I had just published My Charlotte: Patty’s Story, a short sweet memoir about reading E.B. White’s classic children’s book, Charlotte’s Web, and how I wrote my first novel at age eight. Then how I became fascinated by the mythology and symbology of the spider, and wrote my first adult science fiction story, Arachne, which sold to Omni, a magazine that then had five million readers worldwide. The ebook includes a reprint of Arachne.

It was time to kick back with some movies and a take-out feast, and Tom Robinson brought me a special treat from our local movie rental place, the 2006 live-action/animated feature of Charlotte’s Web. This film is a thorough delight from beginning to end and, with the exception of beneficially adding a few more animal characters and a bit more human-centric plot, stays so true to the original story, the author E.B. White would have been proud. Julia Roberts as Charlotte’s voice is absolutely pitch-perfect and the animation of the spider weaving her web is magical, beautiful, and scientifically accurate. The spider as repellent at distance rightly defends her place in Nature as the eradicator of billions of bad bugs. By the film’s end, the animators skillfully give Charlotte such a sweet face in close-up, you can’t help but love her To my surprise, the Hollywood filmmakers discerned in the book what I saw as a child of eight and point out in My Charlotte: Patty’s Story—the respect and reverence for Nature and for Life in all its wonderful forms. Highly, highly recommended (especially for arachnophobes).

But there are no cats (or dogs) in Charlotte’s Web so Tom Robinson chose another movie, The Rabbi’s Cat. This foreign animated film is in French with subtitles, so if you don’t speak French and hate reading subtitles (and it is a chore), you may want to skip this. But the film won a lot of international awards and, yes, there is a talking cat. The story takes place in 1923 Algiers when the French still occupied that country as a colony. The Algerians—both Jewish and Muslim alike—endured discrimination from the French. What you might think would be a huge issue in the film is only touched upon. Instead the story focuses on two holy men, a Jew and a Muslim, who are friends, worship together (each in his own way), and set out together on a quest. The Rabbi’s cat magically begins to speak and, in the funniest scenes of the film, is so excellent in his French and scholarship that he coaches the Rabbi for a test the Rabbi must take to become certified. Everyone loves the Rabbi’s cat. No scenes of cat abuse.

Algiers in 1923 is not one of my areas of expertise, and I’m quite sure I missed a lot of the political and religious nuances. The story does meander, introducing characters and subplots and then dropping them, and finally dropping the entire plot at the end. Recommended only for those who understand French, or can endure subtitles, or understand 1920s African politics, and love talking cats.

I love talking cats. I’ve got a character in The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series who is a talking cat with magical powers. I love this character so much, I’m giving her her own children’s book series.

The cat in Inside Lewynn Davis does not talk, nor is there any animation in the movie (and I mean that in more ways than one). The Coen brothers are smart filmmakers but their films are hit or miss. I liked O Brother Where Art Thou enough to buy it for my collection and watch it again now and then. The actors and period music are delightful, the story of a band on the run hitting big with an audience unbeknownst to them is great, the scenes of magical realism are quite magical, and the mythic underpinning works.

The Coens try the Ulysses myth again in Lewynn Davis. The mythic underpinning doesn’t work here, the (true) story of a failed folksinger is depressing, and the character of the woman folksinger, who is foul-mouthed, bitchy, and ultimately deceptive, repulsed this viewer. I carefully read a number of reviews in different venues before agreeing to see this movie—in all, the reviewers stated that the ginger cat, who steals every scene he’s in, turns out all right. But the film has at least two scenes of cat abuse, which is total deal-killer for me. Maybe the same cat turns all right, but there are other ginger cats, too. The failed folksinger is handsome, sings and plays guitar well, has written good songs—so why did he fail? A creative person with lots of promise fails for all kinds of reasons—bad luck, lack of perseverance, lack of ego and confidence, discouragement. This film had nothing to say about why. If you want to see cute cat videos, please google them on the Internet, and skip this.

So there you have it, my friends. A huge Recommended, a qualified Recommended, and a Not Recommended.

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony; Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo; My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Tomorrow’s Child is on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Sony, and Smashwords. Tomorrow’s Child is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, at Sony, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

If you enjoy a title, please “Like” it, add five stars, write a review on the site where you bought it, Tweet it, blog it, post it,, and share the word with your family and friends.

Your participation really matters. Thank you for your readership!

Advertisements