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Today’s movie(s) review is for the Baahubali series:  “Baahubali: The Beginning” (2015) and “Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion” (2017).
Now, before I get into my review, a few comments.  I have a few Indian friends from my time in Saudi Arabia, but I have practically no experience with their culture: historic or mythological.  I have only seen a handful of Indian movies and those, recently viewed (mostly in the last five years), on NetFlix.  What I’m taking so long to say is I have little to no background to understand Indian history or its cinema.  I watched the first movie because it was recommended by NetFlix and the second, because I enjoyed the first.
Baahubali: The Beginning” (2015)
This movie stars Prabhas as Shivudu / Baahubali (the hero / good king), Rana Daggubati plays Bhallaladeva (the bad guy / evil king), Ramya Krishnan plays Shivagami (the Queen designate), Sathyaraj plays Kattappa (the loyal / royal bodyguard), Anushka Shetty plays Devasena (the good king’s mother), Tamannaah Bhatia plays Avanthika (the good king’s girlfriend), Nassar plays Bijjaladeva (the bad king’s father and husband of the Queen designate).
Although a “foreign” film, the film’s speaking portions have been dubbed into English, but the movies’ songs remain in the original tongue, so to understand them you have to have your closed captions turned on.  I highly suggest you do this, as the songs add meaning to the movie.  They are not just background filler or for mood setting.
Basically, the plot is a mythic tale of heroism and courage in the face of evil.  The good king’s father is betrayed and the baby king is saved by the courage of a court handmaiden.  The infant (now named Shivudu) is adopted and raised by “regular” folk, but he quickly demonstrates strength and intelligence beyond his villager status.
Shivudu struggles against a cliff / waterfall, meets his future wife, saves his mother from imprisonment by the evil king and then leads a revolt against the evil king.  The royal bodyguard realizes at the end who the real king is (now called by Baahubali) and the movie ends.
“Indian” movies, to me, means bright colors, a cast of thousands, and (at some point) dancing.  By this strict definition, this is an INDIAN movie.  But, is it any good?  Particularly to a “Western” viewer?  Yes and YES!!  This is an action movie, a love story, a drama and a special effects extravaganza.  Much like any comic book adaptation (DC or Marvel) or any Chinese martial arts (fly by wire) movie, you have to suspend your understanding of physics, gravity, biology and human anatomy and then just settle in and enjoy the show.
Final recommendation: if you like action movies with drama, romance (but no sex), color and terrific scale – you will enjoy this movie – strong to highly recommended.
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” (2017)
This movie (with essentially the same cast) stars Prabhas as Shivudu / Baahubali (the hero / good king – father and son), Rana Daggubati plays Bhallaladeva (the bad guy / evil king – young and old), Ramya Krishnan plays Shivagami (the Queen designate), Sathyaraj plays Kattappa (the loyal / royal bodyguard), Anushka Shetty plays Devasena (the good king’s mother), Tamannaah Bhatia plays Avanthika (the good king’s girlfriend), Nassar plays Bijjaladeva (the bad king’s father and husband of the Queen designate).
This movie relates the palace intrigue which resulted in Kattappa killing the first good king (Amarendra Baahubali), who is the father of Mahendra Baahubali (the second good king).  Kattappa assists the son in reclaiming the throne and everyone lives happily ever after.  (Not so happily for the bad king and his father, of course.)
Is this sequel better than or equal to the original?  Better?  No.  Equal to?  Well, okay.  I enjoyed the first movie more and the sequel really just seems like more of the same.  Does that make it bad?  No.  It just makes it the same.  It should be noted, the Indian people voted with their wallets.  The original was the second most sales (in crore) of all time in their internal market.  What movie did it replace?  You guessed it.  The original / first movie.
Final recommendation: Strong to highly recommended. You can definitely watch this movie without viewing the first and enjoy it on its on merit. Again, good acting, drama, romance and vast scale special effects.  One more comment: this movie is not currently dubbed into English, so you are committed to sub-titles.  This was tolerable, but I definitely would have rated it higher if I could have enjoyed the visuals more and not had to bother with the distraction of reading.
