Film Review: The Florida Project

The Florida Project

The Florida Project written by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch and directed by Sean Baker (A24, Cre Film, Freestyle Picture Company, June Pictures, R, 111 min) Starring Brooklynn Prince, Christopher Rivera, Aiden Milk, Josie Olivio, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vinaite, Willem Dafoe, and Mela Murder. The Innocence of Childhood vs. The Horrors of Being Poor I think my son gets bored some weekends. Whether it’s too hot or too cold, raining, or what-not, we don’t always make it outside, or even if we do, not to the extent my son might wish. In these times of boredom, his imagination runs wild, which can be fun to watch. But I bet he’d likely want to do something more interesting. Between safety and… Read More →

Book Review: Out in the Open

Out in the Open by Jesus Carrasco

Out in the Open: A Novel by Jesús Carrasco, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (New York: Riverhead Books, 2015, originally published in 2013. 240 pp) Jesús Carrasco was born in Badajoz, Spain, and now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He received the European Union Prize for Literature in 2016. Out in the Open, his debut novel, was a bestseller in Spain, has been published in twenty-five languages, and is the winner of many international awards, including an English PEN award. Margaret Jull Costa has been translating Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American fiction—including authors like Javier Marías—for more than twenty years. Every Story Needs Salt and Pepper The motifs sitting just underneath the surface of a story tell us how to feel…. Read More →

Film Review: The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner written by Anita Doron and Deborah Ellis and directed by Nora Twomey (Aircraft Pictures, Cartoon Saloon, Mélusine Productions, PG-13, 94 min) Starring Saara Chaudry, Soma Chhaya, Noorin Gulamgaus, Laara Sadiq, Shaista Latif, Ali Badshah, and Ali Kazmi. A Hypothetical Nightmare Imagine for a second a hypothetical nightmare. You, by your appearance alone, are unable to enter the public sphere. The marketplace, the agora where locals buy and sell goods is off limits. What would you do, especially if the government does little to support the marginalized and the least of these? Would you risk punishment or death to find food? Or would you wither away at home, hoping for charity? Fortunately, many people in America never need to… Read More →

Film Review: The Revenant

The Revenant

The Revenant written by Mark L. Smith and Alejandro Iñárritu, directed by Alejandro Iñárritu (Regency Enterprises, RatPac Entertainment, R, 156 min) Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, and Forrest Goodluck. The Forest for the Trees We recently moved in close proximity to the mountains. As we take our exit, the freeway begins its carve through the rolling hills and mountains of the Cascades. Beneath the wisps of fog, forests of evergreen encompass the landscape like a 5 o’clock shadow. When we enter our development, a copse of trees rests to our left, a solitary lookout over the hills and the first reference to the wild beyond our residence. I’ve been wanting to explore the trail that leads… Read More →

Book Review: The Martian

The Martian: A Novel by Andy Weir (New York: Broadway Books, 2014. 387 pp) Andy Weir was first hired as a programmer for a national laboratory at age 15 and has been working as a software engineer ever since. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects like relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. The Martian is his first novel. Spaceman Spiff The earth is not a cold dead place. It’s pretty amazing to consider how it perfectly situated itself for life. Orbits, size, rotation, gravity. It all plays a part. Our closest neighbor, on the other hand, will kill you if you visit. It is a cold dead place. If and… Read More →

Film Review: The Impossible

The Impossible

The Impossible written by Sergio G. Sánchez and María Belón, directed by J.A. Bayona (Apaches Entertainment, Telecinco Cinema, Mediaset España, PG-13, 114 min) Starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland. Fatalist at Heart My wife calls me a fatalist. I can’t help it, but whenever I board a plane, relax at the beach, or cruise the speed limit on the open road, my mind does not wander far from the potential disasters in our midst. Perhaps credit the rise of technology and the way video depicts every possible outcome in our lives. But no matter the source, I can’t keep my mind away from these terrors. Now, my quality of life is fine. I can still enjoy spending time… Read More →

Book Review: Catch-22

Catch-22: A Novel by Joseph Heller (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996; originally published in 1955. 544 pp) Born in Brooklyn, Joseph Heller joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, Heller studied English at USC and NYU before earning an M.A. at Columbia University. Later, he studied at Oxford University as a Fulbright Scholar. Famous for Catch-22, Heller became a world renowned author and satirist. He died in 1999. That’s it for Me! George Costanza never spoke more truth than the day he decided to follow Jerry Seinfeld’s advice and leave on a high note. Whenever he enraptured a room with an exceptional joke, he immediately left. While reading Joseph Heller’s groundbreaking Catch-22, I… Read More →