Archives for posts with tag: Lisa Mason Movie Critic

All Is True” has a glacierly slow beginning but a painterly cinematography of Stratford-on-Avon, an idyllic village far from London. This was William Shakespeare’s home town and where he married, raised a family, and built a substantial brick-and-stone house on a lovely plot of land. He was also seldom at home, having gone off to London, written a body of work—plays and sonnets—praised in his own time as the greatest poetry ever written, earned good money from his genius, and managed the complex business of the Globe Theater where his plays were performed.
When a stage prop malfunctioned and burned the Globe Theater to the ground, Shakespeare, now middle-aged verging on old, returned to Stratford-on-Avon, to his family and house, and never wrote again.
(Plot spoiler: EVERYone back home is pissed off at WS when he went off to London and became a famous playwright.)
This film tells of that time and is a sad revelation of Shakespeare’s last years, of the tragedies and scandals which befell his family and his confrontation of them.
There are points of wit, as you would expect of a film about Shakespeare. A fan, a young man, approaches WS as he is laboriously digging a garden, and asks him about writing. WS snaps, “You become a writer by writing.” But the fan insists, where do your ideas come from? WS replies from his imagination. When the fan persists, WS says, “Cherrio. Cherrio.” And in a conversation with a friend, WS says, “I never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”
There’s even a ghost story, as appropriate for Shakespeare.
If you enjoy an intimate character study, with tear-jerkers along the way, and an ultimately redemptive ending, “All Is True” is for you.
A bonus feature of getting the DVD: This is a Sony Classic Picture, and half a dozen interesting small films are pitched in the preview: “Stan and Ollie”, which husband Tom wanted to see and I didn’t so much (I’ve never cared for old-timey black-and-white slapstick), but the preview made me laugh, so that’s a Go. Films about the first all-women crew to sail a sailboat around the world in a competition, a film about Oscar Wilde, a film about underground artists in Nazi Germany, and more. I wrote the titles down for future reference.
Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206  and help support me after the Attack. I’ve just posted “Arachne”, my FIRST story published in OMNI magazine, the premiere fiction venue at the time. Upcoming in a few days, a blog about how I got my first story published in OMNI, inspiration, influences, and research, plus the October Writing Tip, how to expand a novelette into a novel.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

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Movie Night Extravaganza, reviewed in reverse order of when we viewed them. Why? Because I will have more to say about the first film we viewed than the others following.
Masterpiece Theater’s “The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I” was good for three hours. There were no radical deviations from the history, unlike BBC’s TV series “The Tudors” about Henry VIII and Hilary Mantel’s Booker Prize winning Wolf Hall, which each wildly differ on many points of history and characterizations.
“EI”, the series starts at Elizabeth’s imprisonment in the Tower by her half-sister, Queen Mary, and goes all the way to her death. “Elizabeth” with Cate Blanchett covers that same starting point but only up to her historic announcement about her marriage. (“I am married to England.”)
I didn’t need to know more than that, really, and Blanchett is easier to look at than Anne-Marie Duff. In fact, Blanchett looks remarkably more like the historic person from what I can see on EI’s Wikipedia page. Duff had a huge role, though, and was up to it.
So my history about Elizabeth I is substantially complete.
Minor quibble: throughout the series Duff’s voice sounds like a young woman. Oh, she shouts and rouses the rabble but when she speaks privately she sounds young even when she’s depicted as middle-aged and as very old. Duff, I’m sure, would have been up to the task of modulating her voice to sound old. I suppose that was the director’s decision. Or maybe EI’s voice sounded youthful and melodic even when she was old.
And now I’m giving sixteenth century British history a rest for a while. A long, long while.
Next up: “All Is True” and “Captain Marvel”.
Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206  and help support me after the Attack. I’ve just posted “Arachne”, my FIRST story published in OMNI magazine, the premiere fiction venue at the time. Upcoming in a few days, a blog about how I got my first story published in OMNI, inspiration, influences, and research, plus the October Writing Tip, how to expand a novelette into a novel.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

