myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Wheel of Time Book Series Review

The Wheel of Time Book Series Review

The Wheel of Time series

By Robert Jordan

I had someone ask me recently why the all-movies-no-books-reviews at the Biased Book Review lately. The answer is, obviously, Robert Jordan. I mean, duh.

Ok, maybe you couldn’t have known that. Maybe the only people who could actually know this would be the people who are around me during the day, to see me with my face plastered to the pages of one of his six-pound fiction novels. This is the happiest state I have existed in, speaking of books and movies, since I read the entire Dark Tower series without stopping. I smelled bad, true, and my eyes were bloodshot and kind of tipping out of their sockets, and yes, my hair was a greasy bird’s nest, but I was happy, I tell you. Happy. And this is me, again, since I discovered the world of The Dragon Reborn.

It’s true, although shocking I know, that I have lived all the long, lonely years of my life without ever, that’s right, not NEVER, reading a Robert Jordan book. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude and possibly even money and/ or a child of my blood, to a co-worker of mine, Jeremy, who introduced me to the series.

So the last few months have been spent reading, and then re-reading, the Wheel of Time Series, may it not be completed for at least five more books, provided Mr. Jordan lives that long, the Light send it so.

Sorry, I tend to do that since I finished reading through the first time- catch myself speaking in Jordanese. This includes, but is not limited to, phrases such as:

“Blood and ashes!”(A very naughty swear in Jordanese)

“The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills!” (The equivalent to “Que Sera, Sera”, and if you don’t know what that means, listen to the song lyrics, baby.)

“You woolheaded shepherd!” (A term of disgust with someone who has done something you don’t like, but mixed strongly with affection for the person)

“The dice are tumbling, now!” (Meaning something exciting is going to happen- I can feel it.)

For the seven or eight of you who have not heard of Robert Jordan either, well, you can be forgiven, If that is, you are not a fan of fantasy fiction. If you are a fan, then there is really no excuse…why didn’t you tell me about this, damn you?!? Just kidding. If I had been told, I would have read these books a long time ago and wouldn’t be so happily reading them now. I read fantasy about as often as I read mysteries, which is to say, not too often. It’s hard to find good fantasy books. I can leap right into believing- in magic swords and dragons and curses and prophecies told…but it has to be well-written, at least! I loved the LOTR series of course, but they are kind of in a class above and beyond the rest, incomparable. I liked Eragon and its companions, but I could have put that one down and picked it up a week later and it would have been ok. I wasn’t dying to read it. I wasn’t repeating phrases and thinking about the characters as I fell asleep. I liked Piers Anthony immensely when I was younger… not so much now that I am older and I can’t stop from seeing his dirty-old-man fantasies creeping into nearly every book he writes. (Uh-huh it does. Check the characters… All of the – BUXOM- women are bursting out of their sexy clothing and all of the – STUDLY even if short- men can’t look at a woman without thinking of banging her. The question in Anthony’s books is not why the men are attracted to the goddess-like women, it is why the goddess-like… and did I mention usually virginal?... women are attracted to the pig-like men. Speaking as a goddess-like virgin, myself, of course!). I have enjoyed a Terry Brooks book now and again, and I have hated them now and again, too. When I was in a fit of withdrawal, waiting for my delayed shipment of the next Jordan tomes to get to me, Jeremy tried to help me by suggesting I try some of Terry’s Landover books. Eh… they were ok, but didn’t even take the edge off the sharp pangs of longing I experienced whenever I thought of the three thick, delicious WoT books somewhere in the postal system, beyond my anxious fingers….

As you can see, I am in love.

I will not spoil, in case there are some of you who want to partake in this religious experience known as “Reading the WoT series”. I will say that each book (with the exception of the prequel “New Spring”, a tiny little book thrown out there obviously to tease the readers into a frenzy by whetting their appetites, not satisfying it) is a door-stopping wedge of a book. Eight hundred pages is not unusual, and a delighted little shiver of joy overtakes me as I type that.

