Banana Stew

Friday, February 12, 2010

The 21-Word Review: SuperFreakonomics: by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

See! I've always said math geeks are really, really interesting once you start talking to them. Someone please alert the cheerleaders.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

The 21-Word Review: Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live by James A. Miller and Tom Shales

Required reading for anyone interested in performing or comedy. Especially for those who never made a living at it (like me).


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 21-Word Review: Gattaca (Netflix on Demand)

The first movie I've ever tried on demand from Netflix through TiVo. I absolutely loved it (the technology, not the movie).


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The 21-Word Review: Heavy Metal (Netflix on Demand)

Unfortunately doesn't hold up after 20 years. I'll stick to listening the soundtrack at levels loud enough to embarrass the kids..


Monday, September 28, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

You will love the anecdotes about soup and popcorn, but it’s the conclusions about human nature and eating that will stick.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Next by Michael Crichton

Not one of Crichton’s better works, and one that won’t translate well into a blockbuster movie or tedious never-ending television series.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Body of Lies (DVD)

Do not watch this movie with your wife and her friend as they catch up for the first time in months.


Friday, September 25, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Wanted (In-Flight Movie)

A triumph of style over substance and a guilty pleasure, but Angelina needs to eat a sandwich and fill out more.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Changeling (In-Flight Movie)

Some of the most horrifying movies don’t involve chainsaws or machetes, but the true evil that men do to retain power.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Quantum of Solace (In-Flight Movie)

On a large screen, this installment is probably difficult to follow. On a tiny airplane screen, it’s impossible. Try again later.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Eagle Eye (In-Flight Movie)

At least the writers of paranoid technology movies know a little bit more about computing than the writers of 24. Barely.


Monday, September 21, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Righteous Kill (In-Flight Movie)

It’s hard to believe there was any scenery left on the sets after it was chewed so thoroughly by these godfathers.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Rachel Getting Married (In-Flight Movie)

Not your typical light in-flight fare, but very interesting to watch. Princess Anne can go slumming with the best of them.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

The 21-Word Review: As You Like It (In-Flight Movie)

I had forgotten the awesome power and beauty of Shakespeare’s words in the hands of true masters. Took my breath away.


Friday, September 18, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Taken (In-Flight Movie)

Fathers in the audience will want Liam to kill ‘em, bring ‘em back, and kill ‘em all again. Just for starters.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Gran Tourino (In-Flight Movie)

Despite the legions of glowing reviews by the pointy headed professional critics, Clint has actually made a very, very good movie.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (In-Flight Movie)

Delta stopped flying their more modern planes to Japan, You know, the ones where you get to pick your own movie.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Star Trek (In-Flight Movie)

Time travel is cheating, even if it’s done with a newer, thinner cast and updated special effects. Bring back Khan, please.


Monday, September 14, 2009

The 21-Word Review: State of Play (In-Flight Movie)

Really tight and acted extremely well, a movie that is worth watching and watching closely so that you don’t miss anything.


Monday, September 07, 2009

The 21-Word Review: The Wrestler (DVD)

As an 80s wrestling fan, I was glad to see that this wrestler is three dimensional instead of a stereotype. Wrestletastic.


Saturday, August 01, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Watchmen (DVD)

No one told me that Netflix sent the director's cut version and that it's nearly 3 hours long.

I watched twice.


Friday, July 31, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Seven Pounds (DVD)

The one person in the world with whom I would trade careers - unpaid - is Mr. Smith. A great part played marvelously.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The 21-Word Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (DVD)

"Jenny Daisy, I'll love you forever." "Forrest Benjamin, I'm too busy having fun. Let's hook up in 20 years and have a kid."


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The 21-Word Review: The X-Files, I Want to Believe (Hotel HBO)

A passable episode of a show that used to matter, but about five years too late. Explain why this was made?


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The 21-Word Review: The Reader (In-Flight Movie)

Kate, your nude scene in "Titanic" made the movie worthwhile, but you can stop now. Please. Familiarity breeds contempt (or disinterest).


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Transporter 3 (In-Flight Movie)

I wanted to watch "The Reader", but there was a child next to me and Kate kept getting naked. Both ways.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Slumdog Millionaire (DVD)

Fabulous, fascinating, clever, uplifting, interesting, repulsive, beautiful, and the closing credits haven't been this much fun since "Smokey and the Bandit".


