Film Review: Looper

Looper written and directed by Rian Johnson (DMG Entertainment, Endgame Entertainment, and FilmDistrict, R, 118 minutes) Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, and Jeff Daniels. Everyone’s Favorite Mind Bending Paradox Time travel. A mind bending paradox worthy of many late-night conversations. Setting aside plausibility, there seems to be two competing views on the subject. One, made famous by the Ashton Kutcher film, The Butterfly Effect, posits that altering small aspects of the past—as little as harming a butterfly—result in drastic changes to the present. The other suggests time travel carries no inherent danger to the present, think Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. If you travel back in time and alter the past, that altered past… Read More →

Album Review: There’s No Leaving Now

There’s No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man on Earth (Dead Oceans, 2012. 39 minutes) The Tallest Man on Earth is the stage name of Swedish singer-songwriter, Kristian Matsson. Matsson has released three full-length albums and two EPs. He is heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Woody Guthrie. Matsson is married to fellow singer-songwriter Amanda Matsson of Idiot Wind. In Exploration of Top-Notch Analysis In case you didn’t notice, my previous review explored a book of poetry—the first poetry review on this blog. I’ve avoided poetry because I don’t know what to do with it. It has been said to critically review art one must question whether the artist completed her purpose. If you don’t like the art… Read More →

Book Review: Endpoint and Other Poems

Endpoint and Other Poems by John Updike (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. 112 pp) John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. He was the father of four children and the author of more than sixty books, including novels and collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His books won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the Howells Medal, among other honors. He died in… Read More →

Book Review: The Keep

The Keep: A Novel by Jennifer Egan (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006. 272 pp) Born in Chicago, Jennifer Egan spent her formative years in San Francisco. She majored in English literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Then, she accepted a fellowship at St. John’s College, Cambridge. Egan has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz. Her latest book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, won the 2011 National Book Critics Award for Fiction, a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction…. Read More →

Television Show Review: Breaking Bad: Season 5

An Announcement I am pleased to announce that I’ll be contributing reviews occasionally for Fieldnotes Magazine, a recently launched publication providing practical wisdom for emerging leaders. A Review My first review highlights the first half of Breaking Bad: Season 5. Midway through the fifth season of Breaking Bad, a watershed moment occurs—one with familiar but important resonance for those who would lead any enterprise. Anti-hero Walter White (Bryan Cranston) sits upon a newly-established throne as the kingpin of the New Mexico methamphetamine business—merely a year removed from learning of his terminal cancer and devising an illicit plan to earn money for his family upon his passing. So check out my review and give Fieldnotes a follow, it’s an excellent source of content!

Book Review: Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas: A Novel by David Mitchell (New York: Random House, 2004. 528 pp) David Mitchell is an English author most noted for his fiction. He attended University of Kent earning a degree in English and American Literature as well as an M.A. in Comparative Literature. Mitchell’s debut novel, Ghostwritten, won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His next two novels, Number9dream and Cloud Atlas found themselves on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Cloud Atlas has been adapted into a feature film. A Kaleidoscope of Ambiguity How does it feel moments after newly opened puzzle pieces cascade out of the box? The colorful mélange sits nestled on the table—a kaleidoscope of ambiguity, the box your only clue to the end goal…. Read More →

Book Review: The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (New York: Nan A. Talese, 2000. 521 pp) Born in Ottawa in the autumn of 1939, Margaret Atwood grew up in Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She attained her B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto and her M.A. from Radcliffe College. Atwood has written more than 50 works of poetry, children’s fiction, fiction, and non-fiction. While she is most known for her many novels, her book, Blind Assassin, received highest acclaim winning the prestigious Booker Prize in 2000. Currently, she lives with Graeme Gibson in Toronto. A Narrative in Many Threads Thus begins Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin. A complicated narrative mixing the autobiography of the novel’s protagonist, excerpts from Laura the sister’s novel and newspaper clippings detailing the major events in… Read More →

Book Review: Brain Rules

Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina (Seattle: Pear Press, 2008. 301 pp) John Medina is a development molecular biologist and research consultant. He is an affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He is also the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. In Pursuit of Learning  Can we, as human beings, learn better? We go through grade school, middle school, high school, college, perhaps even graduate work without ever questioning if we are learning optimally. As a person who seeks to learn continuously and realizing I won’t remember every piece of information imparted to me in my lifetime,… Read More →

Book Review: Strength to Love

Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1963. 192 pp) Born in 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor, activist, and leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. King rose to prominence during the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and orchestrated the 1963 March on Washington where King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. King earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He was assassinated in 1968. A Big Deal  Martin Luther King, Jr. is a big deal. I recall learning about his life and his influence on civil rights early and often in grade school. I heard his famous “I Have a Dream” speech long before I knew what it meant. King County—where… Read More →

Album Review: The Idler Wheel…

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do by Fiona Apple (Clean Slate, Epic, 2012. 43 minutes) Born in New York City, Fiona Apple is a singer-songwriter and pianist. Apple first gained notoriety for her debut album, Tidal, winning a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. The Idler Wheel… is Apple’s fourth studio album. Instability  I can’t say I’ve known a truly unstable person and I want to be careful about labeling Fiona Apple as such—I don’t know her and it would be rude to assume. But, I imagine friendship with such a person would be a roller coaster. Words might be volatile;… Read More →