My 2 Cents… IO (2019)

Would you prefer to watch the video review, instead of reading it? CLICK HERE

IO

Title: IO (2019)
Director: Jonathan Helpert
Writers: Clay Jeter, Charles Spano, and Will Basanta
Stars: Margaret Qualley (Sam), Anthony Mackie (Micah), Danny Huston (Henry), and Tom Payne (Elon)

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Cinematography: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Acting: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.25)

STORYLINE:
Sam (Margaret Qualley), one of the last survivors on a post-cataclysmic Earth, is a young scientist dedicated to finding a way for humans to adapt and survive, rather than abandon their world. But with the final shuttle scheduled to leave the planet for a distant colony, her determination to stay is rocked by the arrival of another survivor, Micah (Anthony Mackie). She must decide whether to journey with him to join the rest of humanity and begin life anew, or stay to fight for Earth’s survival.

MY 2 CENTS:
IO is not an action-packed Sci-Fi movie, so if that is what you want, you’ll be disappointed. This is a movie about human connection. It’s a movie with heart, emotion, and a desire to make the world a better place. I’m not sure why it got so many bad reviews, and certainly don’t feel like they were warranted. The script is all dialog and very little action, but that was the point. This movie will make you think, ask questions, wonder what if, and wonder if what we are doing to the world today will one day the devastation this movie shows us.

There are only three on-screen actors; Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, and Danny Huston. They all did a wonderful job, with Margaret Qualley carrying the bulk of the performance all on her own. She was beautiful in her performance of Sam.

I wanted more, but the ending the writers and director gave us was satisfying. They gave the viewers hope, where there was little to be found.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“Don’t underestimate the power of human connection. That’s all there is. There is no bigger meaning. Just human connection.” ~ Henry

“We have learned to fear our planet and fled to the stars in search of a new one. But the fascination for other worlds could not turn my eyes away from the beauty of our home. The waves are crashing on the shore… and the wind is blowing in my hair. Tell them it feels good. Tell them the dark clouds have given way to the ocean mist. Tell them a new world awaits us. Tell them we’re waiting for you. Waiting for you to come back.” ~ Sam

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/N6kW0KLqyj0

You can watch the official trailer here:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3256226/videoplayer/vi2167388697

On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson

Would you prefer to watch the video, instead of reading the review? CLICK HERE

Golden Pond

PLAY TITLE: On Golden Pond
AUTHOR: Ernest Thompson

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★★
Story: ★★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Appearance: ★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.75)

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
A comedy for a cast of 3 men, 2 women, 1 boy. This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the forty-eighth year. He is a retired professor, nearing eighty, with heart palpitations and a failing memory-but still as tart-tongued, observant and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness-and slang-in return. In the end, as the summer wanes, so does their brief idyll, and in the final, deeply moving moments of the play, Norman and Ethel are brought even closer together by the incidence of a mild heart attack. Time, they know, is now against them, but the years have been good and, perhaps, another summer on Golden Pond still awaits.

Buy the play HERE!

Buy the movie HERE!
MY 2 CENTS: 
On Golden Pond is a classic. The way that Thompson brings these characters to live is simply beautiful. It’s about life, relationships, and the heart.

I love when an author like Thompson can take a simple story, a retired couple spending the summer at their lake house, and turn it into so much more. By the end of the script, you’re emotionally attached to the characters, you care what happens to them, and you long to learn more about them.

The father/daughter relationship between Norman and Chelsea is heartbreaking. In just the few scenes in which they are together, it is obvious how much they love each other… how much they want to be close… and yet, they aren’t. It isn’t until Chelsea brings Billy, her boyfriend’s son, to visit her parents that Norman finally bonds with a child. It’s just said that it wasn’t his own child.

The husband/wife relationship between Norman and Ethel is exactly what I believe my grandparents had. They lived a similar life and were not only each other’s best friends, but they were soul mates. They were perfect together in every way. I believe that Thompson wrote their relationship to be perfect… almost to perfect, but not unbelievable in any way.

As an actress, reading this script has just added two characters to my list of dream roles I’d love to play. If I ever get the chance, in the next few years to audition for Chelsea, I will not let it pass me by, and of course… Ethel would be a dream role when I get older.