Series recommendation:  Strong.  It isn’t often you can watch a series in or out of order and still enjoy both movies.  I think this is one of those rare series.  One caution for non-Indian viewers: my understanding is this a story about a “possibly” historic / mythological hero and kingdom – much like King Arthur in English lore.   You shouldn’t come away feeling you have any real knowledge of Indian history or geography, anymore than watching Marvel’s “The Avengers” teaches you anything about American politics or history.  Oh, yeah…  You’ll need lots of popcorn because each film is over two hours long.
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On This Day In:
2018 Nothing
2017 Approval First
2016 In Search Of Words
Day 2 – Blending
2015 At What Price?
2014 Intricate And Subtle Order
2013 Attention To Detail
2012 Aequanimitas!
2011 Consider This
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Readers:  CAUTION – this LONG post is a review of three movies which are not very good.  Unless you are really interested in the movies (or my writing skills enthrall you), I would just skip this post and come back some other time…  You’ve been warned!
Today’s review is for the three movies in the Cruel Intentions series: Cruel Intentions (1999), Cruel Intentions 2 (2000) and Cruel Intentions 3 (2004).  Of the three films, only CI:1 had a theatrical release.  Both CI:2 and CI:3 were straight to DVD.  (And, yes, there was a reason for this.)
First a little background…  I haven’t seen any these movies before.  I like Reese Witherspoon.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m a “fan” as I can only recall seeing her in “Legally Blonde” and “Sweet Home Alabama“.  I did see her in “Walk The Line“, but, to be honest, although I am a Johnny Cash fan, I didn’t think much of the movie and didn’t even remember Witherspoon being in it until I looked her up for this review.  To tell the truth, I used to get her confused with Meg Ryan.  Anyway, Witherspoon was showing as one of the main characters in the CI:1, and the series was on sale on Vudu bundled three for a tenner, so I thought I’d check them out.  After all, how bad could they be?
Cruel Intentions — movie review
The first (chronologically) in the series, this movie stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Kathryn Merteuil (the rich bad girl), Ryan Phillippe as Sebastian Valmont (the rich evil step-brother), Reese Witherspoon as Annette Hargrove (the nice girl), and Selma Blair (the dumb rich girl).  Anyway, the rich sister and brother just like to spend their time ruining other peoples lives, so they set out to ruin Annette’s and Selma’s.
Blah, blah, blah, the evil brother ends up falling in love with the nice girl and dies saving her from being hit by a car.  He gets hit instead.  Annette and Selma then get back at Kathryn by publishing Sebastian’s diary with all of its stories about Kathryn.
Is this any good?  No.  Not really.  It’s kind of interesting to see Geller and Witherspoon in early roles, but other than that, there is not much to recommend this film.  It is supposed to be a “dark comedy”.  I guess it’s dark, if you call teenagers being sadistic towards one another “dark”, but it’s NOT funny.  The movie is rated “R” for language, drugs and suggestive sexual activity (straight and gay).  The movie received numerous MTV awards (back in the day), for whatever that is worth.  I gather it is / was popular with teens and I guess you could also say that Geller’s character is a strong female lead role – if you are into defining “strong” as cruel, evil and manipulative.
Final recommendation: weak.  I really don’t think today’s 18+ teens will think watching mid-twenty-somethings play high-schoolers, will appeal to many folks these days.  Having said that, it is the best of the three.
Cruel Intentions 2 — movie review
Although this movie was the actual sequel, it is meant to be the prequel which introduces Kathryn and Sebastian as step-relations and kind of kicks them off as sophomores in their “la-de-da” high school.
This time Kathryn is played by Amy Adams and Sebastian is played by Robin Dunne.  This time the two nice girls are played by Sarah Thompson and Keri Lynn Pratt.  There is a twist at then end where one of the “nice” girls ends up being a bad girl working with Kathryn to humiliate Sebastian.
Is this any good?  No.  Not really.  Amy Adams is the only actor I know from this movie.  That’s not to say the others haven’t done well.  I just never watched their TV roles and I’m not aware if they’ve made it in movies.
Anyway, another “R” rated movie.  Again, language, drugs and sexual themes (including some nudity).  The production quality is not as good as the original.  If there is one saving grace, it is this movie actually has brief scenes which have humor.  I didn’t find them “Ha-Ha” funny, but they were “smile a bit” funny – which is more than can be said for the original.
