Expendables 3

Last night Dennis and I went to the Expendables 3 in Closter. While I wouldn’t exactly recommend it, it was fun to watch.

The plot is a bunch of mercenaries led by Stallone (I think they are working for the CIA) are trying to find a load of bombs to be sent to Somalia. To their surprise, the bomb owner turns out to be Stonebanks (Mel Gibson) who had originally started the Expendables. Everyone thought was dead. The fight doesn’t go well and they are forced to retreat without the bombs.

This leads Stalone to kiss off the original gang (but lovingly) and recruit a younger gang for the job. Obviously to get the job done, the old gang has to rejoin them. Gibson was to be tried at the Hague but Stallone kills him instead saying “I am the Hague.”

Real cornball stuff but these old guys (Stallone, Gibson, Statham, Snipes, Grammer, Schwartzenegger, Ford, and comic relief  Bandares) are having a ball making the movie. As a guess I’d say there were two to three hundreds dead bodies by the time the movie ended.

 The Expendables 3 (2014) Poster

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse

A beautifully illustrated and very inventive children’s book entitled “Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse” by Torben Kuhlmann has just been added to the JP collection.

The forward to the book written by F. Robert van der Linden, Curator at the National Air and Space Museum, sets the stage for the reader. He writes that most think that a French flying ace, Rene Fonck, inspired Charles Lindbergh to attempt to fly the Atlantic. But could it be true that it wasn’t Fonck but a little German mouse who was Lindbergh’s true inspiration.

This remarkable, well-read mouse was worried that his food supply was being taken away from him by a monstrous new contraption–the mouse trap. He needed to go to a distant country, the US, to find food. From this point on the mouse tries to perfect a flying machine–eventually succeeding and flying from Europe to America.

Every page is illustrated with beautiful, vivid pictures–some are double-paged. One of the first illustrations is the mouse surrounded by dozens of mousetraps. The text takes a second seat to the illustrations.

This would be a great book to read one-on-one with a child or to a group.

“The Book Thief”

Several weeks ago, I saw the movie “The Book Thief” and was very impressed with how the director captured the mood and theme of the story.  I had always intended to read the book, and even though I had seen the movie, I decided now was the time to read the story.

As I read “The Book Thief,” I pictured the main actors in the roles of the important characters.  This visualization helped me picture Mama, Papa, Liesel, Rudy and Max, as well as the small Germany town where most of the action took place.  The movie did not spoil the book for me.  With a few exceptions, the movie and the screenplay were the same.  The movie enriched the reading of the book.

There are probably hundreds of fiction books that have been written about the Holocaust.  “The Book Thief” stands out from the crowd. Focusing on Germans, their lives and loses, the author enables the reader to see how devastating and cruel war is for everyone.  The use of “Death” as a character, who gathers the souls of those who have died, is very moving.  Death’s observations about those who have left their earthly bodies behind and his observations about mankind add another dimension to the story.

Although the “Book Thief” is classified as YA, this is definitely a story to be appreciated by both adults and teens.

See the movie, or read the book or do both.

What we see when we read by Peter Mendelsund

This is a very interesting book which I have not finished. I’m trying to figure out if I should spend the time and concentration it needs or just skim. What would Peter do?

One bit of advice I loved was –

(One should watch a film adaptation of a favorite book only after considering, very carefully, the fact that the casting of the film may very well become the permanent casting of the book in one’s mind. This is a very real hazard.)

Too true!

What We See When We Read

The lightening thief (DVD)

Zeus accuses Poseidon’s son, Percy, of stealing his lightning bolt and gives him fourteen days to return it, or there will be war amongst the gods. Percy, who is dyslexic and has ADHD (a nice contemporary touch) is visiting The Museum of Metropolitan of Art and is attacked by a Fury disguised as his teacher. His physically handicapped best friend Grover (very interesting character with legs of a goat) reveals that Percy is a demigod and that he is his protector and his teacher.  Percy is given a pen proposed to be a powerful weapon. They go to Percy’s house and with his mother, Sally, (Catherine Keener, of all people) they drive to Camp Half-Blood. In the camp, Percy befriends the gorgeous Annabeth. Then Percy discovers
that his mother is in the Underworld with Hades. Grover and Annabeth join him on the dangerous quest to retrieve the lightning bolt and save his mother.

This was a darn good movie I watched with my granddaughter.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief