Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone

By Daniel Woodrell

Review by Pam Blittersdorf

Author Daniel Woodrell creates a memorable heroine in 16 year old Ree Dolly. Ree desparately wants to escape the poverty of her Ozark community and enlist in the Army (“where you got to travel with a gun and they make everybody help keep things clean”), but she feels duty-bound to her family. Her meth-cooking dad has posted the family home as collateral, then jumped bail. To save her younger brothers and mentally ill mother, Ree has to ask some tough questions about her father’s fate. The folks with the answers to those questions don’t take kindly to being asked. The language of the novel is gritty, genuine and suspenseful. Ree’s grim humor and determination are certain to catch you up in her story. Continue reading

The Newsroom Season One

The NewsroomReview by Abby Shelton

“A nightly newscast that informs a debate worthy of a great nation. Civility, respect, and a return to what’s important; the death of [b—ness]; the death of gossip and voyeurism; speaking truth to stupid. No demographic sweet spot; a place where we all come together.” [edited by reviewer]

So is the News Night program as described by its new executive producer McKenzie McHale, played by Emily Mortimer, in the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s newest series The Newsroom. The first season of this politically savvy show follows news anchor Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, and his team at the fictional Atlantis Cable News Service as they deal with some of the biggest news items of 2010-2011, including the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the rise of the Tea Party, and the killing of Osama bin Laden. Against the backdrop of dramatic news stories and the quick-witted dialogue that Sorkin is known for, the interpersonal drama of the news team endears you to the characters as you watch them struggle and succeed in their relationships. Continue reading

Blue Valentine

Blue_Valentine_filmReview by Amelia Falcone

Blue Valentine follows Dean and Cindy, a couple five years into their marriage who decide to take a night away from their daughter in order to rekindle their relationship. Integrating clips from their romantic past, this film details the difficulties that come when transitioning from being a young couple into married parents. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give stellar performances as they show you what it takes to truly be someone’s “valentine.”

Beginning this movie, I had thought I was walking into the typical, happy, romantic film. However, Blue Valentine provides realistic insight into the struggles that accompany a long-term relationship. The film seamlessly combines themes of joy and love with the depression that too often worms its way into a relationship. Continue reading