Book Review List Book Reviews for almost any book! <![CDATA[Comic Books Quick Tip by woopak_the_thrill]]>
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<![CDATA[ Superhero cinema does not get much better than this.]]>
In "Batman Begins", Christopher Nolan brought an entirely new vision - a much darker vision - of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) to the screen. We witnessed his origins and his even further beginnings as a crime fighter for the scum-infested city of Gotham. The same motive has driven the Batman to keep on fighting for the city all the way into this next chapter of the Caped Crusader's legacy. "The Dark Knight" begins with a heist involving the psychopath donning clown make-up and a nasty, cut-up face known as The Joker (Heath Ledger) and then proceeds to bring back a villain from its predecessor, The Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy), in a sequence that reveals a lot about the influence that Wayne's alternate identity has on the society that surrounds him. Wayne tries to defend Gotham in any way he can. He starts here by involving himself - or his alias - in a plan devised by Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and also involving the new district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to crack down on the mob once and for all.

But of course, The Joker basically beats them to it. He then hatches a plan of his own: to persuade the Batman to reveal his true identity to the public or pay the price in the blood of the people he will kill daily until this becomes a reality. The Joker has an agenda too; Harvey Dent, the mayor, and Dent's girlfriend; the childhood friend of Wayne, Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal). The Joker weaves a very complicated web of violence, mayhem, and old fashioned trickery; although the main players on the opposing team aren't so dumb to succumb to it all on demand. Obviously, they'll all individually put up a fight in their war on crime; which is the least significant of The Joker's moral less wrong-doings.

This is a deep, engaging multiple character study. Bruce Wayne's psyche is further explored and his connections - including his guardian Albert Pennyworth (Michael Caine) and wardrobe/weapons designer Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) - are strengthened too, although this time the other characters are covered too. In particular, there's The Joker and Harvey Dent. The Joker is a sadistic madman with a Glasgow smile that scars his face due to an accident brought on by his drunkard father at a young age, and even deeper emotional scars underneath the surface, which is already way messed up as it is. Dent, meanwhile, is Gotham's supposed "white knight"; a hero who doesn't believe himself to be a hero but certainly believes in the power of chance, which explains why he's always flipping his father's lucky coin in order to determine the toughest choices in life to the simplest. He later becomes the villain Two-Face after a tragic burning incident which he survives from but emerges a changed, emotionally broken man.

Nolan's first foray into this expansive universe was heavily flawed but at the same time genuinely fascinating. Although it gave an interesting and intelligent portrait of Bruce Wayne that outdid all other previous screen versions of the character due to Bale's pitch-perfect and gritty performance; it also suffered from a second half that didn't quite live up to the brilliance of the first. The last half of "Batman Begins" was action-oriented mostly, but even though it was entertaining action, you can't beat strong character development and therein lies the missed opportunities of that film. "The Dark Knight" has action scenes, perhaps even more notable ones than "Begins", but they exist within the Joker's villainous plot; which is kept consistent throughout and therefore gives the film a lot more balance and edge. In more ways than one, this shows Nolan truly mastering the material and taking it even further down the road into dark, realism-grounded superhero storytelling.

The casting is flawless. Ledger, bless his soul, gives easily the most memorable performance in the film; and not just because of his passing before its actual completion. He channels the psychotic whimsy and dark absurdity of The Joker so effortlessly, and that's not exactly an easy feat. Like Bale for Wayne, he's the best Joker we've gotten so far. And he ended his career with a mighty bang. Then there's the decision to replace Katie Holmes - who I thought absolutely SUCKED as Rachel in "Batman Begins" simply because she's not an actress I admire at all - with Gyllenhaal was an inspired decision, mostly since Maggie Gyllenhaal can actually, you know, act. Eckhart also gets a role fit specifically for him - and better than most he accepts into his imperfect track record of a career - and runs it into the ground till the last spine-tinglingly intense minute. Meanwhile, every returning member of the cast is as superb as always.

Nolan also upped the visual ambition of this one in comparison to his first "Batman" reincarnation. There isn't a wrong or uninteresting shot present in "The Dark Knight"; it's beautifully shot from start to finish. The images and the sound (courtesy of a wonderful and provocative score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard) come together to form a cinematic experience beyond stimulating. With a plot this engaging, it didn't even need this much visual panache; yet it possesses these things anyways. Nolan proves to us that practical action and plot-driven thrills are more exciting than all the big-ass CGI action set pieces money can buy. I've admired this series thus far for its ability to hold back on the excessive FX and focus more on the story and characters at hand. But "The Dark Knight" truly goes above and beyond. The title of the film doesn't come until the end credits start rolling, because only then has it truly become "The Dark Knight". It ends with such power and resonance that it's almost impossible for anyone to forget it. That is unless you're one of the few who found it not so much to your liking. But personally I don't know many people like that, and I don't care to. This is master class modern American cinema.]]> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 01:43:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Books Quick Tip by DavidStanley]]>]]> Sun, 25 Dec 2011 21:02:35 +0000 <![CDATA[Chicago Style Hot Dog Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sat, 24 Dec 2011 01:38:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ All flash and no substance. It sickens me. 21%]]>

For a movie with so much time and money spent on it, I was really disappointed with the fact that Avatar's plot is nothing more than a sci-fi themed CGI wankfest interpretation of Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves. The film is set in the year 2154, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi--a sentient humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. A paraplegic Marine named Jake Sully is sent to spy on the Na'vi with an artificial Na'vi body referred to as an Avatar. However, Jake has a change of heart and helps the Na'vi fight. In other words, it can be broken down into the following simple structure.

"Bad guys send in spy disguised as one of the good guys to get information about them as to conveniently subjugate them, but spy has change of heart and helps the good guys fight bad guys."

Sounds just like the previously mentioned movies. If you watched a lot of movies, you can predict exactly what's going to happen as the movie progresses because this movie doing something original will throw off its balance in a fashion similar to a rhinoceros trying to give a blue whale and a prairie dog a piggyback ride while riding a unicycle. It has the predictable romantic development with the main male and female leads, the numerous "deus ex machina" actions done solely for the convenience of the plot and characters, and so much other predictable and corny traits that make this movie such a bore. A fine example of one of these many "deus ex machina" moments has to be when Jake (in Avatar form) manages to heavily damage a giant gunship with the Colonel (main bad guy) and as the gunship is falling down, the Colonel dons an armed mecha suit and just barely gets out of the plummeting gunship. Of course, this has to happen because if it didn't, we wouldn't get that mandatory yet predictable "awesome epic showdown" between the hero and the villain. In fact, my sister-in-law verbally predicted the said showdown as the Colonel was escaping the gunship.


Another nail in Avatar's coffin was the characters. I didn't care about any of them because they were all so stereotypical and flat. Sully was the "uncertain main lead," Grace was the "concerned ultra-smart scientist," and the Colonel was the "tough guy 'lets kill everything' army man," and Neytiri is the "sexy, smart, and benevolent native-type princess." None of them were interesting and morally speaking, were all one-sided. I HATE this because I find it so cliche and simple to belt out. I would have preferred that the characters had more complexity to their beliefs and reasoning, but we don't get that here.


