Monday, July 12, 2010

Ah, dear Christ.

Somewhere, I stumbled upon this blog today.

Now, I am saddened, knowing that I will never get those three and half hours of my life back.

Still, it was a riveting read. Not recommended for diehard Twilight fans. It will almost assuredly piss you off. But for those of us who spent all the books with a niggling feeling that Edward guy was just kind of...I don't know...creepy, this really is illuminating!

Definitely recommended (if you read nothing else), the post about domestic abuse here:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shutter Island

Warning: SPOILERS abound. Do not read this if you haven't seen the movie and actually care about it being ruined for you.

I wanted to call this post Shutter Island the Problem with the Unreliable Narrator, but unfortunately, that in and of itself would be a spoiler, so, well.

I will begin by talking about why I think Shutter Island does, in deed, have an unreliable narrator. The unreliable narrator is a literary device used in stories by both Edgar Allan Poe and Agatha Christie. "The Cask of Amontillado" springs to mind. In it, the narrator of the story tells us all kinds of stuff that ain't actually true, because he's a nut job who's justifying the fact he's about to murder Montreigor (or whatever his name is). It's a cool literary device, and one that until maybe ten years ago, was very rarely used in film.

All that changed with Fight Club. See, before Fight Club, you could be pretty sure that if you saw something on film, it actually happened. Fight Club, however, threw everyone for a loop when one of the main characters turned out to be a figment of the narrator's imagination. (It's worth mentioning that Fight Club was a book first, and also that it's not Chuck Palahniuk's best effort.) After Fight Club, movies with unreliable narrators abounded. It's a little tricky to call this an unreliable narrator. After all film is not really narrated. There can be voice overs and various techniques of that sort, but film is presented in such a way that it invites the idea that it is in fact impartial. After all, I am SEEING it. This, of course, makes the unreliable narrator conceit, in which one gets to the end of the movie and realizes that everything that happened didn't ACTUALLY happen even more powerful. But I SAW it, you think. What?

Okay, so there was Fight Club. There was The Sixth Sense. There was The Village. (Okay, there was like every M. Night Shyamalan movie ever made.) There was The Others. There was The Skeleton Key (to an extent). There was Memento (arguably a step up from Fight Club). There was Secret Window. The list is endless.

I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that this little nifty plot twist has been DONE TO DEATH. It was cool ten years ago. It's passe now. So I can't help but feel a little disappointed with Shutter Island. Because it was a really freaking good movie. So when I got to the end and the end was, "Actually he's crazy and nothing he said was true," I just felt...disappointed. I really expected something so much cooler.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Insatiable, by Meg Cabot

My best friend Chelsea gave me Meg Cabot's vampire book, Insatiable.

There's a lot to love about this easy read. It's 450 pages, but I read it in a day. It's hard to put down, very funny, and full of inside-vampire-jokeyness.

Meena Harper (yes, the similarity in name to Mina Harker from Dracula is intentional) hates vampires. She's pretty pissed that she has to write a vampire story line into the soap opera she writes for. That's why it's doubly hilarious when she falls for the prince of darkness, Lucien, who is Dracula's son, and the current vampire lord of the world.

The story is essentially the story of Dracula. Meena is, well, Mina. Jonathan Harper is Jonathan Harker, except he's Meena's brother and not her fiance. Lucy Westerna is Leisha (Meena's best friend. Thankfully, she lives and doesn't get like eaten by wolves or whatever and turn into a vampire.) Abraham Van Helsing is Abraham Holtzman and (for fun) Alaric Wulf shows up. (If he's got a Dracula counterpart, I missed it.) Lucien is, of course, Dracula.

This is a nice little spin on the Dracula story. It's chick lit Dracula, which is too cute for words. I liked it all. I couldn't put it down. It was fun.

My only beef, and it's a small one, is that I kind of wanted something cooler from Meg Cabot. This little vampire tale comes off about as well as Avalon High--in other words, all the major players are there, and they do their parts, but somewhere in the middle of the silliness, the essentials are lost. :(

Cabot satirizes the vampire genre. She does a good job. But while she accurately describes what makes vampire romance tick (i.e. it's hot to think a guy is fighting against his nature just because he loves you) she doesn't quite capture the same feeling with her Lucien-Meena romance. Maybe it's because we as readers can tell (spoiler!) it's doomed from the start.

Maybe she should have thrown some werewolves in for good measure?

Or maybe it's just that the story of Dracula is waaay overdone (Salem's Lot, anyone?) and doesn't entirely benefit much from this plasticky revamp (no pun intended).

Overall: A fun, fun, fun, fun read, but nothing new here, folks. :)