Showing posts from February, 2021

Cujo (1981)

by Stephen King Preoccupied with her rocky marriage, Donna Trenton's  life takes a surreal turn when she finds herself trapped with her young son in their broken-down car by a rabid Saint Bernard.   This situation is made possible through a chain of events set in motion by two sets of marital conflict.  I found it interesting that the insecurities, boredom, and insensitivity that can trouble a marriage also orchestrated this primal, brutal, blood-soaked struggle.   This contrast of spiritual and moral restlessness with the desperation of physical survival is a reminder of how far removed from the jungle modern man has become, and how we create so many of our own problems.   This fine thriller loses some of its shine because of the unconvincing subplot about an ad campaign and some vaguely supernatural business involving a closet that feels like it was tacked on to solve a problem with the plot.   "Omen" (Chinese) "Cujo" (Bulgarian) "Cujo" (Japanese) &q

The Road Movie (2016)

Director: Dmitrii Kalashnikov Before I read some of the reviews for this movie,  I had no idea that Russian dashcam videos were a thing.  They appeal to the worst in human nature: titillation at another’s misfortune and, perhaps, the tentative hope that we might see a little blood.  There is no blood in “The Road Movie,” but there are some car crashes that are so severe that the occupants must have suffered life-long, if not mortal, injuries.   At least it is short at just over an hour.   I did feel that it provides some sense of the lives of average Russians, however inadvertent that result may have been.  But I don’t see why we need movies like this when we already have YouTube.

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage (1989)

by Clifford Stoll When astronomer/computer administrator Clifford  Stoll discovered a 75-cent discrepency in an accounting program, he decided not to overlook it.  From this insignificant starting point, the trail led to a computer hacker in contact with the KGB and working out of Germany who was systematically targeting the computers of NASA and the US military.   It also brought him into contact with the American intelligence community and led to a new emphasis on preventing computer espionage.  Stoll tells his story in a light, humorous style and explains the workings of computer networks with great clarity.   Clifford Stoll In addition to the mystery of the hacker, I enjoyed a peek into the bohemian lifestyle of the Berkeley community as well as the evolution of Stoll's thinking on computer and national security and the way it put him at odds with many of his left-leaning friends, forcing him to take a hard look at many of his own values. "Cuckoo's Egg" (German) &

Band of Outsiders (1964)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard Writers: Jean-Luc Godard, from a novel by Dolores Hitchens Stars: Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey, Anna Karina, Daniele Girard, Louisa Colpeyn, Chantal Darget Arthur (Claude Brasseur) and Franz (Sami Frey) are an amoral pair  who have enlisted the naive Odile (Anna Karina) in a scheme to steal from her wealthy aunt in this playful French homage to the American genre of film noir.   Although the traditional structure is present (small-time criminals get in over their heads and meet with tragedy), director Jean-Luc Godard does not choose the earnest emphasis on plot that usually distinguishes such material.   He strips the "plot" to its bare essentials--three people are going to burglarize a house--and as if to acknowledge that such characters could never exist in the real world, he presents them as existentially challenged, melancholy misfits who lack a sense of connection with the everyday world and amuse themselves with impromptu breaks with reality such

Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1) (1990)

by Patricia C. Wrede Princess Cimorene escapes the dull, dutiful life of a  princess by running away to become a dragon’s servant.   She enjoys this lifestyle and soon learns of a plot to overthrow the leadership of dragon society.   Patricia Wrede writes a light, breezy tale that does not engage the emotions very much and is never as funny as it is meant to be, although it is amusing on a fairly consistent basis.   Patricia C. Wrede The plucky princess bridling under the shackles of tradition has become a familiar trope, but since this book was first published in the early ’90s, it is possible that it was fresher then. "The Dragon Princess" (German) "The Princess Smirked at the Dragon" (Thai) "Living with Dragons" (Turkish) "Collusion with Dragons" (Polish) "Dragons Business" (Hebrew) "How to Deal with a Dragon" (Romanian) "It's Not Easy with Princesses" (Czech) "Cendorine and the Dragons" (French) &qu