Film Review: The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

A Little Blog of Books

The Hundred-Year-Old ManLast week, I was lucky enough to attend a special screening of the film adaptation of ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’ at the Soho Hotel in London ahead of its general release on Friday. Thanks to the likes of Steig Larsson and Henning Mankell, Sweden is generally more famous for producing atmospheric crime fiction. However, the comic novel by Jonas Jonasson has been a worldwide hit and has been translated into more than thirty languages with more than six million copies sold since 2009. The film is likely to match the book’s success across the globe this summer having already broken box office records in Sweden when it was released last December.

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Readers’ Corner: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Chris Barsanti

One more note on the late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman. Back in 2004, he was interviewed by The Believer and the talk sprawled over beyond life and acting into things literary.

yates__paradeHoffman has played a few great figures from both sides of the literary page (Willy Loman, Truman Capote), but that’s not what gave him the credentials for this interview, it’s that he was clearly a passionate reader. Not a lot people out there these days who will stand up and shout for the dark glories of somebody like Richard Yates:

If you do any great art you’re somehow exposing a part of you. Like Richard Yates, Jesus Christ, that book, you almost don’t want to meet him. I kept feeling for the characters as if they existed.

But perhaps most beautifully, he identifies one of the great solaces of reading, that it’s an act in and of itself with…

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Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Other Human-Computer Stories

Monster Maven

mechanical or virtual agent, usually an electro-mechanical machine that is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry

Cyborg: (short for cybernetic organism) being with both organic and mechanical parts

Android: robot or synthetic organism designed to look and act like a human, especially one with a body having a flesh-like resemblance

2013’s “Her” is a softly-spoken, gently filmed look at artificial intelligence set in a post-Macbook-empire LA. The operating system Samantha (referred to colloquially in the film as an “OS”) is voiced with great care by Scarlett Johansson. This is one of Johansson’s most engrossing performances, rivaled by her turn in 2013’s “Don Jon,” as a fake-fingernailed Jersey princess. Both Samantha and Barbara, Jonhanssen’s character in “Don Jon” are female love interests for their soul-searching, confused male counterparts. The only difference is, Samantha is a computer program designed to facilitate and enhance a human life.

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pyrajane’s review #33: Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

Cannonball Read V

Jim HensonWhen I heard there was a massive biography of Jim Henson coming out, I was excited and worried.  I wanted to know more about the man who created so many things that I’ve enjoyed throughout my life, but I knew I was going to cry when they talked about his funeral.  I was also worried that he might turn out to be a jerk, even though I had no reason to worry about this.  But still, what if the guy who brought Kermit to life ended up being kind of a dick?  I don’t want that knowledge in my head.

Happily and not surprisingly, Jim Henson was lovely.

Brian Jay Jones spent several years with those close to Jim and the result is a wonderful book.  Reading it was pure pleasure because of Jones’ writing style.  It’s conversational, emotional, smart and incredibly informative and was extremely satisfying.  The combination of…

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BREAKING: A (Not At All) Exclusive Q&A with Anchorman & Literary Legend Ron Burgundy


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Let Me Off at the Top: My Classy Life & Other Musings, the riveting new memoir from Anchorman and Literary Legend Ron Burgundy, hits our shelves in a storm of mahogany-scented wonder this Tuesday, November 19. In the most highly anticipated book of the year, Burgundy reveals his most private thoughts, his triumphs and his disappointments. He takes us from his boyhood in a desolate Iowa coal-mining town to his years at Our Lady Queen of Chewbacca High School. Let us tell you – it’s one wild ride.

Pre-order your tickets to the gun show right here and we’ll have one of these puppies waiting for you when they come out of the box Tuesday morning. In the mean time, we’ve landed a not at all exclusive interview with the man behind the book jacket – Ron Burgundy.

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What aspects of your childhood or upbringing have endured with you…

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Oxford American features Charles Portis film adaptation

Little Rock Culture Vulture

2e6b4_1320267846-oxa_logoToday, August 26, 2013, the Oxford American website features the world premiere of a film adapatation of Charles Portis’ “I Don’t Talk Service No More.”

In addition to the film, the website features an interview of the filmmaker Katrina Whalen.  Jay Jennings, who edited Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany chats with Ms. Whalen about Portis and the process of making films.

Whalen worked in production for directors Charlie Kaufman (Being John MalkovichAdaptationSynecdoche, New York) and Julie Taymor (TitusFrida; Broadway’s The Lion King) after her undergrad education at Yale.  She then enrolled in graduate school at New York University.

Jennings is a freelance writer whose journalism, book reviews, and humor have appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Oxford American, and many other newspapers and magazines.

To see the film, which…

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The Enlightenment: A Graphic Guide – Lloyd Spencer, Andrzej Krauze

This might be something to look at for my World Lit. II students.


I didn’t know much about this historical period of new intellectual dawn. You could say I was in the dark about it. But this puts the spotlight on many of its major players. In fact, it really illuminated my understanding of these bright sparks and what they did, such as leading light Voltaire. It uses the graphic novel style which has appeared throughout this series of books. Some might say that treats its complex subject material in too light a manner, but the ability to do so effectively can be quite dazzling to see. And despite the short amount of time spent on each contributor, many of them are given their moment in the sun, and the authors’ understanding of the wider issues shines through. They seem really switched on. In some ways, [light-related pun]. Because of this, [wordplay on bulbs as light fittings/bulbs in gardening – too complex maybe??]

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