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Monday, May 26, 2014

The Normal Heart Film Review: Early HIV/AIDS History

This film debuted on HBO on May 25th of 2014, and I guess it was based on a book of the same name., which was also a Broadway play.

I watched half of this on the premiere night, and DVRed the rest to watch the following day. This movie had an all star cast, such as Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, and Jim Parsons. It is somewhat based on the authors life, and people he knew. The main theme of this film is the development of AIDS epidemic in the early '80's, and the fight by certain individuals to get the public to notice. It was also to get the healthcare community to react, and look for a cure. This was a very touching movie, and now it is hard to imagine, just how frightening this must have been at the time. I do remember growing up and how wide spread the fear of getting this virus affected everyone, and how at first they thought only gay men could get it. I think the actors did a great job of convincing the viewer of just how traumatic this time period was. Even if this film didn't have an all star cast I still think this would have been a good film, but I think having these actors will help to get more people to watch this film.

Just like the virus does not discriminate based on sexual orientation I do not think that you have to be gay to enjoy and get something from this movie. This movie is very sad at times, and there is a lot of deaths, but that was the main point in getting the public to respond to this epidemic. There is strong sexual content, so if certain things bother you perhaps you can fast forward through those parts. I have rated this film 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend everyone to watch it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Revenant Movie Review

I just recently saw this film, and I recalled seeing the trailer a long time ago, and thinking that it looked like an interesting film.

Here is one of the trailers for this film.

The story of this movie is that a guy named Bart is in the service, and he gets killed while serving in the middle east. He awakens to find himself in bad shape, as his mouth is sewn shut, and he is filthy. He tries to rationalize that perhaps he was buried alive, and has no idea how long it has been. He tracks down his best friend, and approaches him to get some help figuring out just what is different about him.  His friend is kinda freaked to see him suddenly alive, and almost thinks it's someone playing a cruel joke on him. He let's him in and together they realize that Bart is decomposing, but seemingly alive at the same time. Through various experiments, and research online they come to the conclusion that he is a Revenant, which is an undead being that lives on the blood of the living. Bart has to drink blood to stop decomposing, and when it is daytime he returns to a dead like state. He seems like a vampire, but looks like a zombie. Together these friends decide that they best way to provide blood for his friends survival is to become vigilantes, and at the same time help save people from criminals. While they are pursuing this scheme Bart has unknowingly started something that is not revealed to almost the end of the film. I will not spoil this, and tell you just what happens, but it is a nice unexpected twist that further makes this a great movie.  I really enjoyed this movie, and think that if you have an interest in dark comedies or zombie/undead films that this is the movie for you. I rated this 4 out of 5 stars on Netflix.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review of 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

I recently just finished reading 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill.  If you have been following my channel you know how much I like Joe Hill's other works, and could not wait to read this collection of short stories. This book is actually his first published work. I did a review of his first published novel, which came out after this publication, and I was very impressed by how deep that book was. That was my first impression of this author, and that review can be seen here  down below -

Besides that review I had also reviewed his newest book NOS4RA2, and made a tribute page on Squidoo. So I have been a fan of this author for quite a while now.  Below is my progress, and a brief synopsis of each story contained within this book.

If someone were to ask me just what were my favorite stories from this book I would have to say 20th Century Ghost, and The Black Phone were the best in my opinion.  The main title story was really sad, because it was a bout a girl who was a movie fan, and just happened to die from an aneurysm while watching the Wizard of Oz. She never got to see the end of the movie, and her ghost had a special relationship with the theatre owner. So the ending of that story was very touching.  The Black Phone was good because it was the fantasy of the pedofile getting what he deserved in the end.

While I love Hill's other works I just found this book to be an average book, and he has written much better works since this. If you are a fan of his other novels or perhaps a fan of his father than I do think you should give this book a fair chance.

04/19page 30
9.0%"Best New Horror- creepy. life imitating art."
04/21page 54
17.0%"20th Century Ghost- the ghost of a young girl haunts a movie theater. too fast,but nice ending."
04/23page 70
22.0%"Pop Art- Jewish balloon boy,literally a balloon. strange and weird."
04/24page 92
29.0%"You Will Hear the Locust Sing- teen turns into a giant bug..."
04/26page 113
35.0%"Abraham's Boys- strange. Van Helsing and are vampires real or a sick fantasy of the father."
05/02page 139
43.0%"Better than Home- About a kid with anxiety and a drooling problem. ...zzzzz."
05/04page 173
54.0%"The Black Phone - Pedophile kidnaps the wrong kid...
In the Rundown - euphemisms about running bases, and a run for help."
05/09page 200
63.0%"The Cape- Slightly different than the comic series, but still very good. Loser whose only talent is that he can fly while wearing this cape."
05/10page 256
81.0%"Last Breath - Creepy Doctor keeps last breaths in a museum...saw that ending coming.
Dead Wood - Can trees be ghosts?
The Widow's Breakfast- Sad story about hobos, and a widow.
Bobby Conroy Comes Back From the Dead - Love story well sort of man reminisces about an ex girlfriend."
05/12page 270
85.0%"My Father's Mask- A very strange tale of the masquerade house,and the playing card people."
05/15page 313
99.0%"Voluntary Committal - With the imagination of a child he can build mazes that people literally get lost in."

