Archive for July, 2013


TheArtOfRacingInTheRain_cover

In early May, I was in Orlando, Florida, where I spent a few days at Disney World with my wife. While I waited for my flight home at the Orlando International Airport terminal, I spent some time in the book store to see if there was a book waiting for me to discover it. Being a dog lover, the cover of Garth Stein’s third novel caught my eye: The Art of Racing in the Rain. What a great novel. It’s now one of my favorites.

“In Mongolia, when a dog dies, he is buried high in the hills so people cannot walk on his grave. The dog’s master whispers into the dog’s ear his wishes that the dog will return as a man in his next life. Then his tail is cut off and put beneath his head, and a piece of meat or fat is placed in his mouth to sustain his soul on its journey; before he is reincarnated, the dog’s soul is freed to travel the land, to run across the high desert plains for as long as it would like.

I learned that from a program on the National Geographic channel, so I believe it is true. Not all dogs return as men, they say; only those who are ready.

I am ready.”

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life…as only a dog could tell it.

* * * * *

I had planned to end this post by betting this novel would most likely be adapted to the big screen someday… but after googling it, it turns out there will indeed be a movie adaptation starring Patrick Dempsey!

To visit this author’s website:
http://www.garthstein.com/

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A few days ago on my Facebook page, I posted a video on how to fold a T-shirt in 2 seconds. The proposed method is a little technical, but it works really well. Check it out:





But tonight, I saw this other video. I laughed so hard. You want to know who an engineer folds T-shirts? Check it out:





Hahaha! Awesome!

PacificRim(2013)_poster
Synopsis:
When legions of monstrous creatures, known as Kaiju, started rising from the sea, a war began that would take millions of lives and consume humanity’s resources for years on end. To combat the giant Kaiju, a special type of weapon was devised: massive robots, called Jaegers, which are controlled simultaneously by two pilots whose minds are locked in a neural bridge. But even the Jaegers are proving nearly defenseless in the face of the relentless Kaiju. On the verge of defeat, the forces defending mankind have no choice but to turn to two unlikely heroes – a washed up former pilot and an untested trainee – who are teamed to drive a legendary but seemingly obsolete Jaeger from the past. Together, they stand as mankind’s last hope against the mounting apocalyspe.

My wife and I went to see this sci-fi movie last night. We saw it in 3D and it was quite entertaining. I have to say that although a significant chunk of this movie is CGI (computer-generated imagery), the end result is amazing. The alien creatures are quite realistic and scary and the giant robots (Jagers) seem genuine (they reminded me of Iron Man’s suits, but in a much, much, bigger size!) If you’re a fan of special effects and if you like fighting/combat scenes, this movie will satisfy your hunger. On the other hand, if you like deep/profound movies that stir up your emotions, it ain’t the one. This is more of a yeah!-kick-its-butt! action type movie. I give it a 7.0 on 10.

Check out the official movie trailer below:




CloudAtlas_poster

Synopsis:
Future. Present. Past. Everything is connected. An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution. The story is a time-shifting weave of six interlinking narratives, with diverse settings from the savagery of a Pacific Island in the 1850s to a dystopian Korea of the near future.

This movie is an adaptation of David Mitchell’s acclaimed epic novel. I heard about this movie for the first time when I saw its movie trailer last year. I was attracted by the idea that its storyline spread across several centuries, but most interestingly, that it revolved around reincarnation – the concept that souls are continuously reborn in different bodies.

My personal tidbits:
– This movie is 171 minutes long — almost three hours long… woah!
– The scenes continuously jump from one narrative to another throughout the movie (keeping the viewer constantly guessing/trying to figure out and understand the link between each narrative).
– Some of the characters from one narrative to another are played by the same actor, allowing the viewer to clearly understand that the actor is playing the multiple incarnations of one particular “soul” throughout the different intricate narratives of the story. However, this is not always the case. The use of a shooting star birth mark, for example, on the skin of some other characters allows the viewers to “follow” the incarnation cycles of one particular soul played by different actors.
– The dialogue in the last narrative (i.e. the post-apocalyptic future) uses a form of pidgin English, which at first I couldn’t understand… which is why I decided to watch the movie a second time with english subtitles (!!!) to understand what the characters where saying.
– My personal rating of this movie is 6.5 on 10.
– I bought David Mitchell’s novel and I plan to read it sometime. My gut tells me that the reading experience will allow me to better understand the author’s work.

While doing some research on this movie on the web, I came across this good review from Philip French from The Observer (February 24th, 2013). It’s worth reading if you’d like to know more about the movie.



Daily quote

I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.

– Ray Bradbury



Daily quote

It always seems impossible until it’s done.

– Nelson Mandela



Daily quote

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

– Ray Bradbury (author of Fahrenheit 451)



DarkSkies_poster

I don’t usually go for the scary movies… but when aliens are involved, I’m curious! My recommendation: dim the lights in the living room, put the volume at an above average level and try to relax (!!!) while watching this suspenseful/scary movie. I liked the scenes where we see the aliens! Creepy. My rating: 6.5 on 10.

As husband and wife Daniel and Lacy Barrett witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barrett family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacy take matters into their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.





Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Theresa, Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.



Intouchables_affiche

Hier soir j’ai vu ce film français inspiré d’une histoire vraie. Il y a longtemps que je n’avais pas ri autant en regardant un film. Ce film n’est pas une comédie et pourtant, plusieurs scènes m’ont fait plier en deux! Littéralement.

À la suite d’un accident de parapente, Philippe, riche aristocrate, engage comme aide à son domicile Driss, un jeune de banlieue tout juste sorti de prison. Bref, la personne la moins adaptée pour l’emploi. Ensemble, ils vont faire cohabiter Vivaldi et Earth Wind and Fire, l’éloquence et la moquerie, les complets et les pantalons de survêtement… Deux univers vont s’enchevêtrer, s’apprivoiser, pour donner naissance à une amitié aussi dingue, drôle et forte qu’inattendue, une relation unique qui fera des étincelles et qui les rendra… Intouchables.

Un film drôle. Et très touchant. Un petit bijou de film. Je vous le recommande. 9 sur 10.

Regardez la bande annonce du film: