Television Show Review: Grimm

Grimm: Season 1 created by Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, and Jim Kouf  (Universal Television, GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, and Open 4 Bisiness Productions, LLC, airs Friday nights at 9/8c on NBC) Starring David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz, and Reggie Lee The Grimm of Old Historically, the Brothers Grimm collected folklore and published these stories in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. With fairy tales acting as an oral tradition, the Grimm brothers met with people to write down their stories. Being an oral tradition, fairy tales obviously varied from town to town, and the stories from the Germanic origin were much darker. For instance, in the Grimm version of Cinderella, the evil step sisters chop off their… Read More →

Film Review: Visioneers

Visioneers directed by Jared Drake (Fireside Film and Mayfly Films, R, 94 minutes) Starring Zach Galifianakis, Judy Greer, and Mía Maestro. Absurdity Since the birth of existentialism, absurdity has worked as a delightful comedic medium. In low brow settings, Monty Python (let’s not fool ourselves, the troupe is brilliant despite their silly sketches) explores absurdity when is depicts a couple of safari men performing the fish slapping dance. On the other side of the spectrum, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is a play that portrays two men with minute attention spans waiting for God. In both instances, the writer finds comedy in the absurdities of life. When considered deeply, life contains many strange and downright silly aspects. In a similar… Read More →

Guest Film Review: In Time

In Time directed by Andrew Niccol (Regency Enterprises, New Regency Pictures, Strike Entertainment, PG-13, 109 minutes) Starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Cillian Murphy Science without Morals In Time, the newest work from writer-director Andrew Niccol, is a thoughtful addition to the genre of dystopian futuristic films. Niccol wrote and directed Gattaca, which is easily one of the best science fiction films ever created, and he returns to the theme with a film about a society that has embraced science and technology to the point where it loses its moral compass. In Time shows us a society where genetic engineering has effectively solved the problem of aging and death — everyone is immortal and stops aging beyond their 25th birthday. Thus, we are presented… Read More →

Book Review: Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche: The New James Bond Novel by Jeffery Deaver (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. 432 pp) Born outside Chicago, Jeffery Deaver earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University. Prior to becoming a bestselling author, Deaver was a journalist, folksinger and attorney. Having written thirty books, Deaver has won numerous awards. For The Bodies Left Behind, he won Novel of the Year from the International Thriller Writers Association; The Cold Moon was named Book of the Year by the Mystery Writers Association of Japan and the Grand Prix Award. Additionally, he has received the Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association and the… Read More →

Book Review: The Hole in Our Gospel

The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? the Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World by Richard Stearns (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 352 pp) Richard Stearns is the president of World Vision (US) and former chief executive officer of Lenox Corporation, a luxury tableware company. He attended Cornell University as an undergraduate and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for his MBA. The Hole in Our Gospel won the 2010 Christian Book of the Year. The World versus the Pulpit A few years ago, my theological convictions about the world shifted. Born and raised in a conservative evangelical church, I found the things I observed in the world to differ… Read More →

Concert Review: Bon Iver and Other Lives

Concert at the Paramount Theatre, Seattle. September 26, 2011 The Opener I’ve been to three concerts lately where the opening act is just as good, if not better, than what I came to see. This phenomenon certainly rang true when Bon Iver came to town. His opening act was Other Lives. Like most opening acts, I was incredibly skeptical at first. But, soon a voice akin to Brandon Summers (frontman of Helio Sequence), with complex instrumental melodic lines intertwined with atmospheric bliss changed my mind.  The band is a Sigur Ros LP and a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album all rolled up in one. Unlike Sigur Ros (or Bon Iver for that matter), the lyrics are actually aurally intelligible.  I immediately swam… Read More →

Book Review: Wise Blood

Wise Blood: A Novel by Flannery O’Connor (New York:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1962. 248 pp) Born in Savannah, Georgia, Flannery O’Connor attended Georgia State College for Women (now Georgia College & State University) graduating in 1945 with a degree in Social Sciences. A year later, she enrolled in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she studied journalism. While at the Workshop, O’Connor first drafted her seminal novel, Wise Blood. Later, she published the novel, The Violent Bear It Away, and two books of short stories: A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Everything That Rises Must Converge. Her writing is informed, often paradoxically, by her devout Catholicism and the grotesque. She died in 1963, at the age of 39,… Read More →

Television Show Review: Breaking Bad: Seasons 1-3

Breaking Bad: Seasons 1-3 created by Vince Gilligan (High Bridge Productions, Gran Via Productions, and Sony Pictures Television) Starring Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, and Aaron Paul. Dexter Morgan vs. Walter White As I watched the first three seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix, I couldn’t help but compare the series to Dexter, television’s other critically acclaimed series featuring a protagonist with dark secrets. Where Dexter Morgan is a serial killer vigilante, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) is a down-on-his-luck chemistry teacher who utilizes his scientific expertise to cook methamphetamines. Although it may sound astonishing, I argue that Dexter functions as a more likeable character than Walt. In spite of its dark content, Dexter carries an air of levity. In between murders,… Read More →

Book Review: The Unconsoled

The Unconsoled by Kazuo Ishiguro (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. 535 pp) Born in 1954 in Nagasaki, Japan, Kazuo Ishiguro moved with his family to England in 1960. Ishiguro attended the University of Kent receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1978 and continued his education at the University of East Anglia obtaining a master’s degree in creative writing in 1980. A celebrated novelist, Ishiguro has been nominated four times for the Man Booker Prize, winning it in 1989 for his work, The Remains of the Day. Recently, Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, was adapted to a full-length film featuring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. Ishiguro resides in London with his wife and daughter. The Unconsoled as Broccoli… Read More →

Book Review: East of Eden

East of Eden: A Novel by John Steinbeck (New York: Penguin Books, 1952. 601 pp Born in Salinas, California in 1902, John Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. In 1919, he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years, he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City. He published his first novel, Cup of Gold, in 1929. After a marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, California, Steinbeck continued writing novels. Popular success and financial security came with Tortilla Flat in 1935 and he became best known for… Read More →