Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Now that's what I call good movie-making! My review of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is up at Horrorview.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Update from me

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, but life has thrown me a couple curveballs that I've had to deal with.

Also, I've undertaken a very special project, details of which will be announced here in the near future. It's all good!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Watch this now: The Joy of Books


DON'T watch this now: Trailer for The Lorax

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

Books read in 2011

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).

  1. Grendel - John Gardner
  2. The Auctioneer - Joan Samson *
  3. The Forest for the Trees - Betsy Lerner
  4. The Cider House Rules - John Irving
  5. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
  6. Lily of the Nile - Stephanie Dray *
  7. Magic - William Goldman
  8. The Crossing - Cormac McCarthy
  9. Boys and Girls Together - William Goldman **
  10. The Little Sister - Raymond Chandler
  11. Poison - Sarah Poole
  12. A Quiet Belief in Angels - R. J. Ellory
  13. Candy - Luke Davies
  14. The Preservationist - David Maine **
  15. Tinsel - William Goldman
  16. Blind Submission - Debra Ginsburg
  17. Because the Night - James Ellroy *
  18. How Right You Are, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
  19. Another City, Not My Own - Dominick Dunne
  20. Drop City - T. C. Boyle **
  21. The Keep - Jennifer Egan
  22. The Princess Bride - William Goldman
  23. Carrion Comfort - Dan Simmons *
  24. Daughters of Rome - Kate Quinn
  25. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  26. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
  27. One Fearful Yellow Eye - John D. MacDonald
  28. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
  29. A Dance With Dragons - George R. R. Martin
  30. Naked Heat - Richard Castle
  31. The Love Machine - Jacqueline Susann *
  32. The Light Bearer - Donna Gillespie *
  33. The Collector - John Fowles
  34. Night Walker - Donald Hamilton
  35. Cry to Heaven - Anne Rice *
  36. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
  37. Burnt Offerings - Robert Marasco *
  38. The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett **
  39. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - John LeCarre
  40. L.A. Confidential - James Ellroy **
  41. The Woman - Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee
  42. Right Ho, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse
  43. Anything for Billy - Larry McMurtry
  44. Tideland - Mitch Cullin
  45. The Getaway - Jim Thompson
  46. Free Fall in Crimson - John D. MacDonald
  47. The Milagro Beanfield War - John Nichols **
  48. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
  49. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
  50. The Last King of Scotland - Giles Foden *
  51. The Gamble - LaVyrle Spencer
  52. The Boleyn Inheritance - Philippa Gregory **
  53. The Butcher Boy - Patrick McCabe
  54. Pop. 1280 - Jim Thompson
  55. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven - Sherman Alexie
  56. 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
  • 11/22/63
  • The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
  • The Crossing
First book for 2012 is Horace McCoy's They Shoot Horses Don't They.