Thursday, February 27, 2014

Weekend Entertainment Recs for Seniors

Technical Note: At the time of this writing, the below recs are all available for instant download and use at Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Audible and Overdrive. Recs apply whether you are using a PC or a Mac or a mobile device, both tablet and phone. Additionally, the mobile devices have Apps for using these media items. Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Audible and Overdrive are all available as Apps for both Android and Apple mobile devices. However, the Amazon Instant Video app is presently only available for Apple mobile devices. I am a top reviewer on Amazon; go here to read my reviews.

Film: Argentine Noir with a romance and a triumphant finish I could have used a bit faster pace on this film in the first hour but as I got more and more into the film, there was no doubt that it was well written, acted and directed. The detective in chief for the case works under a woman, Irene. He tries to solve the murder of a beautiful young woman while at the same time being unable to stop himself from falling in love with Irene. Unfortunately, she is engaged to another man. The time shifts continually, from when he first gets the case to many years later when he is retired and Irene is still working in law and is married with a husband and children. He still wants to solve the case. He also has a sidekick in here in the earlier time and most of the humorous scenes are when he has his sidekick in tow. There is a lot going on in this film but the back half is so strong that the resolution is positively resounding on every level. This film unusually succeeds as both a film noir AND a romance.

Novel: another winner by Unger  This book is about a troubled college senior, Lana, who is there under an assumed name because her father murdered her mother. The father will soon be executed. Lana is a very troubled person and is in continuous therapy as well as continually medicated to handle her condition. She is studying psychology and her abnormal psych prof, also her adviser, may well be in love with her. He helps her get a job to babysit a troubled youth who is going to the school for emotionally troubled youth affiliated to her college. She is close to her two roommates but one of them goes missing one night which makes the police inquire more into her background. This is the second coed to go missing and the first one turned up dead. There are a lot of layers going on in this book and just as one is uncovered, another comes to light. To say anymore would be a spoiler and you want to be able to enjoy the whole process of figuring the story out. I have read all of Unger's prior books. She is a big talent in the mystery field. I recommend it.

Music: In the Wee Small Hours by Frank Sinatra  Frank Sinatra made a series of albums in the 1950s for Capitol which were arranged by Nelson Riddle. These albums are among the finest recordings he ever did. His voice is in perfect form plus he brings deeply nuanced emotion to every song. This is one of my favorite albums from that grouping. There are sixteen songs, every one of them impeccable. The vast majority are love songs and ballads. Although he started as a singer in the forties, it is the following decade where he really comes into his own as a mature singer.

Audiobook  Half Empty, written and narrated by David Rakoff. Although this book starts off comedic, by the time it hits the last two essays, it is as serious as can be. Although i enjoyed all of the comedy, as per usual, it is those last two which endear this book to me. The second last is his handling the death of his longtime therapist. The last essay is about his contracting cancer again. He was in remission for twenty five years. He had a much worse case this time and he died of it shortly after this book was published.

This makes this book all the more hard hitting with the last two essays. I both read and listened to the audio version of this book. Although excellent in either format, Rakoff had one of the most beautiful voices I've ever had the pleasure to hear. So, the audiobook is especially worth seeking out. The below link takes you to the CD but once you are there, there is a link to the Audible version which you can download at once. Amazon owns Audible. I also found this audiobook for free on my public library app called Overdrive which links to my three public libraries. Librarians loved Rakoff because he did readings for them of just about anything, just like he did for NPR.


  1. Carol I surely enjoyed reading your blog. The Argentine film sounds good...but I don't do subtitles. Besides I'm trying to watch a few of the films nominated for Oscars this year. My favorite so far is AMERICAN HUSTLE...while my 50-something daughter is a Matthew McConaughey fan so we went to movie to see DALLAS BUYERS CLUB...too graphic for me. I saw AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY and its many one could play the matriarch of that dysfunctional family except Meryl Streep...she may still steal the Oscar.
    Oldie but goodie watched: THE HOUSE OF SPIRITS adapted from Allende's book...

    Books: I am humorless...finished reluctantly Hunt's THE OUTSIDER and wrote a lukewarm review...actually rewrote it after pitching it to you. I'm hopeful Christopher Reichs THE PRINCE OF RISK is as good a financial thriller as his debut NUMBERED ACCOUNTS. NUMBERED was about Swiss bank account; PRINCE is about hedge funds. Need to learn something along with the thrills

    If I had your Frank Sinatra album, it would be on every afternoon when I piddle.

    Thanks for sending me the blog again. I really enjoy your "talks."

  2. I have gotten so used to subtitles that I can even sew while watching with them! I once made the mistake of thinking I could remember my college French though and tried watching one without the subtitles. I was completely lost. Nothing of it remained.

    I really liked AMERICAN HUSTLE too and especially Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. Oddly, not as much Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper although they were good. Matthew M and Jared Leto were great in "Dallas Buyers' Club" but one, of course, must be up for an AIDS movie set back in the other century, the grimmest of times for it.

    No one should live without owning Frank's Capitol Recordings. I thought I would hate his work because I didn't care for him as a human being. However, in the arts, it is unwise to think in those terms. When we go into museums, attend concerts and the like now, of work created some time ago, most of us know very little about the makers' personal lives and we are better off for it. This is because if we read history, we wouldn't like them as people very much. I have reached the point where I try to judge them solely on their work. People fifty years from now will know very little about Sinatra personally and his work will be judged almost solely on its merit, which is considerable.