Monday, November 01, 2010

Kathleen Recommends

It's late All Hallows Eve, and here be Wall-E, two witches, and a rock star, all safely tucked in bed now.

My granddaughters are the two on the right, their friend in the middle, and the amazing Wall-E costume hand crafted by my youngest for his son out of cardboard, paper and aluminum foil. The arms move. The front opens and the loot bag emerges. He was quite a hit on this beautiful fall night.

But for the cold nights ahead, I give you a couple of recommendations and ask for yours in return. First a DVD. "Leaves of Grass" must have moved in and out of the theaters like a hummingbird. We snatched it up the day it came out. Enthusiastic thumbs up from both the Indian cowboy and me, and that's unusual with a comedy. After the movie we played the bonus features, and Clyde googled on the laptop. Discovered the move grossed $68,000 at the box office. Sad, especially when you think about some of the poor excuses for movies that are making money.

And the talent in this one--Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfuss and Tim Blake Nelson--is top notch. The minute Clyde saw Nelson, who played his favorite character, Delmar, in "O Brother, Where Art Thou," he was hooked. Turns out Nelson wrote and directed "Leaves Of Grass." But it's Edward Norton who brings this one home with his portrayal of identical twins as you've never seen it done before. Watching him play off himself, you'll swear there's been some cloning. Bill is the Ivy League classics professor who has done everything he can to divorce himself from his rural Oklahoma roots. Brother Brady is a genius, too. He takes his grass growing very seriously.

But this is not a Cheech and Chong-type comedy. Nelson has worked on numerous Coen brothers projects, and this one has a bit of a "Fargo" flavor to it. Apparently Nelson wrote the screenplay with Norton in mine, and he says in the interview that "there was no second choice." Norton is a favorite of mine, and he's great in this flick, which is downright funny.

Next, for your reading pleasure, I recommend COWBOYS NEVER CRY by Tina Welling. I read this one in advance, and my endorsement is quoted on the back cover. A good contemporary Western romance is hard to find these days, especially in single title. This is the second book I've read and enjoyed by this relatively new author.

The young widow of a mountain climber, takes a summer job on a dude ranch near Jackson Hole, where she meets and locks horns with the owner's son, a disillusioned and erstwhile self-destructive movie star. He's cool and cocky, but he's just out of rehab and still rocky. She's no shrinking violet, but putting her life back together has been a struggle, both emotionally and financially. Welling is a skilled writer, and she knows how to bring characters to life and tug at the heart strings. Good stuff.

It's comin' on cocooning time. What's the best book you've read lately? How about the best movie? Give me some titles to put on my list.


KylieBrant said...

Kathy, I'm not a huge comedy fan but the star power of this one lands it on my to-watch list. I *love* Edward Norton--think he's absolutely brilliant. I can't believe the movie did so poorly in the theaters but apparently it's just like books...without push from the company a movie can't get anywhere?

krisgils33 said...

I loved the Louisa Edwards Recipe for Love series. Funny, quirky, and just plain cute...they are a nice break from the real world.

Cindy Gerard said...

Love your gremlins and Wall_E is amazing!!

I saw RED last week and LOVED it. Plan to review it for Friday's blog so stay tuned.

Watched Robin Hood on DVD last week - the latest with Russell Crowe and loved it too. It prequels the 'Robin' we know and love and chronicles what made him become the legend of Sherwood Forest. Good stuff, except that the lighting was really dark - the director took the 'dark ages' too literally, I'm afraid :o)

Leanne said...

Kathleen, love the pics! I will have to put Leaves of Grass on my to be watched list. It sounds great!

Kelly T said...

One of my all time favorite authors is Janet Evanovich. She has a few series books, and some single titles. I can read her books in one day. You won't want to put them down. Start with One For The Money. Lucky for you.....You don't have to wait to read the next book :) On the topic of movies. I can not believe a movie with such great actors bomb in the box office so badly. I honestly have not heard of it before now. I will definitely check that one out. The latest movie that I saw and loved was Legend of the Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole. One of the best things about having kids is never missing a great kids movie! Of course this is one that was made from a book. Double bonus!

Michele Hauf said...

Cute kids!

Let's see, I'm currently reading an awesome story. The Devil's Queen by Jeanne Kalogridis, which is about Catherine Demedici, and her life. It almost reads like historical non-fiction, yet not. I'm loving it.

Best movie? Saw Ondine in the theater and recently bought it on DVD. Sweet love story about a man and his selkie. And I believe we discussed the power of Colin Farrell's silent allure already here. ;-)

lois greiman said...

About books. I read Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen and reallly enjoyed it. Reminded me of Big Trouble. (Tim Allen starred in the movie.)

Loved RED and How To Tame a Dragon is still at the top of my list.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I KNEW I'd get some great suggestions here.

Michele, I just skipped over to Blockbuster and put "Ondine" at the top of my queue. Piper was reading a book last week, and she asked about selkies.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Kelly, I've got to get the kids into the theater soon to see "The Guardians." The trailer is gorgeous--looks like one for the big screen.

And I can't wait take them to see "Tangled" around Thanksgiving. Based on Rapunzel, but with a sense of humor.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Cindy, there was a great documentary on the History Channel last week called "Fear Of the Dark." It's about physical darkness through the ages. Renews your appreciation of electricity even better than a power outage. Really--lots of insights I'd never heard before. Look for it to come around again.

I loved "Robin Hood," too. Beautifully done, I thought.

Helen Brenna said...

I love Edward Norton - have already put this movie on my list.

Ondine was beautiful. Colin Farrell seems to have matured - like him so much more these days.

Sorry, Kathy, I'm so far behind the curse on stuff these days, I'm no help.

Anyone else have too much Halloween candy leftover? lol

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, and in the horrible, horrible, most horrible DVD category, stay away from the Starz version of "Sparticus," which I rented because I love ancient history and hoped for something similar to HBO's "Rome." The fact that I loved "Rome" proves that I'm not averse to violence and sex per se. "Rome" is well-written and the cast is terrific. There's a STORY. "Sparticus" has none of those attributes. The setting is computerized and cartoonish, the gore and sex purely gratuitous, and the script is skeletal. Story doesn't matter in this one, and the spillage of blood looks like Jackson Pollack at work.

Christie Ridgway said...

Great recs, Kathleen. I also read COWBOYS NEVER CRY and reviewed it for my BookPage column. The western setting really appealed to me.

I read Anne Stuart's recent historical series (all end in "LESS") and loved it. Not everyone can pull of those "bad" heroes. Worked for me completely.