Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their stories in their own words.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.


Passengers (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtiime 116 minutes.

OK for children.

This is a terrific sci-fi film about a space ship en route to a far distant planet with 5,000 people who have been placed in a state of suspended animation, to awaken four months before arrival on the planet, a trip that is scheduled to take 120 years.

Alas, flying through a storm of asteroids the ship is damaged and one pod, containing Jim (Chris Pratt) opens and awakens its inhabitant. He finds himself alone on the huge spaceship with only Arthur (Michael Sheen), a robot bartender, for company.

I donít want to give away the story except to say that he is eventually joined by Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) from another pod. They are still 90 years away from their destination.

This is such a realistic depiction of the problem facing them. Directed by Morten Tyldum from an original script by Jon Spaihts, the key to any sci-fi film is whether or not it defies credibility. While itís hard to believe that there would be 5,000 people who would be willing to leave everything behind and take a step like this challenges believability, Iíve seen lots of films that have premises a lot more unreasonable as this.

Once you go along with the program, itís then not that difficult to put yourself in the shoes of Jim and Aurora and to see if they can work it out.

The acting is very good, especially Sheen, who has to become robotic, but still sympathetic. Some of the things that happen are believable because of the brilliance of Sheenís performance.

Pratt says it best, ďItís adventure, itís romance, itís a thriller, itís scary, but itís emotionally resonant.Ē Amen. This is a terrific way to spend two hours.

The spaceship is as much a character as the actors. While it looks as if it must have been CGI, according to Production Designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, he built most of the sets and Pratt and Lawrence are not performing in front of Green Screens to have the visuals inserted graphically. They are actually on a set with what is seen on the screen actually around them.

Just as an example, the Hibernation Bay, where Jim and Aurora were supposed to sleep for 120 years, was a huge set, 120 feet by 190 feet. It took 10 weeks to build.

Thatís not to say that there are no visual effects. The ship itself is sailing through space and there are many shots of it. It is mind-boggling, and a joy to view.

You wonít see many sci-fi films as good as this one.

 

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