Tag Archives: Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts is just me babbling when expressing myself won’t fit on Twitter. I’ll be adding to this same post over time.

October 22, 2014

Dear American Youth: Please read a self-help book on any topic. It will, at the very least teach you how to use your brain to accomplish something useful. Perhaps you might even avoid behaving badly like those fools that rioted in Keene, NH, during the annual Pumpkin Festival. What a bunch of douche bags. People with half a brain don’t pull this kind of shit—even if they get drunk. Only idiots riot out of boredom. Sad, stupid, no-common-sense morons. Like I said, please just read one self-help book on any topic. Try reading The Power of Positive Thinking, or Think and Grow Rich, or I’m Okay-You’re Okay.

Good luck. I hope you make it another year without injuring yourself, or someone else.

P.S. This is funny. I sound like a really old person. I’m getting there though. I’ve earned this. pht-t-t!

Robert Reoch

Cookies for Summer

Summer Cookies with Flair and Flavor

Cookies Ease the Mind and Satisfy

Cookies are my weakness. What better way to feed a sweet tooth than by baking them yourself. I’ve been collecting some great cookie cutters for months and finally found time to put them to use. You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe to bake these. This summer, I came up with an idea to give my cookies a fruity summer twist. Yum!

The secret ingredients for my Summer Cookies are cardamom and ground coriander seed. Also, for a refreshing fruity twist, I’ve added orange, lemon, and lime oils to the mix—just a 1/4 teaspoon of each will do. Always use fresh ingredients (butter, eggs, and flour). Remember, when you bake cookies at home from scratch, it’s real food with actual food value—even if they are a little high in calories and fat. Moderation is the key. It’s fun to decorate them too!

Robert Reoch Summer Cookies

These won’t last long. . . nom-nom-nom….

Happy baking!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

deCordova Museum Visit Images by Robert Reoch

deCordova Sculpture Park Museum Visit by Robert Reoch

More Robert Reoch Images

A great way to spend a free day is by visiting the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts. On our second visit four years, it was delightful to see new exhibits on the beautiful outdoor sculpture park, as well as the indoor museum. Should you get hungry for a snack or a light lunch, the museum has a small cafeteria with some delicious menu items. The staff is personable and helpful. Now on with my photos. Here are just a few. It’s easy to see the lure of this gem hidden along the back roads of Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Robert Reoch deCordova Museum

Just one area of the expansive outdoor sculpture gardens.

Robert Reoch at deCordova

Robert Reoch deCordova terrace

The museum rooftop terrace currently features works by Roberly Bell.

Robert Reoch deCordova Balloon Man

This Balloon artist kept several children (and adults) entertained.

Robert Reoch deCordova Pipes

That’s the museum rooftop terrace behind me, up the hill.

Robert Reoch deCordova

A friendly creation by artist Roberly Bell.

Until our next visit!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Lives

Robert Reoch Lives

Robert Reoch Doesn’t Live to Blog However

Hi folks! Just checking-in. I have a fairly idyllic life, but that doesn’t mean Robert Reoch has time to write regularly. I abhor writing useless fodder just to take up space (like this). Who wants to read that?

Meanwhile, I’m still updating dozens of old posts that were transferred from my old blog. It’s a tedious process, but I don’t want to lose those earlier articles. I like to think that what I write has value.

Speaking of value, how about our president? Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, our country is being invaded by children—by the thousands. Even this is too much for the Obama administration to handle expeditiously. But let’s give it some time…like Syria (and umpteen other crises too numerous to bore you with right now).

Be well,

Robert Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

A Wild Ride: “Chance and Keanan: Adagio for Windowpane and Gazebo”

The above title is just one of several new short stories in my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2.

In this riotous tale, two friends named Chance and Keanan explore Disneyland on acid—in a form known as “windowpane.”Fly with them along the I-5 freeway from La Jolla Cove to Disneyland and back. Who does that?

Chance and Keanan, that’s who.

Click the images below to order.

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts 2

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch

The Queen, the Bird Feeder, and the Mausoleum

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

“The Queen, the Bird Feeder, and the Mausoleum”

This short story from Travelers’ Shorts is worthy of a Coen Brothers film. “The Queen, the Bird Feeder, and the Mausoleum” is about a mother and son whose twisted relationship defines their bond.  As Curtis’ mother, “the Queen,” struggles to sustain her hold of power, while her son seeks ways to compromise it. Caught in the middle of the chaos, the son’s friend, Oogie, a mere bystander, observes and does his best to stay clear the fray—involving a new bird feeder, a mausoleum, and a family dinner. Did anyone notice the fourteen-foot long python?

