Friday, August 29, 2014

My New Job and The Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "If I Stay," the DVDs "The Company You Keep" and "Love Punch" and a book about the infamous murder of Skylar Neese).

But First

"New job," you ask?  "I thought you were retired." 

Well I am, but I definitely have a new job.  I will get to that later.

Meanwhile, remember that blog post called "Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life," where I set goals for myself for each month for the next year in order to shake myself out of retirement complacency?  Well, it's the end of month number two, and I am checking in with those of you who care.

As you may remember, I eased into this whole shaking up my life thing slowly.  I didn't want it to shake too much!

For July, I pledged to not order a Skinny Vanilla Latte, my usual caffeine of choice, but instead order anything else.  Check.  I did not order a Skinny Vanilla Latte once in July, though I must admit I am back to doing that again.  But to my credit, I did branch out and try some new flavors.  What's wrong with doing a little experimenting and then deciding you were right all along?

For August, I vowed to moisturize every day. 

I know, I know...like I said, I was easing into this changing my life thing slowly.  My motivation was the fact that I had a facial and thought I ought to keep up the good work, so to speak, not to mention I'm old and the face ain't what it used to be.  But the person giving me my facial was shocked that I rarely moisturized.  I told her that I had read about Katherine Hepburn's facial regimen.  She scrubbed the crap out of her face with a rough cloth and that was it.  I haven't gone that far but in fact, my beauty routine was merely a warm wash cloth on the face.

So did I moisturize in August?  I didn't rise to this challenge, I'm afraid.  I only did it a couple of times.  I guess I have a thing against putting crap on my face (except eye shadow, eye liner, mascara, blush and lipstick.  Does that count?).



Despite my "bad" habits, I don't have many wrinkles. I think good genes have something to do with it.

So I failed that challenge but onwards and upwards. 

For September, I vowed to ride my new bike every day that the sun shines and the way this summer has been going, I will be riding my bike a lot!  I am thinking of my Mom.  Riding her bike and walking were her main forms of exercise and she lived to be 91 so I am in good company.  Those good genes again.

So that little update leads me to this new job I was talking about.

My new job is.....ME!

That is the main thing I have learned about retirement in the last year+ since I have been retired.

When I first retired, I thought I needed to have all of these plans.

I joined a book club, signed up for Zumba, volunteered for regular hours at the senior center where I had been on the Board, signed up for some horse back riding lessons, started to meditate, applied to be on our local Council on Aging and worked on my blogging skills.  I made lists of household projects, daily routine lists, and made sure I went to the gym.

Since then, I realized I didn't want to go to the book club, which was several miles away, nor did I want to read a book dictated by that.  Likewise Zumba was too early in the morning for me and I am a crappy dancer.  Volunteering at the Senior Center required me to sign up for specific hours, and I didn't want to be locked into that kind of routine anymore.  As for the horseback riding, I will probably still do that, but for the horse's sake, I want to lose some weight first. 

I do meditate, which has helped me learn about myself.

  
I am a member of the Council on Aging, where I feel I am making a difference advocating for the rights and services of older people (like me), so that people can "age in place," something my mother was not able to do. 

I am on the Advisory Board of my local library, I blog, I go to the gym, I read, I cook, I go to concerts and the theatre and have accomplished many household tasks such as inventorying all of my cupboards and throwing out food where the sell by date had expired (I don't dare say how old some of that stuff was), have gone through all of my clothes and taken many to a consignment shop (a little extra cash never hurts), washed all of the curtains, and I am all caught up with my ironing.  Hubby is surprised that I actually choose to do household tasks and projects.

And that's the point.  I get to choose.

When I first retired, I thought it was essential that I replace my 40 years as a librarian with other purposeful activities.  I was terrified I would sit in front of the TV all day and not accomplish anything.  And here's the thing.  Sometimes I DO sit in front of the TV, because as you know, I love my television.  But what I learned was that it's OK, because my very existence is all the purpose I need.

Now that's not to say that I don't accomplish things.  I do. 

I am still that person who makes plans and lists.  I am still that responsible person who wants to do a good job.  But I get to choose the jobs I take on. 

And I am involved with some activities that are just as meaningful as the work I did for my community in the public library setting such as training to be a senior peer counselor. 

But my message here is not to freak out when you retire, because you are not working 40 hours per week at something else.  It's OK to just be.

Your new job when you retire is being alone with yourself, finding out who and what you are and acting accordingly.

When people ask for my advice about retirement or ask me what it's like, I tell them it could take a year or two to get used to being alone with yourself and figure it out.  You now have the time to be alone without the distractions of having to get to work on time, following directives from your boss, accomplishing tasks on time, etc.  I am not talking about necessarily being physically alone.  I am talking about having the time to listen to yourself and follow where it leads.

You now have the time to truly live your life.

When I do look back and see everything I am doing and am interested in, I am amazed I was able to do what I did when I was working and gone from the house 9-10 hours per day.  How I raised my children, kept the house clean and watched TV as much as I did, I will never know.  Well, yes I do, I was often bitchy and stressed.

So now my job is ME.  But I have my daily routines, and I even give myself days off.  Not from myself, but from the many activities that already occupy my time.

Hubby thinks that's hilarious since I don't have a regular job anymore, but I am busy so I need some days where I can go where the day takes me.  No gym, no appointments, no obligations.

But I like to think of Friday as "Fabulous Friday," and get out of the gym clothes and dress up - look fabulous! 



Since Hubby still works, Saturday usually includes some activity with Hubby that involves exercise - stair walking, bike riding, exploring - and then drinks and dinner.


So even in retirement, I have my routine because I am that kind of person, and I hate to repeat this cliche...Since I have retired, I'm busier than I ever was (when I first retired, I can't tell you how many times people said that to me and I thought, "Yeah, right...").

The point is this.  Whether it's taking Zumba classes or bicycling across the U.S. or being busier than you ever were or not busy at all, watching "Dating Naked" or "Masterpiece Theatre," retirement is a time to try things without fear of failure or being judged.  And it's a time to learn to be alone with yourself.  No matter what, you will always be you.

So the guilt I felt about retiring and the stress about what my purpose would be when I was not defined by my work have been replaced by a sense of freedom to be my true self knowing that my existence is my own purpose. 

And that's enough.  No matter what.
.
 
Now on to The Week In Reviews



***In Theatres Now***
 
 
 
Young Mia Hall's (Chloe Grace Moretz who starred in the remake of "Carrie") life changes in an instant when she is in a devastating car accident.  In a coma and near death, Mia has an out-of-body experience, and she must decide to stay or go.

Mia's mother and father are ex-punk rockers.  Mia couldn't be more different.  She is a conservative young lady with a passion for the cello.  She meets Adam (Jamie Blackley), a singer in a rock and roll band and they fall in love.  Mia has applied to Juilliard and everything is looking good for her until she is in a car accident with her family and falls into a coma.  She wakes up only to realize that her physical self is near death.  Through a series of flashbacks and lots of her ghostly self running around the hospital, we learn Mia's story.

Many of us wonder what it would be like if we could attend our own funeral.  This film is sort of like that.  As Mia lies in a coma, she gets to watch her family and friends visit her in the hospital.  I couldn't help but think how horrible it would be if we all get that opportunity and no one comes.

Based on the young adult novel of the same name by Gayle Forman published in 2009, this is supposed to be a tearjerker and teen girls will probably find it so.  But adults may be as annoyed with some of this as I was.

