Awhile back, I saw a preview for the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey and I was intrigued yet hesitant. Intrigued because I used to be a French teacher and the film takes place in France – and hesitant because I had neither heard nor read anything about this film beforehand. But I decided to take a chance the other night and give it a try. I was more that pleasantly surprised by this well-constructed, heartwarming story.
The film follows an Indian family who flee India after a tragedy and wind up in a small, French town when their vehicle breaks down. Papa Kadam (the father) played by Om Puri, notices a vacant building and decides it would be a perfect place to open an Indian restaurant. There is one problem however – and that would be Madame Mallory, played Helen Mirren, who is the owner of high-brow one-star Michelin restaurant (who is trying to get her second star) situated across the street – literally one hundred feet away, hence the title of the movie.
Needless to say, Madame Mallory is none too happy that an Indian joint is opening across from her haute-cuisine restaurant so she attempts to foil their plans, resulting in a culinary battle between the two establishments. The result is some delightfully comical scenes. Helen Mirren and Om Puri are adversaries most entertaining and it’s a treat to watch as the chemistry develops between them.
There is a second theme to this movie which centers on the son and the main chef of the Indian restaurant, Hassan Haji, played by Manish Dayal. We learn that he is much more that a mere cook but rather possesses an extreme talent and passion for cooking, a talent and passion not seen in most chefs. We witness his journey as he learns the fine art of French cooking (much to the chagrin of Papa) and eventually becomes a critically acclaimed chef. But Hassan’s journey is not always an easy one and some difficult decisions must be made.
On a basic level, the film depicts a familiar story of the clash between two cultures, French and Indian, but in this case, centered on cooking. But it is more. This beautifully-filmed movie is also filled with all the joys and sorrows, ups and downs, triumphs and disappointments that accompany life but with wonderful humor interweaved into the story.
The Hundred-Foot Journey has everything that I might want in a film: comedy, drama, a touch of romance, succulent delicious-looking food, excellent acting and a happy ending. It’s a feel good movie without being sappy that will delight the senses. I found the acting, directing and plot to be first-rate in this gem of a movie.
If you get a chance, go see it, especially if you enjoy movies about food. I guarantee you’ll be hungry afterwards.
Sixteen year-old Nick Michelson has been seeing strange things lately, things he can’t explain. So when his uncle tells him that some of the men in his family can see ghosts, Nick freaks out and decides he’s going to ignore the spirits. But as he will soon learn, that’s easier said than done — especially once he encounters James Pearce, an angry spirt hell-bent on finding out who killed him. Reluctantly, Nick agrees to help. So with the help of his Tarot cards and his new mentor Katrina, Nick embarks on a journey to help the solve the mystery surrounding James’s death. But once word gets around about Nick’s ability, there’s more than one ghost vying for his attention.
This is the first book in the Ghost Oracle Series, with at least three more books to follow. Future books in the series will continue to follow the adventures of reluctant psychic medium and Tarot card reader Nick Michaelson.
If you purchase the book directly from this Website, you will get three different versions: mobi/kindle, epub and PDF.
The book cover for my new novel, “Nick’s Awakening” is ready. This is the first book in my Ghost Oracle series, a reluctant 16 year-old psychic who sees ghosts and reads Tarot. The book should be available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo in a couple of days.
I’ll follow up with more information once it’s available.
“When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong. Every single time.” ~ Chief Elder
My bookclub recently read the book The Giver by Lois Lowry which resulted in an interesting and lively discussion, so I was quite excited when I heard that the book was being made into a movie. I saw the movie the other night and I absolutely loved it! This was not one of those movies that was completely true to the book as there were a good number of differences between the two but overall, I was pleased with the director’s interpretation.
The Giver takes place in a colorless utopian society where there is no inequality, competition, anger, pain, hunger, war, fear, lust, sexual attraction, or different races. It is a place where the safety of sameness is the aim and differences of any kind are not tolerated. The community operates on a strict set of rules and not following them results in being released to Elsewhere. Everything is gray, sterile and orderly but nobody seems to unhappy. In fact, the community citizens seem quite content with their emotionless day to day lives.
The story centers on Jonas, a young man seemingly satisfied with his place in the community. During the yearly ceremony where those graduating are told what their life’s work shall be, Jonas is set apart from the rest of his classmates. Rather than given a typical occupation, is told instead that he has been chosen to become the community’s next Receiver of Knowledge, an honor that is rarely bestowed as there is ever only Receiver in the community. Jonas is to begin his training immediately with the current Receiver, played by Jeff Bridges. In the book, Jonas is 12 years old, the age where each person in society is given his or her official occupation; that is to say, the role they are to play in the community for the rest of their lives. In the movie however, the character of Jonas is played by Brenton Thwaites who appears to be about seventeen or eighteen years old (I don’t recall if they mentioned Jonas’s actual age in the film), as do Jonas’s friends, Fiona and Asher. Jonas’s age in the movie is quite a departure from the book and from what I’ve heard, some people took issue with the change. Truth be told, while I was reading the book, I had a difficult time believing that Jonas was only twelve years old, especially given the enormous responsibility laid on his shoulders and the level of maturity he displayed. Portraying Jonas’s age closer to that of a high school senior makes more sense to me.