Final recommendation: weak.  Again, other than seeing Adams in an early role, there is very little to recommend this film.
Cruel Intentions 3 — movie review
This is an “un-sequel” sequel.  The characters are rich, but they are in California, not New York City, and they are in college, not in high school.  So, as a “teen drama” it’s not very “teen”.  The only relation to the to other movies is there is a “Merteuil” in the movie: in this case cousin Cassidy, who I guess is Kathryn’s cousin.
Kristina Anapau plays Cassidy Merteuil (still a rich bad girl), Kerr Smith plays Jason Argyle (another rich kid from the same NYC high school, but apparently no relation), and, Nathan Wetherington plays Patrick Bates (another rich bad boy) a random rich kid who gets assigned to room with Jason.
Again, another “R” movie with language, drugs and sexual themes and scenes.  In this case, there is an actual (though brief) sexual scene.  They are not pornographic, but this is probably just a shade from being “X” rated.
So, is there any plot?  Three rich college students are bored with casual sexual relationships, so they set up schemes to ruin the lives and relationships of other students – just to prove they can.  Yeah, basically the same plot as CI:1 and CI:2, but at college.  Blah, blah, blah, twist at the end to punish Patrick for being a rapist, before Cassidy and Jason both go back to being jerks – on their own and together.
Final recommendation: very weak / skip it.  The acting is slightly better than CI:2, but there is none of the humor of CI:2.  The actual camera work is better than CI:1 or CI:2, but just having a sharper picture, doesn’t make for a better movie.  This is the least interesting of the three in the series.
Series final recommendation: given ’em all a miss.  I guess bored rich kids being manipulative jerks is (or was) the definition of “teen drama” at the turn of the millenium.  I would compare this series to the “teen horor / slasher” series from the ’90’s, but (again being honest), I tended to only watch one “I Know What You Did” or “Jason” or “Holloween” movie and never went back.  I probably should have followed my better instincts at the end of CI:1.  The better part of six hours of my life wasted when there are so many good movies out there to watch (or re-watch).  Oh, well…  Someday, I’ll learn.
If any of you who’ve suffered through this post were teens (or twenty-somethings) twenty years ago (when these came out) AND you watched these films, I’d be interested to know what you thought of them at the time.  Please do NOT feel the need to re-watch them to update / refresh your opinion on my behalf.
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On This Day In:
2018 United States
2017 Out Of Luck
2016 Wavelengths Of The Earth
2015 God Said What To You?
2014 Not Saying
2013 Ears And Tongue
2012 The Story Of Joe (Middle-Class Republican)
2011 Happy Birthday, Diana
Depending On Kindness

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The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”  (2012 – 2013)  —  YouTube series review
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single viewer in possession of a good internet connection, must be in want of a new adaptation of Pride & Prejudice.
At any rate, as an addict to P&P, I certainly am, “in want” that is…
For about the last year or so, I have fallen into the well which is YouTube.  I am beginning to fear it (my addictions to YouTube and P&P) is like the prison exit in the third episode of the “Batman Trilogy: The Dark Knight Rises”  – you can climb and climb, but eventually you slip and fall back in.
Periodically, YouTube feeds me a morsel of P&P as a temptation to restart my viewing addiction.  And, once again, it succeeded.  Over the weekend, I re-watched the 1995 BBC version of P&P starring Colin Firth.  I have already reviewed this version, but not individually, so I’ll have to add that to my list of things to do (sometime).  Anyway, after coming back to YouTube, they were prompting me to go see a clip from another version (2003 – P&P: A Latter-Day Comedy) which I have not seen nor was I aware of.  …And, then there was a link to “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KisuGP2lcPs).  Huh?  “What’s that?”, I ask.
My interest piqued, I clicked, and so began another marathon session of P&P.  The series is presented in 100 (yes, one-hundred) vlogs episodes, each running between a few minutes and 8-ish minutes.  (There are also a number of side vlogs, which I have not yet viewed.)  The series is meant to be a multi-media / channel creation with the characters (and actors) also having social media presence on other sites: FaceBook, Twitter, etc., which serves as an adaptation of the classic romantic novel: “Pride And Prejudice“, written by Jane Austen.
The series stars Ashley Clements as Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet; Julia Cho as Charlotte Lu (Charlotte Lucas in the book) is Lizzie’s best friend and often the director / editor of her vlog; Laura Spencer as Jane Bennet, the eldest of the Bennet daughters; Mary Kate Wiles as Lydia Britney Bennet, the youngest Bennet child (the flirtly one); Christopher Sean as Bing Lee (Charles Bingley in the book) is a young, wealthy (eligible) Asian-American medical student who has moved into The Netherfield House in the same neighborhood as the Bennets; Jessica Jade Andres as Caroline Lee (Caroline Bingley in the book) is Bing Lee’s sister; Maxwell Glick as Ricky Collins (William Collins in the book) is a former classmate of Lizzie and Charlotte’s, who asks that he be addressed only as Mr. Collins; Daniel Vincent Gordh as William Darcy (Fitzwilliam Darcy in the book); Wes Aderhold as George Wickham (the cad in the book and adaptations); Craig Frank as Fitz Williams (Col. Fitzwilliam in the book) is Darcy’s friend and colleague; and, Allison Paige as Georgiana “Gigi” Darcy (Georgiana Darcy in the book).
Obviously, as a vlog / diary, this version is set in modern times and therefore has many alterations in the details of the story to make it conform to the “PC” standards of our time.  However, never fear, the basic romance / love story is the same: boy and girl meet, boy and girl seem to dislike each other.  After much travail, love wins out…  Happily ever after.  Blah, blah, blah…  Whatever, right?
Yes.  Pretty much.  But does it work and is it entertaining?  That would be a YES and a certainly!  I thoroughly enjoyed the series and plan to revisit the channel to catch the side lines and other bits which I skipped in order to race through the main story.  It turns out there is a “real” company called Pemberley Digital (http://www.pemberleydigital.com) which exists to adapt classic works into new media format(s).  Who knew?  (By the way, Pemberley is the name of the estate Darcy lives at in the P&P book.)
Final recommendation: very highly recommended!!  Even with the “modernization”, the series follows quite closely to the original book and the three sisters are actually outstanding actors in their respective roles – with special kudos to Ashley Clements who is outstanding throughout the series and Mary Kate Wiles who really hit it out of the park in the last few episodes.  If you are a P&P fan, you will definitely want to check this out on YouTube.  It is also available on DVD’s, but I’m not sure what extra value you get for your $60.  There must be some great bloopers and behind the scene gags for that price.
LoL, now I want to go find some of the other P&P adaptations which I was not even aware of until I started researching this post.
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On This Day In:
2018 Does Fatalism Equal Mental Health?
2017 Choice
2016 Growing Worlds
2015 Change The Tide
Martyr, n.
2014 You, Too!
2013 Bitter Stand
2012 Lost For Words
2011 On Market Reactions…

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An Interview With God”  (2018)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for the “religious” movie which ran in theaters for three days last year and which is currently appearing on Netflix:  “An Interview With God” starring David Strathairn as God and Brenton Thwaites as a religious reporter / journalist Paul Asher who works at a non-sectarian newspaper.  The other main characters are:  Yael Grobglas as Paul’s estranged wife: Sarah Asher, Charlbi Dean as Sarah’s sister (Paul’s sister-in-law): Grace, and Hill Harper as Paul’s boss: Gary.  Paul is suffering a crisis in faith after having spent an extended period in Afghanistan covering the war while embedded with combat troops.  Paul is contacted and agrees to three half-hour interviews with someone who represents himself to be God.  The “GOD”.  The interview sessions are to be conducted over three days and at locations specified by God.
The movie was sponsored by a conservative Christian who also paid to have the movie released nation-wide in a limited number of theaters – hence the limited three day run.  Now, I did not know anything about the sponsor until after I’d seen the film and was doing research prior to writing this review.  I gather both factors (limited release and sponsorship) contributed to the fact there were very few reviews of the film by “mainstream” film reviewers.  I saw the movie preview last year, but never got to see the film in the cinema.  When I saw it was running on Netflix, I thought I’d give it a look-see because I like spiritual films as long as they don’t try to beat me over the head with religion.  This movie is definitively Judeo-Christian biased, but it is surprisingly more philosophical than “religious”.  That is, it raises philosophical issues about God and the real world, but it doesn’t really try to convert you Christianity (which surprised me a little).
Of the cast, Strathairn is relatively well known actor (Best Actor Oscar nomination for his Edward Murrow role in “Good Night, and Good Luck“.  I have also seen and enjoyed his performances in numerous other roles in films and on TV.  Thwaites is an Orlando Bloom look-alike, whom I gather is coming up through the Hollywood ranks as a heart-throb.  I know Harper from his TV role in the series: “The Good Doctor” – and I like him in that series.  The two females are (were) unknown to me.  I felt all five actors gave very creditable performances in their respective roles.
It is difficult to say too much about the movie because to do so would be to give away plot twists and the movie has only recently come onto Netflix so it would be unfair to spoil the movie given its very limited release.  I will say it is a movie you have to both watch and listen to.  The few reviews I have seen seemed (to me) to miss a number of points which explained / clarified other portions of the movie.  Basically, they said: “What was this or that about?”  My response: “Did you watch the movie?”
So, is this a great movie?  No, but it is thought provoking.  Is it well written, acted, shot?  Yes.  Yes.  And, yes.  Is it a religious experience in and of itself?  Give me a break…  It’s just a movie.  Do I intend to watch it again?  Yes, as a matter of fact I do intend to and I’ve already spoken to two family members about it (recommending it to them).
Final recommendation:  Strong recommendation.  I like Strathairn’s acting and he’s good in this role.  I like thought provoking movies and this is one of those (for me anyway).  I tend to enjoy movies about faith and humanity and this deals with both.  At only about ninety minutes, this movie was actually a better investment in faith than attending Mass today.  As sacrilegious as that may sound, I can (in my own defense) only offer a poem excerpt:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
From the poem: “Light Shining Out of Darkness“, by William Cowper
You can find the entire poem here.
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On This Day In:
2018 History Will Judge Harshly
Father Time, Perhaps?
2017 Odds Are
2016 Prayer, Too
2015 History, n.
2014 See It Sometime
2013 Precious Friend
2012 It Couldn’t Be Done
Feeling Surrounded?
2011 Surprise!

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Matilda”  (1996)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for a children’s fantasy movie about a young girl growing up in a dysfunctional family, attending a dysfunctional school.  Ah, but the young girl is a self-taught math wiz with telekinesis power.  Basically, she is a genius and can move things with her mind.
The movies stars Mara Wilson as Matilda Wormwood, Danny DeVito plays her father (a crooked used-car salesman), Rhea Perlman plays Matilda’s mother (who spends all day off gambling), Embeth Davidtz plays Miss Jennifer Honey (the only decent grown-up), and Pam Ferris plays the wicked school headmaster / principal.
The movie traces Matilda’s life from birth through (ultimately) getting adopted by Miss Honey and them both living happily ever after.
As a kid’s movie, is it any good?  Does it work as a fantasy?  Is it funny?  Yes; definitely; and, mostly, but not ha-ha funny (for me).  This is not a “Disney” live-action movie, but it feels like one.  There are lots (and I mean LOTS) of amusing lines for adults and enough sight-gags to keep the kiddies engaged.
Final recommendation: highly recommended!  I have seen “Matilda” numerous times over the last 20+ years and it remains an amusing little gem of a film.  A couple of the scenes with the horrible principal may be too intense for children under six years old, but I think any kids, nieces and nephews older than that will enjoy the movie.  Teens may find it a bit too childish, until they are old enough to know how to listen to dialogue.
Two shout-outs: Danny DeVito is excellent in this role (even if a “little” type-cast) — pun intended; and, the movie has a great song in it: “Send Me On My Way” performed by Rusted Root.
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On This Day In:
2018 Nice To Meet You
2017 All Nations & Religions
2016 Given The Choice
Why Is He Wearing Red?
2015 Within The System
2014 None But…
2013 Obviously Longer
2012 A Childhood Poem
Who Are You Callin’ Leather-Faced?
2011 In No Particular Order
The Need For Proof

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What Dreams May Come” (1998)  —  movie review
Today’s review is for the 1998 movie starring Robin Williams.  If you haven’t watched this movie and intend to AND want to avoid spoilers, stop reading now and come back after you’ve seen the film.
Okay, Robin Williams stars as Dr. Christopher James “Chris” Nielsen, Annabella Sciorra plays his wife: Annie Collins-Nielsen, Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Albert Lewis / Ian Nielsen (Chris’ son in disguise), Josh Paddock plays Ian Nielsen (Chris’ son), Rosalind Chao plays Leona / Marie Nielsen (Chris’ daughter in disguise), Jessica Brooks Grant plays Marie Nielsen (Chris’ daughter), and, Max von Sydow plays The Tracker / Albert Lewis (Chris’ mentor when he was a young doctor).  I’ve now given away most of the movie…  You were warned!
Chris is a pediatrician.  Annie is a artist / painter and art restorer.  They meet in idyllic circumstance and fall immediately in love.  They have a wonderful life, but trouble is on the horizon.  Suddenly their two children die in a car accident.  Life is turned upside down and there are hints of other “issues”.  On one of their anniversaries, Chris is also involved in and dies during a car accident and Annie is left alone.
Through a series of flashbacks we discover the “issues”: Chris was unable to deal with the death of the children and throws himself into his work to avoid the pain.  Annie had a nervous breakdown.  In the end, they comeback from the brink of divorce and are restarting their lives when Chris dies.  Chris is not ready for death and seeks out Annie as a “ghost / spirit”.  Annie is not ready for the loss of her love, has another breakdown and commits suicide.  There follows a lengthy, colorful and brilliantly imagined (sometimes disturbingly illustrated) imagery of heaven, hell, life, death, self-sacrifice, the meaning of love and, finally, reincarnation.
The film won two Oscars for Best Visual Effects and Best Art Direction and it was almost certainly deserving as some of the imagery is at times beautiful and horrifying.  This is an adult drama and although rated “PG-13” is really not appropriate for children.  Some teens could deal with the imagery, but I am not sure they will get a lot of the philosophy.  Heck, I’m not sure most adults will, either.
Anyway, is this movie any good?  Did I enjoy watching it?  Did I find all of the philosophy reasonable and / or explained well?  Yes!  So-so.  And, mostly yes.  To start off, I purchased this movie as a one-off on discount with Vudu.  They had a sale of 5 films for $20 and I figured, what the heck, I usually enjoy most of Robin Williams’ work, so I’ll take a chance.  Just after that, one of my followers (and a blogger I follow) said in a comment that this movie was one of her favorite movies.  (If anyone is interested, she goes by “Cubby” and her site is: https://reowr.com/)  …So, I bumped this up my list of films to view sooner rather than later.
Good decision…   As mentioned, the visual effects are imaginative and stunning.  Imagine heaven as your own personal painting and you get to wake up in it and move around in it.  At first, it is blurry and “van Gogh”-ian (if that is even a phrase).  After about three minutes, it is almost funny because it makes “perfect” sense.  Well, it did / does to me anyway.
So, it is a great “viewing” experience…  But, did I enjoy watching it?  No.  And, yes.  Mostly, yes!  This mixed answer is because there are multiple levels of “enjoyment”.  The sound was variable and dipped to barely audible at points.  Because this is a “deep” movie, I had to replay some of the scenes to catch the dialogue.  This breaks the “fourth-wall” between the film and the viewer, but I recognized almost immediately that I would miss too much of the film if I couldn’t hear or didn’t understand all that was being said.  There are two other things which made the movie “uncomfortable” for me.  The imagery (some intense – as mentioned above) and the plot revolving around losing one’s family through chance accident.  The latter has always terrified me personally.  It’s never happened to me (thankfully), but it is a common plot device in movies and music and I never like it.
Anyway, this is a movie which you come to for the entertainment and stay for the philosophy – or at least I did.  Everything, and I MEAN everything in the movie is meant to make you think.  If you like that in a movie (I do), then you will enjoy / love this movie.  Does it explain “philosophy” well.  No.  It’s a movie!  It’s trying to get you to think about life and love while still entertaining you.  I think it does that.
