Saturday, February 23, 2019

Lovely Books and Things - 2.23.19

Lovely Books and Things
My Weekly Books and Films Update

Linking up with:
Stacking the Shelves (details)
Sunday Post (details)
Mailbox Monday (details)



1. Movie days and nights

2. Getting exciting news

3. Anka sticky bun with my latest read at Breadbelly



The Widows of Malabar Hill
by Sujata Massey
-Mystery, Historical, India | Goodreads

FOR my face-to-face group, Foreign Mystery Book Club.

Camp Austen:
My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan
by Ted Scheinman
-Memoir, Jane Austen theme | Goodreads

LOOKS like an entertaining one to add to my shelf of Jane Austen related stuff.

Freebie: from Free Little Library

When the Elephants Dance
by Tess Uriza Holthe
-Historical, Filipino | Goodreads

HIGHLY recommended by a friend.

AND watched: in theatre

Extreme Job (2019)
Geukhanjikeob (original title)
Director: Byeong-heon Lee
Writer: Se-Young Bae
Stars: Gong-Myoung, Lee Hanee, Seon-kyu Jin
-Comedy, Action, South Korean | imdb | my rating: 5

A team of narcotics detectives goes undercover in a fried chicken joint to stake out an organized crime gang. But things take an unexpected turn when the detectives' chicken recipe suddenly transforms the rundown restaurant into the hottest eatery in town.

HILARIOUS scenes intermingled with fun action and chicken ;-)

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
Director/Writer: Dean DeBlois
Writer/Based on book by: Cressida Cowell
Stars: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, F. Murray Abraham
-Animation, Action, Adventure | imdb | my rating: 5

When Hiccup discovers Toothless isn't the only Night Fury, he must seek "The Hidden World", a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel finds it first.

DRAGONS and what becomes of them - somewhat bittersweet.

The Mustang (2019)
Director/writer: Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Writers: Brock Norman Brock, Mona Fastvold
Stars: Matthias Schoenaerts, Bruce Dern, Connie Britton, Gideon Adlon
-Drama, Horses | imdb | my rating: 5
Release date: March 15, 2019

MUSTANG tells the story of Roman Coleman, a violent convict, who is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs.

This was a preview screening with director present for Q&A.

LOVED the character growth and horse bonding.

AND watched: in theatre - SF Indie Film Festival

I May Regret (2018)
Director/writer: Graham Streeter
Stars: Denise Dorado, Lisa Goodman, Darryl Stephens
-Thriller | imdb | my rating: 5

An older woman suffering from dementia is convinced that her young live-in nurse out to kill her and take her life's fortune. But people are not always who we think they are. And dementia has a strange way of unraveling the truth. It's all coming back. And, yes, it's killing her.

COOL take on a dementia story with light horror aspects.

Cruel Hearts (2018)
Director/Writer: Paul Osborne
Stars: Alev Aydin, Patrick Day, Bonnie Root
-Thriller | imdb | my rating: 5

A young man, Guy, discovers the woman he's been sleeping with is not only married, but married to Burt Walker, a notorious low-level crime boss. Worried that Walker will at some point discover the affair and kill him, Guy decides to be upfront, tell Walker about his transgression and beg for forgiveness. The ploy works, and the pair form a very unusual, and ultimately dangerous, friendship.

LIKED the unexpected turns in this one.

AND watched: in theatre - Mostly British Film Festival

Black '47 (2018)
Director/writer: Lance Daly
Story by: P.J. Dillon, Pierce Ryan
Additional material by: Eugene O'Brien
Stars: Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea
-Action, Drama, Ireland | imdb | my rating: 5

Set in Ireland during the Great Famine, the drama follows an Irish Ranger who has been fighting for the British Army abroad, as he abandons his post to reunite with his family. Despite experiencing the horrors of war, he is shocked by the famine's destruction of his homeland and the brutalization of his people and his family.

This screening included Q&A with the director.

SOME Irish history and revenge action moves this one.

Pickups (2017)
Director/writer: Jamie Thraves
Writer/Stars: Aidan Gillen
-Comedy, Drama | imdb | my rating: 4

Pickups, the new film directed by Jamie Thraves, is about a man called Aidan (conveniently enough, played by Aidan Gillen) who is suffering from insomnia, back trouble and the breakdown of his marriage. Aidan finds solace in a number of strangers he picks up, although he's now concerned someone is stalking him. Work is getting on top of him too, he murdered a couple of people last week and he still has more people to kill.

THIS one can make your head spin as to what is real.

AND watched: in theatre - Modern Cinema: Jia Zhangke

LOVE how this festival has a focus on the body of work from a specific director. It also includes works that inspired the director or films recommended by the director. I chose three films by the director to get a feel for his work. The first two mentioned below included Q&A with the director.

