Julie & Julia And The Lives Of Writers

Originally posted on MOON IN GEMINI:
I recently watched (again) the charming movie Julie & Julia. It stars Meryl Streep as television chef and cookbook author Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell, who wrote a blog about making every recipe in Child’s book Mastering The Art Of French Cooking over the course of a year. The movie alternates between telling the stories of… Continue reading Julie & Julia And The Lives Of Writers

Movie Review: The Divergent Series: Insurgent


I enjoyed the first movie in this series, Divergent. Based on the first novel in Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA series, it boasted good casting, energetic direction by Neil Burger, creative envisioning of Chicago after an apocalypse, and a tight screenplay. All these elements helped make it a decent, entertaining effort.

The second book in the series, Insurgent, is not as strong a novel as Divergent. In fact, it’s a bit of a mess, with a very convoluted plot and a lot of new and unmemorable characters introduced, some killed off before you got a chance to care about them (or even remember their names).

The third book is a complete miss. I wrote about why I disliked Allegiant in a detailed and spoiler-filled review here.

Still, I had hopes that when it came to the subsequent films, the filmmakers would expand on what worked in the other two books and fix what didn’t. A not-good book doesn’t automatically mean a not-good film. (Ever read the novel The Godfather? Jaws? The movie versions are much, much better.)

Unfortunately, now in the hands of director Robert Schwentke (R.I.P.D.) the movie not only doesn’t fix the problems of the book, it actually highlights them–and adds even more.

Continue reading “Movie Review: The Divergent Series: Insurgent”

Mini-Reviews of Books I’ve Enjoyed Lately

Looking over the review I posted for Veronica Roth’s Allegiant a couple of weeks ago, I realized it’s such a negative one that it may have given the impression I’m a Nelly Negative, which can’t be further from the truth. In fact, over the last couple of months I’ve read some terrific books and thought I’d share some mini-reviews: 1. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King … Continue reading Mini-Reviews of Books I’ve Enjoyed Lately

Book Review: The Twelve By Justin Cronin

The Twelve by Justin Cronin is the second of his post-apocalyptic/vampire trilogy. The first book in the trilogy is The Passage. I wrote a spoilerific analysis of one of the major characters in The Passage a while back. This review will refrain from divulging any major spoilers. That makes it very difficult to write this review, because, boy, are there some huge surprises in this … Continue reading Book Review: The Twelve By Justin Cronin

Subjective vs. Objective When Writing Reviews

Has this ever happened to you? You pick up a book, or watch a movie or TV show that has received rave reviews, from friends, professional critics and internet posters–and you don’t like it.  At all. You don’t get it.  You can’t understand what everyone else is flipping out over. Of course, it happens to everyone.  The sitcom Seinfeld even devoted an episode to it … Continue reading Subjective vs. Objective When Writing Reviews