Away We Go

A slow moving but interesting tale of a couple who are pregnant and find out his parents are moving abroad. This leaves them with the notion that they can also move anywhere but look to where they have friends and relatives in state. The entire movie is them travelling around the states visiting with various friends and taking in the scenery. They encounter raucous people; one played so well by Allison Janney that you feel the embarrassment through the screen; sad couples due to infertility and a relative who is against pushchairs and insists on ‘a communal bed’ for everyone. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays this cousin so well. Will they find the perfect home? Great dialogue and interaction between the two leading roles played so well by Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski.

The Vintage Caper By Peter Mayle

The author of A Good Year and A Year in Provence has a new one out. He again sets most of the book in France but this is somewhat of a mystery as opposed to just prose. There are fun characters and an engaging storyline along with some great descriptions of wines as well as food. In California an arrogant and wealthy man collects wine. Lots of it. Solely as a status symbol, maybe, because we find out he loves the attention he gets after agreeing to an article that runs in publications worldwide. Suddenly he’s a superstar and loving every moment of it too. But then he gets ripped off. You know this is going to happen because of the title so I’m not ruining anything. He immediately contacts his insurance company saying they owe him $3 million and, naturally, they have to investigate. I have to say I am a little envious of Mayle and his lifestyle. He lives and writes in France and if his previous books are anything to go on he has quite a laugh while he’s at it. Bravo Monsieur et encore.

The Band’s Visit

This film won many foreign film awards. I fell upon it being reviewed before another movie. An Egyptian orchestra is scheduled to perform at the opening of an Arab cultural centre in Israel. The band arrives in Israel in full regalia and get on the wrong bus ending up in a small town where nothing ever happens. They communicate with the Israelis in English and the other dialogue is subtitled. I will leave you to decide what you think the movie is about but it is touching and very funny in parts as well as thought provoking in others. Although not sworn enemies there is still an uneasiness about the locals hosting the Arabs but a certain détente is arrived at relatively quickly thanks to the owner of a little café in the middle of town.

4th of July By James Patterson

This is the fourth installment in the women’s murder club series. Yet another bizarre set of circumstances face the cop, medical examiner and reporter but they are joined with a set of lawyers this time. To say that the police see the ugly side of life would be a serious understatement if you read any kind of crime drama. Lindsay is caught in the middle of a situation where she is accused of killing and maiming a couple of children although they did try to kill her first. How can such innocents be guilty of what she and her partner have accused them of? Can kids of such privilege really be held accountable for these crimes? Maybe they were just bored with having it all – whatever it leaves a yucky taste in your mouth regardless. Meanwhile we stumble upon another crime in another town where Lindsay is supposed to be recuperating. Seemingly unconnected couples are being murdered and there seems to be no rhyme or reason. Not necessarily so as you will find out.

The Lost Virtue of Happiness – Discovering the Disciplines of the Good Life By J.P.Moreland and Klaus Issler

This is not a sappy, feel good little ditty. The Lost Virtue of Happiness – Discovering the Disciplines of the Good Life is a well written and solid book which, I believe, wouldn’t hurt anyone. They start with the confusion of what happiness even means and how it has changed drastically over the decades; include anxiety and depression, which an alarmingly large amount of people struggle with, and also talk about friendships and community, which is an especially hot button for me. Both authors are extremely transparent with issues they have dealt with and their honesty is admirable. We have become a people of short attention spans and that includes our time with God as well as just thinking and not doing. Not qualities that are necessarily revered but are almost certainly essential to our inner well being. We need to experience a different reality and celebrate our liberation from current thinking. Not a step by step but a definite help for achieving daily discipline.