Reviews

Re·view: a critical article or report, as in a periodical, on a book, play, recital, or the like; critique; evaluation. Posts in this category pertain to reviews of books, food/wine/coffee, restaurants, movies, etc.

Book Reviews Coming Soon

Filed in ReviewsTags: Books

With my laptop being down much of the past couple weeks, I've been getting a lot of reading done. Should have some book reviews forthcoming this week for Letters to a Young Conservative, Liberalism is a Mental Disorder, and Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man.

REVIEW: South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Media Bias

Filed in Politics, ReviewsTags: Books



The 165-page South Park Conservatives, as pointed out in RedState.org's review, serves as a primer of the nascent weakening of the Liberals' oligarchical stranglehold over the dissemination of, totalitarin control over conversation and debate about, and single-mindedly biased news-reporting of political, cultural, and social issues. The book discusses the Conservative revolution Talk Radio, Cable News and programming, Internet News and Punditry, the Blogosphere, the book-publishing industry, and in academia.

The book is very well-written, informative, and makes for enjoyable reading, but it has one short-coming: the vast majority of the book concerns the outlets of this Conservative revolution, rather than the people driving that revolution. The phenomenon of the revolution itself has been well-documented, from the City Journal article "We're Not Losing The Culture Wars Anymore" from which South Park Conservatives was born, to Hugh Hewitt's Blog, which covers most of the same information, but with a focus on how savvy blog-entrepreneurs should take advantage of the phenomenon. South Park Conservatives could have filled an interesting niche had it focused more on its namesake and less on their means of expression.

The book hints at - but doesn't delve into - this younger generation of Conservatives as the grassroots support base and incubator for future Conservative leaders. Clearly, the most interesting and insightful chapter in the book, Chapter 8: Campus Conservatives Rising, should have been made the focus of the book (as the title seemingly implies) - along with those with whom they are finding a common voice in the New Media and Academia.

Missed opportunity notwithstanding, I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants an interesting explanation and discussion of the revolt against "illiberal liberalism" and the people who are driving it.

Kingdom of Heaven

Filed in ReviewsTags: Movies

I've heard the radio ads for tomorrow's release Kingdom of Heaven, and wondered if it would be worth seeing. Apparently, the answer is no:

This is not the sort of movie that is going to draw large crowds of conservative Christians. Scott is relentless in his humanistic, anti-religious message, so much so that my friend remarked that it felt like anti-religious "digs" spliced between action sequences (and very violent action sequences, at that--not for the faint of heart). If the message doesn't keep conservative Christians away, the uncaptivating plot and dialogue will. The costumes and sets are lavish, but are not enough to redeem "Kingdom of Heaven."

(Hat Tip: Stones Cry Out)

Movie Review: Hitch

Filed in ReviewsTags: Movies

I saw Hitch over the weekend. I kept hearing good things about it, and usually like Will Smith movies. Here's what filmcritic.com had to say:

Hitch asks one question: Just how far can a film coast on Will Smith’s charm and some hilariously bad dance moves? The answer is, pretty far, but not nearly far enough.

Smith plays the titular hero, a guy who’s so smooth he turned it into a career as a “date doctor,” helping a succession of schlubby but good-hearted guys make it into the arms of gorgeous women who otherwise wouldn’t have looked twice at them. But although he’s like a consultant for romance, Hitch doesn’t use his powers to find true love for himself, leaving marriage and lasting relationships for his clients.

Hitch Movie PosterActually, if you read the entire review, the reviewer misses the point of the movie. He recognizes Will Smith as the main character, but oddly thinks the main plot arc and character development revolve around someone else. What he criticizes the filmwriters for as unnecessary distraction from the main story is actually a well-crafted dovetail of sub-plots into the main story - not on the level of say, a Tom Clancy or Frank Peretti novel, but impressively thorough for a romantic comedy. Apparently, the reviewer missed that the entire point of the movie was the development of Will Smith's character, since that very element is the one he dismisses as superfluous.

Generally, the movie follows the Hollywood-standard, "guy meets girl, guy falls for girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl in the end" romantic-comedy formula. Despite being typically formulaic, the movie, fortunately, dispenses with much of the typical stereotyping of the genre.

For the most part, the characters are black-and-white. There is, of course, development, primarily of the principal characters - but not much nuance. The good guys are good, the bad guy is bad - pretty much what one would expect from the genre. I would have liked to see more depth of character development - especially with Amber Valletta, who plays a young heiress and romantic interest of Albert (Kevin James, King of Queens) - but the primary plot arc involves the character development of the title character, Hitch.

Will Smith and Kevin James play well off of each other in this movie. Eva Mendez (Sara, gossip columnist and romantic interest of Will Smith) turned what I first thought would be an imitation of Jennifer Lopez in The Wedding Planner into a decent performance. The flashbacks to Will Smith's character in college reminded me way too much of myself in high school and college - though I can certainly relate to the growth/maturation process with respect to women and relationships.

Overall, the movie is what it is. Though the genre isn't my favorite, the movie is by far better than most romantic comedies. Hitch is a good movie to take your signficant other to see. It will be worth the two-hour investment just for a refreshingly decent movie. You probably won't take away any life-changing new ideas, but the movie just might give you pause to remember to look at people from the inside, and that it's okay to be true to oneself on the outside.