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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.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, March 12

Oz the Great and Powerful

We saw Oz the Great and Powerful today, and were both enchanted by this enchanting tale of a place everyone knows from the original 1939 film. I first became an Oz fan when I was a wee lad and discovered the L. Frank Baum series of books. They were my keys to the kingdom of books, and I’ve been an omnivorous reader ever since. I think I was more enchanted by the special effects of the 3D than by the story or acting. In fact, if I’d seen it in regular vision instead of 3D, I’m not sure I’d have been so positive in this review. James Franco just didn’t seem right as the somewhat sleazy Oscar Diggs. I can’t put a finger on it—his smile? his delivery of lines? Just something that wasn’t quite right. Or maybe I was remembering fat Frank Morgan as the original Wizard, gray and flustered by Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. And Mila Kunis wouldn’t have been my first choice as witch Theodora, nor my second or third or fourth. She’s eerily beautiful with those huge brown eyes but I don’t see her as a Baum witch. Maybe I’m just put off by her role in Black Swan. Didn’t care much for that movie or her role in it. But Michelle Williams was perfect as Glinda. She has to be the sweetest female in Hollywood right now. She’d probably love to have an evil role someday but I don’t think she could pull it off. Just too sweet. The story of Oscar’s tornado ride to Oz and what followed was all right, but a bit thin. The film paid homage to the original by showing the first scenes in Kansas in black and white, expanding to color when Oscar first views Oz. And what color and effects he and the viewer sees—flowers opening in his path, multi-colored birds flitting around his head and right up to us in the audience, cascading waterfalls, clouds of butterflies. And Mila Kunis coming through the underbrush to find Oscar, looking like a fashion model in her red hat and dress. Two of the most delightful characters in the movie are his little monkey buddy Finley and the tiny China Girl. I guess what I’m saying is that the 3D version of Oz the G & P is well worth seeing, but maybe not the regular version.
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