Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Book/Films in December

Books:

Augustus by Allan Massie 
This was a weird book, written as an auto-biography of the first Roman emperor- except really written by some Scottish guy 2,000 years later... storytelling techniques aside, I found this book (or at least part one) too dense. It takes for granted that you will have a lot of background knowledge of Rome (err... not really) and also a really good memory of names (nope). However, the second part, when everything seems to be unravelling for Augustus at the end of his life, is a lot better- Augustus seems more human and more things are happening. I read this book to get more background for my classics course, and that's the only thing I'd really recommend it for.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 
This is the most difficult book I've ever read. Not saying it wasn't good, but I felt like screaming "STOP SPEAKING FRENCH YOU PAEDO" every few words. I guess I'm kinda jealous of Nabokov, a Russian writer capable of writing better English sentences better than pretty much everyone, while simultaneously freaking out the society it was written in (and to a lesser extent, current audiences). It is well written, with exceptional turns of phrase, but the first part is exceedingly boring, you are just waiting for Humbert Humbert to do away with Mrs Haze for at least 50 pages. The ending is a little unsatisfactory as well, but it's the two-year travel of HH and Dolores that is the best. I recommend reading it, just so you can impress people with it.

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks 
Ok, so I wasn't disturbed by this as much as I thought I would be / wanted to be. I knew what happened to Frank already (thanks, last year's English students!) but I didn't know about what happened to Eric. JAYSUS WHAT, pretty much sums up my reaction. Anyway, the book is grim, good, and manages to be both character and plot driven. Don't read it if you're expecting long words and elegance, this is first class weirdness.

Stardust by Neil Gaiman 
My sister got me this for christmas, aww cute! It's the only Gaiman I haven't read, since I watched the film first (I don't like doing that), and the book is so, so different. In a good way, mainly (but I missed the transvestite pirate...). It was good, but I wouldn't recommend it if you've already seen the film, which I know a lot of people have.

Films:

Sliver Linings Playbook
It was a solid drama, with some genuinely funny moments, and an occasionally banging soundtrack (see white stripes). The only thing that pulls it above average is Jennifer Lawrence's performance, which is actually oscar worthy (she won't win, my money's on Naomi Watts in "we were actually hispanic", sorry, I mean the impossible). 

Looking For Eric
I LOVED IT. Look, it's a feelgood film about Eric Cantona, starring Eric Cantona! HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE IT? He plays a trumpet and everything!

Brokeback Mountain
Look, it was culturally important and everyone in it acts very well etc. etc. but the thing is, I don't really care. I got a bit bored. The only bits that really stood out were the turkey-carving-incident, Michelle Williams leaving Ledger, and Ledger's big speech part. It wasn't amazing, it was a bit disappointing.

Terminator 2
Badass. Watch it man, stuff blows up, it's exciting all the way through, Sarah Connors is actually an interesting, well-written character, and the only problem is that the kid can't act. Seriously, lets the film down a bit. But watch it, it's 80's James Cameron, so you know it's a superior action film. Cameron again makes a sequel better than the already amazing first film (e.g. Aliens). 

Life of Pi
I'm sorry, it was a bit shit really. I just found the script a bit pretentious (so is the book, to be fair), it's an interesting idea, but the whole "twist" is just so annoying (book and film) and UGH. It's just annoying, pseudo-philosophical bullshit. It does look nice though. My problems were just with the book really, I don't know why I dragged myself to watch it. Sorry to everyone who was with me and liked it. 

Godfather part 2
I...I... prefer part one. There, I'VE SAID IT. It was just to long for me, with my tiny brain and short attention span. Ok. It's still a landmark film, and you should watch it, but yeah... sorry. 

Seven Psychopaths
It wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, or as it could have been. I kept waiting for a proper belly laugh moment, like the other McDonagh bros. films manage. This one just ends up sub-tarantino as doesn't quite work. Christopher Walken and Sam Rockwell are still great though. Maybe I'm being overly harsh. 

Being John Malcovich 
OH MY GOD IT WAS SO GOOD. So funny, so surreal. Genius, ridiculous film. I love it. Just watch it. Now. Just get past the first, weird puppet scene, and then you'll love it.

Jane Eyre 
The new one with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. Now, look, I hate costume dramas with a bit of a passion, but I actually liked this. Wasikowska is actually amazing in this. I have a massive crush on Fassbender too, and he is gorgeous and brooding and *sigh*. Ok, now I'm talking about guys in period dramas. I'M NOT AN OLD LADY, HONEST. 

Happy 2013, wankstains!


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