First of all, nothing is more obnoxious than precocious, wise-cracking children, unless it is too cool, wise-cracking parents.  Mia's mother played by Mireille Enos is particularly obnoxious.  Another annoyance is this continual use of Vancouver, B.C for other locations. It used to be a stand-in for Seattle, but now we are supposed to think we are in Portland.  If you know anything about Portland, you know it doesn't have a coastline, but the filmmakers didn't seem to think we would notice.  I did and it grated.  And I am not a big fan of movies with massive amounts of narration.  If you have to beat us over the head with the story instead of telling it visually, which is what movies are all about (remember, "A picture is worth a thousand words?"), then you are letting the film down.

But Moretz and Blackley make a handsome, appealing couple (I first noticed Blackley's handsomeness in "Snow White and the Huntsman" ), but all in all, this film doesn't pull the heart-strings it wanted to.  I was left unmoved, though the teen-aged girls in the audience swooned a bit.

There was a sequel to the book so there probably will be a sequel to the film. Since the story has a sequel and the ending of this film is so predictable, I don't think I am spoiling anything if I ask, will it be called "She Stayed?" 

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are not a teen-aged girl, save your money.

***DVDS***
You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
 
 
 
 
 
A wanted former Weather Underground radical with a new identity is discovered by a journalist and goes on the run to prove his innocence.

A star-powered cast joins Robert Redford in this exploration of aging radicals and the consequences of choices made in one's youth.

Based on the novel by Neil Gordon which in turn seems to be based on the true-life story of Sara Jane Olson, who like Susan Sarandan's character built a straight life for herself for 23 years while on the run from her role in a bombing by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Redford plays Jim Grant, a widowed lawyer with a young daughter (too young for someone Redford's age, if you ask me), played by Jackie Evancho (who wowed viewers with her operatic voice and who finished second on the 5th season of "America's Got Talent").  Jim has created a new life for himself after a youth enmeshed in the Weather Underground.  He is wanted for his participation with that group in a Michigan bank robbery in 1980.  After the arrest of another figure in that robbery who had also created a new life for herself (Susan Sarandon), an ambitious reporter (Shia LeBeouf) starts looking more closely into the case which leads him to Grant.  Grant heads to Michigan to prove his innocence.

Anna Kendrick, Stanley Tucci, Brit Marling, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Terrence Howard, Chris Cooper, Richard Jenkins, and Brendan Gleeson round out the all-star cast and give this film acting gravitas.

No matter what you think of Redford's politics or the vehicles he chooses to direct and star in, you can count on him for serious films with integrity that will make you think.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a smart, engrossing adult story that brings back those revolutionary, idealistic Baby Boomer years.

 
 
 
 
 

A divorced couple band together to get back retirement money stolen from their company by an unscrupulous French businessman.
 
Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and Kate (Emma Thompson) are divorced but that doesn't stop Richard from enlisting Kate's help in recovering stolen funds looted from Richard's company by a French businessman (Laurent Lafitte).  Aided by their friends Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Pen (Celia Imrie), faces you will recognize from many a British film, they all travel to Paris to recover the money.
 
There is a jewel heist plot, lots of making fun of the French (which British comedies like to do) and all kinds of tired jokes. It was nice to see Marisa Berensen in a cameo.  She hasn't been seen much.
 
Unlike the serious treatment senior citizens got in Redford's "The Company You Keep (see review above)," there is a certain kind of movie that gets a kick out of itself showing senior citizens having sex, participating in car chases and planning heists.  This is one of those movies. It wants to be a screwball comedy from the early 70's like "A Touch of Class" that starred Glenda Jackson and George Segal (one of my favorite movies of all time) or the Pink Panther films (there is even a reference to those), but instead it's a predictable, tired mess.  Brosnan and Thompson are as charming as ever, but this film lets them down.
 
I never understand films where divorced people team up especially when they got divorced because of cheating.  If my divorce for that very reason is any indication, I am not only unlikely to help my ex, but he is unlikely to ask me to.  But such is the stuff of these middle-aged comedies.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...love Pierce Brosnan, love Emma Thompson, love British movies, hated this one.


***Book of the Week***
 
 
 
 
Pretty Little Killers: the Truth Behind the Savage Murder of Skylar Neese by Daleen Berry (2014)
 
 
True life account of the murder of a fifteen-year-old girl by her two "best friends."

