Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
It was great to see The Adventures of Tintin over Christmas break - twice! It was everything an adaptation should be - a translation of the work into a different medium, with storytelling and character introductions to suit the medium; with lots of in-jokes for the fans but easy for those unfamiliar with the work to understand; and most of all, true to the spirit of the original work.
The downside of all this was having to see the trailer for the abominable-looking adaptation for The Lorax. I shouldn't be surprised, really. Shitty adaptations of Dr. Seuss' work have been the status quo since Ron Howard's bungling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But the trailer alone for The Lorax sent me into a hissy fit, because it is wrong on so many levels.
The Lorax isn't high on most people's list of favorite Dr. Seuss books. But I've always loved it, and I have the feeling it instilled in me my love for fiction that's depressing yet somehow just uplifting enough to not be nihilistic. So it distresses me to see one of my favorite childhood books adapted into something so wrong-headed.
What's wrong, you ask? I'll tell you. First of all, the look. Yes, the Truffula Trees are beautiful, but everything in the trailer has the same candy-colored, plastic-coated look. It's hard to feel the loss of the Truffula Trees and Humming-Fish and Swomee-Swans when the world without them is indistinguishable from the world with them.
What's also wrong is the motivation for the lead character. It's not enough for him to wonder how the world got into its drab, dirty state. No, he wants to find a tree so he can impress a girl. Please.
The voice casting is also completely off, particularly for the Lorax himself. I mean no disrespect to Danny DeVito, but he's not the Lorax.
Maybe the trailer is misleading, but I suspect it isn't. I suspect the moviemakers have taken a very simple (some would say simplistic) cautionary tale and turned into into an overstuffed CGI-fest full of slapstick and vulgarity.
I'm not providing a link to the trailer. Seek it out if you must, but it won't get any clicks through me.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Once again it's time for my annual salute to my own anal-retentiveness as I provide the list of all the books I read in the last year.
It was an iffy year, with lots of things that didn't click for various reasons. I did notice a trend of the more crazy stuff being memorable this year (read some particularly good narration by batshit-crazy characters).
- Grendel - John Gardner
- The Auctioneer - Joan Samson *
- The Forest for the Trees - Betsy Lerner
- The Cider House Rules - John Irving
- Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
- Lily of the Nile - Stephanie Dray *
- Magic - William Goldman
- The Crossing - Cormac McCarthy
- Boys and Girls Together - William Goldman **
- The Little Sister - Raymond Chandler
- Poison - Sarah Poole
- A Quiet Belief in Angels - R. J. Ellory
- Candy - Luke Davies
- The Preservationist - David Maine **
- Tinsel - William Goldman
- Blind Submission - Debra Ginsburg
- Because the Night - James Ellroy *
- How Right You Are, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
- Another City, Not My Own - Dominick Dunne
- Drop City - T. C. Boyle **
- The Keep - Jennifer Egan
- The Princess Bride - William Goldman
- Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons *
- Daughters of Rome - Kate Quinn
- Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
- One Fearful Yellow Eye - John D. MacDonald
- The Help - Kathryn Stockett
- A Dance With Dragons - George R. R. Martin
- Naked Heat - Richard Castle
- The Love Machine - Jacqueline Susann *
- The Light Bearer - Donna Gillespie *
- The Collector - John Fowles
- Night Walker - Donald Hamilton
- Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice *
- Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
- Burnt Offerings - Robert Marasco *
- The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett **
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - John LeCarre
- L.A. Confidential - James Ellroy **
- The Woman - Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee
- Right Ho, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
- Anything for Billy - Larry McMurtry
- Tideland - Mitch Cullin
- The Getaway - Jim Thompson
- Free Fall in Crimson - John D. MacDonald
- The Milagro Beanfield War - John Nichols **
- Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
- Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
- The Last King of Scotland - Giles Foden *
- The Gamble - LaVyrle Spencer
- The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory **
- The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe
- Pop. 1280 - Jim Thompson
- The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie
- 11/22/63 - Stephen King
* = unfinished
** = reread
My favorites of all the non-rereads were (in no particular order)
- Cold Comfort Farm
- The Hunger Games trilogy
- A Dance With Dragons
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
- The Getaway
- Sharp Objects
- Dark Places
- The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
- The Crossing
First book for 2012 is Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses Don't They.