Knowing

People are all over the place with regard to this movie. I liked it. Nicholas Cage plays pretty much the same character as he always plays, but we love him in our house. (One of my daughter’s favourite movies is Moonstruck.) The movie opens with a scene 50 years previously where a school is creating a time capsule. Each kid draws a picture for the capsule which, when opened in the present day, are distributed to the current pupils. Case’s son receives a note with rows of numbers. Cage figures out, through a set of circumstances, that the numbers correspond with dates of disasters and there are still a few left that haven’t happened yet. What a burden, you think – us too. A little cheesy with the concept of ‘there’s no such thing as coincidence’ screaming at you throughout. No extraordinary performances, but a fun family flick with plenty to talk about afterwards.

I Know This Much Is True By Wally Lamb

This book is a tough one. I read She’s Come Undone by the same author many years ago but remember enjoying it. While I was reading ‘I Know’ I kept on going back and forth. I liked it, I didn’t like it. It has excessive use of bad language, too descriptive sex scenes but then a great story line. The basic premise is the tale of two identical twins, one mentally ill and the other dealing with it, or not, as the case may be. Interesting generational story included although not at all flattering to the ‘old country’ folk. Life, death, marriage, birth – this book has it all. I have to say that at the end I enjoyed it, but goodness, getting there was quite a haul. 900 pages! I am usually quite good about plowing through larger tomes but this is not War and Peace. This puppy took days to read. The characters are not really likeable so that doesn’t help. It was rarely uplifting so therefore, for me, a little harder to want to jump into but life is seldom what we see in the movies and so maybe I should back off a bit. The writing is extraordinary – they say write what you know so maybe the author has first hand knowledge, I don’t know. What I do know is I have come away with a more compassionate view of those dealing with loved ones with this type of mental illness. Maybe that was his point.

Defiance

This movie is based upon a true story.  That should make us stop and think.  These stories need to be continued to be told so we don’t repeat mistakes but also to see how freedom is very costly and rarely free.  Set in communist Russia (Belarus today) during WWII, four Jewish brothers hide in the forest near their childhood home after the Nazis terrorize their village.  Other Jews follow to escape and soon, due to numbers, they have to begin to structure their lives.  There is inner conflict as well as between the brothers.  Not enough food, building shelter, medicine and of course staying hidden.  The main characters are likable and tough.  I don’t know how well this film did in the cinemas but it is well worth your time.  This also is a little different from the usual WWII films as it is set in Eastern Europe.  Definitely food for thought for anyone of that heritage – I love it when before the credits then relay what happened to some of the people you have just spent two hours getting to know.  I sat thinking how it would feel to be in any of their positions.  Winters were brutal.  Illness could easily kill.  Dissatisfaction and complaining had to have been a morale killer.  We know the ending and when the war finished; they did not.  A must see without being too syrupy or overly gory.

Father Dowling Mysteries by Ralph McIrney

For fun and light reading, McIrney is great.  Not too schmaltzy.  Likeable characters in familiar surroundings.  These are great reads for holidays whether you’re on a beach or taking a break over Thanksgiving weekend.  They are quick reads with mostly satisfactory endings.  I have to admit my first exposure to these tales was on the telly.  The friendly priest chasing around in the snow and ice to help his flock was extremely endearing. Sewing up an entire story in less than an hour, bringing people back to church and solving mysteries to boot. What more can you ask?

Push

OK – so oftentimes when my kiddo wants to watch a movie I bring a book or a crossword so I can multi-task.  This time was no different except, I didn’t look down at the book much at all.  Quite an engaging story albeit with a few holes.  Interesting characters who are mostly believable.  The whole thing flowed well.  What if the planet were inhabited with people who had special powers?  The audience for this was probably teens but I had no problem sitting through with my attention kept.  A little bad language which was a bit contrived especially when the 13 year old girl swore.  Trying to make her more street smart?? – maybe.  The implied sex scene was also redundant.  The overall tone had an almost X-Men feel to it with the opening scene in the lab but quickly moved to fast action in Hong Kong.  Right blend of good guys, bad guys and tension but of course borderline ridiculous – hey who wants to sit around and watch believable – isn’t that what the news is for?  A good veg out movie.