Movie Review: Unbroken (Four Stars)

Movie Review: Unbroken

Four Stars out of Five

Impressive story; well told. Essentially a true story, of Louis Zamperini a young Olympic athlete who survived a crash landing, many days adrift in the Pacific only to be captured by Japanese and forced through a series of POW camps in Japan. Doesn’t shy too far from the faith aspects of the story.

Told with great skill and not a little violence. Some beautiful cinematography.

Worth seeing.

The Japanese won’t be seeing Unbroken because Universal Pictures isn’t releasing it there. Why are we so worried about North Korea, when our ally and supposed open society, Japan, still doesn’t admit to atrocities done in their prisoner-of-war camps?

Movie Review: Interstellar (Five Stars)

Movie Review: Interstellar.

(Five Stars out of Five)

This generation’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Compelling drama and excellent graphics. Slightly over the top, but who cares. Like almost everyone else. Christopher Nolan doesn’t seem to understand the physics of black holes. But … it’s science fiction.

Almost anything I tell you will give things away. So, I won’t.

See it soon; see it often; see it in IMAX. (Trust me on that last one.)

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (Three Stars)

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

(Three stars out of five)

Fun, silly, special effects laden.

Somebody had a lot of fun making this movie. Lots of pop culture references that I missed, but I enjoyed the 80s music. Hey, I’m old.

Glad I didn’t waste the extra money to see it in 3-D.

Pop corn for the brain.

Book Review Ratings

Up front, I need to tell you: three stars is positive. Two stars is “okay.”

While I use the usual five star rating scale, I am more rigorous with my ratings in 2014. Previously, a book I liked got four stars, now it gets only three.

I made that alteration so that my four and five star ratings really meant something. I don’t want to be one of those raters who gives only 1 and 5 star ratings, then whines because the scale is so resistive.

I also apply what I variously call the 50-page and the 100 page test. As Frank Zappa said, “So many books, so little time.” Some books are so bad that I quit them within the first ten pages; those you’ll never hear about–I delete them from my database. But some books seemed to have enough quality that I soldiered through 50 or 100 pages (depending on the length of the book and the deepness of my exasperation) before I quit. Those I tend to write reviews on. (So far, those reviews are only posted on

I have no special credentials for reviewing books other than liking to read. I am a college graduate. I’ve read thousands (of documented) novels and hundreds of non-fiction books. I’ve attended half a dozen writing conferences as I struggled to learn the craft myself. I know from first-hand experience that it’s harder than it looks. Few of us can be Tolkiens or Rothfusses; in fact, I’d settle for producing the page-turning excitement of a David Weber space opera.

Likewise, I have no special credential for reviewing movies; I probably see many fewer than the average American.

So, my ratings are conservative but, I hope, informed.