Sunday, 16 December 2012

Books/Films in November

Yeah, yeah I haven't blogged in a while, but normal service will now resume (disclaimer: It probably won't). Anyway, stuff and stuff.

Books:

The Epic of Gilgamesh by Errrr... Anonymous? 
 This is the most ancient book I've ever read. It was originally written on stone tablets (so retro, right?) in some Indus river civilisation. I first heard about it on a youtube channel called crashcourse, which did a series on world history (go check it out). As a book, it's alright, there's a story, there's some homoerotic undertones, y'know, the usual. I wouldn't really recommend it unless you're really into ancient stuff.

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
I read this because my mates insisted the main character was me. I'm not offended by that, this guy does remind me of me. A music obsessive who spends too much time thinking about the past. The book is well written, funny, and most importantly, the characters have really good music taste. So yeah, read it to get inside my sad little head.

The Aeneid by Virgil
I read this for school, so maybe I'm overanalysing here, but this is kinda crap. The only characters I'm remotely interested in die, meanwhile Mr. Boring (Aeneas) wins at life. We read the Odyssey last year, and this made me miss Odysseus, who shagged everything and then cried about it. So, y'know what, READ THE ODYSSEY. The first half of this is just a second rate Odyssey anyways. But you should read book four of this, it's pretty good- and if you do read all of the Aeneid, you'll be able to pick up more cultural references.

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
First of all, lets get it straight: I LOVE ERNEST HEMINGWAY. The Old Man and the Sea is my favourite book. Secondly, this book is emotional and stoic and sickening, but not as good as the old man. However, I prefer the characters here, their strengths, their stories, their humanity. Spain is beautifully described, as is the love between Maria and Robert(o). Read this if you want to be emotionally destroyed by some words on some paper- and you get to learn about the Spanish civil war. Yay!

The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips
Way less highbrow than the last two. And not as good. When I started reading I knew I was going to have to finish it- it's compulsive. The ending was pretty unsatisfying, and I don't like books that just set themselves up for sequels- that's rude. It was fun I guess, but not amazing or important in any way. It's really well plotted, and I'm not surprised it was turned into a terrible looking movie.

Films:

Shadow Dancer
This film isn't as good as I wanted it to be, but I'm glad it was made (and it's still pretty goddamn decent). Andrea Riseborough is brilliant as Collette McVeigh, a mother turned MI5 informer to protect her son. A serious unnerving thing (for me) was that all of the Irish characters had the same names as my family members (Collette, Gerry, Connor, Sean) that was too accurate. 

Dark Shadows
Was crap. It just wasn't funny- watch the trailer, all the good jokes are in that. Apart from the whole McDondald's Mephisto mix up- but we all confuse demons with the golden arches, right? Chloe Moretz is pretty good in it, as is Eva Green, but it's not worth it bro. Average at best. 

Ted
Was also not very good. The bits with Norah Jones and the whole flash Gordon things were awesome, but the rest was just meh. I don't think the family guy parts worked at all- the teddy bear vs Marky Mark was ridiculous. I also liked the bit where the hooker took a shit (probably the only time I will ever get to write that sentence, unfortunately). Again, all the best bits were in the trailer.   

A Prophet
This film is amazing and you should see it ASAP. It's long but engrossing, brilliantly acted, directed, and written. Watch it. Now. 

Lost in Translation
Such a good film. Brilliant cast (basically only Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray, but c'mon). So funny and so sad and so well written you believe the characters are real. "I want you to lip my tights"

The Woman in Black
Was SO BAD. I can only put the praise it got down to Harry-Potter-mania. It wasn't scary, or particularly atmospheric, which was where the book had its strength. Apparently they're making the woman in black 2 right now. Please no. 

The Godfather
Obviously pretty flawless. The set pieces (horse head in the bed etc.) are even better than I expected. Scilly is beautiful. This film is also really really long, but stick with it. I kinda feel that there's nothing that could really be cut, so just relax and enjoy the movie. Oh, and did I mention Marlon Brando? Marlon Brando.