Adding themes to movies can enhance them greatly, but if they're obvious and one-sided, they add next to no value to the film. And in Avatar's case, the themes and social commentary are one-sided and obvious. It sickens me as to how people are bleating about how "great" Avatar's message is about imperialism and destroying the environment. Though when you take the movie's theme about being environmentally conscious into consideration, it's extremely laughable because its one-dimensional nature brings it on the level of such one-sided slop like Ferngully, Wall-E, Captain Planet, and On Deadly Ground. While I'm personally not against taking measures to benefit the environment, I cringe at the whole "lets live in harmony with nature and take down technological progress" notion because I doubt that people will easily give up the technology that's essential to their lives (such as houses, computers, and cars) for the sake of benefiting the environment. At least with Princess Mononoke, it displayed the ecology message in a more realistic and complex manner. The messages about imperialism and militarism aren't any better because they too, are so obvious and one-sided. Of course, corporations with mercenary aid taking over other chunks of land is certainly a detestable thing, but the reasoning for it is so tacky and unrealistic. The only reasoning behind these heinous actions is that "the corporation needs a profit." What about the fact that this movie hints that Earth is low on natural resources and needs to power its civilization? Or how about people working in the energy industry needing a paycheck to feed their families? Of course, it has to be this simple and dumbed-down because if there was any complexity to these issues, mainstream audiences would be confused and the movie wouldn't have generated the unbelievably huge profit it got.


The only thing Avatar has going for it is the outstanding special effects and CGI used in the movie. Indeed, the imagery is unbelievable, and it's pretty obvious as to where a huge chunk of Avatar's $500 million budget went. I personally loved the military vehicles and weapons displayed in this movie because of the fact that I have an interest in military technology and the fact that while the vehicles and weapons were indeed futuristic, their appearances and functions were still largely based off current military technology. Everything else looked fabulous as well since every little detail hasn't been skimped on any object, animate or inanimate. However, I must scorn the idealistic physiques of the Na'vi because all of them looked like humanoid cat alien supermodels. Would a little physical diversity be too much to ask for? I guess it was another way for Cameron to show how the Na'vi have life down to a "T" as compared to those oh-so-evil humans.


If you want James Cameron's prime films, go check out Aliens and the first two Terminator movies instead of this (if you haven't already). If you want the best sci-fi/action film of 2009, go check out District 9 instead of Avatar because D9, while a little overrated, has much more believable and interesting characters with much cooler action scenes with more subtle, believable messages about humanity. D9 also had some good special effects to boot, almost as good as those in Avatar. With all of this good stuff, you might wonder how big D9's budget was. District 9's budget was $32 million, less than 1/15th of Avatar's. Just comes to show that you don't need to spend half a billion dollars to make a worthwhile movie, you just need interesting characters with engaging plots. Now if only James Cameron believed in those principles again, which made most of his films in the 80's and early 90's the classics people remember them as.]]> Mon, 4 Jul 2011 23:32:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ Darkness Falls]]>
We all know what happened afterward. For years, Batman was a forbidden utterance among movie producers. Then in 2005, Christopher Nolan not only reinvented Batman, but he did something Burton and Schumacher both failed to: Nolan gave Batman his very own identity, one just as unique for Batman as the comics and Adam West show were. Now in The Dark Knight, Nolan lives up to the promise seen in Batman Begins. In The Dark Knight, the character of Batman is not only expanded, but another character – The Joker – is given a worthy vehicle thanks to the believably psychotic effort of the late Heath Ledger. The TV series Joker was a clown. Jack Nicholson's Joker was a cartoon. Ledger's Joker is a scary, twisted, disturbing manifestation of malice. His makeup smeared, The Joker haunts The Dark Knight without mercy. He forces people to make impossible moral decisions, uses knives to make threatening taunts, and knocks off his own foot soldiers just because he wants a bigger share of the bounty from his own organized robbery.

Nolan's Batman does not go off into the sunset. In this way, The Dark Knight is appropriately deferential to the animated TV series in which Batman was a lone wolf who was more or less a vigilante. In The Dark Knight, Commissioner Gordon has to make excuses to use the Bat Signal. When the movie begins, we learn almost immediately that Batman has inspired people, but not to the effect he had hoped for. The people who love Batman show their love using the sincerest form of flattery. That is to say, there is a legion of not-Batmans wandering around in Gotham City laying down the law in ways the real Batman abhors. (Read: They use guns.) Batman is definitely dark, but the people see him as something less than a knight. Instead, the city look to a new District Attorney named Harvey Dent as their White Knight. Harvey is an idealist and when he preaches his clean-up act and then delivers over 500 known criminals in one setting, even cynical Bruce Wayne hops on the bandwagon.

Unfortunately, there's a new king in town who calls himself The Joker, and his lust for chaos is such that during the movie, he insists that Gotham City will come under his control by midnight and people believe him. One shot of the movie shows Wacker Drive (well, an unknown street; after all, The Dark Knight is set in fictional Gotham City, not real Chicago, where much of it was shot) flooded by cars with people evacuating because they don't want to be there when The Joker takes the reins. Why does he want control? The gist of it is that he wants to show how anyone can be brought down to the level of a common crook, but a better explanation is also offered: He just likes to watch things burn. Joker's aura is a dominating one. If you've ever believed clowns are agents of evil, The Joker is Lucifer.

Along the course of the movie, The Joker manages to make Batman and Dent stare into their dark doppelganger images. He gets Bruce Wayne to question if being Batman is worth it, and the ultimate result is that we begin to see Batman as the denizens of Gotham City do: Not as the White Knight, but merely as a protector. But Dent, the real White Knight, is also put to a surprise test. Dent is an idealist, but puts an overwhelming belief into luck and often flips a coin to determine his course of action. He also appears to harbor a secret anger at the world around him, as seen in one scary scene in which he has a chance to shoot a criminal. Eventually his anger and belief in luck – or perhaps fate – both boil over with chaotic results to his psyche.

Early on, the surprising issue of age is brought to the attention of Bruce Wayne. During a night out with Harvey, Rachel Dawes, and a ballerina from the local ballet, Dent casually mentions it and the idea begins to haunt Bruce. He is confronted with the fact that no matter how successful he is as Batman, he will not be able to keep up the gig forever. This effectively lends a little more depth to the Bruce Wayne character, who is still keeping up his ways as a sort of reluctant playboy. Christian Bale, the newest and already longest-tenured Bruce Wayne/Batman (a title he shares with Burton Batman Michael Keaton) brings a remarkable depth to his role as Bruce. While he publicly wears an I-may-be-a-rich-playboy-but-I-can-still-beat-you-up grin and flaunts call girls who would make Eliot Spitzer jealous, Bale manages to convey Bruce's lavishness as a mask.

The development of the relationship between Bruce and Rachel takes a step back because Rachel is dating Harvey Dent. She still has feelings for Bruce, but in The Dark Knight, she is confronted with questions about what could possibly happen between the two of them. Rachel is still pretty much the same plain-Jane idealist she was in Batman Begins. While Rachel is given a bit more thoughtful depth in The Dark Knight than she was in Batman Begins, she is still a plain-Jane role who fit plain-Jane actress Katie Holmes well. Maggie Gyllenhaal tries her very best to bring a sorely needed fire to Rachel, but being the blandest character in the movie, her role is almost an insult to the talented actress playing her this time. The movie would have been just as good with Katie Holmes, who bailed out to make the forgotten Mad Money, another dubious chapter to her mostly dubious movie career. Gyllenhaal's boarding is a fact. It's neither a blessing nor a curse.

The Dark Knight's pacing is a little bit slower and less frantic than that of Batman Begins. If Batman Begins had a single weakness, it was its appearance as a quick-cutting montage during points. This was because of the focus on Bruce Wayne's childhood and recollections of how he became Batman. But The Dark Knight isn't giving us a past to deal with this time. There is just one story to move along and develop, and so Nolan takes his sweet time, even playing with our minds at some points. His careful craftsmanship and steady pacing leave us with many well-formed scenes which grow and leave us with the greatest possible impact. It helps that The Dark Knight has the benefit of some of the most outstanding dialogue heard in a superhero movie since, well, possibly ever. The well-written scenes do a lot to wash out the nasty aftertaste of Arnold Schwarzenegger's bombardment of cold puns and George Clooney's cocky posturing from Batman and Robin.