Friday, June 12, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Hotel for Dogs (Amazon Download)

Don Cheadle? Don Cheadle was in this movie? Are the equity rules for health insurance so onerous that Don needs this?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Defiance (In-Flight Movie)

The biggest problem with movies about WWII resistance fighters is that they never truly convey the horrors. Watch, then read this.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Australia (In-Flight Movie)

Quantas will perpetually have this as an option on their flights. At nearly 3 hours, it is a perfect in-flight movie.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The 21-Word Review: Monsters versus Aliens

I have visions of toys. Toys and DVDs. And sequels. Perhaps a Saturday morning cartoon. Action figures and candy. Maybe toothpaste.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The 21-Word Review: James and the Giant Peach (DVD)

If you are forced to watch an animated film with your children, you could certainly do worse than this trippy flick.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The 21-Word Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

The best thing to happen to the zombie apocalypse genre since Shaun of the Dead. Or Romero. Or maybe even Thriller.


The 21-Word Review: Rock N Rolla (In-Flight Movie)

It stars a Wilkinson. What more is there to say?
Guy does a passable job putting out another signature quirky flick.


The 21-Word Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still (In-Flight Movie)

Sometimes I wonder if I could survive as a screenwriter instead of as an engineer. Sometimes there's no need to wonder.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

Some books are literature from the moment they are written. Disturbing, entrancing, and definitely not bedtime reading material for the squeamish.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Redbelt (In-Flight Movie)

Chuck Norris meets Othello. The best acted, written, and directed martial arts movie made in years. Even your wife will agree.


Monday, December 22, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Machinist (DVD)

The insanity migrates from Christian, off of the screen and into your brain, causing the viewer to doubt their own faculties.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Kite Runner (DVD)

Faithful to the book, making this a very difficult film to watch. One imagines the reality to be even more tragic.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

The 21-Word Review: God's Golden Acre by Dale le Va

The writing is poor and incoherent, but the character of Heather shines through the material. Saints, however imperfect, walk among us.


Friday, December 19, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Tropic Thunder (In-Flight Movie)

Proving that it is indeed possible to make a crude adult comedy that’s funny without it being yet another slacker flick.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Dickensian, with a mixture of Austen, Lewis, and Carroll. Maybe even a bit of Rowling magic, but more mature and complex.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Bolt

You can expect to be purchasing truckloads of merchandise based on the overwhelmingly cute animals, complex vehicles, and deadly explosive devices.


Monday, December 15, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Munich (DVD)

Morally ambiguous actions? Perhaps. A defensible response? Arguably. Well acted? Certainly. Ultimately fulfilling, necessary, and compelling as a film? Probably not.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Dark City: Director’s Cut (DVD)

The original was enthralling and original. The director’s cut is even more. The original Matrix, weirder, darker and with fewer wires.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Days of Infamy by Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen

In the days following the Pearl attack, a few brave men were all that stood between Hawaii and the West Coast.


Friday, December 12, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Pineapple Express (In-Flight Movie)

It’s like totally ... you know ... really ... you know ... and then there’s this one part .... I’m really hungry. Are those brownies?


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Mamma Mia (In-Flight Movie)

Admit it. ABBA is a guilty pleasure for everyone, in front of the mirror, in the privacy of their own bathroom.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Dark Knight (In-Flight Movie)

The words “Dark Knight” and “In Flight Movie” should never be written together. Let’s forget this happened and rent the DVD.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Hancock (In-Flight Movie)

Someone pitched “Will Smith hero movie” and the money flowed. Big budgets have killed worse movies, but I expected more here.


Friday, November 14, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Jumper (In-Flight Movie)

The holes in the universe that are important to the movie are metaphors for the holes in the plot that aren’t.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Steel Wave by Michael Sharra

There have been so many movies and books about D-Day, it’s surprising to find how much more there is to learn.


The 21-Word Review: Drillbit Taylor (In-Flight Movie)

Bad even for an Owen Wilson movie. Bad even for a stereotypical bully movie. Just really, really, really, really, really bad.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Bank Job (In-Flight Movie)

The moral of the story is that you should never put pictures of yourself with royals in a safe deposit box.


Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Married Life (In-Flight Movie)

If you take your wife to this movie, be sure to stay to the end or she might suspect your motives.


Monday, October 06, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Forgetting Sarah Marshall (In-Flight Movie)

The best part about watching this movie on an airplane is that the editors remove all of the male frontal nudity.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

The 21-Word Review: In Bruges (In-Flight Movie)

Violent, gory, explicit, profane, hilarious, fascinating, architectural, clever, interesting, compelling. A magnificent mixture that your wife will hate and you’ll love.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

If you read only one autobiography by a comedian known for white suites and arrow hats, let this be the one.


Friday, October 03, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Iron Man (In-Flight Movie)

Any movie that opens with AC/DC, ends with Black Sabbath, and has a lot of explosions in between cannot be beat.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Leatherheads (In-Flight Movie)

George Clooney does a passable Frank Sinatra in the Ocean’s movies, but he’s less convincing as a Cary Grant stand in.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Nim’s Island (In-Flight Video)

I imagine even children targeted by this film would question the plausibility of the plot. (Shame on U2 for “Beautiful Day”.)


Friday, September 26, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Music and Lyrics (Hotel HBO)

This time he's a washed up ... athlete? No. Musician! And she's his maid? No. Plant waterer? Yes!

Who keeps paying for these?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson

Always entertaining, occasionally inexplicably profane, often hilarious, somewhat informative. I hope my first book is half as good as Bryson's worst.


Friday, September 19, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Forbidden Kingdom (DVD)

The Jet Li / Jackie Chan fight comes about 30 minutes in. That's what you're watching for, isn't it? (It's a draw.)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Fantastic 4, Rise of the Silver Surfer (DVD)

Have you ever watched something entertaining, but then later discovered that you learned nothing? A Barack-Obama-speech kind of movie.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton

Among others, there's a photograph of an engagement that's not in the text. A great autobiography crying for a great biography.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Bee Movie (DVD)

Ignore the buzz, it isn't not a honey of a movie. Why could it not bee funnier or more entertaining? Hives.


Monday, September 15, 2008

The 21-Word Review: A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

The man has done his homework on geography of my city, but why must all of these books start with race?


Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Meet the Robinsons (DVD)

My son is absolutely convinced that this movie is a prediction of his future life (except the orphan part, I assume).


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Flight Plan (DVD)

Three fourths of a great movie. Over an hour of riveting plot and intense acting blown by a gigantic implausible ending.


Friday, September 12, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Cloverfield (DVD)

An old fashioned monster movie. No cheap scares, no gratuitous gore. Add some bad Japanese lip-synch and it's a classic.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

The 21-Word Review: World Without End by Ken Follett

If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. If you found the first one simplistic and pedantic, same here.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (DVD)

Affleck the younger is terrific, but surely a group of professional writers could come up with a shorter title (and film).


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Into the Wild (DVD)

In his haste to canonize Saint Christopher, Spiccoli neglected to include the passages where Chris was willfully ignorant and criminally selfish.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Prince Caspian (In-Flight Movie)

The Peter Jackson version was better. The Ents were more interesting, Gimli was funnier, and lusting after Arwen wasn't considered creepy.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Bridge to Terabithia (DVD)

She died? You’ve got to be kidding me! I was going to let my kids watch that! What were you thinking!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (DVD)

Such hideous people, but for some reason you can’t stop watching. Possibly it is due to the ubiquitous Marisa Tomei nudity?


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Storyteller's Daughter - One Woman's Return To Her Lost Homeland by Saira Shah

Attention bloviators, before pontificating, add this to your Afghanistan reading list along with the Tea and Bookseller books and Tom’s movie.


Monday, August 18, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Charlie Wilson's War (DVD)

That Tom Hanks can do anything - survive on a desert island, dress in drag convincingly. Now he’s won the cold war.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler

It’s hard to criticize a book that the author clearly enjoyed writing. Not logical or realistic, but a fun time waster.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Abduction by Robin Cook

This book was purchased for ten cents at a church fair. I overpaid. I hope Cook still has some “Coma” money.


Friday, August 15, 2008

The 21-Word Review: 1e4 BC (In-Flight Movie)

If I’m going to endure an anachronistic disaster, I expect at a minimum to see Raquel Welch in a fur bikini.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Hot Fuzz (In-Flight Movie)

Not as good as their first movie, but the last 15 minutes are worth the effort. Shaun of the dead Englishmen.


The 21-Word Review: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson



Sunday, May 11, 2008

The 21-Word Review: The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

This Mother's Day thank your Mom for at least not being as crazy as the author's mom in this stunning memoir.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

The 21-Word Review: Enchanted (In-Flight Movie)

How can a reviewer by cynical about such a cute, sweet, cuddly, syrupy, beautiful, simple, movie? Shame on you, Ebert.


The 21-Word Review: Beowulf (In-Flight Movie)

I have seen 300. I liked 300. You, my friend, are no 300 (but the naked Angelina was a nice touch).


The 21-Word Review: American Gangster (In-Flight Movie)

OK, so it’s not exactly true. Still, seeing Denzel and Russell stare each other down is worth the price of admission.


The 21-Word Review: The Golden Compass (In-Flight Movie)

The debate should not whether the movie or author is anti-church or not, but whether the movie is anti-interesting or not.


The 21-Word Review: Michael Clayton (In-Flight Movie)

It feels like a small movie until it’s over and you realize how much it grabbed you. Stereotypical, but still powerful.


The 21-Word Review: Juno (In-Flight Movie)

One of the few indie films that lives up to the reviewers’ hype. No bad guys, just good guys working through.