Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 20, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 20, 2013 




Book Reviews by Jasmine Kelsey Williams 



By Carlin Flora

With the topic of friends and relationships being the current hot choice for the start of the spring 
season, why not continue this sunny streak with 
“Friendfluence”. “Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways 
Friends Make Us Who We Are” is not just an eye-
catcher with its colorful leaves and lengthy title, but 
a wonderfully informative piece that does not require 
the use of story-telling; rather, “Friendfluence” focuses 
on many different aspects of why we as individuals 
not just crave friendship, but how it is considered 
essential to our well-being as well as the reasons of 
why we sometimes seem to prefer friendships as the 
relationships we most enjoy. This is not to say that 
friendships are the best or most important, but as to 
why they are beneficial for all individuals. 

“Friendfluence” caters to the reasoning of why 
friendships, ranging from a large group of friends to a 
fair few, are the ones that can put us at ease, can make 
us feel welcome a lot more easily, and why sometimes 
efforts are made to make these friendships last. Carlin 
Flora clearly points out and explains how friendships 
are created, shaped, and maintained, and highlights 
the positives that come with it. Examples include the 
outside influences, the desire for another individual’s 
philosophy to adapt with our own, and relishing the fact that there are like-minded individuals 
who do not just have something in common with ourselves, but who actually inspire you to be 
more open with yourself and with those around you (your families, partners, pets, etc.). 

Copyrighted in 2013, and receiving praise from Huffington Post, Book Page, Kirkus Reviews, 
and Publishers Weekly, “Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are” is 
both a wonderful selection for your “must-reads” and one that is meant to be shared with others.

I really wanted to love 
“The Place Beyond The 
Pines.” It had all the 
ingredients to become 
a classic. This includes 
starring two of the most talked about actors in 
the game right now, Ryan Gosling and Bradley 
Cooper. It’s from up and coming director, 
Derek Cianfrance, who in 2010 wowed critics 
and audiences alike with his sophomore feature 
film, “Blue Valentine.” However, I wasn’t the 
biggest fan of that movie, but admired the way 
it was shot and acted. With “The Place Beyond 
The Pines,” Cianfrance takes the ambitious 
route of focusing on three separate stories that 
are all linked together over the span of fifteen 
years. The problem with this is how jarring it 
becomes when the story would shift directions. 

One act dedicated to Gosling’s character, Luke 
Glanton, a motorcycle stunt driver who decides 
to rob banks as a means to provide for his son, 
who he just discovers exists. The second act has 
a focal point on Bradley Cooper’s character, 
Avery Cross, a rookie cop moving up in the 
ranks in a corrupt department. Lastly, in the 
least compelling tale the final act is between 
both main characters’ sons fifteen years later. 
Cianfrance is a wizard behind the camera, 
as this is a gorgeously shot movie. However, 
within the two hours and twenty minutes 
running time, “The Place Beyond The Pines” 
suffers from episodic storylines (the ones we’ve 
all seen before) and barely touches the surface 
on the multifaceted themes it’s hastily trying to 

While Gosling’s character Luke is hypnotizing 
in the first story (with many similarities from 
his character in “Drive”), his storyline isn’t as 
deep as I was hoping for. His estranged ex-lover 
played by Eva Mendes comes back into his life 
and Luke finds out he has a son. Before this, all 
we know about Luke is that he’s the leader of a 
traveling act of acrobatic motorcyclists named 
“Handsome Luke and The Heartthrobs.” When 
the news of a son is revealed, Luke decides to quit 
his job and find a way to provide for his son. He 
teams up with a local mechanic and soon finds 
himself enthralled with the life of a bank robber. 
For a brief time, he’s able to provide for his son, 
but things quickly escalate out of control. I can 
empathize with Gosling’s character to support 
his son, but the whole robbing banks storyline 
seems outdated and stodgy. I understand there’s 
a deeper meaning behind the surface—a father 
doing whatever it takes for his family for one. 
However this compulsion to commit crimes 
(with no inclination to hurt anyone) gets the 
best of Luke and ends in a collision course with 
police officer Avery Cross. By the time we get a 
better sense of Luke, his story comes to a swift 
conclusion. It feels more like a high production 
short film than one-third of an epic feature film.

Bradley Cooper’s character Avery Cross is a 
rookie cop that crosses path with Luke. Without 
giving any way spoilers, Cross is thrown into 
the limelight in the media. Cross gets mixed 
up with some corrupt cops and has decisions 
to make. He too wants to provide for his family, 
but ultimately chooses right over wrong despite 
what rewards are tied with wrong doings. 
This sequence is actually quite compelling 
even if it’s something we’ve all seen before. 
Cooper’s character feels incomplete because 
what happens later on in the film makes him 
only concern with himself and not his family. 
I don’t understand why this occurs especially 
when you think he’s a good man and father. 
It’s another dynamic to the family theme that’s 
explored, but with most of the themes they only 
touch the outer surface and rarely get as deep as 
you’d hope. 

The finale act is geared toward Avery’s 17 year-
old son, AJ, moving in with him and Jason 
(Luke’s son, who is initially lied to about who 
his father was). The two boys, unbeknownst 
about each other’s past, form a friendship due 
to a ridiculous coincidence. While the film has 
significant circumstances that occur, they rely 
heavily on coincidences. If you can get past this, 
“The Place Beyond The Pines” has some worth 
to it. I much rather have seen the first two acts 
extended and the elimination of the third story. 
In spite of this, the filmmakers’ intentions 
were to tie the story with the sons because an 
additional theme to the story is fathers and 
sons. There’s nothing quite as powerful as the 
relationship a son has with one’s own father. 
However, the kids aren’t as compelling as both 
Gosling and Cooper. Cooper’s son AJ feels out 
of place. You come to realize how could his son 
turn out the way he is, but I suppose anything 
can happen during teenage adolescence. Jason, 
Luke’s son, is lost and lonely. It seems utterly 
coincidental that now in his life he’s curious to 
whom his real dad is. The final twenty minutes 
tries desperately to connect the layered stories 

While “The Place Beyond The Pines” is 
ambitious to a fault, I think there are just too 
many half-baked ideas strung together to 
appear as something deeply profound and 
substantial. It’s extremely dense film, but 
Derek Cianfrance is a filmmaker to watch out 
for because he knows how to get his actors 
to deliver strong performances. He’s also a 
terrific director that may benefit more from 
an outsider’s screenplay rather than his own. I 
don’t want to see Cianfrance continuously get 
high on his own supply because perhaps he may 
shine the most when bringing another story to 
life that isn’t as close to him but will be once 
he puts his signature touch on it. In the end, 
“The Place Beyond The Pines” is a sweeping, 
cinematic movie going experience with solid 
acting, beautifully shot sequences and great 
direction. At the same token it unfortunately 
falls apart in the end leaving you with a feeling 
of emptiness rather than fulfillment of any kind. 

Grade: 3 out of 5 

Directed by: Derek Cianfrance

Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Ben 
Coccio, Darius Marder

Release Date: March 29, 2013 (limited)


The 51st annual Friends of the Sierra Madre Library’s 
art fair will be held in Memorial Park, 222 W. Sierra 
Madre Blvd. in the city of Sierra Madre on Saturday, 
May 4, from 9:30AM to 6:00PM and Sunday, May 5, 
from 9:30AM to 5:00PM. More than 90 artists will be 
displaying and selling their fine arts in mediums that 
include oil painting, jewelry, water colors, glass, wood, 
metal, photography, pottery, ceramics, mixed media, 
and weaving. Stop by the booth of our featured artist, 
David Van Noppen, to admire and purchase his lovely 
glass creations. So far, forty of the artists have donated 
lovely one-of-a-kind pieces to be auctioned off in a 
Silent Auction which means that you’ll have a chance 
to bid on some really beautiful artwork. The Creative 
Arts Group has planned an imaginative craft activity 
for children from 10:00am-4:00pm both days. While 
you’re strolling among the various booths, you’ll be 
entertained by an eclectic variety of live music in both 
the band shell and on the south lawn.

A food court will offer a variety of food and drinks 
provided by local non-profit groups as well as food 
vendors. At press time we know that the Sierra Madre 
Historical Preservation Society will be selling their 
famous lemonade made with rangpur lime juice; 
Taquito Lover will be offering taquitos, tamales, 
nachos, tacos and fruit drinks; Sophia’s Kitchen will 
be selling sausages, pizza, corn, hot dogs, nachos, 
Philly cheese steak, a fish platter, and drinks; there will be Korean and Chinese barbecue including 
beef short ribs, chicken and beef on a stick, Taiwanese sausages, pot stickers, and egg rolls; The 
International Footprint Association will be serving hot dogs and beverages; and H.S.I. Carnival 
Snacks will provide Hawaiian shaved ice, churros, frozen lemonade, water, and ice cream pops. And, 
of course, the Friends of the Sierra Madre Library will have a booth selling loaves of homemade quick 
breads and sweet breads.

So plan to spend a day with us, enjoying artwork done in a wide variety of mediums, sitting on the 
grass listening to music, dining on a satisfying lunch or snack, watching the kids create their own 
souvenir of the Art Fair and then going back to bid on some of the items in the Silent Auction that 
appeal to you, and buying those lovely pieces of art that you’ve been thinking about since you saw 
them. Proceeds from the Art Fair benefit the resources and programs of the Sierra Madre Library. 
For more information, call 626 355-7186 or visit our website at



May 11, 2:00 pm 

Altadena Community Church

943 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena


May 12, 2:00 pm

First Baptist Church of Pasadena, 75 N. Marengo, Pasadena.

(Validated parking in the stacked parking on Holly)

Marvin Neumann, conductor, will conduct "Morning, Noon and Night in 

Vienna" by Suppe, and soloists Andrew Sords, violin, and Charles Hummel, violist, 

will perform "Symphonie Concertante: by Mozart. The program will close with 

"Masquerade Suite" by Khatchaturian.


Faith and egos collide in the age 
of mass-market religion at Houston’s 
Rock Baptist Church when 
the board of directors introduces 
a young heir-apparent to the 
charismatic but aging founder/
pastor. A co-production with 
television writer David Rambo 
(Revolution, CSI) 

Written by: 


Directed by: 


Presented by:






FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2013 
AT 8 P.M.






(626) 355- 4318

Reception follows Friday performance. Ample free parking behind theatre.

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