The Dark Knight is the best movie I've seen so far this year. It is better than Wall-e, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Iron Man, and Hellboy II: The Golden Army. It gives us a combination of near-perfect craftwork, well-written scenes, memorable characters, one of the great villains of any era, and an ending which is bleak but not outside of the realm of Batman. In an era in which superhero movies are so commonplace that they were parodied in an earlier movie this year called Superhero Movie, The Dark Knight has reclaimed his rightful place as the greatest superhero of them all.]]> Sun, 27 Mar 2011 19:53:35 +0000
<![CDATA[ Avatar... beating out Titanic]]> Avatar hit theaters this past weekend. While opening weekend raked in an estimated $77 million in domestic ticket sales and an additional $159 million in ticket sales in 106 countries overseas -- excluding Japan and China who are still to come. This weekend Avatar did reach the #9 spot for All Time Worldwide Opening Records and the #2 spot for Top December Opening Weekend Records. However, some reports have come in saying that the blizzard that hit the east coast caused ticket sales to take a hit, but my Saturday experience at the theater proved otherwise.

I remember being bombarded by phone calls last week with several people asking me if it was worth going to see Avatar in theaters. I had heard mixed reviews regarding the film, with people commenting that it will be strictly eye candy with no substance in storyline and I felt compelled to share what I had heard. Even as I received a handful of calls on opening day from my father asking if it was something that he would understand, I still felt the need to share the mixed feelings I had quickly developed over the weeks leading up to its release. I was surprised that later in the day I had a voicemail waiting for me, practically screaming at me, that I had to go see the film this weekend. My father, who is of the older movie go-er generation, does not see eye to eye with me when it comes to movies as he is interested in the more intellectual and "family fun" style of films where as I enjoy blood, guts and insane amounts of action. To hear that he thought the movie was "awesome" and actually ended up using the word about a dozen times in a conversation that followed, I felt compelled to go out this opening weekend to see if it was really as good as he though. So Saturday morning, making plans with my movie date for the evening, I purchased tickets online to avoid at least one line and then ventured out into the first blizzard of the season.

Arriving at the theater 45 minutes before showtime, I stood in line feeling like a complete film geek, excited just to see what the film would look like since I had little expectations for there being a good storyline. My date for the evening seemed less than excited, standing in line in a bit of a stooper and neutral to everything that was going on. After finding seats in what was a much smaller screen that I was expecting the trailer began to roll. Unfortunately none of the trailers really stuck out, but once advised to put on our 3D glasses I sat in aw and awaiting what was about to happen.

With a running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes, I never once felt a lull or dramatic drop in the pace of the film. It held and captivated my attention for the entire screening and watching in 'RealD' you truly do get an experience unlike any other. I have watched plenty of other 3D shows and films with the classic red and blue glasses that give you such a horrible headache you seriously wonder why you ever bother to watch anything in 3D, but the translucent RealD glasses give you the 3rd dimension without the pain. From the opening scene straight through to the end, I fought the urge to reach out and "touch" the beautiful world of Pandora that James Cameron introduced us to. The world of Pandora is a beautiful place both in theory, vision and story, and no matter how fantastic the fantasy level became everything remained grounded in reality. From the space crafts the humans use travel in to the alien planet, to the military vehicles and weapons, to the plants, creatures and people of Pandora each element hints are reality. Nothing strayed too far from the line of what "could be".

As for the story, I was surprised by the level of depth it held. It was not your basic sci-fi/fantasy story, and it left me considering what under lying statements Mr. Cameron was making about our current standing globally. The story was thought provoking and left me thinking about social and political commentary that could be picked up and hinted at in some aspect or another. The film is visually out of this world, and the story will hold your attention for the entire running time. By the time you are ready to walk out of the theater, you will not feel like you have been sitting through a 3 hr film, unless you just downed a large coke.

If you are an Aliens fan, see if you catch the homage James Camera slips in. See if you can find the "Titanic moment". This film is a must see. Even if you do not enjoy the story, I guarentee that you will not be disappointed by the visual effects. Although, as my movie date said, the Na'vi's skin may be a little distracting, but all in all the film is worth the sitting time. You will love Sam Worthington's performance, both in the flesh and CGI. You will enjoy the grace and beauty of Zoe Saldana as her dance background adds to the Na'vi. Her movements are truly those of a trained ballerina and it made watching her leaping through the trees and during battle that much more amazing. The Na'vi, in their looks, movements, beliefs, and soul truly are amazing characters. Even the wonderful Sigourney Weaver will amaze you with the heart and soul of her character. Michelle Rodriguez players her typical "badass" self. She is just as much a fighter as she is in every other role she has played and it's fun to watch her keeping up with the "big boys" when it comes to a gun fight. Stephen Lang is that guy you will recognize but may not recall his name at the end of the film, but his performance as Colonel Miles Quaritch is everything you could ever want. And Joel Moore just makes you love him even more with each character he plays in his blooming career.

So if you want a film that will pull you right into the story and picture, check out Avatar.]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 18:26:53 +0000
<![CDATA[Twilight (movie) Quick Tip by HDepew]]> Interviews with Vampires

Trends in the entertainment world are something that we always watch closely. Everyone looks for what the next hottest fashion trend will be. We wait to see which A-list celebrity has a baby and what the new name trends will be. And then we patiently wait for the next greatest thing to come about that will clearly dominate all the markets. Well, the wait is over. The newest greatest thing since pizza bread has finally arrived and it is blowing all of its rivals clear out of the water. Actually it is sucking the blood out of any competitor who poses a threat. Vampires are taking over the world. Our fascination with the dark creatures of the night is something that no one has truly been able to describe or explain completely. But as you watch the reports coming back from this weekend’s Hollywood releases you will see that vampires are taking over the big screen, as well as every other media market.

I was first bitten by the vampire bug after reading Christopher Pikes' The Last Vampire series back in elementary school. Today I find myself completely glamoured by the dark and mysterious creatures of the night, although the vampires I speak of are not actually creatures of the night at all. Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, has created a story and character that has captured the hearts, minds, and even souls of many tweens, teens, and adults alike. The ember eyes of Edward Cullen first captured us in literature, but after this weekend he, along with the entire Cullen family, will have captured the hearts of fans and non-fans alike.

In 2005 a new teen novel was published by Little, Brown and Company written by an unknown author that was like no other. It brought out a whole new side to the mysterious creatures that have been previously known to stalk the innocent at night. The type of characters that are usually described as being soulless and wake to live an undead life only during the night hours are being introduced as supernatural beings that are far more complex than any other vampires before them. Of course they do resemble previous vampires like those from the Underworld series with their dislike of lycans (werewolves), and even a resemblance to the characters from Charlaine Harris’ Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, which is sweeping the broadcast market called True Blood as one of the greatest HBO series since The Sopranos and Sex and the City, as beings having a conscience regarding their previous actions and ways of living that they wish were better understood. The Cullen family has more heart than any other undead creatures I have previously read about, and I believe they are the first vampires that have retained a soul. Twilight fever has truly swept the nation and when word reached fans about a film option the craze grew exponentially and the anticipation for further news became painful to endure as Twilight nation became obvious to the author and director.

Film options for literature are always something to be desired; yet they create a sense of fear for both avid fans and those involved with the actual production. The writer is usually consulted in final decisions and the creative aspect of casting, set design, and story editing; but the process can be tedious leaving mixed feelings. The author is also consulted on any gaps that need to be filled in for visual story telling purposes that may not have been covered in a novel due to the point of view from which the story is told. The director strives to create a film that best represents the original story, but sometimes there are things that must be altered for timing and budget limitations. All of these factors make any news of leaks, exclusive clips and interviews, and official releases dyer information coveted by fans. We waited a year after the release of Eclipse for the final book in the series, with many avid fans participating in mid-night release parties that could rival those during the days of Harry Potter. We waited in long lines just to pickup a book hours before it would be released, we waited anxiously for casting photos and the ballet room scene to be released this past June, and then on Thursday, November 20 we waited one last time.

In mid-town Manhattan I saw fans wearing Twilight merchandise wandering the streets passing time to stand in line for a mid-night screening. 42nd Street theaters were all sold out, 34th Street theaters were all sold out and $7 million dollars in sales for just the mid-night screenings has been reported. I was one of those avid fans standing in line for over 6 hours waiting to see how director Catherine Hardwicke adapted the newest pop culture phenomena.

Standing in line you meet many interesting people. I stood at the front of the cue with fans of the novels that varied in ages from 16 to middle-forties, and as we spoke with each other about various details from the books, our expectations of the film, and our hopes for scenes in the film, I realized that this author had done something I did not expect. Stephenie Meyer has brought complete strangers together in such a way that while we waited I felt like I was surrounded by friends. Sitting and waiting for over 6 hours was an experience that surprised me as much as the final film did and I will say that I cannot wait for New Moon to hit theaters in 2010. If you have read the Twilight series, I believe the film will delightfully surprise you. It is everything I expected and more. I felt like I was watching a film with all my best friends and everyone in the auditorium was included and involved with the running inside joke. I have never before had so much fun at the theater. I laughed and cried along with everyone sitting around me in a stadium theater that sits 300. We laughed, cheered, and gasped together. Every emotion I felt reading the book was intensified by watching the film version unfold before me, and it was fun being able to share that with people I had never met. It was an unusual experience to have at a theater and one that I hope to experience again.

Stephenie Meyer and Catherine Hardwicke could not have done a better job to make their fans happy with this film. It is truly something that has surpassed all expectations and it was a roller coaster ride that we enjoyed together. It is something that those who have not yet read the books can also enjoy and understand because of how everything has been brought to the big screen. It is a story of forbidden love between a human and a vampire, unlike any other vampire genre. It has enough adventure to keep any action fan entertained, and it has so much heart and soul that it reminds us of things we have forgotten or experiences we are going through in our own lives. It brings the supernatural world close to the human world unlike any other vampire story. I am only disappointed to say that I now have to wait for the next installment in the series to hit the theaters. So if you are looking for something a little different this Thanksgiving weekend, take your friends or family to the theater and check out the newest vampire trend to sweep the nation. The newest addition is the upcoming CW's season of Vampire Diaries adapted from author L.J. Smith.
]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 17:10:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ Avatar: A Stand-in for an SF movie]]> Karen went with me and we opted for the non-Imax 3D version.

I don't know what Roger Ebert was thinking - maybe invites to some nice parties or something - but I certainly did not leave the theater "feeling the same way I did after seeing Star Wars".

No comparison, in fact. Star Wars blew me away. True, I was much younger then, but.

I was even younger when I left the theater after watching 2001: A Space Odyssey and that blew me away too.

Both of those films did something that Avatar did not and can not do. They presented things we'd never seen before on the big screen. (Kubrick's zero-grav scenes had special effects folks scratching their heads for months. Star Wars did the same.)

Avatar does not show us things we've never seen before - it shows us a better version of things we've already seen.

(I think it will take the introduction of the first immersive 3D/holographic 360 surround film to show us "something new".)

On the other hand, better was gorgeous!

The Na'vi are most certainly not attenuated smurfs, the mechs are mechs, the airships impressive if not aerodynamic and Pandora is truly a lush Eden with eye candy stretching off to the horizon in every direction.

I strongly suspect that each and every one of the plants we're shown in all of their phosphorescent glory are either real plants or ones that existed on our planet at one time (on land or beneath the sea). If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but if not, it was a neat trick to show them as alien botany and point an accusatory finger right back at every (ignorant) member of the audience.

Story? Holes galore, ranging from the mildly stunning (arrows that bounce off bullet proof plastic one time and penetrate to deadly effect when they need to the next) to Yet More Stupid Military Tactics (realism sacrificed to visual impact) to show-stopping fact that if it weren't for bad writing, there'd be no story at all.

In some respects this doesn't matter. Cameron goes for heart-string tugging and plucks them quite effectively. You're meant to care about the Na'vi and their world and to hate (most of) the humans, and you do.

You're given time to experience the wonder of Pandora (even if some of it is physically impossible but then again, who doesn't want to see real floating mountains? Take that Sir Hillary!) and a lot of it made me want to go there and walk through that jungle, even if I'd be too stupid to live and would fall prey to indigenous life forms within the first couple of minutes.

(Peggy: the biology makes NO sense, unless you can believe that hexapedal, quadrapedal and bipedal creatures would evolve side-by-side within the same ecosystem and so far as flying creatures being used as mounts for 12 foot tall blue elfs, well, we won't even go there...)

The film was peppered with homages to other Cameron offerings and numerous, numerous SF flicks:  I'd have to have a DVD version of the flick I could study for quite some hours to even begin to catalog them, but they are most assuredly there.

So far as ripping off SF stories - absolutely.  Cameron has obviously learned his lesson since some prior missteps in this regard (I can just imagine one of the money men saying "no lawsuits this time, John"), so where borrowed, the concepts and plots are surrounded by so much other stuff that while it is clear to an aficionado where this, that or the other thing came from, it would be impossible to prove derivation or to find a smoking gun.  Off the top of my head I'd add Slan and the Pern stories to the mix of stories that have already been identified.

(My problem with this issue is that yes, SF writers borrow from each other all the time, or answer one high concept with another riff that plays off the same idea, but they're all contributing to the collective pool.  Film takes these things, adds nothing to the pool and fixes, forevermore, a particular image that becomes associated with the trope(s).  I'd have been more than mollified if Cameron had stuck in an acknowledgment to the entire genre at the end of the flick - not one admitting influence by any particular author or work but something along the lines of "if not for the nearly 100 years of SF literature that precedes me and the works I've enjoyed since childhood, there would have been no Avatar.  Thanks for all the great stories"; at least it would give some a thing or two to think about.  Though that's probably too much to expect, especially from director types who are supposedly all about their egos being tied up with their 'creativity'.)

I also have to mention that about two years ago I noted here that I was waiting for the first true multi-media event to take place, one in which the movie is released at the same time as the book, as the game, as the animated tv show, as the plush toys, audio book & etc., etc., and I'm fairly pleased with my own prognostication that the marketing of Avatar has seen the realization of a good portion of that concept (yes, I'll take credit.  Directors are not the only ones who's egos are tied up with their creativity).

I doubt that doing so was part of the "plan" - much more likely that it was done out of necessity to recoup the investment, but there it is nonetheless.  If Avatar makes a profit (huge as it looks to be), the opportunity to release other properties in a multi-medium fashion can only be enhanced.

Avatar is well worth seeing and is pretty much going to become one of those cultural touchstones (like 2001 & Star Wars):  you can't call yourself a 'fan' unless you've seen it, legions of new fans will be born/created by the experience.  Unfortunately - sigh - I think it is also the movie that has put the final nail in the coffin of the argument between story over visual experience, with 'the experience' having won.

How long do you think it's going to be before we start seeing "films" that are nothing more than travelogues of interesting and fantastical worlds?  Not long if Avatar has the influence I think it is going to.

]]> Sun, 27 Feb 2011 16:53:40 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hooray for Hollywood: Computer effects - 100; clichés - 80; story - 3; cost - don't ask]]> Avatar.
This is one of the most beautiful movies you'll ever hope to see. The planet Pandora is amazingly realized, from the mountains in the sky, and I mean in the sky, to the milkweed fuzzballs that drift and give hope. Tens of millions of dollars created a CGF (Computer Generated Flatulence) movie so detailed that our delight in the flora and fauna and the skill of director Cameron in keeping the story moving mask the fact that there isn't much story. I'd worry about a place where the laws of physics don't seem to work. We’ve already learned that attempts to turn humans into carrot-eating members of PETA have been a flop.
All these quibbles are hardly worth bothering about. I was left with the impression that the story is unimportant; it was merely the Hollywood hook on which Cameron could hang all those amazing, gorgeous, swooping, leaping, tumble-off-a-cliff-and-come-up-flying computer-generated effects. It would have made a difference if we'd had a story with a tale to tell, not just the tired clichés from Hollywood that man continues to scrape off mountaintops, that war is bad, that killing for food is worse, and that mankind really must stop littering. Avatar is fun, but whatever ideas it seems to want us to know are as conventional as a movie producer's ego. What is so discouraging is the amount of money spent on Avatar. That’s the shame of our popular culture.
Like Cameron's Titanic, I suspect that Avatar will decline in interest and significance as time and repeat viewing go by. Still, while I wouldn't want to sit through all of Titanic again, I'm always ready to watch the old tub go down.
And I can't help wishing I’d had two per cent of Avatar’s gross.]]> Wed, 23 Feb 2011 05:17:34 +0000
<![CDATA[ Thats Right I Didn't like this movie]]> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:23:08 +0000 <![CDATA[ Christopher Nolan Does it again]]> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 10:15:36 +0000 <![CDATA[Books Quick Tip by MManzieri]]> Sun, 20 Feb 2011 11:20:07 +0000 <![CDATA[ Life in the Woods with Joni-Pip (text only 2nd edition)]]> Reviewed by: Dave Broughton
Beware, some U.S. outlets have the prices wrong.

Available at Amazon, Lulu, or can be ordered through Ingram's, Bertram's, or Barnes and Noble. More U.S. outlets are coming soon. Widely available in the U.K.

All hail the King ... Carrie King that is. Carrie King is an author that happens to live in England, so she's the King of England. All right, enough fun for the moment. Ms. King has written a brilliant book, The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip, that can stand beside the likes of Catcher in the Rye, The Old Man and the Sea, or On Walden Pond, yet it can be next to Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, or Treasure Island, and be right at home. Joni Pip is a must for any library of those who know quality writing.

Joni Pip's adventures begin when her family moves to Sherwood Forest to escape the World War II bombing of Bath, England. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Sherwood Forest. Joni Pip even meets Robin Hood there, how this happens is reason enough to read the book. Ms. King makes the unbelievable convincing with style and wit.

Highlighted with drawings and asides to the reader, Joni Pip is what the younger set is calling spiffy, a word that meant sharp in appearance, the modern term means beyond excellent. Certainly, The Life in the Woods with Joni-Pip is indeed beyond excellent. Ms. King weaves the story in such a spellbinding way, you won't want to put it down, so be sure you have the time to hide away from the real world while stepping into the wild, wonderful world of Joni-Pip.

Some reviewers will tell you the basic story in a few sentences, but that won't do this wonderfully crafted work justice. Want to know the secrets of the stars? Want to understand the orbit of life, and other secrets of the universe? You'll have to get The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip to discover them for yourself ... then swear to keep them secret. 


]]> Tue, 23 Nov 2010 22:13:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Worthwhile trip to Pandora, courtesy of James Cameron]]> *** out of ****

James Cameron knows how to build hype. He also knows how to spend money very well. “Avatar” is the result of how Cameron spends his time and money, being a technical masterpiece but none the less a terribly familiar trip. Sure, it’s very engaging. Sure, it looks pretty. But when watching it, I noticed that everything Cameron shows or does is something that has been done before. Some of his choices often result in “Avatar” being very predictable and lacking the human emotion of a life-time, but it’s an entertaining, thrilling film overall. It’s unforgettable only because of the advance in technology that it presents. It indeed does break the mold, but then again so did Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”, which got a lot less recognition for its technical beauty. I guess “Avatar” just looks prettier to some. Thankfully I still like pretty things. Otherwise, I would have been bored out of my mind. However, I cannot truly imagine a sane human being to be bored by such a visually stunning film. Only the heartless will be uninspired. And I mean it when I say that. This is a genuinely well directed film that is far from the masterpiece that some will claim it is. Most people just simply don’t know how to look at the film correctly, resulting in the “easy” opinion: It’s a perfect movie. But “Avatar” is not a perfect movie. James Cameron has never made a perfect movie, to say the least. And I expect that he never will. Although I’m not a big fan of his works, I praise “Avatar” for looking finer than any film out there. I also praise Cameron for making Two Hours and Forty Minutes feel like a mere Hour and a Half. It goes by pretty damn fast. Thank god for speedy story-telling.

“Avatar” begins with a sense of wondrous originality. It stays original for quite some time, but alas is becomes a clone of “Dances with Wolves”. It can’t be called a direct ripoff of “Wolves”, but it feels awfully similar. So enjoy the originality while it lasts. And then enjoy the less original aspects of the plot. Ex-Marine, handicapped Jake Sully is called in to the planet of Pandora after his brother is unexpectedly killed. The planet of Pandora is inhabited by blue, impish beings called “Na’vi” as well as other creatures. Each one of these creatures is most likely dangerous, and the Na’vi themselves aren’t exactly easy kills. Sully is asked to participate in the “Avatar Program”. This program/operation is meant to place marines/ex-marines in the shoes of a Na’vi via an avatar body. Sully agrees, since temptations are thrown at him (if he succeeds, he gets his legs back) like the forceful bullets of his “allies”. Jake goes in willingly, and experiences the world of Pandora first hand. On the first day, he battles resident creatures of Pandora and befriends the locals. His first encounter with the natives is that of Neytiri, a female Na’vi. They form a strong bond, and Jake agrees to plunge further into the world of the natives in order to gather information. All goes wrong when Jake’s relationship with the natives grows a bit too strong, and soon he must pick a side. Unfortunately, the “forces” who were presumably on his side want to go in and directly kill the Na’vi for their own greedy pleasures. In the end, Cameron seems to be depicting a familiar concept: Humans are often cruel, greedy, and careless of their often violent actions. The story is easily copying “Dances with Wolves”, but it’s not a terribly bad tale none the less. It is entertaining and mostly absorbing due to Cameron’s more-so original universe that he’d been working on for much longer (than the actual plot). The creatures are nice looking, but the characters don’t always feel much fleshed out. But at least Cameron does the job right. “Avatar” looks very pretty. That’s all that the job really called for.

Ah, Sam Worthington. I’m not really that fond of him. He plays the hero, Jake Sully, pretty decently. I can’t say that it’s a star turn for him, and it’s not a particularly good performance. But I will admit that there was something likable about the way Worthington portrays his character and almost proves himself worthy. Maybe someday he’ll actually do it. Maybe someday, I’ll stop hating him. But not yet. Zoe Saldana gets herself Na’vi-fied and is shot entirely with motion capture technology. Needless to say, Saldana is still as mediocre as ever. Sometimes, she can be quite annoying, but at other times she can serve a damn good purpose. Sigourney Weaver is as lovely (and pleasant) as ever. It’s good to see her return to the world of James Cameron. Dileep Rao is as awesome as always (goddamn it, I’m waiting on a lead role for him!), and Giovanni Ribisi is as decent as ever. Nothing too new here. Some good talents here, and some more decent ones there. I can’t say I was particularly surprised. But at least James Cameron can give me hope that maybe Sam Worthington will actually do some real acting one of these days.

