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Internment
Internment
Samira Ahmed | 2019 | Dystopia, Fiction & Poetry
10
8.5 (4 Ratings)
Book Rating
This book should be required reading in schools. Especially now. It could be paired with Anne Frank. One history, one a possible future. Probable, even. Depending on how you look at it, an actual present. We DO have concentration camps on the border. (Which makes me shudder to write, what in the absolute FUCK.)

*breathes deeply*

Internment is a gut-punch of a book. I had to set it down two pages in and get control of myself, and again around page eleven. I took breaks throughout reading it to do HOUSEWORK, of all things, because I needed the mental and emotional reprieve. And I'm a white woman. I have the privilege of being pretty sure I will never be the target of these kinds of atrocities. Which means I have the responsibility to work against them. I'm also a physically weak, chronic-illness-having, unemployed white woman, (which does have the benefit of letting me keep on eye on my middle-eastern neighbors' houses to watch for ICE showing up - I fully intend to go make myself a damned nuisance if they do) so I can't go storm the camps or march for hours at protests. What I can do is boost books like this.

If you're white, GO READ THIS BOOK. Suck it up and read it. I don't have the same recommendation for my friends of color because they already live with this kind of fear and racism. They don't need it illustrated to them. WE DO.

This book needs content warnings for violence, threats of rape, anxiety-inducing situations, racism, violent death - Samira Ahmed does NOT pull punches. Direct resistance is costly. It takes courage and sacrifice, and she does not shy away from showing that. It would be sugar-coating if she did.

Internment focuses on the idea of America forcing citizens into camps - but we are already forcing non-citizens into camps. The Red Cross visits the camp, not unlike our politicians visiting the immigrant concentration camps on our border now. They have a garden they can work on in the camp - not unlike a pair of photos I saw on Twitter. (see blog for photos.)

Internment is stunning, heartbreaking, and inspiring, and if you're emotionally capable of it, YOU SHOULD READ IT. This is happening, right now, on our southern border. It is infuriating that our politicians have not put a stop to it yet. My own Congressman (I just moved into this area, I haven't had a chance to vote on him yet) just visited the camps, and his Twitter thread on them is SO CAREFUL to use absolutely neutral language when talking about them, and it pisses me off. This is NOT a neutral subject.

Internment did have a few downsides - the Director never gets a name (though the book is told from Layla's viewpoint, and it would not surprise me if he never bothered to GIVE his name to the internees) and he's almost cartoonishly evil. I would have liked to know more about the guard that helped Layla on occasion, but again, told as it was from her viewpoint, it can be excused by saying she simply didn't know more about him. But this IS a Young Adult novel told from a seventeen-year-old's viewpoint. We're only going to get what she knows and feels. So these downsides don't detract from the book for me.

To sum up - I recommend Internment at the highest level. You absolutely must read this book.

You can find all my reviews and more at http://goddessinthestacks.com
  
Things You Save in a Fire
Things You Save in a Fire
7
7.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
Cassie Hanwell is a great firefighter. She loves her job in Austin, Texas and her friendly crew. Cassie's life is shaped by a series of events that occurred on her sixteenth birthday, including her mother leaving her and her father. Now she stays clearly in her comfort zone. That zone includes work, work, and more work. No relationships, no real attachments to anyone, a strong resistance to forgiving her mother, and definitely not love. But when her mom calls Cassie and asks her to move to Boston to help her--due to an illness--Cassie has to leave that comfort zone. Big time. She has to go live with her mother, whom she barely knows anymore. She has to leave behind her progressive Austin crew and work with a group of guys in Boston who are appalled at the thought of a "lady" on their crew. Except for one guy, the new rookie, who has no problem with Cassie. And Cassie doesn't mind being around him. At all. In fact she even likes it. But love isn't in Cassie's vocabulary, and even if it was, everyone knows firefighters don't date other firefighters. Right?


"I'd structured my life around routine, and safety, and order. Feelings were a lot of trouble. I avoided them as much as possible."


I really enjoyed Katherine Center's previous book, How to Walk Away, so I was excited to read this one. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much (though I enjoyed the little link between the two), but it is a cute read. I have to admit, there were times in this one when things seemed a little too saccharine for my cynical self. I know, I know, that's terrible, especially when things aren't always light and breezy for Cassie and friends in this book. I think it's something only sarcastic folks like myself will understand.

In fact, this book is a really interesting blend between dark and quite light and fluffy. Cassie has a dark past, as does the rookie, Owen, but a lot of the book is Cassie just repeating that she won't ever love anyone or date a firefighter. I think we all know where this is leading...

However, the book is really funny at times, and it's very easy to like Cassie. She's incredibly tough and brave, and she gives all the guys a run for their money. The book makes some great points on sexism, and I always enjoy a chance to watch a tough girl beat some boys at their own game. And I have to admit I enjoyed (okay, identified with) some of her anti-social tendencies.


