Chiara  CalÚ 



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Journey - Greatest Hits

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 6, 2019 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Great album, I purchased it in April 2018 and it keeps me company on my daily commute. Steve Perry (lead vocals) has a fantastic voice.
The album contains 14 hits from the 70's and 80's. The lyrics are in the booklet, along with some pictures and album covers.
Originally released in 1988 by Columbia Records.

Genre: Rock/Hard Rock
Length: 61:32

A Message of Peace.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 5, 2019 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

(9 stars/10) 

Amazing movie. Many sci-fi movies featuring flying saucers or aliens were released in the 50's, but "The Day the Earth Stood Still" stands out. First of all, the message: a war-torn Earth is beginning to experiment with atomic power, and someone, somewhere, has noticed. Atomic power can be used for good, like interstellar transportation, or for evil purposes, like the total annihilation of an enemy. Humans are seen as immature children toying with a dangerous source of energy that could potentially threaten other planets. That's the reason Klaatu and Gort are sent to Earth. The message is simple: "grow up or you will be destroyed". It takes Klaatu the duration of the entire movie to relay his message. In the meantime, he is interrogated, segregated, and hunted down. Human aggressiveness is shown in all its irritating connotations, from irrational fear to plain armed hostility. The anxiety and dread of the 50's are palpable in this movie. Fear of the stranger, of whomever may be different, and of course, the Cold War is what this is all about. There are references to World War II, also. The United States have paid a high price because of their intervention in the war. This movie was intended as a wake-up call to the leaders of that time, I suppose.

This is my first Robert Wise movie. Michael Rennie is superb in the role of Klaatu, I liked the chemistry he had with Patricia Neal.

This movie shines. It's fast and lively. I would watch it a dozen times over.

(the review has also been published on IMDb)

Ten Stars.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 5, 2019 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

(10 stars/10) 

This is one of the best Disney movies I've ever seen, I would never trade it for today's stuff (not even Disney's version of "Star Wars").

Many wonderful childhood memories are linked to "Flight of the Navigator", I think it was my first movie ever. Great way to get acquainted with American popular culture, by the way (I'm from Italy).

The plot is very original and well woven, both children and grown ups will be entertained. That was the time when NASA still rocked the house, I wanted that cap so badly...

The special effects are believable, the spaceship looks real. I still find myself wondering how they pulled it off. It was 1986, after all.

Music score by Alan Silvestri: I still listen to it today and it's as if time had never passed.

I'm thankful this title is available on DVD.

A little gem, recommended.

(this review has also been published on IMDb)

Cult Movie.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 4, 2019 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

(7 stars/10) 

This is a classic! The dialogues are not the best, the cinematography is a bit boring and the overall rhythm of the movie is way too slow for today's youngsters, but the technology used was the state of the art back in the day when the movie was filmed.

Being a movie released in 1982, the special effects are rudimentary, at times confusing, and somewhat annoying (the colors are too bright), but computer and video game geeks like myself will surely love this movie. The plot is simple as compared to other movies of that era (like "Star Wars"), but the concept behind computer stuff is quite complex. And visionary, I might add.

I love the song played in the closing credits: "Only Solutions", by Journey. Another song by Journey ("Separate Ways") is featured in "Tron: Legacy", thus giving an idea of continuity.

Tron is a must-see for every science fiction fan.

Kudos to Steven Lisberger for envisioning a computerized world that still makes us dream.

(this review has also been published on IMDb)


Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 4, 2019 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

(8 stars/10) 

Touching portrait of Christopher Johnson McCandless, portrayed starting from college graduation until his tragic death in Alaska.

I think all of us have heard the "call of the wild", at some point in life (especially in our 20s). How do you stay alive in an alienating world filled with greed and hypocrisy? The reality of things can be overwhelming, at times. The movie is the celebration of a free spirit who, burdened by the weight of the world and by his own personal issues, decides to travel in order to escape, or to find himself.

The cinematography is spectacular, highlighting the natural beauties of North America. Soundtrack by Eddie Vedder: one to remember. I suggest reading the book, too.

A generous soul, Chris McCandless (also known as "Alexander Supertramp") was lost too soon. I would have imagined him becoming a great humanitarian and making a difference. He will be remembered for the beauty of his ideas.

Rest In Peace, Chris.

(this review has also been published on IMDb)

Fun Book.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 4, 2019 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Lots of animals in this book!

There is a rhyme in each sentence of the text: I appreciate the author's effort, as I seldom read rhymes so seamless in children's books.

In each double-page spread new characters are introduced, and a sentence is added to the previous.

Reading this aloud must be especially amusing, children will most certainly enjoy that.

The illustrations are lively and colorful.

For toddlers and preschoolers.



Hiku The Penguin.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 4, 2019 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Cute story about Hiku, a young penguin.

He dreads the arrival of his entire family, so he hides in his special place to enjoy some peace and quiet. But then he start remembering all the fun he used to have with his family and regrets his decision to stay by himself.

He joins them just in time for a group photo.

Pretty illustrations, the penguins are wobbly things, so funny. Younger children will have a ball perusing their actions on paper.

A book that is meant to have kids appreciate the arrival of their relatives for the holidays, on birthdays or other special occasions. No matter how distressing the experience might be, there is good in it.

For preschoolers.

Weird but Fun.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 4, 2019 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

In this book four animals are described in their various activities and ways of being. The transition from animal to animal is weird but original.

It's a crazy but funny story, kids will be confused at first (as was I when I read it for the first time), but I think they will enjoy the pictures and the rhyming text.

There is no plot; as a matter of fact, the story doesn't make any sense (hence the three stars), but I find it fairly amusing.

A fun way to spend 10-15 minutes.

For preschoolers.

Courage and Friendship.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 4, 2019 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Cute book. It's about the fear of the world, which must appear so big to children, and how friendship can help overcome it.

The story begins in a way similar to "The Gruffalo's Child" (for those of you who might have read it). Baby Bear sets off on an adventure in the Arctic Circle, his home. He soon grows afraid of the world - the sky is so big, the ocean so vast, - but then he meets Sammy the Seal. They have a little conversation and Baby Bear finds comfort in it: despite his size, Sammy the Seal is a brave creature.

Baby Bear finds his way home, into his mother's arms, and falls asleep, reassured that the world is not so big and scary if one has the courage to face it.

Beautiful double-page illustrations, the author uses many shades of blue to depict the Arctic.

Educational and inspirational book, recommended.

Fantastic Movie!

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (0)

(8 stars/10) 

This is one of my favorite romantic comedies. It's the story of Gregory and Rose, played by Jeff Bridges and Barbra Streisand. The actors are superb: I admired Jeff Bridges in "Tron" and "Tron: Legacy", besides this movie. Talented actor, love his voice. Barbra Streisand is divine, playing the role of the ugly duckling first, then transforming into a beautiful swan. The whole cast is brilliant.

Each of us ladies has felt like Rose, at some point, but unlike most of us, Rose finds her Prince Charming... Thanks to an ad. Gregory is looking for brains, while Rose is looking for anybody who could save her from her toxic relationship with her obnoxious mother (played by a fantastic Lauren Bacall). In the midst of it all, Rose's sister, Claire, and her failed marriage with Alex, Rose's former romantic interest.

The plot is intricate enough to keep the viewers glued to their seats for two hours and six minutes. The ending is really sweet.

The music is lovely. The final song is sung by Barbra Streisand herself dueting with Bryan Adams.

Directed by Barbra Streisand! I spotted a few mistakes: an intruder in a shot and a few continuity mistakes, hence the 8/10 stars... But hey, give her a break!

"The Mirror Has Two Faces" is the remake of André Cayatte's "Le miroir a deux faces" (1958).
This movie gave me many laughs. Recommended.

Thank you Netflix for allowing me to watch it!

(this review has also been published on IMDb)

A Simple Exercise in Imagination.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Funny and ingenious. It reminds me of a game children often play: seeing shapes in clouds.

Same concept here, but applied to a duck... Or is it a rabbit? ;)

The illustrations depict the same shape but in different contexts.

For toddlers.

The Pilgrims' Journey

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

This is the story of how the first Pilgrims reached America and thrived there.

Along the way, the Native Americans are shown as they help the Pilgrims settle down.

The book culminates with the celebration of the Pilgrims' first Thanksgiving.

I wish such harmony could be found in history, as well... Alas, everybody knows that the Natives were exterminated. But this is a book for children, there is no trace of those terrible events, here.

The text is a poem, lovely.

Illustrations by Gene Barretta.

For kindergartners and 1st graders.


Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Encouraging book for toddlers and preschoolers. It narrates the attempts of a little girl at imitating her family members in their various activities.

It's a short book, easily understandable.

The sky is the limit, you can do it too! ;)




Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

The idea is great, but the text is impossible to read. I also had to go back because I couldn't understand a passage.

The illustrations are OK.

The first half of the book deserves four stars, while the second half deserves two, so I gave three stars.

Not A Favorite.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This book is not entertaining.

The plot is flat, and the illustrations are filled with too many details, very confusing.

I found myself unable to follow the story by reading the text and looking at the pictures.


Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

I don't understand this book. It's about a dinosaur looking for his teddy bear that accidentally destroys a city. Then the dinosaur swims into the sea, but he's replaced by a giant chicken that happily reprises the dinosaur's role (??).

There is no plot, no message, just plain mess.

Save your time, there are better books out there.


See the World through Dots.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 5:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Funny little book that explains some aspects of the world through dots.

Dots are everywhere: they are on ladybugs, on dogs, on butterflies... There are balloons and drums and traffic lights. There's candy and there are stars up in the sky, there are buttons on shirts and lenses on sunglasses: we are surrounded by dots!

The illustrations are colorful, the text is simple.

An ode to the power of observation. For toddlers and preschoolers.

A Puppy Arrives.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 4:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Children who love dogs will like this book.

The part where Boomer, the older dog, is neglected and left alone is a bit sad, but soon things change...

It's a story of friendship, but this book may also be useful to help an older child understand why everybody's attention is focused on his or her baby brother or sister. Nothing has changed, parents still love you very much, kid. :)

The text is verbose and presents words that a preschooler might never have encountered.

The double-page illustrations are beautiful.

It's a profound book, on the overall; one that will be remembered for its message.

Bathing Time.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 3, 2019 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Cute little book about animals described in their bathing habits.

The text includes complex words like "preen", "primp", "pests". Reading it out loud is a delight for the ears. Each sentence rhymes with the following.

The illustrations are in bright colors, children will surely like them.

It's a book that encourages the reader to bathe, just like animals do. Useful for obstinate kids who don't want to bathe.

For preschoolers.

Fairly Entertaining.

Posted by Chiara CalÚ on January 2, 2019 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

This book will keep children busy for about 15-20 minutes. The ending made me laugh.

Nice double-page illustrations.

For preschoolers.