Movie Mondays: INSURGENT Review

I would be remiss if I didn’t review INSURGENT, since I’ve posted before about reading the series by Veronica Roth and my admiration of some of her choices.  However, with time, the appeal of both the series and the movie franchise has lost some of its appeal. I’ll probably need to see INSURGENT again to have a clearer grasp on what I think, but my overall reaction was…eh.  For an action movie, this was pretty anti-climatic and undercut the major revelations that serve the books better.

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Movie Mondays: WILD

I went to see the movie before I started reading the book.  I know, I know, it’s sacrilege.  But seeing the movie WILD made me want more, in a good way, and I didn’t think having seen the movie would impact my experience of reading the book.  So far, it hasn’t.  Maybe the events that happen in the book don’t have as much surprise or weight because I remember them from the movie, but what I like about both the movie and the memoir is that it is about so much more than just the events.

I have a fair amount of back-country hiking and camping experience.  Most of it terrible.  Like really really terrible.  My dad grew up a Boy Scout and we lived near the Shenandoah Mountains portion of the Appalachian Trail.  I didn’t actually know there was such a thing as “car camping” until my late teens, and even then my family wasn’t allowed to camp in those campgrounds except a handful of times out of necessity.

Despite ridiculous ascensions, washed out trails, puking, lots and lots of rain, family dysfunction, emergency clinic visits, and more lightning/rain/hail/snow/wind, I truly loved and still love being in the woods.  The words that come to mind are “quiet” and “stillness” yet neither of these things exist, at all, in the woods.  Everything is moving.  Everything makes noise.  There is something in the isolation, though, that feels quiet and still.  And I need that in order to make sense of my world.

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MM: WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT

It’s been a long time since I last saw WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT (Robert Zemeckis, 1988).  It’s an iconic film in my family’s history, and I had the pleasure of sharing it for the first time with my own children.  As a filmmaker, I was struck by how well the animation and live action were woven together, especially with 80’s technology.  It was fun and big, a bit over-acted, and even terrifying at the end when the villain, Judge Doom, turns into a crazy-eyed toon.  I remember being horrified as a kid, and it was no less horrifying this time around!  Snappy dialogue, funny innuendos, pushing the envelope just a bit…it really has everything going for it.

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Movie Review: BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

Putting aside the bias of enjoying Teen Paranormal Romances, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES was a surprising addition to the movie genre.  It cast little-known leads who display more brains than beauty (meant as a compliment), it was written and directed with talent and skill, photographed beautifully, with good visual effects.  The estimated budget on IMDB is $60M and the US total gross so far is about $19.5M, which means that it was not a box office success.  The movie just came out on video, On Demand…etc so it should expect more revenue, but with the book being just the first of a long series, it does not seem like there are plans to make a sequel to the movie. Continue Reading

Book Review: LEGEND

LEGEND by Marie Lu opens with high stakes and high suspense and remarkably manages to build up from there in an action-packed thrill ride that kept me hooked from page one.

The story is told by one of two main characters who alternate each chapter, Day and June. Day is a criminal, a poor kid from the slums rebelling against the system and currently the government’s most wanted. June is a prodigy, the only one to ever receive a perfect score on her aptitude tests, graduating from college at 15. She hails from the wealthy elite and breaks every rule she thinks is irrelevant. Continue Reading

Book Review: PRODIGY

PRODIGY by Marie Lu is the sequel to LEGEND. It begins right where the first book ended and continues the upward trend of high stakes and suspense through another action-packed thrill-ride.

The story is told by one of two main characters who alternate each chapter, Day and June. Day is a criminal, a poor kid from the slums rebelling against the system and currently the government’s most wanted. June is a prodigy, the only one to ever receive a perfect score on her aptitude tests, graduating from college at 15. She hails from the wealthy elite and breaks every rule she thinks is irrelevant.

The two met in LEGEND when June was tasked to catch the elusive Day and along the way they fell in love and discovered a government conspiracy of controlled plague infections to the country’s poor and a violent cover-up for anyone who disagreed with the status quo. Continue Reading