Thursday, April 12, 2018

The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt, #1)The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this up the moment I watched the trailer for the upcoming movie. It’s a dark children’s fairy tale, but because of the trailer I’d been expecting more than I got. This is the story of 10 y.o. Lewis who comes to live with his uncle after his parents’ death. Uncle Jonathan is a minor magician, and so is old Mrs. Zimmerman, the neighbor. Lewis is a friendless kid who tries to impress a popular boy and ends up summoning a dangerous wizard from her grave.
Obviously there will be a lot of difference between the book and the movie, but this is one of the rare cases where the differences seem to be for the better. Jack Black looks nothing like the ginger-bearded Uncle Jonathan, and Cate Blanchett looks nothing like very wrinkly old Mrs. Zimmerman, but it won’t matter. From the very first second you see Cate Blanchett on screen in the trailer, you can tell she’ll be brilliant, as always. Also, there were no octopuses in the book. It was a short read and I’m sure back in the day has managed to scare a lot of kids, but for today’s children might be lacking in action and adventure.
The illustrations by Edward Gorey are splendid. And creepy.

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Ready Player One. The Movie.

One word: BAD.
Two words: VERY BAD.
I didn’t want to write about this movie, because I was so angry, but I had reviewed the book (which I had liked more than I’d expected), so I’ll write a quick review about this terrible mediocrity and move on with my life.
This was unbelievably bad. What were everyone involved with this movie thinking about? What was the author thinking about? I was sitting in the movie theater, cringing and wondering if the script writer had even read the book, and it turns out the author himself was one of the writers. I guess he didn’t have much choice.
Everything was changed. The only thing left from the book was the title and how one of the minor characters died in the beginning. The rest wasn’t “Ready Player One”. It was “Spielberg Thinks He Needs to Change Everything.” I can’t remember another movie that would be so far from its source material. Surely I didn’t expect them to show 8 hours of Pac-Man, but come on, could the movie at least try to follow the book?
The humor was flat, the characters were even flatter. The story was a hot mess. Rebels? What the hell was that?
Parzival and Art3mis meeting in real life in the middle of the movie? The whole point was to meet in the very end.
All of the characters being from the same city, even though the whole wide world is engaged in OASIS? They were from all around the world in the book and that was believable.
Ogden Morrow being a hidden character in the OASIS who is live 24/7? Really? So the guy never slept, ate, and rested?
Art3mis sneaking into the bad guy’s office and no one spotting her? No security cameras?
The bad guy becoming Halliday’s intern? Why?
Art3mis being locked in a prison cell at IOI an getting free because the key (a lever) was hidden in that same prison cell? What kind of idiot puts the key inside the prison cell? No, but really?
Art3mis becomes an IOI slave, logs in from an IOI computer, but looks like her old avatar? HOW?!!! Then she takes off the helmet inside the OASIS, but stays in the game?
I could go on and on, but I’ve got better things to do, like working on my next book and hoping it won’t be as flawed in logic as this terrible, boring, cliche movie. They took a cool book and turned it into yet another Hollywood flick. A sour candy wrapped inside a glossy paper. Who needs all these special effects when the story sucks?

They raped the book the same way they raped "Wrinkle in Time." At least WIT flopped, and it may teach Hollywood suits a few lessons. But serioulsy, who in their right mind thought this looked good?

Can anyone even look at this pic with a straight face? I know I'm rolling on the floor :D :D :D
Looks like a school production with tin foil costumes and a bad dance choreography. Oh, well. Hollywood has lost its mind.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Moonlight and Spotlight (and #metoo)

After the oh-so-terrible “The Shape of Water” I decided to check out other best movies of the year that have received the Academy Award. I started with the “Moonlight.” 
What can I say? Nothing good. Absolutely nothing. “Schindler’s List” has won the best picture award. And now “Moonlight” has won it. Again, where’s the logic? What’s wrong with people? Why aret hey giving awards to such medicore and boring movies? What was so extraordinary about “Moonlight”? Nothing. It was so forgettable I can’t even remember what it was about. A guy struggling through childhood, boyhood and adulthood. I’ll have to check the other nominees. If this was the best picture of the year, I can’t even imagine what the other movies were like. 