You’ll find the full story in, Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move.

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 1

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 1

Book World and Self-Publishing

In the book world, self-publishing has taken off over the last ten years. I learned about self-publishing in 2009 as I was writing my first book of short stories, Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move. I discovered on the Internet a company called iUniverse and decided to give myself and them a try at publishing my stories. I had no idea what I was doing, yet I was determined to give it my best shot. I was certain people would love my short stories. Once my books were published, and once people began buying my books, I would get rich! I’d have a best seller!

Books Don’t Sell Themselves


“…once people began buying my books.”—that’s the telling phrase. Nobody buys your books if they haven’t heard of you. I worked for nearly two years with iUniverse and finally finished my project. When all was said (written) and done, I eventually realized that if iUniverse had things their way, I would have bought hundreds of my own books myself.  They actually expected me to buy caseloads of my own books from them so I could peddle them on the street myself. They aggressively offered me discounts for buying quantities of my own books. I live in an apartment. I don’t have room to stockpile books. Fortunately, being a salesman from way back, I could see their angle. Get me all happy that I’ve written a book, then turn around and sell it to me for their own profit! Nuts. I’m the type of person who has foresight. I can usually see the end-game coming. iUniverse had already charged me hundreds of dollars for holding my hand and doing some minor editing (which mainly threw me off my rhythm). They reformatted my pages to fit the printed book (tasks that, later, I realized I could have done myself for free). Yes, I was that green.

Books on the iUniverse Shelf

iUniverse offered marketing and distribution options for my books, including some expensive ad campaigns. I remained leery because they were still constantly trying to sell me box loads of my own books (and I wasn’t biting). Once—just once—I paid them a large sum to show my book at a book fair in Miami. Unfortunately, there was never any concrete evidence that my book even made it to the fair. I never received any sales as a result of the fair. In fact, in following-up, I checked my account records online at iUniverse and discovered that nobody at iUniverse had procured a copy of my printed book prior to the fair, which they would have needed in order to show it. When I mentioned this to iUniverse after the fair, they refused to refund the promotional fee. There later appeared a post-fair record of an internal request for a copy of my book on my account records. Someone had attempted to manipulate the records and backdate an order to make it appear as though they had procured a copy, but the system wouldn’t allow it. It showed the true date confirming the internal book request was made well after the date of the Miami book fare. They were trying to cover their tracks, it was obvious. It wasn’t worth  pursuing. Without having flown to Miami on the day of the book fair, I couldn’t prove anything. I laugh at the absurdity of the book fair ploy (and my gullibility). Nobody bought my book in Miami, and it took months before anyone purchased my book through iUniverse, or from any of the other bookseller’s to whom they claim to distribute. By the way, your books are not sent to retailers at all. These books are printed on demand by those who sell the printed copies online. iUniverse did nothing to promote my book. It sat on their online shelf in virtual reality. Of course, they offered other advertising options costing thousands of dollars, but . . . are you kidding?

Second Book Similar Fate

I also published my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers, with iUniverse. Am I crazy? Well, since I already knew the process, I went ahead with iUniverse again. Once you understand the mechanics of self-publishing, the venue at iUniverse works fairly well—enough to get a book out there. Your books find their way to Amazon (see Part 2). I wanted to get my second book published quickly as a way to show legitimacy. I had written several good short stories. People who read them loved them. For my second book, I made the mistake of using one of iUniverse’s book cover designers. (I designed the cover of my first book myself and was quite happy with the way it turned out. It kept with my vision.) For the second book, instead of trusting my gut and going with my own cover design again, I used one of iUniverse’s “professional” designer’s. That was a mistake. I had created a design of my own, but I took a chance with the iUniverse designer and it isn’t what I had pictured. I should have taken the time to change it. One day, when I publish a compilation of all of my short stories, in a single volume, I’ll design that cover myself. I may republish the second book and use my cover. At least, I discovered I’m a better cover designer than at least one paid professional. See my book cover (below) for Travelers’ Shorts? Those shorts are an actual pair of mine that I photographed and photo shopped.

Travelers Shorts

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts Contain Gems

My books are gems. Of course I say that because I wrote them! The stories speak for themselves. In my first book, Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move, my prose leans toward being overly rich, or “purple,” as my aunt would say. However, I learned to move the story telling at a more contemporary pace in my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers. You can click on the image below to find out more. Don’t let me stop you.