Skylar Neese and Shelia Eddy had been friends since the second grade.  However, when Shelia befriended new girl Rachel Shoaf, the two became three and the dynamic changed and Shelia and Rachel began plotting Skylar's murder.

When the girls were finally accused and tried, their only explanation for the brutal stabbing of their friend was that they didn't want to be friends with her anymore.

This book attempts to explain what happened.
 
Many people think that reading true crime books is like reading the tabloids or pulp fiction.  But there are some wonderful true crime books out there.

What makes a really good true crime book?  Good writing.  Think Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood," a chilling account of the murder of the Clutter Family in Kansas in 1959 or Jon Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," that weaves the history of Mormonism into an account of a modern day murder or "The Executioner's Song" by Norman Mailer, which tells the tale of Gary Gilmore's execution and for which Mailer won a Pulitzer.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Unfortunately, this book doesn't rank up there with the best.  The writing lets it down. 

If this case interests you, watch the Dateline version (below) and if you like true crime books, check out the ones I mentioned above. 
 

 
 
That's it for this week!



Thanks for reading!


See you Tuesday

for

"Remembering Princess Diana"







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Check your local library for DVDs and books mentioned.



Note:  Next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). 

Here is a quick link to get to all of them.  Choose the film you are interested in and then scroll down the list of reviewers to find "Rosy the Reviewer."
 

Or you can go directly to IMDB.  
Find the page for the movie, click on "Explore More" on the right side panel and then scroll down to "External Reviews."  Look for "Rosy the Reviewer" on the list. Or if you are using a mobile device, look for "Critics Reviews." Click on that and you will find me alphabetically under "Rosy the Reviewer."
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kim Karsashian's Butt, or Things That Are Overrated

I have to admit that I wanted to put "Kim Kardashian's Butt" in the title of my blog post to see if it ups traffic to my blog.  I mean, how many people are "Googling" that, I wonder.

 


But with that as my ulterior motive, it did get me to thinking about things that really are overrated, Kim's butt included.  I mean, c'mon, since when is a big butt a good thing?  Is it OK to have a big butt if you are a celebrity, but if it's my big butt, I'm just fat?

What else is overrated?

How about truffle oil? 

Restaurants are putting truffle oil on practically everything these days.  Don't get Hubby started on truffle oil fries.  He is a frites connoisseur (that's just fancy talk for he really likes French fries), but will shun them if they contain a speck of truffle oil.  A truffle is a fungus, for god's sake.  Most of the time if someone asked you, "Do you want to eat some fungus?" you would probably say "ick."  But because truffles are a delicacy to some (mostly the French), why, let's slather our fries with the flavor of truffles.

Something else that I think is highly overrated is morning.

I know as a person of a certain age, I should thank my lucky stars every morning that I am still alive and kicking, and I know there are those of you who are morning people, who love nothing more than to pop open your eyes and jump out of bed to greet the day (Hubby is like that, damn him!).  But those two things apart, IN GENERAL, mornings suck. 

First of all, mornings require that you get out of bed.  That right there is a problem considering I was up until 2am with my best friend Pinot Gris. 

But even if I went to bed at a reasonable hour stone cold sober, I would still lounge around in bed until at least 9am, because I am just not a morning person. 

Sometimes I can't even contemplate the routine:  Get up, potty, brush teeth, make bed, put in contacts, figure out what to wear, put clothes on, go downstairs to the sound of barking dogs who want their morning treat (how did I get myselt into that?), and try to be civil to Hubby. It's too much. So just best to stay in bed.  

Before I retired, mornings also implied work - something I was required to get up and do.  How I did that for 40 years, I will never know because now that I am retired, my true nature has kicked in and my true nature is a night owl who likes to sleep until at least 9am and get up when I feel like it.

As an avid concert goer, I have also determined that sitting in the front row is overrated. 

