Tag Archives: reviews

The Book, the Movie, the Movie, the Book

silver linings booksilver linings movie cover

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.  And I’m glad I didn’t have Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in my head when I did it.  Whenever a book is made into a movie it’s easy to be disappointed in one of them, probably influenced the most by wherever we begin.  Books make me want to see the movie, and movies make me want to read the book, and then the comparisons from one to the other keep me awake at night.  Okay, not really.  Mostly it’s just mildly entertaining thinking about our dissimilar thought processes and how differently things can be interpreted and how something can be dissected and twisted to end up with a wildly divergent result and a new meaning that never would have crossed my mind.  And then I can make up ridiculously long sentences about the concept.

This book was a brilliant look inside the head of a man with a lot of mental issues, and the story is told almost exclusively from his point of view.  Pat has lost what he thinks is only a few months (but turns out to be four years) of his life in “the bad place” spending “apart time” from his wife Nikki.  He is back living with his parents and working hard on continuing to improve everything about himself so there will be a reconciliation with Nikki and his own personal “movie” will have a happy ending.  He is obsessed with working out, has a therapist who shares his love of football, freaks out whenever he hears Kenny G, and is being pursued by Tiffany, who may be even more messed up than he is. His father mostly ignores him, his mother dotes and smothers, and his brother and best friend just want him to snap out of it and be normal.  It’s obvious to the reader that Pat is not going to get the silver lining/happy ending he’s counting on.  But he’s easy to root for, and endearing in his struggles.

I have not seen the movie in its entirety, but I’ve watched enough trailers and scenes and clips to know there are a myriad of differences.  For one thing, Robert De Niro has more lines in one snippet than Pats father had in the entire book.  In the book we see the world according to Pat.  In the movie we get to see it from somewhere else entirely – not just our own perspective but that of the screen writers and the director and the actors themselves.  It looks to be very different, but I don’t know how it could be otherwise.

This could be a first, where I’m less likely to prefer one over the other, but able to enjoy both for whatever diverse and peculiar reasons. Maybe the whole comparison thing in this case is just a silly waste of time.

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Where Do We Go Now (the Movie)

where do we go now

Where Do We Go Now is a great movie to watch if you like foreign films and don’t mind reading sub-titles through the whole thing.  Or if you understand Arabic.  (I’m assuming that’s the language they are speaking in this small village in Lebanon.)  Sub-titles don’t bother me at all (since I’m slowly going deaf) especially when it comes to making out some of the dialogue in movies.  So I almost always turn on the English sub-titles even when the movie is in English.  Otherwise I’ll have the volume up loud enough to break other people’s ear drums.

I suppose in part this movie is a sort of light-hearted exploration of religious tension. The setting is a small village where a church and a mosque stand side by side and the villagers are either Muslims or Christians.  And half the time I had no idea which was which.  Their country is in turmoil with fighting amongst religious zealots, so there is the potential for violence in their small community.

The women are tired of losing sons, husbands and fathers in previous flare-ups and decide to join together to try to distract their men from fighting.  They fake a miracle, destroy the only television in the village so no one can watch the news, hire some scantily clad Eastern European strippers, spend a day baking with drugs so that all the men at one point end up stoned.  There’s a lot of funny stuff.  But there’s also some harsh scenes, some romance, a tragedy, and some great music.

The over all message I think is simply to show us that war is futile.  All the fighting ultimately solves nothing.   It’s possible and preferable to peacefully co-exist despite our differences.  Yes, all those things we already know but find so hard to put into practice.

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie Night

On Tuesday night I was all set to watch this movie after work, but the DVD wouldn’t play!  So I had to take it back and exchange it for another one.  The customer service person told me it was possible they got a ‘bad batch’ of the movie, and if the exchanged one also didn’t work, my next move should be to take it back to a different store where they were more likely to have a ‘good batch’.  At that point I began to question how much I really needed to see the damned thing.  I mean the movie sleeve shows an angst ridden Kristen Stewart looking glum, Chalize Theron all poised and gorgeously, wickedly evil, and a hatchet wielding Chris Hemsworth ready to kill somebody.  Or something.  That part isn’t clear.  But really, I already know the story, right?

Well not really.  The second DVD worked just fine, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the delightful twists and turns as I watched it last night.  But here’s the most delightful thing of all – Kristen Stewart.  Give the girl kudos for this one.  She is good.  And she almost smiles a couple of times.  Even though she sees her dead father with a bloody knife embedded in his heart and is locked up in the north tower of the castle for half  of her young life, escapes to the perils of the dark forest, and has her life saved by one of the dwarves when he sacrifices his own for her.  Then there’s the small matter of her heart being a big part of the wicked queens quest for immortality.  There is not a lot to smile about.

I love the fact that it’s not the prince who breaks the poisoned apple spell.  If that’s a spoiler, sorry.  And the ending isn’t exactly happily ever after either, but you get the feeling that it’s a definite possibility.

And then there’s this – beautiful and haunting music to go with a rather sad part.

 

Maybe you won’t be blown away by this movie as the sleeve suggests, but I don’t think you’ll be unmoved by it either.  There’s some incredibly beautiful bits and some excellent special effects.  For lots of reasons,  I want to watch it all over again.

NOT a Disappointing Movie

I don’t want to talk about things that disappoint me. If I’m disappointed it’s my fault for having unrealistic expectations.

After hearing great things about it I expected the movie “Bridesmaids” to be a combination of “Monster-in-Law” and “Hangover” with some “Wedding Crashers” thrown in, but it was SO much better than that.  It had an actual storyline and a happy ending, and a wonderful mix of characters.  And Chris O’Dowd.  Really, what is it with that Irish accent that makes me not even CARE what he’s talking about.

But if I say more your expectations will soar through the roof and you’ll be disappointed for sure.  Just go see it expecting to laugh.  Because unless you’re deaf and blind I’m thinking that will probably happen.

The Beauty of E-Books

Amazon Kindle 2 Wireless eBook Reader

I’ve had my kindle since last Christmas, and the current count for my downloaded books is a whopping 82. Never in a million years would I have devoured that many titles in a year without it.

I love the convenience of carrying it with me anywhere and having immediate access to such an incredible selection of reading material. All the features of shopping at Amazon are right there, including reviews and recommendations. Obviously I’ve made good use of them.

Reading this way hasn’t replaced my love of picking up an actual book at all, just enhanced it. I still love the feel of a real book in my hands and glossy book jackets and page flipping and the awful habit of scribbling notes in the margins and handing over a copy to a friend.

But the kindle is my own little personal portable library zipped up in a padded cover. It never loses my page or misplaces a favourite title. The page flip is now a button click – different, but no less effective.

It’s hard for me to imagine that e-books will ever completely replace the real thing, but they’re certainly going to save a lot of trees. And they’ve already made my hard copies seem somehow more rare and even more precious to own.

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BooHoo Blockbusters

There are lots of emotions that bring tears to my eyes – joy, anger, sadness. Sappy commercials on tv can choke me up! Every movie I’ve ever seen has stirred up some kind of emotion – even if it’s just disgust. So I closed my eyes, spun myself around three times and just dizzily pointed at one from my random and incomplete list of tear jerkers.

Beaches

Steel Magnolias

Terms of Endearment

Dead Poets Society

Philadelphia

Ghost

Sophie’s Choice

The Deer Hunter

I guess the theme that causes me the most grief is ‘death’, although the tears are invariably 99% for the people left behind.

After that of course there is always the power of love theme which makes everything better and causes yet another blubbering breakdown.

And then someone tells me to ‘for gawdsakes get a grip’, and I make a mental note to avoid watching a movie with THAT jerk ever again.

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A Disappointing Read

At first I thought my expectations were just unrealistically high for this book, because Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones” was so incredible and impossible to put down.

This book was really hard to pick up again after the first few chapters. Helen Knightly is a character I found impossible to like. In the first few pages she calmly murders her invalid mother. And believe it or not, it’s all down hill from there. I could not connect with or care about her, or her ex-husband or her daughters, or her dysfunctional neighbors, or anyone else who wandered across the pages doing assinine things for inexplicable reasons. Absolutely nothing about it rang true.

It is one of those stories that you keep reading because you’re sure it must have something in it somewhere to redeem itself, that it’s bound to get better…..and then it just never does. “The Almost Moon” was one of the most unsatisfying, unresolved, emotionally cold and unhappy books I have ever read.

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