From Alexus Haddad
Author: Andrea Cremer
Calla Tor is part of a pack called the Nightshades. The pack usually protects the Keepers and in return, the Keepers will accommodate the wolf packs. Shay is a new kid in town and Calla was told by the Keepers to protect Shay. Calla ends up finding the truth about the Keepers with the help of Shay. On the night of her wedding, Calla runs away with Shay and leaves Ren at the altar. Ren confronts Calla and Calla begs him to not tell anyone what she will do, which is go against the Keepers. Searchers are people that are trying to help Shay because he is the “prophecy”. The Searchers knock Calla and Shay out and the book ends there.
From Jackie Cantwell
Author: Randy Brown
Title: Trouble with the curve [videorecording DVD]
We’ve all seen Clint Eastwood play a crusty old codger before. He does it well. In this case he is Gus, an aging baseball scout with the Atlanta Braves, whose lawyer daughter, Mickey (played by Amy Adams), joins him on a scouting trip to North Carolina. She hopes to heal the strained relationship she has with her father. Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a former pitcher and scout with the Boston Red Sox, makes the moves on Mickey. I didn’t buy the chemistry between them. They are attractive people, yet the lighting, cinematography and wardrobe didn’t do them any justice. All the colors seem washed out. The music is intrusive; it’s cued at the precise moment we’re supposed to feel something in case we missed it from the stilted performances. For instance, the song lyrics “Do you feel the way I do?” are pumped up at the moment Johnny and Mickey go out together. The actors at times seem like they’re merely reading their lines; there’s no emotion. The best performance just might be by John Goodman, who plays Pete, Gus’s boss and friend. The villain, (Phillip, another scout, played by Matthew Lillard,) is a caricature, as are most of the other characters. Subtlety is lacking. The plot is contrived; the ending is so tidy that it borders on the preposterous. This movie wanted to be a baseball story, but it feels like a chick-flick.
From Geri Sundermier
author: Stockett, Kathryn
A great book that gives the perspective of what it might have felt like to be the hired help, down south in the 1950’s. There are so many great
lessons about courage and acceptance. This was an amazing book!!
From Raymond Cantwell
author: Allen, Woody
Four Films of Woody Allen
Of the four, the film I was most interested in was Annie Hall. Surprisingly, Mr. Allen only co-wrote this with a Marshall Brickman. The character development was well conceived and executed. Readers might find many of the characters intimidating – extremely successful Hollywood and music producers, for instance. Yet Allen serves these up as goofily flawed. So while they will be taken seriously by most, they are also easily dispatched as self-absorbed and loony. Allen plays his stereotypical self, the neurotic yet lovable, paranoid and misunderstood, intellectual hipster from scrappy Brooklyn. I appreciated this screenplay more than the Oscar-winning movie, so this definitely earns my approval.
From Rosemarie Jerome
This is one creepy, scary movie. I watched the original Thai movie which was made in 2004 and one of the U.S. remakes from 2008. The Thai version is much darker but they are both edge of your seat psychological thrillers similar to “The Grudge.”
A young couple is driving down a dark, disserted road and they hit a young woman. In shock and confusion, they drive away instead of stopping and so begins the guilt and fear. Shortly after the accident, the young man, who is a professional photographer, begins to notice strange visions through his camera lens and white streaks across his photos. The couple also begins to feel a presence in his apartment and bizarre things begin to happen. As they start investigating the weirdness intensifies and shocking secrets immerge. Don’t want to give away too much but it is a film that will keep you up at night, it is hard to forget and like “Psycho” it will have you peeking into dark places.
From Chris Garland
titl: Millions [videorecording]
Millions is an uplifting tale about a nine year old boy whose mother has died and is moving with his father and brother to a new home and a new school. Damian is fascinated by the saints, who inspire him to do good deeds.
One day, the heavens provide him with an endless supply of money, which leads him on a complex adventure on which he will learn what money means to different people and what is really important in life.
Alex Etlel turns in a memorable performance as young Damien under the direction of Academy Award winning Danny Boyle.
From Ellen Druda
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
A brilliant collection of short documentaries, this latest anthology
covers an eclectic mix of subjects. “Afloat” visits a senior
village in Florida, where 90-year-olds reflect on the good times while
they swim in the center’s pool. “The Angelmakers” tells the tale
of a group of isolated and ignored women in a tiny village in Hungary who
got the ultimate revenge many years ago-they poisoned their husbands-and how the current generation of women now reap the benefits of more freedom.
“High Plains Winter” is a smeary painting on film that evokes
the chill and stark beauty of Western America’s lonesome plains in winter.
It features the unusual sport of ski-joring, people on skis being pulled
by horses. “Send Me Somewhere Special” follows the spontaneous
trip of the filmmaker to a randomly chosen English village, where he gets
involved in the lives of the locals. Funny, sad, quirky, and daring, the
film shows how surface politeness peels away for deeper meaning. ”
Stand Still Like Living” speaks of the courage and coping of
two people in Botswana who discover they have AIDS. The pervasiveness of the disease into their everyday lives makes the tragic commonplace and
puts a human face on the epidemic. In “The Intimacy of
Strangers,” real snippets of overheard cell phone conversations are
brilliantly edited together to tell a story of love and loss. The new
intrusion of private lives in public spaces is dissected and woven into a
film we all star in at some point.
From Ellen Druda
The new story of hope is the awakening of the poor to the opportunity of microloans. This film focuses on two particular groups of women. In Bihar, India, Sister Mary Lobo has given the poorest of the poor, the Outcasts, empowerment by teaching them the basics of personal economics. The women work and save and eventually qualify for small loans that they can use to improve life for themselves and their children. In Kabul, Afghanistan, the women recall their lives before and after the Taliban. Their terrible misery under the fundamentalists has given way to glimmers of hope through microloans to build small businesses that provide food, stability, and a sense of self-worth. The larger lessons in this beautifully filmed documentary are about the common wishes of women everywhere, rich or poor: the desire for personal and familial independence, the need to make life better for their children, and the importance of helping one another reach these goals.
from Chris Garland
Departures, Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film 2008
‘Departures’ is a deeply moving film about death, a subject we don’t
like to confront, but this film does it with grace, dignity, humility and
beauty. It is about saying goodbye to loved ones for the last time and
thereby evoking the value of life. How do we honor those who have passed?
How do we confront our own lives and the act of living? ‘Departures ‘ is
the story of a young man’s spiritual journey as he is faces death every
day in his work. It is through this that that he begins to understand the
joy and value of life. All of us have been touched by the loss of someone
we love and this film honors and celebrates those feelings.