Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday What Ifs: Cars

I love my car, but sometimes you just wish you had something a wee bit...other. So this week we are going to imagine our other vehicles, you know the ones we keep at home in the Batcave and only bring out on special occasions. Now this is up to you, you can just geek out on your favorite actually does exist vehicles or like me, imagine a vehicle that is more than just really sexy. We’ll do spaceships, etc some time later. Here are my top five.

KITT (Knight Rider) Knight Industries Three Thousand. I choose the reboot because let’s face it that car was incredibly sexy. I love KITT because it is Herbie on crack. Not only is KITT intelligent but it has one goal, keep you safe. Here is what is cool about the Three Thousand: can morph into other cars (kind of like glamour), windshield projection (again GPS and everything else on crack), missiles, guns and lasers (you know for protection), a 3d printer that lets make an extra key or you know a dashboard hula doll, of course different modes (attack and stealth), plus he talks. I would prefer my KITT sounded like David Tennant though instead of Val Kilmer. And with the red light scanner bar reminds me of a Cylon. It would be such a sexy sexy car. Not sure why I would need all the gadgets and protection but maybe I find new life as a modern day superhero....or well, you know a girl can never be too careful.

Aston Martin DB5 (James Bond) There have been a ton of different models for the various movies, but I have giant love for Bond’s car from Goldfinger. Not only is the Aston Martin a beautiful car, but this one had all the bells and whistles (ejector seat, guns, oil slick, revolving license plates, etc). PLus if I am lucky James Bond may come with the car.

Delorean (Back to the Future) Car, Time Machine and it has vertical doors (hell yeah). Downside it does run on plutonium or if you are in a pinch, lightning from a clock tower. And admittedly it would be a bit cramped, but it’s an awesome looking car though and going back and forward in time wouldn’t suck.

Black Beauty (Green Hornet) The movie was horrid, but the car was beautiful. A sleek Imperial Crown model with tons of bells and whistles. Not only would I look pretty sweet in it, but I would also have the ability to destroy things with its guns, missiles and flamethrowers (again not really sure why I need all that, but nice to have just in case), bulletproof glass, tires that never go flat, and have a sweet sound system to boot. Plus, green headlights if I want them.

Bumblebee (Transformers) A car that is really a Transformer and talks to you via audio clips. Awesome. I would have a friend and a car. A really sweet looking Camaro shaped car. Plus he cant be stolen, which may be an issue for all of these pretty cars, cause you know he’d go Christine on them.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TUESDAY TRAILERS: RIDDICK

I dig the Riddick movies. Both of them. The first one had awesome monsters and introduced a great character and the second one was Conan in Space and I dug the Necromorphs. So this latest one looks like Pitch black with a bigger budget, but it does have Katee in it so whoo hoo. Karl Urban is in it so maybe we will see a return of Vakko, but who knows. I will still no doubt spend the money to see it in the theatre. What do you think? Are you excited to see it?


Summary: Diesel reprises his role as the antihero Riddick, a dangerous, escaped convict wanted by every bounty hunter in the known galaxy.The infamous Riddick has been left for dead on a sun-scorched planet that appears to be lifeless. Soon, however, he finds himself fighting for survival against alien predators more lethal than any human he's encountered. The only way off is for Riddick to activate an emergency beacon and alert mercenaries who rapidly descend to the planet in search of their bounty. The first ship to arrive carries a new breed of merc, more lethal and violent, while the second is captained by a man whose pursuit of Riddick is more personal. With time running out and a storm on the horizon that no one could survive, his hunters won't leave the planet without Riddick's head as their trophy. Opens September 6th, 2013.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Now You See Me: A Review

Now You See Me (2013)
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
Written By:Ed Solomon and Boaz Yakim
Genre:THRILLER/CRIME
Rated: PG-13
Time: 106 min
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman
Plot: An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

Comments: For my birthday I decided E and I needed to go see a movie. I have always been a fan of the crime caper whether it is film (The Inside Job, Oceans 11) or TV (Leverage, White Collar and Hustle). Plus I completely dig the whole magic scene (Bucket List completely includes a trip to the Magic Castle. NPH....invite me). There is something about magic, about believing the impossible and returning to those days of wonder. When I was a kid I went to a David Copperfield show and was blown away. Holy cow, magic people. Real magic. It didn’t matter to me that it was an illusion. For two hours I believed in the impossible and that was good enough for me. Add both of these elements into a movie, sure thing I will go.