As a director, I have to be honest… I think it would be hard knowing how emotionally connected I am with the characters. I think I’d want to be on stage too much to do justice as a director.

APPEARANCE: Plain green cover with black text… Typical Dramatists Play Service cover. I feel like the plain cover allows the reader to use their imagination when envisioning the characters.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“Sometimes you have to look hard at a person and remember he’s doing the best he can. He’s just trying to find his way, just like you.”

“Well, that’s what happens if you live long enough: You end up being old. it’s one of the disadvantages of a long life. I still prefer it to the alternative.” 

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

 

on golden pond movie posterMovie Title: On Golden Pond
Director: Mark Rydell
Stars: Katharine Hepburn (Ethel Thayer), Henry Fonda (Norman Thayer Jr.), and Jane Fonda (Chelsea Thayer Wayne)

STORYLINE: The loons are back again on Golden Pond and so are Norman Thayer, a retired professor, and Ethel who have had a summer cottage there since early in their marriage. This summer their daughter Chelsea — whom they haven’t seen for years — feels she must be there for Norman’s birthday. She and her fiancé are on their way to Europe the next day but will be back in a couple of weeks to pick up the fiancé’s son. When she returns Chelsea is married and her stepson has the relationship with her father that she always wanted. Will father and daughter be able to communicate at last? (IMDB.COM)

Watch the official movie trailers here:

https://youtu.be/l-lcl2j3yf0

https://youtu.be/Y85sfYVOS84

Week 8 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the Eighth edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Writing Wednesday 2

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

• Read the writing prompt below,
• Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
• DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Kim, one of the characters in my upcoming novel The Beast Within (This is not a selection from the novel, but part of my character development journal.)

Today’s writing prompt:

Complete this thought: “I wish I had paid more attention when…”

I’m stubborn, like my grandfather. It’s in our blood. I’m also trouble, at least that’s what he always used to say, “…more trouble than all my money.” Looking back, I don’t really think he had all that much money. He didn’t need it, not for happiness. He had love and joy and peace of mind. He had everything he ever wanted.

When I was twenty, I packed up all my belongings into the trunk and back seat of my car and headed West. I didn’t really have a plan, just a destination; the ocean. My love of fashion was going to be the path that led me to greatness, even if all my friends thought I was crazy. I could see it, just as clearly as the morning sun. I made it happen too. I started my own line of clothing – Kimmy Designs – and even opened my own shop.

There were hard times. I was alone, a lot. Not having family or friends in a big city can be hard, but I survived. Eventually I established a pretty good life. I loved my work, had a great apartment, made a few friends. I was healthy…happy. However, there was always something missing. That little piece of happiness that only comes with knowing you haven’t sacrificed yourself to find your place in the world. I think that was what my grandfather had tried to teach me. He wanted me to know that things and money don’t matter, it’s the people you surround yourself with that make all the difference in the world.

I wish I had paid more attention when I was younger, when my grandfather sat me on his lap to tell me stories. I have a feeling, they contained the secrets of the universe.

© 2019 Nina Soden

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Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with!

Complete this thought: “I wish I had paid more attention when…”

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Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

Author Bullet Journal 8x10 Front Cover

 

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

#MindfulnessMonday 3/25/19

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: Meditation is an easy way to start your mindfulness lifestyle, but it takes consistency. So, check out these 6 steps to help you turn meditation into a habit: (1) Choose a time span… (2) Schedule it… (3) Practice… (4) Track your success… (5) Don’t go it alone… (6) Give yourself a break… Want to learn the details of each of these steps? Check out today’s #MindfulnessMonday video HERE!

MM

With that little piece of advice, I give you today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Breathing Meditation Exercise

Throughout the day, the majority of your minds wandering take you either into the future or back to the past. Accordingly, it is in these mental spaces where you spend most of your life. Because of this, you often miss much of what is going on around you… You aren’t present in the moment, not fully. Your breath, on the other hand, can never be in the future or the past, it is always right here, in the present moment – keeping you grounded to the here and now.

By simply sitting quietly with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing as the air flows in and out of your body, you are instantly drawn back to the present moment. When you find your mind wandering to other things (dinner, shopping, work, kids, etc.) invite your mind back to the present… back to the breath. Through this type of breathing meditation practice you become more grounded in the moment, allowing for increased focus, improved health, and a heightened sense of peace and joy.