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

Self-Publishing Book Companies Have Their Own Agenda

Most self-publishing companies are in it for their own profit, not yours. They profit from the process of publishing your book for you. They will charge you for editing services, formatting, cover design, advertising, etc.  They will then push your finished book right back at you to buy it from them (in quantities) so you can go out and peddle it yourself. They want you to buy your own book from them in large quantities (at discounted prices, of course). Just remember, the marketing onus is on you. Nobody sees your book if you don’t market it, but that’s another story which I’ll cover in my next article about self-publishing. Also, in my next article, I’ll talk about my positive experiences in self-publishing with Amazon and their affiliate company CreateSpace.

Good luck with your writing. For more information, read Part 2.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Saint Patrick’s Day or The Feast of Saint Patrick

What Is Saint Patrick’s Day?

St. Patricks Day

Saint Patrick’s Day or the Feast of Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated on 17 March. It is named after Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the most commonly recognized of the patron saints of Ireland. Saint Patrick was a Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. The patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. However, for all his celebrity, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many exaggerated stories of St. Patrick are traditionally told, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland. The stories, although false, are the products of hundreds of years of embellished lore.

Some of What is Known About St. Patrick

Saint Patrick was born to wealthy parents in Britain near the end of the 4th century. At the age of 16, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and transported to Ireland where he was held captive for six years. There is dispute over as to where in Ireland this captivity took place. During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. After a voice from God compelled him to escape, he traveled hundreds of miles on foot, back in Britain. In a second revelation, an angel told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish.

Saint Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early seventeenth century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and Lutheran Church. St. Patrick’s Day commemorates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, as well as Irish heritage and culture in general.

St. Patrick’s Day Green

Shamrock

Saint Patrick’s Day involves public parades and festivals, and wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians also attend church services and the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol are lifted for the day. Originally, the color associated with Saint Patrick was blue. Over the years, the color green replaced blue in Saint Patrick’s Day observances. Green ribbons and shamrocks were worn in celebration of St Patrick’s Day as early as the 17th century. Saint Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) to the pagan Irish, hence the wearing of shamrocks and shamrock-inspired designs has become a popular tradition of the day. The phrase, “the wearing of the green,” is derived from wearing a shamrock on one’s clothing. In the 1798 rebellion, to draw attention and make a political statement, Irish soldiers wore full green uniforms on 17 March.

St. Patrick’s Day in the United States

Green Beer

Green Beer

St. Patrick’s Day, although not a legal holiday in the United States, is widely recognized throughout the country. It is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture with celebrations including prominent displays of the color green, feasting, religious observances, and numerous parades. Many celebrants also engage in the copious consumption of alcohol, including drinking “green beer” (beer that has been tinted green). The traditions have been carried-on in North America since the late eighteenth century. Some of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades are held in the cities of Boston and New York, and in Chicago, where the Chicago River is died green each year in recognition of the holiday.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montreal Canada

One of the longest-running Saint Patrick’s Day parades in North America occurs each year in Montreal, whose city flag includes a shamrock in its lower-right quadrant. The parades have been held there continually since 1824.

London, England Celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day

London has held an annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade since 2002. It takes place on weekends around the 17th, usually in Trafalgar Square. In 2008, the water in the Trafalgar Square fountains was dyed green. Some excellent information sources about St. Patrick’s Day include Wikipedia and History.com.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Pope Elected

Pope Francis is the 266th Pope

PopeJorge Mario Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-GOAL-io)—now known as Pope Francis—age 76, has been elected as the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. This selection follows the resignation of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The new pontiff will be called Pope Francis. This marks the first time in papal history that the name, Francis, has been used. He is the first non-European pope in over 1,200 years. In his title, Pope Francis will not use the Roman numeral, ‘I,’ to denote “the first,” unlike a preceding pope, John Paul I, who decided himself to add the ‘I’ to his title. The new pope will be correctly referred to simply as Pope Francis.

First Jesuit Pope

The election of the archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio was an apt choice in that the bulk of the world’s Catholics currently reside in the Southern Hemisphere. As Bill Chappell of NPR mentions, the choice of the name, “Francis,” is seen as a gesture toward the Franciscans from Bergoglio, the first Jesuit to become pope. Vatican representative, Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed that the name refers to St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order, often seen as the Jesuits’ traditional rivals.

