Movie Magic – Of Mice and Men

OfMiceAndMenPoster

 

Director:

Gary Sinise

Screenplay:

Horton Foote

Starring:

John Malkovich as Lennie Small

Gary Sinise as George Milton

Casey Siemaszko as Curley

Sherilyn Fenn as Curley’s wife

 

 

Some film adaptations of classic novels run into problems when they try to divert too far from the original story, in their desire to set themselves apart they can lose the very essence that endears them to the masses. Gary Sinise’s version of Of Mice and Men however steers clear of that pitfall, the plot sticks faithfully to Steinbeck’s original and the result is a triumphant homage to the novel.

John Malkovich gives an incredible performance as Lennie, the gentle giant with a penchant for soft things and getting himself and loyal friend George into trouble. It is a true testament to Malkovich’s talent as an actor that he can play Lennie’s simplicity with such a depth that it tugs at the audiences heart strings.

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If Malkovich is exquisite as Lennie then Gary Sinise is equally so in his portrayal of George, the eternally loyal best friend doing his best to keep Lennie safe. Sinise plays the character with a strength and dignity that allows the inner turmoil George faces shine through whilst still encouraging love and forgiveness from the audience. It should also be noted that in his role as director Sinise helped to craft the noble adaptation.

 

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One of the main themes throughout Of Mice and Men is the strong bond of friendship between men, this is brought to life in every aspect of the screenplay. The subtleties that Gary Sinise brings to his character when he is dealing with Lennie, and the clear turmoil when he has to make that final heart breaking decision, brings to life that sense of love between the two men. This adaptation is impeccably presented and the brilliant performances from Sinise and Malkovich make it well worth a watch whether you have read the novel or not.

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Friday Finds: Beautiful Bookcases

The most common problem for literature lovers is not having enough space for all their books, we become experts in how to creatively stack novels in a bid to gain just a little more space to fit our new purchases because after all there is always room for just one more book! I have a bit of an obsession with the idea of one day having my own home library and can spend many happy, albeit extremely nerdy, hours trawling through pictures to find perfect examples of how I want my imaginary future home to look. So below are some of my finds for this week, they are what I think are practical book cases whilst still managing to showcase a bibliophile’s obsession. Enjoy!

Love the X motif on the glass doors

Love the X motif on the glass doors

I love the look of this for a large open space or living room but I think it’s the type of case that would look best with lots of light. The x motif on the glass doors gives an unusual unique twist on a traditional bookcase to make this more of a feature in the room.

Reading nooks for the win!

Reading nooks for the win!

Love reading nooks

Love reading nooks

I could write an entire post on reading nooks I just love the idea so much! The first image I chose because of the bookcase around the area I think it’s absolutely perfect but overall the look is a little cold and I think the purpose of a reading nook is to be warm and inviting so that you cant wait to just curl up there with your latest book. So that is why I chose the second image for this example it’s much more inviting, a combination of the case from the first image and the colours or comfort of the second and you have a perfect place to escape to!

Perfect under window storage

Perfect under window storage

I think this idea works really well for those who don’t want to go all out with larger book cases, personally I would use this under window type of bookcase in a child’s room or play room as I think it’s so important to encourage reading from a young age. In relation to a child’s room the under window case allows for a lot of light around the area and I would paint the case or even just the back wall of the shelves bright colours to make it more child friendly.

How adorable are these!

How adorable are these!

How absolutely adorable are these tea cups!? Carrying on from my children themed bookcases I just couldn’t bypass this when I stumbled across it, I think they are a fun alternative to a traditional bookcase that would suit any child’s room. They could be stacked in a corner of their bedroom so they aren’t a massive drain on space and serve as encouragement for any little book lover.

 

Love the outline

Love the outline

You need ridiculously high ceilings for this one to work but I love the how the outline contrasts so well against the wall. It is this contrast that really helps make the bookcase the main feature of the room because your eyes are automatically draw to it.

Book wall!!

Book wall!!

Be still my bibliophile heart!! This is a complete dream because I cant imagine anyone letting me turn an entire wall of our house into a book wall but I can always hope. I chose this particular book wall because instead of just being straight shelving it has some unusual quirks to keep the eyes interested such as the detailing on the glass doors which is just beautiful. The only thing I would change about this particular one is the colour of the wood, it is just a little dark for me I would prefer a more natural wood finish.

I want an Ireland one!

I want an Ireland one!

I am in two minds about this one but figured I would feature it anyway. What I love about this is how quirky and unusual it is, there is no doubt that this would be the main focal point of any room it is in but what I don’t like is how messy some sections can look. That is the only downfall of this piece but I think that says more about my obsessive need to have my books displayed properly than this bookcase! Of course I would have to scout an Irish version of this but it’s a great idea none the less.

Posts Update!

Hi everyone!

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted a Movie Magic post for Of Mice and Men yet and that is because it has been years since I watched it and to properly review it I want to re-watch the film. I will hopefully get the chance to do that this weekend so I will post two Movie Magic next week one for Of Mice and Men and one for Charlotte’s Web.

Tomorrow I will be posting my Friday Finds of some book cases that I would love to have in my home! I am going to focus on the more elaborate ones tomorrow and then in my next Friday Finds I will do a post on some really clever D.I.Y bookcases for the crafty book lover so I’m really looking forward to that one!

