Sunday, August 23, 2009

Founding Brothers and G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Here's another two-fer!

Founding Brothers: This is one of my more unusual reads, as it is, in fact, non-fiction. While not up my usual alley, I like a little history (if well-written) once in a while. And this one seemed like the perfect read for me. It gives a look at six famous events in the time of the Founding Fathers of the USA: Hamilton and Burr's fateful-- and fatal-- duel, the debate over where to place the capital, the slavery issues in that period, Washington's almost-prophetic farewell address, Adams' presidency and his collaboration with his wife, and Jefferson and Adams' friendship that has been in the history books for centuries.

Ellis takes a good approach to the subject, giving readers exploded scenes that offer insight into how these historical figures were more like brothers than we might think. Which you probably could have guessed from the title, but that just means it's a good title. And Ellis' writing is very good-- his chapter on the duel is a delight to read, one of the best history passages I've ever read. But the book's greatness is marred somewhat by two flaws, which Ellis should have thought through. First of all, the chapter entitled "The Dinner" is a bit of a snooze, and it seems as if Ellis himself got bored while writing it. The other chapters are much better, though. Second, the book's organizational structure... well... isn't. There is no rhyme or reason as to why the chapters are arranged in the way they are. The first three chapters get progressively farther back in time, while the latter half of the book is more of a consistent narrative. It makes very little sense. Overall, though, if you want to review a bit of history and America's early period interests you, then Founding Brothers is an excellent choice.
My rating: 9/10

G. I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: I'm going to make this short and sweet. If you've played with the action figures all your life, see this movie. If you didn't, but you liked The Mummy, you'll still want to see this movie. If you fit both of these categories... well, you've probably seen it already. I had a great time, personally. Joe has Mummy's sense of great fun, loving the genre of film it's in, and giving viewers a rollicking good time. But if The Mummy wasn't your thing, you'll probably find this film wanting, as the tone and style are similar. But I'm game for a sequel.

My rating (if you're like me): 8.5/10

Coming Soon: The 13th Reality: The Hunt for Dark Infinity.


Krista said...

G.I. Joe was so cool! I really liked it. Solid reviews.

Sorry about all those crazy comments yesteryear! I still have no idea what to get my hands on. Oh, well, I'm headed to the book store now.....

Also, hope you don't mind, but I know you’re a fan of The Name of the Wind, so I thought you might like to see this:

Kim Kincaid is awesome, eh? I really loved her interpretation of Bast and Kvothe! I love her blog, she’s super awesome!

Krista said...

Catching Fire is in the lead by two now....

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see G. I. Joe!