Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Book is the Only Mortality...

The Reader
By Bernhard Schlink

Year: 1997

Don't let the Oprah's Book Club sticker fool you, luckily this is not a book whose sole audience is people who are willing to read simply because a celebrity tells them to. No, Lucky for both the reader of this novel and for the reviewer, judging a book solely by the fact that a talk show host picked this particular book as an entry into her 'collection' is a crime. The Reader is a book that begs to be read and will no doubt provoke discussion once it has been read.

The book starts sometime after WWII in Germany and involves a young man by the name of Michael Berg. Michael is fifteen at the beginning of the story and serves as our narrator. From literally the first sentence, we learn that Michael at fifteen gets hepatitis and falls ill under it. On the way to school one day, he gets sick and is aided by an anonymous woman, some stranger who appears at the nick of time to clean up and mend him afterwards. However, to Michael, seeing her only that one time without thanking her is a crime. And so he goes to her house in lieu of attending school to see this mysterious woman. It is not long before Michael and the woman, who we learn is named Hanna Schmitz, embark of a passionate and heated relationship. While sex is a key part in their relationship, time and time again Hanna will ask Michael to read to her out loud, something that though I won't spoil proves to be a key part in the second and third acts of the book.

However, like the seasons, their relationship ends shortly with Hanna vanishing one day, where she goes or where she is heading is unclear to Michael, but it is only time before we learn where. A court perhaps. For we shortly thereafter learn that Hanna during the war worked with the SS and was responsible for the death of hundreds of women and children.

The second part of the novel details the trial and Michael realizing who Hanna truly was. What could prove to be a stale courtroom drama is a morality tale at the core. Michael only knows this woman from their love affair and it is a while before he can fully wrap his head around what she has done. Again, not to give anything away, but one may wonder if he ever does. During this trial, Michael is confused as to why Hanna, who he knew as a brazen and spirited woman falls upon deaf ears when attending the trial. Maybe she is hiding something, something that she is not only ashamed of but may be crucial.

Michael spends the remainder of the book picking up the pieces to his life and to the life he and Hanna had. He takes journeys to come to terms with everything he has spent the book dealing with. He wants to hate her for being such a violent and cold criminal, but he cannot. While what they did was illegal, she being more than twice his age, to the protagonist, it was not a crime, it was passionate love. Whether we agree with him or not is all up to our own personal beliefs.

Though being short on length, The Reader is a very dense book. The language may seem simple, but it is straightforward and truly captivating. There is so much going on in this book that a mere synopsis will do the novel no justice. Simply sitting down and reading is the best way to handle the book, to let it sink in and take control of you. I personally found it to be a magnificent book, one that challenged the reader with not only the core story, loved ones who hurt us, but also the morals and themes it brings up. Atonement, redemption, forgiveness, right, wrong, love and death. Threading everything together and creating a delicate and powerful novel, Schlink proves that even romantic tales can have deeper meanings. That books can truly make you feel for its characters and that you yourself can get inside the heads of its main players. While many have this talent, so few can truly let the story envelop and raise morals. Once you turn the final page, you will be satisfied.

*A note to people intrigued by this book: Ignore Amazon! It praises the book to the point where the novel's twist if you will is exposed. It is key to let the book speak for itself.

Well, I'll step of my soapbox and let the novel to the talking.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Anatomy of a Trailer: Rachel Getting Married, Blogger Annoyed by Grammatical Error

Well, as you know by know, I started a second site, of which so far looks good. So I'm happy to report that. But until I find anything compelling to write about, I figured, why not take apart a movie trailer? However, do know that judging by who is in the movie, there is a slight chance I will turn this into a bitter rant.

The film in question is the new Anne Hathaway project, Rachel Getting Married. Off the bat there is a big problem. "Hey!" You might say, "Jonathan Demme is directing it! It's gonna be amazing!" Remember, for every Silence of the Lambs, there is also The Truth About Charlie.

And let me just say this off the bat, I hate Anne Hathaway. Everything she has been in, she has given a terrible performance. Get Smart was the worst movie of 2008 I've seen, and knowing that Anne Hathaway was in it ruined the film even more. Steve Carell, who can be funny, wasn't able to carry that movie. It was a failed idea, and a painfully unfunny one as well.

Aside from Get Smart, Anne Hathaway has been in films such as The Devil Wears Prada(Terrible!), Brokeback Mountain(Horrendous!) and lest we forget those Princess Diaries movies(I'm having a Vietnam flashback!) Yes, I will take my hate for Brokeback Mountain to the grave. Not that it wasn't a good movie, it was just immensely overrated and somewhat insulting. But bad movie aside, all Anne Hathaway really did was provide...well, nothing. She was so wooden you could have made a table out of her. Prada was just a train wreck, and it had Meryl Streep! Not just any ordinary schmo, Meryl "Nominated 14 Times for an Oscar and won twice!" Streep. And honestly, how the hell does Anne Hathaway fit the bill for fat and dowdy? She picked up every trick in the stringy hair book, I'll give her that, but please, the next person who tells me she's a magnificent actress I might just flip.

Oh yeah, there's a trailer somewhere here.

As you can imagine, I will avoid seeing this film at many costs. Everything from the title, to it's star to the fact that the trailer fits so many trailer molds and tells so much it's not even funny. I mean, Rachel Getting Married?! Who came up with this, a two year old? It's a fragment, and frankly, it's pissing me off.

So yeah, it tries to be quirky (As many indie films do) but it tries and fails so much. We are introduced to the black sheep of the family, Kym(Anne Hathaway, the polar opposite of bad sheep) and how she's going to her sister's wedding. She's been in rehab and is returning for the weekend to be with her family. Awwww....

Yeah, that's the whole premise. It sounds like Pieces of April aged ten years and put into reverse. Hey, wasn't their another movie about dysfunctional sibling relationships between sisters last year involving marriage? Margot at the Wedding ring a bell?

What Demme appears to be aiming to do is create a Hannah and Her Sisters for the new millennium. A family comedy/drama about the people close to us. Except Hannah is good. Like, amazingly good. In fact, one of my favorite movies good. Though trying to emulate such a movie is a giant stretch, you get my drift.

Also, the director seems to want to ward off audiences by showing as much as he bloody well can in two and a half minutes. Demme wants to start out funny, then be as inspirational as a warm hug. He transplants the joy and well being of a wedding into this movie and tries to relate to the audience by showing that Hollywood is just like you. We too have siblings we care for but feel have wasted their life, but in the end, we love them.

To Sum it Up: Rachel Getting Married looks like the kind of movie that will have people going, "Well, it's cute I guess." After seeing this trailer, it leaves barely anything for the viewer to imagine. But if you really need to see this movie, it'll probably not lose any of it's value on DVD. It's cheaper, and you can pause it when you realize it's bad.

All I know is that if I had Anne Hathaway as a sibling, she sure as hell best be staying away from my wedding.

