Waste of talent continues in 30 Minutes or Less…

Not a good week for me with comedies. Although I did not walk out of 30 Minutes of Less–I could have.  The preview interested me.  I like the director ( LOVED Zombieland!), the actors and the premise seemed original and full of possibilities.  But, as I watched the film, I realized something was missing.  What?  The funny.  It was MIA.  I may have chuckled at a few times…but no there was no laughter.  **deep sigh**

Everyone seemed to be going through the motions–delivering the expected performance, but there was no spark or chemistry between any of them and as a result, it just falls flat.  Again…what a waste and a shame!

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I walked out of The Change-Up…

Yes! I did. And I don’t do that often…usually I stick it out.  But, I couldn’t finish The Change-Up. I wanted to enjoy a fluffy, light, feel good movie, but instead I was assaulted by an over-the-top, stupid, embarrassingly bad flick.  What a waste of talent!  Enough said.  Watch at your own risk!

A brilliant comic trio working in a okay movie = Horrible Bosses

Jason Bateman, Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis are BRILLIANT in Horrible Bosses!!  Their comic timing and chemistry is amazing and hilarious!  Too bad the movie does not follow suit.  Every scene that they are not together in, falls a little flat.  It will entertain you and you will laugh, but it could have been much better.

I blame the horrible bosses.  None of them are good enough as villans–the best is Colin Farrell and he is under used–and all of them come across a bit too much like caricatures.  I did love Jamie Foxx’s small part–pretty damn funny and best use of a name–ever! 

 I will definitely recommend it.  I loved every second the three leads share on-screen.  It is that rare magic that happens only once in a while–remember The Three Stooges–Abbott and Costello?  Yeah, that good.  Now, like the comic pairings of the past, I wish we could get these guys together again and again.  Maybe they can start a franchise–starting with The Brilliant Trio meets Dracula or something!  🙂  It would be awesome!

Asterios Polyp is a work of genius!

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David Mazzucchelli has created a masterpiece.  A shining example of what a Graphic Novel can accomplish and convey.  Although combining words and pictures has been a successful medium for many years, recently the art form has received the attention it deserves.  Asterios Polyp is one Graphic Novel that has garnered awards and accolades and it is all well deserved.   

Asterios Polyp, at its core, is a simple story.  It chronicles a man’s journey to find himself as his world falls apart.  He remembers his past and contemplates his place in the world.  You discover who Asterios really is, almost at the same time he does. 

Mazzucchelli uses clean lines, various drawing styles and specific colors to represent different characters, but what I loved was his use of negative space .In a story full of  heavy philosophical ideas, the white space helps to clarify–to target what is important.  The use of recurring visual cues to emphasize the character’s insecurities and feelings is brilliant and helps to deepen your connection to them.

Out of the many themes discussed in the novel–duality and faith seem to be the two that stayed with me.  Mazzucchelli’s simple style is only a another example of duality–because it is deceiving…it hides the immense complexities that tie the characters together.

I loved Asterios Polyp.  I feel like I will have to read it again to discover what else it is trying to tell me.  A novel that reveals itself to you, is a novel you will revisit over and over.  And that’s cool! 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is excellent! Re-boot? INDEED!

"Rise of the Planet of the Apes Poster"

First, let me say that Andy Serkis deserves an Oscar for his performance as Caesar–it is simply…WOW! (I hope they will find a way to acknowledge him–maybe a “special” award).  Serkis continues his phenomenal motion capture work with WETA Digital, who are at the top of their game.  Together they’ve created one of the best films of the summer. 

I grew up watching The Planet of the Apes series (thank you, Thanksgiving television marathons), but the first one was the only one I really liked–it is a classic.  Like most movie franchises, the subsequent sequels never did measure up.  So, I was a little nervous to hear about the re-boot idea–especially since Tim Burton’s fiasco 10 years ago–which then, I was looking forward to (what a shame that was!). 

