Three Movies and Three Books

Danny and I had been waiting to see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” since we first saw its previews. Like many others our age, we knew our local theaters would not be showing it – no action, no violence, no monsters or aliens, no potty humor, no constant cursing.  This film was geared only for boomers around the world and well worth the drive to the Crossroads Bijou in San Antonio.

Six British retirees seek more economical use of their money by trying out the lovely-looking, exotic Marigold Hotel in India: Evelyn Greenslade/Judi Dench is newly widowed and impulsively decides to get away from what’s left of her life; Graham Dashwood/Tom Wilkinson is newly retired, fed up the London, and needs to return to his childhood home; Doublas Ainslie/Bill Nighy and wife Jean/Penelope Wilton have been forced to cheap India to await the return of a substantial loan from their daughter; Norman Cousins/Ronald Pickup is a lonely old man on the hunt for some frisky companionship; Muriel Donnelly/Maggie Smith, a grumpy, prejudiced spinster needs an inexpensive hip replacement and place to recover; and Madge Hardcastle/Celia Imrie is a much-divorced grandmother in search of a wealthy man. When they eventually arrive at the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, they find it is quite less than advertised. The manager and part-owner is a delightful young man, Sonny Kapoor/Dev Patel, who dreams of restoring the rundown place to its original splendor for a specific market – retirees – against his mother’s and brothers wishes…Through these characters you will experience humor, wisdom, sadness, and joy, as well as a different culture in a crowded country.

Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars.

*****

Chris Cleave’s LITTLE BEE is an amazing tale of a frightened Nigerian teen and an English woman who saves her life.  At times I forgot that Cleave was a man writing from the perspective of two women; at other times, I felt he might be getting some insight from his wife or other females.

Little Bee’s Nigerian village has been destroyed by mercenaries of an oil corporation, who want to drill where her village and many other villages are. Little Bee and her older sister manage to flee and across Nigeria to the coast, where they seek help from an English couple, Sarah and Andrew O’Rourke, who have no clue about the dangerous Nigerian interior. The ruthless mercenaries use dogs to track down the girls, unwanted witnesses to massacre and burning. The Sarah chops off one of her fingers to save Little Bee, but Andrew refuses to do the same for the older girl, who is brutally killed in front of them. Then, instead of giving Little Bee asylum at their hotel, he gives her his business card, which she hangs onto.

Little Bee, still in fear for her life, stows away on a ship bound for London and upon arrival is taken along with several others to a detention center, which becomes her home for two years. She teaches herself the Queen’s English through available books and newspapers and avoids the unwanted attentions of the guards by strapping down her breasts and wearing overly large, donated male clothing. After a Jamaican detainee, Yevette, gives sexual favors, she, Little Bee (now 16), and two other young women are released. However, since they were not given the necessary paperwork, they are still illegal and can be deported if found or turned in.

The foursome are given shelter in a nearby barn, but as soon as one of the poor girls hangs herself, the remaining trio head for London on foot. Once there, Little Bee decides to strike out on her own for the O’Rourkes in Kingston-upon-Thames. She arrives on their doorstep as Sarah and her Batman-clad son are about to leave for Andrew’s funeral. Thus, begins a restorative life for the three of them, to a certain degree anyway.

*****

“Battleship” came out Memorial weekend. Lots of action but Liam Neesom has little more than a cameo role as Admiral Shane, leader of the U.S. fleet in an international training event in the Pacific and father of a gorgeous blond daughter. After scientists send some very strong signals into the outer reaches of space, surprise-surprise, the big, bad aliens rush towards us in all their boom-boom sophistication. They surround Hawaii with a force field, which excludes all but three piddly ships, two of which get destroyed. When goof-off Lieutenant Alex Hooper (Taylor Kitsch, whoever that is) finds himself in charge after his captain is killed, he straightens up – of course – and saves the day. As a last ditch effort, he recommissions a museum ship, the U.S.S. Missouri, and several willing WWII sailors who know how to make the old steamer go. In the end, Admiral Shane gives permission for Hooper, now a captain, to marry his lovely daughter…And the critics have called this a mere recruitment movie!

Rating: 2.8 out of 5 stars.

THE LITTLE GIANT OF ABERDEEN COUNTY by Tiffany Baker is written entirely in the point of view of one person; however, she presumes to know what others are thinking and doing when not with them or having been told what has happened or thought by someone else. First person is a narrow and restricted style as far as to what the character is experiencing and thinking. He/she cannot presume to read another character’s thoughts or know what they have done or are doing out of their sight or sound.  Baker has done this with the main character, Truly, which I found most distracting.

The town of Aberdeen is wagering on the weight of what will surely be a boy, when a giant girl is born. Truly Plaice’s birth kills her mother. She is nothing like her petite, lovely, adored older sister, Serena Jane and before she is two, only her father’s shirts fit Truly. When Mr. Plaice suddenly dies, the girls are separated. Serena Jane is raised by the Amanda Pickerton and her minister husband, both of whom adore and pamper her. While Serena Jane wants for nothing, Truly ends up at the Dyersons’ rundown farm with nothing to offer but piled up debt and the friendship of Amelia, their daughter who rarely talks. Throughout school, a constantly growing Truly is made fun of, but she also is befriended by Marcus, an unusual and bright boy much smaller than her.

Aberdeen has always had a Dr. Morgan. The first having married Tabitha Dyerson, who was suspected of being a witch because of her healing and cures. It was also rumored that she could ease pain permanently. The youngest Dr. Morgan, Bob Bob, marries Serena Jane, who he has coveted and obsessed over for years, and they move to the big city. After a few years, they return to Aberdeen with their son Bobbie, and Truly finds her sister’s brightness has been stamped out by Bob Bob. When Serena up and leaves her husband and son, Bob Bob asks Truly to come care for Bobbie and mind the house.

In the Morgan house, Truly grows even larger and learns of the herbs and remedies from an old quilt that Tabitha had left behind – the rumored treasure everyone has been searching for all the generations since. Besides efficiently doing her chores and caring for Bobbie, who she dearly loves as her own, Truly dispenses small cures for colds and such, as well as sewing huge, loose gowns for herself. In the meantime, Bob Bob takes some of Truly’s blood and discovers her pituitary gland has been malfunctioning since she was in the womb and decides he will try to cure her.

A further study of Tabitha’s quilt reveals to Truly the doses for euthanasia, which she may or may not use.

*****

Charlize Theron’s “Snow White and the Huntsman” is a much better film than Julia Robert’s preceding one. She is more convincing as the beautiful, evil witch/queen, about whose life we are given more background. Some of the special effects are pretty cool and the dwarves have well-known faces – Bob Hoskins, Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan – digitalized onto small bodies (similar to Lord of the Rings’ hobbits). Oh, sorry, but this film is meant to be about Snow White (Kristen Stewart of vampire fame), the fairest of them all? Frankly, another miscasting.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

*****

In NEW YORK TO DALLAS, J.D. Robb transports us to a not-so-different 2060, where Lt. Eve Dallas wishes for a murder to end the boredom of rain and paperwork, albeit on a contrary comp (future for computer). Her wish is somewhat granted in the rape and disfigurement of a young woman by an escaped prisoner, a man who raped and brutalized 26 other girls and young women. Eve had captured him and put him behind bars. Now he wanted revenge and to get it he was going to take her back to the city of Dallas, where she had undergone a gruesome attack years earlier…This is not a nice or soothing book; there is no moral. It’s gritty and sometimes horrific, definitely able to take away the boredom and keep you on edge.

This book is one of 24 in Robb’s In Death series, but the only one that does not have those two words in the title.

[I have not saved up these reviews on purpose. Life stuff kept popping up and, before I knew it, a bunch of time slipped by.]

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About Cyranette

I have been writing since I was 11 and am now a grandmother of 9. Aside from my family, I love writing, reading, movies, gardening, genealology, and travel. I met my soulmate online and we've been married 18 years. I am a survivor of rape, abuse, and cancer. I believe in love, kindness, and common sense. I was born/raised in Indiana and have lived in Massachusetts, Texas, and California. I have visited: most of the United States, British Columbia, Germany, Austria, and Costa Rica. My husband and I would like to visit England, Europe, and New Zealand and to take a train ride along the Canadian/American border. I have written essays, articles, short stories, a romance novel, a self-help book, and several children's books.
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2 Responses to Three Movies and Three Books

  1. I really enjoyed The BEMH too. I’m not quite a “boomer” yet it appealed to me all the same. It also gave me a desire to visit India which I’ve never really had before. Kim*

    http://www.travelphotographyblog.wordpress.com

    Like

    • Cyranette says:

      Good for you, Kim. I don’t see how anyone could not like it, once they’ve seen it. The actors did such a great job. However, it only reinforced my nondesire to go there – too many people, the caste system, poverty, hot climate, etc. On the other hand, I can totally understand a photographer’s desire to take it all in. Thank you for your attention and comments.

      Like

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