This Week our 'DVD RACK' is a deluxe, bumper 'Boom Rack' looking at some film related reads.
BY TIM DAVID HARVEY
HARRY BELAFONTE: MY SONG-A beautiful and poetic autobiography about a man who has not only witnessed but has been actively involved with some of the major cultural, political and social changes in music, movies and more over the last century. Still alive to tell the real tales of his time with the likes of Marlon Brando, Martin Luther King Jr, John F. Kennedy and Sammy Davis Jnr. Did you know this award winning actor who broke cultural lines with Sidney Poitier not only was Bob Dylan's mentor but also the first artist to ever sell 1 million records with his Calypso record? Time to read all about it.
THE SILVER LININGS PLAY BOOK: If you thought the Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence Oscar winning film was good then wait until you read this. You could say the start of this year has been one of books that movies where based on and the writer should always get the first credit. After all the chicken came before the egg and between short chapters with quirky names Matthew Quick delivers a classic that is sympathetic and funny. Bringing the often arms length over-looked problem of anxiety to the table this book is bold, beautiful and brilliant.
LIMITLESS-That isn't it for Bradley Cooper based books. Maybe I just like the covers hey. 'Limitless' or 'The Dark Fields' as it's originally known by Alan Gylnn is the story that led to 'The Hangover' stars true breakout movie. Concerning the idea of what it would be like to take a pill that improved how you performed mentally this is a 'what would you do' story with scary and thought provoking moral messages. The vivid and descriptive way this book is wrote at times, matched with the quick thinking fact of the matter thought processes really immerses you in the substance. With this rags or riches tale, Gylnn really is on something here.
DRIVE-How about some Ryan Gosling ladies? What is this 'A Place Between The Pines' tie-in post (send me the cheque in the mail fellas). If you thought Gosling's dark classic really was one of modern greats greatest wait until you read this novel. On par with the sublime soundtrack this quick read wasn't devoured in a return train ride because it's short. It was burnt through because it's a real vivid page turner taking us through the darkness of the neon shades of Los Angeles in depth and detail. Celluloid or pages we can't wait for the sequel 'Driven'.
GANGSTER SQUAD: More Gosling, I know...I know. Some hated the great movie that was based on this book. Still these real accounts of the Los Angeles Police Departments battle for Los Angeles with mobster Mickey Cohen is another quick page turner of intrigue and investigation. There is nothing cool or classy about gangsters (yeah I said it, come and get me) but the good guys getting it done makes for a cool police story. From the files of 'Gangster Squad' if you like your cops and robbers stories than cop this one. It's a steal.
DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?: 'Blade Runner' anyone? Ever since being enthralled by movies like 'Total Recall', 'Minority Report' and 'The Adjustment Bureau' and noticing in the credits 'based on the book' I have been intrigued by the science fiction writer Phillip K. Dick and everyone should too. Finally this year I have started to read up about him and what a way to start with the science fiction masters classic. A man who is one of the greatest American authors of all-time and a guy who's stories from decades gone are still influencing future films like they where brand new ideas. If only he was here to see. 'Blade Runner' came out just after he died. Rest In Peace sir. We're counting electric sheep for you.
THE DESCENDANTS: Kaui Hart Hemmings story that inspired a great George Clooney film is a trouble in paradise story that is dark funny, sobering and punch drunk with love. Based in Hawaii and showing it's not all sun and sand this important story of failing franchises, marriage and life has many moral messages that will centre you. A man is losing his wife and while she is in a coma he learns she was going to leave him for another man...and there's still happiness to be found in this story. Incredible.
THE BLIND SIDE-Last year I was reading 'Moneyball' by Michael Lewis and the autobiography of Michael Oher (thanks for the love Mike) 'How I Beat The Odds'. It's funny how it all turns around. This year I found myself reading 'The Blind Side' by Lewis based on Oher's life. It became a hit movie with Sandra Bullock, but first 'The Blind Side' became another classic by revolutionary sports journalist Lewis looks into this young, Superbowl winning Football stars coming of age life, the business of NFL recruitment and the invaluable asset of the man paid more to protect the quarterbacks weak spot. 'The Blind Side' has all the elements of a descriptive sports analysis and a beautiful story that's amazingly fact not fiction.
THE LINCOLN LAWYER-Michael Connelly used to write about police reports for the 'Los Angeles Times' no wonder this author is so knowledgeable about the city of Los Angeles, crime and the legal process. 'The Lincoln Lawyer' made a great movie and career redemption for Matthew Mconaghey (shout out to John Leguizamo for the love) and it's always interesting to see how a film translates and differs from the text. This pure page turner really keeps you immersed in the details of this case no matter how in depth it is to the fine point of every move and mannerism, so delightfully descriptive. You'll feel like you're investigating the case first hand and that's what makes it such a captivating and interesting read. Especially if you read it in Mconaghey's signature southern drawl. As long as I get to take my shirt off.