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Book Review: WHISKEY IN A TEACUP by Reese Witherspoon

October 17, 2018 – 10:21 pm | 4 Comments

Oscar-winning actress and Emmy-winning producer Reese Witherspoon already leads a popular book club on Instagram, so it seems a natural next step for her to write a book. The title, Whiskey in a Teacup, refers …

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Mini Movie Reviews: FIRST MAN and WIDOWS

October 11, 2018 – 10:42 pm | 4 Comments

Fall has so many things to love: weather that doesn’t make me feel roasted alive, Halloween decorations going up 9 weeks early, soup…and industry movie screenings of award contenders! Even when the movies aren’t great, we get free popcorn and drinks so who’s complaining?

Following are mini reviews of two I’ve seen.

First Man (Oct. 12)

Daniel McFadden/Universal Pictures

Ryan Gosling reunites with his Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle for this Neil Armstrong biopic, culminating in Armstrong’s landing on the moon.

The visuals are awe-inspiring and the acting is beautifully subtle—from Gosling and Claire Foy as Armstrong’s first wife, Janet—but perhaps Chazelle stayed too close to Armstrong’s stoic spirit.

While I admire the movie and respect the craftsmanship, I can’t say I was deeply moved by it. But see it in IMAX and you can almost cross off a trip to the moon from your bucket list, because Chazelle makes you feel like you’ve already been there.

Widows (Nov. 16)

20th Century Fox

“Hoo-weee, this movie’s intense.” That was the first thing I said to Mr. PCN when Widows ended.

Based on the novel by Lynda La Plante (Prime Suspect), this heist thriller was adapted for the screen by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen, with the latter also directing.

Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizaeth Debicki give gritty, riveting performances as women whose men left them in a bad way. Their lives are threatened when shady characters want the women to repay their former lovers’ debts. The women give payback, all right.

The characters are strong but messily and realistically so. They’re not wonder women but regular folk tired of being messed with. Tony winner Cynthia Erivo joins the trio later in the heist’s planning stages, but they find she’s a quick learner.

Remember how Daniel Kaluuya’s character was unnerved by all the creepy white people in Get Out? His performance in Widows made me feel like that. He is a nasty piece of work here.

Flynn does what she does best—give us portraits of complicated women capable of whatever men do, with all the good and ugly and in between. McQueen ratchets up the tension so much, I was often holding my breath.

Heist movies aren’t my favorite subgenre, but this one is less about the score than people in desperate situations finding their mettle. It’s a character study—on steroids.

Which fall movies are you excited to see? Stay tuned for more reviews as the screenings ramp up!

Book Review: A DOUBLE LIFE by Flynn Berry

September 10, 2018 – 6:20 pm | One Comment
double life

Claire is a young London doctor, living a solitary life that consists of work and little else. Then a detective inspector comes to her door and says simply, “There’s been a sighting.”
Claire doesn’t need to …

All Asians All the Time

September 4, 2018 – 10:23 pm | One Comment

This past holiday weekend turned out really Asian for me.
First I saw writer/director Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching, starring John Cho, and thought it was a riveting, innovative thriller. In case you don’t know the concept, the entire …


July 26, 2018 – 7:45 pm | One Comment

It’s been 110+ degrees here and I’ve been hiding in places with A/C because I’m trying to avoid an electric bill for $47K next month. This means lots of time at the library and movie theater. …

Nerdy Special List June 2018

June 11, 2018 – 10:01 pm | 2 Comments
word is murder

Summer is here so that means packing 5 books for every 1 day of vacation you take, right? Consider stuffing the following titles into your over-the-weight-limit bags!
Jen at Brown Dog Solutions recommends:
Us Against You by Fredrik Backman …

Nerdy Special List May 2018

May 14, 2018 – 6:49 pm | 4 Comments

Even though it’s not summer yet, I was inundated with May books that seem intended to be read in one sitting, as if we’re on vacation or something. And if we’re not, we’ll just have …


April 8, 2018 – 7:54 pm | 4 Comments

I had a lazy weekend—well, lazier than usual—and ended up watching lots of TV and movies. Good thing they were mostly entertaining. Here are some brief thoughts on the ones worth mentioning.
Killing Eve

I’ve been salivating …

Book Review: RED CLOCKS by Leni Zumas

February 28, 2018 – 1:20 am | One Comment
red clocks

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, coeditor of the literary online magazine Da Mau.
In Leni Zumas’s lyrical yet unsparing novel, red clocks symbolize the identity crises, haunting wombs, ticking time bombs of five female …

Book Review: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron

February 23, 2018 – 12:07 am | One Comment
this is what happened

Mick Herron’s standalone This Is What Happened begins in medias res, with 26-year-old Maggie Barnes hiding in a bathroom in a high-rise building during a dangerous spy mission.
Until recently, she was working in the corporate …

Nerdy Special List February 2018

February 15, 2018 – 11:42 pm | One Comment

It’s Friday before a long holiday weekend for some. And after yet another school shooting.
When I’m heartsick, I turn to books to save me, and they always do.
Here are this month’s recommendations.
From Jen at Brown Dog …

Nerdy Special List January 2018

January 12, 2018 – 12:33 am | One Comment
chalk man

Hello, how is everyone? You’re all looking wonderful and that outfit totally suits you.
I hid from the internet for about 3 weeks over the holidays because I wanted to reclaim my mind space. Choose what …

Favorite Reads of 2017

December 8, 2017 – 11:46 pm | One Comment
IMG_4426 2

Though 2017 has been in the rearview mirror for almost a month, with skid marks I left on my way out, I wanted to look back to review my reading stats. Last year was rich for …

Nerdy Special End-of-Year List 2017

December 8, 2017 – 1:36 am | 4 Comments

While all the TV shows and commercials are depicting snow, here in L.A. it’s raining ash and debris. Happy holidays!
Because a smoke advisory is in effect, I have to stay inside and read. Luckily, cabin fever …

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