show is exquisite.  The vocals for the most part are oo's and ah's, until we arrive at "The Nightmare Before Christmas."  In this portion, the composer, who sang the vocals for Jack and for the Boogie Man in the original, sings for the concert.  It is a delight.  He talks about not liking singing in public, but this is just superb.  What wasn't superb as the female vocalizing Sally's song.  I couldn't understand the words.  With the music there are interviews mixed in; with Johnny Depp, Tim Burton and the composer, and a few others.

"The Longest Road" by: SEALS & CROFTS

This is the last album of the run of successes Seals and Croft put together.  It came out in 1980.  This music did not do well in the charts, but it does represent the Seals and Croft style of music, with a bit more jazzy feel to some of the songs.  Dash Crofts plays his mandolin and James Seals wrote most of the music and plays guitar.  This is a play list which includes six of the ten songs from the album.

Movie Review: PBS Short: Dia de los Muertos

This is a cute little short about a girl who is missing her mother who has passed away.  The dead are closer than we think.  Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday, is tomorrow.

Movie Review: The Boy Who Left Home to Find out about the Shivers.

This is a presentation in the series Shelly Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre.  I watched it thinking it might be scary.  It is based on a Brothers Grimm story.  It wasn't.  For the most part it was just stupid with corny special effects.   A person who has never been scared agrees to stay in a haunted castle.  Tony and I where slightly amused by the second day in which the bowl using a skull for the ball and bones for the pins.  Because he conquers the castle, he is given the princess to marry.  He then gets the shivers thinking about the responsibilities that come with that.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Musical Review: The Addams Family Musical (1 of 4)

I was turned on to a song from this musical by our Broadway review, and felt it would be nice to see the entire musical.  This video is the first of 4 (the roll over automatically) from a production from Sarasota, Florida Players Theatre performed in 2014.  Warnings, it shows a child smoking because he is "stressed."  It also shows too much cleavage and makes a joke of a grandmother wetting herself. Now the bad stuff is out of the way, there is much to enjoy here.  The story is about a young woman growing up, and becoming engaged, and the family dealing the pressures this creates.  The music is lively, and the actors do very well.  I especially like the characters of the grooms parents.  They are sufficiently hysterical, and part of the story is about them refinding the flame.  In fact this story is about all three couples growing and rekindling their flames.  The song presented at the Broadway review is still probably the one I like best:
Let's live before we die... 
lets laugh before we cry
Let's hold each other tight and die
Let's try before we fail
Let's fly before we bail
Let's keep things black and white and dance!

The dance adds a lot to this song.  Enjoy!!!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Children's Book: The Tailypo: A Ghost Story

The Tailypo: A Ghost Story, told by: Joanna Galdone illustrated by Paul Galdone, Clarion Books, New York, 1977.

This is a ghost story in the true sense of the word, and I could see someone by the campfire telling this story.  Took me a long time to figure out the punch pun at the end,  but I think I finally get it.  Sort of a blah feeling.  I like the illustration of the dogs, and the quilt, but the story is pretty week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Children's Book Review: The Fire Station

The Fire Station by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko.  The best thing about this book is the big red fire engine.  It tells the story of Michael and Sheila visiting the fire station.  They then go on a call, and get all messy.  The second best thing are the colors used to show them in their messy state.  However, I didn't care for the story.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Children's Book review: Little Critter by: Mercer Mayer

This post will be growing as I write additional reviews of different Mercer Mayer books.  He created the character, Little Critter.

We All Need Forgiveness (Inspired Kids) 2014.  There apparently is a series of Mercer Mayer books with a Christian theme, and this is one of them.  It is based on the scripture "Forgive each other because the Lord forgave you." Colossians 3:13  In this book Little Critter learns about forgiveness.  He likes being forgiven, but has a bit of a hard time forgiving others.

Just a Little Music, Harper Festival, New York, 2010.  This is a little  book that Caleb really enjoyed.  Little Critter, after going to the parade wants to play an instrument, and chooses the drum.  Little sister does not like his choice because the drum is loud; and he never stops playing.

You Go First (Inspired Kids),, 2013.  This book again has a spiritual theme and lesson.  Little Critter has a problem with letting others go first.  When he isn't first he is miserable; but usually he is just pushy and gets his way.  However his teacher tells the class that the Bible teaches we should treat others the way we would like to be treated.  It would be nice if such lessons could be taught in public school.  Little Critter does finally learn this lesson, and finds out that when he lets others go first, they are happy, and then she is happy as well.

Just Camping Out, A Golden Book, New York, 1989.  This Little Critter Book is different because it is told from the perspective of Little Sister.  Little Sister is going to camp out with Little Critter.  First  the eat their prepared sandwiches, and are still hungry and go inside to eat spaghetti with the family.  They go back out but weren't sleepy, so back inside to watch t.v. with father.  Dad walks them out and reads a story.  Little Sister finds there are many scary things in the dark, and that her teddy bear is missing her.  She heads back indoors for the night.

Music Review: Mumford and Sons: Babel 2012

I would like to say I really enjoyed this C.D, but I must admit that after a couple songs towards the first, I found it putting my to sleep.  However for the good stuff, “I Will Wait” is a great song about giving your heart to the Lord.
'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
And I will wait, I will wait for you
Now I'll be bold
As well as strong
And use my head alongside my heart
So take my flesh
And fix my eyes
A tethered mind free from the lies”

You can’t tell me that is not an example of humility, but also being bold in proclaiming the word of God.
However, the rest of the songs seem to give out the feeling of trying to be cute or something and I didn’t really care for them.  I must complement the Banjo player.  He seems to keep things moving.  It is when the banjo is missing that these songs seem to grow boring.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Movie Review: Saskatchewan (1954) or O'Rourke of the Royal Mounted

This film features Shelly Winters portraying Grace, a woman running from the law and Alan Ladd portraying Thomas O'Rourke of the Royal Mounted Police in Western Canada.  This story takes place during the time the Sioux from the United States had traveled north into Canada, after their defeat of Custer at Little Big Horn.  They were seeking more victories over white men and set their sites on the fort.  O'Rourke is dealing with a new Colonel, who doesn't really know about the Native Americans and treats all groups the same.  He threatens a long established friendship with the Cree, and then puts his own men in jeopardy by insisting they take a couple wagons cross country to a more fortified fort.  His men rebel under the leadership of O'Rourke, and although this saves their lives, they all end up in the brink.  They have to even go farther to assure the peaceful resolution without the Sioux Nation overrunning them all.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Movie Review: **^The Cariboo Trail (1950)

This movie takes place in Canada.  It involves a group of men who have a dream of becoming cattle ranchers in Canada.  However the local gold minors do not take cattle to cattle runners, feeling their economy is set.  They run the cattle off, and end up rustling them or butchering them.  In this one of the men is injured and ends up losing his arm.  He becomes embittered and joins the gold men's boss who owns most of the town.  When one of the men, Jim Redfern  (Randolph Scott) finds gold, the town boss turns this on him too and he has to run for his life.  Local gold prospector Grizzley (George Gabby Hayes) takes a liking to our boys, and just happens to have cattle relatives who sponsor a drive of 300 cattle to the area.  They bring them north, but again our bad guys want to steal them.  It ends in a big shootout situation.
The thing I didn't understand was why the gold miners where so set against cattle men.  You would think they like steak as well as anyone.  In the end our embittered friend is the one who turns on the gold boss, and saves the day.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I Can Read Book: Splat the Cat Makes Dad Glad

This is a story based on the characters of Rob Scotton.  It is difficult to attribute the author, but is an Harper Collins book copyrighted 2014.  It tells the story of Splat trying to cheer up his dad after his dad loses a soccer game.  Splat enters them in a games day, hoping to win the three-legged race.  They don't, but they have a lot of fun.  I would say the theme is sometimes spending time together is more important than always being the best.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Music Review: On Your Toes: Musical Soundtrack (1953)

If you want to hear the sounds of the 50s this is a great venue.  The story of this musical is the vaudeville parents of a young man insist he get educated, and so he becomes a music professor, but the hope of getting his musical “Slaughter on Tenth Street” on stage.  This presentation has some good music.  I especially like The 3 B’s.  This is the music professor teaching his class as the tell everyone that the 3 B’s of music are Brahms, Beethoven and Bach.  There are some nice love songs here as well.   “It’s Got to be Love” is of this theme.  This music has a bit of a jazzy feel, but maybe that is just the 50s.

Picture Book Review: Dr. Seuss: If I Ran the Zoo

Dr. Seuss is the master of the rhyming picture book, and here we have a wonderful example of this.  He is also the master of someone's imagination running away, and her is another example.  Young Gerald McGrew does just that, and his imagination goes everyplace as he describes the incredible animals he would have in the zoo, and the wonderful places he would go to find them.  Of all the animals, the one I liked best is the iota from the far western part of south-east North Dakota, not to be outdone by the iota from the north-eastern west part of South Carolina.  I really like the blue hair of the iota, and the silly looking face.
This book is entertaining as you try to think of what type of incredible animal you would have in the zoo.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Movie Review: ***The Man from Bitter Creek (1955)

This is an entertaining film.  There is plenty of gun play, and some pretty poor shooting.  Lex Barker (after his Tarzan days) stars as Jeff Carr, a man working for the stage lines to determine who has been robbing their stages and how they know when is the best time to hold up the stage.  He is drawn into the robberies by first being accused of being one of the robbers, and barely misses a lynching mob. However after his alibi plays out he is released form jail.  However he was hoping to do some undercover work, but quickly learns his cover was blown before he started, and the thieves knew he was coming.  Turns out there is a sheep vs cow problem in town, and the cattleman is running for sherif is sure to win.  Turns out he has been using the money from the hold up to finance his campaign of buying everyone drinks etc.  He has a good thing going, but will t=our hero prove what is going on before the election.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Picture Book Review: Moonlight the Halloween Cat

Moonlight the Halloween Cat by Cynthia Rylant illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2003.
This is a book with very interesting illustrations, and a story line that sort of rambles, and even covers they same ground two or three times.  Ok, Moonlight's favorite day of the year is Halloween.  In terms of the illustrations I really like the cat's eyes.  I really like the pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns.  The artist uses and interesting assortment of orange colors.  I also like the illustrations of the homes.  There are also some very interesting colors here.
Despite the nice illustrations, this book belongs with younger readers than we have here, so I am going to move this book on to grandchildren.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Music Review: Broadway 1981-1992: The British Invasion

It is impossible to have the entirety of the music in an anthology, and this is just a small sample.  I don't understand the "British" invasion thing as only the first two songs come from British musicals, "Phantom of the Opera" and "Memory" form Cats.  In fact the song I most enjoyed as an American Jazz number, "Dr. Jazz" from Jelly's Last Jam.  The one I most disliked was "American Dream" form Miss Saigon.  I would not select this song as a representation of this musical.  This song is tolerated only.

Movie Review: The Tracker (1988)

This is an HBO produced movie and featured Kris Kristofferson as The Tracker.  He is convinced to join the tracking of a lunatic Mormon and his gang.  Several historical inaccuracies here, but they start with the Mountain Meadows Massacre and go from there.  That part is really sort of silly, but this has a hardened gang which is going around killing innocent unsuspecting people, and someone has to stop them.  the Tracker's son, Tom (Mark Moses), insists on coming along.  On their way they take a girl and a young woman hostage.  A real theme to the movie is whether the son, educated in the East, will have the gumption to kill someone.  We do not know the answer to this question until the end.

Book Review: The Last Apprentice: The Spook's tales and Other Horrors.

The Last Apprentice: The Spooks Tales and Other Horrors  Joseph Delaney, Patrick Arrasmith, random House, New York, 2009.
Much of the material in this book is review.  However, it does tell the Spooks story and he became an apprentice and his first dealing with witches.  He was traveling to school and become lost and a spook rescued him.  He was a seventh son of a seventh son and his thumb bones would have been a prize to a witch, who almost had him.  The spook was able to help him, and he was able to help the spook bind a boggart and a witch. 
The parts that were mostly review was the story of the creatures of the dark and Alice’s story.  New material was the story of Grimalkin who told how she became the witch assassin—with the goal of destroying the fiend.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Picture Book Review: Dr. Seuss: Bartholomew and the Oobleck (1949)

This is a Dr. Seuss I was not familiar with.  it is in the yellow Dr. Seuss book: Five Favorite Dr. Seuss Stories published by Random House New York, 1996.
In this book King Derwin of Didd learns a very important lesson.  The five things that come from the sky, snow, fog, rain and sunshine are enough in their season.  To wish for things outside the normal can cause big problems.  It is also important to admit mistakes and say "I'm sorry."  This early Dr. Seuss is not rhymed throughout, put does have some rhyming with the magical chants.  It does employ the Dr. Seuss art style, which includes the fish from later in his books as well as depictions of cats.

Movie Review: Ride in the Whirlwind (1966)

This move was written by and starred Jack Nicholson.  Nicholson portrays Wes, a cowhand who is traveling with two of his friends.  They spend the night close to a group of bandits.  When the local vigilantes come to hang or kill the criminals, (those who surrender are hung) our three friends are caught up in the melee, with the only option of flee or be killed.  One of them is killed, and Wes and Vern (Cameron Mitchell) escape over the mountains up a boxed draw.  They make it over the top and meet a family, but insist on taking their horses to get away.  They are innocent, but being caught up in the situation they become murderers and thieves.  The father of the home wants to protect his animals, and shoots Vern, while Wes kills him.  This movie ends as Wes is riding away with a last chance of escape given him by Vern who gave himself up creating a diversion.
I think the theme of this movie is sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The vigilantes were out for hanging and didn't care much who they got.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Picture Book Review: Ten Timid Ghosts

This book is by Jennifer O'Connell and published by Scholastic in 2000.  It is a picture counting book with a take on the Ten Little Indians type of poem.  The story is cute but not great, telling about how the ghosts go form being timid (pushed around) to becoming angry and fighting back.  In terms of the pictures I really like the way the ghosts are transparent in many of the pictures.  I imagine that was hard to do.  This is one for the grandkids, as Tony has outgrown this book.

Book Review: The Last Apprentice (8): Rage of the Fallen

The Last Apprentice Eight Rage of the Fallen by Joseph Delaney, illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith, Random House PUblishing, New YOrk, 2011.
In this case, the fallen is the twin sister of the water witch that Tom, The Apprentice, and Bill Arkwright killed while he was in training with Arkwright.  The Apprentice, his Master and Alice all travel to the Green Isle to escape the war, and there they are drawn into a battle against the dark, while at the same time the witch seeks to extract her revenge.  Part of that revenge is to give Alice to the Fiend, where she is taken to hell.  The dark god Mogorath, a large crow, is released to chase Tom, and Pan, another god of the never world is also released, but turns out to like Tom.  Many adventures with times I couldn’t put the book down and wanted to know what happened next.  These books are very good reads.  The major battle in this book is against the Fiend, who comes for Tom’s soul, but finds himself bound by silver spears instead. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Picture Book: A Very Brave Witch

This is another picture book.  A Very Brave Witch i by Allison McGhee, illustrated by Harry Bliss, Scholastic, New York, 2006.
The story is really pretty lame and really doesn't make since.  A witch mistakes Trick or Treat for Trick a tree and falls off her broom flying around a tree.  It does show that witches and humans can get along.  However Tony pointed out some fun things about the illustrations.  There are many scary creatures, and the witches all dress about the same, and they always ride the broom by straddling it, including the cat.  The fun things Tony pointed out are the hands coming up through a grave and playing catch with itself using a pumpkin; The dragon poofing into a witch; And of course it ends with 'Happy Halloween."
However this book does not make the keeper pile.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Picture Book Review: Scaredy-cat, Splat!

Scaredy-cat, Splat!  by Rob Scotton, Harper, New York, 2010.
This is a first for this blog, the review of a picture book.  In this case the author also did the pictures  He points out that this is the fourth of his "Splat" books.  This one has a Halloween theme.  Splat, is a cat, and his illustration is really crazy.  I love his hair.  He is a black cat.  This story is about how Spla,t scared of even a tiny spider, can become the scariest of all the cats in school.  How this happens is really rather funny, because to be honest, Splat's costumes are sort of lame.  
I read this to Tony--who is beyond the picture book stage, but we enjoyed it all the same.  There must be some grandbaby who would love this one.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Music Review: Thoroughly Modern Millie: Broadway Cast Recording

I have listen to the original broadway cast CD and is not the entire musical.  As for the story this is a love musical.  It is based on the 1967 movie of the same name.  Many people fall in love.  Millie, from Kansas, heads to New York to find a wealthy man.  She does not want a man for love, but finds herself falling in love with "Jimmy."  This musical is based in the 1920s and the music reflects this.  One of my favorites was "The Speed Test."  The music for this song is very clever.  "Gimme Gimme" is Millie's song when she realizes she is going to marry for love in the end.  The other fun song is "Thoroughly Modern Millie."  The music is written by Jeanine Tesori but there are other composers of some of the numbers.  Sutton Foster is introduced as Millie and Gavin Creel stars as Jimmy.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Movie Review: ***The Black Spurs (1965)

The Black Spurs (1965).  This is another Rory Calhoun offering in which he portrays Santee.  A good man, who has a good prospect with a beautiful woman (Linda Darnell) who becomes bent on becoming a bad man as a bounty hunter.  He hunts down someone for a $3000 reward, and takes his black spurs, marking his new life.  He then pursues bounty hunting and makes a career of it.  He decides to take on more profitable pursuits, destroying a town’s reputation so the rail line will go another way.  He brings in prostitution and gambling and a group of thugs to support his way.  In other words, anything to make the town become a bad town.  The railroad will bypass them for sure, and other towns will get the railroad depot.  However, he changes his mind, based on his discovering that his girl bore his son, and then married another guy to give the son a name.  Now he has a town to clean up.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Music Review: David Archuleta by David Archuleta (2008)

I was listening to the deluxe version on our I-tunes.  David is very talented.  Caleb tells me many of his songs on this album are covers, but I don't care, the sound original to me.  Of course "Crush" was not a cover and is his biggest hit to date.  I think my favorite is "Let Me Go" where he is singing with the bass guitarist playing a really cool riff.  It makes a great funky sound.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Book Review: The Last Apprentice (7): Rise of the Huntress

The Last Apprentice: Rise of the Huntress by: Joseph Delany, illustrations by: Patrick Arrasmith, Greenwillow Books, New York, 2010.  
It would surprise you who the huntress turns out to be.  In this book, the county is overrun as the war goes poorly.  This includes the Spook's home, which is burned and his library destroyed, and the boggart is gone.  The find themselves refugees and flee to a nearby island.  This is a bad mistake.  Boney Lizzy, a bone witch has also escaped to the island.  So everywhere on the island they are picking up anything that has anything to do with the dark, and testing them with a roll down a hill with a spiked ball.  If they survive they must be witches and are fed to the buggane, a creature of the dark.  Tom and Alice are taken prisoner, and survive the roll, but are captured all the same.  Bony Lizzy is also captured, and they make a pact to escape.  Bony Lizzy manipulates things to take over the island, and the Spook, Alice (Lizzy's daughter) and To the apprentice are especially sought out for slow deaths.  And Lizzy has tapped into the buggane's cache of stolen human energy from his victims over the years.  These books seem to grab me and keep me reading.  I was up late last night finishing this one.  I have a few days off as the next book is at work.

Movie Review: ***How to Train Your Dragon II (2014)

In the second movie we find out what happened to the Dragon Trainer's mother, who is not really a part in the first movie other than her absence.  Our dragon trainers and their friends face a much bigger challenge in this movie, as the dragons are being eliminated.  This movie has some intense moments of peril.

Movie Review: The Last Sin Eater (2007)

The Last Sin Eater:  Somehow when I watched this I missed the word Last.  Had I picked up on this, maybe I could have better guessed the ending.  However if I had guessed the ending, maybe I wouldn’t have enjoyed the movie so much.  This is about a rural community with lots of superstition and part of this is that they have a sin eater who will hear everyone’s confession before they day and take upon himself their sins.  This movie is about a girl, who figures she has committed a grievous sin, and it is haunting her.  She seeks out the sin eater to bless her during the day.  Overlayed with this, is a Christian minister who has come to preach.  
The people are against any outsiders, but his arrival causes a great change in the community.  My only complaint is the actors used such a thick accent "sin eater" sounded like somebody's name and it wasn't until later I realized what they were saying. Directed by Michael Landon Jr. and features Liana LIberato.