The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix — Like its lead character, no future

We scanned the newspaper, looking for a movie to go to. Arkansas Democrat Gazette reviewer Piers Marchant gave The Master a 90/100. The movie starred Joaquin Phoenix! “How can we go wrong?” we thought.

When only a dozen or so people entered the theater, that might have been a tip-off that it was time to request our money back. Movies, like restaurants, attract crowds when they’re good. An empty parking lot is a warning sign.

But what we needed here wasn’t a warning sign, but a wall preventing entry. This movie was horrible. Joaquin Phoenix gave his usual, splendid performance as a disturbed individual. But the character had absolutely no redeeming features. None. I frankly didn’t care what happened to him because he was so repulsive.

The supporting characters were equally repulsive or, at best, flat. Didn’t much care what happened to them either.

The film meandered, and went nowhere. The “big reveal” at the end of the movie was subtle enough that my husband missed it entirely. My reaction was more like, “That’s it?”

Basically, The Master is a two hour and sixteen minute character study of a man who becomes brain dead after years of drinking his own moonshine , which he concocts using a variety of substances including turpentine. There’s no dramatic change in the character’s thinking. Understandable since he isn’t even capable of thinking.

Save your money. Watch the trailer. It’s actually more interesting (and thankfully shorter) than the film. And if you’re thinking the trailer seems pointless and weird — well then, you’ve captured the essence of The Master.

Barnes and Noble Nook Color — Love it!

Happy Holidays, everyone!

For the first time in many years, my husband and I exchanged gifts. And I received a Nook Color. And I love it!

For anyone used to working with computers, it’s relatively easy to operate. And a user’s manual is included on the device as a free book. (For anyone not familiar with computers, there might be a substantial learning curve.)

For reading books, the font and font sizes can be changed, so that text is easier to read. The manual says that font color can be changed but, sorry, that feature is not included. However, there are several background colors to choose from while reading, and one can reduce or enhance the display brightness.

Searching is easy, as is highlighting and note-taking. One feature I’d like to see in the future is the ability to search one’s notes for key words.

However, Nook has a built-in dictionary that one can access while reading a book. Simply keep your finger on a word, and a menu appears. Select “look up.”

This morning, I was searching for an additional dictionary application. The only one I saw that got good to fair reviews was from Merriam Webster. However, it’s very pricey ($25). I did find one MW version for $14 – don’t know if that’s older and less reliable software, or simply less expensive.

Many magazines are available for Nook, with a 14-day free trial. However, one cannot highlight, look up words, or paste notes when reading a magazine.

For 99 cents each, a number of applications to the device, including a calendar with alarm clock, a calculator, checkers, and scrabble. Great to have on hand if when waiting at the airport, the auto repair shop, or in the kitchen as dinner cooks. There are also many applications created to entertain small children.

As long as there’s a WiFi connection, one can search the web or check/send e-mail.

I haven’t loaded any music to my Nook, but that’s yet another option.

I understand that NetFlix also has a free application for streaming video and television shows – which would be great for long car or plane rides. Of course, one has to be a NetFlix member, which involves an additional fee.

LATER THAT SAME DAY…  I just tried adding music to my Nook. It does not accept Windows Media Player files, which means songs on my computer must be converted to MP3s. I did convert a sampling, but when I played them on Nook, the sound quality was poor. Since music isn’t an important feature to me, I still love my Nook Color.