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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, December 9

Two Reviews: Pi & Hitch

We saw Life of Pi a week ago and were impressed, especially with the young man who played Pi Patel, who had to share a lifeboat with several creatures from his father’s zoo. We went to the non-3D version, but I would guess the 3D would have been more spectacular—animals leaping, fish flying, waves rolling. The plot is quite simple, with young Pi and his family and all the family zoo animals on a Japanese cargo ship bound for Canada, where Pi’s father intends to reopen his zoo. But in a violent storm, the ship capsizes and Pi finds himself in the water, then into a lifeboat, where he discovers his boatmate under the canvas at the rear of the boat, a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. They are later joined by a zebra, a hyena, and an orangutan, soon after to be provisions for Richard Parker. Pi (Suraj Sharma) takes refuge on a makeshift raft that he keeps tethered to the lifeboat. The 227 days he spent with the tiger are as much a spiritual journey as a lesson in survival. The two form a tenuous alliance for most of the journey. It was a strangely moving story, and young Sarma made us believe in the indomitable spirit of man as we make our difficult journeys through life. And I now believe that one day, movies will be made with digitized characters instead of real people. It was hard to tell when the animals were real and when they were digitized, especially the tiger. If they can fool us with animals, then why not with people?

Yesterday, we saw Hitchcock, both of us wondering what they could do with a story about the corpulent, head-cocked director of suspense films. We found out. It was 1960 and Hitch (Anthony Hopkins) was adamant about making a film focusing on Ed Gein, an infamous serial killer of the day. Almost no one, even his wife Alma (Helen Mirren), thinks this is a good idea. When Paramount refuses to make it for him, he decides to finance it on his own, risking his reputation and nearly all the money he has. The story seems to be lighter in tone than one would expect from a movie about the making of Psycho, maybe the best and best known horror film ever made. The story involves two strands, the making of Psycho and the many facets of Hitch’s character, his love of, his inattention to Alma, his predatory fascination with beautiful women, especially the women he chooses to star in his films. And Scarlet Johansson, as Janet Leigh, is especially fascinating.

One of the funniest moments comes at the first showing of Psycho, as Hitch anticipates the audience reaction to the shower scene, with its iconic shrieking violins. Hopkins had fun playing with his role as Hitchcock, but it was Helen Mirren who stole the show as Alma Reville. Welcome to the Bates Motel.
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