Darla - AV

Darla's Blogs


Hannibal stars Mads Mikkelsen as metrosexual psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter, who successfully hides his true identity as a cannibal in one of the best new television shows. In this chilling, psychological thriller, a rash of killings has the FBI calling Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), a profiler with a tortured soul, to hunt for a serial killer. A bromance between Hannibal and Will Graham occurs in this cat and mouse thriller. The charismatic Hannibal channels Julia Child and Barnabas Collins, when he entertains his guests with meticulously prepared gourmet meals. The outstanding cinematography complements the dark storyline, especially Willís uncanny methods of uncovering evidence.Overall Rating: A
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Divergent: Divergent Trilogy, Book 1 (Audiobook)

Divergent: Divergent Trilogy, Book 1, written by Veronica Roth, narrated by Emma GalvinIn sixteen-year-old Beatrice Priorís dystopian Chicago, people were categorized into five factions, each based on a personality trait; Abnegation upheld selflessness, Candor followed honesty, Dauntless practiced bravery, Eurodite exalted intelligence and Amnity practiced peace. Beatrice was tested to see which faction she had a strong aptitude for, and had unusual test results; therefore, she was labeled Divergent, and warned to tell no one. Sixteen-year-olds had to select either their familyís faction or another faction; accordingly, Beatrice left Abnegation for Dauntless, renamed herself Tris, and met Four, her mysterious Dauntless trainer. Beatrice adapted to her new faction, navigated a romantic interest, but found out that her society was deeply flawed, so she acted to save her family and friends. I recommend this young adult, fast paced, entertaining, and lively narrated thriller, full of plot twists, to science fiction lovers of all ages. Overall Rating: A
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Mystery of the Fallen Giants

Mystery of the Fallen Giants is a National Geographic documentary, investigating the sudden death of five Asian elephants found in a dry riverbed in rural India. The first officials on the scene, the forest department, ruled out poaching and attributed the deaths to a lightning strike. Others suspected that the pachyderms were poisoned by villagers retaliating for crops damaged by elephants; if poisoning was the cause of death, a criminal investigation would criticize the forest department for not protecting the endangered species. The forest department, a forensic pathologist, a chief elephant warden, a professor of lightning, and a world wildlife fund member speculated on the cause of the lost lives. The investigation into the mysterious deaths was methodical and informative; answers unfolded gradually in interesting ways.Overall Rating: B
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Bee People

Bee People: Get Stung is a documentary from director David Knappe that shadows the daily exploits of American rural and urban beekeepers. The Bee Guru, Bee Angel, Bee Medic, Bee Cop and others give attitude and flair when they interact with other beekeepers, whether they retrieve swarms from a barn or extract honey from a city backyard hive. Hilarious, educational, short film clips quiz people on the street to test their bee knowledge. Yes, beekeepers get stung in this film, just as I have, when I visit my own hive. This is one of the best films Iíve seen on beekeeping; the actors entertain, and teach their craft expertly.Overall Raing: A+
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Ping Pong Summer

It is 1985, hip hop and boom boxes are the rage, and 13 year old Radical Miracle (Marcello Conte) and his state trooper father, housewife mother, and goth sister are at their annual summer beach habitat in Ocean City, Maryland. When he is not awkwardly beatboxing or break dancing, Radical spends most of his time at the beach arcade with his new 13 year old friend, Teddy, playing ping pong. Conflict comes in the form of two local rich teens who make it their job to constantly bully Radical and Teddy. Radical finds time to impress a local beauty and navigate around an eccentric neighbor before settling a score with the local bullies through a ping pong challenge. Ping Pong Summer wonderfully captures the Ocean City beach scene, and the nostalgia of the period, but, besides a couple of surprises, the storyline is boring and predictable.Overall Rating: C
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The Maze Runner

Dylan O'Brien stars as Thomas, an amnesiac youth who awakens in a green valley surrounded by a band of boys. An impenetrable, menacing, immense, towering, maze encircles the youth who live in a dystopian society, a way of life that Thomas soon rebels against. The film, although based on a teen novel, appeals to all ages, due to its intriguing developments. The pace of the story and the audio effects were very good, while the special effects were okay. The Maze Runnerís closing needed an overhaul; however, the rest of the film was flawless. Overall Rating: B+
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This intriguing film begins in the future, where an old woman disclosed the life of her affectionate father Coop (Matthew McConaughey), both an engineer and a pilot who became a farmer in an environmentally damaged, drab, dusty earth. Events catapulted Coop back into using his previous skills as a pilot, with some assistance from his ten year old daughter Murph (Mackenzie Foy). The scenes in this 168-minute science fiction film moved back and forth in time; in some scenes, Coop and Amelia Brandís (Anne Hathaway) space exploring crew traveled through a wormhole to find a planet habitable to earthlings, and were met with obstacles, while other scenes occurred on the ruined earth. Themes of loss and regret flowed through the film; McConaughey particularly captured the disquiet of Coop. I was endeared with the interactions of the characters in the film, whether the interactions occurred between the explorers and their earthbound families, or between the explorers and their robotics. Overall Rating: B
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Strange Magic

Strange Magic is a family, animated, musical film that takes place in a magical forest, full of singing fairies, all manner of goblins, affable elves, a rascally imp, and talking mushrooms. I expected the story line, penned by George Lucas to be solid, instead I found the plot simple, and was surprised instead to find this Glee-like motion picture to be one long karaoke, full of songs from the last several decades. Two fairy princesses, Marianne (voiced by Evan Rachel Wood), and Dawn (voiced by Meredith Anne Bull), have misadventures in their quest to discover true love in this film that is loosely based on Shakespeareís "A Midsummer Nightís Dream." The kaleidoscopic animation detail is striking in one of the singing sequences. I recommend this film to the young at heart, to children, to lovers of fairies, and to musical fans; however, if you are looking for Shakespeare, you should skip this film. Overall Rating: C
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The Last Ship - The Complete First Season

The television show, The Last Ship, based on William Brinkleyís well-received novel, kept me on the edge of my seat. Eric Dane stars as Commander Chandler who heads the Navy Destroyer, USS Nathan James, through troubled waters, after humankind experiences a deadly pandemic. Doctor Scott, portrayed by Rhona Mitra, is a virologist on board who attempts to develop an antidote, to save humankind from the devastating virus. Watch for some great moments, when alpha Captain Chandler sounds amazingly similar to John Wayne. Although, the fact that the 316 sailors at sea for four months, with modern technology, did not know about the deadly pandemic is a major flaw, the rest of the drama was so entertaining that I could move on and enjoy the compelling drama. Overall Rating: A-
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