9-16-16-athena-in-sun-2

Getting ready to bake Athena’s ground turkey thigh. Thigh has more fat than turkey breast and cats, as obligate carnivores, need even more fat in their diets than dogs. Three-quarters of a pound lasts her, sealed up the Japanese clear container at left, five or six days.
To serve: I put a couple of chunks in one of her little Japanese crackle bowls, at upper left, then a couple of chucks of canned Whole Paws Turkey & Giblets. The latter has no corn, soy, wheat, rice, meat byproducts, blood meal, or preservatives. Plus real turkey, chicken hearts, chicken livers, peas, carrots, and all the vitamins and minerals cats need. Plus taurine.
Decades ago pet food companies discovered that cats require taurine, a substance found in muscles, nerve tissue, and bile. In the wild, cats eat a whole prey creature. The whole thing, especially the organ meat.
(Grotesque alert: A teenage boy, an athlete, was found dead behind a high school in Boulder, Colorado. At first the police were puzzled. His eyes, heart and liver had been neatly removed, almost surgically removed. Then they realized it was the work of a hungry mountain lion. Human eyes apparently have a lot of fat, too. End grotesque alert)
When I was researching cat nutrition four years ago when we adopted Athena, I found a company that will send you a whole frozen rabbit. You’re supposed to put the rabbit in a food processor (presumably a food processor dedicated to this sole purpose) and grind it up. Then spoon into containers and refrigerate.
No thanks. I’m THAT fanatic about preparing cat food.
Note: I don’t feed Athena kibbles. Like the little predator she is, she eats her antelope-kill substitute at night and digests all day. She doesn’t need to snack all day. Also, kibbles have grain—brown rice, which is supposed to make you think they’re healthy. Nope. Athena had a UTI when she first came to live here four years ago. I took the kibbles away back then. Also, from everything I’ve read, it’s not true that kibbles help clean the cat’s teeth. They don’t.
Invest in a dental sponge and brush your cat’s teeth with dental fluid at least once a week.
Join my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206 and support me while I recover from the Attack. I’ve got lots of goodies for you there with more on the way.
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Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, worldwide links, covers, reviews, interviews, blogs, round-tables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, and more!

The September 2019 Movie Review
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
This film was justifiably nominated for the Oscar in several categories and won the Golden Globe. Melissa McCarthy, in a heartfelt and acerbic performance, plays Lee Isreal, a one-time best-selling biographer down on her luck who stumbles on how to earn income to keep her New York City apartment and treat her beloved sick cat after she loses her job. (BTW, I’ve seen the NYC apartments of successful employed people; in the film, Isreal has a nice apartment.)
But story starts out following her humiliation, all too real, as a failed writer.
She goes to a posh party held at her literary agent’s very fancy apartment, overhears a successful author pontificating to a crowd of admirers, helps herself to the deluxe food, and steals a coat from the cloakroom.
Later, she goes to the agent’s very fancy office and pleads for a $10,000 spec sale of a new biography she’s researching. She says in a strangled voice, “I mean, I was on the New York Times Bestseller list once. Doesn’t that count for something?”
The literary agent replies, “I can’t get ten dollars for you.”
Ouch. Meanwhile, she owes the veterinarian money, so he won’t see her sick cat, let alone prescribe needed medicine.
Melissa McCarthy isn’t afraid of appearing fat and ugly. And desperate.
For the rest of The September Review of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, join Tier One of my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
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Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

The September 2019 Recipe
Lisa Mason’s Spicy California Rice
This is another recipe particularly satisfying for dinner on a chilly winter night, but the dish is good anytime of the year when you want to serve you and your family a nutritious dish with a Mexican flair. I used to call the dish “Mexican Rice,” but Mexican-inspired dishes have, I think, evolved into California cuisine. At our excellent local Mexican restaurant, for example, the menu makes a point that they don’t use lard—long a staple of Mexican cooking. And our veggie-centric dishes would be a novelty in traditional Mexican cuisine, which depends heavily on meat and corn tortillas.
By the way, as always, you can add a tablespoon more of olive oil to the recipe, if you want added fat (fat enhances taste, as all cooks know), or add ground turkey or even ground beef—already cooked, please—if you want meat.
But why would you want to?
In her landmark 1973 book, Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappé presents a meticulous argument that meat doesn’t actually contain as much “usable protein” or “complete protein” as people suppose and that bean, vegetable and grain (and sometimes dairy) combinations do the job equally well. Your body does need protein (less protein as you grow older) and usable protein is what your body can metabolize to fuel you.
Think of the classic peanut butter on bread (I hope you’ll transition to whole wheat bread and skip the sugary jelly). The reason this simple meal is satisfying and nourishing is that peanuts and wheat form a complete protein. Eat your sandwich with milk (fat-free milk, if you don’t have a lactose intolerance) and you’re good to go.
Brown rice and beans (kidney, pinto, or black beans) in particular provide a complete protein which is just as good as meat without the bad saturated fat and with the good fiber and vitamins.
I was a teenager when Lappé’s book was published but I quickly discovered it when I went off to college and got out of my mother’s meat-centric kitchen. There weren’t a lot of good vegetarian options then—except cheese and whole wheat bread—and I was skeptical of, and didn’t know how to cook, beans. Like a lot of people who have long eaten meat and haven’t transitioned to beans, legumes at first can cause digestive distress. Trust me, when you ease the meat out of your diet and eat more beans, your system will adjust and you can eat beans freely without embarrassing social consequences (you know what I mean).
On that happy note, let’s begin with Lisa Mason’s Spicy California Rice.
For the rest of the September recipe, join Tier One of my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
Note: I’ve grouped multiple posts on each Tier as a single post so that constitutes “one creation” under Patreon rules.
Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
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7.9.19.YOSHIO.VASE_NEW

