I still get to read about 3 books a week. This is the best book I've read in the last couple of years. Author Anthony Doerr recently was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The man makes metaphors that'll melt in your mouth.
Looking for a movie whose mission might make you feel good to be alive? Try actor/director Jon Favreau's latest creation Chef. It is loosely based on the book L.A. Son : My Life, My City, My Food by Master Chef Roy Choi. This movie has all the necessary ingredients: a great soundtrack, perfect casting, clever script, a lovable kid, fantastic editing and if you like to cook, there's tons of tips.
This movie has been categorized as a road-trip-flick, but it is much more. It tries to show the importance of following one's dreams, no matter what the cost.
Before sitting down to watch this film, just make sure you've had a big meal, or you're gonna have to plan on pausing it before it's over, to run to the kitchen.
When Generation War, a German TV mini-series, first aired in Europe in 2013 it had over 7 million viewers a night. It was originally titled: Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter (Our Mothers, Our Fathers). The mini-series, comprised of three 1.5 hours teleplays, was written by Stefan Kolditz and directed by Philipp Kadelbach. So far it has been nominated for 23 film awards and has won 13 awards, including Best Television Mini Series in 2013. What makes this series standout is the excellent production quality. Its film editing, acting, and script are all top-shelf.
The story begins in Berlin in 1942. Five friends, all in their early 20's, have one last blast before they journey on life's path. Wilhelm and Friedhelm are brothers who are being sent to the Russian front. Wilhelm is hard-nosed and his younger brother is idealistic. Charlotte, a nurse, is in love with Wilhelm, but has never proclaimed those feelings. She too is being sent to Russia. Greta wants to be the next Marlene Dietrich. She will stop at nothing to further her career. She's in love with a Jewish tailor, Viktor, whose parents are, like many Jews, still living in Germany . . . they refuse to leave their home and their country.
Critics have heralded the fact that this film presents a war story with a twist . . . its women characters are just as important or more so than the mens'. This DVD is in German with English subtitles.
In a few weeks, on Sunday, July 26, 2015, I get to present the 2nd in a series of this year's AHML program "What's Better: The Book or the Movie." We will be discussing Robert A. Heinlein's 1959 classic short story "All You Zombies" and its 2015 film adaptation "Predestination."
Don't let the title throw you off. The story is not about zombies. It's about the temporal police and their ability to stop crime, before it happens, through time travel.
I have always been fascinated by the concept of time travel mostly because there are not rules. This short story and film adaptation was a challenge to read and watch. It will undoubtedly be an lively discussion. The plot is simple. A temporal agent who is performing his very last assignment is trying to stop his nemesis through time...The Fizzle Bomber.
To register, click on this program link. The discussion is 2-3 pm on the last Sunday in July in the Cardinal Room.
I hope to see you there!
Winnie the Pooh is not the only character that got his nose caught in the honey jar. Take the background story of Bernie Gunther - before the war started, he was a highly respected homicide investigator in Berlin. Once the Nazis took control, Bernie had to swallow his pride and political beliefs in order to survive. His comfort level went from a possible 10 to well below zero.
Gunther's goal became to stay below the radar of the maniacal regime that was slowly destroying his world. He was forced to wear a uniform and become part of the military machine. He went from being the "Berlin Bull" to the "Wehrmacht Wimp."
In March of 1943, the Wehrmacht High Command sends their prized criminal investigator to Smolensk to verify if thousands of Polish officers were executed and buried in a frozen field. Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, smells a possible public relations coup. If Goebbels can get proof that the Russians mass-murdered thousands of defenseless enemy officers, the world's spotlight, fixed on the Nazi nation's atrocities, will dim drastically.
The last thing that Gunther wants is to be anywhere near the spotlight. He has positioned himself well offstage and only wants his world back - as it once was. When he lands in Smolensk, no one is happy to see him...not the Germans in command of the invasion force, nor the Russians aiding them. Even the Gestapo resents an "outsider" being assigned to investigate a matter that appears to have no major consequence in the Fatherland conquering Mother Russia.
Resentment leads to murder and cover-up. Gunther is forced to make some difficult decisions to remain breathing; however, he finds time to fall hopelessly in love with one of the forensic team sent to aid his investigation. . .but even that small prize has its steep price tag.
Philip Kerr has written several books in this series. It is not important to read them in order, since the outcome of WWII is well documented. The writing is rich and the characters are complex. If historical fiction is what you are looking for and you haven't tried Kerr yet, it is well worth the experience.