Thursday, November 25, 2010

Introducing: Classics

This is a little project I'm going to do once in a while here.

When I review books, I try to keep them recent, and I try to stray from books people have read twenty times already (Twilight, for example). But I really enjoy reading classics, like To Kill a Mockingbird and such. Just because we've all read the classics doesn't mean we can't discuss them. I will talk about these sorts of books in ways different than how I typically review books, and basically give you my thoughts. It may be a classic, but I don't have to like it. People may have read it enough to make them roll their eyes, but I could be completely moved. I don't really like keeping random opinions to myself, and this is no excuse. If I read a book, I want to talk about it.

In my own writing, I have been influenced by classic authors. Sometimes I think they're too overlooked with all of the modern stories out there today (okay, that's basically a known fact) but I refuse to forget about them.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 | Directed by David Yates | Written by Steve Kloves

It's finally here. Based on the incredible novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 hit theatres yesterday, and I was anxious to see it today.

Keep in mind that I am a huge Harry Potter fan. Therefore, my opinion is probably biased.

Using all of the information that Dumbledore gave them, Harry, Ron, and Hermione set out to find the rest of the horcruxes and destroy them. The only hope that they have in beating Voldemort has come down to this.

But Dumbledore didn't tell them everything. There's still much to uncover, for there is so much missing vital information needed for their quest. The three don't always get along, and the fact that there's nearly no one that they can trust is as evident as ever.

This is only the beginning of the end.

First of all, let me explain the history of my impressions of David Yates as director: For the past two Harry Potter films, he has aggrivated me quite a bit. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were the worst Potter movies in my own personal opinion, and he was the new director, so I of course blamed him entirely. I was completely afraid of what he'd do to this one, but somehow confident that splitting the book into two movies would be a good choice, and make the remaining films extremely accurate to the book. After seeing this film today, I am proud of him. This film adaptation left me begging for more, and (yet again) completely obsessive over this series. Spectacularly done!

As far as technical movie stuff, this could be the most action-packed film of the series. (Throughout the whole film, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on the run.) Everything turned out to be a lot like I imagined it for the most part, and all effects were believable, as usual. Just like any other Potter movie, it was superior in this area. Do I really need to say anything about performance? We've all seen the Harry Potter movies; we all know that this is the best possible cast. Our little Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupurt Grint are all grown up now, and just as amazing as ever. Everyone was. I ended up being especially happy with Bill Nighy as the Minister of Magic, but this is mainly because I've been a fan of his ever since seeing him in the Underworld films.

Most importantly, this film is an emotion worker. Of course I care about Harry Potter. I love Harry, I've always loved the books and the films. J.K. Rowling did this to us with her writing, and that always carries on in the movies. So, sure, I've had times where I've grown sad or emotional during the movies. Does any of it compare to this one? No. Once I became teary eyed. Then, at the end of the film, I flat-out cried. This is a special moment, for no other Harry Potter movie has made me cry or proved its excellence in that sort of sentimental way.

Other than all of this, I'm not sure of what to say other than how much I loved it, since that's all I can think about. Writing this is so difficult. There's so much I want to say, but I don't know how. If there was anything I didn't like, then there would be more for me to ramble about. I mean, it's Harry Potter; of course it's a masterpiece in its own right... but this one is special. The story is unique in comparison to the others in the series.

To sum it up, this film adaptation is great for everything that it is, and will not disappoint eager fans. I loved every moment of it.


5/5 stars

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dark Flame | by: Alyson Noel

Reading The Immortals series has been a bumpy ride for me, and resulted in my choice to not purchase Dark Flame and just get it from the library even though I already owned the first three books.

Ever has a lot on her plate in Dark Flame, mainly because in the last two books she basically messed everything up. Damen is still in need of the antidote, and and Jude is still there, waiting patiently. But now, there's yet another thing to worry about. She's falling for her antagonist, her arch enemy that's destroying everything: Roman.

I'm not really sure how I'm going to do this, since I've never had so many negative things to say about a book I chose for myself to read. Please bear with me.

My schedule has been busy with school and show choir, and other typical things that keep me from reading. These reasons are not the only reasons why it took me so long to read this book. Three words: Lack of entertainment.

I'm giving you a warning: I don't have many positive things to say about this book. This review is extremely bleak and complainative. There will be some positive things written toward the end (but probably not the VERY end).

The other books in this series were quite predicatable with constant reiminders of Twilight in the plot. One good thing Dark Flame has going for itself is that this time it strayed from being predictable in that way. The only time I ever felt similarities between the two book series is when Ever describes Jude in comparison to Damen (it was virtually the same way Bella describes Bella in comparison to Edward, but not as deep).

Ever was a big problem for me. It's never a good thing when the main character (who is also the narrator) is annoying or cannot be taken seriously. She drives me crazy! All she does is mess up and whine about it! Nothing gets accomplished, because of her stubborness, resilience, and lack of common sense. (I can't think of an example without adding a spoiler, so I refuse.) For the first half of the book, I thought I was going to puke out of the corniness and annoyingness of hearing about how incredibly hot Damen is. I'm not sure if I would have finished the book if she didn't stop; it irritated me.

The writing style was... was... very drama queen-ish. I think Alyson Noel tried to be dramatic in a more theatrical way... but it just didn't work. Sentences often had the same patten which had one tiny sentence have a past tense verb, and then the next sentence starts with the same past tense verb. It always went something like this: "I walk. Walk until I've no idea how far I've gone" (page 151.) There's nothing wrong with this. But when you hear this sort of thing fifty times in one novel, it becomes quite annoying. (I know, I use the words 'annoying' and 'irritating' way too much in this review.)

In addition, the seven-paragraphs-in-a-row-that-contain-one-sentence-each-about-the-same-subject-in-order-to-be-melodramatic thing got under my skin after the fifth time. Why not make it one paragraph? And I also had a difficult time feeling Ever's attraction/obsession with Roman. It felt more like she was just saying random statements like 'It's eight in the morning' rather than having an emotional issue until I was three quarters in.

Something sort of positive about meaning:
The best part of this book, however, is the general theme. More people should believe in it, because it holds such truth: Love your enemy, and be positive. We get ourselves nowhere, otherwise. I'm not going to say anymore, because it'll give it away. No matter how good or bad a book can be, I refuse to give spoilers.

Other than this bit -which is very powerful to me - I didn't care much for the general theme. (I've actually found this love theme to be a bit corny.)

Dark Flame is basically the worst of the series, and I'm so thankful I didn't purchase it with my own money. There are two more books left, and I'm honestly not sure if I even want to read them. I don't know if I care enough or not at this point. I give every series a full chance to have at least one good book, but this is too much. I'll probably continue (knowing me). I just hope it won't be a complete waste of my time.

I don't know how this series went so far downhill when Evermore was such a beautiful debut.

At least I can say it holds more meaning than Blue Moon and Shadowland.

1.5/5 stars

Noel, Alyson. Dark Flame
New York: St. Martin's Press

Monday, November 1, 2010

Paranormal Activity 2 | Directed by Tod Williams | Written by Michael R. Perry

Paranormal Activity 2 is the prequal to the first, where we see what happened before we saw Katie and Micah be antagonized and understand why everything happened to them in the first place. Old seances and deals don't go unremembered. This entity is patient.

We also get to see what happens after the end of the first film!

Fans of the first are sure to enjoy Paranormal Activity 2. Both films are quite similar, though there are different characters in focus and plenty of new scares are in store. This in itself, makes Paranormal Activity 2 better than the first. Personally, it made me jump about twice as much as the first.

The actors are especially good for such a b-movie. Even if it was a high-budget film, I'd still be able to say I had little to no problems with the acting, dialogue, or general characters. People weren't as clueless as the couple in the first movie; they actually had an idea of what they were dealing with. I suppose that could make it less creepy and exciting, but fans of paranormal shows and metaphysics probably already knew what sort of entity it was from the beginning. This was my case, and that it why it didn't make much of a difference for me on the scary scale.

The only thing you'll leave with after seeing this one is that it entertained you for an hour and a half. Maybe you'll rent it afterwards or buy it, but if this film didn't make me jump as much as I did, you probably would have found it quite pointless. Scary stuff happens when you aren't really expecting it, and it's all pretty random, so it think it'll please most people.

Entertainment is all it has in store. Nothing particularly favorable, but perhaps a little bit memorable. It wasn't bad.

3/5 stars