Pope Has Dual Role

In his role as pope, Pope Francis is both the leader of the Catholic Church and the sovereign ruler of the Vatican City State.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

On my first trip to Atlanta, Georgia, we visited the Georgia Aquarium. It was just what I had hoped. There are an abundance of creative exhibits, and the dolphin show is spectacular! It’s all indoors, so you can visit anytime. Here’s a shot of some of the colorful fish there:
Georgia AquariumFish Tales

Speaking of fish tales, check out my books of short stories. Look for the links on this page. Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

 

Happy travels!
Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Twitter Trending Topper is One Direction

One Direction Trends on Twitter

One Direction? I think I like them. They remind me of a certain band from way back. I even knitted together a couple of images to express my initial impression:

Remember the Monkees

One Direction and Monkees

You’ve got to admit the resemblance.

My best!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch in Hudson Valley New York October 2012

Robert Reoch Visits Hudson Valley New York

Robert Reoch Loves Leaves

During a particularly colorful fall week, we drove from Boston to the Hudson River Valley in New York State to enjoy the sights and surrounds of Poughkeepsie and Hyde Park. Our drive through Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York was spectacular. This was a great year for “leaf peeping.”

Among the sites we took in was the Walkway Over the Hudson, which is a recently completed footbridge, which spans the Hudson River with panoramic views in all directions. We also toured Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home and museum, a must-see while in the area. Rounding out our trip was the Vanderbilt mansion tour, which proved just a little more tedious than edifying. If you have a couple of hours to kill, it’s just worth the stop.

Do not miss The Eveready Diner in Hyde Park! This is the real deal. It’s a beautiful classic diner-style restaurant with an extensive menu of traditional favorites. The food is as good as the best homemade fare, and the service and atmosphere are like stepping back in time. Order a vanilla malt! Incredible!

The photos below tell the story.

Autum Leaves Hudson Valley NY

Autum Leaves in Hudson Valley New York

Hotel Window View  on a Hudson Valley fall morning.

Hotel Window View on a Hudson Valley fall morning.

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

Hudson River as seen from Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Hudson Valley Fall

Oooh…pretty.

Leaves nothing to the imagination.

Robert Reoch Autum River View NY

Another view from our hotel.

View from the back deck of our hotel.

Robert Reoch FDR Home

Looking down FDR’s driveway.

The Eveready Diner

Eveready Diner

The Eveready Diner has that nostalgic aura and great food!

The Eveready Diner is hoppin’! YUM!

Eveready Diner interior (we sat on those stools). It was bustling and alive.

Eveready Diner interior (we sat on those stools). It was bustling and alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sat right there in those stools. The place was packed.
I had the best Reuben with fries and a frosty vanilla malt!

Robert Reoch Fall Leaves

Brilliant leaves and all I see is my disheveled hair.

 

Robert Reoch Hyde Park

Hyde Park outside a Vanderbilt Mansion

Still thinking about diner food.

Robert Reoch over the Hudson River

Snapping shots over the Hudson.

Taking snaps atop the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Vanderbilt shack.

The Vanderbilts built this summer shack.

The Vanderbilt “Summer Shack.”

Robert Reoch Vanderbilt Hudson Valley

Grounds of the Vanderbilt estate Hudson Valley NY

Robert Reoch Walkway Over Hudson

Another view from the Walkway Over the Hudson

Another view from Walkway Over the Hudson.

Robert Reoch Fall Leaves

Me and Joon enjoying the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joon and me and them purty leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a nice fall!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

In Time

In Time

In Time (2011) Starring: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy

Director: Andrew Niccoli

In this sci-fi action suspense film, In Time, people trade time as currency. Everyone on the planet has a running digital clock readable on his or her arms. Years, months, days, minutes, and seconds can be added and removed between persons and various external devices. Once your time runs out, you’re dead. On the other hand, you can literally live forever if you keep your meter full.

The wealthiest individuals are practically immortals, owning huge blocks of time. They lord control over the rest of society, whose ghetto lives are lived tediously at various jobs, working just to earn more time to avoid running out and dying in the streets.

Enter our hard working hero, Will Salas (Timberlake), who receives an unexpected gift of a century’s worth of time from a disillusioned man of upper society who wants to let his time run out and die, having grown mentally tired of living indefinitely.

Unfortunately, most of the rich don’t want the poor ever to get enough time to live too long. They prefer to control the wealth and prevent overpopulation by employing “Time Keepers” such as Raymond Leon (Cillian Murphy) to ensure that the lower classes never get ahead. Will Salas, having upset the balance with his recent gain, becomes a target of the Time Keeper and his goons. Salas decides to take on the rich establishment and find a way to balance the wealth.

