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Monday, May 22, 2006

"Da Vinci Disappointment"

I'm a Dan Brown fan. Do I think he's the end all be all? No. He's a decent writer with a unique style and vision. His books make you think and become an active participant in the reading experience. Do I buy into all of his conspiracy theories? Not really. That's why its called "factional fiction." I don't think The Historian is true either; just an interesting interpretation of history.

So, Saturday I went to see The Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks; arguably one of the most controversial films release since The Passion of the Christ for religious folks at least. Am I a religious person? I guess I'm more spiritual and really don't take offence to Brown's work. As I remind myself and others, "Rememer its 'factional fiction'." In the past few weeks, I've encountered more than my share of Da Vinci haters. My questions to them? #1 Have you read it? #2 Why are you against it? The common answers have been usually "no" and "because they say..." I've said that before they draw too many conclusions it might be a good idea to actually read the book. Secondly, who is "they"? A question I always ask my students in their writing. You've got to be specific and to make and substantiate your own opinions.

So, back to the film review...
For me it was just okay (geez I sound like Randy Jackson from American Idol now!). I was disappointed to say the least but I expected this reaction. From experience, I rarely think films based on novels live up to my standards. Great adaptations aren't the easiest things to do well. There are exceptions but alas....

Why was I disappointed?
  1. Tom Hanks just isn't Robert Langdon. Sorry, its just the way it is. Hanks is an incredible actor and does a decent job--but he just doesn't cut it. Langdon is sacastic, athletic, and handsome. Brown continually describes him as a Harrison Ford type and I would have cast David Duchovny given the opportunity. For me Hanks lost some of the character's personality not to mention his lack of chemistry with Audrey Tatou (Sophie Neveu).
  2. Ron Howard dumbed down some of the plot. What I like about Brown is his ability to add an intricate historical base for his stories without getting boring. Yes, I know film makers work on budget and time constraints but The Da Vinci Code appears too much like a nice and neatly wrapped little package. Much of the detail that makes the novel so great is omitted or at least summarized too quickly and the clues that take 50-100 pages to solve are figured out in a matter of minutes.
What I did like:
  1. Ian McKellen - the man is a genius and can act circles around most in his line of work. I find it intriguing that he has two of the season's biggest films opening within a week of each other. I'm counting down the hours until X-Men: The Last Stand hits theaters on Friday.
  2. The cinematography was phenomenal and Howard does a splendid job with sets and the overall visual 'look' of the film.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

"Black Celebration"

Happy Birthday to Dave Gahan! His birthday was May 9th. I remembered but didn't have time to post. Depeche Mode had to cancel a few shows because he's sick with larnygitis. I hope he feels better soon. Cool new feature on their website though. They are offering digital downloads of over 50 of their "Playing the Angel" shows around the world. I might have to treat myself since I did homework all day:)

Friday, May 5, 2006

"Hey Scarecrow, how about a little fire?" - Harry Dresden, Proven Guilty

Alas, another week has come to an end...Thank God. I subbed all week and I sure am tired, not to mention my patience is no longer existent. But hey, money is as money does.

This week did give me plenty of reading opportunities:
1. I finished The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde - just so damn funny!
2. The Chronicles of Faerie: Hunter's Moon by O.R. Melling - its listed in the YA section of the bookstore, but think J.K. Rowling a la Harry Potter - way cool, can't wait for the next one.
3. Past Redemption by Savannah Russe. This is the second book in the Darkwing Chronicles (think Laurell K. Hamilton meets Buffy meets La Femme Nikita & Alias. Daphne Urban is a 500 year old vamp who gets recruited by the CIA to be part of an anti-terrorism group - the books keep improving and there's definitely some imagination behind it all.
4. *Pick of the week* Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI've been waiting nearly a year for this book, especially when I got to meet Butcher back in the fall. This is the 8th book of the Dresden Files and in my opinion possibly the best so far. It's funny, well written, imaginative yet with realistically loveable and complicated characters. What I love about this series it that Harry in an a-typical hero figure, needless to say he's got issues; but underneathe it all he's a good man who wants to fight monsters and save the world. Butcher currently ranks as my favorite author and with good reason. He's got the knack for making his protagonists lives just complicated enough to stay interesting but not to be overbearing (can anyone say "lighten up, LKH?").
5. Labyrinth by Kate Moss - just started this one today and I'm about 30 pages in. It seems to be similar to The Da Vinci Code with its search for the grail - but where it differs is its parallel story lines of two women (Alice in 2005, Alais in 1200) as the heroines. Too soon to say anything about it for sure, but it looks hopeful.

TV Recaps:
1. "Bye, bye, bye" to Princess P on American Idol. So long, don't let the door hit ya on the way out.
2. Alias - wicked cool this week, two major character deaths, lots of plotting and I'm so glad the Rimbaldi story line is back on, he makes things way more interesting. I just love that Syndey's nemesis, Anna Espinosa, is now a Syndey clone. It seems appropriate that the series finale will have Syndey kicking her own ass(-:
3. Lost - 3 words for ya - OMG!!!! Might be one of the best episodes yet. Can't believe that ending and I'm sooo ready for next weeks ep.
4. CSI (Las Vegas) - Great ep last night guest starring Judd Nelson and Julie Benz (aka Darla from Buffy and Angel). Good story and I so didn't figure it out til the end so that's good, the show's been a little predictable as of late.
5. Smallville - I so agree with other blog about this one. If you have James Marsters at your beck and call, use him! Fine didn't appear until half way through the ep and as others point out, most of the time he looks like Jon Schneider, no problem there but if you say you're gonna give me "Spike" then give me "Spike!" Chloe has some great one-liners last night(-:

At the movies:
(pretty dry here, but I have Domino to watch)
1. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai - Ang, you're right, its fabulous. I laughed, I got a little misty-eyed....Kajol rulz!!!