Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

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It's been a while since my list post listing movies and books in mid-March, so this list may seem long. But I write this stuff for me mostly, so if it bores you, go on to another entry. Sorry.

Gandhi: somehow we missed seeing this multi-award-winning epic until now. We rented it in "honor" of the war with Iraq. Highly recommended. Hard to believe the same actor (Kingsley) also plays in Sexy Beast, which we didn't like that much.

Apt Pupil: a decent mind-games movie starring Ian McKellen, our primary reason for checking it out.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: amusing con artists flick, with a great twist at the end. Worth viewing.

The Bourne Identity: the modern remake of a classic, which I've not seen; an excellent spy thriller, and recommended.

Blue Crush: thought this would be more interesting story-wise so was somewhat disappointed. Outstanding gorgeous photography of waves and surfers, however, awes one thinking about the time and effort and expertise needed to get all the shots. Also, excellent perfection of technique regarding digitally pasting star's face on someone else's body.

Sweet Home Alabama: predictable chick-flick; ho-hum.

Sunset Boulevard: one of them classics you're supposed to see. Boring. Not at all enjoyable to watch. Moral of the story: make your car payments.

The Cider House Rules: a "nice" movie. Set in Maine, but lack of Maine accent noticable.

The Story of O: good erotic French piece, made in the '70s, which means no silicone and a much more real feeling.

Sharpe's Justice: second-to-last one in the series, set in Northern England. As good as the previous dozen.

Cadfael: The Holy Thief: the Cadfael episodes have no relation to one another and can be watched in any order. This one as good as the others. I really like them for their authenticity -- I haven't noticed any anachronisms in them yet.

Babe: the pig that became a sheep dog, as amusing as ever.

Spirited Away: decent Japanese animated film. Most surprising element: a Western soundtrack. Recommended, especially if you're into fantasy and Japanese culture.

Jakob the Liar: Robin Williams as a Jew in a 1944 ghetto? Sure... kind of a dark comedy -- but that may not be the right words for it. Liked it, but not strongly.

Red Dwarf: Series 1: probably should have seen this years ago; a cheaply produced British science-fiction show that has many amusing moments that certainly make for in-jokes amongst geeks and nerds. Definitely worth viewing if you're keen on the subject matter and at least a bit of an Anglophile.

And now for some books...

The History of Dive Bombing: should have been called the history of British dive bombing, because it's mostly about their attitudes toward this kind of attack plane. Did not have much on the technical developments of the various kinds of planes, but spent a lot of time discussing various ministries in the UK pointing fingers at each other as to why they didn't have their own program to build and fly this kind of plane like all the other WW II belligerants did.

Escort carrier, 1941-1945: an account of British escort carriers in trade protection: an okay book about the little carriers guarding various convoys against German subs. Details practically every single plane launch each one made during the whole of WW II.

Blood on the Sea: American Destroyers Lost in World War II: a well-written book that details the loss of each of the 71 American destroyers in the war. From running aground to hitting mines to aerial bombs to enemy subs, they went down in all sorts of ways.

Left to Die: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau: although decently written prose, a number of factual errors with names of ships and people leave doubt open for other details of ten sailors who survived the sinking of a ship that carried all five famous Sullivan brothers down in one fell swoop.

Okay, the end.

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