The books center around a small bunch of characters, young people torn from their gentle lives as shepherds and healers and inn-keepers’ daughters in a forgotten little place known as the Two Rivers. They are yanked into a brutal world where yes, prophecies are coming true, and dangers abound, and mythical creatures exist. Jordan gently leads the characters through adventures, and quietly, so the reader barely notices, changes the characters themselves, hardening and wisening them, until re-reading the books will have you laughing at their sweet naivety in the first books.

Among other prophecies is the Biggie- the Dragon Reborn, a man who will be born to fight the Dark One in the final battle. When monsters straight out of scary night tales invade the sleepy village of Emond’s Field, it is only with the help of Moraine, a mysterious wielder of the One Power, and her fierce warder (aka ass-kicking bodyguard), Lan, that the town survives. It becomes obvious that the monsters are searching for one of three boys, in the belief that one of them is very special indeed. The boys, Rand, Mat and Perrin, are central characters in the series, as they set off with Moraine to protect their village, and their lives, and all the lives around them, are inexorably changed.

I have read some complaints- that Jordan is taking too long writing the series- get it over with already, and all I can say to that is what what what? What insane person wants a series like this to end? I understand wanting it all written… as I have read, Jordan suffers from some serious blood disease and the thought of him being weaved out on the Wheel with all that glorious stuff still in his head and not on paper is scary… maybe that seems pretty cold hearted, but, if you ask me, it is the mark of a true fan, as well. In case you are confused when you finish the books, there is a vast world of knowledge out there about the series, on sites such as these :

It’s a magnificent world Jordan has created, one I leave with regret, and hope that I will be coming back very soon… that Twelfth book can’t be far off, and supposedly it is the last one… though I have to say, I don’t see how he can tie all of the threads he has dangling up in just one book, a thousand pages or not. So here is the invitation- and the challenge- Anyone who wants to get lost- like you do when you watch Lost… and caught up in a world cool beyond anything since Tolkien, climb aboard the Wheel. (Hint- The Eye of the World is the first book in the series.)

I give it a hot pink on the Reading Rainbow of What’s Right to Read.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

To See or Not To See

I get quite a few emails from people with suggestions, or requests, for movies to watch. Obviously, I cannot watch them all, or I would not have time to work, and then I could not afford internet access, and would never be able to do any posts...not to mention that I couldn't afford a movie ticket, or my Netflix membership or... oh muh-ANN...eventually, I would end up sitting on my homeless curb, fingering an old copy of T.V. Guide and mumbling about the good old days...
But I have decided to incorporate this new little feature of the Biased Book and Movie Review....
To See or Not to See, based on the glorious previews that I sit through every time I see a movie. Fine readers and fellow movie viewers, feel free to chime in - comments section, or email, and let me know what you advise- what you are looking forward to, or what you dread....

To See:


Keri Russell plays a pregnant waitress married to an asshole who looks to be falling in love with her hunky doctor, Nathan Fillion. To see if only because she names pies after the emotional upheavals she is going through. Who doesn't like a movie with cleverly named pies?

Not To See:


A couple who "left the interstate" (obviously the catchphrase for the movie- don't leave the interstate) check into a creepy little hotel where to their horror, they discover video tapes of that very room- where people are getting murderalized. There was time, when I was young, when I really enjoyed being scared. Not no more, nuh-uh, and the preview freaked me out enough.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Premonition Movie Review


Starring: Sandra Bullock, Julian McMahon, Shyann McClure, Courtney Taylor Burness

Directed by: Mennan Yapo

Rated: PG-13 for some violent content, disturbing images, thematic material and brief language.

110 minutes

It is my duty to provide not only reviews for my faithful readers, but hope. Therefore, for those who are anxiously awaiting the time when they too will see Premonition, expecting a good, suspenseful, mystereeous film that will tickle the mind and make the senses jump… well, to you, I say, I hope you go see something else.

Heh. Now be advised that I went to see this movie with my sister, and she enjoyed it. She declared, “I liked it,” in that peculiar, half-angry, half-amused, defensive kind of tone I begin to hear more frequently as I go see movies with other people. I don’t know why. I agree, and they agree, that we should all agree with me, right? I think so. Anyway. The point is that someone will like this movie besides my sister. The chances of pure blind coincidence mean at least one other person will. And who knows? You might be that one.

