Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recent hits

John Hart's The Last Child, a gritty modern mystery with a compelling young boy as the central character, searching for his kidnapped sister. Excellent read.

Nine, the Rob Marshall musical with Daniel Day-Lewis and every Oscar-winning woman ever, was indeed quite bad. Marshall failed to motivate the musical numbers as Guido's imagination the way he managed to make Chicago all happen in Roxie's head; besides that, he apparently forgot that not every musical number has to have bells, whistles, a cast of thousands, and mostly-naked women.

Michelle Moran's chick-littish series set in ancient Egypt is quite good because of the use of historical events and detail, though the interpersonal plots are on the level of girl likes boy, girl puts on makeup, boy notices girl.

Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune reminded me how great an adventure story can be when someone is writing it well and creatively. It also contains the seeds of her fascination with the Zorro legend, which she reworked so well in her recent novel (shockingly entitled Zorro). I may have to go back and try her famous House of the Spirits again. I didn't like it when I first read it, but I was very young, and maybe there's even an alternative translation now.

Leonard Bernstein's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has some musical gems in it, and even some hilarious lyrics. But among other reasons the show isn't put up often, some of the interpolated scenes of African American characters are less than politically correct. "The Money-Lovin' Minstrel Show," ye gods.

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