The movie opens up with our band of thieves in the various professions that they do while a mysterious figure in a hoodie watches. We first see J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), a cocky David Blaine-esque street performer. Then we have Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher), Atlas’ former assistant, who is now an escape artist who thrills the audience in her shock magic show (though seriously piranhas don’t do that. There was a Mythbusters on it). Woody Harrelson plays Marritt Osbourne, a hypnotist who cons people out of their money and Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) who is our actual thief and his skills in lock picking and sleight of hand are indeed magic.

The four are brought together through a mysterious invitation to become the Four Horsemen. One year later they are in Vegas selling out a show with their finale being a teleportation device that leads to the theft of millions all the way in France. Of course this brings the attention of FBI detective Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) and Interpol agent Alma Vargas (Mélanie Laurent) who try to figure out how they did it and prevent them from doing more heists in New Orleans and Brooklyn. Then you also have Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), who spends his time exposing illusions and telling people exactly how it is done and Michael Caine as Arthur Tressler who is the benefactor of the Four Horsemen.

Things I enjoyed were the overall story of the magic thefts and the rush to try and catch them and figure out how it is all done. It is very pretty to watch and I enjoyed watching the various elements come together. Plus it had me guessing. Even though Eben says he knew it all in the first 30 minutes (still think he is lying. sorry sweetie), I didn’t. Watching The Prestige way too many times has me considering all angles. Misdirection. And flair. The film does it well in my opinion.

The script does have some holes, but most movies do. None of them were so gapingly huge that it ruined things for me (Total Recall reboot was another story). Pace was nice, even some clever camera shots which I know I am not supposed to notice, but I did because they were nice and visually interesting.

For all that I loved, I do have some nitpicks. Jesse Eisenberg was the weakest for me. all I could think was that he was just playing an illusionist version of Mark Zuckerberg with the same delivery, arrogance and vanity that he did in Social Network. And that is a crying shame as I was excited to see him and Harrelson again after Zombieland since they had such great screen chemistry and really played well off of one another.

I also thought at times it was a bit too flashy. We know that everything is an illusion, that it is not really magic. We know that there is a logical way that each illusion was done. But when the CGI is so slick that you can’t believe in the illusion at all and just want to scream at the CGI, then you have a problem. There is a scene with fabric, a piece of silk placed over the final trick and while there are a great many things you can do with fabric, filament, vacuums, etc, instead it just looked like overdone CGI and the movie lost me for a little bit. I guess I was actually hoping you had some actual magic and illusions in the movie instead of just straight up CGI. Because there are some great illusionists out there, especially sleight of hand guys. Just ask Neil Patrick Harris. he’ll point you in the right direction.

Rent/Cinema? Cinema. For a popcorn film, I was entertained. Not sure if I would buy it later this year, but I do not feel as if my money was wasted at all.

3/4 popcorns

Sunday, June 9, 2013

SUNDAY SEVEN: SUMMER MOVIES PT1

The summer means warmer weather, sandals, dresses, flowers, lemonade and of course, the Summer blockbuster. Whoo hoo the summer movies have begun. I have already seen Iron Man 3, Star Trek and the Great Gatsby, but we have three more months of goodness. Now the great thing about the summer flick is that they are a bit different than your other seasonal flicks. Its popcorn movie time: action, humor, and two hours of fun escapism. Here are some of my favorite movies that I am looking forward to. So what are yours?

Man of Steel: June 14th. Growing up I was always a bit of a Batman fan, at least more so than being a Superman fan. Superman seemed a bit too much of a boy scout. Sure he is a superhero, but almost too much of one. I couldn’t relate to him, but now I think Zack Snyder may be bringing him down to Earth. The trailer looks awesome and I am looking forward to seeing what Snyder can do with the mythos and if we are really lucky, maybe see a Justice League movie hint.

Much Ado About Nothing: June 7th. There are a few things I love: Shakespeare, Joss Whedon, Nathan Fillion, comedy romance. I love that Joss brought all of that together when he decided to invite all of his buds to his place and film a black and white modern retelling of the comedy. It looks fantastic and I cannot wait to see it though sadly I doubt it will come here. *pout*

Bling Ring: June 14th. Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes. Now I love Emma Watson and the last film I saw her in (Perks of Being a Wallflower) left Hermione far behind. This one apparently leaves Miss Granger even further behind. This is also a film by Sofia Coppola who hasn’t made a movie I haven’t enjoyed yet.

Monsters University: June 21st. Sully and Mike are iconic. They kind of fill me with warm fuzzies really and to see them in animated college hijinks leaves me feeling all giddy like. Plus you have the voices of Helen Mirren, Nathan Fillion, and Steve Buscemi.

Pacific Rim: July 12th. Kind of the epitome of what Summer blockbuster means: monsters, destruction, and robots. Complete popcorn film. Plus it is brought to me by Guillermo del Toro who brings me visual prezzies when he directs a film. It is his version of Godzilla or a Japanese anime and I am okay with that.

The Wolverine: July 26. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine battling ninjas and the yakuza – works for me. Wolverine makes a voyage to modern-day Japan, where he encounters an enemy from his past that will impact on his future. And yes I am completely shallow in the hopes that I will get to see Jackman shirtless. And possibly with a sword.

RIPD: July 19th. Based on the graphic novel, the movie version looks like Men in Black but with monsters and demons. Now I haven’t read the comic, but the film looks fun especially when the real world sees Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds as a supermodel and a little old Asian guy. It looks funny. Total popcorn movie. Plus I can swoon over Reynolds any time.

Honorable Mention:Now you See Me, Violet and Daisy, Byzantium, Black Rock, Fast and Furious 6, and The Purge.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Planet: Finding Humor Review

My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places
Written by: Mary Roach
Softcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Readers Digest
Language: English
May 2013, ARC
Genre: Essays/Humor

Follow New York Times bestselling author Mary Roach -- but be careful not to trip -- as she weaves through personal anecdotes and everyday musings riddled with her uncanny wit and amazingly analytical eye. These essays, which found a well-deserved home within the pages of Reader's Digest as the column "My Planet," detail the inner workings of hypochondriacs, hoarders, and compulsive cheapskates. (Did we mention neurotic interior designers and professional list-makers?) For Roach, humor is hidden in the most unlikely places, which means that nothing is off limits. Whether she is dwelling on her age or talking about the pros and cons of a bedroom night light -- "A married couple can best be defined as a unit of people whose sleep habits are carefully engineered to keep each other awake" -- Roach finds a lesson, a slice of sarcasm, or a dash of something special that makes each day comical and absolutely priceless.

In keeping with our mission -- curating the best reads in the land -- Reader's Digest editors neatly packaged these timeless (and hilarious) Roach essays together for the first time. Whether you read this cover-to-cover or during spare moments over morning coffee, flip to a page in this volume and try not to smile.
+++++++++++++

Mary Roach makes me giggle. I have read Stiff, Bonk and Spook and Gulp is in the TBR pile. She is funny, witty and honest in her point of view and that is a great thing. This is a compilation of her columns in Reader’s Digest and range from the wonders of Costco to life with her husband. In a way she reminds me a bit like Laurie Notaro just not as snarky.

Things I loved: There is really nothing bad that I can say about this book. As I said Mary Roach is a funny lady. Admittedly I couldn’t relate to all of the different columns as she is a bit older and married and yet this was just a fun read. It’s the good clean family fun that my stepmom would love and laugh over.

It’s not a book that you can read in one sitting. Admittedly some of the stories are uneven, but that is usually the case with any sort of collection. And yet the perfect little mini collection of lightweight fun. For those of you who haven’t read any of Mary’s other works, this is a cute start as you see life from her point of view. Though I highly recommend her more learned fare in her other books.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. This makes a great little gift for those who need a smile or two in their lives

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: For more anthologies I recommend any of Laurie Notaro’s books, Chelsea Handler’s books or I was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

Monday, June 3, 2013

TUESDAY TRAILERS: THE WORLDS END

What do you get when you combine Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman and The World’s End – amazing things that is what. The only thing we really know about the film is that it involves an epic pub crawl and other stuff (possibly aliens). I have faith though just like I did with Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. What do you think? Are you excited to see it?


Summary: In "The World's End," 20 years after attempting an epic pub crawl, five childhood friends reunite when one of them becomes hellbent on trying the drinking marathon again. They are convinced to stage an encore by Gary King (Simon Pegg), a 40-year-old man trapped at the cigarette end of his teens, who drags his reluctant pals to their hometown and once again attempts to reach the fabled pub – The World's End. As they attempt to reconcile the past and present, they realize the real struggle is for the future, not just theirs but humankind's. Reaching The World's End is the least of their worries. Opens August 23rd, 2013.

The Night Circus: A Review

The Night Circus
Written by: Erin Morgenstern
Softcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Anchor
Language: English
July 2012, $14.99
Genre: Fiction/Fantasy/Romance

In this mesmerizing debut, a competition between two magicians becomes a star-crossed love story.

The circus arrives at night, without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within nocturnal black and white striped tents awaits a unique experience, a feast for the senses, where one can get lost in a maze of clouds, meander through a lush garden made of ice, stand awestruck as a tattooed contortionist folds herself into a small glass box, and gaze in wonderment at an illusionist performing impossible feats of magic.

Welcome to Le Cirque des Rêves. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is underway - a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

+++++++++++++

There is something about the circus that just fills you with wonder. You see things that you wouldn’t normally see, clowns, acrobats, elephants. The circus reminds us to believe in magic and to be filled with the impossible and the fantastic. While Night Circus wasn’t really Young Adult, our group decided to stray a bit and pick it up. So glad we did.

Wow. Take me to the circus. Take me to the Night Circus. It is here that everything is in black and white and understandably so. It is here where you are presented with good and evil, love and loss, the past and the future, dreams and the fantastic, magic and the mundane and so much more. The tents are many and the magic within differs from an ice garden to a labyrinth, a tent where jars hold memories and all you need to do is pop the cork and fall into the smells, sights and sensations. This is the circus where magic is real but you dismiss it as sleight of hand or maybe you do begin to believe in it all as you once did when you were a child and did not have mortgages, broken hearts and regrets. It is a place where you get lost and find yourself all over again, where jackets become ravens, and the Pool of Tears reminds you of so much.

Things I loved: There are few books out there that I want to read aloud due to the prose. This was one of them. Beyond the prose, the descriptions are magical. I can see the circus perfectly, the starkness of the colors, the vividness of the performers...and it is all quite beautiful. Also, this is one you can discuss. Not just the plot or the various tents you would like to go to, or our two young lovers, but the various symbols throughout.

Celia and Marco are pawns of their parents, raised to be combatants in a game they know nothing about and for a prize they know nothing of. Even the challenge is a mystery until it is too late and their lives are forever intertwined. Their moves on the battlefield take place at the circus, but what was meant to be a war between them becomes a love letter. Each new tent becomes a message, an endearment for something they feel they can never have with one another...a love for the ages.

Some of my favorite scenes were Celia’s color changing dress, Celia’s powers, pretty much the entirety of the circus including the carousel where the animals breathe, and a fire that never goes out. The Wishing Tree and the Cloud Maze made me smile as well. Seriously why isn’t this a real circus.

Things I didn’t love so much: The progression of time was a bit confusing. The jumps in time even more so especially when you also had a change of narration from first to second and then back again. For me it took me out of the story when it came to Celia and Marco, especially when I became immersed when it came to the circus itself.

I will say that this is a book that relies more on beautiful descriptions and really making the circus a character, but at the expense of others. This is frustrating especially when I want to like Celia and Marco. I really wanted to see them fall in love, to rebel against it since they were supposed to be rivals...essentially the whole star-crossed lovers schtick. Instead I was told that they were in love but there was not very much evidence to back that up. Now there are some great scenes such as the touch of one another’s skin makes them gasp and a kiss can make the world tremble, but hard to believe, as I said, when there is nothing to really prove this depth of love. I wanted to believe in their love, but it fell flat.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. This wasn’t the grand love story that you think you will be reading but it is a love story of a different sort. At times I neither liked nor rooted for Celia to have a happy ending. I also didn’t get the Prestige sort of ‘dueling magicians’ that I was expecting. But expectations aside, I did get a wonderful novel that tugged at my heart strings and made my imagination soar. It was also a novel that stuck with me.

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: For more circus mayhem try Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, and If I Ran the Circus by Dr Seuss.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks