Thursday, June 29, 2017

Picture Book: The Berenstains' B Book

The Berenstains' B Book, A bright and Early Book, Stanley and Janice Berenstain, Random House, New York, 1971.  This is a progressive story told with B words.  It is quite ingenious and has a surprise ending.  I rather enjoy this  book.  I had a co-worker who had each page made into a poster size picture, and he enjoyed displaying it in his office.  It is no wonder.  This book is good, and the artwork matches the Berenstain's feeling.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Review: The End: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The End by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Harper Collins, New York, 2006.
I finished this series a few weeks back, but always have a hard time with finishing a series when I have enjoyed the characters so much.  In this case the characters are the Baudelaire orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny; and also Count Olaf.  These four go to the end of the book.  Olaf releases the deadly spores of the Medusoid Mycelium, and refuses to take the antidote apple until it is too late.  He succumbs.  The orphans only discovered the antidote by reading the history their parents had written.  The orphans try of also save Kit Snicket who is in labor.  Again the deadly spores over come her, but not before they are able to help her deliver a healthy baby.  In this way, the story marks the end of one adventure, and the beginning of another.  The orphans are thrust into the parenting role rather quickly.
I have enjoyed the characters immensely, but was disappointed with so many questions still being left unanswered, particularly with regards to the Quagmire triplets.  We find out the went to confront some strange beast, but that is the last we know of them.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Movie Review: ****^Wonder Woman (2017)

This is one of the best movies I have seen in some time.  It is a DC Comic inspired movie.  Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is after the god of War.  She had no knowledge of the war until an American Pilot(Chris Pine) crashed near their island, and he rescues him.  Their island is one of women who spend their time practicing to make war, while being sheltered from the rest of the world.  The pilot, Steve, is actually a spy, with important information and has to get back to London.  His information is about the development of a deadly toxin.  Wonder Woman has a sword which she feels is a god killer.  This is in the middle of WWI, and war is all around her.  There is one man, Sir Patrick (David Thewlis) suing for peace, while plans are made by the Germans to make a new strain of chemical poison, which will kill thousands.  In this way instead of being pressured for peace, they will be able to win the war.
The spy presents his information, and is ordered to not pursue his lead because of the impending armistice.  He develops his own team to gala at German high command, where he hopes to stop the delivery of the weapon.  The team includes Charlie (Ewen Bremner) a sharp shooting Scot whose PTSD has gotten in the way of his shooting, Chief (Eugene Brave Rock) and Sameer (Said Taghmaoui).  This is a pretty formidable teem.  Wonder Woman mistakes a German general over development of the weapon as the god of war.  She figures that killing him, will stop the conflict.  She is wrong.  However the British minister suing for peace Sir Patrick, reveals himself as the god of war.   He whispers things to people, like the formula for the deadly gas, to people, but he says people act on their own.   A tremendous battle takes place between the two gods, turns our  Wonder Woman is the daughter of Zeus.  Although the sword failed, Wonder Woman is in fact the god killer.  While the two gods battle, Steve and his team are set to the destroy the gas weapon.  They blow up the stocks, except for that loading on a dirigible and set to hit London.  Steve takes over the plane, and flies high enough so the  gas will not harm anyone.  He then detonates explosives, and perishes with the gas.
Wonder Woman seeing his sacrifice, although sad because she loves Steve, now has new strength to battle the god of war.
Gadot makes this film go.  She is a strong female character with looks as well.  The final pose is classic.  (This movie is after the Batman Vs Superman, but Wonder Woman is recalling her story after receiving a picture from Bruce Wayne.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Book Review: The Penultimate Peril by Lemony Snicket

The Penultimate Peril: A Series of Unfortunate Events Book the Twelfth by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2005.
Here is the continuing sage,  and penultimate means the next to last peril.  In this book, our orphans seem a bit different than who they have been.  They make it to the last resting place, the Hotel Denouement.  Her they are set up as Concierges and spies.  They watch, but when there is so much to see, it is hard to figure out what is happening.  The are blamed for another murder, as the harpoon gun goes off as they are taking it from Count Olaf.  They see an ally struck dead as a result.  They at the same time determine to take things in their own hands, and help Olaf put fire to the hotel.  Who knows who escapes, but it does serve as a signal to their friends that things are not safe.  The help Count Olaf make his escape, leaving with him.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Movie Review: ***^Batman vs Superman (2016)

This movie is a bit confusing.  It seems like they are trying to spend most of the movie explaining why Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill)  have it for each other.  In the end it is blackmail by the part of Lex Luthor (Jessie Eisenberg) that gets them to fight.  It was Luthor manipulating things all along.  Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) also play significant parts.  Senator Finch (Holly Hunter), along with a committee gets blown up by Luthor.  Luthor is a really bad man through this entire movie.  He summons a terrible monster using technology from Krypton.  He also develops a weapon to kill Superman.  Big fight at the end, first between Batman and Superman, and then against the monster.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Movie Review: *****Princess Bride (1987)

Sometimes somethings works, and this is a movie that works for me.  I have watched it countless times, and it is still fresh.  Some of the movie I can quote.  My favorite is "Anybody want a peanut."  This movie (told as a story by grandfather Peter Falk to his grandson, Fred Savage, who is home sick.  The story features Andre the Giant as Fezzik, Cary Elwes as Westley, Robin Wright as the princess, Mandy Patinkin as Inigo, Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, Billy Crystal as Miracle Max and Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck.  The story is such that you just have to see it.  Bottom line is Prince Humperdinck wants to start a ware by killing his pride, and blaming it on others.  However his bride is the true love of Westley, who previously was taken captive by pirates.  The Prince's plan involves the kidnapping of the Princess by Vizzini, Fessik and Inigo--brains, muscle and sword.  However they are bested by Westley, now the Dread Pirate Roberts.  This movie includes torture, kissing, true love, marriage, miracles, sword play, wrestling and boulder throwing, eels, a castle, and any number of fun adventures.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Just a Little Luck by Mercer Mayer

Just a Little Luck by Mercer Mayer, Harper Festival, New York, 2011.
Mercer Mayer books are great because of the illustrations, and the emotion Mayer puts in the face of Little Critter.  In this case, bad luck starts when the ice cream falls off the cone.  It is Grandpa who helps little critter turn things around.  A day at the carnival is like that.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Movie Review: ***Ella Enchanted (2004)

This fantasy asks the questions, what would life be like if you were compelled to always obey whatever others told you to do.  That is the situation Ella (Anne Hathaway) finds herself in.   What was meant to be a gift from a fairy, is more a curse.  However, even with this blessing she meets the prince (Hugh Dancy) and they fall in love.  She is talks about equal representation among races, elves, giants and ogres and humans and convinces him to look at things when he is king, taking over for his uncle (Cary Elwes).  The Prince's father died.  However the uncle has other things in mind.  He likes being king.  This film has a snake, much like hiss in the Disney Robin Hood.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Musical Music review: A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

This movie does not exactly hit in the way of great memorable tunes, but it does make its point as a comedy.  "Comedy Tonight" is a person favorite.  There are a couple attempts at love songs which are always nice.  And in the case of "The Dirty Old Man" hit a funny cord.  We see Zero Mostel in a very different light, but enjoyable all the same.