I always thought if I was in the front row, I would get to high five my rock idols, receive a guitar pick or even get pulled up on stage.  Well, not only does that NOT happen when you sit in the front row, you are lucky if the performer even looks down at you.  No, their eyes are scanning the vastness of the crowd that has come to see THEM. 



All you get to do in the front row is look up at them in adoration.  No, it works best to sit somewhere in the middle and then if you are allowed to gather at the foot of the stage during the encore, some of your dreams might be realized. 

Going down into the "mosh pit," so to speak, I have high-fived a Beatle (Ringo), shared a moment with my guitar idol Steve Lukather (I said "You're fabulous!" to him as he went off stage and he mouthed "You're Fab-u-lous" back - or I think he did),



I have a drum stick from the drummer from INXS



and a guitar pick from Steve Miller.  And that's just in the last couple of years. 

"Groupiedom" dies hard.

 
 


Double sinks in the bathroom are also overrated.
 
I can't believe how many times someone rejects a house on "House Hunters," because there are not two sinks in the master bathroom.  

Does that mean those people brush their teeth together?  If not, what do you need two sinks for?  Do they need a sink that is their very own so that they won't share cooties?  I don't get it. I have been married for over 30 years and I think that one of the secrets of our success is that we DON'T brush out teeth together.   We not only don't brush our teeth together, we don't get ready together. Why would we want to be in there together? We not only don't get ready together, we don't talk in the morning either. I told you I wasn't a morning person.

 
Security Systems are overrated.

You are afraid of being burgled so you spend a bunch of money to have everything wired and then someone breaks in when you are gone and an alarm goes off.  So what?  By the time the cops arrive, especially if you live in the 'burbs,' the bad guys have run off with your stuff.  Here is what I think is the best deterrent for burglars.




Now this might be teensy weensy controversial, but I think that Summer is very overrated. 

Here in Seattle, we have had the longest and most beautiful summer we have experienced in the ten years we have lived here.  But now I am ready for some gloom (check back with me in a few months when it starts getting dark at 4pm.  I might change my mind).

Having been born with highly sun sensitive skin, I am not a sun worshiper. I burn to a crisp with the slightest sun exposure. My brother used to call me Casper the Friendly Ghost, because my skin was so white so I never liked to wear shorts or expose my skin much.



And I wasn't too happy with him calling me that. My brother was fond of nicknames.  He called our mother Witch Hazel.  That didn't go over so big either.

I grew up on Lake Michigan and I can't swim so you would never mistake me for a beach bunny.  My arms are fat so I don't like to wear sleeveless clothes, and I would rather sit in a smoky café and talk about Sartre than commune with nature.  (Speaking of which, I consider myself an existentialist.  I am so existential, I even flunked my existentialism class in college). And unrelenting sun depresses me.  So Summer and I don't get along that well.

I also think that Shakespeare is overrated.

Now I know that will raise the ire in lovers of literature.  As an actress, I played Miranda in "The Tempest" and I have done my share of Shakespeare study over the years. I know he supposedly thought of all seven possible plot lines, but I find reading him and watching his plays tedious.  Maybe I'm just not that smart. But give me a well-written biography or a seat for "West Side Story" and I'm there.



Finally, I think that working is overrated.  I like being retired.

Now I am going to sit back on my fat butt and see how many people find my blog by Googling "Kim Kardashian's Butt."
 
What do you think is overrated?



That's it for this week!



Thanks for reading!




See you Friday for the usual

"Week in Reviews." 

I will also tell you about my new job and get you caught up on how I am doing with my 

"Life Changing List."  


If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, 
email it to your friends and
LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer.






Friday, August 22, 2014

My Driving Pet Peeves and the Week in Reviews

[I review the new movie "The Giver," two MUST SEE DVDs "Locke" and "Hateship Loveship" and for you Bachelor fans, the book "I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends," an inside look at the show by one of that show's most famous "villains."]