Trailer Link: Rachel Getting Married

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Little Brains, Little Talent: Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt

To my Loyal Reader(s):
I apologize for my lack of posting for about a month, I wish I could give you a good excuse for my absence for a month, but alas, I can't. I've had plenty of things on my plate, I've been trying to write a book, which means I started writing, but had another brain fart and I'm working on something completely different. So, to make it up to you, I decided to start a series of posts about people who I particularly despise. Now, for a first candidate, you might have expected me to take on a particular bisexual leprechaun that has no talent, but I've gone on over kill and one more post about her, and it's Deer Hunter for me. No, I've got someone a whole lot worse to rag on. One friend of mine in the blogosphere, Stacey over at Webster's is my Bitch has countlessly talked about who I consider the Britney and Justin of the new millennium.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please turn your attention over to Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt, the reason why everyone hates America.

To those who don't go on the computer or watch TV, there is a show called The Hills, which I'm not 100% sure what its about other then the fact that the people on that show are vain and shallow and more popular then you are. And on this waste of airspace, we watch the lives of two especially annoying and shallow people, Heidi and Spencer, and observe them in their natural habitat. Judging by what I've seen on the internet, this dream couple have got to be the most boring people on the face of the planet. Seriously folks, the only people who really care about the antics of these two would be themselves. Heidi and Spencer, or Speidi as they're referred to, must think that the people watching their show care about them and worship, which is true for a large part. But for the other people in the universe who don't give two thoughts about them, it's better we ignore them than fuel the beast.

Remember when our celebrities did something? When Princess Di pitched in to help the world while Bono went to third world countries to fix the lives of the people who lived in suffering everyday? Now we have famous people who don't have to do anything to attract a crowd. Simply because they star on a third-rate TV show and they are young and beautiful, they must be the center of attention. Have you heard these two morons speak? Listening to Spencer Pratt talk about Heidi and his 'career' is almost like listening to a sea shell, we think we hear something, but it's just so self contained that we regard it for the wind. And Heidi, man oh man, how in the hell does this attention whore get so much god damn work?! Already she has a TV show, a Clothing line, and a recording deal. What next, her own amusement park where skinny bimbos yap about things that nobody in their right mind cares about.

Though the world might absolutely despise this couple, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. While proving themselves useless, Speidi is able to make a career out of something unintentional, their stupidity. Just hearing them talk you'd expect the wind up key in their backs to stop twirling and watch them collapse like wind up dolls. You only have to watch this brief clip to get a clear picture on how much of a douche Spencer Pratt is. How pathetic do you have to be that people pay you to go club? Holy mackerel, the guy is such a tool. And Heidi, please. stop. Does not want... It's no surprise that the lost soul is an avid McCain supporter.

When I look at such wastes of human life, I can only be reminded of Britney and Kevin, the football QB/cheerleader couple on the much loved on my behalf, under appreciated animated show, Daria. This couple is the butt of every joke. They are incredibly moronic kids who need to get their own lives, they don't do any of their homework, they can't think for more then a second. Hell, Britney in one episode thought that Henry David Thoreau was Henry Fonda and he went to Walden Pond to reconcile with his daughter, Jane Fonda. Coincidentally, the two are named Britney and Kevin, a dark foreboding and an ultimately true to life portrayal of the young and the brainless.

So Speidi, if you're reading this(If you can), don't take this as any hard feelings. Just go back to your uninteresting lives and return to your perfect little world where you belong. And don't come back.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Final Supper

Top Chef
Wednesdays at 10:00
Channel: Bravo

Time and time again, I have talked about reality TV, though it has been with harsh words and an angry and embittered look at television as a whole. And I don't blame myself one bit. If you just look at what it is that people watch, you too will find reason to bitch about all things trivial and intoxicating. Because we all know unless the dinosaur also known as Dina Lohan doesn't have her own show, then god dammit, the world is at rest.

So for a slight change, instead of telling you not to watch on TV(A list which goes on for miles), I figured in honor of last night's finale, I would talk food with you and do a small retrospect on my form of Crack TV, Top Chef.

As far as reality TV, there is few good shows to watch, so when a vicious critic like myself finds a good competitive reality show, a diamond in the rough if you will, there is cause for celebration. As it may seem, Top Chef may look like the little sister of the ever so popular and fierce, Project Runway. There's also Project Runway's dumpster baby, Top Design, that was shown to the public, but the public cowered in fear like Ann Coulter's children do whenever she tries to read them a bedtime story. Unlike Runway, Chef does not maintain the same form of trashiness and mayhem that its big sister craves like starletards crave their daddy's AM-EX Gold card. Sure, there are some people who you would happily bludgeon with a ten pound frozen steak or boil in their own pudding, but the audience is mainly drawn to the power and the effort that goes into every meal served. Not to say that Runway is just like eating chocolate cake, but on Chef, the contestants throughout the season are able to grow close to their teammates, it's not all about the individual all the time, it's not about who is mean and cranky, its about who has what it takes to create a meal that is both inventive and full of effort and talent. Which brings me to the center of my retrospect, how even the best can mess up, and it will cost them the title.

To anyone who has been watching this past season, you may recall the many chefs that stepped into the kitchen, hot headed but talented Dale, super smart and super genius Richard, Ms. calm, collective and totally talented Stephanie, douchebag white boy(s) Spike and Andrew(Wait, which one was which again?), the list goes on. Each person had their positive and negative aspects, each person seemed full of ideas. And then there are those who got by on one thing along.

Sheer dumb luck.

I say sheer dumb luck because as the viewers saw, it wasn't Dale, or Antonia, hell, even Jennifer, though not the best she wasn't only in it for the fame. This season did not have a Marcel or a Christian Sirrano or Tila Tequila, it had one who made it as far as she did simply because every time she screwed up, someone else did even worse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lisa Fernandes.

My problem with Lisa was the fact that she outlasted so many people who were better then she herself was, and she didn't always seem to try, nor did she get her act together. She vowed not to screw up once she made it to Puerto Rico, and upon arrival, did very bad. But like in all cases, she did bad, person B did even worse. Though she outlasted the majority of the people in the competition, it was the fact that she was so snarky that broke the camel's back.

See, with Lisa, you disliked her, you thought she was unpleasant to be around, and she wasn't very compelling, you didn't tune in simply to see what she'll do next. Marcel was entertaining because while he was good, everyone hated him to no extent. He made the show addictive, his Eddie Munster hairstyle amazed the laws of gravity(seriously, it stayed perfect!), and don't even mention the foam. He was an asshole, but an asshole who was good at what he was doing, which was in the end, cooking. And Lisa didn't even have that.

Despite all other babble from here and there, the sure fire winner of Top Chef, the one who everyone had their Vegas bets in the pot for was Richard. So when Richard failed because of both his strength and his weakness, I, like many must have been shocked to see that in the end, all of that knowledge, his many new ideas were what cost him the title. And that alone must burn.

Season 4's dark horse winner, Stephanie was just a home girl from Chicago itself who refused to let anxiety get to her head and proved that it's not just the men who can cook. Though I assume she'd be very angry if a misogynist asked her to stay in the kitchen and make him a sandwich. With Stephanie, she was not only a good cook, but of all of the people, she seemed the most like a person I would be friends with or would trust with a knife and a cutting board.