"Human connection had its upsides, but it sure was a lot of work. The risk-reward ratio was low, at best."


There's also a good supporting cast from Cassie's mom and her mom's best friend. For me, this one picked up in the last fourth or so, when everything seemed to really come together. There's a moment when it all just clicks, and I found myself laughing and grinning a lot. That part made it all worth reading for me.

Overall, it took me some time to warm up to this book--much like it took Cassie a while to warm up to Massachusetts. But she's an engaging, tough character, and her story is one of resilience, even if there are a lot of really sweet, almost too-perfect moments too. You can pretty much tell how the story is going to play out, but it's a fun, cute read. 3.5 stars.
  
The Velocipastor (2018)
The Velocipastor (2018)
2018 |
8
5.5 (2 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Story: The VelociPastor starts when Doug Jones (Cohan) whose parents are murdered leading to him to loses his faith, Father Stewart (Steere) sends him of a self-discovery holiday, which sees him head to China, when he returns he finds himself having horrendous nightmares and after he meets a hooker Carol (Kempinski), he tries to put everything together.

Once Doug learns that he can turn into a dinosaur, he works with Carol to fight crime to clean up his own town, including the man that murdered his parents.

Thoughts on The VelociPastor

Characters – Doug Jones is a priest that has followed God for years until his parents are murdered outside his church, he goes on a voyage of self-discovery in China, which sees him infected with an illness. Doug have the ability to turn into a dinosaur, where he decides to use this new power to fight crime in his town, getting revenge on the person who murdered his parents and bring down the drug lord. Carol is a local hooker that meets Doug and sees first-hand just what he is capable off, she pushes him into fighting crime, while she can handle herself in combat too. Father Stewart is the mentor of Doug, he has always helped him keep the faith and is willing to let him discover his faith once more. Wei Chan is the local drug lord that has been controlling the crime in the town, along with his ninjas he will be the fight Doug must take on.

Performances – This movie does have the over the top performances which does only help make things more entertaining, Greg Cohan in the leading role knowns when to hold things back before going over the top, which helps the character. Alyssa Kempinski is fun in her role, which brings the change in our lead character through the film. The whole cast know exactly the tone of this film and it shows in the their performances.

Story – The story here follows a priest that gets infected with something that turns him into a dinosaur and decides to go on to fight crime with this new ability. The first thing you must be prepared for is knowing that this film doesn’t take anything serious and is well aware that everything is as ridiculous as it sounds. The idea behind the film is truly original, it is purely fun and wildly over the top. If you do go into this story thinking you are getting something serious, you will be disappointed because this film is completely self-aware of what it is trying to tell.

Action/Comedy/Horror/Sci-Fi – The action in the film does play into the comedy, which is silly and over the top, which does include the dinosaur fighting ninja, which helps with the horror and sci-fi elements in the film.

Settings – The film is set in a small town, this does help with the idea of how silly this film takes itself without needing to go into anything too serious once again.

Special Effects – The effects in the film are practical, this again plays into the self-aware side of the film, which does show with the dinosaur suit fighting ninja.


Scene of the Movie – Dinosaur v ninjas.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The random Father Stewart backstory.

Final Thoughts – This is one if not the most self-aware movies you will see, it is so funny you can enjoy laughing through how ridiculous this film is.

Overall: Purely fun.
  
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)
2016 | International, Drama
6
7.3 (3 Ratings)
Movie Rating
In 1914, Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel) traveled from his poverty-stricken existence in Madras, India to Trinity College, Cambridge in the hope that he would have his theories published and be recognized for the mathematical genius he was. While there, despite facing racism, hostility and severe illness, he formed an important relationship with G.H. Hardy (Jeremy Irons) that would lead to breakthroughs in mathematics that are still relevant today.

 

It would be easy to prattle on about the tremendous talent onscreen in The Man Who Knew Infinity and with a supporting cast that features some of Britain’s best; we get exactly what we’d expect from the likes of Jeremy Irons, Toby Jones and Kevin McNally. All at the top of their game, they serve the story well with nuanced and well-rounded performances, and I’m certainly not going to take anything away from the exceptional jobs they’ve all done here. All the praise this film deserves however, needs to be directed at Dev Patel. In his role as Ramanujan, he’s completely stepped out of the shadow of his big-screen debut in Slumdog Millionaire and has proved his worth as a leading man capable of carrying the weight of an entire feature. Distancing himself also from the lovable, bumbling hotel owner in The Best Exotic Marigold movies, with Ramanujan he is allowed the room to display an incredible range, from quiet intensity to outspoken, unbridled passion and determination. Kudos also to the writers for not going The Big Short route (e.g. talking down to the uninitiated with ridiculous cutaways), but by using simple logic and examples to help convey complex information relevant to the plot.