Here is a primer.

Get ready for really scary, suspenseful music that rises into a crescendo of pure apprehension, the kind that always tells you, the movie-goer, that something BIG is going to happen, something is going to JUMP out at you, by god, she is reaching a hand toward that man, who is going to turn around and he will BE A CORPSE!

Nope, not gonna happen. This is one of the most annoying parts about Premonition- the damn scary music that leads absolutely nowhere. What an extensive and exhausting tease.

Get ready for a twisty, turning plot, always jumping from one point to another, as crazy visions begin and Sandra Bullock starts have glimpses of the future. Get ready to figure them out, thread by thread, until- oh, no, wait… there is no figuring out in this movie.

Get ready for a startling climax that will make everything come together?

Oh… nope. Not that either, sorry.

Spoilers coming, but don’t worry, you don’t want to see this, so you are safe to read.

There was no point to this stupid movie. Yes, sure enough, Bullock’s character, an unhappy housewife who spends her days making extensive grocery lists, driving her daughters to school, and hangin’ up clothing on the lines in her yard to get that fresh air scent. Her husband is a distant man, his actions saying “affair” so loudly it is a wonder horns aren’t growing out of his head. Oh, but they both love their kids, two adorable little girls who never misbehave or act like anything but princesses for less than a second.

Before the actual movie-part of the movie started, we got a glimpse of (apparently) former happy times. Linda is being surprised by her then-loving husband, Jim. He has bought a house, look, there is a bow on the front door! She is stunned, and then delighted, throwing herself into his arms. Now if this wasn’t my first warning, I don’t know what was. What woman would be happy with her husband for going out and buying a house- a big house, by the way, with an equally big mortgage I am sure, without consulting her? What woman wants to live in a house that her husband has picked out? Is this the kind of surprise we wives love? Nuh-uh, it is NOT.

Now suddenly, interspersed with chatting on the phone with her friend, jogging, and smoking the occasional cigarette that clearly represents her unhappiness with life, Linda starts to wake up on, shall we say, the wrong side of the wrong bed of wrongness in wrongland? She lives through the day that she is told Jim is dead. Then boom- she wakes up and he is next to her. Huh? Mysteriously enough, the next day she wakes up and it’s the day of Jim’s funeral, when she goes stomping up to demand they open the casket and oops- her hubby’s head just bounced on her shoe. Which I am sure happens all the time- there would be no point in sewing his head back on, now would there? I think that is perfectly reasonable- that the funeral folks would just toss the pieces in the box- the easily broken, easily-opening-lidded box, and head to the church. Right?

Wait a sec- now it the next morning and she is back in her normal life again…but starting to act a little weird. Is this because of those half-dissolved lithium pills prescribed to her, by a doctor she doesn’t know, only god knows when? Eeek! The mystery is piling up! Of course, later we will get to live the day when she does go to this doctor and he prescribes the pills for her. This is another totally realistic part of the movie. I am sure that doctors meet with perfect strangers who walk in off the street all the time, listen to them tell a story of seeing the future where the doc has prescribed them lithium, and then- write them a prescription for lithium. Of course, it happens all the time!

Maybe I am nitpicking. But there is no doubt about the fact that this movie meanders and turns without going anywhere. Does she love the husband or not? Does she want him to die, because he is cheating on her with Amber Valletta? I will say this- if you want to see how eminently unattractive Amber looks without makeup and her eyes all red and puffy- go see this, you will leave happy. Otherwise, you might die of eye-rolling. I know I almost did. The only thing keeping me alive was the thought that if I did die of it, the funeral home peeps would just like, toss my eyes in on top of me in my casket, and then it might just like, accidentally get dropped on my husband’s foot, and my eyes might roll out and look up at him. And even if he was cheating on me with Amber Valletta, I would not wish that on anyone.

I give it 2 &s....

& it had great suspenseful music

& no one fell over their own feet while acting their way out of the paperbag

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Monday, March 12, 2007

300 Movie Review


directed by: Zack Snyder

starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, Dominic West, David Wenham, Rodrigo Santoro

Rated R for graphic battle sequences throughout, some sexuality and nudity.

117 min

Ask yourself, before you buy a ticket for 300, if you enjoyed Sin City. Did you like the tons of CGI, the feeling that you were watching a comic book, or as some have said, a videogame, come to life? Are you ok with a movie shot almost entirely in front of a green screen- no big “location” shoots? If you don’t give half of a shit about stuff like that, but love blood and guts and glory, then this new movie, based on another of Frank Miller’s comics, is probably right up your alley.

300 is, to put it quite simply, gory eye candy. If you are the type who cringes at fistfights on screen, the one who covers your eyes when someone is going to get stabbed, or feels ill at a decapitation, here is your only warning- don’t see this movie.

If, on the other hand, you are like me, and LOVE that kind of stuff- get in line, and get there early, because I was in the theater saving seats a full twenty minutes before showtime and it was already packed.

For once I didn’t mind being in a crowded theater. This is because I was quite literally, swept away on the tide of- like I said, gory eye candy unfolding before me.

I loved this movie. I didn’t care that it had no deep plot to speak of… obviously, if you are going to see 300 for the historical accuracy in the plot and great character development, you’ve been sorely misled, and are completely oblivious to previews, too. The second I saw the preview for this movie, I knew I was going to see it, and I had pretty high hopes I was going to like it.

The basic story (and it never goes beyond basic) is quickly unfolded- Sparta is going to be overrun by the thousands and thousands of Xerxes’s the so-called god king’s, troops from Persia. Leonidas, the Spartan King, doesn’t want to see that happen. His initial plan for kicking their butts- leading the entire Spartan army against them, gets shot down by the corrupt, and may I add disgusting, old priests who inform him that the timing isn’t right for war. (Of course, said disgusting old priests have been bought off before Leonidas ever approached them.) So, in the face of imminent invasion, what is a bad ass king like Leonidas supposed to do?

Take 300 of your best guys into the face of certain death, of course. Handpicked for their bravery (and the fact that they have all had kids to carry on their name), the 300 are willing to fight to the death alongside their king in the hopes that they can turn aside Xerxes’ ravening hordes, and inspire the folks back home to step up and send the army before it’s too late.

Leaving behind his Queen, who is just as much of a bad ass as Leo himself, and his own son to carry on the family moniker, the king and his troops set off for the coast, where they plan to force the kabillions of Persians into fighting them in a little bottleneck, where “numbers don’t matter”. The queen is left with the task of trying to change the council’s collective mind about sending the army, and fending off the grotesque attentions of Leonidas’s arch enemy, the greasy and wholly repulsive Theron.

The rest of the movie, give or take a minute or two spent back at the city, where, as I said, the Queen has her own fight going on, is all about the blood and guts of battle. Nearly every sequence is shot in slow motion, and it was, to me, breathtaking. Heads roll and blood gushes. Strange creatures abound in the Persian army, and Xerxes, when he finally appears, is as creepy as they come, standing about eight feet tall and speaking in a voice straight out of a nightmare. Battle after battle ensues, with barely time to gobble a handful of popcorn before the next sequence left me with my mouth hanging open in a foolish, delighted grin. Let me tell you, though there is little doubt that men of all ages will love this movie (I took my husband and my teenaged son and both of them were entranced) there were a whole lot of gals in the audience too, and we were the ones cheering in certain spots. Yes, there was actual cheering in the theater, and I admit to have led it. If you see the movie, you will know what scene it was in.

Ah, sure, you’re always going to have some whiners complaining about one thing or another- including the lack of depth in the plotline, the fact that there was almost a cheeky thread of very modern-sounding humor throughout this film, the great liberty taken with history … but in answer, I can only remind everyone that this is an adaptation of a comic book, not a documentary of ancient Sparta, and it does exactly what it is supposed to- entertains and lets you escape the real world for a couple of hours. So quit your griping, and enjoy the full-on graphic violence and chest-beating action that is 300.


I give it 5 &s

&… jaw-dropping cinematography

&… a simple, brutal plot- little group of guys against big group of bullies- when does that not appeal?

