Friday, September 30, 2005

Serenity

This is opening weekend for Joss Whedon's Serenity.

Reasons to watch this weekend and not wait for DVD:
  1. It's a great movie.
  2. If Serenity has a good opening weekend, we get a sequel. (I hope, I hope, I hope.)
  3. Joss is a brilliant writer.
  4. Joss is a great director.
  5. The cast are perfect.
  6. I laughed, I cried, I jumped out of my seat.
  7. Joss may not have gotten the nominations & awards he deserved while on TV, so help him laugh all the way to the bank by making his movie number 1.
  8. It's a fun movie.
  9. Seeing a movie like this with other fans: priceless. You don't even have to know their names; you're sharing in a unique experience.
  10. Lots of people made this happen: and I'm not talking the obvious (Joss, crew, cast, and others who got paid.) I mean the fans who would not let Serenity die. Support fandom by watching this movie in the theatre.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Buffy Quote of the Week

"You can't do that. That would be wrong. Hey. I'm Buffy Summers. I'll kick your ass with my righteous fiery Slayerness. You can't do that. Because it's naughty. Because it's wrong."
-Faith imitating Buffy, Ep: Who Are You

Monday, September 19, 2005

We Were Tired Of Living In A House

We Were Tired Of Living In A House by Liesel Moak Skorpen

This is one of my favorite picture books from when I was little. I read it over and over. I'm tempted to buy a copy so I can have the pleasure of owning it.

The Plot: Three siblings are tired of living in a house, so they pack their bags and find a new home. A tree is fine... until they tumble out. Then they move onto a raft... until something happens and they move on to a new residence. They bring a memento from each home with them. At the end, they decide a house is best and go back home.

The Good: I think this is my earliest "survivor" book. Yes, one can argue for the language, or the pattern storytelling; the fantasy element as the children pretend to set up housekeeping until, at the end of a day of make believe, they return home. For me, it was examining the details of illustrations and truly believing that this intrepid group was living in a tree. And a raft. And a cave. The illustrator for the edition I loved was Doris Burn, so I'll need to hunt used book sales to get my own copy.

(Edited to remove broken link.)

Bones

Bones is a new television series on Fox. It is inspired by books by Kathy Reichs.

The Plot: Temperance "Tempe" Brennan is a forensic anthropologist and an author of mystery novels who lives in Washington DC and works for the Jeffersonian Institute. When bones are found, Tempe is the one called by the FBI to work her science to find out as much about the body as possible. Seeley Booth is the FBI Agent she works with.

The Good: This is an enjoyable crime show. Tempe is science girl, Booth is law & order guy. While Booth insists that science alone does not solve crimes, he does respect what Tempe does. He just doesn't think that science alone is what is needed and he is a tad vocal on thinking it's an overrated, yet necessary, part of an investigation. And I think Tempe might agree with him to some extent -- why else does she insist on leaving the lab and being a full partner in the investigation?

What I Liked: The FBI Agent is played by David Boreanaz of Angel. He's quite good here: a mix of charming and cool. Usually in these "odd couple" partnerings one person being super-smart means the other person must be stupid. Tempe is clearly the smart one... but just because Seeley doesn't have advanced degrees doesn't mean he's not smart. It's just smart in a different way. When Tempe goes with Seeley to break the news to grieving parents that yes, the body is their daughter, she treats the situation no different than if she were talking to colleagues at work. Seeley is the one who cuts her off and treats the parents with compassion and respect. He has a different type of "smart."

Of interest: Tempe Brennan is a character in a series of books by Kathy Reichs. The character is essentially the same in spirit, but details have changed. Like her age. And where she lives (at least in the first book).

What I don't get: Seeley as a first name? What's up with that? Talk about a mystery that needs solving.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Firefly Quote

In honor of the upcoming film Serenity, a Firefly quote.

Jayne: I didn't sign onto this crew to take in the sights. We need coin!
Mal: Jayne! Your mouth is talking. You might wanna look to that.
Ep: Serenity (pilot)

Buffy Quote of the Week

"Are you sure they're English? I thought English people were gentler than normal people."
--Tara, Ep: Checkpoint

Monday, September 12, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Good Brother, Bad Brother

Good Brother, Bad Brother: the Story of Edwin Booth & John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin

As everyone knows, John Wilkes Booth killed President Abraham Lincoln. Most people may recall that JWB was an actor; and some that he came from an acting family.

GBBB shows that there was much more to JWB and the Booth family. This is nonfiction the way I like it: a compelling story, interesting people, photos and pictures and other illustrations to help learn more about the people and places you're reading about.

The Plot: JWB was the younger son of a very well known actor, Junius Brutus Booth. JBB's sons were also actors, including Edwin Booth.

Both EB and JWB were well known and respected in their own right; JWB was not the failed actor/ wannabe that I seem to recall learning about. Both were making extremely good money (tho, as with actors today, they had good years and bad years.) In 1863, JWB made $1,000 for 4 performances.

Up until April 1865, JWB was probably viewed as the "good son", despite being an enthusiastic supporter of the South in a family that was more for the North. He was handsome, charming, and very popular with the ladies (JCG omits the many people claiming to be descendants of the never married JWB). EB was far from perfect; his drinking had caused professional and personal heartache.

Then JWB killed the President. And the rest of the family was left to pick up the pieces. The media of the 19th century were no kinder than the media today.

The Good: Despite being known as the brother of the man who killed the president, EB continued to perform, and continued to get good reviews. His acting style was unique -- simple, direct and factual in a time when flamboyant style was the rage. This style influenced actors who followed him, down to the present day. Some recordings of EB were made, scroll down this page to find one here.

GBBB is also a peak into a part of the 19th century that we seldom see: that of actors, and their connections and life. All the more compelling by the many photos and little details, such as actors doing more than one play during a run at a theatre and supplying all their own costumes.

As is usual with nonfiction, I was interested in learning more about Edwin Booth. There seems to be very little on the web about the Booth descendants. I thought I had read that there was a connection between the Booth acting family and those of the Drews and the Barrymores, but I couldn't find anything to support that. I did find that Cherie Blair, wife of the British Prime Minister, is a distant Booth relation.

An interesting interview with the author is here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Confessions of a Teen Sleuth

Confessions of a Teen Sleuth by Chelsea Cain.

As you know, I read and loved series, including Nancy Drew.
So I had to read COATS.

The premise: Nancy is, and always was, real. That evil roommate of hers, Carolyn Keene, used her life and pedaled it as fiction. This book is Nancy's chance to set the record straight.

When this is good, it is very, very good. It's fun, it's snarky, it's full of in-jokes, and it's not for ten-year-olds. It's written with love of Nancy and the genre. When Tom Swift shows up, there are swifties galore. Cherry Ames is obsessed with nursing and nurses. Unless you are a reader, and lover, of genre series up to the 60s, you won't get the jokes. But if you were a fan, this will have you smiling and laughing.

House of Flying Daggers

House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu) directed by Yimou Zhang. Official site here.

The Plot: It's the 9th century in China; different groups are challenging the Tang Dynasty, including one known as the "House of Flying Daggers." Jin and Leo are police deputies intent on taking down the rebels. They recently helped assassinate the previous rebel leader; now there are rumors that a new leader is nearby.

The Good: This movie is gorgeous. The colors are brilliant. The choreography of the fighting is breathtaking. And the plot is clever; there are twists and turns as Jin & Leo pursue the rebels. Some you see coming; some you don't. But even the ones you do see coming are interesting, because Jin & Leo don't see them.

The fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed; each step, each move. Sometimes it is two fighters; but sometimes it 3, 4, 20. Intense. And just when I was getting a little snarky in my watching, thinking that the fighting was too "pretty", the final fight scene started. Up to now it had been watching a ballet of swords and daggers and arrows -- and suddenly, a fight to the death with blood and violence and even a headbutt. AWESOME.

Oh, one more thing. So far I've described a beautiful and exciting action movie, and I've left out a key player, Mei. I won't give too much away, but she's blind. And she doesn't just sit back and look pretty. And yes, HOFD has some romance in it.

Oh, and another thing -- Takeshi Kaneshiro is hot. Easy on the eyes.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Buffy Quote of the Week

"I'm so overwhelmed. I got in! To colleges. Real live colleges! And now they're wooing me. They're pitching woo!"
-- Willow, Ep: Bad Girls

Friday, September 02, 2005

D.L. Garfinkle Interview At cynsations

Cynthia Leitich Smith's blog, cynsations, includes author interviews. She asks about the kinds of things I love learning about, like :

  • "What was your inspiration for creating this book?"
  • "What was the timeline between spark and publication and what were the major events along the way?"
  • "What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, logistical) in bringing it to life?"

The most recent author interview is with D.L. Garfinkle, who wrote Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won The Girl.

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