See You at The Movies

Yesterday’s comments on Midnight in Paris constitute the last movie review type thing I’ll post to Steel White Table. About a week from now, I’ll be done with this blog altogether. Probably. Anyhow, if you really can’t stand missing out on what movies I’ve been watching, I offer you my two big movie lists available through the Internet Movie Database.

List #1: All the most recent movies I’ve seen with a rating out of 10 (click the image to view the list).

I’m not too stringent with the 10 star rating scale. I was used to thinking within the 4 star scale with no half stars (because then it would just be an 8 point rating system, and if you’re using 8, what not just use 10?). So for me 8, 9 or 10 stars = a 4-star movie. Most movies are such a total waste of time and brain energy, when I come across something that engages me, makes me laugh, makes me cry, makes me think or feel something I wouldn’t have otherwise thought or felt (besides annoyance), then it’s a 4-star movie. A 3-star movie, an average okay kind of flick, is 7 stars using the IMdB rating system. Anything lower than that is pretty much crap. Okay then…

List #2: Movies that, according to my brain, aren’t too shabby — the more or less 4-star movies (click the image to view the list).

My current favourite or most recommended movies (and television series) will show up near the top of the list (the first 10 or so), but the list can be ordered according the release date and other criteria.

I might add comments to some of the movie descriptions and I might create a list of guilty pleasure movies some day. But otherwise, that’s it. See you at the movies.

Comments on Auster’s “Sunset Park”

I’m being a little generous giving Sunset Park 7 out of 10. For a Paul Auster novel, it’s nothing special. The novel starts off strong, but about half way through it begins to peter out, mainly because he doesn’t focus on a single character’s story. Instead, every chapter is a character sketch of each person in the novel. Many of the chapters are vivid and compelling, but the parts are greater than the whole. It’s as if Auster began by telling the story of one central character, finished it and realized the story was only a hundred pages or so, then decided to reconstruct the story as a collection of character sketches so he could expand it into a novel-length story. That’s the impression I get.

The story is about four university type people, two men, two women, living in an abandoned house in New York City. The story takes place in 2008 during the first financial meltdown in the U.S. which some blame on the reckless military spending of George W. Bush’s government. Like he did with Man in the Dark, I think Auster is reflecting again on the tragic legacy of George W. Bush’s presidency. It’s not as direct this time around, but it’s not hard to spot when you think about it.

Sunset Park isn’t a bad novel. But overall it didn’t grab me like most of Auster’s have.

Book Review: “Extremely Loud…”

8 out of 10 stars I finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer‘s second novel today. It’s called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. It’s about a kid who’s father dies in one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. He finds something among his father’s possessions that leads him to believe that there’s someone out there who knows something about his father that he doesn’t, and basically he’s a kid who misses his father so much that he wants to know everything about his father. So without giving anything away, he spends most of the book looking for this stranger who might provide him with some insights about his dead father. I’m not going to lie about: I wasn’t enthralled by the story or the writing. I was able to put the book down for days and start where I left off without losing the feel of the story, mainly because it didn’t have much of a feel for me. I skimmed through more than a few portions of the book. It didn’t grab me, but I kept reading because I wasn’t completely disinterested in it. Then everything changed near the end of the book in the chapter that begins on page 285. Something happens in that chapter that is so truthful and so real and so sad and tragic and insane, and honest, it cut to the bone like no moment I’ve experienced in a novel for a long time. Earlier today I tried to describe the scene to someone, and a shiver went through me as I thought about it. Anyway, that made it for me. That scene will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. What a moment. So that’s it. Mission accomplished. I say job well done to Jonathan Safran Foer. That moment killed me. It knocked me out and moved me. And did it without being a depressing downer of a story. Anyone who can have that affect on me is doing something right.

Free Comic Book Day

golden age action comicsThe 1st Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day (May 7th this year – 2011), where particpating stores provide free comics, in addition to so social activities like a BBQ, prizes, etc.

Every Geek parent should be taking their kids to this.

Use the Free Comic Book Day Store Locator to find a participating store near you.

Gamezilla in Moncton is hosting Free Comic Book Day, which I’m taking our family to.

The free comics include Spider-man, Green Lantern, and a whole lot I haven’t heard of.

Book Review: “Love in The Time of Cholera”

Rating - 9 out of 10 Love in The Time of Cholera (translated from Spanish by Edith Grossman) is the first book I’ve read by Gabriel García Márquez.

It’s a masterfully written love story that I just diminished by calling it a love story because it just happens to be about a guy so obsessed and in love with a woman in his youth that he’s willing to wait a lifetime for a chance to make his move, but it’s also packed with astute observations about every kind of human behaviour under the sun, and I bought into every bit of it.

It’s a pleasure to read because the writing is eloquent but raw, no messing around, something compelling and vivid on every page, but also absurdly humorous, which helps.

The story spans generations without losing sight of its central question — something to do with the nature of love, whatever that is, but I won’t say more — and it’s hard not to marvel at the literary accomplishment along García Márquez’s insights into human nature.

And I love the ending. It’s likely to be one of the most memorable novels I’ve ever read.