Xiao Wu (1997)
Director/Writer: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Hongwei Wang, Hongjian Hao, Baitao Zuo
-Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 4

Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a hooker he is forced to think about his future. Can he break with his criminal past?

Zhangke's earlier work. Got a sense of the people and dire situations.

Ash Is The Purest White (2018)
Jiang hu er nü (original title)
Director/Writer: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Tao Zhao, Fan Liao, Yi'nan Diao
-Drama, Romance, China | imdb | my rating: 5

A story of violent love within a time frame spanning from 2001 to 2017.

Zhangke's current release. Got of sense of time, place and transition. I liked the focus on the female lead and her plight.

24 City (2008)
Er shi si cheng ji (original title)
Director/Writer: Zhangke Jia
Writer: Yongming Zhai
Stars: Jianbin Chen, Joan Chen, Liping Lü
-Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 4

Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of buildings stripped bare and then razed, are inter-cut with workers who were born in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s telling their stories - about the factory, which manufactured military aircraft, and about their work and their lives. A middle-aged man visits his mentor, now elderly; a woman talks of being a 19-year-old beauty there and ending up alone. The film concludes with two young people talking, each the child of workers, each relaying a story of one visit to a factory. Times change.

FELT like a documentary with interviews to tell the stories.

Dong (2006)
Director/Writer: Zhangke Jia
Stars: Xiaodong Liu, Sanming Han
-Documentary, Drama, China | imdb | my rating: 4

China's greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they meet everyday workers in the throes of social turmoil. Liu Xiaodong is well-known for his monumental canvases, particularly those inspired by China's Three Gorges Dam project. In DONG, Jia Zhangke visits Liu on the banks of Fengjie, a city about to be swallowed up by the Yangtze River. The area is in the process of being "de-constructed" by armies of shirtless male workers who form the subject of Liu's paintings. Liu and Jia next travel to Bangkok, where Liu paints Thai sex workers languishing in brothels. The two sets of paintings are united in their subjects' shared sense of malaise in the face of the dehumanizing labor afforded them.

LOVED how the story of the artist, art subjects and art meaning interplay.

AND watched: in theatre - nominated for the Oscar's 2019

Never Look Away (2018)
Werk ohne Autor (original title)
Director/Writer: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Stars: Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer
-Drama, History, Thriller, Art, Germany | imdb | my rating: 5

German artist Kurt Barnert has escaped East Germany and now lives in West Germany, but is tormented by his childhood under the Nazis and the GDR-regime.

ENGROSSING - three hours long and didn't feel it.

Free Solo (2018)
Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Stars: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin
-Documentary | imdb | my rating: 5

Follow Alex Honnold as he becomes the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000ft high El Capitan Wall. With no ropes or safety gear, he completed arguably the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

WOW. This dude is one of those extraordinary individuals. And, breathtaking views with nail-biter scenes.

Oscar Nominated Shorts (2018)

A Night at the Garden
USA/7 MINS/2018
Director: Marshall Curry
In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from history. ‘A Night at the Garden’ transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in America.

Black Sheep
UK/27 MINS/2018
Director: Ed Perkins
After the high-profile killing of Damilola Taylor, Cornelius’ family move out of London. But when they discover their new town is run by racists, Cornelius takes a drastic step to survive.

End Game
USA/40 MINS/2018
Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Where will loved ones spend their last days? Who will be in the room? What feelings and secrets need to be shared with family before it is too late? ‘End Game’ probes these questions and more as it follows visionary medical practitioners who are working on the cutting edge of life and death.

USA/34 MINS/2018
Director: Skye Fitzgerald
Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night.

Period. End of Sentence
USA/26 MINS/2018
Director: Rayka Zehtabchi
In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. ‘Period. End of Sentance’ tells their story.


* comment and TELL me what you have acquired for your shelves recently

Thanks for stopping by :-)


  1. Movies are always a good choice. :) Although I haven't seen any of these! I've been terrible at keeping up with movie releases lately...

  2. Yay for good news and a lovely interlude at the bakery with a book. :)

    I hope Widows of Malabar Hill is good. That's on my reading list.

  3. The Widows of Malabar Hill looks good.

    ENJOY your week and your books.

  4. Your books and movies look wonderful. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

  5. When the Elephants Dance is new to me but it looks really good.

  6. I May Regret looks good. So many movies and books and all I can think about is that sticky bun and a cup of coffee. I must be hungry! LOL

  7. I really enjoyed The Widows of Malabar Hill :)

  8. Nice book choices. The movies look good too. Hubby and I watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 this past week and enjoyed it.
    Happy Reading and Watching!

  9. You certainly have been busy seeing all those movies. A sticky bun , a coffee and a book, sounds perfect.

  10. I'm listening to Grain Brain right now and wow, it makes me glad we have been gluten free for about 9 months.

    Happy reading! Anne - Books of My Heart


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