“Avatar” is yet another visually stunning effort from James Cameron. He always knows how to keep the audience hooked with CGI, and it often seems as if Cameron knows his audience well. He is an intelligent director because he seems to know pop culture like the back of his hand. He can almost instantly summon the “new thing in filmmaking” like that, although it always takes time for him to shoot it, create it, and distribute it. He likes taking his time, clearly. “Avatar” is abundant with lots of colors and flowers as well as creatures and blue monkey people. There is not a dull moment within the film, and it’s constantly entertaining throughout. The world of Pandora is very, very lush with life and color. The film just never stops looking beautiful. The film could be said to be “well shot”, since as far as editing and cinematography goes, this is on the top of the list for sure. The music in the film is pretty decent, although the Leona Lewis song essentially ruined it. Therefore, the end credits made me very, very depressed. All and all, “Avatar” has enough CGI and action sequences to appeal to a large crowd. Some will criticize it because they have the unfortunate inability to sit through a two and a half hour film, and others will choose to dislike it simply to be “different”. I can’t say I consider the film to be a landmark, but it was very good none the less. It’s genuine entertainment that never lets go of its grasp on the audience. It’s a film that most people will enjoy out of pure awe.

James Cameron’s newest film is a visual wonder indeed. Not so much a narrative tale of powerful proportions, but a very much watchable, entertaining trip to Pandora. It’s one of a kind in its own way, although it should not be considered flawless. It has a damn good ways to go, as does every James Cameron film. It’s not necessarily moving entertainment, although at some moments, I was oddly touched. The themes of the film were very strong in some instances, although much weaker in others. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the experience. This is a high budget epic that really works. It’s yet another example of an easy way to get rich with all the money that you have. Cameron once again proves that you can have CGI, you can have semi-good actors, but you can’t always be King of the World. That’s damn right.


]]> Fri, 12 Nov 2010 23:49:36 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by webstyler]]> Sat, 30 Oct 2010 21:50:59 +0000 <![CDATA[ Gentle Is the Night]]> Synopsis:
Gentle Is the Night is a nighttime story that expresses a mother’s love for her child and the magic of the night. Cuddle up with a little one and enjoy the rhythmic verse and images sprinkled with a bit of fairy dust and a kiss good night. Gentle Is the Night is sure to be a bedtime favorite.
Overall thoughts:
Kat Michaels wrote this book for her son, Evan who came home from the hospital when he was three months old weighing only four pounds. The sweet story written in a soft rhyme is one my children enjoy reading right before a nap or going to bed. My five year old loves looking at the illustrations of a world hidden within our own. The illustrations are whimsical and beautifully done. Children will dream about crickets playing music while frogs fill the air with harmony. You even catch glimpses of a fairy sprinkling her dream dust in the evening sky.
This is one book I enjoy reading over and over again. The simple rhythm makes this a great book for beginning readers, too.
Author site
Illustrator site

]]> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 16:31:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Beautiful OOPS!]]> Synopsis:
“Everyone who has ever said the word ‘oops’ will be smiling when they see the masterpiece that Barney Saltzberg has created . . . funny and fun, Beautiful OOPS! is the best fit to give anyone, any age, anywhere, anytime.” ~Jamie Lee Curtis
Overall thoughts:
This is a delightful concept book for all ages, even though it is suggested for ages 3 and up. With bright vivid colors throughout children of all ages will love turning each page to find something fun or a little different to get their creative muse turning. If you have someone who loves art . . . this would be a fun book to give as a gift.
Author and illustrator, Barney Saltzberg is also the creative force behind the bestselling Peekaboo Kisses and last year’s Good Egg. A singular work of imagination, creativity and paper engineering fills this book with pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, tears, holes, overlays, bends, smudges and even an incredible accordion “telescope”.
Children will delight in knowing they can create anything from torn paper like an alligator. Or see a spill become an elephant . . . a pack of puppies . . . or even a family of birds. Besides each page having a creative twist to an everyday “Oops”, you also get a surprise trying to find how each page reveals the hidden creativity of the “Oops”. Making this book extra special and a unique concept book.
Book site
Publisher site

]]> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 16:29:29 +0000
<![CDATA[ Quackenstein Hatches a Family]]>
On a dark and stormy night, the egg hatches, Quackenstein cackles, and lighting strikes, but wait-what's this? That baby's not a duck! What will Quackenstein do? Where can he hide? And will he ever find someone (or something) to cuddle?

Join Quackenstein, on his madcap romp through the habitats of otters, herons, hares, and more, races through the zoo after dark in this funny and sweet family tale. (took out as he and added commas, also took out a before dark)

Overall thoughts: At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to get my five year old to sit down and read the book with me. She looked right at the cover and said, "I don't want to read that scary book." The funny thing is . . . the book cover isn't really all that scary (at least to this mother of three). However, I did finally get her to agree to read the book with me and her sister. At first, she still didn't know if she really liked the story, but in the end . . . my five year old was asking me to read it again. (added d to like)

Quackenstein Hatches a Family is a great book to read on a cold night in front of the fireplace or even as a fun, somewhat scary story for Halloween. The illustrations cater to a child's imagination of scary things lurking around corners, however, the ending is light, funny and one you won't expect.

With the mild frights, laugh-out-loud parody of a classic horror story, this charming (lower-case t in this) rhyming picture book will be one you and your child(ren) will want to read again and again.

Publisher]]> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 16:18:38 +0000
<![CDATA[ Life in the Woods with Joni-Pip (text only 2nd edition)]]> Reviewed by: Dave Broughton
Beware, some U.S. outlets have the prices wrong.

Available at Amazon, Lulu, or can be ordered through Ingram's, Bertram's, or Barnes and Noble. More U.S. outlets are coming soon. Widely available in the U.K.

All hail the King ... Carrie King that is. Carrie King is an author that happens to live in England, so she's the King of England. All right, enough fun for the moment. Ms. King has written a brilliant book, The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip, that can stand beside the likes of Catcher in the Rye, The Old Man and the Sea, or On Walden Pond, yet it can be next to Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, or Treasure Island, and be right at home. Joni Pip is a must for any library of those who know quality writing.

Joni Pip's adventures begin when her family moves to Sherwood Forest to escape the World War II bombing of Bath, England. Yes, Virginia, there really is a Sherwood Forest. Joni Pip even meets Robin Hood there, how this happens is reason enough to read the book. Ms. King makes the unbelievable convincing with style and wit.

Highlighted with drawings and asides to the reader, Joni Pip is what the younger set is calling spiffy, a word that meant sharp in appearance, the modern term means beyond excellent. Certainly, The Life in the Woods with Joni-Pip is indeed beyond excellent. Ms. King weaves the story in such a spellbinding way, you won't want to put it down, so be sure you have the time to hide away from the real world while stepping into the wild, wonderful world of Joni-Pip.

Some reviewers will tell you the basic story in a few sentences, but that won't do this wonderfully crafted work justice. Want to know the secrets of the stars? Want to understand the orbit of life, and other secrets of the universe? You'll have to get The Life in the Wood with Joni-Pip to discover them for yourself ... then swear to keep them secret. 


