Monthly Archives: September 2016

Marley and Me, book and movie review

I listened to the audio version of this novel, which was read well. I’d watched the movie years ago, and rewatched it after I finished the audio book so I could adequately compare the two. The novel is translated well to the screen and I agree with most of the adjustments they did. The error I found was that in the book he isn’t writing articles about his dog for the newspapers. In the novel these are shown in a scrapbook and its hinted that they are turned into a full novel later. Instead, the novel portrays it as the author upkeeps a journal and majority of the novel stems from that. The ending in the novel also ties things up nicer, spending a good two chapters on mourning the loss of the dog, and showing how the author puts an article out about the death of his dog and gets a massive response from readers. This is then followed up by the family going to adopt a new dog that is likely to be as troublesome as the one they recently lost.

Overall I would say any lover of animals will find something relatable in this novel. You don’t have to be a dog person to enjoy it, although you probably will enjoy a bit more, especially if your pet is similar to the one being portrayed. Now my complaint is, a lot of the novel focused on poop. If there was ever a book written about fecal matter, this is it. It doesn’t get dull, the author is rather impressive in the many avenues used to display poop in the story, but it plays a very strong role in the plot. I was not a fan of that and came to dread hearing the next installment, unsure if I’d be able to stomach my next meal after listening. Other bodily functions-fur, vomit, slobber, and so on and also explained in graphic detail. So if you are squeamish–do not read this book. I mean, in a way this is a compliment, the author was able to describe these events so well, that I felt I was there, and by such, horrified and reviled. The novel nicely removes these aspects, so if you want to experience this tale without the disgusting parts, go watch the movie, don’t read the book.

Snowden, movie review

I had high expectations for this film and found myself sorely disappointed. I’m not sure who thought it would be a good idea to make a movie about someone who spends majority of their life behind a computer, but it’s as expected-boring. The fact the movie is two and half hours long doesn’t help with the fact the topic is rather dull and not action packed.

The film jumps between two time frames, the interview in the hotel room, and the various jobs Snowden held. Both time frames are boring, and really area, “paranoid geek working at a computer” and “paranoid geek sitting in a hotel room talking about working at a computer.” The acting was subpar. I know the actor for Snowden worked really hard to make himself look and sound like Snowden, but his voice came off odd. It sounded like he was trying to speak in a lower voice than what was natural for him, which was annoying for me. The other actors and actresses appeared to have also been told to sound as nerdy as possible, or as it translated to the screen, speak as nasal-y as possible.

The part I disliked the most was how Snowden’s coworkers, throughout his career, are shown to support his actions. None of them openly helped him, but it was like they silently cheered him and were grateful he was doing it. There was also a lot of praise from random people given to Snowden, which is just not something anyone wants to see on a film–a person with a huge ego getting praise to make his ego bigger.

The cool part comes at the end of the movie, so have someone wake up you up when it reaches the stage of interviews after he’s exposed everything. The real Snowden does a cameo. Once the credits start rolling, you are shown actual photos of Snowden and other such things from the real world that you just spent the last two hours watching them recreate.

This is one of those films I would recommend avoiding at all costs. Maybe watch a few scenes if you see it on television in years to come, but don’t waste money on it. It’s not dramatized enough or as I like to say, “Hollywood-ized” enough for the big screen, nor is it factually filled enough to be a documentary. Its just something between that fell flat and comes off boring.

Forager, book review

I bought this book so long ago, I don’t even remember why. It was probably on sale for free or a discounted price. Either way, something about it appealed to me and it got added to my kindle collection. At long last, I can say I finally read it. (I’m pretty sure it sat waiting for about two years.)

I’ve read a few dystopian novels, mostly the classics that have been turned into movies. This book does take an original twist on things, as much as it can, anyway. The main character has been genetically enhanced, enabling him to see through metal and in the dark. Its explained that he has bat like vision, but really, he used it like superman. I’m sorry, but bats cannot see inside solid containers. So that bit of fiction must be taken for what it is.

The cultures created in this world, seem like the author is trying to make a point about today’s society, but I never grasped it. I’d almost say the author thought it would ironic to make what seems to be a European based city (Townhome) have the mindset of the ancient Japanese culture, and give the Japanese city a European culture. That aside, it’s much more likely there is some Russian/German cold war thing going on in the European city, and the other town was merely created to be its opposite.

The characters each have a distinct personality, which is good since there are several of them and if they weren’t easily distinguished from each other, it would get confusing. The main character seemingly never gets a break, and by the end of the novel, he’s nearly dead. At least the author kept it realistic and didn’t have the guy bouncing back in a superhero pace from his injuries. Even so, with a history of brain surgery and trauma to his head, he should be a vegetable by now. I’ll be interested to see how his recovery goes in the next novel.