Mindfulness Journaling Prompt: Where does your mind wander when you try to meditate? What things do you find yourself thinking about when you should be thinking about your breath and your body?

This type of mindfulness journaling can be very private. However, if you are willing to share your thoughts with me and my readers, I would love to invite you to comment below and let me know how this exercise affected you and what you learned about yourself through the meditation.

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Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

EPISODE 12 ~ How to Turn Meditation into a Habit

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InvisibleWould you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

*I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Would you prefer to watch the video , instead of reading the review? CLICK HEREof mice and men

TITLE: Of Mice and Men
AUTHOR: John Steinbeck

RATING OVERVIEW
Writing: ★★★★
Story: ★★★★
Characters: ★★★★★
Overall: ★★★★ (4.33)

 

AMAZON DESCRIPTION:
A controversial tale of friendship and tragedy during the Great Depression.

They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie’s unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

“A thriller, a gripping tale . . . that you will not set down until it is finished. Steinbeck has touched the quick.” —The New York Times

Buy the book HERE!

Buy the play HERE

Buy the movie HERE

The Critical Points:
I picked up this book because of a recommendation by one of my youtube viewers. So, if you haven’t checked out my youtube reviews, make sure you check out the page HERE.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, was originally published in 1937. A lot has changed in literature and society since 1937…

With that said, let’s get into the guts of this story and my opinion of it. Just a warning… there will be spoilers in this review.

WRITING: Of Mice and Men is a classic, read in many high schools across the country, although I don’t believe I ever read it in school. Although I never read the novel, until now, I had read the play while studying theatre in college.

I can understand why the novel received the Nobel Prize in Literature, but I have to admit that it wasn’t my favorite of Steinbeck’s novels. The writing style, although probably a good example of the time period, was choppy and repetitive. I found the excessive foul language to be distracting and often unnecessary.

STORY: The story is beautiful. It is the relationship between two men, George and Lennie, an unlikely pair of friends. George takes care of Lennie, who is mentally challenged, as they travel the country looking for work on farms. Their goal… or rather, their dream, is to one day own some land of their own. However, Lennie is continually getting into trouble causing them to have to pick up and move at a moment’s notice, which in turn makes it difficult for them to save up the money for the land they hope to purchase.

CHARACTERS: George is a small, caring man, who looks after Lennie like he is more than just a friend, as if he is a brother. Lennie is a rather large and very strong, mentally challenged man who doesn’t know his own strength. He doesn’t know how to think for himself and as a result relies on George to tell him what to do and how to react to situations. When left to his own devices, Lennie reacts physically and is unable to control himself, hence killing the mice he keeps hidden in his pocket, or the puppy he so desperately wanted to pet. Although, it isn’t until he kills his boss’ wife that George realizes that he has to stop covering for Lennie and make the hard decision of letting him go.

The final scene of the book is heart wrenching, emotionally draining, and sad. It was also predictable, but that didn’t in any way dampen the emotional affect of the scene when reading it.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:
“I seen hunderds of men come by on the road an’ on the ranches, with their bindles on their back an’ that same damn thing in their heads. Hunderds of them. They come, an’ they quit an’ go on; an’ every damn one of em’s got a little piece of land in his head. An’ never a God damn one of em ever gets it. Just like heaven. Ever’body wants a little piece of lan’. I read plenty of books out here. Nobody never gets to heaven, and nobody gets no land. It’s just in their head.” ~ Of Mice and Men

Check out my YouTube channel and the video review below… and make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss a video.

https://youtu.be/bqh5T4fIBbg

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of mice

MOVIE DETAILS
Title: Of Mice and Men
Director: Gary Sinise
Screenplay Written by: Horton Foote
Stars: John Malkovich (Lennie) and Gary Sinise (George)

 

Check out the official movie trailer here:

https://youtu.be/BQtiStdDaYw

 

Week 7 – #WritingWednesday Challenge

Today is the Seventh edition of #WritingWednesday!!!

Writing Wednesday 1

Remember, #WritingWednesday is an EASY, STRESS-FREE, weekly writing challenge.

• Read the writing prompt below,
• Spend 5 minutes writing (in your own voice or the voice of a character you’re writing) whatever comes to mind,
• DON’T EDIT what you write! IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT!

The goal is 5 minutes of creativity.

Today I am writing in the voice of Austin, the main character in my upcoming novel The Beast Within (This is not a selection from the novel, but part of my character development journal.)

Today’s writing prompt:

Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net?

I take risks every day, I’m a doctor. However, I don’t really think that is the type of risk your asking about. Risks verses a safety net? That’s a tough question to answer. I think that deep down, I’d rather have a safety net, it’s what my dad taught me. Follow the rules and you’ll be safe, he used to say. The problem is that it isn’t always easy to follow the rules. Not when the rules, or laws, say not to kill.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to hurt people. I’d rather live a quiet life where no one has to get hurt. But, when survival is on the line, its hard not to do anything and everything it takes. That means, some people will have to die. I can try to minimize the body count, but in the end, there will still be a body count. There is always risk when it comes to life or death situations. The bigger the safety net, I can create for myself, the better.

© 2019 Nina Soden

* * * * *

Alright, now it’s your turn. I’d love to see what today’s writing prompt inspires in you. So, if you are willing, go to the comment section below and start typing. Take 5 minutes and let’s see what you come up with!

Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net?

* * * * *

51gqQbGYyAL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Are you working on a manuscript, but need a little help getting organized? Check out SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A BOOK ~ An Indie Author Guide to Outlining and Planning Your Next Novel

Author Bullet Journal 8x10 Front Cover

 

 

Want help meeting your writing goals? Check out JUST WRITE: The Ultimate Author’s Bullet Journal

#MindfulnessMonday 3/18/19

MM

Today’s #MindfulnessMonday Tip: Sometimes, I find it hard to say no. I don’t like conflict and I don’t want to disappoint people. So, I say ‘yes’ a lot. This usually results in me having way too many things on my plate with not enough time or energy to complete them all. Those that do get done, aren’t always top quality because when you have so much on your plate it is hard to focus 100% on the task at hand. It is important to say ‘No’ not only for your piece of mind, selfcare, and sanity… it’s important because when you say ‘yes’ and then can’t give it your all, you end up disappointing others. Want to know more about how sometimes selfcare can mean saying no? Check out today’s #MindfulnessMonday video HERE!

With that little piece of advice, I give you today’s Mindfulness Exercise:

Self-Praise Exercise

Today, I want you to make a conscious decision to spend the day recognizing all the good in what you do. Give yourself a pat on the back, if you will. Take time to acknowledge yourself. All to often, we spend our lives trying to please everyone else, building others up at the expense of our own self-worth and value. It is important for your mental health that you take time for selfcare and self-reflection. With that in mind, just for today (or more often if you find you enjoy this exercise) put a notepad in your pocket or purse and throughout the day jot down things you do/say/etc. that you’re proud of. It might be hard a first, but as you start to recognize the little things and allow yourself to complement them, it will get easier.

Mindfulness Journaling Prompt: Take 5 minutes, at the end of your day, to look over all the things you’ve written in today’s notepad. These are the positive things you noticed throughout the day that you said or did. How did it feel to compliment yourself throughout the day? Can you take a complement from yourself or others? Is it hard to hear your own self-praise or praise from those around you? If so, why do you think it’s hard? What other things can you think of that you’ve done recently that deserve a little self-praise and recognition? It’s ok to be proud of yourself, in fact, it’s healthy!

Selfcare like this can be a very personal thing, but if you’re willing to share your thoughts and experiences with me and my readers, I’d love for you to take the time to comment below. 

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Check out my #MindfulnessMonday YouTube Series and don’t forget to click subscribe so you never miss an episode!

EPISODE 11 ~ When Selfcare Means Saying NO!

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Invisible

Would you like to take the 52-week challenge and experience a more mindful existence? Check out The Invisible You ~ 52 Weeks of Meditations, Activities, and Writing Prompts to Help you Discover You!

*I’m certified in Holistic Stress Management and Mind/Body Fitness. I’ve been practicing Mindfulness for 10+ years and am passionate about helping others in their pursuit of a more mindful existence.