Meanwhile, rich girl Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) is bored. When Salas shows up among the rich people, she becomes drawn to him and winds up helping him. It’s The Patty Hearst Story meets Logan’s Run.

Overall, this production is pedestrian and lacks enthusiasm. There’s off-putting poor CGI for certain scenery. Also looking cheap is a fleet of ’70s muscle cars and classic ’60s Lincoln Continentals, all painted black to look “futuristic.” (TV’s Dukes of Hazard and The Green Hornet had better stock.)

The story builds well enough, but we don’t ever feel real buy-in from Timberlake or Murphy. Seyfried is the most convincing in her role. There’s no “big reveal” and the intended climactic scenes merely expire, like time. Still, interest is held for most of the duration. In Time avoids becoming too tiresome by the ending—but just in time.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man  (2012) Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

Director: Marc Webb

3D is well-honed in The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not all in-your-face in one moment and then gone the next. The visuals lend splendidly to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man in his red and blue costume, swinging like Tarzan between tall buildings in Manhattan.

Teenage Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man is made to appear plausible in this well directed installment. Thanks to a great cast and a rounded story, things move along with the character of a good indie and the appeal of a John Hughes film. There’s even a high school bully with whom Peter Parker must contend along with the pressures of a twink Spider-Man saving the world from a mad scientist while romancing the police chief’s daughter at the same time.

Fine cinematography captures the abundant screen presence of the cast. As Peter Parker’s aunt and uncle/legal guardians, Martin Sheen provides firm fatherly authority while Sally Field weighs-in with her urgent motherly pleadings. It’s screen gold. Emma Stone is radiant.

Andrew Garfield’s expressiveness adds depth to his character. We get the full range of the male testosterone experience including his initial awkward flirtations with classmate Gwen Stacy (Stone).  Somehow, overnight, he morphs from a fumbling geek to a smoldering kisser and ninja fighter.

This is the best Spider-Man so far. It’s balanced romance, drama, and thrilling 3D action.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers (2012) Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow

Director: Joss Whedon

Multiple Marvel Comics superheroes can work together well, even if they don’t always get along. They may even have a few spats, but they get their work done. 3-D effects keep getting better, and this film is the best example I’ve seen yet.

In this story, Thor’s half-brother, Loki, is back on the scene and bent on dominating stuff (in this case, the Earth) as usual. He manages a feasible plan, but is forced to contend with the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.—Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate—including a potent assortment of superheroes hired as temps for the police.

This film moves quickly. The dialogue is smart and often funny. The outcome is predictable. Seen in an IMAX theater, children screamed and laughed in some parts, while the adults laughed in others. The movie was engaging enough that I could ignore the girl behind me kicking my seat and forgive the little boy beside me elbowing me and kicking me as he sucked on his gigantic soda loudly during the quiet parts. It’s a superhero movie. It’s noisy. I’ll never go to a matinée again.

My grade: A-

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Hugo

Hugo

Hugo (2011)Starring: Asa Butterfield, BenKingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen

Director: Martin Scorsese

A boy named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is orphaned after his father dies in a fire. Taken in by his drunken uncle who runs the massive clocks at the Paris Train Station, Hugo winds up (no pun intended) alone, once again, after his uncle disappears. Fending for himself, Hugo keeps the clocks running while working to restore a mechanical (automatronic) man, a museum relic on which his father had been working.

A colorful ensemble of characters frequents the train station, echoing the charms of an old Charlie Chaplin film. Among the denizens is a shopkeeper, George Méliès (Kingsley), who has it out for Hugo, convinced that Hugo had been stealing mechanical parts from his merchandise. The train station’s sole constable (Cohen) also presents a constant threat to Hugo, as he tries to capture the homeless boy, eager to remand him over to an orphanage.

Computer assisted imagery and masterfully blended cinematography combine for a visually stunning film. Legendary director Martin Scorsese imbues the production with sentimentality and nostalgia harkening to the days of silent film (again no pun intended).

As daily life unfolds, Hugo secretly befriends the shopkeeper’s goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who mysteriously happens to possess a special key, the only one that can unlock and make function the mechanical man.

Romantic side tales embellish, as well do several classic silent film clips. Inspiring and entertaining, Scorsese adds to his generous legacy.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

Robert Reoch Cupcakes
Leave these babies out
for the Easter Bunny.

 

Happy Easter!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Drive

Drive
Drive (2011) Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, James Biberi

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Music: Cliff Martinez

Drive is cinematic perfection. Cliff Martinez’ music captures an essence and feel for LA that  reminded me of the American Gigolo soundtrack (music by Giorgio Moroder).