You can tell this is written by a novice. There are typos, common writer beginner errors, ect, but it doesn’t take away from the story. It did get a bit annoying at how long it took the main character to figure out his mystery year of amnesia, mostly due to internal voice comments that were unneeded, but aside from that, I have no complaints on the overall story. *since I bought this two yrs ago, good chance the errors have been corrected by now

The book is a good read for those who enjoy dystopian novels. I’m a bit disappointed the Skel aren’t cannibals or zombies, but instead just another surviving civilization, but meh, it was still an enjoyable novel with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

Forager by Peter R Stone

Sully, movie review

If you’ve enjoyed other Clint Eastwood movies, than you should enjoy this one. The movie starts the day after the plane crash and progresses through the investigation. The ongoing theme is, was the pilot in the wrong to land in the Hudson rather than continue on to the airport? Flight simulations abound, and the question is left out there for the entire film. The tension throughout the film, the doubt of whether he endangered everyone for no reason, it is so intense that Scully himself begins to doubt his actions. You do get closure at the end the great mystery as to whether or not he did the right thing.

The movie tells the side of the story that the media did not. Scully isn’t instantly proclaimed a hero. He is investigated, he doubts himself, he has flashbacks, and every person on that flight is haunted by what happened. Yes, they all lived, which is miraculous, but the story isn’t that simple. I found the tale was an emotional one, brought on by the intense acting and emotional state of the characters. This isn’t a movie where you will be cheering the hero, it is one where you will be in tears from the dramatic near death experience.

If you want to feel a closer connection to the survivors of this water landing, then this is a movie you should see. And stick around for the credits because you’ll get to see a reunion of the real survivors and a few statements from them.

Kubo and the Two Strings, movie review

I hadn’t intended to see this movie but when I saw there were barely any bad reviews, I had to see what the hype was about. To summarize, the reviews did not let me down. The movie held up to the high expectations people’s praise set.

The movie will be especially touching to those who know someone who suffers or suffered with Alzheimer’s or other forms of memory loss. Kubo’s mother suffers from memory problems, and this problem is present in other characters as well. The overall theme is how a god gives up being a god to be a human, and the goal is to have a child convince the so called god to give it up and live on earth as a human, because being human and experiencing love is worth more than living forever. There is of course an epic quest involved and the classic tale of having the storyteller live out his own adventure, rather than just tell stories of great adventure.

The animation is amazing, and if you stay for the credits you’ll get to see some of the Claymation process, which is a nice little treat. As others have stated in reviews, the plot is a little dark for a kid’s movie, but there isn’t gore, just violence, which is something you see in a lot of cartoons these days.

Morgan, movie review

To be honest, it didn’t take me long to suspect what was going on in this film. I saw that the lady who arrived was very emotionless and it made me suspicious from the start. The hints kept coming and most audience members will figure out what is going on before they are shown the truth. There was also some hints at Morgan being a lesbian with the behaviorist. It was hard to pin down exactly the degree of relationship between the two and really, we were never fully told.

Overall, yes, it is a good film. It does more with plot and suspense than it does with blood, guts, and gore. So its not a traditional horror movie where the cyborg goes crazy and murders everyone. I mean, it is that, but the plot focuses on the build up and does so by withholding facts from the audience until the current situation has nearly explained it for you without the need for a flashback.

A lot of questions are left unanswered by the end of the film and the audience is left to make their own conclusions. Sometimes this works, other times it doesn’t, I think for this movie, it flowed well with the rest of the story. The acting is great as well, like, the emotion these people display is astounding. I would think this was done to further demonstrate the different between the artificial human and the real. I’ll leave it up to you, to figure out which are which. But yes, this movie is original enough to be worth seeing.

Ben Hur, movie review

I should have done a bit more research on this one. I didn’t know who Ben-Hur was. I merely saw in the trailers that there were chariot races and it was a story of revenge. Turns out there was only one chariot race and a good hour and a half of build up for it. I didn’t know Jesus was making an appearance either, so that threw me and I thought it was a tactic to attract more fans. Yeah… obviously I’ve never seen the original. If I had, I would have known to skip this movie. I can’t tell you if the remake is any good, or how much they changed it from the original.

I can say, the effects are amazing, especially the chariot race. The ending gets a bit cheesy and feels rushed. The happily ever after just didn’t fit with the rest of the film, but since it was a remake, they likely did this to keep it true to the original.

Don’t Breathe, movie review

Several potentially good horror movies came out this weekend. So far I’ve only seen this one, but I have to say, the positive reviews are spot on. This film does have a few moments of pure horror movie scare tactics audiences always expect. And even a Cujo moment that I thought was funny. But for the most part this film does things right. The plot unfolds slow enough for you to get attached to the characters. I didn’t want people to die, even though I knew with this kind of movie they most likely would.

There are several unexpected twists in the plot that the trailer gives no indication of. This movie is much more than just a home break in gone wrong. If you are a horror fan, you won’t be disappointed.

War Dogs, movie review

Jonah Hill does an excellent job making you like a character that you really have no reason at all to like. I mean, I was watching him do horrible things and still wishing he was my friend. So yes, the acting in this movie is outstanding. It may not be as comedic as some are expecting, but there are still several moments of comedic value in the film. The point isn’t to be funny though, it’s to educate the audience on a serious flaw in the American contracting system. At least, that was the take away I took.

I would rate this film as a must see. It’s a great drama, educational, and above all, highly entertaining.