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Showing posts from September, 2007

Movie Reviews: James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

This was a Western well worth watching. The genre is not dead after all. The film is full of star power but still gritty enough to be appreciated by the arthouse crowd. Christian Bale is Dan Evans, a husband, father, and ex-war veteran with a gimpy leg. Russell Crowe is Ben, the villain, an intelligent crook who commits crimes purely to make money he didn't earn. He's not a bad guy. Ben doesn't kill out of spite.

In a purely dumb luck encounter, Dan ends up helping to capture Ben. The sheriff is going to play completely by the book. Ben won't be hung. He will given a fair trial in Yuma. But Ben's gang is sure to try and stop them. The local sheriff decides to hire four men to get Ben to the train on time, Dan being one of them.

Dan's oldest son, William, is so enamored with Ben he can't see straight. On the side, he reads dime store novels about Ben's adventures. He is ashamed of his father and his supposed weakness. After all, his dad hasn't been ab…

Book Review: Leonardo's Shadow by Christopher Grey

Giacomo is the servant of the great Leonardo Da Vinci. Several years ago, a mob was chasing him through the streets, convinced he had stolen someone else's possessions. That night, Da Vinci saved Giacomo's life. Ever since then, Giacomo has served Da Vinci faithfully. Whenever anyone even hints that they are insulting his master, Giacomo is right there defending his honor, although it is most unsuitable for him to speak to his superiors.

His greatest ambition is to paint and learn from his master. But Da Vinci seems reluctant to teach him. Giacomo spends his days waiting on Da Vinci, hanging out with his small circle of apprentice friends, and bugging his master to finish the painting The Last Supper. Why won't Da Vinci finish the painting? The Da Vinci household has been buying food, clothing, and art supplies on a credit basis only, but the business owners are beginning to be impatient for actual money. More importantly, the Duke of Milan is most impatient for him to fi…

Book Review: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge . . .

Nineteen Minutes deals with a town, a school shooting, and a boy named Peter Houghton, bullied since the day he started Kindergarten. In Picoult's signature style, we hear the thoughts of multiple characters throughout the story.

The introductory chapters are some of the most suspenseful writing you will ever read. We meet Josie, a girl who looks perfect on the outside but is drowning on the inside. She's getting ready for school at Sterling High. She's dating Matt Royston, one of the most popular boys in school, but plans how she will commit suicide when she is discovered to be the fake she knows she is.

We meet Alex Cormier, her mother, a Supreme Court judge who is more comfortable on the bench than in the mother role.

We meet Lacey Houghton, a midwife. She treasure her comfortable home and role as a wife and mother.

And we meet Peter. When we first meet him, he wakes up and goes to his computer to read email messages, only …