Then I watched “Spotlight.” Well, this one was much, much better. The story was heartbreaking. Not that there’s someone left in this world who still doesn’t know about the “good old” Catholic priests, but watching them being exposed felt really good.
Can’t say that I loved “Spotlight” and that I was smitten away by it, but when compared to the other two best pictures, “Spotlight” is a masterpiece. 
Also, there was an Armenian character portrayed by the always great Stanley Tucci, and of course I loved the character, because of course I am biased, ha, ha, ha! But seriously, we need more “spotlight” and less “moonlight”.

Now I wish they’d make a movie about this whole #metoo movement, but with the truth. I hope they will expose all these “I had no idea” celebrities, who think that their condemning tweets and FB posts somehow make us all believe that they didn’t know. Oh for God’s sake, it’s Hollywood, the most toxic place in the world. Of course all of them knew. And of course almost all of them are guilty. One has to be a naive lamb to think that all those actors, actresses, directors and agents had no idea what was happening behind the not so closed doors.
Give me a break.

But of course Hollywood won’t admit it. They will probably make a movie about all that rape and sexual harassment, but will present themselves not as the predators that they are, but as some poor and innocent people who never knew. 

They knew, all of them knew.

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3) by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dear God, it’s over. I have no idea why the author turned one of the most interesting characters in a children’s literature into a weak, boring Mary-Sue. I lost the count of how many times the once strong-willed and bold Lyra said “Oh, Will,” “what shall we do, Will?” “Ahh, Will,” “please, Will.”
And I absolutely didn’t care about the uninteresting and blank Will. I loved Lyra, despite that she was a little lying rascal; she was a fun character. I understand that Pullman wanted to show her growth and change, but for some reason the daring Lyra went through so many dangers and troubles and turned into a wishy-washy 13 y.o. girl who couldn’t take a step without asking the brave and mighty Will what she had to do now.
I didn’t like anything about this book, and kept reading it just because I had loved (and still do) the first one. I didn’t like Mary Malone, the Mulefa, the Gallivespians, Balthamos and Baruch, the Spectres. I always liked Mrs Coultier, she was a great baddy, but Pullman spoiled her too. At least Serafina Pekkala was more or less her old self.
I liked the ending a bit, because I didn’t like Will and was glad to see him go back to his world. I might even read “Lyra’s Oxford”, because I’m still missing my Lyra from the first book and hope to meet her again.
Overall, I’m glad this book is over. Now I can start something new.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready Player One (Ready Player One, #1)Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.75 stars.
When I heard of the movie, I knew I was going to read this. It’s always fun to read the book, then watch the movie. I’m seeing the movie later today and hope it won’t disappoint. After all, it’s Spielberg.
The book is a lot of fun, and as a nerdish geek, I recognized a lot of the references and kept reading with a smile on my face. I thought the book was a young-adult novel, but there were a few instances of bad language and a couple of F bombs, so no, it’s not for kids. But it did read like a book for teens, even though the references from the 80’s that this book is full of, are meant for people in their 30’s and above.
The first part was a bit slow, and there were a lot of moments when I wanted to be over with the book and go read something else. But something changed with the second half. I loved most of it; it was full of action and tension.
I also liked the characters a lot. Their interactions reminded me of the days of internet chats, when you made friends online but had no way to know how they looked like. So many of my girlfriends in the 00’s were disappointed when they at last met face to face with their online boyfriends, ha, ha!
I liked Aech a lot. I did a foolish thing and checked the movie page during my reading, and it took away a great twist, but it was still fun to read the part with Aech’s and Parzival’s first meeting in real life. And the last page where Parzival and Art3mis at last met irl brought tears to my eyes.
The author’s hard work and research was present on every single page. It’s always a pleasure to read books full of so much effort and hard work. This is not a serious literature and it never claims to be one. It’s pure entertainment for the sake of entertainment. A geek’s dream come true. And it’s great to see that a person’s geekiness has paid off. The details about Halliday and Morrow’s life were so meticulous that they seemed to be real people with real biographies. Oasis was well-thought and sounded like a dream place for every geek in this world.
And considering that Steven Spielberg is directing Ready Player One, reading the phrase about Spielberg possibly directing Ladyhawk made me laugh out loud. Talk about life and unexpected possibilities.
Overall I liked this book a lot and am waiting to see the movie. My only complaint is that there was no word about my all-time favorite Mario Bros. And Zelda, too.
P.S. I found two grammatical errors. Even the trads aren’t immune to them.

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