Another positive thing that I especially liked was the friendships that were blossomed from the show. And I know how corny that sounds, but during the course of the show, there was a power team, Richard, Stephanie, Andrew and Antonia. The fab four who became the power trio once their weakest and worst member Andrew was kicked off. These three were partners for two competitions, one being Wedding Wars and the other, Restaurant Wars. Like a group of old friends, they made arguably the best food there. Each person was original, they equally contributed and made great meals, so that itself kept my interest. Such a contrast to watch the other players struggle and fight and whine until they were in the bottom.

Like in the finale, there were plenty of shocks that happened throughout the show. First being Dale's early departure. Here was a talented chef who proved he could cook. I mean yeah, he had a bad day, but compared to Lisa, the negative Nancy she was, he had skills. Two of the season's strongest in the end both lost, which is both a shame and a surprise. However, the uncertainty was very intriguing to watch. Until Season Five, I'll be licking my fingers and salivating for more.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Experiment in Terror

The Stangers
Year: 2008

Directed by: Bryan Bertino

Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman
Gemma Ward

Well, I've got to hand it to you, I was wrong for once about a movie. Actually, I have been wrong about many movies, but I haven't blogged about any of them, now have I?

So, I bet you're wondering how Mr. Rock Hard Horror Movie Lover felt about the latest in "Inspired by True Events" movie, which in my book is an immediate kiss of death. Not only is it a kiss of death, but it makes the film seem kind of pathetic. Sure, adding a tagline that claims the events depicted in the film are based on real events, so the added sense of reality should cause me to quiver in my boots. However, I am one who thinks that a movie can be scary on its own without having to try and make it look like a true story. And come on, they usually don't even mean it when they say it was inspired by true events. Like I mentioned in my earlier post, Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a huge fabrication, a hyperbole covered in gore and guts that took the story of Ed Gein and ran with it. Gein however is not present here in this film. No, the killers here don't come with catch phrases, they don't mutilate any fingers or tear out any eye sockets. While they may have masks, they don't terrorize horny teenagers at summer camp. The terror is at your house. Late at night, when all seems normal and safe.

How wrong we are.

Compared to what my original impression was once I saw the trailer, how I viewed the film changed dramatically. Upon seeing the trailer for The Strangers, I began to break out in a fit of giggles. A film where two gorgeous people are chased around their house by maniacs? How original! But this is so much more than just a throwaway horror flick with skin and blood to spare. The blood is minimal, the sex is interrupted and from what I saw, NO misogyny, so forget any cameo from Paris Hilton.

I saw The Strangers at a daytime performance, 10:45 to be exact. So I was the only person in the theater. Only time would tell how scary, creepy and just downright frightening The Strangers ended up being.

Like many horror films, The Strangers takes place in the middle of the night. We first see a young couple, Kristen and James(Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman), and from the looks of it, their love life is on the rocks. Before we are subjected to the thrills and chills The Strangers beholds, like in any good movie, we need to examine the lives of our characters before we get in over our heads.

Using a somewhat voyeuristic eye as well as an unsteady camera that looks at our characters, as well as minimal everything. There is some music, but the music is only prevalent when the strangers in our film turn on a record to scare not only the characters, but the audience. And trust me, I am a die-hard horror film addict, but I don't get scared easily, unless it's really scary. And recently, my scare odometer has been very low. Sitting in the dark, alone, I realized how no matter where we were, being alone can be the scariest time of all. Because though we may ignore it, someone is there, watching and waiting for you to notice.

To call The Strangers "a jump out of your seat nail biter!" does the film no justice, I jumped many, many times through out the movie. I gasped, my heart raced, I didn't want the two protagonists to suffer the impending fate that they had led themselves into. I would call this movie one of the smartest movies in the horror genre in recent years. It's more than fear, it's the frightening notion that strangers can and will do what they want with you, and that we can't always be sure who is around the corner.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh the Horror, the Horror!

Well, after being mentioned a second time on the daily Pajiba Love,(Thanks Stacy!) I have decided to write something else that is a semi rant/looksie at some of the summer movies(well one of them) and in case the picture to my left isn't a good enough clue, that would be The Strangers, a film based on true events like Texas Chainsaw Massacre was based on true events. Which in the end meant stretched out far from the truth and turned into a gory spectacle. But why in particular this movie? I mean, I, like many am pumped and anticipating for when The Dark Knight comes out(I'm waiting for when IMAX tickets go on sale), why pick a horror flick with seemingly true plot elements and stars freakin' Arwen the Elf? Which is where my point comes in handy.

Too many horror movies are a) released at the wrong time of the year or are b)terrible.

I first saw a trailer for The Strangers when I went and saw the underwhelming and displeasing The Ruins, and to be quite honest, I began to have a laughing fit in the middle of the theater. Mainly because it seemed like a totally cliched trailer for what seemed(seems) to be just another version of Funny Games, but it will make more money and actually make a spot on the top ten of the weekend. But in the trailer, I'm not 100% sure what pissed me off more about it; was it the fact that Liv Tyler was standing in the kitchen when there was a masked villain in plain sight, or was it the fact that she had a lit cigarette? I'm going with the cigarette to be quite honest. And now, after watching the trailer several times, I find it to me semi eerie, but still not something I'd pay $10 to see, more like a half price matinée. The elements it shows are all hand book scares:
  • Skipping record
  • Person standing while the killer is right behind them
  • Non creepy song taken out of context and made freaky
  • Quick cuts to make what is normally a kind of scary moment into a terrifying pee your pants experience
  • Masked killers with screw around with the protagonist's head
  • Swing(or other object) that makes a noise but no one is there
I could go on, but I've got other things to talk about.

So seeing as this is a movie that is being released during the summer and looks like it might sucker me in(though I'm still not sure I need a movie of Liv Tyler screaming for two hours), why not around Halloween? How much more scary would this movie be if it were released when there were people in masks surrounding you and you are out and about alone? Despite the latest movie in the torture porn series, Saw, or a crappy PG-13 remake of a Japanese movie with a gorgeous star from One Tree Hill, there's not much to fear about the modern age of horror.

I mean, let's look at what has been good in terms of horror: The Descent. Why can't we make movies like The Descent that screw with your mind and make you cringe and give you an ending with a huge punch that leaves you flabbergasted? However, that is one movie in two years. That's sad. I enjoy the feeling of fear a good scary movie can give you without having to bare boobs or be misogynistic like Hostel. Scary doesn't mean show all of the blood and guts. Fear can also be caused by what you don't see then always what you do see. It's why Jaws is so legendary, until you briefly see the shark, your pants have turned to a shade of brown.

And why do we have to remake every damn movie the Japanese produce? The number of bad horror movies that get released in March of all months and earlier is just horrendous. If you're going to make a scary movie, for once find something original. And that's where we get into Hostel territory. Not a remake, but a disgusting orgy of boobs and intestines. It seems that today, what is not a remake is just torture porn. And that frankly will not do. Horror doesn't have to rely on blood and skin to attract an audience. A good horror movie is like a regular good movie. It relies on its story and it creates characters you are both repulsed and intrigued by. Hannibal Lecter much?

So, to the producers and people who make movies in Hollywood, those who suggest making another remake of a perfectly fine movie(Platinum Dunes, you suck donkey), tell them to watch those classics and take notes. An homage is better than a rip off, in case you were wondering.

And as an added bonus, for those who have not seen it: The Strangers trailer!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tila Tequila Eats Puppies and Watches Kittens Cry

To the Picture to my Right: Why are you smiling?! I'm not! It's because of your show that I have become an embittered blogger with a heart of fire and a strong hatred of MTV. If this is the Zeitgeist, then I want out.

Aw...Now that was a little too harsh, wasn't it?


As you may already know, I have a severe distaste for a certain show called "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila" A show which is apparently a show so important that they(being MTV) decided to give the starletard the butt end of her fifteen minutes of fame. I think she's on 13:47, so we're close!

Now, it might be semi immature to accuse Miss Tequila of such heinous crimes. I'm doing the world a favor in hopes that they might be swayed by my accusations, which I'm positive are true. But that's just me. However, I will say that while she may not necessarily eat puppies, I'm certain that she enjoys watching her contestants eat goat(?) testicles. Didn't the Wicked Witch of the West do that to the Scarecrow before becoming a news anchor for Fox?* Oh well, I'm sure it's in there somewhere.

I'm guessing that you, the reader of my site, would rather see me review her heinous abortion of a program than simply tell you not to watch it, and instead watch something like this family movie from France or something a bit lighter like this cute little gem with an animated rabbit. I'm pretty sure you'd rather watch a movie that describes the pain you get from watching a small portion of an episode of Shot at Love.

Now, on to the review:

As you already have guessed, A Shot at Love is a very, very bad show. Not only is it very bad, but because of this putrid waste of air wave space as well as other shows that spawned this show from the back of the middle school x number of years ago, there are only more and more bad shows being produced.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:

: A show about celebrities who team up with magicians! Hey, since when did Hal Sparks do anything else besides make out with Strawberry Shortcake?

Farmer Wants a Wife: Where, believe it or not, a farmer wants a wife. I. Kid. You. Not.

I Know My Kid's A Star
: Ten teams of parents and children go at it Lohan family style to prove that their kid is SO much better than your kid. So suck it.

Secret Talents of the Stars
: A show canceled after one episode which featured secret talents of the stars! Because my life would not be complete unless I saw Ben Stein do the jitterbug. See, if the title tells me all the show is about, I'll know how to avoid it. However, I'm sure episode two showed how far Pamela Anderson could stick a banana down her throat! LOL!!!!1 It's the 90's all over again!!!1

Man, sometimes, I wish I was joking. The writers return only to find that Reality TV has worsened, that people are actually making these shows and some folks are actually watching them. Which means only one thing: Despite the lack of decency MTV had during the first season, they decided to take another shot at love, and it seems to have worked.

Yeah, from the bit I saw, the people were arguing about something, probably involving mud wrestling or some incredibly hot and heavy sport. Some guy got injured, proving that love hurts! Tila made out with a female contestant while the camera man had a mini vacation. But this season, Tila has raised the bar, she's making sure that she is able to find that one person who she can fall in love with. Wasn't that her mission last season???

On a side note: At my friend's school, a student was accepted to be on Rock of Love 3. Which totally blew my mind, seeing as Season 2 had only just started. Would that mean that I'm right all along? That Reality TV is a sordid and horrific zone full of torment and fear?!

Well, except for Top Chef. Now that there is a quality show.

P.S This fall, more Pushing Daisies! So after weeping in a corner for a year, you can rejoice and sing for the return of the greatest thing to happen to pie since Waitress!!

*Disclaimer, I'm sorry Ann Coulter. I know it wasn't goat testicles you tried to feed the Scarecrow. You were just going all Ellen Page in Hard Candy on John Edwards. Can you still sleep at night? If so, you have no heart.

Friday, May 9, 2008

"I'm Wide Awake and I can see the perfect sky is Torn..."

Call me bizarre and deranged all you want, but I feel that there is an important matter at hand. A matter of two songs, well, one song, two different versions. You're bound to have heard the popular version of this song, but all will be revealed soon-ish.

Alright then, first, listen to this song, Torn by Natalie Imbruglia, a sweet, catchy little tune that has been played on the radio at least a gazillion times. It was a song I knew way back when, like, the nineties, that's how old I am. Well anyways, I finally found the title and the artist of this song, a very, as I said, catchy tune. A song that most people could relate to. There's just one little thing I only found about a month ago.

Torn by Natalie Imbruglia is in fact a cover, a version of a song by a little known band, Ednaswap who wrote a couple songs that ended up getting other people famous. Only, in my honest opinion, Ednaswap's version of the song is much, much better by a long shot.

Call me an obsessive person all you want, but doesn't it seem unfair that while the version you've most likely heard is a nice song, it is a) a cover of a song by an almost unknown band and b)the original version is ten times better. Need proof? Well, here it is, my good friend(s).

The point I have here is that in pop culture, people are notorious for doing mainstream versions of songs that are fine on their own, but unable to sell because, well, they aren't commercial or some random crap like that. And frankly, it makes me sick. While Imbruglia did a cover of the song and gave a slight 'twist' on it, if by twist you mean poppy makeover. Don't I have a right to complain?

Anyways, it's Friday, you should probably be out at the movies seeing Iron Man instead of worrying about some mixed up blogger's sanity. Au Revoir!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

You're a Part time Lover and a Full Time Friend: Tearjerking Movie Moments

Wow, it's been forever since I posted, and since I am bored as hell(literally) I figured I'd make a list of movies that are tearjerkers. It doesn't mean that they are 100% sad dramas, just movies with moments that make me emotional. To me, a movie that makes me cry is a movie that proves itself human. Not only can it cause me to lose it, it also makes me feel 100% more releved and relived because even though tears are flowing, I'm getting the full impact of the film. Oh, and I'm making this mostly spoiler free, so do not fret. Also, I have some repeats that I may have mentioned before, just so you know.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

How many times has this been mentioned on this site? At least three times, I'm guessing. Well, I'm guessing that I do mention it so frequently is because it really is just an incredible movie. Full of funny and sad and altogether human moments, you've just got to love this unique and mind blowing movie. And you'll most likely shed a few tears when the protagonist realizes the mistake he has made. Brain Fart: Sometime soon, I'm going to Montauk.

Lars and the Real Girl

This film too was mentioned earlier, but I thought it wouldn't matter if I mentioned this a second time, just because it is the kind of feel good movie I am into. Films that set out to jerk tears and tear heartstrings are in my opinion pathetic,(*Cough* August Rush!*Cough*) So this was a sigh of relief. Only the brilliant Nancy Oliver( A Writer for Six Feet Under) can take what could be a dirty sex comedy about a man who falls in love with a sex doll and turns it into a human movie with human emotions. When we the viewer learn how supportive the community is and how much they love him, you can't help but smile and possibly sob.(Like I did)


Damn you Diablo Cody for making such a funny and sweet movie! Well, it's not a bad thing, I would personally like to thank her for making such a terrific film and bringing her characters to life. I will admit that when I first saw this, I did not cry. It was only after I bought the DVD and watched it that I truly wept and became ultimately bi-polar. I blame Ellen Page and her cute lingo and how honest and cute Paulie Bleeker is and how soulful Cat Power is. Gaw, now I'll start choking up...

The Wizard of Oz

Yes, that Wizard of Oz. The movie with Judy Garland singing about rainbows and sleeping in poppy fields in those freaking ruby slippers. Call me hokey, and I'm assuming that I'm not spoiling anything, anyone with a soul has seen The Wizard of Oz when I say that the end really gets me going. Even though she loves each and everyone of the men she meets, it's the kind Scarecrow that she's going to miss most of all. Now you've got to admit, over the rainbow is pretty much magical, no matter what age.

Love Actually

Recently, Love Actually has become a Christmas favorite. Something about how it's a romantic ensemble movie that revolves around Christmas and Love. To be honest, the only reason I don't cry during this movie is because both times I watched it, I was in a room with my family. It's reasons like that that make me just want to leave the room, take the movie and view it on my own time. It's one of those movies that ties up beautifully in every way, shape and form.

Beauty and the Beast

I'll admit it, few cartoons can make me feel the warm, gooiness inside when I watch Beauty and the Beast. Instead of falling head over heels in love with the beast, Belle is at first repulsed by him, then as the film progresses, she learns to love him and that beauty is only skin deep. You might say I'm biased towards this movie because Belle loves to read books(YAY!) but I like the songs and the story. You can tell me the beast will get Belle and live as many times as you want, I'll still breakdown and cry like a baby.

Six Feet Under(The Final Three Episodes)

As tearjerkers go, this is the mother load. The biggest emotion I possible felt for anything lies deep within the awesome power of this show. I not only cry while watching the final episodes, but I feel like as the minutes go by, I'm losing people in my life. People who I've loved, characters who I've grown attached to. At the center, these episodes aren't always about loss, but about how important and beautiful life is. It is also nice to see Claire(Lauren Ambrose Aka My Personal Claire for The Time Traveler's Wife movie) grow up before my eyes and become a young woman. I don't think any show or movie will ever hit me the was 6FU did. Rest in Peace.

Friday, March 28, 2008

So, after living life, what happens next?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky

Year: 1999

Way back when, an author by the name of J.D Salinger wrote the classic book about teenage life, The Catcher in the Rye, a book that was about a young man that is brutally honest, frank, and yet, endearing. It seems that Chbosky's intentions were that to take the tough but wise protagonist/narrator who tells his story about life and growing up. However, I have not read Catcher, I have read Perks of Being a Wallflower and honestly, I feel that while the dialogue is very true to teenagers and that the activities that teenagers get involved in, sex, drugs and Rocky Horror are real, but after reading this slim novel, I had one burning question:

Why the hell should I care?

Granted, Perks is a book with its own cult following, one that I had heard talked about by teens for ages until I actually read the book itself, and to be honest, I am not impressed.

I read Perks when I was the age of the narrator, Charlie, I was about to start high school, so it was about the end of the year that I read the book. The story involves Charlie, a freshman who writes to an anonymous friend, one we never learn the identity of. Charlie's friend killed himself not too long ago, so Charlie's method of grieving is to cry. However, it is not long before he meets up with the cool kids and is introduced into their life, their circle of friends, their lives. Charlie has problems brewing at home, so he is just desperate to find friends and be cool, so he does. However, he also befriends a teacher who challenges him and lets him work to his full potential. In the end, his potential is pretty much a small after thought, seeing as smoking and alcohol have taken up what could make him great. And his friends are the 'good guys'.

One of my major problems does not lie in the whole aspect of a kid doing drugs, partying and living his life with older kids, I pretty much did the same growing, granted I didn't immerse myself into the drugs and alcohol subculture. However, Charlie was not me at all growing up. Reading this book, I kind of felt, dare I say, repulsed by him. He seemed less of a cool kid hanging out with the seniors, more or less the little freshman who followed around the big kids. Reading him talk about his interactions with his friends, I didn't feel jealous, I just felt like how the hell is he just coasting by life, getting friends that are anything but trustworthy, dating people who are out of his league, and as I mentioned before, the only thing I got out of this was that he gets into addiction and all of that jazz. It's rather difficult to describe my dislike for Charlie, but I just felt that because he was popular, because he went to parties, he wasn't someone I wanted to be, he wasn't my voice. For once I felt like this young teenage boy was just someone I wouldn't be friends with, making me feel like a judgmental senior, which sounds horrible, and yet, I was one of the few who felt that this book did not speak out to them.

Another gripe I had with Perks was that though it is a short, sleek novel, nothing seems to happen that is particularly important. Besides the parties, the hanging out, the drinking and smoking, all I really walked away with was not to make the same mistakes these characters did. Nothing threatened their lives, they had lousy times, but nothing really changed them, there was no eventual realization that maybe life was something important not to waste time lazing around. Call me cold, but I expecting something big to change their lives, death, AIDS, an STD, anything that made the book truly stand out as something other then a bored teen's guide to parting.

Damn, do I feel like an adult.

In a nutshell, The Perks of Being a Wallflower isn't a bad book; it's not very long, it's readable, the dialogue is believable, and there are some scenes that stand out. It's not a bad book, it just has way too much of a cult following based upon a fair young adult novel. If you want to read a book that is this, only 100 million times better is Looking for Alaska. Believe me, it blows this one out of the water and justifies my annoyance for this book.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Every Little thing that You Say or Do, I'm Hung Up, I'm Hung Up on You.

Before I go on my tirade, let me say that I don't fully intend on hurting anyone's feelings, but I've just got to come out and say it:

I cannot stand Madonna. Period.
"Does Not Want!"

Like every rant, the reason I am venting about Madonna, one of the most popular singers ever because I see her as one of the most ubiquitous, vain, vapid, and overrated musicians of all time. Don't get me wrong, I will admit that her song, Hung Up that borrows(for lack of a word) from ABBA is more then slightly catchy and a guilty pleasure of mine. Despite this small guilty pleasure, it's not enough to retain myself from ranting about her. She hasn't looked for world peace, she constantly tries to bring back her sexy self from the eighties and she is always trying to reinvent herself as well as her image. Madonna seems to think she's still the bubbly, youthful free spirit who is loved by everyone when her only devoted listeners seem to be gay men and strip clubs. What makes this woman so loved, so worshiped and so divine? She is a Kabbalist which has turned many people to this pseudo-religion and worst of all, she is convinced that she is also as British as the queen herself.

For reasons beyond me, Madonna still has a stable career, when many people seem to be against her. She cannot act for her life, it's clear as can be. She notoriously ruined Guy Richie's career, almost bankrupt George Harrison's movie company, so not everyone loves her. While she still as popular as she was twenty years ago, she has also been a controversial figure. If by controversial you mean does things on stage and in music videos that is trying to be edgy and shocking. Which, if you think about it, is not very edgy and new at all. I know I most certainly will not listen to the aural assault called her music even if she pulls a Sinead O' Connor and tears a picture of the Pope and says Santa Claus is not real while spitting on the cross and makes love with a black priest(Wait...she already did this one).