But First

With the weekend upon us, my mind wanders to road tripping, something Hubby and I sometimes like to do on the weekends which in turn makes me think of my pet peeves when driving.



When we first moved to Washington from California, we noticed a marked difference in driving styles.  Californians drive fast and furious, period, but usually skillfully.  In Washington, we noticed that the drivers either dithered or drove like reckless bats out of hell.

But that's not to say that drivers from both states didn't share some issues.

Here are the things that could cause road rage in an otherwise Zen-like me (you know I meditate, right?):



Dawdling
Dawdling can take many forms. These are the finger up your butt drivers who don't have a care in the world, especially for you. They leave huge spaces between themselves and other cars thus causing an even longer back up than necessary. When you are waiting for their parking space (and they know you are waiting), they take their time fastening their seat belts, they adjust the mirror, get their cell phone out (don't want to miss a call), have a conversation with their passenger, adjust their seat, and who knows what else?  By that time, you have moved on to look for a parking space somewhere else. Who knows how long that person is going to dawdle?  They also take forever to make a turn or take off when the light turns green, and they go just fast enough to get through a light but not fast enough so that you can get through as well.

Letting someone in
Now I don't want to seem impolite, and I do let people move into the line of traffic when it makes sense to do so as in not disrupting the flow of traffic.  But when traffic is moving, can't that person pulling out of the gas station wait his turn?  Why do you have to stop all of us behind you so you can have the satisfaction of feeling like you did a good deed?  Once again I missed the light.

The four way stop stand off
Why don't drivers know who is supposed to go next at a four way stop?  If you are there first, YOU get to go.  If you both get there at the same time, the car on the right gets to go.  How hard is that?  And yet, there we all are and everyone is waving for the other car to go. "You go."  "No, you go."  "No, you go."  I have been known to just sit there because I don't like being told what to do, especially when it's wrong.




Stopping for a school bus on a three or four lane road


(And if you read last Tuesday's post, you know how much I hate school buses).
My daughter has pointed out to me that this driving rule does not apply everywhere, but in Washington at least, if the road has three or four lanes and the school bus is traveling in the opposite direction, YOU DO NOT NEED TO STOP.  But of course, everyone does.  Sigh. (Check your local rules regarding stopping for school buses so that you are not one of those people).

Driving in the left lane no matter what
My mother used to say, "I can drive in any lane I want.  If I want to drive in the left lane, then I will."  OK, but my Mom has the excuse that she didn't learn to drive until she was 65 and god help anyone who drove with her.  But what's your excuse?  If you are driving slower than the speed limit and not passing anyone, you do not belong in the left lane.  Try that in Europe and see what happens.  I'm just sayin.'

Picket fencing
If you are on the highway and you see someone driving right next to you they are not flirting.  They are just bad drivers.  Speed up and pass so someone else can too.

Tailgating
We probably all hate tailgating and we all probably indulge in it from time to time, especially when that dawdler is hogging the left lane. And sometimes I might be that person. Hey, I am not immune to having my finger up the proverbial butt too, from time to time.  But what really gets me is when the tailgater doesn't give me any time to get over and instead whips around and passes me on the right.

Talking on your cell phone
When I see any of the above offenses, invariably the driver is talking on a cell phone.  What is it with cell phones?  Can't people go 20 minutes without having to talk to someone? 

But here is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to driving.

I know that Hubby and I have been married for over 30 years (read all about it here), but why is it when we get in the car, the only topic of conversation is the traffic and other drivers?  Occasionally we also talk about the weather. 

In the old days, we might have struck up a conversation about Sartre and the meaning of his play "No Exit?"  Were they in hell?  Or we might discuss the pros and cons of ear candling. Or whatever happened to David Hasselhoff? And was his show "Knight Rider" a metaphor for cars taking over the world?  

Well, probably not, but I know we talked about something besides traffic. 

But now we don't.  So I usually say, "Will you put on the radio?  The traffic reports are on."

