Day: January 1, 2008

A short graphic novella about Ben Tanaka, a cynical antihero Japanese-American. He is not very likable and has quite a few issues which leads to a deteriorating relationship with his long term girlfriend Miko. The novella looks at racial issues, stereotypes, and the breakdown of a relationship. It also touches on the issue of sexual identity, conformity, and fear of change. While Ben is often hypocritical, Miko is not free of hypocrisy or shortcomings either. While their relationship breaks down, they seem to be more sides of the same coin. A realistic portrayal of an ending relationship where both people are not necessarily in the right. The illustration is all in black and white, but poignant in its simplicity. Coupled with good dialogue, the experience is more akin to watching a movie rather than reading a book. Continue reading →

My books and movies lists for 2007 are up on the blog that I keep for the purpose of holding my annuals lists:  52  books (with audiobooks; 45 actually read) and watched 71 movies. I am averaging ten less than last year. Sigh. Maybe the reading challenges can up my book intake, or maybe they’ll make me go literary mad. What have I gotten myself into?

Current Challenges

  • Book Awards (6 of 12) – Progress is going well, and there is lots of time for me to complete this before July 1
  • Seafaring Reading (0 of 2) – I have the second book in the series, not the first yet. May be cutting close.
  • William Shakespeare (0 of 4) – Two plays, the complete sonnets, and a biography.
  • Graphic Novels (0 of 6) – Six graphic novels in 2008.
  • Decades 08 (0 of 8) – Want to do 16 decades.
  • In their shoes (0 of ?) – I picked rougtly 6-7 bios/memoirs to be read in the calendar year.
  • Russian Reading (0 of 4) – Four Russian related books in one year.
  • What’s in a Name? (0 of 6) – Six books in one year.
  • TBR 2008 (0 of 12) – Twelve books in twelve months.
  • Man Booker Challenge (0 of 6) – Six Booker prize winners in one year.
  • Notable Books – No book limit, and each update will say if I’ve read one.
  • Pulitzer Project – No time limit.
  • Booker Project – No time limit.

Completed Challenges

A good movie month. Links to Amazon when available.

In theatre: His Dark Materials: The Golen Compass (08 12 07) – REVIEW

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others) (10 12 07) – REVIEW.
Ratatouille (11 12 07) – I’ve experienced mice in the kitchen, and so some of the scenes with the rats did not bring back good memories. The film is sweet though. I liked it more than some other Pixar fare which is difficult because I’ve liked almost all the Pixar films. It also has some nice messages about the wonder that is food and cooking.
Layer Cake (14 12 07) – REVIEW.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (15 12 07) – This was long, and like many sequels, it had way too many subplots. Many of which did not seem to end or wrap up coherently. It’s always nice to see Captain Jack, but I really hope they don’t make another one of these. The horse is dead.
Stardust (15 12 07) – A very good complement to the novel but has its own flavour. The changes were nice, and may be even a bit better than the book (and I really liked the book). Good casting, nice humor, still retained some dark things. Recommended.
Splendor in the Grass (24 12 07) – REVIEW
Volver (24 12 07) – REVIEW
Croupier (25 12 07) – Did not see the ending to this either, but good straight forward plot and characters. The noir touches make it what it is.
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (25 12 07) – My favourite part of the movie was the dancing of Elizaebeth Taylor.
Amazing Grace
(26 12 07) – Only watched for Ioan Gruffudd. Stayed for the other typical British stately acting performances. Well shot, lots of nice costumes, and a good script. This is the stuff Ioan excels in, not hiding his voice with a faux American accent as a superhero taking a backseat to Jessica Alba.
Sleepy Hollow (29 12 07) – There is some serious good gothic visuals in this. Burton’s visuals are in their dark best even amidst a mediocre script. Great cast too.
La Doublure (The Valet) (29 12 07) – REVIEW