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Review: Charlotte’s Web

imagescwTitle: Charlotte’s Web

Author: E.B White

Cover Copy: “Help is coming from above! Charlotte’s Web is the magical tale of Fern, a little girl who saves her pig, Wilbur, with the help of a most unusual spider.”

My Thoughts: I read this book numerous times when I was a child and reading it as an adult is just as enjoyable. It is a heart warming tale of friendship and an education of life lessons as Fern, Wilbur and Charlotte navigate a series of obstacles in order to save Wilbur.

Charlotte’s Web is written in such vivid detail that it is perfect way to engage children’s imaginations whilst teaching them lessons on friendship, the passing of time, loneliness and loss. The characters are well rounded and cleverly developed so that there is never a sense that White is talking down to the reader as the lessons are explored. Charlotte’s Web draws the reader in with a warm, affectionate tale about trust and loyalty, adventure and miracle, life and the acceptance of death. It is a wonderful classic to read with your children or just to recapture your own youth!

Favourite Quotes:

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

“She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

“Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They’ll believe anything they see in print.”

Final Thoughts:

The clever prose and lovable characters make this book utterly enjoyable for any reader. E.B White’s Charlotte’s Web is a charming, heart warming tale of friendship that has the ability to delight both the young and the young at heart.

Friday Finds: Literary Fashion

Apologies that I am a day late with this one I have been working crazy shifts in work and time just got away from me yesterday! So following on from my last Friday Finds post here are some of the quirky fashion ensembles that bibliophiles can choose to show off their love of books. Enjoy!

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Hamlet on leggings… Just wow!

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Not crazy about the ribbon but otherwise cute

 

Review: Of Mice and Men

mice and menTitle: Of Mice and Men

Author: John Steinbeck

Cove Copy: “An intimate portrait of two men who cherish the slim bond between them and the dream they share in a world marred by petty tyranny, misunderstanding, jealousy, and callousness. Clinging to each other in their loneliness and alienation, George and his simple-minded friend Lenny dream, as drifters will, of a place to call their own — a couple of acres and a few pigs, chickens, and rabbits back in Hill Country where land is cheap. But after they come to work on a ranch in the fertile Salinas Valley of California, their hopes, like “the best laid schemes of mice and men,” begin to go awry.”

My thoughts: When I first read Of Mice and Men I was fifteen and studying it for my Junior Certificate in secondary school. That was almost ten years ago now and to be honest although I remembered the general plot I had forgotten what a powerful and exceptionally well written story Steinbeck had created.

The literary genius of this novel rests on the relationship between the two main characters, Lennie and George, from their friendship to their shared desire of owning their own farm in a time when hope was at an all time low. Lennie and George are two very different characters that stick together through all the challenges that life throws at them and this unbreakable bond of friendship creates a very endearing basis for this novel.

It is made abundantly clear that George’s life would be easier if he didn’t travel with Lennie but his unwavering loyalty and desire to do what’s best for his disadvantaged friend is one of the most heart warming plot points in this novel. Throughout the story the damning sense of an inability to be free from their troubles plagues Lennie and George but the reader is given a reprieve towards the end when the ultimate price is paid for peace.

Favourite Quotes:

“Maybe ever’body in the whole damn world is scared of each other.”

“Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place….With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us.”

“I can still tend the rabbits, George? I didn’t mean no harm, George.”
Final Thoughts:
Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men is a classic piece of literature that primarily focuses on the strength of friendship between two farm labourers in America during the depression but looking beyond that there are elements of social commentary on the time, some of which still translate. As a stand alone novel this is worth every reader’s attention at least once.

Movie Magic – The Help

Help_poster

 

Director:

Tate Taylor

Screenplay:

Tate Taylor

Starring:

Emma Stone as Eugenia Skeeter Phelan

Viola Davis as Abilieen Clark

Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson

Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook

 

Director Tate Taylor never loses sight of the casual racism so openly practised in the South during the 1960s whilst still managing to create a witty, moving and emotionally charged adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help.

The screenplay for this movie runs as close to the storyline of the book as viewing time will allow but the real hero of this adaptation has to be the casting. Viola Davis gives an incredible performance as Abilieen Clark, the maid raising her seventeenth white child while still dealing with the pain of losing her own son. She portrays the heartbreak of Abilieen’s circumstances in such a subtle yet emotionally powerful way that the pain etched on her face as she utters her goodbyes to little Mae Mobly is completely heartbreaking to watch.

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Octavia Spencer provides the comic relief to all the drama as the outspoken Minny Jackson with her revenge against her former employer bringing the light hearted break that is needed amongst all the anguish. Although she delivers a largely comedic performance Spencer’s ability to show a more serious side as Minny deals with her own battles in her abusive marriage is commendable. Emma Stone holds her own as the college graduate Skeeter Phelan, with her ability to show the naivety of the aspiring journalist she brings the character to life in a way that only she could.

THE HELP

From the brightly coloured posters and the movie trailers The Help may give the impression that it is a comedy however although highly entertaining it is centred around the trials and tribulations of people who dealt with racism and discrimination on a daily basis. Between the heart wrenching script and the superb performances from the leading ladies the result is a heart warming, emotional and worthwhile movie which deserves to be celebrated.