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Showing posts from April, 2007

Movie Review: The Lady Vanishes

I know most people only want to read about new movies, but I feel like it's my job as a film addict to tell you about movies that are oldies but goodies. There may be someone out there who has never seen a classic film. It is hard to appreciate the film world without a full understanding of where things come from. For instance, I was talking to a young man about the movie Disturbia. I found it to be very "disturbia" that he had no idea this was a modernized version of Hitchcock's Rear Window--sad because it elevates Disturbia to a level it doesn't deserve. One might be prone to think that Disturbia is more original than it is. And how can you survive in the world without knowing the works of Hitchcock?

It is in this spirit that I felt compelled to review Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes, a 1938 black and white picture from Hitchcock's British period. It has all of the trademarks of a Hitchcock picture. We have secrets, affairs, women who fall in love with a…

Movie Review: Meet the Robinsons vs. Disney short venting

This past Saturday, I went to see the new animated feature Meet the Robinsons. This is a watchable, sometimes amusing flick about a genius kid named Lewis who wants to be adopted. Instead of showing his potential adoptees how cute he is, he tries to dazzle them with his latest invention. The result is disaster after disaster. The funniest case of this is when his doodad that should perfectly mix the right portions of peanut butter and jelly for a PB&J explodes, sending peanut butter everywhere. What our young scientist didn't know was that the man half of the couple is allergic to peanuts. Whoops.

This time, however, Lewis is sure his new project for the school science fair is THE one that will solve all of his problems. He will build a memory retrieval machine to remember who his mother is, meet her, and convince her to be his mom again. A mysterious, evil bowler hat man sabotages the invention during the science fair, humiliating Lewis and convincing him that the machine do…

Book Review: Haters by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

I really wanted to like Haters. It is a school story mixed with elements of paranormal romance. The main character has a strong psychic ability. She can see things before they happen. Over at the Disco Mermaids, Eve suggested you could describe the flavor and plot of a book by combining movies. This idea appeals to me since I am a film addict. I would call this book Heathers (dangerous run-ins with popular girls) crossed with Premonition (seeing the future) crossed with a Harlequin romance (explicit sexuality and romance). No, I'm not kidding.

Part of this book I really liked. The narrator had a very snarky, hip voice that made her appealing. Pasquela Archuleta, or Paski, has just found out that her dad is moving them to California. It seems his comic book, Squeegie Man, has been optioned for a movie deal. He's going to be rich, but he has to move to California. He and Paski move to the OC; Paski must leave her dear friends and new boyfriend behind to start a new …

Movie Stuff: Am I Alone?

Kelly over at Big A, little a had a great idea for a post. She listed the names of books that most people really loved, but she found to be just okay or mediocre. An alternative way to look at this would be to think of books you really loved but no one else seemed to care about. I listed several on her blog in the comments.

I thought it would be fun to do the same thing for movies. I can think of several movies I watched and felt deeply moved by only to discover that others did not share my opinion.

Artificial Intelligence: AI(2001) Directed by Steven Spielberg
In this heartbreaking story, the world has found a way to mass-produce loving child-robots. We meet a couple whose child has been frozen until they can find a cure for his disease. To ease their loneliness, they purchase David, a mass-produced boy that has been programmed to love his mother unconditionally. Then, the bratty son gets defrosted and gets jealous of the relationship David has with his mother. He makes it his missio…

Teen Program Idea: Library Art Trading Cards

This past Saturday, my co-worker showed our Teen Advisory Board how to create library art trading cards in the spirit of Post Secret. This was a very original idea she thought up. I just showed up and participated in the craft. This is not something I would have done on my own. Whenever I actually do crafts, I enjoy it, but graphic arts were never my strong point. My artistic side comes out in my singing and acting. I love a crowd! But now that I have made a few cards and watched others do the same, I would do this again in a heart beat.

If some you are saying, "huh?", then I apologize. It seems that a lot of people are familiar with Post Secret, so I am assuming many of you will know what I am talking about. This Frank Warren guy came up with this brilliant idea to have anonymous people mail in their deepest secrets on a decorated postcard. It can be decorated in whatever style (painting, collage, drawing, glued objects). The only requirement is that it has to be a secret …

Movie Review: 300

There was a time when the movie 300would have been a perfect movie for me. I would have loooved this movie back in the day. "The day" meaning when I loved the gore movies. I used to be a huge horror movie fan, and although 300 is not a horror movie, it is filmed like one. Each scene is meant to shock and make the audience squirm.

There is this really great short story I remember, but I can't remember who wrote it. It was written by an Asian writer. Anyway, it's about this man who sees a painting of a tree. He doesn't purchase it but later wishes he had. He spends his whole life trying to find it and raise enough money to buy it. Then when he finally has it in his grasp, the painting is unveiled, and he is disappointed that it is not the same painting. The point of the story is that the painting WAS the same. It wasn't the painting that had changed; it was the man himself. He was not the same person when he saw the painting the second time, and the painting h…

Book Review: Monkey Town by Ronald Kidd

I just finished reading Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial by Ronald Kidd. This was another coming of age novel. It is supposed to be part love story, as well, but the love story is very lightly applied. It is more of an afterthought and seemed like it was there solely to get more girls to read it.
Kidd claims he wrote this book based on the true accounts he heard from Frances Robinson about her life in the town of Dayton during the Scopes Monkey Trials of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. He does share that Frances was actually only eight years old when this happened, although in the book, she is portrayed as being 15. He obviously thought this story would appeal more to teens, and he is probably right.
In our story, Frances Robinson is a precocious 15-year old who is in love with Johnny Scopes, a teacher at her high school. Johnny Scopes is one of those young (24 years old), cool teachers who breaks the rules of establishment only to pay for them later. He is a football coach but…

Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Colin Singleton is a self-professed prodigy. He can anagram the heck out of any word combination (except a few un-anagramabble words), and he was once on a show called KranialKidz. He's the type of character one would call book smart but not very street smart. Colin's one big bummer in life is that he has been dumped by a procession of 19 Katherines. So he walks around looking for the next Katherine, although he is sure Katherine 19 is THE one.


When we first meet Colin, he has just been dumped by Ms. 19. His best friend, Hassan, decides to hornswaggle Colin into a summer road trip, meant to shake him out of his doldrums. They don't get too far. The boys find their nesting place in Gutshot, Tennessee, home to a factory where tampon strings are created.

Book Review: King Dork by Frank Portman

All right, 'fess up? Who was a dork at school? Anyone? Anyone? Oh, I bet everyone's got a hand raised. My horrific school time was middle school. I went through my ugly phase with a combination of large glasses and crooked teeth. I also insisted on this weird hairstyle where my hair would completely cover one side of my face. I thought I was being a skater chick. The boys all had "squeebs" that covered one eye. I thought I should have one, too! I got made fun of a lot in sixth grade. There was also this huge bully that would routinely beat my friends up. Somehow I escaped her physical wrath, but I was terrified of her.

Well, no matter what your story, I think you might have trouble outdorkingKing Dork. In my head, as I read, I imagined a combination of Napoleon Dynamite, Bill from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, one of those computer geeks from the 80s films, and a Will from Good Will Hunting.

Here's some really original things about this book:
He is pic…