&… effective acting by all the people involved, they got the job done, and the character across

&… enough action to make me lie awake thinking when I go to bed

&… did I mention blood and guts and glory?

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

911 Wild Reno Hogs in Miami Movie Review

Wild Hogs

Starring: Tim Allen ,John Travolta ,Martin Lawrence ,William H. Macy, Ray Liotta, Marisa Tomei

Directed by: Walt Becker

Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual content, and some violence

99 min

and then....

Reno 911!: Miami

Starring: The Cast of Reno:911!

Directed by: Ben Garant

Rated: R for sexual content, nudity, crude humor, language and drug use

84 min.

I have watched two movies in the last week, but really, neither of them is worthy of an entire review all to itself. So to make it fun and fabulous, I decided to combine the two into one glorious review. We will call it the “911 Wild Reno Hogs in Miami Movie Review”. And if that doesn’t sound like fun, well, golly, I don’t know what does.

Well, not true. I know a lot of things that sound like more fun. But the point, my ladies and gentlemans, is that I am putting the two together, so as not to insult fans of either by ignoring the fact that I watched it and found it less than review-worthy.

Fans of either. Snort. As if there is such a thing.

Ok, so Wild Hogs is a definite Coulda Movie. And Reno 911!:Miami is a Shoulda Movie. The first one coulda been good. It had a good idea- four men on the verge of varying midlife crises, jump on their Harleys and roar off for the Pacific, each of them looking for something to add meaning to their blah and boring lives. Reno 911: Miami shoulda been a good movie- the television version cracks me up to the point of peepee, many a time. But unfortunately, neither lived up to its promise, and left me, the viewer, in both cases with a lot of laughter left to spill, watching the credits roll and thinking, “That’s IT?”

Yes, that’s it.

Four middle-aged men drive to the Pacific on their Harleys and along the way, find adventure so positively unlikely, in any possible scenario that resembles life on planet earth, that it becomes difficult to laugh. They run afoul of a group of dangerous “real” bikers, led by a pathetically puffy-faced Ray Liotta who spends half of his screen time practicing a should-be-patented “Maniacal Laugh”. I swear, the guy looks like some boozy puppet with a button on his back “Push to Hear Maniacal Laughter”. (He really does!) Of course, the fake, oldguy bikers fight back bravely, and in between embarrassing moments like being caught swimming in the nude (GASP) or riding into signs (cue audience laughter), they rediscover what it means to be alive!!!! The most puzzling aspect of the entire Wild Hogs Movie Experience for me was that the theater was packed, and there was a lot of laughing, and it wasn’t the push-button-back kind. So I think this movie was enjoyable to many people. Maybe I am becoming a snob in my old age. Whatever.

And then… Reno 911!:Miami, where those loveable nitwits from the Reno Sheriff’s Department get invited to a police convention in Miami! They arrive only to find that the rest of the convention (read: all law enforcement peoples in the entire Miami area) are being quarantined by a terrorist biohazard threat, and it’s up to guess who to patrol the city? Ensuing hilarity might just make you cry. Not. There were so many masturbation/gross sex/nude scenes that it finally became obvious that that was the whole script idea by whoever came up with this gem. I admit to a certain horrified fascination at the first sight of Deputy Raineesha Williams’ HUMUNGUOS ass in a thong bathing suit, but the fascination faded quickly to mild nausea, long before the ass shots stopped. Oh, and add in a ten second spot by The Rock for Real Star Power and you have… a movie that shoulda been good.

Both of these had moments that were funny- don’t get me wrong. I like William H. Macy, and it was interesting to see him in a rare display as Comic Relief. Travolta’s character, the only one who actually realizes the danger the rest of them are in from the big bad bikers, has a few really funny moments when he is trying to convince the rest of them to hurry the hell up and get on the road, contorting his face in such ways that even I had to smile, and I am not usually a face-twisting smiler. I did actually guffaw, I believe, during the Reno movie when they blew up a whale on the beach, and I am not usually an animal-blowing-up smiler.

But that, my friends, was really, about it.

I give them each 2 &s…

&… they had some funny moments

&… they weren’t too long

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