Friday, April 30, 2010

Dead Mary | Directed by Robert Wilson | Written by Peter Sheldrick and Christopher Warre Smets

Do yourselves a huge favor and never watch this movie. I don't care if it's on Chiller one night and that's your favorite TV channel, because I love Chiller as well, but this movie sucked.

Yes, I understand it's a B movie and most would want me to lay off on the heavy criticism, and I usually do for B movies, but this film was terrible.

I couldn't pay any attention to the acting or the effects or anything else of that matter. I was too focused on this plot. Since I was multi-tasking at the time, I will not take the fact that I didn't understand most of what was going on into consideration. But, I know enough to say it was quite stupid. All they did was run around killing each other and at some point talk about cutting people's hands off. And what was with the dead people anyway? And that one dude that the other guy was cutting up with gardening tools... why did it take so long for him to die? He didn't seem to feel much pain...

I don't know. I just didn't like it one bit. Everything about it was stupid.

0/5 stars

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Look what I made!

It's in honor of the latest Evanescence song release, "Together Again".

*Click to view large

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thirteen Reasons Why by: Jay Asher

I just finished this book literately minutes ago.

Thirteen Reasons Why is one of those books you can't put down. For one thing, this whole book (except the last chapter) happens in one night. For another thing, it's just so interesting! I was completely into it the entire time!

At first, I wasn't a fan of Jay Asher's writing style, but I think it got better as the story went along, or maybe I was just to involved with the story to pay attention to his writing style.

The story starts out with a bit of mysterious mood. Clay Jensen receives a box of audiotapes that a girl named Hannah Baker recorded explaining why she ended her life. Clay listens to all of the tapes, all in one night, searching for his name to appear on the tapes, since everyone that received the taped was a reason for Hannah's death. With this summary alone, you can assume two things. One: This is kind of sad. Two: This is kind of deep. And if you assumed those two things, you assumed right.

As a matter of fact, Thirteen Reasons Why is also haunting. Hearing a dead girl talk in your ear about the events that happened which caused her suicide can be described only as haunting, especially when it's Hannah Baker. Her words were so full of emotion, and that emotion is enough to take a toll on anyone who listens, whether her story is sad or not - as it did for Clay.

This story is heartfelt, haunting, and even beautiful when you look at it through some perspectives. I admit, I cried a little during some parts. You can't help but to feel for Hannah and you can't help but to feel for Clay. Books, like Thirteen Reasons Why, the books that make you feel something, are the best part of reading. And when you learn from them, like this one, you always carry it with you.

Thirteen Reasons Why can carry a 5/5 star rating from me with it now.

This is an astonishing start for Jay Asher. I'm hoping he will write more and more books for me to read (and, of course, review) and maybe make me teary again.

Monday, April 19, 2010

American Beauty | Directed by Sam Mendes | Written by Alan Ball

Alright, I've got a long story with this one, so sit tight. Around the end of this story will be a review.

Ever since I saw him in the film, Ghost Rider, I have been in love with Wes Bentley's acting despite only seeing one movie with him in it. One day, I randomly turn the T.V on and I think, "Hey, I know him from somewhere!" and then "Oh my gosh, it's Wes!" I had no idea what I was getting myself into let alone what I was watching, only that I was bound and determined to continue watching this movie just because Wes Bentley was in it. I only saw the last fifteen minutes of this movie, which my first impressions were mixed between 'this is odd' and 'this movie seems really good'.

So, I figured out that this film was called American Beauty, and was my beloved Wes Bentley's debut role, of which he won "Best Supporting Actor". Naturally, I rent it. The person I was watching it with thought it was totally perverted and bizzare and made me remove the DVD from the house. And, it was indeed, bizzare.

A middle aged man, Lester Burnham, (played by Kevin Spacey), seems to be in a rut. He's unhappy, and just like the trailer says, he's "hardley there". He tell us that; he is the narrator. As he narrates, he hints that he is about to die soon, technically making this a movie about what happens to this man before he dies. Eventually, he developes a major crush on his teenage daughter's best friend, Angela (played by Mena Suvari). This is where people either can't take the movie seriously, don't like it, or think it's perverted (which, it is when it comes to some situations). This was all I got out of the hour of watching it before I had to turn it off.

Typically, I do not completely obsess over films. But despite its strangeness, I could not get American Beauty out of my head! It's like I knew that it was completely one of a kind (that's obvious) and couldn't draw away from it. And the music! Oh, Lord, the music! That piano piece where the charecter, Ricky (who is my favotie charecter, played by Wes Bentley), first appears is so haunting and mesmerizing and beautiful I wished I could hear it all the time! I KNEW I had to watch this entire film one way or another, but I hardley knew why.

