Friday, February 26, 2010

Book and Movie reviews coming up

I'm guessing this post is like the In My Mailbox thing, except instead of things arriving by mailbox (Netflix movies excluded of course, those come by mail) I'll keep you updated on what's going on on this blog, and what I'm reading or watching later this week or next or whatever.


Ok, first, I just checked out Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier from the library:


There are two versions of Lord of the Flies. One is the obvious 1966 classic black-and-white movie directed by Peter Brook we all know that one...

And the other is the Americanized and modernized (yes unfortunately, they dared to do so) version that came out in '90, directed by Harry Hook

Has anybody read Girl With a Pearl Earring? I'm on the verge of reading it right now. Also, has anybody seen the new version of LOF? I'd love to hear other people's views on this book and the new (and old) movie version.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Beastly coming to theaters soon!

Book by: Alex Flinn
Coming July 30th, 2010

From the Facebook fan page:

Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) has it all – looks, intelligence, wealth and opportunity – and a wicked cruel streak. Prone to mocking and humiliating “aggressively unattractive” classmates, he zeroes in on Goth classmate Kendra, inviting her to the school’s extravagant environmental bash. Kendra accepts, and, true to form, Kyle blows her off in a particularly savage fashion. She retaliates by casting a spell that physically transforms him into everything he despises. Enraged by his horrible and unrecognizable appearance he confronts Kendra and learns that the only solution to the curse is to find someone that will love him as he is – a task he considers impossible.

Repulsed by his appearance, Kyle’s callous father banishes him to Brooklyn with a sympathetic housekeeper (LisaGay Hamilton) and blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris). As Kyle ponders how to overcome the curse and get his old life back, he chances upon a drug addict in the act of killing a threatening dealer. Seizing the opportunity, Kyle promises the addict freedom and safety for his daughter Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) if she will consent to live in Kyle’s Brooklyn home. Thus begins Kyle’s journey to discover true love in this hyper-modern retelling of the classic “Beauty and the Beast” story.

Vanessa Hudgens (“High School Musical”) and Alex Pettyfer (“Wild Child,” “Stormbreaker”) star in “Beastly” for CBS Films, the film division within CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS). Daniel Barnz (“Phoebe In Wonderland”) is directing the project which commenced principal photography in Montreal in mid-June 2009.

Susan Cartsonis (“No Reservations,” “What Women Want”) is producing through her company, Storefront Pictures. Roz Weisberg is co-producing. In addition to his role as director, Barnz wrote the screenplay, which is based on the Alex Flinn novel of the same name.

I've seen this book for a long time... maybe a sign for me to try it? Problem is, the movie has two VERY annoying and bad actresses, Vannessa Hudgens, who plays the "Beauty" of this movie and Mary-Kate Olsen who plays the "Witch." Ugh. Don't know how I feel about that kind of casting. But I must say, this book has been popping up everywhere and I like to read popular books, (sorry I can't help it...) just to see what all the hype is about. Plus it has been so long since I've read a YA novel that's based on a movie lately. A TO-SEE. Maybe...

Their savage souls, and their dull story

Lord of the Flies
By: William Golding
Setting: An unknown island
Format: 225 pages
Verdict: (Everyone has to read it some day. But for those of you who feel like reading it for fun, you can SKIP IT)
Rated: PG-13 (Violence, killing, savegry...)

