A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Friday, December 30, 2016


Just a quick post before I leave for the long weekend to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  I hope 2017 brings good things to all of you.

Oh, another quick entertainment tip before I go (to augment the batch of them in the previous post). We caught Woody Allen's latest, Cafe Society last night on Amazon Prime (where it's now streaming), and I found it to be charming and funny, and one of Woody's better recent efforts.  Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Kristin Stewart, this one is mainly about that one special love: how we chase it even when it's wrecking other aspects of our lives, and how we still miss it even when we find something equally good that's arguably better for us.

And while the story is ultimately a little melancholy, it's also very funny at times.  I especially liked the subplot about the Eisenberg character's gangster brother, who thought all problems, even if it was just a guy playing his radio too loudly, warrants a bullet to the head and a burial in a building foundation.

Set in Hollywood and New York in the 1930's, the movie is also beautifully shot and has lots of great classic American music.  Anyway, you could do worse with an hour and a half or so of your life than watching this.

Again, Happy New Year, and see you in 2017!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Brief Asides #7

It's been a while since I've done a "Brief Asides" column (and no snarky comments about how it's been a while since I've done a post of any kind), but let's get back on the bike, shall we?  Here are some quick comments about a few things I've read or seen lately...

Rogue One takes a little while to get going, but by the second half turns into as good a Star Wars movie as you could want.  It's really interesting how it manages to be both grim and uplifting at the same time.

On the audiobook front. I've been listening to a bunch of John Sandford's Prey thrillers lately.  Try them out: they all have strong thriller plots, laced with cleverness and excitement, as well as lots of entertaining cop banter.  I'm glad I still have about nine or ten of these left before I'm all caught up.

If you're looking for a thoughtful movie this wintertime, try Manchester By The Sea.  Starring Casey Affleck, who plays a lonely janitor called back to his old hometown to take care of a family issue, this quiet introspective film nevertheless packs an emotional wallop in a handful of key scenes.

I've seen the first two episodes of The Crown on Netflix.  The show is about the early reign of Queen Elizabeth (the one who is actually still on the throne).  Excellent production values, sympathetic characters (yes, even though they're pampered royals) and fascinating biographical details of various famous figures make this a very entertaining show, at least so far.

Oh, in a previous post I noted that I was looking forward to the Netflix series Luke Cage, the Netflix documentary Amanda Knox, and the Amazon Prime series Crisis in Six Scenes.  I'm glad to report that I liked all three of these, which were all solid, entertaining efforts.

Warren Beatty's long-awaited film Rules Don't Apply was a pleasant romantic drama, but I have to say that it's probably fine to just wait to watch it at home.  Which you'll probably have to do anyway, because it's pretty much gone from theaters already.

I liked both the book and film versions of The Girl on the Train.  The former was simply a decent mystery story by Paula Hawkins, heavy on character moments, and the latter was a solid, skillful movie adaptation of that story.  Either or both are worth your time.

Doctor Strange was a terrific Marvel movie, sporting a different flavor than Marvel's other superhero films due to its mystical story.  But it's still fast, funny, and fun.

The film Arrival is worth seeing, too.  But I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I saw.  Lots to chew on afterward with this one!

I've been watching a bunch of original comedy specials, featuring various stand-up comedians, on Netflix lately.  A recent good one was Margaret Cho: Psycho.  While still her usual profane and outrageous self, I liked Cho a little more in this outing than previous ones because she was a little less angry and her humor a tiny bit gentler.  Of course, you may not like the show as much as me because of those facets, but to each his or her own.

Anyway, it was great banging out a post again after my little hiatus, and I hope to get back in the habit of regular posts as we enter the new year! Take care, all!