A place for FF's to write and read brief reviews of books and films for the benefit of other FF's.

A place for FF's to write and read brief reviews of books and films for the benefit of other FF's.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This movie had a lot to enjoy, including a compelling father/chimp-son story, a nicely paced-out chimp prison story, and a crazy extended set piece of apes running rampant and kicking ass over San Francisco. James Franco is in it, looking weirdly both beefy and ragged. Another cool part is where the chimp-son is so hell bent on defending an Alzheimers John Lithgow that he causes serious personal injury to another person.

If you're like me, you'll certainly enjoy seeing Andy Serkis continue along his quick trajectory towards becoming the Daniel Day-Lewis of mo-cap.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Levels Of The Game by John McPhee

This is a short book, an extended New Yorker article really, about Arthur Ashe and Clark Graebner's tennis match during the 1968 US Open. The tennis stuff I ended up skimming, it's just not that compelling. Sportswriting to me is always best when it's about everything other than sports, and there's lots of that here. Arthur Ashe's boyhood - he lived in a park, where his father was a police officer - is interesting, and there's a whole part about his genealogy, and about a mentor who launched a program to promote black tennis players. There are extended descriptions of the lifestyles of both Graebner and Ashe who were both amateurs at the time.

The two best parts of the book:
1) Graebner's "training meal" that he eats every night: "a vodka martini, a shrimp cocktail, a baked potato without salt or butter, and roast beef or a steak." Ashe eats "soul food" and "once in a while he will have a glass of beer with a shot of lime juice in it."

2) Ashe, talking about Australia, says "Australian English is a barroom language. It is not a language for a woman."

All told I didn't like this book as much as DFW's tennis writing. But it was pretty compelling as a profile of two people from distinct backgrounds and their lives in the 1960s, performing as amateur athletes at the highest level.