 

For the performances alone, this is a solid entry in the biopic genre, but structurally speaking, it’s the editing that lets the film down. This very easily could have emerged as the next A Beautiful Mind, but between a bloated first act, a middling and wandering second act and a truncated final third, The Man Who Knew Infinity falls just short of greatness. Not only is no attention paid to Ramanujan’s achievements as a child, but too much time is given to details and subplots that are arguably inconsequential to the main narrative. This is especially evident in the inclusion of Bertrand Russell (who lived such a rich and fascinating life himself, it would take several films to do that story justice) and his being here feels like just a hollow excuse to include a cameo from another figure of historical importance. The biggest disservice though comes with the ending where we are denied a much needed catharsis and are left to suffer through a slap-dash, halfhearted montage. A restructuring from a more seasoned hand would have undoubtedly led to stronger word-of-mouth and perhaps a wider release. I also wouldn’t be surprised to learn that this is a case of “too many cooks” as the film has a staggering 43 credited producers. I get that independent features can be forced to source their funding from many places, but you can’t tell me that with all those opinions flying about that some of the original intent didn’t get lost in the noise.

 

As an aside, what Stephen Fry is doing here is beyond me. He’s given two scenes with perhaps a half a dozen lines, leaving his incomparable persona entirely wasted on a completely throwaway character. It’s a pity he wasn’t given a meatier role as one of Ramanujan’s antagonists.
  
A Very Austen Valentine
A Very Austen Valentine
8
8.0 (1 Ratings)
Book Rating
ix beloved authors deliver romantic Valentine novellas set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. Robin Helm, Laura Hile, Wendi Sotis, and Barbara Cornthwaite, together with Susan Kaye and Mandy Cook, share variations of Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, featuring your favorite characters in sequels, adaptations, and spinoffs of Austen’s adored novels. Experience uplifting romance, laugh-out-loud humor, and poignant regret as these authors deftly tug on your heartstrings this Valentine’s Day.



I Dream of You by Robin Helm



Newly-married Elizabeth Darcy has a plan: to charm her too-busy husband into desiring her company as much as he did when he was courting her. A series of romantic dreams gives her just the push she needs to put that plan into action.



Sir Walter Takes a Wife by Laura Hile



Faced with a lonely future and finding himself strapped for cash, Persuasion’s Sir Walter Elliot manfully decides to marry again. But his careful plans go sadly awry! A lighthearted Valentine mash-up featuring two of Jane Austen’s worst snobs.



My Forever Valentine by Wendi Sotis



Jane and Charles Bingley have married, even though Miss Elizabeth Bennet remains certain Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy gave his best effort to keep them apart. After Mr. Darcy refused to stand up with Bingley and did not attend the wedding, she despises the gentleman more than ever and finds his company intolerable. How will she endure her visit to Kent if Mr. Darcy turns up everywhere she goes?



Pretence and Prejudice by Barbara Cornthwaite



A chance encounter with a handsome stranger forces Elizabeth to resort to subterfuge in order to discover his true intentions.



My Valentine by Mandy H. Cook Mandy H. Cook



Little Charlotte was always determined and independent, traits which served her well as she battled a serious childhood illness and later as she took on Polite Society. Will those traits now deprive her of true love? Or would her lifelong Valentine win her heart?



The Lovers’ Ruse by Susan Kaye



 In this Persuasion alteration, Anne is so altered by Wentworth’s love in the summer of 1806, she refuses to give him up when both her godmother and father try to persuade her. “The Lovers’ Ruse”follows Frederick and Anne through their whirlwind courtship and their secret engagement. When Wentworth returns for his Annie girl, the cat comes out of the bag.



My Thoughts: These six charming novellas centered around Valentines will entice all those who adore Jane Austen's writings. Based on characters from Jane Austen's novels; I enjoyed reading into the lives of the Darcy's; I was impressed that the writers Robin Helm, Wendi Sotis and Mandy H. Cook are all centered their novellas around the same family. Each storytelling its own unique view of their lives.


Each story is fun to read, and takes the reader back to a simpler time, of love, romance, and proper etiquette. Each story has it's own charm and brings the reader closer to the characters.


My favorites have to be the novellas containing the characters Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, my absolute favorite being "I Dream of You". In this novella we learn how to give rather than to receive and the joys we can draw from each act of kindness.


If you love historical fiction, and Jane Austen novels, then this is certainly a book for you.
  