Enter The Giver
The Receiver (or Receiver of Knowledge) is the sole keeper of all of the community’s memories. Nobody, including the governing elders, knows anything about human history or their ancestors’ past – all memory of it has been erased from their minds. The Receiver is the only individual in the community who retains all of the memories from the past and using those memories, he is called upon from time to time assist the elders in making difficult decisions. Since Jonas has been designated the society’s new Receiver, the current Receiver then becomes “The Giver” and his role is to pass on all of his memories to Jonas, which he does by touch. The film starts out in dim black and white but gains more color as Jonas gains an understanding of real life. As Jonas receives more and more memories from The Giver, he begins to question the wisdom in removing all those memories and emotions from everyone’s mind – and once he begins to receive some of the more painful memories from The Giver (and the painful emotions that go along with them), his questions become even more profound. On some level, he understand why his ancestors did away with all the painful emotions, memories and even colors – but he begins to think that the sacrifice in attaining a safe society wasn’t worth what humanity has lost in the process. He starts to comprehend all too well what shutting down emotions and memories did to their community – everyone had stopped truly living. Once he learns his society’s secrets and darker truths, Jonas’s sense of morality grows, and with it, his need to see things restored to the way they should be. Finally he and The Giver, in a race against time, embark on a plan to set the community back to the way it once was – complete with memories, emotions and colors. It is time to right the wrongs.
Racing Agaist The Clock
The ending of the movie includes some aspects that were not included in the book which I felt worked well. For instance, the movie raised the stakes of Jonas’s success – and it becomes a matter of life and death, not just for him but his friends as well. I liked the extra suspense that the movie added to the story and I thought Jonas’s relationship with the Head Elder (played my Meryl Streep) was expertly handled. There seemed to be much more depth to the character of the all-powerful Chief Elder in the movie than in the book, no doubt helped by Steep’s stellar performance. On the opposite end however, I felt that the movie did leave out some important details – details that helped to support the central themes of the book
Though there were several changes to the details from the book to the movie, the director left the conclusion/denouement of the film idential to that of the book so much so that with the exception of the age of Jonas, the ending of the movie was nearly exactly what I had pictured in my head while reading the book. Sure, several of the events leading up to the ending changed in the movie, but the actual ending stayed true to Lowry’s novel. What is interesting, is that at first glance, the film’s ending seems cut and dry. But there is more than one possible interpretation of what really occurred, which by the way, led to quite an interesting and emotional discussion during my bookclub’ meeting’s discussion of the story. What are these two interpretations or understandings of the ending you might ask? You shall have to watch the movie (and perhaps read the book as well?) to find out.
I was amazed by the lukewarm response that this movie received. While the film certainly could have perhaps delved a bit deeper into the main ideas of the book, I still thought it was an excellent interpretation of the original story with well-developed characters and superb acting. The Giver is not a light, fluffy movie given that it deals with topics such as a freedom, liberty, totalitarianism, what gives life meaning, conformity, freedom of expression and even murder. The Giver is also not an action-packed thrill ride. What it is, is a film that illustrates big ideas – ideas that cause us to contemplate, wonder and ponder. It’s a haunting movie that will stay with you long after the film is finished. Recommended! Note for True Blood fans: Alexander Skarsgård (Erik Northman in True Blood) plays Jonas’s father.
Are you a creative who hates marketing? Or perhaps a writer or artist who has no idea how to get noticed above all the online noise?
I recently discovered a book entitled Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon that might help. It’s a book that not only provides ideas, tips and tricks on how to get your work out into the world, but gives you the motivation to do so.
I personally hate self-promotion and have never felt that I was all that good at it. I find marketing even more challenging these days when everyone vying (some of them quite loudly) for people to pay attention to their work. What Kleon does is provide practical, useable advice – action steps that are not only fun to take but can help to get you and your work noticed.
I remember a fellow author friend of mine once told me: “If nobody reads your work, then you haven’t written it.” Kleon’s motivational push seems to be along these same lines. He tells us not to sit on and hide our work, but rather, put it out there. If you want your creative work to be known and discovered, you have to share it with the world. You have to get your stuff seen – and in this book, Kleon shows us how to.
Kleon provides examples, quotes, illustrations and anecdotes in each chapter that bring his advice to life. The book is broken down into 10 chapters, with each focusing on a specific method for showing your work. The chapters are further broken in subchapters, providing several different ways of approaching the method as well as concrete actions that you can take.
The chapters are:
- You Don’t Have To Be A Genius
- Think Process, Not Product
- Share Something Small Every Day
- Open Up Your Cabinet of Curiosities
- Tell Good Stories
- Teach What You Know
- Don’t Turn Into Human Spam
- Learn To Take A Punch
- Sell Out
- Stick Around
He starts out the book with a quote by John Cleese:
“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”
Indeed, Kleon has introduced an entirely new way of operating in Show Your Work!. Rather than simply put our work out there and pray it gets noticed, Kleon recommends instead that we share our process with our audience. People don’t want to buy simply a book – they want to connect with you as the author. They want the a human experience. They want to be involved in the creation of a work. In other words, as he states in chapter 2 *”Think Process, Not Product.”
Show Your Work! may be small, but it packs a serious punch! This engaging book is chock full of his stories and inspiring stories of other creatives who have decided to step back and see the bigger picture – people who have chosen to show and share their work.
I recommend this easy-to-read book for anyone who could use a little help in getting the word out about their art or simply for anyone ready to share their work, their creativity and their passion with the world.