Take an unforgettable journey through The Passage

It has been a long time since I’ve read a book that has engrossed me so completely, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it in between readings, and even now, that I’ve finished, I keep revisiting the story in my mind.  Wow!  What a journey.  A journey that had me puzzled (in a good way), tense, nervous and emotional.  I was lost in the world Justin Cronin had created and coming back to reality was difficult. 

I knew absolutely nothing going in.  Matt had read a little about it and said, “You have to read The Passage…I think you will like it!”  He was right.  And I am glad I went in without any expectations or prior knowledge of the storyline.  It was a happy surprise.

So, I do not want to say too much.  I will say that  it chronicles the beginning of the end of the world as we know it.  From a military research project gone awry to the postapocalyptic future, left in its aftermath.  Cronin has an easy writing style.  He is descriptive and functional, yet there are moments of poetry in how he describes settings or people.   I found myself writing little quotes down and reflecting on words that held so much meaning. 

The characters are fully realized.  Each whole and complete.  Cronin was able to this without spending a large amount of time in their history and thus, keeping the pace brisk.  I finished it in week–would’ve been sooner if not for work and sleeping! 

Go ahead and try it out.  You will know if it is your cup of tea within the first 50 pages or so.  If it isn’t–sorry.  If it is?  Get ready for an unforgettable ride!  I am sad it’s over, but I learned that this is the first of a planned trilogy, which is SWEET!  And makes me happy.  I am ready to go back. 

PS  The book has been optioned for a movie with Ridley Scott producing and Matt Reeves directing!  Hope it turns out as good as the book–but you know how that goes…

The Hangover: Part II

The Hangover: Part II???  **Long deep sigh**  Sometimes you can NOT recapture magic.  They tried by making the same movie, with the same beats, but they forgot to make it funny this time.  It had a few moments of of funny–but no way as brilliant as the first.   Sadness.  Ah, well!   Another victim of sequel failure.  Enough said.

Kung Fu Panda 2 = Pure Awesomeness!

This is my first “gotta see this again” film of the summer (which I am doing this weekend–Dez and I got into a sneak peek last Saturday).  Kung Fu Panda 2 falls into the better than the original category.   It is a funny, heart touching, visually beautiful and satisfying story.  At the end of the screening there was thunderous applause–I love when that happens!

What I loved about the original is magnified in the sequel.  The humor.  Subtle and quick.  Jack Black was born to voice Po–he is awesome! And the Furious 5 rock!  (and yes…Po and I have the same favorite word!)  The action.  Double here–great backgrounds to cool fight sequences.  The villain.  Again, they nail it.  Gary Oldman is (as always) fantastic.  And the heart.  As in the first, there is a deeper lesson–moral–whatever you want to call it–but it adds depth to the characters and the story.  I LOVED IT!!

I am thinking Dreamworks is giving Pixar a run for the money, with How to Train Your Dragon and now this…it is nice to see some real competition.  Keep up the Awesomeness!  

So this weekend–kick back–remember our soldiers–and  go get Kung Fu-ed! 

Happy Memorial Day! 

[Side note:  I can not seem to get excited about Cars 2–I am afraid it will have to be extremely awesome to beat KFP2]

Is there such a thing as too much Cpt Jack Sparrow? Sadly, yes.

A bearded man with long hair stands on a beach. He wears a red bandanna, a dark blue vest with a white shirt underneath and black pants, and attached to his belt are two guns and a scarf. A ship with flaming sails is approaching from the sea. On the background, three mermaids are sitting on a rock. The names of the main actors are seen atop the poster, and the film credits are at the bottom.

Those were words I never–ever thought I would say.  EVER.  I love Captain Jack Sparrow.  One of the most original, creative and dare I say, brilliant characters ever created.   I am with the few who actually enjoyed the entire trilogy of Pirates–and so, to say that I was excited about Pirates 4, would be an understatement.  More Jack Sparrow! YES!  But, then I watched it.

First, let me start by saying I am more disappointed than disgusted.  I would not use the word hate or horrible, instead I will use sad and unremarkable.  I was expecting a riotous, jolly good time and honestly, I was a little bored half way through.  *GASP*   I turned to Matt and said, “I should be a little more interested and excited than I am.”   And I can say I was NEVER bored with the other Pirates.

I think the biggest problem is the lack of a protagonist.  We actually need a Wil Turner and an Elizabeth Swan.  See, Jack is not supposed to be the hero.  He is the scene stealer.  The upstaging side-kick.  The ever important  and much-needed comic relief.  And let’s face it–Jack ends up doing right but usually it begins in a self-serving way and he stumbles upon his own good heart.  He is a good man AND a pirate.  Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides tries to make a hero out of Jack and it doesn’t work.   He also appears less drunk  and less grimy–hmm strange tides, indeed.  It will appear that too much screen time makes Jack a dull boy. 

Everything else is just average.  Barbosa seems less imposing.  Blackbeard is lame in comparison to Davy Jones (which is sad).  [Side note:  We re watched the trilogy recently and had forgotten how gory and violent it was (awesome!).  It bought to sharp contrast how “clean” this latest installment was.]  The new love interest, Angelica is weak.  Sub plot with young, handsome clergy and mermaid is silly.  Action is ordinary (best sequence is with the mermaids). 

Yep, pretty mediocre.  And I was expecting more…a lot more.  *Deep Sigh*

Priest is better than most…not as good as others

Paul Bettany in character, wearing priestly garb and having a Christian cross tattooed on his face, stands against the background of a futuristic city.

You know already–I love me some vampires!  And since they do not make many movies to fulfill my hunger for the creatures of the night, I will watch what I can get.  The trailer looked a bit cheesy, but the vamps looked cool and let’s face it…Paul Bettany is HOT!   The lowered expectations helped, because it was better than I was prepared for and ended up enjoying myself to the point that I would like to revisit this universe–hopefully in the sequel Priests (obvious title, no?)

The good.  The mythology is creative and interesting.  The vamps are well designed and exist in an insect like culture, which is a new twist.  The world is full of religious and political symbols and has a believable feel to it.  The cinematography is excellent–the world is full of grays and whites, which helps emphasize the isolation and feeling of oppression.  Paul Bettany is a strong actor and carries the role of Priest well.  Maggie Q is just right as the Priestess and their chemistry is solid.

The bad.  The pacing felt rushed.  I wanted more time to explore the world.  I wanted to be engrossed in the story.  But they sacrifice story for action–and although the action is well executed, with some sweet kills, it becomes shallow after a while–with no real stakes (no pun intended) involved. 

The worst.  The supporting cast is weak.  No real thespians in that group, except for Christopher Plummer, who is completely wasted.  Doesn’t help that they have more than a few cheesy lines. I have said before, that a mediocre movie can be elevated by an excellent villain or destroyed by a horrible villain and in Priest Karl Urban’s Black Hat baddie is unremarkable.  He is just not strong enough to pull it off and the movie suffers because of it. 

Overall, if you need your blood lust sated–check it out with lowered expectations–and it will fill your needs.  Because, who knows how long we will have to wait a while before we get another vamp movie (and that twilight shit doesn’t count).  Well, we will get the remake of Fright Night   in August–but you know what I mean…

PS  By the way, here are some upcoming Vampires movies…courtesy of Next Movie.

Bridesmaids surprises–in a totally brilliant way!

I wanted to watch Bridesmaids since the trailer.  It looked like fun and it also helped that I love Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Melissa McCarthy.  Suffice to say, I was looking forward to it.  Yet, it surpassed my expectations!  It is not merely funny(which it is)–it is a truly fantastic film.  It has raunchy, depth and heart.  Yeah, go figure!  I LOVED IT!

I honestly, did not see that coming.  I was going in for a good time and came out with a lovely story, beautifully told.   This is Kristin Wiig’s movie–the weight is all on her shoulders and she carries it–perfectly.  Kristin is a brilliant comedian, who is subtle in her portrayal of Annie.   Annie, who is real and  has a little bit of every woman in her.  You know her and like her right away. 

The easy dialogue and scenarios are believable.  One of the best scenes is the very first conversation between Annie and life long friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph–another fabulous comedian–although she is the straight man in this).   They are just talking–like friends do–and it’s pitch perfect.  It sets the tone for the rest of the film. 

The rest of the bridesmaids were bit players, but I have to shout out to my girl, Melissa McCarthy as Megan.  She is a scene stealer (always has been) and I hope that she finally gets some well-deserved praise. 

I do not want to get into too many details–I want you to go in and be surprised too!  You’ll thank me for it.

I want to borrow a gun–to shoot almost everyone in Something Borrowed!

 

I consider myself tolerant.  I try to be fair and judge movies within, what I consider, are the expectations of their genres.  And I usually enjoy romantic comedies–they are nice break from the serious stuff.  I call them light and fluffy movies.  With that said, I disliked Something Borrowed–and I was actually looking forward to it–a real narrative on a subject not often addressed.

So what happened?  Well, the bottom line is that I disliked 3 out of the 4 principals.  Really, really disliked them.  Except for John Krasinski’s Ethan–who was the ONLY character that had any common sense–the rest were annoyingly…what word could I use?  oh, yeah–stupid!  They are exaggerated stereotypes. 

I am not even going to get into it, because it frustrates me.  I will say that I hate they way women are portrayed on film (most of the time)–needy and desperate or conniving and slutty–but what is sadder, is that some of these women exist in the real world.  Which is fine…I just do not want to cheer for them in a movie. 

If you have to go see this–go ahead.  Just remember I tried to warn you…

Thor delivers summer fun!

 
It has begun.  The Summer of 2011.  With all the big releases, it will either be the season of awesomeness or disappointment.  So far–so good.  And now, Thor can be added to the fun list.  It does not have the depth and heart of other superhero movies (X-Men, Batman Begins), but it is full of charm, humor and cool special effects.  Perfectly cast and well-directed, Thor will entertain–especially if you love this genre. 
 
 I am totally recommending the film because it was a good time.  Chris Hemsworth is a great lead–who is at once, godly HOT 🙂 and charismatic.  Natalie Portman–again–is wonderful.  And the supporting cast is strong. 
 
The story is basic and simple and that would be my only critique.   It was all superficial–the drama, the romance, the plot, etc.   Not in a WTF, roll my eyes sort of way–just in an easy, uncomplicated sort of way. 
 
All in all I enjoyed it and if you are looking for some superhero fun–you should too!