“Yoshio Kobayashi (1951-2019)
Translator, editor, and fan Yoshio Kobayashi, 68, died June 13, 2019 of an ischemic heart attack. Under his pen name Takashi Ogawa he was one of the leading SF translators in Japan, tirelessly promoting SF and bringing works by Greg Bear, Bruce Sterling, Lucius Shepherd, Lewis Shiner, Michael Swanwick, and other major writers to the Japanese audience. He translated for Japanese publishers including Shueisha and Hayakawa, and for the magazine Hayakawa SF. He taught translation for many years in Tokyo and Sapporo, inspiring generations to share his passion, and founded award-winning Japanese fanzine Palantir in 1981.
Kobayashi was also the longtime Japanese agent for Locus, and a devoted friend to the magazine. Born 1951 in Tokyo, he suffered from neurological problems last year, and while he underwent brain surgery in November, his health continued to decline this year. He is survived by wife Mika Kobayashi and their daughter.”
Locus Magazine, The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field
* * *
I hope you’ll notice in the above official obituary that Locus Magazine neglected to mention the many women SFF writers whose work Yoshio also translated. Including me.
I first met Yoshio in 1991, after my first novel ARACHNE sold to Hayakawa and my Asimov stories, “The Oniomancer” and “Guardian” sold to the magazine Hayakawa SF.
He was a pleasant-looking, diminutive Japanese man with genuine warmth, congeniality, and humor. I think Locus Magazine sent him over to my home since Yoshio was an agent for the magazine, visited Charles Brown (the founder of the magazine) often and Charles had gotten news of my sales to the Japanese market.
Yoshio walked into my home, looking curiously around as he always did and carrying a large box made of bamboo.
This he presented to me. I opened the box and found the gorgeous Japanese vase you see above.
Then we sat down at my dining room table and went over the translation questions he had for me. Yoshio loved American slang, especially surfer slang and 1960s hip slang, and earnestly wanted to translate these strange words and their strange meanings into Japanese.
The next time I saw Yoshio, he was doing business at Locus Magazine in the Oakland Hills. Charles Brown called me: Could I drive him and Yoshio on a tour of the hills and then to dinner?
Of course I could.
Tom sat in the passenger seat, Yoshio and Charles sat in the back and we drove up Summit Drive where you can see the whole spectacular panorama of San Francisco Bay, East Bay, San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, and out to the Pacific Ocean. Charles said, “I have been everywhere in the world, but I still come back to the Bay Area and am amazed.”
Then I drove everybody across the San Rafael Bridge to Larkspur Landing in Marin County where we dined at the Marin Brewing Company. I don’t know if the restaurant is still there, but it was a burgers and fries and onion rings kind of place, with an impressive display of the brass beer brewing machinery in the front.
I didn’t like to touch my food with my fingers (still don’t), so I ate my burger and onion rings with a knife and fork. Yoshio observed me doing that, and emulated me. Charles’ memorable quote? “I know how to make onion rings, but if someone else cooks them, I’ll spare myself the work.” A good time was had by all, including Yoshio and me cutting up our burgers and buns with a knife and fork.
The next time I saw Yoshio, he was back in the Bay Area and asking if I could pick up he and a couple of friends and drive them up to the Locus house for a meeting.
Of course I could.
For the rest of the Tribute to Yoshio and all of the posts in the September Tier One creation, join Tier One of my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206.
Donate from your PayPal account to lisasmason@aol.com.
Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
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10.18.17.TGOA.BOOKS

At her mother’s urgent deathbed plea, Abby Teller enrolls at the Berkeley College of Magical Arts and Crafts to learn Real Magic. To support herself through school, she signs on as the superintendent of the Garden of Abracadabra, a mysterious, magical apartment building on campus.
She discovers that her tenants are witches, shapeshifters, vampires, and wizards and that each apartment is a fairyland or hell.
On her first day in Berkeley, she stumbles upon a supernatural multiple murder scene. One of the victims is a man she picked up hitchhiking the day before.
Torn between three men—Daniel Stern, her ex-fiance who wants her back, Jack Kovac, an enigmatic FBI agent, and Prince Lastor, a seductive supernatural entity who lives in the penthouse and may be a suspect—Abby will question what she really wants and needs from a life partner.
Compelled into a dangerous murder investigation, Abby will discover the first secrets of an ancient and ongoing war between Humanity and Demonic Realms, uncover mysteries of her own troubled past, and learn that the lessons of Real Magic may spell the difference between her own life or death.
The Garden of Abracadabra is an ebook on BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
On Kindle in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, and India.
The Garden of Abracadabra is in Print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
“So refreshing. . . .This is Stephanie Plum in the world of Harry Potter.”
Goodreads: “I loved the writing style and am hungry for more!”
Amazon.com: “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy”

“This is a very entertaining novel—sort of a down-to-earth Harry Potter with a modern adult woman in the lead. Even as Abby has to deal with mundane concerns like college and running the apartment complex she works at, she is surrounded by supernatural elements and mysteries that she is more than capable of taking on. Although this book is just the first in a series, it ties up the first “episode” while still leaving some story threads for upcoming books. I’m looking forward to finding out more.”
So there you have it, my friends! I’m delighted to announce The Garden of Abracadabra is in print and an ebook worldwide.
Join my other patrons on my Patreon page and learn the shocking reason I’ve opted for Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23011206
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Visit me at www.lisamason.com for all my books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, blogs, roundtables, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming works, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!
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