Since her Like a Virgin stage, Madonna has played the cute and sexy part for too god damn long. People still attend her concerts, so because she's still so talked about, she obviously must still put out music, which it has slowly become less and less of. I'd call it, techno noise with boops and beeps and borrowing from songs from the 70's. And admit it, playing the sexy role at her age is just scary to witness and watching her try so hard to shock and cause talk about her music has gone on too long. Imagine your grandmother acting like Roxie Hart in Chicago and then you'll see what I mean.

In conclusion, Madonna, to be blunt, your fifteen minutes of fame have been up since the mid nineties and have been waiting to be collected for ages now. So claim them and leave the music industry please!

Still, regardless of what you think about Madge, this Ungodly rendition of the classic song "American Pie" should be buried in a safe at the bottom of a deep, dark ocean. And I won't even subject you to Madonna rapping. You'll have to search for that on your own masochistic time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sucks more than Blood

Bram Stoker's Dracula
Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola

Starring: Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins,
Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves.

I do apologize for the irrelevancy of reviewing Bram Stoker's Dracula, but since I haven't really seen much since Miss Pettigrew, I felt I needed more bad reviews on my site, so without further adieu, the review.

I stumbled upon Dracula when a good friend called me to tell me that she had just watched Dracula and said it was just plain awful. She had received it as a gift years ago, but never opened the shrink wrap(Whether or not it was a friend who secretly despised her I'll never know). Needless to say, I told her I had to stop by and watch it with her, anticipating the cheesiness of the actors, the particularly bad accents and the wooden as a plank Keanu Reeves. What better way to watch a bad movie then with friends?

Anyways, we went over to our friends' house expecting the worst, and ended up with our expectations met and exceeded. It's not that Bram Stoker's Dracula is the worst movie ever made, it just isn't a very good one.

Bram Stoker's Dracula is, of course, another retelling of the classic novel. It has been made at least a thousand times with many actors donning the cape and fangs. Hell, they even spoofed it on The Simpsons. This version has been hailed "The greatest retelling of Dracula!"(As quoted by the cyberphiles on IMDB) While others have heavily criticized its acting and mostly everything about the film. The problem with this version of Dracula is that while it was a big movie, featuring a star studded cast and directed by the man who made two of the greatest movies of all time, as well as some major stinkers(North!) it takes the idea of Dracula's passionate love for a woman who died, causing Dracula to curse god and become the the evil, blood sucking vampire we know and love. Vlad Dracula is a warrior(We see this in a cheesy battle full of groans and oofs! from the solders) and he is madly in love with Elisabeta(Winona Ryder). As I already mentioned before, she dies, he becomes a vampire.

Flash forward many years later, we see Jonathan Harker(Bad as predicted Keanu Reeves) a man who is engaged to Mina(Also Winona Ryder) travels to Transylvannia for business, leaving Mina alone with her rich friend Lucy(Sadie Frost who could play the same role with the same amount of force in the porno remake Bram Stroker's The Three Horny Brides of Dracula) Lucy seems to rely on camp, she is loose, sleeps around with more men then their pajamas and always manages to moan like she is receiving a demonic orgasm. Coppola paints her up as a whorish vamp, and this is before her transformation, complete with the obligatory lesbian make out in rain(!)

Long story short, Harker, along with his god awful accent, arrives at the castle to meet Dracula(Gary Oldman) only to notice he is...slightly strange. Reeves is admit ably bad, which is a shame, seeing as he was at least decent in My Own Private Idaho and the 1st Matrix. Oldman play on the whole creepy vampire thing, and he is the best thing in the film, which means he is the least wooden of these actors. Another odd thing about the movie seems to be how Harker gets grabbed by a claw, sees a dead body, but he only reacts when he sees Dracula's brides eat a baby. The gore and violence isn't graphic, but its still very laughable as are the gratuitous sex scenes, nudity and in continuity of it all.

Scenes that are supposed to frighten the viewer(Lucy dressed as the queen of doilies who holds a little girl and randomly drops her, Mina drinks blood from Dracula's nipple, the brides, etc...) are done with camp value. The hype built up from the movie was immense, full of attractive logos and art campaign, star power and Dracula was the classic bad guy. When in short, all it lacked from being total camp was trannies at Dracula's castle doing the time warp.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I missed the ending, but all I know is that it is different from the book and that once its over, you are cursing yourself for wasting two hours watching a sloppy, cheesy adaptation that will only be remembered by me as a sad attempt to create a Dracula for the ages. And Coppola hasn't really returned from his creative slump, which is the scariest thing of it all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Country Mouse and The City Mouse

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Year: 2008
Directed by: Bharat Nalluri
Starring: Francis McDormand,
Amy Adams and Lee Pace.

It is rather unfortunate in the world of movies when the new year rolls around. It seems that the first few months (January, February and March) seem to be the time of year reserved for crappy and forgettable movies just as October, November and December are generally the time for the best movies of the year and typically Oscar contenders. However, Miss Pettigrew is an exception.

The story of Miss Pettigrew is not a particularly difficult one; the title character, Miss Pettigrew(A lovely Francis McDormand) is a dowdy governess who is not very good at her profession. Seeking a job that will keep her off the streets and away from the homeless shelters, Pettigrew enlists as the caretaker of whom she thinks is a mother. The so called "mother" Delysia Lafosse(A delightful Amy Adams) is in fact an aspiring actress who is, at the moment, juggling men. In a quick paced and upbeat manner, we are introduced to the men in Delysia's life; there's the foolish playwright Phil, Nick who owns a swanky apartment and is quite rich, and finally, Michael(Lee Pace getting work!) a musician who had a run in with the law and is heading to America. In the course of the day, we follow Delysia and Miss Pettigrew as they attend a lingerie show, give Pettigrew a make over and still have time for a party.

With its sharp dialogue, it's stunning sets and is period clothing, Miss Pettigrew successfully manages to capture the humor and the feel of British farce from the 1930's-40's. In fact, the film takes place during the early days of WWII, during a time where people feared war and didn't know what would happen or how many lives we would lose. But since the movie is usually bubbly and upbeat, it is able to tear away from being a melodramatic war drama(Which is by all means not the intention of the director).

While it might not be perfect, Miss Pettigrew is undeniably a fun film and a good one to see if looking for a diversion from fighting cavemen or the latest entry in the Dance porn genre. And that is much more then a relief.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Platinum Dunes:

Dear Michael Bay and the Schmucks behind your company, Platinum Dunes,

It has been brought to my attention that you have the urge to remake what is in my opinion one of the scariest movies ever made, Rosemary's Baby. In case people don't know what Rosemary's Baby is about, let me explain: Rosemary's Baby is a near perfect psychological thriller, a tale that is both dark and truly terrifying. The book itself is very, very well written and Polanski did the smart thing while adapting the book to the screen by staying true to the novel. So Michael Bay, since you along with the douchebags who run Platinum Dunes(Whatever the hell that means) are taking this perfect horror movie and remaking it, placing Sarah Michelle Gellar or another hot young star(*Cough!*Jessica Alba!*Cough!*) into Mia Farrow's neurotic shoes and reviving the film to make it more contemporary when the film itself has not aged a bit, I can only ask you this question:

Why? Why? Why?

I cannot say that I have seen any of your movies, all I know are that they are for people who have a boner for car chases and explosions and mass amounts of violence. If you have even seen Rosemary's Baby, you will know that it relies on the unknown that truly terrifies the viewer and that what you don't see is the worst kind of fear. To make a lavish and bulky version of a simple and already ingenious story would only make the film unwatchable and utterly useless. When we the viewer are "introduced" to the baby, we haven't a clue what it looks like, but from Rosemary's reaction, it's hideous and demonic. We don't need a visual representation of the ugly kid to satisfy our craving for blood and guts.

So, as I have stated before, why the hell are you touching this movie and making people like me who love the original write angry pseudo-letters to you and your beyond pathetic cronies? Do you enjoy taking old stories and turning them into full throttle action packed blockbusters. Well, taking Rosemary's Baby and tampering with its story, its characters and worst of all, desecrating the grave of Ira Levin. It was bad enough for Frank Oz to remake The Stepford Wives, but this, this is atrocious. This is sleazy Hollywood tampering with an idea and making it into a horrible clone. I do not know if you are aware, Michael Bay, that past remakes of classic horror have flopped miserably. Such as:
The Omen
Any of these Japanese Horror remakes America simply craves
Black Christmas

And the list goes on. So by remaking Rosemary's Baby, you not only risk failing miserably, but also your film will most likely be panned by critics who love the chilling original, will it make any money at the box office? Probably. The whole character, Rosemary will probably end up as a flimsy, screaming creature that gets what's coming to her.

In conclusion, since Rosemary's Baby in my book constitutes as "Sleeping in Parent's bedroom and fear of using the bathroom because the hall light is off" scary. Your tampering with a classic movie turns me off like you would not believe. I'll skip your other efforts, I'll turn them off when they hit HBO, and I'll shake my head and ask "Will he ever learn?" So you can drive elsewhere while riding the Platinum Dunes, you're not welcome.

Ben(The Kamakaze Feminist.)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stop Handing in Good Performances and Make me a Sandwich!

The other day, I was on one of my favorite sites Feministing, a site devoted to, you guessed it feminism. On the side, it had a video rant towards the Academy Awards. Curious, I checked it out, and all I can say is that I now see a whole new light. The video talks about gender segregation and the Oscars, something that never really seemed apparent to me. However, the video did address some important issues, especially how male and female actors are split in two. Though I will still watch the Oscars ever so devotedly, I still do feel that splitting the acting up and keeping males and females on the other side of the velvet rope. However, I have decided to issue an official response.

The Best Actor/Actress awards are intended to honor actors of both sexes which is not intended to be degrading to women or keep them away from the big boys. However, since the Oscars were established, this category has been gender segregated. This, to be is both good and bad. While it may honor the males and females that truly stood out from the rest, the actress Oscars not only are given out in the middle of the ceremony, but also, parts when it comes to males have been, shall we say better then women's parts. Feministing makes this point clear, and though it is unfair, it has been true. Men haven't been honored for playing a prostitute and men who get ugly don't get a guaranteed Oscar. Maybe because Hollywood loves to honor women who instead of playing wimpy and glamorous angels decide to look less flattering or have a drug problem, or they are a cheap prostitute. However, while women tend to get more roles where they "dirty" themselves up, women have also gotten recognized for their brave performances that show that they are strong and empowered. Jane Wyman won for her role as a deaf/mute woman who was raped, not for some wishy-washy Lifetime movie of the week material movie. She played such a brave part in 1948, not 2008.

Another thing I find fascinating is also as time goes on, more and more women are being recognized for their performances, roles that are truly roles that some would maybe consider role model material. Take Ellen Page, a spunky 21 year old who was the apple of the critic's eye in her role as a pregnant teenager in Juno. Cate Blanchett has been nominated two times as Queen Elizabeth, a queen who never married and was also a strong believer in what was best for her kingdom.

But would they win while up against male performances? The answer is probably no.

As long as the awards have been around, sexism has seeped through the glamorous and star filled Academy Awards ceremony. In the 20's, the only thing women could get recognized for doing was the Best Actress. Other then that, women would never in a million years receive an award for doing a "man's" job. Case in point, Barbara Streisand directs and acts in and produces The Prince of Tides. She is nominated for Best Picture and the film itself gets 7 important nominations. Notably absent is...Best Director! As Billy Crystal best said, "Did the film just direct itself?" Fast forward today, women are nominated for many awards that are gender neutral. 3 of the five Best Screenplay nominees were women and Diablo Cody won the award. Sofia Coppola was nominated for Best Director for her beautiful and moving Lost in Translation. But still, when it comes to acting. More men are noticed then women. So if men and women were both up to the same plate, men, as always would most like triumph.

Another noteworthy observation, the Best Actress Oscar is given out earlier in the night, right along with the boring and lesser known awards. Why exactly is that? While watching the award getting handed to Cotillard, I only noticed the earliness of it all. My comment, "If Best Actress is awarded before 10:30, the final award of next year's Oscars will most likely be Best Documentary: Short Subject." Getting the important stuff out of the way first seems like a lousy way to award those individuals who were talented.

In conclusion, I think that while it may be gender segregated, the acting awards are put for some kind of semi purpose. Men and Women each year deliver outstanding performances and should be rightfully awarded. And since you can't really award both and leave both sexes happy, then what is there to do? For now, it is just going to stay the way it is.

Friday, February 29, 2008

They Lived Happily Ever After? Not always: A Guide to Incredible Movie Endings

An ending can have different effects on us, it can makes us laugh, make us cry, and truly change us sometimes. I remember the King Tut exhibit a year ago where you are walking into a room of artifacts and other things galore. I said to myself: "But wait, there must have been something to perfectly end the iffy exhibit. Let's turn this way and maybe we'll see the famous death mask!" We make a turn and we see...The gift shop. And we can't reenter. I hate it when a good movie or anything leads you to a possibly perfect climax/finale, but it ends up sucking. I think that the ending to a movie is an important part because it leaves an impression of the viewer. To not get people angry, I have made the spoilers black so that if you want to see how it ends/check out my reaction, then highlight the section, but be warned. So, without further Adieu, and for those who don't mind spoilers/if you've seen some of these movies, enjoy:

Now this one I did not see coming from a mile ahead. Well, that is, when I read the scrumptious book I had no idea. But watching such a lush story brought to life was truly a one of a kind experience. But still, to think that Briony did what she did and the harsh circumstances that played out. Both Robbie and Cecilia died and never got to be together. Now tell me, wouldn't you want to set things right after doing this?

Beautiful Thing
It's a rare occasion where a movie ending really lifts my spirits up. Really, watching Beautiful Thing truly moved me. Here we had an realistic fairy tale like story that not only was a sweet movie, but it was all around great. And when you watch it, you cannot help but smile as the two boys stand up to the world and proclaim their love for each other as they dance together ever so perfectly to Dream a Little Dream of Me by Mama Cass. It doesn't get better then that.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
The ending to this one I pretty much guessed five
minutes into it, but I
still was pleased when I saw that Holly Golightly not only found her cat but kissed the man she so dearly loved. It's very sentimental, but hey, It's cute. It might be a light movie, but still, it is just plain classic.


As I've mentioned before, Casablanca is one of my all time favorites. I know that I did mention the ending in my review for it, but I still have to just describe the sheer beauty of it all. Such a powerfu
l scene, leading up to a bang that will break your heart. When Rick lets Ilsa escape Nazi occupied Casablanca, you know they will never meet again, but still, they will always have Paris.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I apologize if you've already hea
rd me rave about some of these movies, but now I'm hoping you want to see them even more. In fact, this list hopefully will get you to want to watch these movies now more then before. The whole movie is breathtaking, I always cry at the same part and then when Joel and Clementine finally realize they are soul mates, they promise to love each other forever. After the whole ordeal they've gone through, it truly is satisfying.

Fight Club
It is a rare occasion that a movie adaptation of a book causes such celebration,
but this one and Atonement are notable exceptions. The movie itself is a two hour fist fight, you want to stop, but you're compelled to keep going. Brutal, unglamorous and ultimately hard as nails. The whole movie, we are mystified by Tyler Durden, easy going, easy talking businessman who starts up an underground phenomenon that supplies men with the testosterone they crave. The nameless narrator seems like such an odd guy to partner up with Durden, but we learn Durden isn't real and that he is the wild side of the narrator, it all clicks. And watching the buildings crumble before your eyes as The Pixies play, it's one hell of a way finish.

Lost in Translation
Ignore anyone else's rants on how this is pretentious tripe, it is clear that som
e people didn't get any of this beautiful and dreamy movie. Bill Murray, an older man goes to Japan to shoot some commercials when he meets Scarlett Johanson's character, a young woman and they share the most intimate connection one could have. It's not love, it's stronger then that. So of course, you can't help but feel sad when they say their goodbyes. He whispers words we the viewer do not understand, but it doesn't matter. And as The Jesus and Mary Chain plays on, we watch Murray drive away in a cab, taking one last look at the glorious Japan and at one woman who has changed his life. To me, that makes a heart wrenching ending.

Six Feet Under: Everyone's Waiting
This is, by far, one of the best episodes in TV history. I'm not even kidding, this is just plainl
artwork here, it's real, its searing and it will linger with you for many months. Plus, it's the hardest I've ever cried at anything. To fully appreciate it, you really have to watch it from the beginning, so that when the satisfying ending comes to a close, you will be fully effected by it. We Watch the Fisher family grow and mature but most of all, deal with life and death. So it is fitting to take a glimpse at their futures and we watch everyone we love die, not because it is supposed to be Gothic, but because it shows you how great their lives are going to be and how great the future will be. And that is what makes a great ending.

The Sixth Sense
Say what you will about M. Night Shamalyan, but this movie is truly a unique movie
. Both scary and sad, Sense truly attracts all of your senses by giving you a supernatural situation and making it real. We watch at a child psychologist tries to help a boy overcome a problem even he can't come to terms with. He can see the dead. And then comes the truly amazing twist, the psychologist has been dead since the beginning of the movie. If you didn't hear it before you saw it, then this movie was truly an eye opener.

The Usual Suspects

Who is Keyzer Soze? Only one of the scariest and most vicious killers in film histo
ry. It has been a very debatable movie, some love it, some hate it, but still it is genius. Kevin Spacey, a man with a limp and a very meek personality uncovers this mystery and tells the police all that he knows and the hell it has been in the past. And you will be blown away when it is revealed that Spacey has made everything up on the spot and he is the deranged killer. Pretty intense, don't you agree?

Y Tu Mama Tambien

The last item on our list is this coming of age movie that is funny, raunchy, spicy and j
ust plain incredible. By capturing teenage hood, Alfonso Cuaron takes us on a life changing road trip with two horny young men who travel with an older woman to find the perfect sunspot. Along the way, friendships are tested, there is plenty of things going on and also, the two boys discover what it is to be an adult. Only we learn that after that summer, they will meet at a coffee shop and that the woman they have spent the movie with died shortly after their summer. Even more hard hitting, they will never see each other again. It might bum you, but admit, it is all about growing up and leaving things behind.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Age of Innocence

Written by: Ian McEwan
Year Published: 2001

Well, the main reason for reviewing this book is two things: 1) I felt my blog needed to have some book reviews among many posts that defend America(Somewhat) and the generalization that our movies suck as well as describe my hate for backlash. While this may not necessarily a bad thing, I needed some variety. 2) I wanted everyone to know this: Atonement is a damn good book. It is so great, it's riveting and it is also without a doubt a beautiful and haunting tale that truly will spellbind you. I'm not making any of this up. Seriously.

If you haven't seen/read or heard about the story, it's simple and at the same time complex. It starts out as a book about an imaginative and mischievous girl, Briony, who observes a brief moment between her sister, Cecelia and their poor hired hand, Robbie. We later learn that this alleged naughty businesses is not at all what it seems, a recurring theme in the book. Briony wants to perform her play, but unfortunately her cousins are less then enthusiastic about acting. She also feels left out and ignored while the people at her house await the arrival of her older brother, Leon. So curiosity kills the cat, and then Briony decapitates the cat and all hell breaks loose. She is nosy, she is very unlikable, frequently through out the book and movie I wanted to slap her for being so foolish and stupid. It is because of her spying on Robbie and Cecelia and their behaviors that cause Briony to accuse Robbie of a horrible crime and let the culprit walk free.

Though it might not seem like it, Atonement, at least as I saw it, was not a romance movie as the film has been marketed out to be. It is a story about making mistakes, getting caught up in the wrong situations and having to repent for what we have done. It might not be as dire or as life threatening as seen in Atonement, but still, it does best describe what happens when lies and accusations are thrown at each other and what happens when we get in too over our heads.

Above all, Atonement is more or less a lesson. With rich and vivid language, Mcewan creates a scenic and spectacular story come to life. The majority of Atonement relies on the internal thoughts of the characters in the story. This not only enhances the reading, but it also makes the reader truly cherish the words. In the course of reading it, I felt intense emotions for the characters and towards the actions they did. Though you couldn't help but feel remorse for Briony once she gets older, but when you look back and think about how awful her accusation was, you start to realize that she has learned from her mistakes the hard way. And now, it is too late to change things.

Though not a long read, Atonement is a gem of a book. By combining a story that is about love lost by a cruel misunderstanding it also brings together a book about forgiveness and also about the horrors of war and how it tears people's lives apart. I do not want to overindulge on Mcewan, but I am definitely looking forward to reading another one of his haunting books.