Months later it appeared on television again. I watched the whole thing through, no interruptions, nothing to distract me.

Some background info before I dive into the review:
Well, I've already told you about Lester. But that's not the only story unfolding. We also have the story of his daughter, Jane (played by Thora Birch). Jane isn't happy with her looks, low self esteem, etc. But her friend named Angela is totally confident, trampy, and arrogant. Then you have the odd new neighbors, Ricky Fitts (played by West Bentley) and his parents. Ricky shows an interest in Jane and videotapes what he considers "beauty" (like dead birds, Jane, wind-blown plastic bags), Ricky's father is abusive and angry, and his mother seems to have a problem. Lester's wife, Carolyn (played by Annette Bening) also has quite the story. She's a hard working real estate agent that always strives to be successful.

So, this film is about Lester and what happens to him before he dies and what also happens to all of the people around him.

This ended up being by far the best movie I have ever seen in my entire life. Even if Wes Bentley wasn't in this, it would still be my favorite movie, and Ricky would still be my favorite charecter. (Although I highly doubt anyone could do it better than him.) And if you're a comedy type of person, this film is humorous as well!

When Kevin Spacey ended the film with his narration and the screen went black, I had the gut feeling you get when speeding down a high roller coaster hill. That's how moved I was. My heart literately skipped a beat and the breath left my body.

American Beauty is beautiful. It's moving, breathtaking, inspiring, and to top it all off, the film score was perfect. It's so much more than a middle aged man crushing on a teenage girl. It's about what people fight for, and how to look at the world through a more optimistic view. It is a story about love and strife, and it's about beauty. Alan Ball is a genius for writing this.

The acting was absolutely spectacular. I don't think I'll ever see such a great cast all in one place ever again. But, as I already hinted before, the main thing that made this film over the top is how moving and inspiring it is. This film actually taught me some things about life. For so long, I thought the world was ugly with its murderers and impure people. American Beauty changed that outlook and changed my life forever. It taught me that if you really "look closer", the world is so beautiful. This philosophy is first expressed in depthly by Ricky, and then mentioned at the end of the movie, when Lester is dead.

This is the quote when Ricky refers to this philosophy, and my favorite existing quote:
"It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."

Another quote I like from this film, spoken by Jane: "And we'll always be freaks and we'll never be like other people!"

If you watch this movie and don't like it/don't understand, watch it over and over again until you do. The message in this movie will change you, inspire you, and touch you.

A perfect masterpiece like this... shouldn't even be called a movie. It deserves a much higher title, but none that could fit the specific purpose exists. No words can describe my feeling for this movie; I cannot say enough, and I'm even getting teary eyed now as I am typing all of this.

Since I can only give American Beauty a maximum of 5/5 stars, that's what I'll give it. But if I could, I'd give it all the stars in the universe. And more.

*Winner of five 1999 Acadamy Awards:
Best Picture
Best Actor: Kevin Spacey
Best Actress: Annette Bening
Best Supporting Actor: Wes Bentley
Best Supporting Actress: Thora Birch

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I Downloaded Music From Amazon

Yeah, I downloaded music from Amazon's MP_3 shop, and I'm very excited about it. I don't download unless I really don't want to buy the C.D the song's on, so I only do this once in awhile and it is a BIG DEAL for me, especially since these are some of my favorite songs.

Here's what I got:
"Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" - Marilyn Manson (4.5/5 stars)
"Ghostflowers" - Otep (4/5 stars)
"Snuff" - Slipknot (5/5 stars)
"The End is the Beginning is the End" - The Smashing Pumpkings (4/5 stars)
"Earth Intruders" - Bjork (4/5 stars)
"Superstar" - Sonic Youth (5/5 stars)
"Hear You Me" - Jimmy Eat World (5/5 stars)
"When I Look At You" - Miley Cyrus (5/5 stars)
"Hallelujah" - Rufus Wainwright (5/5 stars)
"Breathe No More" - Evanescence (the version from Elektra: The Album) (5/5 stars)
"Pagan Poetry" - Bjork (5/5 stars)
"In the Light" - Full Blown Rose (4.5 stars)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shadowland by: Alyson Noel

I'm sorry it took so long for me to finish this one. I wanted to take my time since I did quite a bit of plowing and cramming through the last novel I read, Under the Dome, and at some points I just didn't feel like reading this.

My first impression of the third installment in this series went something like this: Wow. I like it so far. 4/5 stars as of now, better than Blue Moon, not as good as Evermore. But, around the middle I felt the general plot (again) reminded me way too much of Stephenie Meyer's, Twilight Saga. I loved the Twilight Saga, so at some points I felt like Alyson Noel was basically copy-cating Stephenie, except witches and Immortals and psychics replace vampires and werewolves. This made me angry not only for the obvious reason already listed, but the fact that it was so predictable.

The ending turned out to be much better; not as predictable. I just hate how the past two books in this series end at what seems like the wrong time. Shadowland ended much better than Blue Moon, but still...

Some good points to mention is how Alyson Noel writes. I can relate to how she describes how the leading charecter, Ever, is feeling from Alyson's writing. Books are always better when you feel what the charecter feels, much like here in Shadowland.

A quick pet peeve of mine: The back of this book is misleading.

Unfortunately, however, Alyson Noel has pretty much lost the game. From now on, I will no longer be purchasing any more books in this series. There seems to be a bit too many cons for me in this series, yet it can be so entertaining at the same time. I never wanted to come to this. However, I will borrow Dark Flame from the library, and I haven't decided what to do with Radiance, and if I like it (or them) I will purchase it/them later on.

This series is good, but not something to spend money on, except Evermore. (Oh, how I love that book!) But, with more books of The Immortals series to come, that can all change.

Shadowland - 3.5/5 stars

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Waiting... waiting...

I enjoyed Becca Fitzpatric's book: Hush, Hush. It had a bit too many similarities to other typical young adult novels, and I'm not a fan of the way Becca writes, but it was overall an enjoyable book that I could keep my interest in.

So, naturally, I was determined to watch the live streaming cover reveal to the sequal, Crescendo... maybe this was a bad idea.

Here's my story:
I get to the Fallen Archangle website many minutes early and browse at other websites as I await ten o'clock. When it's coming close, I start to refresh the page. I know that the site said around ten o'clock in the morning, but I wanted to get there early, you know, just in case. In the end, it didn't start until 10:07(am).

And I've been watching this thing ever since. Though I am finally watching, I am STILL waiting. Because all this video contains is footage of some lady under a tent that's kind of far from the camera. She (heck, a he for all I know) is on the floor working on something. Painting, perhaps? Is that what she's doing? Thirty minutes later and it's still all the same.

I kept this page up for about an hour and twenty minutes. Then I gave up.

Later on I checked on it, to find a picture of the cover... and I love it! Very beautiful indeed!

If you want to see it, go here:

Friday, April 9, 2010

What My Ratings Mean

Just so there's no confusion or some other exaggerated interpretation, here's an explanation as to how I rate things:

5/5 stars - Phenomenon/Masterpiece
I don't usually rate much of anything this unless I find is moving, touching, or mesmerizing.

4.5/5 stars - More than excellent
Not a 4/5 star, not a 5/5 star (obviously)

4/5 stars - Excellent
If I give something this rating, I loved it. It was extremely good.

3.5/5 stars - Pretty good
It had good qualities and some bad qualities that came to a close, but most of the good parts of it comes through.

3/5 stars - Good, O.K
It was entertaining enough and had some good points, but far from great.

I've never given anything less than 3/5, so if I ever give anything a rating lower than that, it must've been pretty sucky.

Another thing I may as well throw in is my judgment of charecters. A lot of times you'll see me write something along the lines of: 'I couldn't take the charecter seriously'. Please realize that when I say this, or even say that I don't understand a charecter, I'm not saying that the writer didn't make the charecter right. The writer is always right when making their charecters.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The House of Night, Books 1-6 by: P.C Cast + Kristin Cast (Brief Reviews)

*Note from Critica: For whatever odd reason, this is the most popular post by far on this blog, and it is a terrible representation of my review style. So, check out my full-length reviews for the newest House of Night novels:

Burned by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast
Awakened by P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

I started reading this book series around the time the fifth House of Night novel, Hunted, was first released. (I know, I got a late start.) I'm not very good at reviewing at critiquing after its been awhile since I've read the book, or saw the movie, etc. So, since the seventh installment in this series, Burned, is coming out soom I've decided to breifly post what I thought of the first six. Chances are, I'll put out a normal extended review of them individually after I reread them.

So, here goes.

Marked - I think the first thing that caught my attention was all of the humor from the leading charecter, Zoey. It was a rather pleasent reading expirience, but nothing too over the top, let alone too near the top. It wasn't bad, it wasn't good. But, it was good enough, or I liked it enough, to give this one a 3.5/5 star rating.

Betrayed - Better than the first, but not by a remarkable amount of betterness (is that a word?). What happens in the plot with Stevie Rae is what really made intrigued. But, though it's a bit better than its big sister book, Marked, I still give it the same rating. (3.5/5 stars)

Chosen - The worst book in the House of Night series, to my belief. I could not take Zoey seriously. Three boyfriends at once, Zoeybird, is indeed a problem. This whole story is a bit of an orginized mess. Everything works out somewhat okay in the end, but the middle just broods on and on about Zoey's boyfriend problem. Since it still managed to entertain me, which is what a book should do, but isn't exactly that wonderful, I gave it 3/5 stars.

Untamed - Great save! Brilliant save! Now, that's what I'm talking about! After Chosen, I was wondering if this one was going to bomb, but it ended up being my favorite of the series. The action starts right away and it ends in a great way, and I found what was going on to be much more interesting and more my thing. I enthusiastically grant Untamed 4.5/5 stars!

Hunted - The Cast women are really keeping it going. This one might have been as good as Untamed if they didn't keep remind us readers of everything that's happened 24/7. Excellent follow-up to Untamed, 4/5 stars.

Tempted - Three House of Night novels in a row that haven't recieved a rating lower than a four! The writers change things up a little with narration changes. Sometimes, like in the rest of this series, Zoey is narrating (first person). In Tempted, there is also third person narration, following multiple other charecters. 4/5 stars.

Slipknot Song

Typically, I don't really like the infamous band, Slipknot. But this song is amazing! It's one of my newest favorite songs (of which I have about 300) and entitled "Snuff".

5/5 stars!

...give it a listen sometime!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Evermore and Blue Moon by: Alyson Noel

Last night I just started reading Shadowland, the third installment in The Immortals book series by Alyson Noel. I'll be done with it sometime soon and leave a review here, but I figured it would be best to quickly review the first two books in this series, Evermore and Blue Moon.

I read Evermore a little less than a year ago. My first impression (based upon the way the main young man of the series, Damen, acts) was that it was too much like Stephenie Meyer's Twilight. I loved Twilight, and I feared that this was going to be a bad copy-cat. That opinion didn't last long. Evermore turned out to be a great novel in more ways than one. The romance element wasn't the only element of the story, but more touching things as well. For example, Ever's dead sister, Riley (whom she can still see in the form of a ghost/spirit) and their relationship and things they had to deal with almost left me in tears. The tragedies included into this story make you feel for Ever and everything that happens to her. 5/5 stars for this series starter.

Since I was so pleased with Evermore, I was more than excited to read Blue Moon. However, I found Blue Moon to be a disappointment. Sure, the main idea was great, but I couldn't take Ever seriously this time. I felt like the whole book was wrapped around Ever sitting around and complaining about her problems. I am aware that this makes the book more realistic to some degree, but... I don't know. I just didn't like this one as much for that reason. The ending still managed to leave me wanting more, but that's mainly because of its sudden and abrupt ending. I give Blue Moon a 3.5/5 stars as a rating.

If Shadowland fails (to my opinion), I may give up on this series, but I really don't want to. I'm not in it too deep yet, but I enjoy it thus far. I'll leave a review here soon.

Quick FYI...

Occasionally I may post some non-critic related things. Reviews will take the majority of this blog, but every so often, I may post a few things that are off topic. If I see that it needs to be done, I'll create more pages for such things.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Under the Dome by: Stephen King

Alright, I just finished reading Stephen King's new masterpiece, Under the Dome, last night at 11:56 pm. It took me awhile to read, since it's 1074 pages (including the Author's Note), and was always afraid it wasn't going to be worht it.

Immediately this novel could hold my attention, because the action starts right away. Stephen tells the stories of many, many different charecter's (even some dogs) while the little town of Chester's Mill is mysteriously and suddenly placed underneath an invisible barrier - a dome.

Through most of my time reading this huge book, I always thought it was worthy of 4/5stars (very good). Stephen King wrote fantastically and humorously, and I wanted more to some extent, but it wasn't like I couldn't put it down, I could.

Yesterday, when I was creeping toward the end, I couldn't get enough. I couldn't resist this novel and took it with me everywhere. Somewhere between three-fourths until the end of the book, Stephen King defined the difference between a 4/5 star novel and a 5/5 star novel. The ending left me a bit mesmerized, and that's what makes a story special, the feeling you have inside after reading it. That's also what made me give this novel 5/5 stars, despite however I felt previously.