But, the new preview piqued my interest.  I was getting hopeful.  This could work.  And yet I was still not ready for how good Rise of the Planet of the Apes turned out to be.  The preview, wonderfully, keeps the real movie a secret, so you get to discover it while viewing. 

What surprised me the most was how much heart the film has.  The right amount of time is spent developing the characters and relationships and it never feels rushed.  Director Rupert Wyatt deftly blends the drama with the action and James Franco gives a solid performance as Will Rodman.  But as I stated above, the stars here are Andy Serkis and WETA.   It has to be seen for you to understand the level of awesomeness I am talking about.  AMAZING!

At the end, I wanted to see more.  I did not want to leave the universe they created.  And now, I can’t help it, I will be VERY excited to see what happens next.  Bring on the sequel!

The Strain & The Fall prove that Vampires DO NOT Sparkle!!

In fact, they are virus infected empty shells of their former selves on an endless search to quench their blood lust. (Whew! said that in one breath!)  And by the way, the sun is still the greatest weapon against them, because it BURNS them, not makes them shimmer.  Just sayin’! 

 The Strain Trilogy is off to an awesome start!  Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hoganhave joined forces and created a unique, imaginative take on classic Vampire lore.  The novels are a quick read–they’re short, about 300 pages & there is the fact that you can’t put them down–yet both linger in your consciousness.  I have a pretty tough constitution and I was a little creeped out–which is totally cool!!   

It all begins with the successful landing of a 777 in NYC.  And within a few minutes the plane is stopped, with no sign of life.  The mysterious occurence garners the attention of the CDC and Dr. Eph Goodweather is called to the scene.  And then as I like to say about most of my favorite books…people start dying!  🙂

I am going to give Del Toro credit for weaving a tale that plays like a movie in your head.  It is extremely visual and has the beats for a well constructed film.  I have not read anything else by Hogan, so it is difficult to feel his presence.  It screams Del Toro to me all the way.  While Cronin’s The Passage  plays like a thoughtful independent film–The Strain and The Fall play like blockbusters.  Moving fast with bad ass action and edge of your seat suspense. 

What was really cool though, were the insights into the victims minds.  It was heartbreaking and tough to experience their transformation.  I also fell in love with the main characters pretty quick. (Abraham Setrakian, Vasiliy Fet and Augustin Elizalde are my favorites.) 

The Strain focuses on the outbreak and the introduction of the main players.  The Fall focuses on the history of the Vampires and elaborates on the mythology.  It is one story–and must be read together–actually the second begins immediately where the first left off. 

So, what did I not like?  Well, they left me on a cliffhanger!  Of course!  The final act–The Night Eternal–is set to release on October 25,2011 and trust me I will be waiting in line.  Now, all I can hope for is that Del Toro will adapt and make the films he had in mind when he wrote this trilogy–that would totally ROCK!

Reading Eat, Pray, Love was an interesting journey…

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 I will admit that I was worried.  Would I relate to Eat, Pray, Love A rich, white woman travels around the world for a year to find herself.  Oh, woe is she!  Really?  Yet, I had heard nothing but rave reviews from friends and I enjoyed the film adaptation, so I decided to give it a try.  And I am glad I did!  Elizabeth Gilbert won me over with her easy writing style and self-effacing humor. 

Having been through a divorce and a self finding journey myself (although not around the world :)), I understood a lot of what Gilbert was experiencing.  I knew the yearning for enlightenment and the guilt of being unhappy.  And I as I read I grew a bond with her.  She was a sister in this adventure we call life. 

The novel is broken into three distinct sections.  Eat in Italy, which focused on pleasure (my favorite part).  Pray in India, which focused on devotion (dragged a bit, but LOVED Richard from Texas!).  And Love in Bali, which focused on self-love (my least favorite part, except for some cool discoveries).  

I understand the hoop-la now.  I am sure that many are afraid to ask the questions that Gilbert asked throughout and many more are terrified of truly looking at themselves–honestly and objectively.  Eat, Pray, Love allows the reader to share this journey of self discovery and in turn helps them begin the journey for themselves.