Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Latest Movie

Of course I've watched many movies in the past 7 months.  Here are some of my favorite.

Harakiri (1962)
Winner of the Cannes Special Jury Prize, Masaki Kobayashi's drama centers on samurai Hanshiro Tsugumo, who arrives at a lavish manor and asks to commit hara-kiri on the grounds. But the vengeful warrior is harboring a secret. A new political climate finds the once-powerful samurais wandering the country begging estate owners to allow them to commit suicide on their properties, when what they really want is a handout.

This one has been remade with the title: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)

The Reluctant Saint (1962)
Maximilian Schell stars as Giuseppe Desa, a 17th-century Italian peasant who becomes a Franciscan friar after his mother pressures a hesitant abbot to accept her son into the monastery -- and a bishop takes a shine to him. Upon being ordained a priest (thanks to a string of remarkable events), Giuseppe begins to levitate while praying, leading some to believe that his miraculous power is the work of the devil.

The Gene Krupa Story (1952)

Sal Mineo plays Gene Krupa, the charismatic musician who took the jazz world by storm. With his best pal, Krupa leaves his hometown for New York City, where he's recognized for his talents as a drummer. But in addition to fame, Lady Luck also brings him an addiction to drugs, by way of a singer whom he beds. Krupa's career halts when he ends up in jail, but he gets a second chance on music and life when he's freed.

The Artist (2012)

This modern-day silent film artfully recounts the poignant end of the silent-movie era in the late 1920s. The story contrasts the declining fortunes of a silent-screen superstar with his lover's rise to popularity as a darling of the "talkies."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Books I've Read Lately

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

This was an audiobook that I recently listened to.  It takes place in the antebellum American south.  The two main characters, Belle and Lavina swap back in forth between the story.  Each being told from their point of view, by two different narrators. 

Lavenia lost her entire family but her brother Cardigan on the boat over from Ireland.  She became an indentured servant to the Pikes as a child.  Belle who was already a kitchen slave was put in charge of her raring.

Without giving too much away, we are taken through the dynamic of the three types of stations in this house.  The wealthy plantation owners, who had everything, the slaves who had nothing and Lavinia who teetered between worlds, as she was not treated as a slave, but not quite treated as an equal.

There is a lot of tragedy in this book.  I have noticed people either love it or hate it.  I loved this book, it is now one of my favorite books. 

I am not sure how it reads, but it is very good listening.

Sal Mineo: A Biography by Michael Gregg Michaud

Who remembers Sal Mineo?  The cutie friend from the movie “Rebel Without A Cause”.  Of course you do.  There are not many biographies about Mr. Mineo, but I found this one and thought I’d give it a read.

It takes us from his childhood on the streets of The Bronx to his death in a California parking lot.  I learned a lot about Sal.  I knew he was a homosexual, however, this gave more of an inner working of his mind and how he viewed sex. 

One thing I didn’t know was that he was really into producing and actually produced and acted in a stage play that was very racy for the day.

There were other very interesting tidbits in this book, that really brought Sal to life.  If you have or have had an interest in a wonderful actor from the past, this book is something you should check out.