Ryan Gosling (whose character is unnamed) plays a stunt driver doing side work driving a getaway car  for armed crooks. Becoming friendly with his married neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), things become complicated when he tries to help Irene’s husband, an ex-con, who is being threatened over old debts upon his release from prison.

Gosling’s driver is steel behind the wheel in souped-up chase scenes. His character develops quickly, growing throughout the story. His boss, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), at a garage on Reseda Boulevard, has dreams of owning a competitive stock car with (Gosling) driving it on the racing circuit with high paying sponsors. Cranston’s Shannon is a cringing, vulnerable stooge with one bum leg, and prone to bad luck. After successfully convincing a mobster named Bernie Rose (an unlikely but highly effective villain Albert Brooks), to bankroll his racing dream, things go sour. A rough entanglement ensues.

While Bernie Rose is the intimidating calculating businessman, his violent partner, Nino (Ron Perlman), epitomizes heavy handedness. The violence in this film comes through with masterfully created special effects.

Nicolas Winding Refn artfully directs with equal measures of bold strokes and a subtle brush. His characters interact with both tenderness and shocking brutality. The bursts of graphic violence rival that of any mob movie ever made, while other scenes linger languidly as Irene and her young son interact with the driver (Gosling), developing a tentative bond. The dialogue is sparse and not wastefully trite. Gosling’s driver is disarming as he melts the screen.

This film imparts nuances of the essential history and majesty of Los Angeles, even while snaking through its seamy underbelly. The contrasts and the crassness feel familiar to those who know LA. With music, often synthesized, the soundtrack brilliantly recalls a musicality from a 70s-80s synth age, sometimes grinding and pulsating rhythmically as in night music and the clubs. Always, the tone fits with the dynamic. This ride demands you crank up the sound of your home theater system. With superb cinematography and action, this is an exhilarating drive.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Thor

Thor

Thor (2011) Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Thor is an unexpectedly contemporary take on the Norse god of the same name. In an updated story, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), is kicked out of his Norse Gods heavenly realm for being too reckless. His father, Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), is just about to crown him as successor to his throne when he instead is compelled to banish Thor for impetuously stirring up war with their longtime rivals, the Frost Giants. Thor plummets to earth, stripped of his powers, only to find himself flat on his back in the nighttime desert and a subject of interest for a tight group of star-gazing science nerds who have accidentally smacked into him with their science equipment vehicle. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) develops an instant attraction to studly Thor as she’s dusting him off after the accident. The boy-meets-girl thing starts.

Enter the Federal Agents who noticed a foreign object (Thor’s powerful hammer), which has also fallen from the sky. Science geeks and Thor tussle with the Feds over the hammer and for the return of confiscated documents taken from the science team. Meanwhile, other battles are heating up back in Thor’s home realm where his bad brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has plotted to take over their father’s throne by any means, including preventing Thor from returning from Earth.

It all runs like clockwork in entertaining fashion. The special effects are clean. There are plentiful robust battles between larger-than-life entities (yes, it’s another one of those movies). This is not your father’s Thor. The acting is great. The action is cartoonishly humorous at times. Nicely directed. Kenneth Branagh has it down.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

Director: Brad Bird

On audience appeal, teenage boys are the obvious target here. This Mission is packed with explosions, mechanical gizmos, and spy weaponry. Adults will enjoy the nostalgia of Cold War stereotypes. The film’s primary villain is a Russian bent on blowing up the world. It’s always the same with those pesky Russians.

Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt again, has the right stuff this time. He projects intensity and effortlessness, unlike other recent turns where he’s been wound-up tighter than his smile. The only visual negative in this movie is the bad hair on nearly every character in the film. (You’ll see what I mean, but it doesn’t detract from the story.)

This Mission actually has two major tasks for the IMF team to complete over the course, filling up every second of its 110 minutes. Multiple complex characters keep things interesting too, while the changing global scenery supplies added visual depth. Altogether, worth a watch.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Christmas Cookies

Christmas Cookies

Cookies Cookies Cookies I’m a Cookie Monster

The main reason I enjoy baking Christmas cookies is to eat them! My recipe for butter cookies includes cardamom (the secret spice that reminds your taste buds it’s holiday season). With a few well-chosen cookie cutters, some colored icing, and a little finesse, these tasty gems make the season right. Ha!

Christmas Cookies Robert ReochChristmas Cookies Robert Reoch

 

 

 

Christmas Cookies Robert Reoch

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing