Tag Archives: Classics

Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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Rating: B/ Celie isn’t a slave, but she might as well be. At the tender age of fourteen, Celie’s abusive father passes her off to an equally abusive man in an marriage the two have already arranged. Celie’s only joy comes from her younger sister, Nettie, so when Nettie is sent away and becomes a missionary in Africa, Celie is understandably devastated and writes her sister hundreds of letters in order to keep in touch. The Color Purple is written in epistolary format, and the narrative comes either in the form of letters Celie writes to God attempting to reconcile with her horrid living situation or notes that Celie and Nettie write back and forth to each other, attempting to provide comfort in sad and desperate times. Continue reading Book Review: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

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Movie Review: Duel (1971)

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Rating: B/ Steven Spielberg’s feature film debut is a high concept thriller focusing on the world’s worst case of road rage leaving a man fighting for his life. Essentially two people (one almost entirely unseen throughout the entire film) and one long car chase, with a few intermittent breaks for the introduction of a few new minor settings or characters, Duel is the mostly compelling story of the worst day of a man’s life. It doesn’t have a huge budget, and you don’t entirely care what happens to the smug protagonist, but the use of clever cinematography and Weaver’s tense performance cut past the budget restraints and the viewer’s lack of sympathy for the main character. Continue reading Movie Review: Duel (1971)

Movie Review: Shane (1953)

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Rating: B/ There are some people who come unexpectedly into your life and, for better or for worse, change it forever. This is the case  for Joey Starrett (Brandon De Wilde,) the young son of homesteaders Joey Sr. (Van Heflin) and Marian (Jean Arthur,) who is blown away by the arrival of a mysterious gunfighter and drifter, Shane (Alan Ladd.) Shane embodies all the qualities that Joey Jr. is endlessly impressed by and wants to emulate, and Shane changes the lives of the entire family as well as the community at large when he butts heads with some landowners who are trying to get rid of the homesteaders by any means necessary, led by lead baddie Rufus Ryker (Emile Mayer.) Continue reading Movie Review: Shane (1953)

Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

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Rating: B/ Good, but over-rated. Those are the words I’d use to describe George Orwell’s hugely influential dystopian novel, 1984. There’s plenty of bright spots here, and many moments of  brilliance, but parts of this book can be hard to read due to heavy info-dumping and scenes that hit you over the head with it’s themes. It’s definitely worth reading, to ponder, as well as to see what all the fuss was about, but it definitely pales compared to Fahrenheit 451, one of my favorite books. Continue reading Book Review: 1984 by George Orwell

Movie Review: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

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Rating: A/ I haven’t read a Roald Dahl book in ages, but I remember them being among my favorites when I was a small child. I liked The Twits so much, in fact, that I read it twice- once to myself, once to my brother. Dahl is a bit of an enigma; he’s a brilliant storyteller but at the same time it’s hard to picture his children’s books being published in this politically correct day and age. He spins tales that are dark, often frightening, and sometimes venomously mean; fables to curl the toes of sensitive children. Continue reading Movie Review: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Movie Review: The Bad News Bears (1976)

Bad News Bears

Rating: B-/ While the title of this film is The Bad News Bears, it could also easily be called How Not to Coach a Little League Team: The Movie. Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthieu) is a alcoholic loser and professional swimming pool cleaner who’s made a total mess of his life. Hoping to make a little money on the side, he signs up to coach a team of foul-mouthed misfit kids, with no intention whatsoever of being a good role model. Continue reading Movie Review: The Bad News Bears (1976)

Movie Review: Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

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Rating: B+/ The ironic thing about the title of Ivan’s Childhood is that the nightmare twelve-year-old Ivan (Kolya Burlyayev) is living out as he works as a scout for the Soviet army during World War II scarcely counts as a childhood at all. Ivan has had to grow up incredibly quickly following the murder of his family by the Nazis, and for all of us whose childhoods weren’t completely fucked up, it’s sometimes hard to remember that some people aren’t allowed a sense of relative safety and security as they come of age. Continue reading Movie Review: Ivan’s Childhood (1962)