Author Archive

The Golden Compass: Motion Picture

movie_goldencompass.jpgThe Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman, is the first book of an exciting trilogy about a young girl named Lyra who is drawn into an adventure that crosses into different dimensions and determines the fate of her realm as well as all others. In the first installment, Lyra is lured away from a familiar life at Jordan College to become the assistant of the beautiful Mrs. Coulter, while her closest friend, Roger, mysteriously disappears. When Lyra realizes Mrs. Coulter is up to no good, and finds out that Roger is in danger, she sets out on a perilous quest to save her friend.

The story is a bit laden with detail, but the intricate web of events pulls together to bring you a solid adventure worth reading. With that being said, I must admit I am a bit fearful about the quality of the movie trilogy. It was a very enjoyable, yet brief romp into the fantasy world created by Pullman. For those who have never read the books, the movie should be satisfying, despite some obscurities. Those who have read the books will most likely have mixed feelings, like myself. The more extremist hardcore fans will more than likely bash this film.

I’ll start with what the movie does wrong. The Golden Compass as a book is saturated with details and serves as the foundation for the rest of the trilogy. Therefore, it’s a real shame that The Golden Compass as a motion picture is missing a few key events that were not only interesting, but imperative to the story. Why they didn’t make it a three-hour epic in the vein of Lord of the Rings is beyond me. At a meager one hour and thirteen minutes, it would be impossible to squeeze in all the important information, but the creators do try. As a result, the events in the movie don’t always feel seamless, and have a rushed quality to them. If you didn’t read the books and miss the exposition at the beginning, you will find yourself lost in obscurity throughout the rest of the film. Even if you do pay attention, you may still find yourself wondering who’s who, or why certain characters are important at all. Continue reading

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Saw 4: Have the games really ended?

saw IV teaser photo

If there is one thing the creators of Saw make abundantly clear in the first few minutes of their fourth movie it is that Jigsaw is unmistakably dead. He is lying on the cold metal of an examination table within the lifeless walls of an autopsy room, being dissected.

So how, pray tell, could this movie possibly work? Without revealing much more, let’s just say the story really begins when a tape is found inside Jigsaw’s stomach. Obviously, the detective in the autopsy room plays the tape, only to hear Jigsaw’s final message: the games have only begun. The backdrop is set for the gut-wrenching terror you will soon witness. Continue reading

“Halloween” for the Uninitiated, Zombie Style

Of the three Rob Zombie flicks I’ve seen, I’d have to say that his vision of “Halloween” was my favorite. “House of 1000 Corpses” felt like a blatant rip-off of the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, down to the van full of kids picking up a crazed stranger (in Corpses’ case a sexy, but crazy hitchhiker instead of a retard). Depraved white trash à la “Devil’s Rejects” just isn’t my cup of tea, but “Halloween,” on the other hand, has some merit to it despite being a remake.

Before I go any further, I do wish to admit that I never saw the original Halloween in its entirety. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I was more of a Jason fan, and also because I didn’t find Michael Meyers terrifying. Then again, most of these slasher flicks are the same; trademark unstoppable entity of pure evil kills a bunch of sex-crazed teenagers, and only the “virgins” survive. Story is second to gore. Continue reading

I Am Legend: What Legends Are Made Of

For a movie review of I Am Legend, click here.

There are only a handful of writers that I can say write so well, that they inspire me to write, and Richard Matheson is certainly one of them. Without a doubt, I Am Legend is one of the most superbly written stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Thought provoking and full of surprising twists, my eyes were glued to the pages throughout the entire novella. Robert Neville is the last human on the planet, as a mysterious plague overwhelmed humanity, turning everyone into blood-lusting vampires. He hunts them throughout the day, but at night, Robert locks himself inside his fortified home, anxiously awaiting the morning sun while the vile demons roam around the house, taunting, stalking, and begging for him to come out. How long can Robert survive in a world no longer human, where the odds are sorely against him?

This is not your typical vampire saga. It’s a profound view on the human condition through the eyes of a normal man, and the changes he must endure while struggling with grief, loneliness, and disastrous circumstance.

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Bad Monkeys, Good Monkeys

bad monkeys book jacketBad Monkeys, a novel written by Matt Ruff, is an insane Valium trip that’s a cross between 1984, Boondock Saints, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Sex, drugs, and conspiracy galore fill the pages with clever wit and surprises that will keep you turning till the very end.

Matt Ruff’s whimsical and satirical take on tactical espionage and “counter-evilism” is told through the Valium-popping, drug-happy Jane Charlotte, a decadent 36 year old woman who is a field operative for the mysterious “Bad Monkeys”, a subdivision of the much larger “Organization”. Having been arrested for murder, Jane was immediately placed in the loony ward to see Dr. Vale, who was called in to evaluate her outrageous story.

The story is written in the form of a dialogue, where Dr. Vale tape records the interview. Jane begins with a brief synopsis of the Bad Monkeys, a top secret organization not sanctioned by the government that dispatches agents to find and eliminate people that the Organization has dubbed “evil”. From there she briefly describes her years as a trouble-making teen, to her life as a drifter, and finally her time as a field operative for Bad Monkeys before her arrest, unwrapping the story through a series of flashbacks. The chapters are not terribly long, and Ruff’s mastery of dialogue makes this an easy book to read. Continue reading

Review of “Transformers: The Motion Picture”

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Based on the Hasbro line of toys released in the 80’s, along with the popular cartoon, Transformers is an action-packed, all-out robotic war directed by Michael Bay (also responsible for such movies as Bad Boys 1 & 2, The Rock, and Pearl Harbor).

While I have had a few of the toys, and I watched the cartoon occasionally, I will admit that I was never a huge Transformers fan. Perhaps this worked to my advantage here, because having been a hardcore fan of other franchises (such as video games) turned into movies only to find that the movie adaptation completely butchers the canon storyline of the original source is very disappointing (can anyone say Resident Evil?).

Transformers, on the other hand, was made in a way that could be enjoyed by both seasoned and non-fans alike. The only ones who may be left out are the fanatics who nitpick to a fault.

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From Suburbia to Ruins: Adventures in Cancun

Cancun Start

I had never traveled alone in my life. I’ve always held the preconceived notion that if I didn’t travel with a friend, I couldn’t possibly have fun in a foreign country. So it was with great reluctance (and a small bit of fear) that I planned an autonomous trip to Cancun. And then I found myself enjoying almost every moment spent there as well as in the surrounding areas (not to mention I overcame my fear of traveling alone).

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