Saturday, April 27, 2013

Movie Review: The Host

The Host, as you probably know if you are reading this, is a sci-fi romance based on the book by Stephenie Meyer of Twilight fame. The basic premise is that the Earth has been invaded by gentle, sentient beings known as "souls" who take over human bodies (humans are the hosts for these parasites). It's basically Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets... I don't know... Twilight? Teen-ish girl, Melanie, falls in love and then her alien "soul" falls in love with someone else, forming a love quadrangle. Oh, and she's the nicest person around. Flawless, loving, gentle, as all "souls" are. Except that they've invaded a species that doesn't want to be taken, and ruthlessly hunt down any surviving humans.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review:The Great Gatsby

Let me preface my review by saying that filmmakers are VERY good at making trailers. Sometimes. I keep seeing the trailers for the upcoming film version of "Gatsby" starring Leonardo DiCaprio (whom I really enjoyed in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" and "Catch Me If You Can") and it looks exciting and flashy and I began thinking I would like to see it. My son expressed an interest, too. I suggested we read the book beforehand so we can get a feeling for what to expect. I'm glad I did. 

I did read this book some 20-plus years ago when I was in High School, but memory being what it is, I didn't remember much about it. So I went into reading it a mostly blank slate. Be aware there are spoilers in this review. I'm assuming you also had to read it for school. 

The book moves along quickly and is compelling enough, I suppose. It's told from the point of view of Nick Carraway, a neighbor-by chance- of the title character. I was struck early on in the story by how bland Carraway's character is. His storytelling is without passion, without emotion and flat.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Justified Season 4: Better and Better

I've talked about Justified (a very modern take on the old western shoot-em-up) here before, and I will begin this time with this: many of my friends would probably not enjoy it. It is a very violent show, with some swearing and a bit of sexuality and normally I would not even watch a show like this, but these stories and these characters and the moral conflict and the good vs. evil is all SO good and so effective and so powerful that I keep coming back for more. The performances are top-notch, the scripts are clever, witty, exciting, suspenseful, gritty, and just amazing. 
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens
Having been raised as I was, I find myself able to watch Justified with a certain critical detachment that I don't always have. I'm able to put on my analytical critic's-daughter hat and appreciate the incredible talent and quality of the work and dismiss the less desirable elements of the show. It's strange, because I wouldn't watch an R-rated movie with similar content, but this show, which would seriously push the boundaries of a PG-13 type rating, is tolerable. Enigma much? 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Really, Really Like Lemony Snicket

In 1999, Lemony Snicket crept onto the scene with what was to be a 13-book series "A Series of Unfortunate Events" about the Baudelaire orphans, their wicked "uncle" and various other characters-- friends, foes and depressingly tongue-in-cheek adventures. (The movie did not capture the spirit of the books very well... surprise, surprise.)

I liked these books a lot, not because the stories were uplifting-- they're not, and not because the adventures are unique, though they are, and not even because the characters are charming, though many of them are. I liked them mostly because of the way Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler) plays with the English language.

Friday, April 5, 2013

3 Reasons Twilight Doesn't Suck

Re-reading "The Host" prior to seeing the movie has reminded me of Twilight and prompted this deep, thought-provoking post. (sarcasm...)

Please understand I am referring to the Twilight BOOKS here (by Stephenie Meyer, of course). I will make a note later about what I think of the films...