Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012 Books and Movies

Anne of Hollywood
Carole Wolper

This started out slowly, got really good in the middle, and then sort of petered out to an unsatisfying finish. If you don't go for an execution, there really isn't much else that will do, really. :)

I love, love, love historical fiction and this is definitely that kind of book. Wolper takes the story of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and sets it in 2012 Los Angeles. I really liked the way she changes the characters, for example making Thomas Cromwell a Theresa, and changing Thomas Wyatt the poet's name and occupation to just the first name of Wyatt who is a musician. I loved the joke of turning Cardinal Wolsey (who is was yet another Thomas, no wonder she changed all the names) into Carl Wolsey, a slimy investor who ends up going down for fraud.

All the major players are there, in the right capacity, Henry Tudor, Maren Tudor, Elizabeth Tudor, Catherine Aragorn, Ferdinand Aragorn, Leo De Vince (although I can't find a mention of Leonardo Da Vinci ever having painted a Tudor) Mary Boleyn, George Boleyn, the Boleyn parents (although, not named, as the father is another Thomas, and the mother is Elizabeth) and another character named Cliff, assistant to Theresa, that I have yet to figure out which 16th century person he is modelled on specifically.

I'm not a huge fan of shifting 1st person/3rd person narratives, but in this case, it worked. A good read, especially if you are a history nut like me.

Napoleon Dynamite

There were parts of this movie I really liked, and parts I really didn't. The historical artifacts were bang on. Two characters, Napoleon and Deb (who is now on Grey's Anatomy, yay) were particularly good. The ending was really goofy. It's definitely an acquired taste, but give it a watch if you like the weirdly wacky.

Pink Ribbons Inc.

This was as good as I expected it to be. I've long thought that pink washing is absolutely wrong. Highjacking any disease for corporate gain is so distasteful, yet few people speak up about it. In fact, people just keep buying. News flash, buying pink washed Revlon or Estee Lauder (whose products, according to the documentary contain known carcinogens) isn't helping the cause all that much. The biggest impact came from the Stage 4 support group, who, as terminal cancer patients, don't really derive much happiness or hope from a pink ribbon. This doc is a credit to Canadian filmmakers and the NFB. An absolute must see.