What drives you crazy on the road?



Now on to the Week in Reviews


***In Theatres Now***
 
 
 
It's a supposed Utopian world where pain and strife have given way to "sameness." There are no memories. But the trade off for that is that everything is controlled. No one has any memories of the past lest that cause said pain and strife.  But one young person is given the "job" of receiving the memories of what once was from "The Giver."

In this "community," there is no suffering, hunger, war, and also no color, music, or love. Everything is controlled by "the Elders." At the age of maturity, all young people say goodbye to their childhoods and are given their life's work in a ceremony.  Jonas (Brenton Thwaite, who played the Prince in "Maleficent") is chosen as "The Receiver," a special status only one person per generation is given.  That means his job is to have memories passed down to him from the receiver before him - The Giver - so as to have the knowledge from the past in order to advise "The Elders."

As The Giver (Jeff Bridges) passes his memories to Jonas, Jonas starts to feel emotions, especially for Fiona (Odeya Rush), one of his best childhood friends, and starts questioning his family and his very existence.

Thwaite and Rush are a charming couple and young actors to watch.  Meryl Streep, looking very much like Holly Hunter in the fantastic TV mini-series "Top of the Lake" and a hardly recognizable, dark-haired Taylor Swift round out the cast with not much to do.

Based on the Newbery award winning book by Lois Lowry, which is on practically every middle school reading list, it is reminiscent of "Divergent," another book that shares similarities. The movie version of "Divergent" came first, but Lowry's book came first so one wonders about how derivative "Divergent" is.

This film was 18 years in the making. In an interview, Jeff Bridges (The Giver) shared that he had optioned this book to star his father, Lloyd Bridges (Baby Boomers, remember "Sea Hunt?"), as The Giver, but he died before he could produce the film and then Jeff was old enough to play The Giver himself.

Basically, the story explores the question: would you give up your freedom to love and feel and the memories of humanity's accomplishments even if that meant you would feel pain for a life where you no longer feared death, felt emotional pain or the memories of war and hatred? 

To illustrate the lack of color and choice, the movie starts out in black and white, but Jonas has the gift and starts seeing colors.  As his apprenticeship with The Giver progresses, his world opens up more and more. As the colors start coming for Jonas, we are reminded of Dorothy's entrance into Oz and the movie "Pleasantville."

The soundtrack was melodramatic and the story far-fetched at times (for example, how do you keep memories at bay by a physical boundary?), but it's still a compelling story that will keep your interest.

I am wondering if our middle schoolers will now be watching this movie instead of reading the book as they do with most book assignments.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you liked "The Hunger Games" and "Divergent" or are a fan of this book, you will like this film.


***DVDS***
You Might Have Missed
(And Some You Will Be Glad You Did)
 


Locke (2013)
 
 
Tom Hardy plays Ivan Locke, a happily married family man and successful construction manager who makes the decision one night after work to leave everything behind and take a fateful 90-minute drive.
 
The usually reliable Ivan leaves behind the supervision of the biggest concrete pour Europe has ever seen and the plans he had to watch a football match with his wife and two kids to travel from Wales to London to do "what's right."  As he makes the 90 minute journey in his BMW, he makes and takes phone calls (hands free, of course, this is England) to try to sort everything out.  Phone call by phone call it is slowly revealed why he is making this journey and the price he is paying.  He calls his work colleagues to try to make sure everything will run smoothly in the morning and he has to deal with all kinds of screw ups.  But the biggest screw up is the one he is traveling to fix and that will ultimately probably cost him his marriage and life as he knows it.

Tom Hardy follows up his stint as Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises" with this tour de force piece about a man literally being driven to his breaking point.

Director Steven Knight, who wrote "Eastern Promises" and "Dirty Pretty Things" directs his own script, only his second directorial stint ("Hummingbird" was his first).

 
It's a risky film in that it's just Hardy in the car in real time.  But Hardy gives an incredible performance of a man trying to do what he thinks is right and slowly unraveling.  This film will stay with you.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...a wild, haunting and riveting ride.




Hateship Loveship (2013)

 
Johanna Perry (Kristen Wiig) has worked as a housemaid/cleaner/caregiver in a sheltered environment since she was 15.  But when she moves to Iowa to care for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his teen-aged granddaughter, Sabitha (Haile Steinfeld), she finds love in a most unusual way.

Johanna has lived such a sheltered life that she lives life with no expression, no seeming feelings about much. Guy Pearce plays Ken, Sabitha's father, who has spent time in prison for killing Sabitha's mother in a drunken car crash.  When Johanna meets Ken and accompanies Sabitha and him to dinner, he is kind to her and something stirs in her, something you can tell hasn't happened to her before.  When Ken returns to Chicago, where he is fixing up an old motel, Johanna writes him a thank you note. However, her note is waylaid by Sabitha and her friend Edith (Sami Gayle) and they concoct a cruel joke, writing her back as Ken and then telling her they should correspond via email.  There is a sweet scene where Johanna, who knows nothing about computers, goes to the library to set up an email account and naturally a very kind librarian helps her with it.

Ken knows nothing of this, holed up in his seedy motel doing drugs with his girlfriend played by Jennifer Jason Leigh.  And can I ask?  What happened to Jennifer Jason Leigh's career?  Remember "Last Exit to Brooklyn," "Single White Female" and "Georgia?"  Her career was on a roll.  What happened? She should be playing leading roles these days. Over the years, her career choices have been sketchy.

Based on short story by Alice Munro, this is a spare piece that captures the awkwardness Johanna feels as she makes her way in a world strange to her.  The film is punctuated by old country songs from Tammy Wynette and George Jones which add a nostalgic, romantic, but slightly edgy feel to the film (Wynette and Jones were once married and it wasn't pretty).

I was not a fan of Wiig in previous films ("Girl Most Likely").  For some reason, I couldn't get over her SNL characters and had a hard time accepting her as a serious actress.  But here, she plays Johanna in a quiet, understated way - she barely speaks - and it is mesmerizing.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you are not expecting "Bridesmaids," you will be rewarded by a poignant performance by Wiig.
 
 
 
***Book of the Week***
 

If you are not a Bachelor fan, you can stop reading here, and I will see you Tuesday. 
Otherwise, fasten your seat belts, Bachelor fans.  This is juicy.
 


I Didn't Come Here to Make Friends by Courtney Robertson (2014)
 
 
Robertson was the "villain" of Season 16 of "The Bachelor," - there always has to be a villain - with that guy with the floppy hair, Ben Flajnik, and she dishes the dirt on Ben and the show - and Ben was not happy about it. 
 
The Arizona-born model was arguably the most hated of all "Bachelor" contestants in "Bachelor" history.  Her book contains a lot of "I'm not really as bad as I seemed on the show" or "I shouldn't have said that," but despite her mea culpas, she can't hide her snarkiness here.  She also contends she had no idea she was being cast as the villain and her scenes were edited to show that.
 
But the behind the scenes tidbits are fun.  Yes, they "did it" when they went skinny dipping in the ocean, yes, they "did it" in the fantasy suite.  It included ripping each other's clothes off and doing every position under the sun. 
 
There is quite a bit of sex on "The Bachelor."  Basically, producers of the show estimate that the Bachelor contestants have sex with at least three of the women, on average.
 
Courtney won the day with a proposal from Ben but when the cameras stopped rolling, so did their romance.  Supposedly, Courtney was offered a spot on "Dancing with the Stars," but Ben said absolutely not.  It went downhill from there.
 
Rosy the Reviewer says...for hardcore "Bachelor" fans and those who wonder what the hell it's all about.
 
 
That's it for this week!


Thanks for reading!

See you Tuesday for
 
"Kim Kardashian's Butt, or
Things that are Overrated!" 



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