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!


Year End Tally and 2012 Outlook

Lots to say on this post, but I promise you I’ll keep the pace swift. First off, a wrap-up of this my fourth year of blogging. I’m always amused to see what words people use to come to Ripple Effects. So, here are some of them over this past year.

Search Engine Terms

  • modern day insane asylum
  • stranger than fiction free will or predestination
  • Vermeer skulls
  • how many hunting license were sold before and after  the movie Bambi
  • Toronto International Film Festival social impact
  • culture and imperialism in Mansfield Park
  • Shawshank Redemption sewer pipe
  • Hemingway beaten up by Canadian authors
  • what value in life if not together
  • how to get in touch with Diane Keaton

Give you a feel of what Ripple Effects is all about, right? Yes, it’s a mixed bag of ruminations on books and films, where crawling through a sewer pipe could be noted as an existential quest, and always, a lookout for the minutest ripples of current culture… while maintaining humor and sanity doing all that. And, if you know how to get in touch with Diane Keaton, do let me know.

Most Popular Post

Slowly heading towards half a million views, this turtle does not intend  to win any races, but is glad just the same to see some posts maintaining their popularity. This is the all time most popular post:

Memorable Movie Love Quotes which I compiled and posted for Valentine’s Day 2008. I sure hope that the 24,000 views in 2011 have contributed to some consolidation (and conciliation?) of relationships.

My Personal Best Picks

There are posts people may like, there are also posts that I favour more. Books into films is Arti’s ‘specialty’, and it’s always fun to link the two, albeit I know they are distinctly different art forms.  Some of my favorite posts in 2011 are:

And that leads me to the coming new year. From my upcoming book to movie lists, I look forward to reading the following titles, as they are in development with their film adaptations:

Books to Read in 2012 (before the film comes out)

  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud
  • Runaway (short story) by Alice Munro
  • Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Book Challenges in 2012

I’m excited to sign up for two Book Challenges sponsored by CarrieK. at Books And Movies.

2012 Graham Greene Challenge — What better way to delve into books and movies than reading Graham Greene, who had almost all of his works adapted into feature film or TV series. I’ve selected these titles:

  • The Quiet American
  • The End of the Affair
  • Brighton Rock


2012 Ireland Challenge — I’m to pick four titles, including fiction and non-fiction by Irish writers with setting in Ireland. Now this is uncharted water for me. I’ve John Banville and Anne Enright in my TRB pile which I want to get to, and Deirdre Madden’s book suggested by litlove. I’m open to other recommendations.

  • Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden
  • The Sea by John Banville
  • The Gathering or
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

Most Anticipated Books to be Released in 2012

  • When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
  • Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son by Anne Lamott

I’ll be reading screenplays too. Selections will likely be driven by spur of the moment, but these I’d like to get hold of:

Screenplays to Read in 2012

  • The Descendants (see how Alexander Payne adapts from novel)
  • Midnight In Paris (Woody Allen’s always fun to read)
  • Young Adult (Screenwriter Diablo Cody’s script after Juno)

Ironically, I find reading and blogging feed my procrastination. Finishing a book or a blog post is usually the best reason to delay, pulling me away from ‘real’ writing… I still have a screenplay half finished. 2012 looks like a good year to get that done.

And then of course…

The Awards Season 2012

  • Golden Globes – Jan. 15
  • SAG Awards (Screen Actors Guild) – Jan. 29
  • BAFTA Awards (British Academy) – Feb. 12
  • WGA Awards (Writers Guild) – Feb. 19
  • Independent Spirit Awards – Feb. 25
  • The 84th Academy Awards – Feb. 26

As we edge towards the end of the year, my thanks to all who have visited, and those who have stirred up ripples by leaving their thoughts. The pond is all yours.

Best Wishes to All for a Wonderful 2012!

Happy New Year!


All The Year’s Best

All the year’s best are coming out now: Best books, best movies, best… whatever. And I admit, I’m one who’s always on the look-out for such lists. Hundreds of books and movies in a year reduced to a list of 10, definitely makes one convenient Christmas shopping list.

Here are some of the best book lists:

Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of 2011

NPR 10 Best Novels of 2011

New York Times 10 Best Books of 2011

Best Fiction 2011 from “The World’s Toughest Book Critics”

The Globe 100 Best Books of 2011 shopping list

Books of the Year 2011 The Telegraph

A list of indispensable books from Harvard Gazette, not your usual best-sellers

And here’s a one-stop shopping lists for The Top 10 Everything of 2011 from TIME Magazine.


Movies? Year’s best lists are everywhere. Of course, all lead to the ultimate finale of the Award Season: The Oscars. But for Christmas shopping suggestions, here are several lists, albeit some of the current releases may not have come out in DVD or Blu-ray yet:

American Film Institute’s Best Films 2011

Critics Awards for 2011 Best Films

Roger Ebert’s Best Films of 2011

NYT Stephen Holden Best Films 2011

NYT A. O. Scott’s & Manohla Dargis’s lists

Metacritic’s Best Films 2011

Toronto Film Critics’ Picks

Time-Out London

And more lists are coming out even as I type.

But of course, the most important to readers/movie viewers is whether they agree or not, whether what the critics say happen to be their own favorites. If not, there’s really not much relevance to all these lists, is there? No? I’d like to hear from you… Do you read movie reviews first before heading out to the theatre? Do you depend more on film critics or ‘user-reviewers’? Herein lies another subtle (or not so subtle) battle between the critics vs. the reader/movie watcher, and… alright, the blogger.

So, from one POV, here’s Arti’s year-end tally. Yes, I happen to have written down, if I remembered to do so, all the movie titles I’ve watched this year. There are about 90 that I’ve got down, not including those I previewed for a film festival.

If I’m to choose the best film of this year from all that I’ve watched, I’ll have to say The Tree Of Life by Terrence Malick. It’s a film by far the most unique, cinematically gratifying, cerebral, transcendent, and a showcase of excellent talents. I hope the young actor Hunter McCracken can get some recognition for his sensitive and intelligent performance.

Other titles I should mention for my list of best 2011 films include The Artist, Midnight In Paris, Drive, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, My Week With Marilyn, and The Descendants. I’m still waiting for the screening in our city of some titles which I highly anticipate, including A Dangerous Method, Carnage, Take Shelter, Tomboy, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and We Need to Talk About Kevin.

And for older films I’ve seen this year, some I rewatched, others are my catch-up on acclaimed titles I’ve missed in the past. I’ve a few favorites (in no particular order):

Animal Kingdom, My Life As A Dog, Truly, Madly, Deeply, Autumn Sonata, Play It Again Sam, Interiors, Marvin’s Room, Shine, Badlands, Days of Heaven, Fargo, The Makioka Sisters, Radio Days, Anne Hall, Manhattan, Match Point, Pickpocket, Howards End, The Third Man.

As a slow reader, much slower than my movie-watching speed, the ratio of film to book for me this year is about 2:1. My picks for my favorite reads this year (not all published in 2011), and in no particular order:

Then Again by Diane Keaton, The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, True Grit by Charles Portis, Howards End by E. M. Forster, The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos.


What about you? What are your year’s best in books and movies?

2010: Another Year of Books and Films

The discussion of movies is frequently more interesting than the movies themselves.

——   A. O Scott, NYT Movie Critic

Thanks to A. O. Scott, in his recent article on Films, Themes, and Trends, he has spelt out for me the raison d’etre of Ripple Effects.  As I always say, I’m just throwing a pebble into the pond.  It’s watching the splash and the out-reaching ripples that makes it so gratifying.  Thanks to all your responses, the discussions following the posts have made it all worthwhile.

2010 is my record year for movies watched. As a previewer for an international film festival, I’ve had the experience of viewing over 50 features, docs, and shorts in one month.  As a film lover, I’ve seen another 50 more of my own choice in the other months.  They are not all 2010 productions.  The oldest film for me this year is a silent black and white Ozu work, A Story of Floating Weeds (1934).  I’ve also discovered Robert Bresson.  His Diary of a Country Priest (1950) is probably one of the best Book Into Film adaptations I have encountered.

But, to remain timely, and we all like lists, here are Arti’s favourite movies released in 2010 (in no particular order).  Click on link to read my review:

  1. The King’s Speech (review coming up)
  2. The Secret In Their Eyes
  3. Another Year
  4. Nowhere Boy
  5. Never Let Me Go

Is it coincidental that all of the above except one are from the UK?  The Secret In Their Eyes is Argentinian.  It won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for 2010.


Favourite books read in 2010 (again, in no particular order):

  1. Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
  2. Diary of a Country Priest by Georges Bernanos
  3. The Music of Chance by Paul Auster
  4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  5. Theatre by William Somerset Maugham


Favourite Interesting Search Engine Terms (words people use to arrive at Ripple Effects this year):

  • elegance of the hedghog movie restroom music
  • banksy telephone booth
  • bird front view
  • darcy wet shirt
  • colin firth wet darcy
  • wet colin firth
  • colin fith
  • darcy kiss amanda in lost austen
  • little miss sunshine van
  • free great gatsby iphone
  • imprisonment in snow country
  • revolutionary road insane son controlling mother
  • to see the lost cattails soft winds and roses
  • what color are pussy willows?
  • virginia woolf’s crusading novel a room of one’s own
  • pregnant man giving birth
  • giving birth naturally
  • noomi rapace piercings
  • vw van
  • flotsam? i’ve gotsam
  • funny things inside mad magazine
  • the girl with the dragon typo
  • stranger
  • lust

Just a sampler showing you how eclectic Ripple Effects can be.

I look forward to throwing more pebbles in the coming year.  Again, a hearty thank-you to all my regular readers and occasional visitors.  Thank you for taking the time to comment.  You are the fuel for this journey called blogging, and without your responses and discussions, there’s simply no raison d’etre for Arti to press forward another year.


To All, A Happy New Year!

Dive in, make waves… it’s warmer than you think.