Final recommendation: highly recommended movie.  Again, this is a sit, listen, watch and think about movie.  It may make you cry (I did).  It may leave you cold – it is not very “Christian” in it’s overall philosophy.  If you can’t get past that part of the film, you will almost certainly NOT like this movie.  If you have ever felt like you found the love of your life, not “just” a lover or a spouse, this movie will probably touch you.  It did me.
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On This Day In:
2018 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2018!!
2017 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2017!!
2016 Happy Valentine’s Day – 2016!!
2015 To My Special Lady
2014 Awakening
2013 Drowsy In Comfort
2012 Happy Valentine’s Day
2011 Own Your Bible

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David And Goliath”  (2013©)  —  book review
Today’s book review is for non-fiction “popularized science” / sociology genre book” “David And Goliath“, written by Malcolm Gladwell.  Now, in the interest of full disclosure, Gladwell, Steven Levy and James Gleick are my favorite three “modern” “pop”-science writers, so I have a natural inclination to review this book favorably.  (Of course, my “All-time” favorite for this genre is Isaac Asimov, who could explain almost anything to the common reader – and with over 500 books to his name, he certainly tried.)
Anyway, as stated, I was (am) predisposed to a favorable review.  And, I’m giving it that…
It’s not a “great” book and it didn’t make me feel like I just hit myself on the side of the head (“Wow!!).  But, with Gladwell, you pretty much know what you’re getting when you hand over your dosh.  One, two or three observations about human behavior, a bit of socio- / psychological support (a few facts to support the point and not much to contradict the point) to bolster the observations, and then a bit of storytelling to make Gladwell’s conclusion seem more palatable.  Generally, if you “want” to agree with Gladwell’s observations you won’t look too closely at the support, because, heck, you already agree.  Right?  And if you are not predisposed to agree, Gladwell offers almost twenty pages of “Notes” for further research.  But, if you’re going to all that trouble, you probably have some subject matter expertise and don’t need to read a “popularized science” book on this topic.   Do you?
Per his normal format, Gladwell breaks the book into three main sections:
1) The advantages of disadvantages (and the disadvantages of advantages);
2) The theory of desirable difficulty; and,
3) The limits of power.
Amplifying the observations:
1)  Underdogs win more that we (the average reader) would expect – in some specific categories as much as 30%.  Why?  Because we see our disadvantages as their disadvantages, when they (the underdogs) don’t.  And, if they don’t see themselves as underdogs, they have no incentive to quit before they even try to succeed.
2)  Sometimes disadvantages turn out to be advantages and vice versa.  Great schools and small class sizes don’t necessarily produce the best employees or academics.  Gladwell introduces the idea of a inverted U shaped graph to explain this phenomena.
3)  People with challenges (dyslexia, early family tragedy, ADHD) can still become very successful.  Sometimes / somehow the “challenges” early in life prepare them better than their peers for challenges later in life, so they are “ready” when the real life test happens.  And,
4)  You can never “really” know how people will react when they are placed under pressure.  You generally, expect them to fold (because we believe we would, too), but sometimes they exceed your expectations.
My reaction to all of this?  Yes, it may all be true, but how do you build a society around the observation / hypothesis?  With no controls, you have observations, but you cannot test hypothesis.  And, if you could create similar situations, is it ethical to do so?  …For a hundred people, just so five or ten or thirty percent can overcome them?  What does society say to the others who don’t overcome and become super-achievers?  We’re sorry we ruined your life, but we wanted to see if you were “destined” to be elite.
Final recommendation: moderate to strong.  The book presents some interesting ideas and promotes thought by the reader.  (It certainly made me think!)  It successfully brings academic observations to the masses by means of popular writing.  However, in the end, I was left feeling neither individuals nor the government have the ability (or wisdom) to use power effectively in attempting to control the actions of others.  But for me, making me think is enough to prompt me to recommend the book.
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On This Day In:
2018 Still More Prejudice
A Well Trod Path Of Hopes, Expectations And Surprise
2017 …And With It Civilization
2016 Just Like My Mother
2015 All Omissions Are Mine
2014 Precise Order
2013 Uh, No. Not Really…
Deep Regions
2012 A Pre-Valentine’s Day Message
2011 Easy Like Sunday Morning
May I Have A Little More, Please…
2010 Valleys and Peaks

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