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Darren (1557 KP) rated Citadel (2012) in Movies

Oct 14, 2019  
Citadel (2012)
Citadel (2012)
2012 | Drama, Horror, Mystery
6
6.0 (1 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Characters – Tommy is a father with agoraphobia after he saw his wife attacked by a group of children, he is trying to be the good father for his new born child, but his fears are controlling the situation, he sees children trying to take his child, he needs to face his fears to make it through this trauma he is going through. Priest is a renegade man that is aggressively searching for a way to bring down the feral children, he sees Tommy as a chance to get the job done, even if it is against what his religion states. Marie is one of the social workers that will help Tommy, she is trying to help him through the medical side even if she is the one that puts him in contact with the priest. The Feral Children are the highlight of the film because they are genuinely frightening when they attack.

Performances – Aneurin Barnard in the leading role does make us feel for his character, we believe he has been through the trauma and is the desperation to save his family. James Cosmo is fun to watch as anti-priest figure. Wunmi Mosaku doesn’t do anything wrong in the supporting role, if only we could have seen more from the character.

Story – The story here follows a new father that is dealing with his own trauma while raising his new born child, which will see him needing to face off against feral child that feed on people’s fears. The early thing that must be pointed out here, comes from the idea that we are not full convinced that we are seeing the fears of the character dealt with, for the most part we are seeing one man terrorised but even the people without the fear seem to be targets too, this mostly confuses the rule point in place. the idea that the feral child live in the abandoned flat complex doesn’t improve on things either because you would think more incidents would happen. The part of the story that does standout and is interesting to watch would be seeing how Tommy is dealing with his own traumas while remaining strong facing the possibility of not being able to raise his own child because of his problems, sadly we don’t see enough of this addressed with the horror side of the story taking over, which simply put, isn’t as interesting.

Horror – The horror starts of being home invasion like horror, which worked for the illness Tommy had, but when we enter the flats, it does become the highlight of the action in the film, feeling dark, scary with anything able to jump out to get them.

Settings – The settings show us the run down neighbourhood in which Tommy lives, the support groups around it and most importantly the empty flat block which has the feral children in it.

Special Effects – The effects are used mostly look practical, with the moments surrounding the feral child being the most notable and scary ones.


Scene of the Movie – Inside the flat block.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It breaks the rules it sets up too easily.

Final Thoughts – This is a horror film that does take its time getting going, one the chaos is unleashed with get a highly intense final act which ramps the fear up to the max.

 

Overall: Slow Start, Strong Finish.
  
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Garrett (947 KP) rated Joker (2019) in Movies

May 18, 2020  
Joker (2019)
Joker (2019)
2019 | Crime, Drama
Set design (2 more)
Costumes
Most of the acting
Story (2 more)
Theme
Message/meaning
I think I need to note a few things about my review before I actually get into it. First, I got this for free in a giveaway. Second, having watched the trailers for this I thought I wasn't going to like it and I didn't see it in theaters, the buzz and good reviews made me want to enter the giveaway so I could see it because I likely wouldn't have paid for it. Third, I know that I can "grade" movies I don't like harsher than maybe they deserve. Finally, in an effort to prevent me from being too harsh I "forced" my sister to watch it with me and some of her views of the movie and review are mixed in with my opinion of it.

It was apparent to me, and my sister, that this movie was not an attempt at a comic book movie or even a movie about the Joker but a character study and a look into mental illness. This is confirmed in the special features with an interview with the director/writer/producer. I think that if this wasn't a "Joker" movie I would have liked it a little bit more. The biggest problem that this movie has, and many others like it, when the main character is a "bad guy" and they try to make you understand/sympathize with them and it doesn't work it messes up the movie's feel. It did that for both of us.

As a "DC" movie and set in the Batman "universe" this fails in almost every way possible. The actor and character are way too old (mid 30's to 40's at best), when compared to how young Bruce Wayne is (about 8). Joker is malnourished, frail, weak, incapable of planning anything out, and I can't stress this enough famous throughout the country for the actions in this movie with his real name... None of that fits the Joker from any Batman in the comics.

There are good to great parts in this movie but they are few and far between. Within this movie are the bones of a much better movie. Many of the choices the director made, that he is proud of, I think severely damage this movie. Chief among them is the dancing. With the exception of the celebrating down the stairs which is one of the most famous and favorite scenes in the movie (and that's how I saw it as celibating not dancing) the rest of them are useless, don't fit with the actual character (the Joker), and add to the run time of an already bloated and often very slow movie.

In the end I know I'm probably in the minority with my opinion on this movie, of those that have seen it, but I do think there is a good lesson here. If you see the trailers for this movie and it looks up your alley or it interests you then see it, but maybe just on streaming or renting. If you see the trailers for this and don't think you'd like it you are probably very right and shouldn't waste your money on it. If you get a chance to see it for free and you want to see what all the "hype" is about maybe check it out... but there are probably many better options that you should see before trying this out.