Top Ripples of 2013

It’s not easy to rate a whole year’s experience by Ripples, unlike a two-hour movie. However, here are some stats I’ve compiled for my own records.

Ripple Effects is all about books and movies. For me, watching a movie definitely is a much easier activity than finishing a book. So far this year, my movie number is around 100, almost three times as many as books I’ve read. They include movies I’ve watched on the big screen in theatres, at TIFF, and on DVD and Blu-ray formats at home. But I’m sure there are still a few I’d forgotten to jot down.

I’ve written 16 movie reviews on Ripple Effects this year, and they are not all 2013 releases. This number represents only a dearth of my film experience. From this small collection, there are two that I’ve given 4/4 Ripples (I’m sure I’ll add some more in this Award Season):

12 Years A Slave

These two came close, with 3½ Ripples:

Before Midnight
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her (TIFF 13)

And several more with 3 Ripples. Click here to my review list.

For my trip to Toronto to attend TIFF in September, definitely a 4-Ripple experience.

Many of the movies I watched this year are “catch-up’s”. They are cinema classics I’d missed over the past decades. These are films that I’d long wanted to see but had not the time or the chance to. Yes, this ‘catching-up’ activity is a most enjoyable time for me. They don’t make movies like these anymore. No CGI, no colours even, yet we can see a kaleidoscope of characters, fantastic scenes and poignant human conditions. So, Top Ripples go to:

Federico Fellini’s I Vitelloni (1953), La Dolce Vita (1960), 8½ (1963)
Victorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru (1952), Rashomon (1950)
Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men (1957)

Some others are book-related. Before the newest remakes come into being, I’d like to experience the original version, like:

Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940)
Elia Kazan’s East of Eden (1955)
John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath (1940)

Still other films I watched and/or rewatched to prepare for or just to go together with what looks like is their latest version, or homage, if you will, like the following to coincide with Before Midnight (2013):

Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage (1973)
Woody Allen’s Husbands and Wives (1992)

Or Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) to go with Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine (2013)

Along the way during this rewarding movie-watching year, I’ve discovered some foreign language films, two in particular stand out: Korean director Chang-dong Lee’s Poetry (2010) and Secret Sunshine (2007)

As a freelance reviewer, I continue to be a contributor to Asian American Press as their film and arts guest columnist. Further, and this I’m really excited about, my feature article on the Canadian-Korean playwright/actor Ins Choi was published on the December 4th issue of Curator Magazine.


Even though I’ve only read a small number of books compared to movies watched, I’m glad I’d completed a major challenge, and that’s reading Proust. It’s definitely a 4-Ripple experience for me, despite having had to slash my way through thickets and at times, find my way out of a literary labyrinth. My post on this first taste of Proust was featured on WordPress’s ‘Freshly Pressed’. Now that’s the bonus madeleines on top of an already savory meal.

Another book I hold high esteem is Eric Metaxas’s Bonhoeffer, a Read-Along I hosted earlier in 2013. I’d enjoyed the camaraderie of reading the same book with others, and the discussion of ideas. Finishing a book or not is not as important as taking part in the journey, even for a little while, as we share our thoughts. 4 Ripples.

For old acquaintances and new friends I’ve made in the blogging world this year, I must give another 4 Ripples. This is the major reward of blogging. To all the new blogs and sites I’ve discovered, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our mutual visits.


As for posts, looks like my “Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey” has taken over “Memorable Movie Love Quotes” as the most popular these days. And I can understand why. Let’s get ready for Downton Season 4, coming up in just a few days.

And for my adventures as a nature paparazzo and bird-stalker, I give them nothing less than Top Ripples.

To 2014, I have a few ideas. This may involve a bit more individual studies, and researching into topics that have interested me for some time. Yes, films and their influence in our postmodern culture, into that topic I will continue to delve. So there you have it, more books and movies to share with you all. As always, I invite you to come by the pond and throw in your two pebbles. I cling on to my motto: “Serenity is golden, but sometimes a few ripples are needed as proof of life.”

To All, a Four-Ripple 2014!