]]> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 16:16:57 +0000
The faster the boy runs, the louder the voice gets. He spots a bat in a tree and skeletons dancing in a nearby field. Have the woods come to life, or is it just his imagination? With hidden images to find and a refrain that encourages readers to change along, this engaging book is perfect for sharing at Halloween or on any dark, windy night.
Overall thoughts: This is a perfect prose for a Halloween themed read aloud, especially if it’s a cold windy night. My five year old daughter had me read this to her twice every night for the last week. The illustrations are packed with ghostly shapes, monster changing clouds and other hidden images for children to find. There wasn’t a single page where my daughter didn’t find a spooky haunt.
I won’t give away the ending, but it has a nice twist at the end. Kids will laugh when moon reveals the true picture of what they thought was following them and the young boy in the dark.
What I love about this book is the not too scary for young readers storyline. Yet, it’s one story every child and adult can relate to when they are out alone in the dark and cold of the night.
Nancy Raines Day
George Bates
Publisher]]> Thu, 21 Oct 2010 16:09:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by Butterfly1961]]> Sat, 2 Oct 2010 07:03:40 +0000 <![CDATA[Twilight (book) Quick Tip by vampire_eyez]]> Fri, 1 Oct 2010 01:38:42 +0000 <![CDATA[ The Costco Hot Dog... aka Lunch for $3]]>
For $3 I get two good size hot dogs and two drinks. You can donate your extra cup to someone else in line who is only going for a slice of pizza, so it makes you feel good about giving to others as well. As for toppings, I apply a line of deli mustard and then load the hot dog up with diced onions from the onion crank (I LOVE the Costco onion crank. I wish they sold THAT in the store). You need to make sure you put the mustard on first, as it acts as the glue to keep the onions from falling off.

A little known secret is that you can also ask for a cup of sauerkraut when you order your hot dog -- and it's free. Seriously! It's $1.50! How can you go wrong?]]> Wed, 29 Sep 2010 18:00:19 +0000
<![CDATA[Comic Books Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Mon, 30 Aug 2010 01:07:34 +0000 <![CDATA[ A Life of Books]]> Possibly entertaining mostly to people who love books, bookstores, and booksellers. I love all three (well, books, and bookstores more than booksellers.) It's really a collection of anecdotes about finding, buying, and selling with a look at the eccentrics and eccentricities of the trade. I have to add, I really love Larry McMurtry, and re-read Lonesome Dove every five years or so - same with watching the mini-series which I consider the best thing ever made for TV. 

Here's one reason why I love McMurtry: 

In writing about his own works: "None, to my regret, were great, although my long western Lonesome Dove was very popular - the miniseries made from it was even more popular. Popularity, of course, is not the same as greatness." 

And here's another: writing about Mohamed Al Fayed - "...whose hopes died in a tunnel in Paris in 1997, when his son Dodi was killed in a car wreck, along with Diana, Princess of Wales, and the driver, Henri Paul." He mentions the driver! Most writers wouldn't - who cares about a servant? McMurtry mentions the driver, by name - that's a class act!

]]> Sun, 22 Aug 2010 06:41:23 +0000
<![CDATA[Twilight (book) Quick Tip by tyrannynomore]]> Thu, 12 Aug 2010 02:33:21 +0000 <![CDATA[ Graphics great!]]> graphics but  I felt it was still lacking in the story line and the choice of some of the actors they used in my opinion. The lead characters were convincing and moving at some points. An example of this would of been when the tree was burning . You could almost feel the emotions the characters were feeling through the life like graphics and emotions used. It kinda reminded me of the EA games Sims 2 graphics but on a much bigger scale, lol. I felt the ending seemed to rushed and choppy from how intense the movie was up until he road in on the giant beast.. after that it seemed to get stretched out.  It was enjoyable to watch once; but not again for a very long time. I want to see what they have in store for a sequel to this however, hopefully they will put  more thought into it.]]> Wed, 11 Aug 2010 22:25:41 +0000 <![CDATA[ A must read for any teen and aspiring YA author.]]> Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer, is a great YA book to draw in readers. I think it is amazing that this story was created via a dream Stephenie had. I am a student of writing (my BA and pursuing my MFA), and I read the book last year. While I was sucked in by the story, I was not at all excited by the execution of Twilight. Though, this is coming through the eyes of a 22 year old. If I was a teenager or younger, it wouldn't have mattered at all to me. I found Stephenie's over exaggerations of descriptions, throughout Twilight, to be quite tiring. I understand that description of characters is key, but there comes a point where it gets to be too much. This appeared constantly when Bella described Edward-- you know Edward's soft, velvety, handsome, gorgeous, cold, marble, etc. (fill in the blank) feature. I think that it was over-played throughout the book, but then again, I have to remember that it was written for younger readers who have to have the constant bringing up of the heartthrob in any teen novel. Other than the descriptions, I think Stephenie does a great job in this book- especially taking off of a dream. The story is superb, and the characters are all memorable. I think she does everyone who has has to move to a new school (including me senior year!) justice by that queasy, uneasy feeling she portrays with Bella's moving to Forks. Twilight  is as must read for any teen and aspiring YA author.
 ]]> Wed, 11 Aug 2010 01:26:50 +0000
<![CDATA[ AWESOME- The word of the wise]]>  



Cameron has outdone himself making over a ton of money off this miraculous and well-made movie. Cameron was supposed to make this film back in 1996, but due to technological deficits, he didn't make it. I'm glad he didn't because what they made out of this film was just amazing.  The start of Avatar is breathtaking, as James Horner’s tribal music rises over a 3-D planet seen from above, all mist and tree tops. Like George Lucas with the Star Wars universe, Cameron and his designers have imagined all the flora, fauna, creatures and tribal cultures of Pandora, which glows iridescent at night, much like the deep oceans Cameron has explored in his 3D science docs. It’s hard to believe that this world is entirely CG.Cameron is a master at quick efficient storytelling. You know that every detail is thought-out and will pay off down the line. Yes, we see those giant robotic amp suits in action, as well as spears and bow and arrows. Deep in the jungle, unseen Neytiri aims one at avatar Sully, who was chased into the rain forest by a vicious viper wolf, but she pulls back when a glowing white wood sprite alights on her arrow. A sign. “They are the seeds of the sacred tree, very pure spirits,” she tells Sully, and decides to take him to her family. They accept him into their tribe and teach him their ways.

]]> Mon, 9 Aug 2010 12:55:35 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by gotmilk]]> Thu, 5 Aug 2010 17:57:45 +0000 <![CDATA[Twilight (book) Quick Tip by ohhaykfrankk]]> Tue, 3 Aug 2010 01:27:25 +0000 <![CDATA[ A story of Vampires we can relate to]]> This story of teenage romance explores the idea of other life forms aka vampires. The average female character Bella is someone we can easily relate to as she is about as average as people come. She fits in at her new school then falls passionately irrevocably in love with Edward who just happens to be a vampire. The idea that Edward is a vampire isn't scary to Bella, rather is intriguing. She discovers and explores this idea until she gets him to confess to her after he saves her life on two occasions. Bella learns that Edward's family  Pretty soon the two are an item. She is easily accepted in by his family except for Rosalie who has an unexplained prejudice against Bella. Bella begins doing normal vampire activities with the Cullen family, one is playing baseball during  a thunderstorm. As this takes place another coven of vampires that do drink human blood shows up, one who makes it his life goal to hunt and kill Bella. He uses several tricks to lure Bella out to Florida and away from the protection of the Cullen family. He uses home videos to bring Bella into an old dance studio where he attempts to kill her just when Edward shows up and saves her life.
  This story is a story of love, devotion, and fantasy that any person of any age or gender will be captivated by. Twilight will grip you and you won;t want to set it down from beginning to finish.]]> Fri, 30 Jul 2010 05:42:38 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by bmcintire4]]> Wed, 28 Jul 2010 16:59:13 +0000 <![CDATA[ Chosen by accident]]>

This book was 'ok', I didn't go out of my way to read it, nor did I see the reason behind all the hype.

It was well written if not well thought out. Too many characters to be introduced to, and confusing conflicts of interest to the younger audience set.

I think this was meant to be a romance for the ages, that falls AGES short. To me, this is written to attract the exact demographic the writer intended- tweens. While not a tween myself I had to laugh at the obvious attraction set up with a vampire and a pale faced girl from the desert- which didn't make sense to me either. Edward is obviously every girls dream and Bella well, she is annoying with her lack of emotions towards everything but Edward.
Is that really the case? Would a girl REALLY choose her dysfunctional separated family over the "love" of her life, who has it all to offer? Would a vampire really care to take care of a 'human' in such a way that degrades who he is and has been for hundreds of years?

With the honor bound Edward, I would have believed it a bit more if more modesty were set in place throughout his language, however he seemed to modernized to be the ancient man his character was intended.

Not to be overly judgmental, but truly this was no Interview with a Vampire and not much deeper than a rain puddle in Forks, itself.

]]> Tue, 27 Jul 2010 18:00:39 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Sat, 24 Jul 2010 07:05:30 +0000 <![CDATA[ A beautifly portrayed look at another world]]> What Prompted You to write a Review?
I want everyone to know that this is one of those movies everyone should see it is amazing from start to finish.


How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?
Everything was flawless from the choice of actors to the direction to the graphics to the plot and entire story.


I watched Avatar in Hi Def and was amazed at its stunning beauty. I was very entertained and watching it one time was just not enough.


Did It Fulfill Expectations? Hype Level?
When I saw the trailer i thought to myself, "This looks very interesting" I am very glad I watched it, I laughed, cried and yelled along with the characters as I watched. James Cameron really pulled out an amazing film with this one. The story itself is a bit controvercial and in your face. I think it makes people see just how awful humankind can be when they're greed overpowers the instinct to do what is right. This movie has a lot to say and when you watch it you really get consumed by its message. I truly love Avatar.


Above all, Establish Your Star Rating 1-5 Or 1-10?
I rated it a +5 but would say it is a complete 10 in every way, from stunning special effects to great acting to an awesome story this movie is simply fantastic, I loved it and I know anyone would love it also. Go watch Avatar. You will not be disappointed!


]]> Sat, 24 Jul 2010 03:06:59 +0000
<![CDATA[Twilight (book) Quick Tip by vampire_eyez]]> Sat, 24 Jul 2010 01:32:36 +0000 <![CDATA[ and so the lion fell in love with the lamb]]> Fri, 23 Jul 2010 03:18:57 +0000 <![CDATA[Twilight (movie) Quick Tip by vampire_eyez]]> Fri, 23 Jul 2010 02:44:30 +0000 <![CDATA[ 3D Version is Better]]> Thu, 22 Jul 2010 22:39:32 +0000 <![CDATA[ Great book for everyone...not just tweens!]]>
I was immediately engaged in this book and couldn't put it down. The writing is good, and the characters endear you when you first meet them. You won't be able to put it down after meeting Edward, Bella, Jacob and the rest of the families.

I recommeI recommend this book to everyone looking for a good story to follow. I've seen many people enjoy this book, from teen girls to teen boys, from adult women to grandmothers.

The plot, though involving werewolves and vampires, isn't as "sci-fi" as it seems. The intrigue does not lie with the supernatural beings, but with the emotions between the characters and the human instincts of love and longing that entrap the characters.

The character development may fall a bit flat, especially with the main character Bella, who tends to get...for lack of a better word...stereotypically annoying.

The themes revolving through this book are typical: good vs evil, though the lines are blurred quite a lot. You find yourself wondering exactly what the evil may be.


Stephanie Meyer is a great writer. The vocabulary is amazing, thought she had toned it down a bit from her original version. It does not, however, make the novel hard to read. It still flows easily off the page and into the reader's mind.


This book may be compared to Harry Potter books, though many Harry Potter fans aren't pleased with the comparison. The plot isn't as intricate and is based much more on romance; however, many readers appreciate this aspect and are just as entranced with this series as they were with the Harry Potter books.

If you have seen the movie, you must read the books. It offers a whole separate dimension to the plot and characters that the movie kills. The intensity of the relationship between Bella and Edward can only be realized when reading the book. The movie films as though expecting the viewers to have already read the book and understand the relationship.





]]> Thu, 22 Jul 2010 01:03:45 +0000
<![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by AustinArtaud]]> Wed, 21 Jul 2010 23:52:34 +0000 <![CDATA[Twilight (book) Quick Tip by iliketuhtles]]> Wed, 21 Jul 2010 17:13:44 +0000 <![CDATA[ Cheesy, but still a good read!]]> I never thought that as an adult woman I would be reading a teenage book series based on of all things- vampires! Guess what? I did read it and I actually really, really liked it! What a shocker! I'm not sure what it is about this series that attracts me to it, but its addicting. I was introduced to this book series by my sister who is aIso in her mid-20's. She had gone to see the Twilight movie and then decided to read the books. I of course made fun of her for reading kids books, but when I saw that she couldn't put the book down and she kept talking about it, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Boy, am I glad I did! What a great find these books are!

I do want to warn you these books and this author are not going to win any type of literary award. You have to read this book with an open mind and not be so critical as you read it. This book is intended as a casual read for pleasure so please be conscious of that and your reading experience will be that much more pleasurable!

I will admit the book is a little cheesy, but like I said earlier, it is so addictive! Its hard to describe the plot without giving too much away, but  the story takes place in Forks, Washington and centers around the love triangle of Bella, Edward, and Jacob. Bella has just moved to the sleepy town of Forks to live with her Dad and is miserable about having to live there. Everything changes for her when she meets Edward and his siblings, The Cullens, at her high school. She realizes something about them is very different but she can't figure out exactly what it is. The action takes off from there as we follow Bella through her journey of discovery to find out the truth about who or what the Cullens really are. 

I only wish Stephanie Meyer had gone into more detail on the lives of the vampires before their "change". That might have been interesting to explore but I guess not really pertinent to the main story. Maybe she can do that for another book series!

Overall its a great, fun read, but please don't take yourself or this book to seriously!

]]> Wed, 21 Jul 2010 03:19:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Home Run for Stephenie Meyer]]> Wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL book! Who could not like Twilight by Stephenie Meyer?? This was great. This entire series is so addicting, and I can not even tell why! But I do know that everyone I have spoken with feels the same.
Stephenie Meyer gave a great start to her series. She really hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Who knew reading about vampires could be so enjoyable?
Meyer really nailed it with her character and setting development. She really created a setting that you can really picture yourself in with Forks, Washington. The same with the characters, although they are supernatural, you feel like you can really connect with them. Edward-the hunky male hero, Bella- the simple, klutzy girl, Alice-spunky and playful, Jasper-subdued and quiet, Emmett-the cocky punk, Rosalie-the stuck-up princess, Carlisle-the caring father, Esme-the care-all, do-all matriarch, and Jacob-the loyal friend, along with many others. No matter who you are, you can relate to at least one of these characters, but when you get down to it, all the characters, no matter what, are fiercely loyal, and that is something I love. Plus, it also helps that the book leaves you pining for your own "Edward". ;)
I would recommend this book to anyone. There are so many different facets of the story for everyone to enjoy, and so far, everyone I know has.
Twilight is an absolutely wonderful book. Stephenie Meyer really created a masterpiece.

]]> Wed, 21 Jul 2010 02:30:16 +0000
<![CDATA[The Dark Knight Quick Tip by TheJohn]]> Wed, 21 Jul 2010 01:56:29 +0000 <![CDATA[Twilight (movie) Quick Tip by JaseSea]]> Tue, 20 Jul 2010 22:35:23 +0000 <![CDATA[Avatar (2009 film) Quick Tip by JaseSea]]> Tue, 20 Jul 2010 22:16:10 +0000 <![CDATA[ Interesting!]]> DELETE THESE QUESTIONS IF/AFTER YOU RESPOND!!


What was your emotional reaction as you read? It was kind of boring in the beginning but it got better as I read. Why? This is where Stephanie Meyer was introducing the characters.


Who would you recommend this reading to and why? I would recommend this anyone over 15 years of age. because it is pretty much the type of stuff they'll understand.



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