All Caps, bold: MOVIE
All Caps, TV SERIES
Quotation marks “Play”
Italics, quotation marks: Short Story
FEB 1 – BRIDESMAIDS
Surprisingly funny and only over the top in a few places. Superior to farces like THE HANGOVER.
FEB 3 – WALLACE AND GROMIT CURSE OF THE WERERABBIT
All ages can enjoy these characters and the latest may be the best yet.
FEB 4 – CHICKEN RUN
Entertaining although I remember it being a bit better on my first viewing.
FEB 5 – To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
The first half of the book is a classic and the movie used the best scenes. The second half of the novel is less interesting although the key moment with Harry Morgan was borrowed for the 1948 Bogart film, Key Largo. A better ending could have made this another Hemingway classic work.
FEB 6 – BIG LEBOWSKI
Still funny after all these years. Quotable to the end. I saw it for the first time with Sir Saunders on my 29th birthday, a doubleheader with PRIMARY COLORS.
FEB 11 – GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO (U.S.)
There aren't a lot of differences between the Swedish and American movies. They both hit the big plot points. I think the main difference is the relationship between the Lisabeth and the mukraker. Daniel Craig seems more self-assured than the Swedish actor. Both are worth watching.
FEB 12 – EX MRS. BRADFORD
Classic William Powell detective novel with Jean Arthur in the Myrna Loy role. Powell is Dr. Bradford, the suspect forced into clearing his good name. Jean Arthur is the title character trying to worm her way back into Powell's heart. Fun all the way through.
FEB 14 – This is a Book by Demetri Martin
The closest thing to Woody Allen's early prose than anything I have ever read. Each chapter is a stand along story of comic inspiration. His Genie FAQ was especially funny.
FEB 16 – Up in the Air by Walter Kim
A rare example of a decent book turned into a better movie. They share the premise of a man trying to reach his frequent flyer milestone, but the book is more slice of life and about how he is looking forward to a life without flying whereas George Clooney lives to be in the air. The other characters are drawn much better in the movie, which says a lot for Jason Reitman.
FEB 22 – THE THIRD MAN
The real challenge with this film is whether you get a clean print with synched audio. Thankfully Turner Classic Movies provided it. It hardly gets any better than the Orson Wells reveal. Great film making.
FEB 24 – THE GODFATHER
Tricia's first viewing was courtesy of HD. The three hours really flew by. A great great movie every time. I love the scene where Sterling Hayden punches Michael, because I already know the revenge.
FEB 25 – LIFE’S TOO SHORT
Warrick Davis plays the title Dwarf to great humor. Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant play themselves. Liam Neeson guests stars as himself in this episode where he asks Ricky to help him become a comic. Hilarious Stuff.
FEB 26 - The Empty Copper Sea by John D. MacDonald
One of the later Travis McGee stories has Travis and the ever-ready Meyer travel to the gulf coast to clear the name of an old friend. Unlike other private eyes, there are hints that McGee is aging and his hi-jinks can't last forever. Every one of these novels has a sort of political statement, but the one he drops here has me shaking my head. McGee laments that county sheriffs are elected rather than appointed and labels it a right-wing thing. He'd rather have a boost to the "good ole boy" network by letting them decide?
FEB 28 - Meltdown by Thomas F. Woods Jr.
Thomas Woods lays the blame on the housing crisis on the doorstep of the Fed. Their cheap money through low interest rates set the table for the shenanigans. Taking us off the gold standard not only devalued our money but allowed the government to control the money supply at will. He makes a decent case that the Fed has been more trouble than it's worth. It's been robbing us for years and making our savings worthless. We are either better off spending what we have or risking it in a volatile stock market because inflation with eat it away otherwise. But I didn't come away totally convinced that the government couldn't have caused the housing problems with a Federal Reserve system. Politicians still would have pressured banks to make bad loans and those bad loans still would have skewered the market.