Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Just my thoughts on a few things ...


The Dark Knight - Yes, I know it's been out for a while. We originally saw it in the theater. I expected to be under-impressed with Heath Ledger's performance. You know how, when others build and build a book or movie, your expectations are often so high that you're somewhat disappointed when you finally see it? This was not the case in this instance. I thought Ledger was simply amazing in his role as the Joker. In fact, he was SO good, that I have refused to watch it again since it came out on DVD. I found him very disturbing and was frankly a bit upsetting. There are a number of great movies that I loved but which, due to various reasons, I refuse to ever watch a second time. This is one of those movies. Ledger blew me away in this movie but, for me, viewing it once is enough. See it. One time.

Grand Torino -Another one-time-only movie for me. Not that I didn't like it. Quite the opposite. I loved it. Again, I expected to be under-impressed with Clint Eastwood as a badass. Oh, I know he's the original badass but, let's face it, he's getting pretty old. I didn't think he'd be able to pull off the don't-F-with-me attitude of his younger years. I was wrong. At first, the extreme use of racial slurs was shocking to me. Thinking about it later, I realized that it was necessary to the whole stream of the movie for it all to make the emotional impact that it did. Definitely see it but be prepared for tons of bad language and racism.

Hamlet 2
- After all the seriousness of the above movies, rent this silly, little flick for some plain, old ridiculousness. Honestly, it's one of the dumbest movies I've seen in some time and well worth the rental price for that very reason. After watching the whole movie, we went back to the play scene over and over to rewatch.

Across the Universe - This one is going on my list as one of my favorite musicals of all time. The entire movie is based on The Beatles' music. I can't say that I was ever an especially big fan of their music. I mean, it was OK, but I wouldn't say I loved them. But I did love this movie. I loved how it took a variety of their songs and incorporated them all seamlessly into one story line. There are even two or three places (that I picked up anyway) where a brief bit of their music is played, but the song is never sung. In one scene, Jude is looking at a headline and the music in the background is playing and you can hear in your head "I read the news today, oh boy ..." Watch it, and then watch it a second time (and even a third) so that you pick up all the things that you missed the first time. And then download the soundtrack to your iPod. I know I did.


Confessor by Terry Goodkind - The final installment in the Sword of Truth series. If you haven't read this series, I recommend it. There are, I think, nine books. They are excellent. Well, except for this one. I had felt the entire series was very well-written and were excellent stories. Every single book drew me in and and got me very invested in the main characters. Until this one. I was frankly disappointed with what should have been an epic ending to an epic story. There were multiple places in this book where a character tries to explain a concept to another. For example, Nicci explaining why the Chainfire spell needed a sterile field. Apparently sometime between the last book and this one, everyone became idiots because in every single instance where something needed to be explained, it was explained over and over and over until I wanted to scream. Seriously. It seemed to me that at least 80% of this book consisted of people talking about what needed to be done, but not doing anything. Nothing was happening. For me, this book was a huge let-down. Now, I have to say, if you're interested in the series, don't let my comment stop you. My mom didn't feel that way about this book so maybe it was just me.

Just After Sunset by Stephen King - Stephen King. As far as I'm concerned, that's all that needs be said. This is a collection of short stories. Honestly, no one story stood out to me as amazing. Unlike some of his books, I don't think one of these stories will stay in my mind indefinitely as did some previous ones. However, King is plain and simply a great storyteller and any book of his, in my opinion, is worth a read.

Mistress of the Art of Death and The Serpent's Tale by Ariana Franklin - Excellent books, both. And not about what you might think. The first kind of sounds like she's a serial killer. No, Adelia is basically a forensic pathologist. Considering that they take place in medieval times, this is quite unusual for a female. Adelia, the main character, originally comes to Brittan to investigate a murder. Being a woman, she must pretend that her servant is the actual physician in order to avoid charges of witchcraft. Both books are beautifully written and great stories. Read them in order.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory - Excellent book. Of course, I knew the basic story about Anne Boleyn, but reading about it in novel form brings it to life as never before. This was one of those can't-put-it-down books for me. Not only is the story highly entertaining, but the author seems to have done a masterful job of including many historical facts so that it's not merely a novel, but a lesson in the history of British monarchs as well. I have to say that I can't remember when I've both loved and hated a book so much at the same time. Loved because, as I said, it's a great story. Hated because it's sickening what the children of the upper classes were expected to do in order to advance their families. Definitely read it, but feel free to skip the movie. The movie was okay, and well-cast, but it should have been a mini-series. It was far to choppy to be satisfying if you've read the novel.

Now, if you see/read any of these, let me know what you thought!

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