The basic premise: A bunch of shipwrecked boys with no adults in sight, start killing each other and turning into savages. Yes, I'm talking about the book that every kid of at least this generation had (or has at least) to read this book for school. I just finished it myself, and not to say it was the worst book I've ever read, but considering there has been many books about the downfall of civilization, this one dosen't reach its potential. Yes, hate me, I dared to not like this book.
Original? Fairly. But notice the PG-13 rating. The book is too kind on this violence, I say if you're going to go with savagrey, flaunt it. Golding takes this too kindly. We are talking about the end of democracy amoung a group of boys who want to kill each other. I admit that too much would ruin it, but there needs to be more to really notice a considerable, awful change. 
Which brings me to another point: Ralph to me wasn't so much as "good guy" than as a "bad." Had Jack not shown up the way he had, I would have been totally convinced that Ralph was going to be the one that's going to create all the mess that happened in this book. At first he acts like a selfish brat. Maybe Golding meant Ralph to be this way so that the reader can sense the destruction ahead I don't know, but the way he treated Piggy, and acted so selfishly, made me lose all the sympathy for him. Well, sometimes I did but I didn't feel a lot, because he continues to brush off Piggy's asthma and continues to not listen to Piggy just because he's not like him or Jack or anybody. 
Simon is the same way, SPOILER HERE!! I felt sad that he died, but only BECAUSE he died. SPOILER OVER. I never connected with him as a character, Golding didn't really develop his personality that well.  So in the end I really didn't care for him that much. Now granted there are some great scenes with him and the Lord of the Flies but there is very little for me to enjoy in his character. Actually, none of them were really enjoyable except for Piggy and Samneric, who had the most complex of personalities, the ones that I actually liked. I told you about Ralph, but Jack seemed a little too unrealistically evil, even for an allegorical novel I found no qualities that I felt, jeez I would really like to know what's going on in this character's head. 
The story itself is intriguing but again, I didn't feel like this was a major break out novel. The writing has no special quality to it, I didn't find myself ENTRANCED by it. The plot never leaps forward because of this non-exciting writing and un-connectable characters. I know some of you will comment on this post and say, "It's an allegory, you're not supposed to take it seriously!" Yes well, in all books, including allegory's, the rules of liking a novel because of character, plot and writing, the rules also apply. 
Now, it's not ALL bad. There are some wonderful scenes that I wouldn't change (The killing of the sow scene, the Lord of the Flies scene...) that were wonderfully gory and creepy. And I did get a chance to compare characters to other people in real life, it is a very original idea, you have to give Golding that. It's not totally unlikely there are no fantastical scenes save a few of course but none of it is really based in the paranormal. But at the same time, the book never really ties together, and those scenes fail to save it. 
Sorry any kids who didn't read this book yet: You are going to have to read it soon. Now, some of my friends absolutely hated this book, that's a bit of an exaggeration. And I can see, going into the Nobel Peace judges (or whatever you call them) why the author won a Nobel for the book. But can I say even CHECK IT OUT even if you want to read it for fun? No. It's not that good enough a classic. This one, I'm afraid, is going to get a SKIP.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Duchess movie

The Duchess (Based on Amanda Foreman's Biorgraphy Georgina Duchess of Devonshire)
Director: Saul Dibb
Cast: Keira Knightly (Georgina The Duchess of Devonshire), Ralph Finnes (The Duke of Devonshire), Charlotte Rampling (Lady Spencer), Dominic Cooper (Charles Grey), Hayley Attwell (Elizabeth Foster)
Screenplay: Jeffrey Hatcher and Anders Thomas Jensen
Distributor: Pathe
Length: 1 hr. 45 min.
Verdict: RENT
Rated: PG-13 (Lots of Period componets here, mostly sex. You know what I'm talking about.)

This biopic is based on the cliche, based-on-a-true-story-about-a-rich-aristocratic-woman-who-falls-in-a-loveless-marriage type story. Sounds familliar? Sure. We've heard that story all before. Not to say it's a total cliche it is a Keira Knightly period drama after all. Now I know some of you must be groaning but this is better than those period movies. Does that mean it's something original and fresh? Absolutely not. It's  striking to look at, but sometimes, it feels really tiresome and long.
Now grant you Keira Knightly is amazing. The only thing really original about this movie is the fact that the movie looks at the life of a celebrity as her character was known back in  eighteenth century England. And Keira just pulls it off so well and Ralph Finnes, who plays her cold-hearted devil of a husband (uh oh yes the movie goes in THAT territory) gives his character a heart, which is kind of hard to do it right. But he does, and the acting is one of the reasons that I'm recomending this movie. It's nice to look at somebody that not a lot of people know outside of England, looking at the world of celebrity. I don't know how historically accurate this movie is, Hollywood tends to play around with historical accuracy but the clothing and whatnot don't seem out of place so I don't see any problem there.
My main problem here, was with plot. First, it drags for long, long periods of time. At the end of the movie I thought I had wasted my whole afternoon watching a fluffy period drama. There were some characters at the end that I wanted to see more of, including Dominic Cooper's character as her lover. And yes, I had a problem with the rape scene (imagine that...) in this movie. Directors want to make us feel so sympathetic to the main character, that they go out of their way and make a rape scene to feel sorry for the poor woman because that's how women were treated back then yay! Complete failure. Also a complete failure? The sex scenes. Now I know, there were only two and one wasn't even all that graphic, but the same thing with Dominc Cooper and Keira Knightly, they do not have chemistry. We have to make graphic sex scenes when we don't need them, and what's worse, they're badly mishandled. Ugh, I wish every movie was like Bright Star...
So, should you run out and immediately put this DVD in your Que at Netflix or run out to Blockbuster or wherever and see this movie? Not really. However, it is one of the better period films beating The Other Boleyn Girl by a longshot. This isn't anything HUGELY special though, so if you have a few minutes and happened to pass by Blockbuster on your way home sure, it's a nice pick me up if you're feeling bored and sorry for yourself.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader comming soon!

Sorry for being late with this movie adaptation, but this makes me happy. I'm a fan of both movie and book (yes yes I have a thing with popular movie franchises besides Transformers). But still, I have been waiting on this one forever.

From IMBD synopsis:
Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.

Giving that I read this book a long time ago, I'm probably going to skip a book review but if I get my hands on this movie before it disappears into the Netflix world, (just like the New Moon movie did) I'll certainly go see this one. It'll no doubt be interesting, given a new director is directing this series.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bright Star

Bright Star (based on Andrew Motion's Biography Keats)
Director: Jane Campion
Cast: Abbie Cornish (Fannie Brawne), Ben Whishaw (John Keats), Paul Schneider (Charles Brown), Kerry Fox (Mrs. Brawne), Edie Martin (Toots), Thomas Sangster (Sammuel)
Screenplay: Jane Campion
Distributor: Pathe
Year: 2009
Length: 1 hr. 59 min
Verdict: SEE
Rated: G (Don't pay any mind to the silly PG rating. The only riske things about it are a pregnancy, minor swear words, and some kissing. The movie's completely harmless)

Before I start, let me get this out of the way: FINALLY! A GOOD ROMANTIC DRAMA!!

According to, the movie is certified FRESH. And oh wow is it fresh. This is by far, one of my favorite period drama. It's not THAT beautiful to look at (although there is absolutely gorgeous scenery made for gorgeous shots) but I didn't mind. This movie should take the example of romantic dramas that have absolutely useless sex scenes to fill in for bad chemistry between actors, and costume dramas which has constantly boring, and useless shots to fill in the movie. This is high class.
I love Ben Whishaw (although the real Keats is way more handsome) and Abbie Cornish is amazing. They both have such great chemistry, you don't even need a sex scene. In fact, there is none, and yet the sexual tension between them is there. And of course their love is so beautiful and clean if you add them beneath the trees and in meadows, with such absolutely exquisite shots. Okay, yes it might be mannered and proper, but that's what their love was so I really didn't mind.
As with any movie, it's not perfect. For one, sometimes it can get boring although it's not really enough to completely lose you. And Fanny is such a Juliet sometimes when she says to Keats: "I hate you!" when he's going away and wants to commit suicide upon hearing he's going to London. Needless to say though, it's a sweet, beautiful movie about young clean love that can last a lifetime. And if you're worried about your kids seeing this, it's a completely harmless movie.So, I say SEE IT. Definately see it.

For those of you who are wondering, this is Keat's poem which named the movie
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid coming to theaters!

The book didn't attract me that much plus it looks stupid, But, here's for the fans of the book...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Book by: Jeff Kinney

Meet the kid who made “wimpy” cool, in a family comedy based on the best-selling illustrated novel "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney, the first in a series that has thus far sold 24 million copies. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" chronicles the adventures of wise-cracking middle school student Greg Heffley, who must somehow survive the scariest time of anyone’s life: middle school.