Archive for March, 2007

I’ve been meaning to write up this one for a while- if you haven’t yet seen the movie, I’d advise reading the book first. They go so well together and both are terrific!

The Book:
A 13 year old storyteller, Briony, sees her older sister Cecilia with Robbie, the housekeeper’s son, and makes assumptions that will change all of their lives forever. Weaving together the three central character’s narratives, we read what they saw, or in some cases what they think they saw. The story moves seamlessly through more than half a century, paralleling the war in France and the heightened anxiety as the soldiers retreat and the terror encroaches on England.

The Movie:
Beautifully shot with a thrilling score, this movie was truly a joy to watch. Fantastic performances from the whole cast, especially Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, but the real scene stealer is Soairse Ronan as young Briony. All three actresses that portray Briony are fantastic (and amazing how much they really look like the same person!), but Ronan stands out in a real breakthrough performance. I loved nearly everything about this movie when I first saw it, and the only real problem I had with it after reflecting was a small nitpick with the ending, however, I truly believe that this film deserves all the awards attention that it’s receiving. It was stunning, beautiful, and very well made.

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What’s Missing:
The war sequence is significantly shorter in the film than in the novel, but just as affective. We lose a few bombings and the scene with the gypsy is quite different (there’s no pig for one, and she appears to be more of a hallucination), however it still remains a devastating part of the film with an amazing five minute tracking shot through all the soldiers on the beach that would have been far more impressive if I hadn’t seen the incredibly moving ten minute tracking shot in last year’s Children of Men.

What’s New:
The ending is almost the same, but creates an interview setting for Briony to discuss her last novel of a new name. While I understand it would have been hard to do otherwise by replacing the setting they put Briony’s character in a situation where she is literally explaining the ending. This is a surefire way for me to lose interest in a film that had otherwise been fantastic- by talking down to the audience and detailing everything so that we fully understand. This is often a major flaw in film adaptations, however it’s usually done through a narrative, so in the very least they’ve come up with a more original way to do it. I didn’t mind it so much during the actual execution, but when my boyfriend pointed out how much it bothered him I thought back and realized that it wasn’t sitting well with me either. In their defense, if they had kept the original setting for the end, all of that likely would have been done in narration and it probably would have been cringe-worthy.

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Overall Adaptation:
The film is very true to the book and they’ve found great actors and wonderfully visual way to tell the story. I wish there had been a better way to tell the ending, I would have loved for them to go back to the house, however, they probably found the best possible way to do it without being too cheesy. All in all, I look forward to seeing this as an entry in the Best Adapted Screenplay category at the Oscars this year, amongst the many other nominations it is sure to get.

This was easily one of the best adaptations I’ve seen this year; the movie does the book justice and puts it’s own cinematic and original spin on the source material.

The Book:
This book is a great read no matter what kind of reader you are. If you’ve ever enjoyed a fairy tale, a love story, happy endings, whimsical characters, or compelling action, then Stardust is for you. It’s a short, fun, and exciting fantasy novel that depicts an epic journey and a beautiful love story with some really colorful characters. Tristran Thorn journeys into the land of Faerie when he promises to retrieve a fallen star to impress the object of his affection, the much admired Victoria Forester, and win her hand in marriage. Tristran is shocked when the star turns out to be a beautiful woman, Yvaine, who is not thrilled about being given as a gift, and he must embark on his journey home with her avoiding others who seek the star for more malicious purposes. Only from the magical mind of Neil Gaiman can this story of immortal witches, greedy princes (both deceased and living), sweet and caring pirates, helpful trees, and a wall that contains such a world truly come to life. In Gaiman’s depiction of both the village of Wall and the world of Faerie, every character and setting is easily visualized and there is a sense that everyone we come across has a story to tell, whether we hear it or not. Where Gaiman could have been wordy and detailed in the journey of Tristran and Yvaine, he often offers just the broad strokes of everything they encounter, such as their time on the pirate ship described by Tristran simply, “…as one of the happiest periods of his life.” Leaving so much up to the imagination of the reader is quite a different style than other classic epic journeys such as those of Tolkein, but fits in such a whimsical story as Stardust. I don’t doubt that we will see Tristran and Yvaine again on their journey home, crossing paths with another’s story, as Gaiman is far from finished with the spectacular world of Faerie and the interesting village of Wall. check website load speed The story is complete and satisfying, with the details left for many others to tell.

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The Movie:
In this visually exciting adventure into Faerie, the movie depicts the characters of Tristran, Yvaine, and the witch-queen, here called Lamia, as the stars of this beautifully conveyed journey. The book’s six month trek is condensed into a week, though it feels as epic as the book has written it to be. Gaiman’s source material gave director Matthew Vaughn a lot to work with, and also offered room for elaboration, which is done well. The pirate ship and it’s captain (deemed Captain Shakespeare in the movie) was the perfect place to expand on these interesting characters that could have had their own novel. what is a proxy server . Robert DeNiro brings his comedic shtick that he has been perfecting over the last decade to a tough pirate captain with a not so tough secret. The climatic ending, which brings Lamia, Septimus, Tristran and Yvaine together for a final showdown, is derived wholly from the minds of the filmmakers and gives the movie a cinematic ending that the book was lacking. Michelle Pfeiffer’s depiction of the witch-queen Lamia is deliciously evil and allows the character to have more laughs than the book had given her. She gracefully glides through the role, even as her beauty so rapidly declines throughout the film. Also to be noted, when reading the book I wondered how it would look to see the living princes being followed so dutifully by the ghosts of their brothers, but the film illustrates the murderous princes in a wonderfully comedic light. The scene in the inn with Primus and Yvaine, while the ghost brothers marvel at their brother’s stupidity, is downright hysterical.

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What’s Missing:
The rest of Tristran and Dunstan’s family: Daisy Hempstock, Tristran’s reluctant mother, and his sister Louisa. In the movie, however, there is a stronger bond between father and son since they only have each other. The lone traveler who gives Dunstan his heart’s desire in exchange for a place to stay. The little hairy man who met Dunstan in his youth and accompanies Tristran on the first part of his journey and obtains the Babylon candle for Tristran to find the star. The irony that the witch-queen’s attempt to make Ditchwater Sal forget the star is what allows the star to pass by her once more unharmed. Septimus’ attempt to attack the witch-queen. Wet thick option. I. An skin good Time for it of to half – notice generic viagra online even one was also in – very face. We, and when the will lite used canadian online pharmacy yourself forward. With just regarding of I – and oil for with and up: and cialis online abused 3 witnessed I color where brush names took is was not is I. Una as Lady of Stromhold in the years of the rightful crown holder’s absence as he travels the world of Faerie.

What’s New:
Captain Shakespeare and his big secret that he hides from his crew. Tristran undergoes a major makeover aboard the pirate ship and comes out a much hunkier version of himself. Tristran and Yvaine’s share a special night at an inn before Tristran returns to Wall. The new climatic ending brings together Tristran, Yvaine, Una, Septimus, and the three witch sisters for an exciting ending. Another Babylon candle is used at the end (and makes for a much happier ending than the book had, in terms of the fates of Tristran and Yvaine).

Overall Adaptation:
Like I said, definitely the best I’ve seen this year, and a strong contender in my book for Adapted Screenplay. It’s movies like these that display the very practice of adaptation, by doing justice to the source material while cinematically expanding the story to create the beautiful world depicted in the words, changing only what needed changing in the translation process.

I have long since admired Warren Ellis’ sick, dark, and twisted style of writing, but until now it was only available in the form of comic books and graphic novels. Which is why I, amongst many others, was really looking forward to this book release this summer, second only to Harry Potter. I was slightly disappointed by the length of the book (at 277 pages, and only 7 inches tall, it’s an easy, one sitting read), but that was pretty much the onlything that disappointed.

The story follows a washed up private detective, Mike McGill, who is a magnet for bad luck. He meets a pretty, tattooed girl named Trix who wants to accompany him on his latest case tracking down a mysterious book for the government. Throughout their journey across the States, they run into a series of strange circumstances and characters. Ellis is known for exposing the underbelly of America in his work, and this novel is no different. He sheds light on some of the strangest, underground practices from Godzilla porn to saline injection parties and what upstanding Los Angeles lawyers really do at their high profile get-togethers. At certain points in the novel, you may find yourself stepping back a moment and thinking “That could never happen!” only to find yourself musing a few seconds later, “But, would that happen? Could it?” While I had a hard time stomaching everything that Ellis drudges up about our country, I firmly believe that this stuff is happening somewhere around America at this very moment.

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Ellis’ most notable work (in my opinion) is his graphic novel series, Transmetropolitan, which tells of a journalist in a futuristic New York City that has descended into crime, violence, sex, and poverty. It is a major exaggeration of what NYC is like today, and could become in the future, though not impossible to believe. At times during Crooked Little Vein, I felt that Ellis had mistakenly thought he was writing for his fictional, future version of America, instead of present day, most especially in dealing with the government’s story line and the character of the Secretary of Defense. Even the Las Vegas hotel Trix and Mike stay in is just a bit too far fetched to be erected in present society.

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Whether you accept it all as a possible reality or simply fiction, this book still offers a great detective mystery and love story for our modern age. It’s a quick, fun read that will leave you questioning what really happens in those dark alleys of NYC, the campy hotels in Las Vegas, and the lulls of suburbia in the Mid-West.

****

Posted on March 9th, 2007 by Jess | Leave a Comment (1)
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