myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Few thoughts about What 2 Review

I have been really busy lately. Aside from the several jobs I find myself working at, I have been getting an Ebay store up and running. Another way for me to pay for my entertainment!!! No seriously, I am making custom books... like baby books, and wedding books, and puppy books. You should see them. I do such a good job. Hehehe. Aw, it’s fun. I hope, eventually, that it will also be profitable.

What what what? What do you mean whattheheck is a Puppy Book? You know, like a Baby Book, only for dogs? Don’t laugh, all of you people who only own a cat, or I won’t create a Cat Book next. I will tell you, “The Life of a Dog, Sweetie Pea’s Journey” is great reading. Scintillating stuff. I know, I know, opening an ebay store is not all that difficult, but when you have about 2 spare hours a day and one of them must be reserved for personal grooming and sleep, you have to be choosy with the other one.

Some things I am thinking of reviewing (aside from Sweetie Pea’s Puppy Book)…

The finale of Flavor of Love Girls Charm School.

What? You didn’t know that I was watching this trashy show? Of course I am. Silly wabbit. VH1 shows are for kaats.

And continuing along this line of thought, I will most likely be watching and commenting on I Love NY Part 2. No one was more delighted than I was when Tango dumped New York on the reunion show. *giggle*. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I hope everyone finds true love and all that, but serially, she did talk badly about his mother. This new show is proving to be amusing already, as the casting call is online, and you can vote for your favorites. If VH1 sticks to this plan, and does allow the viewers to choose the contestants, welp… I admit to being a little amused at the thought of this guy courting New York.

I have had a few requests for reviews. The new Die Hard- yes I will review that, but I kinda have to wait until it comes out. This weekend, I think. But come on, you guys, you already know I am going to like it. I am a child of the eighties, the greatest evah fan of Jack Reacher…. The first movie that got me all choked up in joy was Dirty Harry, followed closely by Death Wish. I am kind of programmed to love any movie about Lt. John McClane, regardless of plot, acting, and/or explosions. If Bruce Willis is grinning and saying the yippee-ki-yay thing, well, I will be pleased. Period.

The Simpsons movie. Uh, yeah…this is a no-brainer, but …doesn’t come out until the end of July.

Evan Almighty. Um. I really, really liked 40 Y.O. Virgin. And Little Miss Sunshine. So I would like to like this, his next big film. However, I am thinking that it will stink. I’m sorry. But consider the facts. He has a white beard. He is building a boat in his yard. There are biblical references. You know this is either going to have a sappy-against-all-odds love story or underdog- rises-to-the-top theme in it, or some kind of meaningful environmental lesson. Le Puke, as they say in France. We’ll see, that’s all I can promise.

Another review request is for the tv show, Man Vs. Wild…. this is a good idea, because yes, I do indeed watch this show. My entire family does. My mother is so enraptured by Mr. Bear that she actually puts quotes from him in her emails. You know, where most people put something noble, or tear-inducing, spoken by Sir Winston Churchill or Mother Teresa or some other famous, intelligent or compassionate person? Yeah. That is where my mom puts something like, “The scurvy snake, it’s bite is quite a little shock,” or “Camel dung is a useful wound packer.” And these emails go out to any number of people that have no idea what Man Vs. Wild is, or Who Bear Grylls is. Cause, you know, it would never occur to her that there are people who don’t watch man Vs. Wild, or it’s predecessor and main competitor, as well as equally-watched, at least by me, Survivorman. Sigh. My family. You gotta love them. Or hate them, if you have to, but I will poke your eye out with a stick I sharpened using fire and a special rock found in alpine meadows if you do.

Let me know what you want a review on. I am making my summer list.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean : At World's End Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Starring: Johnny Depp, Keira Knightly, Orlando Bloom, Geoffrey Rush

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of action/adventure violence and some frightening images

168 minutes

Soooo, yo ho hum, I finally went to the movies this last weekend, to see the third and (final? ‘bsolutely NOT, I don’t believe it) Pirates of the Caribbean movies, At World’s End. I will begin by warning you that this movie is long. So if you are going to the theater to watch it, prepare to have a numb butt and be sick of popcorn after 2 hours and forty odd minutes has passed. Your pop will be little more than a splash of liquid with all the ice melted and no fizz left, I tell you. If you’re going to wait until it comes out on DVD, well, that’s just fine but be prepared to watch it while lively and filled with caffeine because, like I said, it’s long, and NO movie can be action-packed and empty of boredom for two hours and forty eight minutes. Unless it’s the LOTR movies I guess, I don’t remember being bored in those, but… hell, I’m sure someone was. According to this path of logic, there are probably some who found every minute of At World’ End riveting. Those Johnny Depp Nuts who find his prancing, princing, preening Jack Sparrow the most fascinating man on film. Alas, I am not one of them, Sparrow is amusing, but not the subject of any fantasy in this particular head, and the point of this rambling paragraph? Yes, there were slow spots in the film. There were actually long, dragging spots, making me wince painfully as I saw them limp across the screen, wounded animals that should have been put out of their misery.

Yet for all the tiny troubles with this film, it was entertaining. Grand, swashbuckling adventure, mateys, right from the get-go. The first good thing to be said of it is that within not very many of those long minutes into it, we get to see Chow-Yun Fat. Who is a big fan of his? Oh yeah, that’s right- ME AM. Elizabeth Swann is as kick-ass and bold as you could want a feminine character in a third pirate movie to be. Wil Turner, the guy she loves (for some unknown reason, although once Orlando Bloom dresses like a pirate, it’s much, much easier to see why) and she have their tempestuous relationship as usual. Barbossa, the bad guy in the first’s Pirate’s film, is now an unlikely ally of the two as they make crazy plans to go to the Land of Death, to Davy Jones’s locker, precisely, bring back Jack Sparrow, who is needed.

Why is he needed? Well, because he is one of the Pirate Lords. And a bunch of people started singing. Although this is not exactly explained in the film, there is a definite thread of reason in those two sentences. You’ll just have to trust me. And why is he in the Locker (which you will see is a particularly horrifying level of Boring Hell)? Because he was killed whilst battling the Kraken, by duplicitous Elizabeth’s manacling of his wrist to a blowing-up-boat. That is the entire plot explaining you’re going to get from me. I know, not much of an explanation. But I figure you have all seen this on DVD by now.

…And although there is not a whole lot of explaining about the Pirate Lords and why they have to get together for a sleepover, it becomes clear as the film rolls on. It’s gonna be Good Guys versus Bad Guys, in a big ol’ showdown. It is up to the viewer to decide on whom the good and bad are, I guess, because traditionally, it was the pirates who were like raping and killing and burning people to death. The soldiers were, you know, to stop them from doing that to normal citizens. But happily, not a whole lot of burning happens in this film. There are numerous fight scenes, with flashing, dashing swords as choreographed as the best dance team in Hollywood, but not a lot of blood, and the gross-out factor of the film is due more to the character’s appearances than any violence quota. I am sorry to be such a wimp, but I had to turn my head away whenever Davy Jones and his writhing, tentacled head appeared. I swear the guy looked like he was covered with protruding, breathing, butt holes.

LOL. Did I really just type that?

Why yes I did, and it stays.

We gradually learn that the main plan of the meeting of the pirate lords is to decide what to do about Lord Cutler Beckett, who has control of Mr. I’ve Got a Breathing Brain-sac Dangling Under My Hat Davy Jones’s heart. And is using him to terrorize all the pirates on the seas. See, Beckett is undoubtedly a bad guy in the film, but I think he was a pretty cool customer. I kind of admired him, his icy wit and quick thinking. Even in this film, where he gets his comeuppance, so to speak, he goes out like the coolest Clint Eastwood character you could think of.

There is a long, convoluted plot line about Calypso, the sea goddess who all of these people apparently trapped a long time ago, in human form. This gives the film-makers the chance to run Tia Delma through her paces, and let me tell you, the weird woman is not any easier to understand in this film than the last one. She goes around with her smudged mouth and dotted face, warning in a dire voice things like, “Me senses that ye hiven’t got de thikin ye need t’ do dis terreeble ting. Bewayre! Beeewayre!!!!” Yes indeed, this is the goddess Calypso, we soon find out she was once lover of Davy Jones, and a whole lotta time is spent in explaining her storyline, and how they (The Pirate Lords) cannot decide whether or not to free her.

K, Let me just spoil this for you. They do free her. Does she go stomping off, hurling firebolts at the soldiers? Rip the head off Beckett? Turn her wrath on the pirates? Nope, she turns into a bunch of crabs and disappears.

No I am not kidding. She just disappears. I guess the storm that happens next is supposed to be her doing, but there isn’t any proof of that, and what is the point, I ask, since it doesn’t really help either side? Plus, we never get any satisfying answers about her and Davy, and if they are reunited. And most importantly, if he loses his waving face for good once he is with her. So, what, I ask again, was the point?

So and so is betraying this person, and that guy is betraying them, and this dude is sneaking around behind his ands her back and he is secretly meeting with the other person. Sounds confusing? I know. Add to this twisting storyline the garbled speech of a lot of the characters- their pirate speak was sometimes actually unintelligible to me- and you have, if not a deep movie that will make you think about who you are and who you want to be, at the very least a movie that will make you laugh, and yearn to run away to sea. Um, provided that you get to be one of the fortunate few who have sparkling white, even smiles, as compared to the other 98% of the characters, with their blackened, missing, and sometimes moldy-looking teeth. Why does a blacksmith like Wil Turner have such wonderful dentistry, I wonder? Why does Jack Sparrow, alone among pirates, not have a moldy-mouth and rotten stubs of teeth? Is there some Pirate God of Teeth who looks down and chooses the best looking men to keep their pearly whites? If so, Toothly Toothfulness, that god, does no one else any favors, so unless you are dashing and handsome, I’d advise against the whole running off to sail experience or you’ll end up with a mouth that looks like a sewer hole.

And possibly buttholes on your face.

The movie does however, I must say, have a strange Unexpected Twist of an Ending, and it was really this that redeemed the whole show for me. Give me a non-typical ending that sparks my imagination, and I will like the movie a whole lot better. It was no different with this one.

I give this 3 and a half ands…

&… Jack Sparrow. Even if you try not to like him, he is an appealing character, though noticeably less appealing in this installment, but that is the nature of sequels.

&…. Did I mention that Chow Yun Fat is in this? Yea, o Great one, he the crouching tiger, he the dragon that hides.

&… I have to say the choreography really was eye-bending. Those fight scenes were a blast.

Half an & for Elizabeth Swann’s outfits.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Good Guy Book Review

The Good Guy

By Dean Koontz

Published by Bantam

May 29, 2007

400 pages

To some of you unfortunate people, the name Dean Koontz means nothing. And then there are others who maybe gave him a try back in the olden days, and in response to that name, you might say, “Oh yeah, yeah… I know who that is…didn’t he write a book about a golden retriever? And then there was like, a mutant one, too? Chasing it?” Then, really revving up the old memory motor, you might say, “And hey… there was a MOVIE! With that eighties guy- one of the Cories! He writes scary books, right?”

Yes, yes, Dean Koontz did indeed write a book a about a golden retriever, long ago in the by-gone times. It was called “Watchers”. And yes, they made a less-than-successful, although everyone-seems-to-have-seen-it movie after it too. With Cory Haim. (It wasn’t altogether too much like the book. There was no Cory in the book.) And, stretching it, but still staying within the boundaries of Truth, you could even say there was a mutant golden retriever in that book. But when it comes to the “he writes scary books, right?”, that is where the debate might begin.

So, everyone knows “Watchers”. And let me tell you, if you do, and this is the only association you have with Dean Koontz in your mind, you are sad. But you might get happy, if you’re like me and love to hear about undiscovered treasure troves of books just waiting out there for you to find them and read them. Dean Koontz did write scary books. Note the past tense. It was how he started his career, it was how he gained his first audience, it was what was selling, I tend to think, in those days where following in the King’s footsteps might be the best path to success for any writer who could slap together some words that would inspire goosebumps. Now, his books are not less-scary, they are scary in an entirely different way. Instead of bringing imaginary monsters to your mind when you’re trying to sleep and the closet door is squeaking, Koontz’s style has shifted, and it’s the real monsters he usually writes about now. They don’t go bump in the night.

These monsters sneak up behind you in the night with a hypodermic needle, bent on kidnapping you for some crazy secret government plan. But they might just decide to use you for their own bizarre experiment first. Oh, and they think they are God. And they have planted a bomb in a nursery school that is set to go off in three hours, and you, although weaponless and not really all that tough; need to figure out how to stop him. That’s the kind of scary we get from Koontz today, in his prime. Koontz delivers glimpses of the streaked and dirty underbelly of the world we really live in, the out-of-the-blue, once in a million chance encounter, and ordinary people who find it within themselves to do unordinary things. And there is a sweet romantic streak he can’t help but show in the machoest of his books (although none of them are very macho.)

Yes, Koontz wrote “Watchers”, and a lot of other hokey horror novels.

But let me tell you… Dean Koontz has come a long, long way.

He is the author of Odd Thomas, the coolest three book series about a mellow, quite un-extraordinary fry cook who can see ghosts, and acts like a hero because his heart is big, not because he wants to be one. He is also the author of the Christopher Snow books, another two-book set of Sheer Awesomeness about Snow, who has mad ass discoveries to make about the tiny coastal town he lives in, and he is handicapped by the fact that he is basically allergic to sunlight. He wrote a still-continuing series about Frankenstein, set in modern times. Not mentioning a handful of other Koontz books that are stand-alones and bitchin, and wow, I could start foaming at the mouth and become totally incoherent, because Koontz rocks in a way few authors do. On a very consistent basis, too. By the standards of my reading rainbow, his books have all been red for a long time, changing in color the further back we go, to the days of “Watchers” where he earned himself a plain old yellowarnge for average. I admit I am curious what people who loved those old books think of his writing, now. What does a person who thought Watchers was the greatest book ever think of Koontz’s modern complex rollercoaster books of psychological terror, with not a monster in sight?

The Good Guy is his latest novel. I had it ordered at Amazon months ago, and paid for the speediest shipping possible. I swear the ink was not yet dry when I got that book in my greedy fingers. The only other authors I do that with are Stephen King and Lee Child. Now, lest you think that Koontz is “just another Stephen King”, let me put a stop to that silliness right here and now. He is nothing like Stephen King, trust me. King’s books ramble on for a thousand pages and detail the blossoming of each tiny nub of a flower in the plot line. Koontz’s books are spare, cut down to the bone, fast-moving, and damn I wish they were longer. King’s books explore every facet of a character’s heart, letting the reader share in each gritty detail and thought, to the point that some readers complain about three pages spent on one song lyric and what the character thinks of when he hears it. Koontz’s characters are somewhat of a mystery. He keeps secrets from the readers, at least for a few pages, and we are never positive we know what they are going to do, or what has happened to make them the way they are today…although we are fairly confident we will by the end of the book. They both wrote horror novels back in the eighties. They both have become masterful, powerful writers by today. That’s the common thread, and that is pretty much where it ends.

Now, to give you a spare and cut to the bone briefing on the Good Guy, which I read in about four hours, then downloaded on Itunes, and am listening to again when I have to drive to town.

Timothy Carrier is a big, bear of a man, but he likes a quiet, boring life. He is a mason, and goes to unwind after a hard day in his friend’s tavern, where he sits on the last barstool…. The one that makes him “the smallest guy in the room from the door”. He is not a loner, really, but he doesn’t go out of his way to look for people to play with either. He lives a quiet life, with a few friends and a family that loves him, Mr. Ordinary. Mr. Quiet. Mr. Keeps to Himself. Not Mr. Anti-social, however, so when a man slips on to a barstool next to him, and obviously thinks he is someone else, Tim’s playful side emerges, and allows the guy think incorrectly, figuring for a few moment’s fun before the mistake is realized.

It’s not so funny when the guy then passes him an envelope full of cash and a woman’s picture, tells him he’ll get the rest “when she’s gone” and then is gone himself, before Timothy realizes exactly what has happened in his jokey moment of confused identities. Most people would get the hell out of a situation like this. Most people might call the cops and then duck out of it quickly. Some people might even keep the cash and go on with their life, a bit guilty, but much richer.

Tim Carrier is not most, or even some, people. The reader gets a vibe of that early on in the story, but like many a Koontz novel, we don’t see the full picture of who Tim is, and what made him that way, until near the end of the novel. This book is no different from the latest and greatest of Koontz’s work. Fast-paced, the storyline practically blazes its way through the pages, and before you know it, you’re at the end, and once again in awe of the neat way Koontz ties up the dangling threads into a neat bow for the reader to ponder.

It’s not the very best of Koontz, and it’s way far from the worst. Definitely worth your time, whether on paper or via earphones, it is an arresting, quick story that will leave you grinning for the good guys. And it reminded again of why I have Koontz’s next novel pre-bought with the box waiting to be shipped to me one second after printing- because he is one of the best of the best, a super damn good writer, and worth every penny and every second of my life spent reading his stuff. And judging from the cover, it looks like his next book has a golden retriever in it, too.

I give it a red on the Reader’s Rocking Rainbow.

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