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Book Thief Movie Review

I know that in the last year the rise in popularity of The Book Thief has more people wanting to read this novel, and it was recently made into a film. I'll admit that I own a copy of this book, but like so many others that I own I have yet to read it. So when I heard that they was a film version out I just couldn't wait to see it.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the film, and cannot wait to read the book. This movie did not have any recognizable movie stars in it, but it was still very good. I appreciated the fact that this story involves the civillian population during WW2 versus combat films or films that only focus on the Holocaust portion of that history.

If you have not heard of the book or the film the story starts out with the introduction of the main character named Liesel, who is a young girl who is being adopted, as her mother (who is later said to be a communist) is giving up to an older German couple who do not have children of their own. In the movie it starts out being narrated by a man's voice that the viewer is unsure of who it is, and you do not guess the identity of the voice until the middle of the film. Liesel travels with her brother who was also promised to the older couple, but he dies along the way. At his burial is where she finds a book that has been dropped by one of the grave diggers, and she quickly picks it up in her grief maybe as a reminder of her dead brother. She has a rough start upon meeting her new parents, and she wants to sleep clutching the book that she found, but cannot read. She does not know how to read. When she gets sent to school and asked to write her name on the board all she writes are x's, and the other children laugh at her. Her adoptive father finds the book as she is clutching it to her as she goes to sleep. He asks her about it, and see's that it does not seem to be an appropriate book for a young girl. He then learns that she does not know how to read, and then offers to teach her. While learning to read another dilemma reveals itself in the form of a mysterious young man who soon visits the old couple after the events of kristallnacht,
which was a big event in Holocaust events of this war. The young man named Max is the son of a man that "Papa" knew from the war, as his life was saved by his father, and he owes it to the young man to help him in anyway he can. They choose to give the young man refuge in their home. The family attends a book burning where such books as  H.G. Wells The Invisible Man is one of the books suspect by the Nazi regime as corrupting the German people. This film goes over so many different things that were occurring at the time period of the Third Reich.  Such as the air raids, and the villagers having to hide in the air raid shelter until the sirens signal the okay to come out. The searches conducted by the Nazi's of random basements to root out people in hiding, such as Jews, communists or any of the many people they were opposed to. The film also touches upon the feelings about the other races, such as when Rudy a neighboring boy says he wants to be like Jesse Owens "the fastest man in the world", and his father is told to teach his son if he wants to remain in the party. We also get to see just how desperate the Reich had gotten, by recruiting (conscription) very young boys, and men too old for duty. I will not reveal too much more about the film, as I do not want to spoil it. But I did find this film to be very touching, and very sad at times. As I stated before I very much enjoyed it, and rated it 4 out of 5 stars. While I do not think it is 100% based on real events it is a very good tool to teach people about the Second World War.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The New 52 Joker makes me want to read more Batman Comics

I recently finished reading Joker: Death of the Family, which is a New 52 book.  I'm really enjoying this revamp of DC's characters. I mean I didn't mind reading the occasional Batman book, but this new rendition of classic heroes, and villains has got me wanting more. This book in particular features a more mature, and grisly storyline that past Bat books didn't live up to. For some reason the Joker had removed his face and went into hiding leading everyone to believe he was dead. But he returns to let the Bat Family know that he is alive, and out to make their lives complicated. Batman, and a few other players are trying to analyze just why the Joker has done this, and why he seems to love torturing Batman.

I loved the way the story was introduced by Joker wannabe's staring trouble throughout Gotham, and the Bat gang had to solve the crime. This lead into Harley Quinn discovering that her lost love is still alive, and she has conflicted emotions about it. I will not get too much more into the story, as I do not want to spoil it. But It would have been nice to learn why Joker had removed his face, and I am going to read some back issues to discover this for myself. The artwork was great, and the Joker himself looked especially demented and nightmarish looking almost like Leatherface with his own face being worn as a mask. The further use of grotesque imagery just made this story that much better. Also the surprise ending of each comic book with the covered tray, and the wanting to know just what is under it kept me wanting more. The suspense of just finding out what he was up to compelled me to fly through this very large graphic novel.  If you are a fan of Batman/Joker already and you have yet to read this you really should soon. If you have never really gotten into Batman, but you are a fan of mystery, and horror you should check this volume out.

Monday, May 5, 2014

CBGB Film Review (Godfather of Punk)

This weekend I just watched what I think may be classified as a docu-drama. It was a film called CBGB, that was about the bar's owner, Hilly Kristal, and how he opened his bar, and it sparked a movement. I really enjoyed watching this film, even though it didn't have any big name stars in it, because I grew up listening to Punk rock. I never really knew that much about this club, and it was interesting to see how this one man's laid back attitude encouraged and shaped a movement that was Punk Rock.This film was released in 2013, and I'm guessing a  lot of people have not heard of it. But basically it follows the history of the bar that the initials are meant to stand for Country Blue Grass and Blues. It was fun seeing the different interpretations of famous punk bands.

The soundtrack was also another good part of this movie, as it featured some punk rock, and some '70's music from that time period. I noticed a lot of Velvet Underground in the film.  But if you are a fan of Punk Rock, and you are curious to see some history behind it then I highly recommend seeing this film.